In the beginning of our journey we searched and searched on how to make an income on the road. Now that we are on the road, we have been working to find creative ways to save money. Before we were full time, we made a game on birthdays to see how much free swag and meals we could get. The best free birthday meal included a giant steak with a menu price of nearly $50! We enjoy it like a game, and so does our bank account!
Here’s our top 10 things we do to save money on everyday purchases.
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1. Restaurant Rewards – The easiest and probably easiest way to save money is to sign up for store or restaurant rewards. Many restaurants offer free birthday meals or free meals after spending a certain amount or a number of visits. We found a restaurant we would frequent and near the holidays they offered $120 in gift cards for $100, so we took advantage for ourselves, knowing we would spend it anyways. We then found we received points for the purchase which gave us another $5, and more points when we used the gift cards, equating to another $5. So $130 in value for $100…I’ll take it! Now that we travel, the gift card plan is not used as often, as we don’t frequent many national chains to benefit. However, many local restaurants offer an appetizer or meal for signing up or downloading their app which we have taken advantage of on our visits.
2. Grocery Store Savings – Many stores, grocery stores in particular, offer rewards programs as well. They either discount your purchase or offer fuel rewards that can save money and add up quickly! So we tend to stick to the stores we know, but sometimes have to venture to somewhere we haven’t been to yet, so we sign up. When shopping, we take advantage of sale items, but have to refrain from going overboard due to the lack of storage. Most recently, our grocery receipt showed a total amount of around $55 with $26 in savings by taking advantage of bogo items and sale prices.
3. Ibotta (get a $10 bonus by using this link!) – In addition to store apps, we found Ibotta. It’s a simple app that you utilize after shopping in which you select offers and items that you have purchased and take a picture of your receipt, then they give you money. I would equate it to coupon amounts, but they add up! Without changing my product selections, in about a month we have saved $20.
4. Ebates (get $10 bonus after your first purchase by clicking this link!)- For online shopping, I found that Ebates can be a great tool. By using the plugin on my web browser, it automatically pops up on sites that it offers savings for. From Walmart.com to Ebay to GoDaddy, to many more, you can earn cash back. Recently, we changed cell phone providers to Verizon and bought our new phones online. Ebates popped up and following a click, I had $175 cash back on two new phones. So just having the right app provided savings on something we were going to purchase anyways.
5. Honey – When shopping at Amazon, we found that Honey is a great plugin. It functions like the Ebates plugin, but rather than cash back, it searches other sellers for a better price for products in your Amazon cart. So for items you are already going to purchase, it finds ways to save money. The savings typically involves finding a seller that doesn’t charge sales tax, savings on shipping, or just simply a lower price. Following your purchase, you earn ‘Honey Gold’ as a reward that can be redeemed in various ways. As an added feature, they have a price tracking tool that shows you pricing history and can alert you to price drops.
6. Surveys – Surveys can pay off as well. many stores and restaurants want your feedback, and will give you something for it. Recently we have been hitting up a local restaurant that offers a free meal if you complete their survey. So in our 4 visits, we have gotten 3 free meals, two from surveys, and one from downloading the app, equating to about $28. Some store surveys will enter you into a drawing for a prize, however I like the ones that give me something back for returning, rather than the slim chance to win something.
7. Gas Guru – Fuel finding! As we travel, we use a lot of fuel as we tote our Grand Design 2800bh. We have found that the Gas Guru app is the most convenient. (I had Gas Buddy, but found Gas Guru more user friendly for last minute stops) It allows us to search by fuel type and finds the lowest price in the area. When you fill up as much as a few times a week, $0.10 savings per gallon adds up quick.
8. Travel Zoo – Groupon – Seize the Deal – We have also found there are many regional versions of Groupon like apps. We found SeizetheDeal in Portland, ME that offered half off of a local brewery tasting. We found a $50 for $25 deal for an amazing restaurant in St. Pete, FL on Travelzoo. Mini golf for 2 for $10 on Groupon. Finding deals helps us enjoy what the area has to offer without breaking the budget.
9. Paribus – This is a great app to utilize after your purchase. Paribus links to your emails and monitors several stores, including Walmart.com and Overstock, for lower prices after your purchase. If the price drops in a certain time frame, they will get you a refund for the difference, retaining a small percentage for their work. I used this when Amazon was involved and saved several hundred dollars on my purchases.
10. Acorns (get $5 for signing up through this link!)- So this is not a money saving tool as much as a saving money tool (it makes sense to me!). The Acorns app links to your debit card and rounds up your purchase to the nearest dollar. It takes that change and invests it for you. What an ingenious way to add to the piggy bank without thinking! They have portfolio options from conservative to aggressive that have been created with the help of an Nobel Prize winning economist. For use of the technology, they do charge a nominal fee of $1 per month, or slightly more for accounts over $5,000.
We are continuing to look for creative ways to save on everyday purchases and adventures. If we come up with some more ideas for you we will be sure to share! We still want to enjoy the journey, and finding ways to save allow us to enjoy it just a little bit more!
Disclaimer…there are some affiliate links in here, but we don’t share anything that we aren’t personally using to save money!
How do you find ways to save?