I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently about how I find all these amazing discount deals, how I save so much money, and how to earn a little extra cash here and there.  Well I’ve decided it was time to do a post encompassing all of these things.  Originally I was going to do this all in one post, but it began to get so long and I didn’t want to drown you with too much information at once, so I’ve decided to do this in parts.
Part 1 will detail earning cash back and using daily deal sites.  Part 2 will detail using coupons and getting freebies.  Part 3 will deal with how to earn extra cash by doing what you already do anyway.
Keep in mind I will only post about things that I have personally used or do use, so even though there may be other services/products out there, I am not going to recommend something I haven’t tried for myself.


One of the things I keep hearing from my friends is, “where do you find these deals, and how can I save money?”

Earning Cash Back:

Before you look at the information I have to offer you need to ask yourself, do you shop online frequently?  If you do then it will be worthwhile to sign up for a cash back program.  I know these things sound like they are too good to be true, but they really do exist, and yes they really do work.  I just got my latest check from ebates for $25.51 which you can see for yourself in the image.  I really like ebates.com because they send checks quarterly no matter how much you have earned during that quarter.  If you check out the ebates website you can see they offer cash back from tons of different stores varying from 1% cash back, all the way up to 90%* cash back (*not typical, and usually a rare promotion).

The other cash back site that I use frequently is shopathome.com.  This site also offers a range of cash back options starting at 1% cash back and increasing from there, depending on the store.  The difference with shopathome is that you need to reach a payout amount of $20.00 before they will send you a check.  Once the payout level is reached they will automatically send you a check.

The trick to making theses sites work is remembering to use them.  If you are online to shop anyway make sure before you check-out from the store, that you pay a visit to both ebates.com and shopathome.com and check to see if they offer a cash back reward for that store.  Just signing up to be a member will not do you any good unless you utilize the service.  It only works if you start at ebates or shopathome first, then link to the store through them so they have a way to track your spending to give you cash back.  The reason you should check both places is that one may offer a higher cash back reward than the other.
I have also recently installed the shopathome toolbar to make it even easier to see if a store offers cash back, since they will automatically check any websites I go to to see if there is an offer.  In addition to cash back, these sites also frequently offer reduced pricing offers.  So check them out!


Using Daily Deal Sites:

Again, if you do any shopping online you may want to look into a daily deal site.  There are tons of them out there, and I have used several myself, but the most popular ones right now are livingsocial.com and groupon.com.  If you are new to either site, you will get a sign up bonus ($5.00 for livingsocial and $10.00 for groupon) that you can use on any purchase.  I recently bought $30.00 worth of Sherri’s Berries for $5.00 (using my $10.00 sign up credit–> it was more when i signed up) and bought a gift basket for my dad for his birthday with the deal. See the receipt here:

The thing to watch out for with these types of sites is that you don’t get lured into buying every deal they have, just because it’s, well… a deal.  If you didn’t need the thing they were offering, or wouldn’t have bought it normally, then don’t buy it with the deal otherwise in the long run you will end up losing more money than you save.  Only buy the things you truly need or want in order to get any real savings benefit out of this.  With the berries deal, I knew I could use it for a gift for someone and it would be a really easy, inexpensive way to send a gift.

If you have any questions about any of these topics, feel free to leave a comment and/or contact me at mothersofactivechildrennow(dot)com.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Saving Money, Being Thifty, Earning Cash!