Once upon a time I tried couponing. The time involved and my lack of organizational ability made it more trouble than it was worth.
You see, I am the woman that likes convenience and am usually willing to pay a little more for it. I prefer to spend my time having fun with my kids or relaxing—not cutting and organizing coupons.
Besides, I rarely remember to bring them with me when I cut them and when I do I spend TWICE as long in the grocery store than I should. And if that grocery store is Walmart, it’s more like FOUR times as long since everyone knows time (and the speed of the cashiers) slows down to a crawl within that blue trimmed building on the outskirts of hell.
But I am now a SAHM and we live on one income…and I am cheap.
When I tried the “fool proof” and “easy” couponing strategies, I ended up with a half filled binder of cut coupons and an entire office with stacks of Sunday papers filled with expired coupons. Maybe the newspaper delivery person knew that my dedication was flagging because soon he or she started skipping some Sundays. Then I would have to call the newspaper and yell and scream about the ten papers that weren’t delivered that I planned to add to the stack in my office.
So yeah. It didn’t work out for me.
But! There are a handful of apps that I use on my iphone that I use to help me save money and save time and that do work for the lazy. These links are referral links that tell the companies that I gave them a thumbs up and sent you their way. Though I am not compensated directly, the companies often have referral incentive promotions running at any given time, with the payout being in “points.”
I started using ebates when it was a website only, without an app and not very mobile friendly. They have made huge strides since 2011.
I like shopping online. It’s a way for me to purchase what I need without have to drag along two kids who always distract me, causing me to forget things, and making another trip in the near future necessary. I shop from my phone or from my laptop while the kids are asleep.
Ebates is a portal of sorts. When I know I want to purchase something online, I either go to the app or the website first. If the store I am shopping from is listed, then I click on the link to that store and Ebates takes me to the store where I shop as usual. The participating stores have different Cash Back percentages. Ebates also often has promotion codes in addition to the cash back. Once you make the purchase, you get a rebate to your Ebates account for that percentage. Ebates pays out every quarter. I choose to have a “Big Fat Check” mailed to my home.
I cash in big on my Christmas purchases from Toys R Us, my school clothes purchases from The Children’s Place, Old Navy, Gap, American Eagle etc, my printer ink purchased (these tend to have the highest cash back percentages), and surprisingly the flowers I purchased for my mother and mother in law for Mother’s Day.
In 2011 when I started my account, I did have some issues with have my purchases tracked back to ebates, so I went a couple years without using it. In 2013, the kinks seemed to be all worked out. Since 2013, I’ve been paid back $66.13. I currently have $18.88 pending. Not bad for items that I would have bought even without the cashback.
Shopkick has to be one of my favorite apps. It requires almost no work at all and doesn’t even require that I purchase anything.
For Shopkick you simply download the free app (must have location services on for this app.) When you walk into a participating store you open the app and get points, which they call “kicks.” They also offer kicks when you connect your credit card and make purchases, but I don’t do that part. 1) I don’t like connecting my credit card info to a third party 2) that is too much work for me.
They also have certain items in the participating stores that you can scan using your phone’s camera for more kicks. (You do not have to purchase the item.) The items and kick amounts change weekly.
Shopkick often has events where certain stores have 100 kicks for walking in.
So what’s the point of the kicks? Well, 250 kicks (on average) equal a dollar on a gift card that you choose from a variety of options that the company offers as rewards. It may not seem like much but the kicks add up quickly. My favorite stores participate: Target, Walmart, Old Navy, and Best Buy. These are stores I go to all the time. I just open the app when I enter the store and go on with my shopping. (Note: you cannot get walk in kicks for the same store in a 24 hour period. This is even the case if you go from one Target location to another Target location in the same 24 hour period…not that I have EVER done this.)
In January, I cashed out a $10 dollar Target gift card. The gift card goes right to the app as a scannable barcode and is ready for immediate use.
Afterwards, I decided that I would not cash out anymore kicks until Christmas. A friend of mine told me her mother did ALL of her Christmas shopping last year with kicks. Though I am not as gung ho as her mom, who goes on kick gathering sprees and walks into numerous stores all over town, (remember? LAZY) I do plan of using my kicks for Christmas. It’s addictive, I warn you. I’ve run into the mall to pick something up and ended up walking the length of the mall because there were really just too many kicks to pass up in one location! It’s a good thing I only go to the mall once every few months despite living so close to it. As of the writing of this post, I have about $17.64 and I have been a homebody recently.
There you have it two of my favorite money saving apps. Keep an eye out for my next post about more apps I use to save money. What is your favorite money saving app?
Ps. While we’re on the topic of getting free money…why don’t you enter this Pinterest Sweepstakes for a $100.00 Amazon Gift Card 😉