How to Save Money When Shopping Online

online shopping, online purchases

I’ve always loved shopping online. Who doesn’t love getting things in the mail? Now that we live in the middle of nowhere, online shopping has become less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Did you know you can’t buy a car seat anywhere in this town? I heard a rumor that one store just recently started carrying maternity clothes, but I have yet to see them.

But I digress…

Shopping online can get expensive very quickly. I’ve been using apps to help me earn money back on my purchases and have saved hundreds of dollars in the past few months!

Want to know how I do it?

I never shop straight from the store’s website. 

Always always always shop through a money-saver website. Depending on the store, you will earn a percentage back on your purchases – on everything from hotels to food to toiletry items!

Before making a purchase, first check Dealspotr for any sales or coupon codes to apply to your purchase.

Second, compare the current deals on money-saving websites. I check Swagbucks, Ebates, and iBotta to choose the best deal. Then click to the store through the deals website so the cookies can track your purchase. Join any free store rewards program to earn special deals on pricing for even more savings!

RELATED: How to MAKE (not just save!) Money with Ebates

When shopping in-store, save your receipts and submit them to a rebate site like iBotta.

A quick run-down of money-saving websites:

Swagbucks – Earn points to trade in for gift cards. I get most of my Amazon spending money through earning Amazon gift cards on Swagbucks. I then spend those Amazon gift cards through my swagbucks code to earn even more points. Sign up now to earn a free $5 gift card.

Ebates – I used Ebates years ago and just started using them again when I saw how good the deals were! For instance, I shopped through Ebates when I bought my Instant Pot a few weeks ago. Not only did I get $10 back for being a new Ebates customer, I also earned 3% back on my purchase. Combining that with the Kohls discounts and earning Kohls cash saved me mega bucks on my purchase! Check out my tutorial for how to use Ebates here.

iBotta – I’ve used iBotta for years, but they just recently added the ability to shop through them for Amazon, Groupon, and Thrive Market purchases, making them more valuable than ever before! Sign up now for a $10 bonus when you redeem your first rebate.

Thrive Market sells your favorite organic and non-gmo brands for up to 50% off retail.

I’m so thankful to live in the era of online shopping, and even more grateful to be able to save so much money while shopping in my pajamas!


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How to Get Healthy Food for Cheap – Without Coupons!

healthy food on a budget, how to buy cheap healthy food,

Yes, it’s true. I used to be an extreme couponer. I spent hours each week clipping, organizing, planning, and executing my multiple-transaction purchases. I had enough deodorant, shampoo, hair dye, toothpaste, and non-perishable food products to last me a good 3 years.

And then I went hippie.

Related: Download my ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition, for free! 

When you make your own toothpaste and deodorant because you are concerned about toxic chemical overload, $0.25 toothpaste isn’t a draw anymore. And unfortunately, most places don’t have extreme coupon scenarios for their coconut oil.

Thrive Market sells your favorite organic and non-gmo brands for up to 50% off retail.

Here are 6 things I’ve learned since transitioning to the bright side:

  1. Occasionally, there are coupons for organic produce. I have found coupons for organic salad greens, nuts, peppers, and more. I have also written to companies and they have sent me coupons for free products as well as $ off coupons. Target’s Cartwheel app also frequently has deals on produce.
  2. Organic is becoming more widespread, so places like WalMart and Aldi now carry organic produce, organic/gluten-free boxed food, and even organic coconut oil! At my last trip to Aldi I noticed they have a bag of organic quinoa for less than $3. Brilliance, I tell you.
  3. It is much more convenient to make your own care products than to spend hours searching for free toothpaste. Because after so many hours of clipping/planning/driving/shopping, was it really free? I discovered a couple one-time investments in ingredients made it possible for me to mix up toothpaste for myself and my husband for two years! Plus when you realize at 11pm that you’re out of toothpaste, it’s much faster to mix up a quick batch than to get dressed, run to the store, pick out the toothpaste, drive back from the store, brush your teeth, and get back in your pajamas. Just sayin.
  4. I can use the creativity and problem solving skills I learned while planning my coupon trips to find creative ways to save on organic food. For example, I learned to buy organic for free.
  5. Use coupons for other things. I still use coupons for clothes, books, toys, and everything else. Just not to the extreme, because I do not need 10 bath towels.
  6. Shop online. Thrive Market is an online discount club with significantly reduced prices on all your favorite health foods. Try it out for free before you join, and get 20% off your first three orders!

How do you save money on healthy items?

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6 Ways To Cut Your Heating Bills This Winter

how to stay warm this winter, save money on heating bills

We are coming up on our third winter in this apartment. The first year, we kept the heater on as much as we wanted, despite the costs (which were almost double). But last year we were barely scraping by financially after multiple job changes, so we avoided turning on the heat in the apartment for as long as we could. Basically, we didn’t turn the heater on until Tristan was born on December 19th.

This year, while technically we can afford to run the heater as much as we want again, we are also about to go into 2016 having met our 2015 savings goal by 150%, so we want to maximize our savings! Here are 5 tips we learned last year that will help us this year:

Wear layers

It might seem like common sense, but wearing layers doesn’t come naturally to this happily barefoot hippie. Wearing house shoes is a new habit I’m getting used to, but I don’t like socks.  However, it’s winter, and my toes don’t like winter. So socks and house shoes it is.

Get a reliable space heater

Rather than turn on the heater for the whole apartment, use a portable heater for wherever you are. Some portable heaters can be fire hazards, so be careful when choosing one. We have two electric fireplaces for this winter that are quite warm and add such a homey feel to our home. Opt for an energy-efficient heater if you can find one.

Curl up with a good book and a blanket

People with Seasonal Affective Disorder, great news! I was just reading about a Danish practice called “hyggye,” which basically is intentional relaxation and “in-the-momentness.”  It’s a time to mindfully indulge in something that makes you feel good, which can be anything from a long soak in the tub to a cozy homemade meal with friends. Apparently this is how the Danish combat long winters.

Drink coffee/hot cocoa/tea

Going along with the good book and blanket, drinking a hot drink is a great way to warm up. It’s common knowledge that I love coffee, but I recognize that there are other options.

Bake something

This morning the apartment was the kind of cold where you don’t want to get out of bed. So rather than turn on the heater, I turned on the oven instead. Sunday is typically my baking day, so I enjoyed the warmth of the oven – and the delicious aroma of bran muffins (I use this recipe, but I use almond milk and coconut oil instead of buttermilk and vegetable oil).

 Winter-proof your home

Approximately 11% of heat escapes through your front door.  Last year Peter noticed a large draft coming through our front door, so our maintenance man installed some new weatherstrips on the inside.  It was a simple fix and now there isn’t a draft! We also have blackout thermal curtains that help cut the draft around the windows with an A/C unit.

By implementing these 6 simple steps, we estimate that we will only need to turn on the heater on the coldest of cold days, and then only for a few hours as our home is appropriately weather-proofed. I hope they help you save too!

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