Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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8 Of My Favorite Ways to Save Money Online

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Love a good deal? Me, too!

And I know many of us are always looking to save a buck. So, if that’s you, listen up! I’ve got some great tips on how to do that with just a few keystrokes.

Frankly, I’m not much of a coupon clipper. And like a lot of us these days, I do most of my shopping online…which means I need to do my savings online as well.

Let’s face it, I also want it to be easy. I’m willing to put out some effort, but like you, I’m busy. Meaning, I want to find ways to effortlessly and automatically save some of my hard-earned cash.

The good news is that I have indeed found handful that I regularly rely on, and thought you might be interested in learning about them as well.

So, here are a few of my favorite ways to save money online:

1. Trim 

I don’t know how I stumbled on to Trim, but it’s a real gem. My two favorite services include negotiating lower rates on bills and finding credits for cable bills.

For rate negotiation, Trim recently saved me and my friends $320 on our AT&T family plan for the next year. And for Comcast, they saved me over $50 last year in refunds from when there were power outages nearby (some of which I wasn’t even aware of!). They take 25% off of their savings to you, but it’s such a passive way to save money, it’s totally worth it.

By the way, you can also use Gabi, a partner of Trim’s, to compare your auto insurance with others in about two minutes. My rates were already the lowest, but I was impressed with this service regardless.

2. TrustedHousesitters.com 

Hotel bills can easily run up your vacation budget. Enter: Trusted Housesitters. With this service, you can stay in people’s homes around the world for free in exchange for watching their pets. I’ve done this a few times, and definitely plan to do it again this year.

And for those of you with pets yourselves, it’s worth signing up so that you don’t have to board your furbabies, which can also be quite expensive. I’ve even seen housesitting jobs with no pets, but where people didn’t want to leave their houses unattended while away.

FYI, these gigs can range from overnight to many months!

(Save 20% using my link.)

3. Brandless 

As you likely already know, buying “private label” brands at the grocery store is cheaper. Think Kroger brand, Trader Joe’s brand, Publix brand, IKEA, or even Amazon’s own brands.

Brandless only sells their stuff, and they keep it pretty cheap. There are definitely some great deals to be had, but pay close attention to the size of the product, which is where the deal is really found. I’ve purchased peanut butter, flax and chia seeds, salad dressing, cleaning products, and more.

Plus, for every order, they donate a free meal! And on the third of the month, they triple that! So, save a little, give a little. I can definitely get behind that.

(Save $6 using my link.)

4. Rakuten (formerly Ebates) 

You may have seen their commercials recently where they try and get people to correctly pronounce their new name. Man, I wish I lived near one of those machines that was giving out cash!

Regardless, I’ve been with Ebates since 2011, and have saved over $500 in that time. Yep, I shop mostly online. And they make it so easy with a simple browser extension. Simply click the extension when you land on a site (or shop directly from their URL), and they’ll find eligible savings for you to apply, plus give you cash back.

(Spend $25 with my link, and you’ll get $10 back.)

5. Honey 

Honey is a great alternative to Rakuten. You can’t use both of them at the same time, but between the two, you can find some terrific deals. And having both of them means you’re more likely to find savings since they sometimes work on different websites.

Each time you use their deals, you also earn Honey points which can be redeemed for gifts cards.

(Get additional Honey points with my link.)

6. Fullscript

If you take supplements, I suggest checking out Fullscript. I take quite a few every day for my chronic health issues.

Many of them I get from my naturopath, and sometimes on Amazon, but Fullscript has some quality brands and offers as well. Yes, you have to spend $50 to get free shipping, but in my case, that’s not hard to do. There are a handful of my regular supplements that I’ve found much cheaper on here than I can get from my naturopath or on Amazon.

7. Goldstar 

Live entertainment is another cost that can add up quickly, which is why I like Goldstar. You can often find cheaper tickets here than directly on the event website. Plus, if you’re attending an event with a friend, you can pay separately or add tickets later and still get seats together, which is a terrific benefit.

Oh, and for smaller, community events, they sometimes also give away freebies! So, a fun night out? Covered.

8. Amazon Prime

I couldn’t create this post without mentioning Prime. Many of us have it these days, but if you don’t, I’d tell you to consider it. I’m a huge fan.

And if you’ve been living under a rock, with Prime you get fast and free delivery, exclusive deals, and free access to Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Wardrobe, and Prime Photo. (And more!)

Most of us thought two-day shipping was quite a treat, but they’ve recently expanded their one-day shipping and even two-hour shipping, so your impatience has been rewarded!

I also shop at Whole Foods from time-to-time, and get a discount on select items there since WF folded under their umbrella.

So, yeah, lots of stuff…

In fact, it’s hard to remember when Amazon just sold books!

(PSST—are you an EBT card holder? You can get Discounted Prime for only $5.99/mo.)

Already have Prime or want something a little different? Consider:

(Get 30 days free with my link.)

 

Whew—ok, that was quite a list! But before I go, do you want some other ideas for saving money in your life? These posts might help:

 

Any of your favorite sites that I missed? What deals have you found?


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Staycation Suggestions

I-85 oldOne thing I love being is a tourist in my own city.  I see no reason to stay in my own neighborhood when there is so much to explore, especially in a big area like Atlanta.

And today at lunch, my friend mentioned that she and her family were doing a staycation this summer instead of a big, expensive trip. Great idea, especially if you have a large family. I threw some ideas out to her, and decided maybe some of these were also unfamiliar to others as well so I thought I’d commit them here.

Though some of these ideas are specific to Atlanta, many of these work for other places as well. But your best tools are to always be creative and curious. 😉

  • Get on email lists like Atlanta’s CVB. People always wonder how I know about so many events and places around town, but there’s really no secret: I’m on a lot of lists. AtlantaOnTheCheap is a great way to stay informed on offers and events (CitiesOnTheCheap for national deals). And Goldstar is another one I really like for interesting, discounted tickets.
  • 25 Free Things to Do and See in Atlanta
  • Here’s a great local must list put together by the city: http://www.atlanta.net/50fun/index.asp.
  • The best places to go see movies during the summer are the Starlight Six Drive-In and the Fox. Seriously fun and different. And might I add, cheaper than most movie theaters.
  • Speaking of theater, locate and patron your community spaces. I love The Strand in Marietta.
  • I love the ScoutMob website and app for awesome deals on restaurants and stores. Plus, there’s no money required upfront. This helps you discover new places near you or in your city. Along those lines, Roaming Hunger will help you find food trucks. And I love Yelp for reading customer reviews.
  • Eat and buy local. Stay clear of chain restaurants and stores. You’ll have a more unique experience and support your neighbors. And for those expensive restaurants you’ve been wanting to try but can’t afford, try stopping by for wine tastings, Happy Hour, dessert only and events that might be cheaper than a full meal.
  • Stone Mountain Park is a good option for outdoor lovers, and kids love the evening laser show. And so is the Chattahoochee Nature Center, Piedmont Park and Atlanta Botanical Garden. There are also some nearby hiking/walking trails. Or if you prefer to be outside and sit still, try a Braves game (Atlanta or Gwinnett). If you’re a music lover, a number of free outdoor concerts are also held at various sites around town.
  • Head to the farmers market instead of the grocery store. My personal fav is the Marietta Square Farmers Market.
  • I’m also a fan of museums and exhibits. Some of the places I love to visit and revisit are The High and Fernbank. I must confess, I still need to get to the Jimmy Carter Center and Margaret Mitchell House. I’m putting them on my summer “to do” list.
  • Take a drive. We have so many neat neighborhoods in Atlanta, and when I have time, I really enjoy just driving around and taking a look at them for myself. Who knows what you may discover along the way!
  • Day or overnight trips are an awesome way to both stay and go. Around Atlanta, we have some cool destinations like Rome, Athens, Dahlonega, Helen, Blue Ridge, Calloway Gardens, Serenbe or even Chattanooga.
  • NEW: Affordable Summer Activities in Atlanta by About Atlanta (July 3, 2013)

So, here are just a few suggestions from me to you. But I feel like I’m forgetting some important items. What did I miss?