If you’re anything like us, you probably make some attempts to be mindful of your expenses, but always feel like you could (and should) be saving more money.
Kids are expensive – especially when you consider things like paying for their college tuition one day.
For us, saving money is challenging because we’re fortunate enough to be in a position where we can get by without squeezing every penny. In some ways, the people who absolutely need to save money have an easier time doing it – because they’re doing it out of necessity.
So whether you need save as much as possible or simply want to get better at it, I think we can all agree that saving money allows us enjoy other areas of life (hobbies, vacations, etc.) and meet our financial obligations.
There’s one word I don’t really like, and this isn’t going to be popular with many personal finance bloggers.
You know, the “F” word.
To me, the concept of “being frugal” always seemed to have this connotation that you’re somehow sacrificing quality (or lots of time) in order to save money. Whether it’s spending hours on end hovering over a newspaper, clipping coupons, or it’s buying a vastly inferior off-brand TV to save a few bucks, I think frugality has lost some of its luster.
Frugal used to be cool, but now it feels like a fancy word for “cheap.”
There needs to be a better word for smart spending where you aren’t sacrificing a lot of time or quality. I’ll let you know if I come up with it, but for now we’ll just stick with smart spending.
With all of that in mind, let’s get to the point here.
62+ Smart Ways for Parents to Save Money Online
(Note: This post contains affiliate links for certain sites that I’ve used and can recommend with confidence. All this means is, I may get a small commission if you click through the link and make a purchase, but it has no impact on what you pay. Thanks in advance for supporting Cynical Parent!)
Throughout our journey of attempting to become smart spenders, we compiled a massive list of all the places that have allowed us to save literally thousands of dollars that have been put towards lots of things (like our daughter’s 529 plan).
The best part is, we really didn’t sacrifice much time or quality.
1) Ebates – Cash back for spending you’re already doing
For those who already know about and use Ebates – congratulations. You’ve wisely found one of the best ways to shop normally online and basically get free money.
In simple terms, Ebates is a “cash back” site. Wherever you’re shopping online (they have most places you would think of shopping at – Walmart, Amazon, Kohl’s, etc.), you go to Ebates first, click through their link, and continue shopping as normal. And just like that, they give you cash back on whatever you purchase (it varies, but they have cash back deals that can go up to 10% or more).
The best part is, this is on top of whatever coupon or promo code you may use on the site where you’re shopping. This doesn’t replace that. It’s a bonus on top of that.
And to go one step further, if you use a cash back credit card (if you don’t, you must get one immediately), you ALSO get that cash back as well (on top of everything mentioned above).
Here’s a peak at my savings from Ebates (actual screenshot from my account):
And if all the cash back wasn’t enough, you can click here to sign up for free and get a free $10 after your first $25 purchase.
2) Slickdeals – Find out about the best deals on just about everything
I’m not sure how long Slickdeals has been around, but I swear we’ve been using it for at least 10 years now. It’s just a free online resource where people post about the deals they find (in Slickdeals’ own forum) and then based on voting, the best deals are escalated to the front page of the site.
This is a community of serious bargain-hunters who don’t mind sharing a good deal when they see one.
You can obviously use this year round, but I love looking here around the holidays when there seems to be sales and deals everywhere and you’re not sure what’s best. It’s also a great spot to find good deals on bigger ticket items, like TVs and laptops.
3) Facebook Sale Groups – Buy stuff from other people at a better price
Did you know Facebook has a platform for people to buy from and sell to each other?
I didn’t either until recently.
Facebook has groups set up that are local to you, that you can join, where people simply post stuff they are selling. It’s like Craigslist or eBay, with one important distinction:
Because you’re on Facebook, you get to see the person you’re actually buying from, and in some cases, see the people that you both know in common.
Because you’re dealing with actual people on Facebook (not to say there couldn’t be a Catfish situation going on), it feels a bit safer than something like Craiglist, where you’re dealing with an anonymous classifieds ad.
These places are awesome for scoring good deals, as people usually just want to
get rid of stuff and are willing to sell things for less than they are probably worth. You may have to do a little work to find what you want, but if it’s a higher ticket item, it’s probably worth the effort.
What about the other 50+ ways to save money online?
The three sites above are a great start, but there’s a lot more out there. As I was writing this, I realized it would be waay too long for a blog post, so I set it up as a simple digital download.
You can get the whole document in PDF format here:
Free Digital Download (PDF)
62+ Smart Ways for Parents to Save Money Online
(And just so you don’t think I’m offering this to simply add people to my e-mail list, if you don’t want to sign up, feel free to just contact me and I’ll send you the PDF myself.)