Swagbucks Tips and Tricks: A Goldmine for College Students


Hey guys, here’s my favorite way to earn a little extra spend money even when life gets crazy busy.  It’s Swagbucks and thanks to it I’ve earned over $430 since 2011 in Amazon gift cards with very little time investment.  How much you can make is all about how much time you have to invest, but trust me a little bit can go along way.  Here are my top tips for earning Swagbucks effortlessly.

1. Make Swagbucks Your Search Engine

I use Google Chrome and under “settings” you have the option to change which search engine your omnibar directs you to.  Swagbucks are earned randomly while searching, so by always using Swagbucks you can increase your chances of earning with literally no effort.

2. Get the App

On my iPhone, I’ve installed the Swagbucks mobile app.  This makes it ridiculously easy to answer the daily poll which gets you a Swagbuck daily.

3. Get the SBTV App

This app actually makes me move productive while I earn free money, go figure.  Through this app you can play continuous videos and are rewarded after every 5 videos.  How does this make me more productive?  Well, as an easily distracted college kid I can start videos playing on my phone and am less tempted to check it while working on homework or whatever because my phone is busy making me money.  (Yes it’s playing  movies right now!)

4. Codes

Codes are fast Swagbuck earners so here’s how you make sure to get them all.  First, allow the app to notify you, because it will let you know when there is a code up.  Then, instead of hunting it down on all the different forms of social media it may be on, just go to sbcodez.com and they’ll let you know what the code word is.  You can even enter the code right in the app!

5.  Referrals

Your friends earn, you earn, everyone earns!  Can’t go wrong with that.

*Bonus Tip*

Make your Amazon gift cards go farther with free shipping for college students!

Are you a pro Swagbucker?  Add your tips below!


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How to Separate Shot Gun Shells

Shotgun shells can be separated and the metal ends can be used in a variety of craft projects.  Here’s the easiest way to separate them:


Used Shotgun Shells
Two pairs of pliers
Your Stove

Step 1: Heat the metal end of the shell on your stove.  Either use a pair of pliers to hold the metal part in contact with the flame of your gas stove on medium heat or set the metal end on the coil or flat surface of your electric stove on low heat.

Step 2: Heat for about 30 seconds or until the base of the plastic begins to bulge.  Use the pliers to hold the metal end and tug from the top of the plastic end.  If the plastic part does not separate with a slight tug, heat the base longer and try again.

Step 3: Be careful not to let the plastic end melt to anything (It should be soft, but not sticky). Let the base cool and then make something fun!

Some potential craft projects using these:

Fridge magnets
Thumb tacks
Wall art

Let me know how you plan to upcycle the bases in the comments.

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Easy Kale Chip Recipe

Kale chips are a miracle food not only are they cheap, healthy, and easy, they’re also delicious!  This is a great recipe to have in your repertoire.


Kale Chips


Kale (2 cups per serving)
Oil (I prefer olive)
Garlic Salt


Step 1: Rinse your kale and dry it as much as possible as this will allow it to get crisper when cooked.

Step 2: Remove all spines of the kale leaves.

Step 3: Coat cookie tray with layer of kale.  The more densely packed, the longer the kale will need in the oven.


Step 4: Coat kale with olive oil.  I used my Misto which I love, but you can also use any oil in an aerosol can.


Step 5: Sprinkle with garlic salt.


Step 6: Cook in 350° oven for 20 minutes or until crispy.


These chips are best eaten fresh from the oven, but will last longer in an air-tight container.

Nutrition facts courtesy of MyFitnessPal:

kale chip1

*Note this snack has all of your daily Vitamin A & C!



German Potato Pancakes

These pancakes were always a favorite in our house when we were growing up.  Celine used to out-eat every other person at the table when these were on the menu.  One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is a lot less work than your typical potato pancakes.  Instead of fighting the mandolin (by far the most evil of kitchen tools!)  and grating potatoes, I can just throw everything in the blender.  They’re perfect for dinner or breakfast, and sure to be a hit at your house too!

Step 1:  Gather all your ingredients.  I forgot the eggs–they were still in the fridge!


Step 2:  Wash and peel the potatoes.

IMG_4819Step 3:  Chop the onions and dice the potatoes.


Step 4:  Throw the eggs, salt, baking powder, flour, onion and 1/2 cup of potatoes in the blender.  Grate.


Step 5:  Throw the rest of the potatoes in and grate until smooth.


Step 6:  Heat oil in frying pan and drop batter in by ladleful.


Step 7:  Fry until brown then drain on paper towel.


Step 9:  Garnish with your favorite topping, and enjoy!  We had ours with sour cream and sautéed mushrooms and onions.

German Potato Pancakes

(makes about 12 pancakes)

2 eggs
1 small onion
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 cups of cubed, raw potatoes (we usually use russets)
Canola or vegetable oil for frying

Wash, peel, and cube potatoes.  Chop onion.  Put eggs, onion, salt, flour, baking powder, and 1/2 cup potatoes into blender.  Grate until there are no lumps.  Add remaining potatoes and grate until smooth.  Heat 1/2″ – 1″ of oil in a frying pan.  Make sure oil is very hot or pancakes will not cook properly.  While oil is heating, line a plate with multiple of layers of paper towels.  Use a ladle to pour 2″-3″ diameter pancakes into skillet.  When edges begin to brown (about 2 minutes, depending on the heat of your oil), flip pancakes using a spatula.  Fry for an additional 1-2 minutes until both sides are evenly browned.  Place pancakes on paper towel-lined plate until ready to serve.  Serve with sour cream or applesauce.


Staying Healthy on a Budget

Staying healthy doesn’t have to cost a lot.  Here’s a few tips to guide your path to frugal fitness!

Stock Up at Your Local Farmers’ Market  

Prices are usually significantly cheaper than at the grocery store, and the produce is local.  Plus, many towns have indoor farmers’ markets year round.  Local Harvest has a great search engine to find a market near you.

Shop by Season  

It’s basic supply and demand: in season fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper because they’re easier to stock and usually don’t have to be shipped from other parts of the world.  The USDA has an interactive seasonal produce guide on their site.

Grow Your Own  

It’s much cheaper to grow your own produce.  Plus, you can freeze extras to use during the winter.  Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can grow many things in pots on a patio or deck.  We usually grow peppers, tomatoes, herbs, and other assorted plants in pots and lined crates.

crated plants

Meal Plan — Based on What’s on Sale  

It’s a lot easier to resist the urge to grab that easy pizza on the way home from work if you already have a healthy alternative planned and bought.  Plus, by basing your meals on what’s on sale, you can save a little extra cash.

Brown Bag It

Same deal.  If you already have a healthy lunch packed and prepared, it’s a lot easier to avoid the temptation of ordering out.

Buy in Bulk  

For non-perishable items, shop around.  Many times it’s cheaper to buy healthy grains, protein powder, supplements, and other healthy essentials from warehouse stores or from Amazon.  For example, you can get 2 pounds of chia seeds for $12.

Skip the Gym Membership

Unless you’re a diehard gym rat, chances are there’s a cheaper way to get your workout in.  There are plenty of free workout videos on YouTube.  Can’t live without a treadmill/stationary bike/elliptical?  Check Craigslist.  There’s usually plenty of equipment at greatly reduced prices looking for good homes.  If Craigslist isn’t for you, you can also find good deals on equipment at Amazon.  I recently got this folding exercise bike for $150.  It’s sturdy, quiet, and takes up about as much space as a dining chair.


Go Outdoors

Sure this may not be the most desirable option in the dead of winter, but as the temperature begins to rise take advantage of the great outdoors.  Whether you bike, hike, swim, or start a pickup frisbee game, you’re getting your workout in and having fun!  Take advantage of parks and playgrounds in your neighborhood–many have fields and courts you can use for free.

Niagara Gorge

Get Paid to Stay Fit

Check to see if your employer or health insurance provider offers any incentives to stay healthy.  I’ve seen everything from a $75 gift card for scheduling a yearly checkup to a free FitBit to promote a healthy lifestyle.  If you can get something free for taking care of yourself, it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Have a great day!


7 Valentines Day Gift Ideas for the Man in Your Life

1. Lifeproof Phone Case 


This is a must for your on-the-go man.  This gift shows that you respect his need for adventure and know how to help him pursue his passions.

2. An Experience


Whether it’s a concert, sporting event, or weekend away, your man is sure to love the sentiment put into creating a unique experience for him.

3. Sipping Stones

whiskey Stones

Nobody likes watered down whiskey.  Your man is sure to appreciate these sipping stones, especially when paired with his liquor of choice.

4.  Beer Brewing Kit

 beer brewing

Has your man caught a case of the “IPA Bug”?  If so, he’ll love feeling like a mad scientist and making his own. *Bonus you get yummy beer too!

5. Google Chromecast

chrome cast

Is your man tired of watching House of Cards off of his computer screen?  Or messing with lots of cables?  This is the gift that lets him know you fully support his Netflix addiction.

6. Credit Card Multitool


If your man likes to be prepared for everything this is a great gift.  It conveniently fits right in his wallet, so he’ll never be caught off guard without these useful tools.

7. Fitbit


How’s your man doing with his New Years resolution?  Fitness couldn’t be easier or more fun than with a fitbit activity tracker.

Have any more manly Valentines day gift ideas?  Share them below!

Happy Shopping,