Archive for the ‘ Ways to Save ’ Category

How to Save Money & Build a Diaper Stockpile (includes approximate diaper usage for 1st year!)

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

If you’ve read my post about 7 Easy Ways to Save on Diapers and Wipes, you know that one of the big ways that I save is by stockpiling.  In fact, I take diaper stockpiling so seriously that by the time our daughter was born 2 years ago, I had already stockpiled 42 packages of diapers and around 30 packages of wipes, all bought at rock bottom prices.

Stockpiling has helped us save significantly because it meant that I never had to pay full price for either diapers or wipes.  Since I planned ahead and started buying diapers while I was still pregnant, I could wait and purchase diaper/wipes when they were at their lowest prices and add them to my stockpile.  As a result, I had a nice sized stockpile by the time our daughter arrived and then was able to continue to purchase diapers and wipes only when they were at rock bottom prices.  In fact, I’ve never had to pay more than $5 for a package of diapers and $1 for a package of wipes, which is at least 50% savings off of the regular price!

For me, one of the hardest things about diaper stockpiling was knowing how many of each size to buy.  When I was pregnant with our daughter I discovered that a friend of mine kept track of how many diapers her son used in his first year.  I found it incredibly helpful to refer to that when I was I was purchasing diapers for my stockpile and, although we ended up using different amounts, it gave me a bit of a guideline to go by.

I kept track of our daughter’s diaper usage during her first year too.  Below you’ll find both my friend’s and my record.  Hopefully it will help give you a bit of an idea of how many of each size to stock up on.

(The packs referred to below are the smaller jumbo size packages of diapers, not the larger mega packs or boxes.  I included the approximate number of diapers since some of you may prefer buying the big boxes instead.)

Our Daughter’s Diaper Usage During First 12 Months  (she weighed 8lb. 4 oz. at birth)
Newborn: 6 packs (approx. 216 diapers)
Size 1: 4 packs (approx. 160 diapers)
Size 2: 16 packs (approx. 640 diapers)
Size 3: 19 packs (approx. 684 diapers)

Friend’s Son’s Diaper Usage During First 12 Months  (he weighed 7lb. 12 oz. at birth)
Newborn: 7 packs (approx. 252 diapers)
Size 1: 7 packs (approx. 280 diapers)
Size 2: 14 packs (approx. 560 diapers)
Size 3: 38 packs (approx. 1368 diapers)

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A couple of tips for diaper and wipe stockpiling:

1.  WATCH DIAPER SIZE
Huggies Little Snugglers diapers
are smaller than Huggies Snug & Dry diapers of the same size.  (I’m meaning that the diaper itself is smaller, not the package.)  So if you buy any of the Snug & Dry diapers, be sure to use them first as your baby will grow out of them more quickly.

2.  WATCH PACKAGE SIZE
You’ll find that the Huggies Little Snugglers and the Pampers Swaddlers diaper packs have less diapers per pack than the Huggies Snug & Dry or the Pampers Baby Dry of the same size.  Some stores don’t carry the Snug & Dry and Baby Dry diapers in size 1 & 2, but if they do, I try to purchase them instead of the Little Snugglers and Swaddlers just because I’m getting more diapers for my dollar.

Also, currently Huggies has more diapers per package than Pampers brand.  So, if you aren’t set on using Pampers brand diapers, often it is cheaper to buy the Huggies brand because even though the packages might cost the same amount, you are getting several diapers more in each package!

3.  SET A BUY PRICE
Figuring out how much you are willing to pay for diapers and wipes makes it easy to know whether a deal is worth buying or not.  If you aren’t sure where to start, it might help to peruse store ads a bit and see what the sale price of diaper/wipes typically is in your area.  Once you figure out your “buy price”, stick to it and only make a purchase when you can get them at that price or lower.

*  I typically try to pay no more than $0.13-$0.14/diaper.
Since diapers vary a lot in cost per diaper depending on the size and brand, I simply figure my cost per diaper by using size 3 diapers.  This works well for me since diapers are typically the same price per package no matter what size diapers you buy.

When diapers are on sale and I want to figure out whether a deal is worth doing, I just calculate the cost per diaper figuring the size 3 package amount.  So if there are 36 diapers in a package and they are on sale for $5.00 then I divide 5 by 36 and figure out that they are $0.14/diaper.

*  I typically try to pay no more than $0.02/wipe
Again, I figure this price by dividing the cost of the package by the number of wipes.  Most packages have 64 wipes in them and if I watch sales and use coupons I can often get them for $1.00 which comes to just $0.016/wipe.

4.  KNOW WHERE TO GET THE BEST DEALS
I’ve discovered that I can usually get the best deals on diapers and wipes at drug stores and here’s why.  Places like CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens have programs that give you money back via store rewards when you buy certain items.  This means that when I can combine a sale and one of those reward deals with a coupon I can often get really good prices.

For instance, CVS often has diapers on sale for $10 each and when you buy $30 worth you get $10 Extra Bucks (a coupon that gets you $10 off your next CVS purchase).  So I’ll purchase three packs of diapers and then use a $2 coupon on each of those 3 packages, maximizing my savings.  That means that I can get each pack for $4.66 or for just under $0.13/diaper when using Size 3 as my price guide.

Obviously, some of you aren’t going to feel like shopping drug stores is feasible.  If that’s the case, I’ve found that Amazon is the second best place to get diapers and wipes.  They frequently run deals on diapers and wipes and although the prices aren’t quite as good, they still are very decent!  Plus, you can get the items shipped right to your front door which is pretty convenient!  FortheMommas.com does a weekly Diaper Deal Round-up post and this is a great way to find out what deals Amazon is currently running.

How do you save on diapers and wipes?  Do you find buying ahead helpful?

How to Buy Baby Diapers on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Diapers on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Diapers on a Budget

Linking up at Living Well Spending Less.

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Checkout 51: An Easy Way to Save at the Grocery Store

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Checkout 51 Offers

I was excited to recently learn of yet another way to save on groceries!  It’s called Checkout 51- and if you hate fooling with traditional coupons, you’ll find this clip-less method of saving easy to use.

How it Works:

1.  Sign up for Checkout 51- you can do this with your computer or your smartphone (and no, you don’t need a smartphone to use Checkout 51!)

2.  Browse the offers and then purchase participating items at any store (you can even use generic offers like $0.50 off any eggs at places like Aldi)

3.  Upload a picture of your receipt to Checkout 51 and wait for the cash back to credit to your account.

Guidelines and Tips

* Offers go live on Thursdays at 12:00 AM in each time zone. They expire the following Wednesday at 11:59 PM in each time zone. You must submit the receipts while the offers are live.

*Offers are available in limited quantities. Please check your offer list before you go shopping to ensure that the offer is still available, and upload the receipt immediately after purchase to avoid disappointment.

* A quantity of (1) of each offer is eligible for cash back per member.

*Each receipt can only be used once.

* Cash back can only be given for the exact product listed, so please read carefully.

* You are permitted to use Checkout 51 cash back offers with any other coupon or discount unless otherwise stated.

* Checkout 51 works in both the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec)

* Items purchased from online retailers are eligible for cash back. Packing slips are accepted as proof of purchase. Online purchases are subject to the same submission timelines as receipts.

* You can cash out your account once your balance reaches $20.

I just started using Checkout 51, but so far it has been very simple and straightforward to use.  And I love that you can combine the savings with other apps like Ibotta and Saving Star as well as paper coupons!

Interested in more money saving apps?  Check out my 8 Best Money Saving & Money Making Apps post!

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Ebates: Earn up to 25% Cash Back for Online Shopping

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Planning to shop online for Black Friday, Cyber Monday or just to buy Christmas gifts?  You’ll want to sign up for Ebates!

Did you know that you can earn up to 25% cash back via Ebates when you shop online at over 1,600 stores?  It’s really quite simple!

Simply sign up for an Ebates account.  Then when you are ready to shop online, head over to Ebates, click the “Select a Store” button, choose your store and shop away!  Once your order is confirmed, Ebates will deposit the cash back that you earned into your account.  And when you have $5.01 they’ll send you a Big Fat Check!

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8 Best Money Saving (and money making!) Apps

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

I recently told you how we save well over $250 a year by switching to Ting for our cellphone provider and as a result felt like we could finally justify getting me a smartphone.  Well, I’ve been very happy to discover how that little phone can also save me a bundle of money.  In fact, some months the amount that I’ve saved and earned has been enough to cover the cost of our inexpensive cell phone bill!  And I find that pretty exciting!

Here are my top 8 money saving (and in some cases money making) apps.

(Tip: In order to save on data cost and usage, use your own wireless network or tap into free networks whenever possible.)

1.  Ibotta
This is an easy way to save on items you already plan to purchase at grocery stores and places like Walmart and Target.  Ibotta’s offers change frequently but recently there have been several offers where you can save on any brand of milk or laundry detergent.  Who can’t use that? They also started offering earnings for restaurants and Lowe’s and Home depot too!

How does Ibotta work?  Before you shop, go to the Ibotta app and choose the offers you want to buy and earn cash for.  Then when you get home simply verify your purchases by scanning the item’s bar code and taking a picture of your receipt.  Submit them and wait for the money to be deposited into your account.

2. Swagucks TV Mobile
You will first need to sign up for a Swagbucks account if you don’t have one.  Once you are signed up you can download the Swagbucks TV mobile app and then earn up to 50 Swagbucks a day by simply playing videos on your phone.  The videos play continuously, although occasionally there may be an ad that pops up that you have to exit out of.  It’s a pretty painless way to help those Swagbucks add up faster.  Since I’ve started using the Swagbucks mobile app I’ve been able to earn enough Swagbucks to cash out for a $5 Amazon gift card almost every week!

Want to know other ways to earn with Swagbucks?  Check out my 9 Tips for Earning More with Swagbucks.

3.  Target Cartwheel
With Cartwheel you can save up to 30% on items that you purchase at Target.  This includes grocery, household, clothing, health and beauty, baby items, office supplies and well, pretty much any category of items that Target sells!  The great thing is that it works on top of coupons, sales and your Target REDcard savings allowing you to combine these things and really maximize your savings.  I’ve been really loving this app!

4.  Amazon Kindle
While I would be thrilled to own a Kindle, so far I haven’t felt like I can justify the expense.  But I really enjoy using the Kindle app on my smartphone.  The great thing is, there are hundreds of books that you can download for free!  And often even top sellers will have promotional periods where they are offered for free or for $0.99, meaning you really don’t have to spend much if anything to enjoy some good reads.

5.  Shopkick
One of the most used shopping apps available, Shopkick rewards you for simply walking into your favorite stores and opening the app- you don’t even need to buy anything!  You can also scan specific items at some stores for more “kicks”.   Once you earn enough “kicks” you can redeem them for gift cards.  Shopkick works at places like Target, Toys R Us, Old Navy, Best Buy, JCPenney, Macy’s and lots more!

6.  ShopSavvy
Use this app to scan the bar code of any item and find the lowest price at other local stores and also online.

7.  Gas Buddy
Make sure you are getting the lowest price on gas by using this app to check the current price at gas stations near you.

8.  Target Mobile Coupons
While not exactly an app, it’s a great way to use your phone to save some money.  Sign up for Target mobile coupons by texting OFFERS to 827438.  Your coupons will arrive via text and you will receive up to 5 messages a month.  These mobile coupons can also be combined with paper manufacturer coupons, again allowing you to maximize savings!

Lately they have had coupons for $1 off fresh fruit, $1 off fresh vegetables and $1 off any frozen item.  If you use these coupons on items that cost just over $1 you can get a real bargain!

9.  Saving Star eCoupons
And here’s a bonus one!  I love Saving Star and have accessed it for a long time via my computer.  But when a reader mentioned how much she loves the app I thought I should add it here too in case you can only access the internet from your smartphone.

Saving Star is an eCoupon website.  Basically you link up your grocery and drugstore loyalty cards, then click on the eCoupons that you want to add to them.  Whenever you shop in the store, any eCoupons that you added to your card will automatically be flagged and the savings will be added to your account.  Once you get $5 in your account, you can cash it out via Paypal or for an Amazon gift card. If you don’t use the coupon before it expires, you’ve lost nothing.  The great thing about Saving Star eCoupons is that they can be used in addition to both store AND manufacturer coupons.  So essentially you can save 3 different ways on one product, which is rather awesome!

Checkout 51 Offers

10.  Checkout 51 
Okay, here’s another bonus one.  I learned about this one several months after writing this post and it’s just too good not to add! You can actually use Checkout 51 from your computer but they also have an app which in my opinion, is a bit easier to use.

Basically, Checkout 51 is a lot like Ibotta in that you choose the offers that you want to buy and then you earn cash for purchasing them.  In order to earn the cash you must take a picture of your receipt before the expiration date.  Checkout 51 offers change every Thursday.

The really awesome thing about Checkout 51 is that you can purchase the offers at any store that carries the product.  They’ve had various offers for $0.50 off milk or $0.50 off eggs and you can purchase those things at discount stores like Aldi or Save-A-Lot and it will qualify!

Want to know more?  Read my post explaining Checkout 51 more thoroughly.

What are your favorite money saving apps?  How do you use your smartphone to save?

Linking up at Clean and Scentsible, A Night Owl Blog, Six Sisters Stuff, Shaken Together LifePractically Functional, Mostly Homemade Mom and Feeding Big.

Check out Parents.com’s mobile apps and tablet editions.  

Setting Limits on Technology
Setting Limits on Technology
Setting Limits on Technology

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Ting: Inexpensive Cell Phone Plan (saves us well over $250 a year!)

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

I’m always looking for ways to save money, so when I heard about Ting earlier this year I knew that it was the perfect solution for us to use to save on our cell phone bill!

4 Reasons Why I love Ting:

1.  A lot less expensive!
We pay less for two phones with Ting than what we had been paying for one phone on a very inexpensive, basic plan with AT&T.  Most months we pay just under $30 total for both of our phones and that includes taxes and regulatory fees.

2. We could afford a phone for my husband.
Because of the low cost, we finally felt like we could justify getting my husband a cell phone.  He had never had one but due to some new circumstances it was feeling like a definite need!

3. I got a smartphone and still pay less than before!
I’ve wanted a smartphone for a long time and I love that with Ting, I could get one and still pay less than what I did for my old flip phone plan.  Plus, I’m able to use various free apps on my smartphone and save money too!  In fact, this month, the money I saved via apps will cover the cost of our bill!

(Curious about how I do that?  Stay tuned for a post about my favorite money saving apps and how they work.  I plan to post it soon.)

4. We only pay for the minutes/texts/data we use.
I can’t tell you how much I love this!  It’s just so, so simple.

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4 Basics About Ting

1.  COVERAGE
Ting is hosted by the Sprint Network which simply means that they use Sprint’s towers.  If you have decent Sprint coverage in your area, then I think you’ll be happy with Ting.

2.  RATES
Ting implements a pay-for-what-you-use method of billing. They have “buckets” of voice minutes, texts and data that come in different sizes (XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL).  At the end of the month you pay for however much you used in each category plus a $6 per device fee.

This means you have control over how much you pay.  If you are getting close to using all your minutes one month, have plenty of texts left and don’t want to hit the next “bucket”, just use your texts instead!

Here’s a chart that shows you the various “buckets” and how the billing system works:

3.  CUSTOMER SERVICE
I’ve been super impressed with Ting’s customer service.  I was pretty confused when I was trying to bring my phone over to Ting and when I contacted customer service they were prompt and super helpful.  I’ve had to contact them several times since and have always had prompt, thorough help.  In fact, get this: when you call them you will actually get to talk to a real, live person instead of a computerized system!  How awesome is that?

Oh, and one month I used 1 megabyte of data (and actually this was accidental).  I didn’t even contact Ting to explain what had happened, but on their own, Ting was awesome enough not to even charge me for it!  Also, when my husband joined Ting several months after me, he joined part way through the billing cycle.  So instead of charging him the full $6 device fee for the month, they only charged him $4.80 which reflected the amount of days that he was actually with Ting.  You can see both of those things in the image below.

4.  MISC. TIPS


* Alerts
You can set up an alert to let you know via email or text when you hit a certain limit of usage.  This is a great way to keep yourself from spending more than you want to spend!

You can also just log into your Ting account online at anytime and see your usage- it appears as an easy to read chart like you see above.

* Devices
Ting allows you to use almost any Sprint device on their network.  While you can purchase your phone through Ting, when I was looking for our phones I found that it was cheaper to buy them through Ebay.  We went with a very basic flip-phone that cost us about $40 for my husband.  And for myself we got a used HTC EVO 4G smartphone for less than $100.  It’s been simple to use and I’ve been extremely happy with it!

Interested in giving Ting a try?  Sign up today and get a $25 credit that you can use for either your device or towards your service cost!

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