A Couple Ways to save for next Christmas

This year, we didn’t have a whole lotta extra funds for gifts, and I thought I’d let you in on a secret – I got a couple of gifts for free this year.

How?

  Two apps. The first is the Walmart Savings Catcher. If you go to Walmart with any regularity, there’s no reason not to use this app. It is quite simple: You scan your receipt when you’re done shopping. If the app finds that a competitor has a cheaper price on pretty much anything on your receipt, it will credit you with the difference. Most of the time, it’s 50 cents on the whole bill, but every once in awhile, it’ll be a couple of bucks. And over a year, that adds up. You can redeem for a gift certificate whenever you’re ready, or use it towards your grocery bill or anything you buy in the store. Easy peasy.

The second is Shopkick. This one works in various stores, and will notify you when you are near a participating store if you let it. The stores I get credit for are mostly Walmart and Best Buy (because we do not have many of the others in our area), but there are many more stores for which you can get credit, so you should check it out. Again, you get “kicks” just for visiting the store sometimes, and if you have some time to kill, you can get kicks for scanning certain items. When you are ready (and have enough kicks to be eligible), you can redeem them for gift cards, movie tickets, gasoline… lots of different things! Some are a pretty good deal, others are not, but you’re getting something for doing something you would do anyway, so in my book, anything is a good deal. I actually got two gifts (one from restaurant.com for $100, and one from GameStop for $25) from this app this year, but I think I’ve been accumulating kicks for longer than I’ve been using the Walmart app.

In any case, I got three free gifts for zero dollars, and it helped a bunch. If you’re the type to plan ahead, check out these apps now, and you just might be able to save some cash next year. (I’m not affiliated with either of these apps, just glad I was able to save by using them.)

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Get on the Phone to Save Some Money

Comcast bill

Comcast bill (Photo credit: pmsyyz)

Today I called the cable company who decided to up my bill by $20 a month.  I spoke with two people, who both were very nice, but also professionals.  “Let’s see what’s going on with your account…”  They both knew exactly what had happened – The promotional term had ended, and no one had informed me that there was a promotional term.  They know that because they get hundreds of calls a day from people just like me, complaining about the very same rate hike, yet they pretend to commiserate and try to “figure out” what could possibly be happening with my bill.  They ask if there are any other problems with the service, they ask if maybe I have more services than I need.  This is the tactic they use to try to get people to back down and agree that the services provided really are worth the extra money.

They don’t fool me.  I have my own techniques.  I stayed calm, and kept repeating that I would have to go to their competitor to see if they could offer a better deal — this was how I got the first person to switch me to the “loyalty department”.  The second person tried to get me to see what a deal I was still experiencing, as I was still $15 under “retail” by asking if I had any issues with buffering or picture quality.  I finally told him, “I don’t have any problem with the service, I have a problem with the price.”  At this point he offered to “split the difference with me”.  I took his offer, but in the meantime, got all the pertinent facts about how much Internet and basic cable were costing (each), when the cost would go up again, and the mbps speed, so that I can go to their competitor and see if I need to make a change.

Before I became a single mom, I never would have picked up the phone to make this call.  I still do not like talking to people (businesses) on the phone, but now I can play the game and save myself some money when I have to.

What tips do you have for saving money on bills?