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Budget Saving Hacks to Help Your Money Go Farther

budget saving hacks

Episode 18: Pocket Change Podcast

How often do you think about the small purchases you make every day? Whether you’re a big family or are living by yourself, it is crucial to make a budget and find ways to save money on the little purchases so that you can meet your financial goals. Scott Heit, Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy at Leaders, joined Pocket Change to talk about how his family has found hacks to make their money go farther.

“The first thing I would say is to get on a budget. And then, we really break it down into certain areas. So I would encourage you to take advantage of cash back offers, to use mobile apps, to shop sales, and then to get creative,” Scott said. “You can either save time or save money. It's hard to do both.”


Summary

Scott has been married to Kelly for 21 years and they have 5 kids, making it essential to save money with seven people on one income. He shares some tips on how to save money, such as: creating a budget and sticking to it, using cash back apps and websites, taking advantage of store sales and coupons, using mobile apps to order food and groceries, and being creative. Scott encourages people to use websites such as Rakuten, which is an online retailer that takes all different online stores and puts it together in one place. If you're doing any kind of online shopping, when you go through Rakuten first before you check out, they actually will give you cash back and you get a check in the mail.

Cash back credit cards are a great way earn rewards from money you already have to spend; however, Scott also emphasizes the importance of being responsible with credit cards. Using cash back credit cards can be a great way to save money, but only if you pay off your balance in full each month. Saving money takes time, so you might have to choose between saving time and saving money. For Scott’s family, it is worth it to take a little more time so that they can save money. Sticking to your savings goals can be a challenge, but it is important to start small and make changes that you can stick to.

 


Key Takeaways

  • Create a realistic budget you can stick to.

  • Scott recommends using the Rakuten app to get cash back on online purchases.

  • Use mobile apps for restaurants because many restaurants offer exclusive deals and coupons through their apps.

  • Use cash back credit cards in a responsible way.

  • Be creative because there are many ways to save money, even if you are on a tight budget.

Leaders has a free budgeting tool for all members called money management and has educational content to help you meet your financial goals



 

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Full Transcript

Shea:

Hey, this is Shea.

 

Maddie:

And this is Maddie.

 

Shea:

Welcome to the Pocket Change podcast.

 

Maddie:

Where you'll learn better ways to save, spend, and invest and take control of your financial journey.

 

Shea:

So, Maddie, on the podcast, we talk about a lot of money saving tips. Good financial advice for people who are budgeting, saving - just on their financial journey. And so today we're going to talk about how to maybe save a little more. What are some ways that we can take advantage of discounts, maybe couponing, different things.

 

We're going to see what this all looks like. Coming up on this episode.

 

Maddie:

Yeah, and it really applies to everyone, whether you're a big family or you're just living by yourself, it's really important to take advantage of those little things and and save money on the little things in life because those can really add up and help you meet your budgeting goals.

 

Shea:

A penny saved as a penny earned. So it matters. So we're excited for our guest today to talk a little bit more about that.

 

Maddie:

So we're excited to welcome our special guest today, Scott Heit, Director for Marketing and Digital Strategy here at Leaders. So welcome to Pocket Change, Scott.

 

Shea:

Welcome Scott.

 

Scott Heit:

Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.

 

Maddie:

So first, just tell us a little bit about yourself and your family and how you guys started saving money.

 

Scott Heit:

So my wife and I, we've been married 21 years now and we have five kids. So with five kids, we have a big family. And so we are always looking for ways to save money. After our second child was born, my wife decided to stay home and we homeschool. So living on one salary too, makes us stretch our money.

 

Shea:

And with five kids, you got to find ways to save. And you've got some boys that are teenagers. So probably got to find ways to save to.

 

Scott Heit:

They're getting much more expensive. Yes. As they grow, they- it never changes.

 

Shea:

So what are some tips and hacks you have for ways that we can make our money go farther, like you said, with a family or even someone who's just on their own and wants to stretch that dollar even further. What are some things?

 

Scott Heit:

Yeah. So the first thing I would say is to get on a budget. So if you're not on a budget, to start one. Sit down, write down, you know, the money you're bringing in and all the expenses you have. So get on a budget. And then, you know, we really break it down into certain areas. So I would encourage you to take advantage of cash back offers, to use mobile apps, to shop sales, and then to get creative.

 

So those are the different areas.

 

Shea:

And trying, I think, when talking about budgeting, you don't want to make it too complicated because a lot of times people may break down their budget into multiple categories. They just stretch, I mean, pages long of categories, but maybe just food as a category, not, you know, eating out or groceries, but just have, you know, food as a category.

 

For instance. I just want to share that tip of not trying to make your budget too complicated because otherwise it gets overwhelming and trying to stretch that dollar further for, you know, five kids and two parents. You know, you don't want to have another thing that's more overwhelming - like your budget. But starting with the budget is key.

 

That's the best, first tip I think.

 

Scott Heit:

For sure. And there are lots of free apps out there that can help you. I mean, you know, here at Leaders we have Money Management which is built into our mobile app so that's really helpful. You can add all of your external accounts and keep it all organized in one place, which really helps when you have a lot of accounts.

 

But one thing, you know with the cash back, one thing I would recommend everyone do is to go to Rakuten and create an account. So Rakuten is an online retailer that takes all different online stores and puts it together in one place. So if you're doing any kind of online shopping, if you go through Rakuten first before you check out, they actually will give you cash back and you get a check in the mail.

 

So like once a quarter, my wife gets a check in the mail for all her online shopping. And while it's not a big dollar amount, it does add up. And so if you're going to do an online purchase anyway, just go to Rakuten first. And there's also plug ins for your browser. So, you know, we have a Chrome browser.

 

It makes it really easy. It actually pops up and tells you like you get 2% back on Target for this order. So my wife just clicks over to Rakuten, signs in, goes back to her cart, checks out, and it keeps up with the cash back.

 

Shea:

Is there a mobile app too you can use for Rakuten?

 

Scott Heit:

Yes, there is. And you know, my wife's been a long time member. She started when it was called Ebates, if you remember. So there was Ebates and then, not sure why, but they changed their name to Rakuten, which is a funny word. They even make fun of themselves in a Super Bowl commercial about “Raccoon-ten”.

 

But yes, everyone needs to go get a free Rakuten account.

 

Maddie:

Sounds like I need to do that today. I do a lot of online shopping.

 

Scott Heit:

Yes, you do. And if you have any friends, you can send them a referral link and then you also get cash back for that.

 

Shea:

Make even more money! Okay. So do you recommend using cash back credit cards?

 

Scott Heit:

I do. We use cash back credit cards. But I would warn you, you know, you can negate the cash back that you get on making purchases on your credit card if you do not pay off your statement at the end of the month.

 

Shea:

If you’re paying too much in interest...

 

Scott Heit:

Yes. If you are responsible and can pay off your credit card bill every month, then yes, get a cash back credit card because it does add up. And several different, you know, credit cards offer different cash back tiers. So there might be 5% off for gas or groceries for certain months. And so keeping up with those does help.

 

I know my wife, she'll tell me, by the way, shout out to Kelly, because she's the one that keeps us...you know, tells me about all these money saving hacks. But she'll be like, hey, we get an extra 5% back if you use Apple Pay, right? So if you use your card through Apple Pay, then you get the 5% back and it's really easy to do.

 

Maddie:

So you mentioned using some mobile apps. What are the best ones that you found work for your family?

 

Scott Heit:

Yeah, well, you know, it kind of just depends on the deal, right? So most all fast food restaurants have mobile apps. So that's the first thing. If you want to go to Chick-Fil-A, download the Chick-Fill-A app.

 

Maddie:

I use that app all the time.

 

Scott Heit:

Not only is it convenient, but it also, you know, it keeps up with your purchases and they give you rewards quite often. So just, you know, use those rewards. And if you're thinking about going to a restaurant, just look at the app first, right? Look at what deals are there. A lot of times they'll send you, you know, if you turn on your push notifications or text message alerts, you can get the deals that way or in your email.

 

But just checking the app before you go to make a purchase is really helpful.

 

Shea:

And a lot of times they are exclusive to the app. So if you use the app, that's how you get the deal, which you know, the companies want you to use the mobile app because of that. And that's the way you can get the deals. Just use the app.

 

You get the deal.

 

Scott Heit:

And another thing, too. So we now have a 17 year old. So last year he got a cell phone. We’re one of those weird parents that waits until you're 16 to give your kid a cell phone. But because now that he has a cell phone - My wife has a cell phone. I have a cell phone - so when we go to a restaurant, we actually use all three apps so that we make sure to maximize our savings, which may sound crazy, but I will say that you can either save time or save money.

 

It's hard to do both. And because, you know, we're a big family on one salary, we choose to save money. Now, you may like the convenience of saving time, and that's totally fine. And it does drive my kids crazy sometimes because my wife gets out the app and, you know, we're sitting in the parking lot placing our order through the app. But it does save money.

 

So if you get a buy one, get one deal from Zaxby's, they do those quite often, we actually, using three apps, we get six meals for the price of three. So that really adds up for a big family.

 

Maddie:

And sometimes they'll just give you coupons or free meals, you know, just because you have the app. That happens to me quite often. And that does save money.

 

Scott Heit:

Especially the first time. If you have not downloaded the app before, there's always typically a bonus when you download the app. You get a free dessert or a free drink or something. So just use a mobile app.

 

Shea:

So how much, I mean, you mentioned saving time or saving money, but I feel like a lot of these apps may not take too much time. How much time does it take to apply some of these tips in your life?

 

Scott Heit:

Yeah, and some of them don't take that long. Others, you know, may take a while. I know, you know, my wife loves to do grocery pickup, you know, and I mentioned earlier shopping sales, and so she knows, because she keeps up with it. But like, if something's on sale at Walmart, then we're not going to buy it at Kroger.

 

Or if something's on sale at Aldi that week, then we'll get it at Aldi. So we have like four stores that we, you know, rotate through and she shops from home, right? Like she's, you know, sitting in bed at night placing items in her Kroger pickup cart and then she'll checkout when she gets done. But she also knows, you know, yes, drinks are on sale at Kroger this week.

 

So we're going to stock up on drinks. If you have a couple of email addresses, then yes, you can have a couple different Kroger plus accounts. And so you may have to check out more than once. But if they have, you know, a deal that's a certain limit, like up to 12 or up to 6, well, then you buy up to six on one account, you buy up to six on the other account, and then you're doubling your savings.

 

Shea:

The good thing you said about that is, you know, you can do it from the comfort of your home. Like if you've got an extra few minutes, it might not take that long. Just sit, check out a sale, look at an ad. Weekly ads for grocery stores I know are like on their website and on mobile apps.

 

So a lot of times you can clip coupons, right from a mobile app. So it does make it easy. Hopefully you can save a little more time while you're saving more money.

 

Scott Heit:

Yes, for sure. And it does take a little more time to like add the deal to your Kroger plus card or something. But you know, it's worth it in the end.

 

Maddie:

And you know, when you're doing that online shopping, you can see the amounts rack up, you know, and you know how much you're spending right there in your cart. So oftentimes, at least for me, I think that saves me money by just seeing, oh, I've already spent $75. I don't want to spend more. So then maybe I'm like, oh, I don't need this one thing.

 

You know. So I think that helps too.

 

Shea:

That's true because if you’re in the store, you know, you're not necessarily adding it up unless you have your calculator.

 

Maddie:

You're just putting it in your cart.

 

Scott Heit:

Or if you go grocery shopping with your kids and they like, you know, they see the cereal that they wanted or the candy bar. They're going to be like, mom, mom, can I get that? Well, she never has to worry about the kids begging for something because she's doing it from home.

 

Maddie:

So what are some of the other creative ways that y’all save money?

 

Scott Heit:

My wife is very creative, and so one of our hacks is actually when you're ordering a pizza online - we'll give Domino's as an example, because they actually allow this. But if they have a deal on a two topping pizza, but say half of your family likes cheese, which mine does. So you don't waste those two toppings that you're taking off to have cheese, you can put them on the other half of the pizza.

 

So now you have a four topping half and a cheese half, and it costs the same as the two topping. Whereas if you would have added it, they charge more to add more toppings. But you can actually do half cheese and take two of those toppings and move it to the other side.

 

Maddie:

And now your whole family's happy.

 

Scott Heit:

Exactly. And so the cheese people are happy. I'm happy because I like a lot of toppings. I even told this to a coworker of ours, you know, a few weeks ago, and now he told his wife. So they order that and they call it the Scott special.

 

Maddie:

There you go!

 

Shea:

The Scott Special. Order yours today!

 

Scott Heit:

Yes, for sure. On Domino's.

 

Shea:

Yeah. Is there a coupon for that. Can we like get a referral for Scott’s pizza?

 

Scott Heit:

And listen, Domino's used to have their carryout offer. They would tip you if you came and picked up the pizza. $3 towards your next purchase, and that was a great thing. I think they've gotten rid of it now, but just pay attention to those deals and those offers. Another creative thing - which this may be in your town - here in Jackson, we do have like $5 movie nights. So Tuesday, right? I know the kids want to go see the movie the weekend it comes out, but our kids know we're going to wait till Tuesday to go because it's $5.

 

Also, they have an annual popcorn bucket. So get the bucket. You pay a little more upfront, but then you can use it all year round and get refills. And yes, we may be - because we have a large family - we may get a couple of refills that night at the movie because we have a lot of people eating it, but it saves us money.

 

So there are little, little things that you can do to help save money.

 

Shea:

So was it difficult for you to like, adjust your mindset to saving money when you married Kelly? And if so, how can you help others do the same?

 

Scott Heit:

Well, honestly, I think when we got married, I was probably cheaper than Kelly. But it's been over the years, you know, staying at home with five kids, she's really become the guru as far as saving money. You know, she's on all these Facebook groups...different things, just to find out about deals. Slickdeals website, which she pays attention to.

 

You know, of course, she shops Prime Day when they have good deals. And it's not that we're spending money that we wouldn't have spent. It's like, oh, there's this thing. Well, let's wait till Prime Day or let's wait till Black Friday, because there's going to be a deal on it. So just, you know, you can do impulse shopping, which we try not to.

 

Because that thing that you're going to buy is going to be on sale one day.

 

Maddie:

You really can't be impatient or lazy, it sounds like, to save money.

 

Scott Heit:

For sure. And like I mentioned, you're either going to save time or save money. And and so, yeah, it does take a little more effort, but for us, it's worth it.

 

Maddie:

All right. So our last question for you today. It's a fun one. If you found any extra change in your pocket, what would you do with it?

 

Scott Heit:

You know, having a big family, I would probably treat my kids to something special, right? I would check the mobile app first. And get a deal!

 

Shea:

Get a deal you could buy with your pocket change.

 

Scott Heit:

But then we, you know, go out for ice cream or maybe some, you know, snow cones.

 

Shea:

Well, thanks for being on the podcast today.

 

Scott Heit:

Yeah, it's been fun.

 

Maddie:

We loved having you.

 

 


 

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