Hot Tips for Saving Money With Coupons

coupons

Everyone loves saving money. Whether it’s getting a discount at the supermarket or snagging a deal on free clothes online, there are many great ways to enjoy discounts on the things you buy every day. Finding the right coupons, however, can be time consuming. By following a few simple tips, you will be able to maximize your savings while minimizing your planning time.

Use Aggregate Sites

Aggregate sites gather information from around the Web and package them in easy to find databases. These sites allow you to view coupons from multiple websites and select the ones that are right for you. CouponsHQ is one of the top aggregate coupon sites on the Web and you can find deals on everything from clothing to groceries, shoes and more.

Set Aside a Coupon Day

Instead of constantly scanning the Web for coupons every day, simply set aside one day for coupon hunting. You can often find multiple coupons for the same items, saving you even more money. Sites that compile coupons from multiple vendors can save you time by sending them right to your store loyalty cards. Take advantage of this time-saver and enjoy even more savings.

Manage Your Coupons With Specialty Apps

There are many great applications that can help you manage your coupons right at your fingertips. Use an app on your mobile phone to keep track of all of your coupons and see your deals at a glance. Never again will you have to worry about losing money with expired coupons. The app will remind you when the expiration date is approaching. You will also get notifications about deals in your area. There are many coupon tracking apps to choose from, some that allow you to create custom grocery lists based on your savings.

Join Coupon Clubs Online

Joining a coupon interest club online is a great way to learn more about couponing and save even more money. These clubs bring together other money savers to share tips, upcoming specials and deals. Learn how to double coupons and get free stuff online from these veteran coupon experts. Participate in discussion forums and share ideas of your own in these online communities of savers.

Saving money online with coupons is easy if you know where to look. By using coupon aggregate sites, you can find great deals from sites across the Web. Join forums and download mobile apps for even better savings. Find your deals today.

Photo Credit: Stockmonkeys.com

 

Back to School Savings from RetailMeNot

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RetailMeNot

Are you ready for all the back to school sales yet? I know it’s a little bit early but with five kids I sure don’t mind spreading the expense out a little longer since it’s less painful on the budget. You can save even more on all your back-to-school shopping needs at RetailMeNot , the largest digital coupon website in the United States. RetailMeNot has the hottest back-to-school bargains for students of any age. From preschool to grad school, they’ve got you covered.  Get ready to grab your list and save with the top coupons for school uniforms, books, laptops and more!

RetailMeNot Contest

They’re also having a great contest where a lucky teacher is going to win a classroom shopping spree. Do you know of a teacher that’s in need of supplies to better serve their students? If so, you can create a YouTube video nominating your favorite teacher to give them a chance to win a 3-minute Costco shopping spree provided by RetailMeNot! Check out the official rules and details here and be sure to submit your nomination by Saturday, August 10, 2013.

If you’re like me I know you’d love some more great offers!  Check out these great clearance sales for top brands, as well as awesome deals at local restaurants on pizza and more! Also, be sure to download the RetailMeNot Mobile Coupons App so you can receive deal alerts while you’re shopping at your favorite malls!

 

Final Numbers for June – Saved $310.40

June-at-a-Glance

We are right in the middle of moving across state lines to be closer to my parents so we’ve been eating from the freezer and stockpile quite a bit this month, but I was still surprised to come in so far below my monthly budget of $300! For the month of June I spent $80.11 to buy $390.51 worth of groceries, toiletries, and cleaning supplies, or a savings of 79%! According to the spreadsheet I’ve spent $802.58 so far this year for $3,220.48 worth of stuff, or 75% off. That equates to an average of $134 per month for our family of six, or 74¢ a day per person! Of course I’ll need to start stocking up the freezers again once the move is finally over, but it feels good to be keeping expenses down right now while we’re having all these additional moving costs.

 

How to Get the Best Deal on Carpet Installation

How to Get the Best Deal on Carpet Installation

Although our house wasn’t that old when we bought it, the carpet had already been stained in several places because the previous owners had a bunch of dogs and kids. Since I was expecting quadruplets at the time, and the carpet was in great shape other than the stains, we decided to live with it until the kids got a little older so we wouldn’t have to worry about them ruining new carpet. The quads are seven now and it’s past time to have new carpet installed in the house so I went on a mission to get the best deal.

There are three different components to look at when comparing prices for having carpet installed – the price of the carpet, the price of the padding, and the price of the installation itself.

How to Get the Best Deal on Carpet Installation

Since the major home improvement stores in my area will match or beat their competitor’s prices, I started out by checking carpet prices at other smaller local stores and began keeping track of sales ads in the paper. Lowe’s has a low price guarantee where they either match a competitor’s percent off sale offer, or they’ll beat the competitor’s price on an identical item by 10%. Home Depot also has a price match guarantee where they’ll beat a competitor’s price on identical items by 10%. The guarantees don’t typically cover labor or installation costs so when I narrowed down my carpet selection I ended up choosing Home Depot since they currently have a $37 whole house carpet installation deal going on, as opposed to the $97 deal at Lowe’s.

How to Get the Best Deal on Carpet Installation

The thing that surprised me the most during my research is that the carpet pricing actually varied from store to store in the same chain so that’s definitely something else to keep an eye on. I live on the state line between Alabama and Florida so I had picked out my carpet in Florida but then I went to the Alabama store to actually place my order and I was shocked to see that they had a sale section where in stock carpet was under $1 per square foot. The sample that I had chosen at the other store was $1.65 per square foot and had a 5 year guarantee, imagine my surprise when I found a better carpet with a 10 year guarantee for just 93¢ a square foot. Add that to 49¢ per square foot for the padding and the total of $1.42 per square foot was cheaper than my original selection BEFORE adding padding. I’m thrilled to report that I saved nearly a thousand dollars on three rooms of carpet just by shopping around and also checking at several different stores within the same chain.

UPDATE! Beware of hidden charges!

Home Depot’s installers did a beautiful job of installing my carpet, however they told me that because there was paint on my concrete floors they couldn’t use nails on the tack strips and had to glue them down instead, then they proceeded to bill me an additional $331 for GLUE! I explained that I felt like it was a bait and switch so we renegotiated and I ended up paying an additional $30 since I felt that more than covered the cost of the glue.

 

How to Use Freecycle.org to Give or Gain Goodies

Freecycle Basketball Hoop

The other day I pulled up at my parents house to pick up my kids from camp grandma and they were out front playing basketball using the recycle can as a hoop. They were having a grand old time but I was a little embarrassed that they didn’t have a real basketball goal to play with so I posted a “want” on Freecycle.org and within a couple hours I had two people offering me their used basketball hoops for free. I ended up grabbing both of them and have put one up at my house and another at mom and dad’s place.

Freecycle Basketball Hoop

There are over 5,000 local Freecycle groups around the world so you can go to the main website and find one near you. With over 9 million members you’ll see tons of great useful stuff being traded on a daily basis. It is completely free to join and members don’t buy or sell anything, everything is given away for free.

If you’re moving or spring cleaning and have some items that you don’t need anymore but that still have some life left in them, you can list them on your local Freecycle page. Other members that are interested in your stuff will email you and make arrangements to come do a pickup.

They frown on people only using the site to get free stuff so be prepared to list some of your own things from time to time if you’d like to get some free goodies. I’ve seen everything from empty wine bottles to furniture and cars being donated through the system and you never know what you’ll find. I subscribe to their daily emails and like to watch for cool stuff for the kids, plus I enjoy the convenience of having somebody come pick up things that I need to get rid of. Let me know in the comments below about any treasures you’ve found through the Freecycle website!

 

Final Numbers for March – Saved $494.69

glance_0313

We’ve been eating from the freezer and stockpile quite a bit this month, but I was still surprised to come in so far below my monthly budget of $300! For the month of March I spent $182.43 to buy $677.12 worth of groceries, toiletries, and cleaning supplies, or a savings of 73%! According to the spreadsheet I’ve spent $500.50 so far this year for $1,975.52 worth of stuff, or 75% off. That equates to an average of $167 per month for our family of six, or 93¢ a day per person!

 

6 Tips for Shopping Farmers Markets

6 Tips for Shopping at the Farmer's Market

If you want to support your local economy AND get some fantastic fresh veggies, there is no place like the farmers market. When local farmers come together and offer their wares, you have the best local food selections right at your fingertips. Since this cuts out the middleman, you can often find some fantastic deals. To make your visit to the farmers market more enjoyable, here are a few tips:

1)Be Comfy

Dress for the weather and be prepared to walk. Wear comfortable shoes, and dress in layers if the day starts off cool. You can always remove a layer as the day begins to heat up. An umbrella or a jacket can come in handy if you run into a shower as well.

2) Bring Your Own Bags

Although some farmers will bring a supply of sacks, it helps them out if you bring your own bags. And you would hate to miss out on some yummy goods if you have no place to put them.

3) Know What You Want

The sights and smells of a farmers market can be so enticing that you overbuy. You may want to visit the market once before you actually do any buying to get an idea of what they sell. The next time you visit you can come prepared. Keep in mind, however, that the offerings do change based on the season. Make a list of what you would like, but be flexible based on what’s for sale.

4) Come Early

If you want the best selection, get to the market early. Once a vendor is out of a certain item, that’s all they have until next week, so don’t miss out!

5) Get to Know the Farmers

It really is nice to get to know more about where your food is coming from. There are often friendly folks who are more than happy to tell you about what they have for sale, what’s particularly good and what they may have in the future. In addition, the more you visit a given vendor, the more likely they are to throw a freebie you way once in a while. They are also usually good for some wonderful tips on how to prepare the food they sell.

6) Use Your Finds Quickly

One of the greatest parts of the farmers market is how fresh the food is. Use or preserve what you buy quickly so that it offers you the most nutrients AND you don’t waste anything by having to throw it away.

Photo Credit: iClipart

 

End of the Year Numbers & 2013 Goals

glance_2013

Here is my year at a glance for 2012 – I’m very proud of these numbers and excited to share, but honestly I’m looking forward to beating them in 2013! I’d like to thank Angela at The Coupon Project again for putting the spreadsheet together that I’m using. I’d highly recommend that you download Angela’s new updated version of the savings tracker spreadsheet for my favorite price – free!

This year I bought $10,582.20 worth of products for only $2,584.30, or 76% off. Take a look at the ‘coupons’ and ‘discounts’ columns and you’ll see that less than half of the $6,763.02 that I saved was from coupons and the majority was from sales. That shows that you can save 30-50% without clipping a single coupon if you simply buy things when they’re on sale, and buy enough to keep you until the next sale. So how much you want to save and how much time you want to spend are completely up to you, but you CAN do this!

For 2012 I set a budget of $300 per month for our family of seven, plus two cats and a dog. That’s $69/week ($3,600/52 weeks) or $10 per person, which I felt was reasonable and still allowed for some room in the budget to expand the stockpile. I’m thrilled and more than a little surprised that I actually spent an average of $50/week for all of 2012! Even though that’s just a little over $7 per week per person, I’m still going to keep the budget at $3,600 for the new year, $300 per month or around $70 a week. The kids are growing fast and seem to be eating more every day so I hesitate to lower the goal at this point. Considering that I used to spend around $325-350 a WEEK, I’m very excited to know that we can easily live with a grocery budget of just $300 a month!

 

Invest a Little Time in Your Wardrobe and Save!

Invest a Little Time in Your Wardrobe and SaveShoes and clothing are expensive. Even if you purchased some great pieces secondhand, you still had to spend your hard earned cash. The best way to protect that investment is to put a little thought into caring for these items—that way you won’t have to buy more to replace worn items as often.

Let’s start with your shoes. I’m very willing to pay more for a pair of good quality, comfortable and supportive shoes, but that doesn’t mean I look forward to parting with the cash. For that reason I make it a point to take good care of my shoes, and it really does add to their longevity. Don’t forget to also protect and maintain accessories like belts and purses.

Polishing your leather shoes is one of the best ways to prolong their life. Trust me, this lost art really does help. I also like to spray suede or leather shoes with a waterproofing spray before wearing them for the first time. This is especially helpful in colder climates as it helps cut down on the amount of damage done by road salt.

There’s also a shoe repair shop in town that does very reasonably priced work. Check to see if you have something similar. I have had heels replaced, soles repaired and grommets replaced when necessary. Granted, I have had to spend a few dollars here and there to do so, but it has saved me from having to spend a bundle on a new pair.

Clothing can also benefit from a bit of maintenance. A little TLC will help your favorite pieces enjoy a longer life—and keep more cash in your pocketbook!

One mistake I think many people make is to wash any piece of clothing they have worn, no matter how short the time. Now, I’m not saying stop washing your clothing—obviously there are some items that need to be laundered with each wearing. However, unless they have been obviously soiled, I tend to wear jeans and jackets or sweaters (if I’m wearing another shirt underneath them) more than once before I wash them.

Laundering can be very hard on your clothes—especially the dryer. I am also very careful to never throw my work clothes, since they tend to be pricier, or more delicate items in the dryer—yes it’s quicker, but instead I hang the items on a rack and let them air dry. It keeps them looking nice longer and reduces my carbon footprint a bit as well.

We keep a basket in the laundry room and the family knows to put any items that repair there. I try to take a few minutes each week to mend anything that needs mending. Some weeks I’m lucky and don’t need to, but I make it a point to replace buttons, re-sew loose hems and re-stitch seams as necessary. If I wait, something will inevitably make the situation worse—I’ll lose the missing button, the tiny rip will turn into a huge tear or the kids will catch a heel in a loose hem and destroy the bottom of a pair of pants. An ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure!

Photo Credit: iClipart

 

Cut Your Budget with Plan Ahead Weekday Dinner Prep

Cut your Budget with Plan Ahead Weekly Meal PrepWe all know how easy it is to get sucked into the drive-through or to pick up that takeout menu and order dinner, but it’s hard on our wallets. With a little planning, we can avoid those traps.

1) Make a Plan

I like to cook on Sundays, and have meals ready to go for Monday through Wednesday. Thursday then becomes “leftover day.” You choose what works best for you and your schedule.

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