After my third package arrived from Amazon Prime this week, I told my husband how convenient the service is, and how, while I could live without it, I would rather not.
Everyone has their few services they can't live without. It might be a weekly manicure, a weekly massage or a monthly highlight. For me, the services I can't live without are things that save me time and/or money. So here are my favorite services I think you should all check out:
1. Amazon Prime. Yes, I know it has gotten expensive at $99 per year, but that's most likely less than you'll pay for a night out on the town (dinner, babysitter, etc.). There are several times a year where Amazon slashes this price by $20 to $30, so keep your eye on the prize and you'll often score a deal on the yearly membership cost. Now, why can't I live without it? Because it cuts out most of my weekly trips to Target, and it ends up saving me money. If I go to Target to get diapers, I often end up picking up other items that seem like a good deal but that I wouldn't have bought otherwise necessarily (hello $1 aisle!). I check Amazon's prices against Target or Walmart online to make sure it is the best deal. If it is, I simply click "Buy," and it's on my doorstep within 48 hours. Amazing. Additionally, my kids love PBS shows, and all of those shows (and more) are available for free to watch. You can even download shows for a 48-hour viewing window. Perfect for a car or airplane ride. Not sold yet? You can also stream music, backup photos and get free books each month. Plus, you can also save 5 to 20 percent on things like diapers, wipes, toilet paper, baby food and more by using their "Subscribe and Save" service. This has proved to be even cheaper than Costco in the past.
2. Ebates. Ebates is awesome and, best of all, FREE! It takes some discipline, but all you have to do is visit ebates.com before you do any online shopping. They give you all available promo codes for each store, but they also provide you with cash back - in the form of a check, PayPal or gift card - quarterly for most purchases. Some stores do not participate and some do only 1 to 2 percent, but several major retailers give anywhere from 5 to 15 percent cash back for just clicking through to their site from ebates. The percentage you get back varies daily per store, but this service has given me hundreds of dollars in cash back over the several years I've been using it - as I do a majority of my shopping online. They usually offer a sign-up bonus of $10 to $15 also, so make sure to look for that when you register!
3. Omaha Public Library. Oh my goodness, the service that has single-handedly saved me the most money over the last year is the library. I have no idea why it took me so long to get on board with the library, but once I did, I was hooked. Their website is so easy and makes it awesome to get on a waiting list for anything from cookbooks to parenting books to novels. The only problem I see with the library is that my kids like to read the same books 100 times in a row, so we now add about five books a month to their Christmas and birthday lists. So now all the money I'm saving is going straight to purchasing kids books. You can never read too much, though, so you win some and you lose some.
4. A Good Credit Card. This service is only for people who carry a zero balance on their credit cards. If you are able to pay off your card in full each month, then make sure you have a good reward/cash back credit card. I'm not here to promote one over the other, but having a card that provides you with rewards can be invaluable. My husband just got a deal on a credit card that provided us with two round-trip tickets to Europe. The credit card has a small annual fee, but it can be canceled if that becomes an issue later. In the meantime, we saved a ton on our family trip for this summer. If you aren't into traveling, there are some excellent cashback cards that can put a lot of money back into your account just for making your regular purchases. So if you pay off your card monthly and you're sitting there with a basic bank credit card, please start researching today how you can make your money work best for you.
So there you have it - my services I can't live without. Next on my list to try - and I'm hoping it is life changing - is Sling TV.
Sound off below - what services could you not live without?
Jaime Wyant is a 32-year-old Omaha native, wife to Bret and mother to Marin and Liam. She writes weekly for Momaha.com. Read more from Jaime here.
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