23rd January, 2012

Thrifty Nifty…. :)

posted 2 years ago

Thrift Stores

I love thrift stores. I’m very spoiled by thrift stores. From decorations, accessories, furniture, and clothes. This past week I have been to three different thrift stores.

Trip 1 - Goodwill - Daphne, AL

Banana Republic Blazer = $3.49 Talbots Petite Blazer = $8.99 

I like this store because they have great furniture, electronics (un-opened cell phone charges), and name brand clothes. However, clothing racks aren’t super organized (i.e. sizes/styles mixed together) and the store is kinda small. Also, prices of items may be higher because of the “brand”.

Trip 2 - America’s Thrift Store - Theodore, AL

Blue shirt (don’t remember the brand name & it’s washing right now) = $0.99

New York & company gray Slacks = $1.19  New York & Company Gray shirt = $2.14

This store is HUGE! Which can be a pro and a con! Pros: Organized, lots of clothes,clothes may be exchanged within 30 days,  and additional discounts may apply (different colored price tags). Cons: No dressing rooms, furniture is fancy/expensive (don’t tease me with awesome couch with a price tag of $800) maybe furnitures going out of business give them stuff. 

Trip 3 - Goodwill Bargain Center Mobile, AL

Liz Claiborne Shirt, Vera Bradley purse, and merona (I think I’ve seen this brand in target) green shirt all for .99 cents! Everything was 1 pound!!

(back of the shirt) I think it’s so unique!!

Pros: Really really cheap clothing is .99 per lb. I feel like I’m buying produce! Cons: Not the cleanest (everything is on in bins), unorganized, and you might have to look hard to find something good. 

*All the pictures were taken BEFORE I cleaned/washed everything.*

Be sure to read clothing tags regarding washing/cleaning.

Comments? Questions?

8th January, 2012

Paying $2.73 for $124.26 worth of stuff!!!!

posted 2 years ago

Drug Stores vs. Grocery Stores

In general, I buy MOST of my toiletries, soaps, hair products, and drugstore cosmetics*.

*Cosmetics not typically found in a department stores i.e. Covergirl, Maybelline, Almay, L’oreal etc. 

Some of you may be thinking drug stores are more expensive. When I look at drug store ads I look for reward deals. The rewards are like cash. You can use them on your next transaction. Each week I pay for items using rewards “money” and coupons to maximize my savings. 

Right now RtieAid is selling Thermacare heat wrap for $3.00 then receive $3.00 in Up+ rewards. Free beats grocery store prices! Plus, using a coupon will give you can overage.

*DO not lose your rewards. In my experience if you lose them you are S.O.L.

CVS = Extra Care Bucks             RtieAid = Up+ Rewards

CVS also has CVS cash - “money” is put on a card (like a gift card)

My Drug Store Commandments

1. Look for rewards in ads

2. Stack coupons (use store and manufacture coupons)

3. Rolling Transactions - Split up your transactions and use rewards from trans #1 on trans #2

This shopping trip was done in 2 day. Day 1 = 1transaction Day 2 = 2 transactions

Day 1  - (1/1/12)

I bought the razor at CVS for free, but ignore it for this blog post. Everything else was purchased at RiteAid. 

Bought: 

(2) Once a day Vitamins (BOGO 50%) = $7.99/ $3.99 

(2) Bayer Asprins (BOGO 50%) = $7.49/$1.99

(2) Alka-seltzer (BOGO 50%) = $5.99/$2.99

(8) Ludens cough drops (BOGO FREE) = $1.99 for 2

Coupons used = $19.00 total 

(2) $2/1 One a day Vitamin = $4  off

(2) $2/1 bayer advanced aspirin = $4 off

(1) $2/1 Alka-seltzer = $2 off

(1) $1/1 Alka-seltzer = $1 off

(4) $1/2 Ludens cough drops = $4 off

USED $4 in Up+ Wellness rewards 

Total =  $22.86  RECEIVED $10 in Up+ rewards

Out of Pockets (OOP) = $12.86

Day 2 - (1/7/12)

Transaction #1

(3) Pro- Glide Razors = $9.89 each = $29.67

Coupons used = $28.00

(3) $5/1 Pro-Glide Razor = $15

Used $13 in Up+Wellness rewards 

Total = $3.17  Received $10 in Up+ rewards 

OVERAGE = $6.83

Transaction #2

(10) Bayer asprins (BOGO 50%) = $2.99/$1.49

(2) Alka-seltzer (BOGO 50%) = $5.99/$2.99

(4) Ludens cough drops (BOGO FREE) = $1.99 for 2

Coupons used = $26.00

(10) $1/1 Bayer = $10.00

(2) $2/1 Alka-seltzer = $4 off

(2) $1/2 Ludens cough drops = $2 off

Used $10 Up+rewards 

Total = $16.70 Received $20 in Up+ Rewards OVERAGE = $3.30

COST = $2.73 for $124.26 of merchandise

RiteAid had a “resolution rewards” promotion. Spend $100.00 on select products and get $20 in Up+ rewards. Rolling transactions helped me reach my $100.00 while spending the least amount of money in a given transaction. Hope it makes sense.

Comments? Questions? 

30th November, 2011

I’m just getting milk……

posted 2 years ago

I really did buy milk…. 

I know we’ve all made the those 1-2 item shopping trips, but we usually come back with a lot more. Since I’ve become a “couponer”  resisting impulse buying is easier…. UNLESS I have a coupon. Bringing your coupon binder is a must even if you plan on making a small trip.

REASONS to bring your binder…

1. Some sales are not advestised in the weekly ads

2. Coupons can be used on clearance items

3. People often skim through their weekly ads. <- This is a big problem for me. It’s like making those careless math mistakes in elementary school that make you wanna shoot your foot. Seeing items in the FLESH triggers my coupon filing cabinet in my brain. “Hmmmm…. I think I have a coupon for that” While viewing ads, I have a tendency not to notice certain brand names on sale. However, couponing IS NOT about brand loyalty. Pay $8.00 for favorite tide detergent OR get 4 more of a different brand for a cheaper price.

I have a ton of these POM coupons. I’ve heard they are amazing! They were on sale $2.50 each. I used (2) $1 coupons making them $1.50 each. Now that’s more than I would like to spend, but I wanted to try them. My coupons for this product expire 12/31/11. I hope they will go on sale before then. 

Liquid handsoap is something I struggle with. I can’t seem to find them at a good price or I miss it. YES…. I know you can use bar soap, but I don’t like the way it looks on my bathroom sink and the bar likes to take nose dives in the sink. Hand soap is usually an item I often pay full price for (shhhh… don’t tell), but I usually get the store brand. 

The hand soap was on sale for $2.29 each (maybe they discontinued the coconut warm ginger smell).  $2.29 x 4 = $9.16  I used (2) $2/2 bottles  $9.16 - $4.00 = $5.16 making them $1.29 per bottle. Store brand was $1.00 per bottle so what’s 29 cents for the soft soap

Zest was on sale for 2/$3.00 ($1.50 each) $1.50 x 4 = $6.00. I used (4) $1/1 box.    $6.00 - 4.00 = $2.00 making each box just 50 cents!

 

YES…. I do actually drink tea, but I’ve never tried celestial tea. I will try anything for free or at a good price. They were on sale BOGO $3.59 for two boxes. I bought 10 boxes $17.95. I used (10) $1/1 box. $17.95 - $10.00 = $7.95 which made each box 80 cents! What am I going to do with 200 bags of tea? I’m sure I can google uses for tea bags. I know they can be used for baggy eyes. I also plan on giving some boxes to friends and family. 

Do you guys know any different uses for tea?

13th November, 2011

Making my Halloween Costume…. “Black Swan”

posted 2 years ago

I love Halloween!!!! 

This year I was the black swan….. Natalie Portman Style. Here are the main components to my costume.

1. Top 

2. Tutu

3. Shoes

4. Wings

My top and shoes were SEMI-HANDMADE. Basically I didn’t make everything from scratch. Regular items were embellished. I added feathers and jewels to my top and pink ribbon to my shoes. Top and shoes were about $12.00 at forever 21. Shoes were discounted because rhinestones were missing. I didn’t care because I was ripping those bad boys off. :)

My tutu and wings were my pride and joy! These WERE NOT semi-handmade. I found two tutorials online. 

Tutu - http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2009/01/want-to-make-your-own.html

SIMPLE! Without a sewing machine. 

MY WINGS - http://sunnybrook1.deviantart.com/art/Realistic-Wing-Tutorial-P-1-175022078

These were challenging. I had to READ/FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!!!!! Keep in mind I’m that person who refers to the picture on the box when building something. This tutorial was very through. I did substitute some materials and procedures (i.e. hot glue gun instead of sewing - garden wire instead of hangers). My wings do not look as amazing as sunnybrook1, but I was proud of myself.

   

My advice for making your costume!

1. Shop early if possible. Thrift stores can be great.

2. Search for tutorials, videos, or pictures

3. GO FOR IT…. Don’t be afraid to go over the top. I didn’t NEED my wings for the BLACK SWAN, but it makes my costume awesome!

4. SEMI-HANDMADE - Embellish or alter items you already have.

Comments or questions?

11th October, 2011

A Small Investment can go a long way

posted 2 years ago

The expression “Going Green” is engaging in an activity or behavior that reduces waste, energy consumption, and so forth.

Now here’s a few ways people go green everyday

 

Traveling - buying a “greener” car, carpooling, public transit, walking, or riding a bike

Eliminating excess waste - using reusable cups, not purchasing paper/plastic dishes or utensils, recycling

Home - washing clothes in cold water, taking shorter showers, growing your own fruits and vegetables, controlling thermostat dependency by investing in fans :)

 

Going green can potentially save you money, but sometimes goes unnoticed. My brita filter saves me money because I don’t purchase cases of bottle water. Setting thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer time lowers my power bill.  I’ve done this since I moved out of my parents so it’s “normal” for me. I can walk into my apartment and tell if someone has messed with my temperature (even if it’s on 76 grrrrr…..) which leads to a Facebook threat. 

 

What about GREEN products or appliances such a dish washers, refrigerators, and light bulbs? A couple months ago there was a video of yahoo about energy saving products with tech expert blogger Katie Linendoll. In this segment, she mentioned the belkin conserve smart energy-saving power strip. I was intrigued by this money saving power strip. I managed to score the strip for $20 at a Sears Essential Everything must go sale. :)


 

I just got my power bill and it was $81.75! Normally, my power bill fluctuates between $90-$120 a month. My boyfriend likes to adjust my thermostat behind my back. He’s evil… :)

 

As you can see the strip has eight outlets (1-master 5-master controlled 2-not controlled).  The master control would most likely be your TV. Once you turn off your TV,  electronics plugged into the controlled outlets (game system, surround sound systems, Blueray player’s, etc.) automatically turn off.  Devices that need power 24/7 such as DVR’s would be plugged into the non-controlled outlets. 

 

I’ve always heard that plugged appliances use up energy even when they are turned off. Look at my PS3 picture.  The term is called stand-by mode or stand-by power. 

Here is a picture of my PS3 with my TV off

Now…. Evil… Standby Power

 

Now… I’m not saying you have to buy the belkin power strip. Try unplugging items (that don’t have to be plugged in 24/7) or turning off the power strip switch.

What are other ways you can go green and save money?

Belkin Photo taken from http://www.belkin.com/conserve/smartav/

They also have other power saving outlets. :)

(Source: talknerdytome.net)

5th October, 2011

MY UNEXPECTED PRICE MATCH DEAL!!!!

posted 2 years ago



I LOVE scrubbing bubbles. I’ve always been happy with their products. I would buy scrubbing bubbles even if I DID NOT have a coupon. (SHOCKER… I know) Luckily, scrubbing bubbles coupons are not difficult to find. 

Starting the week of 10/2/11 Walmart was going to have the scrubbing bubbles One Step cleaning starter kit (NEW PRODUCT) on sale for $3.97. I had a $4.00 off coupon which means I would get the One Step cleaning starter kit for free. :)

To be honest, Walmart is store I don’t frequently visit. Crowds kinda freak me out and I prefer other stores. However, on the first day of the sale all kits were sold out. :(  So I debated whether I should try another Walmart or ask for a raincheck (I didn’t know their raincheck policy). Ultimately, I decided to go to the neighborhood  walmart a few miles away. They didn’t have the kits at this Walmart either. :(

During my walk of shame (to the car) I remembered that Target price matches! They had a a lot of the kits priced at $9.99! :) Plus, target gift card deal for scrubbing bubbles. Receive $5 target gift card when you buy (1) starter kit and (1) refill.

Starter kit = $3.97 Refill = $3.99 Total = $7.96

Used(2)Coupons -$4 off starter kit/$1 off refill

Total = $2.96 + 10% tax = $3.26

Then I received a $5 giftcard which equals a $1.74 overage!!


*THE BEST PART is that were the coupons inside. Two $3 off starter kit coupons and one BOGO refill coupon. 
Originally, price matching has always intimated me. About a year ago I thought a certain store price matched, but they didn’t. So I felt kind of stupid returning all the items I thought were going to be price matched.

Moral of the story
-Know your polices
-Keep physical ads
-Think of price matching if the store is out of a particular item.

:)

The Power of Price matching….

posted 2 years ago



*Price matching is when stores will match prices if the item/product/services is featured in a competitors ad. Suprisingly most companies will price match in order make a sale. A month ago, I needed print 500+ colored copies (500+) for work. Prices of colored copies ranged from .49-.69 cents most major companies (Fedex, Stapes, OfficeMAx, etc). However, UPS had  colored copies for .29 cents. I got some proofs (copy of document done by UPS) and brought them to FedEx office (formally known as Kinko’s). They matched my price and the quality of my prints was much better at FedEx. Let’s face it UPS is known for their copying services. I didn’t know they made copies until someone told me. 

*REMEMBER* Pricematching policies vary by store/location.

Forgive me I do not have the pricematching policies all every store, but I’m sure you can easily find it on the internet.



Here are some things do ask or consider

-Does the store only price match competitors? If so, who do they condsider competiors?

-Do they offer extra pertage off when pricematching? For example, some stores will match a price plus %10 off.

-Does it have to be a physical ad? Most policies I have read will only price match printed ad
. I think Sears will price match online prices when shopping online or in the store?

-Can you use a coupon on top of a price match? For example, Target use a manufacture coupon after pricematch, BUT target store coupons are applied before the price match.

This deal was a couple weeks ago.

Dyson vaccum was on sale at Home Depot for $438.

Target’s price was $505.00 (I think at least over $500.00)

Target had a mobile coupon for 20% off selected dyson vaccuums.

Using the target coupon would be the better deal instead of price matching.

$505.00 - (20% $101.00) = $404.00


Pricematching is something I don’t do that often. I often forget about pricematching.

Do do engage in pricematching? Share any frustration or succes pricematching stories….

26th September, 2011

Customer Reward Cards!!!!

posted 3 years ago

Reward cards! I know everyone has a ton of them. Combination of cards, keys, and keycards can create a deadly weapon. Which ones do you religiously use? Have you ever paid for a card? Do you have any reward card regrets?

This is just my personal opinion regarding rewards. So take this entry with a grain of salt. Different cards benefit different people. 

 

TOP # 3

 

  1. CVS Extra Care 
  2. RiteAid Wellness
  3. MyPanera

 

Common Factors among these cards

 

  • Comes in a full card size or key ring size.
  • Account can be assessed by the customer’s phone number
  • Come with exclusive benefits*

 

Both RiteAid and CVS cards gives customers access to coupons, exclusive deals, and register rewards. Scan your CVS extra care card at the store and receive random coupons or sometimes Extra Care Bucks. With the MyPanera rewards can be described as a surprise treat for customers. Kind of like a Cracker Jack Box “You never know what’s inside.” Rewards can be $ off coupons or even free items. When signing up for an account, customer’s note any personal preferences (vegetarian, gluten free, low fat, etc.). 

 

Bottom # 3  

 

*affected by location, ease of use, and personal preference*

 

1. Carmike - Accounts cannot be looked up by your phone number (I think) and at my location cashier’s typically don’t ask for the card prior to the transaction. 

  1. Max Perks (OfficeMax) - I recycle my ink at staples so I tend to shop there more. 
  2. Harry and David - The closest location is about an hour away. :( I love the store. 

Card’s I’ve actually paid for  (+)No Regrets (-)REGRET…. kill me now

 

  1. Sally’s Beauty - (+) The card does give you exclusive store pricing. They do send you coupons in the mail. :)
  2. *PowerUp (Gamestop) - (-) Why? I think the associate does a really good job selling me the card. I don’t really buy or play a lot of games. I’ve been trying to beat Mario galaxy for years now! However, members do get discount on used games/accessories and trade in perks. 
  3. *BooksAMillion - (-) I just don’t visit BAM like I used to. Plus, I now have a kindle. :)

 

*not pictured

 

Keep in mind…. I’m not bashing the following companies. I wouldn’t get a card for a company that I hated. I just didn’t get the full benefits from it because of lifestyle and location. 

 

 

Do you have a top and bottom customer reward card list?

21st September, 2011

Rite Aid & CVS Trip (week of 9/18/11)

posted 3 years ago

RiteAid (9/18/11)

Before Coupons = $33.64    After Coupons/Cost = $6.58

(1) Scott Paper towels = $7.99 

(1) Scott Toliet Paper = $7.99 

(4) Cottonelle Wipes = $8.00  

(2) Kotex lady “items” = $7.00

Used = $17.50 ($5.50 Coupons/$12.00 UP+ register rewards)

Paid = $16.58, but received $10.00 UP+ rewards 

 CVS (9/20/11)

Before Coupons = $23.70  After Coupons/Profit = $6.98

(1) Candy Corn = .99 cents

(2) Milani Nail polish = $10.18

(2) Mitchum Deodorant = $3.98

(1) Revlon Lipstick = $6.49

Used =$20.69 ($6.00 Coupons/$14.69 in Extra Care Bucks “ECB”)

Paid = $3.01, but received $9.99 in ECB’s 

19th September, 2011

Negative Stigma, Admiration, & Curiosity?

posted 3 years ago

Saving money techniques can make people feel embarrassed. Sometimes there is a negative stigma attached and associated with “unconventional” money saving tactics. However, with the economy more and more people are engaging in money saving activities. Has anyone else noticed more people (regardless of size or stature) riding motorcycles with rising gas prices? Who wouldn’t reconsider shopping habits or spending habits? Being a poor college graduate student is what got me into couponing! I actually began couponing before the TLC Extreme component show was out.


Examples of “embarrassing” money saving tactics/scenarios

1. Carrying a HUGE coupon binder into a store
2. Using a bunch of coupons which causes line congestion
3. Asking for a rain check (No lie I’ve asked for a rain check for a 99 cent candy bar that was free)
4. Going into a thrift (not theft haha) store or yard sales
5. Returning and switching an item before your coupon does not apply

Just to name a few…….
Don’t assume that everyone thinks your the crazy person. You would be surprised of how many people admire you and may even ask questions.


For example, Steven (my boyfriend) and I collect coke tops. The coke reward program is worth it if you collect a lot of coke tops. Don’t’ be embarrassed to ask friends or family to save tops. Steven would probably stop in the middle of the road to retrieve a coke top.
We were at the USA (University of South Alabama) vs. Lamar football game. In the 4th quarter I decided to start collect bottle tops, because of boredom and USA was winning. Initially, I started to feel kind of awkward because people were staring. Walking in/out and up/down through the benches unscrewing soda tops does not make you look cool. However, many people started to give me their tops, direct me to other bottles, and ask questions. Slowly I began finding tops on the bleacher/bench seats! Assuming they saw me collecting and wanted to make my life a little easier. :) So nice….


86 tops = 3pts per top = 258pts*Please ignore the packaging peanut. Don’t know where that came from?
Do you have any crazy money saving techniques, scenarios, and habits?

 

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