We love buying quality items that will last us, both in fashion and for our interiors. However, we can't always slap down hundreds or thousands of $$$ for the items we love (food is pretty necessary). We tend to spend a fair amount of money as the kids head back to school too! So, before you get up on your school shopping, we have a few tricks that we want to share that really stretch our dollars.
First up, RAISE. Download this App, like, yesterday. It's the most useful little money saver we have found. Essentially, it's a clearinghouse for gift cards. Did you get a gift card you're pretty sure you're never going to use (Uncle Bert gave you a $20 card to The Liver Mush Emporium)? You can discount it and get rid of it on Raise, BUT!!...here's the best part...if you love livermush (what is wrong with you??), you can buy the discounted gift card and get FREE MONEY.
Here's a real-world example, Rachael and I needed to check out a pop-up shop at our local mall. While we were there, we found some necessary items in the clearance section at Anthro (duh). Score! As we waited in line at Anthro, we tapped open Raise, found a gift card for roughly the same amount as what we were going to spend, and it was discounted by 20%. We paid for it in the app (with Apple Pay!) and SWOOSH it downloaded into our phones almost instantly. So, that $50 dollar purchase was just paid for with a gift card that cost us $40. Get it? Buy a $50 GC for $40, and it's still worth $50 at the register...instantly. No catch. No BS. I (Kristin) have personally saved over $2,669.79 since I started using it in October of 2015 (they keep that savings tally for you!).
The seller sets the discount so the discounts can vary widely. It's a great app to keep a casual eye on even when you're not shopping. We tend to shop at the same stores over and over, so it's smart to snatch up a TJ Maxx card worth $300 when you can buy it for say, $250. I know I'm going to use it at some point, AND, with a card like that, I can use it at Homegoods too! Gah! The only "catch" is that you have to watch if it's a card that's good online, in-store, or physically (in hand) only. They will clearly tell you what kind of card it is and how it can be used. That's the only thing I look out for. I once snapped up a card that was discounted 35% while I was in line at Costco, only to realize it could only be used for their .com site. Learn from my mistakes, friends. Raise guarantees the validity of the cards and their security for all of your precious data.
Give it a shot and see what you think! It's been a huge saver in our lives and we love getting the most for our dollars!
Next up, Amazon Chase Visa Card
We don't like acquiring debt so, this suggestion isn't about living outside of your budget. We love this card because it gives us "points" (AKA DOLLARS!) towards Amazon purchases. We shop with Amazon A LOT for our daily supplies (they have the best price on Bully Sticks for my dogs and I NEED the Bully Sticks to get some peace around here sometimes). It's easy to use for all of your regular monthly expenses like groceries and gas. At the end of the month, you can easily see how many points you racked up by looking at your statement or by starting a checkout with Amazon. They show the credit right there in their check out and you can use it towards your purchase. Bam! FREE. MONEY. HONEY.
Next up, TARGET.
This is easy and if you already do this...ignore this paragraph. The first thing you need is a Target Red Card because it gives you 5% off everything all the time. I have the Target Red Debit card because I don't need to keep track of another credit card payment. It works like my regular debit card but it gives me 5% on my whole purchase and then I can get my *Crack Coffee* (Iced Venti Starbucks double shot, unsweetened, with cream. Please. Thank you.) for 5% off at the Starbucks inside Target. 5% OFF CRACK?? Oh, yeah.
The second thing you need to do is download the Target app on your phone. With this app, you now have access to the whole website AND their "Cartwheel" discounts. Gone are the days of the separate Cartwheel app. Now, one Target app does it all and man, it has some cool features! The best feature for me has been the ability to scan a barcode of a product I'm about to buy and BOOM! it tells you if they have a coupon for it or not. If they do, the app automatically adds the coupon to your "Cart". When it's time to check out, hand the cashier your phone and they will scan your app to apply all the discounts you saved on stuff you would normally buy. I love this feature since I'm pretty brand loyal and I hate clipping coupons. I'm not one to clip the coupon for Dish Soap A when I really only like Dish Soap B. If there is a deal on Dish Soap B, the Target App will tell me and I can move on. Sometimes, you get lucky and find a double deal. Occasionally, Target will put something on sale in the store for everyone but only people using the Target App will also know they have another discount you can use together for the same item.
For example, I found the benches (below) in my mud room on clearance for 50% OFF and THEN they had another discount for 20% OFF all of their Threshold brand items (but only if you knew to look in the app!) SCORE! I got 70% OFF those two really practical and well-made beauties!
Some of the other cool features include telling you exactly where the thing you're looking for is actually located in your store. This is helpful if you're in a Target that you don't know like the back of your hand. It's also helpful for finding random things like WD-40. Is that in the cleaning aisle, tools, home improvement? Play around in it and if you're a Target fan; you'll find most of the features really helpful.
So, there ya have it, those are my top 3 best tips to shop like a ninja this fall and moving forward into a year of keeping more of what you earn! xoxo-Kristin