• Creative Spending

    March 18, 2011

    Good morning! Happy Friday! Rumor has it that the temperature is supposed to hit nearly 70 degrees here in Boston today! Wahoo! Heat wave! 8-)

    Hopefully, the warm weather will inspire me to buy some new fresh flowers. I think my daffodils have seen better days. 

    IMG_0002 (480x640)

    Breakfast

    I’m not sure if it’s the nicer weather or what, but I cannot get enough smoothies in my life! They are just so good!

    For breakfast, I paired a Coffee-Banana Smoothie with a piece of whole grain toast with almond butter spread on top. I actually ended up drinking two smoothies since I made so much. My stomach is full now! 8-O

    Coffee-Banana Smoothie

    Makes 2

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    As you probably know, I’m all about saving money, and I’ve written about how I stretch my dollar on CNC a number of times in the past:

    And here are a few more ways that I get creative with my spending!

    Citi Cash Back Card

    Ok, let me start off by saying that I am not encouraging anyone to go out and apply for a new credit card. I’m just telling you what works for me. I only spend what I know I can afford and pay off my credit card in full every month.

    With that said, my Citi Cash Back Card pays me to use it. For everything I charge on it, I earn cash back. Not points, but cold, hard cash. So, every few months (based on my spending), I get a check in the mail for $50 for just using my credit card. To me, it’s like free money. I’m going to spend the money anyway, it just goes on my credit card first before I pay it off, and my credit card rewards me for it.

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    Ebates

    Ebates is awesome!!! It’s my favorite tool for online shopping. You can find thousands of coupons, promo codes, and discounts on their site, but, better yet, you get cash back savings with online rebates.

    Last week, for example, I went on a mini online shopping spree. I bought a couple of books from Barnes & Noble, some Invigorating Night Gel from Sephora, and a pair of Rainbow Flip Flops from J.Crew. Holy shopping bug!

    IMG_0008 (640x480)

    I logged into Ebates and just clicked through to those websites and placed my order as usual, which earned me 4-6% back on my purchases. It wasn’t a ton of money back this time, but in the past, I’ve purchased a computer through TigerDirect and plane tickets through Expedia, which definitely adds us. Again, Ebates pays straight up crash by check or PayPal, so you don’t have to deal with redeeming points and all that jazz.

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    CVS Green Bag Tag

    I don’t know about you, but I shop at CVS a lot. There are two locations super close to my house, so anytime I run out of something, I go there to buy it. I already use the CVS ExtraCare card to save, but the Green Bag Tag is also a great money-saver since I always have a reusable bag with me or I just carry out my purchases. (I hate using plastic bags.)

    For every 4th visit to CVS, you get $1 extra buck for using your Green Bag Tag. I shop at CVS a ton and bring a bag with me every time, so it’s easy for me to rack up those dollars. Even more incentive: CVS will donate 5 cents to World Wildlife Fund for every Green Bag Tag sold until the end of this month.

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    Eversave Giveaway

    Thanks to everyone who entered yesterday’s giveaway to win a Save to Antico Forno! Here’s the winner: Kate!

    Kate March 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Definitely the GNOCCHI DI PATATE–you can’t go wrong in the North End :-)

    Congrats, Kate! Please email me at tina@carrotsncake.com to claim your prize!

    Question of the Day

    How do you get creative with your spending?

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    { 79 comments… read them below or add one }

    Alaina March 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    I will have to try that esavers website! I’m always finding deals but I just don’t use them enough. Maybe it’s me being lazy. But lately, since we’re trying to save for a house, I’ll definitely have to get into that practice.

    Reply

    Kiran March 18, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    You are so right about Citibank card. I love its cash back option and I accumulate cashback using it for groceries. Score :)

    Reply

    Sheena March 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I always do a google search for “coupon code+name of store” before I check out online. It usually comes up with a valid code that others have posted online. Things like free shipping, % off, BOGO…

    Reply

    carolyn March 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Hey not sure if anyone else has had this issue, but OpenSKy has killed my computer twice. I had to re-boot. I really wanted to try the Garlic Gold but totally lost interest with the technical difficulties…

    Reply

    Liz @ Tip Top Shape March 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I just read about a coffee-banana smoothie in the new Health!! A flavor combo I haven’t thought of, but I bet it’s great!!

    Reply

    Amelia March 18, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Great tips! I like to save money by 1) buying whatever food is in season and on sale, then planning my week around it, 2) using Amazon.com for things I buy frequently–with Amazon prime you get free 2-day shipping, and 3) limiting eating out. I also have a cash-back credit card through Costco — there’s no limit to what you can get back so last year I got $600 back! Most cards have a limit.

    Reply

    jill (i run i eat) March 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I use mrrebates.com along with ebates. Amazon subscribe and save also has some good deals on things I would get at the grocery store.

    Reply

    Coco March 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    THANK YOU for this post. Couldn’t have come at a better time–I just put down a deposit on my first apartment EVER! ahhh

    Reply

    Kelly March 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks for the ebates info. Too bad you can’t get credit for all of the people that will sign up this because of you.

    Reply

    vivian trevino March 18, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Tina! I was wondering if the CVS in Boston are self-checkout? Here in L.A they are and well shelf-checkout is really bad. I won’t shop at CVS anymore because of this. We need as many jobs as possible here in Cali and CVS want’s to take them away. My brother’s friend worked at CVS for 4 years and was recently laid off because now that they have self-checkout, they no longer need his services. They are also very anti-union.Just wondering if you knew:)

    Reply

    Tina March 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Depends on the store, but, in general, they’re not self-checkout.

    Reply

    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey March 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I always get giftcards back as credit card rewards! I love it!

    Reply

    Amy March 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I totally save a lot with my Rite Aid savings card. Im at the gold level (which took no time at all) and save at least 20%-30% on EVERYTHING IN THE STORE!

    Reply

    AshleyG March 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Great Post! It gave me a lot of good ideas! I always check retail me not before buying online but I will definitely have to join ebates!

    Reply

    Jenni March 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Coupons are how I save money – my local grocery stores always double up to 99c, and often run coupon promos where they triple them or double larger coupons. Plus a lot of stores, including Whole Foods, Target, and a lot of drugstores, will allow you to stack a store coupon with a manufacturer one, which can really increase savings (and there are websites you can use, such as couponmom.com, that do all the work for you comparing coupons and sales and list where the deals are). Just takes a little time clipping and organizing each week and I end up getting a lot of grocery and drugstore items for free or just a few cents!

    Reply

    Hannah March 18, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I’ve taken to throwing decaf instant coffee powder into my smoothies. Nom nom nom!

    Reply

    Jena March 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    We actually just started using our Credit Card this week for daily purchases. I got it a few weeks ago and when I activated it the lady told me that it’s 1% cash back for every purchase and each month they have “specials” that are 5% cash back. .. Like you said, we are going to spend the money anyways, so we might as well get paid to do it. Our bank offers “points” when we use our card as credit, but it’s so minimal and it takes forever to add up that I think using our Credit Card will be a better option.

    How do you keep track of what you put on your card vs. what’s in your bank? Does that make sense? Like, you would balance your check book, but how do you make sure you don’t over spend on your credit card?

    Reply

    Emma (Namaste Everyday) March 19, 2011 at 4:32 am

    thanks for the money saving tips! I have tons since I am a poor, lowly college kid (just kidding) so I’m getting tons of practice now!

    Reply

    Stephanie March 19, 2011 at 9:00 am

    This is a slightly different kind of tip, but I think of things in terms of time rather than money. I find that it’s easy to fall into the trap of “this only costs X dollars”. So instead of asking myself “is this worth X dollars?”, I now ask myself “am I willing to work for X hours in order to have this?”. It’s surprising how often the answer is no!

    Reply

    Monica March 19, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Never heard of Ebates before, very cool! I will have to start using their site for my online purchases.

    Reply

    Mo May 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Yea! I just signed up for ebates! Thanks for the info!

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    Roxie Burket May 14, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I’m already a member of ebates! But I do agree – ebates is awesome!! I use it all the time for my online purchases.

    Reply

    Hillary July 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I actually just got the Citi card a month ago… and just got a $100 check in the mail for spending $500 in the first 3 months. (Like that was hard) LOVE this card!

    Reply

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