Ask Southern: Saving Money as a Busy Working Mom

I have had several of you ask questions about how we save money or how we shop, and I have a steadfast rule – it has to be easy and quick or I am not going to do it.  I just don’t have time.  So here are the easy things we do.

  1. Ebates  – This is a NO brainer.  You get cash back for stores you are already going to shop at.  They had 10% cash back at Ralph Lauren yesterday and I combined this with the sale they were having and already pre-ordered the kids Easter outfits in addition to saving $75 and getting Free Shipping, I am getting 10% back of what I spent.  You just go to Ebates and then follow the link to your store of choice.  Amazon, Target,Gap, Nordstrom, and 1,800 more stores are participating.
  2. Ibotta – I use this for grocery shopping.  I have the app on my cell phone, and after I make my grocery list, I check to see if anything I am buying has a cash rebate.  To unlock it sometimes they play a short video other times you answer a question.  It takes a total of 5 minutes. My grocery store is a preferred partner, so I loaded my loyalty card number and it knows what I purchased.  It also works at Target and some of the drug stores (you just have to take a photo of your receipt.)  You get $10 just for signing up and can cash out after $20.00.
  3. Target
    • Red Card  – If you shop at Target, you need a Red Card. It saves you 5% on Everything and you don’t need to keep receipts for returns.
    • Cartwheel – The super savvy go through their shopping list and search for items on it. I do this half the time, and the other half I use the app to scan my items as I am loading them on the belt to check out. I save about $100 (not counting the additional 5% from my Red Card).
    • Pay attention to the signs in the store – I watch for when the diapers are buy 2 get a gift card for $10+. If you are savvy, you can combine that with their $20 off $100 baby coupon.  When I first had Baby #2, I would buy 4 big boxes – get $20 for a future purchase and save $20 plus my 5% Red Card. This is the closest I will ever get to couponing.
  4. Credit Card Rewards – Don’t be afraid of them, if you can pay it off. Pottery Barn has a new to the area coupon they send out that is usually 10% off any purchase. (If you didn’t get one, just ask at the store and they will honor it)  They offer 10% back in rewards on their card.  When we moved and wanted new furniture, we opened a card and used our 10% off coupon and then spent enough to get 4 free barstools and linens for our dining room table.  We immediately paid it off so we didn’t have interest, but got a great deal.  The Disney Credit Card is the same thing – if you open it and put your trip on it you can earn enough cash back to pay for your meals.

For more ideas, check out my article on finding money with two little ones here.

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