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Archive for the ‘coupons’ Category

As long as you are shopping online, why not help yourself and get some cash back?  First step if you can is to use a reward type credit card and pay it off in full each month.  Many pay up to 1% or more in points that can be redeemed for cash, gift cards, etc.

Next step is to go through a trusted portal in order to earn some extra cash.  All these programs are free to join.  I generally only sign up for the big ones that are easily researched to make sure they are legit.  Here are a couple I like:

Ebates:

I have just joined Ebates and it looks pretty good.  Use my referral link below and you get a $5 signing bonus and then must make a purchase through them of at least $20 within a certain period (I think it’s 90 days)  to activate that bonus.    They currently have this offer running through 9/30/10.  They issue rebate payments quarterly for amounts over $5.    There are lots of common sites to buy from, including Ebay.  Standard disclaimer:  I do get a referral bonus for people who sign up through this link and who make a minimum $20 purchase.

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=dIDl1sLnkzhPN4y%2BNdQqZA%3D%3D

Upromise:

Another site I like is Upromise.  Even if you don’t have a kid heading to college one day, you can still collect the savings for yourself.  Or link to the account of a friend or relative and contribute your savings for their kids.  You get cash into your account several ways.  Shop through their portal at various sites and get a % of your purchase deposited into your Upromise account.  Register your credit cards and grocery store/drugstore cards and you automatically get bonuses for buying certain items or eating at certain restaurants if you sign up for their restaurant program.  Lastly, you can load grocery coupons onto your account through their website that, when you buy that item at a store using one of your registered store cards, puts the amount of the coupon into your account rather than taking it off your purchase.  The only thing I don’t  like about Upromise is that it is a bit of a hassle to empty your account (you have to write them a letter and then wait quite a while for your check), so I will just let mine build up for a while.

http://www.upromise.com/welcome

Credit Card Sites:

Another way to get bonus cash back is through your credit card’s website.  They sometimes offer extra bonus cash back if you shop from their site.  I know Discover Card has this program.

So next time you are shopping online, make sure you are signed up for these programs, then take a few minutes to check each and find which one has the best deal.  I have found, for instance, that ordering from someplace like 1800flowers.com, you can get different deals from each site.  Some also offer coupon codes for things like free shipping.  Pick the best one, also considering which program will give you the quickest easiest option for actually getting your cash back.  It doesn’t help you to get a 2.50 cashback bonus on your Discover Card if you don’t use it enough to hit the threshhold to redeem!

Best regards and happy shopping,

Lynn

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It is hot and I am tired, but I had such a nice time coupon shopping today that I had to share.  My first stop was SuperTarget and the results for $10.10 are shown below.

Bought at Target for $10.10

I had a buy one get one free (BOGO) from Bear Naked’s Facebook Page, so one of those cereals were free, though the coupon was causing trouble, so the cashier had to manually insert it as a miscellaneous coupon.  I also had a 50 cent off Target coupon that I stacked with it, so I got the two cereals for 3.29.  Both Raviolis were free after a $1 off Target Coupon.  The FiberPlus bars were originally 2.69, but I had dollar off coupons for both plus a dollar off two Target coupon for a net cost of 1.19 for each box.  Lastly, I needed Shower Cleaner and have been wanting to try the Extend-A-Clean.  It was on sale for 6.99 and I had a $3 off coupon.  Naturally, I brought my own bag for another nickel off:).

My next stop was Walgreens.  Generally at Walgreens I try to do several small trips, allowing me to “roll” Register Rewards (use the RR from one item to pay for something different on another trip that then produces a different RR), but it’s hot out, and Walgreens is running a Friends and Family 15% discount with a coupon available through Facebook (“like” Walgreens and you can find it), so I decided to just do all the RR items at once and hope for alot of things to buy with them next week:).  My out of pocket cost was $27.10 but I got back $19 in Register Rewards which I always spend and rarely waste them on something I wouldn’t buy anyway, so I consider them to be as good as cash back.    My trip is shown below.

Walgreens for $8.10 net cost

I had a raincheck for the 6 bags of Goldfish for 99 cents each (84 cents after F&F discount), plus 2 coupons for 50 cents off.   The vitamins and contact solution produced Register Rewards for their full price, plus I had a dollar off coupon for the vitamins and lucked into a peel off coupon for the solution right on the box.  Tea bags were on sale for 2.10 (after discount and a Wags coupon) plus I had 40 cent coupons off each one (one from my paper, one from a neighbor who kindly brought me his inserts yesterday).  Visine was 1.69 after discount and in ad coupon, plus I had 1.00 off.  The Tide was on sale and came to 5.09 after discount, plus I had 1.00 off and also got back RR on that one.

Those were my two big shopping coups today.  I did also stop by the “bread store” (Aunt Millie Outlet store) in the hopes of scoring some cheap english muffins and bagels.  Unfortunately, the place was almost cleaned out.  All I could get was two packs of whole wheat bagels for 1.09 each.  Cheaper than the grocery store, but alot more than they usually cost there.

Picked up two Sam’s Club roasted chickens for dinner (too hot to cook) for 4.99 each.  We’ll eat a little more than half of the chicken today and I’ll use the rest for enchiladas later in the week.

My last stop was Meijers.  They had Honey Nut Cherrios large boxes (25.25 oz) on sale for 2.99.  These are about twice the size of the standard boxes.  I had several 1.00 off 2 coupons that were about to expire, so I bought 9 boxes despite still having about 8 boxes in storage due to a rebate offer last month.  Still, my son eats almost 2 boxes a week and they are good until Sept 2011, so it was worth stocking up.

Hope you are having as much fun and luck saving money.  Let me know how it goes.

Lynn

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Just a heads up for anyone who subscribes to Self magazine – in the January 2010 issue there is a $5 off coupon for any three Listerine, Reach, or Rembrandt products.  The coupon does not expire until Jan 2011, so be sure to clip it and hang on to it until a good sale comes along.  Stacked with a CVS Extra Care Bucks offer or a Walgreens Register Reward, it could even be a money maker.    And we all know we should be flossing, so stock up on that floss:).

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I’ve got the food storage blues this weekend.   We have a narrow storage area in our basement that we have filled with shelving.  I use about 30% of the shelving for longer term storage of non-perishables and things like cereal, crackers, noodles, etc.  I think of it as my own personal store.

Wednesday I was off work and went out for the last items we needed for Thanksgiving.  Since I was at Aldi’s, I did a bit of stocking up and brought home things like egg noodles, bran flakes, and graham crackers to put away in the basement pantry.  As I went to put the noodles away, I picked up the last bag of noodles on the shelf to move it to the front and noodles spilled all over.  Looking at the bag, I saw a ragged little hole that had clearly been made by little teeth – MICE!

I groused a bit and carried the bag upstairs to throw away.  My son is working on a physics project where he has to build a bridge out of spaghetti.  I went downstairs to check to see if we had any thick spaghetti.  Picking up the last bag of spaghetti off the shelf, and surprise, a jagged little hole in the end – the mice apparently love noodles.

OK, now I’m getting ticked.  A couple of dollars gone and I count on my food storage to be there when I need it.  Dug out a couple mouse traps and baited with peanut butter and set one on the shelf and one on the floor nearby.

Yesterday I go downstairs to check the traps and one is sprung, but no mousie caught.  I rebait the trap and start looking around at my shelves – could they have gotten into my cereal, my Cheezits, my crackers?  I have enough trouble keeping the kids out of my Cheezits and now I have to compete with the mice too??

I check the boxes and none are chewed.  Then I wonder about the 6 packs of Keebler cookies purchased at the Kroger mega event….

Pulling out the first bag, safe.  Pulling out the next bag – corner chewed, toss in trash.  Pull out the next bag of chocolate covered peanut butter wafers – not only is it chewed, but it is half empty!  Darn little mice must be rotund after that feast.  In all, 3 bags of cookies go in the trash – at least they only cost me about 25 cents each after coupons and the mega event.  So I pick a trap off the floor and set it on that shelf and pull all my favorite foods off the shelf and stuff them in a Rubbermaid tote.

As I wake up this morning I recall that I have several bags of leftover Heath Bars (our FAVORITE candy) left over from Halloween.  Oh no, the mice have gone after the crinkly packaging, did they get into my favorite candy??

Despite singing malicious little ditties about assassinating mousies, I knew I would feel guilty when I actually caught one.  I went downstairs this morning and one trap was still unsprung but completely licked clean of peanut butter.  The licker on the other trap was not so lucky – one plump mousie gone to great mouse beyond.  And I did feel guilty.  And a little sick.  But less so when I did indeed find a bag of Heath bars nibbled.  They couldn’t go after the Twix, which I do not love quite as much as Heath.  These mice are sugar hounds.  They even got into a bag of Splenda – yuk.

So there are now 3 new traps set for tonight.  I have whatever I can put into storage bins.  I hate to go after any living creature, but I can’t have them in my house nibbling on my food storage.  I kind of hope it was just the one guy.    We’ll see tomorrow.  For now, I’ve got the food storage blues….  In the future, may need to hire a cat….

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This is a very personal issue.  I like to read about some of the heavy duty couponers and many of them practically have small stores in their homes.  For me personally, I have found that overdoing the stockpiling not only leads to a feeling of clutter but can also lead to waste.  Over the last year, I have slowly been trying to organize my pantry items and in particular make sure that all like items are together so that you can avoid buying unnecessary duplicates and also keep your rotation going properly.  I have also been working on “decluttering” the pantry.  When there is too much junk in there, things get hard to find.

So, how much to stockpile?   First you might want to consider the purpose your pantry serves FOR YOU.    People concerned with preparedness may want to have enough food stocked to last a certain period of time.  Here I would advise people to carefully consider what they stock.  I read a study about people in Europe during WWII that concluded that in times of stress, people have an even stronger need than usual for foods that are familiar to them.  During a disaster is probably not the time to introduce your family to foods they typically do not eat.  Stock what you eat and keep up a good rotation so your stock is always relatively fresh.

People also stockpile for the frugality aspect – buying when things are on sale or cheap/free with coupons.  In this way, they avoid paying the highest price when they NEED something.  Again, stock what you use and don’t overdo it.  I used to like to keep several boxes of dishwasher detergent on hand until I read somewhere that dishwasher detergent chemicals can lose their potency over time.    I don’t know if this is a proven fact, but I  have noticed that older boxes don’t seem to clean as well, so now I only keep the box I am using on hand and start to look for a backup on sale when that box is maybe 3/4’s gone.

Other people keep a well-stocked pantry only to make sure they have on hand what they need to make what they want without special trips.  In this case, your stockpile probably won’t be very large.  Just replace your items with new ones as you use them.

Most of us will fall into a combination of these three types of people.  I myself mostly like my pantry to have things I need in it so I can cook without worry.  But I hate to pay full price for anything, so will stock up a bit when I see something on sale or am shopping at Aldi’s for staple items.  Things I use often and quickly, like canned broth and tomato sauce, I will buy by the case at Aldi’s because I know they will be used within a reasonable time.  Other staples like flour and sugar, I like to have a single backup bag of each when the canisters run empty.   Once I pull a backup into use, I have plenty of time to shop for the replacement package at a good price.  Of course, sometimes when the prices are really good (sugar tends to go on sale around the holidays), I may stock a couple of backups of flour and sugar, but am careful not to overdo it and end up with 2 year old flour coming into circulation sometime in the future.    Between these two approaches I also have a small level of preparedness.   My family could easily make it through a snowstorm on what’s in the pantry, but probably not last for a year off of what is there.

What it boils down to is picking a system that works for you.  I buy cases of some of the items mentioned above and probably use them up within about 6 months.  Other canned items, like kidney beans,  don’t get used as often, so I feel comfortable with a couple cans on hand at a time.  If I see a good deal on non-perishables like toilet paper, kleenex, or freezer bags, I will stock up to the extent I can store things comfortably.

What works for you?  If you looked in your pantry, what have you currently got the biggest stock of?  I just picked up a flat of diced tomatoes at Aldi’s recently.  12 cans at 49 cents each was not even a budget buster.  Second place would be the giant block of paper towels from Sam’s Club.  I just wish they were easier to store!

My biggest tip if you struggle with your pantry stockpile is to start putting dates on things and figure out how fast you use them up and if they stay good for the time you have them.  I knew my old system wasn’t working when I realized that I had 2 boxes of graham crackers in my basement that were a year past their “best by” date.  Fortunately they tasted OK, but when I eventually got a fresh box, the difference between old and new graham crackers was pretty obvious!  I have realized that we eat graham crackers sporadically, so I don’t usually keep a backup box anymore.

Last pantry tip of the week coming tomorrow.

Best regards,

Lynn

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Strangely, I am at a loss for words or a topic today and have a lot errands to run, so not a lot of time for a long post.  Instead, I thought I’d share this Slimpage of some of my favorite websites for couponing and free deals.  My absolute favorite two are near the top – CouponMom and SlickDeals.    If you like free magazine subscriptions, SlickDeals has a category specifically devoted to free magazines.    I have found many good subscriptions through them, though they don’t seem to come up as frequently as they used to, probably because of the current state of the economy.  I have added a couple of sites thanks to a comment posted on my grocery bill post a few days ago.  I also just added Spoofee, a favorite of my sister.  Enjoy and let me know if you have any good sites you think I should add.

http://alpha.searchlikeme.com/slmpages/324/

Best regards,

Lynn

Lynn

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