Young, Black& Thrifty: Money-saving Hacks

Now let me just say, I love to save money.  If we’re being honest, who doesn’t?  Wouldn’t you much rather have the EXACT $100 purchase be $25 if it could be? I don’t know about you, but sometimes it makes me feel like I just won by uncovering some sort of money-saving secret. Sometimes we do this by signing up for mailing lists, using store coupons, or just waiting on something to go on sale. Sometimes we clip coupons from inserts and strategically watch for weekly ads to line up with our desires and coupons. All of these ways to save money are effective and I dabble in them all. But I’ve noticed I don’t really know a lot of people who take advantage of these methods. Do we just not know about them or think they are a waste of time? What if you could continue to do the above things (or not) and make money with little-to-no additional effort?  That’s what I think we all are able to do, though we may not be sure of the options that exist to help us save. With that said, I believe sharing is caring, so here are a few of my favorite hacks for saving money:

DISCLAIMER: Many of the links included below are referral links from my accounts.  This means if you use them to sign up, both you and I will receive cash or points. If you use Ibotta in particular, you will be a part of my team and receive our team’s bonuses. If you are not interested in receiving these referral bonuses, simply visit the website separately and not from this post. I look forward to saving with you!

Having Friends Pays Off
Using Ibotta allows you to receive cash back by selecting items from a list that you have purchased, scanning the receipt, and the item’s barcode.  Let’s say I bought some soap from a particular store for $5. I go onto Ibotta and find the store, then locate the soap.  It says I get $1 cash back. I upload everything and receive $1 back. If I bought that same soap for a different amount, I would still receive the $1.  Sometimes they even provide bonuses that just say you need to redeem a rebate and then be rewarded an additional $5-10.

But what about your friends?  Not only do you receive a bonus if your friends sign up and redeem a rebate, but they do as well.  It is typically anywhere between $5-10 – even if they never use the app again after redeeming a $.25 rebate and getting $5.25 for it. But hey, who wouldn’t take that?  If your friend continues to stay active, then everyone who is a member of your team works towards monthly team bonuses.  For instance, if my team redeems $10 in rebates collectively, we all get $1.  You know what that means?  The more friends, the more money you get for doing next to nothing! Interested in getting started? Join here.

Proof of Purchase
This one is a little easier.  Did you go buy things from a store?  Take a picture of your receipt and receive cash back from Receipt Hog!  You must submit receipts that fall within the week. It’s that simple. Get started! If you’d like an added bonus, use the referral code yup95055.

You Can Achieve More
Do you use some sort of a device to track your sleep and/or steps? Why not earn money for what you are already doing? With Achievement, all you need to do is sync your device to your account and leave it.  You’ll receive weekly updates and when you reach the required amount of points, you’ll earn money!  You can even earn points for meals and Tweets.

Kick, Push
Shopkick comes with multiple ways to earn rewards. My favorite is the “walk-in.”  If I walk into a listed store, I receive “kicks” or points.  If I do that enough times, I will earn enough kicks to select from the dozens of available rewards, from gift cards and TVs to jewelry and charitable donations. You can also earn points by scanning items listed on the app for the store. No purchase is necessary. You can also scroll through available offers (that basically serve as a potential shopping list) and uncover kicks on select searches almost daily. The last way to earn is through receipt rebates. Some items may be marked that will allow additional kicks. Why not get paid for simply going somewhere?

Movie Meet-ups
One summer, I used Dealflicks to go see every movie in theaters I wanted to see FOR FREE.  I even scored some free drinks, popcorn, and nachos at a few of them.  Log on and select the available theater and movie, then view the daily deals. Some are discounted tickets, some are concession stand discounts or giveaways, and others are a combination of the two. If your theater isn’t listed, you can email Dealflicks to request it be added. Want to save even more money using Dealflicks? Groupon often has a Dealflicks deal for sale.  Want an added sign-up bonus?  Enter referral code:  RF3RB5UNGT

Automatic Coupon Finder
Have you ever shopped online and wanted to know if there is a coupon available to use but had no idea where to find it?  With Ebates, you can download a plug-in that will let you know every time you are on a site with active coupons. If you activate the plug-in, it will apply all the available coupons to your order and list which one gives you the steepest discount. What’s more is that it will also provide you with cash back from the site. In other words, I may use a site, have Ebates pop up and tell me I get 6% back on my purchase, and that there are current coupons for $10 off $50 and free shipping.

Click & Spin
With InboxDollars, you can sign up to receive promotional emails and surveys. Click on the emails and/or complete the surveys and receive cash back. Taking the surveys may be a little more time consuming than the other sites, but if you complete them, your rewards add faster. You can also earn cash for watching videos and enter into drawings provided by spinning a reward wheel.

What’s Mine is Mine
Another site that helps locate coupons and provides cash back is MyPoints. MyPoints can also be used to print grocery and household coupons.  Simply printing them awards you points and redeeming them offers even more. This one also offers emails and surveys. You can also earn points for booking travel (hotel/car/flight) through their portal. It is somewhat like Ebates and InboxDollars combined.

All Booked
There are a lot of sites I use to find airfare and/or hotels. One site I’ve used a few times to book hotel rooms (with $100+ price difference at times) is Booking. Whenever you get ready to book a hotel, check out Booking and see if it is there. It’ll more than likely save you some money, and when you book enough nights, you’ll earn rewards through your account.

Dinner’s On Us
Sometimes I use Restaurant as a way to try new places for a cheaper price. Select the gift certificate amount you’d like to purchase and then enjoy your savings. The most common certificate I purchase is $25 for $10. Usually it requires you to spend a certain amount at the restaurant in order to use this, but if you’re dining with other people, the table typically reaches that amount. For even cheaper certificates, Groupon often sells vouchers for Restaurant.

There are plenty of sites and apps still out there that I haven’t listed here. We’ll consider this a beginner’s post. This helps you save money with very little change in your daily routine. Perhaps later we’ll revisit this topic with an intermediate level post and go from there. But for now, explore the ones that interest you the most and happy saving!  Feel free to hit me up in the comments and let me know what you think of these and how things are going.  Have any other recommendations?  Feel free to share those, too!


Brittany is living life as a musical; everything is better with melodies of the heart. She is applying for global citizenship, collecting memories and sharing laughs with others far and wide. She hopes by embracing her truths as they come she gives others the courage to do the same. Connect with Brittany on Twitter @GloballyLocal6.

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