Frugal Friday

See full disclosure at bottom of post.

Those of you who are newer here may not know that I lost my job almost two years ago. (Wow, two years already?) While I’m mindful of it every day, I’m not suffering. The lay-off wasn’t totally unexpected, I had time to prepare, and I received a nice severance. I have it so much better than so many people! *huge gratitude moment here!*

I’ve enjoyed getting to know myself better these past few years, and after thirty years in the workforce, I’ve benefited greatly from the break in continuity. :) My continued enjoyment depends on how well I’m able to cut expenses and generate small bits of income. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to save on existing and necessary expenses, especially those that enable me to buy real food and have a gym membership. LOL

Today I thought I’d share a few of my favorite money-saving sites, because almost everyone I know loves to save money! So without further ado…

Ebates is a service that provides online coupons and rebates at over 1,200 stores. It’s free to join, and you get $5.00 for signing up. To earn rebates, all you have to do is shop through your Ebates accounts. I don’t do a whole lot of online shopping, but when I do I check Ebates to see if the store I’m interested in is a participating member. There are lots of national brands, including some that may (or may not) be of interest to weight loss/maintenance seekers. For example:

Vitalicious – If you like this brand, currently you can get 5% off your order PLUS 6% cash back or 6 free chocolate Vitatops with any order PLUS 6% cash back.

At Gaiam, you can get 20% off No Slip Yoga Socks (2 pair) – Sale $15.98 & $.99 Shipping Plus 7.5% cash back on all purchases!

And the list goes on and on. Lots of major brands–Under Armour, Columbia Sportswear, Sports Authority, Dick’s Sporting Goods–but also new-to-me stores as well. The offers change from time to time and you get cash back on all purchases–not just the specials.

The rebate percentages seem small for most purchases, but there are also a lot of travel sites, including some major hotel brands on which you can earn rebates. That small rebate adds up when its applied to a week’s stay at the beach. :)

I’ll never pay off my mortgage with my Ebates checks (my last rebate check was $6.93), but they’re a nice little addition to the gym fund!

Groupon is a program that features a daily deal on stuff to buy or places to visit in your local area. (Currently, they’re in more than 300 markets and 35 countries, and they’re growing.) Some of the deals seem to good to be true, but my experiences have been all positives. Earlier this week, I used a Groupon for a local meat market. I paid $12.50 for $25 towards my purchase. I now have enough meat for a month (or more) worth of entrees.

Two things I especially like about Groupon are the awesome sales descriptions (so funny!) and the fact that they put “the fine print” for the offer right up front in big bold print. For example, there’s a current offer for a 4-week bootcamp Groupon for $18. The “fine print” is that you have to start before 07/24/11 and the Groupon expires 4 weeks after your start date. Makes sense and nice to know before buying.

Whoa, Nellie! I just checked the Ebates site and learned that I can earn 3% cash back off my Groupon purchases! Double score!

Living Social is very similar to Groupon with many of the same features I like, including great copy and highlighted fine print. I last used LS to spend $8 for $16 worth of purchases at my favorite deli. I bought my usual sandwich for lunch and got an entree salad for takeout to enjoy for dinner. And the next day for lunch, if I recall correctly. (They have BIG salads.)

Another program I joined was e-Rewards, a survey site. In exchange for completing surveys (usually 1 or 2 per week), I earn points that I can then convert to airline miles, hotel reward points, discounts at stores, etc. So far, I’ve earned enough for one hotel reward night and am well on my way to earning another. Not bad for a few minutes each week.

None of these programs are going to make me rich–that’s not the goal. But if they help pare costs or enable me to enjoy some things I might have had to forgo in favor of something like, I don’t know, utility bills, then I greatly appreciate them.

Are you using these sites already? Have any similar sites you’d like to share? We’d love to know about them!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy (and frugal) weekend! :)

Disclosure: This is an unsponsored post, but many of the links are through my referral accounts on which I could earn small fees. While I debated not using them, as an unemployed person, I do have to think of the budget. :) You have my word that these are all sites I like and use frequently, and that’s the only reason I’m sharing them.



17 thoughts on “Frugal Friday

  1. I use groupon and a local one called Hop On It, which is just for our local paper. I also do the E-rewards because I can save those up and put them towards my student loans (yes, still paying those off). Every nickle and dime make a difference over a period of years.

    I also check couponmom.com for weekly grocery coupons.

  2. Hi Cammy

    Always looking for a way to save money. My hubby hasn’t been working for a few years due to illness and due to the rise in prices our $$ is just not going that far any more. I haven’t used Groupon yet, but my buddy at work has purchased several things and has been quite happy with it.

  3. Thanks for sharing these links!!
    i need to check them out.
    I appreciate how you always disclose absolutely everything… and I would love to click through your site any time I can.
    Have you tried BigCrumbs.com?
    It sounds like Ebates.

  4. We love ebates and groupon. I’ve done Living Social too. I didn’t know I could make money promoting them on my blog:) They are links I’d be comfortable sharing. Extrabux is similar to ebates.

  5. Hi Cammy, great tips, thanks! My husband was JUST severanced out of his job 3 weeks ago, and though he too got a generous severance, we’re still in serious “frugal” mode. Have a great weekend.

  6. Thanks for the links, Cammy! My friend, Lynne, has been raving about Ebates for while, but this is the first time I’ve heard of Groupons – will definitely check it out!

  7. Extra money is always nice! I will be checking out these sites for sure. Thanks for the information.

  8. Cammy, being in the tight money situation too, I loved this – thank you!!! I get Groupon emails too & like the full disclosure up front too!

    I will check out the others. Thx again!!!

  9. I’ve used MyPoints for about ten years – they allow you to earn points that you can redeem for gift certificates, gas, travel rewards – you name it…I love them!

  10. thanks for the links! i’ve heard people talking about groupon a few times recently. after i read your post i signed up immediately :) looking forward to checking the daily deals. you have alot of good stuff listed but i will take the tippy-toe approach to finding deals :)

  11. I get groupon and living social emails and yet for some reason havent used either yet.
    I get all panicky and fearful of committing :)

  12. Hey Cammy!!

    Thanks for these! I’ve done the groupon thing but being able to pair it with ebates?? WooHoo Happy dance!!!

    See ya soon?

  13. I completely forgot I had an eBates account! I’ll have to dust it off. I love Groupon, too. I got $50 worth of groceries for $25 at my favorite health food store. That bought me a lot of Shiritaki noodles and tahini :) Hope you don’t mind I link this blog to my latest blog (I SHOULD have it written today…I hope). I’m writing about going on a food spending diet.

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