Self Reflection, Self-discovery, Uncategorized, Write

Smart Spending; Common Tips to Stretch that Dollar

The following is a review of products and/or services that I do not have an affiliation with nor receiving any compensation or endorsement.  These are my own personal views and findings.

We all work extremely hard to provide some level of comfort and stability in our lives. We sacrifice time, energy, and often our health for our careers.   In the past several years I have learned many lessons concerning money, happiness, and priorities, but one thing I was shocked to learn about myself – I love bargains and saving money.  If I must work, then I want to get the most bang out of every one of my dollars.

Once I became a single mother of two teenagers. I had to be quite cognizant of keeping a budget and staying ahead of the financial game.  I was always looking six months down the road and anticipating any upcoming expenses.  I would save any way I could, whether it was a hidden drawer where I threw extra change, stash away all my one-dollar bills, or adding a little extra to my savings account whenever possible.  I am thankful I never had to go without, but I worked extremely hard and was diligent in trying to develop and grow my career, and keep the money flowing. Neither of my kids really felt any major change in lifestyle, but they did become more aware of the strategy and dedication it took to run a household.  When I lost my job of 11 years, that was an eye opener for everyone.  Fortunately, I was prepared and was only unemployed a short time before finding another opportunity.  They quickly learned that money did not grow on trees and that once it is gone, it is gone.  If nothing else, my single parenthood taught them to work hard, save, and realize the value of every dollar earned.

Now that my youngest is getting ready for college and my oldest is preparing for graduate or medical school, I am finding ways to help them out and get them ready for their next chapter.  Not to mention, my love for travel is going to require a little extra cheddar as well.   One of my most reliable ways to save is, of course, by putting a designated amount into your savings account weekly. If you do not have one, open one up.  So easy, and if I recall correctly, I believe I only had to deposit $50.00 to start.  Have it automatically transferred from your checking account weekly if possible.  It can be as little as $10.00 a week – whatever you can spare.  Once you get used to it being deducted, you do not even realize it is missing.  I use that as my Christmas money because we all know that damn holiday sneaks up on us like a thief in the night.  December is the month of all together insanity as it tries to send me to the poorhouse and looney bin every year – but that is a topic for another day.

There is always the tried and true method of couponing.  I do use coupons whenever possible, but only if it is for an item I will use.  I do not purchase anything just because I have a coupon, or it is a good deal.  If I do not need it our use it, then it is a waste of spending.  I do not get caught up in stockpiling unless it is detergent.  Now that is my guilty purge.  I currently have enough detergent for probably the next six months.  Why detergent?  There are always some pretty sweet deals out there and I need to starting buying for myself and two students in the fall.  My son cringes when I return from the store and he sees a bottle in hand.  He looks at me disapprovingly and will say with disgust, “Mom, stop it!” Hey, if I have a good coupon, it is getting bought.  He won’t be complaining next fall when he is washing his clothes and has more detergent than he knows what to do with. He will be thanking me then.

My third and favorite way is using rebate app such as Rakuten or Ibotta.  I currently use Ibotta and I LOVE it!  I opened my account in November and I have made over $100.00 in rebates.  I encourage everyone to open an account with one of these apps.  It is free, fun, and there are tons of opportunity to earn cash back.  Once you hit $20.00 you can cash out to a PayPal or Venmo account or for a gift card to at least 20 different stores.  Each time I get to $30.00 I transfer it to a gift card for the grocer I frequent because that is where I find myself spending of a large amount of my money.   Again, the key to saving money is to only spend on items that you need or will use.  To make a purchase because there is a great rebate is an awesome feeling, but if you are not going to use it, then you are still out of the money even if purchased at discount versus not purchasing it at all.

There is one other saving tool I use and recommend – that is Honey. I do not have too much feedback as a consumer as I just I installed it on my computer a few months ago.  Honey is a browser extension that searches for the best coupon codes at checkout while online shopping.  I have no complaints and it saved me money in a recent purchase by finding a coupon code I did not have at time of check out.  If you are interested, please check out www.joinhoney.com for additional details.

Honestly, when it comes down to it, no matter if you have thousands in the bank or are living paycheck to paycheck,  we all love a good deal and feel better when a purchase is made knowing we saved some of that hard earned cash.  It is about getting the most bang for your buck and finding ways to accomplish yours dreams.  If you enjoyed what you read or if you have any cost saving tips or websites, please feel free to comment below and share.  Until next time, keep it honest and keep living your best life.

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© Honestly by Ellen Good 2020

All posts and content on this blog is the works of honestylybyellengood.com and @honestlybyellengood.  Unauthorized use and/ or duplication of this material without the express and written permission of the author is strictly not allowed.  You may use excerpts and links or reblogs of this material provided that complete and clear credit is given to @honestlybyellengood and with clear directions to the original content.

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