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!

 

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!

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I scored a great deal on sunscreen today. Target has Banana Boat and Coppertone on sale for about $7 each. Plus, when you buy two, you get a $5 giftcard. I had some stackable coupons that were just waiting for something like this. With the four sunscreens, it was approximately $27. Then I had four $1 off Target coupons, which brought it down to $23. Plus, I had four $1 off manufacturer coupons, bringing it down to $19. Plus, I received two $5 gift cards (one of which wouldn’t ring up right so I actually got two $3 error vouchers, so basically a $6 gift card instead of the $5 one). That brings it down to about $8. With all the exact amounts (and not the estimates used here because my reciept is in the other room) I got each bottle for $1.86. Amazing!

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On Sunday, Target gave away free reusable bags in celebration of Earth Day. They run out pretty fast and since Ron and I were traveling back from Emerald Isle, we didn’t get to Target in time to get one. However, I did get a free Gud sample and two sweet coupon books with tons of great Target coupons. The one also had some recipes in it that I plan to try out. Coupons and free samples excite me.

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I read about this deal on a blog and had to try it. To make this work you’ll need three of the $1 off one cover girl product coupons from the P&G insert in the April 4 newspaper. You’ll also need the free $5 Target gift card when you buy three Cover Girl products coupon from the Red Plum insert in the same paper. Through tomorrow (April 7), Cover Girl eyeshadow is on sale at Target. Head there and pick out three Cover Girl eyeshadows. Then, at checkout, present all four coupons. My eyeshadows were on sale for $2.98 each, a decent amount of the usual $3 and something price. Then, the three $1 off coupons will bring each one down to $1.98. When you factor in the $5 gift card, good to use on a future purchase, you end up getting each eyeshadow for about $0.33. Nice!

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Today was a productive Saturday. I went to the post office, Zumba, visited my mom at work and had lunch with Ron before coming home, playing Pictureka with Bri and cleaning out the kitchen closet. I should have taken a before picture to give this context, but it’s so much better than before. Then Ron and I went to visit my parents and pick up my trunk that my mom lined (picture to come). Then we went to Target, picked up dinner and came home. My post is 45 minutes late because I was getting my coupons straight for grocery shopping tomorrow. I had a massive stack that I hadn’t gotten through, so Ron helped me cut. Thanks boo!

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My coupon stash is nice and full again. After the holidays, it had gotten low because a lot of coupons had expired and very few new ones are released in December. Now, with the new year, tons of coupons are coming out and they’re actually pretty good. Since a common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, companies recognize this and put healthy food on sale while also releasing coupons to match. I’m not coupon crazy. I don’t stockpile, although I probably would on some things if I had the space. I only buy what we use and try to match sales and coupons accordingly. If you’ve never couponed you should try it. It does save some money and it isn’t all that hard. A site like “Living Rich With Coupons” is a good little starter. The most important thing is to plan ahead. Match the sales with the coupons, taking extras along in case something else is on sale that wasn’t advertised. Don’t be one of those women taking up a whole aisle while you flip through your binder getting organized. Saving money is great, annoying other shoppers isn’t.

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Ron and I went to Old Navy today to take care of some Christmas shopping. Let’s just say it went very well. We got $345 worth of stuff, which is insane I know but there were three pieces of outerwear in there. But, and here’s the kicker, we only paid $132, including tax. We were able to get some Christmas presents out of the way and saved a ton of money. Amazing!!!

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So a few months ago, I posted about my first real Yankee Candle. At the time, I was curious as to how long it would last. You can visit that post here. Well that was 60 days ago and my candle finally died. I’d say that was pretty good. I burned it everyday, usually lighting it when I got home from work, so I’m surprised it lasted that long. As long as I can keep getting coupons, I’ll probably buy more Yankee Candles, because they really are worth the money, on sale of course, if they last that long. Now, I’ve moved on the second one that I bought that day using a $15 off $45 coupon.

 

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I went to Old Navy today, which is really somewhere I rarely go. I usually go in maybe once or twice a year, aside from Black Friday. I’ve been wanting a new coat though and they usually have a great selection, so I went today. Right now, it’s Stuff and Save time. The idea is you get a discount on every item you can stuff in a bag, even things that are already on sale. It used to be that you legitimately had to stuff everything in a bag–of their choosing of course–to get the discount, which you only got if you used your Old Navy card to make the purchase. If it didn’t fit, you didn’t get a discount. Now they’ve become a little lax. As long as you have the Stuff and Save coupon and you use your Old Navy card, you get the discount. I was able to get the coat I wanted, originally $79 for $39. It was on sale for 30 percent off and then using my coupon, I saved another 30 percent off the sale price. Total, I was able to get the coat, three long sleeve shirts, a pullover for Ron, a Christmas present, a fur lined hoodie and a pair of pajama pants for $123. Total, I saved $128. Plus, I got my free reusable Stuff and Save bag, which they give you now instead of making you actually stuff it, which I can use for groceries or whatever. And, on top of that, I got $30 cash back to be used next month on a $60 purchase, sort of like Kohls Cash. I can use that for Christmas shopping. I’d say it was a pretty successful trip. Anytime I can get a bargain, I will. The only thing that would have made it better is if I had went last night. The Stuff and Save didn’t come in the mail until yesterday evening and the sale started yesterday. Because it was the first day, if I had gone last night, I would have saved 40 percent off every item instead of 30, which could have cut my bill by approximately $20. It was rainy though, and I didn’t feel like going all the way to Old Navy. I still did pretty good though.