My Top 10 Favorite Techie Ways to Save Money

My Top 10 Favorite Techie Ways to Save Money

The advent of technology has opened up so many new ways to save! I was doing an interview for a magazine recently and the writer started asking me about some of these. As I began sharing ideas, I realized that I’d never done a post specifically focused on my favorite ways to save using technology.

I figured it was high time that I put that post together! So I had fun coming up with my top 10 ways to save money using modern technology:

1. Email and Ask For Coupons

Have a product your family loves and uses often? Take a few moments to shoot an email to the manufacturer through their contact form, tell them how much you enjoy their products, and ask if they can send you any coupons they have available.

Be polite, be concise, and be sure to include your mailing address. It only takes a minute or two, it costs you nothing, and the worst thing that can happen is that the company doesn’t respond or writes back to say that they don’t offer coupons.

But more often than not, companies will send high-value coupons or even coupons for free products — all because you took the time to ask!

Kelsi says this:

Last week I emailed the manufacturer’s of Luna bars asking for coupons and telling them about my Luna-A-Day habit while rocking my newborn with my foot and pumping breastmilk at the kitchen counter. Today, I received six coupons for a FREE Luna Bar or Luna Protein Bar and a 100% organic cotton baby blanket! -Kelsi

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2. Follow a Few Money-Saving Blogs

One simple way to save at least $5 to $10 each week without spending a lot of time and effort is to follow a local deal blogger. This is someone who lives in your area who covers the deals at your local store, as well as who alerts you to special sales, clearances, and even free events and other tips on bargains in your city.

When I talk about finding a local coupon blogger, the first question people always ask is, “Yes, but how do I find one in my local area?” I suggest starting by searching for your local city/town + “coupon matchups” or “deal blogger”.

If that doesn’t pull anything up, try searching for the towns around you. If you live in a very small town, you might not find anything, but if you live in a decent-sized town, there’s a good chance you’ll find someone — maybe even multiple bloggers!

If you still can’t find anything, then search your store’s name and “coupon match-ups” or “deal blogger”. You should definitely find something with that search. You can also check out our Store Deals section to find a blogger who is covering the deals at the stores you shop at regularly.

Once you find some bloggers who you think might be a good possibility, go ahead and sign up for their email newsletter or subscribe to their blog. Follow them for a few weeks and you’ll get a good idea if they are a good fit or not for the types of deals you are looking for.

E-coupons

3. Clip E-Coupons

Many stores are now offering e-coupons — coupons that are tied to your store loyalty card and that come off at checkout when you purchase a particular.

Kroger and Meijer are two grocery store chains that offer a number of e-coupons and also regularly offer e-coupons for completely free items. Check your local grocery store’s site to see if they offer e-coupons, as well.

While these e-coupons usually cannot be combined with paper coupons, they are sometimes high in value and you don’t have to mess with any printing or clipping to use them!

The Target Cartwheel App is fast becoming one of the most popular e-coupon options. Best of all, you can combine the Cartwheel coupons with paper coupons and Target Text offers (text OFFERS to 827-438 to get text coupons each week) to save even more!

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I watched a tutorial on how to do a Dutch Braid and loved it so much that I wore it for Easter!

4. Watch YouTube Tutorials

We have learned so many great tricks and ways to fix things and save money from YouTube tutorials. In all honesty, I feel like YouTube has become the new Google — at least for visual people like me.

You can learn how to cut your family’s hair, learn sewing skills, learn basic music skills, find out how to fix things, learn how to make Artisan Bread, watch product reviews to help you make wise purchases, watch free workout videos, listen to/watch music videos, listen to sermons and inspirational messages, and so much more.

My new favorite YouTube videos to watch are for hair tutorials. Just be careful, because some of the hair tutorials haven’t been as successful for me. Ahem, like the time I tried the foil and hair straightener curling trick.

Also, be sure to download the new Family-Friendly YouTube app if you’re going to let your kids use YouTube to watch tutorials.

Watch YouTube Tutorials

Kaitlynn found a tutorial on YouTube for making homemade lip gloss with crayons and coconut oil and just had to try it. She made it almost entirely by herself — and it turned out really well!

5. Search for Coupon Codes

We try to never purchase anything without first looking for a coupon code to use. I’ve tried a lot of different coupon code websites and I’ve also tried Googling for coupon codes, but in my opinion, RetailMeNot.com is one of the best sites out there to consistently find legit coupon codes.

I love their rating system and the ability to see how many people have been able to use the coupon code and how recently it has successfully worked. All you have to do is go to their homepage, search for the store you’re planning to shop from, and ta-da! you have a long list of coupon codes that have been rated by their large community of users.

More often than not, I’m able to find at least one coupon code from the long list that works for me. And, for possibly one to two minutes of effort, that coupon code will usually save me at least 10% off my order—sometimes even as much as 25%!

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6. Print Coupons

If your store accepts printable coupons, this can be a great source of coupons which cost little more than your printer ink and paper. And oftentimes, the coupons available to print online are much higher than what you’ll find in the newspaper inserts.

I usually highlight the best printable coupons on my blog as they become available, but I also highly recommend using a coupon database. This is a database of all printable and other coupons currently available.

You can search for any brand name or item name. For instance, you can search for bread and it will pull up all bread coupons available. Or, you can search for a specific brand name, such as “Nature’s Own bread” and will only pull up the coupons available for Nature’s Own bread (if there are any available).

Tip: Read more here about how to use a Coupon Database to save time and money.

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7. Earn Free Gift Cards from Swagbucks

If you’ve read my blog at all, you know I’m a big fan of Swagbucks. And you probably signed up a long time ago and have been earning gift cards ever since.

For the handful of you who have yet to sign up for Swagbucks or for the many others who have signed up but feel like you’re not earning much from it, I encourage you to read this post and read through my 15 Ways to Earn More Swagbucks series and pick a few different options of ways to earn. Experiment with different ones until you determine the ones that works best for you.

Set an earnings goal each day and try to login and hit that, if possible. If you can even just put in 5 to 15 minutes each day, it can really start to add up!

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8. Shop Through Cashback Sites

Cash-back sites like Ebates and Mr. Rebates work with online stores to offer you a percentage—usually somewhere between 3–6% of your total purchase—back as a rebate. While 3–6% might not seem like much, it can really add up over time.

My theory: If you’re already going to be making the online purchase, you might as well get a little money back too, right? After all, it’s essentially “free” money!

When you are ready to make an online purchase, check both of these sites to see which one is currently giving the highest percentage of cash back and then shop through that one. To ensure your cash back is credited to your account, search for the store on the cash-back site you’re using and then click through the store link. This should guarantee that you are credited for your purchases.

If you shop at Walmart regularly, you’ll want to check out their Savings Catcher Program. Here’s how it works:

  1. Enter or scan your Walmart receipt. You can either enter your receipt number on the Walmart Savings Catcher website, or scan the receipt’s barcode with the Walmart App. Your purchase must have been made within the last 7 days.
  2. Walmart compares prices for you. Walmart will match the price of any local competitor’s printed ad for an identical product.
  3. You get refunded the difference. If the Savings Catcher finds a lower advertised price, you get the difference.

In addition, I recommend downloading the iBotta app and the Checkout 51 app. Scan your grocery receipts every time you shop and then request cashback for any items you bought that qualify. They often have offers for milk, bread, eggs, fruit, and so on. Even if you only earn $0.50 each week for taking a minute to scan your receipt, that adds up over time!

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9. Sign Up for Freebies

I used to think signing up for freebies was a waste of time. I knew this one girl who was all into freebies and she spent what seemed like enormous amounts of time finding and signing up for freebies online. She’d post pictures on her blog of what she got in the mail and it pretty much looked like junk to me.

It seemed like signing up for freebies meant spending lots of time searching online and filling out forms all just to get tiny little samples of stuff I didn’t need and wouldn’t use in the first place. Needless to say, I was unimpressed.

However, this friend kept raving about her free samples and I finally decided, “Okay, what’s it going to hurt me just to try it for a few months?”

So I did… and now I’m hooked. And I’ve quickly realized that signing up for freebies doesn’t have to be a waste of time. In fact, it is fun — and it can save you a nice little amount on your grocery bill.

After all, when you get a coupon for free Tropicana Orange Juice, a free Gillette razor and coupons for 2 free packages of yogurt in just one day’s mail, it’s hard to conclude that it’s a waste of time to sign up for freebies!

Not only can you get full-sized products and free product coupons, but the sample sized products can help decrease how often you have to buy shampoo, deodorant, laundry detergent and body wash, and they also often have high-value coupons in them which can net you a full-sized product for a great deal!

Do NOT sign up for freebies with your main email account. I promise you’ll be inundated with advertisement emails. Instead, set up a separate account through Gmail or some other free service and only give out that email address when signing up.

I do my best to keep you updated on the best freebies which are available — from samples to free coupons to full-sized products. Often, the really hot freebies only last for a few hours, so if you’re able to, I’d recommend checking in at least one to three times per day in order not to miss out. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter to be notified when something new has been posted.

Note: It usually takes around 4-6 weeks for freebies to start arriving. It’s easy to be discouraged if you sign up for freebies faithfully for a few weeks and see nothing in return. Don’t be disheartened. Just keep plugging away at signing up for those you’re interested and by week four or six, you should start to see a real return on your effort.

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10. Download Free Books, Printables, and More

I love, love, love all the free resources available on the internet, including free printables, free ebooks, free audiobooks, free podcasts, and much more.

I have read and listened to so many inspirational messages, downloaded so many helpful printable pages and organizational helps, and read so many books that I downloaded for free.

Looking for free audiobooks? BooksShouldBeFree.com has over 3,000 free audiobooks and ebooks — many that are classics!

If you’re looking for educational freebies, Free Homeschool Deals is the queen of all free homeschool resources, in my opinion. It’s a site that curates the best freebies and deals every day — including printables, resources, free ebooks, and more! You can see more of my favorite free educational sites here.

What are YOUR favorite techie ways to save?

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How We Use Crystal’s Pizza Dough Recipe to Make Easy Frozen Pizza

homemade frozen pizza

Guest post from Katy of Kate’s Great Crafts

To say our family loves pizza might be an understatement. If you ask my husband what he wants to eat, the answer will always be steak, tacos, or pizza.

Our favorite homemade pizza crust is this freezer-friendly one that Crystal shared, because we can get everything ready ahead of time.

The original recipe is set up to make two crusts, which you can freeze as a ball of dough. That works fine, except sometimes we decide we want to eat a pizza around dinner time (or for a late night snack), and we don’t have four hours for the crust to thaw on the counter. So I started experimenting.

First, I wanted to see if we could roll the crusts out ahead of time, and freeze them flat in the freezer.

Yes, it works! Here’s how I do it!

  • Line a jelly roll pan or circular pan (the same one you’ll later use to bake the pizzas) with parchment paper
  • Flatten the dough to the shape of the pan
  • Put the whole thing in the freezer (I wouldn’t recommend freezing a pizza stone, so if you use one of those, find something else flat to freeze your crust on)
  • Once the crust is frozen, remove the pan, and wrap the crust with saran wrap.
  • To bake, simply unwrap and flip the crust onto the pan.

How I bake it as a frozen crust.

If you’re putting the pizza in the oven right out of the freezer (after topping it with all of your yummy favorites), bake at 425°F for 18 minutes. This allows the pizza dough to come to the right temperature without heating up too quickly. Otherwise you’ll end up with a burnt bottom and a doughy middle!

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How I make it a thin crust.

If you’re looking for a thinner crust, you can split Crystal’s recipe into three crusts. The method is the same, but the baking times change slightly. To bake right away right after you mix the dough, bake at 450°F for 10-12 minutes. To bake right away from frozen, bake at 425°F for 15 minutes.

These baking times and temperatures are based on my oven, which cooks a little bit hotter than the temperature it says. You might need to adjust a bit according to your oven, but once you figure it out, you’re all set for easy frozen pizzas!

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I like to freeze a few of these crusts, a batch of homemade pizza sauce (which makes enough for 3 pizzas), and a few containers of toppings. With all that done ahead of time, all I have to do is pull out a crust, defrost the sauce and toppings in the microwave, and top with shredded cheese. The whole process takes about 5 minutes — perfect for a busy weeknight dinner!

Katy is a pastor’s wife in northern Iowa. You can find her blogging about food, crafts, life with four kids, and even the occasional craft project at Kate’s Great Crafts.

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HOT! Get “paid” over $4 to buy Huggies wipes at Target this week!

huggies-wipes

Alrighty, I’ve got some GREAT NEWS!

Remember that hot deal on Huggies wipes that I shared? The one where you can get packages of wipes for just $0.17 at Target right now. Well, it just got a whole lot hotter! Here’s how:

Buy 2 Huggies Wipes Huggies Wipes 32 – 72 count at $1.97
Use 1 $2.50/2 Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers or Baby Wipes Target Mobile coupon (text OFFERS to 827-438)
Use 1 5% off Huggies Wipes Target Cartwheel
Use 2 $0.50 on any ONE (1) package of HUGGIES® Wipes (32 ct. or larger)
Pay $0.17 per packages after coupons
Plus, get a $5 catalina back that you get use to get $5 off your next purchase at Target!!!

Let us know if this works for you!

And a huge thanks for Megan from Frugal Finds During Naptime for the hot tip about this deal!

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)
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