Showing posts with label Frugality and Couponing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frugality and Couponing. Show all posts

Sunday, June 11, 2017

How I Host a Summer Party On a Small Budget


FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Some years back, I won an ice cream party from Edy's.  I won another the next year, and from then on everyone assumed it was an annual event.  One thing about ice cream is it's not that expensive.

I invite everyone I know, and I can usually figure the number that RSVP will be the number that show up -- usually it's right on the nose even though some people come who didn't RSVP, but there are always those who don't show.  So by the week of, I have a pretty good idea how many to plan for.

It's a really casual event, so when purchasing party supplies, I keep an eye open all year long.  This year I found lots of Christmas tablecloths, Emoji paper plates in different sizes, and even napkins at the Dollar General 25 cent after Christmas clearance. With some of the tablecloths just being red, no one has to know it was intended for Christmas.

Because our backyard is small for a crowd of about 50, I started renting the pavilion in the park.  It has electric, so that makes it fantastic. There is also nice play equipment for the kids. The downside of this is the logistics of having ice cream in the park in summer aren't exactly easy.  So, I often make my own ice cream cake as this holds up well in the heat.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ways We Saved Money on Our Wedding

FTC disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Weddings can be expensive, and we went over budget -- ours cost under $3,000 and we had 150 people in attendance and flew our entertainment in from Florida -- a master illusionist who did a magic show instead of having a traditional dance.  Overall, I expect our wedding would have cost about $20,000 if I hadn't done everything I could to save money.  Here are a few of the things I did.

Win everything you can.  There are so many sweepstakes and contests open to just engaged couples.  I won our save the date cards, lollipops with our photos on them as favors, invitations, a Walmart gift card we used for food, and plenty more various things.  Sometimes you get entries by starting a registry somewhere (doesn't mean you have to use it!), or at bridal fairs or other places.  Enter everything you can because people do win!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Why you NEED to join Swagbucks

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post.  It contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

I don't really remember how I first heard about Swagbucks.  I've been a member for about ten years, and I use it as my main search engine.  You could call that loyalty, I call it being a smart consumer.

The search engine is just as good as the big guys -- plus it even has a safe search mode so you wont' get unwanted items in your feed.

But the main reason I use it is for the SB. They can be redeemed for a number of things.  I usually choose Amazon gift cards, and I have gotten a Kindle with them back when Kindles were really expensive, paid for some of the bridesmaid dresses for my wedding with SB, and used some of my earnings for everyday purchases like Nepro when my mother was on dialysis.

So, Swagbucks can help you reduce expenses by allowing you to get free diapers, groceries, or even Christmas gifts.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The New Sheetz Reward Program De-Mystified (Based on What I Know Now)

One of my most visited blog posts is The Ultimate Guide to the Best Deals at Sheetz so I felt I needed to write a blog post about what I currently know about how the Sheetz reward program is changing on April 5, 2017.

This seems to be the year for changes to loyalty offers as My Coke Rewards is changing and the last day to enter codes is March 22, 2017.   Because Sheetz is my favorite loyalty program with My Coke Rewards a second, I have to wonder what is in store for 2017 with anything else I participate in!

One of my favorite things with the Sheetz program has been the buy 10 get 1 free offers.  In my guide to the best deals at Sheetz I suggested saving your free items for MTO products for a more expensive one.  For instance, I love the meatball and pepperoni subs.  (If you haven't tried the pepperoni sub on wholegrain with extra marinara sauce, you are missing out!)  If I save these credits and redeem them for a $9 six inch sub (which can be possible), then here is the breakdown of what I am spending and the rewards on that item.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Here's What Happened When I Took a Blogging Course And What I Recommend Instead


FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

In early 2016, I decided to take a blogging course.  It was quite a bit of money, but I also know that investing in myself is something I need to do from time to time.

The TL;DR version is:  I got my money back from the author of the course and I recommend other things instead of a high priced course.

Why?

1.  My page views went down.   I recently took the GRE and scored at the 82nd percentile of writing, so my page views are not reflective of my writing ability.  I think what happened was two things:  I deleted tons of old content which would have been drawing a little traffic to my blog, and secondly, I felt very forced in what I had to write.  A year later, and I'm still struggling to get page views back to where they were.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How to DIGITAL Coupon at Dollar General

For years, I have loved the $5 off $25 purchase coupons at Dollar General.  Dollar General is a great place for inexpensive items, and that coupon has helped me get some super bargains over the years.

Now that Dollar General has an app where you can load coupons to your account, there are so many more savings opportunities!

It seems that most Saturdays you can download a $5 off $25 coupon right in the app.  The wonderful thing about this coupon is the discount is taken BEFORE coupons apply.  (A few stores may do it differently, but my stores take it from pre-coupon discounts).  So in theory, I can make sure I buy items using coupons.  The original pre-coupon price only needs to hit $25 for the $5 off $25 coupon to be deducted.  The $5 off $25 coupon also works on sale and clearance items.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Save Big by Shopping at A Grocery Store Outlet


FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

If you have been following my blog for any time, you know that I love a good bargain.  I have been using coupons for nearly a quarter of a century -- since I was in my teens!  But today I am going to talk about shopping at grocery outlets.  I am fortunate enough to have one about 20 minutes from me, and a different one, which I try to visit a couple times a year just two hours from me.  There are other things I do in that town, so it's not just a trip to visit the outlet, but the car sure does come back filled!

Grocery outlets usually don't accept coupons, but that's okay because many times you can get items as cheap if not cheaper than double coupons.

The most unfortunate part of outlets is if they run out of something, they might not get it back in stock.  So if you see your favorite cereal there get as much as you will use before it goes stale.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Is it better to save money or earn extra Cash?

I sometimes get asked the question if it is better to save money or to earn extra cash.

Well, honestly the answer is BOTH.  The key to being financially independent is to make all you can and save all you can.

But when it boils down to it, I say things like using coupons, when looking at dollar per dollar amount is more benefial.  Here's why:  You don't have to treat it as income.  It's not taxable.  Say you save $1,000 in the same amount of time it would take you to earn an extra $1,000.  All things are equal (providing that savings is on things you truly need.)  You don't have to pay state or federal income tax on that.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Trick to Finding Cheap Items for Free Super Saver Shipping at Amazon


FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

It seems this time of year everyone is ordering from Amazon.  I sometimes order multiple times a day if I find a good deal.  I have Prime so it's not a big deal to me.  (Hint:  This would be a good month to sign up for a free trial!)

But if you don't have Prime, sometimes you need a small item to boost your cart up to the $25 or $50 amount for free shipping.

Here are some searches that often bring up inexpensive items:

I chose to link to books because it works for book orders or other item orders.


Dover Sticker
Dover Activity books
Dover Classic Books   (some of these are as low as $1.00!)
Decorative notebooks

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I've saved and made thousands of dollars with these phone apps!

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Not all apps are created equal, so I am going to list the apps in order of how much money I have saved and earned with them.

Selling your stuff on eBay is super easy with the app.  This is the one that has netted me the most money, but then again I love 'picking' and reselling.  I like the app because I can take the photos, edit them, and create the listing all right on my phone or iPad.  My husband lists on eBay occasionally, and he has never even listed from a computer, he's always listed from a mobile device.  I also like the portability of it.  There was one time I was sitting in a car listing and selling items I was listing.  How is that for fast turn around?

Store apps!  You would be amazed at how much you can get back through the apps of your favorite stores.  I don't really shop at Target, so I don't use Cartwheel, but I love Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, and Dollar General apps.  There are coupons you can add to your cards and sometimes even freebies!  Walmart's store app works slightly differently and you scan the QR code on your receipt after you shop there, and they will see if there are any advertised sales anywhere else in the area and refund you via a Walmart e-gift card.  Even gas stations get into apps.  I have Sheetz, 7-11,  and Circle K on my phone, and there are often coupons there as well as purchase x number of items get one free offers.  Cici's Pizza, Chilis, and Rita's Italian Ice have rewards programs.  I am sure this is just a drop in the bucket of the many rewards programs and store apps out there, but these are the ones I use and am most familiar with them!  I have saved the most with the Kroger, CVS, and Sheetz apps.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How I am saving on Home Improvement Costs

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.


My house was built in about 1890.  The carpet in the living room is from the 1960s with layers of padding, carpet and linoleum underneath.  It needs replaced.  The entire house is paneled except for one room.  When we moved into this house in 1986, I was a teenage girl, and of course I wanted to paint my room lilac.  My dad wanted paneling in my room.  After a lot of going back and forth, I got purple.  Obviously paneling went out of style soon after that.

When there was the earthquake in Virginia a few years ago, it damaged part of the roof in the house, which caused some other problems in the room where the damage was.

I've decided it's time to get these things fixed.  Being the frugal person I am, I want to get the best price possible for home improvement supplies.

Monday, October 17, 2016

How to Get Free and Cheap Candy at CVS


FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

I have been a coupon queen since before it was popular.  The only thing consistent about it over the years is my desire for a good deal.  If I was plunged into the current world of bargain shopping when I was 18, I wouldn't have the first idea where to begin (or even how to use the Internet).  The way I used coupons when I was 18 wouldn't be something I would want to do today because it would take too much time, and I'm all about time saving while saving money!

There is a lot of information in this post, so follow closely and I'll sum it up again at the bottom of the post.

So I try to do as much savings as I can electronically.  I've been recently getting lots of candy deals, and someone on my Facebook page asked for more information as to how I do it.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

How I Learn New Skills for Free


FTC disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

I love to learn.  I always have.  I graduated high school at age 15, and I spent my summers reading books.  I am a non-fiction aficionado, and I have discovered that there are amazing resources out there to learn pretty much anything you want for free (or very inexpensively).  It doesn't come with certification, but there is so much knowledge available you can implement to make your life better, more efficient, saving money, or fun!

About a year ago I decided I wanted to learn more about blogging and what kinds of items sell best on eBay.  Now I'm wanting to learn how to use coupons most effectively at Dollar General and homesteading skills.  Why am I switching?  I feel like I have the knowledge I want to cut back on the time I invest in learning the first two topics.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Saving so you Can Give to Others

FTC disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

When I was a teenager, there was about a year that my mother and I had nothing to eat but potatoes because we were trying to make ends meet.  That is when I decided I was going to do what I could to figure out a way we could afford a bit more variety in our food as well as being able to have the heat set above 58 degrees in winter.

That's when I started reading books like The Complete Tightwad.  Although this book has advice from 20+ years ago, much of it is still quite useful, and one I would recommend to be in any penny pincher's library.  I still read my copy from time to time, usually getting it out every two years or so for a refresher course to see if I'm still doing everything I can -- or even if I can implement something new.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: The Recovering Spender

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.  This post contains affiliate links.

I was excited when I had the chance to review The Recovering Spender:  How to Live a Happy, Fulfilled, Debt-Free Life by Lauren Greutman.  As is common in today's world, another financial book by a financial blogger.  I find nothing wrong with that.  I am a financial blogger myself, but I can't read every blog, and I love hearing others' stories of how they got into -- and out of -- debt.

The one thing I found very different about Greutman's story is she was a shopaholic.  I often think of people who get in trouble financially as ones that lose a job, incur a large amount of medical bills, or something similar, it was her shopping that got her family into trouble.

There were different times reading this book, I thought, "That's a terrible idea" -- such as the impulse buy of a house in another state!  Honestly, that's something I would LOVE to do because I admit I'm unhappy where I live now, but I know it's not financially feasible for us to move for a while.  The Greutman family just up and bought a house a few states away.  I feel this was even a bigger problem to their finances than her shopaholic tendencies.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Book Review: Money Secrets of the Amish

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

This book made me discover something:  I'm Amish.  Or at least many of my shopping habits are!

In Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving, Lorilee Cracker examines why even during economic downturns the Amish still are thriving financially.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Swago At Swagbucks Starts September 19! Get ready now!


FTC disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Strawberry, Pumpkin, Apple, Boysenberry, the list goes on! Craving pie? It's time for SWAGO: Pie Fest! What is SWAGO you ask? It's a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site.  
Here’s what you need to know to get your 300 SB Bonus:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What are the Pros and Cons of Selling Online and on eBay and Etsy

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

This is the first of two posts.  I'm going to discuss the Pros and Cons of selling online as well as the Pros and Cons of selling things locally.  I am mainly going to discuss what I consider "The Big Three", but please be aware there are many different places you can sell items on the Internet.

I've been selling on eBay for 18 years, and so I have a few years of experience under my belt.  I was a "picker" from the time I was a child.  One of my first eBay sales was a book from the 1940s I picked up at a garage sale for a quarter when I was about 8 or 10 years old.  I had to wait for eBay to come on the scene, and then when it did, I sold the book I picked up thinking, "This looks like it might be worth something" for $90.  So I've had an eye for antiques, collectibles, and the unusual since I was a child.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

12 Uses for Spiral Notebooks (besides the obvious)


FTC disclaimer:  This post may contain affiliate links.

I absolutely love notebooks.  I have always loved this time of year because school supplies go on sale, and a new notebook is so full of potential.

Here are some ways I have used notebooks over the years, besides the obvious for school.

1. Journal.  Seriously, who would think someone would keep a journal is a notebook, even more so if you write "MATH" on the cover.  My mother even used one to write a letter to a friend.  The. whole. notebook. A letter!  Wow.

2.  Savings Tracker.  I used to take a notebook every year and write down everything I received in the mail -- this was when all mail in rebates were through the mail and not through Ibotta.  I would calculate how much I spent at the store, how much I saved

Friday, August 12, 2016

Don't Be Average -- Reduce Your Debt

I read last night the average American household has over $130,000 in debt, $48,000 of that in student loans, and $15,000 owed to credit card companies.

I have to wonder when this became acceptable.  I got my college degree when it was less expensive to do so, and I graduated "only" owing $16,000.  I paid that off slowly but surely, and it was a very exciting day when I called my student loan company and asked about not receiving my last bill.  I owed three dollars and some change, and I was looking forward to making that final payment.  (This was in the days before online banking.)  I was told that it wasn't worth it to them to even send a bill for that amount, and it was marked paid in full.  I can still remember where I was sitting when I was on the phone, where the Christmas tree was located in the room (we tend to have it in different spots), and even which phone I was on (a landline.)