I wouldn’t say that I’m a particularly cheap person, I like to think I’m more on the frugal side but really it comes down to the fact that I work hard for my money and I want to make the most efficient use of it that I can. I definitely practice what I preach and I try to share tips for savings with the people around me (and occasionally with complete strangers). I’ve been known to tell a stranger about an app, or pass a coupon to a person standing in line. Coupon fairy yo! Anyway, when you talk to someone about savings the first excuse is always “I can’t save any money, I just don’t have any time.” I work full-time, have three kids, a husband, a family, a friend network and dabble in random stuff and I somehow find the time. I feel my savings journey is like a roller coaster ride though. Sometimes I’m totally into it, riding the coaster at the fastest speed and sometimes I’m busy with other projects so I’m circling the kiddie coaster. Savings can be what you make it but I feel if it’s easy or in a format that you like or respond to then you can definitely find your own way to save and own it. Small changes make the biggest effect. I’m sharing with you some of my favorite ways to save in hopes you’ll derive some help from it. Happy Savings!
Cash Back Apps
There are several different apps that you can download to your phone that will pay you cash back when you purchase certain items. These are relatively easy to use and can rack up quickly with anywhere from 0.25 to $5.00 or more per item cash back when you purchase certain items. My favorites are ibotta and Checkout 51. Offers can be for generic items like get 0.25 cash back on any purchase of apples or offers can be brand name on something specific like $1.00 cash back on one box of Rice Krispies cereal. A great example of savings I recently had was purchasing a standing rib roast from Vons before New Years. The beef was on sale for $4.88 a pound, I purchased a 5 pound roast. Ibotta was offering $4.00 back on any “beef roast.” I scanned my receipt after purchase and earned $4.00 back on the purchase. If you’re into the sauce (i.e. booze) both of these apps regularly offer cash back on wine, beer and hard liquor. If you’re gifting liquor at the holidays or need to stock up for other purposes this is a great way to save extra money. There are also other offers for health and beauty products and new items are being added weekly. The key with apps like these is checking the app before you shop, adding the offers and then scanning your receipt as soon as you get home so you don’t forget.
Receipt Scanning Apps for Points
Receipt Hog and Fetch Rewards (Referral E0UTT will earn you 1,500 points) are apps you download on your mobile device and you scan your purchase receipts in order to earn points. You can scan receipts from retailers, gas stations, grocery stores, convenience stores, dining establishments and more. I usually clean out my wallet every few days, go through my receipts and quickly scan them before tossing. I scan almost all of my receipts on the off chance it might score me a couple of extra points. Hey, I have even scanned a few receipts that aren’t mine before. The points in these apps add up pretty quickly and can be cashed in for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Regal or cash to your PayPal account.
Frequent Shopper Clubs and Rewards Programs
If I’m grabbing a bite, I always check my apps first – you never know what kind of deal you can find. You can choose a place to eat based on how much moola you have or what locations are around you. Almost all franchised restaurants now have their own mobile apps. These apps can help manage payment methods, keep track of purchases for points accrual or provide special offers and coupons. Another great reason to download these apps is that many of them provide an incentive for signing up for the first time. For instance when I downloaded the El Pollo Loco Rewards app, the first item immediately loaded was a free entree (up to $7.00) no strings attached. That scored me a free lunch!
Here is a list of the restaurant apps on my phone that I use:
- Chick-Fil-A (Frequently rewards you with free items)
- Pick Up Stix (Free item with sign up)
- BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery (use this to check in for a table)
- Luna Grill Lunatics (Free item with sign up)
- El Pollo Loco
- Rita’s Ice
- Krispy Kreme
- 7-11 (one of my favorites!!!) – if you frequent the gas station and like beverages like coffee, soda or iced tea this is one of the best. You scan the app bar code each time you make a purchase of any gulps or cups of coffee and the 7th is free. This also applies to slurpees so you get free slurpees that much faster in the summer with the kiddos. They also often have free items in the app or special offers.