When you were a kid, the most technologically advanced toys you wanted was a Game Boy, an Easy Bake Oven, or a Tamagotchi. Made cool again by Millennial nostalgia, these toys are still available today, but even their rebooted versions stand as a stark contrast to the toys your for which your kids are begging.
Now, children’s toys are sophisticated devices — and expensive ones, too. Sadly, without a smartphone, your kids run the risk of being uncool to their friends, and without a connection to the Internet, studies show they may struggle with depression. That’s the last thing you want for your children, so these toys make it on your shopping list. If you’re worried their addition to your cart could bungle your finances, keep reading for some money saving tips.
Use your own tech to your advantage
Though you may have agonized over getting your kids the new iPhone X, nothing stopped you from accelerating your own personal upgrade cycle. Whether you’re an Apple user or a devoted ‘Droid fan with a brand new S9, you can use your phone to help shave off some dollars on your next purchase. Head to the Google Play or Apple Store to find the following apps:
- Drop: As one of the most convenient rebate apps available, Drop makes it easy to earn back money on every purchase you make. Unlike other rebate apps, you don’t have to take pictures of your receipt to prove you purchased the eligible item. It links directly to your accounts to track the purchases you make on your debit and credit cards. You can earn points from purchases made at grocery stores, clothing retailers, department stores, and even restaurants — then redeem them for gift cards.
- Ibotta: In partnering with over 300 retailers, Ibotta offers deals on a variety of items, from clothes, groceries, and household items. It operates like other rebate apps, in that you have to upload your receipt to prove you qualify for a rebate. Though it may be more cumbersome to use than Drop, it offers an immediate benefit. Ibotta uses PayPal to send you your rebate within 24 hours of processing your receipt. You don’t have to wait until you’ve accumulated enough points to redeem a gift card, so you can start saving up for your kids’ purchases right away.
- Flok: This is a must-have app for anyone whose wallet is full of loyalty cards. Flok connects more than 100,000 retailers, removing the need to keep each store’s individual card on your person. As long as you keep your phone on you, you can earn points at any store you shop at. If you collect enough points at your favorite retailer, you might just qualify for a discount on your kids’ Xbox One X.
Have a plan B
Using these apps early can help you prepare for expensive times in the year when you’re expected to spoil your kids, like the holidays or their birthdays. But if you aren’t keeping an eye on the calendar, it’s all too easy to arrive at these dates without enough points to help save you considerable cash. As a result, you might dip into savings. This leaves you unprepared for an entirely different set of purchases — like unexpected household bills or repairs. If you ever find yourself in this unenviable position, go online to borrow money from an online direct lender. These lenders provide speedy response times to simple and convenient applications, making their cash loans one of the easiest ways to cover these bills.
Things have changed a lot since you were a kid—and it’s not just because you can find a loan online now. The toys children play with are bigger, better, and more expensive than anything you had in your youth. Don’t deprive them of these things, but don’t let them ruin your budget either. Let this guide help you find ways to spoil your kids without spoiling your budget.