04 September 2010

Living Frugal

There is a sense of assurance that comes with being able to manage money vs. being managed by money. For some people frugal living is temporary until they are able to get back on their feet or it can be a day in day out necessity to make ends meet. For others (like myself) it is a voluntary decision.

For me living frugally is seeking efficiency and being careful and diligent in how I use my resources, including money, food, knowledge and skills. In many ways frugality is about moderation, knowing what and how much you need, living without waste and making the most of everything you have.

I feel thankful to have grown up in a home where I was encouraged to be a resourceful individual; today it is mostly second nature. I use coupons, shop sales, grow my own vegetables (in the summer months), shop thrift stores and consignment shops and reduce and reuse as much as possible.

However, please do not be misled, there is a difference between being frugal and being cheap. Living frugally allows me live more fully on less and treat myself without guilt. I am a person who appreciates quality more than quantity and I never sacrifice quality. I have a closet full of name brand clothes which I paid pennies on the dollar for and I still use name brand products. I feel it is important to note that there is a time and place to invest money. For instance, I have a hard time spending more than $10 on a top, but I will pay $100 of a pair of jeans no problem. In this example I see the cost of the jeans as a cost per wear situation. I live in jeans, so for me investing in a pair of jeans I love is smart.

I am frequently ask by my peers how I am able to shop and save the way I do. I understand that for many people frugal living sounds more like a chore than a source of entertainment. Couponing takes time, shopping sales takes planning, gardens are hard work and when your free time is limited it's difficult to justify the time it can takes to dig through racks and racks of clothes at the thrift store to find something worth buying. Since finding the best deals is my hobby and passion, I am willing to commit the time and effort to it. However, I do not feel the need to get every deal, sometimes a person can only do so much, and there are always more deals ahead of you. Also, I don't have children or pets that need taking care of so all of my free time is at my disposal to use as I wish. I fully understand that everyone is not in a similar situation. It is important to remember to figure out what works for you and do that because every little bit counts. Don't compare yourself to other women and men, they may look like that have it all together all the time, but I promise you, NO ONE does!

Many other blogs and money saving tutorials boast about how you can save thousands of dollars with this trick and that trick. Many of these tricks are great, but realistically who has the time to shop four or five different grocery stores per week, make multiple runs to the drug stores daily or sit on the computer waiting for the exact moment the next freebie will be release just to make sure you get one? Not me! There are simpler, easier and less time consuming ways to save money and lead a frugal lifestyle that won't consume all your free time and leave you burned out.

Some of the best ways to save are to set a budget and stay well-informed about local circumstances as well as both market and product/service realities. Know what's in season and locally grown, learn which stores consistently have the best prices, sign up for email notifications for local deals (this way you don't have to go search for them, they come to you), subscribe to a blog that finds the deals for you, and embrace cost-free options.

Developing frugal habits takes time. You are not going to start savings hundreds over night. Remember that every experience is a chance to learn. Living frugally helps us learn financial wisdom and develop discipline. Don't be discouraged if you make mistakes, we all do!

Cheerios "Do What You Love" Sweepstakes and $.75/1 Coupon!

Head HERE to enter the Cheerios "Do What You Love" Sweepstakes for a chance to win 1 of 10 amazing prizes! After you submit your entry you'll be able to print a coupon for $.75/1 box of Cheerios!

(Thanks, HappyClippings!)

New FREE sample of Kotex

Seems like there is no shortage in freebies this week and here's another one!

(Thanks, MoneySavingMom!)

Organize in Style Coupon Book

There are two new link available for the Organize In Style coupon booklet HERE or HERE! This booklet is full of great coupons for products like Swiffer, Mr.Clean, Dawn and more. Sign up for yours today!

(Thanks, ForTheMommas!)

Free Sample: Tasters Choice

Score some FREE samples of Taster's Choice on the Nescafe facebook page HERE.

Just click on the "Nescafe Sample" tab to sign up for yours!

(Thanks, ForTheMommas!)

03 September 2010

Paint Rebates

Got a painting project planned this weekend?
Then head over HERE to Penny Pinchin' Mom to see how you can save on your paint purchases this weekend at some local home improvement stores!

Free Express Lip Gloss

"Like" Express on their facebook page  HERE and they'll hook you up with a printable coupon for FREE lip gloss in stores Sept. 8- 10 just for being a fan - no purchase necessary!

BOGO Coupon for Better Oats

Better Oats has a BOGO Free Coupon available on their facebook page HERE! Click the "Like" button and you'll be able to download the coupon - it's run by bricks, so you can print it twice using your browser back button! 

Use this at Redners to grab two boxes for only $.50 each! (Thanks, ForTheMommas!)

Free Sample: Garnier Moisture Rescue

Head HERE to grab your FREE Sample of Garnier Moisture Rescue and a $1 coupon!

Mega Swagbucks Day!

Its Friday and which means Mega SwagBucks Day! That means you'll be rewarded in higher increments today. If you haven't signed up yet go here to sign up!

Also, after you sign up go to the daily poll under "ways to earn" tab and win 1 swagbuck for each day you give your opinion

02 September 2010

Yesterday's Rite Aid Stop

Made a quick stop at Rite Aid after work...the deal I had planned didn't work out, so I had to turn to plan B, but all in all it still went well. I would advise that if you are going into a store to complete a specific deal senario, always be ready to turn to plan B. Like with my trip yesterday, you never know when the store might be out of a particular product, especially when it's on sale.

So my Plan B purchases consisted of the following:
2 bottles of Gain Dish Soap priced at $.89 each - used 2x $1/1 mfr coupons = 2 FREE
2 bottles Pepsi Max priced at $1.59 each - use 2x BOGO coupons (mfr & RA) = 2 FREE
1 Pantene Restoratives Shampoo on sale for $4 - used $2/1 mfr coupon = $2
1 Listerine Zero Mouthwash on sale at $3.99 - used $2/1 mfr. coupon & $1/1 RA coupon = $.99
Handed over my $3 in UPR
Total Cost = $0.00
Got back $1.99 SCR, $3 UPR
Turned into a $4.99 Money Maker!

I was planning on getting 2 Tide Stain Release 18ct as well and using 2 x $3 mfr coupons, plus a $5/$25 RA coupon, but the store was unfortunately (for me) out of the Stain Release bags. oh well, there will be other sales.

FREE Sample: Garnier Wrinkle Test Strips

Go HERE to grab your FREE Sample of Garnier Wrinkle Test Strips and $1 off coupon.

You can also print a coupon for $2.50/1 Garnier Ultra Lift product HERE.

UPromise September Coupons

Don't forget to load your UPromise September coupons!

Upromise September coupons are now available! If you're not familiar with Upromise go HERE to read my most recent Upromise post or HERE to sign up.

Some of the New Coupons for September Include:
    • Buy 1 BIC® Soleil Bella™, save $2.00 for college
    • Buy any 1 Snyder's of Hanover Lunch Pack, save $1.00 for college
    • Buy 1 Wacky Mac Pasta, save $0.50 for college.
    • Buy 1 No Yolks Egg White Pasta, save $0.50 for college
    • Buy any 1 Bounty Paper Towels 6ct or larger, save $0.50 for college
    • Buy any 1 Charmin MegaRoll, save $1.00 for college
    • Buy any 1 Resolve® Fabric Treatment, save $0.50 for college

Even the Prince thinks we should wear Vintage

I have spoken before about how important I think it is to reduce and reuse as much as possible. This is part of the reason I LOVE shopping thrift stores and flee markets and taking the old, making some alterations and giving it new life. "Vintage" is everywhere today - it's lining the pages of magazine, filling store front windows and walking the runway!

It turns out even the Prince of Wales agrees that we should be recycling more - and what better place to start than with our fashion trends! Check out what the Prince had to say to Vogue readers HERE.

FREE Reusable Bag from Nursery Water!

Nursery Water is giving away 100 FREE bags HERE at 12 noon EST daily.

I love these totes! I truly believe that everyone should be using reusable bags - but I understand that sometimes they can be a hassle to shelp around with you. This FREEBIE from Nursery Water has a fantastic design to fold up into itself. I got a similar bag for Christmas two years ago (thanks Mom!) and it is wonderful. They are super light weight and durable and it folds up into itself small enough to fit in my purse so I always have it with me, no more forgetting my bag at home or in the car. Sign up for yours today!

(Thanks, LivingRichWithCoupons!)

New Coupons: Quaker, Glory & Land o Lakes

There are some new *HOT* *HOT* *HOT* coupons available to print...

Just go to the coupon tab - you don't even have to sign in.
This would be great paired with the $1.89 sale at ACME this week - beware sale ends today!

This is a PDF and doesn't expire until 12/31/10. You can print this multiple times. Will be great to use on canned goods to make them VERY cheap or even FREE!

(Thanks, MoneySavingMom!)

These will frequently go on sale for $1.00 at ACME.
If your store doubles it makes for FREE butter!

01 September 2010

New Giant Store Coupons

I love when Giant releases these coupons - they can be stacked with manufacturer coupons to really help keep the food budget under control!

New Nestle Coupons Available

Go HERE to print new Nestle Product coupons.

There is a new $1/2 Juicy Juice Products coupon included - these are always a big hit in my house!

$5/5 Kraft Dairy Products Coupon

This will be great paired with a good sale!

Not only does this coupon save you money, but for each coupon redeemed Kraft will donated 5 meals to Feeding America!

FREE Sample: Shout Color Catcher

Also check out SHOUT's facebook page HERE for a $.55 coupon off any Shout product!

31 August 2010

FREE Avery Labels at Staples!

Avery Labels are on sale at Staples this week for only $1.00
use $1/1 coupon HERE to score these for FREE!

A Better Use for Expired Coupons

It can be very disappointing to find a great coupon only to then realize its expired. Usually the first reaction is to cut our losses and toss it in the trash (or hopefully recycling).

At the end of each month I sit down to begin the lengthy task of cleaning out my coupon organizers of all of the expired coupons and given the amount of coupons I collect weekly, there are usually A LOT of expired ones come the 30th or 31st of each month.

I used to simply gather them all up and place them in the recycling along with all the other papers, but then I found an even greater use for them HERE at ocpnet.org. The Overseas Coupon Program (OCP) collects and distributes manufacturer coupons to military families stationed overseas. Did you know that on military bases overseas the commissary and PX will accept manufacturer coupons up to 6 months past their expiration date? It's true!

How to get involved? 
  • Visit http://www.ocpnet.org/ and adopt a base you wish to donate to.
  • Separate you clipped coupons into two categories: Food and Non-food.
    • This is because most bases have 2 stores,  the “Commissary” (grocery store) and the PX or BX (department store). By separating your coupons into “food” and “non-food” bundles the volunteers on the receiving end can more easily placed your donated coupons at the correct venue.
    • The general rule of thumb is a "food" item is something humans can eat (this includes products like Ensure and Slimfast). A "non-food" item would include pet food, soaps, cleaning supplies etc.
  • Clearly label your bundles - the easiest way to do this is to place them in zip lock baggies.
  • Talley an approximate total value for each bundle.
    • This helps the program keep track of which bases are receiving the most support and which bases need more coupons.
  • Stick your bundles in an envelope and send them off to your adopted base!

30 August 2010

More Thrift Store Finds

I had the day off work today so I met up with my mom and helped her clean and set up her classroom before the school year starts next week. On our way home Mom finally took me to a thrift store she has been telling me about for over a year called New Life Thrift in Glenside, PA!

Of course I found some goodies:
I picked up this dress which still had its tags and this GREAT leather skirt. The skirt was $10 which is a bit more than I like to pay for things but all my fashion magazine keep telling me leather is REALLY in this season so I figured I should jump on the bandwagon.

I also found this great mug. Not sure you can tell from the pic but its HUGE! I love eating out of these "mug-bowls" so for only $.50 I had to take it home with me! (Actually I think I'll take it to use at work.)

Finally - the item I was most excited about - these shoes are beautiful and they will match the dress I found the other day PERFECTLY! Oh and did I mention they were only $5 and my size?! YAY! I'm still so excited about sharing the final product of my dress alteration, so stay tuned because it'll be coming soon (the wedding I'm planning on wearing it to is 9/18)!

I will definitely be hitting up this thrift store again. It was really nice - clean, organized, they had one of everything, from clothes to dishes to housewares and things in every persons price range! Wonderful - I definitely would recommend this store to anyone!

FREE sample of Kashi

Thanks, CouponPro

Rite Aid: Free Pepsi Max & Butt Paste

Rite Aid has had some serious deals lately with great freebies and even money makers! Here are a few more available this week...

Buy 2 Pepsi Max Drinks, 20 oz
Use 1 Buy 1 Get 1 Free - Pepsi Max Drink – (adperks.com)
And Use 1 Buy 1 Get 1 Free – Pepsi Max Dink – (smartsource.com)
Final Price: 2 for FREE

Boudreaux’s Butt Paste 4 oz. $3.99
And use $2.00/1 Boudreauxs Product, any from SS 4/11 or
$1.00/1 Boudreauxs Product, any from SS 8/29
Final Price: $1.00 Money Maker!

29 August 2010

CVS Deals Week of 8/29

Here are some CVS deals available this week that are definitely worth mentioning:

Philips in-ear headphones $6.99 (3 Day Sale)
Get $6.99 ECB
= FREE after ECB

Crest or Oral-B Pro Health $3.97
Get $2.50 ECB (limit 2)
use $1/1 Crest Toothpaste or Liquid Gel, exp. 8-31-10 (P&G 08/01/10)
or use $0.75/1 Crest Toothpaste or Liquid Gel, exp. 8-31-10 (P&G 08/01/10)
= as low as $0.47 each after coupon and ECB

Wheat Thins $1.00
use $1/1 Wheat Thins printable (left hand column)

Purex Ultra Liquid Laundry Detergent, 29-38 load $3.99
Buy 1, Receive $2.00 Extra Bucks, Limit 3
use $0.35/1 Purex Ultra Concentrate Detergent, exp. 9-11 (RP 8/15/10)
 = $1.64 after coupon and ExtraBucks

Bounce or Downy $3.99
Buy 1, Receive $1.00 Extra Buck, Limit 1
use $1.00/1 Bounce Product from SS 8/15
or use $1.50/1 Downy Ultra Fabric Softener from SS 8/22
or use $1.00/1 Downy Fabric Softener from SS 8/15 or PG 8/1
= as low as $1.49 after coupon and ExtraBucks

Schick Manual Razors or Refill Cartridges, psa $9.99
Buy 1, Get 1 Free automatic promo
use $4.00/1 – Schick Quattro for Women Razor, Refill or Disposable – (bricks.coupons.com)
or use $2.00/1 Select Schick For Woman Items from SS 7/18
or use $5.00/1 Schick Hydro Razor from SS 8/8
or use $2.00/1 Schick Hydro Refill from SS 8/8
= as low as $0.99 each, when you buy 2

Emerald Cashew Snacks $1.00
use $1.00/1 Emerald Nuts from RP 8/15

What deals did you find this week?

Rite Aid Deals Week of 8/29

Rite Aid Deals I'm eyeing up this week include:

Nivea Lip Care - $2.99
less $1.99 Single Check Rebate (SCR)
less $1 +UP Reward (UPR)
use $2/2 q HERE or use $1/1 Nivea Lip Care, exp. 10-31-10 (ALL YOU Sept ‘10)
= as low as FREE

Pantene Restoratives Beautiful Lengths Hair Care - $4
less $2/1 q in this Sunday's paper
less $2 UPR

Listerine Mouthwash 500ml - $3.99
less $1/1 Video Values (VV) coupon
less $1 UPR
less $2/1 Listerine Zero coupon from HERE

Nivea Body Wash for Men - $3
less $2 UPR
less $1/1 q in this Sunday's paper

Gain Dish Soap - $.89
less $1/1 q in this Sunday's paper

What other great deals are you looking forward to?

It Always Pays to Check Your Receipts

Today I completed our second shopping trip for August. We ended up lasting longer than two weeks from our last trip which was on 8/10. That trip cost $42.44, plus I picked up milk about a week ago which was around $3.50 so I had about $54 to spend if I wanted to stay on budget ($100 per month).

I made two stops today, one at Giant and then a quick stop at Acme to score their deal on Quaker Granola bars. Here is what I came home with today:

1lb bag Carolina Rice - $.09 after coupon
Cinnabon Cereal - $1.19 after coupon plus box has a Mail in Rebate for full price of item
2 bags Utz Chips (BOGO sale) - $1.74 for both after coupons
2 Maxwell House Coffee - $4 for both after coupon
2 boxes Wheat Thins - $3 for both after coupons
2 cans Starkist Tuna - $1 after coupon
Coffee Filters - $.99
Apple Juice - $1.69
2 gallons water - $.79 each
Land o Lakes American cheese 1lb - $3.99 after coupon
2 Oscar Mayer Bologna (BOGO sale) - $1.69 for both after coupon
1 packs Perdue breaded Chicken Cutlets - $1.50 after coupon
Perdue Boneless Chicken Breasts (BOGO sale) - $10.47 for about 5lbs after coupons
Frozen Pizza - $2.50
Orange Juice - $2.50
Dannon Light & Fit 4pk - $.89 after coupon
Coffee-mate Creamer - $.05 after coupon
6 Yoplait Yogurts - $2.74 after coupon
Mission Flour Tortillas 10ct - $1.19 after coupon
Gallon Milk - $3.39
Dozen Large Eggs - $1.39 *this price has been raised, used to be $1.09 :(
Rubbing Alcohol (bf asked for it, don't know why) - $1.09
2 loaves Holsum King Bread (BOGO sale) - $.44 for both after coupons

I was feeling very confident walking up to the check out at Giant with everything above. My total came to $52.87. This was higher than I had expected, and I was bummed because I now couldn't afford Quaker granola bars in our budget, but I paid, walked out to my car and ran down my receipt to make sure everything had rung up properly. I noticed that the Holsum bread did NOT ring up as BOGO. I went back to the customer service desk and asked why this was. The store manager checked my receipt, checked the tag on the shelf and gave me back $5.38 - apparently the store policy is "if a BOGO sale doesn't ring up correctly the customer gets both items FREE"!!! So I got two HUGE loafs of bread FREE and now had $6.50 still in the budget to play with at ACME.

At ACME I picked up
5 boxes (10ct each) Quaker Granola bars - $4.95 for all after coupons
and another pack of Perdue Breaded Chicken Cutlets - $1.50 after coupon
My total came to $6.45

Grand Total for Everything = $53.94 ($.06 under budget & we're well stocked!)
Total savings = $69.43, which is a 56% savings! Plus I'll get back $2.35 on the cereal rebate!

So remember, it's ALWAYS to your benefit to check your receipts!!!