savings

Money Saving: It’s Easier Than You Might Think


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If you try to save money, it seems like something always happens like the car breaks down, the dog has a medical emergency, you have to make home repairs. Unexpected expenses have a way of greedily eating money we manage to save. There are ways to save money that you may not have considered.

First, open a bank account and have a small portion your paycheck direct deposited into it each week. Use a bank that you do not have easy access to withdrawing the funds. Granted you will still know that money is there, but you won’t be tempted to spend it on a nonessential purchase.
Second, use a website like mypoints, memolink, or swagbucks to gain points for searches, watching videos, shopping and surveys. The key here is that when you have earned enough points to get a gift card, choose a store which sells food, or other items you need. Then take the same amount of money and put it away. Use the gift card to maintain your usual shopping habits. Keep the money you saved in a safe place or account. Over time you will have a bunch of money saved and it is money you never had to part with in the first place.

Third, look for sales and use coupons. But again, figure out how much money you actually saved, and put it with the other money gained from earning gift cards online. Do not leave loose change or money in your pockets and wallet. If it is too easy to access, you will spend it without thinking. Put it in a safe place and only take what you actually need.

You will be able to put some money aside using this advice. Once you have thousands of dollars saved, visit your local bank and find out about Certificates of Deposit (CD) and other savings options. CD’s are great because you can’t touch your savings for a certain period of time without penalty, so you will hold on to your money. Good luck.

Reward Yourself With These 3 Unique Shopping Apps!

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Did you know that you no longer have to rely just on the rewards programs linked to grocery store loyalty cards and points accrued through using a store-specific credit card? There’s a handful of ways that thrifty shoppers can save money and earn cash back just by continuing to buy the same things they do anytime they hit the store. The biggest problem with these rewards programs is that many people don’t know that they exist, and if they do, where to find them so they can benefit from using them.

Here are three great rewards programs that you can start using to save money and earn cash back today!

1. Ibotta

Ibotta (use my referral link)is a super cool app that you can download to your mobile device for cash back rewards on almost anything. Once you sign up and set your location, the app will search all the stores within a pre-determined radius for all cash back opportunities. You then search for items by keyword or store and begin unlocking your deals. When you’re done shopping, you go back to the app to verify your deals by scanning the barcodes of your purchases and uploading a photo of your receipt. The cash you receive appears in your account within 24 hours, and once you hit $20 in cash back, you can request payment via PayPal. The rewards add up quickly, especially if you’re shopping for a family.

2. Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is another awesome cash back app that you can download to your mobile device. The idea is much the same as Ibotta in that you browse the cash back offers, save the ones you plan to use, buy those products from any store, then upload a photo of your receipt to redeem the cash back. After your account reaches $20 in savings, you can request payment.

3. Shopkick

Shopkick is a little different, but just as nifty in that you earn points (they call them “kicks”) just for walking through the doors of a store. Items featured in the app can be scanned to earn even more kicks. Make purchases with a card that you link with the app to earn yet even more kicks, and see just how quickly it racks up! It’s ridiculously easy to collect kicks, and you can redeem them for gift cards for just about all your favorite stores.

One of the greatest things about these apps is that they don’t cancel each other out. You can use each one simultaneously to earn all sorts of cash back, and they can be used on top of any coupons you choose to clip, as well as in-store sales. So, why not use ’em all? Reward yourself instead of kicking yourself next time you go shopping by giving these sweet apps a shot. You’ve got nothing to lose but great savings!

Go Frugal With Discounted Gift Cards

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How would you like to get a discount on almost every purchase you make?  One man’s junk is another man’s treasure and for every person who has unwanted gift cards, there is someone like you who would like to buy that unwanted card at a discount that is sometimes quite substantial.

Gift Card Granny is a one-stop shopping place for people looking to sell unwanted gift cards and frugal people looking to save on everything ranging from dinner at their favorite restaurant to appliances at Sears.  Gift Card Granny lists thousands of gift cards from a multitude of vendors who offer discounted cards for sale.  For the more popular stores such as Walmart, the discounted cards may offer just a few percentage points off the price of a regular gift card.  However, for other gift cards, it is not unusual to see them available for sale at well over 20%.

For those who like to shop online, many of the discounted “gift cards” are simply e-codes you buy which are then sent to your email.  After you receive the e-code you simply use the discounted e-code and PIN number to complete your purchase at your favorite online store.  Gift Card Granny also lists companies that mail out physical gift cards.  Most of the companies offer free shipping.  For the other companies who do charge a nominal fee for shipping, Gift Card Granny will list the shipping fee.

Like anything else, it must become a habit to make most of your purchases with a discounted gift card.  Initially, you might even forget you have a discounted card and pay with your credit card as usual.  But once you get into the habit of using gift cards as payment, you will actually find it loathsome when you have to pull out cash or a credit card and pay full price for an item.  Great bargains are only a few finger clicks away for frugal shoppers who make their way to Gift Card Granny.

The 3 Best Stock Trading Apps

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There are several new apps for stock trading directly from your mobile device. A few of the most popular ones are Robinhood, Acorns, and Stash Invest. They are all available on Android and iOS. Let’s take a look at some of the best stock trading apps.

Robinhood is known for its easy to use interface and award-winning design. It has won awards in both the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. Other pros of Robinhood are that it doesn’t require a lot of money to get started with trading. Once you make money through the app it is easy to transfer from the app directly into your checking account. On the con side, having to wait till your earnings are listed as settled before you can transfer them to your account can cause key opportunities to be missed. If you want to reinvest and you have to wait 3 days for your earnings to post, you may miss something. Many of these stock trading apps work in similar ways. There is a good how-to article with screenshots on businessinsider.com.

The Acorns app is based on investing spare change. When you make a purchase using your linked checking account,  the total is rounded up to the next dollar and used to invest. There are only 5 portfolios to choose from, though. The fees are relatively low at $1 a month for accounts under $5000 and .25% for those over $5000. Depending on how much you make though the fees can be high. If you are not making more than a few dollars a month then  the $1 a month fee can seem kind of steep.

With Stash Invest, you can start investing with as little as $5 in your account. The site allows you to choose your investment options but will give recommendations. Stash Invest gives the choice of 30 or more investments. Their fees are the same as Acorns’ fees.

When choosing a mobile app to use for investing, be sure to read the fine print on fees and disclaimers. It’s a good idea to read through the app store reviews as well.

This Post Contains Affiliate Links.

 

What types of rewards programs are there?

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Rewards programs are available nearly every place you shop (even at some of your favorite Foodie Places). Whether it’s at the mall, at the grocery store, or on your phone, rewards programs help save you money as you shop, play, and surf the web.

1) Phone rewards- Apps such as Lucktastic and Google Play Rewards offer money for a few seconds of your time a day. Lucktastic is a lottery game where scratch off cards offer points as winnings. After so many points, they can be cashed in for items such as gift cards and sweepstakes entries. Google Play Rewards, run by Google itself, offers rewards for surveys based on location, shopping habits, and even opinion. Rewards vary in amount, and can be used to purchase items in the Google Play Store.

2) In-store rewards: To bring in more customers, some stores offer instant reward dollars after so much money is spent on their products. Stores such as Victoria’s Secret, Torrid, and Kohl’s offer deals year-round that can then be used to reduce the out-of-pocket expense of shoppers later on in the year.

3) Credit rewards: These stores also offer reward points based on money spent using store-issued credit cards. Points are often issued so many per dollar, and after a certain amount of points are collected, the cardholder may receive a voucher in the mail to use on their next visit to the store.

4) Gas rewards: Supermarkets and supercenters that have connections with gas stations often offer a reward card that, while taking cents and dollars off of products in the store, also takes cents off at the pump. Kroger’s shopping card, issued free, gives points according to dollars spent, much like credit reward cards. After so many dollars are spent per month, shoppers can take off more per gallon at the gas station.

There are hundreds of rewards programs across the internet. While it seems like just another card to keep up with, participating in reward programs can ultimately save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars per year– just for swiping a card.

E-coupons are better than coupon clipping

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For those who found that the majority of their sales are to people who shop online, it is ideal you improve your online reward system. However, if a larger portion of your business is conducted in person, then an in-store reward system may be the way to go. Luckily, there is flexibility in your decision making, with respect to the requirements your business as well as the setup of your merchant processor.
Clipping coupons is a regular task for people who are often looking for new deals. Together with the development of digital cash-saving programs, like print- at-home and cashback apps, more and more of the people are simply turning to using coupons to cut costs on their shopping.
According to studies, it is forecasted that there will be tremendous growth in the number of mobile coupon users. But, the question now is: what will be the reason for this growth and what does it means for cash-savers?
Customer expectations and technological improvements are the drivers of this trend. The growth of cash-savers in the world has continued to grow for the past couple of years. Nine out of 10 of us ‘believe it is great to be frugal’ and two thirds of shoppers won’t make a purchase before looking for a discount online.
What impact will digital coupons make on cash-savers?
It’s projected that coupons worth $350 Billion are printed on a yearly basis and nearly 99% of them were never redeemed.
The most probable reasons for this are unwanted and forgotten scrap of papers.
It’s a gigantic shame to realize why these savings are not utilized, but the growth in digital redemption would support reducing these figures.
In America, where this technology is broadly used, mobile coupons have a 10% redemption rate – which implies that more individuals are saving.
Ease-of-use, audience accessibility, and fraud detection are a number of the key ways those involved are benefiting. The progress in technological advancement has made couponing more accessible and lots of brands release coupons.
Other good benefits of digital coupons are that you wouldn’t forget to always take them with you and you wouldn’t have to travel to as-many stores or supermarkets to redeem your as-many coupons.
However, technology continues to be a concern for a number of shoppers like 68 year old grandmother of seven, Natalia Hunt, who said: “I’d still favor the paper ones, better to organize. It is simple and fast to make use of them. So, why change that?”

Be Frugal AND Brilliant

 Everyone shops for groceries, right? And most of us have to purchase gasoline, and we like to go out once in a while. Let’s not even get started on online shopping. Why not make some of your money back — without having to do anything extra but take a picture?

If you’ve got a smart phone, you’re in luck: there are quite a few apps around, dying to know what you’re buying, and from where. All of these apps are free (though some require you to register with an email address). You get points which turn into credit at stores like Amazon, or money in your PayPal! Here’s a list of some of the easiest to use, and how they work!

National Consumer Panel (NCP)

NCP is an extensive survey company which likes to know who’s buying what and from where. If you’re accepted into their free program, you simply choose the store you went to and scan all the bar codes. At the end, you confirm who shopped and your total bill, and submit! You accrue points over time which can be cashed in for Amazon dollars or money in your pocket.

Receipt Hog

Receipt Hog is a super-quick app which gives you coins for “feeding the pig” snaps, or photos, of your receipts. They accept paper receipts from grocery and department stores, gas stations, restaurants, and for services like haircuts. Like most of the apps on this list, Receipt Hog will also enter you in extra giveaways.

Receipt Pal

Another speedy snap app, Receipt Pal is quite similar to Receipt Hog except they accept online receipts – you just forward your email receipt to them, and they link it to your account. They also will take receipts from all the same types of vendors as Receipt Hog.

TopCashBack

For online shoppers, TCB is arguably the best way to go! You have a free account which allows you to shop online at thousands of stores. Simply use the app as your hub, or shop the same way from their website. Percentages of your purchase get credited back to you, and you can cash out your account whenever you want. TCB tends to have the highest percentage of cash back, and also has grocery offers! And, like all of the apps on this list, it’s completely free to have an account!

  
eBates

If you shop online, eBates is another great option. Simply create a free account in the eBates app (or on their website) and look at the stores. Practically any store you can think of, including Etsy and the Apple App Store, is listed! When you’re ready to shop, just use the eBates link to that store — essentially you go to the store’s website through eBates, and you earn cash back. Places like Target and Wal-mart have low percentages like 1-2%, but other stores have 15% back or more!

If you’re particularly savvy, you can start to see how you can use one receipt with multiple apps. For example, you go to the store for bread and snap the receipt for Receipt Hog and Receipt Pal, and then scan the bread for NCP. Likewise, you can do an online purchase through eBates and then send your email receipt to Receipt Pal, and scan it via NCP when you get it!

Let’s face it: you have to spend money sometimes. If it’s something you’re going to buy anyway, why not make some of that money back? That’s the way to be frugal AND brilliant.