Sprint Reward Series: Free Class with Shaw Academy

Sprint Series: The Sprint Rewards Series will be similar to the Amazon Series, where, as long as you’re a Sprint Rewards user, I’m going to show you how to utilize the Sprint Rewards app to get free items, rewards, cash back, and enter to win vacations and cash prizes. Let me show you how to let your phone “pay for itself”.

Everyone wants something free, right? Well, if you’re a Sprint user like I am, you can get free items each week with the Sprint Rewards app. As someone who loves to get a deal, I take advantage of all of them.

Over the last year, I have received free gift cards to Coldstone Ice Creamery, Pizza Hut, iTunes, Amazon, Krispy Kreme, Lenovo, Papa Johns, and many, many more, all ranging from $2 to $10.

This week my opportunity was to redeem a coupon for a 4 week free course through Shaw Academy for a professional diploma – worth $49.95! You know your girl wasn’t turning down that opportunity. Shaw Academy has classes on everything from Financial Investing to Wedding Photography to Digital Marketing.

I chose the Professional Diploma for Social Media Marketing course. I was able to choose which times I take my class based on my schedule, and I’m very excited that I am going to get a professional diploma that I can add to my resume.

As always, a successful week in the land of the Sprint Rewards App. Along with the cheapest unlimited everything plan I’ve ever seen, I’m happy this business also rewards it’s customers.

Sprint Rewards Series: Free $50 Cash per line each year

Sprint Series: The Sprint Rewards Series will be similar to the Amazon Series, where, as long as you’re a Sprint Rewards user, I’m going to show you how to utilize the Sprint Rewards app to get free items, rewards, cash back, and enter to win vacations and cash prizes. Let me show you how to let your phone “pay for itself”.

Well, this post is actually little different. It’s not exclusively through the Sprint Rewards app, instead it’s a reward for being a Sprint user as well as a Credit Union member. As long as you belong to a credit union anywhere in the United States, you will get a yearly deposit of $50 into your credit union savings or checking account, courtesy of Sprint and Love My Credit Union. I have my auto loan through a credit union, so I use that account as my membership verification, and they pay $50/year, or $4.16/month to my car payment. It’s not a lot, but it’s $50 less I have to pay on my loan each year.

Also, this $50 per year? It’s not per account, it’s per line. So, on a family of four, you’re getting $200 back each year, not $50.

Sprint and Love My Credit Union also currently have a deal that if you don’t have Sprint, and you switch to them and get $200 for free in addition to the $50 yearly deposit, as well as getting the 3rd, 4th, and 5th lines added to your account for free.

Amazon Series: Why You Need the Amazon Credit Card

The Amazon Series: I am an avid shopper of all things Amazon, and I live and breathe my Amazon Prime account. I’m here to show you how Amazon can save you a lot of money too.

I know what you’re thinking – a Credit Card??!?! Why are you encouraging people to get a credit card?! Here’s what I’ll say to that: as long as you will pay it off each month, this card will be extremely helpful to you in an insane amount of ways.

To start, any time you use your card anywhere, you will get a reward back in the form of redeemable Amazon points (literally Amazon gift cards) that are credited to your account monthly. There’s nothing more that I hate with my bank credit card, where my rewards are only given to me quarterly – they’re also not giving me as much money back anyway.

Members of Amazon Prime with the Amazon Credit Card can also buy items completely interest free (you will not be eligible for point rewards on these purchases), or with monthly payments, or both. I completely redid my home office doing the interest free monthly payments, and had it completely paid off in 4 months. $56 interest free per month is much easier for me to manage than $225 as a lump payment with interest, as I would imagine it is for almost anyone.

You will earn 5% cash back anytime you shop on Amazon or at Whole Foods, with this card. You will earn 2% at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on everything else. There is also no annual fees – that’s right, $0 – and no fees if you use the card in a different country.

Since I drive so far to work now that I’m a homeowner, I make sure to always use my Amazon Prime Credit Card for gas, as well as redeeming my weekly receipt for gas on CoinOut, ReceiptPal, iBotta, Fetch Rewards, and trunow. With this process I’m getting back at least $1 each time I fill up, which equals out to $52 back over the course of a year, or two weeks of free gas.

As long as you can make sure you always pay your bill, I absolutely recommend the Amazon Credit Card, as it will help improve your credit score, as well give you rewards in the form of free gift cards each time it’s used, anywhere it’s used.

Sprint Rewards Series: Free FandagoNow Rental

Sprint Series: The Sprint Rewards Series will be similar to the Amazon Series, where, as long as you’re a Sprint Rewards user, I’m going to show you how to utilize the Sprint Rewards app to get free items, rewards, cash back, and enter to win vacations and cash prizes. Let me show you how to let your phone “pay for itself”.

Everyone wants something free, right? Well, if you’re a Sprint user like I am, you can get free items each week with the Sprint Rewards app. As someone who loves to get a deal, I take advantage of all of them.

Over the last year, I have received free gift cards to Coldstone Ice Creamery, Pizza Hut, iTunes, Amazon, Krispy Kreme, Lenovo, Papa Johns, and many, many more, all ranging from $2 to $10.

This week, my free reward was a digital film rental with FandangoNow. I didn’t realize that Fandago had a ‘Netflix style’ option or site, and was very impressed with the quality. I was very excited to get this free reward, as it was worth $5.99.

I redeemed my certificate to watch the film Aladdin, which I had wanted to see in theaters but did not have it in my budget to go see. It was nice and stormy, I cuddled up with a blanket I knitted with free yarn, and turned on my laptop to watch the show, along with some chips and homemade garden-sourced salsa. It was a great, frugal way to spend an evening.

Some (potentially gross) ways I save money

We all have some things we do that are a little unusual, I just make sure that mine saves me money.

Image courtesy of StockSnap.io via Ryan McGuire Photography

1.) I only do 2 loads of laundry per week – I never go over washing two loads of laundry a week. Now, reminder, I am one person and only have one person’s worth of laundry each week. Each load of laundry costs on average $1.52 per load. I use to wash 4 loads of laundry a week, this means on I’m saving $158 each year.

2.) I reuse hair towels – Ladies know the type, the small towels that you wrap your hair around after you get out of the shower. Well, yours truly reuses them. I never thought this was something that could be seen as gross until a small group of women told me it was. I don’t get it, your hair clean as you just washed it…what’s the big deal, so long as you dry it out on a drying rack as not to create mildew and only reuse once, you should be fine. I have to do this step to make #1 a reality for me, and for an extra $158 in my pocket each year, I’ll keep doing it.

3.) I use THINX – I don’t use this miracle product every single day, but I do use it for half of my shark week. I have 3 pairs, and have estimated that even though it cost me $80 for 3 pairs, since they’re reusable after a simple cycle through the washer, they’ve saved me about $100 a year on average since I started 5 years ago. An extra $500? Who is going to say no to that?

4.) I don’t turn on any lights – Well, I do turn on lights, but only after it’s pitch black outside. Otherwise I open all my curtains on non-sun facing windows, and let the sun do it’s job. The reason I don’t do this on sun-facing windows is because it would heat up my house and make my Air Conditioning unit work harder.

Image courtesy of StockSnap.io via Jaroslaw Puszczyński

5.) I collect and return pop cans – and yes, they can get sticky and gross sometimes, but it’s worth it for me. The state I live in has a return policy of $0.05 per can, as an incentive to encourage people to recycle. I typically make around $3 each trip (meaning I am only returning cans from others and not myself). So not only am I helping the environment, I’m also making money. Even if it was $3 a week (even though it ends up to being more like $6 a week), it’s an extra $156 a year, so I’m not saying no to it.

6.) I always keep my AC at 72 degrees – I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not always comfortable at this temperature. I get very hot very easily, and sometimes ya’ girl can sweat, so this isn’t always the easiest thing to do. However, I used to keep my AC between 68 and 70 degrees. Raising the temperature to a minimum of 72 degrees has saved me at least 12% every single bill, which averages out to $8.40 per month for me, or $50 a year (the rest of the year, I have to use heat because snow).

An Open Letter to Businesses Everywhere: Signed Yours Truly, The Millennials and Generation Z

Contrary to popular belief, Millennials and Z-ers do want to work, they just don’t want to work the way their parents did.

Image courtesy of Stocksnap.io via Burst Photography

Dear Businesses Everywhere –

We hate to point it out, but you have to get with the times or you will never get back the loyalty of the 40 year employee.

Almost half the millennial workforce polled wants to quit their job sometime in the next 24 months, according to The 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey. It is a fact that the two aforementioned generations change jobs more often than any generation ever before. Instead of assuming that means they’re lazy or hard to appease, I challenge you to ask yourself why they’re leaving jobs at unprecedented rates.

It could be a number of things, such as, but not limited to: no flexibility allowed in their work schedule, nonsensical requirements for a low salary (no, your ‘entry level’ $25,000/year job should not require a master’s degree), hostile work environments, and poor work-life balance.

Image courtesy of Stocksnap.io via Tim Gouw Photography

What they want:

  1. They want to work remotely – working remotely offers many benefits for the employee, but also for the company. A company will save money by not having to expand buildings or pay for all the toilet flushes, lights, heat, AC, desks, refrigeration units in the breakrooms…you get the gist, if you have fewer employees working in an office space you’re going to save money. Millennials want to work remotely so bad that they’re willing to take a pay cut for it because they value work-life balance and their mental health: they have kids, they have pets, they want to be able to work in a productive space that they are comfortable in.
  2. They want livable wages – please save the “back in my day” speeches of how in 1960 you worked for $2 an hour full time as a grocery store clerk fresh out of high school. Why? Let me tell you: your $2 per hour is equivalent to $17.33 per hour in 2019, due to inflation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today’s prices in 2019 are 766.75% higher than average prices throughout 1960. A lot of job postings today brag about how you can work full time for them for $14 an hour as a customer service representative as long as you have a bachelor’s degree. You see the disconnect, yes?
  3. They want you to let them do their jobs – I truly do believe that no one actually enjoys being micromanaged, but unlike their predecessors, Millennials are vocal about their dislike of it with HR and management. Instead of gossiping by the water cooler with Barbara and Jan about your ridiculous boss micromanaging your team, Millennials will ask for it to be addressed; if it’s not fixed, they’ll just quit.
  4. They want a job that provides a flexible schedule because they’re burnt out – “Millennials aren’t lazy, they’re workaholics”. You have to remember, this is the generation that graduated high school and college in the middle of the worst recession since The Great Depression. They saw their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. lose absolutely everything. They don’t want to become those people. So what do they do? They work themselves into the ground and then become burnt out.
  5. They want you to trust them – There is nothing worse than a boss looking you square in the face and them telling you that they don’t trust you. Millennials want you to trust them to bring you the results you’re looking for, rather than be babied or smothered by overbearing, unnecessary procedure; they want you to believe in them so that they can believe in you. Businesses don’t realize that when they don’t trust their employees, their employees won’t trust them. Much like respect, trust is a two way street.

Millennials and Generation Z’ers want to work, but they’re also not willing to compromise their values for a workplace. Businesses need to take note, because as seen so frequently in these generations, if they don’t like your workplace, they’ll just start their own.

Mental Health: Why it’s Important and Where to Get Help

Here I am finally introducing the ‘happiness’ portion of this blog, and it still feels a little ‘Debbie Downer’.

Image courtesy of StockSnap.io via Burst Photography

I really wanted to do a post about how important mental health is, as I feel like a lot of the older generations tend to have this view that if you have mental health issues something is innately wrong with you; millennials and Generation Z-ers have the complete opposite view where everyone chats openly about their therapists and the medications they’re taking. In reality, there is probably a happy medium in between.

Mental Health is something that I have struggled with for a majority of my life, but it really only began majorly impacting my life in adulthood. Due to my frugality, I refused to go to the therapist, because I was not going to spend $100 a month for that when that money could go to debt, savings, etc…or at least that’s how I rationalized it. This was extremely detrimental to my overall health and my psyche, and ended up with me close to being admitted twice. Now, remember that thing about millennials where we tell everyone our mental health business? I get that’s what I’m doing here, but it has a purpose.

Image courtesy of StockSnap.io via Nik Shuliahin Photography

Once I sought help – once I gave up the need to only think about money – my life changed immensely, for the better. Do I still think about money? Of course. Is it the end of my world if I don’t save $0.05 at the grocery store anymore? No.

I am happy to say that my current therapist is one of the best people that I’ve ever met in my entire life. I was immediately put on Zoloft, so if you’re my co-worker and you see me popping pills at work, this is why. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Primarily Obsessional OCD.

You’re probably reading this thinking about how awful it is to go to the doctor and get all these diagnoses, but in actuality I am so much happier (see, bringing it back full circle, this really is the ‘happiness’ portion!). I have learned how to use tools to redirect myself and being put on medication was one of the best things I ever did, even though I fought it for a long time. Is my life all smiles and perfect now that I know what’s wrong? No, it isn’t, but is my life so much better? Yes it is.

It was really important for me to write this piece because I’m afraid that someone similar to who I was a year ago, will start to read my blog and become obsessive with money. It’s okay to have a goal and try to actively achieve it, it’s not okay to let that goal completely hinder your life.

There are 350 million people in the world who experience some level of depression, so you should never feel alone.

If you or someone you know needs help, they can find free or low cost counseling services by visiting the following organization’s websites:

1.) OpenCounseling
2.) GoodTherapy
3.) BetterHelp
4.) Free Clinics
5.) If you’re a college student, the school you attend will offer free mental health counseling, visit your university’s website for more information
6.) If you’re religious, a lot of pastors or regional pastoral centers will offer free counseling
7.) If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance does not cover therapy sessions, most therapists have an option to be charged an amount based on your income rather than their standard visit fee schedule