Friday, May 16, 2008

Where to Find Coupons

I have people ask me all the time, "Where do you find your coupons?" Even the cashiers at the stores ask me. Where? The internet of course! Hot Coupon World is not only great for coupons, but has a massive amount of information to help you save in the stores. I have also found some real money savers at Mommy Saves Big, and here is a list I happened upon, Coupon Bar. You will have to down load a program (it will be offered when you try to print) to be able to print coupons. It's free and safe! If you are looking for a coupon for a particular item, and don't find it at one of these site, try going straight to the company's web site. I do this often with high success!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Green Shoes

You might as well hear this from me instead of someone else. I like shoes that are...well...what some might call unattractive. I call them comfortable! I got these great shoes from Simple Shoes. They were originally $80 marked down to $19.90 each with free shipping. I normally don't spent that much on shoes for myself, but the green aspect got me. My son wants the pair with recycled tire soles - cool!!

Free with Coupons

Last night I went shopping to four different stores, Jubilee, Wal-mart, Target, and Topps. I spent hours planning my trip by matching coupons to sale items and clipping them to lists. I've learned organization is the key to maximum coupon usage. I also was at my computer while I planned my list. If I didn't have a coupon for an item I wanted, I looked up the company online to see if one was available to print. I was surprised how often one was! I used 80 coupons last night and the 35 that were under a dollar were doubled. I got some OK deals (items I need and usually don't go on great sales but I still used a coupon), some fantastic deals and above it what I got for free!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Save Big by Stockpiling

I had quite a few people ask me how I can afford to shop as much as I do. First let me say it comes in spurts. Some weeks there's nothing worth buying and some weeks are a goldmine. This week was a goldmine!! I'd like to explain how stockpiling can save you money in two ways. This week I bought 20 large cans of Maxwell House Lite coffee for $99.80, $4.99 a can. When it was around $6.00 a can it would go on sale for $3.99, somewhere, almost every month. I'd buy a few and then it would go on sale again. Now that the price is over $9.00 a can, it hasn't been on sale much. I had accumulated 30 $1.00/1 coupons and have been waiting for a big sale while picking up one can at a time, paying over $9 a can. This week Tops had it for $5.99 and the manager was kind enough to order in extra for me. The first way I saved is by paying about $80 less for 20 cans of coffee by combining the sale with the remaining coupons I had, and now I can replenish my stash as it goes on sale. The second way I save is by freeing up the money I was paying for coffee every week, I am now able to buy larger amount of other items and stockpile them as well. I had previously stockpiled a year's worth of toothpaste, shampoo, body soap, razors, foil, and months worth of cereal, salad dressings, canned goods, frozen foods, and meats to name a FEW. Every time I am able to stockpile an item for a very low cost it frees up more and more money from my weekly budget, and affords me the time to wait for that item it go on sale or clearance for the price I am willing to pay. Some might say coffee isn't a necessity, why purchase it at all. I very rarely buy pop (MAYBE for a party) and we don't drink a lot of juice. We mostly drink milk, soymilk, and water, and well honestly, it's my husband's and my one vice!

Please Save Me Your Extra Coupons!!

I never believed those woman on TV who claimed to buy $200.00 plus worth of groceries for $10.00 by using manufacture's coupons and rebates. "Impossible!", I'd yell at the TV when they would show her at store, clutching her binder of coupons, and smiling like she just won the LOTTO. Mostly, I was trying to make myself feel better about feeding my own family of 6 for about $80+ a week. That number had been steadily increasing over the past few year until late fall when I got involved with the "food run" I talked about in a previous post, but I still hadn't been able to get down to the $30 - $50 range I so desired. I honestly believed there was no way to get super great deals using manufacture coupons except the occasional coupon matched with a clearance item. I stuck to my routine of stocking up on loss leaders, searching the clearance sections, and doing the bulk of my shopping at Aldis. All that changed a month ago when I discovered Hot Coupon Worldand I can honestly say I'll never view coupons and shopping the same way again! I may never pay full price again!!

Here, again, is another instance where I am torn between being frugal and being green. I have been purchasing multiple Sunday papers to get the coupon inserts. I have been saving the papers to use as ground covering for my garden and also to compost. I still need to do more research to make sure this is safe. As a last resort I will, of course, recycle them. Here are my reasons for justifying purchasing these papers. We don't subscribe to a daily paper and until recently only occasionally picked up the Sunday paper. Buy using almost all CFLs in my home, hang drying most of our laundry, making my own environmentally safe laundry soap and general purpose cleaner, shopping thrift stores for a portion of our clothing and other items, using reusable shopping bags, making (and selling) items from recycled cloths and paper, recycling, reusing and not wasting everything and anything possible, I'd like to think I'm doing a good job off setting this wastefulness. Even so, what it all boils down to is money, and with two kids graduating from high school next year and then going off to college, I need to save every penny I can. Two years after that I'll have another in college for a total of three at the same time!!

Yes, that is my coupon binder! I'm looking for a great deal on one that zips all the way around and has pockets for scissors and a calculator. I'll probably find one in late Summer with the back to school specials.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Free Box

I have always been fairly successful at putting on a yard sale. Even though I've had a few that bombed, usually due to bad timing such as a storm or a holiday weekend, for the most part they have faired well. I think one key to success is generosity. In the past few years I have always had a FREE BOX, and in this year's case I had three! I have always given things away at my sales, a toy to a sweet little kid, extra baby stuff to an expectant mom, or just knocked the change off the sale's total. It all depends on the person, the circumstance, and my mood at the time!! The free box serves many purposes. It is usually items that I would have otherwise thrown away, not totally useless items, just not sell able. For example, a slightly melted on the corner spatula, a backpack with a broken zipper, a stack of Taco Bell cups headed for the recycle bin, magazines, stained clothing, and toys or games that are missing pieces, to name a few. I place the box, or boxes, at the back of my sale so people have to come through everything to get to it. Often people will see it just as they are turning to leave, and often people will make a purchase after rummaging through the free box and taking a few items. I started doing this because I hated the idea of just throwing items like that in the trash and I think it makes my yard sale "junky" if I put them out for sale.

Here's a couple other quick tips for a successful sale. Use bright pink poster board for your signs, if it is allowed where you live. Place a quarter box by your checkout area. I had two this year, one filled with small toys and the other household items. After customers put their items on the table for me to tally up they will rummage through the boxes (or let their kids) and will spend an extra buck or two. Another bonus is I don't have to price and find room for all those little things. Lastly, Thursday and Friday are the best days for a sale. I MIGHT consider doing Saturday again, but NEVER Sunday.