Side Hustle Saturday: Make Money off Your Receipts with Ibotta

Last Saturday I wrote about checking your receipts for surveys and coupons, and this is yet another thing you can do with those receipts- scan them for cash back.

The app I use most often for this is Ibotta. You can even dip your toe in the extreme couponing world by planning ahead and combining your rebates with coupons and sales to get free or nearly free items, but that takes a lot of time and is sometimes just more trouble than its worth (for me at least.) Ibotta is currently offering a $10 welcome bonus, so that helps your first check add up faster! You can cash out when your total reaches $20.

Once you sign up and download the app, you can filter offers by store and type. They change every week so you have to scan your receipt within the offer time limit. You can almost always find something on there, and there’s usually a few random “any brand” type products. For example, last week it was pretzels, protein powder and cake mix.

The one problem I have is remembering to scan barcodes. Sometimes you have to scan the barcode so if you wait to scan the receipt, you may have already thrown away your evidence!

There’s actually a lot more to the program and more ways to save, but I just wanted to do a quick easy overview. I’m not really using the app to its full potential, but have gotten nearly $100 back just by haphazardly remembering to do it. So it’s worth at least investing a few minutes each grocery trip, for a few dollars back every time. It eventually adds up!

ibotta

 

Be My Valentine! Oh wait, I saw Pinterest, I can do better.

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and with a toddler in preschool, I get to revisit that fine tradition of exchanging little valentine cards. Watch as I transform from mocking mother to Pinterest panic and hand make all his cards the night before the party. I don’t know what happened. WHO AM I??

When I found out my son’s class was exchanging cards I marched myself right to the drugstore and got a box of Lightning McQueen cards with stickers. OK, first thing I really did was look for them on Amazon and saw that they were $13 and figured that can’t be right. So then I took myself to the store and found out they were really only $2.50. Talk about a convenience charge.

I thought these were pretty fancy since they came with stickers. Then I got online and saw other people posting their last minute homemade valentine cards. I laughed and smugly thought “Ha! Just drive your butt to the drugstore like I did.”

img_9463So I got home, dumped out the cards and after separating the cards, separating the stickers, sliding each sticker into its tiny sticker slot, writing the “To and From” and then folding each card over, then sealing them with a little heart sticker, I realized I could’ve made my own damn cards if I was putting that much work into it. And they’d be way better than these dinky little things I’m sending my kid to school with.

Dammit. Those Pinterest moms are onto something.

I figured I’m just lucky he’s too young to be embarrassed and probably won’t remember any of this. So I packed up his sad little cards and put them in his school bag. I made plans to be all on it next year with fancy cards, and made myself a Pinterest board: Fun Handmade Valentine Cards for Kids

And then it started bugging me. I started thinking, you can do better. You have the resources. Why not just whip up some cards? There’s only seven kids in the whole class anyway! So I ended up using the template on this blog for Race Car Valentine’s Day Cards because I happen to have a ton of spare cars (I got this box of 100 off Amazon) and cardstock. I didn’t have the fancy washi tape (I don’t even know WTF washi tape is) but I did have some Scotch tape and that worked just fine. I even added every kid’s name to the cards. I’m pretty darn happy with myself:

Handmade valentine cards with cars

Now my son is ready for his Valentine party with really cool cards and I feel like some kind of crafty Super Mom, lol.

P.S. – I also now know what washi tape is, and I feel like I need to get some. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but seems like I may run across it on Pinterest again.

 

Boys Love Dirt

Toddler playing in dirtYesterday I sat watching my son gleefully crash his toy cars into piles of dirt. I got a big wide smile on my face seeing how happy he was digging, building little mountains and destroying them.

He squealed in delight, “Mommy watch!”

Then, as I looked up at him, he threw a giant handful of dirt right in my happy smiling face. The kind of smile that shows teeth. Teeth that were now all crunchy with dirty sand.

*sigh* Boys.

It went all in my hair, on my pants, down my shirt. It was a pretty good throw. Before I morphed into Angry Mommy, I hopped up, shook off the dirt and told him if he’s going to throw stuff at me, then I don’t want to play with him anymore.

I think he took this as a challenge to throw dirt in any other general direction, including wiping it all over himself.

*sigh* again. Boys.

Oh I’m sure there are some dirt loving little girls out there. I know I was one of them. But I’m not sure if I was this committed. And I surely never threw dirt in my mother’s face. But then again, I do recall a lot of time spent playing in the dirt/sand/mud. So maybe this needs to be changed to kids. Kids Love Dirt. Boys, girls, and sometimes even mommies, love dirt. Except in the face.

Nobody loves dirt in the face.

My Top 5 Daily #MomFail Moments

momfail1Every day starts off with grand intentions. He’s going to eat all his breakfast! Then we brush teeth! Serious potty training starts now! Then it takes about two minutes into the morning for it to all go to hell and I’m giving the kid M&Ms for breakfast just so I can sit for a minute and have a cup of coffee without being harassed. So here’s my list of my top five “Mom Fails” that happen on an almost daily basis:

1) Tooth Brushing He hates it so much that I usually have to straddle him, pin his arms down and then brush all the teeth I can get to as quickly as possible. We just had his first dentist visit recently and coincidentally, they actually recommended the pinning them down method! I guess that’s a Mom win after all.

2) His Hair – The kid needs a haircut. I sent him to pre-school this morning looking like a toddler Einstein, and not in good way. I even tried applying a hair smoothing product and it refused to do anything but stick straight up.

3) The Bribery – I know I’m setting myself up for failure here, but I usually get him a toy at the grocery store or candy at the checkout line. I can almost enjoy our grocery store outings this way. But he expects it now. In fact, he asks to go to the grocery store all the time because he thinks it’s a magical place of new cars and chocolate.

4) The Food – He would exclusively eat M&M’s and fruit gummies if given the opportunity, so I’ll do anything to get him to eat solid food. Hotdogs for breakfast? Sure. A fried egg and peanut butter from the jar for dinner? Yep that’s happened. These are obviously not the best choices, but all my efforts at good wholesome meals end up on the floor so I figure I’ll just at least feed him some something he will eat.

5) My Restaurant TacticsTaking a toddler out to dinner is a unique form of torture. In an effort to not just stuff my face while trying to keep him from escaping, I will let him do whatever keeps him quiet within reason. Last night he entertained himself by sticking his straw in my margarita, then licking it. Don’t get judgy, it was mostly just lime flavored ice. He also likes to lick all the tortilla chips and then put them back. That’s why he gets his own bowl of chips now.

So are of these really fails? No, I’m pretty sure they’re necessary survival tactics for parenting. (Though we could use some improvement on the dental hygiene angle.) I think a lot of parents will look at this list and be like, been there, done that. So what’s your #MomFail #MakingItWork moments?

We Should’ve Kept the Petri Dish

You go through a lot of stuff when you do IVF. Stuff you don’t normally run into when making a baby. Drugs, needles, scans and lots of probing. Oh wait…I guess there’s always a little probing involved. (ha!) But one of the more odd moments I recall was right after the egg transfer, when the embryologist asked if we’d like to keep the petri dish.

I recall being a little confused, thinking “people actually do that?” My husband and I pondered it a few seconds before both saying “No thanks.” Now, as my son is nearing three, I can’t help but to think about one day him asking me where babies come from and how cool would it be to whip out that petri dish and be like “Well son, you were created right here in this little dish!” For some reason I think this is really funny. It also might scar him for life. But mostly, it makes me chuckle.

My son's first baby photo, as a 3 day old blastocyst
My son’s first baby photo, as a three day old blastocyst

I did save everything else though. I have all his photos from egg to fetus. I even have the positive pregnancy test sticks where I tested every day and watched the line get darker. If you aren’t familiar with infertility stuff, IVF people are obsessed with pregnancy testing sticks. So yes, I’m saving something I peed on, and I really should get rid of those but I just can’t yet.

So if you happen to be going through IVF, don’t be afraid to save everything. Because one day you may look back and think…we should’ve saved the petri dish.