Spending money is inevitable. It is how our society works, it is how we eat, travel, clothe ourselves, and enjoy this wonderful thing we call life! But, there are ways you can become smarter when it comes to spending your money. Through this post I am going to review 9 ways you can spend wisely.
Whenever you are heading out to a store always be sure to use these two apps to help increase your savings. Ibotta is a great way to get money on grocery items you purchase. All you do is scan the items you purchased that are also listed on Ibotta. Then you upload a picture of your receipt to prove you purchased those items. Then you get money back! You can sign up for Ibotta or sign up using my referral code: lpvlpkc. If you sign up through my link, you’ll get $10 as soon as long as you redeem your first item within 2 weeks of signing up! The second app I recommend for practically everything is Shopkick. Shopkick gives you points called kicks that you can get from walking into a store, scanning items while you are in a store, and even for some purchases you make such as with BestBuy, or your local grocery store. You can then redeem this kicks for a reward of your choice. I personally have earned over $50 in gift cards from this app! Download the Shopkick app and use my referral code: lincoln56422 to get you started!
- Shop Retail Smart Online
I actually used to work at a customer call center for several big name retailers. I won’t go into details about who I actually represented, but I will tell you retail companies know how to convince you to give them your money. Keep in mind that it is very rare for the original price listed on an item to be the real selling price. Many times, new items will be instantly posted to a retailer’s website with an “original price” and a “sale or discounted price”. NEVER buy anything for that “original price”. It’s only listed there to make you think you are saving money. In addition, many retailers increase their “sale” price when there is an additional promotion happening so you are still spending the same amount of money. I plan to make a post dedicated to my brief insight into the online workings of retailers so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, I recommend browsing a site for a few days prior to purchasing to gauge their pricing techniques during promotional periods or special sales. Also always check Ebates first, which I will talk about later in this post.
Utilizing coupons correctly can save you a lot of money when you shop. Now, I used to be considered an “extreme couponer” with one of those huge binders and all. DON’T DO THIS! I highly recommend using coupons, but only for items that you were going to already buy. Do not let coupons entice you to purchase things you wouldn’t normally buy, to buy too many of something, or to spend more money on the item you have a coupon for instead of less on the same item at a cheaper price, such as generic items, that you may not have a coupon for. I would also be sure to budget for the small amount of money you will be spending either when purchasing the Sunday newspaper or when printing coupons online. I plan on doing a post later on some serious couponing tips. In the meantime, I highly recommend using SouthernSavers to learn what coupons will be in each paper, and for tips on what to purchase each week and at each store.
- Shop Discount Stores
There are several discount stores I enjoy shopping from including thrift stores, Plato’s Closet, TJ Maxx, and Zulily’s. Whenever I am in the need for a particular item or piece of clothing for work, I always check out discount sites prior to looking elsewhere. I have found so many goodies at these stores. If you aren’t familiar with Zulily, it is an online store that offers discounted items for a short amount of time (typically 3 days). I have purchased several items on Zulily and have had a great experience every time! The other stores I mentioned are physical retailers that you can browse in person. Plato’s Closet is also really cool because they will also buy your gently used name brand items.
For those of you that may not know Groupon is awesome! This is a site that provides you with discounts for products, events, dining, and recreational purposes. If you have a fun activity in mind such as PaintNite or wanting to try a new place to eat, definitely check out Groupon first. You can always save money if you are purchasing things you had already intended to buy or spend money on. As an example, my husband loves pizza! He would eat it every day if I he could. So recently, Groupon had a deal for Papa Johns, where if you spend $25 you get a $25 egift card, and 2 free large pizzas to use online. Basically, you are spending $25 and getting 2 free large pizzas out of the deal! So always check this place out!
I am sure we have all heard of Ebates by now, but if you haven’t you can check it out here: link. When you shop online ALWAYS go to the Ebates website first. They will often have cash back on the store you are planning to do some shopping through and if you use Ebates to go to the specific retailer’s site you are wanting to shop from, you will get a percentage of the money you spent back! Now Ebates sends you a check 4 times a year, or once every quarter. So this can really add up. You will also receive $10 if you sign up through my referral link. I have already been paid over $13 just for spending money on things I would have bought anyways!
- Loyalty Reward Programs
I know we are all trying to avoid adding more email to our inboxes. However, I encourage everyone to sign up for loyalty reward programs as long as it is does not involve you having to sign up for a credit card. Loyalty reward programs can be found practically anywhere. Redbox, grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and retail stores. When you sign up for a loyalty reward program you typically get some sort of incentive whether it be a free appetizer, free shipping, or a discount off your first purchase. Then the incentives typically continue to arrive in your inbox.
My husband and I love eating at Chili’s restaurant because they have a 2 for $20 deal with an appetizer and 2 adult entrees. We typically eat there to celebrate since it’s an affordable restaurant. Now we also earn points every time we eat there that will eventually add up to a free meal. PLUS!!!! I get emails about every other week offering us a free dessert or appetizer or kids meal on our next visit. I would definitely sign up for loyalty programs anywhere you spend money on a regular basis! (I am not receiving anything for supporting Chili’s I just genuinely love them).
- Recognize Need vs. Want
I will be the first person to tell you, I do not enjoy spending money when I know we could put it towards our debt and move a step closer to our financial freedom. However, it still important to my husband and I to enjoy doing stuff we consider fun every once in a while. We just always keep in mind to make sure our needs our taken care of before we do anything fun related. Then when we do something fun we make sure to keep it relatively affordable like eating at Chili’s as I mentioned before where we only spend around $25 including tip! Just remember to recognize the difference between something you :need” and something you “want”. Needs are things you need like groceries, a roof over your head, and clothes to wear. Wants are things like extra clothes, electronics, and that fancy new car. I recommend just keeping your potential purchases in perspective.
- Know Your Budget
The best way to be smart about how you spend your money is to ultimately have a detailed budget that you stick to. I am very diligent about my budget and am sure to account for anything that may come up so I even have an amount set aside for unexpected necessities. This category is meant for an unplanned doctor visit, an oil change, etc. I’ve tried not planning for the unexpected before and it just always puts us in a rough place. So, I highly recommend creating a budget and sticking to it!
Hopefully, you find these tips on how to spend your money in a smarter way. I plan to elaborate more in the future on many of these points. Feel free to add your personal suggestions below!
What do you do to spend your money wisely?