I have seriously fallen in LOVE with couponing! Hahaha, I know what you’re thinking…so lame. Hell no! I currently have a linen closet full of expensive body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, air freshener systems, moisturizers, makeup and more that I paid PENNIES for. I’ll explain the details in a later post, but if you want to get a jump start on saving $$$ big time on your health and beauty product addiction, check this site out! You can also save tons on food items, clothing, dining out, and more. Want to get started?
- Start saving your coupon inserts!! In my area, these come in the Sunday paper (buy 2 or 3, or get a subscription, it’s cheaper), in the mail with my grocery sale ads (I live in the Pittsburgh area, and these generally come on Tuesday), and in the mail with our local town newspaper. Try to get as many inserts as you can collect. Ask the mailman. Ask your mom. Ask your non-frugal minded friends. My boss saves me all the inserts she gets in the mail and in the paper, and she is one of the most penny-pinching people I know! (Guess she doesn’t have time to do the legwork, with running two businesses and all…but for the rest of us, believe me, it’s SO worth it.
- Start printing coupons from the internet! There are a TON of legitimate coupon resources on the net such as redplum.com, smartsource.com coupons.com and many more. A lot of sites and blogs, such as The Krazy Coupon Lady (the link I’ve provided to click on at the top of this post) have huge coupon databases on their sites. Simply see what’s on sale where you are planning on shopping, decide what you’d like to buy, and check the alphabetized coupon database to find out if there is a coupon available to help you save more money on your desired product!
- Check the coupon policies of your favorite supermarkets and drugstores. For example, many grocery stores will double coupons up to 99 cents. So that 75 cents off coupon you just clipped on Frank’s Red Hot?? You’re probably going to get if for free if you you find it on sale that week!! Here in our apartment, we do A LOT of mexican/southwestern/cajun cooking, so we ALWAYS need hot sauce. And we NEVER pay for it!! Same goes for LOADS of grocery items! It just takes a bit of detective work.
- Check out your drugstore’s store loyalty program. Rite-Aid, Walgreens and CVS all have programs similar to one another in that you are “rewarded” for purchasing certain products by receiving “Up Reward or Extra Bucks or Whatever :)”. These rewards are good on your next purchase (even if you make it that same day) and can be used on most anything in the store. Carefully combine these store rewards with your coupons (and maybe throw in some store rebates!) and I guarantee you will never have to pay for toiletries again! Depending on how committed and flexible you are. You can’t be too brand loyal to get the best deals. Rite Aid is basically PAYING ME to shop for hundreds of dollars worth of products a month!!
- Need a new dress for your little cousin’s graduation party?? Or new shoes because yours are falling apart after working 50+ hours a week at the hospital/bar/construction site?? Use the power of the internet!! There are many sites such as plasticjungle.com that sell gift cards to popular stores that are discounted by up to 30%. STEP ONE: Purchase one of these discounted cards for the store you plan to buy your shoes/dress/new drill. STEP TWO: Search the web for any printable coupons or promotions that may be going on (ex. I recently printed a ton of $10 off a $50 purchase for JCPenny’s) STEP THREE: If you are physically going to the store, shop the clearance/sale items first. If you are shopping online, you can still shop for clearance/sale items, AND you can also shop for online promo codes that can get you free shipping, extra % off total purchase discounts, or free gifts!!!
Put all this together and you are looking at some SERIOUS savings!!!
I also enjoy thrift stores, consignment shops, garage sales and estate sales, but more on that later. Sometimes even the most thrifty soldier has to shop retail, but when you do, you might as well save big!!
Here is a recent example from our lives:
Mike desperately needed new shoes. Now, Mike is (unlike most men) VERY picky about his shoes. They have to a certain brand, color, height, etc. He has even developed his own special way of FIXING THE LACES so that he never has to tie and untie them. HAHAHAHAHA…sorry, it just cracks me up. Anyway, so we set off to find him shoes. I remark that JCPenny’s is having some great sales, knowing that this is an acceptable place in his mind to purchase his shoes. Soooo…
- We purchase a $25 gift card from a site like PlasticJungle for only $20.
- I search online and find a printable coupon for $10 off any $50 purchase in the store.
- We go to the shoe department and (after much begging and pleading) Mike finally condescends to look at the sale and clearance shoes. (If you knew him you’d understand why this is so funny. He is the most unpretentious, laid-back, anti-fashion ,working-class guy’s guy that I know. He just has this strange preoccupation with his shoes.) He finds a pair of sneakers that were $80 but are now marked down to $50.
- So, do the math. We first apply the $10 off coupon to the $50 dollar sneakers which brings them down to $40. Next, we use the $25 gift card (that we only paid $20 for). Then we pay $15 more in cash. So….
We end up paying only $35 dollars for an $80 dollar pair of shoes with only MINIMAL planning or invested time. That’s a savings of around 47%. Not too shabby for a few clicks of the mouse. The trick is to combine multiple methods of saving money. Sales+coupons+promotions=happy shopping! Mike was so happy with his new (high quality, cheap price) shoes that he FORCED me to buy myself a breezy aubergine cap-sleeved sundress that went perfect with a new superloooong multistrand beaded necklace!! So boho! Of course, bargain shopper that I am, the dress was only $15.99, and the necklace was only $9.99…so that only negated some of the savings we accumulated on the shoes!!! But I needed a versatile dress for upcoming wedding receptions, graduation parties, birthday dinners and day trips! Oooh, and the pig roast we have coming up the day before the 4th of July! And this one will do the trick! It can be dressed up or down, is simple enough to be totally transformed by accessories, and lightweight and breezy enough for a summer sundress, but can easily be transitioned into colder month with some layering!! Can’t beat it! 🙂
I encourage EVERYONE to shop around this way before making any major/semi-major purchases. You can save bundles. And use the bundles you save to buy more stuff if you want, or to save up for the things that TRULY make you happy. Because that, to me, is what being frugal is really about.
Make your money work for you to get you the things and experiences that truly make you happiest. Hint: these usually aren’t tangible items, or stuff…they are usually things like roadtrip adventures, taking you kids to the amusement park for the first time and seeing it all over again through their eyes, paying off all your long-accumulated school loans or credit card debt and finally feeling SO free, building your dream home from the ground up, or saving up for years and finally getting that boat you always wanted, so you can cruise the Monongahela River and pretend you’re a pirate with a cheap bottle of rum and your lover at your side. AUUURGGGHH! 🙂
Try this out today!! If you don’t need anything in particular, just do a practice run!! Let me know the best deals you can find combining sales/clearances, coupons, discounted gift cards, store rewards programs, promotions, free gifts, online promo codes for free shipping and discounts, whatever you can come up with to combine!!!
Here’s an idea…I’m looking to buy a deep fryer at some point in the near future…just a small one for fries and maybe half a dozen wings or so that can sit on my kitchen counter. Whoever figures out the best deal (in a major department store, ie Macy’s, JCPenny’s, Kmart, Walmart, etc. Just no resale or thrift shops!!) in the next week that I can legitimately use, I’ll send a FREE GIFT your way!!! Nothing crazy folks, probably just something really nice from my stockpile of free drugstore goods, like a snazzy air freshening system or a hands-free automatic soap dispenser or a water filtration system for your sink or some really neat-o tupperware. Get looking, offer ends on FRI JUNE 24th!!! Just write your idea as a comment on this post (don’t worry, I’ll be able to see by the dates and times who came up with what idea first. Shame on you all you former test-copiers out there!!!)
Good Night Friends, I plan on posting much more detailed instructions on how to get everything you need in life for super-cheap or free!!! From vegetables to cars, I’ve got loads of great tips and ideas!