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When you start a family, it becomes clear pretty quickly that your life is about to get expensive. Not only do young children need to be fed, clothed and entertained, but a suitable childcare option can cost almost as much as a full salary. This can leave many young families in need of some extra cash — with no time left over to work for it.
If you end up in this situation, you need to find a way to squeeze some extra savings out of nothing. Money may not grow on trees, but you’d be surprised how much of it you can cultivate by joining the right rewards programs. Just about every retailer has a rewards offering these days, so it helps to know which ones offer the most bang for your buck.
If your child has “Frozen” on repeat, you should join Disney Movie Rewards. Members can earn points by buying Disney DVDs or attending Disney movies in theaters and submitting their receipts. Points can be redeemed for other Disney merchandise, including toys, movie posters, apparel, Disney experiences, books and more.
Don’t think you see enough Disney movies to qualify? Remember, this studio is now responsible for all Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars movies, so it’s likely that you’ve seen at least one Disney movie this year, even if there weren’t any talking animals in it.
Points expire if there’s no account activity after 210 days, so remember to redeem your rewards a couple times each year. Go to DisneyMovieRewards.com to create your account and start earning.
Parents who live near a Target probably frequent the chain more often than they’d care to admit, stopping in for groceries, household goods and toiletries. If that sounds familiar, consider signing up for the Target debit card, the Target credit card or a prepaid Target REDcard, all of which offer 5% off every time you use the card online or in-store.
Because the discount is included in your total, there’s no need to track points or worry about redeeming them. Users can also get free standard shipping if they shop with the card at Target.com, which is currently the only way to get free shipping 24/7. Note that the Target credit card is a store card, not a Mastercard or Visa.
Parents who already have kids or are expecting their first can register for Amazon Family, the online retailer’s exclusive destination for coupons and deals. Membership is only available for Prime members and includes special discounts that only Amazon Family subscribers will see.
If you’re constantly ordering formula, baby food and diapers, you could save hundreds using this program. You’ll get regular emails from Amazon Family about new discounts, plus you can get up to 20% off when you subscribe to five or more products — including diapers and baby food — and have them delivered on a monthly basis.
Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards
Families with young children find themselves buying new clothes often, and Kohl’s already has low prices on apparel, toys, shoes and more. But customers enrolled in the Yes2You Kohl’s rewards program also earn one point per dollar spent, with $5 back for every 100 points at Kohl’s department stores. You’ll also get special coupons and offers eight times a year, including birthdays and holidays.
Rewards can be used online and in-store with the Kohl’s app, which syncs to your account. Points are added to your account within 48 hours and rewards must be used within 30 days of issue.
Current and former parents of newborns know how expensive diapers can be, especially in those first few months. But if your kids likes Huggies, sign up for the Huggies Rewards program to earn free diapers packs and other merchandise.
Each set of diapers you purchase is worth between 50 and 500 points, depending on the type, size and quantity. Redemptions start at low as 3,000 points for Melissa and Doug toys and peaks at 80,500 points for a Minnie Mouse high chair. Diapers typically cost between 4,000 and 7,500 points when redeeming, and you’ll earn 500 points just by joining the program.
Parents need to scan their receipts when they buy Huggies products to earn points, which can be done through the Huggies rewards app or online at Huggies.com.
Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card
Saving for your child’s college education is a difficult road, especially when you factor in all the other costs of raising a child. One way to make it easier is with the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card, which allows you to earn 2% cash back on all purchases and deposit those funds directly into a Fidelity-managed 529 College Savings plan or other Fidelity account.
This card is perfect for parents who want to save as much as possible for their child’s college but can’t do it all on their own. There are no cash back limits or expiration dates on rewards, and the card has no annual fee, which is one reason it made our list of “9 Best No Annual Fee Cards for 2018.”
You can even encourage grandparents to sign up for this card and allocate their rewards to your child’s 529 account. Fidelity’s cash back calculator says if you spend $1,000 a month using the card, you’ll have approximately $10,729 in 20 years with compound interest.
Finally, when you’re shopping online, consider starting your purchase at Upromise, a shopping portal where users earn cash back that goes straight toward their child’s 529 account. Cash back rates vary based on the merchant, but participants can earn from 1% to as much as 10% at eligible restaurants, travel booked through Upromise.com or via other online shopping.
If you’re just starting your family, consider signing up for Upromise as soon as possible. Guy Birken says she created her account two years before she had kids and later transferred those points to their 529 accounts, while others have saved thousands for college with Upromise. “I’ve put away over $3,000 in my kids’ 529 accounts through Upromise,” said mother-of-two Emily Guy Birken, author of “End Financial Stress Now.”
Featured image by pixdeluxe / Getty Images.
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