Posts Tagged ‘save money’

Happy Mother’s Day! My Gift To You…More Money!

With the popularity of the hit TLC TV show ‘Extreme Couponing,’ my Mother’s Day gift to all of you is to bring on guest blogger April Krantz, a.k.a “The Crazy Coupon Queen!” April is sharing all of her tips and tricks to getting the most out of your shopping experience.  

Also remember to visit the new online boutique at http://mommyhoodtohollywood.com to get fantastic deals on every baby/children’s and mom products you can think of.  It’s all about giving your little ones the A-List Life Without Paying the A-List price.  So with that in mind, here’s “The Crazy Coupon Queen” April Krantz:

Never thought you could get paid to go shopping? Well that’s what happens when you shop with coupons in hand! As long as you can master the tricks of the trade, it is very possible for one to save as much as 90% off their food bill!  Yes, I did say 90%! I can’t lie, it can be a difficult feat, but once you get acquainted with all the “rules” that follow with couponing, you’re on your way to banking!  In this blog, I will touch base on how to get started, what to look out for, and ways to beat the system and be a smart consumer!

First and foremost, you must get familiar with your local stores and their rules and regulations as far as accepting coupons.  Many states will allow the doubling and tripling of coupons.  This means that the store itself will double or triple the value stated on the coupon, but beware; many will cap it to no more than .50 cents to $1.00.

Being organized is always key when holding onto those coupons!  Treat coupons as if they were money, after all isn’t that what’s going to be left in your wallet after you use them!?  I recommend getting a binder or a coupon organizer wallet. Many will attach to your cart for easier access.  I have found that with a binder, it can be opened and laid out for easier viewing.  It may take more room, but with all coupons facing you, it will be that much easier to spot all the necessary ones for that particular product!

With a coupon wallet, people are faced with going through each and every coupon trying to find the one that they need for a desired product!  This can be difficult, but with a binder, all it takes is a page protector often used for trading cards, and then a solid page protector at the back to place all needed coupons that will be used at the end of the transaction.  Choosing to not use anything to hold and organize your coupons may result in dropping and/or losing them in those aisles!  Therefore, use that binder, each slot is a perfect size to place those cherished coupons in with a clear view!

Next up is getting those coupons!  Newspapers have been on the forefront for getting all the coupons so stock up on getting more than one paper.  Also with today’s day and age, the Internet has become a couponer’s best friend for snagging those golden tickets!  There are endless sites that help you find and print coupons, or you can just type in the exact product that you are looking for in you search engine, and often times you will find dozens of sites with coupons for that specific merchandise.

Another tip to grabbing those desired coupons is signing up with the manufacturer on their official website, following them on twitter, or even “liking” them on facebook!  They will often times mail and/or email you coupons along with alerting you with advance notices on important sales or giveaways!

Here’s also an imperative tip about the printing process in regards to snagging those much needed coupons.  It is the fact that many sites will only allow you to print up to 3 of the coupons that you need from that specific product. So with that being said, many savvy shoppers will print from different computers within their own homes, in order to walk away with more coupons.  However, always make sure to check the barcode on those printed coupons.  This is because if you purchase many of the same products and use the same printed coupon for each, numerous stores will not allow you to use that printed coupon due to the fact that it has the same barcode on each one.

Now it is time to put those coupons into good use!  Many stores will take competitor coupons and others won’t.  Some may also state that all competitor coupons must have a UPC barcode to scan.  Other merchants may price match other competitors ads, but may not allow the use of a coupon for that product they have just price matched.  Therefore, weigh your options and choose which way will get you the better deal.

Often times, food chains will allow you to use more than one coupon to a product. This is known as “stacking” your coupons.  Many retailers will circulate their own coupon. With this in hand, you are allowed to use a manufacturer coupon so you can benefit from the savings.  A good example of this is when I purchase my baby formula.  Similac sends me coupons allowing me to save $5.00 off any of their products.  A local drug store I often visit will display a coupon that allows you to save $1.00 off the purchase of two Similac products.  When a bottle of liquid Similac formula retails for $5.99 and I purchase two at $11.98, I use two Similac manufacturer coupons adding up to a $10.00 savings and then I stack my $1.00 off drug store coupon.  I now just got 2 bottles of formula for free!  I am very proud to say that my daughter is 4 ½ months old and I have yet to pay for any formula!

Also keep in mind that many stores will not allow you to use more coupons than products purchased.  This especially comes into play when using your store and manufacturer coupons together!

Another good tip is never leave out a coupon for an item that you don’t think you will use. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve clipped a coupon that I thought was unnecessary only to be able to use it on a product that I am willing to try, but not willing to spend money on, let alone pay full price on.

Also be on the look out for “store dollars.”  Many times drugstores will reward you with “store dollars” to be used on future purchases.  On a recent buy, a local drugstore was advertising a brand new stain fighting detergent.  It retailed for $5.69, but with a sale price being listed at $3.99.  They were also advertising $3.00 in reward dollars with the purchase of three.  I had 3 coupons for $3.00 of the listed item.  So when I used them I paid .99 cents each for the 3 detergents with the return of $3.00 in reward money.  I essentially got the 3 detergents for free because I was able to turn around and use those “$3.00” in rewards for something else!

Get familiar with your store’s sales trends.  Many retailers will put the same item on sale every few weeks.  A box of cereal may normally retail for $3.69, but during a sale will have a price of 2 for $5.00.  So always be on the lookout.  Many of these staples will include cleaning products, dry goods, and canned foods.

Another key selling point is the advertised “Buy One, Get One Free” sale!  With the purchase of those two products, you are able to use 2 coupons, even though you’re essentially only paying for one!  Also pay close attention to the fine print!  Many coupons will state exact sizes that it can and cannot be used for.  The picture will also show an exact item, but the print may say “for any of the name brand product”.

Also, you may think trial size products are useless, but if you have a coupon that is .75 cents off of a tube of toothpaste for example, and it does not state “excluding trial sizes” you can apply that savings off that trial size toothpaste instead and pay less than .25 cents for that item or even get it for free!

Don’t limit yourself to just grocery staples either.  Often times, department stores as well as toy stores will market their own coupons.  Using this method, I was able to apply a $5.00 off manufacturer coupon at a major toy store chain when they were advertising a buy one get one free toy event!   A learning toy that retailed for $25.00 was listed in the BOGO free event and allowed me to get two toys for $20.00 after applying my $5.00 off coupon, this gave me a savings of $30.00!

Many retailers will also send out general savings coupons.  These coupons compose of $5.00 off of a purchase of $30.00 or more or even upwards of $10.00 off of a purchase of $20.00.  As long as you can stick with the mindset of keeping your spending to that limit, you will get the most out of your savings.  Never forget, it is the retailers purpose to get you into their stores and use your coupons, but spend more than what you intended, so be disciplined and don’t get sucked into this.

As a 26 year old new mom, it is essential for me to find ways to save so that I can apply my savings to better things, like my family!  Most essential items people shop for will not last forever, so why pay full price for them?   The money you will save will not only bring you a great deal of satisfaction, but will also provide you with excess funds that can be put towards more rewarding things in life like a nice vacation or better yet, a college education!  So don’t get caught up in the full price hype or be overwhelmed by how to get or use coupons.  With patience, knowledge, and a good pair of scissors, it IS possible to get a better bang for your buck!

-The Crazy Coupon Queen!-

"The Crazy Coupon Queen" herself April Krantz with her darling 4 month old baby girl!

"The Crazy Coupon Queen" herself April Krantz with her darling 4 month old baby girl!

‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ Holiday Money Saving Tips!

‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ Holiday Money Saving Tips!

1. Use Social Media and Technology To Your Advantage!
Do you know that many of your favorite stores have Facebook pages and that if you “LIKE” those pages they will offer you discounts on products they carry? That’s right, the world of finding deals has changed, so sign on to your Facebook page, you probably are there already anyway, and plug in some store names and see what deals you can find. Start with this one for Sears! http://www.facebook.com/sears
Foursquare is partnering up with Sports Authority on Black Friday to give away gift cards and discounts.  Also get coupons by checking into American Eagle (15% off through 12/31/2010), Hollister (20% through 11/25/2010), Zales (get $50 toward purchases of $300 or more through 12/31/2010), or JC Penney (get $10 towards purchases of $50 or more).  Now for all you anti-Twitter people, you’re missing out because there are deals to be found!  Follow your favorite stores on Twitter because many of them are offering deals.  Also follow @BFads and @BlackFriday for updates on all your favorite retailers as well!  Another fab place for deals is http://www.groupon.com.
Now here’s something else you can do to save money… I’m sure many of you have heard that expression, “There’s an app for that!”  Doesn’t there seem to be an app for everything these days, well here are some more and these can help you save money this holiday shopping season!  The first one is called the ‘Red Laser’ and of course it’s an app by Apple and it’s FREE!  The ‘Red Laser’ basically scans items’ barcodes and then searches the web to find you the place where you can get that item for the lowest price.  Pretty cool, huh!  The other money saving apps are by eBay and Amazon.  eBay’s app is called the ‘EBay App’ (how creative) and Amazon’s is called the ‘Price Check App.’ Both of these apps use the iPhone or iPod Touch camera to check the price of an item against the price of the same product on the company’s respective websites.  Oh yes, comparison shopping has become so futuristic!
2. Buy Your Holiday Decor Close To The Holidays or After The Holidays!
Let’s face it, the closer to the holidays we get, the more desperate retailers are wanting to get rid of their holiday decorations.  If you shop for your decor close to the holidays or after the holidays are over (to get stocked up for the following year), then you will find slashed prices or even better, clearance prices!
3. Don’t Send Out Holiday Cards or Send Out E-Greeting Cards Instead!
I love sending out holiday cards too, but trust me when I say that if you skip a year in sending them out, especially in these difficult financial times, your family and friends will understand. If you don’t want to skip it, then E-Greetings are a great alternative to traditional holiday cards.  You can get them and send them out for free.  If you absolutely have the need to send out those traditional holiday cards via snail mail instead, then wait to buy them in December because that’s when they go on sale, or send out New Years cards instead!
4. Practice Smart Gift Buying and Gift Giving!
A) Start your holiday shopping early, really early, like 6 months early!  You’re probably thinking, “Are you crazy?”  Well maybe, but in doing this you can buy slowly and not have to worry about spending large sums of money all at once.  Also, imagine not having the stress of buying a bunch of gifts during the month of December, while you’re also trying to decorate, give parties, travel or host tons of family at the same time.
B) If you don’t want to shop early and you can tolerate crowded malls and packed parking lots (unlike me), then take advantage of Black Friday.  There will always be great deals on this day, so why not take advantage of them if you can handle the crowds.
C) Don’t shop for your friends with children, just buy their children a gift, or better yet, buy one gift that the whole family can enjoy!
D) Don’t buy couples individual gifts, buy them a “couple” gift instead.
E) Big families should consider picking a name out of a hat for gift exchange or consider doing a Secret Santa instead.
F) Shop online!  You’d be amazed at the comparison shopping and deals you can find online.  Many times you can even go to a store and find a price on an item that is high, but then if you go to that stores’ website, they have that same item at a much lower price!
G) Make a gift!  Some people may think this is an old fashion idea, but a homemade gift is usually the most thoughtful one.

5. Scrapping the Expensive Wrapping!
Instead of buying expensive wrapping paper, use recycled wrapping paper instead. Always hold on to left over wrapping paper and gift bags, so that you can use them later.  If you don’t have left over holiday wrapping paper, then take any type of wrapping paper you may have, flip it over to the plain side and use that side instead.  You or your kids can decorate that side to make it look festive. Also, instead of buying pricey bows, look around your house to see what you already have.  You will be surprised by what beautiful items you can find around your home to decorate your gifts with.  Or take advantage of what’s outside and see what beautiful decor nature has to offer for your gift or your house (pine cones, leaves, etc).  Here’s another idea!  Buy inexpensive large reams of packing paper and use that as wrapping paper.  You can decorate it yourself or make it a creative art project for your kids to do.  You can also use newspapers or magazines to wrap gifts!
6. Grocery Shop With A Purpose!
When you go grocery shopping make sure you have a shopping list.  That way you don’t end up shopping for things you don’t need.  Also take advantage of coupons, you can find them online at places like www.coupons.com andwww.couponmom.com. Also check out local deals from the newspaper or just pick up a free ad flyer from the market. In addition, make sure to take advantage of the deals that the grocery stores may have to offer, they have these especially during the holiday season.  Here’s another tip, ditch the name brand snobbery. Don’t be so stuck on name brands because sometimes the store brand item is just as good as the name brand item, but at a much lower price!
7. Entertain In Town, Not Downtown!
During the holidays it’s always great to be able to take in a nice show downtown, but this can be extremely pricey, so here are some alternatives.  Take in a holiday show at a local high school, college, or church instead.  They are much less in price and the ticket sales go right back to the school and/or church. Sometimes these shows are even free!  Here are also some other free entertaining activities you can do with your family.  Join a school or church caroling group, or make your own caroling group with your family and friends! Have a holiday cookie baking party and exchange recipes and cookies at the end of it.  You will leave with an assortment of holiday cookies to eat and share. Here’s another favorite thing I love to do for the holidays that’s free…Take your kids for a drive to a nearby neighborhood or town to see holiday lights.  It’s a festive activity that will put almost anybody in the holiday spirit!
Mommyhood to Hollywood

Mommyhood to Hollywood