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Top 3 Apps to Save Money

How it Usually Starts

You’ve seen posts like this all over social media. “Use this app and save money!” Then, when you click on the link to download the app, you realize it will take months to save a mere 5 bucks. I want apps that will save me money immediately! I usually get discouraged and end up deleting the app all together. Honestly, does this sound like you too? Don’t leave me standing out here all alone.

Honestly…

I am not going to sugar coat anything in this post. I am not going to try and persuade you to sign up for apps. If you find value in this post and want to give the apps a try, feel free to click on the download links. Also, I am not going to share only the apps that I am affiliated with. I am only going to share with you the three top apps that I personally use routinely that help me save money. Plain and simple. Ready? Let’s go!

Gasoline

First, I use the GetUpside app every time I put gas in my car. Here’s how I use the app. When I open the app, it automatically brings up a map of the area I am currently in. There are 3 options you can select: gas, restaurants & groceries. I have yet to try this app for anything other than gas. Next, I select the gas station I will be filling up at and hit the “claim” button. This claims the cash back offer that I will receive for getting gas at that particular station.

Now, since I have my debit card linked to the app, I do not need to submit any physical receipts. The app simple matches my purchase with the card that was used and within 24 hours (it’s usually only a couple of hours) I will receive my cash back. Finally, I transfer my cash back into my account.

I can’t believe it took me so long to find this app. I honestly only get gas now if there is a cash back offer I can claim on the GetUpside app. If you would like to try it out, you can use invite code WC9CMW when you sign up and you will get an extra 15 cents per gallon cash back AND an extra 15 cents per gallon cash back on your first use! Cha-ching! You can click here to download the GetUpside app.

My Frequent Purchases

Now, let’s talk about how I save money on stuff I frequently purchase online. For online purchases, I like to use the Drop app. I have talked about the Drop app on my blog before. If you’re interested you can check it out here.

Whenever I order groceries from Walmart Pickup & Delivery, I use Drop. When I take an Uber anywhere, I use Drop. When I buy Starbucks gift cards, I use Drop. All I do is open up the Drop app and select what I am going to buy. For example, when I order an Uber I will first open up the Drop app. I find the Uber logo on the app and click on it. It will then open my Uber app for me. Then, I just order my Uber as I normally would. By the next day, I will have accrued points in the Drop app for my Uber ride.

Finally, I will cash my points in for gift cards. Last month I cashed my points in for gift cards to Starbucks, Harkins theaters, Groupon, Whole Foods and Sephora. I am literally obsessed with this app. If you would like to try it out, click here. You can also Use my code x4e2b to get $5 – no strings attached. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

For Everything Else

This app, by far, is my favorite. I know you’re not suppose to have favorites, but I can’t help it. Or is that with your kids? Anywho-the Dosh app is where it’s at! The Dosh app in a nutshell is an app that tracks your purchases made with your linked debit or credit cards, matches them with cash back offers on Dosh and then gives you money back. I don’t have to waste time searching through the app for offers or submitting receipts, I just go about my merry way and let the app do all the work for me. It doesn’t get any better than that! Oh wait! Yes, is does get better.

Dosh isn’t like most cash back apps. Dosh doesn’t make you wait 3 months to get your cash back. Dosh gives you your cash back fast! I am talking between a few hours and a couple of days. None of this first quarter, second quarter bologna. I like to think of this app as a “set-it-and-forget-it” kind of app. It’s honestly the easiest money you’ve ever made. If you want to check out Dosh, you can click here. You will get an instant free $5 if you sign up through that link.

Is That All?

No, these aren’t the only apps I use to save money. However, these are the top 3 apps that I use almost on a daily basis. Between these 3 apps, I can confidently say that I save between $100-$300 per month. Every bit counts, right? Let me know if you try out any of these apps and what you think of them.

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10 Savings Challenges to Build Your Savings

So, you want to save some money do ya? Maybe you need to know how to start or maybe you’re already saving money but want to see a little boost in your balance. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 savings challenges you can use to build your savings.

If you’re a Pinterest junkie like me, you have probably seen thousands of different saving challenges. Heck, I even wrote a blog post about how to save $10,000 in just one year. Interested? Check it out here. This is a great challenge, but I wanted to find ways to save more money. Also, I wanted it to be as simple and painless as possible. Now here we are! I have designed 10 super easy mini savings challenges.

These savings challenges are great for beginners who want to start their savings. They are also perfect for the experienced saver who wants to periodically increase their savings balance. Also, these savings challenges could even be used by kids and teens who want to get into the habit of saving money. There’s something here for everyone.

Are you ready for the meat and potatoes? Let’s go!

1. The Ten Cent Challenge

Do you have a bunch of loose change laying around? Maybe in your car? Your couch cushions? If you do, then this challenge is perfect for you.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 2 liter bottle (empty)
  • Dimes

Start by rinsing out a used 2-liter bottle. Make sure it is completely dry before using. Next, place all of your dimes into the bottle. Continue doing this every time a dime crosses your fingers.

Once the 2-liter bottle is full, you can cash it in at your bank or a coin-to-cash machine inside most local grocery stores. However, be careful. These coin-to-cash machine usually charge a steep percentage to use their machine. (some are upwards of 11%!) I prefer to take mine to my bank because they do not charge a fee.

If you’re 2-liter bottle is filled up to the brim, you should have close to $500 saved! Not too shabby, right?

2. The $5 Bill Challenge

For this challenge, you will need to do a couple things first:

  • Determine the amount of time you want the challenge to last

and…

  • Find a container or jar you want to fill up

Now, for the easy part. Every time you come across a $5 bill, place this in your savings container/jar/envelope/etc. For example, say your paying for a $3 smoothie with a $10 bill, you would get $7 back in change. In a perfect world, you would get one $5 bill and two $1 bills. You would take the $5 bill and place it in your savings container. Once this container is full or the amount of time you have designated for the challenge has ended, tally up your savings.

The last time I did the $5 bill challenge I managed to save $685! I used an old holiday cookie tin as my container and I saved for three months. I just started this challenge again at the beginning of January. Hopefully, I will be able to save even more this time around.

3. $20 Weekly Challenge

This one is pretty simple. Every week you put aside $20. This process continues for 52 weeks. After 52 weeks have passed, you will have saved $1,040! I use this challenge every year. I designed this cash envelope to use specifically for this challenge. Every week I place $20 into this envelope, I cross off the corresponding week printed on the envelope. Having a visual can be a real motivator. If you would like a free printable envelope to use for this challenge, you can get one here.

If you would like to use this

4. A Dollar A Day

Yep, you guessed it! This challenge is pretty simple. All you do is save $1 a day, every day. Don’t worry if on some days you don’t have a paper dollar to save. You can even use coins.

After thirty days, you should have $30. After sixty days, you should have $60 and so on and so forth. If you continue this for an entire year, you will have saved $365…$366 if it’s Leap year.

5. $2 Tuesday

That’s right folks! Tuesday’s are not just for tacos anymore! Every Tuesday, I save $2. I know, I know, it’s not much but it definitely adds up. Just by saving $2 every Tuesday for an entire year will save me almost $100! I even found a super cute taco themed piggy bank on Amazon that I use for this challenge. Get yours here.

6. Paycheck Pinching

Pinching your paycheck is really not a new concept. In fact, it is probably one of the oldest savings techniques in existence. Here’s how it’s done.

When you receive a paycheck, you save a percentage of it right off the top. This is done before you pay any bills. I like to think of it as “paying myself” for working so hard.

How much of your paycheck do you save? I would recommend between 10-15% if possible. For example, if your paycheck is $1000 then you would take $100 from that for your savings challenge. If you are paid bi-weekly and use this savings technique for an entire year, you will save about $2600. That’s a nice little chunk of change for your savings account.

7. The Loose Change Challenge

Ok, so maybe this is the oldest savings technique in existence. There are many of us that have a jar or tray where we toss all of our loose change in. Amiright?

When I was a kid, my dad would empty out his pockets whenever he got home from work. He had an old metal bucket on his nightstand that he would throw all of his loose change into. After a few weeks, his bucket would be completely full. He would bring home coin wrappers from the bank and my brothers and I would help roll his coins up. He always took us out for ice cream afterwards. Hard work pays off!

I have implemented something similar. I just use a regular old piggy bank. Any time I have loose change in my pockets or in the bottom of my purse, I fish them out and toss them in Peggy the Pig. (except for the dimes! I put those in my 2-liter bottle!)

I have filled Peggy up multiple times. Each time I was able to save between $40-$65 just by saving my loose change. Give it a try and see how much you are able to save.

8. Three Dollar Hump Days

There are two types of camels. Camels that have one hump are called dromedary camels. Camels with two humps are called Bactrian camels. Pretty interesting, right? I know.

Well, the only thing this challenge has in common with camels is that it occurs on Wednesday’s which is also known as “Hump” day. Here’s how it works.

On Wednesday’s, you save $3 dollars. You can use a cash envelope, a jar, a shoe box or basically anything else you would like to use.

Ready to try this challenge? If you save $3 on every Wednesday for a year, you will have saved over $600!

9. A Quarter A Day Challenge

This challenge works great with an empty jar…actually any jar or bottle would work. Every day, you simply drop a quarter into your savings jar. If you do this for an entire year without missing a day, you will save approximately $90 in cold hard cash.

This challenge always amazes me. Saving as little as twenty-five cents every day can add up to a pretty penny. 90,000 pretty pennies to be exact.

10. Weekend Clean-Up Challenge

This challenge gives you a bit more freedom. This challenge isn’t the best one to use if you have a specific dollar amount you are wanting to save. However, if you just want a casual savings challenge that has the potential of creating an extra $48-$1200 every year, then this one is for you.

On the weekend, open your wallet. Pull out all of the paper bills you have in your wallet. If you have more than one bill in your wallet, pick one of the bills you want to save. Let me give you an example. So it’s Saturday and I open up my wallet. I have three $1 bills, two $20 bills and three $10 bills which total $73. I select one of the $10 bills and put this into my Weekend Clean-Up savings challenge. Rinse and repeat…every weekend.

Depending on the denomination of the bill you select for your savings challenge, the savings pot will begin to grow. Even if every weekend you always select a $1 bill to save, you will still end up with $48 in savings.

Whoop! There it is!

There’s all of the 10 savings challenges that I like to use to help build my savings. You don’t have to use all of these, you don’t even have to use any of these. My goal is to show you that there are many ways to save and that saving can be fun. Do you have a savings technique that works best for you? What savings challenges are you currently using? I would love to hear about it! Leave it down in the comments!

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Save $10,000 in 52 Weeks!

Savings! It seems like it’s all the rage now, right? Right, that’s because saving is important. Being financially prepared for the expected as well as the unexpected can really be a stress reliever. Think back to when you had a large unexpected expense. Maybe it was a major car repair or the loss of a job. This can be a huge financial burden for someone who is unprepared and has little to no savings. Whatever life may throw at you, having a little savings cushion is always helpful. Here is how you can save $10,000 in 52 weeks!

How Much Should I Save?

This isn’t one of those one-size-fits-all type of questions. The amount of money you should save depends on your goals. However, financial experts recommend saving at least three to six months worth of income. Although, $10,000 may or may not be three to six months worth of your particular income, I find it is a decent size wad of cash to stash away for a rainy day. Here’s how to do it and save $10,000 in 52 weeks.

How Does This Work?

It’s quite simple. For each week listed, you need to save the corresponding dollar amount shown. For example, the first week (Week 1) you would save $50. The following week (Week 2) you would save $150 which would bring your total amount saved to $200. Finally, continue moving forward with each week that passes. I find that it is helpful for me to print out the chart and either highlight or cross-out each week as I save. It not only gives me something physical to refer to but also serves as a visual. This technique makes it fun for me to save and keeps me motivated.

Hard Work Pays Off

Ultimately, as long as you stick to this schedule, you will have saved $10,000 in 52 weeks. This chart can help you save for multiple goals. This would be helpful if you are buying a new car or maybe planning on purchasing a home and need to save for a down payment. Using the chart above as a guideline will easily help you get on the right track towards ten G’s. Want to try more savings challenges? Here are a ton more you can incorporate into your life to save even more money!

Happy saving!

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How to Start a Super Simple Budget

I feel like it’s everywhere. “How I paid off $40k of debt in 8 months” and “How I saved $1200 a month using this budget.” I am not hating. Don’t get me wrong. I just feel like these are especially unique situations. Getting out of debt is a real struggle. It’s not glamorous and its not effortless.

Getting Started

When I started my journey towards financial freedom, the first thing I needed to learn was how to create a budget. I tried creating a budget on Quick Books and even tried creating a spreadsheet on Excel…only to not ever use either of these again. Finding a budget that works for you hugely depends on your learning style. I love computer graphs and colorful charts but I learn best hands-on.

I found this budget sheet on thebudgetmom.com website and decided to give it a whirl. This is a great budget sheet. However, I found myself whiting out certain sections of the sheet that didn’t really apply to my situation. I wanted something super easy (and cute to look at) to use until I became more familiar with budgeting. Ultimately, I ended up creating my own budget sheets. (You can get them free under the Free Stuff tab) Below is a picture of how I set up my monthly budget sheet. I like to know what I have to pay and when I have to pay them in correlation to my paydays. This type of budgeting is called paycheck budgeting.

The Rationale

Overall, this method has helped me make my payments on time (no more forgotten payments Yay!) and it has helped me plan special purchases. For example, (referring to my budget sheet pictured above) I know I have two birthdays this month. Budgeting these special occasions on to my monthly budget sheet ensures that I can control which paycheck the extra expenses will come from. This way, my regular monthly bills are not affected and I don’t forget to buy birthday gifts.

Honestly, I lived and breathed for TBM’s budgeting techniques. I learned so much from Miko. You can check out her page here.

The How-To

How to use this budget sheet:

  1. First, write down every bill you pay. Write down the company name, amount due (estimate if the amount varies per month) and write down the day it is due.
  2. Second, fill out the calendar for the month you are budgeting. Write the bill name down on the corresponding dates on the calendar.
  3. Next, write in your paydays with your estimated net take home pay.
  4. Color code your paydays for each week and highlight the bills you will be paying with each weekly pay check with the correlating color.
  5. Finally, sit back and admire your masterpiece!

It’s Not Over

Once this monthly budget sheet is completed, I take it a step further. I use my Paycheck Bill Tracker sheet to write down the exact dollar amount of each expense. Ultimately, I also use this sheet to deduct the total amount of expenses from my total amount of income. You can download all the budgeting sheets you need for free here. Depending on what (if any) is left over after doing this, I also use this sheet to determine how much will be placed into savings and my sinking funds. Wait, let me not get too ahead of myself. More about my Paycheck Bill Tracker and sinking funds on my next post.

Would you like to see how I distribute the left over funds from each paycheck? Comment below & I’d be happy to show you!