How to Coupon

Tips for Getting the Best Deals and Thrift and Consignment Stores

Posted on Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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big laughIt’s always nice to get some great “new to you” clothing at an affordable price. Shopping at thrift stores, or consignment stores, is good for the environment. Here are some tips that will help you get the best deals while you are shopping “green”.

When you purchase an item from a thrift store or consignment store, you are keeping it out of a landfill. It is estimated that 85% of used clothing ends up in a landfill every year. One way to live “green” is to find ways to re-use things (instead of throwing them away). These are the kinds of shopping trips that make you feel good and are good for the Earth, too!

Consignment shops often have a “system” in place that designates when items will be marked down in price. Ask the consignment shop owner for details. Typically, the longer a piece of clothing has been in the store, the more it will get marked down. You might get a really great deal if you are willing to wait for something to go on sale.

Some of the items at consignment stores could be brand new. It isn’t unheard of for shop owners to buy clothing from boutiques that are going out of business. In other words, you could be buying brand new clothes for a lower price than if you bought it from the boutique it originally came from.

Choose thrift stores and consignment shops that are in an upper-income neighborhood. The people who live near the store have a lot of disposable income. The items they donate to a thrift store, or send to a consignment shop, could be newer, more “gently used”, and of a higher quality than you might see in similar stores in lower-income neighborhoods.

Ask for the store’s calendar when you visit a thrift store. They typically will put certain items on sale on particular days. For example, Sunday could be when sweaters go on sale. Thursdays could be when dresses are on sale. You can get a great deal if you shop on the right day. Most of the time, those sales are weekly. If you missed the sale, come back on the same day next week.

Bring your photo ID to the thrift store. They often give extra discounts to students, teachers, and people who are in the military. The clerks at the register are not allowed to simply take your word for it. You must show them your student ID, military ID, or a name badge that has a photo and shows what school you teach in.

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How to Make Your Own Compost

Posted on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Gardening MagazineComposting has become quite popular with gardeners. It is also good for the environment and can end up saving you money. Getting started with composting isn’t difficult to do. Results will not be instantaneous but will pay off over time. Here are some things you need to know to make your own compost for your garden.

Compost is made of organic material. It includes certain kinds of food scraps and yard waste. Making compost will help keep that type of waste out of landfills. The trash that ends up in landfills takes up space and releases methane (which is a greenhouse gas).

Composting can save you money because you are making your own, organic, fertilizer for your garden. That means you won’t have to buy it. Putting compost into your garden helps the soil retain moisture. In short, this means you won’t need to use as much water to keep your garden growing as you would if you didn’t use compost. People who make their own compost are lowering their carbon footprint.

All composting requires three basic ingredients. “Browns” include dead leaves, branches, and twigs. “Greens” are grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps and coffee grounds. The third ingredient is water.

Ideally, your compost should have an equal amount of “browns” and “greens”. You should alternate with one layer of “browns” then one layer of “greens”, and so on. The water helps to break down the organic matter.

Check with your local garden supply store to see if they sell composting bins. If not, you can make your own. Drill half-an-inch diameter holes into the bottom and sides of a plastic garbage can. Put a brick into the bottom of this garbage can. Surround the brick with a layer of wood chips or soil.

Place a second, smaller, garbage can inside the first one. Wrap insulation around the outer garbage can to keep the compost warm. Cover both cans with a lid. Your food scraps and yard waste are going to be placed inside the smaller garbage can.

Your compost bin should be placed in a dry, shady, spot. Add water to dry materials as they are added. Mix the entire compost to help maintain it. When the material at the bottom of the compost is dark and rich in color, it is ready to put in your garden. This can take between two months and two years.

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Have a Healthy Easter

Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Mandarin OrangesWhat’s in your children’s Easter basket? Typically, an Easter basket is filled with more candy and sugar than is healthy. Another health concern comes from the unrefrigerated Easter eggs. Here are some tips to help your family have a very healthy Easter.

The Egg Safety Center has advice about how to safely color and decorate hard-boiled eggs. First, you need to thoroughly wash your hands and the area you will be working in. If you aren’t going to dye your hard-boiled eggs right away, they need to go into the refrigerator. Don’t color any eggs that are cracked. Eggs that crack while you are dying them need to be thrown away.

Throw away any hard-boiled eggs that have been out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. They aren’t safe to eat. Parents need to be very aware of how long the hard-boiled eggs have been sitting in their children’s Easter baskets. Will you be hiding Easter eggs for an egg hunt? Be careful to avoid putting eggs in places where they will come into contact with dirt, pets, wild animals, reptiles, insects, or lawn chemicals.

Annie’s makes several snacks that are shaped like bunnies. Their fruit snacks are organic and can be found in most grocery stores. Each box of Annie’s fruit snacks includes individually wrapped packages. This makes them as easy to toss into an Easter basket as candy would be.

Small boxes of raisins are another alternative to candy. Do your kids like clementines or cuties? Those “little oranges” can safely sit out, unrefrigerated, until your child finds his or her Easter basket. Put some yogurt covered, or chocolate covered, nuts into some of the plastic Easter eggs.

Another way to avoid going overboard on candy is to put non-edible treats into the Easter baskets. Board books about Easter are great for little kids (especially if the book has flaps to open). Parents can read the book to their child, or make it a new bedtime story. Small containers of Play Dough are another good choice. Manipulating Play Dough is a good way to improve small motor skills.

Pick toys that encourage kids to go outside and play. Bubbles work best outside on a slightly windy day. Sidewalk chalk requires a driveway to use as a canvas. Drawing requires children to use their imaginations. Two or more children could create an “art show” of their drawings for parents to enjoy.

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How to Have an Allergy-Friendly Easter

Posted on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Easter fun and joyHolidays can be difficult for children who have food allergies. There are going to be some fun, seasonal, treats that are not allergy-friendly. What can parents do to ensure that their child avoids all allergens and still has a good time on Easter? Here are some simple tips to help your family have an allergy-friendly Easter.

Focus on Non-Edible Treats
Your child’s Easter basket doesn’t have to be filled with candy in order to make the day special. Holiday candy can be tricky because there isn’t always a good way to know, for certain, if it contains the same ingredients as the “regular” version. Instead of taking a risk, why not fill the basket with non-edible treats?

Little kids will enjoy an Easter themed board book. Children of all ages will appreciate a stuffed animal that they can play with and cuddle. You can avoid the wheat that is in Play Dough by making a gluten-free version of it at home. Older kids might find a pack of Uno cards to be exciting – especially if the rest of the family takes the time to play a few hands.

Make Safe Treats Yourself
The Rice Krispies website has a recipe for gluten-free Rice Krispies treats. You will need a box of their gluten-free Rice Krispies Cereal. (The regular version is not gluten-free). You can substitute margarine for the butter in the recipe to fit the needs of children who have dairy allergies.

The Our Life as an Epi-Family blog has great photos that show how to form Rice Krispies treats into egg shapes. It is simple to do and turns an everyday treat into an Easter themed one.

Easter without the Eggs
Use colorful, plastic, eggs instead of real ones. The will work just as well in a backyard Easter egg hunt. Try an Easter craft (that is designed to be put together by children) in place of dyeing Easter eggs. Families that are very creative can try their hand at rock painting. this Easter. Doing so will enable children to paint and decorate a natural object that is similar in shape to an Easter egg.

Or, you could see if your local craft store has styrofoam eggs that can be decorated with glitter, sequence, and other interesting craft materials. These allergy-friendly alternative help kids to engage all aspects of the Easter holiday without being exposed to allergens.

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Favado: Coupon Matchups for Your Favorite Stores on your Phone!

Posted on Friday, April 11th, 2014 at 11:16 am
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FavadoDo you want to have your favorite stores’ deals & coupon matchups right on your phone or tablet? Do you want to save at a store that maybe we don’t cover on this site?

We’ve just discovered the most incredible app called Favado. Favado can easily save you as much as 70% when you shop! Favado takes your top 10 favorite stores in your area and gives you weekly coupon matchups right on your mobile device. When your weekly shopping day comes around, turn on your app, browse through your favorite stores’ matchups, add the items you want to buy to your shopping list, and then email the list to yourself. The email you receive will have a list of all the items you want to buy as well as any coupons that you will need to get the deal. If it’s a printable coupon or digital coupon, the links to those coupons will also be included in your email. All you need to do is clip and print your coupons needed for your shopping trip, load digital coupons to your accounts and you’re set to shop!

You can also set up a Favorite Items List of the items you buy most often. Your Favorite Items list allows you to compare prices on a specific item across all of your stores. This is a great way to save the most on the items you buy often.

Sign up for your FREE Favado account today by clicking on this link, creating an account and then downloading it onto your mobile device. Start saving like never before! Let us know if you have any questions!

 

 

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Take Advantage of the Sales on Easter Candy and Decorations

Posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Easter BasketDo you have everything you need for Easter? If not, now is the time to take advantage of the Easter sales on candy, plastic eggs, baskets, and everything else that goes along with it. Here is a quick list of the deals to shop right now.

Michaels
The weekly ad from Michaels is good through April 13, 2014. Their entire stock of Easter baskets is 50% off. You can get 2 packages of Creatology Egg-Sentials Plastic Eggs for just $3.00. They also have three useful coupons:

* Get 20% off entire purchase, including sale items. This coupon is valid on Sunday, April 13, only!

* Get 30% off entire regular price purchase. This coupon is good Friday, April 18 and Saturday April 19.

* Get 40% off any 1 regular price item. This coupon is good Monday, April 14 – Thursday, April 17.

Peeps
Easter is the most popular time for Peeps. If you shop from their website, you can get a large White Peeps Marshmallow Bunny for just $1.00. A 3 count tray of sugar free Peeps Chicks is $2.00. You can get a case of 24 packages of 4 count Peeps for $21.50. (Choose from Yellow Peeps Bunnies, Pink Peeps Bunnies, Blue Peeps Bunnies, Orange Peeps Chicks, or Lavender Peeps Chicks).

Dollar General
It’s hard to get a better price than a dollar! This week, Dollar General has Easter greeting cards for $1.00. Some are 2 for $1.00. You can also buy Easter baskets, Easter grass, Easter candy, and plastic eggs for $1.00 each. Stop by your local Dollar General store to see the Easter stuff that they have in stock. That will save you the cost of shipping.

Oriental Trading
Teachers order from Oriental Trading when they need certain items for a lesson plan or classroom party. You can buy in bulk, and the prices are very reasonable. Make sure you order soon so your stuff will arrive before Easter. Here are their shipping deadlines for things that must arrive before Easter (for those who live in the United States).

* Standard – Place your order by Midnight, April 10
* Express – Place your order by Midnight, April 15
* Next Day – Place your order by Noon, CT, April 17.

Oriental Trading has everything including Easter candy, Easter toys, baskets, plastic eggs, and religious Easter items. There is also an Easter Clearance Sale going on. Over 250 Easter related items are part of the sale. You can save up to 65% off the original price.

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Ways to Make Easter Dinner Less Expensive

Posted on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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HoneyBaked HamHow many relatives will you be feeding on Easter? The more people you are having over, the more food you will need. Large families can find Easter dinner to be a very expensive meal. Fortunately, there are ways to make Easter dinner less expensive. Which of these tips will work best for you?

Use Your Coupons.
Coupons are a great way lower the cost of groceries. People can get so caught up in preparing for a holiday that they forget to use their coupons when purchasing the ingredients for the holiday meal. Don’t forget to use your coupons!

Check the weekly ad for your favorite grocery store to see what deals they offer. This is the time of year when things like eggs, ham, and frozen bread dough go on sale. Browse through the digital coupons that connect to the store’s loyalty card. Give the cashier your loyalty card (or the phone number that is attached to it) and your digital coupons will automatically “ring up”.

Plan Ahead.
Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase a ham or Easter cake. Many grocery stores will take a limited amount of orders for ham. Call ahead and get yourself on the list. That will ensure that there will be a ham waiting for you at the grocery store. (It is possible that the store will sell out of ham.) Sometimes, those who place their orders early get a discount.

Are you hoping to have a lamb shaped cake for dessert? There are two ways to make that happen. One is to call your local bakery and place an order for a lamb cake. Ask if the bakery is having a sale on Easter cakes or if they are offering a discount for those who order early. The other option is to make one yourself. Which is less expensive: buying a cake from the bakery or buying the ingredients that you need to make the cake yourself?

Divide the Cost.
Turn Easter dinner into a potluck. The host should provide the ham. Other family members can bring side dishes, desserts, or beverages. One way to make a potluck a success is to plan ahead.

Give each family member an assignment of what type of dish to bring. Everyone will have the opportunity to keep their contribution within their budget. The cost of Easter dinner can be split among the entire family without causing too big of a financial burden for anyone.

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Save Money on Easter Candy With Coupons

Posted on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am
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save moneyParents who have small children realize that they are expecting a basket filled with candy this Easter. What if your budget isn’t ready for that extra expense? One way to save money on Easter candy is to use some coupons. That should help bring down the cost. Here are a few good ones to get started with.

* Save $2.00 when you buy any 3 Snickers, Twix, M&M’s, 3 Musketeers, Dove, Milky Way or Bites Brand bags of candy. This coupon is for the 7 – 11 ounce sizes.

* Save $0.75 when you buy any 2 Mars Bites. This coupon is for the 2.83 ounce size bag. You can also use it on the same size bag of Snickers, Milky Way Simply Caramel, 3 Musketeers, or Milky Way. This coupon can only be used at Walmart.

* Save $3.00 when you buy any 2 Mars Bites bags that are 6 ounces or larger. This coupon can also be used on the same size bags of Snickers, Milky Way Simply Caramel, Milky Way or 3 Musketeers. This coupon can only be used at Walmart.

* Save $1.00 on any Warheads Sour Combo Egg. This coupon is for the 4.23 ounce or larger sizes.

* Save $1.00 on one 14 ounce bag of Warheads Sour Jelly Beans.

* Buy One, Get One Free offer! Buy one Twix brand fun size or Minis bag (8.5 ounces or larger), get a Twix brand Singles bar free (1.68 ounce – 1.79 ounce sizes).

* Buy 2, Get 1 Free offer! Buy 2 Snickers bars, get one free. This coupon is for the 1.76 ounce – 1.86 ounce sizes.

* Buy 2, Get 1 Free offer! Buy 2 M&Ms brand chocolate candies, get 1 free (1.10 ounce – 1.74 ounce sizes).

It is also a good idea to take advantage of the sales on Easter Candy that are happening right now.

* Save 20% when you buy any Easter candy from Lindt. This includes their Lindor eggs, Lindor truffles, and their iconic gold foil chocolate rabbits. This sale will last through April 3, 2014.

* Save on shipping when you buy Easter candy from See’s Candies. You can get a $5.00 flat rate on shipping. Or, get free shipping on orders over $60.00. Your delivery date must be no later than April 18, 2014.

* Save 20% on Russell Stover Candies when you sign up to receive their email. This includes candy from Russell Stover, Pangburn’s and Whitman’s.

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How to Get a Deal on Pedicures

Posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 at 7:00 am
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FeetWarm spring weather means it is time to put away the heavy clothing and break out the lighter seasonal clothing. Those spring dresses and skirts don’t go very well with winter shoes. Shoes for spring include open toes and a lot more exposure of your feet. It is time for a pedicure! Here are some tips to help you get a good deal on pedicures.

Use Daily Deal Websites
Check to see if a daily deal website like Groupon or LivingSocial is offering a discount on pedicures. You could end up with a great deal at a local salon that is usually a bit out of your price range. It also gives you a good reason to try out a brand new place to have your nails done.

Look for Spring Specials
Salons realize that people who have been able to cover up their feet with winter shoes for several months are now in the market for a pedicure. This is the time of year when the salons offer “new customer discounts”. They want to tempt you to come in and hope you will enjoy the pedicure enough to become a regular customer.

Beware the Mani-Pedi Deals
At first glance, it may sound like a great deal. Go into a salon and get your fingernails and toenails done for a discount price. The problem with these kinds of offers is they typically result in a crowded salon.

How certain are you that proper sanitization practices are being followed in a salon that is busier than usual? The deal might not be worth the risk of infection from foot baths and tools that were accidentally used on more than one client.

Do It Yourself
One simple way to save money on a pedicure is to do it yourself. You can make your own foot bath by dissolving 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a basin of warm water. Soak your feet in it. The baking soda will help to make your skin feel smooth.

What if you need a little more exfoliation? Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Use that paste as a scrub. The baking soda paste will gently remove dead skin from your feet as you scrub. Need even more exfoliation? Add 1 part brown sugar to the paste, and scrub again.

When you are finished scrubbing, or done with the foot bath, take the time to completely dry your feet with a towel. Apply a moisturizer. Wrap your feet in a warm towel (from the dryer) for five or ten minutes. It is just as effective as a pedicure from a salon (and a lot less expensive)!

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What Does Coupon Stacking Really Mean?

Posted on Friday, March 28th, 2014 at 10:18 am
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stackingcouponsIf you’re new to couponing, you’ve likely heard the term “stacking” coupons. It a concept that can certainly confuse a new couponer but hopefully we can help you understand this very important concept. “Stacking” simply means that you can use a specific coupon with another coupon on one item allowing you to save even more. It is the best way to save the most on the items you buy!

Stacking a Manufacturer Coupon with a Store Coupon

You can use one manufacturer coupon on one matching item. You’ll know it’s a manufacturer coupon because it will say “Manufacturer Coupon” along the top edge of the coupon. Many stores also offer their own Store Coupons. These are not manufacturer coupons, but coupons put out by a specific store for use only in that store. Many stores offer their own store coupons including Target, Safeway, Whole Foods, Publix, CVS and many more. You will typically find these on the store’s website, either as a digital coupon or a printable coupon. You will save the most at these stores when you can match up an on-sale item with a manufacturer coupon and store coupon – this is called DOUBLE Stacking. We’ll always tell you in our weekly coupon matchups too when you can do this!

4 Ways to Find Target Store Coupons

Target is great store for a couponer because they have so many ways to save. Target has 4 different places where you can get Store Coupons, and the store coupons are different in all four places.

  1. Target coupons can be found sometimes in your Sunday paper. You can see any current Sunday Insert Target coupons in our Coupon Database.
  2. You can print Target coupons from their website.
  3. You can sign up for Mobile Coupons . You will receive a text about once a week with that week’s newest coupons. Simply have the cashier scan the barcode linked to you in your text and the coupon’s value will come off of your transaction.
  4. Use Target’s Cartwheel app. Simply load the offers you want to purchase to your account. At checkout the cashier will need to scan the barcode either on your printed out offers list (found in your account online) or they can scan the barcode directly from your phone. The coupons’ values will come off your transaction.

Here’s the tricky part but fun part! Target’s Coupon Policy allows you to only use ONE of the above Store Coupon options with a manufacturer coupon on a single item. However, there is an exception. Cartwheel is consider a 3rd type of coupon that can be used on a single item, allowing what we call  TRIPLE Stacking. For example, if you buy a box of Kellogg’s cereal on sale for $2.00, you can use a manufacturer coupon on that item (ex. $.50 off a Kellogg’s cereal) + you can use either a printable Target Coupon or a Mobile coupon (ex. $.75 off a Kellogg’s cereal) + you can use a Target Cartwheel coupon (ex. 10% off a Kellogg’s purchase) = Final Price: $.55

Money-Back Apps

With the release of many new couponing apps, we now have another way to “stack” coupons. Money-back apps like Ibotta, Checkout51, and Shopmium (Use Referral Code: GYFMCAPU at signup) give you new offers each week that you can redeem  and get cash back. You can usually choose between being paid directly to your Paypal account or through gift cards. Ibotta works at many stores but not all stores yet and often has offers specific to one store only. Checkout51 and Shopmium allow you to purchase items at any store that you’d like. To earn cash back, you simply purchase the item in the offer, select the offer in your app, scan your receipt and wait for your cash back to arrive within a few hours. You can use any of these apps in addition to using a manufacturer coupon and store coupon on a single item. All of the apps are independent so if you’re lucky enough to see a deal on an item where each app offers a rebate on an item, you can submit your receipt for all 3 apps and get cash back 3 times! That doesn’t happen often, but you can be sure we’ll post about it when we see a deal like this come around.

Do you have a great deal you’ve found by stacking coupons? Tell us about it in the comments below!

 

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