Brandon and I each day jokingly say to each other, “Another day another dollar.”
And since I work hard for those dollars, I really like to save as many of them as I can! (I’m now singing, “Dolla Dolla Bill” in my head. Oh, college.)
Anyway, after seeing a money-saving post on April’s blog, I thought I’d share some of the ways Brandon and I save money. I’m by no means a coupon clipper extraordinaire and certainly don’t have this all figured out, but these are my (super easy) ways to save a dollar here and there.
Use money-saving apps. I have an iPhone, and I have downloaded a bunch of apps to help me save money on my purchases.
My favorite apps are: Retail Me Not, Cartwheel, Ibotta, Receipt Hog, Snap by Groupon and Kroger. These have all truly saved me a pretty penny!
A bit more detail about them:
Retail Me Not is both a mobile app and can be used online. If you’re shopping in a store, open the app and type in the store in which you’re shopping. If a coupon is available, you can hand your phone to the cashier who can then scan it and take off the discount. If you’re shopping online, type in the store name and see a list of coupons and/or coupon codes that apply. Then, type it into the “Promo Code” box upon checkout and the discount will be taken off. I never shop – in store or online – without it.
Cartwheel is Target’s signature app, and I’ve saved more than $200 to date at Target with this little guy! All you do is either search (by category or typing in your item) or scan an item’s bar code to see if there’s an offer available. When you’re checking out, hang the cashier your phone and the discount will be taken off! I use Target Mobile Coupons in tandem with this and have scored some great deals. These coupons are texted to you, and you can save them in your iPhone’s Passbook. I don’t shop at Target without these two things! (*Note: You can also get a Target REDcard – which I don’t have – to get 5% off your purchase and free shipping when you order online.)
Ibotta allows you to “unlock” cash back rewards on products. While you’re making your grocery list, see if there’s anything on your list that is also on Ibotta. Unlock money by completing tasks (i.e. watching a 30-second video about the product, completing a quick survey), and then go to the store to purchase your products. Once you’re home, scan the products’ bar codes and then submit a picture of your receipt using the app. Cash is deposited into your Ibotta account in about 48 hours, and once you reach $10 in your account, the money can be deposited to your PayPal account or the balance can be transferred onto a gift card, including Amazon, Starbucks, etc.
Receipt Hog is something I’m just starting to use after finding out about it on Pinterest. All you do is shop at any grocery store (or places like Target, CVS, Walgreens, etc.) and when you’re home, snap a picture of your receipt. You earn “coins,” and once you reach an upper level of coins, you can have the money deposited to your account or the balance can be transferred onto an Amazon gift card.
Snap by Groupon is so simple. Using the app, find cash-back offers on the items. Then, snap a photo of your receipt and the cash will be deposited into your Snap account. Once you reach $20, Snap will send you a check. That’s it!
Kroger’s mobile app is what I use because I don’t have many other grocery options near me. But I love Kroger and am totally fine with that! Use the app to load coupons directly to your loyalty card – either before you go or in the checkout line. Once you’re ready to check out, hand the cashier your Kroger card and the money will be taken off. Simple as that!
Try Amazon Prime. I have raved about this before, but it has saved us money and has been very easy to receive things – especially when I was big pregnant and when I was first home with Walker.
Amazon Prime gives you free two-day shipping and unlimited deliveries for $99 a month. We have had Prime for a while, so we’re (thankfully) grandfathered in at the $79 a month price!
Be sure you price match to ensure things aren’t just cheaper on Amazon – because I’ve definitely found things that aren’t – but I have been able to find a really great deal on items here, and receive free two-day shipping. This is how I purchased more than half of our Christmas presents this year, and even purchase Oliver’s cat food from Amazon, too! I also use the “Subscribe & Save” function on Amazon for Walker’s diapers and wipes, since I get a discount for doing that. (And yes, I know cloth diapering is much cheaper, but regular diapers work well for us.)
Buy in bulk where you can.
Brandon’s company provides us an annual membership to Sam’s, a warehouse store. It’s so nice to get that gratis and not have to worry about the membership fee!
I have saved money buying things at Sam’s we use all the time: toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, Walker’s formula and K-Cups, to name just a few. Since there are only three of us, I try to only purchase these types of things from Sam’s (that don’t expire) and will last us a while. If we had a big family, I’m sure we would use Sam’s for much more, but our paper goods and cleaning supplies are really helpful to get at the bulk price – because unfortunately, cleaning will never disappear!
Buy store brand where you can.
I have a give-and-take with this and allow myself some flexibility. I purchase organic fresh fruits and vegetables (using the Clean Fifteen rule) and whole-wheat pastas and breads. But, when it comes to other things, I’m all about the store brand: canned vegetables, eggs, spices, baking supplies, coffee creamers, bottled water, etc.? All store brand. Kroger even has a brand called “Psssst,” which is a few cents cheaper than the store brand. So, yep, that’s what I buy! The savings truly do add up.
Invest in a Nest.
The Nest Thermostat has really helped our electric bills come down. Nest learns your temperature schedule, programs itself and helps lower your heating and cooling bills that way. For example, our A/C goes up to 80* when we all leave for the day (on its own) and turns down to 74* about an hour before we get home so it’s cool when we’re there. Then, it goes down to 72* around 8:30 p.m. when we’re readying everything to go to bed.
Find some hacks.
Instead of spending far too many dollars on the expensive Diaper Genie refills, I found this awesome hack: you use a regular trash bag in there instead! As soon as we use all of the refills I purchased on Amazon, we will be doing this. Around $2 for a bag of about 100 trash bags sounds much better to me than three or four refills for about $16!
Save the change.
Since I’m the laundress in our house (yuck), I’m in charge of cleaning out pockets before the pants are thrown in the washing machine. Y’all, I can’t tell you how many coins (and sometimes even dollars!) I’ve found in Brandon’s pockets. It’s outrageous! I have been collecting the change in a little plastic cup in our laundry cabinet, and recently cashed it all in when the cup was full. I just went to Kroger and used one of those coin machines, and guess what? We got back about $25! All from some loose change in pockets. I was able to buy myself a nice little top from Loft with that money. It all adds up!
Brown bag it.
I’ve spoken to this before, but Brandon and I both bring our lunches every day. I bring mine four days a week (and eat out with my girlfriends on Fridays) and he brown bags it every day. Our lunches consist of a sandwich, crackers, a fruit and a little treat, or leftovers from supper one night that week. Since a usual meal is about $8 to eat out – and if you do it five days a week – that’s more than $2,000 a year just in eating out! I don’t know about you, but that’s just not worth it. Just from bringing our lunch, I think we spend less than half of that by taking a sandwich rather than eating out.
I tried this after seeing it on April's blog post about saving money, and once I started it, I found it pretty cool! Basically, the way it works is: anytime you want to purchase something online, go through Ebates first. Once you're there, use the search bar to find the store you're wanting to shop. Click on the store link, and it will take you to the site. Once you purchase something, you get a percentage of cash back from the purchase you made. (Each store offers a different percent cash back.) It's that simple! They'll mail you your cash back via a check whenever you're ready.
Need an invitation? Click here!
Do y'all have any tried-and-true ways to save money? I'm always looking for new tips and tricks!