Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Random Post: Daily Deal - JoAnn's

I went into JoAnn’s only to purchase one small item, because I knew they had it. Then I thought I would look for a birthday present for my girl. Then I saw a 70% off bin.

I had signed up for JoAnn’s emails some time ago, and remembered there was a bunch of coupons in the last email. I opened up the email and there was an option to have a mobile coupon sent to you for 50% off one item. I did it all right in the store on my iPhone. Thank goodness because I left my ad at home on the counter.
I ended up purchasing:
·    the pen, I originally came into the store for ($3.29)
·    A small notebook, which was in the 70% bin, originally $7.99 marked down to ($2.39)
·    An insulated lunch bag, which was in the 70% off bin, originally $16.99, marked down to ($5.09)
·    Perler Beads, the birthday present for my girl ($7.99)

With the 70% off items, and using the 50% off one item coupon, I got the pen, notebook, and Perler beads for free.

My total for everything came to $16.29, when the insulated bag at regular price cost $16.99.

Total savings: $21.50
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Random Post: Daily Deal - Burger King

A few days ago we had received a bunch of coupons for some fast food restaurants in the mail. Since I have been so coupon crazy lately I put them away in my little organizer.

As we were out running errands, it was getting closer to lunch time and we all needed to eat. Typically when we eat out at places like McDonald's the kids will order chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink.

I remembered I had seen a coupon like that but it was for Burger King. The coupon was for a 20 piece chicken nuggets, 2 small fries, 2 small drinks for $6.99. As I was standing in line, I looked at the menu to see how good the deal really was. Below is the breakdown. (These prices may vary by location).

20 piece chicken nuggets    $4.99
2 small fries (1.79 each)     $3.58
2 small drinks (1.79 ea)      $3.58
                          Total      $12.15
                      Coupon      $6.99
                         Saved      $5.16    That is almost half price.

All that food fed 2 children and 1 adult, which makes it about $2.33 per person. Where can you eat out for that price anymore? It was the perfect amount, we were all full, and there was no food leftover.

That is the kind of deal I love!
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Random Post: Shopping with Rewards

I am completely into this coupon thing. After I had attended the session (see post below for more details), I looked a little further into this whole coupon world and ended up checking out some books at the library. I found a fabulous read, one I can hardly put down. Although my head was spinning for days with all the amazing information she had, it all made perfect sense. The book is called, "How To Shop For Free: Shopping Secrets for Smart Women Who Love To Get Something For Nothing" by Kathy Spencer. She also has a Web site.

Today I needed printer ink. I went to Office Max since I had just opened a Max Rewards card and also knew they had the exact printer ink I needed. Here is the breakdown of what I had purchased.

12” ruler (2)                            .05 each (.10)
Scissors (2)                             .50 each (1.00)
3x5 lined index cards 300 pk   2.00
2 pack Canon ink                  49.99
4oz white glue (2)                    .25 each (.50)
3 pk Pink Pearl Erasers (2)        .75 each (1.50)               
1 subject notebook (5)        5 Free – promo deal
$5 off a purchase of $25        -5.00
                         TOTAL      $50.09 the price for ONLY the printer ink.

Just by getting the items advertised in this week’s Office Max ad (as Max Perks), and taking advantage of the 5 free notebooks, and using the $5 off coupon, all the items (rulers, scissors, index cards, glue, erasers) I purchased above was FREE! How can you not say “Woo Hoo” to that deal! With two elementary aged children in the house, I know eventually I will need these items.

I have two ink cartridges that are empty. If I take them back to Office Max, I get 2 rewards, which equals $2, for each empty ink cartridge I return, the store will put on my rewards card. That is $4 free bucks. You can do that up to $20 a month for any kind of ink. Multiple that by 12 months and that equals up to $240 back a year.

Also at the end of every receipt (that I have received so far) if you take their survey you get a $5 off of $25. It is $5 free bucks for just a few minutes of your time.

Happy Saving!
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Random Picks: Coupons

Over the last many years I have been trying to be frugal and find some good deals and try to pay attention to who is selling the lowest prices. I will often make a list of things I need and stop at Goodwill to see if they have the items. This takes patience and may take a few of trips before I see an item on my list, but overall, I have been very successful.

Since we recently bought a house, I have been trying to keep track of the bills that come in and how much they are. I have also been tracking our Eating Out Expenses and Grocery expenses in a simple excel spreadsheet I created. It just gives us an idea of how we are spending our money and gives me ideas on where we can do better at saving or cutting costs.

I recently attended a 1 day conference for work. One of the sessions was titled “Dollars and Sense” and was all about couponing, saving money, and never having to pay full price for anything ever again. I was completely inspired and got some really good Web sites and tips during this session. Since I have been trying to save money for our family I left with a whole different attitude about coupons. I rarely, more like NEVER, use coupons. I have cut a few out, and when I do that, I usually forget to use them. After listening in this couponing session, I look for them everywhere I can. I got so inspired listening to the presenter!

Here are a few places to look for coupons: Sunday newspaper, weekly grocery ads, register coupons, on product coupons, online/printable coupons, Entertainment book, Val Pak, Smart phone coupons, online coupon codes, social media.

One thing that was discussed is it is so important to get organized first. In our session we were given a small coupon organizer with 6 tabs. Every family is different on what they do, their activities, and how they shop, but here are a few examples of sections you could use: Groceries, Frozen Food, Household, Restaurants, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Kids, Crafts, Retail, Car, Spa, Events, Receipts.

Treat coupons like cash. Always keep your coupons with you – not in your car, not in your kitchen. Always keep your coupons next to your wallet. That way wherever you go you will always have your coupons for savings.

One thing that was highly suggested, is to open a separate email account only for your coupons you get online and Web sites you sign up to get updates with. It keeps this email address completely separate so your everyday email account doesn’t get cluttered with an enormous, overwhelming amount of emails to go through. I personally did this and opened a separate email account then started signing up on coupon saving Web sites to receive printable coupons. It was also suggested to register products you use regularly. For me some of those products are Neutrogena, Air Wick (the air fresheners), and what do you know, at the end of registration there were coupons to print, and they also send some to by inbox.

Check out deals for yourself at these Web sites that were mentioned in the couponing session I attended. Restaurants.com, Braddeals.com, Saveology, Amazon Local, KGB Deals. If you have a smart phone, I’m sure there are some couponing apps available as well.

The day I went to the couponing session, it was Friday. I had intentions of cooking, at least had the meal planned out. I got this craving for Mexican food instead. I had a coupon for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant for $6 off. My dinner that night only cost me $3.95 for a small combo plate of a cheese enchilada, ground beef taco, rice and beans, when regularly it would cost about $10. Although it might not seem like a huge amount but every little bit helps and pretty soon you have saved a hundred, or more saved, by the end of the month. Think about what that means in a year!

We are a family of 4 – two adults and 2 elementary aged children. Depending on the place we chose for dinner, sometimes our kids will order from the kids menu. Other times we will order one entrée plate and the kids will split it. My point is by the end of dinner, our bill is usually well over $30, sometimes $40, not including a tip. The dinner at the Mexican restaurant came to $28, just by using the $6 off coupon. There are so many deals like that, you just have to look for them.

My recommendations are to start small at first and get comfortable with two store's prices. Start looking for coupons and start organizing them and building your system. I also highly recommend you buy things you only really need at first. A really good Web site I came across is called The Krazy Coupon Lady. She lists some amazing and very helpful tips on couponing, especially if you are a beginner.

I haven’t been so excited about something like this for a long time.
Happy couponing and saving!

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