Money Saving Mamas: Ebates

If you’re an online shopper (which if you’re a mom, let’s face it, online shopping is life) and you’re not using Ebates then we’re about to change your life!

We do a lot of online shopping! Being a mom is exhausting and you may not have a lot of free time to be out shopping. So online shopping whether during a late night feeding or waiting for your kid at the bus stop is a life saver. Ebates is a great way to make those online deals just a little bit sweeter by paying you cash back, literally cold hard cash, for shopping through their links!

Here’s how it works:
Log on and create an Ebates account. Once you do that you can can activate cash back two ways. The first option is you can go to directly to the site,  search for the store you’re shopping at and click through from Ebates. The second option is you can install the Ebates cash back button for your internet browser. We both like the second option because what can happen is that you forget to click the links through Ebates first.  So anytime you visit a site eligible for Ebates cash back it will create a pop up that asks if you want to activate your cash back – super easy!

We also recommend checking out their mobile app. They do promos like Mobile Mondays! On Mondays (and other holidays) by shopping through the app instead of the computer links, some stores will offer higher percentages of cash back. This is awesome! Particularly during the holidays when it happens all the time.

You can also earn bonuses for referring friends- they get money and so do you! It’s a win win all around.

This has totally changed the way we online shop. To be honest, we get more than a little sad when we see 0% cash back on a store. 😭! To date, after almost two years Emily has made $426.24 and Sherrie has made $258.55! Are you an Ebates user? If not, you will be now! Ready to get started? Join us here or here!

Get Paid to Shop with Ebates!”</div>
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Money Saving Mamas: Ibotta

Saving money and couponing in this day in age is definitely at least half digital! There are so many apps out there to increase your savings. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing our favorites!

One app that we both love is Ibotta. This is a rebate app that works at multiple stores. The rebates rotate, but essentially, you make an account with your Facebook  and it will automatically puts you on a “team” of your friends.

Then, you shop the listed stores and buy the items there are rebates for. When you get home, you verify the rebates by scanning the barcode and uploading an image of your receipt. It is that simple.

Within a few hours you are credited the amount of the rebate! It accumulates in a bank and when you hit $20 you can cash out either via a gift card or directly into a PayPal account.

Every month there are team bonuses where you’ll get extra savings for redeeming a certain number of rebates and money value within your team.  Additionally, some brands have bonuses where you can earn an extra $1 or $2 for completing them!

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What we love about Ibotta is that it is not just grocery stores,  there is also rebates for retail stores too. For example, the craft store Joann’s (and you know we love our craft stores!) occasionally pops up as a rebate!

Ibotta Joann Rebate

Since this is money already spent, you can use this money as a savings plan. Emily was putting all her savings into Madeline’s college fund,  but they recently decided they want to take a family trip to Disney. She saves up to buy Disney gift cards from Target  where she also saves an additional 5% with her red card! Sherrie and Matt put their savings towards paying down their student loan debt. Every little bit helps!

Want to get started? Join our teams! Either use this link or this one to create your own account and start saving! FYM Emily has saved $434.10 with this app alone in the last two years and Sherrie has saved $107.10 over the last 6 months! What are you waiting for?!

Get Started Saving Money with Ibotta!”</div>
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Clynk Bottle Redemption

Products We Love: CLYNK

With Earth Day this past weekend, we thought we’d feature a new company that we love: Clynk! Bringing back cans and bottles is awesome, not just because it’s good for the environment but because it gives you your money back (and we’re all about saving money!).  That being said, we HATE doing it.  When are moms  supposed to find time either without your kids (sorry, but if we have free time we’ll be at target, in leggings, sipping Starbucks) or with them in tow (forget about it!) to stand there and enter all those cans and bottles into the machines?! You can imagine, that’s not likely to happen when they are little.

Then we discovered CLYNK! The way this program works is you sign up, either online on your computer or mobile phone or at your local Clynk Kiosk. They will mail a card for your keys and wallet as well your unique barcode stickers that are linked to your account. Go to your local Hannaford and get special green bags (you’ll receive a coupon for a free box when you sign up!).

Clynk Bottle Redemption Clynk

While you’re home you fill up the green bags with your bottles. Once it’s full (or you reach the max line if it’s glass) you tie it up and put your account barcode sticker on each bag. At your local store, there will be a CLYNK kiosk where you simply just drop off your bags!

The refund is automatically placed on to your account which you can review online. Once you reach an amount you want, you can cash out at your kiosk!

We love that we can recycle in such an easy way! When you have kids a lot of the things you did before fall by the wayside. But happily, thanks to Clynk– recycling and saving money doesn’t have to!

Sherrie &amp; Emily

Extreme Couponing

Money Saving Mamas: Extreme Couponing

If there’s one thing that we love it’s saving money! With three kids between the two of us we certainly know how expensive life can be. We started couponing a few years ago and while we’ve certainly scaled back in some areas, we are still hunting the best deals!

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of our favorite apps to help you save! In the meantime, we wanted to share our top ten tips for Extreme Couponing: Mom Style.

#10: Consolidate Stores

As a mom, time is precious. Before kids we’d make multiple runs a week to as many as five stores. That’s just not realistic anymore. Forget the fact that we don’t have that kind of time, imagine getting your kids in and out of their car seats that many times, no thank you!

#9: Start a Stockpile

We can’t even explain how important this is. I can’t imagine what I would do if we ran out of diapers, paper towels, or toilet paper! Luckily, we don’t have to find out!! When they’re free (or really cheap) stock up on the items you use frequently. While storing these things may be annoying it is worth it in the long run for convenience and cost savings.

#8: Forget Brand Loyalty

With the exception of very few items, we don’t necessarily always buy the same brand. Being open and flexible allows you to save the most money. A salsa in one brand may be free, while another could be $4! We’ll take free please!

#7: Set Your Max Prices

How do you know you’re getting a good deal? You won’t unless you set some thresholds, there are certain things we just refuse to pay for, like shampoo. But there are other items we are willing to spend money on, but not a lot. For example, Emily prefers not to pay for coffee, but she’ll pay up to $1.49/lb.

#6: Meal Plan

Meal planning may not seem like it relates to couponing but it sure does! It’s not enough to look at the sales for the week, if you can create meals with what you have in your stockpile/freezer and then replace those items with the sales from that week- you’re always going to find that you save money.  It also doesn’t hurt to meal plan so that you’re not left scrambling and then end up ordering takeout!

#5: Shop the Sales

This shouldn’t need to be said, but shop the sales when they happen. If there’s a great deal on a ham before a holiday, but you’re not going to be home, get it anyway and freeze it. You can always use it and you may not see that sale again.

#4: Clip Coupons

Gone are the days where coupons only came in the Sunday paper. While you may still want to buy one (or 4) newspapers there are so many other places to get coupons. Try printing some from coupons.com, Red Plum, Smart Source, or even many manufacturers websites. We use a coupon database and check for coupons for every item before shopping!

printable coupons

Print coupons for your groceries and household items from coupons.com

#3: Rewards Programs

It pays to be a member! You know we love programs like Pampers Rewards, but did you know there are other rewards programs? One of our favorites is Kellogg’s family rewards.  You just link your grocery store card and you accumulate points for buying their brands. You can cash those points in for coupons!

Kellogg's Rewards Coupons

Rack up points for buying Kellogg’s products that you can turn into more coupons!

#2: Use Your Store Loyalty Card

Your store loyalty card is super important! For many stores, like Price Chopper or Shoprite, not only do you get sale pricing with your card, but many have e-coupons that you can add and stack with your paper coupons. That’s an easy extra savings!  And places like Target have debit cards linked to your checking account (Red Card) that doesn’t hurt your credit AND saves you an extra 5%!

Shoprite Digital Coupons

Add digital savings to your card with Shoprite’s Digital Coupon Center

#1: Stack It Up!

We always say, don’t just use one coupon! Know your stores coupon policy and use as many coupons as you can- that may mean a paper coupon, an ecoupon, a sale and a rebate through one of many available couponing apps. Check out our favorites in the next few weeks as we highlight them!

Couponing does really does pay off- we’ve saved thousands each year and are able to do so many more things for our families! You can put it towards your savings, family vacations, date nights, whatever you want! How do you save your family money?

Sherrie &amp; Emily

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Baby’s First Bank Account: Saving for the Future

Not long after Madeline was born, Mike and I were thinking about all of the expenses that would be incurred over her life, not the least of which is college.  Having both had student loans, we really felt like we’d like to be able to afford to send Madeline to college and not saddle her with the burden of student loan debt as she starts out her adult life.  That being said, this is easier said than done! Particularly with the rising costs of higher education in our country.  We didn’t want her to feel like she either needed to qualify for scholarships or take out student loans, so we came up with a unique plan to start saving for her.

New York State, where we live, has some great savings programs when it comes to college. We chose to open a 529 account for her, these are account that most states sponsor (so if you’re interested check your state’s websites for more information).  The beauty of this is that the money you put in is not only a tax deduction for you (wahoo!), but also not subject to income tax when it’s withdrawn in the future (for qualified expenses).  Once you’ve opened your account in your child’s name, you can then start to deposit money and invest it so that it (hopefully) grows.  *It is important to know, there is a management charge for these types of accounts, in New York State it’s $1.60/year for every $1000 you invest.

Like anything else, you can defer pre-tax money in your paychecks to this account.  I however, chose a different path for the first year of Madeline’s life.  Having a baby comes with a lot of expenses (you certainly don’t need us to tell you that!) Between diapers, doctors appointments, formula, daycare, clothes, etc. it can certainly add up quickly.  So the idea of deferring additional money from our weekly checks into this account just wasn’t going to work in our budget.  Then, I had a thought (that I thought was genius)!

One of the ways in which I keep costs down in our family is through couponing.  As you’ve seen with our diaper stockpile post, we’ve found a lot of ways to coupon and save money.  One of the biggest ways that I coupon is through different cash back apps including (but not limited to!) Ebates, Savingstar, Ibotta, Checkout51, and Find&Save.  All of these are mobile apps that pay you cash back for purchasing specific items or at specific stores.  Prior to Madeline’s arrival, I always just sent the deposits to my bank account, and because they come in various increments, sometimes as small as $5, typically I spent them without thinking twice about it. That’s when this plan really came to fruition.  Instead of depositing them into my checking account- I started to deposit them into a separate savings account for Madeline.  I didn’t miss them in my checking account because I never counted on them anyway. After two weeks of testing this, I was surprised to find that I had accumulated just shy of $86 into her savings account.  So now, monthly, I deposit that savings into her NY 529 account and invest it.  It’s a small way to start saving for her, without putting a strain on our budget, we don’t even notice we’re doing it!

Do you have creative ways to save for your little ones? We want to hear about them!

Emily signature

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Disney Movie Club!

Did I mention I’m a Disney freak? I’ve known about the Disney Movie Club for a while but had never felt the need to join it until recently.  If you’re unaware of what it is, basically it’s a club membership, like a BJs or a Costco, but for all things Disney movies.  Instead of paying a membership fee, you have to purchase a specific number of movies from the Disney Movie Club, in this case you have to purchase 6 within 24 months of signing up.  Now that I have a baby, it’s a good excuse to buy more of my favorite movies!  I knew we would buy 6 movies in 2 years!  Plus, they sell them at a discounted rate.

I signed up with a promotion.  If you signed up at that time, you got 4 movies from a selected list for $1.  Then you had discounted pricing on two others (those two count towards the 6 you need to purchase).  Being a couponer, I couldn’t pass up this deal as it’s a lot cheaper than many Disney movies in the stores.  I ordered 5 of my favorites.

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Then I had to order Brave for my hubby (he has a crush on Merida.)

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What I love about this club is that, not only are you saving money on movies you’re probably going to purchase anyway, but they have movies you are not going to find anywhere else.  Disney releases their movies on a timed schedule over a number of years. They come out of the “Disney Vault” for select periods of time and are only released a few times.  For instance, I own the platinum edition of Beauty and the Beast that came out a few years ago.  It will be released one more time, as a diamond edition before it is locked away in the vault forever (or so they say to scare you!).  So some of those older classic titles I wanted to get my hands on.

As a small child some of my favorite VHS tapes to watch (I know, I’m dating myself here) were the Disney Sing-A-Long Songs.  I had them all, and I would follow along with the bouncing ball across the lyrics at the bottom of the screen until I had them memorized, and even then, I’d still watch them.  I really wanted Madeline to grow up and experience this, but could not find them anywhere on DVD.  I was so pleasantly surprised to see they were in the Disney Movie Club! Rest assured, I’ll be purchasing them all.

Sing a long songs

I noticed as well when my DVDs arrived in the mail recently they all have codes for Disney Movie Rewards.  So this is a win, win! Not only am I saving on my favorite movies, I’m racking up the points in the process!

If you’re a Disney freak like me, you will want to join the club! Why? “Because we love it!” (see what I did there, with the Mickey Mouse Club reference 🙂 ) Seriously though, this is a great club and great idea for those of you who are still kids at heart and can’t get enough of all things Disney.

Emily signature

Disney Movie Rewards!

Recently, I stumbled across this great rewards program.  I consider myself to be, what some people would call, a Disney freak.  Mike and I actually honeymooned at Walt Disney World.

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For the past five years or so, I’ve been visiting Disney World at least once a year.  I can’t wait to take Madeline! So even when I didn’t know about this rewards program, it was a shock! Rest assured, I have rectified the situation and am now a member.

Essentially, this is a rewards program that rewards you for buying and seeing Disney movies!  Whether you purchase a DVD/Blu-ray or you see a movie in the movie theaters, you can earn different amounts of points by entering in codes found in the movies.

  Once you’ve accumulated enough points you can redeem them for Disney merchandise, retail gift cards, Disney experiences, and of course more Disney movies!

What I didn’t realize is that this program has been in existence for quite some time.  When I joined, I immediately pulled all of my Disney DVDs off the shelf to see if they had codes on them.  Sure enough three of my movies did, and I had purchased them as far back as 6-8 years! I was excited to have some points! As Madeline grows, I am excited to add to our Disney movie collection. After all, I’m sure she will love Disney as much as I do and think she’s a Disney Princess!  I’ll be racking up the points since  I’ve got my eye on the private studio tour of Disney Studios for 4 people- it’s 15,000 points.

Are you a Disney freak like me? Or maybe you just have multiple kids and see/own a lot of Disney movies?  If so, you should be a member! It’s so easy and it saves money in the long run- so why not? Join me here.

Emily signature

Pampers Rewards: Why We Love It!

As couponers and money saving mommy’s we love rewards programs, but one of our favorites is Pampers Rewards! We both love and use Pampers diapers – our favorite style is swaddlers & cruisers! Pampers offers a  Rewards Program that is super easy and the rewards are awesome. If you’re not signed up or don’t know what this program is, you can check it out here!

Here is the lowdown:
You go and create an account on the Pampers website. When you purchase any Pampers brand wipes or diapers there is a code on the packaging. You then enter the code on your computer or their mobile app and it gives you a certain number of points depending on the size of the package.  There is no fee for this program, you simply just have to  buy Pampers diapers or wipes.

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Code not valid, for demonstration purposes only.

Your points accumulate and you redeem them for rewards. These rewards range from coupons to gift cards to books to toys or even a play kitchen that Sherrie is holding out for!

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How easy is that?! If you’re a Pampers family like us you have to take advantage of this awesome program. We love Pampers and this rewards program just makes it even better!

Sherrie &amp; Emily