As much as I say I HATE money, it’s not true. I hate the lack of it and the difficulty of managing a budget, especially living in NYC. But with discipline and the right resources, I’m getting better at it.
I grew up watching my mom dig through a Ziploc bag of coupons at the supermarket and hawk-eye the screen at the register as the cashier rang up each item. She wanted to be sure that the sale prices were being scanned according to the flyer promotion.
I used to feel uncomfortable watching her slow down the line, but as an adult, I’ve learned the value of her making their dollars go the extra mile. There’s a lot more than just paper coupons these days and I figured I’d take the time to share a few resources that might be helpful in making your budget work and bringing in some extra side money.
Because really, who doesn’t need a little extra side money?
- Amazon Reviewer ProgramsThere are a whole bunch of these. Some of them are invite-only and you typically have to have Amazon Prime. My suggestion is review everything you order and add pictures and video when possible. You’d be surprised how companies start e-mailing you when they feel like you’d be a good fit for a product. Two websites you can register for that are not-invite only include www.vipon.com and www.snagshout.com.One of the programs I am a part of is running a Family and Friends referral program at the moment. If you’re interested just shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and say you heard about the program from ME – Nia Thomas. Yes – I get a small bonus for referring people to the program. But it’s a great program. And once you’re signed up you can refer your friends and family too whenever they run the promotion.Some of the items I’ve received from this company include, but are not limited to, a knife sharpener, a bento box, bags of coffee beans, Nespresso refills, watermelon slicer and so on and so forth.
- IbottaThis is an app you download on your phone. Before you go shopping, you open up the app and explore the offers for the stores you are going to. They include a lot of big names stores like BJS, Costco, Target, Walgreens, CVS and more. Buy the products that correspond to the offers for cash back. Redeem by uploading a picture of the receipt and the cash back is uploaded to your account. You can get your cash in the form of electronic gift cards (Amazon, iTunes, Walmart) or via Paypal or Venmo.I joined Ibotta in July of 2016 – a year and a half later the cash back has added up.
If you do decide to join, please use my personal referral and get $10 as a welcome bonus: https://ibotta.com/r/grwhsua
Referral Code: grwhsua
- ParibusAnother app for your phone – Paribus watches for price drops at stores with price adjustment policies and contacts the company on your behalf to acquire any refunds that you are eligible for. I have found it MOST useful for Amazon. When packages are late it keeps track and gets you either a credit or an extension for your Amazon Prime. I’ve gotten not one, not two, but NINE extensions on my amazon prime. That is an extra nine months of free Amazon Prime. Please note, that this will not work if you have two-step verification turned on in your settings.
- EbatesI’ve been on Ebates for almost three years now and I’ve seen it growing in popularity. The other day I just saw a commercial for Ebates! So most of you probably already know about and use it, but if not – or if you are hesitant – take note that Ebates is a reputable and legitimate company that gives you cash back for shopping online. They’ve even added cash back for in-store purchases if you register your cards. Then they send you a check in the mail every three months with all the cash back you’ve accumulated. I’ve made over $500 in cashback in two years. It’s especially useful during the holidays 🙂Join Ebates using my personal referral code and earn a $10 gift card after making your first purchase: https://www.ebates.com/r/SANCHE2850?eeid=28187
- Receipt HogThis is an app for your phone where you can upload any and all receipts (regardless of store or service rendered) and earn “coins” that can be turned in for rewards. Every receipt also gives you turns at a slot where you can win more coins. And on occasion, there are short surveys you can take for more coins. It’s a slow process, not as lucrative as the other apps but I’ve made $70 in the last two years. Every little bit helps if you ask me and all you have to do is take pictures of your receipts.
- Checkout 51A cash back app that gives you offers for products which you then redeem by uploading receipts. Pretty simple and similar to Ibotta – just not as many offers. You need to have $20 in your balance before redeeming via Paypal or Venmo.
- Saving StarThis is not of my favorite apps because I wish it had more offers BUT I keep it on my phone because they consistently have cashback on Shea Moisture products and that’s what we use in our house.
- ShopkickThis app is super easy to use – especially if you allow it to send you notifications. Anytime you are near a store where there is an offer, you walk-in, open the app and earn “kicks” that can later be redeemed for gift cards. It’s that simple and it really works.
- Target App
I’m not an advocate for department credit cards, but if you are going to consider on I highly recommend Target. When you use the Target card you get 5% cash back on ALL purchases (including optical for anyone who has a prescription.) You can combine the use of the card with manufacturer coupons AND target coupons available via the app. The savings really start to add up.
I only buy Groupons when they have 20-25 percent off codes (which BTW is quite often if you pay attention.) Then I go through either Ebates or Ibotta to make the purchase (depending who has a higher cash back rate at the time) to get additional cashback. This makes for great gifts and/or affordable date nights.Sign up using my personal referral link and get $10 in Groupon Bucks: https://www.ebates.com/r/SANCHE2850?eeid=28187