Monday, September 21, 2015

How to Save Money: Lazy Couponing and Money Saving Apps


I've written before on how to actually save money using coupons without spending your whole life pouring over circular ads. And here's the truth: I'm a lazy couponer. I am not one of those people who can go to Target and buys $147 worth of stuff for $12. Those people generally spend a lot of time planning those trips and I am not willing to sacrifice what little free time I have pouring over grocery ads and coupon websites. I also don't want to have to run to 5 different stores just to get what I need. However, I am a big believer in saving money wherever I can and am a sucker for a good deal (or a good clearance section). So for those of you who want to save a few bucks, but can't afford to or don't want to spend hours and hours matching up the perfect deal with the perfect coupons, check out these apps and tricks!

I love coupon apps. Most of us spend too much time on our phones mindlessly flipping through stuff, whether it be Facebook, news, Twitter or whatever. Why not put that time to use! I personally am a mindless Facebook flipper. I will check Facebook 5 times in 20 minutes and not remember one thing I saw. Why not use that time to save a little money!? Here are a few of my favorites.

Cartwheel

This app is only for Target. Fortunately for me (or them), I spend half my life at Target. You can use this app a couple different ways. You can scroll through all the current offers at your leisure to see if there's any reason for you to even go to Target or you can use the app to scan items you're buying while you're there to see if there's an offer available. I try to use both methods. Once a week or so I'll scan all the offers to see if there's a sale on something I've been waiting for (like clothes or specific laundry detergent) but also whenever I'm at the store I scan the items with my phone as I put them in my cart to make sure I don't miss any deals! I've saved a total of $105.80 in under 21 months using this app (the app even keeps track of your savings for you which I love). The very best part is I would have been buying all of this anyway so it is (for me) true savings!

Savings Catcher

This app is for Walmart only and it's actually just part of the Wal-Mart app (unlike Cartwheel which is its own app). This is another app that truly helps you save money on what you're already buying. After you shop at Wal-Mart, just scan your receipt with the app and it searches local ads and if a competitor beats Wal-Mart's price, they give you the difference. The money can be put on a Wal-Mart eGiftCard or loaded onto an American Express Bluebird card. I haven't saved nearly as much money with this but I don't shop at Wal-Mart as often (I go to the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market for groceries about 50% of the time and the commissary on base the other half of the time). But I have gotten back $16.17 in about one year. It's not much but I have literally put almost no effort into getting this money which means my rate of return for my minimal effort is huge. :)

Coupons.com

I used to use this just as a website but recently realized that they have an app (also available on iPad)! This is the best for turning my mindless internet surfing into something productive. While I'm watching TV or relaxing before bed, I'll scroll through the coupons and when I'm done I can have it send me an email so I can print the coupons out later. So easy!

Amazon.com

I know what you're thinking, Amazon isn't exactly a coupon or money saving app but let me explain! Before I buy anything that is not a regular purchase, I check the price on Amazon. If it's not cheaper on Amazon, no harm done. If it is, a lot of retailers now match Amazon prices (as long as it's sold and shipped by Amazon.com) and if they don't, I just buy it from Amazon. If you don't have Amazon Prime, the shipping cost may factor into your decision as well, but since I do have Prime shipping is free. And I know Prime looks expensive from the get go but I have saved way more than the $75 membership fee each year.

Do you have any "easy" ways to save money? Please share!



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