So my husband and I recently purchased our forever home and our mortgage payment doubled but our income did not double. I started to do some research on how to stretch the money we have. Below are the totally awesome ways we are saving and making extra money with what has recently been called “side hustles”.
I will give you a run down of what and how I use them and my review of them.
First of all-cut coupons! You can sigh all you want but coupons save a bunch! In October I saved over $300 dollars in coupons. In July our monthly food costs were just over $800.00. I started cutting and using coupons /side hustling in the middle of September. In November I have spent $410.00 on food total for the household and that was including eating out.
Here is the key to using coupons- Don’t use a coupon just because you have it on that item. Only purchase items you already have in your regular grocery list that you know you like, unless you are will to try a different brand. We will most of the time purchase the store brand. It is cheaper and on most occasions tastes just as amazing! I look for the overall best deal too. So I only purchase laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, and some of my vitamins only at Costco and ONLY when they are on sale. For example-Laundry detergent- free and clear and I prefer the environmentally safe by Kirkland is around 230 fluid ounces for $14.99 regularly. I purchase it when it is on sale anywhere from $3.00 off to sometimes $4.00 off. Yes that makes it $10.99 for approximately 140 loads of laundry. You would need at the grocery store 3 containers of $9.99 detergent to get the same amount of fluid ounces. It is not always cost effective to use all of the coupons in the paper. I also shop the bonus buys. If the store has it discounted and I can use a manufacturer coupon on it which some stores will double. Double the savings.
Everyone has a smart phone now a days- make it be smarter. If you are not sure which store has the best prices, and you can not remember- snap a photo with your phone with the product next to its price tag. I have a few photos in my phone right now because I want to know if I should be buying my cheese sticks at Target or Giant, I am not a spring chicken anymore I can’t remember everything. I wrote a note in my coupon book-check prices in phone for cheese sticks and yogurt.
So as a quick recap-cut coupons and shop for the best deals-and make note of where the best deals are so that you create a new and good habit of getting the best deals at the best locations-SAVING YOU MONEY! Also I encourage you to get a coupon buddy, I have two friends who I share my coupons with, one friend also cuts coupons and it really builds each of us up chatting about it, and the other friend does not but is very thankful when I share coupons with her. Everybody can use an extra buck.
Along the lines of making your smart phone get a job-Here are smart phone apps I use and love or I would not be writing about them and still using them.
Ibotta Sign up on your own, or with friends. Use my referral code:fvclxby to join as a friend.
For this app you do not need a referral code, but there are bonuses involved if you do. When you are in a group there are group goals that everyone will benefit from if you achieve the goals- which is free money. In the app you select a store and it will list the available items that have a rebate on them. You need to activate the coupon first. Don’t wait to activate your app coupons- sometimes they are such a hot deal the apps run out of the specific coupons. Next grocery shop. When we get home we do our receipt scanning.
Checkout 51 is another free app that works the same way as Ibotta. You active the coupons you want, shop then scan your receipt when you get home. Use my referral code to sign up- https://checkout51.app.link/7zHqWVfQUQ
Savings Star is the third free app that I use that works similarly to Ibotta and Checkout 51. You can cash out after you have reached $20.00 in you account. We have been able to load our Giant card (local grocery store card) to the app and it is super easy when grocery shopping because I don’t need to scan my Giant grocery receipt when we get home. You are able to select other stores in which they have coupons available but like Checkout 51 and Ibotta you will need to scan your receipt in. You do need to go into the app before you go shopping and select the items you intend on purchasing. Saving Star says that it can take up to 20 days for your rebates to show up in your account but I have usually only had to wait up to 3 days before I see my new account balance. They also have a section where you can see each date and coupon you used.
The next set of free apps are slightly different-but different is always bad. Sometimes different is good! Give them a try for sure!
Receipt Hog is an app where all I do is scan in every receipt. It is a market research group, they are just interested in what you are purchasing so that the companies can better promote their products. Depending on what I am purchasing and how large of a purchase decides if I receive coins, or tickets or spins. Tickets are placed into a monthly drawing, I have never won in drawings and I don’t ever intend to. Spins are a bit different, they are like a slot machine. They say you win something 50% of the time. Honestly its about 40% and I have only ever won the most of 10 coins but I like to think positive and I will take it. It gets me closer to a free gift card. Coins is where it matters! Hog Coins. When you reach 1000 hog coins you can choose to cash out which equals $5.00 and they send it to your paypal account. Paypal then sends it right into your bank account, with my usual spending I am able to receive $5.00 about every three months. I am feeding and caring for only my husband and I. If you have kids I am very sure it would add up much more quickly. Now $5.00 may not seem like a lot but I like to look at my results over a year- This is a free $20.00-and this is my second slowest earning app. If I have 8 apps that earn me $20.00 a year-that comes out to $160.00- That is my electric bill for a month! This next app is in my top 3 money makers!
Fetch Rewards a free app that is similar to Receipt Hog. Here is my referral code: B1RWH They are looking for specific items that you purchase, so the receipts that you can get credit for scanning are: grocery store, warehouse store (Sams, Costco) and purchases made inside of convenience stores (food and drinks from Sheetz, Turkey Hill-not gasoline). You are able to cash out after 500 points which equals a $5.00 gift card. They have a bunch of options of gift cards. My good friend loves the dunkin donuts gift cards-she treats herself to coffee. I request Target gift cards, we have the red card where they give you 5% back on all of your purchases, in addition I can use coupons and I can use my gift cards on clearance items. And Fetch accepts my target receipts even if I am using gift cards as the payment. (This is how I am saving hundreds of dollars a month on food, clothes, shampoo, toilet paper. When I am not spending money on my monthly consumables I am able to apply that extra hundred dollars or more to my mortgage principle in addition to my normal monthly mortgage payment. This will drastically reduce your interest amount every single month. This is how we are paying off our mortgage in 20 years not 30. When we signed the papers for the mortgage of our forever home it stated very clearly how much we were borrowing and for how long. Also I read that with the interest and if we paid our exact payment for our 30 years we would be paying an extra $200,000.00. That is a whole second house! And this is why I side hustle, I do not want to give away all that money.
Shop Kick This has become my family’s favorite app! It is our fastest money maker! And the most fun. Here is my referral code: Best029650 How it works: its like a scavenger hunt in the stores you usually go to while you are shopping. You earn kicks(points, coins, credits, kicks) for finding items in the store and scanning their bar codes. They have tons of different stores. We shop regularly at target, giant, best buy. Some stores offer walk in kicks. Some stores offer kicks not only if you scan it but if you purchase an item on the list. This is where you can get tons of kicks but I personally only purchase items that were on my list to begin with. My husband works from home so about 2-3 times a week we like to go out, we go to stores and scan kicks. We both have the app on our phones. We are both scanning at the same time. This means we are making double the amount, while getting some exercise inside of heated stores in the winter cold without paying a gym membership. You are able to cash out very quickly they have lower amount gift cards of $2. You are able to get the earned money sent right to your paypal account but yes of course you guessed it my husband and I get target gift cards. Last month both my husband and I were able to each earn $20.00 in gift cards-yes for scanning bar codes- not purchasing a thing. And we did it at our convenience. Yes that is $40.00 of free groceries for November. Or a free pair of shoes!
Okay all receipts aside here are the apps that you set up and really spend very little time and focus on.
Sweat Coin my free app that tracks my steps outside of my home. Here is my referral code: sweatcoinapp.uk/i/jeanete891767 I am accumulating coins that can be traded in for items. My husband and I both have this app on our phones. So when we are raking the leaves in the yard, or scanning items for shopkick, we are earning sweat coins which can be traded in for items. This is a slow earning free app, and the rewards change daily but one thing I have found that I really love is where you can trade in your sweatcoins to a donation that gives meals to hungry families. My husband is saving up for cash to be deposited into his bank account. I am walking/saving up for a new cell phone, if it is still available. My husband and I like to check our steps every night, its a bit of a fun and silly competition. This app does track your location, and it will not track your steps if you close the app, I let it run in the background. I have noticed when I took the battery saver mode off that my battery does wear down a bit more quickly (I always travel with my charge cord so I can charge while driving or at work or at home while sleeping.) but I am earning about double the steps with the battery saver off.
Swagbucks this free app both my husband and I have been using for over a year now and its great! Here is my referral code: Swagbucks How I use this app daily. I do not need it open for a whole lot of time. At 500 swagbucks I am able to redeem them for a gift card. The really nice part about these gift cards is that they send you a bar code not an actual card through the mail. I personally activate my gift card and then I take a screen shot of the gift card on my phone and that way when checking out I can quickly go through my photos and pull up the bar codes for the cashier to scan, I am able to swipe from one gift card to the next very easily, and this way I am not logging into 5 different apps while holding up the check out line. When I use the gift card I delete the photo, It’s also excellent for when I hit the grocery store on my way home from work. I text the husband and ask him if there is anything else I need on the list and usually he volunteers his earned gift cards by texting me the photos of his gift card bar codes. Getting on the same money saving page with my husband has really helped our communication in our budget and marriage. Swagbucks offers a multitude of different ways to earn money. I personally do the daily poll (located under the answer tab at the bottom of the screen) which is one question and earns me one swagbuck every day as long as I remember to take the daily poll. They also offer other survey’s that take longer, but sometimes I will be working on a survey for 10 minutes and then I don’t qualify for the survey pay out and so I tend not to do a whole lot of survey’s. The survey profile questions are easy and quick so I tend to keep up on those, after answering 10 questions you receive 2 swagbucks. But my favorite part is the video tab at the bottom of the screen. Make sure you are on wifi, because if not this will eat up your data. I set my phone to watching the videos while charging and on wifi. I can be typing up a storm on my blog while charging my phone and earning swagbucks. Videos will max out each day at 10 swag bucks. I earn a solid 11 swagbucks every day. So about every 2 months I earn a $5.00 gift card. I forget sometimes on the weekends so I round it to about every two months. Between my husband and myself we are earning $5.00 free every month. When I use gift cards to pay for our groceries it also frees up money so that when a friends birthday rolls around I am able to send a card and sometimes a cute gift and it not break our budget.
App Trailers is a free app that you can link with your other perk.com accounts such as viggle and pop quiz. Here is my referral code: 2e9869db. Viggle you can gain reward points by letting the app watch your favorite tv programs with you. Pop quiz has fun trivia about all sorts of topics. I use the app trailers while working, making sure I have my phone on wifi just like swagbucks. At 5000 points you can cash in your points for reward gift cards of $5.00.
And last but not least for now:
Checkpoints is a free app that I can watch videos on wifi like my swagbucks and app trailers. Also to increase my rewards quicker I check to see if there are any products to scan when out shopping just like the shop kicks app.
And there you have it! The RickabaughReviews tested and approved free apps that make us money!
Hope you enjoy them too!