saving money using Amazon Prime

How I Save Money Using Amazon Prime

save money using amazon prime

 

In honor of Amazon Prime Day, I thought I would share some of the ways I use  Amazon Prime to save money. You can sign up below to get a free month of Amazon Prime and see if it is something that works for you. The regular membership rate is $99/year, which equates to $8.25 per month. If you have a .edu email address, you can sign up for a reduced student rate (which I did with my faculty email address). Even at $99, however, it would be a value for me.

 

Here’s what you get:

  • Free two-day shipping
  • Free Prime Instant Video (Amazon’s version of Netflix)
  • Free Prime Music (Amazon’s version of Pandora or Spotify)
  • Unlimited photo storage
  • Access to one free Kindle book per month through the Amazon lending library

 

I save money with Amazon Prime because I got to cancel Netflix and all of my music app subscriptions (other than Sirius for my car). I also save about $10 a month using that Kindle lending library. That alone exceeds the monthly cost of Prime.

 

More importantly, using Prime I am able to avoid a lot of extra money spent on gas and impulse buys when I have to leave the house and go to a store. Realistically, what would happen if I drove to Target to buy printer ink (which I need all the time during the school year)? I’d end up with the Target $100 PLUS my $20 ink and a Starbucks on the way out the door. With Amazon Prime, I get what I need shipped to my door in two days and get a great price. Plus, I don’t have to find time in my schedule to go to a store and don’t buy anything other than what I actually need. I also keep a lot of wish lists of items that I might like to purchase in the future for school or gifts. Because prices change pretty frequently on Amazon, I can go check my wish list (or set up an alert) to look for deals on those specific items. When the price goes down, I can go ahead and place my order (kind of like electronic stock trading haha).

 

Plus, Amazon loves its Prime Members so much that we get a special holiday once a year. Today you can grab deals like this:

 

Amazon Fire starting at $33.33! I got one a few weeks ago, and it’s great. You seriously can’t beat what you get for the price.

 

 

Click below to sign up (Amazon affiliate link):

13 Ways to Save on Summer Fun

13 ways to save on summer fun

So, school is out, and summer is officially here. If you are anything like me, summer tends to really ignite your sense of wanderlust.  Parents not used to having their kids at home all the time also start to get a little desperate looking for ways to keep the kids occupied. Don’t let these things break the bank. There are some really inexpensive ways to get out and have fun this summer.

 

  1. Check out your local library. Pick up some fun, free summer reading and see what activities they have planned for your kids.
  2. Visit your local park.
  3. Pack a picnic lunch and take the family on a day hike.
  4. Try geocaching around your town.
  5. Make popsicles in your favorite flavors.
  6. Rather than going out for ice cream, make your own ice cream or frozen yogurt bar at home.
  7. Help your kids create their own version of the Olympic Games (and get ready for the Olympic festivities in August while you do it).
  8. Practice your photography skills.
  9. Try something new. Have you been wanting to learn a new language, how to use some software, or how to cook a particular dish? Start learning this summer.
  10. Take a free online class.
  11. Plan a movie marathon with your friends or family.
  12. Instead of going out to a bar, create a new summer signature drink and invite your friends over to try it.
  13. Volunteer your time. Find some way to give back to your church, homeless shelter, food pantry, school, or pet shelter.

 

Do you have a fun, free (or nearly free) plan for the summer? For more ideas, click on over to my Summer Savings Roundup Pinterest board!

My Four Favorite Budgeting Apps (and they are free!)

four favorite budgeting apps

 

As a finance professor, people ask me a lot of questions. One of the most common questions is about ways to make budgeting easier or if “there is an app for that.” There are two difficult parts to the budgeting process. The first part is sitting down to actually make a budget. The second part is knowing where you are in your budget and sticking to it. For me, this is by far the more challenging task because it takes time to record your expenses. I’m always looking for an app to help make my life more efficient, so I have actually tried a lot of budgeting apps over the years. Today I’ve decided to share four of my current favorites.

 

mint money budget app
Mint: Money Manager, Budget, and Personal Finance is a free app that provides a complete money management toolbox for users. You can connect all of your bank, credit card, and investment apps to your personal Mint account and let the app do the rest. Mint will keep track of your spending and income and even make suggestions for how you can improve your budget. If you want an app that will literally track and do everything for you, Mint is the way to go. Personally, I don’t want to use this app for security reasons. I don’t like the idea of tying all of my financial accounts into this one place. If you don’t mind, however, you won’t find anything better than this.

 

daily budget original money budget app
Daily Budget Original is a free app that provides you will a daily budget after you enter your monthly income and fixed expenses. Since it does not connect to your bank account, there is some work on your part. Each time you make a purchase, you’ll need to enter that into the app so that it can deduct that dollar amount from your daily allowance. However, the app is simple and easy to use.

 

mvelopes money budgeting app
Mvelopes is a nice, free app if you are fond of the envelope method of budgeting. You can set up the categories, or envelopes, of your monthly expenses as needed. These are fully customizable, so you can have just a few, broad categories or envelopes for individual expenses like cable, coffee, cell phone, gym membership, etc. Mvelopes will also connect to all of your financial accounts (like Mint) and automatically deduct your expenses. Again, this has the benefit of taking the work out of the equation for you, but be careful about keeping your accounts and identity secured.

 

wellspent money budgeting app
WellSpent is another free app also based on the envelope method of budgeting. Unlike Mvelopes, however, WellSpent does not connect to any of your financial accounts. So, you’ll have to be diligent about entering all of your daily expenses. Once you get into a habit of entering expenses as you go or at a certain time of the day (take a minute to do it while eating lunch or at the end of each day), you’ll find this is an incredibly useful budgeting app. You have the flexibility to add as many envelope categories as you want and track your spending in each category in real-time.

  
Do you use an app for budgeting? If so, do you use one of these or something else? If you do not use a budgeting app, which of these sounds the best to you?