Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ebates: Get Paid to Shop Online!

I know I've talked about Ebates on the blog before, but with the holiday buying season fast approaching, I thought it couldn't hurt to just remind everyone what a great tool Ebates is!

Basically, instead of going straight to the website of the store you want to shop at, you go through Ebates, which will route you to the store.  Do your shopping as normal, check out as normal.  The difference is that Ebates will then pay you back a percentage of what you spent.  It can be as low as 1% and I've seen it as high as 50% when they are running a special. 

Here is an example of what Ebates is paying for cash back at a few stores right now: 
  • Macy's = 6% cash back
  • Lands End = 6% cash back
  • American Eagle = 4% cash back
  • Gap = 7% cash back
If you're shopping online already, you may as well get paid to do it! 

Once you have $5 in cash back, they send you a check at the end of the quarter.  You don't have to request the check, it just comes to you!  If you don't have $5 by the end of the quarter, it just keeps rolling in to the next quarter until you do.  It's a very easy system. 

Not every single store is supported through Ebates, but most are.  It can't hurt to check Ebates first before you make any purchases online. 

All you have to do is sign up here.  Then next time you shop online, search for your store in this little search box in the upper right hand corner:

It will bring you to a screen that looks like this:

Select the correct store (if I was shopping at Gap, it would be the top one) by clicking on "shop now".  And it will bring you to the website.  Then you just shop as normal.  Easy peasy!

I'll also put reminders at the bottom of posts with online deals, so you don't leave any money on the table!  Let's keep a little more money in our pockets this holiday season!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Five Easy Ways to Free Up Money in Your Budget

This is a re-post from last year, but I thought it was relevant as the holidays are quickly approaching:
I have some ideas and suggestions on ways you can trim your spending from now until the end of the year to help free up some extra money to spend on the holidays.  Not every idea will be for you, but hopefully you'll find one or two that may help!

I really tried to come up with ideas that wouldn't be hard to incorporate in to your normal routine.  Keep an open mind as you read on...

1.  Hair maintenance:  I've already talked about the free haircuts at JC Penney, but there are other ways to save on hair maintenance for your family.  If you don't have a very short hair cut, you could try going a little longer in between hair cuts.  If you normally would have gotten two haircuts between now and Christmas, could you get away with just one?  If your husband has a buzz cut, could he cut his own hair?  If you dye your hair all one color, you could dye your own hair with a kit from a pharmacy.  They also have highlighting kits that they sell at pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens; if you're adventurous, you may try one!  Someone I work with has her daughter highlight her hair with a CVS kit.  Her daughter has no hair dresser training at all, she just follows the directions.  Whenever this woman told me her daughter highlights her hair, I couldn't believe it!  It completely looked professional!

2.  Groceries:  Can you spend just $5 less per week on groceries from now until Christmas?  There are ten weeks left until Christmas, that is $50 that you can either put towards a present or your holiday grocery bill.  $50 can go far when you're buying baking supplies and other holiday groceries. 

3.  Recycle bottles and cans:  If you live in a state where there is a deposit on cans and bottles, don't just put them on the curb for the garbage men to pick up; put them aside and recycle them!  They are worth $0.05 each!  We religiously recycle in my house and in my experience, three garbage bags full of cans (not bottles, as they take up more room) nets me about $20.  It takes 15-20 minutes to feed all the cans in to the machine, but $20 in 20 minutes is like making $60 per hour!  I'll take that any day!  Also, the people in my husband's office knows he recycles, so they regularly give him cans and bottles to recycle.  Every day my husband comes home a few extra cans and bottles to recycle - all those nickels add up! 

4.  Save the ones:  I've heard of people who put aside every single they get back as change.  If you use cash often, this could be a great technique for you to build up a little extra cash.  From the testimonies I've read about this technique, the people say they don't even miss the ones - it's an effortless way to save a little money!

5.  Eating out:  Depending how often your family eats out, can you skip just one meal out in both November and December and put that money towards your holiday expenses?  Conservatively, if you spend $30 on an average meal out and you skipped just two meals out between now and the end of the year, that's $60 to put towards a gift, travel expenses, entertaining, outfits for the holidays, etc! 

Even trying one idea should save you anywhere from $20-$50!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stretching Your Child's Wardrobe: Gymboree Outlet

As I was going through my big pile of kids clothes to consign, I realized that some of my sons pants (from Gymboree) from last winter still fit him. I was excited that I didn't have to buy as many outfits for this winter, only... They didn't have the matching tops. 

Then this morning I had this brilliant (if I do say so myself!) epiphany - the Gymboree outlet sells last seasons clothes!  So off I went to the outlet and guess what!  I got the two tops I needed to complete these outfits!  Two tops for $11!  Two complete outfits for $11!  

The pants were an end of season clearance find earlier in the year but didn't have a top. Found the matching top at the Gymboree outlet for $6!

These pants my son wore a ton last winter and they still fit!  But the shirt didn't. I found the exact same shirt he had last winter in a bigger size for only $5!

I will note that the prices at the Gymboree outlet aren't always this low. Since it's a holiday weekend, they had a big sale and the whole store was 50% off.  

So if you have pieces from last seasons outfits that still fit your children, don't dismiss them!  Try the Gymboree outlet to complete your outfit for much cheaper than buying a whole new outfit!