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.
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.
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.
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.
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?