Things I’m obsessed with: Soap.com

soap-comIf you haven’t been to the blog before, or just somehow missed it, I’m someone who doesn’t like to overpay for things. I like a good bargain and I also try to use as few chemicals as possible. I watched “Chemerical” a few years ago, which is this documentary about how your household cleaners and hygiene products are full of chemicals that are harmful to both you and the environment. If you find yourself with an hour and 15 minutes to kill, you should definitely watch it.

20150426_153612After viewing the documentary, I made the choice to begin switching out my cleaning products and hygiene products with all natural options. That led me to Method products. They’re naturally-derived, biodegradable and non-toxic, plus they still work, which is important. I slowly began switching out my toxic cleaners for their non-toxic counterpart. When something would run out, I would replace it with a safer option. As part of that, I found Soap.com.

Soap.com is like an Amazon for household products. In addition to cleaners, they have personal care items, bath and body items, vitamins, grocery items and more. My favorite thing, is that they often run sales where you can get 30 percent off Method products (or other products depending on the sale) by using a promo code at checkout. Plus, and this is the absolute best thing about them, orders over $49 ship free with 1-2 delivery!

20150426_153814To take advantage of the deals, I typically buy all of my cleaning products at one time when the promo code sale is active. I end up spending about $60 for everything (glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, dish soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, kitchen counter cleaner, etc.) and it lasts about 6 months. Granted, we have a household of just two plus our furry family member, but $120 a year for all of our cleaning products is pretty amazing. Now we do buy paper towels, toilet paper and dryer sheets throughout the year, but no actual cleaning products.

Also, I occasionally use Soap.com to hunt down natural and organic sunscreen when they have a sale on it. Have you seen the stuff that’s in sunscreen? Plus, they have obscure gluten-free snacks that aren’t readily available elsewhere. I encourage you to check it out. If you use code GRAC22288 at checkout, you can get 10 percent off your order. Also, I use Ebates (if you don’t have it sign up, you’ll love it!) and they typically have promo codes available as well, plus you get a certain percentage of cash back on your purchase.

Happy cleaning!

This post represents my own experience with Soap.com. I have not been compensated to write this post.

It’s app-solutely fabulous…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve encountered apps. They can be games you play on your phone or maybe your bank has it’s own app or you use a weather app to avoid a Dorothy moment during a big storm. Either way, you’ve used an app or seen an app. What you may not know, however, is that there are apps that can save you money or even make you money and that, my friend, is app-solutely fabulous. 

Behold, my top five money saving, or money making, apps:

Cartwheel

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I can not say enough good things about Target’s Cartwheel app. Using the app, you add offers to your cartwheel which then save you money on the items you’re buying in Target. Your cartwheel app then creates a barcode within the app that gets scanned at the register in the store and the savings come off. It’s pretty amazing. You can find out more about it in my previous “How to Save Money at Target” post.

 

Ibotta

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Ibotta is kind of like an extra coupon on top of your manufacturer and store coupons. Using the app, you perform tasks on offers. The task can be anything from watching a super short video to sharing an item on Facebook. Each task then unlocks a coupon you can use on that item. So let’s say there’s an offer in the app for Heinz ketchup at Target. If I watch a short commercial video about Heinz and also post about in on Facebook I’ll unlock $1.00. I complete my tasks and purchase the product at Target. I then come home, open my Ibotta app, scan the barcode on the ketchup bottle and take a photo of my receipt. Ibotta will then add the $1 to my account. Once I have enough money in my account, I can cash out to my Paypal account. I just earned extra money on the item I was already buying. Plus, Ibotta sometimes offers bonuses in which if you buy a certain item or certain combination of items, you can get extra money added to your account. You definitely want to check this one out. It’s available in the App Store via iPhone or the Play Store for Android.

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Checkout 51

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Checkout 51 works very similar to Ibotta, but usually has different offers. Plus, while the Ibotta offers are valid for up to several weeks, Checkout 51 offers end Wednesdays at midnight with all new offers released Thursdays. Plus, they usually have deals on fresh produce whereas Ibotta doesn’t. Also, with Checkout 51, you don’t have to scan the barcode on the back of the item. You just submit a photo of your receipt which saves you a step and makes things a little easier. Like Ibotta, your money goes into your in-app account until you hit a certain threshold when you can withdraw it. Also like Ibotta, Checkout 51 can be used with manufacturer and store coupons.

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Shopmium

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Shopmium operates much like Ibotta and Checkout 51 in that you purchase a product and then submit proof of that purchase to earn cash back. The money goes into your in-app account and can be withdrawn once you meet the required threshold. Like Ibotta, you have to scan the barcode on the object and also take a picture of the receipt to get your money. Funds can be distributed to your bank account or via Paypal.

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SavingStar

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SavingStar is very similar to the other apps, but with a twist. You add offers to your account in the app and then, like the other apps mentioned in this post, you purchase those products to earn the savings. The twist is that for some stores, you can add your savings card information (think Wegmans, Food Lion, etc.) so that the app automatically tracks your purchase eliminating the need to submit a photo of your receipt. For other stores, you’ll still need to go the traditional route and submit the photo. Also nice about SavingStar is that new offers are added frequently, plus they offer a different item free every Friday. You can add that offer in your app, make the purchase and then get reimbursed for the full amount. Plus, they have a healthy offer each week. As an example, this week’s healthy offer is tomatoes. Buy a tomato and receive 20 percent cash back on your purchase. 

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Perhaps the best thing about all of these apps is that you can use them on top of your in-store savings via sales and clearance prices, plus combine them with manufacturer and store coupons. Every little bit helps!

 

Target Couponing Tips

My name is Gracie and I’m addicted to Target. No, seriously, I really am. I make weekly visits, the free sample ladies know me and offer up extra coupon books…it’s a little crazy.

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Not that crazy…

The real reason I shop at Target, besides the fact the I love it, is I can save some serious money there. How? Let me share some Target Tips:

  • Manufacturer coupons: These are the coupons you find in the Sunday morning paper. You can also find them online at www.coupons.com and occasionally stuck to items in the store.
  • Store coupons: Target is amazing about store coupons. You can print them from home by visiting coupons.target.com. You can also occasionally find them in store on the weekends at the free sample tables (stop by around 11 a.m. because that’s usually when they’re out). You can also get them in the form of Catalinas, which is a coupon that prints at the register. There’s no way to ensure you’ll get a Catalina so think of them as little bonus surprises when you check out. Target store coupons are also available via mobile. Text OFFERS to 827438 to receive coupons as they come out, usually around every two weeks or so.

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How to work the coupons at Target:

  1. Manufacturer coupons and store coupons can be used on the same item. What does this mean? If you have a $1 off one manufacturer coupon and a $1 off one store coupon, you can use both of them on the same item to save $2 off that item. This is important and a great way to get items super cheap. When I have a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon that go together, I paperclip them to each other, that way I won’t forget I have two.

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  1. CARTWHEEL CARTWHEEL CARTWHEEL! If you haven’t already, visit cartwheel.target.com and sign up. Cartwheel is a free mobile app, also available via the web, that allows you to save offers to a list. Those offers saved are added to your personal barcode which is then scanned at checkout to apply the savings. So let’s say you’re buying a pack of Post-Its and you see on Cartwheel an offer for 5% off Post-Its. You would then save that offer to your Cartwheel and have the cashier scan your barcode at checkout to save the 5%. Another note, most Target stores now offer free wi-fi so you can Cartwheel in the store as you’re going down the aisle. The app also has a barcode scanning feature which allows you to scan the barcode of an item to see if any Cartwheel offers match it.target-cartwheel-o
  2. This is important so pay attention. On any one item, you can use a manufacturer coupon, a store coupon (mobile or printed) and Cartwheel. So if we go back to that previous example where you saved $1 with a manufacturer coupon and a $1 with a store coupon, you can then save an additional percentage with Cartwheel if there’s an applicable offer.  There are some limitations to this sometimes. For instance, Proctor & Gamble loves to limit their coupons to four like items in any purchase, so you’re not extreme couponing the Crest. Usually, it isn’t an issue, but it’s always a good idea to have a copy of the store’s coupon policy on hand. I’ve used this on Black Friday for price matching because sometimes you have to (nicely!) educate someone who works in the store. They don’t all know the coupon policy word for word and I don’t expect them to. Target’s coupon policy can be found here.

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Bonus ways to save:

  • On top of your manufacturer coupon, store coupon and Cartwheel offer, you can use your Redcard to save an additional 5% on your purchase. Don’t want a credit card? The Redcard is also available in the form of a debit card that links directly to your checking account.
  • Each reusable bag you use earns you an additional 5 cent savings at checkout. Yes, it’s only 5 cents, but it helps.
  • If you get your prescriptions filled at Target, get a free Pharmacy Rewards Card. For every five prescriptions you fill, Target will send you a bonus 5% off coupon. This coupon can be used on top of your Redcard savings.

Do you see why I love Target now? Other things to remember, please be nice to your cashier and don’t go all Extreme Couponers on them if they have trouble with your coupons. If you’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to you and are much more likely to press that glorious override button to pass that troublesome coupon through.

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Don’t act like this

Also, sign up for some couponing blogs. These blogs are run by super couponers who love to share the deals they find. My personal favorites are Sea of Savings, Freebies 2 Deals and Totally Target. With the last one, the guy usually posts the upcoming Target sales add Friday or Saturday before it’s released on Sunday. This can prove to be very helpful as a new sale begins every Sunday at Target.

Now get out there and save yourself some money.

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An ex-Birchboxer is now riding the Ipsy train…

20140416_230942Last month, I shared my experience with Birchbox (you can read it here). I noted that since I wasn’t loving Birchbox, I was going to take the advice of a few ex-Birchboxers and try out Ipsy. I received my first bag this week, and I’m in love.

First off, Ipsy isn’t a box, it’s a bag. For the same monthly fee as Birchbox, you get a new makeup bag shipped to you each month full of fabulous products. Sounds good right? It is! Like Birchbox, upon subscribing you fill out a questionnaire which helps Ipsy send you products that fit your style and interests. It asks things about your makeup know-how, style, hair color, eye color, etc. It was fairly easy to complete and moved pretty quick so definitely fill it out after signing up so you’ll be more likely to receive the right products for you.

20140416_231026This month’s theme is “Beauty Rocks” so the makeup bag features a vinyl record player. Inside my bag was a sample of Benefit Lollitint (a cheek/lip tint), Cailyn tinted lip balm, a travel size Urban Decay 24/7 eye pencil, City Color white gold shadow and highlight mousse and Kiss eyelashes. I’m obsessed with three out of the five products. I don’t care so much for false eyelashes (ain’t nobody got time for that) and I’m not sure how I’ll do with the white gold shadow/highlight. I’m willing to try it, but it might not be my thing. As a bonus, if you review your products, you can receive Ipsypoints which can redeemed for various products and if you sign on to your online account and check out your Glam Room, Ipsy has worked out deals with retailers so you can find promo codes to get deals on purchasing full sized products. I see some more UD pencils in my future…

20140416_230934Ipsy is shaping up to be much better than Birchbox. I have a new makeup bag, I get to try products that I’ve had my eye on for a while (hello UD eye pencil and Benefit Lollitint) and it just better fits my style. There’s no tea (thank you!) and the samples are bigger, which I like. Who needs a doll-sized sunscreen or itty-bitty eyeshadow pallet? No thanks.

I’ll definitely be sticking around to see what else Ipsy has up its sleeve. Did I mention the mailer they used to send my bag was awesome? It was this shiny, pink metallic foil bag. Love it!

I really encourage you to check out Ipsy. I think you’ll be glad you did.

I was not compensated for this review. It represents my own experience with Birchbox and Ipsy.

Things I’m obsessed with: Ebates

20140226_114650Almost two years ago, I signed up for Ebates and it was quite possibly the best decision ever! Ebates is a company that offers you cash back on your purchases at a more than 1,700 online stores. The stores cover a wide variety of interests and are places that you would be shopping at already–Groupon, Living Social, Target, Walmart, Macys, American Eagle, Sears, Snapfish, Amazon, Kohl’s, etc. Basically, you just go through the Ebates website and click on the store you want to shop at. The link then takes you to that online store where you make your purchase. Ebates then gives you a percentage back on that purchase.

Example: I want to buy some photo books from Snapfish. I visit the Ebates site and click on Snapfish. I design my books and checkout on the Snapfish website. Ebates then gives me 10 percent of my purchase subtotal back. So for a $35.00 purchase, I would get $3.50 added to my Ebates account. Plus, if it’s my first purchase using Ebates, I also get a $10 gift card to one of several stores, including Target and Macys. Bam! I just got cash back on a purchase that I was going to make anyway.

There’s no fee to use Ebates, the cash back is free and you can choose to receive it by check or Paypal transfer. The money is paid out every three months and the cash back percentage varies at each store, but can go up to approximately 25 percent. Plus, they run random deals super often featuring double cash back at various stores.

EbatesI can’t say enough good things about Ebates. It’s like free money on the things you were already buying. Plus, they keep an updated list of promo codes for each store, so like with Kohl’s, you can shop one of their numerous sales, use your promo code to get 15-30% off, get Kohl’s cash on your purchase and get Ebates cash back. Since joining Ebates in June 2012, I’ve received $323.89 via Ebates checks. That’s just cash back on the things I was already going to purchase. It really comes into play around the holidays when I’m doing a lot of the shopping online to avoid the in-store chaos. (Although my husband says I’m a hermit since I’d rather shop online than in store.)

Now if Zulily was one of the stores available via Ebates, I’d really be dangerous.

Update: They have Zulily. Oh gosh. This could get serious. Must step away from the computer…

I was not compensated for this review. I just love Ebates!

Things I’m obsessed with: Zulily

20140310_185025My friends, a monster has been created. I have become full-on addicted to Zulily. I can’t remember who told me about it or if I saw a commercial, but I love it. I’m a coupon, sale-seeking, won’t buy it if it’s not on sale diva and Zulily fits right in with that. If you’re not familiar with it, Zulily is basically a flash sale site. They advertise sales from various merchants usually starting at 6 a.m. pdt (9 a.m. for us East Coasters) lasting about three days. Once the sale ends, they place a bulk order for all the items sold and then ship you your stuff. The great thing is it’s usually at least 40 percent off, if not more. The not so great thing is it takes a little while to receive your order. Because of their process, you can wait, on average, 3-4 weeks to get your stuff. It varies for each sale, but trust me, these deals are worth the wait.

20140310_185443Last month, they had a TOMS sale. TOMS, in case you aren’t familiar with them, are these fun canvas shoes with hundreds of colors and designs. For every pair purchased, a pair is donated to a child in need. They can be really hard to find on sale, so imagine my delight when I found out they were going to be on Zulily and at a great price! I set my alarm clock (homegirl likes to sleep, plus I had a late meeting for work) and when I logged in at 9:10 a.m., 10 minutes after the start of the sale, some were already sold out. EEK! No worries, I nailed down three pairs. My goal was to get them all in, see which I liked the most in person, and then sell the others. (Another point: there are no returns, but if you know your way around Ebay that isn’t an issue!)

20140310_224115Well, my three fabulous pairs of TOMS arrived at my home Monday, 14 business days after I placed my order, and let’s just say I don’t think I’ll be utilizing the Ebay option. My husband, on the other hand, is less than thrilled. However, I just point out two things: 1) I got three pairs of TOMS for what I would have paid for a pair and a half. 2) My indecisive purchase just gave three pairs of shoes to children in need. How can he argue with that? Plus, I’ll be closet purging via Ebay within the next few weeks to both clean out my closet (cue the Eminem) and pay back my shoe purchase. And also, I probably need a little more space for that super cute shirt that should arrive via Zulily any day now.

If you’re hunting for a good find, please sign up for Zulily. Some of the current sales include Athleta and Vera Bradley.

I was not compensated in any way from Zulily for this post. Seriously though, if you know how to make that happen, let’s talk mmk? Also, if you would be so kind as to sign up through one of my links in this post and make a purchase, I’ll get $15 credit, so thanks. And be sure to share your link once you sign up!