Five Apps to Earn and Save Money

Five Free Apps to Earn and Save Money

Mobile phones have become a necessary evil. We use them for everything – camera, email, texting, entertainment, calendar, everything!  You can even earn money and gift cards easily and free. So without further ado, here are five free phone apps I have successfully used to earn and save money.

1. Surveys on the Go App

Surveys on the Go Mobile App - Earn Money/gift cards

This research app allows you to earn credit for taking surveys. It’s fun, easy, and free. They only send out one or two surveys a week so it may take a bit to see a return, but who cares? It’s free!

The minimum payout is $10. Once you reach the minimum, there’s a choice between an Amazon gift card, VISA Rewards, Paypal credit, or a Starbucks gift card. These options are great because you do not have to give out personal information like your physical address or banking information. With my last payment I opted for an Amazon gift card because the amount was a little higher, payment was almost instant, and I’m constantly ordering things on Amazon (it’s a problem).

Survey on the Go - Five apps to earn and save moneySurveys on the Go Screenshot - Five Free Apps to Earn and Save money

Available on Apple and Android

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2. Inboxdollars App

Earn money by completing offers and surveys, watching videos and TV, referring friends, searching the web, and playing games. The app is easy to use but you can also use the website from a desktop or laptop.

The minimum to receive payment is $30.00. Once you reach the cash out minimum you can request payout and Inboxdollars will send you a physical check.

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3. Swagbucks App

Similar to Inboxdollars, Swagbucks gives you various ways to earn credit. The credit can be redeemed for various gift cards (my favorites – Target and Amazon)! You can earn by shopping online, completing surveys and offers, watching videos, searching the web and playing games. You can also use swagbucks from your personal computer.

The points (or SwagBucks -SB) range for redeeming gift cards is 300-24,750. Usually 500 SB is equivalent to $5.

Swagbucks Screenshot - Five Free Apps to Save and Earn MoneySwagbucks Retail Options

App Available on Apple and Android

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4. Ebates

Ebates is my shopping BFF. If I make any online purchases I make sure I do them through the ebates app or activate on my laptop. You can earn up to 40% cash back on purchases you were already going to make. Not only do you earn cash back but they also give you coupon codes and promos for that particular site.

You get $10 just for signing up! Checks are cut every three months. You can also opt for a paypal deposit instead of a physical check.

Ebates Screenshot - Five Free Apps to Earn and Save Money

Available on Apple and Android

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

 

5. Digit – Save Money Without Thinking About It

If you find it hard to save money then you need this app. Digit monitors your spending patterns and creates little deposits into an FDIC-insured ($250,000) savings account.

You can also earn $5 for each friend you refer and every three months you receive a bonus based on the average balance in your account. You are able to save and withdraw manually whenever you like.

Update: 4/12/17 Digit is now a monthly subscription of $2.99/month

Digit Screenshot - Five Free Apps to Save and Earn MoneyDigit Screenshot - Five Free Apps to Save and Earn Money

Available on Apple and Android

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What is your favorite app to earn or save money with?

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate or sponsor links. With these links Growing Up With Sam can receive a commission. These commissions help support the work and website at no additional cost to you.

How to Tackle Debt -Steps to Eliminate Debt

Tackling Debt

How to Save Money and Get Rid of Debt

I hate being in debt. It causes added stress and an abundance is unnecessary. One mortgage, three car loans, a load of student debt, and lots of credit card balances later – we weren’t feeling too hot. We knew we wanted to eliminate the bulk of our debt so we could start a family with a little less stress (and a lot more money in the bank).

So far we have been able to get rid of our mountainous credit card debt, one (almost two!) of our three auto loans, and even contribute to the savings account! Yay! Here are some of the tips and tricks we’ve used to tackle our debt and to stay motivated during the process.

How to Tackle Debt

Define Your Why:

Think of your reason for wanting to pay off the debt. It’s okay to have more than one reason! Your why can help motivate you and keep you on track. For example, we became very motivated when we decided we wanted to start a family. We knew it would be less stressful if we could provide for our child without constantly worrying about our debt. If you are a visual person, create a Vision Board and keep it in a location you’ll see often (nightstand, background on your computer, office space). Or you can even create a Virtual Visual Board on Pinterest! Include motivational quotes and encouraging words too!

Write All Your Debts Down:

Debt can be an easy thing to ignore. When you see your debt, it becomes more real. Once I wrote down my debts and the monthly payments I was making, things got serious. I started asking myself what I could do with all that extra money and how life would be a lot less stressful without the burden of all these additional payments. Not to mention the interest! Talk about depressing. 

Formulate a Plan:

There are few different methods to paying off debt. Take a look at the different options and decide what will work best for you and your situation. 

Here are just a few methods for budgeting and paying off debt. You could even mix a few together to suit your situation.

Snowball Method – focusing on one debt at a time, starting with the smallest balance

Avalanche Method -focusing on one debt at a time, starting with the highest interest rate.

Half Payment Method – dividing large payments in half and saving money from each check

Cash Envelope System – use envelopes to keep cash stored for certain bills or categories

We mostly used the snowball method. By paying off our smallest balances we were able to free up some money and contribute that toward the larger debts.

Get on the Same Page:

It is very important that you and your partner both agree on the plan for eliminating debt. If you both aren’t on board, it will make the process very difficult, very stressful, and it can create a strain on your relationship. If both of you are excited and committed to saving money and paying off your debt it will not only keep you both motivated, it will make a debt free lifestyle more achievable.

Create and Write Goals Down:

Having a list of written goals will give you motivation and help you maintain the drive. It can be very easy to lose sight and slip into old habits.

Remember, goals should be:

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Timely

Give yourself a time frame for each goal. Include all short-term and long-term goals that would ultimately help you obtain that debt free status! It will feel amazing to check the box complete as you climb the debt free ladder.

Good example:

  • Payoff Bank of America Credit Card 1/1/16
  • Payoff Student Loan 5/1/17
  • Save $250 1/15/16
  • Payoff auto loan 7/1/16
  • Save $1000 11/1/16
  • Participate in a no spending challenge

Challenge yourself but be realistic!

Delete Saved Debit/Credit Card Data

If you have your debit or credit cards saved to websites or apps such as Amazon, Playstation Store, Groupon, or even stored on your computer for autofill – delete it. The more difficult it is to purchase something, the more likely you won’t buy something you don’t need. You’ll think twice before grabbing your wallet and filling in the details.

Stop Using the Credit Cards

According to nerdwallet.com, the average U.S. household had over $15,000 in credit card debt! This can be the toughest type of debt to tackle. The minimum payments are not designed to payoff the debt quickly and the interest rate on most credit cards is sky high. Credit card balances can create a vicious cycle. It’s easy to get sucked in and it can be extremely difficult to get off the merry-go-round.

If you can’t pay cash/debit for it, don’t buy it. I know this is easier said than done especially if you rely on that line of credit for the essentials but paying on a card you are constantly adding to is counterproductive. We stopped using all but one of the credit cards and the one was for emergency purposes only. It took a great deal of self control from both of us, but we were able to pull through.   

Cut Extra Expenses

Start thinking of things you can cut out. Take a look at your checking account and credit card statements. Highlight anything that isn’t a necessity. Ask yourself if you really, truly need it.

Here are some examples:

TV Services – Netflix, Hulu, Cable/Satellite, Sunday Ticket

Video Game Subscriptions – Playstation Network, Xbox Live,

Subscriptions – Satellite radio, Amazon Prime Membership, Kindle Membership, Magazine Subscriptions

Entertainment – Restaurants, Movies, Gambling

Other – Coffee, Fast Food, Spa Treatments, Gym Membership (if you don’t use it), excess cell phone coverage

Put Extra Money Toward Debt

If you have an excess amount of debt you really should be putting that tax return or bonus toward it. I know, it sucks. You wanted to use that money to go on vacation or to remodel the bathroom. Making large payments toward your debt can keep you motivated and eventually free up some money. Think about how rewarding it will be to go on vacation and not have a ridiculously high credit card bill to come home to.

Round Payments Up:

It can be difficult to remember exactly (down to the penny) what a specific payment is. Rounding your payment up makes it easier to remember and adds extra to the debt without breaking the bank. This is similar to saving your change.

For example my car payment was $242.65 every month but I would apply at least $250. That extra chunk of change may not seem like much but every penny adds up. 

Find ways to earn extra money:

Every little bit counts! Return those pop bottles, save change, a side gig or two, anything! (Just be sure it’s legal and doesn’t violate your morals). Put that extra money toward your debt free plan. 

Believe in yourself!

You can become debt free! You don’t have to be the typical American family with a crazy high debt to income ratio. Believe and achieve! I have been where you are. We were drowning and it was scary. We aren’t completely free and clear but the progress has been amazing. Just know that getting out of debt is possible and you can do it too!
What motivates you? What has worked for you in the past?

Disclaimer: I am not a financial adviser. This post is only modeled after my personal experience.

Three Steps to Saving Money Online

 

Three Steps to saving money online - growingupwithsam.com = anyone can follow these three simple steps to get the best price when you shop online

Oh the luxury of online shopping! How I love it! How addicting!

No lines, comfy clothes, endless possibilities all from the comfort of your own home? It doesn’t get any better than that! So how can you be sure your dollar is being stretched to its full extent? I follow a simple three step process to save money when I shop online. It almost justifies how much I spend!

Step One: Always Check for a Coupon or Discount Code

More often than not you’ll find a coupon code on the homepage of the website you are shopping from. Just because there isn’t a code located on the actual site, doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist! A simple google search could turn up a code or two but I have much better luck with the website www.retailmenot.com. To use the website, you simply type in the website’s store name and it will tell you if there are possible coupons or discounts you can apply to your shopping cart. Just a free shipping coupon alone could save $5 or more! I even use their app when I’m shopping at a brick and mortar store. It’s saved me quite a few dollars at the last minute.

Check your email for possible promotional offers. If you are anything like me, you receive dozens of retail related emails daily. It’s almost annoying but it certainly pays off when you decide to use one or two of them.

I also keep a filler full of coupons and I have a special section reserved for internet based coupons such as shutterfly.com and buybuybaby.com. I always check to see if I have anything that I could apply to save a few dollars. Every little bit counts!

Three Steps to Saving Money When Shopping Online - These three steps will help you save money on purchases made from thousands of online retailers- Growingupwithsam.com

Step Two: Price Shop

Don’t skip this step! You’d be surprised how much money you can save just by doing less than five minutes worth of research. If you plug in the name of the item on google you could find it’s much cheaper somewhere else.

Price shopping is a great habit to have. Some stores (like Target) even price match! How convenient! So if you’re out and about doing your shopping the old fashion way, you can still use your smartphone to double check prices to make sure you are getting the best deal.

Step Three: Use Ebates

One of my favorite parts of shopping online is using ebates.com. You can earn up to 25% cash back from over 1,800 different stores online using this website. It’s incredibly easy to use and it’s free! Search for your favorite online store, once you find it  – click on the link and it will activate your shopping trip. You can also earn money by referring your friends. When payday comes (every three months), you can choose to have your payments direct deposited or go old school by getting a paper check by mail. You’re basically getting a paycheck to shop – at least that’s what I tell my husband! Haha!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

That’s my basic strategy for saving money on online purchases! I hope you find these tips helpful and they save you lots of money!

Do you have any advice for other online shoppers out there? Don’t be shy! I want to hear from you.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate or sponsor links. With these links Growing Up With Sam can receive a commission. These commissions help support the work and website at no additional cost to you.