With high college tuition costs, high costs of living and high priced luxury items, it's no secret that everyone is trying to scrape their spare change together to save a few bucks. I often see web advertisements giving tips on how to save money, but it usually involves downloading a phone app you aren't sure works or taking a bunch of surveys that get you nowhere in the end.
There are a few tips I've found helpful in saving money over the years.
Buy a local "save around" coupon book from a school fundraiser.
Not only are you supporting a school and helping a kid do something positive, you're spending some money to save some.
If you look at all the participants in the book, ask yourself how many retailers and services from the book you'd actually use. The local cafe has a buy one get one deal on sandwiches, some chain restaurants offer you five dollars off your bill, some clothing stores give 20 percent off on the overall purchase — and I call all of those winning.
Save receipts that have surveys or coupon codes on them.
We all know that CVS receipts are 10 miles long. Hold on to those coupons and keep them in an accordion folder. Only make those necessary purchases. For example, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has a survey code to get two bucks off of a smoothie if you buy a sandwich. I always order from there, so having those receipts is helpful.
Download the "Survey Mini" app.
Downloading this app actually works, and you can either get coupons or save for a gift card.
When you have your location on, the app can tell when you shop in a store or restaurant. It asks how your experience as a customer was. Then you build up enough points to claim a gift card or coupons of your choice! It does take a while to build up reward points, but the more you go out and shop, the easier it gets.
Download Indeed's "Job Search" app.
If you come across any sign that says "we're hiring," or if you live in a major city, this is the app you need!
All they want you to do is take a clear photo of the "Help Wanted" sign and another photo of the store itself. That's it! You earn points based on how good the pictures are. Stores that are privately owned give you the most points.
Those points can be used to redeem an Amazon gift card. I do advise anyone who downloads the app to read the terms and conditions. If you submit the same sign over and over, it may disqualify you from getting a gift card.
Before buying, ask if this something you really need.
The best thing you can do is logically think for yourself. Any time I am about to feed into my makeup addiction, I remember how many lipsticks and glosses I already have at home. If you've had the lipstick for some time and it's still good, why waste money on more of something you already have?
Have rewards accounts and phone apps for every store you use.
You need a new shower gel and go to Ulta, a store you have been to a thousand times. The cashier asks for your phone number like she usually does, and then she asks if you want to use your reward you just earned. Just like that, you get money off this purchase.
Sometimes, it pays to spend.
Groupon is a life saver.
You planned on trying out this new, trendy restaurant with a friend because everyone has been obsessing over it. A quick Groupon search will show you that if you pay $25 for their voucher, you get $50 worth of food at this place. Sold!
I treated myself to a $60 facial last month that only cost me $30 (I also had to tip her). If you were already giving yourself a spa day and a meal, why not simultaneously save?
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