April 6, 2015

My Favorite Things That Save Me Time and Money

I can’t believe I quit my job 8 months ago to work for myself. When I quit in July, I would not have anticipated some of the cool and crazy things that have happened. Working for yourself is hard work, but there are moments of blinding goodness that just make everything worth it (like sending invoices from a Las Vegas bar, which I did last week). There are also times when you feel like giving up because you put so much of yourself into your work — it can be a really vulnerable place.

But I haven’t regretted my decision one bit and I’m quite happy with the flexibility this lifestyle affords me.

As a solopreneur, hustler, and all around workaholic, I love getting to peek into what other people use to manage their life, money, and business. So, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite things that help me live happy, save money, and rock my business.

While I can’t be like Oprah and give you lots of swag, there are some sweet bonuses I can offer.


I had never heard of Postmates until a few weeks ago and I have to say that I’m in love. I found out about the service from someone I follow on Twitter and was happily surprised that Postmates just recently came to Portland and Phoenix. Postmates is a food delivery service that brings your favorite food straight to your doorstep. Want Chipotle delivered when you are sick in bed? Done. Working on an intense deadline and can’t leave the house or cook? Get some food delivered.

Now, I know food delivery isn’t the most frugal thing in the world. BUT Postmates is always having various promotions giving out free things — sometimes with free delivery. I signed up for the app and was immediately sent an email for free bagel delivery — 2 bagels with cream cheese, delivered straight to my door. I thought it was too good to be true, but it wasn’t. The delivery fee was waived and the food was free. Of course, I tipped the guy, so it wasn’t 100% free, but it was still worth it.

While my frugal (or cheap?) self has mostly milked the promotions, I like having options when I’m sick, busy, etc. Also, while they deliver mostly food, you can also order every day items like toilet paper or contact lens solution. I think Postmates is going to blow up, so get in while this biz is good — and for my side hustler friends, consider becoming a Postmate. You can make up to $25 per hour!

Use my referral code, rbyva, for $10.00 in delivery fee credit. Get the app here: http://postmates.com

Capital One 360

My finances would be a disaster without my targeted savings accounts for all my goals. Capital One 360 lets you open up to 25 savings accounts! If you want to be really clear about your money and savings goals, set up a saving account for each. You can nickname them whatever you want, so have fun with it. I recently created a saving account and named it the GTFOPDX fund (I stole this idea from Carrie). In addition to my moving fund, I also have savings accounts for my emergency fund, taxes, travel, and FinCon15.

If you open up a savings account with $250, you’ll get a $25 bonus! Or get a fee-free checking account and get a $50 bonus (this is my own personal referral link).


As someone who lives on the internet and works as a writer, I am always looking things up from spelling and grammar, to definitions, sources, etc. If you want to get paid to search the internet, take surveys, and more, Swagbucks is where it is at. Swagbucks saved me in Las Vegas — after a few frugal fails on day 1, I was looking for an affordable breakfast in Las Vegas. Luckily, I had enough Swagbucks to get a $15 Starbucks gift card. Woo hoo, free coffee and food (even though it was still way overpriced in LV).

Start making money today!

Chase Sapphire Preferred

So how in the heck did I fly to Vegas for free? With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I love this card because you get double points for eating out (which is my one weakness aside from travel). This card is super flexible — you can book within their system or transfer your points to a partner airline. This card is a huge favorite in the personal finance world and now I know why.

It was kind of hilarious – a few weeks ago, I went to a blogger happy hour in Portland and we ALL laid down the Chase Sapphire Preferred when it was time to pay lol. Quite amusing for the waitress.

If you want to get 40,000 bonus points with Chase Sapphire Preferred®,  apply here. Spending minimums may be required. Also, this should only be considered by those who pay their cards in full each month. In NO WAY am I trying to promote credit card debt, ya know? So even though travel hacking is nice, don’t drink the kool aid if it’s not for you.


I want my student loans gone, like, yesterday! Don’t you? I recently found out about Gradible, a web-based platform that can help you pay off your student loans faster. You can take surveys, shop, and perform various tasks and earn LoanCreds which go directly to your student loans. If you use my link, you’ll get 20 LoanCreds and so will I. BOOM! How much is 20 LoanCreds worth? $2. You won’t get rich from the site, but anything helps! Sign up and dump that debt.

Screen shot 2015-04-03 at 11.04.58 AM


One thing that I hate about taking surveys is that they are usually boring as $%&!. I have never felt that way when taking a YouGov survey. They are pretty easy and their point accumulation is nice and can be redeemed for gift cards. I have to thank Michelle from FitNPoor for this one!


When I first quit my job, it was the first time in my life I didn’t have someone lurking over my shoulder telling me what to do. It was liberating…and kind of confusing. I didn’t know what to do with myself! I’ve always been self-motivated, but it was a huge shift for me. You have to have remarkable discipline to be your own boss and stay on task. I’ve gotten a lot better with time management and minimizing distractions, but a few months ago, I downloaded RescueTime to help see where my time was going.

Screen shot 2015-04-05 at 5.43.39 PM

Think of RescueTime like the Mint.com of time. If you want to know where you are spending your time online, this free app can help you do just that. I was shocked to find out I was spending 11 hours a week on email and 5 on Facebook (ugh). Now that I realize where some of the time sucks are, I’m making adjustments. If you get their premium version, you can even block some of those distracting sites. RescueTime sends you weekly reports so you can see how much time you are spending online, which has been a huge eye opener for me. If you want to track your time, sign up for free!

These are a few of my favorite things (in my best Julie Andrews voice). What are your favorite things?

**There are referral links in this post — you’ll get a bonus and so will I. I don’t share things that I don’t love, because…why? I hope you enjoy these things as much as I do!**


Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

Latest posts by Melanie (see all)

19 responses to “My Favorite Things”

  1. Kirsten says:

    Many of these are new to me, though I’ve been using Gradible 🙂 can’t wait to research these more when I’m off my phone!!
    Kirsten recently posted…Interview with a Mom: Kay (from Lifestyle Voices)My Profile

  2. I can’t believe it has been 8 months since you went out on your own!!!! I feel like it was yesterday that you announced it! Time flies!! I have never heard of RescueTime, but it sounds like something I need. Some days just fly by and I have no idea what I have done with my time. For me, I love my phone because I pretty much manage my entire business through it and it helps keep me on track and mobile if I need to be.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – A Dream is a Wish Your Heart MakesMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      It’s been a minute! Crazy how fast this year is going. Try out RescueTime, it’s great. I love that you can manage so much with a phone these days!

  3. Courtney says:

    Rescue Time sounds super useful. I love Mint to see where my money is going and it made me face some harsh realities. I think Rescue Time might do exactly the same thing. Exactly how much time am I wasting each day? We’ll find out. Thanks so much!
    Courtney recently posted…The 3 most critical steps towards early retirementMy Profile

  4. Thanks for sharing these apps, they sound really cool. Like some of the other commenters, I think I’m going to be all over that RescueTime deal – it sounds awesome.
    Lindsey @ Cents, Sense & Sensibility recently posted…How to Recession-Proof Your Retirement Savings*My Profile

  5. NZ Muse says:

    I’m intrigued by RescueTime too! I’ve been keeping a Word log – very rough – just of the various things I spend my days at work doing. But a more granular breakdown might be even better…
    NZ Muse recently posted…I hereby decree April the month of self-careMy Profile

  6. Yes, you most certainly do work your but off! :Glad the swagbucks helped you out in Vegas!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Bye Bye Love!My Profile

  7. Michelle says:

    Several of these apps are new to me! Can’t wait to check them out.
    Michelle recently posted…Community Gardens ROCK! I Have One and You Should Get One TooMy Profile

  8. I am really interested in the RescueTime App. That one sounds super helpful for people who struggle with time management issues.
    The Money Spot recently posted…Eat People (The Book) or Things We’re Doing That Kill JobsMy Profile

  9. That was an interesting read as many of them were quite new to me, and even if I had heard from them, I never really got any insight from users. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Reelika @Financially Wise On Heels recently posted…Blooming Entrepreneurial Business Ideas Developed from Side JobsMy Profile

  10. FinanceGuy says:

    I have always been jealous of those people who are so good at taking advantage of rewards and points and coupons and the like. no doubt such disciplined behavior improves both the financial budget and the quality of life. I’ve told myself time and time again to stick to the deals. but I am weak and always eventually fall prey to higher margin purchases that I don’t need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge