Scholarship Giveaway

As I continue on my journey of achieving my masters degree, Dealspotr.com is offering a scholarship giveaway that I have created this post as my submission for consideration.

For those who’ve been visiting my page for some time will know, saving money was born out of necessity for me. Seven years ago, I found myself homeless, pregnant, jobless and struggling to feed my family. From that experience, I learned how to maximize my purchases, budget, and share my tips with others who also wanted to save.

saco-300px

Couponing can seem overwhelming. There is so much information available, it is difficult to know where to start. Planning is key. Mapping out meals for grocery shopping will help keep your shopping list in check, and prevent overspending on food that you may not eat. Utilizing grocery store circulars can help determine the type of meals you will want to prepare. If ground beef is on sale, maybe a meatloaf that will provide leftovers for lunches. There are websites available that can also help with food planning like Emeals.com.
shoppingcart2-800px
There are many websites for grocery store coupons available, and also print coupons in the newspaper. With the advent of everyone having a mobile phone, there are now mobile coupons available for both retail and grocery store purchases. Apps like Ibotta, Shopkick, and Coupons.com, can help reduce grocery costs. Retail coupon apps like Retailmenot.com, CartWheel, and SavingsCatcher can help prevent over spending for your everyday items.

The number one consideration to always keep in mind is planning and preparation. Whenever a purchase is to be made, research is important to ensure you aren’t overpaying for an item. Online shopping sites like ebates.com can help with online shopping discounts and rebates back on purchases. Any search engine can also be a great tool for searching for lower prices on an item you may be looking for. There are also countless websites and blogs like DealSpotr.com that can help investigate savings both in stores and online. These communities can also connect you with other people who also want to save and be frugal. Getting the information word of mouth is sometimes the fastest way to be aware of the latest promotion or savings opportunity.

johnny-automatic-razor-800px
Subscription services can also provide deep discounts for everyday items you may buy regularly. DollarShaveClub.com can be as low as $3.00 a month for razor blades. Amazon.com also has monthly subscription services for everyday items like toilet paper or shampoo. Some of these items can even be delivered the same day.

Overall, regardless of the savings method you use planning and budgeting are the key. Impulse spending can be dangerous and should be kept to a minimum, or set a planned amount accordingly as “blow” money. Setting a spending goal and working within your means will provide a less stressful experience. If your juggling work, school, home life and personal time, these skills will become crucial to your well being. There are great courses available to help with financial planning and budgeting like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. This course was extremely helpful for me in getting on track with spending. I started out using the envelope system and operated only with cash. It taught me how to stay within my means, even when emergencies came up.

Advertisements

Target – 3 DiGiorno pizzas and a 2-liter Diet Pepsi for $8.50

Target has a special this week on DiGiorno!

Digiorno

The Buy 2 Get 1 Free DiGiorno coupon is back and there is a new $.50 off 1 2-liter Diet Pepsi coupon!

Use the Zip Code 30303 at this link here.

Here’s the deal:

Buy (3) DiGiorno Pizzas and (1) 2-Liter Diet Pepsi

– Use B2G1 Free Digiorno Coupon (Value $4.50)

– Use $.50/1 2-liter Diet Pepsi

Total: $8.50 plus tax

 

This post may contain affiliate links.

Walgreens Shopping Trip – 1/27

Walgreenslogo
Transaction 1:
1.) Purabsorb Iron Supplement – $10 – Register Reward $10

-$3/1 Purabsorb Iron Supplement Red Plum here

2.) KY Ultra Gel – $5.99 – Register Reward $6.00

– $2/1 Any KY Brand Product (SmartSource 12/9/2012) Exp 2/28/13

Total: $10.99 Plus Tax
Saved: $17.49

Received: $16.00 in Register Rewards

Transaction 2:
1.) 5 Sunday Newspapers – $10.00
Used $10 Register Reward from Transaction 1

Total: Free plus Tax
Saved: $10.00

Transaction 3:
1.) Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power Razor – $9.99
2.) Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power 4 count Cartridge – $18.99
Used $10 off Gillette Razor coupon from Sunday paper P&G Insert
Used $6.00 Register Reward from Transaction #1

Total: $12.98 plus tax
Saved: $20.00
Received: 6,000 Balance Rewards points ($6.00 value)

Total spent: $23.97
Total saved: $47.49
Balance Rewards on hand: $6.00

Lunch at Olive Garden this week – Starting at 56 cents!

Olive Garden has a 20% off your lunch purchase here.

This coupon is valid Monday through Thursday until 4PM and expires on 1/24/13.

olive-garden-logo

You can combine this with a $5 Olive Garden gift card at MyCokeRewards for 150 points today only at this link!

mcr_logo

Lunch entrees start at $6.95.  With 20% and the $5 gift card you can score lunch for $.56!

Walgreens – Scrubbing Bubbles Vanish Drop Ins $.09 each

Walgreenslogoscrubbing-

This week at Walgreens, purchase three participating Scrubbing Bubbles Products and get 2,000 Balance Reward Points. Scrubbing Bubbles Vanish Drop Ins are just $.09 after coupons and Balance Rewards Points.

Details:
(4) Scrubbing Bubbles Vanish Drop Ins $1.59 each (25% off)

(2) $2.00/2 Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Product here

Pay: $2.36

Earn 2,000 Balance Reward Points

Total after Rewards Points: $.36 ($.09 each)

Valid through 1/19/2013

How I do it……Figuring out how couponing can work for you….

As I post different shopping trip successes, a lot of people ask me “How do you do it?”

bungalow_flooring-surfaces_100_dollar_bill_runner_17x40-20228021740

Couponing is not an easy pastime, but with every penny being so critical, it’s a job of necessity for me and my family. I call it a job because it takes time and effort to save the kind of money I do on my household goods bill.

Every household has different needs, dietary constraints, and other scenarios.  There is not a one-stop shop, or singular way that works for everyone.  This is what works for me and my family. It takes learning and doing to find out what works for you.

1. Coupon blogs are your friend, but not every deal is in one place.

There are several coupon blogs that I follow daily. For me, daily is the key because like you, there are many people out there that want deals too. If you don’t jump on a sale, there may be another shelf-clearing coupon maven that will beat you to it. Also, understand that many blog writers are regional and stores vary from place to place.  Publix has become my primary grocery store, but it does not exist everywhere. You may go to Kroger, Safeway, Stop and Shop, Wegman’s, etc. Here is my list of blogs I follow, and most of them apply to the southeast region:

I’ve found that the easiest way to aggregate and follow these blogs is Google Reader.  Most blogs have an RSS feed you can subscribe too and it can be read all in one place. Facebook use to be a good way to do this as well, but as News Feed filters have changed over time, now articles may be missed because of selective filtering for these folks. I encourage you to look them up, follow them on Facebook and subscribe. All of the bloggers do such on a full time basis as their livelihood.  They put an amazing amount of time and effort into the information they provide. Please help and support any that work for you.

Here’s a screenshot of my Google Reader coupon folder:

GoogleReader

2. Know your stores coupon policy. There are some stores that limit the usage of internet coupons and the like. There are also many times when a cashier may not accept a valid coupon because they are unaware of a policy. You should always have a printed version of the coupon policy with you so you can defuse any potential frustrating situations. This is really important at stores where you may do price matching or bring competitor coupons. My Publix accepts Target and Winn-Dixie coupons but yours may not.

Here is a list of coupon policies at some major stores:

3. You don’t have to slave over the Sunday paper…..but boy does it sure help.

newspaper_bwThere’s been many discussions about the Sunday paper.  Many couponers, extreme or otherwise, debate this topic as the cost of the Sunday paper rises. In any case, I’ve always been able to save more than what my Sunday paper costs. I usually buy 5 Sunday newspapers and it costs me $10.70. My Dollar Tree use to carry the paper, so I could get 5 papers for $5.35 but the local newspaper increased the price and no longer sell it at the Dollar Store.  Your stores may carry it, so that is something to consider.

By far, you will get more value out of internet and competitor coupons/price matching than the Sunday paper. Here are some internet coupon links (These are not my affiliate links, we will discuss this more later):

4. If you like a particular brand or product, check their website, Facebook and other social media outlets.

If you know your shopping trip is going to include a particular item, always check the manufacturer’s website. Almost all companies have some sort of membership to their website where you can directly print exclusive coupons and deals.  They pop-up on Facebook frequently as well. Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s also have programs to redeem product codes to get coupons for free or seriously reduced prices.

5. Set a budget and stick to it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is probably one of the most important things for me when couponing. It’s very easy for me to get carried away with getting a good deal, ending up with stuff I don’t need, and spending more than I really should have. Not every discounted item is going to apply to you. If you don’t wear make-up, you don’t need to go out and clear the shelf at CVS of the foundation because it’s $1.

6. Being willing to substitute brands.

SkippyThe Skippy Peanut Butter you normally buy may not be cost effective this week (gasp!), you will have to go with Peter Pan. These types of compromises will help keep your grocery costs low while getting the food you need. Hopefully on your next trip you can find what you normally buy but being flexible here is key.

7. Make a list, check it twice.

The questionnaireIf you shop like I do, there are many times items magically appear in the cart that weren’t part of my shopping plan. Before heading out to the store, know ahead of time exactly what your going to buy and stick to the plan. That way there are no surprises at checkout. Where you thought you should have spent $50, could quickly turn into $150 if items are added that you weren’t planning on buying.

 

Lastly, if you find a deal on a blog, share your success or challenges with the community. This sharing of information is what brings the deals home for everyone.

Above, I mentioned affiliate links.  Many of the bloggers who post these deals use affiliate marketing to fund their websites and homes.  If you find a deal with them, be sure to follow their posted links so they can generate that income they worked so hard for!

Good luck and happy couponing!

Publix Shopping Plan 1/3/2013

Publix has some great deals this week along with the $10 off a $50 gas card in this weeks flyer.

publix

Here is my shopping plan for the week:

(4) Hormel Country Crock Sides 20 to 24oz tub, Buy One Get One $3.99 – Total $7.98

(4) $1/1 Hormel Country Crock Side Coupon

 

(4) Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers or Multi-Seed, 4.5 ounce, Buy 1 @ $3.19 Get 1 Free – Total $6.38

(4) $1/1 Crunchmaster Cracker Purchase

 

(4) Quaker Quick 1 minute Oatmeal or Old Fashioned Oats, 18 ounce, Buy 1 @ $2.85 Get 1 Free
– Total $5.70

(2) $1/2 Quaker Products

 

(6) Ronzoni Pasta: Original, Healthy Harvest or Garden Delight (excludes Lasagna, Jumbo Shells, Manicotti and Smart Taste) 9-16 ounce, Buy 1 @ $1.59 Get 1 Free – Total $4.77

(4) Ragu Pasta Sauce Buy 1 @ $2.19 Get 1 Free – Total $4.38

(2) $1.50/2 Publix Ragu Coupon

 

(6) Green Giant Frozen Vegetables, 7-10 ounce, (excludes Asparagus cuts) Buy 1 @ $1.99 Get 1 Free – Total $5.97

-$0.60/3 Green Giant Frozen Boxed Vegetables, exp. 2/2/13 (SS 12/09/12 *Regional Coupon)
-$0.60/3 Green Giant Frozen Boxed Vegetables, exp. 1/5/13 (SS 11/11/12 *Regional Coupon)
-$0.60/3 Green Giant Frozen Boxed Vegetables, exp. 1/5/13 (SS 10/14/12 *Regional Coupon)

(12) Yoplait Greek Yogurt $1.00 – Total $12.00

(4) $1.00/3 Yoplait Greek Yogurt Target Coupon

(6) $.60/2 Yoplait Greek Yogurt Coupon

(2) Peter Pan Peanut Butter, 13-16.3 ounce, Buy 1 @ $3.29 Get 1 Free – Total $3.29

 

Add a $50 gas card to BP or Shell and use the $10 off coupon in the Publix Flyer.

Total Before Gas Card: $50.47

Total after Gas Card and Gas Card Coupon: $90.47

Less Coupons: $22.40

Total after all coupons: $68.07 plus tax and you get a $50 gas card!

Publix also accepts Winn Dixie Coupons. I will be using (3)$5/$30 to bring my total down to $53.07 and the gas card!

My Trip to Publix 10/18 – Spent $61.71 Saved $107.36!

Just made a trip to Publix and spent $61.71 including a $50 gas card!

Here’s how I did it:

(20) Publix Yogurt for $8.00 (Saved $2.00)

(2) Nestle Ultimate Refrigerated Cookie Dough B1G1 for $3.59 (Saved $3.59)

(2) $1.50 off 1 Nestle Ultimate found here

(4) Eckrich Smoked Sausage 2 for $5.00 (Saved $3.96)

(4) $.55 off 1 Eckrich Smoked Sausage here

(4) Mott’s Snack and Go Apple Sauce 2 for $4.00 (Saved $3.16)

(4) $1.00 off 1 Mott’s Snack and Go 4-Pack here

(4) Ragu Spaghetti Sauce B1G1 for $3.79 (Saved $7.58)

(2) $1.50 off 2 Ragu sauces here

(4) Multi Grain Peanut Butter Cheerios B1G1 for $4.59 (Saved $9.18)

(4) $.75 off 1 Multi Grain Cheerios here

(4) GE Reveal Lightbulbs B1G1 for $5.49 (Saved $10.98)

(4) $2.00 off 1 GE Reveal Product (Target) here

(4) $1.00 off 1 GE Reveal Product here

(2) Aunt Jemima Waffles B1G1 for $2.39 (Saved $2.39)

(1) $1.00 off 2 Aunt Jemima Waffles here

(2) Stouffers Family Size Entrees $3.99 each (Saved $8.32)

(2) $1.50 off 1 Stouffers Family Size Entrees here

(1) $50 Gas Card

(1) $10 off 1 Gas Card when you purchase $50 of groceries

I also used (3) $5 off $30 Winn Dixie coupons as they are accepted at my Publix.

Total Spents: $61.71

Total Store Coupons: $36.00

Total Vendor Coupons: $20.20

Total Special Price Savings: $51.16

Total Saved: $107.36

 

Lubriderm Men’s Lotion – CVS – 3 for $4.98

There is a new coupon for $2 off any 1 Lubriderm lotion.  With my current coupons, I plan on getting the following deal:

(3) Lubriderm Men’s Lotion Products $7.99

– 25% off coupon received in the mail from CVS (good on 10/6-10/7) ($5.99)

– $4/$20 purchase coupon receieved from the Red Coupon Center at the front of the store

– (3) $2/1 Lubriderm CVS coupon from Coupons.com here

– (3) $1/1 Lubriderm Men’s coupon from here

Total: $4.98 for 3! That’s $1.69 each!