Julie from Frugally Blonde shows you how to get four meals from a $5 rotisserie chicken and spend less than $25 total on the menu plan!
If you’re looking for creative ways to stretch your budget, I always recommend signing up for cash back sites.
Cash back sites work with online stores to offer you a percentage — usually somewhere between 3-10% of your total purchase — back as a rebate. While this might not seem like much, it can really add up over time. And if you’re already going to be making the online purchase, you might as well get a little kickback, too, right?
I recently tried out BeFrugal.com — a new cash back site that offers cash back at over 5,000 online stores, including Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy, and more!
How It Works:
Then, whenever you are doing any online shopping, go to BeFrugal.com first and take five seconds to search for the website to see if they offer cash back for that particular site. If they do, just click through to the site and make your purchase.
Within a week, you’ll see the cash back show up as pending in your account on Be Frugal. Within 60 days, the cash back for that purchase will show up in your account (most stores allow 60 days for returns, etc.). Once you’ve accumulated $25 in cash back, you can request a payout. You’ll receive your payout within 10 business days from BeFrugal.com.
They also offer online coupons that you can stack with online deals and cash back to maximize online shopping savings. Their users earn an average of 7% cash back and save an average of $27 per order. They even offer printable coupons, grocery coupons, and restaurant coupons on a mobile-friendly website to help you save on the go.
Guaranteed Best Cash Back Rate!
One of the greatest features of BeFrugal.com is that they offer guarantees on their coupons and cash back rates. Online coupons are guaranteed to work or you’ll receive $5 in your account. They also guarantee you the absolute best cash back rate and will match a rate by 125% if you find it higher anywhere else online.
They also have a section of the site where they offer bonus cash back rates every day! And, if you have any problems at all, they offer high quality live chat and e-mail customer service based out of U.S. offices.
Refer a Friend, Get $15!
Every friend who signs up through your link will get a $10 bonus added to their account and you’ll get a $15 bonus added to your account when they earn $10 or more in cash back within 365 of opening their account.
Get $10 just for signing up!
- Go here and enter your e-mail address.
- Earn $25 in cash back through BeFrugal.com to reach the minimum $25 withdrawal amount.
- You’ll receive a $10 cash bonus in your account.
(Note: This post was underwritten by BeFrugal.com. Read our disclosure policy here.)
Last week, I shared on Instagram stories about how I was trying to make my bed every day. (Are you following me on Instagram? I’m having so much fun sharing little behind-the-scenes peeks into my life through the Instagram stories feature!)
My friend, MacKenzie, directed messaged me saying something like, “I can’t believe you don’t make your bed every day! I assumed you would always make your bed as soon as you get up!”
In case any of the rest of you had that same idea, I wanted to set the record straight: I don’t make my bed every day.
Nope, I don’t.
I know that I recommend it in my very popular post 5 Things You Should Do Every Day post, so I kind of feel like a hypocrite putting this out there. I also know that people have lauded the virtues of making your bed for years.
But I just have come to realize that a made bed is not the be all, end all in life.
Yes, I love a made bed. Yes, I love how it looks when I walk into my room. But many days of my life have gone by without my bed being made in the last year and I’m okay with that.
Because I’ve determined that it’s just not a top priority for me at this season of life. I admit, there’s also the practical part of me that thinks things like: I’m just going to get back into it tonight, so what’s the big deal of making it every day.
(I know! That probably sounds crazy to those of you who can’t really function without making your bed!)
The older I get, the more I’m coming to grips with the fact that we are all so different.
Some of you can’t stand to not make your bed, some of you don’t care and never make your bed, and some of you (like me) like to have it made but it doesn’t ruin your day if it’s not made.
All of us our wired differently and that’s the beauty of how life works! We can learn from one another. We can be inspired by one another. But we don’t have to be carbon copies of one another.
We all have different areas that are important to us and things that are priorities to us. Making the bed is not a huge priority to me, but having a clean kitchen is very, very important to me.
So if I only have 15 or 20 minutes to devote to cleaning or house projects in the morning, I’m going to devote that to the kitchen, because that’s more important to me. And I’m good with that, and so is my husband. (He really doesn’t care a bit whether the bed is made or not!)
My Perspective on Bed-Making Applies to Finances, Too
As I was thinking about this whole to make your bed or to not make your bed thing, I realized how so much of this can be applied to finances, as well:
1. Determine What Is Most Important To You — If you want to have financial success, you first have to determine what your priorities are. Just like I determined that it’s not a top priority for me to have my bed made every day, our family has also determined that having nice household furnishings is not a priority for us. But investing time and money into our kids’ activities (such as baseball and figure skating) is a priority, just like having a clean kitchen is a priority to me.
What are your financial goals? What area your hopes and dreams financially? What is a priority to you financially? Start there — and make sure it’s truly what is most important to you, not just what you think should be most important to you.
2. Do What Works Best For You — Stop feeling like you have to keep up with every one else or do what everyone else does. If you don’t really care about making your bed and it doesn’t make a difference in your life, stop feeling like you should — just because you read an article or watched a video or talked to a friend who is a diehard advocate of bed-making. If you don’t really care about having nicer furniture or wearing nicer clothes or driving a nicer car, stop feeling like you should — despite comments or criticism from other people.
Learn from other people. Be inspired by other people. Try new things if your current system isn’t working. But ultimately, do what works best for you and your family.
Do you make your bed? Why or why not? Does it make a difference? I’d love to hear!
Pinecone Research has some openings available for new applicants! If you’ve tried in the past and haven’t been able to get in, you might be able to this time around, as they’ve opened their doors to more of a general population for a limited time only.
Pinecone Research is one of my very favorite survey companies and one that I found offered the most surveys for the best pay. You’re not going to get rich taking surveys, but you can earn a nice little stream of income from it.
Looking for more opportunities to make money from home? See my list of recommended survey companies here.
I was recently reading a book on time management and the author said that most people struggle with time management because of two reasons: you are doing too many things and/or you are doing the wrong things.
While this is great time management advice, I also believe it can also be fantastic money management advice. Because the real reason your budget might not be working is because of these two things as well…
1. You Are Doing Too Many Things
Part of your budget problem might be plain and simple: you’re doing too much. This could manifest itself in different ways:
- Maybe you are spreading yourself too thin so you don’t have time to invest in money-saving activities?
- Perhaps you have too much on your plate so you don’t have energy to make dinner at home — which means you are spending too much eating out?
- Or you might be running around like a chicken with your head cut off and you end up forgetting to thaw that dinner you made ahead of time or didn’t have time to plan a menu or don’t have time to pay attention to sales at the store?
- What about all those activities you are doing? Are they costing you money you don’t have right now?
Questions to Ask Yourself
Step back and really examine your calendar, your lifestyle, and your commitments. Are you fulfilled, calm, and happy with where you are at right now? Do you have breathing room in your day? Do you feel like you have a good balance of your priorities?
If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your life and see what you can cut.
Start with unnecessary expenses: Can you cut anything here? Maybe that gym membership you’re not really using, that magazine subscription you’re not really reading, that subscription box service that you don’t absolutely adore, or that membership for that online subscription site that you don’t really use?
Really go line-by-line in your budget and ask yourself, “Is this a necessity? Is this sparking joy in my life?”
Next, look at your calendar commitments: Are you signed up for regular meetings or studies or clubs or lessons that aren’t adding a lot of value to your life? Is there anything on your schedule that you dread but you keep doing it because you’re scared to say no to it? Are your kids involved in too many extra-curricular things that are just sucking your family’s time and breathing room but aren’t things your kids are absolutely loving?
Really go commitment-by-commitment on your calendar and ask yourself: “Is this a necessity? Is this sparking joy in my life?”
2. You Are Doing the Wrong Things
Maybe you aren’t doing too many things, but instead it’s another simple problem: you are doing the wrong things. You are really working hard and investing your time and energy and focused intensity, but it’s on the wrong things. So you’re not getting anywhere and feel like you’re constantly struggling and behind financially.
Maybe you are putting your effort into the wrong places. For instance, instead of spending an hour doing something that could bring in $25 to $50 (such as: listing items on Craigslist or eBay or coaching or working as a virtual assistant), you are working really hard during that hour to do something that will only save you $2.50 (such as: making your own homemade tortillas).
- Are you clipping coupons for things you don’t need and won’t use?
- Maybe you are spending lots of time talking about what you want to do but you’re never sitting down and actually setting some goals and jumping out and starting?
- Perhaps you are spending time reading frugal blogs and collecting great information on money-saving techniques, but you’re never implementing anything?
- Are you wasting time researching deals for items you don’t have in your budget in the first place?
- Or maybe you’re spending hours fantasizing about a bigger home or a bigger paycheck instead of counting your blessings and making the most of where you are?
Questions to Ask Yourself
If your time is limited, you are going to have to pick and choose only those things that will give you the biggest return on your investment. What are those items that give you the biggest return on your investment of time? What do you consider a good return on your investment of time?
How much is your time worth? For me, when I set a dollar amount on my time, it really helped me to be much wiser in how I spent my time.
For instance, a few years ago, I decided that if something was not saving me $20 per hour, it was not worth my time. Why? Well, because there are SO many different options when it comes to what I could invest my time in that would save our family money and there’s only one of me. So I had to pick and choose. Setting a dollar amount really helped me to weed out things that just aren’t worth my time in this season of life.
What are the things that are giving you the biggest bang for your buck right now? Early on in our marriage, this was making do as much as possible and keeping our grocery budget as low as possible. The less we had to buy, the more we saved. The less we spent on groceries, the more we were able to have available for our rent and electric bill and other necessities.
At this season of my life, spending more time working and writing and producing products and less time trying to pinch every single penny is the better return on my investment of time. I’ve had to give up some of my ultra-frugal practices in order to free up time for this and I’ve had to be okay out-sourcing some tasks in my life in order to free up more time.
By determining how much your time is worth and what is giving you the biggest bang for your buck, you’re better able to make sure that you are focusing your limited time and energy on the best things instead of wasting it on things that are going to give you little return.
If someone told you that their budget wasn’t working, what advice or ideas would you give them? I’d love to hear!
We stopped at Target last Thursday and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Dollar Spot had big 50% off signs on it.
Now, we all know that Target has been sneakily changing the Dollar Spot to include fewer and fewer items that are actually $1 and more items that are $3 and even $5… which is such a bummer and kind of frustrating.
However, the 50% off prices certainly made for much better deals and we discovered a LOT of great items that were $1.50 with this discount!
Have you been to Target recently? Was the Dollar Spot 50% off at your store, too? If so, let us know where you live.
We also found some other great deals throughout the store — including these earrings all marked down to $3.49!
I usually buy my jewelry from the Kohl’s clearance rack and can often find earrings marked down to $3 — sometimes even $2.40 or so. But this deal beats those prices out — because these are two and three pair sets for $3.49!
They also had LOTS of touchscreen compatible gloves marked down to $1.75. You can get gloves at the dollar store for $1, but I don’t think they are touchscreen compatible.
We also had some fun adventures at Target while shopping for shoes for Kathrynne. Read more about that here.
What are some of the best deals you’ve found recently? Tell us in the comments. I’d love to hear!