This page contains a running list of money-saving tools and tips that I use to save aggressively.
Blue Cash Preferred Rewards Card
The Blue Cash Preferred Card is a secret weapon when it comes to slashing my grocery bills because it provides 6% cash back at supermarkets for up to $6,000 of spending per year. This gives me $360 back on the first $6,000 at supermarkets, and 1% back after that. The card also provides 3% cash back at gas stations.
The cash back on the card is received in the form of reward dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. This is much better than my previous card where the only way to get the cash back was to request a check from the credit card company. Now I can shop, collect reward dollars, and use them to pay my credit card bill.
The current offer details for the Blue Cash Preferred Card are here. There’s an annual fee, but the up-front statement credit more than covers it for 2 years. Make sure you are getting the below offer if you decide to apply through my link, which will be $50 dollars better than some other offers currently out there. And be sure to spend $1,000 in the first 3 months as a card member to get the $250 statement credit.
Last year I received $566 back, which included a $150 statement credit for signing up. Now that statement credit is $250!
To save on bottled water I use a ZeroWater filter. I’ve been using this for years, and before I switched to ZeroWater I was using a Brita filter. I think the ZeroWater does a better job and so I converted my friends and family after I myself was converted. I still use bottled water, but much less than I would without the filter.
I need a reusable bottle for all that water I’m filtering. I use a basic 32 oz Nalgene that’s BPA/BPS free and large enough to address most of my needs. Check out this category on Amazon.
The water bottle pictured on the left is the Ello Pure BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle, which I’m currently using in addition to the Nalgene. It’s got a premium feel to it and is well-protected by a silicone sleeve.
Coffee Maker and Coffee Supplies
I make my own pour-over coffee at home, and I also use French presses and conventional coffee makers when visiting friends and family. Making my own coffee saves a ton.
I rely on this burr grinder which has lasted for years and is still going strong. (I once tried a hand crank grinder because of how cool they look, but it wasn’t worth the effort and broke quickly.)
I use this French press occasionally. It’s a good one that I used much more frequently in the past before switching mostly to pour-over coffee.
For the pour-over I use unbleached, brown #4 filters such as these. I put two filters over the mouth of a glass pitcher or container (a French press or small-mouthed coffee pot also works), and then pour hot water over the ground coffee gradually, giving it some breaks in between pours. I usually get my #4 filters at Trader Joe’s.
I use a Keurig at work, and as for conventional coffee makers, I can’t recommend one currently as I’m still messing around with getting the plastic flavor out of a new one I was trying, and I generally prefer the simplicity of pour-over. Pour-over guarantees no plastic flavor, and is super simple.
Streaming Shows and Movies
I don’t have a cable subscription, and I haven’t had one for most of my life. I also rarely go to movies. A cable subscription can run over $200 a month, and a pair of movie tickets are $30 where I live. The movie tickets don’t bother me as much as a $200 a month subscription.
Instead of cable, I subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Video, which combined run about $20 a month.
Netflix gift cards are available on Amazon. I can’t link to it due to Amazon’s terms of service, but it’s available on Amazon I promise!
I can, however, link to a Free Trial of Prime, and to Give the Gift of Amazon Prime, which includes access to Amazon Video. On Amazon Video I like a number of shows: The Grand Tour, The Americans, Goliath, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Red Oaks, Suits, American Horror Story, Sopranos, Eat the World (so awesome), Jean-Claude Van Johnson (which is currently in the works), and more are being added. There are also a bunch of movies included if I’m in the mood for something longer.
I like Amazon Prime generally because I use the Amazon Prime Visa that gives me 5% back on Prime purchases, which pays for the subscription fees and then some because of how much I spend with Prime: I buy a lot of home goods from Amazon, so it’s well worth it for me.
ibotta is a smartphone app that helps you get cash back on your grocery bill when you take a picture of your receipts with the app. (You can also use the app on your computer if you prefer.) The app will help you find deals on certain items which frequently change. Sometimes these items are newer items to the market and you can try them for less with ibotta.
After you sign up for an account (and claim a $10 welcome bonus) and download the app, you can select your favorite stores and desired rebates, then go shopping, and afterward make sure to a take a picture of your receipt within 1 week. That’s it! Then you receive cash back and you can cash out after your account reaches a minimum of $20. We’ve been cashing out through Amazon gift cards, and you can also cash out through PayPal, Venmo, and a host of retailers.
You can frequently find larger rewards on ibotta for special purchases. Even if you don’t find anything you want on the list of grocery items, sometimes there are generic items that they will pay you for. For example, 25 cents back on any grocery item, 25 cents back on bananas, 50 cents back on any brand of bread. Take advantage of these! It’s surprising how fast they can add up.
Some of the saving posts on Mooseworth: