Recently several people have asked me to share my super saver shopping skillz. The questions seem to start with some variation of how in the world I'm able to afford 27 children (or what feels like 27) & all their needs while I'm currently taking an involuntary vacation from work & I'm in school. With 1 income & 8 people to feed, clothe, chauffeur, insure, entertain, educate, medicate, bathe, clean up after, keep hygienic, supply sports & musical items for, & whatever else goes into the expenses of a family...it takes skillz (the z implies it takes more than just skills).
I have started "extreme couponing" which is basically me combining store coupons with manufacturer coupons with store sales (did your eyes glaze over at that sentence?) I get a lot of my groceries for free this way & save hundreds compared to what I was spending prior on groceries & household items.
Saving money is a game to me. How much can I save? How many coupons can I use in a single trip to the store? (By the way, last night was my winner so far with 54 coupons.) Yeah, I'm totally that annoying crazy coupon lady who holds up the checkout line with my bunches & bunches of paper- clipped coupons. In my defense though, I do warn both the cashier & the people behind me that I have a lot of coupons. I even let people go ahead of me so that they're not held up. I'm a Considerate Crazy Coupon Carrier.
I have it down to a science now & I frequently save 50% and more on my groceries.
I've been scrounging the interwebs for freebies & coupons for several years but in the last couple months I've started to do it on a larger scale in the interest of bringing my family's costs down. I have some sites to share with anyone else who is trying to save money.
The nice thing about the sites that I will tell you about, is that you decide how much you save. You're not committing to being chained to any of these sites like some that I've tried in the past. Some sites require you to do so many things just to earn a $5 check that it's not worth it. If I can't fit the site's requirements into my busy day, I'm not joining it. Below are the sites that are super easy to join & make it super easy to save money.
ThredUp is an online consignment store. You can send in your kids' outgrown clothes to earn credit towards your future purchases (shipping to them is free) &/or buy nice, used clothing items for your kids. Click here: ThredUp link to get a $10 credit & free shipping on your first order. I got 2 skirts for my 9 year old for a total of 78 cents after my first-time credit. Minimum order of only $10 needed for that $10 credit to be used. *Note: there seems to be a glitch in their system because some people get the free shipping along with the $10 credit (I did) & some people are receiving coupons for one or the other. Shipping is only $6.95 on a small order so you can get a couple items for the price of shipping or get a large order (where shipping costs more) & save on shipping. Either way, it's a great way to save money on kid clothes.
Ebates is a site that you shop through in order to get a rebate check on all your purchases. Click here: Ebates link to get a $5.00 bonus. All you have to do is search their site for a store you want to shop at, click their link, & you get $$ back from your purchases. Example: I want to buy some sheets at Target so I go to Ebates, put Target.com in their search bar at the top. When Target pops up, I click on the little button that says "shop now" & a new window pops up for Target.com. I place my order as I would any other time I shop. Within a few days, my Ebates account is credited for whatever percentage (Target is 2%, but they go all the way up to 50%+ for some stores) I earned on that shopping trip. Checks are mailed out on a 3-month schedule. I always use Ebates for online shopping & I get some pretty nice checks sent to me. It's easier than a rebate because you don't have to mail in a rebate form, keep track of receipts, make sure you follow all the rules for the rebate, & pay for a stamp to mail in the rebate. I even earned $7 when I signed up for Weight Watchers.
InBoxDollars is a survey/email site. Click here: InBoxDollars.com to sign up. You can watch videos, click on emails, & answer surveys to get paid. I use an alternative email to keep the spam out of my regular inbox. In the first 2 days after I signed up, I made $10.44 just by answering surveys (they send you surveys based on the household questions you answer when you sign up, so be honest), watching videos, & clicking on the emails. I click on the emails while I'm watching TV. Super easy. You can request a check to be sent to you once you reach $30.00.
MyPoints is pretty much a combination of InBoxDollars & Ebates. You earn points for each shopping trip, so you do the same thing when you shop as you do for Ebates. You can also sign up for their emails which earns you 5 points for every time you click on an email. They also have surveys to earn points on. The only difference is that you cash in your points for gift cards instead of checks. Some years I have cashed in my MyPoints for gift cards to use as Christmas gifts. When you sign up for MyPoints using this link, you get a $5 bonus once you make your first purchase of $20: MyPoints link.
VitaCost.com is full of everything you could need for your health. Click here: VitaCost link to get a $10 sign-up bonus. There is no minimum to use the $10 credit. I got my first order for just the cost of shipping, which was $4.99.
VitaCost is also one of the stores that is on Ebates & on MyPoints. If you sign up for either/both of those & then shop at VitaCost through Ebates or MyPoints, you will not only get $10, you will earn some of your order back in check or points form.
DrugStore.com is another one that you can earn points or a check through MyPoints or Ebates when you shop. In addition to those incentives, you also gives 5% back in the form of DrugStore.com credit to use on a future order. They also have free shipping on orders over $25.00. By shopping at DrugStore.com for items I would normally buy at Walmart or Target, I earn points or cash back plus 5% to use on my next order. Since there's free shipping on an order of $25.00, it comes out to great savings.
No matter where I shop online, I search for promo or coupon codes for that store at RetailMeNot.com. Very rarely is there not a coupon; there are so many promo codes out there. RetailMeNot is the best & largest database for online coupons that I've found. I frequently get free shipping & free items with promo codes I find, on top of Ebates & MyPoints bonuses.
I also have a couponing technique that took me a few months to perfect. I will share those tips in another post.
The sites that I've shared in this post obviously won't earn you an income to feed your family off of, but they help you to put a nice sized portion of your existing bills back into your pocket.