I am no financial advisor, no money-saving expert or debt reduction counselor (if you are one — holler at your girl!) but I AM a mom on a mission to reduce our debt and lighten our financial burden each month, and I am pretty busy. I’m betting you are too which is why I’m sharing with you some quick and easy money saving tips for busy moms.
I have attempted a variety of different avenues for bringing in extra money each month. (PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT ME ASKING ME TO JOIN YOUR MLM. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, STILL EMBARRASSED ABOUT IT) and I’ve found a few things that are legitimately helpful. I’m not gonna try to convince you that money is pouring in via these various income streams; it’s more like a gently babbling brook. . . Or maybe the kind of “drip, drip, drip” of a leaky faucet or an icicle melting in the sun. . . but ya know how those drip, drip drips add up to a puddle over time? That’s kinda what this is like. The little bits of savings here and there are making a difference and they’re little things I can do from time to time in between all of my other responsibilities.
Quick and Easy Money Saving Tips for the Busy Mom
For the sake of time, I’m gonna go ahead and assume you already use Ebates when you shop online and if you don’t…well… you cray!
One of my other fave and super easy to use money-saving / cash back apps is Ibotta. Since I started using this app a year ago, I’ve already saved over $245! I honestly transfer $20 or more into our bank account every 3-4 weeks just from Ibotta alone. We won’t be sending anyone to college on that money, but almost $250 in a year is nothin’ to sneeze at!
Drip . . . Drip . . . Drip. . .
I am not a clipping coupons kind of girl. I wish I was. It’s not that I never use coupons, it’s just that I’ve never been able to get in the habit of clipping them / saving them / remembering to bring them with me on a regular basis (mostly that third one) But Ibotta is great because you don’t have to clip anything and you pretty much always have it with you. And, it’s super easy and actually kinda fun! I’ve made it into a bit of a game, which Ibotta encourages with monthly and weekly bonuses.
The trick to using Ibotta successfully is:
1) Remember to check the app before you go to the store. I spend a couple of minutes in the store parking lot scrolling through the items that are available for cash back before I head into the store. It might seem like you’d save more time just shopping and then checking the app after to see if any of your items match up, but any time I do this I miss opportunities for savings that I would have known about if I had spent a few minutes scrolling before I shopped.
2 ) Don’t buy things you don’t need/want just because there’s a cash back offer. I know this sounds obvious, but I promise you: it’s tempting.
3 )If you DO need something that’s on the app, and you can redeem the cash back offer multiple times (and the item isn’t perishable/you’ll use it before it expires) stock up!
4 ) Check to make sure a different brand wouldn’t be cheaper even after the cash back on the brand being offered on Ibotta. (for example – if there’s an offer for cash back on name brand toothpaste but it would cost you less to just buy the generic brand and skip the cash back on the name brand then you should probably do that.) I know it’s fun to see your savings totals add up but don’t buy something just for that reason!
Okay, hear me out on this next one… Coinstar is legit! I know we’ve all heard what a rip-off it is, but keep reading; I promise it’ll be worth it!
We recently gathered all the change sitting around our house (and cars) collecting dust. To be honest, I WAS going to just turn in the change and ignore the giant fee that Coinstar takes figuring that all those coins weren’t doing much for me anyway. And who has time for rolling coins and standing in line at the bank? Not me! But then as my three year old was happily shoveling our coins into the Coinstar machine I saw that you can choose to get a gift card instead AND that if you choose the gift card option, Coinstar does not keep a percentage of your hard earned money! I remember thinking that the gift card options were probably not for a store I use that often but I tapped the button on the screen anyway just to see. . . Guys! Guess what?! YOU CAN GET AN AMAZON GIFT CARD FROM THE COINSTAR MACHINE! Let me repeat that: YOU CAN TURN IN ALL YOUR LOOSE CHANGE FOR AN AMAZON GIFT CARD!
I know you are as obsessed with Amazon Prime as I am. . . .right?! (If you haven’t tried Prime yet, click the link in my sidebar for a free 30-day trial) The UPS guy is at our door so often I feel like I should invite him in for dinner. Anyway, on our last Coinstar trip, we turned inover $70 dollars in coins for an Amazon gift card! The machine spits out a receipt with your gift card code on it; I immediately entered that code into my account on Amazon. I know there’s no such thing as free money, but this felt pretty darn close! 5 Amazon packages have come to our house in the last couple of weeks (mostly stuff we need…mostly…) and the only charge on my debit card from Amazon was for .76 because the loose change gathering dust paid for it all! So start checking under those couch cushions, in those junk drawers and go through your old purses. . .
Drip. . . Drip . . .Drip . . .
Another way I generate a little extra moolah each month is as a ShareASale affiliate. While this doesn’t bring in a TON of cash (at least not yet) it’s another little thing I can do here and there that adds up over time. Sure, I host a blog that has the potential to be a great avenue for affiliate links, but what I think a lot of people don’t know about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to maintain a blog to be a successful affiliate. You can also pin on Pinterest and other social media accounts…although Pinterest, being visual and a less “spam”-y way to share things you love is usually the best route. Posting affiliate links can be done in little increments throughout the day or whenever you have a littleextra time. Sometimes while I’m watching late night TV, I’m also scrolling through my phone finding links to pin or resources to share on the blog. If you’re going to do this, be sure that you don’t link to just anything. Truly share things you love, that you find useful, that you use often or that you are wishing for. Honestly, learning to effectively use affiliate links could (and should) be a post on it’s own. Here is a great one from Seaside Sundays on How to Use Affiliate Links on Pinterest.
A slightly more time consuming (but not much) additional way I make a few extra dollars each month is by selling things via the LetGo app. This has been especially helpful as the kids are getting older and outgrowing a lot of the “gear” that comes with baby and toddler-hood. I recently sold a Little Tikes wagon, some decorative floor matsand an umbroller we no longer need. But I’ve also been going through the house and listing items that we just don’t use anymore and are taking up space (especially in our garage! Most houses in AZ don’t have basements so garages can get pretty full around here!) I take a few pictures of the items, fill out a brief description and within a week or two, I’ve sold it! I’ve paid for the last few weeks of our son’s hitting lessons for baseball this way. BUT PLEASE, if you are going to sell on LetGo, ONLY meet with people during the day and in super public places (grocery store parking lots are a good option.) If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, don’t meet up with or sell to that person. It’s not worth it. There are of course other avenues for selling things you no longer need that are still in good condition. Resale shops and ebay are especially popular. There’s also a new(ish) online option for selling high-end used clothing called ThredUp. I haven’t used it myself yet, but I hear good things about it.
Online Surveys (ex: Pinecone Research, Swagbucks…)
I debated about including this one here bc I personally feel that surveys are hit or miss for various reasons and they’re often a bit more time consuming. I don’t often have the time to answer a 20-30 minute survey. But I realize that different things work for different people so I decided to include it and because I have had some success in the past with generating extra income via online surveys. Swagbucks has been one of the most helpful, though the most time consuming and can sometimes feel tedious. I’m also signed up with Pinecone Research. I like the length of their surveys and that they tend to want to hear from moms, but they don’t offer as many opportunities as Swagbucks.
These are just a few of the easy ways I save a little extra money each month in between my busy schedule by using apps, websites and other resources that are at my fingertips. In a future post I will share some of the ways we’ve been saving money on fun family activities.
What are some of your favorite quick and easy money saving tips for busy moms? Do you have a favorite app or website you use? Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear about it!