Saving has never been my strong point. Yet, I don’t think we give enough credit to saving as a mutual-faceted tool for personal development. It provides happiness on multiple levels. The pursuit of a goal is one way. Laying out a savings plan can be simple, the action steps even simpler, and the reward is very tangible. One missed paycheck could spell disaster for an individual or family. Knowing that you have a financial cushion is a wonderful stress reducer and lower stress alone can have many beneficial repercussions in our life.
A 2017 article on CNN Money http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/12/pf/americans-lack-of-savings/ shared that six out of 10 Americans could not cover a $500 bill if they needed to. I will admit that was also me, at too many points in my adult life. And while I’m a long way from my money freedom goal, it feels good to be on my way. Money equals access and on this self-improvement journey, a journey of growing into my best self by overcoming challenges, it is something I am challenged to be better at.
But why is saving so hard for most Americans?
I believe that it was something that modern Americans never had to learn. According to this article from Wisebread, in the 1950s, after WWII, was when a large percentage of America started having discretionary income: extra dollars to do whatever we wanted with. Prior to this, saving was mandatory if you wanted to purchase anything of a significant price. But now, we can have houses, cars and any other grown-up toys that catch our attention, most often without a wait. Yet, saving is the smart thing to do, for now, and later.
So what am I doing?
I am a huge fan of tools, so while my income is not $500K, yet, here are tools I use to help me earn extra income and keep more of those earned dollars. Each of these tools are easy (most are quickly done too) because I believe if I have to spend a lot of time on it, then it doesn’t feel worth my time. Flexibility is another benefit I look for. Maybe you’ll find something on my list to add to yours.
Ibotta is a rebate app, no stamps or envelopes required. Everything from activating the rebates to submitting your receipts is done right in the app. Some stores are linked to your loyalty card so you don’t even need to submit your receipt after your purchase.
I’ve been using Ibotta since April 2017, I’ve gotten back $120+; and this is from money I would have spent anyway because I do have to eat. What I love about Ibotta is how quick and easy it is to use. The search feature is very helpful, finding specific products and/or stores where the rebates are available. There is even a $10 enrollment bonus. NOTE: There is no minimum purchase (my friend bought a can of tuna that had a rebate), but you must submit your first receipt within seven (7) days of enrolling. Click to get the bonus.
Cash back for shopping at Groupon, Amazon, and Vitacost? Yes, please! I remember checking out Ebates maybe 10 years ago and was not in the least interested because the pickings were slim – not many stores and even less than I would regularly shop from. But they have grown and so have the options they offer. Seriously? Cash back from Groupon??!? #swoon
This was my very first rebate deposit from a single food purchase from jet.com through ebates. It does include my signup bones, but can you say sweet?!?
I love a bargain…why pay more if I don’t have to. When I purchased my first home, I probably spent $2000 total on furnishing the entire house, including a kitchen full of dishes. The highest cost item I bought was my mattress for $600 from Costco. Most everything else was thrifted, including a Lane Cedar chest that I paid $50 for. Salvation Army stores can be a good resource. I was fortunate to work across the street from a very large one. I also searched Craigslist and went to estate sales. This admittedly does take some time, but the finds can be pretty cool and the savings can be tremendous.
On the lookout for tricky labeling. (supermarket deals)
How long did it take you spot the deal in the above picture? Advertisers earn big bucks to separate you from your money, but it doesn’t take much to be a savvy shopper. Keep your eyes opened and read pricing labels. For example, in the pictures below, the more eye-catching yellow label reads “Low Price”, yet the closeout item tag is a darker color, but costs way less. I have found bronze die organic pasta for $.72 a pack on closeout. Keep your eyes opened and read pricing labels (yes, I said that before).
After you’ve saved all you can, how about earning some extra bucks?
Lyft is a ridesharing service with a better moral compass than Uber (in my experience.) Being a driver for a service like Lyft can be a win-win. First, you are providing a service to your community. Second, especially if you live where I do, any additional transportation option is helpful as the public transit system is almost non-existent and traditional taxis charge gouging prices. Lyft offers new drivers a bonus. For example, right now, new drivers in New Jersey can get an extra $800 in thier first 60 days. (Click here for a bonus code) and it’s super easy to sign up and start driving. As I’ve been a driver (in SC, NC and NJ) and in the spirit of what Lyft is as a community, you can message me if you have questions about driving for Lyft.
There have been several things that influenced my want to get better; two books worth mentioning are Money: A Love Story by Kate Northrup and Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins; the latter is a very good audible listen. I’m on my second go-round. Additionally, these articles have additional ideas/suggestions on how you can find your savings dollars.
Huff Post article – 27 Sneaky Ways To Save $100s A Month
The Budgetnista Blog
Now that you have the scoop, which friend are you going to share these saving strategies with?