How to Coupon

Organization Tip: Everything Needs a Home

Posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 at 7:00 am
Pin It

The keys of successThis one, simple, tip can change your life! Often, we find the idea of organizing our home to be quite overwhelming. Countless decisions must be made about what to get rid of, what to keep, and where to put it. Keep in mind that everything needs a home. Give all your items a specific place where they are supposed to be. This will save you so much time!

Your home is the place where you live. It is where you belong. Your friends and family members know that if they want to find you a good place to start looking is at your home.

Each item in your house needs it own “home”. It is the place where it belongs. Return it to that spot immediately after you are done using it. When you need it again, the first place to look is the “home” for that item. This will save you the time that otherwise would be spent searching around for it.

Here are some simple suggestions of where each items “home” should be:

* Keys – Place a decorative bowl on a table or counter near your door. This is the home for your house keys, car keys, keys for the shed and/or garage, and keys for your Post Office Box. Grab the keys you need before you head out the door. Put them back when you return.

* Mail – Start sorting it immediately. The recycle bin is the home for all junk mail. The desk that your computer sits on (or the one you balance your checkbook at) is the home for all bills. Choose a specific place that can be the home for things like birthday cards and postcard from friends. For many people, the refrigerator door is a good home for them!

* Shoes – Place a small throw rug, or mat, near your front door. This is the home for the shoes that you, and your family, wear daily. Bedroom closets are the home for the shoes that you don’t wear all the time (such as fancy high heels or rain boots).

Got a lot of shoes? Each pair will need its own home. Hang a plastic organizer, that has lots of pockets, over the door of your closet. Each pocket is the home for one pair of shoes.

* Charger Cables – Pick an outlet that isn’t being used right now. Place a box or large bowl near that outlet. This is the home for all the charger cables for the phones and other devices that you use.

The next time your phone is about to run out of juice, you will be able to easily locate its charger cable. Plug the cable into the phone and into the outlet near its home. Put the cable back in its home after use.

Posted in: How to Coupon | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Back to Basics: Coupon Organization Techniques

Posted on Friday, January 10th, 2014 at 8:00 am
Pin It

Using coupons can stretch your budget

Since we covered the basics of what types of coupons exist and where to get them, which can be found in our posts Welcome to the World of Couponing!, the next step for novice couponers is to learn how to  organize your stash. Coupon organization may seem like a pretty basic concept, but it key to not getting frazzled at the store and is incredibly important when using all your coupons before their expiration dates. There are numerous organization methods, but the following three are our favorites.  Also, don’t be afraid to try each out to see which one fits your couponing style.

1. The Binder Method

The binder method allows for you to organize your coupons in a manageable way that is easy to carry with you into the store. You’re essentially using a school binder, dividers, and plastic sleeves to organize your coupons. Depending on your commitment to coupons, you can use two binders to separate your coupons into food and non-food deals. Once you’ve done this you’ll want to label your dividers with your coupon categories; for example: shampoo, conditioner, cereal, etc. Next you’ll want to decide whether to use a regular plastic sleeve or baseball card sleeves. We recommend baseball card sleeves especially for beginners. Each plastic slot will allow you to see what the coupon is for and when you need to use it by.

The only downside to this method is the amount of prep time it takes. You will have to clip each individual coupon and place them in the proper slots, but this extra legwork will make it easier to redeem offers when shopping.

2. Accordion File Folder Method

This method is definitely easier and more time friendly than using the binder system, but it is also less precise. With an accordion file folder you are still using a transportable carrier for your coupons, but this method is sacrificing visibility. Because you are slipping coupons into a folder you won’t be able to see their expiration dates. Plus, depending on your style,  you won’t have to cut each individual coupon out; instead you can slip an entire insert into your accordion file.

3. Box Method

The box method is perfect for those who don’t want to invest in a binder or accordion file folder right off the bat. This organization strategy is very similar to the previous two methods in the sense you are dividing your coupons into categories and separating them with dividers. First you’ll want to select an empty box that you feel would be an appropriate size for your coupons. Having a lid to this box is important especially if you live somewhere with lots of rain or snow; no one likes soggy paper.  Next you’ll want to create appropriate sized dividers for your selected box and label them with coupon categories. Because the size of your box is up to you, feel free to cut coupons individually or leave entire pages in appropriate sections.

 

Posted in: How to Coupon | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Tips for Saving Money on Clothing

Posted on Thursday, January 9th, 2014 at 7:00 am
Pin It

Clothes ShoppingGoing shopping for new clothing can be fun. Unfortunately, it can also be bad for your budget. There are ways to reduce the impact that shopping has on your bank account. Use some of these simple tips for saving money on clothing.

Shop Seasonally
Socks and underwear go on sale in January. Wait until August, when the back-to-school sales happen, to pick up some new pairs of jeans. Shop for swimsuits when summer is coming to an end, and for winter clothing shortly before spring. Shop seasonally and you can easily save some money.

Check the Website
Which is lower – the store’s price or the price on their website? Don’t forget to factor in the shipping cost. Some of us hesitate to buy clothing online because you can’t try it on before you buy it. Go to the store to try on the clothing. If the store has the lower price, buy it from there. If the store’s website has the lower price, go online to make that purchase.

Buy “Generic”
There isn’t a whole lot of difference between a solid colored t-shirt that comes from a name brand and the one that comes from a “generic” brand. The price, however, is not the same! Save money by purchasing t-shirts, tank tops, and sweat pants from “generic” brands. It all looks the same.

Shop the Men’s Section
Certain types of clothing can easily be worn by either men or women. Sadly, if it comes from the women’s section, it will have a higher price. Check the prices on the t-shirts and hoodies that you find in the women’s section. Compare that price to the same items that are located in the men’s section. Purchase the ones that have a lower price.

Buy Clothes that Fit
Have you ever intentionally purchased clothing that was too tight? Did you rationalize that you would be able to lose weight and fit into it? Don’t do this. That piece of clothing will end up in your closet. You won’t wear it because it is uncomfortable and doesn’t fit you. That’s a waste of money. Instead, find clothing that fits you well, right now.

Shop with Cash
Shopping with cash is an easy way to prevent yourself from running up a lot of debt on a credit card. You come to the store with a certain amount of money. You have to stop shopping when you run out of cash. This can be helpful for people who find it difficult to resist the urge to impulse buy.

Posted in: How to Coupon | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

How to Recycle Soap

Posted on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 at 7:00 am
Pin It

SoapWhat can you do with the tiny, little, sliver of soap that is too small to use? Many people toss them into the trash. Instead, save up those little pieces and recycle them into a brand new bar of soap. Or, turn the pieces into liquid soap. Doing so is a great way to save money on soap.

Collect the Slivers
The first thing you need to do is collect up all the little slivers of soap that are in your bathrooms. Place them into an airtight container so the mixed scents won’t create a strange smell that spreads through your house. Toss in those little soaps that came from the hotel rooms you stayed in. Keep gathering bits of soap until you have enough to recycle it into a new, usable, bar of soap.

Smooth the Pieces Together
The easiest way to turn little pieces of soap into one single bar is to smooth them together. Start by getting the soap bits wet. Use your hands to press and smooth the pieces together. Keep going until everything has been molded into one piece of soap. The result will be a bumpy, colorful, oddly shaped bar of soap that children will enjoy using.

Melt the Pieces on the Stove
WikiHow is one of many websites that gives you a step-by-step guide, complete with pictures, about how to make small soap pieces into a new bar of soap. Start by chopping up the small soap bits into smaller pieces.

Select a metal cookie cutter, or a small, metal, pan that is in an interesting shape. Coat it with a non-stick vegetable spray (to make it easier to remove the new bar of soap from). Set it aside.

Use a double boiler to melt the soap slivers. You want the water to be warm, but not boiling. Slowly add in the tiny bits of soap, and stir. Keep going until the soap has melted down into a liquid. Pour the soap liquid into the mold or cookie cutter you have prepared. Let it set. Start using it when it completely dries.

Turn the Pieces Into Hand Soap
Start by gathering up the soap pieces. Grate them or cut them into tiny pieces. Stick some of the pieces into an empty bottle that once contained liquid soap. Throw in a couple of marbles. Fill the bottle with water and replace the hand pump lid.

The water will break down the soap – which results in a nice, liquid, soap. If it isn’t happening fast enough, give the bottle a shake. The marbles will help break the tiny soap pieces down.

Posted in: How to Coupon | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Welcome to the World of Couponing!

Posted on Friday, January 3rd, 2014 at 8:00 am
Pin It

Fake Coupons with US CoinsIf you’re like the rest of us you’ve made the resolution to be smarter with your money. Lucky for you we’re here to make the task of slashing your budget easy. If you’re new to couponing Freecoupons.com will be your #1 resource for saving money. For the month of January we’re going to break down the basics of couponing and how you can most effectively use our tips to your advantage.

Types of Coupons  and Where to Get Them 

First and foremost, you can find coupons for whatever you’re purchasing; electronics, food, apparel, the list goes on and on. What distinguishes coupons from one another is who provides them. Manufacturer’s coupons are provided by the makers of a certain item. You’ll be able to tell a coupon is provided by a manufacturer because it’ll say so at the top of the coupon; be aware that some coupons will abbreviate the term as “MFR Coupon”. These coupons will be accepted at pretty much any retailer that sells the product the coupon is redeemable for. Manufacturer’s coupons can be found in Sunday Inserts, online in our feed (click here for examples), or by directly contacting a manufacturer (click here for contact information for major manufacturers).

Another source of coupons are provided by stores themselves. When a store directly provides coupons that means you can only redeem that offer at said store. For more information on stores that provide their own coupons be sure to check out our post “Which Stores Have Their Own Coupons?“. Generally speaking it will be pretty clear as to which store is providing a coupon. However, don’t be tricked by the language on a possible store coupon. Be clear on whether a coupon is a “store coupon” or whether a coupon is encouraging you to use it at a particular store. For more information on that topic be sure to check out “How to Handle Tricky Coupon Language“. Also, if you’re having trouble understanding the language used in your coupons check out our “Coupon Abbreviations” post. 

And our final source for coupons are those provided digitally. This method is a newer way of saving and allows you to “clip” coupons digitally and use them on your mobile devices. One example of this type of coupon is illustrated by Target’s Cartwheel program. For more information check out the “Save with Target Cartwheel” post.

Posted in: How to Coupon | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Save Money by Cleaning Your Closet

Posted on Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 at 7:00 am
Pin It

ClosetHow long has it been since you’ve gone through the clothing in your closets? What about the clothing that is in drawers, or that is stored away? Cleaning your closets (and going through the rest of your clothing) could actually help you to save money. Here are some tips that will make the process a bit easier.

Get rid if clothes that don’t fit.
Many of us have clothing in our closets that simply doesn’t fit. Are you among the many who save “skinny clothes” in the hopes of being able to fit into them again “someday”? You would be better off donating the clothing that no longer fits to a thrift store. This will give you more room for clothing that fits you well. Ask if the thrift store, or charity, that you are considering donating to can give you a receipt. You may be able to get a tax rebate for your donation.

Put together outfits.
Locate the jacket that goes with those pants. Go through every shirt, sweater, blouse, and top and identify the pants or skirt that you can wear it with. You may find it helpful to take a photo of each outfit. Everything that is part of an outfit goes back into the closet.

What about the rest? Many of us have one or two items of clothing that we purchased because we fell in love with it…. but somehow, never have actually worn. Add those to the donate pile that you will take to a thrift store or charity. You won’t miss it.

What do you really need to buy?
Now, you are left with a pile of clothing that fits, that you have worn many times, and that you like. Unfortunately, they don’t go with anything else you own and you weren’t able to make them into an outfit. What can you do? Buy a few items of clothing that will go with them. Here is a quick list of clothing that goes with almost anything:

* Jeans
* Black dress pants
* Long skirts that are a solid color
* Sweaters that are black, white, or beige
* White t-shirts

If you already own some of the items on that list you can pair up the “mateless” clothing with them. Next time you go shopping, consider picking up one or more of the items on the list that you do not already own. You will get a lot of use out of them and they will make your wardrobe stretch into several more outfits. This will prevent you from having to spend a ton of money on clothing.

Where to buy inexpensive clothing
Thrift stores and rummage sales are a good places to find clothing that is inexpensive. You should also check out the clearance sales at department stores and boutiques. Are your friends and relatives cleaning out their closets right now too? Consider organizing a clothing swap!

Posted in: How to Coupon | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Ways to Save Money on Shampoo

Posted on Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 at 7:00 am
Pin It

Woman ShampooingWe all want to have hair that is clean and tidy. Many of us are spending a whole lot of money on shampoo and conditioner. It is possible to cut down on the cost of shampoo and still have “good hair days”. Here are a few simple ways to save money on shampoo (and conditioner).

Don’t Wash Your Hair Every Day
That may sound really icky, at first. Did you know that many of us are washing our hair way more often than is necessary? Think of the amount of shampoo you could save if you decided not to wash your hair every single day!

WebMD notes that washing your hair three or four times a week will be sufficient. How often depends somewhat on how oily your hair is and if it is long or short. You can easily skip a day of washing your hair without sacrificing style or good hygiene.

Mix in Some Baking Soda
Adding a little baking soda to your shampoo will make it last longer. It also will get your hair cleaner than if you only used shampoo. Put a quarter-sized amount of baking soda into your palm. Add a small amount of shampoo. Wash and rinse as you normally would do. This technique will help you to stretch out a bottle of shampoo.

Check out the Store Brand
Before you buy another bottle of your favorite shampoo, take a minute to look around. There could be a store brand sitting right next to it that is nearly identical! The store brand is going to cost less money than the brand name one will. Pick up both bottles and compare ingredients. If they match, then there is no logical reason to spend more money on the exact same product.

Use an All-In-One
You could pay for a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of conditioner. Or, you could spend less money by purchasing an all-in-one (that includes both shampoo and conditioner in the same bottle). See if your favorite brand has one. If not, you might find one you like that is from a different brand. It can’t hurt anything to give it a try!

Use some Coupons
It’s funny. People remember to bring their coupons when they are going grocery shopping. But, then they forget to clip the coupons that are for non-food items (like shampoo). Take the time to look at your coupons before you head out to the store. Combine those coupons with in-store sales. See if the store’s loyalty card can drop down the cost a little bit more.

Posted in: How to Coupon | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Tips for Repairing Clothing

Posted on Thursday, December 26th, 2013 at 7:00 am
Pin It

Needle and threadDon’t throw away that ripped pair of jeans! You might be able to repair it. Taking the time to do some simple repairs is worth it. It prevents you from having to spend money on a new pair of jeans. Here are some helpful tips for repairing clothing. Give them a try!

Use an iron on patch
You don’t have to be an incredibly skilled seamstress in order to be able to iron a patch onto your ripped jeans. You can find iron on patches that are the same color denim as your jeans. Or, you could decide to be decorative and choose a patch of a different color denim than your jeans are. There also are a bunch of decorative iron on patches that can be found online and in sewing stores.

Follow the directions on the package that the iron on patches came in. You are going to need a iron and an ironing board. Just like that, your jeans are good as new! To make that patch last longer, it is a good idea sew around the edges of it.

Remove a stain
Martha Stewart has great advice that will teach you how to remove a stain from clothing. For best results, you need to act quickly. Don’t let a stain set!

The tutorial has helpful hints about how to remove a stain with cornstarch, and how to whiten clothing by using lemons. You can add either baking soda or vinegar into a load of laundry and it will help remove stains.

Make long sleeves into short sleeves
Over time, it is entirely possible for the edges of the sleeves of your favorite long sleeve shirt to tear, fray, or become very stained. Instead of throwing it away, alter it. Turn the long sleeves into short sleeves.

Decide where you want to cut the sleeves. Measure to make sure you are cutting both sleeves to the exact same length. Use a ruler (or other straight edge) to guide your cutting. How Stuff Works has a tutorial that will show you how to put in a hem on the new edges of the sleeves.

Crochet it back together
Don’t throw away that sweater that has a rip in it. It is possible to get some new yarn and crochet the hole closed. You don’t have to get especially fancy. Just use the simplest crochet technique that you know how to do. Choose yarn that matches the color of the sweater, or pick a contracting color to make things more interesting.

Posted in: How to Coupon | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Save Money by Using Less Makeup

Posted on Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 at 7:00 am
Pin It

save moneyYou can save money on makeup if you use less of it. It is a lot easier to do than you might think! You don’t necessarily have to go “cold turkey” (unless you want to). Using a little bit less of your makeup each day will make your cosmetics last longer.

Go on a Makeup “Fast”
This is the most extreme way to save money on makeup! Select a specific amount of time and force yourself to use absolutely zero makeup until after the deadline passes. Some women choose to do this for 40 days, or decide to give up makeup for Lent. Others take a break from makeup in November (when the guys are doing “Movember”). You could choose to do this as a New Year’s Resolution!

The main purpose of the makeup “fast” is to build your self-confidence. You learn to become comfortable going out in public with no makeup on. Meanwhile, your makeup sits and waits until the “fast” is over. You won’t need to spend money on makeup that entire time. When you are done, you may find that you don’t want to continue with your previous makeup routine. Google “40 days no makeup” for more details.

Use a Makeup Sponge
Are you using your fingers to apply liquid foundation to your face? Its time to start using a makeup sponge instead. Most of us don’t take the time to wash our hands before we put on makeup – especially if we are trying to do it at work or school.

A makeup sponge can help cut down on the bacteria that can form in your foundation. Bacteria can make cosmetics smell funny and expire faster. Using a makeup sponge also helps you apply your foundation very smoothly. You won’t have to use as much as before!

Double Duty
Powdered blush can double as eye shadow. Lipstick can be applied as a cream blush. Look for a foundation that also includes sun protection. Consider an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner. Some women mix their foundation with moisturizer. Using one type of cosmetic for more than one purpose prevents you from having to buy additional makeup.

Select Neutral Tones
Choose cosmetics that are in neutral tones. They are going to go well with whatever you wear, and will give you a classic look that is always in season. How often are you really going to wear the brightly colored eye shadow that you bought on impulse around Halloween, anyway? You will get a lot more use out of the neutral tones.

Wear Gloves for Chores
One of the quickest ways to ruin a manicure is to wash dishes, scrub floors, pull weeds, or do other types of “hands-on” chores. You can protect your nails (and the color that is on them) if you wear gloves. Use plastic gloves for dishes, and gardening gloves for outdoor work. This will prevent chipping and make your nail polish last longer. You won’t have to go back to the nail salon as often!

Posted in: How to Coupon | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

How to Handle Tricky Coupon Language

Posted on Monday, December 23rd, 2013 at 8:00 am
Pin It

cutting couponsWhen couponing it’s important to pay close attention to the details of a coupon. Whether it has to do with size restrictions, where you can redeem a coupon at, or whatever, the devil is definitely in the details. When dealing with coupons that state “Redeem Only At”, “Redeem At”, or “Only At” you need to know what each of these phrases mean in order to not only use them, but also get the best deal possible. Luckily we’re here to help.

1. “Only At”

If you stumble across a coupon that says a product is “only at” x store that means said product is only available at that store in particular. Our suggestion is to pay attention to the expiration date on that coupon. If your offer is a high-value one and has a far off expiration date you may get lucky and other retailers will start carrying the item. However, if it is expiring soon and you do live near a location of the particular retailer, you may want to redeem it while it’s still available.

2. “Redeemable At”, “Available At”, or a Store Logo

If you frequent our coupon feed or have seen a printable stating a coupon is redeemable at stores like Walmart or Target you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. Usually these printables have a store logo or name of a particular store on them. Don’t let this intimidate you! So long as it is a manufacturer’s coupon and “redeemable at” or “available at” is printed, the store logo or name is merely a suggestion. You can use the coupon at any retailer.

3. “Redeemable Only At” or a Store Coupon

When you see the language “Redeemable Only At” on a coupon your options are narrowed down significantly. This language indicates the coupon can only be used at the advertised retailer.  Also, when a coupon is a store coupon, this means it doesn’t say “Manufacturer’s Coupon” at the top and is an offer created by a store chain, you can only use that coupon at the specified retailer as well.

When dealing with tricky coupons that have phrases like the ones we’ve mentioned it’s best to know a store’s coupon policy well. Understand the rules of the store you plan on shopping at, but if you do have trouble redeeming a coupon don’t be afraid to politely ask for a manager’s help. Don’t let logos or confusing language prevent you from saving big because once you figure out the rules you’ll be a more confident shopper and savvier couponer.

Posted in: How to Coupon | Comments (2) | Join Discussion