Saving money without wasting your time

Saving and Shopping

I’ve always been a shopper, and a good one at that. Saving money is like a game to me. I love to find a great bargain anywhere. Before kids, I would sit with my coupon inserts, store fliers, and binder and plan out my shopping trips. Now, if I have a coupon flier out, one of my boys either steals it, rips it up, or eats part of it. I’m not kidding.

So, I’ve had to find new, faster, and easier ways to save money since we are a one income family. As you can imagine, when you have twin toddlers, time is not something to be wasted.

Here are some ways that I’ve found for saving money, time, and my sanity.

saving money

1. Apps

Nothing to cut out or shove in your purse, apps are the perfect way to “clip” coupons and earn rebates on your purchase.

My favorite app of all time is Target’s Cartwheel. It’s available for free for Android or IPhones, and it’s very simple to use. Simply browse their offers (by category, by discount, by newest offer) then add them to your cart. You only have a certain amount of spots available, but that increases as you use the app. I’m up to 39 coupon slots. I started with 12, so you can see I use it pretty often.

There is even a button that allows you to scan a products barcode to see if any offers are available.

Once you have all your offers, you just show the barcode to your cashier, they scan and you save. Easy.

IBOTTA – great way to earn cash while shopping for groceries and more

Another great App is called Ibotta. This is also available for free for both Android and Iphones. Instead of one store, Ibotta has many different stores you can chose from. They then have items available at each store that you can earn rebates from. Once you hit $5, you are able to request an Amazon gift card. You can also get giftcards to other stores, OR a cash payout. And there are always extra incentives and ways to earn cash available.

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2. Store Cards

Many stores now offer discounts and rewards when you present their free store loyalty card. Our local grocery story does this, as well as many chain stores, like Walgreens, Toys ‘R Us, and Gymboree. If you lose your card, you can often just give your phone number at the check out. Often, loyalty members earn points which result in future discounts or rewards. You also usually get special discounts mailed or emailed to you.

In addition to loyalty cards, it’s sometimes a great idea to get a store credit card. For example, you save 5% on every purchase you make at Target when you use their credit or debit card. With my Gap card, I earn rewards anytime I make purchases at the Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, or Athleta. Plus, with both cards I get free shipping Online!

3. Shopping Online

Another great money and time saving way to shop is Online. Many stores offer special discounts to their Online customers when you sign up for their emails, plus a lot of stores are now offering free site-to-store pick-up, so you don’t have to pay for shipping. If you prefer to have it shipped, I encourage you to look for free shipping codes in places like RetailMeNot and Ebates*.

Speaking of Ebates…it’s a free site where you find the store you’re shopping, click through their link, and use discount codes and coupon links to earn cash back on your purchases. Plus, when you first sign up and make a purchase, you get a $10 gift card to a select retailer, like Amazon.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

And speaking of Amazon, Amazon has a great feature called Subscribe and Save . You can buy products like diapers, wipes, formula, and toilet paper in bulk without paying a membership fee like you do at club stores. Products are discounted at a percentage when you subscribe, rather than just purchase one time. Plus, if you subscribe to 5 or more items you get an additional discount up to 15%. There are also “coupons” you can clip on items, and you can cancel your subscription at any time. I usually order for a month, then if the prices aren’t the same, or if there’s not a coupon, I cancel. There are no penalties to cancelling after just one order, which is awesome. Just don’t forget to cancel!

4. Buying store brand items

I have to admit that I was a little worried about purchasing generic or “store brand” products. Would they work as well or taste as good? Most of the time yes.

From working in retail many years ago, I learned that many of the same companies that make your name brand items also make the generic version. They just don’t have to pay for advertising or fancy packaging, so the cost to you is less.

Store brand paper towels, toilet paper, and pain relievers are all staples in our home.

5. Buying items when they are on sale, not just when needed

This is actually my biggest tip. If there is something that your family uses all the time and you can get it for a really great price (on sale, with an app, online, etc.) stock up!

There will never be a time where my family doesn’t use toilet paper, so if I can get it cheap, even though we have three packages in the basement, I buy it, if I have extra money. That way, I won’t ever have to pay full-price because I’ve run out. I don’t run out! I just get some from my stockpile and wait for that cheap price again.

I hope these tips are easy to use and helpful. We moms have enough other stuff going on, so saving money needs to be easy and fast. Well, at least as faster than your toddler can dump out the contents of your purse in the checkout line. Happy Savings!

*I’ve included affiliate links if you’d like to sign up. There is no additional cost to you.

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