How to make Money with your smartphone

How to Make

If you own a smartphone, wouldn’t it be nice to use it to make some extra money? Imagine being able to do all of your Christmas shopping by just using the money you’ve earned with a few apps throughout the year!  There are a ton of apps out there to help you make money, from buying groceries, watching videos, mystery shopping and even logging your workouts. I don’t have time to do all of those and honestly, I don’t want to be hooked to my phone all day. So, here is a list of my favorite apps that I use each month. They don’t take long to use once you have it downloaded and your account set up. Using these apps can easily save you up to $50 a month!

(Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this post next month for more money saving apps)

Ibotta – I love this app and it is super easy to use. Download the app and create an account. Then, simply find the store you shop at in the app, browse through the rebate offers, unlock the rebate for the items you purchased by answering one question, watch a short ad, or read a recipe. (literally takes a couple seconds) Take a picture of your receipt with your phone and they will credit your account with the value they assigned that item. If you sign up using my link, you should get $10 after you download the app and submit your first receipt! (You can create an account on your computer then log in once you have the app downloaded on your phone)



Saving Star – Once you download this app and create an account, you need to load your store loyalty cards to your account and then click on the items that you plan on buying before you go to the store. Once you check out at a store, the app will credit your account with the value assigned to the item that you purchased as long as you are shopping at a store that you’ve already linked your savings card too. (it takes a few hours to see the money deposited into your account). Super easy!


Checkout 51 -Download the app and create an account. Pick an item from their list that matches what you purchased at any store, take a picture of your receipt with your phone and that’s it! This app requires that you accrue $20.00 before you cash out and takes me a little longer since the items it offers aren’t things I regularly buy, but I still check it before and after I shop to see if they have an item I might be buying.

checkout 51

Paribus – My newest favorite is Paribus. (This works without a smartphone too! Create an account on your computer and make sure you sign up using the same email that you enter when you make purchases online) This app does all the work for you once you set it up. If you buy anything online at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Gap, J. Crew, Zappos, Macy’s, Staples, etc and get a receipt emailed to you, this app is for you.  Paribus will watch for the price to drop, and once it does, they email the company on your behalf and request a price adjustment. In return, they take 25% of the refund. It seems like a lot, but I don’t have time to constantly look up every item I bought online every day for 30 days to see if the price has changed and then email the company to ask for an adjustment, so any money I get back is more than I would have on my own. Not even 24 hours after I signed up, I had 2 items we had purchased on Amazon a few days prior, change price and the price adjustment credited to our bank account thanks to Paribus. Easy money! (Make sure to use the same email address for the app/computer that you do when you make the purchases or you won’t get a refund)


Walmart Savings Catcher – This one is similar to Paribus. Download the Walmart App and every time you make a purchase at Walmart, simply scan the barcode on the bottom of your receipt. Walmart then compares it’s prices with retailers in your area and, if it finds a store that sells the item cheaper, it credits your account with the difference.

savings catcher

A couple other apps that save me money but don’t require much work are:

Retailmenot – This app is great if you are in a store and need a coupon code. Simply type in the store and it will list every coupon that you could use in store or online. I use this all the time at craft stores. Extra tip: ACMoore, Michaels, and JoAnn’s fabric will usually let you use either of their coupons at any stores. So I always look up who has the biggest percentage off an item and use that stores coupon code at a different store.

Favado – Need Ice cream but don’t know who has it on sale this week? Type the item you want in the search bar and it will tell you all the stores that have that item on sale. It will also tell you if there is a coupon that you could use to make the deal even sweeter and you can even pick your store and see the top sales going on that week. I use this at Walmart all the time to price match. I check all the name brand items I am purchasing and see if they are cheaper at another store. Then show the cashier the app with the item and sale price and they automatically adjust the price for you. One shopping trip at Walmart, this app saved me $11 just by price matching!


So, download an app or 2 and let your smartphone start making you some money. You will be surprised how quickly it adds up.

Weekly Grocery budget & Gluten Free Meal Plan

This week we received the results of some blood work Joshua had, and we learned that they are 90% sure he has celiac’s, as well as really low iron. We have been doing a gluten free diet on and off for about a year because he was showing some symptoms but it was so nice to allow him to “cheat” every once in a while.
But now, it’s real, and we have to make it a priority to remove gluten from all of our meals, which makes feeding our family a little more difficult and requires a little more thought.
I scoured the internet for some kid-friendly ideas and this week’s menu went over so well that I might make most of these appear regularly in our future meal plans.


Here’s what we ate this week: (including the kids!)

Monday – Parmesan Meatloaf Cups, mashed potatoes & green beans
Tuesday – Gluten free stove top Macaroni & Cheese and broccoli (this was amazing and could be made with regular pasta)
Wednesday – Slow cooker Zesty BBQ Chicken (the link didn’t work for this, sorry!) with homemade french fries and peas
Thursday – Ranch chicken Nuggets and cucumbers
Friday – Homemade Gluten Free Pizza with Salad
Saturday – Dinner with Friends



Abigail loved making the Ranch Chicken Nuggets (don’t worry we washed her hands really well!)


Grocery shopping went awesome this week. Shoprite had so many great deals that it made it super easy to stay within our budget. We also had a lot of basics such as chicken, ground turkey and vegetables still in our fridge/freezer so we saved money by not having to buy those this week.
My first Shop-rite trip I scored all this for $11.56! I got 6 boxes of taco shells, 2 guacamoles, and 6 cans of soup for free.


I then went to Aldi to grab some of our staples like pickles, bananas, cereal, milk and produce for the week. I spent $54.46 which seemed crazy compared to my Shoprite trip.
I made one final trip to Shoprite at the end of the week, to grab a few more things and ended up getting 8 packages of batteries and 8 bags of steamfresh veggies for free. (Not pictured was a pot roast) My total there was $26.05.
  We ended up spending only $84.77 this week…giving us $9.19 in overage that will be rolled over to next week. It’s always nice when there are great sales to allow us to stay in budget.
If you have any gluten free, kid friendly meal ideas, I would LOVE to hear them!

Pre-Snow Grocery Shopping & My Favorite Coupon Blog

So, I’m normally not that person that runs to the grocery store when they forcast a few inches of snow, but unfortunately my coupons did not arrive until today so I had to go. It was a madhouse of people grabbing milk and eggs in preparation for the first real snow of the winter.

I was super excited to go and use the coupons that I had ordered from and had my list all ready to go thanks to Cindy at Living Rich with Coupons. This is my favorite go-to site for coupon match-ups. Cindy seriously does all the work for me. Not only does she post great deals that pop up during the week, but you can search her site by your grocery store of choice and find what’s on sale and what coupons to use. She also lets you check a box and make a list that you can print out for your shopping trip, including the details of the coupons to use, in case you are like me, and forget exactly how the deal is supposed to work and what coupons you need to use.

coupon list FullSizeRender(2)
I was able to grab everything on my list, but I still had a few more coupons for the Musselman’s applesauce on sale for $1 this week,  that I couldn’t use because they were sold out. I went to the service desk and got a rain check so I can go back next week when they aren’t on sale and still get them for .25/each with my coupons. I love rainchecks!!
After I paid, I loaded everything into my car and decided to take a look at my receipt because I was distracted by another cashier striking up a conversation with me, so I wasn’t able to watch the screen as my cashier rang up the items and make sure the prices were ringing up correctly. I realized that my Shop-rite card had not actually scanned, so I didn’t get any of my items at the sale price and the Garnier Fructis deal of buy $15 get $3 off hadn’t worked either! I went back in with my receipt and they were able to credit me for the difference I would have paid if my Shop-rite card had scanned and printed out my $3 catalina for the Garnier Fructis deal. Unfortunately, I had about $5 in e-coupons loaded on my store card for a few items I had purchased and the only way to get those off would be to return my whole order and buy it again. I decided to skip the savings today because it was for items I’m sure I will be buying in the next few weeks so it will all work out in the end.
shoprite 1.22

So here’s what I ended up with: Before coupons my total was $77.57( it was $97 but then I realized my card hadn’t scanned so that didn’t count the sale prices which brought my total before coupons down to $77.57). After coupons my total was $37.04! And I received $8 in catalinas for my next trip!

So my budget for next week is now $93.96 (I didn’t want to miss these great deals so I had to steal from next weeks budget but I’m sure we have plenty left to get the remaining groceries we will need.)

Next week is already looking to be a great sale week, my favorite sale looks to be free taco’s at Shoprite! Taco’s are a favorite in our house so I already have my coupons printed and ready to go.


How & Why to Order Coupons Online & My Weekly Menu

So I didn’t get around to posting last weeks shopping trips, mainly because I didn’t get to do my shopping before Monday and it was a crazy week. On Sunday, when I looked through the Shop-rite flier, I had found some great deals, but didn’t have the coupons I would have needed. Instead of running out to buy a newspaper, I placed my coupon order and planned to shop later in the week. I’ll talk more about that later….


To hold us over until I picked up the things I wanted from Shop-rite, I ran to Aldi. Aldi is awesome because they have low prices, even without a coupon, so I don’t feel guilty shopping there.


I also found out that Aldi’s has this amazing sprouted grain bread for only $3.49!!! I’ve been buying Ezekiel bread, so this price tag makes me super happy and it tastes really good too!


aldi 1.15.16


We made it through the week with our $130 budget but had to tap into this weeks budget a day early because we had to make food for a late Christmas celebration with my family. This leaves us with a little more than $100 for this week and I’ve made my menu plan to compensate for this. We’ve also been able to stock up on a few things in the past couple weeks so I can get by without having to buy as many groceries. Most of our shopping was done at BJ’s this week.  There are a few staples we like to buy from BJ’s and most of it lasts more than one week. Some of our usual purchases include chicken breast for $1.99/lb, Snyders pretzels for $4.99, the yellow corn tortilla chips are only $4.99 for a gynormous bag, and our favorite roasted red pepper hummus by Cedar is also only $4.99. Their organic salad mix is a great price at $4.99 and I am always amazed how much they can squeeze into that plastic container. It seems to last us a whole week with my husband and I each eating a salad almost every day.




Here’s what we are eating for dinner this week:

Monday: Chili w/ cornbread & Salad
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken w/rice and Green beans
Wednesday: Dinner with our community group and I’ll be making These amazing crockpot mashed potatoes.
Thursday: Homemade Pizza with salad and cucumbers for the non salad eaters
Friday: Pasta with meatballs
Saturday: Quesadillas with rice, beans and corn
Sunday: French Toast for dinner on homemade cinnamon swirl bread

How and Why I order coupons
I’ve been ordering coupons for a couple years now from and it honestly has saved me so much money and allowed me to get more of the food my family likes at a great price. Most people will grab a Sunday paper and cut out the coupons but unless you buy more than one paper you only get to buy 1 item per coupon (unless the coupon is on multiple items).
Here are the reasons I love ordering coupons:
1. If I need more than one coupon for an item, I don’t have to buy another Sunday paper for just that specific coupon. She also has coupons from previous weeks, so if something is on sale and the coupon came out in the paper 2 weeks ago, I can often find it on her site.
2. Her coupon values are better than mine. I live in New England so our Sunday coupons have a smaller value than the area she lives in. For example, if there was a Cheerios coupon, our coupon value would be $1/2 boxes. Her Cheerios coupon value would be $.75/1, and since almost all of our grocery stores double coupons, I would save $1.50 off each box. That’s a huge savings!
3. I don’t have to spend time looking through a coupon flier, she does all the clipping and then mails them to me.
4. This allows me to stockpile some items that we use often. For example, this week at Shop-rite, they were selling the Musselman’s 6 pack of applesauce for $1. Dede had a coupon for $.75/2 which doubled to $1.50 off 2 packs of aplesauce making each 6  pack only $.25!! I ordered enough coupons to buy 8 packs for a total of $2. My kids love applesauce and these are perfect for their lunch boxes. I happened to see that they will be on sale again this week for $1 and ordered 8 more coupons which will allow me to stock up even more. This great deal also made it possible for me to send in quite a few packs of applesauce to my son’s classroom for a special snack since I was able to get them so cheap.
(I should note that I am not an extreme couponer. I don’t usually buy so much of a single item that I clear the shelves and don’t have a huge stockpile going. I try to only buy enough to hold us over until I know the item will go on sale again. )
The only hard part about ordering coupons, is that you have to plan your meals with ingredients that aren’t in your coupon order for that week.  I order my coupons every Sunday and they get mailed out to me on Monday. They usually do not arrive until Thursday and then I head to the grocery store on Friday. I’ve learned to adjust my meal plans to factor this in, and use ingredients that I purchased the previous week using my coupons from the mail. It takes a little planning but once you get started and get into a routine, its really easy.
Dede’s also has a $3 minimum purchase, so you will end up getting a boatload of coupons. If I ever am a few cents short, I just search for products I normally buy and I often find a coupon that I will eventually need and throw that in my cart to hit the minimum.
I will try to post soon about my favorite blogs that do all the coupon match-ups for me.They help me know exactly what coupons to order and which ones are available to be printed. They save me so much time and make shopping a breeze.
Happy Shopping this week! Let me know if you order coupons – I’d love to hear what you thought of it.