How to Coupon

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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Make Money from Your Spring Cleaning

Posted on Thursday, March 27th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Twenty Dollar Bills in White Cleaning Bucket with latex glovesSome people look forward to spring cleaning. Others dread having to do so much work in a short span of time. Procrastinators may also need an extra incentive to get going on this task. Did you know that there are some ways to make money as a result of your spring cleaning? Try some of these tips.

Sell Your Spring Clothing
Cleaning out your closets often results in a pile of clothing that is no longer wanted or needed. You only wore that spring dress once and have now grown tired of it. Your children outgrew last year’s spring t-shirts, dresses, and light clothing. If those items are in new or “gently used” conditions, you might be able to sell them.

Consignment stores are a great place to start. Get information about what kinds of clothing they are currently accepting, and learn how they want you to bring it in. If you move quickly, you can get the spring clothing you want to sell into the store before other people do. This increases your chance of not only selling it but also selling it at a nice price.

Tax Deductible Donations
You can get a tax deduction for donating clothing and other household items to Goodwill. Bring in your items. An attendant will look them over and decide the value. You will receive a receipt for the value of those items. Don’t lose that receipt! You can use it as a tax deduction when you file your income taxes.

Organize a Yard Sale
One way to make money on the unwanted items that you found while you were spring cleaning is to have a yard sale (or garage sale). You could make a few dollars on items that you have no need or use for. Does your community have a weekend where everyone holds a garage sale? Plan ahead so you can join in. You have a better chance of getting “foot traffic” during a multi-family garage sale event than if you held a random yard sale on your own.

Sell Your Services
Are you someone who loves to clean? You might be able to sell your spring cleaning services to close friends and relatives. You get to earn money doing something that you enjoy. Your loved one gets to avoid doing their own spring cleaning by allowing a trusted person to do it for them. Relatives who have health issues that make it difficult for them to do their own cleaning might not mind “helping you out” by paying you to clean for them.

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How to Press Flowers

Posted on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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purple anemonesThat lovely bouquet of spring flowers won’t last forever. Or, will it? The art of pressing flower petals enables you to keep more than just a photo of your lovely bouquet of flowers. Turn the petals into art. It isn’t difficult to do. Here are some tips to help you.

There is more than one technique that you can use to press flowers. No matter which one you use, the results will be the same. You will end up with pressed flower petal art. Choose the technique that you like best, follow the directions, and preserve your spring bouquet of flowers.

Use a Telephone Book
Martha Stewart has a very simple way to press flower petals. First, gather the flowers. Make sure they are free from blemishes. If the flowers came from outside, make sure they are dry (and not covered in rain or dew).

Line the inner pages of a fat telephone book with parchment paper. Place the flower face down in between the parchment paper. Close the telephone book. Put something heavy on top of it. Later, go back and check to make sure that all of the moisture is gone. When the flower feels papery, it is time to remove it from the telephone book.

Use a Flower Press
Yes, there really is a crafting device that is called a flower press It consists of pieces of wood that are held together by screws and fasteners. You can purchase flower press kits or make your own. They all function the same way. Remove the fasteners. Lift off the top piece of wood. Put a piece of paper on the bottom piece of wood. Place your flowers on top. Add another piece of paper on top of the flowers. Put back the top piece of wood. Secure it tightly with the fasteners. Wait, and your flowers will be pressed.

Use an Iron
Some of you may have used this flower pressing technique when you were in elementary school or Girl Scouts. Place a sheet of wax paper onto an ironing board. Arrange the flowers that you want to press on top of it. Put another sheet of wax paper over the top of the flowers.

Cover the entire thing with a paper towel. Use an iron on a medium setting. Press down as you iron the paper towel. You are using both heat and weight to press the flowers. Don’t take too long on this step!

Remove the towel, and let the wax paper cool down. Your pressed flowers are carefully preserved inside the wax paper. Trim the edges with decorative scissors to give the finished product a more finished look.

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Frugal Ways to Survive Allergy Season

Posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Woman with a ColdSpring is here, and the pollen count is high! Everything is blooming. That may sound great to some people. Those who are allergic to pollen, however, may find themselves miserable at the start of spring. Here are some simple tips to help you survive this allergy season.

Sign up for Savings
Which allergy medication has your doctor prescribed for you? Many of them are now available over-the-counter. That makes them somewhat less expensive than medications that require a prescription. Many of the well known allergy medications will offer coupons if you sign up with their website. Claritin has some coupon offers. Allegra has some coupons, too. Zyrtec has a “points” related plan and the points can be redeemed for Zyrtec coupons and more.

Consider a Generic
It is a good idea to ask your doctor if a generic form of the allergy medication you take will work just as well for you. The generic versions contain the same ingredients as the name brand ones. Next time you are at the pharmacy, pick up the name brand and the generic equivalent. Compare the ingredients and the price.

Another option is to buy the medication that you require in bulk. Again, compare the prices of the name brand to the generic. The “big bottle” or package of allergy medication might cost less than two of the smaller ones. Just don’t go overboard, because all medications have expiration dates. Buy what you are likely to use.

Stock up on Tissues
People who find that their allergies are bad in the spring tend to go through a lot of tissues. Save money on tissues by paying attention to see which brand is on sale. Use the store’s loyalty card for better savings. That will make it less expensive to stock up on what you need.

Kleenex will give you a coupon if you play their “Catwalk or Kleenex” game. They show you a design, and you have to guess if it comes from a Kleenex box or a designer outfit. You must register with the Kleenex website in order to print out the coupon.

Check the Pollen Count
You can do this for free from the comfort of your home computer. Type “pollen count” into Google and select one of the websites that offers it. Most will allow you to see what the pollen count is like in the zip code where you live. If the pollen is high, you may want to consider staying inside that day. Turn on the air conditioning – it will help filter out the pollen from your indoor air.

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Ways to Make Spring Break Travel Frugal

Posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Travel Piggy BankHow will you be spending your spring break? Maybe your budget is a bit too tight to include a long vacation at a far away place. If the idea of a “stay-cation” doesn’t appeal to you, then you need to look for ways to cut down the cost of spring break travel. Here are a few ideas that can help make things more frugal.

Try a Deal of the Day Website
Check out Groupon or LivingSocial to see what kind of deals they offer. You might find the discount you need to make your spring break fun! Deal of the Day websites typically offer vouchers that will lower the cost of activities that are local to you. Sometimes, you can also find great deals on travel through these types of websites.

Use Your Frequent Flyer Miles
Are you someone who has to travel a lot for work? If so, you may want to see how many frequent flyer miles you have collected. Turn those “points” into a discount on an airline ticket to somewhere you have been wanting to visit.

Pick an “Off” Day to Travel
If you have the option, try taking your spring break vacation the week after everybody else is taking theirs. Hotels and airlines will increase the price during spring break because they know people will pay it. The week after, they will have less customers and will be more willing to offer a discount.

Pick the right day to fly. Leave on a Sunday, instead of Friday, and you can get a better deal on flight. It is also more frugal to choose a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday as the day you will depart.

Be Choosy about Lodging
Look for hotels or motels that offer the “freebies” that you need. Families will want to find a place that allows children to stay for free. Take advantage of the complimentary breakfast in the morning – it will save you the expense of buying breakfast at a restaurant.

Get a room that has a kitchenette, and you can make your own meals instead of paying the high cost of dining out. When you ask the hotel clerk for the wi-fi password, make sure you find out if the wi-fi is free to use.

Plan Ahead for Next Year
Planning ahead can help keep costs down. It gives you the chance to put away some money that will be spent during spring break next year. It is a good idea to book your flight, and hotel stay, from as far out as possible. Those who wait until the last minute will have difficulty getting a good deal.

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Frugal Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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St. Patricks Day Hat and MoneyCelebrating St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of family-friendly ways to enjoy the holiday and keep the costs low at the same time. You can have fun without running up a lot of debt. Try some of these frugal ideas for St. Patrick’s Day!

Don’t drive to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The parade itself will be free to attend. The parking fees, however, can be incredibly high! It will also be much more difficult to find a place to park than usual. Instead of driving, consider taking public transportation. If the parade is near where you live, walking might be an option.

Lock up before you leave.
Most people are in the habit of making sure they locked the doors of their home and vehicles. Go ahead and double check that before you head off to enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Thieves are well aware that most of the city is going to be preoccupied with the parade, and they will take that opportunity to steal things from people’s homes and cars. Save yourself the stress by locking your doors.

Do you have a garage? One way to avoid having to pay for expensive car repairs the day after St. Patrick’s Day is to put your car inside your garage for the night. Doing so decreases the chance that someone will hit or damage your car while it is parked on the street or in your driveway.

Use up what you already have before buying more.
Where did you store the decorations you used for last year’s St. Patrick’s Day party? Unpack those and reuse them. Check to see if you have leftover green or white paper plates, plastic cups, and napkins that didn’t get used at Christmas. Consider reusing the green, plastic, tablecloth from your Christmas party.

Go through your closet and look for green clothing.
Participating in “the wearing of the green” doesn’t necessarily have to require a shopping trip. You may find a St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt that you wore last year and promptly forgot about. Many people will wear a holiday themed shirt on the holiday and then put it away. This means that last year’s t-shirt will still be in good shape this year.

This same technique – “dig through the closet” – can be used to find your children something festive to wear on St. Patrick’s Day. Kids can easily get away with wearing a solid green t-shirt, or a shirt that has green stripes or a green pattern. See if the green dress that your daughter wore at Christmas still fits.

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Coupons and Sales Make Gardening More Frugal

Posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Tomato PlantOne very frugal way to get your spring garden started is to make use of coupons and sales related to gardening supplies. The start of the season is a great time to find them. Companies that sell plants, pots, and seeds want to grab your attention right now! Here are some places to look for great garden deals.

Save On Seeds
Burpee might be the most popular resource for gardeners. They have several special offers going on right now. You can sign up for their newsletter for free. Doing so will get you $10.00 off today’s purchase of $40.00 or more. Make your purchase through their website.

Burpee also has a Perennial Plants Mix & Match sale. Put 3 or more plants into your e-cart. You can mix and match them from a selection. You will save 20% on each plant.

Burpee has a sweepstakes going on right now. There are three prizes. Third prize is a $100.00 Burpee Gift Card. Second Prize is a Mantis ComposTumbler and $50.00 Burpee Gift Card. The Grand Prize is a Mantis Rototiller and a $25.00 Burpee Gift Card. Good luck!

Save on Pots and More
Did you know that IKEA has plant pots, herb scissors, plant stands, and even a small greenhouse? Some of their plant pots are under $5.00.

You can get herb scissors for $2.99 and a 3 piece set of gardening tools for $3.99. Their greenhouse costs about $20.00. Some of their items are available online, but you may need to head to an IKEA store for the rest.

Check the local Farm Supply Store
You can find all kinds of things at a farm supply store. What does yours carry? Farm supply stores are a great place to find large pots or plant boxes for your garden. Think “outside of the box” and you can find unique and useful planters. Got a big space to fill? Consider using a water trough as a raised bed for a vegetable garden.

Visit the Garden Section
Now is a good time to pick up some starter plants from the garden section of your favorite department store. Some grocery stores, that have floral departments, could be selling small starter plants right now. Use the store’s loyalty card to get a discount on the plants and other items that you buy for your garden. It may be less expensive than buying the same items from a nursery.

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Cleaning Myths you Shouldn’t Fall for!

Posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Subjects  for sanitary cleaning a houseThe internet is an excellent resource that you can use to find the information that you need. Unfortunately, the internet is also a place where misinformation, half-truths, and myths are passed around. There are several cleaning myths out there that may sound like truth. Here is a quick list that will help you avoid falling for the most common cleaning myths.

Myth: Coca Cola can be used as a household cleaner.

Fact: No, you should not use Coca Cola to clean your home! The myth that has been passed around says that you can use Coca Cola to remove grease from clothing, to clean dirt from windshields, and to remove rust spots from car bumpers. Some versions of the myth imply that Coca Cola is used by police to remove blood stains from roads.

The Coca Cola website recommends that those of you who are looking for a naturally acid household cleaner should use vinegar instead of Coca Cola. They also note that water is a better choice for cleaning pavement.

Myth: All you really need is bleach.

Fact: No, you are actually going to need more than just bleach. People get confused because they know that bleach is a good disinfectant. That doesn’t mean that you can skip steps in your cleaning process and just pour bleach over everything. Take the time to remove dirt, food, and other debris with an appropriate cleaning product. Some of those products may contain a disinfectant – which means you won’t need to use bleach afterwards.

Myth: The more cleaning products you use, the better!

Fact: This is the most dangerous cleaning myth ever! You have to be extremely careful about mixing cleaning products. Keep the windows open while you clean, and try and use as few cleaning products during one cleaning session as possible. Some mixes can kill you.

Never use:
* Vinegar and bleach
* Ammonia and bleach
* Detergents and disinfectants that contain quarternary ammonia.

The safest thing to do is pick just one cleaning product and use only that one. It is safe to use baking soda and vinegar together (or each one separately). Lemon juice also can be used for cleaning. All three are natural cleaning products that are non-toxic. Or, choose your favorite all purpose cleaner and use it instead of a bunch of different cleaning products.

Myth: Coffee grounds can be used to deodorize a garbage disposal.

Fact: This is an example of a cleaning myth that has some factual basis to it. Yes, tossing coffee grounds into your garbage disposal will remove the odor. Unfortunately, the coffee grounds can actually damage your garbage disposal! Try using a sliced lemon instead. Or, choose a cleaner that is specifically designed to be used in a garbage disposal.

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Spring Cleaning Tips that Most People Forget

Posted on Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Light BulbReady to do some spring cleaning? You already know how to do the basic cleaning that your home requires. What about the not-so-obvious stuff? Here is a quick list of the spring cleaning tips that most people forget about. Use these ideas to get your home extra clean!

Clean the Doormats
Doormats aren’t just decorative. Their purpose is to prevent dirt from getting into your home. Many people forget that even doormats need a good cleaning once in a while. Start by shaking the dirt out of them. It may help to hang them up and swat them with a broom (as you would a carpet). The cleaner the doormat, the more dirt it can keep out of your house.

Wash the Walls
Believe it or not, walls can collect dust. Walls can also end up with stains where people have touched them. To clean painted walls, you will need a clean cloth or sponge. You also need a bucket of water that has had a little bit of mild dishwashing liquid added to it. Wipe off the walls. This should get rid of the dust and most (if not all) of the stains. For stubborn stains, you may want to try a stain eraser. Don’t forget to wash the baseboards!

Dust the Ceiling Fans
People tend to forget that ceiling fans can gather up tons of dust! Get a damp towel and wipe away the dust that is hiding on top of each fan blade. Or, you might be able to carefully use a vacuum with a nozzle attachment to remove the dust. It would be a good idea to put on a dust mask before you attempt this task. All that dust is going to be directly over your head!

Remove Dust from Light Bulbs
Martha Stewart points out that lightbulbs can get dusty. Wait until the lightbulb is cooled down. Unscrew the lightbulb from the fixture. Use a microfiber cloth that has been dampened with water. Don’t get the metal screw base wet! Can’t reach the lightbulb? Try using one of those telescoping dusters to clean the dust off of hard to reach fixtures.

Wash the Window Blinds
Window blinds, with all those little slats, are the perfect dust catcher! One simple way to clean them is to put an old, mateless, sock over your hand. Spray a little bit of all purpose cleaner on it. Wipe away the dust on each and every slat. This will be a tedious process, but it is worth it.

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