My Favorite Savings App

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With the hundreds of money saving apps out there it is hard to decide which one is worth your time to download and use. When I was introduced to the FREE IBOTTA app, I was clueless about how it worked but I was intrigued because my friend Erin raved about it. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose just to download it and try it…

One thing I had to learn was the Ibotta uses rebates which collect in your account and you can redeem for money or gift cards. (I will get into that later) Now please now that rebates are different from coupons because with coupons you get the money discounted at the register so pay less. With rebates, you get the money back AFTER you purchase the item.

I was right and super happy that I followed my instinct to try this app out. They have rebates for major stores and websites like Walmart, Amazon, Target plus other local stores which for me the big one is Shoprite. You can search for the type of rebate you want or browse through the stores they offer rebates.

Now please now that rebates are different from coupons because with coupons you get the money discounted at the register so pay less. With rebates, you get the money back AFTER you purchase the items.

Normally, I use Ibotta for my grocery shopping at either Walmart, Target and Shoprite. They seem to be the ones I get the most rebates for plus bonus rebates. (Yes I said bonus rebates…. just wait because it is cool) Honestly, I prefer Walmart because when you go to redeem your rebates all you do is scan the QR code at the bottom of the receipt instead of taking a picture of the ENTIRE receipt. With the other stores, at least so far, you have to take a picture of the entire receipt and if it is to dark or blurry then they reject it and you have to start all over. I just get to frustrated to deal with that sometimes.

After all of that information I am sure you are a little lost, so let me walk you through the process. You must begin this process BEFORE you go shopping because the rebates only count if they are selected before you purchase something! Select the store or rebate you want to look at, click the specific rebate you are interested in, click to get the rebate, complete either the survey or watch the video (its a pain but worth the rebates) and then you can check whether the item you are looking at in the store is qualified for the rebate (sometimes specific flavors or types of items are excluded), purchase your qualifying items, redeem your rebates then watch the money grow in your account.

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Let’s talk about the cool bonuses they offer! If you connect your account through Facebook then everytime one of your friends joins Ibotta they become part of your “team”. When you have a team of friends, you and your friends earn towards different levels of bonuses everytime you redeem a rebate. These rebates start at $1 when you personally redeem 8 rebates and your team redeems $10 in rebates. Then you have different bonuses from manufacturers, stores/sites or Ibotta boosts (the company will give you an added bonus for redeeming so many rebates in a specific time period). These bonuses are how I have really made some extra money.

The last bonus is the invite your friends bonus where you can make $5 for each friend that joins under your referral code. The bonuses escalate with each friend you have join under your code which can add up really fast. I have yet to have someone join under my code because I am not pushy at getting my friends to do the things I am doing. I will share it on my Facebook or Twitter once in a while but that is about it.

 

Last but not least the awesome ways you can redeem your rebates! First you can withdrawl the rebates for cash into your Paypal or venmo accounts with a $20 minimum. Or you can redeem your rebates for cool gift cards like Itunes, Uber, Walmart, Amazon, tons of restuarants and other stores. Each of these gift cards has a minimum that needs to be in your account before you can redeem them. Personally, I use my bonuses to redeem Regal Movies Gift Cards  because Danyella and I love to go to the movies. One $25 gift card is enough for us to buy movie tickets and then I just need the money for snacks. Photo Aug 20, 11 38 13 AM

So far, I have redeemed $271 in rebates over the past year and a few months! That is alot of movies we have seen just for buying things we use. Another nice thing about this app has been finding new foods or brands that I wouldn’t have normally tried but saw a good rebate so I tried it anyway and now have a new favorite. There is money to be made and fun you can have with this app so I highly recommend it. For the little time it takes to find the rebates, you can earn FREE money for the purchases you would be making anyways.

 

If you are interested in the Ibotta App here is the link to the website or you can find it for your smartphone in your itunes or android/google store. 85b1e55bab94bd80c698b64c678125f7

*For those of you that do not want to use the app there is a website version that you can add the rebates to your account but you need the app in order to redeem the rebates.

**Please note that is not a paid endorsement from Ibotta but a review with my own opinions and love for the app and company.

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Do Coupons Really Matter?

Photo Aug 13, 12 15 01 PMFor more years than I want to admit, I have been couponing on and off…. though more off then on because I would either forget it was Sunday to buy the papers, I was too lazy to cut the coupons before I went shopping or I would just forget the coupons at home when I was already in the grocery store. Also, I was doubtful that I was really saving any money because I would have to purchase 2 or 3 of a product just to get the $1 off. Well this past week taught me the lesson that I need to learn to be frugal and that there are good coupons and deals if I just pay attention!

So we all know of the extreme couponers that have a format to how they coupon and purchase like $200 worth of groceries for $20 (maybe a little extreme but not really if you watch the shows and documentaries). In my mind, those extreme couponers were a little crazy and had too much time on their hands which I didn’t have. Well now I do have the time on my hands and the financial need to cut down on our spending costs so I better start paying attention to what they are doing and copying their money-saving ways.

My lesson from last week is this…. Shoprite (our local go to grocery store for good deals) had Arm & Hammer laundry detergent on sale for $1.99 plus there was a coupon out in the world for a $1 off the detergent which means you can buy the detergent for just $.99! Well that $1 savings could go towards the fresh fruit and veggies that my family devours in a day or less. Lately, my go to couponing place (when I would remember to look) has been coupons.com because I can easily print of the coupons and why would I need to go over their limit of only printing the coupon 1 time when I don’t usually stock up on things.

Lesson learned because we go through detergent so often with a furry puppy (yes I am one of those anal, I HATE FUR people so I was things almost everyday to keep the fur in control) that I could have purchased 10 bottles easily for $1 but I only had 1 coupon for regular detergent and 1 coupon for the sensitive skin (Danyella and the new baby). So I ordered (yes I order my groceries which will be a future post) 1 bottle of regular scented detergent and 1 bottle of the senstive skin detergent and used my coupons. After putting the groceries away, I was kicking myself in the ass about the detergent situation so I waddled my ass around Shoprite to get more of the detergent without the coupons. (insert crying face emoji here haha)

Next lesson on coupons I learned…. I may never become one of those extreme couponers but this morning I got out of bed early (a rarity just ask my boyfriend) and went to Wawa to purchase 2 Sunday papers to get those coupons. As I am cutting the coupons from 2 different papers (don’t know why I decided to try 2 different papers but something told me to do it), I find out that not all papers have the same damn coupons! The one paper had more coupons than the other but the other paper had a rebate coupon that doesn’t expire until March of next year. Shit now do I buy 2 of each of those papers?

This is a bit overwhelming and a little exciting at the same time. I am trying to find other ways to save money before this baby gets here and we have to add baby stuff to the grocery list. Since this is going to be an ongoing challenge for me, I am starting a series on couponing and saving on Sundays. If you have any tips or stories of your own please feel free to comment below.

Next 5 Months of Boredom or Discovery

 

Well it is official folks… I am on bed rest or at least out of work for the rest of my pregnancy. I had a feeling it was coming because as soon as I am on my feet my body decides that it is going to start acting up. You know the cramps and Braxton Hicks

Photo Aug 09, 9 05 02 PMcontractions that are not supposed to happen until the 3rd trimester! In order to help relieve the pain and my anxiety, my OB thinks staying off my feet as much is in mine and the baby’s best interest and I have to agree.

Now what in the hell am I going to do for the next 4-5 months? Since I had a feeling this was coming, I started to make my plan over the weekend to apply for financial aid and college. I still have a semester to finish of my theatre associates degree from the community college I attend when Danyella was in preschool so I do have some credits that will transfer over… hopefully! Since the new community college does not offer a theatre degree, I opted for a fine arts degree which between the fall and spring I should be able to finish up to transfer to a “big person’s college or university”. Yes, to me attending a 4 year school is like finally growing into an adult because you need at least a bachelors in order to a decent job now.

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I am going to be the old, pregnant mom in my classes which makes me feel soooo self conscious because I hate that I have gotten this old and haven’t finished school. On the bright side, having school and homework will keep me super busy since I will not have to work to occupy my time. I love anything to do with art so getting my associates in Fine Arts will allow me to transfer to a 4 year college to get my bachelors in Art History which I would love to take to the next level and get my Masters as well. The art classes will do me a double good because I will be working towards my degree plus releasing my stresses through my art.

Another project that I am going to try and undertake while on bed rest, is to actually start making all these patterns that I have collected over the past 10 years. So I will be going through all my patterns and making one of each to either give as a gift, keep for my family or list on my website. Some of my most popular items came from patterns that I wouldn’t have normally tried because it was either a request or went with yarn that I fell in love with and needed a fitting pattern.

Let’s hope that the next 4-5 months brings alot of self discovery and adventure instead of sleep and boredom. When I am bored it is never good for myself and really not good for the loved ones that are around me because I get very demanding and bitchy. For their sake, keeping busy is the best thing….

Benny the Bunny

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How in the hell can we adopt a bunny when we have to move? How can we adopt a bunny with a crazy puppy that loves to scare every animal that comes into yard? How can we adopt a bunny when I may end up on bed rest for the next 4-5 months? How are we going to convince a landlord to take us plus our crazy puppy plus a new baby bunny?

It is fair week so I knew that Danyella was going to become Bunny obsessed since we never held up our end of the deal… buying her a new bunny after Hannah the Havana died. Well she worked every angle she could from pouting to getting angry to begging. She tried it all and it worked.

Maybe it is the hormones that made me go soft with this decision but I did feel bad because instead of buying her a new bunny we adopted Max the crazy puppy. Don’t get me wrong, she loves Max but to her we all share Max but a bunny would be all hers like Hanna

h was all hers. I understood that somehow the non animal lover has raised a true animal lover but the timing is all wrong right now.

We need to move and find a landlord that will take us and our puppy which is hard enough but now we have to add a baby bunny to the list. Plus this just adds to yet another thing we need to move. Oh how do I end up agreeing to this craziness? I end up agreeing because I want to make her feel like she is important while I am having to take the time to take care of myself and the baby which cuts into things Danyella and I had planned for the summer. Good ole guilt trip….

Danyella had everyone riding this guilt trip until we agreed to adopt Benny the Bunny. Yes she loves to name her animals to rhyme… Benny the Bunny and Hannah the Havana (type of bunny she was) plus it was hard to find somet

hing to go with Lop (the type of bunny Benny is). I do have to say, her love for animals have made me a little softer in my years with animals and their dreaded fur!

I am sure there will be future posts and pictures about the newest member of our family so stay tuned!

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17 Weeks

0c51b4d6e768a4b380e500cf7242117d Today marks 17 weeks into my pregnancy! I am almost to the half way mark which has been roller coaster of symptoms and hormones so far. Now I am on bed rest for at least the next 2 weeks though I have a feeling it is going to end up being a lot longer.

Everyone talks about the pregnancy glow and how the 2nd trimester is the best trimester of the pregnancy but I beg to differ right now. At 17 weeks, I am still dealing with morning sickness though it has gotten much better and I can hold down most food. Instead of the beautiful glow, I have a face that is breaking out in acne which I have not dealt with before even with the other pregnancies.

My cravings have been not so great…. anything made from potatoes plus candy plus anything that someone might say that makes me hungry in that instant moment. Like today, a friend of mine in a conversation about her dad mentioned Arby’s, and I wanted a Roast Beef and Cheese sandwich asap! To bad there isn’t an Arby’s in my area. This week is our county fair which is food heaven to me. So for dinner my parents, daughter and I are going to eat dinner at the fair so bring on the pierogies!

Then we come to my hormones…. oh they have been off the charts! I have teetered between rage and anger to crying at everything! My poor boyfriend has been at the receiving end of my yelling and most of my crying so he has been a trooper with coping with me. Christmas romantic movies have been my downfall lately. It is like my body just wants me to cry and cry and cry a little more!

On a bright note, I have survived 3 days on bed rest so far and have started a baby blanket for Baby Evelynne. I do have a little more energy which has been nice to clean more of the house as we prepare to start packing soon. I am taking this bed rest just like the rest of life, one day at a time.

Photo Jul 26, 10 52 02 AM Here is Baby Evelynne at our appointment last wednesday. She is facing and kicking my back. According to my apps, she is as big as a white onion, a turnip, a pomegranate, Creme Brulee, Game Controller or a chipmunk! She is growing so fast and I cannot wait to meet our baby girl in 5 months!

A Little Positivity during the Hard Times

610a73b1c546e16019980715e766eb4fBoy have I screamed…. at everyone and cried…. at everything and everywhere this week! For one good thing that has happened, it felt like 5 bad things followed in its footsteps. It has been so difficult to keep going but as a pregnant mother,  I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and keep waking up everyday.

So some updates on the hard times and the positive things that have happened…

Doctors appointments galore resulted in finding out that I have placenta previa and I am on bed rest for the next 2 weeks. First I went to the maternal fetal medicine doctor (aka high risk doc) for my bi weekly ultrasound and weekly shot. I was having horrible back pain and some cramping going into the appointment which the ultasound showed the placenta previa (I was not told this at the appointment) and they consulted with another doctor in the practice. She came in and told me that I am probaly just dehydrated without even listening to my concerns. I left very, very upset but kept my hormonal mouth in check. A few hours later I went to see my regular OB, which was the first time I had met him. He was absolutely wonderful at making sure I felt comfortable and listened to my concerns. It was my OB that told me about the placenta previa and that I need to take it easy. Well working on my feet for hours at a time makes “taking it easy” extremely hard plus add the pain I was having and we agreed bed rest for 2 weeks and then back in for a check up. I left feeling so much better about my pregnancy and my baby were in good hands.

With doctors and appointments come the dreaded insurance. Well we are still fighting with all of that. I will get to the bad then explain the good that has happened. So the company that produces the progesterone shot that I need weekly was kind enough of to send out a charity set so I could get my shots when I needed. Plus the MFM office is willing to work with me to self pay until I get the insurance straightened out. Well….. the OB’s office is not even willing to see me now until I have the insurance situated and will not let me self pay either. When I originally showed up to the OB on Wednesday, the receptionist wouldn’t even let me be seen that day. One of the other office people saw the pain I was in and told her I needed to be seen today (there are some kind people left in the world). Well the receptionist called my insurance company then called me to inform that they will not see me until I have documentation that states my insurance is active again. Then she goes on to tell me that there is some kind of charity program I can apply for with my insurance company and to call them to apply so they can see me again.

You would think that seeing a pregnant woman, especially a high risk pregnant woman with complications, would be a requirement not an option! This is what is wrong with the United States Health Care System! They make is difficult to get health insurance, pay for health insurance or be seen by doctors because it is all about the money. It scares me to raise children in a society where you have to break your back to be able to afford simple things like housing, food and health care and you see nothing in return but struggle.

So there goes another day of crying and fighting with insurance companies. So I go another round with the insurance company and come out the big fat loser! They tell me that there is no such program and that my insurance is terminated and cannot be reinstated because I purchased it through the marketplace. I feel completely defeated because they repeat over and over and over how I need to have a life change to get new insurance… well the life changes they list can’t happen or don’t apply to me EXCEPT if I move out of state (see later in the blog). So I go back to the marketplace….

Come to find out Amerihealth never even told the Marketplace that they terminated my insurance so I went through and applied for a life change due to my change of income which has significantly dropped since I originally started my insurance. I was approved for the life change and given the option to start a new policy. This time I went with a new company that my OB still accepts so I don’t have to worry about that. My next hurdle is getting Horizon to get my policy started so that I can pay my premium before Tuesday so that my insurance will start on August 1st.

Onto the moving/house situation…. The house is set for online auction starting tomorrow and we have decided that we want to move to Pennsylvania where things are a little cheaper. Rental hunting is hard enough but now we need to add a pet to the our list of things the rental needs to have/accept makes it a little harder. I am hoping and praying that we can find something in the next couple of weeks so that we can get Danyella back into public school and take one expense off our monthly list so we will see….

Yes there has been hard times, crying, fighting (especially between bf and I) but there has been positive outcomes as well. It is those positive moments that keep us going from day to day and sometimes hour to hour.

New Day Different Stress

stressAs if this pregnancy hasn’t been hard enough to deal with, but each day has brought something new to stress about which living in good ole America means…. money or lack there of. A woman going through a pregnancy is told to keep her stress level to a minimum for the health of herself and the baby but add a high risk, possible pre-term labor pregnancy and you are told do not be stressed out at all! Oh how I wish life was that easy!

Since June, the stressors have been hitting me left and right with each one having a bigger impact than the last. In June, while I was on my one and only girls trip to Las Vegas (planned nearly a year in advance and the thought of a baby was not even in existence), I receive a frantic phone call from my boyfriend that someone is trying to change the locks on our house! WTF!! After calming him down, making several pissed off phone calls to my landlord and trying not to ruin my trip, I find out that the house we have been renting was foreclosed on and my landlord never told the bank he was renting it so the bank was coming to seize the property! So my landlord had to email me a letter stating we were renting the property because he had not updated my lease which was asked multiple times since November. One crisis diverted…. onto the next one!

Jump to a couple of weeks ago when I get notice in the mail that my insurance did not cover a single one of my baby appointments because they cancelled my insurance. WTF!! Now I am hormonal and dealing with a crisis so I automatically start crying and freaking out at the same time. I call the insurance company, who first tells me that they cancelled the insurance and reactivated it to May because they didn’t receive my premium for May. Mind you they accepted my payment for June and July and never said a single word in 2 months about May until they cancelled the policy. I am frantic on the phone with them who connects me with the company that I bought my policy from and tells me just pay them and then we can reinstate it. Well this company tells me NO! When the policy is cancelled it is cancelled sorry and hangs up. So I call the insurance company back…. now I am told that I cannot receive insurance in the good ole USA until open enrollment in November or have a life changing event. The girl goes on to tell me that if I have the baby early then I can get coverage….. I am 14 weeks (at that point) I cannot have my baby for months you crazy bitch! So now I am really flipping the hell out and all my boyfriend can say is “we will figure it out”. Well now the doctor’s office is calling me about why everything is getting kicked back from my insurance including the progesterone shots that I desperately need to start next week. Thankfully the nurse called the manufacture and was able to get me a charity set of shots until I can “sort out my insurance”. Though I do need to pay for the visits which means $250 every 2 weeks for the ultrasound that the doctor needs and I am not sure what the nurse visits will cost. Well to sort out my insurance I would need to either quit my job, claim self employed under my business and pay $500 a month which I do not have OR marry my boyfriend which will never happen as he made very clear to me (another blog post for the future). So for right now I am stuck in a rut with this stressor.

Yesterday, I find out that the house we are still living in is now being auctioned by Auction.com on August 1st…. WT double F!!!! So after some research, I find out that once the house is sold through this site we will have 1 of 2 options, receive a 90 day eviction notice or have our lease changed which means an increase in rent! FML!! I can barely afford the bills that we have because I am down to working only 4 days a week and should be on bed rest. Now I am trying to figure out how we are coming up with the money to move into a new place plus find a new place and keep current on the bills that we do have.

A new Day…. A new Stessor! Now to look at the upside of things… 1.I do still have a place to live in, even if it is for 90 days 2. My baby is receiving care because of a very caring nurse. 3. I have a business that I can restart to make money while I make my game plan 4. I have a house full of stuff to sell on the Facebook yard sale groups to help raise money for my moving and medical expense. 5. I am 16 weeks today and Baby Evelynne is the size of an Avocado!!