The Secret to Earning Money on Your Spending

For so many households with school aged children, August is one of the busiest and expensive months of the year. My teens and me are preparing for them to head off to college, and like so many other families, we are spending a lot of money to furnish their dorm rooms, and buy new clothes and school supplies.

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While back-to-school shopping is predictable, maybe you aren’t as prepared as you would like to be. For many years, I would just brace myself for the extra spending, maybe pull out the credit card and hope to pay it all off before holiday shopping. I didn’t really put an exact number on how much I would have to spend, but I knew it would be more than I had in my budget.

If you find yourself having to sacrifice spending in other categories to cover your back to school shopping, you are probably not alone. I am fortunate now that there is room in my budget to cover the cost of back to school shopping, and it doesn’t require the use of credit cards.

Even though my expenses will be higher this month, I still plan to earn more money - an additional $250 to put toward my debt payoff goals - Want to know how?

Work Harder?

Well, I could take on extra hours on my second job. At a 15% tax rate, I would need to work an additional 16 hours in August to reach that goal. While this may not seem like a lot, we are talking about my second job, so that would be 16 hours on top of the 160 hours at my day job, AND the 60 hours I already work on my second job.

You see the problem here, don’t you?

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Work Smarter!!

Instead of doing that, I am going to focus my energy on earning cash back rewards, and I am going to do it with Ebates. With Ebates, you can earn cash back rewards on the things you are already planning to purchase. You shop online through the Rakuten website, choose your retailer, and make your purchases. and they pay you back a percentage of the money you spent. You can use those rewards to boost your savings or put that money toward your other debt payoff goals.

While you typically earn 1-2% for purchases, at certain times of the year, and for certain merchants, cash back can run 8-10%! That’s much more impressive.

It also makes sense to utilize merchant rewards programs offered by banks, pharmacies, discount stores and even fast food restaurants.

Who doesn’t love the Chik-fil-A app?     

Now, I am not promoting couponing. I tried that years ago when it was really popular. I spent two weeks collecting newspapers and printing coupons, and while I did have a stockpile of about 6 months of toothpaste and mouthwash, I never could get the hang of it enough to boast any real significant savings.

But recently, a relative was in the market for a new laptop, and I had just gotten a Staples offer: “$15 off for every $100 spent.” Using Ebates, I was able to order the $550 laptop, earning 4% cash back, and save $60 off the purchase price. I was nice enough to split the $60 savings with my relative, so I earned almost $50!!

Just a few days into the month, and I am already 20% toward my goal

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I plan to use Ebates for as many purchases as I can this month. Not only for my teens, but also on everyday shopping for grocery items and paper goods. Because so many retailers are transitioning inventory and preparing for the Fall, I bet I can make a good portion of that $250. And the best part is that this doesn’t require me to leave my house to take advantage of the savings, so it won’t increase my sleep deprivation!

We still have some big ticket items to buy, like a mini fridge and microwave, shower caddy, and storage bins.

What other ways can your regular expenses earn you money back this month?