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You know what my least favorite mama thing to do is? Budgeting! Oh lord how I hate looking over that spreadsheet every week! I mean spending money is not a problem. Making the money is amazing! Budgeting…sucks ass! It is seriously the one thing that makes adulting not always fun! (Well...that and shitty exes - but that's a totally different post, for different day!)
As a mama, married or single, cutting expenses is essential to running a successful household! Anyone with kiddos ranging from, oh…somewhere between 0 and 25 years old, knows these tiny, and not so tiny, humans can EAT!
One of the best ways to reduce expenses is to cut your grocery bill. But, honestly, how do you do that? Food costs what it costs (not to mention that cost continuously rises), and your family has to eat what they need to eat.
Sure, you can buy cheaper foods. However, they might be of lesser quality and full of sugar, fillers and preservatives that lead to unhealthy habits, in turn leading to health issues. Not to mention most of the time we end up eating more of these foods because they don’t fill us up as long.
So, as Mama’s we have to decide what are we willing to trade off here? Is it better to buy cheap, but then end up spending more because we eat more, or possibly run into health problems? Or is it better to buy the more expensive, fresh products and probably spend more up front?
In our house, we 100% absolutely love our sweets and snacks! So, I’m not even going to tell you a story about how we eat only the best, clean and carb free! We don’t. For heaven’s sake, my blog is called The Tipsy Mama! Do you know how many carbs a bottle of wine has in it?
Yeah, I said bottle. Surely I’m not the only one that can polish one (two on a bad day) of those bad boys off by myself? If you shook your head with a “MmmHmm…I know it girl”… we need to be friends, yesterday! But, I digress...
While we don’t have a stellar diet, I do make sure we eat as many whole foods (not processed) as possible, along with our snacks, pastas, pizzas and “adult” beverages! But geez, that can get expensive! Oh, and I forgot to mention, I also run a daycare so I feed 7 other families little people, 2 healthy meals and 2 mostly healthy snacks, 5 days a week! And I do it all for less than $150 per week. So, how do I cut down our grocery bill?
One way is Apps! (If we become friends I'll tell you all the other ways too!) Ok, ok…I know. Technology is starting to take over everything, but one place I LOVE it is when I’m grocery shopping. The following apps (that I now use every time I shop and eat out…and even when I book travel), downloaded straight to your phone, will save you some serious moolah every month! Actually, they don’t just save you money, these apps put the cash right back into your wallet!
ibotta is absolutely my go to app for groceries and more! It is sooo easy! All you have to do is sign up for an account (you can do that by clicking here) and download the app to your iPhone/Android phone and then choose, and add, the products you plan to buy. Once you have made your purchases, you scan or take a picture of your full receipt and within 24 hours they will add the rebate total to your account.
Once you reach at least $20 you can cash out by either choosing to have your $$ deposited right into your bank account or you can choose to receive a digital gift card from lots of different stores and restaurants!
Recently I learned that ibotta isn’t JUST for groceries (hence the “and more” above)! You can also book hotels and flights through the app and get cash back once those purchases are completed, and find cash back offers for online shopping at places like Ulta.com, Sephora.com, Etsy, and even restaurants!
When you sign up by clicking here (or any other ibotta link/picture in this post) you'll get a $10 cash bonus for FREE once you complete your first uploaded receipt. That’s $10 PLUS whatever rebates were on your receipt!
So far, in 30 days I have earned a total of $13.83.
We'll tally all this up at the end and see if it's all worth it. (Spoiler alert - It is!!)
Checkout 51 works pretty much just like ibotta does. Again, you sign up for an account, download the app, choose the products you want to add to your list, and then scan (take a picture of) your receipt. Checkout 51 is strictly for grocery items, but they do also have a weekly contest where one user win’s $500! All you have to do is add the contest “item” and then take a picture of your receipt of at least $60 each week and you’re automatically entered.
Again, you can cash out when you reach at least $20 and you can receive your $$ either by check or by distribution through an approved 3rd party electronic payment method, such as PayPal. You can signup for an account by clicking here!
So far, in 30 days I have earned a total of $7.01 with Checkout 51.
Dosh is the same kind of concept, but a little different in that there are no receipts to be uploaded. All you do is link your debit/credit cards to your Dosh account, in the app, and as you shop at the stores (online or in store) or eat at the restaurants, listed in the app, using one of the debit/credit cards you have linked to your account, Dosh will automatically add the cash into your account!
Once you reach $15 you can cash out and have the money deposited directly into your checking account. For example, if you eat at Papa John’s (and pay with a linked card) you’ll get 5% cash back. Get your oil changed at Jiffy Lube you’ll get 10% cash back!
Dosh also has travel deals, much like ibotta. Again, all you need do is book your hotel through the app, pay for your stay with one of your linked debit/credit cards and they will add the money into your account!
As an example, I checked to see what a hotel in downtown Tampa, FL would get me. If I chose to stay at the Hilton, Tampa Downtown for two nights, I would receive $55 cash back total! In addition, for my first hotel booking I’ll get an additional $25 on top of that as a bonus!
Not too bad for items and trips you are going to buy anyway, huh? Sign up by clicking here (or on any other Dosh link/picture in this post) and get a $5 bonus (free extra cash) on top of your first cash back offer!
So far, in 30 days I have earned a total of $7.00 with Dosh.
Walmart Savings Catcher is the only app that is store specific, but if you shop at Walmart even a few times a month it is well worth downloading!
Once the app is downloaded, to your iPhone/Android phone, you can scan up to 7 receipts each week into the app. In this app it is simply done by scanning the QR code at the bottom of your receipt and then hitting the submit button. They take it from there!
Walmart will verify every item you purchased against the prices you would have paid at other stores in your area. This comparison can take up to 3 days, but once they are finished you will get a notification/email letting you know the results. If their prices are cheaper - YOU WIN! Walmart will give you the difference in an electronic Walmart gift card (in your Walmart Pay wallet) that you can use on future shopping trips.
If you pair this with the Walmart To Go service (you order online, they bring it right to your car), don't forget to ask them to give you a paper receipt so you can scan it into ibotta and Checkout 51. You will automatically get an email receipt, but the paper receipt is so much easier to scan in! You can put this request into the "Special Requests" spot when you place your order! Click here to use Walmart To Go and get $10 off your first order!
So far, in 30 days I have earned a total of $19.38 with Walmart Savings Catcher, and LOTS of time with Walmart To Go!
My Totals for 30 days of using these apps, as often as I could remember:
ibotta - $13.83
Checkout 51 - $7.01
Dosh - $7.00
Walmart Savings Catcher - $19.38
Walmart To Go - Countless hours!
Total for the first month in 2018 - $47.22
That total is definitely worth spending five minutes after every shopping trip scanning my receipts in! That's almost $600 a year in savings on things I'm already planning to buy, and this is my first month semi-consistently using them. I'm excited to see how much more I'll average each month as I become better ,and more consistent, at using these apps!
Wait! Just a few tips to make sure you get the most $$ possible:
Now get out there Mama! Get your shop on and save that moolah!!
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I'm a mama of three crazy, hilarious, amazing kids and the owner of an in home daycare for over 11 years.