So I have been deal hunting for years, I took a brief hiatus because I was working full time and was way too exhausted to care about saving money and that started to put us in a bind. Right now I work part-time 20 hours a week and then spend the rest of my time with my family or deal hunting or going on family outdoor adventures. I am going to share with you some of my adventures as well as my misadventures in saving money recently.
1. Do: SnagShout http://snag.it/uPnRv
I am totally addicted! My favorite thing is to search using their search tool for the term “Camping” I also like searching their electronics each day. I got a plug that works with my Echo Dot/Amazon Alexa for just under $18 and it normally retails for just under $30! You can also use their drop-down menu and search by offers ending soonest and to sort results by their their newest deals first. There’s so many ways to look through these deals to ensure you won’t miss out on a deal you would like to “snag!” They only give you a few snags at a time so don’t grab something unless you can’t live without it because something better may come along and then you’ll be out of snags and they could run out of the item you want before they replenish your snags, if that makes sense. There’s been a few things I passed on (Emoji keychains and Emoji pillows for my son, a camping pot with bowls, plates, utensils, and some other things as well) and I was sad I passed on these deals but then something better DID come along, which made me ok with it. There’s also been stuff I bought on Amazon and then it showed up on SnagShout a few days later for like half off, such as mesh laundry bags. I got a set of 5 on my own for just under $10 on Amazon, and I thought it was a good deal….until it showed up on SnagShout for around $5 or $6! Don’t you hate when stuff like that happens?! It’s just a part of life!
2. Misadventure: Homemade ranch! – I tried making my own Ranch dressing, ew! It was so gross! I know a lot of people like homemade Ranch better and I wanted to like it so bad, because I know what ingredients go in homemade. Try reading the back of Ranch at the store….WTF are some of those things listed?! I wish I could unlearn it because I decided to stick to store bought Ranch both my son and I HATED the homemade Ranch. Try it for yourself here: http://damndelicious.net/2016/04/03/diy-homemade-ranch-seasoning-mix/
or try googling “Homemade dry ranch” I can’t remember the exact recipe I tried they basically are all very similar with a few tweaks here and there just search them yourself and find the best fit for you. I think we didn’t like it because it had SO MUCH dill in the version we tried. I don’t even think it would have saved me money anyway, by the time you buy all the spices.
3. Misadventure: Replacing my Softsoap Antibacterial Soap Refill with bubble bath. Now this may work for you and your family but I pee a lot and wash my hands often partly due to that and also because I am a germaphobe. So even if I didn’t use the restroom often I’d still wash my hands a lot and it pays because this year I only got 1 mild cold (knock on wood!) My son also washes his hands a lot and he hasn’t gotten sick at all this year. Anyways, my point is that the bubble bath has totally dried out my hands, it’s much harsher than regular soap and much more drying so if you do decide to try replacing your soap with bubble bath try to find one that states it’s for dry skin or extra moisturizing. Now about the savings the bubble bath I got was $2.99 for 64 FL oz compared to $3.50 for generic brand at Wal-Mart or Softsoap with deals or coupons. Both have 64 FL OZ, however the bubble bath is very runny so more ends up coming out (more waste). I expected it to lather more but surprisingly the kind I got actually rinses off easily, which is a good thing! Due to how dry my hands have become, I am planning to use up what I have and then switch back to regular soap unless I find an awesome deal on a bubble bath or shower gel.
, now I have used Ebates
in the past but it’s been years. Ebates
is especally great if you plan to make a large dollar purchase in one place some great times to use Ebates
is when shopping online for a birthday, for Christmas, or at tax refund time on your large dollar purchases. Now don’t get me wrong, small amounts here and there are also great because even a few cents here and there adds up! I used Walmart.com at tax refund time because I was able to get (I think it was) 2% back whereas Amazon is more hit and miss with Ebates
5. Do: Ad-matching your groceries at Wal-Mart. I also recently found out if you use your Amazon App on your phone they will match Amazon’s advertised price. Which is GREAT especially if you are shopping for a child’s friend’s birthday. Because…let’s face it…Toys these days be hella expensive and that leads me to tip #6
6. Do: Create a “generic gift” stockpile and as you deal hunt both online and in store keep an eye out for gender neutral toys or kid-friendly art supplies that any child would love like Crayola products, colored pencils, for older kids grab some of the adult coloring books that have really pretty designs (even if they aren’t great at coloring these will still be fun for them, I’m sure), this generic gift stockpile is also great for adults keep a pile for adults and for kids. There’s some things to consider here: size of the items this pile will work best for smaller more compact items you probably won’t want to hold onto an object that is 12 x 12″ unless your house is very large and with lots of storage. In addition to a generic stockpile, keep one for people you know and love. A great example is that after Christmas or any holiday is a great time for me to find items for my mother-in-law because she loves holiday decor and she can’t ever get enough of it. Each year her decor stash for each holiday grows by like 10 more items. I found something super cute for her (I kind of want it myself) that I am holding until her birthday in November. The key to this gift pile is that you need to count the initial price as if it was the price paid, don’t feel guilty. If you feel a little guilt remind yourself you put a lot of time and energy into finding these killer deals! If you got some unbelievable deal on something and you feel guilty just add in another killer deal and give the person 2 items or 3 items. I still love when I can find 3 items for $20 because it looks like I spent a lot of money and if it’s a kid they will be stoked to get 3 things! I’m just happy I didn’t spend $20 on one thing! Especially since toys are very expensive.
7. Another gift giving DO is that if you get a week’s notice for a birthday shop Amazon Prime first for toys. My son has a friend he adores and I had over a week’s notice for her party and got her 3 toys for under $20. She was most excited about the Shopkins playset. Another friend wanted a Barbie and I found her one for $14 but it was sort of a deluxe Barbie set that probably would have cost $20+ in a store in town!
8. Misadventure: Homemade LIQUID laundry detergent. ( recipe found here: http://carriethishome.com/2013/03/homemade-laundry-detergent/
) OH MY GOSH, what a MESS it took so much time and energy! It started boiling over and got everywhere and then it didn’t seem to get my clothes clean and they didn’t smell good at all. I couldn’t even smell the detergent at all after I washed my clothes in it. I am trying a batch of powdered homemade laundry detergent now as I type this for the first time so we will see if that works any better for me. (Powder recipe here: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/02/homemade-laundry-detergent-trial-size-version.html
I am using the trial size batch minus the OxyClean and the fabric softener crystals. I am using only Borax, Baking soda, Super Washing Soda, and I’m using Yardley soap instead of Fels Neptha or Zote). My goal is to at least use up all of it if possible and then if I don’t want to do it again then fine I will just bargain shop for some Purex or Arm & Hammer detergent and call it good!
9. DO: try to DIY anything you think you can do yourself but at the same time be realistic! You gotta walk before you can run so start with small projects, find out what you’re good at and stick to those sorts of DIY projects and if you do branch out try to find projects that don’t get too expensive. I have had many projects where they ended up being money pits! Also, try to foresee any potential issues by reading tutorials, reviews, etc. and watching similar projects on youtube so you can know what to expect.
10. As for a mixed do/don’t: using bar soap. So In addition to trying shower gel in place of liquid soap, I have been using bar soap. I have both at my sinks because for dirtier hands I like a liquid soap but for lightly soiled hands, I like a bar soap but I am so in the habit of using liquid I just forget the bar soap is there at all. It’s like I don’t even see it there at all, honestly. Something that I also am liking is using foaming soaps. I wash my hands a lot but I am filling up my dispensers less when using the foaming liquid soaps.
11. Money saving Apps like Ibotta. So I tried Ibotta and then I took it off of my phone and now it’s back on there and I am trying it AGAIN.