Sunday, February 1, 2009

January 2009

I've updated my savings information on the right to reflect the new year. I'm going to try to do a better job this year in keeping track of how much I spent and saved.

A few comments about how I figure things:

Because I participate each month in the monthly rebate program at Walgreens, I get it loaded onto my gift card and then use it the following month. For my OOP (out of pocket) cost each month, I only count actual money spent. There will be months where I'll spend $80 at Walgreens on my gift card and not a penny of my money. (For example, in Jan. I spent $86.97 on my rebate gift card at Walgreens and just $3.00 OOP)

I also sometimes get gift cards in other ways - gifts, (ask me for a referral!), winnings from blogs, etc. I don't count those in my OOP cost either because I received them for free. (For example, in December, I won a $25 Kroger gift card from a blog I read. I can't remember the name or URL off the top of my head. In the month of Jan., I spent $53 of my own money not counting the gift card.)

I always start with the price that rang up at the register - whether that be a sale price or not. In the case of sale prices, I never figure what it would have cost at the "regular" price. It might be interesting to do, but a lot of these things I'd never purchase if not for sales and/or coupons.

So to see how I did in January, just look to the right on my blog. :)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

2008 in review

I got so busy the last few months of the year, that I wasn't able to keep track of my savings. I started couponing in Feb. 2008 and didn't keep records the first few months. I estimate I did over $1,000 in rebates. Most of that was from Walgreens (just over $800) which was applied to a gift card and then used the following month to purchase more rebate items. This kept my OOP very low with Walgreens for the year. I certainly saw great savings in 2008 and am addicted to the couponing/rebate world. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cash Back Sites

I love shopping online and have for quite some time. Since I discovered sites that will give you cash back, I've loved it even more. I currently use three sites and check all of them before making a purchase online.


My latest find and favorite so far is Big Crumbs. They have two different ways you can save. Right now, I'm just a CrumbSaver because I don't have anyone that has signed up under me. The CrumbSaver program is good for those who know they will never get many referrals and just shop online occasionally. It gives the max payout and will give you money for anybody you directly refer. The CrumbEarner program is good for anyone who gains lots of referrals. You make less on your own shopping, but you get money back for anyone you refer and that they refer up to 5 generations. As an example, I recently joined GameFly under Big Crumbs. As a CrumbSaver, I got back $13.50 for joining. Anyone that has signed up under me on Big Crumbs and signs up on Gamefly via Big Crumbs will earn me $1.50. If I were a CrumbEarner, I'd have gotten back $7.50 (instead of $13.50), but I could earn that $1.50 referral for anyone up to 5 generations under me who also signed up for Gamefly.

Big Crumbs pays out every month via PayPal with no minimum balance required. PayPal does charge 2% (up to $1) on the money you receive, but I don't feel that's a big deal. I also discovered that they have great customer service - I had a couple transactions that didn't credit properly that they took care of for me. They have an easy to use form to submit any problems. I appreciated them giving me my $1.82 while researching it with the retailer. One other big plus to Big Crumbs is that you can get rebates for eBay purchases.


Another site that I sometimes use is Ebates. They were the first (rebate only) site I signed up with and have loved using them as well. They offer a bonus to sign up (currently you can choose a $10 gift card or $5 cash - usually they just give $5 cash) and they give a $5 bonus for anyone you refer (they have to make one purchase). Through the referral program alone, I've earned $15-$20 even though I've hardly used the site. They have a "daily double" feature where different retailers will give back double what they normally would. Over Christmas, they were giving a $10 bonus if you spent $10. That was in addition to the rebate offered by the retailer for shopping.

Ebates pays out quarterly and you have to have at least $5.01 in your account not counting sign up or referral bonuses. They do also give rebates now for eBay, but it looks to be slightly less than Big Crumbs. I have also heard that you can only use coupon codes found on their website to get the rebate. I've not tested that theory out. I do know that I used my own coupon codes on Big Crumbs and got my rebates. You can get your money via check or PayPal.


The last site I currently use for rebates is Upromise. I have an account linked to my school (college) loan instead of saving for (future) college. There are many different ways to save with Upromise, but they also offer an online shopping section. The big difference is that you don't get the cash back directly. For me, it's transferred over to my school loan whenever the minimum is met (not sure what the schedule/minimum is). They have a friends and family section so that you can have people help you save up for college or to pay loans. Through my efforts and the help of family, $78.53 has been applied to my loan over the past several years. It's not money that I physically get back or even see, but knowing that I have $78.53 less to pay is satisfying.

How I use them:

Whenever I am planning on purchasing something online, I check all three sites to see who has the higher payout. I take into consideration any special promotions the sites might be running (like the bonus money at Ebates last month.) It doesn't take that long to check each site and is well worth the few extra clicks. There are several more sites out there, but I've only used these three so far. (Now I just wish Amazon would get on board with some sites and offer rebates!)

Money Saved So Far:

Upromise: $78.53 over several years and sent straight to my school loans
Ebates: $10.19 already received, $21.29 expected next month; total: $31.48 since summer 2008
Big Crumbs: $16.36 expected next month, just signed up in the past month or so.
Grand total: $105.08

A Money Making Example:

I got a Wii for Christmas and wanted to join Gamefly to try out some games. I don't plan on being a long term member (it's kinda pricey), but since it's a new toy, I thought it'd be fun. Gamefly is currently offering a few deals:

  • 10 day free trial OR
  • 1 month with 1 game at a time for $6.95 ($15.95/month after that) OR
  • 1 month with 2 games at a time for $9.95 ($22.95/month after that)
I signed up for the 2 at a time and paid $9.95. I used Big Crumbs to get to Gamefly and received a credit of $13.50 for going through them. If I want, I can cancel after this month is up and will have made $3.55 while getting to enjoy some games! I already set my plan to downgrade to 1 at a time after the first month so that if I decide to keep it one more month it will be less expensive.

Been a while

I started playing with the blog mainly as a way for me to look back at some of my savings and a place to keep track of how much I'd saved through rebates, etc. I knew I didn't have many, if any, readers. Once school got into full swing, I never seemed to have time to keep track of my purchases, much less blog. (Therefore, I have no November or December totals - but rest assured, I saved lots of money. ;))

But with a new semester and a slightly new schedule, I'm doing better with my time and am hoping to try to do a bit more with the blog. If I can keep up with it, I thought it'd be a good place to send friends and family who ask me questions about how I do what I do. I'll start adding more links as I find more sites that I love and try to start pointing to great deals on their sites.

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