pets hold you back

I love animals. I have a bunch of furry critters living with me, four cats and two dogs (Yeah, I know it’s a bit insane). But unfortunately, after adopting all my darlings, I realized that pets hold you back in a number of ways.  Still totally worth having the little creatons though!

How Pets Hold You Back

The Basics

First, let’s talk about the cost of having a pet. I have two big dogs, and they eat a lot! I spend about thirty dollars a month on dog food just to keep them fed. Cat food and kitty litter for four cats gets expensive too, I spend about seventy dollars a month just on that! That’s one hundred dollars of my monthly grocery budget gone, just on the pet food and litter. That’s a lot of money!

I also get topical flea medication for all my little ones. One four pack of advantage is just over forty bucks! It breaks down to about ten dollars per treatment, and with six sweeties in the house, that’s sixty more dollars a month.

So just the basics of pet ownership put me back $160 per month. But that’s not the only way pets hold you back (and I’m sure most people don’t have quite as many pets as I do!).

Vet Care

Yes, veterinary care is a basic. But I don’t consider it a basic basic like food and shelter. Either way, my angels are on wellness plans that includes all of their shots, dental cleaning, and unlimited office visits. The plans cost about $55 a month though, and with six babies that really adds up – to $330 per month to be exact.

So now I’m spending almost $500 a month just take care of my flock. That’s about $80 per pet, it you just have one. But they are kind of like potato chips, who can have just one?

Other Ways Pets Hold You Back

Pets hold you back in tons of ways that don’t include your wallet though. Even having just one can have a drastic affect on your lifestyle.

Housing

The main way that pets hold most people back is with housing. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a rental that accepts one baby – much less six? It’s nearly impossible! The whole reason I bought a house in Savannah rather than renting is that I couldn’t find any place on such short notice that would allow my sweeties to live with me.

But even if you get lucky enough to find a place that does accept pets, you’re going to have to pay a pet fee. This usually comes in the form of a non-refundable deposit and an extra “pet fee” every month with your rent. With so many people in the U.S. owning pets, I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to find housing that allows them.

Travel

Traveling with pets is a huge hassle, whether you take them with you or leave them at home. Cats don’t travel well in the first place, so I definitely don’t recommend bringing them with you. But if you are going to be gone for more than a few days, someone will need to take care of them. Dogs travel better, but also need more attention. They can’t be left alone for a few days. You have to find someone to watch them even for a short weekend trip. It can really be a hassle.

My Fire Goals

Do you guys remember that post I wrote a while back about my Fire goals? If you don’t you can read it here, but if you do, you’ll remember that one of my goals is to buy an RV and travel cross country. How fun would that be! But can you imagine living in an RV with four cats and two dogs? That sounds pretty terrible to be honest, even to this crazy cat lady! They are definitely going to hold me back from accomplishing that one.

Worth It!

My pets may hold me back, but I love the little guys with all my heart. And, they do a whole lot to improve my life too! My next post is going to outline all the ways that having my sweeties has enriched my life, so stay tuned!

Do you have pet? How has having them held you back?

 

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5 things you shouldn't by generic

I’m frugal when I shop. In fact, buying generic was one of my top tips for saving money on groceries! However, even I know that there are some things that you shouldn’t buy generic, even if it does save you some money.

Five Things You shouldn’t buy generic

Toilet Paper

My parents always used to buy the cheap Scott toilet paper. While still a name brand, it was thin and scratchy. That’s not what you want for toilet paper! Sorry, but that’s not the answer! Call me bougie, but I want soft, comfortable toilet paper. I’m definitely not going to buy the generic brand. I usually buy Quilted Northern, but in a pinch I’ll go with Charmin. Charmin used to be my brand of choice, but I think they changed their formula a few years back and now Quilted Northern seems softer to me.

Pickles

So yeah, this is a weird thing to put on the list. Pickles aren’t exactly a necessity, but they sure are tasty! Unfortunately, not all pickles are created equal. You can find fairly cheap pickles in the canned fruit aisle (or on some non-perishable shelf, not really sure where because they are gross). The pickles in the deli aisle are where it’s at. Those Kosher Dill slices are little bits of heaven, and definitely worth the extra few dollars!

Chips

I’m pretty sure that everyone knows by now that chips are my weakness. I love chips. There’s something immensely satisfying about that salty crunch. But store brand chips just taste a little off. They are either too crunchy, or too salty, or too something. They just don’t have that little Je Ne Sais Quoi that the name brand chips have. And oddly enough, this applies to all the different types of chips. Doritos, Lays, Cheetos, etc. are all so much freaking better than any of the generic brands I’ve tried. I don’t know why that is, but I just can’t buy the generic brands.

Toothpaste

Have you ever tried Aim toothpaste? It’s like 88 cents and the worst thing you can possibly put in your mouth. It’s disgusting. Close-up is pretty cheap too, but the cinnamon flavor is so strong that it just tastes like burning. These are the toothpastes I grew up with. Now that I’m older and can buy my own toothpaste, I don’t buy generic. I used to buy Crest, but I have sensitive teeth and the only thing that helps is Sensodyne. It’s way more expensive (almost six dollars a freaking tube!) but it does help my teeth to not hurt. I mitigate the costs a bit by buying a cheaper brand for my boyfriend. I’m not going to force him to use Aim (I mean, I do have to kiss him!) but pretty much anything is cheaper than Sensodyne, and his teeth aren’t sensitive. Also, Ibotta often has a cash back offer on Sensodyne, which really helps offset the price!

Related: Check out the Best Guide to Ibotta on the Internet!

Laundry Detergent

I have to buy Tide laundry detergent. It’s almost like a compulsion. It just smells so good! And I hate those powdery brands, I always end up with crusty powder on my clothes (maybe I should do a better job of reading the directions?). I honestly haven’t tried a lot off of brand laundry detergent, but I like it when my clothes smell like tide, so I don’t think I’m going to be changing brands on this any time soon.

Are there any products that you refuse to buy generic? I want to hear why! Tell me about it in the comments!  And if you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share it!

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my boyfriend sucks with money

Hey Everyone! Welcome to the fifth episode of “My Boyfriend Sucks with Money”. Today we will be talking about gender and money.

Gender and Money

While there is so much that can be said about gender and money, our focus during this podcast was to discuss it in regards to our relationship. We discuss the fact that I am the higher earner, and we talk about how each of us feels about that. During the discussion, Brian may realize that some of the things he does are because of societal expectations of gender roles! You are also going to love Brian’s stupid money decision of the week.  Listen to find out more!

 

Lessons Learned

Both of us were a bit grumpy while recording this podcast, could you tell? We would have preferred to wait until we were in better moods, but unfortunately our schedules wouldn’t let us. Sometimes you just have to keep pushing despite a bad mood to get stuff done!

We have improved so much since our first podcast. We are both more comfortable talking to the microphone and we are learning to not talk over each other. Podcast wins! I’m surprised that it only took us a few episodes to start improving. It’s a learning process, but we are getting there. 

We also realized that I don’t only have to answer finance questions. People can ask me anything! It’s more fun that way, and a fun way for you awesome listeners to get to know us better. And, if you have a question that you’d like to have featured on My Boyfriend Sucks With Money, feel free to ask in the comment section!

Patreon

Are you loving “My Boyfriend Sucks With Money”? If you can’t get enough, we have exclusive content for our Patreons! We publish the raw, unedited podcasts for people who just can’t get enough. Click here to gain access! We hope you love it as much as we love making it.

 

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save money on groceries

Everyone has to eat right? We all need to make our weekly pilgrimage to the grocery store to buy food. And have you noticed that it’s getting more and more expensive? A few years ago, I could easily get by on sixty bucks a week, which is quite a rarity now a days! Even so, there are plenty of tried and true methods to save money on groceries, which of these do you use?

How to Save Money on Groceries

Compare Price per Unit

Bigger isn’t always better, but sometimes buying in bulk pays! How are we supposed to tell the difference? Well, luckily, most grocery stores actually list the price per unit! Usually listed in ounces, the price per unit will tell you whether the bigger package or the smaller package is actually the better deal.

Buy Generic

I’m sure this has been repeated over and over again, but buying generic brands really is a great way to save money on groceries. Name brand hot dog buns are $2.99, while the generics are 87 cents. That’s two bucks! Name brand corn flakes are almost $3 a box, while the generic is 99 cents. Another two bucks! That adds up fast! Below is a small chart showing the differences in price between the generic version and the name brand version of some common items:

 

Product Generic Price per Ounce Name Brand Price per Ounce
Sugar 2.3 cents 3.6 cents
Bottled Water .5 cents 1.2 cents
Crispy Rice Cereal 7.3 cents 14.3 cents
Pasta 4.5 cents 8.4 cents
Chicken Broth 4.3 cents 8.5 cents
Shredded Cheese 18.5 cents 32 cents
Lunch Meat 20.5 Cents 30.5 cents

As you can see, opting for the generic version can lead to some pretty hefty savings. 

Related: 5 Things I’ll Never Buy Generic!

Skip the Drinks

I know this is unpopular, but do you really need all that pop (soda for my west coast friends!) and juice? Most of it is just sugar anyway, and the cost really adds up. A twelve pack of name brand pop costs three to four dollars, and so does a quart of sugar water! Even buying bottled water at the store adds up. It’s cheaper (and better for the environment, and healthier!) to just drink water at home. I actually cut pop out of my life many years ago, and to be honest, I don’t miss it at all. Every six months or so I’ll get a pop with dinner, and its nothing spectacular.

Cook from scratch

Ok, I know this one is hard. We all work long hours, and the last thing we want to do is come and prepare a meal. That pre-packaged freezer crap is so freaking convenient! But alas, that convenience comes at a price. A pre-packaged freezer lasagna costs about eight dollars, and it barely feeds two people (Family meal, yeah right!). Buying lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, cheese, and veggies is tad bit more, but you can make enough lasagna to feed a family for days!

Chili is another great example. I can spend four dollars on cans of chili to feed a family for a night, or I could seven dollars, make my own crock pot chili, and have food for three days.

Chop Your Own Veggies

Ah, the price of convenience again. Most grocery stores now offer pre-cut fruits and vegetables, which are super easy to use, just open and eat! But they tend to be much more expensive than the non-cut fruit. Just look at carrots for example. A pack of carrots costs less than a dollar. A pack of “ready to eat” baby carrots is three dollars (and they aren’t really baby carrots, they are processed carrot waste. Marketing Genius!). You are spending two extra dollars so that you don’t have to take a minute to peel a carrot. Is that worthwhile? Only you can answer that, but I will say that I’ve started buying the cheaper, unpeeled carrots.

Use A Cash Back App

Save money on groceries/earn cash back on groceries, same thing right? If you aren’t using Ibotta to earn cash back on groceries you need to sign up right now. If you have questions, check out my guide to Ibotta, which in my humble opinion, is the best on the internet! I’ve earned over twenty dollars back in just two weeks of using the app. That will really help my grocery bill go down.

Shop at the Cheap Places

Oh, how I would love to shop at the bougie grocery stores like Publix and Kroger. But why would I do that when I can get the exact same food for lower prices at Walmart? Yes, I know that Walmart gets a lot of hate, and some of it is justified. But that doesn’t change the fact that I spend twenty to thirty dollars more every time I shop at a traditional grocery store over Walmart. The prices are a bit higher on most items, and when you are buying 100 items, that really adds up.

I’d really love to transition to shopping at Aldi or someplace similar (cheap but also not terrible!) but unfortunately there aren’t any Aldis in my area.

Make a List and Stick to it!

You know what really eats up your grocery budget? That pesky impulse buy! Did you really need those crackers, cookies, chips, or ice cream cakes? Probably not (but yes on the chips, if you are anything like me!). And if you did need them, make sure you include them on your list! I budget for my chips every week, and being able to splurge a tiny bit on that has really helped prevent me from buying other stupid impulse crap. Make a list that includes your favorite snacks (because snacks are essential!) and stick to it!

Use the Store’s Loyalty Program

Lots of grocery stores still have that loyalty card thing that gives you better deals than the “normal customers”. Anyone can sign up for these cards and it’s really just a giant marketing scheme to collect your data, but hey, it can really help you save money on groceries.

Walmart doesn’t have a card, but they do have a savings catcher program. All you have to do is scan the QR code at checkout, and Walmart will scan your receipt for “bonus savings”, adding that money back to your account. You can then pay with that money on your next visit.

Buy Less Meat

I know, I know – it’s not a meal if there’s no meat (One of my old Army buddies actually said that to me!). But that’s not entirely true. I can make plenty of delicious meals without using meat, and I’m not even a good cook! The truth is, meat is expensive, and not everything actually needs it. You could easily make vegetarian spaghetti (or any pasta for that matter), chili, stuffed peppers, and more. You can even make tacos with potatoes instead of beef! There are so many options for vegetarian meals, you’d be surprised. And, throwback to the beginning of the post, it’s also healthier and better for the environment!

What are your favorite ways to save money on groceries? Any little tip might help, so tell me about it in the comments! Also, if you loved this post, hit that share button!

 

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Family values

We seriously need to change the conversation about family values. For far too many people (on both sides!), the term “family values” has become synonymous with the pro-life movement, and that’s stupid!  

We need to change the conversation! We need to redefine what family values really are, because it’s not a single issue. Lots of families value lots of different things; but I guarantee most of them value their financial security (Or would, if they had any).

What are family values?

I’d argue that the term “family values” should refer to things that family’s actually value.  What an outrageous concept, right? Money (or lack thereof!) is really the thing that will make or break a household, isn’t it? So I’d have to guess that most families value things that help them thrive financially. These things that help families thrive are the things that really should be considered family values.

Policies that help families Thrive

Family values – Family Planning

One thing that families really do value is the ability to decide when to have children and how many to have. Having a child at the wrong time can wreak havoc on a family’s finances- kids are freaking expensive! Family planning helps families thrive.

Unfortunately, most of the discourse on family planning is centered on the abortion issue. While that is a tool that helps prevent families from having children that they aren’t ready for, it’s not the only tool and it’s far from the most important. The most important tool (and the one that’s been proven again and again to reduce abortion rates) is access to contraception. Curiously enough though, many supporters of “family values” don’t support easy access to contraception. How does that make any kind of sense? No one likes the idea of abortion, but instead of banning it why not support policies that make it extremely rare?

Family values – Taking care of young children

Another major thing that most families value is actually being able to take care of their children – in a literal sense. This could include things like paid parental leave policies, affordable child care options, and access to paid sick days. More people would surely have families if childcare was accessible and affordable!

Paid parental leave

Paid parental leave policies give parents the ability to stay home with their children during the crucial first few months of their lives. Unfortunately, the United States is leagues behind the rest of the world when it comes to parental leave. There’s the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) which gives employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for major medical events, such as the birth of a child, but that’s all we’ve got. And remember its UNPAID! How are people who need that paycheck supposed so survive for 12 whole weeks without it? The answer is they’re not. Mothers are returning to work weeks after giving birth or going without. How is that family values? Hint: it’s not.

Child Care

Affordable childcare options would also help families thrive. Many families need to rely on extended family or un-registered facilities to care for their children while they work, as childcare costs continue to soar. How are people supposed to have children if they can’t afford to pay for their care? Parents are working extra jobs and extra hours just  to make ends meet. Some are dropping out of the workforce altogether because their salaries wouldn’t even cover the cost of childcare (and lets not even get started on how this will affect the non-working parent’s lifetime earnings and retirement!)

Paid Time Off

Did you know that the US is one of the only countries that doesn’t require access to paid sick days?  What if your kid is sick? In many low wage industries, that’s just too bad. Either come to work or don’t get paid. It’s unfortunate that those who are least able to afford it are the ones who are hit the hardest. I think most families would really value access to paid sick days, I mean adults get sick too! And I don’t want a cook coming to work when he’s sick!  He’s going to infect everyone  at the restaurant! Paid sick days make logical sense for everyone. 

what are family values

Family Values – Healthcare

You know what else families value? Affordable access to healthcare. People want to be able to take their children to the doctor when they are sick. Unfortunately, healthcare costs in the United States are ridiculous. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to mitigate this, but instead of ensuring that people had access to healthcare, all it did was ensure that people had access to health insurance. Some people have to pay such high deductibles on their insurance plans that they can’t even afford basic care. It’s a sham.

Outrageous medical bills are still the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Way too many families are just one medical emergency from total ruin. That’s insane! How can any family thrive with that hanging over their heads?

Family Values – Education

Everyone wants their kids to be successful, and the number one path to success for lots of people is still a college education. Unfortunately, tuition rates have been soaring for the past few decades, and most people can’t afford it without the help of student loans. So now, families have a terrible choice to make: do you take out thousands of dollars for that chance, or do you skip college and head straight into the workforce, lowering your lifetime earning potential but saving yourself from mountains of debt? That’s not an easy choice.

While its true that trade schools are a wonderful alternative for many students, they aren’t a one size fits all solution. We need kids to go to university so that we can have future doctors, engineers, teachers, biologists, and hundreds of other professionals that require advanced education. I don’t want us to turn into a country where only the rich can afford the training and education necessary for professional careers.

Family Values – Home Ownership

What parent doesn’t want to raise their kids in a nice house with a little yard to play in? That’s the American Dream anyway, isn’t it? Unfortunately though, the housing market continues to soar and homes are unaffordable for many young families. That’s not even the worst news though! Even renting is becoming unaffordable for low wage families! In the largest metro areas in the country, families would have to make a minimum of $22 per hour just to afford a two-bedroom apartment!  How are families supposed to thrive if they can’t even afford a place to live??

Family Values – Jobs and Balance

How are families supposed to afford any of these things? Most people don’t want a handout, they want to work to earn their keep. Unfortunately, middle- and lower-class wages have been stagnant for the past few years, while the cost of everything else on this list continues to skyrocket. All people really want are jobs that will give them the ability to support their families.

However, there is a caveat to that. Jobs with living wages are great and all (and necessary!), but they don’t really help families if they suck all the parents’ time away. There needs to be balance. Parents need to be able to disconnect when they are home so they can focus on their kids. They need to be able to help with homework, take the kids to the park, and go to the school plays. Families value family time! Who would’ve guessed?

Family Values – The Environment

Do you want your children and grandchildren to inherit a wasteland? No? Then your family values the environment! We all want to protect our resources, to ensure that the world is still here and working correctly for years to come. Families want to protect our National Parks so they have places to go camping. Families want to protect the climate so that the planet isn’t destroyed. Protecting the environment is immensely important. It may not be as immediate as the other things on the list, but if we don’t take steps now to protect our planet, it won’t be here for our children.

Supporting Family Values

This list is obviously not all inclusive. I’m sure tons of families value tons of different things, and it’s impossible to list them all. But when I think of family values, I think of things that families need to thrive, and those are the things on this list. What do you think? What does your family value?

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my boyfriend sucks with money

Hey all and welcome to the fourth episode of “My Boyfriend Sucks With Money”! In this episode, we are discussing making ends meet, and that tied into the importance of an emergency fund. 

Making Ends Meet

This topic was extremely important considering that Brian (the boyfriend who sucks with money!) has been out of work for a few weeks. How did he get by without a paycheck?  What money making opportunities did he explore while looking for full time work? There are plenty of options available to people in this situation, and today we are going over a few of them. Maybe it will give you some ideas!

We also discussed how important it is to have an emergency fund so you don’t have to resort to some of the drastic money making ideas we talk about! When Brian gets his first paycheck, we are going to start one for him! 

We added a new segment this episode, called “Stupid money decisions Brian has made”. It was a great week to start with this segment, because he made a horrible horrible money decision earlier this week. Let’s just say I was beyond angry! Listen to find out what it was:

Lessons Learned

We think we are getting much better at this whole podcasting thing. We only needed to edit a few minutes off of “making ends meet” (sorry Patreons!) . Unfortunately, we do still struggle with talking over each other, but this time we noticed it early on and stopped. We just get too excited!

Another thing that we are learning to do is write out some notes before starting the podcast. This helps us stay focused and ensures that we hit on the major topics that we want to hit on. For “Making Ends Meet”, I wrote out a list of the side hustles that Brian and I discussed over the past few weeks, and I remembered to talk about each one!

 

If you missed last week’s episode, where we discussed “A Person’s Worth”,  check it out here!

 

 

 

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guide to ibotta

Have you heard of Ibotta? If you have, and you are like me, you probably think it’s some stupid app that claims to save you money but is really a giant waste of time. My sister made me try it anyway though, and I have to say, I’m impressed! It really does save you money! What strange sorcery is this? Well I dug in to find out more, and came up with this ultimate Guide to Ibotta to help you save money too!

The Best Guide to Ibotta on the Internet

What is Ibotta

Ibotta is an app that gives you cash back on your purchases. I mainly use it at the grocery store, but it can also be used at malls, big box stores, Amazon, travel websites, and even a few restaurants! Pretty much anyone can find a use for this app.

How do I make money with Ibotta?

No guide to Ibotta would be complete without a comprehensive section on how it benefits you! It’s super easy to make money with Ibotta. The first time I used it while grocery shopping I got 6 bucks back in rewards! I only spent $100 bucks total, so this app basically saved me 6%. Who doesn’t want to save 6% on groceries?

Earning cash back is easy. First, you make your grocery list. Next, you log into Ibotta and check out the deals they have at your store of choice (and don’t forget to also check the “any offers” section!). Six of the items on my list matched offers on Ibotta! Half of those were the same brand that I use (or would apply to any brand), and the other half were similar brands that I could easily switch to. The offers ranged from as little as twenty-five cents back to as much as a few bucks back! That all adds up.

Many of the travel sites and big box stores offer a cash back percentage on all purchases (with restrictions, as always). Barnes & Noble offers 2% cash back, Express offers 3%, Hotels.com offers 4%, and Orbitz offers up to 6%! So many different companies partner with Ibotta that its basically impossible to list them all here. Check out Ibotta and see if your favorite stores participate!

You can also earn money by shopping online! Check out the 5 Best things to buy online here!

best guide to ibotta

You can also earn cash back through bonuses and referrals. I earned two bucks via the “in store purchase” bonus and I’m more than half way through to my ten-dollar sign on bonus. My sister (who referred me) earned her five dollar referral bonus as soon as I uploaded my first receipt! So, if you sign up using my referral link, you can get ten bucks and I can get five! Refer your friends to collect even more bonuses! How cool is that?

 A lot of brands also offer additional cash bonuses if you redeem their offers multiple times. Usually this is only an extra fifty cents, but that adds up if you buy the same stuff over and over again.

Is Using Ibotta time consuming?

This was one of my top fears in using the app. I’m not doing anything tedious to make a few bucks, that’s not worth my time. But fortunately, using Ibotta is easy and only takes a few extra minutes. Scanning Ibotta for offers took about ten minutes, and scanning the receipt when I got home took less than a minute. Six bucks for 11 minutes? That’s too easy! It took me a bit longer than it normally would because it was my first time using the app. I’m sure I’ll be able to cut it down to five minutes for future shopping trips.

When do I get Paid?

One of the drawbacks to using Ibotta is that you don’t get paid immediately. You have to earn twenty dollars before being able to redeem anything. But I earned six bucks with one shopping trip, so I’m pretty sure I’ll get to that twenty-dollar threshold soon.

Team Feature

One interesting feature (that could be fun or terrible, depending on your point of view) is the team work feature. When you join Ibotta using someone’s referral code (Like Mine!) you automatically become a member of that person’s team (And when you refer someone, they automatically become a member of yours). The team can work together to earn even more bonuses! There are negatives to this team thing though, the major one being that you can see each other’s earnings (some people may not want that information out in the public!). I haven’t found a way to opt out of this feature either, so if you are super private about your earnings, Ibotta may not be for you.

Ok, What’s the Catch?

Everything has a catch, and Ibotta is no different. The catch is that if you aren’t paying attention to what you are buying, you may end up spending more money than you normally would have. For example, Ibotta had a fifty-cent cash back offer on Ball Park hot dog buns. Sounds good, right? But Ball Park buns are generally two bucks and some change, and the generic brand is only 87 cents. If I had used that deal, I’d end up spending a dollar more on hot dog buns than I usually do! It’s easy to avoid that trap though, you just have to pay attention to prices.

The other catch is that you sometimes have to switch brands to get a deal. I usually buy Coffee-Mate creamer, but there was a $1 cash back offer on Dunkin Donuts creamer. The Dunkin creamer was a dollar more (paying attention to price!) but it was the larger quantity. Using the deal got me the bigger bottle of creamer for the same price as the small one! I don’t mind switching brands on a few items to get a better deal, but like I said above, make sure you are paying attention to price! Don’t use an offer if you’ll end up spending more in the long run.

One final catch is that you have to earn ten dollars’ worth of cash back rewards within 14 days of signing up in order to earn your ten-dollar sign on bonus. One trip to the grocery store got me more than half way there, so I’m sure I’ll get there after next week’s trip.

How Does Ibotta make money?

The best guide to Ibotta would be incomplete without talking about how Ibotta makes money. Do you have to buy anything? Are there in-app purchases? The answer to both of those is no. Ibotta does make money off of you, but not directly. They make money by having users watch videos, complete surveys, or answer simple questions on some of their offers. They also make money through affiliate sales, by making a small commission on some of the offers that you redeem. I’m guessing that they also sell your data, but I haven’t found any information to verify that. But hey, we give our data away for free to Facebook, so why not get some rewards for it?

What are you waiting for?

If this ultimate guide to Ibotta didn’t make you want to join right now, I don’t know what will. Its easy to use and it actually does give you cash back! Sign up today!

Do you have any questions about Ibotta before signing up? Let me know! And if you enjoyed this guide to Ibotta, be sure to share it!

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"eleventh month blogging"

Eleventh Month Update

Wow, eleven months! Only one more to go until I’m a “real” blogger! We were so close to our goal of 1000 views this month – only 50 users shy of it! We also had about 250 more users than  last month , so that’s a huge win! Maybe I’ll get that big 1K for my 1st birthday!  That would be awesome! Read onto find out what we did during our eleventh month.

Posting

We did an amazing job of keeping up with the posting schedule during our eleventh month. We published 10 posts this period, one every Sunday and Thursday and a bonus guest post by Ryan from Arrest Your Debt. And wouldn’t you know, we tended to have the most visitors on the days we posted! We also started a brand-new feature this month, the podcast “My Boyfriend Sucks with Money”. We’ve published three episodes so far, and are confident that it will be a breakaway hit!

Readership

Our readership was fairly consistent this month. We averaged about thirty users per day, and only had two days with less than twenty users. Our worst day saw 15 users, and our best day saw a whopping 165! I’m pretty sure that was due to ESI Money sharing one of our posts that day, so thank you! That was a major outlier though, because we only had between 25 and 45 users on most days. That is a small increase from last month though, and a small increase is still an increase, so I’ll take it!

"eleventh month"

Traffic Drivers

Direct Hits

Direct hits were our number one source of traffic this month. Almost half of our users came via direct hits. Many of these were from our awesome mailing list (subscribe now if you haven’t yet to get updates directly to your mailbox!). For some reason, whatever ESI did to drive users to my site was recorded as a direct hit. I’m not tech savvy enough to understand it, but I do know that the article they shared got tons of direct hits on the day that they shared it. I would think it would count as a referral, but who knows how this newfangled tech stuff works.

Social Media

Social media was our second biggest driver of traffic this month. We had 259 users from social media, almost 100 more than last month! It just goes to show that being active on social media does produce results.

Twitter

Twitter was the biggest driver of traffic from social media this month. We had 114 users from Twitter, which is almost three times as many as last month! That’s amazing! I think a big portion of this was my one day of commenting on a bunch of people’s blog posts. Who would’ve have thought that being supportive would lead to people supporting you? Crazy how that works out.

Pinterest

My Pinterest traffic is growing slowly but surely. We had 87 users from Pinterest, which is a modest increase from last month. I’m still trying to design better pins that people will want to share (and click on!). I’ve been using Unsplash to find awesome images and Canva to create beautiful designs, but I need to work on my call to actions. I need to make the words so compelling that people can’t help but click! It’s a work in progress.

Facebook

My Facebook performance is still lacking. I do have 119 likes on the platform, but that only translated into 42 users this month. Obviously, my Facebook presence needs some work. I’m trying to share other people’s blogs and fun financial memes to keep my page engaging and relevant, but it’s not always easy to find the time. I’m still chugging away at it though!

Instagram

Instagram is the only social media platform that saw a decrease in users this month. I only had 14 users from Instagram this period, three less than last month! My Instagram following keeps growing, but it’s not translating into page views anymore. Maybe one day I’ll get to the 10K mark and I’ll be able to add links to my story! That will be a great day!

Organic search

Curiously enough, we had pretty much the same number of users from organic searches this month as we had last month. I did a search on Alexa for my keywords, and as it turns out people are finding my site after searching for “Barista fire” and “Coast FI”. Yay for relevant searches! SEO hasn’t been the easiest thing for me to figure out, but it’s something that I’m working on and I think I’m getting better little by little.

Referral Traffic

We only had 54 users coming from referral traffic this month, a drastic decrease from last month. On the plus side, a bunch of those were from other blogs, so that’s much better than the spammy referral traffic I was getting in the past! I think most of these were due to my diligence in commenting on other blogs (since you have to leave your URL to comment), proving once again that helping others helps you too!

Content

I think we did a great job of posting interesting, helpful content this month. It was crazy that I started writing about a stock market crash right before stocks started losing! I’d like to say that I predicted it, but that would clearly be a lie. The articles were very timely though, and I do think that helped translate into page views. I also posted a blogging award article this month, which hardly received any views. I guess most people don’t find those types of articles useful, however I am still going to write them because it’s a great way to support other bloggers, and that is one of my main goals.

Monetization

We are working on monetizing Partner’s in Fire via affiliation. Last month we posted about skincare and this month we posted about online shopping. Although those posts have generated clicks, very few have resulted in sales. The powers that be generally say that you have to have between 50 and 100 daily users before seeing affiliate sales, and I think we will get there soon. I’m hoping that my articles with affiliate links are still helpful and entertaining though, I only want to add value for my readers.

Patreon

We also got our Patreon up and running this month. The primary purpose of the Patreon account is to support the podcast so we can get it hosted on the big platforms like I-Tunes and Spotify. Unfortunately, we don’t have any Patreons yet, so if you love the podcast you can be our first!

What’s Next?

We are going to stick with our goal of trying to get over 1000 users. We were so close! We only need to average 34 users per day to get there, and with our average daily users slowly creeping upwards, I think we can get there.

What are your thoughts? What else can we do to improve our readership? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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My Boyfriend Sucks With Money

Hey everyone! Welcome to the third installment of our new podcast “My Boyfriend Sucks with Money!”.  We did a fun thing this time around and decided start naming our podcasts instead of just numbering them. A revolutionary concept right? Today we are discussing a person’s worth.

A Person’s Worth

We decided to talk about a person’s worth today because we both believe that society sometimes values incomes and job titles over a person’s character. This topic is very important to us and our relationship because we have very different incomes, and that can sometimes affect relationship dynamics (though we both try hard to not let that happen. In tonight’s podcast, we talk about a person’s intrinsic value and we also discuss what it truly means to be successful.  Give it a listen and let us know if you agree with our idea of success!

 

 

Lessons Learned

We both think this was our best podcast yet! Not only did we do an awesome recap of last week’s podcast (with some cool stats and all!) but we also discussed important topics that I really hope will resonate with a lot of listeners. Another big win is that we got better about not using comfort words or interrupting each other! I also think that naming the episode was a nice addition;  listeners are getting a sneak peak of the topic before even clicking link! Let’s hope they like the topic!

We still have a few kinks to work out though. The main thing is that we want to add a few interesting segments to each show, which will give listeners some structure and ensure that they know what to expect for future podcasts. One of my favorite ideas for a segment is “Stupid things Brian has done with Money”, where Brian would describe stupid money decision that he’s made in the past. We are still trying to decide what will be the right fit though. 

Patreon

We are also still on Patreon! If you are loving this podcast and want to see us get to I-Tunes, sign up to be a Patreon. We’d appreciate any tier of support. For quick reference, here are our tiers: Tier 1 – Donation only; Tier 2 – Access to discord channel (ask us anything!), Tier 3 – Exclusive unedited podcasts! Stop by and check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

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"the five best things to buy online"

Hey folks! Transparency Disclosure- Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. That means I’ll receive a small commission if you decide to click on it and buy something. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything extra!

Ok guys -confession time! I’m not the biggest fan of online shopping. Blasphemy, right? Do I need to turn in my millennial card? I’m not a fan of shopping in general though, and as a personal finance blogger, I have to say that you shouldn’t buy anything that you don’t need or that doesn’t fit in with your money goals. With all that being said, there are a few things that I do buy online. Even I, the technologically challenged millennial, have accepted that some things are better to buy online. Read on to find out what those things are!

The Best things to Buy Online

Single Use Coffee (K-Cups)

My absolute favorite thing to buy online are single use cups for my morning coffee. I know, I know, those are literally the worst things for the environment. But that’s why I only buy them online! Did you know that you can get compostable single use cups on Amazon?? San Francisco Bay sells a huge variety of flavors, and the cups are compostable! And they are a tiny bit cheaper than the normal cups you get in the store. A win for the environment, a win for my wallet, and super convenient. You can’t beat that. My favorite flavors are espresso and fog chaser, but try the variety pack to find yours! I’ve also tried the Faro brand, which is just as tasty.


Gifts for Kids

My niece and nephew live in Chicago, and I live far far away from there. I still want to send them gifts for their birthdays and Christmas, but I absolutely don’t want to deal with the post office. Being able to buy their gifts online has been a godsend! I just ask my brother what they want, find it online, and have it shipped directly to his house. So easy! I can even get it gift wrapped! Which is really just a fancy box, but hey, I’ll take it.

Books

Books are a great thing to buy online because they tend to ship well and you know exactly what you are getting. Also, there’s no way I could write a post about shopping online without talking about books; the megalith Amazon got started with books! They are obviously a hot online item. That being said, there is something about browsing a bookstore, so I hope you don’t do all of your book shopping online. Buy a few at Barnes & Nobles too so we can keep them in business!

Camisoles

I generally hate buying clothing online. It never fits correctly and then you have to deal with sending it back, which is such a huge hassle. I’ll pass. But there is one clothing item that I love to buy online, and that’s camisoles. I wear them every day, under pretty much everything. So of course, I need to find the best deal. I can usually find them for ten bucks each at target, but the online deals are way better! I can get 4 camis online for only $23, that’s less than 6 bucks a piece, and they come right to my door. The best part is that most camis are sized correctly. A small is a small pretty much everywhere, so I don’t have to worry about returning them because they didn’t fit.


Specialty Items

Do you have a weird hobby that no one else has? Or a hobby that you can’t find supplies for at the normal stores? I do too! I have a microscope and I love making slides of things to look at under it. Unfortunately, most stores don’t carry microscope slides (or dissecting kits, or dyes). I’m so glad I can buy this stuff online. The best thing about online shopping is that you can find pretty much anything! What’s your odd hobby that you can’t find supplies for in the store? I’d love to hear about it!

Do you enjoy shopping online? What is your favorite thing to buy and why?

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