Everything from housing to food to gas: the cost of living has increased significantly over the past year. It’s a trend money-saving expert Krystal Sharp has noticed.
“The price of the apartment I lived in just like seven months ago was like $250 more a month and I was like, what?” she told NBC 6 Responds.
Krystal, who is known to her tens of thousands of social media followers as "Krys the Maximizer," spends her days showing people how to find savings. She says she’s not only seeing higher prices for some items, but also lower values for some coupons and fewer sales on certain essentials like paper towels and toilet paper.
“At least six to eight times a year, we’d get the toilet paper coupons and we’d stock up,” she said. “In 18 months, I’ve probably seen a coupon like three times.”
Responding to every consumer complaint
But she’s still finding plenty of savings by using different rebate apps.
“On average I’m saving/making anywhere from $300 to $500 per month with my apps just depending on what I’m buying and how I’m buying,” Krystal said.
There are several money-saving apps available. Most require you to sign up and either download an app or use a web browser extension.
With Ibotta you can earn cash back on everything from groceries to clothing purchases at hundreds of retailers. Right now, it’s offering rebates to help cover your Thanksgiving meal if you sign up. Click here to learn more.
Rakuten also offers cash back for certain purchases. You can get the money in a check or through a PayPal account.
Fetch Rewards lets you earn points you can then redeem for gift cards.
The Honey web browser extension searches for coupons and codes on select sites and then automatically applies them to your cart.
“What I really like about these strategies is that you can often layer them up on top of each other,” said Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Bankrate.com.
Rossman said you might also find extra savings if your credit card offers cash back rewards, but you should consider whether you tend to carry a balance on your card before you use it.
“If you’re paying 16% interest, which is the national average, then you’re better off using cash or debit,” Rossman said. “But if you’re in the half of Americans who pay their credit card bills in full, then credit cards really work for you.”
For Krystal, sticking to a budget and a plan is now more important than ever.
“You make a list of what you need and you find where those things are on sale,” she said. “Then you go and buy them and then you find the coupons to lower that out of pocket.”