Happy 2018! Can you believe how fast 2017 just seemed to fly by? Maybe it’s because I’m getting older but every year seems to go by faster than the year before! Well, I am super excited to get this new year rocking and rolling. First priority – MONEY! Now, I’m not gonna give you a lecture on savings and financial planning or anything like that because, honestly, that kind of content is really BORING! What I am going to do is tell ya about some hidden money wins that I found last year and help you with finding them this year! We all start off great in January with all the resolutions and plans and stuff. But around the Fall, back to school shopping followed by holiday shopping seems to just sneak up on us! Here is an awesome way to build a rainy day fund to help with or completely cover those “money” events that happen later in the year – WITHOUT TOUCHING YOUR BUDGET – so be sure to join the challenge!
This post may contain affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on any of my affiliate links. Don’t worry! You will not be charged extra for shopping through my links but you WILL help keep my beautiful Dobies (and humans) spoiled with treats and other goodies! Please see my full disclosure for more information on affiliate links here.
I suck at budgeting! I lay it all out with how much goes to what bill and how much (should be) left at the end of the month. For some reason, that “excess” money never seems to be in my account at the end of the month! Of course, I know where it went – my dogs, my nails, stuff for the kids, etc. YOLO, right? But then back-to-school shopping and holiday shopping suddenly jumps out of nowhere and I have no extra money to spend so I end up putting it on my credit card. UGH!! Last year I decided to try something new. You know all those savings apps that I’m constantly talking about? Well, I got serious about using them to earn cash back and points and stuff like that. Instead of cashing them in once I reached a level, I just let them keep adding up. I actually started with this around the summer so what I’m about to tell you was the result of only about 5-6 months of playing the “app” game!
Ok, drum roll, please! I’m pleased to announce that I managed to have an extra $438! FO REALS! Could you use an extra $400 to spend on school clothes or may Christmas presents? This has to be the easiest (legal) way to save money and the best part is that it does NOT come from your actual income or budget. It’s completely unaccounted for and extra money! Why would you not do it? I talk about these silly apps all the time and I keep hearing comments like “oh if I only had time to do that” and other such nonsense. But these same people are typically the ones asking for help when the holidays or other “money” events like school clothes come around. How about you stop with the excuses and get serious about your finances! I’ll be writing another post later this month on getting a budget together, but I wanted to start with this because it is just so simple!
If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably already read about Ebates, Ibotta, and some of the other apps that I use. I even shared my early wins in My Side Hustle Savings App Success Report. You can read through those a little more to see how they work and get signed up., but I’ll just briefly mention them below with how much I earned from each for this year.
That is how much I’ve already been paid. My 4th quarter earnings – currently over $120 – will be paid in February.
In addition to the grocery shopping cash back, around the holidays they have some really awesome deals. For Black Friday they had several online shopping deals in which I got a whopping 20% cash back! I normally buy my dog food online from PetSmart and was running low so I took major advantage of this offer. I managed to get FREE SHIPPING plus used a 20% off online code from RetailMeNot PLUS the 20% cash back from Ibotta! I did the same with an order from Walmart.com. With those two orders, I got almost $40 cash back to my Ibotta account! SCORE!!
I don’t get a whole lot using this one but every little bit counts!
If you do a fair amount of shopping at Walmart, you need to get this app on your phone! It isn’t a huge return, but it can definitely add up over 12 months. I do the majority of my grocery shopping at Walmart so this really benefits me. It is completely free and all you have to do is scan the QRC code at the bottom of the receipt! It scans all local competitor ads to see if anything you purchased is on sale for a lower price. If so, it credits you the difference to a Walmart gift card.
I earned money by simply walking into stores! SERIOUSLY! You get points for walking into stores, scanning stuff in the store, and even more if you purchase something that is on the scan list! My points will be cashed in for a Walmart Gift Card!
I earned $15 for simply scanning the receipts of stuff I already purchased! That’s it!!
I’ve always used them to find online discount codes but during the holiday shopping season they had an offer for $5 cash back for something I was buying and it ended up being a better deal than the cashback offer on Ebates that day!
Ok, that was a sarcastic joke! These apps are the real deal people! You are already shopping. You don’t have to buy stuff you don’t really need. Chances are you are already playing around with your smartphone. Why not make that play time profitable and earn a little from those shopping trips?
Let’s do this together! Join the Rainy Day Fund Challenge and see how much you can save towards those Fall money events like back-to-school shopping or Christmas! Join the challenge and you’ll receive an email on the first of the month every month in 2018 that not only reminds you to enter your own stats – but also gives you an update on mine! I’ve even created a form for you to print out and enter your monthly wins!
When you join the challenge, you’ll receive an email listing all of these again, along with a little more detail on entering your wins and tips for earning more with the apps. You will also receive an email on the 1st of each month in 2018 to check up on your progress, let you know of any possible upcoming deals on the apps (seasonal deals), and an update on my progress. You will also get my Side Hustle Savings App Tracker to download and track your progress!
ADDED BONUS! As an incentive to stay focused on this challenge, everyone who joins the challenge and stays active towards the goal will be entered into a drawing for TWO VISA GIFT CARDS! One winner will be drawn in August (for back to school shopping) and the other will be drawing in August (prior to Black Friday)! To be eligible for the gift card drawing you must remain subscribed to the challenge all year and also join the Saving Money with LeeAnn Private FB Group. This is a private group for sharing of our monthly progress, as well as posting of any deals/offers on any of the savings apps that you may come across.