In a world where ignorance is at an all time high, it is time to bring things back in to perspective.

Friday, April 22, 2011

5 Rules for Successful Savings When Using Coupons

5 Rules for Successful Savings When Using Coupons
By now we have all heard about the women on TLC’s Extreme Couponing who save thousands of dollars using coupons.  While I commend them for their efforts, I personally do not have 60 hours a week to devote to gathering coupons.  Nor do I wish or need to have 60 bottles of mustard in my home.  As I have said in previous post, there is money to be saved in couponing if you do it correctly.  So far this year I have saved about $450.  While this doesn’t seem like much compared to their massive hauls, if I save $100 a month I am pleased.  

Try these 5 simple rules and see if you can save some money.

     1.  Know what your coupon states.
This is VERY important.  I have learned from making this serious mistake too many times.  You must read the entire coupon to learn:
-Value of discount?
-What does the discount cover?
-When is it valid?
-What is excluded?
-Can it be combined with another coupon?

Knowing this information can prevent you not maximizing your savings or even worst you not being able to use the coupon.  E.g.  The coupon starts on Wednesday and you show up on Tuesday.  

2.  Know the stores coupon rules.
Every store has different rules for using coupons.  You cannot truly maximize your savings if you do not know the rules.  You should know:
-Does the store double coupons?
-Is there a limit on how many coupons you can use?
-Can you combine coupons?

To help you with this here are a few rules for stores I frequent.

Kroger doubles printed coupons up to 55¢.  It is important to know they do not double digital coupons loaded to Kroger card.
Walgreen’s will allow you to use a Walgreen’s coupon, which is in their weekly circular with a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item.  Remember you must take the circular to the register and allow the cashier to scan coupon because it is not an automatic savings.

JoAnn’s Fabric accepts competitor’s coupons.  However, please note the same exclusions apply.  Therefore, you can take a Michael’s coupons to JoAnn’s and use it for anything except fabric because Michael’s coupons usually excludes fabric.

JCPenney will allow you to use the 15% survey coupon in addition to any other coupon.  If you look at the bottom of your receipt there is a code to complete a customer survey online.  Complete the survey and get a coupon for 15% off.  These can only be used once every 30 days.

3.  Know where to get the coupons.
As stated in previous post, you can use the Sunday paper to get coupons.  If that is not your cup of tea, you can also go online and print coupons.  Many of the same coupons that are in the weekly paper are available online.   Don’t only focus on grocery coupons.  There is much more savings to be made on coupons you can use in the mall or other stores.    

Great sites to visit:

4.  Comparison Shop
Again, I know most of us do not have several hours a week to devote to price comparisons.   However, if you go to  the site actually has a list of the deals for the week and how much you can save using coupons.  

5.  You’re not saving if you didn’t need or want it anyway. 
This is one of the biggest problems I have with the Extreme Couponing show.  There was a lady on the show who had 4000 diapers and did not have a baby yet.  Even if she got every one of these diapers for free she is wasting valuable time and energy for diapers she may never use or realize she does not like.  

My rule is I don’t buy things just because I have a coupon.  I am still brand loyal on many things.  Therefore, I only buy the things I would have purchased anyway.  Do not get caught into the trap of you have to spend $100 to save $10.  If you were not going to spend $100 anyway (or at least $90) don’t do it!  Don’t buy 10 of something to save 40¢ unless you were going to buy that much anyway either that day or in the near future.  If you are spending more than you would have then you are not saving money.

Hopefully these simple rules will help you.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Put your phone to work for you. Helpful Apps

It has been quite a while since my last post.  While I have been busy with life in general, I am also busy trying to find ways to improve my life.  After having a conversation with a good friend of mine, it was brought to my attention that I needed to share more of the helpful tips and information I find.  As a result, this week I am sharing Apps you should check out. 

In this high tech world we live in today everyone is attached to their smartphone.  (Even the dumb people, but I digress). We use our phones for everything.  This can be good or bad depending on your view of technology.  If you are willing to embrace technology there are some apps that can help.  I will have to set out a standard disclaimer before making any suggestions.

1)      I am in no way affiliated with any of the companies, providers or designers of any of the apps suggested.  In addition, I will receive no financial benefit if you download any of these apps.
2)      You may have to agree to provide information for the use of these apps including but not limited to, GPS location, phone call, SD card info and much more.  Please read all permissions BEFORE downloading any app.
3)      All of the apps I am suggesting are in the Android App Market.  If you have an Iphone you may or may not be able to find the same app.
4)      I like these apps, but you may find no need for them at all.  If I suggest an app for something you never do or will do not waste your time or memory downloading the app.

Now that I have got all of that out of the way we can get to the apps.

Job Search        
So you’re looking for job.  These days there are hundreds of job posting jobs that you can spend numerous hours searching.  The app Hire-a-Droid searches the following sites LinkUp, Beyond, Simply Hired, Indeed and Careerbuilder in one quick search.  You can enter in search terms such as location, position, or title and search all of these sites for available jobs. 

Christian inspiration 
                                                             Daily Bible
We all should read our bibles daily.  There are several forms of bible apps on the market.  I found that the Daily Bible app is wonderful.  This app gives you a daily verse, daily reading (for those who want to read the entire bible in a year), and a variety of daily devotions.  There are numerous audio or written daily devotions such as Our Daily Bread, My Utmost for His Highness, Praying with Paul and many more to choose.  It also has a bible search function which allows you to search for particular verses. 

For those who use Walgreen’s for prescriptions or photos this is a must have app.  First, you can use your Smartphone to scan the barcode of your prescription and order a refill.  Quick and easy, just the way I like things.  Second, if you use Walgreen’s to print photos, you can upload your photos right from your phone and order prints.  In a day where every minute counts I can appreciate these time savers.

Sharing information  
Since I have a 6 month old daughter my husband and I are always taking pictures.  Actually, I’m a photo fanatic so I can’t really blame this on my daughter.  Anyway, we take a lot of picture with our phones.  The wonderful thing about the Bump app is I can bump photos I take with my phone to my husband without having to send it as a text or email.  With the Bump app you can share contact information, photos, or apps with another smartphone user.  The up side to this app is that it does not matter if it is an Android or Iphone you can share information.  I am the one in my house always getting new apps or pictures so now I just bump it to my husband.

Baby Milestones    
Before I had my daughter I use to scrapbook and do all types of crafts.  After the baby I have not had a chance to do this as much as I would like.  Nonetheless, I do want to make sure to keep up with important milestones and accomplishments.  Baby Milestones app allows you to log these milestones and accomplishments and attach a picture.  I have found this to be helpful and makes me feel like I’m not a complete slacker in saving memories for my daughter.

This concludes my suggestions for this week.  I cannot give you all the great tips in one blog because 1) my husband will say it is too long and not read it; and 2) you won’t come back.  See you next week.