Archive | New to Couponing and Saving? RSS feed for this section

Coupon Organizer sale

14 Mar

Due to a few people asking, I have decided to start offering my coupon organizer system for sale!! If you are interested, please email me at coupon.shelby@yahoo.com. I can deliver locally, you can pick up, or I can ship (add the cost of shipping to the total).

Basic Binders ($10) include:

1” binder

Divider Tabs

15 coupon holders

Instructions on how to set up binder

Deluxe Binders ($15) include:

2” binder

Divider Tabs

30 coupon holders

Instructions on how to set up binder

Where to find printable coupons??

9 Mar

I was asked to post a list of where I find coupons. I, by no means, have every coupon site down, so if you have another, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE feel free to share (I am always open to learning lol)!

 

Coupons.com

Smartsource.com (I will link to it later, it seems to be down right now)

Redplum.com

Target Store coupons

 

Coupon Class April 18th and April 25th!!!

8 Mar

My next class will be April 18th and 25th at 6pm at Lakeland Park in Burns Harbor (it is indoors). The classes are 2-3 hours in length. Both classes are recommended. There is a $5 supply fee.  Come out and have a blast learning to save and maybe even winning some great prizes! If you are planning on attending, please RSVP on the Burns Harbor Parks Department page, so I know how many to have supplies for! Thank you!

Couponing Class

7 Feb

If you are interested in my coupon class, please post on here or on my facebook page. I am currently looking at holding it on March 5th and March 12th from 5-8pm. Both classes are recommended. Thanks!

Crash course in coupon terms

7 Jan

When you’re first learning the ropes of using coupons, it can seem like you’re learning a foreign language. Here are some of the most-used terms and abbreviations used by couponers:

$1/1, etc. :: Indicates the value of a coupon, $1 off 1 item in this instance but could be any value, $4/2 ($4 off 2 items), $0.25/1 ($0.25 off 1) etc.
AC :: After coupon
AR :: After rebate
Blinkie :: Coupon dispensed from a box attached to a store shelf. The term “blinkie” comes from the box which sometimes has a blinking light.
BOGO, B1G1, B1G1F :: Buy One Get One free
BTFE :: Box Tops for Education
B&M :: Refers to a “brick & mortar” store (as opposed to an online store)
CAT, Catalina :: Coupons which print at the register after your purchase is made. These can usually be used like cash on your next purchase. However, if the say “manufacturer’s coupon” on them, you should be able to use them at any store although YMMV (see below). 😉
CPN :: Coupon
CRT :: Cash register tape — often referring to coupons at the bottom of your receipt.
DND :: Do Not Double
Double Coupon :: A coupon which can be doubled in value
ECB :: Extra Care Bucks (CVS, prints on receipt)
ETA :: Edited to Add
ETS :: Excludes Trial Size
FAR :: Free After Rebate
Filler :: An item or items you buy in order to get your total up to a certain amount in order to use a percentage off coupon
FS :: Free shipping
GC :: Gift card/gift certificate
GDA :: Good Deal Alert
GM :: General Mills
HTH :: Hope That Helps
IVC :: Instant Value Coupon (Walgreens, found in the monthy EasySaver booklet)
IPQ, IP :: Internet Printable coupon
MFG, MFR :: Manufacturer
MQ :: Manufacturer’s Coupon
MIR :: Mail-In Rebate
NED :: No expiration date
OOP :: Out of Pocket
OOS :: Out of Stock
OYNO :: On Your Next Order
P&G :: Proctor & Gamble coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper
Peelie :: Coupon attached to an item’s packaging which can be peeled off
PSA :: Prices Starting At
Q :: Coupon
Regional :: A coupon or deal available in only a specific area
RP :: Red Plum coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper
RR :: Register Rewards (Walgreens, which print with receipt)
SCR :: Single Check Rebate (Rite Aid)
SS :: Smart Source coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper
Stacking :: Using a manufacturer’s coupon in addition to a store coupon for an even lower price
Tear pad :: A pad of rebate forms or coupons attached to a store shelf
TMF :: Try Me Free
Triple Coupon :: A coupon which can be tripled in value
UPC :: Universal Product Code (a.k.a. bar code)
UPR :: Up Rewards, a coupon you can earn on your register receipt at Rite Aid
WSL :: While Supplies Last
WT, Winetag :: A coupon hanging on the package of a product
WYB :: When You Buy
V :: Valassis coupon insert found in Sunday newspaper (same as RP or Red Plum insert)
YMMV :: Your Mileage May Vary (in other words, you may or may not be successful with a particular deal at your store)

New to couponing and saving money? Overwhelmed? Part 3

7 Jan

5. Make Simple Budget Cuts

Once you have simplified your life, set goals, gotten your home organized and made a budget, you’re ready to get more intense about saving

Start with simple things that will make an impact: Do you have memberships or subscriptions you’re currently paying for but not using? Can you renegotiate some of your bills to get a better monthly rate? Could you cut back on costly regular expenses or come up with alternatives?

After looking at your regular expenses to see if there are things you can cut or renegotiate, if you’re still struggling and need to come up with more breathing room, I’d suggest that you consider doing things which might be more extreme (I will post more on those at a later date).

Start slowly adopting a “Never Pay Retail” philosophy. Living frugally doesn’t mean you never buy nice things or never pay for anything new again (though buying used and saving the difference is better in many instances), but you can save hundreds of dollars per year just by committing to use some coupons for items you purchase, planning ahead and buying items you will need soon when they are at their lowest prices and looking for creative ways to save on things you plan to buy.

For instance, if you include a “date night” or “dinner out” category in your budget, you can stretch your money farther by watching for restaurant coupons and deals and purchasing restaurant vouchers through Groupon or Restaurant.com to local restaurants you frequent.

Living on a budget doesn’t mean you have to eat beans and rice for the rest of your life.

 

6. Remember to Take Babysteps

As you start looking for ways to reducecut costs, it’s easy to get carried away and try do everything at once. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself completely overwhelmed trying to menu-plan, stockpile, print coupons, clip coupons, organize coupons, shop at multiple stores, play the Drugstore Game, sign up for freebies, read great blogs…  and many other things.

Take babysteps! Pick one new skill to learn per month and don’t feel guilty over what you aren’t doing yet.

7. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other People

Sadly, sometimes we can spend way too much time worrying about what other people are doing or not doing and try to base what we do upon that. Don’t compare yourself to other people.

We’re all in different families and situations. We all have different goals, different needs. What works for one family isn’t necessarily going to work for another family.

Maybe your family has food allergies and you need to have a larger grocery budget than your frugal friend without food allergies has. Or maybe you enjoy going out to eat often so you have a higher “Dates and Eating Out” budget, but you buy your clothes at the thrift store.

Whatever the case, determine what works for your family and then create your financial goals based upon this. If other people don’t understand or even criticize the decisions you’ve made, it’s okay.

Do what works for you and don’t worry about what other people think!

New to couponing and saving money? Overwhelmed? Part 2

5 Jan

 

Yesterday, I talked about making time and making goals. If you haven’t read that post, I recommend you go back and read it first.

 

3. Get Your Home & Life in Reasonable Order

Once you start to simplify your life and have set goals, now it’s time to put your nose to the grindstone! While you might be tempted to jump in and start clipping coupons or chasing bargains — don’t!

If your home isn’t in order and you already feel like things are spinning out of control, adding more things to your to-do list is only going to stress you out and make life miserable, which will lead to you giving up on your goals.

Take a step back and look around your home: what are the biggest areas you struggle with? Laundry? Piles of clutter? Lack of organization or a plan? Too much to do and too little time?

Look at your current time usage: do you have your priorities in order? Are you spending time enjoying and loving your family members?How is your sleep schedule? Do you have down time? Are the unimportant things crowding out the important?

If you feel like your life is chaotic, you need to step back and reorganize your time. Say “no”. Don’t feel obligated to other people. Don’t start anything new.

Instead, stay home, make a plan for your days (the simpler, the better) and stick with it. A plan doesn’t work unless you do!

Your home and life didn’t get chaotic in one day and they are not going get back under control in one day, but you can make baby steps in the right direction. So, determine what are your biggest problem areas and begin attacking those one at a time just like you did with your long term goals.


4. Create a Workable Budget

Once your home is beginning to start to get in order (and that will likely take a few weeks), then it’s time to learn budgeting.

Yep, I said the dreaded “B” word. You HAVE TO make a budget.

Why you ask? Because if you do nothing else — if you never clip a coupon, never buy used and never eat leftovers — but you create a simple zero-based budget and you stick to it, you’ll be better off.

A working zero-based budget is going to take work. It doesn’t just happen. But if you commit to making it and then following it, it will  change your life — and your financial situation!

For more help with creating a zero-based budget, I recommend you check out The Total Money Makeover from your library.

If you’ve never had a budget before,it will take at least three months to get a workable budget in place. The first few months you’ll likely make mistakes and adjustments; it’s a work in progress, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first month. You’ll see progress just by trying, I promise!

I also highly recommend that you use an envelope system for much of your spending categories. This guarantees that you stay within the budget because, with cash, when it’s gone, it’s gone. I will post more on that at a later date, for now…GOOGLE it!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!

What would be your top piece of advice for someone who is feeling like their life and home is chaotic and disorderly?

New to couponing and saving money? Overwhelmed?

5 Jan

I’m a busy mom. I’m also a disorganized and a recovering procrastinator and money-waster. I desperately want to change, but being so new to this lifestyle, so set in my bad habits and so extremely busy, I have no idea how to go about it. Do you have any suggestions for me?

 

I started writing this and was going to do one post, but its not possible.  So I’m going to do a series over the next few days with some step-by-step help for you and others who have just discovered couponing and are feeling overwhelmed at where to start.

1. Streamline Your Life

Saving money is hard work. Its going to take some time and effort. There’s no way around that. If it were easy to live beneath your means or save 65% on all your grocery bills, everyone would be doing it! It doesn’t have to take hours and days of your week, but if you want to change, you first need to be willing to commit to doing it. It will be worth it, but it won’t always be easy. There will be sacrifices, you just can’t do it all.  So if you really want to see some significant changes in your savings but you’re feeling completely overwhelmed and busy with your current responsibilities, you’re going to need to cut some things out or multi-task in order to make time to spend getting your finances in order. For example, my husband and I LOVE our date nights, but I discovered that getting a sitter for date night and then trying to take our kids shopping was not working. Now, we go shopping on our date night. We will have a dinner (usually using coupons) and then we hit the stores. Sure it might not be as fun as going to a movie, but it accomplishes my goal, which leads me into the next point.

2. Set Short-term and Long-term Goals

Once you’ve decided to streamline your life and put forth some effort when it comes to getting your finances in order, it’s time to get down to business! The first thing that needs to be done is setting goals. Take a few hours during a quiet evening (I know, I know, most of you have kids and its hard to get a quiet evening) to brainstorm (do this exercise with your husband if you are married). Where do you hope to be in five years and ten years from now? What are your dreams? Don’t be shy! Write down whatever comes to your mind. It’s okay to dream big dreams — even if they seem impossibly out of your reach, most likely they are not out of reach with some work. Once you’ve scribbled down a lot of big ideas, choose which ones you really want to shoot for. I say to pick no more than three long-term goals. Make a new list with just these three and break them down into smaller, short-term goals. If you’re not out of debt, that should be the top goal on your list. It’s hard to get any financial traction if you’re dragging payments around with you wherever you go! Now, break these big long-term goals down into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Let’s say you have $10,000 in credit card debt and you’d like to have it paid off in two years. That means you need to have a goal of paying $5,000 off per year which is about $417 per month, or about $105  per week. So there you have one of your smaller goals: you need to find an extra $105 in your budget each week in order to pay your credit cards off within two years. When you break it down in that way, it doesn’t seem as overwhelming.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll be sharing some tips and ideas on how to stretch your time and money!

Readers: What suggestions do you have for  brand-new savers (or even the “pros”) who are feeling overwhelmed with where to start? I’d love to hear what has helped you!