You may be in a place in life that requires you to cut some costs. With the cost of living steadily increasing, and the rising levels of things like student debt, there are a lot of us in this boat. We’re trying to figure out how to save on household expenses.
When I graduated college, this reality hit me like a freight train gone off the rails. I was very lucky to have parents that provided for me for my entire life, but now as a 22 year old and shouldering all of my own expenses for the first time, I knew I had to figure out how to cut down on my costs.
I did the math: I’ve managed to reduce my living expenses or earn back over $2,000 per year, WITHOUT living like a miser, or refusing to ever spend… by using 11 phone apps, and 2 rewards programs.
This is exactly how I put $2,000 back in my wallet, step for step…
Inbox Dollars: $120
Shell Rewards Gold: $110
Product Report Card: $180
Field Agent or Rewardable: $108
Chase Freedom: $200+
Receipt Hog: $60
Facebook Research Program: $360
Embrace Cash Back Apps and Rewards Programs!
Ibotta is a free phone app that gives me money back on my grocery shopping. There are TONS of products that qualify for a cash back rebate through Ibotta every month, ranging from $0.25 to $2.00 back per item.
As long as I’m actively using it, I usually get around $20 back per month, just for taking a quick scan of my receipts and occassionally some bar codes to prove I purchased certain items.
It’s easy cash back in my pocket. Check out how it works in more details right here.
Or you can get it at this link, and get a $5 bonus once you use the app.
Ebates is an awesome resource for anyone that does any online shopping. I do very little shopping online, but I’ve still been able to rack up around $80 a year in cash back.
Ebates is a free website, and if you shop at one of the thousands of stores they’re associated with online, they’ll cut you a check for a percentage of what you spent online. It’s that easy. Amazon, Free Tax USA, Verizon, Ebay… you name it. You don’t even need to remember to go through Ebates first. You can activate a cash back Ebates button to attach to your browser bar and it will activate the cash back for you.
For anyone who does a bit of shopping online, this can be a gold mine. And it’s really nice finding checks like this just show up in the mail… a random $20.
Plus you can get an extra $10 bonus just signing up right here!
You’ve probably heard me mention Inbox Dollars if you’ve read posts here before. Inbox Dollars provides you with a ton of little ways to add a few bucks to your pocket, almost entirely passively.
I say passively, because although Inbox Dollars is, among other things, a survey site, you should never waste time doing the surveys on this website.
I’m not bashing the idea of survey sites in general. If you’re ever bored (boredom is not something that’s in my “DNA”, but this isn’t true of everyone), surveys paying from $0.25 to about $1.50 can be an easy way to put a few extra bucks in your pocket.
But Inbox Dollars will not pay you if you don’t end up qualifying for the survey. Which means it can be a HUGE waste, and isn’t worth your time.
I make money through Inbox Dollars in 5 ways: I get paid for “watching videos” on the app (i.e. hit play, mute, minimize, and let it pay), I get paid to clip coupons through Inbox Dollars, I get paid to search the internet through IB’s search engine, I get paid to open emails from them and then delete them, and I get paid 2% back in my monthly Walmart bills for putting in my “in store pickup order” through Inbox Dollars.
A conservative estimate would be around $30 every 3 months, but it’s easy to do in 2, or even 1 month.
Believe it or not, in the long run, those rewards programs for gas stations can add up. The cost of gas can be a serious living expense, so every bit that you can trim it down helps.
I joined the Shell rewards program because it’s both the closest and the cheapest gas station in my area as it is. The rewards program gives my wife and I about $0.05 off per gallon every time we fill up. Sometimes it will give us $0.10, $0.15, or even $0.25 off per gallon.
It’s comletely free to join. Easy to use (you just need to type your phone number into the gas pump). And it’s an extra $110 a year at least, that we get to keep just by trimming down those gas costs.
Product Report Card is the only survey site I’ve ever bothered with. Even if you don’t qualify for a survey after a few questions, PRC will pay you $0.10 for every survey you DON’T qualify for.
I’ve made a habit of filling out a quick survey in between emails, or when I’m working online and looking for a break. And Product Report Card doesn’t just pay in points and gift cards, but cuts me actual checks every couple months.
Best yet, Product Report Card occassionally offers me a chance to do product testing, or keeping a simple diary for money. I’ve not only had free items, like tooth paste, body wash, and skin care products sent to my house to use and test, but I’ve also been paid anywhere from $5 to $35 every time. It’s easy cash AND I get free household items out of the deal.
Field Agent and Rewardable are 2 free apps that will give you random tasks to do in the stores that you go to, that you get paid for.
These tasks may be something like interacting with a customer service rep and filling out a 1 milnute survey about your experience. It could be taking pictures of some signs or products on shelves. It will vary.
These will pay anywhere from about $2.50, to $20 for each.
For example, I recently needed to pick up new brake lights for my car. Field Agent had a task at AutoZone. They asked me to buy a bottle of car wash and answer some questions about it. Then they fully reimbursed me for the car wash, and paid me an extra $3.
A free $5 bottle of car wash from Auto Zone, AND practically the entire cost of my brake lights covered.
Most tasks pay at least $7.
Using both Rewardable and Field Agent, you should be able to earn an extra $100+ per year just by performing some of these mystery shopper tasks… pretty easy.
S’more is super simple, and super easy. I let S’more show an advertisement on my phone’s lockscreen, and it pays me about $0.10 per day to let it be there.
It was annoying at first, but I’ve quickly forgotten about it, and having an extra $5 gift card every month for Starbucks or Amazon plops a nice $48 in my coffee budget over the course of a year (even if I DO prefer local businesses).
It’s not a big money maker/saver, but it’s ridiculously easy to use, and every little bit counts.
Not only did chase throw me a free $150 just for getting my card through them, I’ve been able to rack up at least $200 per year just in cash back rewards.
Chase pays between 1% and 5% on all your purchases. As long as you live within your means, don’t over spend, and pay your bill on time, this is a really easy way to save on your living expenses.
Dosh is another free app. I link my credit card to it, and whenever I use my card at a qualifying store it pays me a little cash back.
There aren’t a ton of options on it, unless you live in an area with lots of participating local businesses, but it will get you money back on almost any hotel room. So if you travel at all, you can usually get some cash back.
Try it out here and you can get an extra $5 bonus.
Receipt Hog is a free app that lets you scan every receipt for some pocket change. Snap a quick picture of your receipts through the app, and it will hand you some pocket change.
It adds up over time, and the more receipts you can collect the more it racks up. Eventually you can deposit it rigth into your PayPal account.
Facebook Research Program:
The company Applause, formerly known as uTest, is a testing and marketing research company that gathers information about consumers through their voluntary participation.
The idea might be sketchy for some users, but if you’re open to it, you can install a “VPN” from Applause that will track your searching and shopping habits online through your phone. You can remove it any time, it’s secure, and you essentially never know it’s there.
Except that it drops $30 into my PayPal on the 15th of every month, like clockwork.
Fam.ly is a pretty new discovery for me, and it’s a lot of fun. They actually pay you cash just to watch the viral videos on YouTube through their app!
While most video watching apps that pay will show you endless ads, or painfully boring drivel, Fam.ly offers up some of the funniest or most adorable viral videos on YouTube, and continuously pays you while you watch it.
It takes a while for the cash to add up, but it’s easy to make at least $5 per week (or $220 every year).
Here’s where you can really add up the money: every time you invite a friend you also get bonus money on everything they earn. My wife accepted my invite on Fam.ly and I’ve now almost doubled my money through it just because she watches some videos too, driving the money from $5 per week closer to $10.
Swagbucks is a money machine. Like Inbox Dollars, Swagbucks gives you dozens of different ways to make easy money fast. But unlike Inbox Dollars, it offers some INSANE cash opportunities.
Swagbucks paid me $25 to try Hulu for free, they’ve paid me anywhere from $10 to $30 for free snack boxes, art supplies, teeth whitening kits, Proactive skin care lotions and cleansers… not only was I getting these things for free, but I was making at least $15 to $20 every time!
There are many other money making options on Swagbucks, but those deals alone are more than worth it, wracking up over $75 for me in the space of a couple months, and well over $200 every year.
Give Swagbucks a shot, and you’ll even get some extra cash just for signing up!
These Things Can Easily Save You An Extra $1,000+ Per Year Just By Trimming Household Expenses!
It’s as simple as that. Every dollar counts. In the end, when your budget is tight, you can do a lot with an extra $2,000 every year. That would cover the cost of my internet bill for 2 years… how’s that for perspective!
If you’re looking for ways to actually BOOST your income, and worry less about expenses, check out my #1 recommendation here!