Let’s be honest, kids are expensive. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s clothing, extra curricular activities, school supplies, food or diapers; there is always SOMETHING you have to buy for your kids. Sometimes these are things that are necessities, like clothing since they are always growing or just for fun, like tickets to see a show at the theatre, but either way the expenses exist and add up. I consider myself a very savvy shopper, in fact my friends always know to come to me first to see how they can potentially save money, so I figured I’d share my top three tips I save money throughout the year (not just on kids but myself and my household, too) so that I can spend more money on the fun stuff, like professional photographers and vacations!
I do most of my shopping online, but a lot of these tips can be used in stores as well.
1) If shopping online, I ALWAYS shop through Ebates, which has a browser for desktop computers and an app if using a mobile device. Just go to Ebates, first, and then search for the store you are shopping at, and it will tell you if you are eligible for a certain percentage cash back on your purchase. Some stores are as little as 1% and others are in the double digits. Once a quarter, Ebates, will send you your savings through paypal or a physical check. It’s super easy and free money for the shopping you’d be doing anyways. Since I’ve been using Ebates, , in the beginning of 2015, I’ve earned over $500! Some of my favorite stores that I shop at on there are Target, Kohls, Children’s Place and Raise (more on Raise next!). Ebates, even offers cash back on Amazon, although the categories that are eligible vary depending on the day.
2) This next tip is helpful for in store shipping and online shopping. There is a website and app called Raise. Raise sells discounted gift cards for pretty much anywhere and everywhere. Before I go to a store, or even while in the store, I’ll pull up my Raise app, and put in the store and see what gift cards they have for sale. Almost always I can find a discounted gift card for the store I’m shopping at or restaurant I’m eating at and if they offer the e-giftcard, the delivery is almost instant and you can use on that trip to the store/restaurant or save for another day. They put the digital giftcards into a wallet on the app (or if home you can print out!) that you can use online or the stores can scan at checkout. Instant savings, and sometimes they are around 20% off! or more! And since it’s just another payment method instead of cash, debit or credit, you can still use coupons and rewards programs. Save even more by going to Ebates, (mentioned above) first and then search for Raise and get an additional 1% back on the gift card purchase. I also buy discounted gift cards from Raise and then load into some of my apps such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts (usually have 15-20% off there!) to be used later and earn rewards against them through th various apps. There are grocery stores, restaurants, retail and so many other options. Note: sometimes they only offer physical gift cards that are mailed for free to your house, so keep that in mind when trying to buy gift cards for same day use (the type of gift card is clearly noted on Raise).
3) If you are disciplined enough with credit cards (I know a lot of people can’t do this), charge everything you buy with a credit card that earns some sort of rewards (airline, cash back, hotels, etc), and then pay off the balance in full each month, and that’s free money you are earning that can used for free stuff. We literally charge anything an everything possible on our cards, and with that we earn enough points to go on a few free flights each year and stay in hotels for free on points. We personally use a SPG Amex to earn hotel points and Delta Amex to earn free flights, and then a Southwest Visa for the places that don’t accept Amex and then pay off all the balances in full each month so that we don’t have to pay any interest, so it’s truly free benefits. Note: We do use cards with annual fees because of the extra benefits offered, but there are plenty of credit cards out there that offer rewards without an annual fee.
4) And now for the best part, this is what I call the Triple Dip! Use that rewards credit card to buy the gift card from Raise which you buy through Ebates, and earn rewards, get dscount on the gift card and get cash back on Raise! Sometimes you are only earning pennies, but this seriously adds up to some serious cash through out the year, and it’s all FREE for the money you’d be spending anyways!
Hopefully these tips will help you save some money, my family definitely benefits from this. I know some of this seems time consuming, but I’ve been doing it for years now and eventually it becomes second nature, even got my husband into using these tips (he saved over $300 when he just bought his new golf clubs from Calloway plus earned us some credit card points!)
If you want to check out any of these sites, click on the links to the pages, and through my affiliate links you’ll get the following benefits:
Raise: $5 off after you make your first purchase (w/in 30 days of signing up)
Ebates: Get $10 back after you make your first purchase