A Penny Saved: Money Saving Apps to Fund Your Passions

A few years ago I read this book on how to save money on Disney World, hoping to find ways to fund yearly trips. I won’t recommend the book because a lot of it is out of date, too complicated to do, and potentially tax fraud. That said, I finished the book because I found the author easy and entertaining to read, perfect for passing the time on the treadmill. I did get a few gems out of it that I want to share with you that can help you earn money to spend on fun things.

Fetch Rewards

I like this app because you don’t have to do anything more than scan the receipts from the shopping you’re already doing. You earn points for scanning them (usually 25) and then additional points for any items you buy that are on their list of sponsored products. You can also have the app search your email for eReceipts from purchases you make on the internet like Amazon or Target. The app is not imperfect and you have to remember to do it every week as receipts older than 7 days are ineligible, but it’s literally free money. So it’s not actual money, you redeem points for gift cards and every 1,000 points is equal to $1 in an Amazon gift card which is basically like cash. Use that gift card card to buy stuff you already needed to buy and put the cash you would have spent in your fun jar. Get a free 2,000 points using my referral code: XEKJN.


Formally known as eBates, this is another app that pays you, and in actual cash, for purchases you were already making. Before making purchases on many websites and apps, you simply open the Ratuken app and search for the store or company you wish to purchase goods from and if they’re participating you’ll get a percentage back in cash. Not every website or store participates and percentages vary, but it's a simple step to pocket a little cash. Two of my favorite online stores, wine.com and Sephora, almost always participate. TopCashBack is a similar app that often has a higher percentage but takes significantly longer to pay out. I don’t recommend it. Here’s my referral link for a free $40.


Raise is a little more effort than the previous two apps. Raise is a site where you can buy discounted gift cards. There are some pros and cons to this app. First, the percentage off can vary significantly. Checking multiple sites to see who has the highest discount on gift cards can be time consuming. Target has most gift cards they sell at 5% off with a Red Card (I’ll get to that next) and Raise doesn’t always meet that. However, they offer a much larger range of companies gift cards. Mistakes I have made include buying too many small dollar gift cards only to find out a company only takes one gift card per transaction. The supply also ebbs and flows. The source of the gift cards is individuals who are willing to sell them at discounts so sometimes the dollar amounts are strange. Occasionally they run promos offering additional percentages off and you can sometimes get great deals. Raise guarantees your purchases or refunds your money. Here’s my referral link for a $5 credit.

Big Store Discounts

I mentioned earlier that with a Target Red Card the majority of their gift cards are 5% off just like all other purchases. We were supposed to go to Disney right after the pandemic started and when we pushed it out to August 2020, lol, I converted all my Disney funds to 5% off gift cards which was enough to cover the deluxe meal of my choice. You can definitely get Disney gift cards for less through other sites but I already shop at Target and I am lazy. I kind of wish I didn’t have all that money still tied up with Disney over a year later when I still can’t go but that was my bad foresight and not Targets. BJs and Costco also offer discounts on various gift cards. I bought gift cards to Southwest from both BJs and Raise depending on who had the better deal at the time. I also used those to book flights to Orlando that now have a hard deadline of October 2021. While a Southwest gift card has no expiration date (the majority of gift cards in America can’t legally have an expiration date) once you use the gift card on Southwest to book a flight those funds have a year deadline. If you have to reschedule a flight using those funds try not to do it during a multi-year pandemic.

Hopefully this was helpful and gave you some ideas on how to save a few bucks here and there to spend on your passions and fun stuff!

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