We started our journey to financial freedom in earnest on January 1st 2018. We started researching and devouring every thing we could on financial freedom and making money online. My husband is from the U.K. and we have recently felt the strong desire to spend a year travelling Europe and visiting family in England, Germany and Spain.
We are currently saving up to travel around Europe for a year (& remain digital nomads if it suits us!) We have given ourselves a deadline of October 2018 when our current lease is up. Every penny matters to us right now, if it is not a necessity, or an investment it goes straight into our new “Let’s Go!” Fund. We want to do everything that we can to make this change in our lives, and so far, these cash back apps have been a great source of almost immediate revenue, while only spending on necessities.
I was looking for ways to bring in extra cash, and I remembered couponing and cash back apps! I started (re)using the Ibotta App one month ago, and so far have earned $63.95! This is with just the two of us, and shopping with a frugal mindset. I imagine if you were shopping for a larger family you would see much more coming back!
Couponing & Cash Back Apps
A few years back I REALLY wanted to take a trip to Disney World. I put on my Travel Agent hat and started hitting the cheap hotel and flight search engines hard. I then scoured all the “Disney on a Dime” blogs I could and figured I could get our 10 day dream adventure for approximately $3000. Now that I had a goal, I was determined to get there.
This was around the time when that show Extreme Couponing was big, and I was in awe of these women who were picking up car loads of stuff for little to NO money! I knew I didn’t want to be the lady buying pallets of items with truckloads of coupons, but I wanted to get to Disney World and go to the famed Epcot Food and Wine Festival!!!
We decided to get serious. We had a shoe rack with a hollow tube that we had started throwing extra change and $5 bills into. (I read on Pinterest how quickly it adds up if you try to save all $5’s, which does work, but leaves you wondering where all your money went!) It was great because we had no idea how much was in there, and were completely preoccupied with adding to it.
Krazy Coupon Lady- a true gem
With the help of the Krazy Coupon Lady (who now has a really helpful app, you should download it!) and a few other couponing sites I was quickly getting items for free or even MAKING a few bucks while getting free items! It was exhilarating! With Krazy Coupon Lady she makes it incredibly simple to get deals, as she tells you exactly what to buy to get the absolute best deals, and is known for the “Money Maker” deals, which are my fav!
I was able to get most of my Christmas presents deeply discounted or free, as well as all of our toiletries, and most definitely the groceries! We had full pantries, were able to help others out with needed items, as well as saving a ton of money. Was it work? Absolutely. Was it hard? No. There are SOOOO many sites out there that make is easy as pie, telling you exactly what to buy, what coupon to use, where to get it, etc.
The couponing world is an amazing network of people who like to save–like you!
In 6 months we were able to save up $3300
& took a MAGICAL Disney World trip that I will remember forever!
I will admit, I was promoted and relocated several times with my corporate job, and completely got away form any sort of couponing or rebate apps. Now that I’m back in the game I can’t believe that I ever stopped!
I think the biggest key for me is to have that GOAL. Be it Disney World, financial freedom, working from home or buying your first home–having a goal is the key to driving success.
It increases motivation, and gives extra reason to celebrate your successes!
Since I have been back at it for about a month, I thought I would share with you my successes for far, and hopefully inspire you to start saving towards your goals as well!
What’s been working for me lately:
I use several cash back and savings apps, see my app collection above. My favorite grocery apps so far are: Ibotta, Checkout51, Shopkick, and Saving Star. All of these apps are set up so that you select your favorite stores, you choose available products you would like to buy, and redeem them with the receipt. When redeeming an item, often times you will need to scan to bar code of the item as well.
I gotta start with Ibotta!
This is an amazing app that gives you cash back for grocery purchases. What I love about that it that you would already be having to buy groceries!
I struggle with the price of things, and always look out for good deals and ways to cut our food budget.
Another thing that is great about cash back apps is that they suggest new products that I probably wouldn’t have tried without the incentive. For example we got the Oui Yoplait French Style yogurt that my husband absolutely LOVES and says reminds him of his childhood. I bought it simply because they were offering a rebate, plus I found a coupon in the mail, which made it practically free, and is now a tasty new staple for us.
This is the very reason retailers offer this cash back incentive, to drive you to purchase their products. Many times I luck out and find the exact things I planned to purchase. For example they offered $3 back on the purchase of a 6-pack of Stella Artois and any gourmet cheese. I already had Stella on the list, therefore received a nice Gruyere for $0.19 that was DELICIOUS and practically free for nothing more than grabbing some beer!
Nearly $65 for a few minutes each week looking through products, and scanning them when you get home! Any way that I can easily bring in extra revenue is music to my ears. We plan to leave the balance in there and see how large we can grow it before we go, check back for updates!
Two weeks after I started using Ibotta, and I said “Look! I made almost $30 in 2 weeks!” to my hubby, who was truly impressed.
I was hungry for more.
I figured there were other cash back apps out there, and I was right! I downloaded about 7 or 8 and played around with each one. Checkout51 and Shopkick were the two I liked best, or at least were the best suited to me.
In the last 2 weeks alone I have racked up $4.80 on Checkout51, $5.80 on Shopkick, & $6.01 on Receipt Hog with minimal effort or purchases.
Checkout 51 is very similar to Ibotta, but with a mostly different products, and they don’t always have to be a certain brand, they offer cash back on bread, eggs, cheese, jams, pasta sauces, etc of any brand, which is AMAZING!
I like having the second option when I know I need something, and it’s not on Ibotta (I’m obsessed with this new hobby!) Over $10 in 2 weeks is nothing to sneeze at, and every dollar helps when saving towards a goal!
On Shopkick I have actually only bought ONE item! They are unique in that they will give you “Kicks” (essentially pennies) for all sorts of things that don’t even involve a purchase. Some stores will give you 50 cents just for walking in! They also offer Kicks for scanning items while in certain stores, and usually offer a few dollars cash back if you actually buy the item. The trick is here is they want to actually get the item in your hand, and hope that drives you to make the purchase.
Today they had 4 wines on available for Target, so today while shopping I swung by and scanned the two that I saw (sometimes they don’t have an item) for 50 cents. One of the wines was Gnarly Head Merlot that I knew was good, and had 300 Kicks ($3) cash back. I bought a bottle for a friend’s housewarming coming up, and was pretty pleased that it was on sale AND I was getting $3 bucks banked into my savings. I also scanned some light bulbs on an end cap for another 30 Kicks, and some quick dry nail polish and face cream for another 45 cents. All in all I made almost $5 from Target today, on top of all my cartwheel (Target app) savings.
SavingStar is more geared toward those with larger families I think, as they will often offer $5 back on $18 in a certain brand, and it’s just too much for just a couple with a small flat and mini kitchen with one cupboard! However, I see huge potential for a family to rack up some big bucks on this one, even though my 2 week balance is only $1.30 (so far I have only used it once) I will continue to check back for more savings!
I also use and love Receipt Hog. This one works a little differently, you scan receipts to anywhere you’ve shopped, and give the store a star rating. You get “coins” for uploading receipts, along with bonuses for uploading receipts weekly. Sometimes they ask you a few survey questions, such as how many living in the household, age, etc.
They have a little slot machine that gives you spins where you can earn coins and prizes that I am oddly addicted to. As my husband would say “They do it on purpose Lynn!” (in his best Alan Partridge voice) but hey, it keeps me coming back to upload receipts!
What I like about Receipt Hog, even though you don’t amass a ton of cash fast, you get $$ for doing almost nothing, a bonus on money spent, that you had to spend anyways. When you’re being frugal, feeling broke, paying down debt or saving up for something really special, those precious dollars really have matter! $6 bucks made in 2 weeks!
How to maximize savings: Combine offers
The best way to make the most of these money saving offers is to combine multiple offers, or pair with an item already on sale. I have seen several items that are either offered on multiple sites, or have manufacturer coupons as well. Take the time to pair up offers to really take advantage of the offered savings!
Now, this may sound like a lot of work. Good News! There are entire teams and businesses devoting to finding these deals for you!
I have used several local sites and have already mentioned my favorite, and go-to, the Krazy Coupon Lady. She makes it super simple for me, and even provides the link to any coupons available on Coupons.com. This is a FANTASTIC way to save BIG!
Today I saved $12 using only THREE coupons, that’s HUGE! I got these from Coupons.com on the Krazy Coupon Lady’s Moneymaker deal, after clicking the link she provided. I know a lot of people who scoff at coupons and say, “Well it’s just 25 or 50 cents off, does it really matter?” Yes, it does. Also,there are a lot of high value coupons out there as well, and when I held those 3 coupons today, thinking “this is essentially 3 pieces of paper worth $12, that’s incredible!”
The point is: you don’t have to do all the work yourself, trust me, someone has already worked out the deals, take advantage!
Make sure you download the Coupons.com app, or go to Coupons.com and sign up. It is essential to Money Making deals. Feel free to print in black and white to save ink, or even link directly to your existing store rewards card and skip the paper coupons all together!
Target & Cartwheel
Target has an amazing app that now includes their Cartwheel offers(they used to be separate and difficult to use–big improvement!). The best part about this is that you can add coupons, discount offers, and “Free Target giftcard with purchase” offers all together into ONE SCAN. No more having to hand over a bunch of coupons, and it is GREAT. I had 17 coupons uploaded to my card today, and they were all done with one scan. Now imagine the cashier’s face had I handed her 17 coupons! Hahaha;)
There’s nothing wrong with using coupons, but you will still get the annoyed teenage cashier, irritated old man or flustered mother with a brood of kids impatiently waiting behind you sometimes, and for me, this eases a lot of my “check out anxiety”. It can also be combined with any paper manufacturer coupons that you have, so don’t be afraid of bringing them along as well! Stack Those Savings!!
I love Target and Ibotta combined, they are my new go-to apps! I have saved and earned almost $250 in the last month by using coupons and cash back apps!
In the last month it has taken probably about an hour of my time total, so that’s a pretty good return on time investment. I definitely don’t make $200/hr at my day job! Is this a way to make a living? Obviously not, but cash back apps are a great way to keep some of your hard earned dollars, save for a GOAL! Plan for an amazing holiday, start up some savings, pay down some debt, get the funds to launch your business or just help make ends meet!
Share with me your thoughts on Ibotta and cash back apps
- Have you tried them?
- What have you saved up so far?
- What are you saving for? (GOALS!!!)
We hoped this helped inspire you to scan and save! Thanks for joining us on our journey to financial freedom, keep checking back for more tips and updates!
Cheers, Glitchy Panda Xx