Budgeting

Saturday Spotlight: Money Saving Apps

We all love to save money but who has the time.  Do you cut coupons to grocery shop and then forget to take them?  I am definitely technically challenged but I am on a mission to pay off debt so I learning how to use digital coupons and money savings apps. So, pull out your smart phone and check out some of these money saving apps.

My favorites are:

Shopkick – rewards you with “kicks” when you visit participating retailers like Macy’s, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, etc.). Admit it, you go to at least one of these retailers every week. You also can earn “bonus kicks” for scanning specific items while in store. NO, you don’t have to purchase them, just scan the UPC code. Once you’ve earned enough reward points you can redeem them for retail and restaurant gift cards.  This is a fun way to get the kids involved in grocery shopping by letting them scan the products.  They have also added online rewards too.

Ebates – my favorite site for saving money when shopping online! You have seen the commercials right, where people are getting thousands of dollars back.  Well, the truth is I do’t get thousands back but I do average about $25 per month which is pretty good. Right now, you can earn $10 for clicking my link and joining as a new member.  Then get your referrals link so you can earn $25 for each person who joins using your link.

Cartwheel – Are you a Target shopper?  Be sure to grab their Cartwheel app so you can save additional money on products you buy.  This is a savings on top of the 5% they offer by using your Target credit card or debit card.  There is no need to open a credit card to get the 5%, you can link your Target card to you checking account and use it like a debit card.

For the grocery shoppers who love to use coupons, here are three apps just for you:

Checkout 51 – to save on groceries. Every Thursday morning, Checkout 51 updates with a new list of offers. Simply choose the offers you like, purchase them at any store then upload a photo of your receipt through the mobile app or website. When your account reaches $20, Checkout 51 sends you a check.

Ibotta – Before heading to the store, choose the offers you like then go shopping. (The more offers you select, the more you can earn.) After you check out, take a photo of your receipt which Ibotta will verify and then credit your account. Cash rewards can be deposited directly into a PayPal account. Every time you redeem an offer a new one will be sent to you.

What are YOUR favorite money saving sites? Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Budgeting

Tis the Shopping Season……

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The first day of November…. temperatures are cooler, it gets darker sooner, pumpkin is everywhere and in everything.  The best part of November is people are starting to get into a holiday mood.  I know, it is EARLY but the stores have been decorated for Thanksgiving and Christmas since the beginning of October.

With the holiday mood comes lots of shopping, right?  How many of you have suffered from “buyers remorse“?  Whether it was a $25 item or a $1,000 item, we have all been there.  You start by shaking your head wondering what you were thinking.  Then you think how you could have spent the money on something more worthwhile.  This leads to regret and being mad at yourself for wasting money and going into debt.  Okay, this may be a little extreme for a $25 purchase but if $25 is out of your budget, you know what I mean.

You vow to never make the same mistake again.  I mean doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is insanity, right?  So, the next time you get ready to make a purchase not in your budget, ask yourself these questions to help you make a better decision….

1. Can I afford it?

If you can’t afford it, then you should not be getting it.  It’s really simple.  By affording it, I don’t mean putting it on a charge card so the great deal now costs you twice or three times as much. I mean, money in the bank or cash in hand.

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2. How long did it take to earn the money to pay for it?

Think about this: If the item is $100 and you make $20 an hour, then you had to work 5 hours in order to purchase it.  If it is’t worth you working 5 hours for the item, then you may end up regretting the purchase later.

 

3. What else could I spend this amount of money on?

What else could you possibly use this money to buy. This reminds you of about your goals – paying off debt, saving for a trip, etc.  It helps you decide whether or not you truly need to make the purchase.

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4. What mistakes have I made in the past with a big purchase?

Let me count the ways… oh, no let’s not because it will open the door for the inner gremlins to start bashing me!  Have similar decisions in the past made you happy or have you felt regret.  You never know, you may be about to make the same purchase mistake yet again!

5. Can the large purchase wait 24 hours?

If the purchase can wait 24 hours, then you should delay it. This let’s you think about the purchase longer.  Believe it or not, you make a more rational decision about a large purchase after you think about it for at least 24 hours.  Wouldn’t you be surprised, you realized you didn’t need the item at all!  The more time passes, you tend to forget, which means you most likely didn’t need it.

7. Where can I find the best value?

Shop around at other stores – even thrift stores.  Check both offline and online.  Prices can vary from store to store, as well as online, so get the most bang for your buck.

 

 

8. Is there a return policy?

Regardless of the purchase, return policies are important. I mean if you aren’t 100% sure, you want to have the return option for a refund.

9. Do I really need it?

Sounds easy right?  Truth is, it is the most important question to ask when making a purchase.  Really dig deep and ask yourself this simple question. You may think you need it, but is it a want or a need?  “Wants” are fine, as long as you are realistic with your budget and your spending. Living paycheck to paycheck, have a large amount of high-interest rate debt, or anything else, then you may want to skip any splurges and stick to what you REALLY need.

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What do you do before making a large purchase or making a purchase not in the budget? Share your best tips with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!