Adventures in frugal hacking.

Recently I declared that I hate shopping. Today’s kind of shopping was both fun and profitable.

This morning I noticed that the Shop and Earn feature on the Swagbucks rewards points site is offering double the points through Memorial Day weekend.

Although not much of an online shopper I took a quick look anyway – and found yet another Swagbucks hack, which morphed into several other money-savers.


At double the rewards, that would be 10 Swagbucks for every dollar spent at Walgreens. I also noticed the “pick up in store” option, which was crucial – the store’s “free delivery if you spend $25” offer doesn’t include orders shipped outside the contiguous United States.

So I ordered $27.99 worth of something I had planned to buy today after DF and I met his mom for lunch. The order was waiting for me at the store and I earned 279 SBs.

But wait — there’s more: I paid with a rewards credit card that’s giving quintuple points for drugstore purchases right now. So that’s an extra 140 points toward this year’s Christmas gift cards. (Some I give outright, others I use to shop for presents.)

Avoiding impulse buys

The in-store pickup was very convenient. I just walked in, gave my name and claimed my purchases.

Not only convenient: frugal. Any time I wander around Walgreens, I see things I want to put in the cart. Some of those items are great buys, especially clearance or “manager’s special” deals (love those orange tags!). But others are pure indulgences, such as Swedish fish for my great-nephews or Popcorn, Indiana kettle corn for me. (Not as good as the midnight movie kettle corn, but a tasty space-holder until the next screening.)

To be clear: I do allow for some indulgence in my budget. But this should be a sometime thing rather than an every-trip buyathon. This time I didn’t have to resist temptation because all I saw was the checkout counter.


Profiting on pop

While I was there I got help with another issue. A couple of days ago I bought three 12-packs of Diet Coke for $11. Today they went on sale at four for $11. Timing was never my strong suit.

I produced the receipt and asked the manager if I needed to bring in the three 12-packs, return them and re-buy them. He said he’d handle it.

And he tried. Oh, how he tried. But after repeated several attempts at keying in the info and receiving electronic-indigestion beeeeps from the register each time, the manager ran the discounted gift card I’d used to pay.

“You’re getting 25 cents back,” he said. Some kind of computer confusion left him unable to zero out the purchase and re-sell me the soft drinks. It also insisted on giving me a quarter’s worth of refund. Well, okay.

To recap, I got:

  • The 279 Swagbucks
  • The 140 rewards credit card points (instead of 28)
  • An extra 12-pack plus a quarter profit
  • And did I mention that from May 27 to 31 the My Coke Rewards program is offering double points for codes from Diet Coke 12-packs?

It was a good day for gaming.

Note: The 70-SB bonus for joining Swagbucks expires May 31. To join, follow this link and click the text that reads “I have a sign-up code.” Then use the code THRIVING70. The code is case-sensitive, so it’s all upper-case, no space between “THRIVING” and “70.”

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  1. I have learned that saving the 12 pack numbers and maybe the 24 pack numbers until they offer double point is a good ploy. However, I was not aware of this option right now. Thanks. I won’t be feverishly trying to read codes one night to beat the midnight deadline. Sometimes, I am kicking myself for missing the deadline for double points.

    I feel silly ordering online when Walgreen’s is 1/2 mile from my house. But, thanks for the tip. Maybe I will.

    I do the same thing if I miss a special by a day or so.

  2. Holly Samlan

    I am not the online shopper you are but I know both Salvation Army & goodwill are having BIG sales today.

    that is my plan for today along w/hitting 2 groceries and the dollar store.

    Oh, I am also cooking a brislket (HER 2ND FAV MEAL) this am for DD2 whose daughter may be born any day now.

    • Donna Freedman

      I went to Value Village yesterday; those who have loyalty cards can shop the Memorial Day half-off sale the day before. Bought a light cotton blouse to wear to the East Coast this summer; wish I’d found some light cotton slacks. Maybe I’ll hit the Sallies today.
      Congratulations on the impending granddaughter!

      • Holly Samlan

        I got a NEW medium weight robe, a light weight robe and the grey wool blazer I have been trying to find for several years.

        My out of pocket for all was: TA DUM: $7.

  3. Don’t think that ordering online when there is a store 1/2 mile from your home is a waste! There is a Crate & Barrel store at my local mall, which is about 5 miles away from my home. However, I ordered my cousin’s bridal shower gift online because I was able to use Ebates and earn $14. Not only that, but consider the cost of gas. My new-to-me car gets about 22 MPG. It uses premium, which is $3.75 a gallon here in Mass. So it costs about a buck for me to drive to the mall. I figure I saved $15 by ordering online. And remember what Donna says: if you’re not in the store, you can’t be tempted!

  4. I love posts like this. And I had no idea that My Coke Rewards ever doubled its points. Are you notified by email or do you have to constantly check the site? If you have to constantly check the site, how often are they offered?

    • Donna Freedman

      Sometimes I do get e-mails but sometimes I don’t. This time I found it quite by accident when entering codes on the site. At other times they’ve offered double points for a specific product cap (Powerade, Minute Maid juices).
      In the future I guess I should post such offers on Facebook in case some of the readers use the program.

  5. I don’t want to seem thick, but I find all this Swagbucks stuff more than a bit confusing.

    • Donna Freedman

      It can be confusing if you do a lot of stuff. Mostly what I do is use the search engine, which randomly awards points (“Swagbucks”) that you can trade in for gift cards or physical goods. Me, I’m Amazon gift cards all the way.

  6. I did the same thing — took advantage of that Swagbucks special, ordering flowers I had to order, anyways. (Thank yous for board members in the appraisers group I belong to.)

    Came out of there with the equivalent of three $5 Amazon cards, in return! (Warning: I have had trouble in the past with SB crediting me during their specials. They’ve done so after I complain and submit an order number…but really, I shouldn’t have to be asking in the first place. To my memory, this has happened three times in the past year. Shame on them. So be sure to check that your order is credited, after a reasonable time.)

    • Donna Freedman

      That shouldn’t have happened. Good for you for following up. In the future I’ll always take a screen shot of any orders.
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.


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