Build a Rainy Day Fund Challenge for 2018


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.


How to Build a Rainy Day Fund

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!


OK, So How Did I Do It?

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.

1. EBATES – $243.89

That is how much I’ve already been paid. My 4th quarter earnings – currently over $120 – will be paid in February.

rainy day fund challenge

2.IBOTTA – $89.39

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  With those two orders, I got almost $40 cash back to my Ibotta account! SCORE!!

rainy day fund challenge

3. CHECKOUT 51 – $24.25

I don’t get a whole lot using this one but every little bit counts!

rainy day fund challenge

4. WALMART APP – $35.48

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.

rainy day fund challenge

5. SHOPKICK – $25.00

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!

rainy day fund challenge


I earned $15 for simply scanning the receipts of stuff I already purchased! That’s it!!

rainy day fund challenge

7. RetailMeNot – $5.00

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!


I Spend SOOOOOO Much time on This!

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! See how much you can save towards those Fall money events like back-to-school shopping or Christmas!

How to Get Started

  1. Get signed up for Ebates, download the app to your phone, and install the browser extension on your computer.
  2. Get signed up for Ibotta and download the app to your phone.
  3. Get signed up for Checkout 51 and download the app to your phone.
  4. Get signed up for Shopkick, download app to your phone.
  5. Download the Walmart app and create an account.
  6. Download Receipt Pal & Receipt Hog to your phone.
  7. Get signed up with RetailMeNot.






  1. Cait | 2nd Jan 18

    this is a challenge i am IN love with! what a great day and def will be wanting to partiicpate in doing this myself for my family!

  2. Nikki G (GwinGal) | 2nd Jan 18

    I think it was your earlier post about these that finally made me give Ebates a try. I haven’t done as well as you but I can see the potential. I am going to try some of these others too.
    🙂 gwingal

  3. Ashley Stephenson | 2nd Jan 18

    I always forget to use my ebates account when shopping! This is a great way to build a rainy day fund!

  4. Trisha | 3rd Jan 18

    These are such great tools to save money! I use them all too, and a few others! I’ve recently been trying out a savings app called Joy that asks you daily how much you want to save. Just the little prompt with a suggestion of saving a small amount, usually less than a dollar has been really helpful in getting me closer to my savings goals.

  5. Nadene | 3rd Jan 18

    I love the idea of a rainy day fun. I have one and it helps me not worry about money

  6. Helen | 3rd Jan 18

    This is GREAT! One of my new year’s resolutions is to get financially stable. I am saving this to plan for the year. Thank you!

  7. The Whimsical Chick | 3rd Jan 18

    I just downloaded Ibotta a few days ago; I can’t wait to use it! One app I use is Betterment. I use it to set aside $25 a week. In the last two years, it’s earned $200 in interest! I think of it as a super slow-growing savings account. I don’t want to withdraw from it, but it’s a good emergency fund.

  8. Amanda Kruse | 4th Jan 18

    This is such a good idea! I am going to have to check out these apps!

    Amanda ||

  9. redrebelmediagroup | 4th Jan 18

    My favorites are Ibotta and Ebates. I sew – A LOT – and the 20% back from JoAnn’s, even when you use a coupon on the Ibotta app is a game changer! I save so much money with that one!

  10. Roxy | 4th Jan 18

    You are a woman after my own heart! So of this list I only use ebates and have also heard of ibotta. I def love apps that let me earn money on things I’m buying anyway! This challenge is great. I just may have to try it out for myself!

  11. mapsandmonograms | 4th Jan 18

    I love this! This is just what I needed to kick off my new year!

  12. karriefrost | 4th Jan 18

    I always forget to use them – but you are right, why not get paid to spend money you were already spending. It feels like found money.

  13. Vanessa Cast (@vanbizkit) | 4th Jan 18

    We live in Spain so I can’t use all the great tools you talk about, but I totally get the point and I think it’s very important and useful. I already bookmark your page for future references ♥ and it’s pinned. Thank you ♥

  14. Gina G. | 5th Jan 18

    Wow, this is amazing. You’ve done such a wonderful job of laying this out and providing such a detailed explanation on how well it worked for you. Thanks. I’m doing this right now!

  15. sgmart187 | 5th Jan 18

    I love this idea! I need to work on building a rainy day fund for my family!

  16. Natashya Newman | 5th Jan 18

    This is awesome! I use a couple of these, but had no idea about the others!! Hopping on this bandwagon right now!!

  17. Leah | 5th Jan 18

    I have half of these, and now I think I NEED EBATES!!! I was so skeptical but you made me a believer!! Thanks for all the tips and insight!!

  18. Michelle Ross | 5th Jan 18

    What a great way to build a rainy day fund, I will be looking into some of these to help save my own rainy day fund! 🙂 thanks for sharing!

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