Apps That Earn you Free Money

Everyone loves free money right? We already spend so much of our time scrolling on our phones so why not earn some free money with just a few clicks! We listed our top 5 apps that we use to earn money/gift cards and get cash back on our purchases!

 

PoshMark

Do you have clothes sitting in your closet that you no longer wear or want? When it comes to selling clothing, shoes, and accessories this is the app to go with! We’ve  attempted several other avenues of posting sale’s whether different apps, websites (such as eBay or craigslist), the Facebook yard sales, and thrift stores but PoshMark has given the most success.

Use our referral code ROCKNOGALES when creating your account to get $5!

Below is the break down of the steps to show just how simple it is to use this app!

  1. Take a well lit, decluttered, and clear picture of the product
  2. Upload picture and fill out description page (size, color, brand name, etc)
  3. Fill in what the original price is and what your SALE price is (please note that PoshMark takes a percentage of your sale price when item is sold. That percentage depends on what price tier your item is listed in but you will be able to see the break down when you fill your sale price in).
  4. Review and post your listing
  5. Buyer may purchase item with the price you listed or may send you an offer. They may also crate a “bundle” of your items in which you can offer a discount. Feel free to negotiate or decline offers.
  6. Once item sells make sure to package item, securely tape the prepaid label (buyers pay shipping through the app at the time of purchasing your item)
  7. Drop off package at USPS and check the tracking through the app
  8. You receive your money through direct deposit or by requesting a check once the buyer has accepted your item (at most you’ll wait 48 hours after the tracker shows as delivered)

Tips for selling FAST:

  • Take a GOOD picture
  • Follow people on PoshMark. Poshmark thrives on people sharing items. In order for your items to reach as many people as possible, follow as many other people as you can. Many of them follow you in return, and some will start sharing your items right away.
  • Share your listings frequently. So the more you share you listing, the more others see it, the higher likelihood of others sharing your listing to their followers as well!
  • If you share someone else’s listing, they usually share your listing back. So every now and then when I have time on my hand, I’ll go to pages of users who have HIGH number of followers and will share their listing on my feed in hopes that they share mine to their thousand of followers.
  • PoshMark hosts “parties” everyday based on type of product or brand, so if you items fits the description it helps to share your listing into the party.
  • Respond to buyer’s questions on your listings in a timely manner.

 

Ibotta

Use our referral code to sign up: rokfqlb

This is a cashback app we use when grocery shopping! You can find all types of grocery stores on this app ranging from Wegmens, Target, Walmart, Giant, etc. The items that have cashback deals available change so we check the app for eligible items prior to our trip to the store or while we are there. Read the EASY steps on using the app below:

  1. Down app and register an account with your email address
  2. Browse through the stores and items available for cashback
  3. Add the items you want to your “cart”/offer list
  4. Go grocery shopping and make sure to KEEP your receipt
  5. Open app and go to redeem offers
  6. Take a picture of the full receipt
  7. Select the items from your offer list that you want to redeem
  8. Some items may require you to scan the barcode (I usually do this while putting away items in my home)
  9. Once you are done redeeming offers, click Collect Purchases
  10. You will receive your earnings within 24 hours in your account

 

CheckOut51

This app is very similar to Ibotta. Great for getting cash back grocery stores!

 

GetUpside

Use our code 9XXUY, to earn an additional 20 cents per gallon off your first use!

If you want to save money on gas (and groceries/restaurants) this is a great app! When you open the app, it gives you a list/map of all the places you can save in your area. Once you have started earning money back, you can receive the money via check or PayPal. So far, we have earned over $50 back (a couple tanks of gas). You can save up to 35% when using this cash back app.

These are the steps you will need to take:

  1. Register for GetUpside
  2. Enter my promo code to get an additional savings on your first purchase
  3. Choose either Gas, Groceries, or Restaurants
  4. Choose from the list or map which place where you want to save money
  5. Press Claim (you will have 3 hours to submit receipt)
  6. Use your credit card/Debt card (no cash) to make the purchase
  7. Scan the receipt and submit it for cash back
  8. You will receive an email (typically within 24 hours) to let you know how much you have earned

To receive the money through PayPal, with no fee, you have to earn at least $15. To receive the money via a check, with no fee, you must earn at least $50.

 

ShopKick

This app will help you to earn gift cards by doing any of the following: either by simply “checking in” when entering a store, scanning the barcode of items (no purchase necessary) on their list, and/or by in-store or online purchases. By completing any of these different tasks, you will earn points (called kicks in the app), which then convert into gift cards. They include: Amazon, Sephora, Target, and more! Sometimes when we are in Target we treat this app like a scavenger hunt and find the items listed to scan the bar code.

It only takes 1250 kicks to get your first reward. By using my invite code KIND118031, you can earn a free 250 points. *Make sure you use the app within 7 days of entering the invite code to receive the free 250 points! *

More details on ways to earn “kicks”

  1. Walk into stores: You earn kicks just by walking in the main entrance of select stores
  2. Scan Bar Codes: You earn kicks by walking around the store and scanning select items in the app (barcode scanner is in the app)
  3. Make purchase with linked credit cards: Earn kicks every time you shop at the select stores using your credit card linked to the app (can be any of your credit cards)
  4. Submit Receipts: Earn kicks when submitting receipts of select items purchased or every dollar spent at participating stores, you earn kicks
  5. Visiting online stores: Earn kicks just by simply vising select online stores
  6. Viewing online product: Earn kicks by viewing different deals and items
  7. Online Purchases: Earn kicks by making purchases online- for every dollar spent at participating stores, you earn kicks
  8. Watch Videos: Earn kicks when you want in-app videos about different products

You can set the app up for it to notify you (through location settings) when you are at a participating store.

 

 

How to pay off Student Loans ASAP

A post written by Mike:

I want to start off by saying that the tips I mention in this blog post worked for my lifestyle and my specific loans. I hope you find my tips helpful and that they offer motivation to get those student loans paid off, without giving up your lifestyle.

I am not a planner, I am a procrastinator. This makes my wife and I complete opposites. She plans and is the type of person that makes lists for her lists. She played a huge role in helping me get organized and motivated.

Making payments on your student loans:

  1. You know those six months after graduation where you don’t have to make student loan payments (grace period)? MAKE PAYMENTS, I did not and I REGRET it. Three of my six student loans were actually earning interest during that time, while the others were not. Had I been making payments on the three that were earning interest, I probably would have paid less in total interest. So, check the terms of you student loan(s) for the grace period to see how to get the best value for your buck.

 

  1. Pay more then the monthly minimum payment requirement. After the six-month grace period, I was paying the monthly minimum requirement. I would look at the grand total (including interest) and feel helpless, hopeless, and dirt poor. It wasn’t until my wife said, “If you feel broke because of your student loan payments then why are you only paying the minimum? You realize your minimum payments cover the interest you earned and barely scrape your actual debt? You’re basically giving away money.” That truly stuck with me. My loans were on a 20 year-payment plan, but I paid it off in two years. Can you imagine how much of that would have been interest alone if I took the full 20 years to pay it off? I understand it can be difficult (and nearly impossible) to make one large student loan payment a month so my tip for this is to make MULTIPLE payments a month. I typically made 2-3 payments a month. The amounts I paid would often vary, I just had to be committed to putting every extra penny to the loans.

 

  1. Focus on the loans that have higher interest. For me, my larger loans also had the highest interest (go figure), it doesn’t always work out that way, so definitely compare your loans to decide which ones you want to focus on the most. For example, I would make the monthly-required payment (which was a total of the minimum required payment of each loan). And if I had an extra $200, I would apply that extra money directly to the loan with the highest interest.

 

Staying motivated and organized:

  1. Make a budget. My wife and I made note of all of our reoccurring expenses/bills such as rent, car insurance, phone bill, vet bill, etc. We then calculated how much we would spend on groceries, date night, social events, and eating out.

 

  1. I use the app, MINT, to make sure we stuck to our budget. My wife and I can go to either extreme… we either are very disciplined and strict with our budget or we go through the “treat yo self” phase. With Mint, you can hook up your bank accounts, credit cards, student loans, and any other reoccurring fixed expense. You can also add in your financial goals, such as saving up for a vacation. With all of that information, Mint will assess where your money is going by putting it into categories! It really helped us see when we were spending too much on entertainment (movies, shows, etc) or at restaurants.

 

  1. We are huge on visuals! As a teacher, I always have chart paper lying around. So, we hung one up on a wall that we always pass. At the top of the chart we labeled it with columns for date, savings account, student loan lump sum, and made a column for each credit card we had. Every time we made any payment, we would update the total debt or savings we had for each category. Having this visual and having to walk by it multiple times a day served as a reminder of what we wanted our goals to be, which was to have “0” listed under our credit cards and student loan columns. We wrote our debt numbers in RED, our payments made and savings deposits were written in GREEN. Having your debt in your face every time you’re about to walk out of the house served as a great reminder to consider where I wanted my money to go and how badly I wanted to get rid of debt! I don’t think we anticipated the impact of having a large chart would have on the speed of paying of my loans. Even now that my loans are paid off, we have kept the chart paper and relabeled our columns. We have some big saving goals coming up!

 

  1. Our biggest motivation. We had a curve ball thrown our way this past January when our dog, Diggy, needed emergency surgery due to a ruptured disk in his neck. Our first priority was Diggy’s health. We put the entire bill on our credit card. For full disclosure, Diggy’s life-saving surgery cost a little over $10K. We were confident that this new debt would sideline us financially for many months. However, we decided to really buckle down and we were able to pay off Diggy’s expensive surgery within three months! We accomplished that by using the extra money we would have normally put towards student loans, towards Diggy’s bill. We put every possible penny towards the surgery bill. I realized that if I truly made paying off my student loan payments a top financial priority, I would be able to pay it off sooner then expected.

 

  1. We lived off of one paycheck. After Diggy’s surgery we decided to “live off of one paycheck.” With this new method, Raquel took over paying bills while dumping remainder money into our savings, vacations, or fun activities. Meanwhile I was able to dump my paycheck into my student loans.

 

  1. Accomplishment satisfaction. Another visual we created that helped was a goal chart completely dedicated to my student loan debt. My new goal was to have my student loan paid off by December 2018. On regular printer paper, Raquel drew X amount of boxes, each box belonging to a month until December. Inside each box was a total number of debt. Every time my debt went down and I hit a “new” goal, I shaded in the box with a highlighter. It might sounds crazy but I felt a lot of satisfaction knowing that I was hitting my goals and also seeing that I was slowly becoming ahead of schedule.

 

Hustle and Get Deals:

“Never depend on a single income. Make investments to create a second source.”

“Work hard, play hard”

 

  1. Raquel and I have a high work ethic. In addition to our “9 to 5” careers/salary jobs, we are ALWAYS on the search to make extra avenues of income. We dog sit, at one point we also delivered for Uber Eats, we sell items we no longer use, and use apps and websites that provide cash back on items we purchase, etc… If you are interested in knowing more about the apps we use to earn rewards, cash back, and some extra money let us know!

 

  1. We put everything on our credit cards (and pay it off right away) to rack up on reward points, which we redeem for restaurant/store gift cards, movie tickets, amusement park tickets, etc.

 

  1. A lot of the experiences we do are found from Groupon! Anything you find on there is already a good deal but you can also apply a discount code for additional savings.

 

  1. We grocery shop in bulk to save money. We have both a Sam’s Club and Costco membership. These memberships help save so much money not only on groceries but other items as well. We were able to get our Sam’s membership off of Groupon.

 

  1. There are so many different ways to save on vacation packages, flights, hotels, excursions and activities, etc. If you are interested in knowing how we travel at a low cost, let us know!

 

There are SO many ways we save and monitor our spending that I am sure we are missing a few tips!

 

This is not to say that we are perfect in our spending. HECK NO! We love to splurge every so often. You know, sometimes when you are at a certain store and their sales are SO good, that spending the extra few (many) dollars just feels so right. Maybe, you land five-dollar bus tickets to New York, or $50 flights, free hotel rooms, gift cards, or just simply need a few days away to stay sane. We absolutely love to travel, eat food, and try new things. As I grew up learning, “there is a time and place for everything”. One thing we have learned is that you need to quickly pay off debt, but stay sane while doing it!

As Raquel will put in another post, there are SO many free, complementary, or alternative ways to stay sane. One thing I love about Raquel is her ability to score amazing deals, discount codes, free items, or amazingly affordable vacations. Just from some of our recent trips and purchases, in 2018 alone, we have saved thousands of dollars.

Before buying something, ask yourself, “Do I need this? Can the money go to the loan/debt or savings instead? Can I find this cheaper on Amazon or get a code on Groupon?” So much more thought goes into our purchases, now.

We have been extremely blessed to have two continual incomes. But NO… we do not make bank. Paying off any debt takes diligence, a plan, motivation, a staying committed.   We did not create a plan or goal in one night. At the beginning, it was pushed by laziness, fear of never buying a house, and the reality that I WAS STUCK in debt. There was a lot of trial and error creating a plan. We found a visual that worked for us and stuck with it. Both of us learn visually, and so having our charts were extremely beneficial.

 

None of this would have been possible if we were not committed. We believed we would succeed and took the necessary steps. Even though we had our “cheat days”, we still pushed through. Sometimes this meant getting back out of bed to chart our small $100 or $50 payments, it was the act of holding ourselves accountable that helped.

For those of you that are in our boat or maybe about to take on a debt, just know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Our way might not work for everyone. However, our core values behind paying off the credit card and loans will hold fast in any situation.

  1. See the debt
  2. Make a realistic goal for when you want the debt free
  3. Create a plan
  4. Make a chart or visual aid
  5. Start your plan
  6. Stay committed to your plan
  7. Do your best to have fun along the way

 

These steps and tips truly helped us get out of debt and grow our savings at the same time. We hope they help you or inspire you as well!

 

26th Birthday Recap

I recently turned 26 years old and I think it has been one of my best birthdays in recent years. Maybe it’s the old lady in me or more of my maturity kicking in. I spent it with the people that mean most to me (my family) and we did some of my favorite things. I felt super surrounded by love.

One of the things I remember most about my childhood is family meals around the dinner table, but those became more rare as I got older. So when they do happen, I love to soak in every moment of it.

I had the best birthday breakfast set up, everything homemade. Mickey shaped pancakes, scrambled eggs with veggies, sausages, toast, and pastries.

I spent the rest of the day hanging out with my husband, niece, nephew, mom, dad, and my sweet dog.

For lunch, my dad picked up my favorite carry out Chinese food, Happy Uncle. We got our usual, which is: chicken fried rice, chicken lo mien, orange chicken, and general-tso chicken. So yummy!

Shortly after lunch, we had birthday cake! Two to be exact! A couple of birthday’s ago my husband and mom didn’t communicate correctly and they each thought the other one was buying me a birthday cake, so neither got me one. This year, miscommunication happened again, but hey I’m not complaining about getting two cakes! They were both so good.

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I got some awesome gifts from my family too. They ranged from a new camera lens, a Cricut machine, new clothes, accessories, to my favorite Arizona iced tea!

The way I celebrate my birthday has changed in the last few years but I wouldn’t have it any other way. ❤

Second Year Anniversary

The second year of marriage was sweet bliss. I’ve heard a lot of people say that the first year is the best because couples are still in the “newlywed honeymoon” phase, but in my opinion, the second year has been the best. By the second year, you’ve gone through an adjustment period of living together and have a better idea on how to work together, such as schedules, finances, chores, goals, etc.

We went into our second year of marriage outlining some of our joint goals for the year. These goals included saving up “x” amount of money, going on more dates, and working on communication, among some other things. Growth, individually and together, is so important in a relationship and I truly believe it’s important to keep setting goals (individually and as a couple).

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On June 10th, we checked into the same hotel where we stayed the weekend of our wedding. After dropping our belongings off in our room, we walked around the property. We found the cutest gazebo out by the pool area. We had planned on ordering carry-out, but decided to eat at the hotel’s restaurant, Copper Mill. No regrets here! Mike was super proud of me for the way I took charge and ordered the food. If you’ve ever gone out to eat with me, you know that for some reason I get a little anxious when ordering. Then, I end up either ordering whatever the last person got or something totally random that I probably wasn’t even thinking of getting. I ordered the following for us, which we highly recommend:

-Tater-tots with sauce

-Angus Burgers with fries

-Big Chocolate Chip cookies

-A flight of beers (Mike ordered this one, I just know they were non-IPA’s)

The service was great! We got checked on a several times, water was refilled several times, a bug actually flew into one of Mike’s beer flight cups and our server ended up bringing back a full size glass to replace it, so Mike was happy.

After stuffing our faces with so much food, we spent the rest of the evening watching Hawaii 5-O (one of the shows we like to binge watch together). We also did a cold face mask by OleHenriksen. You know what they say, “couples who do face mask together stay together, right?! “ Haha. It was my first time using this face mask and I loved it! It made my face feel nice and cool while it was on me, which felt amazing, considering how hot the weekend had been. When Mike tried it, he mentioned that the facemask felt minty and left his face feeling fresh (agreed).

On June 11th, our anniversary, we slept in and then made our way back to the hotel restaurant, Copper Mill, to get breakfast from the buffet. Eggs, waffles, chicken sausage, and a little bacon…. It was all good! I think sometimes hotel restaurants don’t have the best reviews, but Copper Mill is definitely top notch.

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Mike is so thoughtful! He got this “Two Years Married” cotton print that has how much time we have been married detailed. I can’t wait to frame it 😊 He also got me a shirt that has the “Mawaige” quote from the Princess Bride. Mike always quotes and his impression makes me laugh so hard!

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After checking out, we went to drop stuff off at our house and planned a trip to Linganore Winery for wine tasting and small picnic. We LOVE Linganore Winery! We haven’t done a tasting in a while, so we were delighted to know that there were a bunch of new wines added. We bought two bottles, one to drink there and another to take home. We sat outside, ate our sandwiches and finished each other’s sentences (see what I did there? haha), and goofed around with my polaroid camera.

We finished our evening celebrating our cotton year WITH cotton candy ❤

 

Redskins Draft Fest and 5K

I’ve never been a football fan. I own a Cowboys Jersey, but only because I wanted a football jersey when I was in high school and I liked their team colors. On April 28th, Mike and I met up with friends and coworkers for a tailgate at the Redskin’s Stadium. The Redskin’s Draft Fest is an event where fans can come to the stadium for free. Essentially it’s a huge event to celebrate the new draft picks. A lot of people tailgate, but there is also food and beverages for sale inside the stadium. The field has a lot of activities set up for people to do. These include catching a football thrown from one of the practice machines, see if you can make a field goal, a moon bounce, and performances by the cheerleaders. There were also current players, fresh draft picks, and veteran players for meet and greets. There was a huge line to be able to enter the team’s pressroom and the locker room. We waited in line but I must say, it was a bit disappointing. Perhaps it’s because we entered closer to the end of the event but the locker room was bare and not set up, other than the lockers of three players. It was neat to see the Super Bowl trophies they won. After all, I’ll never be that close to a Super Bowl trophy again!

Mike also participated in the 5K run that was held in the stadium this morning. In a previous blog post I mentioned Mike did three 5K’s in April but I forgot about this one! He is a 5K running machine! It was a little bit of a pricy entrance fee since he signed up the week of, but worth it for the experience. Although, he said it was one of the toughest 5K’s he has ran due to all of the hills in the course! Glad I was only there to take pictures!

Check out the vlog we posted from the event!

 

Three 5K’s in a row

So in April, Mike signed up for three 5K’s on back to back Saturdays! I like to say I got Mike into running when I suggested he start to run to burn off steam. After all, like Elle Woods said, “exercise gives you endorphins”, right! Mike started signing up for 5K’s last year by doing the RAINN 5K and the Roberto Clemente Middle School 5K. This year, he signed for those again.

The first 5K of the month was on Saturday, April 7th for the Clarksburg 5K. I signed up spontaneously when he went to pick up his race packet the night before. Worst decision ever. I had not trained at all and the weather was absolutely horrible. I believe it was in the 20 degrees and I had not dressed appropriately because I assumed I would get warm from running. Nope, it didn’t happen because I spent more of my time speed walking due to not being able to breathe through the running in freezing temperatures. Mike was so sweet though. He stayed with me throughout the entire course. I felt so bad because I was obviously holding him back, so not only is his time (which he usually cares about) going to be “late,” but it also meant I was keeping him in the cold weather longer. Luckily, I somehow survived and crossed the finish like. Looking back, I can’t decide which was worse… the freezing temperature or having completed the course and no medals being given. The Start/Finish area had a lot of vendors and snacks to give out, which was nice!

The second 5K of the month was on April 14th. Mike did the Roberto Clemente Middle School 5K. We randomly found it last year and all the money went to the school. It’s nice to know that the funds were fully helping a school. I grabbed myself a good book and waited for Mike at the finish line to make sure I got the picture shot of him crossing the finish line, since I completely missed it last year!

The third 5K of the month was on Saturday, the 21st, to benefit RAINN. Mike signed up for this one last year as well (you can read about it here). This year, the race was virtual and I signed up to run it as well. We got out packet a couple of days before race day in the mail. It included a shirt and race bib. Even though we had all day to complete our 5K, we started our run super early morning because we had a wedding later that day.

I think we are likely to do these all again next year and hopefully the races I sign up for will give out medals, so I can finally earn one from a 5K. For some reason, whenever Mike signs up by himself, they always give out medals but when I sign up they aren’t provided. They aren’t important but I kind of just want one.

 

If I stay by Gayle Forman

Summary: 
Mia is a seventeen year old girl living in Oregon with her mother, father and little brother. She is very talented cello player. Mia’s boyfriend, Adam, also shares a strong passion in music. He is in a band that is gaining popularity and has started touring. Ultimately, with Adam’s band going on tour and Mia possibly attending Julliard for college, there relationship slowly starts to fizzle out due to the tension of knowing their paths will be going in different directions and different parts of the country. Mia has a lot of choices to make regarding her relationship with Adam and where to attend college. Should she follow her musical dreams or follow her heart? The biggest choice she has to make comes following the aftermath of a catastrophic car accident involving her family. Mia is the only member of her family to survive and she finds herself in a coma. While suspended between life and death Mia faces a choice that will decide her future.

Opinion:
I’ve seen the movie a couple of times and had no idea it came from a book so I was pretty excited to read it. There are specific scenes of the movie that make me shed a tear no matter how many times I’ve watched it. The book is no different when it comes to those same moments pulling at my heart strings. My heart always aches at the thought of Mia’s situation. The storyline is immensely devasting but I love it! It really makes you think about how every choice in life changes things. I won’t spoil the ending incase you haven’t seen the movie or read the book yet. But I have always wondered what the aftermath of Mia’s decision is. How it changes things and affects everyone else. I found out that there is a sequel to this book titled “Where she went” so I’ll be on the hunt for it!