As many of you know, there are quite a few apps you can download now to coupon without the hassle of clipping paper coupons. Plus, if you already coupon, most of these you can combine with your paper coupons to get even better deals! What’s even more awesome is that you can use all of these apps together and save even more. Here are a few that I use and love:

 

  1. Ibotta: This one is without a doubt my favorite coupon app. They make it so simple. Simply choose the items you plan to buy and complete the given task (usually answer a short poll, read a fact, etc.) to unlock your savings. Next, purchase the given items. Finally scan the items and the receipt to claim your savings. Many times they have generic coupons to save on stuff that is difficult to find coupons for like milk, bread, etc. Plus, now they have teamwork challenges which links you up with your friends to help you earn even more with bonus options. Once you’ve reached $10 in savings, you can transfer to PayPal or other options. Click here to check it out and grab up some savings.
  2. SavingStar: I just started using this one again as I took a slight hiatus when I switched phones. This one is great too. With this one you have to link your store savings card and choose your items before shopping (there is also a new receipt option but I have yet to try it). Once you buy the items, you will receive the rebate on your account. Plus, on Fridays they have a freebie item that is FREE after your SavingStar rebate.
  3. Snap: Snap is a relatively new app from Groupon. I have earned a little over $10 so far with this app. The cashout on it is a little on the high side. It doesn’t allow you to cash out until a $20 threshold has been met. They have some high value, popular coupons available, but they tend to go really fast. Give Snap a try and let me know what you think.
  4. Checkout 51: I used to use this app quite a bit, but again I just started up again after switching phones. Again, this one has quite a high transfer balance with a threshold of $20. I’ve noticed one new offer they have started is a “Pick Your Own Offer” which allows you to have a choice between several offers to suit your needs. Check out Checkout51 here.

Also, checkout this post here on how you can earn rewards simply by scanning receipts.

Please comment below to let me know any other money-saving apps that you use.

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Yesterday, I wrote a post about How to get Kids Clothes for Free or Almost Free. I promised a few follow-ups, one of which was learning more about Shop Your Way Points through Sears and Kmart. I thought today would be the perfect day to do a follow up as I just received $5 in surprise points this morning. The only string attached was that it had to be spent on clothing at Sears (sometimes they have other qualifiers)! WOOHOO! That means I can pick out clothing for myself, my husband, or my kids for $5 for FREE. Plus, I can get FREE in store pick-up (if available). Yes, you heard it, absolutely FREE clothes for just being a member. Did I mention this program is FREE to sign up for!!! Plus, you can add me as your personal shopper and I can send you extra coupons as they become available. All for FREE.

Also, as you shop through Sears and Kmart, you earn points for your purchases.

Plus, if you are interested in earning more points, you can add a Fitbit or other eligible devices and participate in the FitStudio program where you can get additional points for activity. I generally earn $5-$7 in SYW points on a weekly basis. I use this to get baby cereal, auto supplies, Oreos (my husband loves these), clothes, and so much more at Kmart and Sears. Nothing like FREE!

So, if you haven’t signed up…why not?? Sign up here.

Let us know what you buy with your SYW points in the comments below. Also, if you received FREE Surprise points this morning, let us know what you received.

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2015-02-18 10.05.05

I have two little ones, 8 months and almost 3 years old, and it is amazing to me how quickly they outgrow clothing. I hate to spend tons of money on clothes I know they will outgrow in just a couple of months, so I started looking for ways to keep my children clothed nicely while not breaking the bank. I discovered several tips that I would like to pass on to you.

 

  1. About a year or so ago, I discovered ShopYourWay points through Sears and Kmart. I started receiving surprise points for just signing up. These points are worth a certain amount of money through Sears or Kmart and many of them have no spending limit (some come attached with a spending limit). I would use the amount I received to buy my children’s clothes (or other household necessities). I have gotten to where I hardly have to spend any money to purchase my children’s clothes, and they stay nicely dressed throughout the year. If you are interested in signing up for ShopYourWay points, go here and sign up for me to be your Personal Shopper. In the near future, I plan to do a post on how to earn even more points with ShopYourWay, so be sure to follow me by email, Facebook or Twitter to learn more.
  2. I use gift cards throughout the year earned from various apps that I talk about on Thriving on Thrifty to pay for their clothes and other necessities.
  3. I shop clearance racks at the end of the season to buy for the next year. I plan to write a post in the near future on how to find clearance clothing throughout various stores.
  4.  I have never been a huge fan of consignment shops for the sheer fact that many times I felt I could save more with other methods. However, here recently online consignment shops have been offering great deals to sign up for their site. I have been able to score several “gently used” items for FREE. I have used sites such as Thredup, who is currently offering a $10 credit when you sign up here. Plus, once you sign up, you can refer people and earn $10 credits as well. Head over here for more information.
  5. Ask for clothes for their birthdays and Christmas instead of more toys.

 

If you have any other strategies for saving on kid’s clothing, comment below.

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So this is the first post in a series I would like to continue on my blog on Fridays. Every week to two weeks, my husband and I sit down and discuss where we are financially and re-evaluate where we need to be. I would love to share some of the ideas we discuss during our “meetings”.

Therefore, for the first post, I couldn’t think of a better topic than discussing the concept behind having “financial meetings.”

Personal finances are all about making decisions on what is most important to spend our money on. Who decides that? You and your family. By having meetings, it allows you to collaborate on what is truly most important. I will outline a few tips we have found on having a meeting including some important topics to discuss.

  1. Schedule meetings around a time that works for you and your spouse. Set a meeting time and stick to it. Be sure to make this a regular routine so you can continue to re-evaluate where you need to make changes. 
  2. Decide spending limits. Set spending limits on each area of your budget. Remember, there may be two of you buying items, so be sure to discuss your spending to make sure that you aren’t exceeding the budget between the two of you. You may even want to set individual budgets to make sure the total budget isn’t exceeded.
  3. Set Goals. Set goals of where you would like to be in a month, 6 months, 1 year,  5 years, and so forth. When you have united goals, it helps you work better toward reaching those goals and realizing where your priorities lie. Take the time to lay out a plan to reach those goals and figure out where there can be cutbacks in order to do so. Continually reevaluate these goals so you don’t lose focus and make sure you are staying on track.
  4. Work Together. Nothing can be more frustrating than working really hard to meet a goal while your other half is working against you to meet a different goal. Work together and it’s amazing how much faster a goal can be reached.
  5. Re-evaluate, Re-evaluate, Re-evaluate. As life changes, your situation changes. A plan that worked 6 months ago may be out of date depending on the place life has you now. Our financial plan is updated on a monthly basis to make sure we aren’t falling behind due to new situations.
  6. Always Move Forward. Even if you take a few steps back, keep your eye on the goal and don’t fret over the past. Move forward.

Realize that each person and family are different. Use these tips as a starting point and tweak them according to your situation. I look forward to continuing to share some of the tips we find helpful and hope that you will share some of yours in the comments below.

This post/page may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy.

Hey Thriving on Thrifty readers, you can check out my guest post over at Money Saving Mom to find out how my husband and I paid for our Honda Civic with cash!

This post/page may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy.

presents

Are you a creative person?  Do you have talents that could help other people? Do you like to coupon and find deals? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be able to use your gifts or talents to save money.

I don’t know about you, but I know gift giving can be a big expense in my household budget between birthdays, Christmas, weddings, baby showers, and the list goes on. So instead of paying for these presents, consider using your creative talents to make an one-of-a-kind, unique present for these occasions.

At the baby shower for my son, I received several handmade blankets and quilts which my son loved.  These individuals used their sewing skills to make my son a present. What a great idea! Or maybe you are good at photography? Consider taking a family or child’s portraits as a gift giving option. Or maybe you are handy around the house or outside? Consider giving your time to helping someone clean, organize, or decorate areas around their house. The list of skills and talents goes on and on. Find what you are good at and think about the gifts that you could give.

Maybe you read through this article and thought to yourself, “I’m not really creative at anything” (which you probably are but just can pinpoint your unique specialty). Or maybe you thought, “I don’t have time to use my skills as a gift option.” Instead, use your deal finding or couponing skills to get relatively inexpensive gifts. When you spot freebies or cheap items that you may not need, hold onto them and stock up on gifts that you could use for various occasions. I have actually received big baskets of useful household items as Christmas presents before, which turned out to be some of the best presents I had ever received. So when you get these items, really think through how you could put them together to make some really great presents.

Do you have a way that you have saved on gift giving? Have you received a really thoughtful, unique present someone made for you? Please share in a comment below or in my Submissions area.

This post/page may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy.

vacapic

Search Online Deal & Travel Sites.

Many times you can find awesome deals on sites such as Groupon. Taking the time to search the internet can prove to be very effective much of the time in comparing prices to find the best deal available. Also take advantage of travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Booking.com, etc. to help find a place that has the amenities, price and location that’s right for you. Also, I have found that calling travel or rental agencies can sometimes help you find deals that aren’t publicized.

If you have found a way to have an affordable vacation, leave a comment below or submit your idea in my Submissions area.

To read other tips in this series, click on the links below:

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #1 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #2 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #3 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #4 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #5 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #6 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #7 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #8 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #9 (Series)

This post/page may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy.

vacapic

Swap Date Nights with Friends.

I know this isn’t exactly a vacation, but occasionally a date night without the kids can certainly be relaxing. Therefore, we are counting date night as a mini vacation. I have had this idea recommended to me many times. Fortunately, I have family relatively close that can watch my son when my husband and I go on a date. For those who don’t have this advantage, if you have friends with kids that live nearby, arrange a date night swap. You can watch their kids and they can watch your kids on different nights to give each other a break. By doing this, you will save on sitter costs and be able to work in that much needed date night.

If you have a tip for saving on vacation costs, please comment below or submit in my Submissions area.

 

To check out the other articles in this series, click on the links below:

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #1 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #2 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #3 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #4 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #5 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #6 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #7 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #8 (Series)

This post/page may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy.

vacapic

Save, Save, Save!

Okay, so I know this one sounds obvious, but many times vacation time rolls around and we either use money dedicated for something else, don’t go on vacation, or charge it on a credit card that we can’t afford to pay back. I can’t stress enough the importance of savings. I love to have specific savings accounts for specific purposes, that way I can keep track of my progress on my savings goal. I encourage you to either set up an account or keep a detailed list of all the money set aside for vacation savings. By doing this, you can make sure that your vacation money doesn’t just slip away into other various costs that pop up here and there. And by having that money set aside, you avoid either having to skip vacation all together or winding up with credit card debt that you can’t pay back. Not to mention, if you have it in an account, you may be able to earn a little interest on that money. Every little bit counts, right?

If you have a tip on having an affordable vacation, either submit it in my Submissions area or leave a comment below.

To read the other tips in the series, click on the links below:

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #1 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #2 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #3 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #4 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #5 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #6 (Series)

10 Ways to Have an Affordable Vacation: Tip #7 (Series)

This post/page may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy.

As you’ve seen in my first few articles, I am a very goal oriented, scheduled person. I actually enjoy sitting down and crunching numbers to figure out how to save for an item and how long it will take to get there. (Yes, I’m a nerd in this way). So I have no problem making goals, my problem is that I want to make too many.

My husband and I are not ones to just go buy a big purchase (or even a small one for the matter) on a whim. We tend to save and then when we get to our goal we still contemplate if that is truly a need. So while saving for things is very good, I’ve found that sometimes it’s good to sift through your savings and reign in to just a few, manageable goals.

For example, my husband and I wanted to add on a garage, a bonus room, a new dining room table, and try to pay down our mortgage all at the same time.  They are all great goals to have, but as we took our money each month and divided it out into our various savings accounts I realized that our small portions were going to take a long time to even attain the smallest of our goals.

At that point, I decided we needed to have a big discussion on what we really needed and to get on the same page. We both agreed that we wanted to truly be debt free and the dining room table and garage could wait. We have no debt except our mortgage, and while we have a good mortgage interest rate, it’s still interest we are paying monthly. Therefore, we are now taking the money we would have been dividing amongst our various savings and are on a 6 year plan to pay off our mortgage (we currently have 19 years if we stick to our original mortgage schedule). It will save us over $40,000 that we would have paid in interest. Wow! It’s amazing how redirecting your focus and truly narrowing down what’s important can really save you in the long run. On top of that we were still able to take the money we had already saved in various accounts to pay for a new bonus room, which we hope to add very soon.

Sometimes it truly pays off to refocus every once in a while and really hone in on what’s the most important for you and your family’s needs rather than allowing your mind and money to drift in various directions.

 

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