Y’all, marriage is hard.
Buying groceries for five people when finances are stretched thin is harder.
Finding money to go out on a “for real” date with my husband is the hardest.
Our finances took an unexpected hit with my illness and a decrease in Sam’s work hours. I was worried before, but now buying groceries is major stressful. I shop mostly at Aldi, but there are a few things I buy at other stores. If I exclude diapers and non-food essentials, I spend a total of $100 to $120 a week on groceries. This figures to $3.43 per person, per day. My little kids are in the midst of an insane growth spurt, my teenager runs track and needs high protein snack, and my husband is built like Hagrid. I have to make my dollars stretch.
Once I pay bills each week there just isn’t money left to go out once a month. We try sitting cash aside – $10 or so a week — but that only covers babysitting. And we could really, really use the chance to get away once in awhile.
Here comes the Ibotta app to the rescue. This is how it works. You download the app and create a profile. Then you go through and “unlock” deals at various stores. It may be as simple as clicking “unlock” to earn $1 on a a gallon of milk or you may have to answer a question about your household (like how many kids you have) or watch a commercial to unlock a deal. Next go to the grocery store and shop. I like to check my grocery list against my unlocked deals and then decide which store to shop at. The trick is to use Ibotta for stuff you would use or that you really want. If you buy a bunch of stuff you don’t like for the money back, then it is really just pennies down the drain. However, I know that I always buy milk, cheese, bread, bananas, pasta, coffee, etc…
Okay, you have your list, your deals are unlocked, and you’re shopping. Keep in mind that you can totally use other coupons at the register and it will not impact your using the Ibotta app. Once you’re done shopping you verify your purchases within the app by submitting a receipt (usually you snap a pic of the QR code or barcode at the bottom). The program may take a few hours, but you’ll get an email alerting you to “cash” loaded in your account.
You can redeem your Ibotta cash in $20 increments for Paypal and Venmo OR you can redeem in $25 chunks for giftcards to various retailers, Starbucks, theaters, etc….
Y’all, I signed up on January 1st and I have earned $32.50. I’ve purchased a theater giftcard and now I’m on my way to purchasing a Starbucks giftcard. And there you have it. We use our tucked away cash for babysitting and then our monthly date consists of what we have giftcards for… I feel brilliant. Probably a misplaced bit of confidence, but whatevs.
Of course there are loads of other ways you can use your Ibotta cash. Perhaps you want to save for a TV at Best Buy, use the funds at Amazon for books, or binge on make-up at Sephora. Towards Christmas, we may use some of our Ibotta for Christmas gifts for the kids. It is a helpful, stress-free way to earn a little bit of cash.
There are also “teams” on Ibotta and you get fun little bonuses when your team verifies purchases or gains a new user. I’m serious, I got $5 because someone from my Facebook friends signed-up and verified a purchase. If you’d like to get started with Ibotta you can use my referral link and get $10 when you verify your first rebate and they’ll kick $5 to me.
I should mention that no one at Ibotta has asked me to review the app; I just really like it. And I’d like to make my latte a venti. 😉