How to Save - Part 102
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How to Save

How to Save at Babies R Us

Posted on Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 at 4:18 pm
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When we were expecting our first child, we registered at Babies R Us for all of the cute and necessary things. After he was born and followed by siblings, we got to know the store quite well, shopping for everything from strollers to diapers. Because of this, I picked up a few ideas on how to save the most money on products at Babies R Us. Here are my tips.

First, pick up a copy of Baby Bargains. It lists all sorts of baby products, the retail cost of the items, the comparison of different models and the recall information for the manufacturers. Borders has this book for a great price and they are offering free shipping for orders over $25 (in case you have something else to buy). This book saved us a lot of money when we shopped at Babies R Us.

Next, get on the list in order to get coupons in the mail and online. Babies R Us offers some great coupons for the more expensive stuff, such as car seats, and also for the everyday stuff, such as diapers, formula and baby food. You can sign up here.

There are usually always coupons for 15-25% off car seats, strollers, high chairs, and pack and plays (play yards). Many times you can get a free item when you buy one, such as a stool when you buy a car seat or a potty seat when you buy a stroller.

Another place to sign up on the website is for the rewards program. You can earn various extra coupons and rewards, such as $5 for every $150 you spend at Babies R Us or even Toys R Us.

Babies R Us will allow you to stack their store coupons with manufacturer coupons, so this is a great way to get some stuff for free. I’ll post combination deals for stacking as I find them. But basically, you can look through the store coupons and then print out or clip a matching coupon for the same product.

Guess what? Babies R Us does price matching. Not a lot of people know this. Take your Walmart of other add in to the store and use it to get the lowest price. Then use your coupon on top of it!

Check out the toy prices, especially around the holidays. While the selection isn’t as large as some other stores, with coupons, I found the best prices on large toddler and preschool toys.

Finally, check out the coupon codes and coupon links for the sister store, Toys R Us. You can often find the same items that you need from Toys R Us, but with the added bonus of the extra discounts.

Happy Shopping!
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Getting Ready for Holiday Shopping

Posted on Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 12:49 pm
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If my husband saw me writing a post about holiday shopping, he might think that I was a little crazy. After all, it is the middle of July, we are wearing summer clothes, and everything is summer green not Christmas green.

“Stop!” you are probably thinking, “Just let me get through back to school.” But if you want to get the best deals, there are a few good reasons to start thinking ahead, right now.

1. If you get your list together now, you can compare the normal retail prices with sale prices that may be coming up when we get closer to the holiday season. How do you know if that ring marked at 50% off wasn’t actually marked up 60% first? Having a clear sense of what things cost will help you a great deal, even before you are ready to make any purchases.

2. You may spot some great hidden deals. Why spend an extra $1,000 on a HDTV, if you can buy one a few months before the holiday season and save that amount? As retailers gear up for the holiday, they may be anxious to get rid of current electronics and other products to make room for newer models and styles. The closeouts are starting.

3. Shopping for the best bargains online can take a little time if you want the lowest prices. This is because there are so many more stores to explore, and navigating them make take a little longer than just popping over to the mall. Of course, the convenience of shopping online plus the greater chance of getting a bargain outweighs the bit of extra work involved.

The best thing you can do right now is to create a list of the people you want to gift. Nail down some general gift ideas as well as a budget. You can book mark websites and then check FreeCoupons often for free shipping deals and money off coupon codes. When you spot a good deal on a gift, grab it! Starting now means that you will have more time to make sure you get that perfect gift at a perfect price.

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Should You Shop at Multiple Grocery Stores?

Posted on Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 12:03 pm
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One of the questions that I routinely contemplate is whether or not I should shop in more than one store to get the best deals or save gas by sticking to just one store. There is a good argument for both sides.

Different stores usually offer different deals each week.

You should shop in multiple stores if the stores are close by each other or near places where you will be anyway, such as on your way home from work. This way, you are not going out of your way and spending extra time and gas for the bargains.

When I lived closer to the city, it was easy for me to combine a healthy walk with trips to multiple stores, so I never wasted any gas.

You should shop at multiple stores if you will be getting multiple deals and products from each store. Spending $3 on gas to go to another store to save $.50 just isn’t worth it. But if you will be saving $15 on products that you use anyway, then it would be worth it.

Don’t shop at multiple stores if a nearby store has a price matching policy. Just take the ads from the other stores and bring them with you when you shop. This way, you can get everyone’s best prices in one place. You can even use your coupons when you price match for extra savings!

Now here is a bonus tip. Check your coupons for ones that are about to expire. It might be worth it to make a special trip to a new store if you can use several of these expiring coupons on good sales.

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Cheap Supermarket Dinners

Posted on Monday, May 11th, 2009 at 11:31 am
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There has been an interesting trend lately. Major supermarkets are putting together weekly or monthly meals that will feed a family of four for $15 or $10. Some of these meals can be purchased in complete form, while others are simply suggestions that allow you to shop the store yourself for the meal items.

What is nice about most of these meals is that they are very convenient. You simply take the meal home and then reheat it. And from what I have seen, the supermarkets are conscious about delivering well-balanced meals.

Right now, Shaws is offering a meal for four until May 21st that includes BBQ pulled pork, macaroni and cheese and a salad blend. The meal is already bundled together in one place, so you can just grab and go. To learn more visit the Shaw’s 4:15 web page.

Stop and Shop Supermarkets are offering education on preparing inexpensive meals with a series of seminars called Affordable Food Summits.

Is your local supermarket doing anything to address the need for affordable family meals? Please share by leaving a comment.

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Garage Sales – Have one!

Posted on Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 9:52 pm
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Happy Mothers Day!

If you thought this was a Sunday for no insert coupons, think again. I think a lot of us moms like having the time on a Sunday to sit, clip, and plan for all the bargains we will find in the coming week. But there’s always the problem of not having enough room to store all our great bargains. It’s time for garage sales. And for veteran deal hunters, that means two things: 1. Find a deal and 2. Sell your stash.

That’s right, the toothpaste, aerosol, soaps, cleaning stuff, makeup, and other non perishables you get for free or pennies on the dollar can now make you money – while you make room for more. Put a price on it of a dollar if it regularly retails for more, $2 if it sells regularly for more than $5, or a quarter for dollar items. Sell it in bulk. If you don’t want to have a garage sale, you can donate your freebies to the spring sale of your favorite local charity, or to a thrift store, or a food bank or shelter.

Selling your freebies isn’t really a moneymaker, but it gives you some profit as you clear out for more room. Remember, deal hunters are not only SAVING money with coupons, sales, and online codes – we often find a way to combine offers and sometimes make a small profit. So we keep finding great deals – and our stash gets bigger, but our storage doesn’t. It’s also a good idea to not keep things forever.

We have a lot of high value coupons in Smart Source and Red Plum this weekend. Take a look here for our Insert preview list in PDF.

 

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Getting the Most Value from Restaurant.com Gift Certificates

Posted on Monday, March 30th, 2009 at 12:10 pm
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Recently, Restaurant.com gift certificates have been getting some mixed press. While some people love getting the huge value off of a restaurant meal, others wonder if the certificates are worth the purchase. Like any coupon or discount, knowing how to use it to your advantage can mean the difference between getting a good deal and getting an absolutely amazing deal.

Here are some things to know in order to get the most value from Restaurant.com gift certificates.

Use a Coupon Code

I post coupon codes for Restaurant.com all of the time. Using a code and the right link can make all of the difference when it comes to getting a great deal.

Know the Restrictions

Some restaurants have certain restrictions when it comes to redeeming the gift certificates, such as a minimum purchase. Usually the minimum purchase is lower than what we would normally pay for a meal. If it isn’t in your case, try one of the following strategies:

  • Choose a different restaurant without the restrictions
  • Buy a larger gift certificate to cover the cost of the minimum
  • Dine with a friend and split the cost of the certificate

Also be aware of time restrictions for some restaurants.

Try a New Restaurant

Use the Restaurant.com certificates whenever you want to try a new restaurant. This way, if it turns out that the new restaurant isn’t the place for you, you won’t feel as though you wasted your money, since you only paid $2-$10 for the meal. Experimenting is fun when you are dining on the cheap.

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Five Appliances that Can Save You Money on Your Food Bill

Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 11:25 am
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Sometimes a little investment can go a long way to save you money. This is especially true when it comes to food. Groceries can take a big chunk of the budget each month. I have found the following small appliances very helpful when it comes to cutting down our food bill.

Computer

From printable coupons to online grocery deals, having a computer with Internet access has really helped me get more food for less money.

Slow Cooker (Crockpot)

I own two different sized slow cookers, and I find that they are invaluable for saving money on groceries. Throwing a bunch of easy ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning, means that a hot dinner is waiting. No more take out or expensive prepared meals to buy.

Bread Machine

Sure, you can make your own bread without one, but a bread machine makes it a lot easier, which means that I am much more likely to make bread from scratch. Compare the cost of ingredients at less than $1 a loaf, compared to $3 or more. Nice breadmakers can also make quick breads, cakes and jam.

Coffee Maker

Making coffee at home and bringing it with you can save just a ton each month. Shave $3, $4 or $5 off of your coffee expense daily when you tote your coffee rather than stopping at the cafe.

Freezer

Make ahead meals, deals on frozen foods and bulk purchases can all save your money when you have the ability to keep them all well in a freezer. Single people or couples can take advantage of less expensive “family” packages of foods, and families can cook ahead to avoid eating out.

What do you think? Is there anything in your kitchen that really helps you save money on your food bill?

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Saving Money When Eating Out

Posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2009 at 10:32 am
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There is no reason to completely give up restaurants and eating out when you know all of the tricks to saving money when eating out!

Coupons

Coupons are not just for family restaurants anymore. Even fine dining establishments are offering coupons and discounts. Call ahead to the restaurant or go online and do a coupon search. With very little effort, you can get even get a free meal or two.

Restaurant.com

Purchase restaurant gift certificates in advance, and you can save up to 80 percent off of a meal! Restaurant.com frequently offers deals on restaurant gift certificates, and you can sometimes get $25 certificates for only $2.

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Share

Split a meal plus and appetizer with your dining companion. Don’t worry. In most restaurants, you will be served enough food this way and won’t go hungry. But, you will save quite a bit on your dinner.

Skip the drinks

Choose drinks with free refills or skip them altogether. A simple water with lemon is very refreshing and can save you money off of your restaurant bill. Some folks even add a little sugar or sweetener to their water and lemon to make lemonade!

Go off peak

Lunch offerings are usually less expensive than dinner offerings, and sometimes they offer the exact same meal and portion at lunch for a reduced rate. There are also “off-peek” or “dinner special” menus available in some restaurants. These special menus offer reduced prices in order to fill tables during quiet times.

Do you have any tips for saving money when eating out?

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Saving Money on Food When You Don’t Want to Cook

Posted on Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 at 10:59 am
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downloadYes, we all know that cooking from scratch can save you a lot of money, but let’s face it, sometimes we just don’t have the time or just don’t want to cook. You know those days when you are just too exhausted to think, let alone whip up an elaborate meal.

Now that spring is coming, I find myself wanting to be outside more, which means dragging myself back inside to spend an hour creating dinner just isn’t appealing. Still, I don’t want to blow our budget on food.

Here are some of the ways that I cope and save money on food when I don’t want to cook.

Breakfast for dinner

Having breakfast for dinner is a great option on days that you don’t want to cook. Breakfast foods, such as pancakes or eggs can be cooked quickly and with not too much fuss. Plus, kids love the novelty of having breakfast for dinner.

Pasta to the rescue

Boil up some pasta, throw in some green vegetable, such as frozen broccoli or peas, add some jarred sauce, and you are all set. Quick and easy. Hard-core carnivores might want to keep some cooked and browned sausage or ground meat on hand in the freezer to include.

Make liberal use of convenience and prepared foods

Yes, convenience foods and frozen meals cost more than cooking from scratch, but they usually cost less than eating out, so you’ll still save by having a meal on hand. And, if you try some of the new slow cooker meals, you can start them in the morning and forget about them until you are ready to eat.

Get gourmet delivered

I recently discovered Home Bistro and quickly looked for deals and coupons. Home Bistro provides gourmet meals that can go from the freezer to the table in a matter of minutes. I don’t know how they do it, because my own freezer meals take forever to reheat.

Happy eating!

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Warning on Multiple Item Grocery Deals

Posted on Thursday, March 5th, 2009 at 10:54 am
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Grocery stores often offer multiple item sales, such as 2 for $5 or 10 for $10 on many items. Many times these are good deals, but I’ve been noticing a couple of patterns at some grocery stores lately, and I wanted to warn you about them.

First of all I have been seeing that some of these deals actually raise the price of the item. For example, my favorite canned pizza sauce is normally 79 cents a can. The other day, this same sauce was included in a 10 for $10 deal, bring the cost of the sauce up by 21 cents! The next week, it was down to its normal price. So these multiple item sales might not always be the best deal. Make sure that you know what the normal price is for something, so you can compare it to the sale.

One way to make out well with multiple item deals is to combine them with coupons. Usually this means that you only buy one or two of the items depending on how many coupons you have and what the policy is for using coupons on two of the same item. Normally, you don’t have to purchase all of the items in a multiple item deal. Each item is normally discounted by the correct amount.

The warning here is on a new trend that withholds the discount unless you do purchase all of the items. The store may or may not advertise this change in policy, and it may apply only to certain items and not others. So watch your register receipt and check with customer service to make sure you know your savings.

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