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Money, Savings and Cash Back

Who doesn’t like to save money right? I felt with it being the first week of the New Year, this would be the perfect time for a post like this. I wanted to list our a few apps that I use to save money, get cash back or get gift cards by saving up points.

I have been using some of these for a while now, and one I have not used much but I am starting to use more. I have gotten many items from doing this anything from my under cabinet radio (yes I still have a house radio with a CD player lol), my wine fridge, saved up to buy a Ninja Foodi. I have gotten smaller things such as Fitbit bands and water bottles as well. Right now I am currently saving up points and gift cards to purchase a Ninja Grill, since it is an item that I do not NEED just WANT, I have to save up the money to purchase such a big item.

So lets get too it!

Rakuten Ebats:

I have had this account for a while, it was know as Ebats the last time I used it. I got reminded of it while watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel. This one I always thought was a little more work to use. There is an app or you can use it on a desktop computer which ever you prefer. You go to the site, sign up for an account and then you can search for whatever store you want and it will tell you how much cash back they are offering. The cash back does change so sometimes you could get more then others.

There is also an option of you linking debit/credit cards to the account. If you choose to do this, there are some stores that offer cash back for in-store purchase. You do have to activate it before going to the store so that is the part that takes a little bit of work. The first place I remembered to do this too was for PetSmart which was huge for me with having to buy food and litter for 4 cats.

I started focusing on this site about a month ago and I am already up to about $10 cash back. The money comes in the form of a check and they pay I believe quarterly, I do know my next Big Fat Check, as they call it, will come in Feb. 2020.

Shopkick

This one is my favorite by far. This app you get points and when you reach a certain amount you can get a gift card. Right now my points goal is 6250 and I have it set to get a $25 Bed Bath and Beyond card so I can use it towards my grill. I am on the 2nd gift card I have gotten from them. I have not found the points to expire and the gift cards do not have an expiration date.

There are a few ways to get points.

  • Walkins: The app shows the stores that are participating and when you walk by the specific store with the app open it picks it up and gives you points. I know Target is one of them and sometimes you just have to drive by the door of the store to get the points. Pro tip for anyone who does online pick up šŸ™‚
  • Scanning: The app will have a list of stores and some of these stores if you go in and scan items you get points for that. Sometimes you do have to answer a few question survey but it is usually only a few questions. Some items if you do purcahse them and submit a receipt you get bonus points. I have not done that part so not sure exactly how it works.
  • Online: The app has an online shopping option as well. You clink on the store and it take you to the site. I have started doing this with my Walmart groceries since I get them every week. It does recognize right away you placed an order but it does take 90 days to process and get points. I have about 6 of them waiting right now so starting in Feb. they should all start coming in and I can update on how that process works.
  • Watching videos: On the main screen of the app they have options to gain points to watch a short 2-3 minute video. There is also a spot to preview sales and sometime they have secret points hiding.

This one is my favorite because even lately I have put very little effort into it, it may take a little longer to add the points up but the reward is worth it. Plus, I am not having to but anything special I can just watch a video, scan some items if I happen to be in the store and watch the points increase.

Achievement

This one is a little different. I was told about this one a few years ago, and when I signed up I was on a waiting list for a few months. I have had it now for about 3.5 years. This is another one you don’t really have to do anything with. It is a points system and you can link other apps you use and when you use the apps you get achievement points. I get the majority of my points from my Fitbit app. When it traks my workouts, heart rate and sleep. There are occasionally quizzes and other things for additional points.

The reward is $10 and you get your choice, I can’t think of them all off the top of my head because I usually just get a Amazon gift card. I know $10 doesn’t seem like much but you literally don’t have to do anything extra to get the points so it is the easiest $10 I have made. I have gotten a few of them since I started and it is kind of fun to get a little gift for myself occasionally. I got a water bottle once and I think I bought a book the other time. I am very close to getting my next reward.

Cashback on credit cards

I am not big on using credit cards because I don’t like having a balance on them. We do have some automatic bills that have to come out so we link them to the credit card. Life sometimes happens too and we do have to put some big expenses on the card and then we pay them off right away. This also helps us to build up rewards points.

The rewards I have had to use before to pay the credit card bill but sometimes I have gotten fun things with them. I for my radio and wine fridge using the points. I also got gift cards and that is what helped buy my Ninja Foodi and even get all new decorations for my bathroom. We have 2 main credit cards and the one I will use to get the gift card and the other I will just use the cash back to pay for the bill.

I know some people who have used the points to get cards and other gift for presents, for Christmas for example, which is also a great idea. I usually find something I want and this is how I get them. I save up all the gift cards and rewards so we end up paying nothing or very little.

Weekly savings chart

One last thing I want to mention is a savings chart. I saw this a few years ago and did it once. I will admit, once it got to the end of the year it got more challenging and I did not actually finish the chart but I had saved up a large amount that we used to help pay for one of our vacations. It is a plan that I found on Pinterest, you save the amount of money to what week of the year it is. Example: week 1 is $1, week 2 is $2 and so on. So by the end of the year it has all built up and is around $1100. I am going to try it again this year and see how it goes.

I also set a side $20 each paycheck for our vacation. This year I am adding a little more being a nurse I have license renewals to do every few year so now I set up a savings plan so when they come due I have the money and it doesn’t impact the budget at that time.

We do have a budget set up, but since my husband and I have separate accounts as well as the joint accounts it makes it a little easier. Each check I transfer money to the joint account for bills and for savings right away so I don’t miss the money. I have been doing this for a while now and it has gone very well and I am very blessed that we are able to pay for my medical bills from my savings account. I meet my out of pocket max every year so it makes it easy to know how much it will cost for me. Having the money on hand, I am able to call and pay my bill in full and get a discount on the bill. So I save money there and I also put it on the credit card which I pay off immediately but that transaction help me to build up points.

I hope this was helpful. I am not an expert at all when it comes to finance, I have just learned a lot from my husband and our financial planner says we are on the right track so that is something.

Even if you don’t use any of these apps or strategies I mentioned above maybe you will check them out and see if it would be something for you. I know some of them are some work and it does take some time for the rewards to build up but since it doesn’t cost much it is worth it to me. The best part for me is I have not put a ton of work into getting these rewards and it hasn’t cost my anything. If I know my family won’t use the item I don’t buy it and if I don’t need to but something online I don’t buy it just for the rewards. If I need to purchase an item I just check the apps quick to see if there is a cash back opportunity.

Let me know below if you like a post like this and I can certainly create more like this. Hope you at least learned a little something new and happy shopping.

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