Saving money when you're spending

Yes, anybody with an ounce of self-control can save money...just don't spend it!

Even with my best discipline, I find it difficult to keep my savings account full and happy. Luckily, there are some ways to save a dollar when you have some expenses.

1. Get a credit card that gives back

If you have terrible credit, please skip this step and don't get yourself further in debt. As for me, I needed a way to continue to build credit and I also wanted to get a discount on my second love: traveling.

I signed up for a Capital One Venture card. This card accumulates double points for ever dollar spent. There are no foreign transcation fees and it helps rack up the travel miles. I was able to spend the recommended $3,000 in the first 3 months in order to get 40,000 bonus miles. My biggest piece of advice for using a credit card: don't use it unless the money is there in your checking account. When I have accumulated a bill for the month, I immedately pay it off. This credit card is a vehicle through which I can get extra money for traveling, not a security blanket. Never use credit cards recklessly.

2. Sign up for

I am amazed with this website. It (like my credit card) is a vehicle through which I can purchase something and then get cash back. It is compatible with almost every retail website and easy to use, especially if you download the toolbar button. Ebates will prompt you to activate the coupons while you're shopping, then when you check out, it either finds coupons for you, or gives you a percentage of cash back. I've had a lot of success, especially when purchasing flight tickets, art supplies, and clothes. Try it! You're not losing anything by using it.

3. Shop online

This is beneficial because you'll find discounts and be able to use Ebates that otherwise, you can't use in a physical store. Of course the only downside is you're not able to see and handle the product before purchasing it. Maybe go into the store, see the item, and then go home and search for it online? It makes for disgruntled store clerks but gives you some discounts.

4. Search for coupons and promotions

When I'm checking out online, I pull up a search bar and type in "Coupons for [Insert store name]." Usually I'm able to find a 10%-25% coupon that will bring my total down a few dollars. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a coupon as high as 40%!

I'll admit, I'm still not the wisest when it comes to money. But as I go, I'm enjoying finding ways to save my family some money here and there.

Marni Manning - Artist

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