As a stay at home mom (with a few unconventional part-time jobs), it is crucial that my family tries to live as budget conscience as possible. I’m not as financially savvy as I’d like to be, I have no idea how to use Excel –hate it actually– and taxes send me into a sweat. BUT, what I’m good at is finding fun shortcuts to saving money monthly and easy ways of earning some quick cash. I don’t have time for lengthy surveys or nonsense spam, I’m talking actual real life ways I save and make a little cash each year.
I’ve compiled a list of the different methods/apps that we use to save money. I’m sure other thrifty couponers have more intense methods, but I’m here to share what we do and we have no time for extreme coupon clipping or anything of the sort. Check them out and let me know if they worked for you!
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1. My favorite is Ibotta! – This is a rebate app where you “unlock” rebates for grocery store items and then scan your receipt/barcode to get cash back. I use it every time I go grocery shopping, and occasionally for other shopping trips. I’ve saved enough to buy gifts with the money I made simply by cashing in rebates from this app ($104 made on rebates so far!). If your friends are on it, you can work together as you shop to earn extra cash rewards just by getting grocery item rebates. They send cash directly to you via your preferred method, so it’s quick and simple when you’re ready to cash out. Here is my referral link which gives you $10 in your account just for signing up (and I do get $5 so we both win!) Check it out: here!2. Meal Planning – This takes a little time if you’re out of dinner ideas, but if you’ve got some regulars in your toolkit then simply writing out a meal plan will keep your shopping list more concise and therefore you’ll spend much less than if you were to wander around the store aimlessly. Here is my DIY project if you’d like a quick chalkboard wall to write your weekly menu on so you can stay focused and not forget. Also, try not to shop hungry. 🙂
3. Diaper rewards- This won’t save you too much money, but if you buy Huggies brand diapers and wipes then scan your receipts to earn “points.” We cashed in points from our toddler’s diapers and got a free (including shipping) toddler toilet seat! Check it out here. To really save money turn to cloth diapering.
4. I also use Ebates when shopping online which is an easy way to earn cash back without spending anything other than what we already are spending. We do a ton of shopping online because we love the convenience factor. Use this link to sign up today for Ebates and you’ll start saving money every time you shop at places like Amazon, Groupon, Etsy, Ebay, Sears, Macy’s, Minted, the list goes on!
5. Choose your regular stores with loyalty programs and stick to that store as much as possible. We don’t have a wide selection of grocery stores here in my town but we love our local Fred Meyer because the loyalty program really helps us out. We get tons of coupons in the mail, along with cash back to use in the store, and they even send us free samples! The best part is they cater your coupons to your shopping needs so the coupons actually get used, unlike the weekly mailers I get filled with coupons to foods I’ll never purchase. On top of that, they also have coupons available online to digitally load to their card and use at checkout, so you skip the clipping and remembering part and cut straight to the savings part. If you have a local store with a loyalty/rewards program it honestly pays to do your weekly shopping there rather than shop around constantly. Also, buy from the bulk bins if and when you can, using your own container of course!
6. Utilize your spring cleaning as a way to make some quick cash! If you’re no longer using that piece of furniture, or you never wore that one pair of shoes, see if someone else would like to take it off your hands for a little cash. You’re doing your part to keep it out of a landfill and you make some spending money in the process. Some sites to sell on are Facebook, OfferUp, Craigslist, Ebay, or you can host a regular ol’ garage sale.
7. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it now, cut the cable. It’s pointless. Find a way to stream, we use the Amazon Fire TV | Streaming Media Player, and purchase only the necessary streaming apps you want and forget the rest. We were paying so much for cable and internet until we found a great provider and cut the cable. We also purchased a digital antenna to catch local news stations.
8. Eat at home (or pack your lunch)! It’s not as fun and it requires planning and cooking, but honestly, we never eat out unless it’s a rare treat and we save so much in doing so. I enjoy knowing what goes into my food and I value the skills I’ve had to learn in order to avoid eating out. Learning to cook and taking the time to do it really isn’t as bad or difficult as some make it seem. Trimming some of these excess costs can really add up fast and that money can be spent on bills or sent over to your savings.