Here is a guest blog from my daughter in law Taylor- she named me Bubbles!
When Andrew and I got married and I relocated to a city where I was unable to find a job, I discovered the world of couponing. I have learned a lot about saving and earning money over the past few years, and although I am by no means an expert, the strategies below have helped us to stretch our budget , allowing us to save more, give more, and travel more.
Couponing – There are a multitude of blogs on couponing; however, I entered the world of couponing and drug store shopping through Money Saving Mom. Currently, I visit Southern Savers the most often, as she offers the ability to easily create a shopping list by clicking on the items that you would like to add to your list. You can then print your custom list complete with coupon matchups. Although Money Saving Mom and Southern Savers are the blogs I visit most often, I also visit Common Sense with Money and Deal Seeking Mom on occasion.
Shopping – For online shopping, I shop through Ebates, Mr. Rebates, or Shop at Home to get cash back on my purchases. Mr. Rebates is the site that I use most often, as it typically has the highest rebate. These websites will also list coupon codes that may be available. Another website that is useful is dealnews, which lists some of the best online shopping deals. For information on Amazon-specific deals, Jungle Deals and Steals blogs about great Amazon deals.
Dining Out/Entertainment – Groupon and Living Social are my favorite sites for entertainment and restaurant deals. I have found half price deals on my favorite restaurants, salons, and local entertainment (walking tours, cooking classes, etc.). There are several other websites that offer daily deals; however, Groupon and Living Social are the ones that I visit most often. For dining out, some cities have great restaurants listed at www.restaurant.com. There is always a coupon code for this website - just search for one on your search engine prior to purchasing. I’ve gotten several great restaurant gift certificates for very little money through restaurant.com.
Travel – Groupon and Living Social offer fantastic deals for travel – from one night stays at a Bed and Breakfast to two-week excursions. From the Groupon website, click on Getaways, and on the Living Social homepage, click on Escapes. These are updated weekly, and although the deals typically last one week, the lower priced deals frequently sell out prior to ending.
For hotel stays, I have discovered Priceline, which has helped us to save hundreds of dollars on our trips. We use two websites, Bidding for Travel and Better Bidding, to give us an idea of what hotels we might end up getting through bidding on Priceline. This also gives me an idea of what prices other people are paying, so that I do not waste any bids, as you only get one opportunity to bid in a particular zone (unless you change the star level) in a 24-hour period.
Another option for vacations is to book an apartment via www.vrbo.com or www.homeaway.com. There are several other websites for searching for vacation rentals, but these are the two that we use most often. We booked an apartment for our stay in Rome, and we loved it. Not only were we able to save money by renting an apartment, but also we are able to cook our own breakfast and do laundry at the apartment.
One last resource that I use for travel deals is Clark Howard’s website, where his team posts travel deals (focusing specifically on flight deals from Atlanta). He also has several great tips for traveling and saving money.
Earning Money – There are a few easy ways to earn money online. Now, you won’t become a millionaire, but something is better than nothing, right? One way is to earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards through SwagBucks. You can earn points by using SwagBucks as your search engine and also through completing daily polls on the SwagBucks page.
Another easy way to earn money is through the completion of Pinecone surveys. Pinecone only sends you surveys for which you have already qualified, and you get paid $3 for each survey. Occasionally, you will also get the opportunity to test out new products that have not yet hit the market.
PaperBack Swap and SwapADvd will not necessarily make you money, but you can exchange your used books and dvds with others for only the price of postage. We have exchanged several books and dvds through these websites and recommend it highly.
Well, in a nutshell, those are the tools that we use to save money – I hope you find this helpful! Happy saving!