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Don’t miss out on Amazon Prime Day 2018- even if you don’t have Prime!

I’m sure you’ve heard about Amazon Prime Day 2018, touted as having more deals than Black Friday. The deals start July 16 this year and go for a day and a half.

Read on for the best Prime Day deals for Moms! PLUS, how to get in on the action even if you don’t want to pay for a Prime membership!

Amazon Prime Day 2018


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click one of the product links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Deals to watch for:

There will be deals on all Amazon devices so if you’ve been eyeing something, this will be your time to buy!

Fire tablets

The kids edition of this tablet has everything you need for kids:

-a kid-proof case (pick blue, pink, or yellow)

-8 hour battery life (take it on those long car rides!)

-16 GB of storage

-1 year of FreeTime Unlimited means you don’t have to pay extra for apps! You have access to 15,000 popular apps and games, videos, books, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and more

Best of all, a 2 year worry-free guarantee! If your kids break it, just return it and they will replace it for free. NO QUESTIONS ASKED!

Amazon Echo

I got this for my husband at Christmastime and I swear it’s the only gift I’ve ever gotten him that he actually uses and likes!

“Alexa, what’s the weather today?”

“Alexa, how is the traffic in Baltimore?”

Or, “Alexa, play Jimmy Buffet.”

He says Alexa is the only girl in his life who always listens and never talks back 😆

We keep ours in the kitchen to play music while we cook. That is also a handy place for her because you can add any ingredients you run out of your shopping list, or just order more off Amazon right from Alexa!

Once you have the Echo, grab an Echo dot to have Alexa in any room in the house.

Fire TV / Fire TV Stick

Get the latest streaming device to access Netflix, Amazon video, Hulu, and more. Launch content with the Alexa voice remote!

This looks so cool, I think it will be our next Amazon purchase. It’s a best-seller so I’m expecting a hot deal for Prime Day.

Other deals from last year’s Prime Day included TVs, electronics, toys, home goods, school supplies, and computers. Be sure to check the deals throughout the day if you’re in the market for any of these.

My best guess at this year’s hot products

While there’s no way to predict what the best deals will be this year, I have some predictions to be on the lookout for.

Nintendo Switch was a hugely popular item last year:

The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker has been one of Amazon’s bestsellers for over a year now:

Echo Show is their latest hot item so I’d be shocked if it weren’t included in Prime Day:

Tips and tricks: Make a Wish List

I’m a big believer in not buying things just because they’re on sale. One trick I use to keep me on track with Amazon is to make a wish list ahead of time of items I’m already planning to buy. Then once Prime Day starts, I can check my wish list to see if the price has dropped.

HOT TIP: How to get in on Prime Day 2018 without paying for Prime

Ok so we know the deals are going to be awesome, but they are exclusively for Amazon Prime members. So how can you get in on the action without coughing up the annual fee to become a member?

All you need to do is take advantage of the FREE TRIAL! It’s the easiest workaround ever.

Sign up for a Amazon Prime Membership 30 day Free Trial and just use it for Prime Day! Or, use it all 30 days and set a reminder on your phone to cancel it once the 30 days are up.

Why we love being Prime members

Don’t be surprised if you don’t want to cancel after 30 days. Amazon Prime is so convenient, especially for Moms who don’t want to drag all the kids to the store every time you need to pick up a birthday present for your kid’s friend or a mildew-proof shower curtain.

I’m so used to 2-day shipping now I get annoyed when I shop online elsewhere and have to wait a week for it to arrive!

We also do subscribe and save for diapers and wipes so I don’t ever run into that panic of realizing you’re all out!

Other awesome Amazon deals for Moms:

Amazon Family diaper deal:

Prime Pantry $10 coupon deal:

Get a free gift with Amazon baby registry:

Hire a pro from Amazon Home Services:

Kindle Unlimited for only 99 cents (normally $29.97!)

Hope you all score some hot deals on July 16-17 for Amazon Prime Day 2018!



How To Fly For Practically Nothing

how to fly

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click my link I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

As I promised in my post about Easy Frugal Tips for Moms, here is the little trick I use to get flights for my family for almost nothing on Southwest. Of course I choose to use these flights for trips to Disney, but you could fly anywhere Southwest flies using this method.

I first heard about this when I was Googling how to get Southwest Companion pass (more on that later) and landed on a website called The Points Guy. He is basically a professional credit card churner, meaning he leverages credit card sign on bonuses to accumulate airline miles and cash.

The Points Guy had a post about Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Plus Credit card by Chase. You apply for the card, use it to make $2,000 worth of purchases in the first three months, and you are rewarded with 50,000 bonus miles to buy flights on Southwest.

I had never been one to sign up for credit cards before, as I had been raised to believe that credit cards are the gateway to debt and will get you into big trouble. In fact I think my husband and I had one or two that we regularly used and never applied for any others. We always used our credit cards responsibly, paying the full balance every month and this helped us achieve healthy credit scores.

How we did it

At this point I realized that my healthy credit score meant it was completely safe to apply for a couple credit cards and reap the rewards of the sign on bonus.

Given that we were planning a Disney trip, it wasn’t hard at all to put $2,000 on the Southwest credit card the first month it arrived, and I was overjoyed when the 50,000 bonus miles hit my account. A roundtrip flight to Orlando costs about 15,000 points, so that meant 3 of us were already covered!

Next, I had my husband repeat the same process so we could get another 50,000 bonus points and cover the other members of our family. We paid off both of cards that same month and then never used them again after that.

Ok so are these flights totally free or practically free?

Like I mentioned in the title, these flights are not COMPLETELY free. Each card has an annual fee of $79 that can not be waived and it is charged in the first month you receive the card.

The only other fee is the mandatory $5.50 September 11th security fee that can not be waived on any domestic flights.

So in total for our six roundtrip flights, we paid:

  • $79 x 2 cards = $158
  • $5.50 x 6 people x 2= $66
  • Total cost: $224

Considering the flights would have cost $275 per person for the trip, we saved $1,426!

Check my math:

$275 x 6 = $1650

$1650 – $224 = $1426

And, we still had points leftover after all of us flew so there’s an additional value there.

how to fly
Who’s ready to fly to Disney???

Southwest Rapid Rewards FAQs

Does Southwest have blackout dates or other restrictions on redeeming the points?

NOPE! This is one thing I love about Southwest. The points are used the exact same as cash when booking flights. If there is a seat on the flight for purchase, you can book it with points.

Southwest is also fantastic about cancelling or rescheduling flights if you need to. You can cancel and rebook another flight anytime without any fee or penalty. It seriously could not be easier! And (I have done this!) if the cost of a flight goes down after you’ve already booked it, they allow you to re-book it for the cheaper price.

Who is a good candidate for this card and who is not?

I would never recommend this (or any) credit card to someone who is already struggling with credit card debt. Only use the card if you have $2,000 worth of purchases to put on it that you are going to make anyway. And that you will be able to pay in full when the bill comes.

Also, your application will be rejected if you have applied for too many credit cards in a short period of time. The rule of thumb is “5/24”, meaning you can not apply for more than 5 credit cards in the last 24 months.

Doesn’t applying for more credit cards damage your credit score?

Having more credit cards only hurts your credit score if you’re carrying an outstanding balance. If you pay your bills on time, adding another credit card actually helps your credit score. This is because it increases your available credit, improving your debt-to-credit ratio.

Are you penalized for cancelling the card later?

Your points will not be revoked after they are awarded, even if you cancel the card. Your only requirement is to spend $2,000 in the first 3 months after applying for the card. After that, you are under no obligation.

For the same reason as above, it is better for your credit not to cancel cards. Since this card has an annual fee however, I do close it before the one year mark to avoid paying the fee on a card I don’t really use.

What about Companion Pass?

how to fly
Notice I chose Zari as my companion 🙂

So the process outlined above was:

  • I get a card and get 50,000 points
  • Husband gets a card and we get another 50,000 points
  • We end up with 100,000 points to use for our family’s flights

which worked great and we were very happy. But if we had known about Companion Pass at the time we could have made it even more amazing. You can bet this is exactly what I did the second time around!

If the SAME person accumulates all 100,000 miles (so just me, or just him), then you qualify for one of the best perks the airline industry has to offer: Companion Pass. This means for the rest of the calendar year AND the entire following year, anytime you fly you get to bring someone else along completely free. Think of how many trips you can take in that amount of time- there is no limit to how much you can use this!

On our second go around, we knew that one of us alone had to accrue all 100,000 miles. The way to achieve this is by getting two credit cards, but they have to be different cards. In addition to the  Rapid Rewards Plus credit card, Southwest also has one called the Rapid Rewards Premier credit card, and they have a business credit card. I went with the business credit card since it offered an even higher bonus of 60,000 miles.

(These bonuses are offered periodically throughout the year and they fluctuate in the amount, so definitely hold out and wait for a good one. You want 50,000 points or higher! If you apply for the Plus card through my link you will get the 50,000 point bonus anytime.)

If you’re thinking about getting the business card saying “but wait, I don’t have a business”, I’d tell you to think a little harder. For example, I got the business credit card because of this blog. Do you have a website? It doesn’t even need to be profitable. Doing childcare or teaching piano lessons count as a business, as does eBay or Etsy sales.

When all 110,000 miles posted to my account and I got the “Congratulations, you’ve earned Southwest Companion Pass” email in my inbox, it felt like Christmas morning!

How To Fly With Companion Pass

After you’re done with your happy dance, you can go ahead and start booking flights with Companion Pass.

First, book your flight for just yourself using either cash or points.

Next, go to My Travel and click “Add Companion”. It then automatically books your companion on the same flight as you, and the only thing you will pay is the $5.50 9/11 security fee.

Any questions about Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards or how to earn Companion Pass?

Ask in the comments and I will do my best to help you out!

how to fly


Easy Ways To Be Frugal For Busy Moms

Do you ever read frugal living tips on blogs and think “this sounds great, but I have no time to do any of it”? With 4 young kids, you won’t ever find me making my own cleaning solution or reusable baby wipes. Still I manage to be thrifty, in a slacker mom sort of way.

These are my favorite EASY ways to be frugal that don’t take up much time at all.

frugal living tips

1. Nix eating out with kids.

I know, I know, cooking dinner every night is the bane of every mom’s existence. But paying for kids to eat in a restaurant (aside from the very rare special occasion) pretty much never makes sense. Your kid is going to order the Mac and cheese that cost 78 cents to prepare and you will pay 6.99 for it. Then your kid will eat half, get distracted, go home and ask for food. Might as well whip up the old boxed Mac and cheese at home and slice up some fruit to go with it.

Kids also don’t notice the difference in quality between a $5 frozen pizza from the grocery store and a $20 pizza from the pizza parlor. (Just saying!)

Having more super easy dinner recipes might help you get out of your dinnertime rut too.

Personally I love eating out and probably go out to eat a couple times a month. But we save the restaurant budget for date nights and leave the kids home. Much more enjoyable for us, and I don’t mind taking what I’d pay for their food and spending it on a sitter.

2. Coupon without cutting coupons.

Clipping coupons is another thing lots of thrifty people to save money, but it’s not for me. We don’t even get a newspaper, we just read our news online. We also clip our coupons online, with the Ibotta app.

Ibotta is the perfect way to save money on groceries when you’d rather play on your phone than cut coupons. Sign up today and earn your $10 welcome bonus!

3. Save on kids’ clothes

Resist the urge to buy overpriced kids’ clothes that will only get worn a handful of times! Many parents are more than happy to unload their kids’ clothes that they’ve grown out of. We frequently exchange clothes with friends or cousins.

You can also find great bargains at your local consignment store. Even better if you can buy the clothes there, use them, and sell them back! Don’t forget about eBay or ThreadUp for used clothes too.

If you really dislike hand me downs, you can also buy clothes on clearance in the off-season. Carters and Old Navy discount their clothes down to almost nothing at the end of every season, and for larger items like winter coats and boots Lands End Kids does a great clearance sale in the spring.

4. Tips for online shopping

Always go through Ebates when you shop online- the percentage of cash back you get varies, but you can almost always get 5% back. If you still don’t know about Ebates, I wrote a whole post about it here! I use them for everything and have gotten almost $300 back from them over time, with absolutely no effort.

Another little trick for online shopping- put the items you want to buy in your cart and then instead of completing the purchase, wait a day. Surprise! The next day you will almost always find coupons from that store in your inbox.

5. Buy (the right things) in bulk

Buying in bulk on things you always use, like toilet paper and household items, can save you a lot. Another safe bet is the big packs of meat, separate and freeze what you won’t use right away.

I’d urge you NOT buy the 500 pack of individual snacks. Not only will kids get sick of them before you run out, but all that excess packaging is a huge waste. Buy one big container of snack items and pack them in reusable containers for school snacks and lunches.

6. Always buy gender neutral baby gear!

I know you’re excited about finding out you’re having a girl, but take a step back before you run out and buy that pink stroller or crib. You are not going to want to re-buy big ticket baby items with future babies that come down the pipeline! Stick with white, gray, black, or green. You can always add a cover or accessory with a pop of pink or blue.

7. It pays (big bucks) to negotiate.

This one I learned from my husband. I’ve watched him negotiate everything from wedding vendors, to buying a mattress, to our minivan and our monthly cable bill. I can’t even estimate how many thousands we have saved over the years just by doing this, and many people don’t even try.

The rule of thumb for negotiation is, it never hurts to ask. “Can you do any better on the price?” is a good way to ask. If they move at all, you can probably get them to move more. If they say no, no harm done!

Best trick for negotiating things like cable bills? Call them and say you’re unhappy with the price and thinking of switching to a competitor. Their fees change very quickly when they think they’re about to lose a customer.

8. Always shop with a list.

Yes, you should always make a list for grocery shopping, but do you make a list for your trip to the mall too? What about *gasp* Target??? If you’re serious about saving money, you need to start. If its not on the list, don’t buy it.

I’m one of those people that can go to the mall to power walk during the winter months, spend an hour there, and go home with nothing. If you can’t do that, don’t go to the mall!

9. Don’t be afraid to be the mean mom.

Get used to telling your kids “no”. Don’t set up the expectation that they get things during outings, like special treats, toys, or souvenirs. When we go somewhere, I tell my kids ahead of time they will either a.) get to pick one thing, or b.) we are not going to be buying anything. Let them know ahead of time so they won’t be asking for everything they see.

In addition to helping your family be frugal, this habit will also help reduce entitlement.

10. Credit cards can be your friend

If you have good credit and always pay your bills on time, don’t be afraid to leverage credit card rewards! Some have amazing sign on bonuses, or a percentage of cash back on all your purchases. I will write about two that I use with great perks (including practically free flights to Disney for my entire family of 6) in my next post!

What are your favorite frugal living tips?

frugal living tips

How I Made $233.86 Just By Doing My Regular Online Shopping: One Simple Tool EVERY Mom Should Be Using

Money making tool Real Mom Recs Ebates

Back in my former life, I think I remember that I used to like going shopping. Whenever I was bored, I used to go out and buy clothes, shoes, and makeup for myself just because. That’s all a distant memory now, and I’m pretty sure I’m wearing underwear I purchased before my wedding. These days, ALL of my shopping activity abides by two principles:

1. I will avoid bringing small children into a store at all costs. This means I pretty much never buy anything for myself. It also means online shopping is my best friend!


2. Every season my kids seem to need an entire new wardrobe. Yeah, when people said kids were expensive, they weren’t kidding. Their clothes are either outgrown or just plain DESTROYED after a matter of months. Even though I have two boys and two girls, I’ve barely had any success at using hand me downs among my kids because the age gap is large and the clothes rarely survive the first owner.

Doing all this online shopping for kids clothes (OK, and occasionally for myself too), I’m always on the lookout for deals and discounts. I’m also a huge skeptic so it takes a lot for me to be convinced to try something.

Eventually, a friend talked me into trying Ebates. Of everything I’ve seen, it is one of the best money saving tools for Moms.

The concept is super simple. When you need to buy something online, go through their site and you get a specified percentage of cash back on your purchase. The stores include just about all of our go-tos: Gap, Carter’s, Old Navy, Land’s End, Macy’s, and more. You can also get cash back on toys and other purchases at other retailers like the Disney Store, Target, and Amazon. Here is just a small selection of the stores that you shop through Ebates:

Ebates money saving online shopping

The EASIEST way to shop with Ebates is to install a little browser button that will light up red anytime it sees you’re about to make a purchase through one of their stores. Then all you need to do is click the Ebates button and your cash back percentage will be applied.

It will automatically apply any coupon codes that are active too!

Once a quarter, all your cash back will be totaled up and they’ll mail you a check. SUPER SIMPLE!

Just in case you think I’m full of what the dogs eat, here is a screen shot of my Ebates account showing my account total of $233.86 in the upper right corner:

Ebates cash back money saving online shopping RealMomRecs

You can also see each purchase I made that quarter and how much cash back it earned me.

Sound interesting? Check it out and sign up here:

Any other Moms using Ebates? How much have you made so far? Any other awesome money saving sites I should know about? Leave a comment!

For more about money saving tools with online shopping, check out my post about how I’m obsessed with Amazon Prime.