It wasn’t that long ago that I was living the average American life. I worked more than I’d like, spent money frivolously, and paid only with plastic. In a recent attempt to increase my financial health, I now have a strict budget and almost always pay with cash. I have also spend an exuberant amount of time figuring out ways to save money. Here is my Top 10 easy ways to save money:
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Ebates is hands down my favorite and easiest way to save money online. I have been using Ebates for a short time and have already made $231.51. I hardly even shop online anymore.
Ebates works by giving you a cash back percentage ranging from 1% to 40%. They will even apply any coupons they have in their system saving you more money. I added the Chrome extension which makes using Ebates even easier. When I visit a cash back site, the icon blinks red. All I have to do is click it, and I am ready to start saving.
Use this link to get $10 just for signing up! Usually the bonus is only $5, and memberships are completely free. I guarantee you’ll be thrilled you did!
For those of you that prefer to eat healthier or have specific diets, food expenses add up fast. Maybe you don’t have a local health food store, or the selection is minimal and prices high.
I’d like to introduce you to your new best friend, Thrive Market. Thrive is a amazing online healthy living superstore with everything from food to personal products, all of which are 25 to 50% off retail. Plus, it is delivered to your door, and that’s always a bonus.
Thrive almost always has coupons for free shipping, % off, or free products. Thrive Market is like Sam’s Club or Costco, there is a $59.95 annual membership. They guarantee your membership will pay for itself in savings within the year. If not, you’ll receive the difference in Thrive Market credit when you renew (I saved about $150 on my first order alone). As an extra feel good, for every new membership, Thrive donates a membership to a low income family so they too can have access to quality food. Try Thrive free for 30 days.
Bonus Tip: If you joined Ebates, you’ll also receive cash back!
3. Amazon Membership
I would guess that the large majority of readers already have an Amazon Prime membership. But did you know there is more to Amazon than just Prime? Amazon has a number of other memberships, and even discounted Prime memberships that you may not have heard of before!
Of course, there is the standard Amazon Prime membership, that comes with a 30 day free trial. With a Prime membership you’ll receive unlimited FREE two-day shipping with no minimum order size, instant access to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes with titles for everyone, and borrow books from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, all for only $99/year. If you think about how much you pay in shipping fees for items that take several days to show up, the annual membership pays for itself in only a few orders. I have also found that most items are less expensive on Amazon than in other retailers.
Try Amazon Prime free for 30 days. You can always cancel if it’s not for you (but it will be).
Enrolled in College? Check out Prime Student. It comes with all the benefits of the standard Prime membership, and exclusive deals for students. Best of all, it is half the price of a standard membership at only $49/year!
If you receive government assistance like EBT or Medicaid, you can sign up for Amazon Prime and save 50%! Discounted memberships are only $5.99/month.
If you have recently expanded your family, you’ll definitely want to check out Amazon Family! Amazon Family members enjoy the same benefits of Prime, including 20% off diaper subscriptions.
Amazon FreeTime is another must have for parents. With FreeTime, kids have unlimited access to more than 16,000 kid friendly books, videos and apps, all for only $2.99/month! You don’t have to have a Prime membership to take advantage of FreeTime. Check out this Free 30 day trial of FreeTime.
For the foodies out there, AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry are a game changer. AmazonFresh offers unlimited grocery delivery for only $14.99/month. I HATE going grocery shopping, and this saves so much time and gas money. Unfortunately it is not available everywhere, but you can enter your address to find out.
Prime Pantry allows members to shop for groceries and household products in everyday package sizes (like a single box of cereal), and comes with unlimited free shipping on orders over $40 for only $4.99/month.
For the bookworms, there is Kindle Unlimited. I recently purchased a Kindle Paperwhite, and I just love it. It stays charged for weeks, and is easier to read than other e-readers out there due to the white background and adjustable contrast. It fits in my purse and allows me to read when I find myself with extra time. Best of all, the kindle books are MUCH cheaper than printed books. If you read several books per year, Kindle Unlimited gives you access to over 1 million books on your kindle device and gives you access to thousands of audiobooks. Monthly membership is the price of just one book, and you can try it for free here.
Own a business? Upgrade to a FREE Amazon Business account. Make workplace procurement easier with convenient delivery options, simplified purchasing workflows, multiple payment options, and a competitive marketplace with business-only pricing and quantity discounts. Anyone who makes purchases for work (eg. procurement specialists, office administration, IT departments, etc.) can create a free account for their business.
4. Walmart Savings Catcher
If you shop at Walmart, you need Walmart Savings Catcher. This is available as either an app for your phone or through their website. Within 7 days of your shopping trip, simply add your receipt to Savings Catcher. They will compare your purchases to local competitors. If they find a lower price, you’ll receive a credit. Basically they are the cutting coupons for you. I forget to scan every receipt, and since September 2014 I have earned $217.70. For the two clicks it takes to open the app, I would say it’s worth while.
5. Walmart Grocery Pickup
When was the last time you were excited to go grocery shopping? Yeah, I can’t remember either. You have to deal with the people, search for your items, checkout and find you spent WAY to much, and load up the car. My shopping trips easily take around 2 hours including drive time, which is the last thing I want after a busy day at work or during one of my cherished weekends.
Walmart recently launched their Grocery program, and I L-O-V-E it! Here’s how it works. You go online and create an account, and choosing which Walmart you want to shop. Then, you add products to your cart. When you are done, you select what day and time you want to pickup your groceries, and pay for your order.
When your order is ready, you’ll receive a text. Before heading to Walmart, check in via the Grocery app (this is optional, but saves a lot of time) and when you arrive, an associate will be waiting for you with all of your groceries! They even load your car for you (which made life a lot easier when I was recovering from shoulder surgery). If an item was unavailable, they will make substitutions. For example if you ordered one 16oz blueberries, they will substitute with two 8oz blueberries. If you purchased the generic pasta and they are out, you’ll receive the name brand instead.
I also really like that I know exactly how much my grocery bill will be. It has made budgeting a lot easier. If I have too much in my virtual cart, I can take items out to keep my purchase at a comfortable dollar amount.
I have taken advantage of this service many, many times and can’t say enough good things about it. Want to try it yourself? Use this link to save $10 off your first order!
Bonus tip: Add your Walmart Grocery receipt to Saving Catcher for cash back!
We have a lot of pets. Currently, we have 1 dog, 2 cockatiels, 3 outdoor cats, a fish tank, and of course our flock of various poultry. Our pets food bill was getting quite high shopping at the local pet supply store. And then I found Chewy! Chewy is an online petstore that has every product imaginable. In addition to the typical pet supplies, they have a growing supply of poultry and barnyard animal products. Most importantly, their prices are nearly half of our local chain pet store and orders over $49 ship for free. Shop Chewy.com
7. Krazy Coupon Lady
Let me tell you… This woman is an angel. Just check out the website (or app) to see what I mean. You will find every amazing coupon known to man, ready to print. My favorite part is the “Brags” and “Deals” sections. You will find things like THIS where an individual went to CVS, purchased two laundry detergents, two iced teas, and a whitening kit and got paid. They not only got these items for free, the cashier actually gave them money. And you can do it too because all of the coupons used are listed there for you to print and cash in yourself. Visit the Krazy Coupon Lady site.
Bonus Tip: several of the deals on this site are accomplished in part with Ebates so make sure you already signed up.
Most people are familiar with Groupon, but I couldn’t leave it out. Although there is a great section for tangible goods, I love Groupon for the local deals and services. I had a gorgeous photo book of our wedding made with a deal from Groupon for only a few dollars. We have received discounted massages, free Cold Stone Ice Cream, and $20 family portraits we used for Christmas Cards. If you need a good idea for a weekend activity, check out Groupons local deals for a fun, inexpensive adventure. They also have fantastic deals on travel expenses, coupons, clearance and sales.
Sign up for Groupon today!
Bonus Tip: Groupon has partnered with Ebates for added cash back, so be sure to use both.
9. Programmable Thermostat
As mentioned previously, we went through our daily life to find where we could save money. One of the biggest shocks to me was how much we were spending on utility expenses. Our utility bill was almost $300 a month in the summer. We kept the central air running all day so that when we got home from work the house would be nice and cool. It was quickly apparent that something had to change. If we turned the air off during the day the house never really cooled off enough in the evening to sleep comfortably. Enter the Wifi and smart programmable thermostats.
There are several options available, but here is the thermostat we use and love. It was relatively easy to install thanks to their youtube video and it is less expensive than other options.
You don’t know happiness until you’ve turned on the heat from your bed on a cold winter morning.
10. Negotiate your utilities
Did you know you can save a ton of money by negotiating some of your expenses? If you have cable TV, internet service, cell phone, trash service or satellite radio, give your providers a call. I reduced our Satellite radio bill from $16/month to $5. I was even able to have them waive the paper bill fee, and not save my billing information for automatic renewal. My cell phone bill was $10/month less after a short phone call and switching to a different plan. Be polite yet firm, let them know you can’t afford your current bill or you are considering canceling, and they will find ways to work with you. Better yet, cancel your cable TV service all together and use your Amazon Prime account for movies and TV, watch Netflix or Hulu (get 2 weeks of Hulu free), or read a good book!
I hope you enjoyed our list of the 10 easiest ways to save hundreds each month. Which ones have you tried to make a positive difference in your home? Let us know in the comments!
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