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I recently discovered the Life Leadership app, which — among other things — offers anywhere from 1% to 10% cashback at a whole bunch of nationwide chains (about 250 right now). Before explaining some of the cost-saving details, I wanted to first make some comments about two other easy ways that our family has earned cash back or saved on our routine purchases. I mention these because, with the Life shopping app, all of these saving methods easily “stack” on top of each other.
Credit Card Rewards
Dave Ramsey (who I very much appreciate) is fond of saying on his radio show that “no one ever became a millionaire by earning rewards points.” Well, right, of course not. Clearly, there is a problem with using credit card rewards as a rationalization for making over-purchases on a credit card. There is never any math which says that spending an extra $100 in order to gain $5 is a good idea.
On the other hand, ignoring rewards points on typical routine purchases is literally leaving cash on the table. As long as you treat your credit card like a debit card and pay it off fully every month, why not take advantage of the system? Sure, it’s not life-changing money, but earning an extra $1,200 – $1,500 per year isn’t small. At least for our household it isn’t. That’s two months of free groceries for us.
Basic economics tells us that retailers charge higher prices at the register because they have to pay for everyone else’s rewards points. So, if you’re paying with cash at Target, you’re technically paying more for that product than the other guy using his cash back rewards card. At least for now. Amazon, Target, and others want to be able to deny the use of high-paying rewards cards, claiming that they will be able to lower prices if they can reject them. Are the days numbered for these types of cards? Who knows, so use them while you can!
Coupons and Discounts
Coupons and discounts have been around forever to entice us consumers to buy that porterhouse steak for 25% off, hoping that we’ll pick up that expensive ice cream with the higher profit margin on the way out the door. Or to stop by restaurant A instead of restaurant B — knowing that we have so many options to pick from. The restaurant would rather make a (slightly) lower profit off us than have us not come in at all.
Which brings me to…
the Life Leadership App
As mentioned above, the Life Leadership app offers anywhere from 1% to 10% cashback at many nationwide chains (about 250 right now). Over the past month, I’ve used it at Chipotle (.9% savings), Home Depot (2.7% savings), Barnes and Noble (3% savings), and Papa John’s (5.4% savings). As mentioned above, this savings “stacks” on top of any other coupons, discounts, or credit card cashback we might have using. So, at Papa John’s we get their “buy one pizza, get one half off” coupon price, plus the 5.4% Life app cashback, plus the 2% cashback we get for using my Fidelity cash back credit card in the Life app.
So, how does it work? It’s simple.
- Download the App on Google Play or the App store. Set up an account with login / password.
- Add a Payment Method (credit card, debit card, or bank account) on the Wallet tab of the App.
- Browse through the “Shop Now” link in the App to see the list of stores currently participating in the program.
- Once you’re ready to pay (whether at the counter or online), tap the store name and enter the amount of the payment that you will be making (you’re basically purchasing a digital gift card).
- The digital card will appear on your phone screen. Show it to the cashier, who will either scan the barcode or type the number into their system. Or, if online, just type in the gift card number as you would a debit or credit card number.
- All done! Your purchase is complete and any cashback that you have earned will remain stored in the app, ready to offset any future purchase you make with the app.
Now, I’m not going to tell you that earning some cashback at Papa John’s for two pizzas, or earning some cashback at Home Depot to buy some light bulbs is going to change your life. Of course it won’t. But we’ve found that by using these systems responsibly alongside our typical purchasing routines, we have gained helpful cash-back rewards with minimal effort. Rewards that add up over time. It’s just math. The more money we can infuse into our household’s finances, the better.
There are alternative shopping apps to this one as well. Some are coupon based, some are cashback based, some are mixed. Ibotta, for example, has some of the same vendors that the Life app does, though it does not have as many. The Life app has the largest selection of vendors that I’ve seen in one app so far.
And full disclosure, this App I’ve discussed in this post is developed by Life Leadership, an MLM who produces personal development and financial literacy products. But the App can be used completely independently of any of that, at absolutely zero cost.