04 Oct

Earn $5 Amazon Credit Instantly

Earn $5 Amazon Credit

Want to earn the easiest $5 you’ve ever made? (Not counting all those times your dad shoved money into your hands when your mom wasn’t looking.) To promote their mobile app, Amazon is offering a $5 credit for new app users who sign up through a friend’s referral code. And it just so happens that we’re friends! Or at least we are now. Wouldn’t you want to be friends with someone who gave you $5?

Visit this Amazon App link on your mobile phone to download the app and earn your money.

The Fine Print

To save you the hassle of reading through the Terms & Conditions, here are the most important requirements for receiving your $5:

  • You must be a new app user who hasn’t made a purchase through the Amazon app in the last 12 months and who hasn’t already received this promotional offer.
  • You will need to install the latest version of the Amazon App and verify your phone number.
  • $5 promotional credit applies to orders of $10 or more.
  • Only items sold by Amazon.com are eligible. Gift cards are excluded. Amazon may exclude other products at their discretion. Buyer pays any applicable shipping, handling, and tax costs.
  • Cannot be combined with other offers.
  • Valid for 90 days from the date it is added to your account.

Still have questions? See the full Terms & Conditions on Amazon’s website.

21 Sep

How to Save Money at Starbucks 

Save money at Starbucks

1. Bring your own cup for 10 cents off. Sure it’s only 10 cents, but every little bit counts! Not to mention you’ll help reduce the waste of a paper cup. Just make sure your mug is large enough for the size you want!

2. Earn free drinks with the Starbucks rewards program. Membership is free and purchases earn you stars toward free drinks. I get 2 or 3 lattes in an average week and have already redeemed 2 free drinks in just a couple months. Download the smartphone app and link your debit or credit cards (and your spouse’s!) so you’ll still get points no matter what payment method you use. Watch for mobile alerts on special offers that earn bonus stars. Double star day is a great way to earn extra stars on your morning coffee. Plus, you’ll get a free drink for your birthday!

3. Earn $10 with Visa Checkout. While this offer seems to come and go, I’ve used it two different times for an instant $10 gift card. It will be promoted on the website or on the mobile app whenever they run this promotion. If you don’t have a Visa Checkout account you’ll be asked to register and link any Visa card. Then load at least $10 (Starbucks minimum amount) onto your account to score your extra $10.

4. Split a venti with a friend. Craving the same drink order as your hubby or BFF? (Or the stranger behind you in line? Maybe you’ll make a new friend!) Order a venti and pour half into a separate cup. It’s like two tall drinks for less than an actual tall! Plus fewer calories than drinking a single venti and you won’t explode from caffeine overload.

Bonus Tips

If Starbucks isn’t in the budget this week, there are a few alternatives you can try. Making your own lattes costs 1/3 of a Starbucks brew and lets you control exactly what goes into your coffee.

No time to whip up your own drink? McDonald’s offers surprisingly good lattes and frappes with a lower price tag. Just make sure to specify 2% milk to cut back on calories and let them know if you want whip cream added! (The answer is yes, yes you do.)

11 Aug

Earn Money From Your Receipts

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Paper receipts may feel like nothing more than a lot of extra clutter in your purse, but you can turn those currently useless slips into a little extra cash to pad your wallet for your next shopping spree. Here are my current favorite money making services for submitting your shopping receipts:

1. National Consumer Panel

Because you need to scan almost every item you purchase, National Consumer Panel (NCP for short) is not only a great way to earn rewards, but also a good way to track your cash flow. The recent addition of their mobile app makes it easier to track you purchases and lets you redeem your points instantly for gift cards. Surveys and bonus points for submitting at least once a week help you reach your goal faster. We’ve been using the app for a little less than a year so far and just traded in our points for a $25 Amazon gift card.

2. Ibotta & Checkout 51

Ibotta and Checkout 51 are both smartphone apps that offer cash rewards for purchasing certain items. When you reach a certain amount, you can cash out your rewards. Ibotta offers a long list of ever-changing items and I’ve cashed out $40 since I started using them a year ago (I often forget to use it for several weeks so my rewards haven’t grown as quickly as they could). Checkout 51 is similar and I prefer their interface, but for now I’ve given up on them due to a short list of eligible items and not including store brand items on the list. Brand rebates are great if you plan to purchase those items anyway, but often store brand items still have the lowest price.

3. Receipt Hog

I’m new to this one so I can’t say how long it takes to cash out, but Receipt Hog is one of my favorites so far. All you do is take a picture of your receipts and earn reward points or free spins on the prize wheel. No list of eligible products to remember, no barcodes to scan. Just snap a picture and you’re done!

4. Wal-Mart Savings Catcher

Not only do they offer low prices, Wal-Mart will price match competitors and pay you back the difference if you overspend. Every receipt has a barcode and QR code at the bottom. Enter the barcode number online or scan the QR code into the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher app on your smartphone. That’s it! Within a few days any available refunds will be added to your account and when you’re ready you can load them onto a Wal-Mart gift card.

5. Shopkick

While you technically don’t need a receipt for this app, I couldn’t resist mentioning Shopkick. It’s by far the most fun money-making app I’ve used, and you can cash out for gift cards at lower denominations than previous apps, making your rewards feel like they add up faster.

All you need to do is open the app when you’re in an eligible store and you’ll get points for visiting. Scan the barcodes on certain items throughout the store and you’ll receive extra points (and look slightly crazy in the process, but you get used to it eventually). Occasionally certain items offer bonus points for purchasing them (don’t forget to scan the receipt!) but it’s optional. It’s essentially free money for shopping. I often redeem the points for $2 – $5 gift cards at Wal-Mart, Target, or Starbucks to cover my morning latte or pick up a random grocery item for a recipe.

Bonus Tip

A lot of stores and restaurants offer survey opportunities on the bottom or the back of the receipt. Sure it’s time consuming, but you can get free food and entrees to win prizes. Lately I’ve challenged myself to take more receipt surveys to maximize my savings.

If you have a favorite app or tip for maximizing your earnings while shopping, I’d love to hear it! Drop me a line in the comment section.

13 May

Living on One Income: How We’re Cutting Expenses

Living on One Income

Image courtesy of Ppiboon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One thing I realized from being unemployed for over a year is that we cannot survive in our current lifestyle on one salary. My husband’s take home pay of $2,000 a month plus a few hundred dollars (at most) from my various odd jobs doesn’t cut it when our monthly rent alone is $1,092. That’s over 50% of our current income!

We knew we needed to make some major changes if we wanted to have any hope of paying off my massive debts, so we sat down and began identifying the ways we can cut our expenses over the coming months. Our goal is to reduce our most basic, necessary bills enough to cover with one salary. Then when I finally find a job, be it full or part-time, that money can go toward other expenses.

What is a Necessary Expense?

While food, water, and shelter are the three requirements we need to survive, in today’s modern world you need a bit more than that to get by. Our current “necessary” bills are as follows:

  • Rent & Renter’s Insurance
  • Utilities (Power & Water)
  • Internet
  • Cell Phone Plan
  • Car Insurance
  • Health Insurance


28 Apr

5 Minute DIY White Chocolate Mocha Latte

white chocolate mocha latte

Image courtesy of kapongza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I have a confession: white chocolate mocha lattes from Starbucks are my weakness. And the thing is, I don’t even like coffee. But a good latte barely counts as coffee. It’s more like a coffee-flavored shot of caffeine in a glass of steamed milk topped with whipped cream.

Die hard coffee fan or not, anyone who has ever enjoyed a steaming hot (or iced) Starbucks beverage knows how hard it hits your wallet. At over $4 a latte, that works out to $1,460 in lattes if you drank one a day for a year. That is a lot of money to have someone spell your name wrong on a cup.

Thankfully the internet has come to the rescue! Real Housemom’s shared this White Chocolate Mocha Latte recipe that I can personally say tastes like heaven. I never expected to brew up a drink at home that tastes so close to the real deal.