Finances · for free · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin · Money Helps

Show Me the Money: 4 Ways to Earn CASHBACK on Purchases

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Who likes free money???  I LOVE free money!  And I’m betting you like free money too!

This post is all about how to earn cashback, just by shopping like you regularly shop!!

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Cashback with Discover Card

My FAVORITE way to earn cashback is by shopping with my Discover Card.  I talked in detail about why I love my Discover Card in my post The one idea I disagree with Dave Ramsey on.  In short, when I shop with my Discover Card I automatically earn cashback on all purchases.  They give you 1% cashback on EVERYTHING and 5% on different categories that are rotated monthly.  (Currently, I am receiving 5% on groceries).  You don’t have to do anything, just use your card and your cashback will grow.  I earn around $500 cashback with Discover a YEAR, and all I do is shop like normal!

Cashback with Ibotta

I love shopping with ibotta.  This is the very first app I check after completing my grocery shopping.  All you have to do is shop, check the app for rebates, scan your receipt, and the money is instantly put in your ibotta account.  Easy.  Peasy.  They have a wide selection of rebates, common items are milk, apples, pantry items, broccoli, beauty and household.  I can almost always find at LEAST one or two items to receive a rebate for.     If you don’t currently have an ibotta account you can get a FREE $10 just for signing up for one through my link.  (FREE money people!)  Once you have $20 in your account you can redeem your money as cash or a gift card.  I have earned over $100 by using ibotta!

Cashback with Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is very similar to ibotta.  It works as a rebate program.  You shop, scan your receipt and qualified purchases and you will get the rebated money instantly in your account.  Once you reach $20 in your account you can request your money, same as ibotta.  It only takes a few minutes to check for rebates and one minute to scan your receipt.  I have made over $50 cashback using Checkout 51!

Cashback with Ebates

It is so easy to earn cashback with Ebates.  If you like to shop online, you need to shop through the Ebates app.  If you shop through the ebates link you will earn cashback for every purchase.  They have a large variety of stores available to earn money with.  Everything from Kohls, Ebay, Zulily, Justice, Aerie, Lowes, Gap, Ulta, and so so many more.  Before I make ANY online purchase, I always check Ebates first to see if they offer cashback for that store.  All you do is click on the store link in the app, you will be taken to the store website, you do your shopping, and instantly earn money back.  SO SO easy!

 

If you are going to be shopping ANYWAYS, you might as well be earning a little cashback along the way, right???  RIGHT!

A quick word of caution however.  It can become easy to want to buy a product JUST because you see you can get a rebate for it through ibotta or Checkout 51.  Be careful to NOT to fall into this temptation.

I have found the best way for me is to do my shopping FIRST and then check the rebate apps to see if I bought anything eligible for a rebate.  (Except for with Ebates, you must check Ebates FIRST!)  This has helped me immensely to not buy things I really didn’t need in the first place.

What cashback secret did I miss???  How do you like to earn cashback?  Share your successes in the comments!  I would love to hear all about them.

 

 

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Affiliate · Amazon · Bargain Buys · For the kids · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Money Helps · Parenting

15 Baby Items You Do NOT Need On Your Baby Gift Registry

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I have had 3 kids, my youngest is now 5.  I’ve spent the past couple of years sorting through baby supplies.  It’s taken me years because I have struggled with closing that baby chapter in my life.  I love the memories that come flooding back to me as I look through my boxes of baby items.

I have sold most of the items, gave away a few things, and saved a couple of special items to help remember my sweet babes.  As I’ve sorted and cleaned I’ve realized that so many of the items I thought were necessary, actually weren’t!

There are many articles out there telling you what to add to your baby registry, and a lot of them have some good advice…but I think so many of the things we THINK we need….we actually could do without!

I have come up with a list of 15 items you do NOT need to add to your baby registry.  I also added some alternative, more frugal options to consider.

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15 Baby Items You Really Don’t Need to Buy and their Frugal Alternative

1. Car seat cover

I really wanted a beautiful car seat cover with a fun design.  It’s all I saw while at the grocery store.  So, I bought one.  It was cute and trendy and looked good on the car seat.  And then…2 months later I took it off and it stayed in the closet for the next few years until I gave it away.

Frugal Option: A great alternative is just to put one of the many baby blankets over the handle.  Blankets are something you always have on hand and are just the right size to cover the car seat with.

2. Baby food maker

Baby food makers look pretty and claim to offer convenience and ease to all your baby food making.  While that might be true, it is not a necessary item.  You CAN make baby food without it.

Frugal Option: Baby food is very easy to prepare just by using a pot and a blender.  It only took me an hour or two to make large batches of baby food and I did it without a baby food maker.

3. Baby Shoes

Let’s face it, little tiny baby shoes are adorable!  So many colors and styles…and oh so itty bitty!  However, as darling as those little shoes are, babies don’t really need to wear shoes until they are walking.

Frugal Option:  Baby socks are necessary for those sweet little toes.  Instead of buying shoes, buy some cheaper socks.  Find some that have a cute style.  I love these socks that look like shoes.

4.  Baby nail clippers

I will agree that baby nail clippers were useful for trimming up those tiny baby nails.  However, when I threw mine away I realized I really could have done without them.

Frugal Option: Most people already own a pair of nail clippers.  These would work just as good for babies as they do for adults, you’ll just want to be extra careful not to clip any of that sensitive skin.

5.  Hooded Towels and Baby Washcloths

I was really excited to buy cute hooded towels and small baby washcloths for my babies.  But, I have come to learn they just aren’t necessary.

Frugal Option: Use a towel you already have at home!  They will work just as good and your little one will never even know the difference!

6.  Nursing Cover

If you are planning on nursing you probably will want something to help you cover up while in public, I know I did!  You really don’t need to buy a special cover for that though.

Frugal Option::  I found that a large light weight blanket worked just as good as a nursing cover, and I always had it in my diaper bag anyways.  One less thing to pack!

7.  Bathtub  

A baby bathtub was an item I thought was so important to buy when I had my first baby.  In hindsight, it was handy for a few months, but then the babies just grew out of it in a few short months and the tub was stuck sitting in my basement.

Frugal Option:  If I were to do it all again I would purchase this Bath Sponge instead of a fancy tub.  It is much cheaper at only $6.39 and it won’t take up as much space.  This would be a much more frugal option.

8.  Nursing Pillow

This is another one of those items that I thought I just HAD to have.  I ended up not using my boppy pillow as much as I thought I would have and I have since decided it really wasn’t worth the money.

Frugal Option: I found that I preferred nursing with a couple of small pillows under my arms instead of the nursing pillow.  I was able to smash them in a way that felt most comfortable and I didn’t have to worry about the bulky nursing pillow.

9. Changing Table

Changing tables are so pretty in all the magazine nursery pictures.  But, once your baby grows out of it, they really aren’t super functional.  Changing tables usually don’t have a lot of drawers or great organization.  I found I needed to buy a dresser later on to help supplement with space.

Frugal Option: Instead of buying a changing table AND later a dresser, how about just buying a dresser.  Try to find a short dresser so that it will be the perfect height to changing your baby on.

10.  Changing Pad

While we are discussing changing stations, let’s discuss the changing pad.  You’ll find all sorts of different changing pad shapes and sizes and all the darling patterns for a cover to go with it.  These are cute and fun to buy, but really not necessary.

Frugal Option:  A couple of soft towels (that you already own) folded up and placed on the baby dresser will work JUST as good for a changing pad.  They are easy to throw in the laundry and clean, and they are free (big win!)!

11.  Diaper Pail

You will find a diaper pail on almost every baby registry idea list.  I do believe they can be convenient and very useful.  But, they can also be really expensive, especially when you have to buy the pricey refills (which you will need to do….A LOT).

Frugal Option:  We had a cheap trash can next to the changing table (I should’ve chose a dresser!).  With all the late night diaper changes with newborns, it was very nice to have somewhere to put alllll those diapers.  I would change the bag daily and fortunately newborns messy diapers usually don’t smell bad!  After about 4-6 weeks, once baby starts sleeping a little longer at night, I just started taking the messy diapers out to the dumpster outside.  It only took a few minutes and felt good to get a little fresh air.

12.  Diaper Organizer

I’ve seen these fancy diaper organizers around for a long time.  They look really cute in a nursery and I can see the appeal for them.  I don’t however think they are must have.

Frugal Option:  How about use one of those top drawers of the dresser (aka changing table).  They will be within arms reach during diaper changes, and it didn’t cost you anything extra!  It’s also so nice to have them concealed away.

13.  Wipe Warmer

Baby wipes are cold and you might feel a little guilty wiping the baby with a cold wipe.  The problem is that you won’t always have a wipe warmer with you, so it would be good for the little one to get use to the cold wipe right from the beginning.

Frugal Option:  I unfortunately have no frugal alternative for a wipe warmer.  I’ve found that babies really do get use to a cold wet wipe.  So, just use them as is and save yourself some extra cash.

14.  Sound Machine

My babies slept much, MUCH better with a little white noise next to them.  You do NOT need a sound machine though to accomplish this.

Frugal Option:  You can download white noise apps for free on your phone or ipad and place them in babies room while they are sleeping.  Or, we just used a small cheap fan.  We placed it next to their bed and pointing it away from.  Our babies slept great this way!

15.  Bottle Drying Rack

I’ll start with a disclaimer…..I actually never fed my babies a single bottle….so you can take my advice on this one with a grain of salt.  I have seen the bottle drying racks in ads and have always assumed that even though they look super fun and handy, they just aren’t very frugal.

Frugal Option:  How about just placing your bottles upside down on a dish cloth and let them air dry.  A dish cloth should work just as well as a drying rack, but wouldn’t cost you a thing!

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What baby item did YOU buy that you wish you hadn’t????  Let me know in the comments all your Frugal Baby Alternatives!

 

Finances · Frugal Life · Money Helps

10 Tips to Stop Impulse Shopping

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Let’s talk impulse shopping.

I have always struggled with impulse shopping and am constantly trying to work on this.

Do I budget? YEP!  Do I love to save money and watch my bank account grow!  ABSOLUTELY!  Yet, I have always struggled with buying things on impulse.

So, here are a few of my 10 top tips that has personally helped me stop the urge to impulse shop.

10 Tips to Stop Impulse Shopping

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1.  Admit you Have a Problem

The first step to curing impulse shopping is to admit you have a problem.  I have gone through so many times of rationalizing my impulse spending.  I would use phrases like, “Oh, but it was on sale, so it was a smart buy,” or “It was something that we really needed anyway, so it wasn’t really an impulse buy.”

These phrases are only excuses.  We use excuses to make ourselves feel better when we do something that we know was probably not the best decision.

Once I admitted to myself that I had a problem with impulse spending and I quit using excuses, I was finally able to begin to change.  I still mess up sometimes…..but I am much better than I was a few years ago.

If I impulse shop.  I tell myself I impulsed shopped and it was a mistake.  I no longer make up excuses and it has kept me accountable and aware of my goals.

2.  Recognize your Triggers

Once you’ve admitted that you have a problem, it’s time to pin point the triggers.

Is their a certain store that you leave buying more than you should have.  (Target is my biggest trigger when it comes to impulse shopping.)

Does the impulse to spend come after a highly emotional day?

Find whatever YOUR personal trigger is, this will be different for everyone.

3.  Find Alternatives

The third step to curing impulse shopping is to find alternative activities to keep you away from your triggers.

The past 2 years I have tried to just stay away from Target.  No matter what I do, I can’t seem to leave the store without impulse spending.

I’ve started shopping at other stores more and avoiding going to Target at all costs.  I still go occasionally, but every time I do I regret it.

If you have a store that is your trigger, find an alternative store.  If you shop when you are sad, upset, bored, etc. find a different activity to help get you through those emotions.  If you follow a really cute blogger on Instagram who posts links to her darling clothes and you always seem to swipe up…..unfollow her!

Do whatever it takes to find something to keep you away from your personal triggers.

4.  Leave the Cards at Home

When I shop with cash and leave all cards (debit and credit) at home.  I am much much more diligent to sticking to my list and budget.  I am always worried about being “one of those customers” who show up to the register without enough money to pay for my items.

When I know I only have a set amount of money in my wallet I watch my cart closer and it is much easier to walk past the items that catch my eye.

If you are new to spending with cash you can read more about my Cash Envelope System Here.

5.  Make a List

Making a list is so important.  If you aren’t already making regular shopping lists, you might be surprised by how much less you spend when you shop with that list in hand.

Before you go anywhere make a list of the things that you NEED.  Even if you are only going shopping for one thing, write it down.

Shop with that list in your hand and commit to only buying the things you have written down.  Even if you see something on sale.  Even if you walk past the cutest shirt you have ever seen.  If it’s not on your list than do not buy it.

6.  48 Hour Rule

I discuss my 48 hour rule in detail in my Free 14 Day Frugal Living Challenge.  The quick version is you wait 48 hours before making any purchase above a certain dollar amount.

The dollar amount is personal to you and your situation.  Everyone will have a different number that works for them.

When we wait to make a purchase we are giving ourselves time to separate emotions from logic, or want vs. need.

7.  Splurge Money

Be sure to include “splurge money” in your budget.  Splurge money is for you to spend however you WANT!

Your splurge money will give you a little taste of freedom.  If you don’t allow yourself a small amount of freedom, you are much more likely to over spend.

There is no right or wrong amount to budget for splurge money.  If you have a very tight budget, your splurge money might be small.  If your budget has some wiggle room perhaps you could budget yourself a little more.

8.  Shopping Cart

A few of you might roll your eyes at this suggestion.  And that’s ok!  It might not work for you, but this is something I have been doing more and more lately and it has really been helping me.

Occasionally, if I am out shopping and see an item that I really really want…..but it’s not on my list, I will just grab it anyways and put it in my cart.  I allow myself to walk around with it in my shopping cart while I do the rest of my shopping.

When it comes time to check out I look at the items I added on impulse and evaluate.  Should I really buy this?  Do I have money in my budget for this item?  Is it something I need?  Could I wait and budget for it later and come back and buy it?

I will usually be able to talk myself out of buying it and go put the items back where I found them.

9.  Use a Spending Buddy

Find a friend who has similar financial goals as you.  Use each other as someone to talk to when you are getting the urge to impulse shop.

A few years ago I had a good friend who agreed to be my spending buddy.  Whenever I would find that one item I thought that I just HAD to have, I would call my friend.  I explained to her what I wanted and she would ask me those important questions about if I really needed it, could I find something cheaper, etc.  I would often do the same for her in return.

My spending buddy was so great at helping me spend less.  And because I KNEW I would need to call her before I bought anything….it made me second guess my impulses, I only wanted to call her for important things!

10.  Forgive Yourself

This is one of my very most important tips!

Whenever you’re trying to change habits you will make mistakes.  It happens to everyone!

Forgive yourself when you mess up.  Learn from your mistake.  Make a plan to do better next time and then MOVE ON.

If I am to hard on myself I just end up throwing my hands in the air and giving up.  I’ve had those moments when I messed up on my budget and instantly felt like a failure.  I would convince myself I’ve already ruined my budget I might as well just keep on spending!  This was a giant mistake!

Once I started forgiving myself my budget benefited!  I am able to start fresh the next day and move forward with my goals.

 

How do you stop yourself from impulse shopping?  Share YOUR top tips in the comments below!