Thursday, May 26, 2011

Coupon Check

This week-end would be a good time to go through your coupons and clean them out.  A lot of them will probably expire on Tues, so don't miss out on your saving opportunities!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Vocal Point

Join Vocal Point for free & receive coupons for full size products.  This week I picked up my free Breve Creme creamer.  I can't remember if I have mentioned it before, but it's definitely worth it.  I see next week they are going to have a chance for $10 giftcards so now would be a good time to check it out.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Join Right@Home (it’s FREE!) to Get Great Offers and Freebies!

just a reminder about another way to score some great full size product samples… become a member of Right@Home (it’s FREE) and get great offers, time-saving tips and recipes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Deal searching advice


Here are some notes from my workshop last night.


Why I look for deals
·         Donations – Harvest Ministry, Relief efforts
·         By saving money on what I buy, it gives me more money to bless others.
*     It’s fun & rewarding
Things to keep in mind while seeking deals
·         How far do you have to drive, especially with today’s gas prices.  If it costs you $8 to drive to Wooster to save $5, is it worth it?
·         Take into account your time.  If you work full-time, have young kids you have to take along, it might not be worth your time & energy.  It takes time to study the deals, organize your coupons, & make sure you are buying the correct product.  If you’ll be distracted by the kids & either not get the right product or buy extras because you are distracted, it might not be worth it
·         Are you spending money to save money?  It doesn’t make sense to buy something, even if it’s a good deal, if you don’t need it.

GENERAL COUPON RULES
·         You can only use one manufacturer’s coupon on each item.
·         You may use a manufacturer’s coupon only once.
·         You cannot photocopy a manufacturer’s coupon, INCLUDING internet printable coupons. 
·         You must abide by the wording on the coupon, not necessarily the picture. “Save $1 on ANY package/variety/size.”
·         You can usually use a manufacturer’s coupon on a sale or clearance item
·         You can use multiple manufacturer’s coupons in one transaction
·         STACKING COUPONS: Using a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon on one item.  This is where the real deals begin, making brand name items cheaper than store brand items.

Where to get coupons:
In the Sunday paper — manufacturer’s coupon inserts:
  • SmartSource (SS)
  • Red Plum (RP)
  • Proctor & Gamble (P&G)
  • General Mills (GM)
Local papers.  Typically have the same coupons, Akron Beacon Journal will have more sale flyers.  If you figure $2 a week for the paper, they quickly pay for themselves with the coupons.
  • The Daily Record –  week-end rate 12 weeks $20.50 carrier, $21.40 motor route, less if you subscribe longer
  • Akron Beacon Journal – week-end rate 13 weeks $26.00 autopay, 27.30 billed
On the internet — internet printable coupons: take into account ink & paper before you start printing lots of coupons that you don’t end up using.


All You magazine – available at Walmart or through subscription.  Pays for itself most months with the coupons inside.


Rebates
·         Print the rebate form the first time you encounter it.
·         Keep rebate forms in the same place in your house.
·         Create a “rebate” envelope or slot in your coupon organizing system
·         Complete the rebate form and mail it the moment you get home
·         Make copies of everything you mail in. I scan them & save them in a rebates folder on my computer
·         To be extra safe, don’t use the product until the envelope is in the mail


Hoarding vs Stockpiling – If you have more than you can use or you hear of a need & won’t bless others, then you are probably hoarding

On-line Safety Tips

Protecting Yourself and Your Computer

·         Credit Card Information – This is not usually required for your basic freebie but may be for free trials. Never give this information if you do not feel it is necessary for the offer or if you do not trust the website. Always do your research first.
·         Personal Information – Never give your social security number or password information. 
·         Your Computer-. It is always a good idea to have updated virus protection software for your computer.  There are often free after rebate deals.  I’ve read good things about the free antivirus software at avast.com &  avg.com

Cutting Down on the Junk

·         Email Address – Anytime I give out my email address, I understand that there may be some unwanted email (spam) headed my way. There are also plenty of freebies that require you to sign up to an email list, and they can really build up in a hurry. To keep your regular home email clean, sign up for a free email account that you use just when you sign up for freebies. Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo all offer free accounts that you can sign up for in just a few minutes. You can always unsubscribe to newsletter once you complete the deal.
o        If you do start receiving large amounts of spam, most virus scan programs, like McAfee and Norton, have built in spam filters that work with your email program.
·         Phone Number – Some offers will also ask you to fill in your phone number. Unlike your address, they don’t need your phone number to send you a freebie, so if it is not required on the form, don’t fill it in. Some forms will allow you to fill in “UL” or “unlisted.” Remember to register your home & cell phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry 1-888-382-1222

Inbox Dollars

Inbox Dollars is another opportunity to earn free money.   Sign up and start making money by reading emails, taking surveys, trying products, shopping online and playing games. Membership is free and you even get a $5 bonus when you sign up.

You can request a check once you reach $30.  They do take a $3 processing fee from the check. 

I only read e-mails & occasionally buy things where the reward covers my purchase price.  The money does add up.  3 times I've gotten offers to get $8 cashback on an Entertainment book, which I was able to combine with Ebates.  They also offer $4 cashback with Vista print.  There are often free items where you have to pay shipping for $3 to $6, so depending on what you order, you can make money.

Free AAA Trip Tiks

One thing I remember about all of our vacations growing up is our AAA Trip Tiks.  I loved to follow along & flip the pages to see where we're going. 

You can make your own (not the flip kind) on AAA's website even if you aren't a member.  You can't save your trip but you can print it.

It has lots of cool features.  You can add all your destinations.  It even allows you to select from popular attractions & hotels so you don't have to enter addresses.  Even with our GPS I still make one for our trips.  It allows you to see mileage & time for each leg.  You can also zoom in & it will show you attractions & hotels along the way.

Dolly Parton Imagination Library

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library gives a FREE book each month to kids ages 5 and under. This program is not available in all areas. To find out if the program is available in your area or to register, click here.

We have been doing this program for over a year.  They have each received some fun books.  They come about every 6 weeks or so.

Bzz Agent

When you sign up for BzzAgent, you'll get the opportunity to join our word-of-mouth campaigns. As part of the campaign, you'll:

  • Get free product samples to try yourself
  • Help friends discover cool stuff by sharing your opinion
  • Influence the brand with your feedback
  • Plus, you'll often get free product samples for your friends, too. Sweet!

BzzScapes is the part of BzzAgent.com dedicated to product reviews from you and other BzzAgents. Share your opinions of products, whether you love 'em, hate 'em or kindasorta like 'em. Of course, you'll also find a wealth of honest and informative reviews from other consumers.

I have been part of this for 3 years+ & have gotten lots of fun products & coupons.  It's often a full size product to try & coupons for free products to give away.

Menard's & Nickel's

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Menards & all of the freebies I get there.  There's a Nickel's Thrift store beside Menards that is worth checking out.

Menards – 21 south of 30  It’s like a Lowe’s or Home Depot, but they also have food.
Every week in their sale flier, there are items available for great prices after sending in a rebate. Many are free after rebate (FAR), but they have a clause that you must spend $10 in non-rebate items to qualify for the free rebates. This clause does not affect items that are not FAR. Your rebate is only available in the form of a Menards "rebate check", meaning you use it just as you would a gift card.
So, you go choose your items, and the first time you shop, you will pay full price Out of Pocket (OOP). Your receipt will have rebate receipts attached, and each will have a rebate number on it. Near the exit door, a counter has all the rebate forms in numerical order. Choose the ones you need.
At home, fill out your forms (I use address labels so it takes one second each), address your envelopes, make copies or scanned versions, put in the forms and rebate receipt and you are done. I don't even have to cut out UPC's. In about three weeks, your rebate "checks" should start coming in the mail.
The next time you shop, use the checks instead of cash, and depending on how much you spend, you can greatly reduce the chance of ever having to spend money OOP there again. If you do have to spend $10 to qualify for a free rebate item, this can also come from your checks.

Nickels Bakery Thrift Stores – 21 South of 30 & 807 Spruce Wooster
Nickels Thrift stores are a great place to get incredible deals on breads, buns, & dinner rolls.  You don’t always know what you will find, but often you can get a loaf of bread for $1.  In the Entertainment book there is a coupon for up to $5 off, so if you buy $10 worth of food, it will cost you $5.  They also have reward cards that you can get stamped & earn a free item.

Tips of Eating Out

Daily deals – These include groupon.com, livingsocial.com, dealpulp.com.  They have Akron & Cleveland locations.  They offer various ½ price or more gift certificates for restaurants, golf course, spas, etc.

Radio deals – There are a few local radio stations that offer ½ price gift certificates to various restaurants.

Facebook - sometimes if you "like" companies on facebook, you can get extra coupons.

Entertainment Books – These books sell for $35 in Oct/Nov.  As the year goes on they get cheaper & cheaper.  You can also find deals through Ebates.  Not only do they have great B1G1 free restaurant deals, but lots of travel & store deals.  There are 6 - $5 off of $50 Buehlers coupons which alone can pay for the book.  There is a Canton or Akron version.  I usually get Canton.  It also includes some Holmes County things.  Akron would have some Cleveland things as well.  If you are traveling in late summer or fall, you might want to consider on for vacation if they are deeply discounted.

IShopStark.com – There are various restaurants and stores offer coupons & discounted gift certificates for Stark, Wayne, & Holmes counties.

Restaurant.com coupons - Restaurant.com allows you to buy a restaurant gift certificate at a deep discount.  You can often find codes for an extra 70-80% off, making a $25 gift certificate less than $5.  You will need to check the requirements on the restaurant you are purchasing from they usually require a $35 minimum purchase (or require you to purchase 2 entrees). You spend $35, and then you can use the $25 certificate, your out of pocket for the restaurant portion can be as low as $10, you do have to pay sales tax and tip on the total amount. When we go, our final total will usually end up around $22 – $25.

Orrville School cards. – for $10 you get a card good for 1 year.  Dairy Queen (Orrville) $1 off any size moolatte or blizzard;  Gionino's buy any large pizza, get a free tossed or spinach salad; Senor Pancho's 10% off your purchase;  Taco Bell, Free small drink with $2 or more purchase;  Buehler's Scenic river coffee $1.00 off, East of Chicago, Barn Stone Cafe, Heartland Point Cafe, Dalton Dariette, Mrs J's Restaurant, Michael's Bakery, Kraus' Pizza(Dalton), Trendsetters, Putt n stuff, Carmichael sports, Smuckers store, expert T's (Orrville), the bouquet Shop, Audrey's Attic, Flynn's Tire, Wayne Lanes(Wooster), Riceland Golf Course, & the Pines Golf Club.

Restaurant Deals
  •   Sunday - Taco Bell - $0.59 crunchy tacos, including fresco style
·         Mon-Fri 3-6 Applebee’s - $4.50 appetizers 3-4 appetizers can make a meal for a  family.  Make sure you check with your Applebee’s before you order.
·         Monday & Sat nights – 1 free kids meal per adult entrĂ©e at Buehlers.
·         Tuesday night – Taco Bell - 1 free kids per adult combo purchased.
·         Wednesday night –  McDonalds all Happy Meals $1.99, Pizzazio’s 1 medium 1 topping $4.98

Dairy Queen Blizzard Club - You can join the blizzard club for free.  You get various B1G1 free coupons throughout the year.  Don’t print them off until you are ready to use them because they expire 2 weeks from printing.

Many reward programs offer birthday freebies or offers.  Also someone reminded me that you can register your birthday with your Buehler's advantage card & get a coupon for a free meal the month of your birthday.

CVS for beginners

My notes on CVS

How to read the CVS deals of the week
Extra Bucks
l
Prints at the bottom of receipt
l
Shows where to find them
Coupons











Before You Pay - sign up for a CVS Extra Care card.
·         This can be done in-store or online. Once you have your card, create an account at CVS.com and register your card. This way you will be able to view your rewards online and earn rewards when making online purchases. It is important to check “Yes” when asked if you would like to receive emails from CVS.   If you include your phone number, they can look up your number without the card.

Coupons    
  • weekly ads  
  • coupon booklets found in the store (released periodically)
  • coupons that print at the kiosk inside the door
  • coupons e-mailed to you
What Are Extra Care Bucks– You earn Extra Care Bucks (otherwise known as ECBs) by purchasing qualifying items. Each time you purchase one of these items and use your Extra Care card, a slip will be printed at the bottom of your receipt showing the amount you have earned.

Always scan your Extra Care Bucks card at the kiosk when you enter the store for more coupons.
The slips can be used like cash, though they do have some restrictions: prescriptions, gift cards, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid cards and  are excluded (restrictions may vary by area) and no cash back can be given if the ECBs you are paying with total more than your actual total.

Remember to save your slips and keep them in a safe place. Each slip has a barcode which the cashier will have to scan when you check out. The barcode links them to your Extra Care account so they can only be used by you with your card. They also have expiration dates, usually a month, and even though some cashiers can “push through” expired ECBs, you don’t want to risk losing them.

ECB deals can be found in the weekly flyer and list how many of an item can be purchased and still earn ECBs. This limit usually ranges from 1 to 5 of each item.

You will also earn 2% of your in-store and online purchases in the form of ECBs and $1 in ECBs for every two prescriptions purchased in-store or online. These ECBs will print out on the bottom of your receipt once every three months. Remember to have your Extra Care card scanned with each purchase or your account with not be given credit.

One of the biggest days for deals at CVS is Thanksgiving.  I will often do multiple transactions on this day or if I have a lot of deals so I don’t end up with lots of ECBs to use.  If there is a line, be courteous & go to the back of the line after each transaction.

Rite Aid for Beginners

Here are some of my notes from my coupon talk last night that I didn't have time to go over.

lSingle Check Rebate
lsubmit on-line & receive check
lUp Rewards
lprints at the bottom of receipt
lCoupons
lWhere you can find them
lVideo Reward
lwatch ads  & earn coupons






Before you pay  - sign up for UP Rewards
·         Using your Wellness card, you can earn dollars off a single item.  You also earn 1 point for every dollar you spend.  UP rewards print at the bottom of your receipt.  These expire in 2 weeks so watch your dates.  If you include your phone number, they can look up your number without the card.

Rite Aid offers many deals each month in the form of single check rebates (SCR). A list of the rebates for the current month can be found in the rebate directory at the front of the store.

Rite Aid store coupons, single check rebates, and manufacturer coupons can all be combined for great savings.

Coupons
  • weekly ads  
  • coupon booklets found in the store (released periodically)
  • Video Values coupons (watch an advertisement video and print a Rite Aid coupon)
  • tearpads frequently found in the cosmetics display area
Here’s how you do a SCR deal at Rite Aid:
1. Buy the rebate item at Rite Aid. Keep your receipt.
2. Create a SCR account at riteaid.com
3. Once logged into your SCR account, enter the receipt information. Within a day or two, the rebate will show whether it was accepted or not (as long as you buy the correct stuff, it will be accepted).  I don’t use the item until I make sure the rebate shows up in case I need to return it.
4. Submit that month’s rebates at the end of the month. You can only “submit” your rebates one time each month. For example, if you hit the “submit” button on January 15, you cannot do any rebates that may come up for the rest of January. You will want to wait until the end of the month to submit.
5. Rite Aid will mail you one check that can be cashed at your bank or at Rite Aid for cash.

If I'm buying a lot of items that come with Up rewards I'll do it in multiple transactions so I don't end up with lots of rewards.  If I do this, I go to the back of the line to be courteous to other customers.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Interested in Couponing?

Anyone interested in learning about couponing?  I'm doing a workshop at our Ladies Spring Tea at church (Orr CMA).  Cost is $5, including a meal.  It's Sat May 14 at 5.  Let me know by Sunday if you are interested.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sign Up for Right@Home for Coupons, Offers & More

If you aren’t a member of Right@Home yet, they offer a regular e-mail newsletter with alerts to coupons for a variety of different products they make like Pledge, Windex, Glade and Scrubbing Bubbles.
Just go HERE to fill out the form to sign up. They also offer sweepstakes, contests, great rebates and they always seem to be very generous with their free sample gift packs and coupons. By signing up you’ll be among the first to know about these special offers.