Spending Like There’s No Tomorrow

Remember this post about my 2015 de-cluttering challenge? Well, that was a big fail. Somewhere along the way, my husband and I started spending like YOLO type of people. A large part of it was to reach a maximum spending on a new credit card to get rewards — something crazy like spend $4,000 in 3 months.

I can also blame this post “Stop Wasting Time on Minor Life Decisions” from I Will Teach You To Be Rich. It basically says that people waste too much time overthinking every little purchase. Since I’ve spent time comparing costs on toilet paper, I think I definitely fit into that category of people who waste time on minor decisions.  After reading this, I decided to spend less time comparison shopping. That’s not the bad part. However, I’m not quite sure why that this new habit was accompanied by a desire to hit the “buy” button more often.

I’ve just been hit with the new credit card bill.  Along with big costs like auto repairs, we’ve ‘cluttered’ our house with new clothes and shoes for everyone, emergency flashlights, a fire extinguisher, picture frames, chalkboard stickers, vacuum cleaner, motorized hair clipper, and a stockpile of household paper goods.

How do you stop the downward spiral of overspending?

5 More Things The Middle-Class Do For Money

As I stated in an earlier post “5 Things The Middle-Class Do For Money“, the advice below is not intended for those at either ends of the financial spectrum — very rich or poor. This advice is intended for those who are “solidly middle-class” who sort of have their financial lives in order but need to maximize their savings to maintain a “middle-class” lifestyle.

We earned enough credit card rewards to pay for one airline ticket to Mexico.

We earned enough credit card rewards to pay for one airline ticket to Mexico.

1) Points Game – Many people use their credit card to get airline miles. While airlines have tight restrictions and black-out dates, it can still be worthwhile if you or someone in your household is a frequent traveler. I’m not an expert at this because 1) we don’t travel enough and 2) when we travel, we are not loyal to any particular airline.  For us, the priorities are cost, number of stops, flight time, and NOT having a connecting flight in Newark, otherwise known as “hell on earth”.

2) Credit Card rewards – If you pay off your credit card in full, you’ll be a fool not to use a rewards card, which is simply a credit card that rewards your spending with points. These points can add up quickly and be redeemed for gift cards, travel, cash back and more. Since I started paying attention to these rewards, I estimate that we earn about $200 – $400 per year.  One year, the reward was enough to pay for a plane ticket to sunny Mexico.

Use Ebates to earn cash when you shop online.

Use Ebates to earn cash when you shop online.

3) Ebates –  I’ve earned over $254.65 back since signing up years ago. It’s not a life-changing amount but it’s great to get extra money just for buying online. Once you sign up, you earn cash back on online purchases at participating stores. Percentage of cash back varies by store.  I think this is a no-brainer way to earn ‘extra’ money and I admit to sending referral links to friends and friendly acquaintances.

Tip: More than once, I’ve had to follow up with Ebates about giving me credit for the purchase. This can happen because it takes time for the store to report the purchase. I believe there is a delay to make sure people don’t just buy and return, yet get the credit.  Just something to watch out for!

4) Referrals – Speaking of referrals, every time I sign up for a new service, I check to see if there is a referral credit. I love forwarding referrals to friends. Most of the time, you and your friend both get a reward (if your friend signs up and spends X-amount within a certain timeframe).

5) Mail-In Rebates – While some people hate rebates, I don’t think it’s really much of a bother to do this.  All you have to do (usually) is complete a simple form and send in the receipt and UPC code. I do this soon after purchase so I don’t miss the deadline. I’m hoping more companies follow the lead of Johnson & Johnson’s rebate process. All you had to do was take a photo of the receipt and text/email it to a special inbox or number.

As for dollar amount, I prefer to go after rebate $15 or higher. I generally do not purchase things I wouldn’t normally buy, unless it’s something I wanted to try already.

News: How To Get A $160 Massage For $80 (or less)

BlissRight now, www.livingsocial.com is offering a super deal at Bliss spa. For $80, you get a massage that’s normally priced at $160 — 50% off! You can also opt for their oxygen facial for only $85 (normally $170). Bliss has several U.S. locations so it might be worth checking livingsocial.com to see if this deal is being offered in your area. There are restrictions. The promotion is for select technicians and not valid on Saturday. However, I trust that Bliss hires very good people and I’ve been wanting to check out their facilities.

You can get this deal via my referral link if you’re so inclined!*

Wait, the deal gets even better…Johnsons and Desitin has a great Spafinder Wellness 365 promotion 4/27 through 6/30/2015. Purchase two of their qualifying products in one transaction and you’ll get a $25 spafinder gift card. There is a limit of two claim codes per person/family/household.  I already submitted one receipt via email and received the promotion code 24 hours later.  You can also text a picture of your receipt.

Since I use both brands regularly, I decided to buy four products –  two per transaction — in order to get $50 in total. And guess what? Bliss accepts spafinder gift cards. Technically the $50 spafinder gift cards will not be applied toward the discounted massage. If they allow you to use one of the $25 gift cards toward the 20% gratuity (of $32), then you do save a little extra there. I’m planning to use that $50 gift card on a facial that is not offered through livingsocial.

The Johnsons/Desitin Spafinder offer is nationwide so if you use their products, check out http://www.spafinder.com/readytospa to find a spa in your neck of the woods.

* If three people purchase through my referral link, I get my service for free. I doubt I will be that lucky since frugal money-minded readers aren’t likely to splurge on spa services. However, this is really a good deal at a top-notched spa so I’m sharing anyway.