May 31, 2011

Do you have a backup plan?


Over the past few months I have learned that I have to have a backup plan when it comes to shopping. In order to get the awesome freebies with my coupons, I need more than one location to shop at. I spend a lot of time at Dollar General as you have seen demonstrated in my freebie shopping trips posts, but sometimes they are out of stock and I have to move on to the next location. Thankfully, I live pretty close to (4) Dollar Generals locations. Why does any of this matter? Let me explain... I have determined that you need at least 3 separate locations of your favorite store.  

  • A Permanent store (This is the location you most frequent)

  • A Backup store (If your first store is outta stock, this is your fall back)

  • A Sleeper store (This is the gem, a diamond in the rough)

The permanent store is the one closest to you and the one you most rely upon, but when they don't have what you need, that is where your backup store comes into play. The backup store is just that, your trusted backup. But the best one is the "Sleeper" store, this is the one that no one really knows about because it's off the beaten path and not in a heavily populated area. These sleeper stores usually have an abundance of the products you need. I highly recommend having at least three of each of your favorite stores committed to memory. Don't laugh too hard, I know it sounds a bit strange, but this method has worked for me time and time again. Just today, I had to shop at my Sleeper store to get the Degree deodorants on my freebie shopping list. In the interest of fairness, I do tell all my family and friends about this method, but I don't reveal my Sleeper store, that's my secret weapon! Give it a try, you'll be glad you did.

20 uses for Borax


Borax is a time tested multipurpose cleaner! There are so many wonderful uses for this tool and I'm here to share 20 of them with you to help get you on your way to learning just how useful Borax is. 
  • Keep bugs & ants away by sprinkling a combination of equal parts borax and sugar.
  • Shoo rodents away by sprinkling borax along the perimeter of the wall.
  • Eradicate bed bugs by sprinkling borax on your mattress. Let it sit and then vacuum it up.
  • Kill fleas by sprinkling borax on your carpet. Leave it for an hour and vacuum it up thoroughly!!!
  • Remove grime & grease on pots and pans with a mix of 1 teaspoon of borax & warm water. Borax is non-abrasive, it will work on the gunk without causing damage to the surface.
  • Remove a tough stain by mixing a cup of borax with 2 cups of warm water, this will create a paste that should be applied directly to the stain. Let it sit, then wash as normal. 
  • Make an all purpose cleaner by mixing 2 tablespoons of borax and 2 cups of hot water in a spray bottle.
  • Safely remove oxidation from metals with borax. 
  • Make your own floor and wall cleaner, mix 1/3 cup borax, 1 tablespoon of ammonia and 1 teaspoon of dish detergent into 1 gallon of water.
  • As a laundry detergent, add one cup of borax to each load, this will dramatically boost your cleaning power.
  • Clean your toilet with this mixed solution: Dissolve 1/2 a cup of borax with 1 gallon of water. Scrub the toilet with a strong brush, let it sit & flush to rinse. This cleaner can also be used in the shower or on counters.
  • Make your own dishwasher detergent by mixing 1 tablespoon of borax and 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
  • Reduce odor in your cat's litter box by mixing a few tablespoons of borax with the litter.
  • Clean your garbage disposal by pouring 3 tablespoons of borax down the drain. Let it sit for one hour & flush with warm water. This will sanitize it and will neutralize the smelly bacteria.
  • Remove mildew and mustiness from linens by soaking them in 2 cups of borax mixed with 2 quarts of water. Let the linens sit for a few hours, then wash as normal.
  • Unclog drains with 1/2 cup of borax followed by 2 cups of boiling water. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then let water run for a few minutes to flush it out.

  • Deodorize your trash can by filling it with borax and water. Let it soak then rinse it out, sprinkle some borax in the bottom once it's clean. This will keep the bugs away and absorb any odor causing moisture.
  • Kill weeds by sprinkling borax atop, this is useful for weeds that spring up in between concrete cracks and on walkways. 
  • Soften your water when doing laundry by adding a scoop of borax to the load.
  • Bring your worn fine china back to life by soaking it in a sink full of warm water and a 1/2 cup of borax. Rinse well and wash a second time.
Give these tips a try, you will notice a big difference.

Free Glasses! 6/3


It's that time again! Coastal Contacts is offering another 10,000 pair of FREE eye glasses on Friday, June 3rd.
Go to http://www.facebook.com/CoastalContacts.com on Facebook and "Like" Coastal Contacts to get your promo code located on the "Free Glasses" tab. Then head on over to www.coastalcontacts.com . Make sure you have your prescription handy! Be early so you don't miss out on this awesome freebie, the promo goes live at 9:00am Eastern Time. Shipping & Handling runs between $10-$15, keep in mind that this promo is for first time users only.
Good Luck!

Went freebie shopping!


What a deal! We got 20 bottles of Degree deodorant @ Dollar General today. 

20 Degree deodorant @ $1.00 each (I had 10 BOGO coupons)=$10.00 

Can you believe it? The deodorant was already marked down to $1.00 coupled with the BOGO coupon, if my math is correct, that works out to .50 cents a bottleThe original price of the mens deodorant is $2.50 but was marked down to $1.00. The original price of the womens deodorant is $2.25 but was marked down to $1.00.

Total retail value before discounts= $47.50
Total OOP expense= $10.00

May 30, 2011

Went freebie shopping!


Ok, so I couldn't resist posting this awesome freebie shopping trip even though I'm off today. So with family in tow, we stopped by Dollar General and scored these great deals!


Dollar General
10 Degree Deodorants @ $1.00 (I had 10 .75 off coupons)= $2.50
1 bottle of Suave Professionals Shampoo @ $2.50 (I had a FREEBIE coupon)= FREE

On the clearance rack I found;

1 bottle of regular Suave Shampoo @ $2.00 (this bottle has 20% more)
1 Pledge Fabric Sweeper for pet hair @ $5.00 discounted to $2.50 plus a $1.00 off peelie coupon= $1.50

Total Retail Value= $19.50
Total OOP Expense= $4.00

Holiday & Family Fun


This week promises to be very busy, so I'm taking today off to spend time with loved ones. I hope you have the opportunity to do the same on this lovely Memorial Day holiday. I have family visiting from back home that I haven't seen in ages, so it's time to catch up and make some new memories. 

May 29, 2011

The language of coupons

Learn the talk!

Since we have this weekend off from clipping our coupons, let's get back to class and learn something new. Last week you learned a bit about the fundamentals of couponing and how to get started, today we're going to learn about the language of couponing. Here you will find the meanings to common coupon abbreviations or as I like to call it "coupon talk".

Q (Coupon)

AC (After Coupon)


CAT (Catalina)

AR (After Rebate)

BLINKIES (In-store coupons found near product, usually from red blinking box)

BOGO or B1G1 (Buy One Get One Free)

BO50 or BO50% (Buy One Get One Half Off)

CATALINA (coupon dispensed at register after purchase)

DND (Do Not Double)

ECB (CVS Extra Care Bucks earned for purchases)

HBA (The health and beauty section)

HANGTAG (coupons hanging on a product)

IP (Internet Printable Coupon)

MIR (Mail In Rebate)

MQ (Manufacturers Coupon)

OOP (Out of Pocket) related to your total expense

OYNO (On your next order)

P&G (Proctor & Gamble)

PEELIE (coupon that you peel off the package)

RC (Rain check)

RP (Red Plum) 

SS (Smart Source)

RC (Regional Coupon)

RR (Walgreens Register Rewards, earned for purchases)

STACKING (Using a store specific coupon along with a Manufacturer coupon)

TEARPAD (A pad of coupons found hanging from a store shelf or display)

TMF (Try Me Free)

WYB (When You Buy)

ETS (Excludes trial size)


OOS (Out of stock)


WSL (While supplies last)

This list will help you obtain a better understanding of coupon talk, it will be updated as needed. You can locate this list under my Linky Pages subcategory "Misc & Money Savers". If you have any abbreviations that are commonly known that I may have missed, let me know by posting a comment below. Happy Couponing!

May 28, 2011

Kmart B-day Club (just for the kiddos)





Shopping for presents for your child isn’t always easy. There are literally thousands of toys to choose from, and children’s tastes, knowledge and skills change constantly. But don’t worry...Kmart will help you narrow your search and find the perfect gift for your celebration.


As a member of the Kmart Birthday Club, you'll receive:
A Birthday surprise fun pack
$5 in Birthday bucks on your child's birthday
Age appropriate toy and gift suggestions
Information on developmental milestones from 6 months through 12 years
Tips & advice for planning a memorable birthday celebration


For more information and to register your child for this awesome program, go to http://www.kmart.com/shc/s/dap_10151_10104_DAP_BirthdayClubAbout?i_cntr=1306506540890

New coupon site


For those that need the extra muscle of Arm & Hammer products, they have a website that offers great money saving coupons for popular A&H cleaning supplies. Go to http://www.armandhammer.com to register and start printing your coupons.

Is this still good?

Photo Credit
Shutterstock.com

Have you ever wondered if the open ketchup bottle that's been sitting in the fridge is still fresh? Or if that bag of chips is still edible? Here's a helpful list of expiration dates for common kitchen & household products. 

In the kitchen

Chocolate candy bar 
Sealed: 1 year from production date
Opened: 5 days

Coffee (canned ground)
Sealed: 2 years
Opened: 1 month refrigerated

Coffee (instant)
Sealed: Up to 2 years
Opened: Up to 1 month

Potato Chips
Sealed: 1-2 months
Opened: 2 weeks

Dried pasta
12 months

Frozen dinners
Sealed in packaging: 12 to 18 months

Frozen veggies
Sealed: 18 to 24 months
Opened: 1 month

Honey
Indefinite shelf life

Ketchup
Sealed: 1 year 
Opened: 4 to 6 months

Maple syrup (real or imitation)
1 year

Marshmallows
Sealed: 40 weeks
Opened: 3 months

Mayonnaise
Sealed: Indefinitely
Opened: 2 to 3 months from “sell by” date.

Mustard
Sealed: 2 years 
Opened: 6 months

Olives ( in jar)
Sealed: 3 years
Opened: 3 months

Olive oil
2 years from manufacture date 

Peanut butter (processed i.e. Peter Pan etc)
Sealed: 2 years
Opened: 6 months

Pickles
Sealed: 18 months
Opened: Throw away if slippery or too soft

Rice (white)
2 years from date on box or date of purchase

Salad dressing (bottled)
Sealed: 12 months after “best by” date
Opened: 9 months refrigerated

Canned Soda (regular)
Sealed: 9 months from “best by” date
Opened: Doesn’t spoil, but taste may go flat

Steak sauce
Sealed: 33 months 
Opened: 2 years

Tabasco
Sealed: Indefinite
Opened: 5 years, stored in a cool, dry place

Tea bags 
Use within 2 years of package being opened

Tuna (canned)
Unopened: 1 year from date of purchase
Opened: 3 to 4 days, not stored in can

Vinegar
42 months (Sealed or Opened)


Around the house

Antifreeze (concentrate)
Indefinite

Batteries (Alkaline)
7 years

Batteries (Lithium)
10 years

Bleach
3 to 6 months

Dish detergent (liquid or powdered)
1 year

Laundry detergent (liquid or powdered)
Sealed: 9 months to 1 year
Opened: 6 months

Motor oil
Sealed: 2 to 5 years
Opened: 3 months

Paint
Sealed: Up to 10 years
Opened: 2 to 5 years

Spray paint
2 to 3 years

Bar soap
18 months to 3 years

Body wash
3 years

Body bleaches & depilatories
Sealed: 2 years
Opened: 6 months

Body lotion
3 years

Conditioner
2 to 3 years

Deodorant
Sealed: 2 years
Opened: 1 to 2 years

Foundation (oil-based)
2 years

Foundation (water-based)
3 years

Hair spray
2 to 3 years

Lip balm
Sealed: 5 years
Opened: 1 to 5 years

Lipstick
2 years

Mascara
Sealed: 2 years
Opened: 3 to 4 months

Mouthwash
Three years from manufacture date

Nail polish
1 year

Perfume
1 to 2 years

Rubbing alcohol
3 years

Shampoo
2 to 3 years

Shaving cream
2 years or more

May 27, 2011

Craft Corner


I've been busy crafting this week. I found this really cute mock bird feeder at Joann's for .25 cents and decided to paint it sky blue. I think it came out really well & I will use it as an accent piece in the living room. Not bad for a quarter!

Craft Corner



Here is the re-do of the gold breakfast tray I scored at the thrift store for $1 this week. I spray painted it with a shimmery silver paint and it turned out better than I expected. I decided to place it on my nightstand to hold my odds and ends. I love it!

May 26, 2011

The fundamentals of couponing pt.#1


How to maximize your coupon savings!

So you finally decided that coupons are no longer lame and you want to start using them, but you don't exactly know how or where to start. Here are some must have tips to start you on your couponing adventures.

  • Save every coupon you get! Even those coupons for items that you don’t think you need or would ever use. You never know when those coupons may come in handy.  
  • Have products that you don’t use or need? Bless others by donating those items. There are many non profit organizations and individuals such as food pantries, shelters, local churches, a family in need, those on fixed incomes, the needs are endless.
  • Buy multiple copies of the Sunday paper, you can get them at a local convenience store or retailers like Walmart. BTW, Walmart sells the Sunday paper for .88 cents. The coupon savings you receive more than pay for the paper. You can also find coupons online at Redplum, Smart Source, P&G, SC Johnson, Coupons.com. Keep an eye out at your local grocery store for “blinkies”, “tear pads”, “peelies” & “hang tags” You will find links to each of the online resources at the end of this post.
  • Never PAY for toothpaste again! You will almost ALWAYS be able to get free toothpaste when you match your coupons to store circulars, especially at Walgreens. 
  • Give up on brand loyalty! Have you always used Dawn dish liquid? Ajax is just as good and if you can get it for FREE. The freebies don’t stop there, you can also get shampoo, hairspray, body wash, detergent, deodorant, and so much more. 
  • Get focused and organized! Coupon organization is key to maximizing your savings! If you’re stuck fumbling around for your coupons, you may get frustrated & overwhelmed and miss out on potential savings.
  • Find a couple of “money saving & coupon blogs” that you like and sign up for their daily emails. They will help you stretch your pennies and give you lots of great information on ways to save!  
  • Sign up for loyalty rewards cards from your favorite retailers. These can save you big money! 
  • Make your list and sort your coupons before you go to the store. It’s  also a good idea to paperclip similar coupons so that you know exactly how many items you can get and you won’t have to worry about searching through your coupon holder. I keep my list in the front pocket of my pouch with the corresponding coupons I plan to use on my shopping trip.
  • Stack your coupons! You can use one manufacturers coupon and one store coupon for the same product, this is called “stacking”. This is not double dipping, this is a legal and ethical means of saving money. The majority of retailers accept stacking coupons, however double check the stores coupon policy.
  • Keep a copy of the coupon policy on hand. I keep a copy of each of my favorite stores policies with me at all times, just in case I need to reference a rule or in case there may be a discrepancy that requires clarification.
  • Don’t be intimidated by BOGO (Buy One Get One). Often times, retailers like Walgreens or CVS offer a sale promotion of BOGO, for example; Walgreens has Zest body wash on BOGO which means you have to purchase one bottle to in order to get one free. But what if you have a BOGO coupon for the same product? You can confidently walk in with your BOGO coupon and use it on the corresponding BOGO sale which would make both items free.  All you pay is tax! You’re probably wondering how that’s possible. Because you used the BOGO coupon, it made the bottle that you were purchasing FREE since the other one was already FREE.  This is not unethical nor illegal!!! In fairness I was very scared when I first tried this, I thought the police would be standing outside waiting to hall me off to jail.  
  • If the store runs out of the products you are looking to purchase, don’t leave without a Rain Check! A rain check is like a promissory note, it guarantees that once the item is restocked, you will still receive the sale price even after the sale is over. A rain check indicates the product, the sale price, and the quantity you want to purchase. *Keep in mind, you may be relying on being able to stack a coupon with the sale price, be careful to ensure that the coupon is still valid and not expired. The rain check is only good for the retailers sale price, it does not include a guarantee on the coupon! I’ve made this mistake a couple of times and walked out red faced.
  • Ad matching is a huge money and gas saver! Many retailers will match a competitors sale price and some times beat it too. This saves you from having to drive to the other store. 
  • In addition, many retailers will accept competitors coupons. For example, if you have a Walgreens coupon for a Snickers candy bar for .49 cents and Target sells the same product for .89 cents, you can use the Walgreens coupon at Target to get the sale price. Always be sure to verify which retailer accepts competitors coupons by reading their coupon policy.
  • Pay attention to your coupons! Read them carefully to ensure you are following the rules of the coupon and the rules of the store. Some coupons use verbiage like “Limit one coupon per visit” or “Limit one coupon per item” or “Limit one coupon per purchase", there are huge differences between them. 
  • Always remain calm when dealing with a difficult cashier, they may interpret the policy differently or may be confused. If you feel you are honestly right about the use of a coupon, don’t be afraid to ask for a manager who has more authority. If you are still experiencing a problem, you have the right to request to speak to a District Manager. 
Following these guidelines will certainly help to get you on your way to mega money savings! Don’t get frustrated, it takes time to get the hang of it all, it took me almost 6 months to get a true understanding of couponing, so don’t beat yourself up when you don’t get it right the first time.





No coupons this weekend!


Save your dollars this weekend, there will be no coupon inserts due to the Memorial Day holiday observance. This weekend will give you the perfect opportunity to get your coupons organized in preparation of upcoming sales. 

Swagbucks Extravaganza!


Today is a mega Swagbucks extravaganza, there will be codes coming out all day in many different places. Check your swidget frequently for a code alert! There may be codes on Facebook, SB Blog, Twitter, Tool bar, Swag store and more. 

May 25, 2011

Save a hundred



What could you do with an extra $100 a month? Perhaps make an extra credit card payment or take a mini vacation? Whatever your reasons are, here are 11 practical tips to help you save that Benjamin.

Clip coupons– You can find coupons on just about everything from books to movies, fast food/fine dining, and so much more. 

Eat at home- Cooking quick fix meals at home will help to quell the desire to eat out. You can easily make a sub sandwich at home, or homemade tacos.

Save on drinks- Skip Starbucks, make a pot of coffee at home and pack your thermos. A small cup of joe at your favorite cafe averages $4.75, multiply that by 5 working days, that could be an instant savings of $23.75 a week! 

DIY goes a long way- You can easily wash your own car, break out your lawn mower, dry clean from home. You have the ability to do these things on your own if you take the time to learn how. 

Combine shopping trips- Save money on gas when you run all your errands in one trip. You know your neighborhood best so map the quickest route to save on fuel.

Pack your lunch- There's nothing like a delicious home cooked meal, pack those left overs. The average cost of lunch at a fast food restaurant is $6.25, multiply that by 5 working days, that could be an instant savings of $37.25 a week!

Don't pay your bank!- Skip the ATM, fees are too high & quickly add up. Fees can be avoided by stopping by your bank to use the ATM or when you make a store purchase, request cash back when paying with a debit card. (Walmart, Walgreens offer this feature at no additional cost) Average monthly savings $20.00 in fees.

Stop wasting money- If you don't need unlimited web, text & apps then ditch those extras. Drop premium cable channels, & fire the paper boy, you can read the news online. Paying for stuff you're not really using is like flushing money down the toilet.

The library is your friend- It's not just for checking out books anymore! You can also rent movies and music from the library for free which saves you on rental fees & from buying books that you may only read once. Skipping Netflix & Blockbuster can save you $25.00 a month.

Buy used- Ebay & Craigslist are awesome resources for buying gently used items. You can find DVDs, CDs, books, video games, clothes & so much more.

Buy off brand generic- It tastes just the same as name brand, but if you must buy the big labels then plan on using coupons to help cut costs.

These are easy and fail safe tips that I've used, I ended up saving much more than $100 and gained a whole new appreciation for thriftiness.


Free Donut Day 6/3/11


In honor of National Donut Day, Krispy Kreme has just announced that they will be running a free donut promo on June 3rd, 2011. You can select any donut, it is not limited to certain ones, so get what you wish. I noticed a new donut has debuted it's called "Cookies & Cream", topped with Oreo crumbles and it looks so delicious!

Go to the press release on Facebook for more info http://www.facebook.com/KrispyKreme

Bountiful Blessings!


A little over a week ago I found a post that I heard about from a single mom for a free case of formula from Similac, at first I was skeptical because as many of you parents out there know, baby formula is quite expensive! Nonetheless, I decided to try it out just for the sake of trying, lo & behold the package arrived. It was a case of 48 prepackaged bottles of milk. I was so excited because I already have 2 families in mind to bless with this freebie. I found out the retail value of this case is $48.92, but we got it for free, there is nothing that God can't do!

Thrift Store Score

Today was a great day for thrifting! I scored these three items for $1.00 each. I'm planning on revamping one of them for a craft corner project but haven't yet decided what I want to do with it. Since I was also able to score the 2 cases of free Glidden paint samples at Walmart last weekend, I can test colors until my hearts content. Once it's completed I will post it in a Craft Corner segment. Happy Thrifting! 



Freebie glasses


They're at it again, another free 10K pairs of glasses from Coastal Contacts today only! Event starts at 9am Eastern time, to score your free pair of glasses you will need to enter coupon code FREEGLASSES525 at checkout and pay just $10-14 for shipping. You gotta act fast as this freebie tends to go very fast. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/CoastalContacts.com?sk=app_159563267433134. "Like" them on Facebook and proceed onto their website at http://www.coastalcontacts.com/

Be early so that you can grab your pair, good luck!