Saving and pinching pennies

I consider myself to be fairly thrifty. No $100 purses for me. Since  I have foot issues, I will spend more to buy a quality  pair of shoes.  Designer clothes? I can live without them. I shop sales, bargains, discount stores, and use coupons.  Since the kids left home, we do  do not belong to a membership store. They are too tempting to buy large quantities of things I don’t really need. I love a bargain! Better yet, I love hunting for a bargain.

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Using my smart phone, I can download certain apps and use my phone to scan receipts, check prices, and earn rewards for using their programs or shopping in their stores. A perfect example is Walmart. Some people think if you shop at Walmart you are always gong to save money. I do not always find this to be true. Yes, some items are less expensive and there are some grocery and toiletry items I buy there. If so, I always submit my receipt to their Savings Catcher program which will search out any local advertised price and give you the difference. For example, on a recent grocery shopping trip I purchased 59 items for a total of $88.30. On that one shopping trip I got back $5.61. Not bad huh?  Thommmee likes to buy Diet 7up in those cute little (and expensive) plastic bottles. Walmart charged us $3.50 but a local supermarket had it on sale for $2.47 so we got back $1.03 on that purchase.  Sometimes it is much less as when we purchased La Palmas Mild Green Enchilada sauce for $1.96 and another market had it for $1.79 with a 17 cent refund due us . Over time these pennies can add up. I have only been doing this for about a year and so far have collected a whopping $47.75.

Another application I use is Receipt Hog.

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For this app, I can scan most receipts  and after an accumulation you earn “coins” which can be cashed in for gift cards. You can also earn “spins” which allow you to earn additional coins.  This is super easy and does not require much effort. Each week you level up for even more rewards. Patience is the key but after about a year I cashed out a mere $20 Amazon gift card. I can use a receipt that I  use on a different application or rebate program. This allows me to stack savings in several apps.

The only other grocery store app I use is Ibotta. This one takes more work and a little bit of planning. You earn for purchasing specific items which you verify by scanning the bar codes of items and submitting your receipt which is fairly simple. The hard part is purchasing the exact item listed and adding it to your app shopping list. You can also combine this with a manufacturers coupon as Ibotta is a rebate system.  For example; I have a coupon for $1.00 off Tide laundry detergent. The store may have the item on sale $1.00 off the regular price. Ibotta may have a rebate for an additional $1.00 for a total savings of $3.00-$2.00 in the store and $1.00 towards a gift card to be redeemed at a later date. This is probably my least favorite app but I have cashed in over $40 in Amazon gift cards.

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Perhaps my most favorite is M Points. You “check in” at locations to earn points. The beauty of this app is you don’t actually have to walk into a store to earn points but just be in the nearby vicinity. These points can later be cashed into gift cards from a variety of stores such as Best Buy, Old Navy, Walmart, JC Penny’s, various restaurants and many other retailers. You can also earn points by taking surveys, downloading certain apps, and watching short videos. Now if you are someone that has privacy concerns or worries about ‘big brother’ tracking your every move, this is not for you. Basically, a GPS is tracking your location.  I found that even Google seems to know where I am so I guess I do not find this to be more of an invasion of privacy than anything else these days. I have cashed out $80 of gift cards from Amazon, Walmart, and Target so far. This was particularly helpful during Christmas.

Shopkick is another favorite.  Again you need to ‘check into” certain locations and for this one you really will need to either go into the store or get very close. You can also scan items throughout the store for extra points. I have cashed in about $35 in various gift cards.

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I also sign up for store rewards programs, clip some coupons, receive mailers and emails for discounts, and sign up for text alerts. I never pay full price for anything. I shop grocery ads and hop from store to store. Fortunately (or unfortunately) we live in an area with several stores within a one mile radius.  Our favorite grocery store recently gave stamps for purchases to be cashed in for silverware or knives. Yep, we got a set of steak knives and a chef’s knife. Reminds me of the old days when we collected  S & H Green Stamps and Blue Chip stamps.

If you are too young to remember these or if they were not offered where you live, they were a great reward program. You shopped in stores or purchased gas that offered these stamps. Based on the amount of money you spent you received stamps to be used toward “purchasing” items from their catalogs. It might take awhile to collect enough to get the items you wanted but almost everyone gave them so it was not hard to save. You licked them and stuck them into books which you took to the redemption store for your treasures.  I redeemed many of these for baby strollers, playpens, and high chairs.

I have tried many other apps and methods for saving money but they were either too much trouble or not effective. I have tried to follow The Crazy Coupon Lady’s website for tips but I am not willing to invest that much time into it.  Instead I focus on these few tools to try to save a little money. I don’t open credit cards to get the store discount. I do wait until I have a discount coupon before heading to that particular store though. I also try hard not to shop unless I need something. I paint my own nails, color my own hair, and clean my own house.  We often cook at home. I know we all have our priorities of where we like to spend our money so honestly no judgments here. Our kids think we are crazy but Thommee and I do some of this together so we make it fun!  The money we save we spend on vacations, short trips, visiting with family and friends, and splurging for those spur of the moment events!

Most of us probably have our own ideas of how to save money, trim our spending, or where we like to splurge. What are your favorites?

 

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23 thoughts on “Saving and pinching pennies

  1. you are right, that is something I have found out too. Things I thought I NEEDED I find that is more like something I want. God supplies my needs and it does make us content in life doesn’t it. Thanks, it is good to be back and a part of the blogging family again. 🙂

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  2. I usually don’t have time to clip coupons or browse the websites, and I don’t have an iphone – so I do the old fashion by writing a list and sticking to it – only buying what I need and instead of coupons our stores have “discount cards” to get extra savings off of certain items. I usually save $400 or more dollars a year which I don’t put away but it goes back into purchasing things I need. So technically I got my shoes for free from the savings I made at the grocery store last year! 🙂 Like you I have been feet and ankles so need good support shoes, which I only shop at place that allows you to buy one pair and get the second for 1/2 and that includes sales items. I saved $75 buy buying two pairs of shoes (Niki and sketchers), making the one pair only costing me $25. I too miss my green stamps, they had some really nice items.

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  3. I can also remember my mom saving the green stamps. I used to love helping her stick them into the books. I have no idea what she bought with the filled stamp sheets—I think I only cared about sticking them onto the papers:)

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  4. Thanks, Nancy. It’s fun…..at least for now. Hugs. Glad to see your recent post as I have missed you. Thanks for the follow on Instagram. I like it better than Facebook because it’s short and sweet!

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  5. Hi Jan,
    I love this post, I am always looking for good deals, and it’s fun to find apps and other ways to help save money. I think the nice in doing this, is that then when you do want something special and out of the everyday normal, you don’t feel as bad for a little splurge because you have been trying hard to find those savings. Great Post!!
    xx Nancy

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  6. I am always looking for a good deal. But I find our local store has the best buys for food and produce. I have heard of these apps and may take a look at them.
    As for S&H green stamps… I remember them and found a booklet not too long ago while cleaning my Mom’s house. HA HA HA

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  7. Thanks for the follow! Nice to meet new people. I checked out your blog. Fun and perhaps a little quirky. I decided to follow you back. Love your sense of humor. Looking forward to more of your antidotes and stories.

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  8. I won’t be cruising either or traveling abroad anymore but I am as blessed as I can be with what I have too. I always try to focus on what I have that’s good and keep my attention away from what appears to be missing. Then more good comes into focus. You are correct. It is the little things. 🙂 Hugs.

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  9. An exciting retirement, huh? Sewing, Thommmee, friends, saving money, family…..I won’t see Europe or cruise the Caribbean but I am so blessed and couldn’t be happier!! ♡♡♡♡♡ It really is the little things, isn’t it? ♡♡♡♡♡

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  10. Thanks for all the information here, Jan. I’ll be looking into it. I don’t do much couponing now as most of what I buy is in the parameters of the store. Fresh veggies, meats eggs, cheese. There are usually no coupons for those things so I watch for them to go on sale. I (may) buy one new outfit a year at Christmas. Not this year. I think I have enough to last till I’m done now or I can make what I need. My big thing is books and an occasional piece of fabric for a special project. Don’t need much there either. I like the idea and agree as I do it too, of saving from one place to spend on something that you enjoy more in another. Sounds like you’ve made a nice game of it.

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  11. Thanks Pauline. As I was posting I was wondering about other countries and what was available to them as far as this is concerned. I actually love shopping online, hence the Amazon gift cards. I usually just load them onto my account and then I can shop from home at my leisure. If we do go shopping, Thommmee and I often make it a date of sorts which may or may not include lunch or dinner. He’s a pretty good shopper as long as he knows what the purpose of the trip is. Mostly we browse and look around. We can spend days and days shopping for a new set of towels or a gallon of paint. I think it’s just the thrill of the hunt! Yes, these for old feet need a little TLC for the additional miles I put on them not to mention the extra weight!

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  12. Oh wow Jan – I found this such an interesting post. Living in a small country – pop. less than 5 million – we don’t have much going on like this in terms of couponing and such like. I don’t go ‘shopping’ as such – I do a lot of my buying for my creative things on-line and look in my two favourite shops if I need a new pair of shoes – one of them will have something that fits the bill. Like you, I buy good shoes, it becomes even more important as our poor old feet age and there is still much walking to be done 🙂

    I shall pop back again in a few days to see what your other friends have to say.

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  13. Will do, Patricia. Wish we had a Von’s nearby. Maybe you can teach me some of your tricks. I should have mentioned how getting clothes from you expand my wardrobe in such a lovely way! Love those “hand me downs”!

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  14. Jan, when we get together you will have to show me how to do it. I finally have a phone, but I don’t really know what an app is. I do use Von’s. It is the closest store to me and my best deals are the 10cents off a gallon of gas. When they offer bonuses like 8 x’s the rewards if you buy a gift card we buy Arco gas cards. We usually wait until we have $1.00 credit per gallon and then we fill up. The other catch is that the posted price at Von’s is the cash or debit price, if you use a credit card it is 10 cents more a gallon. Today we had 40 cents so we took both cars so we could get the full 25 gallon max. They often have buy a $25 IHOP card for $20, so we buy it and then go to IHOP on Wed night when it is buy one get one free for seniors. Even though we don’t agree with the politics of AARP, we love the 15% off and you know Jim LOVES Debbt’s.

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