Friday, August 8, 2014

Money Saving Apps and Programs

Here is a summary of the apps and programs I use to get cash back on my purchases I am already making. Please click on each programs name to either be taken to my blog post about that program for a more in depth look or the websites page.

Swagbucks: Earn points towards gift cards or merchandise by searching the web, shopping online, taking surveys, etc.


Ebates: Cash back program for online shopping at select retailers. Cash out with Paypal



iBotta: Smart phone app that gives you a cash rebate for purchasing select products at select locations. Cash out with PayPal or gift cards



Checkout 51: Cash back rebates for select items purchased at any grocery store. Cash out with PayPal. Smartphone not required, but does have an app for easy use.








Shopkick: Earn rewards for walking into stores, scanning select items, completing tasks. Also has frequent discounts at select retailers. Cash out with gift cards. 



Target's Cartwheel: Mobile app (accessible by internet) that gives discounts on select items at Target. Can be stacked with other coupons for more savings in store. Simply have the cashier scan your smartphone at checkout for instant discounts.




Plink!

Plink is a program where you link your debit or credit card to your account and anytime you shop at a store in your wallet (can be changed as frequently as needed), you receive Plink Points. 1000 Plink Points is equal to $10 in gift cards. Once your card is linked at your offers are in your wallet, there is nothing more for you to do!

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Retailers as of 8/8/14

Rewards include gift cards to several different retailers such as Amazon, Kohls, Walmart, Overstock, iTunes, Barns & Noble, and other retailers. 

My Plink Point history. (Plink used to be affiliated and integrated with Swagbucks so I have earned WAY more gift cards than is shown here.)



Monday, June 9, 2014

Winco Shopping Trip 6/9



Transaction 1:

Lucky Charms
$1.98
Used $.60/1 from bettycrocker.com
Used $1/1 ibotta rebate
= $.38

Chocolate Chex
$2.18
Used $1.10/2 from bettycrocker.com
Used $1/1 ibotta rebate
=$.63

Coco Puffs
=$1.98
Used $1.10/2 from bettycrocker.com
Used $1/1 ibotta rebate
=$.43

Cinnamon Toast Crunch
=1.98
Used $1.10/2 from bettycrocker.com
Used $1/1 ibotta rebate
=$.43

Honey Nut Cheerios
$1.78
Used $1.10/2 from bettycrocker.com
Used $1/1 ibotta rebate
=$.23

Betty Crocker Cake Mix
$1.18
Used $.40/1 from this link
Used $.50 ibotta rebate
Used $.25 checkout 51 rebate
=$.03

Total before coupons: $8.74

Submitted for $6.50 ibotta rebate
Submitted for $.25 checkout 51 rebate

Total T1 = $1.99


Transaction 2:

(My husband has an ibotta account too, so I do doubles of everything I need doubles of!)

Lucky Charms
$1.98
Used $.60/1 from bettycrocker.com
Used $1/1 ibotta rebate
= $.38

Chocolate Chex
$2.18
Used $1.10/2 from bettycrocker.com
Used $1/1 ibotta rebate
=$.63

Coco Puffs
=$1.98
Used $1.10/2 from bettycrocker.com
Used $1/1 ibotta rebate
=$.43

Cinnamon Toast Crunch
=1.98
Used $1.10/2 from bettycrocker.com
Used $1/1 ibotta rebate
=$.43

Honey Nut Cheerios
$1.78
Used $1.10/2 from bettycrocker.com
Used $1/1 ibotta rebate
=$.23

Betty Crocker Cake Mix
$1.18
Used $.40/1 from this link
Used $.50 ibotta rebate

=$.03

Yoplait Yogurt
6 @ $.50
Used $.40/6 coupon from this weeks Red Plum insert
Used $1/6 ibotta rebate
=$.27/cup

Before coupons: $10.36
Submitted for $7.50 ibotta rebates

Total T2= $2.86.

Total for all= $4.85


Click HERE to learn how to use ibotta!





Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SOS! Need Yard Help!!

Neither BJ or I have a green thumb. And it shows. Our yard is that yard on the block that makes everyone else's yard look good. You know the one. But we have committed ourselves to investing the time and money into it this year to get it manageable. 



The first thing that HAD to go was the rock around the trees. I hate it. It looks bad. I only got one tree done today, but I will keep working at it as I get the time. M was more than happy to sit back and drink his milk in the shade.

I think our course of action here is to put a mow strip around the circumference and something in the middle?? What is the lowest upkeep??



And, as you can tell, we have dead spots that the HOA is yelling at us for, so we are working on prepping the yard to be reseeded. Blah.

And here is where I need your help, oh People of the Internet.



I hate this bush. The big ugly one on the right that looks like a chia pet that strangles people as they walk by. I may have sprayed Round Up on a weed near it and killed on part of it... and I'm oh so tempted to accidentally spray it some more. My MIL suggested moving it back by the fence. (That ugly, ugly fence. I wish they would have done vinyl but I'm too cheap to do anything about it now.) Thoughts? In any matter, I want it gone.

In it's place, I want a small, flowering bush. One that flowers in spring would be nice. You can't see it, but behind it is a beautiful Butterfly Bush that blooms in the late summer/ealry fall. It is my favorite plant but you can't see it through the chia pet. 

Also, I am wondering if I want to remove the rock here, only where the bushes are, not at the side of the house. Or, do I want to just plant some smaller flowering plants in the rock?


Problem area 2. I am not a fan of these buses either. I don't know who picked them, but I hate them. The one on the right grows really tall and looks like a gangly seventh grader. True story. Also can't decide if I want to remove the rock. The little rock patch on the right with the sewer cap is the neighbors, so maybe I will talk to her and see what she wants to do. I would love suggestions on full sun perenials to plant here. Even a flowering bush. Low maintenance, of course.  


And, problem area 3... right in front of the garage. Under the brick, and around the house, is rock as well. I would like to put flowers in front of the brick and nix the rock, but would keep the rock on the side.


The rock. The rock. Where to keep and throw out the rock. (I originally typed "throw up." Yup. Pregnancy brain.)

Please people! Help me do this low budget, low maintenance, but help us look like we care!






Thursday, February 20, 2014

Top 10 Things Everyone Should Know About Car Seat Safety

My father is a safety engineer. I come by it honestly. I hope parents travel with their children in the safest way possible. Car seat safety is so simple. Here are the top 10 things I wish everyone who straps a child into a car seat knows!

1. Third-party or after market products should not be placed under the baby or through the straps in any way. Many people don't know this can void your warranty on your car seat. (Check any car seat manufactures website.) They can also cause the straps to malfunction in a crash. Statements from manufactures found HERE.

Examples of products that will void your car seat's warranty and can potentially interfere with car seat preference:




Products that do not go under the baby or do not interfere with the straps or car seat cover are ok.






2. It is called a chest clip for a reason. The clip should be positioned armpit to armpit.






3. The straps on the car seat are meant to be tight. There is any easy pinch test that you can do. If you can pinch the straps between your fingers, the strap is too loose.






4. For a backwards facing car seat, the strap should go in the slot AT or BELOW the shoulder. For forward facing, they should go AT or ABOVE shoulder level. Always check the guidelines for when your child should be forward/rear facing.

5. Winter coats should NOT be used in a car seat. A good video to watch to see why among the many out there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5AwtaQnNO8

Long story short, there is a lot of air in a coat that would compress in an accident, leaving your kid loosely harnessed.


6. Do not submerge seat belt straps into water or use detergent. This can weaken the straps and cause them to snap in a crash. Always consult your user manual for care guidelines.

7. Be VERY careful when buying a used car seat. Make sure you KNOW it is not expired. Make sure you KNOW for 100% complete certainty it hasn't been in an accident. KNOW that proper care guidelines have been followed. Great checklist guideline found here: http://cpsafety.com/articles/usedseat.aspx

8. NEVER use both the LATCH system and the seat belt in tandem (unless your car manufacturers handbook states you can which is very rare). Some people assume this means your child is twice as safe, but that is FALSE. It can actually cause your car seat to not move enough. The seat moves absorb shock and without this movement, your baby will absorb the extra shock.

9. Car seats really do expire. It took me a long time to buy into this one. But the plastic deteriorates after time and exposure to heat/cold. I'm not going to chance it. Plus, I heard you can get a ticket for having a kid in an expired seat!

10. And, car seats should be replaced if in a crash. The guidelines have changed and I am not 100% sure what they are, but call your car insurance or check with the manufacturer. Most insurance companies WILL replace your car seat as part of a claim. Hair line fractures can take place in a crash!


And just so you know...

A lot of airlines will allow you to take your car seat aboard for an infant in arms for the flight if there is an empty seat available on your plane. I have even been assigned a new seat so I could bring my car seat aboard. Most airlines also allow you to check your car seat for free plane side if there is not room for it aboard.


Resources given to me by our state rep:
http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token

http://www.safercar.gov/parents/CarSeats.htm

Another great resource is thecarseatlady.com Most everything I got for this post is on there!! Plus, consult your car seat manual/website for most of this information, too!

Friday, February 7, 2014

iBotta Step by Step

I love iBotta! I have earned over $200 back from my groceries! Here is a step by step guide (as of the latest update!) You can combine iBotta offers with coupons and sales! I have earned free cereal and other foods and even got $10 back on my new TV! The offers change and "sell out," so best redeem them once you get home!


Home screen.

Select offers from the top menu. Select grocery.


I selected Wal-Mart, but 90% of the time, I shop Winco.



Select your offer. I chose the Plum Organics.



Do the activities required to earn the bonuses. 


It may ask you to do several different things: take a poll, learn a fact, post to Twitter, etc.


At the bottom, select the pink "Redeem" check mark.


It will prompt you to verify items.

Select item to verify. 


Scan.


When prompted, alight receipt and take picture. You may have to add a section or two as the entire receipt needs to be included. Submit!




Here are my earnings!! Isn't it awesome? All of the money is deposited into PayPal once you cash out!


There are bonuses for completing certain offers. For example, this time around with the milk, if you redeem two more offers, you get an additional $.50 off milk. There is a specific tab on the menu for finding these special offers.


Sign up for FREE here! (And they usually have $$$ bonuses for new sign ups!!)


 Comment for questions! :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Money Saving Tips

Here are just a few simple money saving tips I've learned over the years:


  • You can coupon and not be crazy like me and still save money.
  • Turn down your thermostat a degree or two. You will notice a difference on your bill.
  • In the winter, leave your oven door open after you are done cooking to help heat the house.
  • Wear socks! :)
  • In the summer, a few well placed fans helps circulate cold air.
  • Invest in black out curtains for rooms that are hard to temperature control (like above the garage.)
  • Reuse gift bags from Christmas, showers, etc
  • Combine trips when running errands.
  • Throw loose change into a jar. When the jar is full, take it to the bank to be counted. Enjoy your treat!
  • Order water when you go out to eat.
  • Sign up for Loyalty Programs.
  • Sometimes it's better to spend more up front than to have to replace it later.
  • Ask yourself, "Is this a want or a need."
  • Shop around and look online!
  • Second hand is awesome. (for most things... other things I would never buy used!)
I will add more as I think of them!