I was asked recently whether Swagbucks was a legitimate way for stay-at-home wives and moms to earn money. My answer at the time was “Nah. It's not really worth the time.” It's not that the site itself isn't legit (it totally is – I've had an account for years and received any payouts I've requested) I just didn't feel like most people would earn enough to make it worth the time spent. Most of what I had earned was from referral credits I accumulated when I owned a deal blog years ago, and I didn't think it was fair to give the impression that the general public would earn as much as I had.
Well…fast forward a little bit and I've totally changed my tune!
I tried using Swagbucks for a month and see how much I could earn doing only things that anyone can do.
It was enough to pay for all my kids' Christmas and birthday gifts!
Once again, the money I earned was from doing things that anyone can do, and I didn't spend an exorbitant amount of time doing them.
Now…you're not going to get rich off Swagbucks or really earn an actual income, but if you're just hoping for a little “mad money” then I think you're going to find Swagbucks to be an amazing little hobby that you can use to afford Christmas presents or some other little “extra” you may not normally be able to afford.
Maybe you're wondering what in the world Swagbucks even is. A basic explanation is that you complete online activities such as taking a surveys or searching the web through the Swagbucks search bar. When you do, you are awarded with…well… Swagbucks. Then you can redeem those Swagbucks for gift cards or actual PayPal cash.
I'm going to share the specific ways I have found to make using Swagbucks worth my time. I know we are all busy, but I also know many of us could use a little extra cash. So hopefully making use of Swagbucks will be a blessing to your family as I share some of the most time-effective ways to earn a little extra money.
1. First things first, create a Swagbucks account here. (Important note: If you want to redeem your Swagbucks for PayPal cash rather than gift cards, make sure you sign up with the same name and email address that is on your PayPal account.)
2. Get familiar with the point value. (1 Swagbuck = 1 cent, so 500 Swagbucks are worth $5.00)
Each activity will tell you upfront how many Swagbucks you'll receive if you complete it.
Ready to start earning Swagbucks? Read on for the best ways I've found to rack up your total quickly!
3. Go to “Discovery” Tab.
What you'll want to do is look for high paying offers and easy tasks. When these two overlap, that is the sweet spot!
So, for instance, I would consider 500 ($5) or more swagbucks a decent amount — although, the higher the better of course. I've earned up to 10,000, which is $100!
Here's an example of an easy, yet high paying task:
Notice all the squares underneath. These are all the offers available. When you click on one, it will show a little pop-up box with all the details of that offer. This particular offer says that if you download the Upside app and use it when you purchase gasoline, you will receive 1000 Swagbucks ($10.00.) It will cost you nothing to use the Upside app; the only purchase you're making is for gasoline, and you'll make an extra $10! Not bad for taking the time to download an app!
More examples of tasks I've done that have provided a large return for a small investment of time:
-Download apps (earn an average of $2.00 each)
Be sure to read the terms. Sometimes there is a requirement to play to a certain level of a game before you're awarded the Swagbucks. I don't find these to be worth my time. I prefer to choose offers where I can download the app, receive the Swagbucks, and then delete the app.
-Sign up for a company's email list (earn $.25 – $1.00 each)
You can set up a separate junk email address for these so you don't fill your regular inbox with junk mail.
-Sign up for a free trial to a streaming service (earn $5 – $10 each)
I always set up a calendar notification to remind me to cancel before the free trial is over.
-Sign up for a food delivery subscription (earn $30 – $60 each)
I do the math to make sure I will be earning more than I spend on the box. Usually there are special offers on the boxes that make them very inexpensive. For instance I just did one where I spent $13 to get the first box delivered. I'll earn $60 from Swagbucks and then cancel the subscription, making it a $47 money-maker.
-Click and earn offers (1 to 2 cents each.)
There are many of these available to do. All you have to do is click on a link for an advertisement and you'll immediately earn 1 or 2 swagbucks just for clicking. Why do I do these when they only pay a couple cents? Because it only takes a second or two to click. A penny per second equals a $36/hour pay rate. Even if I only spend a few minutes doing this, it's completely worth my time. All the Swagbucks add up.
-Upload receipts. I don't always do this, but if all the other offers are sparse I will take a few minutes to upload some of my grocery receipts. Depending on what I've purchased I might earn around 20-25 cents on each receipt.
-Take surveys. This is one I personally don't do that often, but other people I know find that they earn enough on Swagbucks surveys to make them worth their time.
-Use the online shopping portal. Any time I need to make an online purchase, I go to my swagbucks account first, or I click through my chrome extension. Swagbucks will reward me with a certain number of swagbucks just for shopping through their portal.
If you install the Chrome extension, you will see a pop-up like the one on the right hand side of the above web page. Any time you're shopping online you can click that purple cash back button, and you'll receive Swagbucks back in your account after you've made your online purchase.
If you don't wish to install the Chrome extension, you can just go to your Swagbucks account and click through the shopping portal.
Things to be aware of when using Swagbucks:
-There will be many, many offers that are not worth your time or trouble. Don't be disappointed, just keep looking because the great offers are in there among the not-so-great.
-As I already noted, you'll probably want to use a junk email address when signing up for advertiser's email lists. Additionally, it's my personal preference not to sign up for magazines or free samples where I have to give my mailing address. (Ordering an actual product is different.) But for the free sample type things, I feel like I start receiving a lot of additional junk mail when I give my address out.
-Always, always read the terms of an offer. You'll need to follow the instructions correctly in order to receive your Swagbucks. For example, it might say to sign up for a free trial of a service, but then in the fine print it will say that you have to stay subscribed past the first month in order to receive the Swagbucks. (These can still be worth it; just check the price. For example, if I stay subscribed for one month to a service that is $5 a month, but I'm earning $20 in Swagbucks I'll still do it!)
-Take a few minutes to keep yourself organized. Keep track of the offers you've completed and make a note on your calendar to make sure your Swagbucks have been awarded. (Occasionally something doesn't track properly and the Swagbucks might not show up in your account. If this happens, I just do a chat with Swagbucks customer service and they have always fixed it right away!)
Here's a screenshot of my Swagbucks earnings. (That's worth over $1,100 that I've redeemed in the form of Paypal money.) In the upper right hand corner, you can see an additional $83 worth of Swagbucks that I have not cashed out yet. And I also have another $100+ worth of pending Swagbucks that will post when the 30 days of a free trial offer is complete.
If you're tight on money and are looking for a legit way to earn a little bit extra from home, I highly recommend giving Swagbucks a try!
Here is the link once again to sign up —> Click Here to start earning Swagbucks!
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. (Proverbs 14:1)
Perhaps when you read that verse, you think something like, “If I want to be a wise woman, I need to build my house. Hmm…how do I build my house?”
I’ve asked for people's thoughts about this verse on social media before, and all of the answers I received were along the same line. Everyone was thinking something like, “A woman can build her house by doing a, b, and c” ; and the a, b, and c were things like:
Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing these things. Speaking kindly to your family, spending time together, and using your time wisely are all beneficial things to do for the ones you love.
But if we are not careful, we can fall into a great big trap of believing that our godliness as a homemaker is proven by how many boxes we can check off on a list.
I want you to understand that the “godly homemaker list” only brings bondage. The more things you manage to check off the list, the more things you will think of to add to it. – “I did a, b, and c, but my family would really benefit if I also did x, y, and z.” If you believe that you must figure out ways to build up your home in order to be a wise woman, you will forever find yourself unsatisfied (because you will always think of some good thing that you're not doing!)
When you measure your success or failure by a list, you are setting yourself up to fall into one of two ditches:
1. Perpetual guilt that you can't seem to do all the good things on your list.
2. Pride that you are doing good things better than someone else is.
When you measure your success or failure by how many “homemaker-y” things you do and how well you do them, you've got things backwards.
You see, when you try to figure out ways to build your house and work hard to do them, you are living life out of our own wisdom and strength.
We can never build our houses apart from the Lord, and we cannot be wise apart from him.
For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)
So, my friend, how do you build your house?
You walk in the wisdom of God.
Through wisdom is an house builded: and by understanding it is established. (Proverbs 24:3)
Listen to the words of Jesus:
•Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
•Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (John 15:4)
And here’s what Jesus says will happen when you listen to his words:
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)
Do you see? When you try to build your house on any other foundation, it will not stand!
When you try to check the boxes of what you think a “godly homemaker” is supposed to look like, you’re building your house on the wrong foundation.
But when you build your life on the rest that Jesus Christ offers you; when you abide in him; when Jesus IS your life – everything else will flow from that!
The foolish woman focuses on DOING. Yet all her best efforts will fail.
The wise woman focuses on BEING. And because she is not living through her own efforts, but through the power of the resurrected Savior, she can never fail.
A plant doesn’t have to try hard to bear fruit. The only way a plant bears fruit is to simply be. The roots do the work of providing everything the plant needs to flourish and be fruitful. Likewise the fruit we bear can only and ever be a result of simply abiding in the vine.
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him…” (Colossians 2:6)
Does it feel impossible to do *everything* you're *supposed* to be doing?
Maybe it’s time to ditch the checklist and simply abide in the vine.
*Doing* all the things to build your house is not what makes you a wise woman. That's backwards.
But when your life is hidden in Christ – when you rest from your efforts to do, and you learn to simply be who you are (a new creation, filled with all the fullness of God!) – you will find freedom and rest like you’ve never experienced before!
Be a wise woman, my friend, and follow Jesus’ invitation to abide in Him.
When you do, your life will bear much fruit! You can cease from your efforts and stop living in either guilt or pride, and the people in your home will experience the power of Jesus' grace as it fills your own heart and spills over onto them.
If you want to read further on this subject, here a couple of great suggestions:
• Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman
• The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley
One of my all-time favorite hymns is Great is Thy Faithfulness.
Every line of the lyrics contains such encouraging scriptural truth. One of my favorite lines, though, is “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”
God gives strength for today
God gives bright hope for tomorrow
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me
It's a new month, which means it's time for me to post some personal stuff about what I've been up to! I'm hearing from a lot of you that you enjoy a taste of “old-school” blogging, so I'll keep it up!
What I've read recently:
1. The kids and I finished listening to the audio version of Never Caught: The Story of Ona Judge. I want them to be exposed to truth, even when it's not always pretty and involves someone that many history books call a hero.
I don't think it's fair to look for ways that we can make everyone out to be a villain, but neither do I think it's fair to present only one side of the facts either. The kids and I enjoyed listening (the book is written specifically for younger readers.)
2. Someone in my Facebook feed shared an article about Claudette Colvin, a teenage girl who stood up to segregation on the Montgomery buses, and I was curious to know more. When I googled, I found this book, and it was included with my Scribd subscription, so I read it on there.
Here's what I wrote about it on Goodreads:
I love learning about people who did courageous things for no other reason than that it's the right thing to do. Claudette didn't do what she did for notoriety, she did it because she could not live a lie. She couldn't pretend segregation was OK, tiptoeing around society in order to get along. She did what was right, and she held her head high even when others (including those who should have been supporting her) turned their backs on her. I've never heard of Claudette Colvin until recently. She didn't make the history books, but it was her courage that spearheaded the lawsuit that would ultimately change history. We don't all have to make the history books, but we can all do the right thing with our head held high. Claudette's story should be an inspiration to everyone.
If you want to read it on Scribd, you can get a free 60 day trial through this link.
3. Adore: A Simple Practice for Experiencing God in the Middle Minutes of Your Day
From my Goodreads review:
I turned to this book when I found my thoughts getting anxious and my mind swirling with the cares of the day. I loved listening in on Sara's self-talk as she intentionally turned her own anxious thoughts toward God and his word. Her prompts helped me apply the word to my own circumstances and find peace and perspective in the midst of my frustrations.
4. The Great Sex Rescue
From my Goodreads review:
This book is intended to help wives (and husbands too) untangle the lies they've believed about God's design for sex. Lies like, “men are going to look, so make sure he looks at you” or that “sex is a duty that wives owe their husbands men have great needs in this area” can put a damper on whether or not couples can enjoy the intimacy of the sexual relationship. Instead of sex being an obligation and wives being used as drugs to keep their husbands off porn, The Great Sex Rescue will help couples discover the joy that can be theirs when sex is focused on mutual pleasure and true intimacy rather than just the act of intercourse.
I shared more about the author's motivation for writing this book here.
Something New I Tried This Month:
I got my second clothing subscription box from Wantable (read my full review of the service here.)
They sent some cozy clothes for me to finish off the last of the cold weather in (I ended up sending all of these back.)
They also have a feature where you can request specific articles for them to send. I got this dress that I requested and it fit well, so now I have a new addition to my spring wardrobe.
A Blog Post I Wrote This Month:
I inadvertently opened a whole can of worms when I asked on Instagram if anyone had read any Christian marriage books that had done more harm than good. When the book Love & Respect came up, I had a whole bunch of questions in my inbox. The book is very popular, and many people had read it and had a good experience, so they wanted to know in what ways it had caused harm.
I promised to answer the question, but I knew it would be a major undertaking. I had over 50 pages of notes that I had taken as I went through the book.
To make a long story short, I am now working my way through a series about the problems with Love & Respect, and the main hub of that series can be found here.
A goal I worked on this month:
I'm carrying a few extra pounds that I'd like to shed. So far I have struggled with this because learning a new plan like THM felt too overwhelming, and sticking to just eating healthy was not actually taking any weight off.
I'm finally doing something differently that is SO EASY and seems to be working slowly and steadily (I'm down 4 pounds within the first 2 weeks.) I'm not trying to be a tease, but I want to wait to share until I give it a long enough trial to know for sure that I recommend it. I promise I'll update you!
Something I've been meditating on lately:
As spring begins its arrival I've been meditating on the faithfulness of God. God has been keeping the seasons in order since the beginning of time. Each morning the sun rises and travels along the same path it has traveled every other day since it was created.
Psalm 104 tells of all the marvelous ways that God reveals himself through creation. I encourage you to read it and see if you can do anything besides thank God for his faithfulness!
If you'd like to keep up with more behind-the-scenes posts, feel free to follow me on Instagram.
I've noticed a lot of people land on my blog by searching for Valentine's Day Bible verses. I have a cute little set of Bible verse valentines for kids, but I thought it would be nice to add a set of Valentine's Day Bible verses for adults too!
I wanted all these verses to focus on the love of God toward us. These would be great to use for giving to grocery store clerks, etc. along with perhaps a piece of candy. I think a reminder of God's love along with a thoughtful gesture would brighten anyone's day.
Some other ideas for using these Valentine's Day Bible verse cards:
I'm sure you can come up with even more creative ideas for using these, and I hope they will be a blessing to you.
The verses included are:
These printable Valentine's Day Bible Verse cards are inside my resource library. My email subscribers have access to everything inside the resource library for free.
If you'd like to join, simply enter your email address below, and you'll receive a link to the resource library where you can download these, along with anything else you might like.
I was recently musing over the past 10 years or so, and it is amazing to me how much of it I spent completely overwhelmed by housework and all the other responsibilities in my life.
As I looked through some of my old journals, I saw so much of this type of thing:
“I've gotten so far behind on the housework with the baby teething. I walked around in circles all day because I was so behind and it made me feel overwhelmed.”
“I get overwhelmed by housework very easily when I see how much needs to be done.”
“I feel like I'm always running in circles and not actually accomplishing anything.”
Every day, I receive emails that contain some variation of what I wrote above.
Everyone is overwhelmed!
And oh, how I understand! I understand so well!
But year by year, baby step by baby step, I've learned and grown and changed.
Bit by bit I have made progress until I no longer feel like the word “overwhelmed” is a central figure in my life.
Yes, I have my moments. But I actually wake up excited in the mornings, and I go to bed at night feeling satisfied with my day instead of feeling like a total failure.
Don't get me wrong. I'm in no way saying I'm now superwoman. There isn't usually a massive list of accomplishments I can point to at the end of the day. Life still has a way of throwing curveballs just like it always has.
What I am saying is this – I'm at peace and no longer overwhelmed by housework all the time. (Again, not that I don't have my moments.)
So…what is different? How did I stop feeling so overwhelmed all the time?
1. Life's circumstances change, but God our helper is always the same
I'm not going to lie. My circumstances are easier in some ways than they have been in years past. I have much more energy than I've had in years past. Children who are older are (somewhat) more helpful around the house.
But if you're thinking that the only way you can stop being overwhelmed is for your circumstances to change, you're going to be overwhelmed for a long time, my friend. There will always be difficult things in our lives. Instead of looking for better circumstances, look to the Lord. Without him, we can do nothing. Sometimes it takes hard things to help us remember to depend fully on Him.
2. Knowing my priorities means I am okay with not “getting it all done”
I've learned how to set priorities and keep my focus there. I don't get all the things done, but I am clear on what is most important, and I can go to bed satisfied with my day even when other things are left undone.
My goal setting planner enables me to set big goals and turn them into a daily, bite sized to do list. As a result, I know exactly what I need to do each day, and I also know what things won't be a big deal if I don't get to them.
3. I work with, and not against my personality
I've learned that trying to force myself to fit into a mold that's not my personality only makes me rebel against it and makes things worse. So instead I maximize my time in a way that works for my personality. For example, I might know that having dinner on the table promptly each evening would help with getting everyone to bed earlier, which would in turn give me an earlier morning and more time to reach my goals. However, cooking is not my favorite thing to do, which means I can tend to procrastinate. I keep a list of quick and easy meals that are still nutritious, and I make them very frequently with no guilt. Just because some moms cook a certain way, that doesn't mean I'm a bad mom if I don't make the same meals they do. I just do what works for me. Trying to force myself to make more complicated things or have a certain number of side dishes might allow me to pat myself on the back for feeding my family the “right” way, but in the long run it would contribute to feeling more overwhelmed.
4. I've learned to rest in who Jesus says I am.
I spent too many years of my life feeling like I had to try harder.
The fruit of the spirit felt like something I had to produce…I had to put forth the effort to be kind, to be diligent, to be good.
But if being good is something that is produced from my own effort, then it's not actually a fruit of the spirit; it's a fruit of my own prideful self-sufficiency.
God has lovingly taught me that his invitation is to rest in him.
A plant doesn't have to try hard to bear fruit. The only way a plant bears fruit is to simply be what it is. The roots do the work of providing everything that plant needs to flourish and be fruitful. Likewise, the fruit we bear can only and ever be a result of simply abiding in the vine. Colossians 2:6-7 reminds us that the same way we received Christ Jesus (through faith, not by our own effort) is the same way we are to walk in him…rooted in him. He is the vine, and I am the branch. It is by abiding in him that my life becomes fruitful (John 15:4-5.)
I am loved by God just as much on the days when my house is clean as I am when it is a disaster. I am just as much “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6) when I make a gourmet meal as when I serve cereal for supper.
When we do not properly understand our identity in Christ we will fall into one of two ditches: Either constant guilt that we're not doing the Christian life good enough, or pride that we're doing it better than others. Either way, the devil loves it because we're living like cats chasing our tails, seeking approval we already have, when the life of Christ could instead be springing up from within us, flowing outward and watering the seeds of the kingdom of God.
(A book that was a particular blessing to me in this regard was The Naked Gospel.)
There are obviously many more details that go into my journey of becoming less overwhelmed, but since I can't fit 10 years of my life into one post, I do hope these main takeaways will help you like they have helped me.
I can't promise to help you become less overwhelmed overnight, because learning to depend on the Lord and learning how to better manage our time is a lifelong journey. We should never stop learning and growing, but I hope that this article will be an encouraging step along the way.
For more information on the goal setting planner that I use, visit this page right here. It truly makes so much of a difference in my life!