If something is important to you, you sacrifice for it. Sometimes we get to a point in life where we are sacrificing so much for so many different things that there's nothing left. My marriage is what grounds me. When I've been chasing little ones all day and have sacrificed every thought that isn't associated with the diaper that needs to be changed, or that cup that just spilled on the floor, or what they need to learn today, or who needs to be corrected, or making breakfast/lunch/dinner, or is that tantrum because they're tired, hungry, lonely, hurt, or scared, my husband helps me pause; He asks me how I'm doing. It doesn't sound like much but it shifts my thought process even if just for a minute. He hugs me in a way that reassures me (rather than the reassuring hugs I'm giving out all day) and then he takes over some of the craziness. He isn't perfect but life is easier when we are "us" because that partnership is what turns chaos into fun.
I've heard it said that the plant you water is the plant that will grow, and after we have been compromising all day, it's all too easy to sacrifice spending quality time alone together. Relationships can be fragile, and dry out quickly when you don't water them, so finding the right balance when trying to keep all of your relationships watered can be tricky. With 5 kids, our first reaction to the idea of a date night is "How?" The herculean task of bending and contorting our daily lives to allow for a calm, quiet (emphasis on quiet!) night out is challenging enough, but the problem of Money will kill the prospect of dinner and a movie faster than you can say,"quick! sneak out the back so the baby doesn't see you!" The how problem is the money, but money doesn't just appear out of thin air and the extra funds can always be used for the next looming bill. Yet another entry on the list of things we have to sacrifice for.
I've tried so many different avenues for a little extra money, and my first reaction is always to go out and get a job. I love working but my kids need me and because of the schedule I'm restricted to, it is not worth it. One way I've found to get around this is by being a smarter shopper. I have lowered my food budget drastically by getting the best deal possible. There are so many ways to do this but I would like to specifically focus on rebate apps because my husband and I have an agreement that rebate money is our entertainment budget, which means that rebate money is date night money (I even used my balances from all my apps to fund part of our anniversary trip). A friend of mine uses this as her "frivolous budget" to buy the luxuries, or anything she wants, but isn't a necessity. I love rebate apps, I have tried quite a few and won't step foot into a grocery store without checking each one first. These are the ones I like and what my experience has been.
- Ibotta is king. I have made more with this app than all the other ones I have, combined. The amount of stores, apps, and websites that they work with is great. They have every major grocery store I shop at (with the exception of Aldi) and a wide selection of products, Not to mention the layout is very user friendly and coupons used at checkout don't void your rebate. I've been using it for 3 years and I got a pretty slow start (including forgetting to use it with most online purchases) but I've earned just under $1,300 on it and my husband got excited about it too and got his own account which has reached $500. It's not like a second income but you can cash out with gift cards. We usually get a Regal gift card for a movie and a restaurant gift card for dinner. Nothing big, not too fancy but a wonderful evening out. Sign up here for a bonus once you've redeemed your first rebate.
- This is my second most frequently used app. It's pretty good. It's a little more particular (like you can't use coupons with most of their rebates) and the variety isn't great but you can use it at almost any store (including Aldi) I'm just under $300 with this one but my favorite thing to do with it is stack the rebates with other apps or justify some ice cream that I was on the fence about. To cash out, you need to order a check, which just means it helps to encourage you to wait for a larger balance. Sign up here, there's no bonus but it's still worth it.
- I like the versatility with this one. You can print coupons, link your loyalty cards, or with a few stores, get rebates which are deposited directly to your paypal account. I know that my rebates have reached just under $100 but the coupons (printed or digital) are far higher. The selection is ok but stacking with paper coupons isn't an option. Sign up here
- I haven't been using this very long, but so far, I really like it, and I've only been scratching the surface. What I like the most is that I don't have to search out the rebates I want or perform some sort of task to unlock a rebate. I just scan my receipt and it picks out what it will give me credit for and usually it's a percentage of what I spent on a sponsored item but sometimes there's a bonus for certain products and sometimes they'll give you points just for scanning a receipt, even if there's nothing to match on it. To cash out, you select a gift card, the minimum is $3 which is nice. I haven't made much yet, I'm still new to it but I did cash out $10 during a date night on a restaurant gift card which was quick and easy. Sign up here and use promo code KY4HQ to get bonus points
- I'm on the fence with this one. I don't dislike it but I haven't made more than about $5. There isn't much of a selection, but I can usually find something I'd buy on it but that doesn't mean I actually need it or can find a good enough deal. It also has accumulation rebates like "$5 back if you spend $20 or more" and that can be on multiple receipts, which is great for products that you buy regularly . It's good in theory, I still have it on my phone, I just haven't found it useful yet. Sign up here
There are more, I've cycled through a few that either just don't have a lot of products I use or are overly complicated. Either way, I love saving money and will continue to try new apps. None of these require any kind of membership fee, the downloads are free, the only thing you're sacrificing is a little bit of time finding the rebates you want to use, so I figure why not give them a shot! There is so much stress with all the normal things in life, but I can't even put into words how nice it is to just go on a date with my husband, and not fuss about how we are going to pay for it. We just to decide where to go! Until next time...