Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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15 Money Saving Hacks For Newlyweds (Or Anyone!)

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We're newlyweds. Saving money is kind of important to us (well, to Samuel more than me, but you know. Wink, wink.)

I'm in charge of the grocery, gift/giving, and date budget. As in, Samuel designates a certain amount of money to those three categories...and I'm responsible to fit everything in. Talk about motivation for me to find those awesome deals! So here are some of the things I've learned about saving money!

1. Ibotta

Ibotta is an app for your smart phone. You set up your account, set up which are your favorite stores, and then browse through the available rebates at those stores. You select which ones you like. When you purchase the item and bring it home (or in the car!), you scan the product and the receipt to get money back in your account! 

I have not worked it super hard since I mainly shop at Aldi (a discount store), but I have already made $25 for my few trips to Walmart, Target, and Dollar Tree. Folks who regularly shop at those kinds of places can make a lot more and much faster.

You get $10 just for signing up and completing a rebate or two. Oh, and you get $5 for inviting your friends. Win, win.

2. Use Baking Soda--For Everything

I kid you not. I use baking soda for everything. In fact, I just bought a 13.5 pound bag at Costco--that's how much I use it. It's cheap and very, very versatile.
  • Throw it in with your laundry soap to eliminate odors and give it an extra boost.
  • Make your own laundry soap (more on this in the post). Or, make your own washing soda by baking the baking soda at 400 degrees for 1-2 hours. You're essentially turning sodium bicarbonate into sodium carbonate.
  • Fill a jar with soda and add essential oils (optional). Sprinkle over carpet, rugs, your mattress, etc before vacuuming. It deodorizes, kills bugs, and smells great!!!
  • Hair weighed down by product overload? Do a deep clean by using baking soda instead of shampoo.
  • Brush your teeth with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. It's whitening and cheap.
  • Exfoliate your face and cleanse it from acne with a baking soda paste.
  • Scrub your toilets and showers with baking soda.
  • Bake with it. (Hahahah!)
  • Put a small jar of it in the fridge to deodorize and freshen.
  • Feel a cold coming on? Stir 1/4 tsp or more into your water and drink every hour or so until symptoms are gone. I add Thieves essential oil to mine. It tastes horrible, but it works. My husband does baking soda nasal rinses when he is getting sick. A lot of the germs center in your nose and throat, so gargling/rinsing with baking soda water helps kill them.
You get the idea. Baking soda works for everything!!! It's cheap and you can make a lot of stuff with it--rather than buying products that complete the same end.

3. Use Dr. Bronner's

Yes. Dr. Bronner's castile soap is super versatile. They provide a whole list of options for you on the side of the bottle, so here are just a few of the ways I've used it.
  • Make your own carpet cleaner. Seriously, store-bought carpet cleaner is expensive and smells like a musty, wet dog or harsh chemicals. Simply add a squirt or two to the warm water in your machine tank and viola! I use Dr. Bronner's rose soap. My whole house smells amazing after carpet cleaning!
  • Make your own laundry soap. (More on this later.) Even if you don't, Dr. Bronner's soap is perfect to add to wash as a booster. 
I love how you can get so many different scents or scent free. I have purchased lavender, rose, and am now trying out eucalyptus. They all smell great! The soap lasts a long time, too! Just a little bit goes a long ways.

4. Swagbucks

So, Swagbucks is new for me and I'm still learning how to work it. But I have friends who have great success with it, so I am giving it a try.

Basically, you get paid to watch TV snippets, play games, or take surveys. If you're not into that sort of things, you can also get paid to shop or brows the internet through them. Different stores offer different offers. They have a lot of popular stores, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Old Navy, etc. You get paid in gift cards. 

Check it out. I personally like the idea of getting paid to answer questions or take surveys while I'm watching a movie or in the car. 

5. Grove Collaborative

So, I love Grove. If you are like me and want to save money on all-natural cleaning, body, and laundry products, this is definitely the way to go. 

Basically, it's an on-line pantry that is set up according to your schedule. You fill your cart with the products you want and set the shipping date. You can do the same thing for next month or have certain products on an automatic subscription, so you never need to worry about running out. Here are the perks I've enjoyed:

  • I get to choose from scents or products not always available in stores. For example, I've been to stores all over Chattanooga and cannot find Bees Wrap. Grove has it in all its available sizes. Yay!
  • The products are at a discount you may or may not find in stores.
  • It keeps me out of Target. Seriously, who wants to run all the way to Target to pick up some Mrs. Meyers only to walk out with $100 spent on things you had no idea you "needed." 
  • I like having everything on my schedule. Plus, it's like a homemaker gift that arrives monthly. Hey, if I am the main house cleaner around here, I get to make it exciting for me, right?!
  • Speaking of gifts, I'm a VIP. Which means I get FREE shipping and several, high quality gifts throughout the year. When I signed up, I got around $20 in free gifts alone and have continued to get some really nice stuff since then. I also get discounts on and early access to new or limited products. I have so far received close to $100 in discounts and shop credits, too.
They offer you $10 off your first order just to try them out. If nothing else, it's a way to get just a one-time deal on all-natural supplies. Just don't go crazy. You won't save money if you go crazy.

6. Make Your Own Laundry Soap/Detergent

Yeah, people laugh at me over this one, but seriously. Making your own laundry soap is easy, fun, and very inexpensive. Especially if you're like me and want all-natural soap. That stuff gets pricey.

There are a ton of great articles out there on how to do it. I personally make my own washing soda from baking soda, buy a big old box of Borax from Grove (above), and mix several cups of each with some water and a generous squirt of Dr. Bronner's. I sometimes add essential oils (which I buy from a high quality, therapeutic grade, non-mlm company.) The soap lasts a long time, and I personally like my own over Mrs. Meyers. 

7. Use Wool Balls

Seriously. You don't have to have dryer sheets. Not only does buying them get expensive, but they don't save power. You can scent wool balls however you like and they actually cut down on drying time by improving air flow. It's estimated that they cut down on drying time by at least 25%. I love my wool balls and am so happy not to have to buy dryer sheets ever again.

You can get them at Grove or on Amazon. Many stores carry them now, too. It's a one-time purchase and they last forever! (Some people even make their own, but I'm not that ambitious.)

8. Be Creative About Dates

Dates don't actually have to be that expensive. It is entirely possible to have an amazing time without spending way too much. Here are some ideas that we love:
  • Go to a used bookstore and find a good book. Also peruse their movies. We've come home with brand new or lightly used movies for as little as $.25. That's way cheaper than renting them and you get to keep them! 
  • Go on a walk in your favorite local park. Go at sunset and hold hands and just talk.
  • Share a dessert. One of our local restaurants offers an enormous piece of cake (enough to feed 4 people) for $7. We have gone out for cake and still brought some home!
  • Only go to the movies if you really, really, really are absolutely dying to see the movie. It's much wiser to wait until it comes out on DVD and have your own movie-in night with your own cheaper popcorn and candy.
  • Several places offer $5 pizzas. 'Nuff said.
  • There's nothing wrong with a good old fashion pillow fight, board games, online Battle Ship, movie nights, picnics, and singing. Exploring your city or just going on a drive can be fun and inexpensive. 

Inbox Dollars is similar to Swagbucks, only you actually earn money instead of gift cards. It's not hard and I've earned $15 in just a short time. If you are going to waste time on the internet anyway, you might as well make money, right?! 

10. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

Some people feel this is a bit extreme, but other people enjoy it and the savings. Some people don't have the time because of children and other busy-ness. But, if you have a few minutes to spare making your own cleaning supplies is easy and definitely worth it.
  • Make your own linen spray. It's outrageously priced in the stores considering how few ingredients go into making it. If you already have essential oils around, add a few drops of lavender to some water (and witch hazel, if you have it.) It's easy and your sheets/clothes will smell so fresh!
  • Mix water, a dash of vinegar, lemongrass, lemon, lavender, tea tree, and other cleaning oils to make an all-purpose cleaning spray. 
I actually make my own bug spray too. It's cheaper than stores and actually works while being all-natural. You can get a six-count of 10ml bottles from Eden's Garden for $30. They're therapeutic grade, pure, and are non-mlm, which means they pass on the savings to you.  

11. Amazon Prime

This is one of those money-saving hacks that is not for everyone. It depends on your situation in life, where you live, and how much you use Amazon to make it worth it. For us, we've enjoyed the following perks:

  • Free 2-day shipping. For us living 1400 miles from our family, it was costing us an arm and a leg to buy presents and ship them home. This way, we can buy everyone presents and let Amazon worry about the shipping part.
  • Amazon Pantry, which enables us to buy some things in bulk if we're watching for savings. We've also gotten free food, since Amazon offers you a $5 voucher if you opt out of 2-day shipping.
  • Amazon video. There's free videos and shows to watch, which cuts out our need for Netflix or Hulu. We don't have a TV and don't pay for cable, etc., so this is pretty much all of the video streaming/TV we get.
  • Music. 'Nuff said.
  • Savings on Prime Day and Black Friday. I was able to stock up for an incredible price on some cleaning supplies on Prime Day. 
Again, it's not for everyone, but it's definitely been worth it for us.

12. Dollar Shave Club
I asked my hubby about this one and he felt it was worth the price. 

For the first month, you get The Executive for only $1, a well-made razor and six stainless steel blades. After that, you can pick which package you want. We're currently on The Humble Twin, which is 2 blades a month for $3. 

You can pick your subscription and blades based on what you need. Also, Samuel really liked their shave butter. Everything is very reasonably priced, and Samuel feels that they are much, much higher quality than dollar store razors and last much, much longer. 

A subscription also makes a really nice and fairly cheap gift to that special guy in your life. (Okay, maybe some girls you know could use a subscription too. Who knows?) I thought their little newsletters that come with the subscription are hilarious, too.

13. Shop At Discount Grocery Stores/Buy In Bulk

I mainly shop at Aldi, a discount chain. You can get a ton of deals on food and some household products. Just know which products are better purchased at other stores. I don't always buy all of my produce at Aldi since it tends to spoil so quickly. Know which products are worth spending more on.

Also...find a friend who has a Costco membership. Ask if you can go in with them. There are definitely things that are worth buying bulk. If you're like us and live in an apartment, you don't always have room for a whole lot of bulk items, but some things are worth getting. Rice, beans, toilet paper, bottled water, cereal, grains, etc. are all worth buying in bulk. You save money and sometimes actually get nicer products than if you had bought them elsewhere.

We actually ended up getting our own Costco membership so we can get money back on purchases and get our gas there. It's cheaper than anywhere else where we live and is definitely worth the membership fee. 

14. Use Groupon

We were able to go on a super nice river cruise date because I found a deal on Groupon that was like 50% off the usual price. I also got a great deal on a mani and pedi before a wedding that I found through them. Plus, if you use Swagbucks, you can earn 3% back on making purchases through Groupon. Win, win! Save money and get paid to do it!

15. Use Jane and Groopdealz

My hubby bought me a fairly expensive coat that was on discount at Groupdealz. Jane also has great deals on boutique clothes and accessories. You can find big discounts on clothes, shoes, household products, decor, and more. 

So what are some of your favorite money-saving hacks and tips?! Share in the comments!


  1. Excellent thoughts! It made me want to get back on my Swagbucks account. 😊

    1. I'm glad you think so! Thanks for stopping by!


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