Tag Archives: cashback

When (and Why) to buy a NEW Car

If you remember I previously posted about when to buy a car. This week I am posting (finally) about when it’s good to buy new versus used.

  1. Duke it Out–Call different dealerships and ask for their best quotes. Tell them about yourself so that they know you’re a real person (real phone number, email address, where you live and what you do). Tell them what you want as your walk out price. Not the final sale price but what the final walk out price you want. Get them to send you quotes in writing and send those quotes to other dealers asking them to beat it. Many dealerships will not engage and you can’t blame them, to them you’re not a real person yet. But talk to the ones who do bite and use those quotes to get as close to your best price.
  2. Maintenance on used car-No matter who you are and how well you take care of your car, after a certain number of miles it will require upkeep. Depending on the car make, model and year, however, these costs can vary but after 30,000 miles they will all start to cost money. Furthermore, after the factory warranties (typically 5 year, 50,000 miles), the car’s value takes a big dip making resale harder and costing more in repairs.
  3. Financing Options-If you can get a car loan at 0% (which many Toyotas and Kias offer), you should definitely take advantage.  Instead of taking the money you get from the sale of your car or putting a lot down, you can put that money into either a high-yield savings or the money market, as long as it earns more than 0% it’s a better investment.                                   I recently looked at 2 cars and broke down the financing options.
    1. 2015 Toyota Rav4 XLE with 29,000 miles-used price 22,400
      1. Financing available on this model was (lowest rate through USAA) 2.49%. Car’s cost over 72 months becomes $24,138
    2. 2017 Toyota Rav4 XLE new with 0 miles-new price 26,500
      1. Financing through Toyota at 0% car’s cost over 72 months remains the same, 26,500

Between these two options I balanced the little more than $2,000 difference. On one hand the new car comes with 2 years of free maintenance and oil changes.  They also include 5 year, 50,000 bumper to bumper warranty. These perks and the fact that I am buying a car that I can later sell as “first owner” and newer, with fewer miles made the decision clear for me and my family, new car wins.

If you decide to go with the new car route you should wait until the end of the year. During this time dealers are trying to get rid of that year’s stock so you can get great deals on new cars. If you can get in on a weekday they will give you further discounts. Also, try to garner loyalty by going back to a dealer from whom you have purchased before because dealerships do value those relationships (my personal dealership gave us an extra $1000 off for that relationship).

And as always, don’t be afraid to walk away!

 

6 AMAZON PRIME DAY HACKS

Holy cow guys, today is Amazon Prime day and these deals beat their black Friday deals! I know this because I got these New Balances for $30 on black Friday of 2015 and now they are $22. TWENTY TWO BUCKS!


My tips and tricks for shopping on prime day:

  1. Shop FAST! Amazon lets you return so buy first, think later! These deals sell out so quickly that you don’t want to miss out on something because you spent too much time hemming and hawing. You can “reserve” something in your cart for 15 minutes, then it’s fair game for others!
  2. Prime! Don’t have prime? It’s okay, sign up for a free trial to shop prime day!
  3. It’s easy to fall for the allure of the 65% off label but be cautious.  Amazon sometimes inflates prices then adds discounts based on demand in real time, so do a quick google of the price to compare before you pull the trigger if you’re unsure.
  4. Camel Camel Camel- This website is incredible! Holy cow, how did I not know about it before?  This site gives price history for amazon so you can double check and see if the price you see today is really a good deal or if the item is only marginally discounted if at all.
  5. Use your Amazon Visa card for extra cash back! Don’t have an amazon visa? Apply for one at check out and get $30 off your purchase of $150! Use the discount code VISA30.
  6. Use EBATES! Usually it’s hard to find days that ebates offers cashback for amazon.com but today they are offering up to 7% off!

Have your own tips and tricks? Tweet me @discountonme !

 

Cash Back for Dining Out

I first must give credit where credit is due.  I like to think that I know everything there is to know about frugality, but let’s be real, I don’t. A friend of mine, Anna, actually referred me to this first program after redeeming her $20 gift card.

The way it works is based on your spend with participating restaurants. At first the list was pretty small and I did not find myself going often but recently they have added a lot of great restaurants that I frequent.  So basically the amount you earn is directly related to how much you spend at any of their participating restaurants, bars, and clubs (including tax and tip, holla!) in a 1 year period.

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Members earn 5% back until they have spent $250.

– Members earn 10% back when they have spent more than $250 and less than $750.

– Members earn 15% back when they have spent more than $750.

Perfect! So far I am only at the 10% mark but with their growing list of participating restaurants I think I can get up to 15% soon!

Now, combine this program with Opentable‘s reward program and you may find yourself eating for free a lot more often than you think.

The way it works with OpenTable is that you earn points when you make and honor reservations made through their site or app.  

I put this in bold because reservations made directly through a restaurant’s webiste or by calling them directly do not earn OpenTable points and if you do not honor your reservation (you skip out or don’t check in at the hostess stand), you do not get those points.

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I can say with confidence that about 85% of the time I dine out, the restaurant I go to uses OpenTable. Even if it’s at a slow time (hello, I love a good 5:00pm dinner) or the place never gets crowded, use the app anyways so that you can earn points!

Here is how the points break down:

2,000 Dining Points = $20 Dining Rewards Gift

5,000 Dining Points = $50 Dining Rewards Gift

10,000 Dining Points = $100 Dining Rewards Gift

I use OpenTable for everything in terms of dining out, even work lunches etc. The more you use it the more you earn!

Between these two programs you can be getting rewards money on a monthly basis and that makes a huge difference in cutting into the dining-out-budget!

Weddings on a Budget

A lot of people have asked me in the past how I managed to keep my wedding last year within budget.  At first I created a spreadsheet of the things I did but then that got too messy so I’ve decided to create a blog post.

  1. Michael’s- DIY wedding invitations. These invitations range from $30-$50 for a box of 30 or 40 and with the coupons Michael’s always has you can get a lot of cheap. We ended up getting 120 invitations for $72. That’s less than $1 per invite AND it includes the RSVP card and a nice card holder, tissue etc.  All you need is a regular printer, inkjet or laserjet. Here’s the one we used:invite
  2. Groupon-We used groupon for our photobooth and it was well worth it! Now a lot of groupons expire but don’t let that dissuade you. I emailed the business owners and asked for an extension on the expiration date and the owner agreed.
  3.  Publix-wedding cake-I know you want the fanciest bakery cake ever but the Publix cake tasted better than our fancy one (we did a Publix grooms cake).
  4. Venue-Choose a venue that lets your bring your own booze-This speaks for itself. If you can find a venue that lets your bring your own alcohol you can just go to Costco for your alcohol and save thousands of dollars. That’s what we did!
  5. Wedding Planner-GET A WEDDING PLANNER-We used Wedding Belles and we could not have been more pleased. I know that you think a wedding planner just costs you money but ours actually SAVED us money. They recommended someone for our centerpieces who was significantly cheaper than any other vendor we spoke with. They save you a lot of headache and money, I promise it’s worthwhile. Not only that but our planners had a day-of emergency kit incudling double sided tape, snacks and more. We could not have survived without them.
  6. Wedding dress-I did the Jenny Yoo dress from Nordstrom.com (using ebates for cashback, duh) which ended up costing me about $212.  I then went to a local tailor to get a custom made sequined ribbon to put around my waist for an additional $25. So total I spent $237 for my dream dress. But there are lots of affordable options including Jcrew Bridal, Macy’s Bridal and even some pre-owned options.  I know you cringe at pre-owned but really, with the prices people sell for you can get a designer dress for the fraction of the cost.
  7. THE RING-I will say it once and I will say it again: Diamonds do not have value. I tried selling a diamond ring and eventually successfully sold it for ONE HALF of the original purchase price. And I was lucky! Check out I do now I don’t.  I know, again you are cringing at the thought of a second hand ring but with the thousands of dollars you will save you can get the ring reset at a jeweler and lose the icky bad joojoo.
  8. Bridesmaid’s Dresses-To help your bridesmaids save money try going a non-traditional route and having them get non-bridesmaids dresses. What I mean is fun cocktail dresses. I chose my from ASOS. By choosing something that’s NOT a bridesmaid dress you are giving them a fighting chance of ever wearing the dress after the wedding. Not only that, but everything with the words “bridal” or “wedding” are automatically marked up 50000000%.  By choosing something non-bridal you are guaranteeing that money will be saved!

iBotta Cashback App

I love getting cashback for things I am already going to buy.  There are a lot of apps that let you do that but I have a new favorite.

My go-to-grocery cashback app used to be Snap by Groupon.  But as of March 1 they have changed where you can earn cashback and it’s not at the grocery store.  My world of savings shattered until I found ibotta.

ibotta

Now there are pros and cons to every app and this app is no different.  This app requires that you scan the item’s bar code and the receipt. Sounds easy enough, unless you’re me and have a pantry full of clear-plastic containers where you fill all your grains and such.  So I always have to remember when I buy pasta, rice, chips, etc to save the package so I can scan the bar code first.

I recommended this app to a friend recently who responded “Um, my time is more valuable than this, I don’t need to waste it scanning things to save $0.50”

I’m sorry (read, I’m not sorry at all), unless you’re rich, like your kids’ college-tuition-is-totes-covered-rich, your time is not so valuable that literally 10 seconds to save $0.50 (by the way some of their cashback items are much higher, several dollars) is beneath you.  I literally whipped out my calculator and did the math. At an 8 hour workday, 480 minutes per day.  That’s 28,800 seconds.  That’s 2880 10-second increments. at $0.50/10 seconds you’re looking at earning $1440/day.

So sure, if you earn that much money (aka $28,800/month aka $345,600) then theoretically your time is much more valuable, but that’s also assuming you’d scan things during your work hours.

All I can say is that I have earned about $20 in the past month using this app, and even if that just covers my frozen yogurt addiction, that’s fine with me!

Ebates.com Hack to Save Money

Let me begin by saying I love ebates.com. No, I was not paid to write that. My site is not important enough for that.

Simply put, I do all of my shopping online and ebates.com pays me for it. I am going to teach you some hacks to MAXIMIZE your cashback.

I hate trying on clothes in store. I hate fluorescent lights.  Those stupid lights make look like an anemic ICU patient who is ill with what, not sure, but it’s bad all around. So I order all of my clothes online. And other than HM.com, most stores let you return online purchases in store.

So here’s the hack: say I see a shirt at macys.com that’s $15. But shipping and handling is $9.95 (which at macys.com it usually is).  I START my journey at ebates.com. Oh look, Z% cashback, click that button, and go to macys. Then I add one item that’s $85 or more to get free shipping. I usually get one item because it’s easier to return than half a dozen items.

By using this method, you maximize your cashback because you get that Z% x $100 and you only spent $15!

YES, to answer your question, you get to keep the cashback even if you return the items.

It requires some work but to me it’s worth it not to pay shipping and handling.

Tune in next week for my next hack!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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