Published On: Wed, Oct 11th, 2017
Money | By nnw

Chi Ching! National Savings Day is Oct. 12 but learn ways to save all year

EmbedShare Deal expert Matt Granite hunts for the best bargains offered on Amazon Prime Day so you don't have to. National Savings Day is Oct. 12, but being a smarter shopper is something you should practice everyday.(Photo: GETTY IMAGES/ANDREY POPOV)Just like we don’t need a national “holiday” to remind us to drink coffee, we shouldn’t need one to remember to save money.Oct. 12 is the first-ever National Savings Day but we should be taking saving seriously every day.Capital One founded the unofficial holiday “to empower people to feel more confident about their relationship with money by educating them on how saving money can be a simple, straightforward experience,” company officials said in a prepared statement.To celebrate its first annual day of savings, the bank is running a contest Oct. 9 through Nov. 12, according to the official contest rules.For a chance to win weekly cash prizes of $500 or one of five $10,000 grand prizes, share a photo of a treasured keepsake you’ve saved and write why it’s special. You can enter on the Capital One website or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.To enter on social media, follow Capital One and use hashtags #ShareMySave and #Contest.Aside from getting lucky and winning a contest or lottery jackpot, with rising expenses, it’s becoming harder to grow emergency, rainy day funds and savings for the future. But it’s not impossible.With a little determination, you can balance your budget and build up savings.Here are the top ways I save money year-round. Pick and choose which strategies work best for you and start saving.More: Stop missing out on cashback earnings on groceries and moreWant free money? Sign up for class-action lawsuit settlementsGet relief on Tax Day with freebies and dealsThe easiest way I save is by earning cash back whether I’m shopping online or in-store. Online, my first stop is to a cashback website such as Ebates.com or TopCashback.com. Ebates offers in-store cash back at select retailers and has a smartphone app. To earn cash back online or on the app, head to Ebates first and then click on the store name to earn a percentage back on your purchase. Last year during the week of Thanksgiving, I earned $80 back on my holiday purchases from Ebates. You’ll also get a bonus for signing up and Ebates sends users cash back via check or PayPal every three months. To earn cash back when shopping in-store, you need to add a Visa or American Express card to your Ebates account and then select cashback offers to link to your card. My favorite app Ibotta, which started as an app to earn cashback on groceries, has been adding more ways to earn money at online retailers and even Uber. SavingStar and Checkout 51 are my other top grocery rebate apps.Being a coupon clipper isn’t for everyone, and honestly, it can be a lot of work. But the savings add up when using coupons from Sunday newspapers as well as printable, mobile and digital coupons. Save coupons to use for good sales and stock up. However, don’t fall into the trap of buying items you’ll never use just because the price is right unless you plan on donating them.It’s becoming easier and more popular to ditch cable and satellite providers or at least switch to a less expensive programming package. I’m a big fan of binge watching shows on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu using my iPad or Apple TV. I also search for shows on sites such as DailyMotion.com and YouTube.com. Amazon Prime members via Amazon Prime Video also can watch select Thursday Night Football games for free. If you’re cutting the cord to stream, you’ll need a Smart TV or device such as a Roku, Apple TV or Google Chromecast. Other options include using an antenna or an a la carte service like Sling TV. A strong Internet connection is key because streaming eats up a lot of data, so plan accordingly. Hold off on buying the newest bestseller and see if it’s available at your local library. More libraries nationwide, including Treasure Coast public libraries, offer free e-books, audiobooks and you can even flip through magazines on your tablet. A growing number of libraries also offer free music and streaming videos.Just about every major retailer and restaurant has a reward program. Some smaller, local businesses also have loyalty programs. Sign up for these programs to earn money off purchases, get birthday freebies and sign-up bonuses. Be prepared to get lots of emails from businesses and consider creating an account separate from your regular inbox. Some of my favorite store programs include Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, Walmart, Sears and Kmart’s Shop Your Way Rewards program and Plenti, the nation’s first coalition loyalty program developed by American Express, which can be used at Winn-Dixie, AT&T, ExxonMobil, Macy’s and Hulu. To save on coffee, I regularly use Starbucks Rewards, Dunkin’ Donuts’ DD Perks and Wawa Rewards. Free up room on your smartphone and find the programs that fit your tastes and needs.EmbedShare Submitting claims for class action lawsuits can pay off. KELLY TYKO/TCPALM WochitSigning up and submitting claims for class action lawsuits that you are eligible for can add hundreds to thousands of dollars to your savings. It’s easy but can take several months to years to get a check. Learn tips on how to cash in with class action lawsuits here. With the Shopkick smartphone app, earn points or “kicks,” just for walking into stores, which you can redeem for free gift cards. Scan select items in the app for more kicks to earn gift cards faster and for buying select items, earn additional points by submitting a receipt. With a recent Shopkick update, you also can earn cashback at select online retailers. To save on hundreds of items each day at Target, I use Target Cartwheel, now available on the Target smartphone app. When shopping at Walmart, use Savings Catcher available on the Walmart smartphone app and Walmart.com. Savings Catcher compares prices of eligible items to the advertised prices in local competitors’ weekly ads and if it finds a price lower than what you paid for the same exact item, you’ll get back the difference on a store e-gift card. Savings Catcher also stores a digital copy of your receipt, which can make it easier to return an item if you misplace your original receipt.Kelly Tyko is a columnist for Treasure Coast Newspapers and TCPalm.com, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. This column reflects her opinion. Read her Bargainista tips at TCPalm.com/Bargainista and follow her on Twitter @TCPalmKelly. Sign up for her new weekly newsletter at www.tcpalm.com/featured-newsletter/bargainistabest.