When COVID-19 hit, our household income dropped significantly. I knew I had to work on my saving habits to help make ends meet until this crisis passes, which may not be until the beginning of 2021. We hope.
I needed to save serious money, not shuffle pennies from checking to savings with an app. Here’s how I made our household over $1,500 richer during these last few months even though we increased by one (an extended family member ended up quarantined with us).
For more money-saving tips, deals, and coupons, download the KCL app.
1. Purchase discount gift cards from Raise for Netflix and Hulu and save $38.
When you purchase discount gift cards through Raise, you can save up to 15% or earn Raise Cash to apply to future gift cards. Some of the cards I’ve purchased over the last few months include Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu, CVS and Home Depot (for a few DIY home repairs).
Once you buy the gift cards, use them as payment for whatever stuff you need. In the case of Netflix and Hulu, any overpayment one month gets credited to your account and each month’s fee is deducted. I prepaid most of my streaming services for an entire year using Raise discount gift cards, and I was able to sock away $38.
2. Scan receipts to rebate apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards and score $24.
Anytime someone in the family hit up the grocery store or gas station (twice in the last four months), I scanned the grocery receipts into the Ibotta app and grocery and gas into the FetchRewards app to earn points. Your points accumulate within the app until you earn enough to cash out. For Ibotta that’s (2,000 points) $20 and for Fetch it’s (3,000 points) $3. During the last four months, I saved $24. Sign up with this Ibotta link to receive up to $20 in bonuses.
TIP: You must tap Ibotta offers before you shop or you won’t receive credit for the item.
3. Sign up for an energy savings program, like OhmConnect, to save money and the planet.
If you’re like me you are always look for ways to trim the utility bills you have options. California residents can sign up for OhmConnect , which sends you notifications to turn off your appliances for an hour each day. If you reduce your usage enough, OhmConnect will give you points that you can accumulate to earn cash. Arcadia Power hooks you up with clean energy providers in your area so you can save on utility bills and save the planet.
My family tries not to waste energy or water; however, sometimes you don’t realize how much you use or could save until you sign up for an energy savings program. That’s what I did with my electrical service provider.
With the DTE energy bridge (a small device that collects data on our energy usage from our smart energy meter) and mobile app, I can see in real time where we are using energy so I can decide on the spot if there are gadgets, etc. that I could turn off. The program also allows me to set up budget and usage targets.
The DTE Insight app is free, but the energy bridge runs us $1.99 a month, which is okay because since signing up at the end of March, we’ve reduced our electric bill by $61.
TIP: For more information on clean and renewable energy programs visit the EPA.gov website.
4. Use the KCL app to stack coupons and loyalty program discounts to save $510.
Watch for coupons and crazy deals, like freebies or moneymakers, in the Krazy Coupon Lady app and on the website. Tap on a KCL deal to see what coupons you need and how to stack them with any loyalty program discounts to maximize your savings.
I’ve used KCL deals to get a ton of stuff under $1 or free like Tide laundry detergent, toothpaste, and body wash from Kroger, CVS, Target, and Walgreens. Thankfully, all of these stores are within three miles of my home, so I don’t waste gas trying to save some bucks. Using the coupons and the instructions listed in the KCL deals section helped me save $510 over the last four months.
5. Bake up some homemade artisan bread and enjoy $180 in savings.
We love bread. It takes nothing to go through a loaf or two, a package of buns, and a dozen sleeves of bagels a week around my house. Even though you can find bread relatively cheap, we spent about $15 a week on bread, sometimes more if I grabbed fresh loaves from the bakery.
Once COVID hit the states, I, like everyone else on the planet, started baking bread, which I hadn’t done for years (I got lazy). Artisan bread requires just a few ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, and water, and is easy to make. Since everyone has jumped on the bread wagon, tasty recipes aren’t hard to find. Here are a few to get you started: Sally’s Baking Addiction and Kitchn.
Baking bread at home has saved us at least $180.
6. Cancel subscriptions and services to recoup $248.
Speaking of services, one way to save some bucks is to cancel any subscriptions or services you may have forgotten about or don’t use. Thankfully, my gym paused our family gym membership for the last few months, saving us $172. We used the free Mint app to help us find subscriptions we forgot about and recouped another $76.
7. Adjust your thermostat and water heater and cut your bills by $429.
The energy-saving program I signed up for has a weather feature that allows me to adjust my thermostat accordingly. For half of March, all of April and May, I left our heat and air off. At the beginning of June, I raised the temperature when my air conditioner would kick in up from 69 degrees to 74 degrees. So far, no complaints, not even during a recent 90 plus degree heatwave. On top of our energy program savings, we have banked another $375.
I’ve known for a long time that our hot water cranks out some seriously hot water. We’ve talked about lowering the temp but didn’t do anything about it until March when the pandemic hit. After I adjusted the temp down, no more steaming hot water, and it decreased our gas bill $54 since March.
TIP: Calculate your hot water savings with the Federal Energy Management Program; Energy Cost Calculator for electric and gas water heaters.
Don’t Scroll Up! Here are the articles I mentioned: