Saving Money – The Challenge & How to Overcome!

I get asked quite frequently how I manage to save money. It’s simple, I use a few different methods that work for me. Once you start and get in a routine with saving, it becomes second nature.

Here are a few tips that help me save!

1. I use a mason jar and have a bingo savings chart taped to the front. It is a fun way to start saving, without having the feeling that you’re super broke. You basically can either mark off 1 number a week or whenever you want to put a little money aside. Depending on if you’re strapped for cash or can let a little more go to the jar. It’s a great method for saving because you can put $1 away, $5, $50, whatever you can spare for the week. I tend to mark off a number and then hide the jar out of site so I’m not tempted to use the money. I love this method because I love seeing the colorful squares get filled up. Makes me excited to save money!

jar4

2. The 2nd thing I do to save money, is use Swagbucks. For me, it’s a great way to earn a little extra money for things like car parts, Christmas gifts and more. That means I don’t have to spend money from our paycheck on fun stuff. If you already make a lot of money and just want to do it as a way to save money, then that’s a great thing too! You can totally earn money on there and put that in the jar and just let it grow.

Here’s my link to sign up!: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/dumptdaily

3. Coupons – Yes, couponing does help me save money. I always check to see what coupons are currently out and if there’s anything out for what I usually buy. The other week there was a great coupon for cereal and a deal at Walgreens. So I ended up getting 5 boxes of cereal for hubby for $0.88 each! Definitely way better than spending $2+ a box.

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Those are the basic things I use to help save money. Even if you’re working part time, you to can save money! Even if it means putting $1 aside a week. It’ll add up over time. Honestly though, it does take a LOT of dedication and restraint to save money. You have to be willing to put aside the money and not touch it. But don’t give up! Reach those goals!

 

xoxo Katie

Couponing 101: For Beginners

Quite a few of you have been asking me to teach you the ways of couponing and saving money. I’m going to go into a lot of detail on how to coupon, tips, links and how to start a stockpile. 

The first step to begin your couponing adventure is to buy the Sunday newspaper. Every weekend there will be 1-4 inserts full of coupons. The only time there are no inserts, is Holidays. There will either be a lot of inserts the Sunday before, or the Sunday after.


The Sunday paper is the best way to get a lot of really good coupons but it’s not the only way to get coupons. The following sites contain a wide range of coupons that are available for you to print straight from your computer. **Note: You are only allowed to print the coupons twice from each computer.


http://www.coupons.com

http://www.redplum.com

http://www.smartsource.com

http://coupons.target.com/

Next I’m going to go over some sites that break down shopping trips by stating the sales and which coupons to use for each item. It makes your couponing trip a lot easier when it’s all laid out for you.

  1. The first site I’m going to go over is The Krazy Coupon Lady. She posts the deals from almost every store imaginable and lists which coupons to use for the products that are the best bargain. She also has a facebook page. I highly recommend following her, here, because it makes your couponing experience so much nicer when you can see everything laid out for you.
  2. The next site I recommend following, especially if you love Target, is Totally Target. They post all of the deals specifically for Target. They also list the coupons to use with each item.
  3. The third/fourth site I’d highly recommend following is going to be I Heart CVS and I Heart Wags. (Wags=Walgreens). Yet again, these two sites will list the deals specifically for their stores as well as show which coupons to use to get that deal.
  4. The last site I’ll share with you is actually a facebook page. This will help you especially if you’re located in Houston, TX. Here is the link for Houston Coupon Moms facebook page. It’s a great page to be on to share info about deals with others and to get feedback about other deals from people in the community.

Many of you have asked me how I got into couponing. I started back in April 2011 when my mom’s friend was telling me about some great deals she got. It instantly sparked an interest in me and I slowly got into couponing. I started getting the Sunday paper every weekend and then slowly started increasing that to two Sunday papers. Currently I’ll get anywhere from 1-2 newspapers or up to 2 bundles (which is roughly 13 newspapers per bundle). It all really depends on what deals are going on and how good the coupons are going to be.

Enough about me. Let’s move into starting a stockpile!! I know most of you have seen numerous photos of my stockpile. The question you have is, “How do I get started?”. It’s really simple. Most people think you need to go out and buy a ton of stuff right off the bat. No! You’re new to the couponing world; take it slow! Only increase your couponing pace if you’re ready for it and can handle the stress. Yes, there is a lot of stress when it comes to couponing – we’ll get into that later.

This was my stockpile when I first started couponing. I didn’t rush out to fill up a whole linen closet worth of stuff right off the bat. It took a few years to finally get it complete full and organized. I actually filled it up and the shelves in my closet as well. It takes time.

Remember, start out small and eventually you’ll get to where you have a good stock of items that were cheap or free for your family.

Now…Let’s move into some more complex couponing 101.

Knowing your Stores Coupon Policy:

Finding your stores coupon policy is as easy as going onto their website, searching and clicking print. I make it a priority to carry around the stores coupon policy with me on each visit. There are occurrences when you will have a nasty, rude cashier trying to tell you that you can’t use a coupon – or something. It’s happened many times to me and it’s very frustrating. It’s always good to have the coupon policy memorized and with you just in case you get that type of cashier.

Here are a few quick tips from a few select stores coupon policies:

  1. Target has a limit of coupons you can use. You can only use 4 identical coupons per day/transaction. Walmart has no limit unless stated on the coupon.
  2. At Target you can use a Target coupon with a Manufacturer coupon on one item. Double the savings!
  3. If a BOGO sale is going on at Wags or CVS, you can use a coupon on each item (yes, the free one and the one you’re buying). (ex. B1G1 Right Guard Deodorant $4.49. Buy 2, Pay for 1. You can use (2) $2/1 coupons and only pay $0.49 for the two deodorants.)
  4. Walmart gives back money if the coupon value exceeds the price of the item. (ex. Loreal shampoo trial size is $0.97. Use $1 off coupon and get paid $0.03).
  5. Dollar Tree actually accepts coupons! I know it’s crazy! You can only use 2 printable coupons per day and 4 identical coupons per day.

Apps:

I almost forgot to mention couponing apps! There is a wide range of couponing apps available. A lot of the couponing apps can be found on the android market but there are a couple that can only be used on an Iphone. Here is a list of the apps I love using and one that I’ve heard great things about:

  1. Ibotta: Join Here. Ibotta has coupons available for you to use without even having to use them at the checkout! How it works — Browse the coupons available and when you see an item you want to purchase, simply purchase it. When you get home you click redeem and find the item you just bought. It will have you select the store you purchased it from and then you’ll be asked to take a picture of the receipt and then the item. Next, you’ll have to wait for it to be approved. Once it’s approved, boom! Money in your account! Once you hit $5 you can click paypal and it’ll send it straight to your paypal account. What I love about this app is that you can use coupons at the store and use this app to get even more savings.
    (ex. CVS had a coupon for a free bottle of Clear Shampoo. Ibotta had an offer for the same shampoo for $1.25 off. I ended up making $1.25 on something that was free.)
  2. Shopkick: This app doesn’t offer a lot of coupons but it’s more of a fun app to use to get gift cards for shopping. The app offers a wide range of stores to choose from. Depending on what store you’re going into…let’s say Target, you’ll want to click Target on the app. It’ll register you in the store as soon as you walk into the building. The thing with the app though is that you need to have the store selected before you walk into the building. If you try to select it when you’re in the store, it won’t register you and then you’ll have to walk outside and walk back in. Shopkick gives you points for scanning items, stepping into stores and for browsing their booklets. You can redeem the points on Target gift cards, gas gift cards and pretty much just gift cards for pizza and other stores. It’s actually a pretty fun app to use when you’re killing time.
  3. Viggle: This is actually not a couponing app but one that I’d recommend if you like to get gift cards free. This one takes a little more time but hardly any effort. You simply turn on your tv, watch a show, click the viggle button and it picks up on what tv show you’re watching. You click “check in” and it gives you 1 point a minute for each minute of that show you watch. Note: Once that show is over, you have to click the viggle button again for it to pick up the next show. Also this app does take awhile to get the points racked up. You need 20,000 points to get a $10 Old Navy gift card. I’ve been using it for a month now and am at 4,000 points.
  4. Receipt Hog: Unfortunately this one is not available on Android phones. This app is great because it gives you coins per receipt uploaded. You start off with 10 coins per receipt and eventually make it up to 25 coins per receipt. When you get to a certain amount you can cash out. Here’s the breakdown on the coins – cash.

    1,000 coins = $5
    1,800 coins = $10
    3,200 coins = $20
    4,500 coins = $30

    This app is good if you’re not big into couponing and want to make a little extra cash.

Now you’re ready to venture out and start couponing!! I hope you all found this post useful and packed full of information. If you have any questions, feel free to message me on facebook or email me here. Have fun saving money!

Rant Rant Rant

Seems like lately all I’ve done is rant about stuff. Ha Ha! Hopefully that is all over this weekend. I just want to make it be known that I am done helping people out. I’ve had numerous people come to me wanting me to teach them how to coupon but in reality, they just want me to do all of the work. Find the deals, get the coupons, tell them exactly what coupon to use where and for what item. It’s ridiculous and I’m just over it. I start out explaining how to do it and then the person either gets uninterested or like I said, wants me to do the work. I don’t mind going couponing for you, if you give me money to actually get the items that you want. I’m not, however, going to use my money to get the items

Money Money Money!!!! Money!

you want and give them to you free of charge. That’s crazy! I also don’t mind people coming over to buy stuff from my stock for 50% off retail. Lots of people think it’s okay to ask me numerous times for stuff that I’ve gotten, “Hey I want some of those!!” “Can I have some of these?” “Hook me up”. No! I also don’t appreciate people referring to me as a hoarder. In no ways am I even close to being a hoarder. I actually use the items I have in my house and if I’m not planning on using them, I give them to family members. For example, my bazillion razors in my linen closet, sure I won’t be using them cause I honestly hate disposables but my mother in law and father in law both use them so they will be stocked up for a long time.

Don’t try to tell me that I should donate all of my stuff. I got the stuff for a reason, I use it. Yes I have 100+ boxes of cat food but they don’t expire till next year and my cat will be able to eat most of that. If not, I’ll be feeding the homeless kitties outside. Yes, I know it’s great to donate and I do give somethings to friends and family members but if I donate all of what I have, then I  have to spend money to buy more of that item for my family. I’m on a really tight budget and that just won’t cut it. I’m not being stingy because I do give people things that I’ve gotten for free or cheap.

If you want to learn how to coupon and are SERIOUSLY interested in it and don’t plan on wasting my time, then ask. I’ve tried to help people save money who have a low income and who could actually use the help but there is only so much I can do. I’m for sure as hell not going to do all of the couponing for you to save you the money. You’re on your own. If you don’t want my help, that’s fine too. I personally love couponing because it’s an easy way for me to provide for my family. I know it’s a little time consuming because you have to get the inserts, organize and clip them before you go to the store. It does take time getting the hang of it but in the end it’s rewarding. Yes, there are some items that I get that I will never use but if the store is paying me $0.78+ for the item, then I’ll be getting it and using the overage toward items I need that I can’t always afford.

Example: The 61+ tubes of Poligrip. Yes I don’t have a need for the poligrip but my grandma, father and grandmother-in-law do. Each box gave me $0.78 overage. That’s a whopping total of $47.58 that I was able to put toward snacks, fruits, veggies, meats and other items I needed. I couldn’t pass that up!

I know a lot of people don’t want to get into couponing like I do because of a lack of space to store everything. You don’t have to buy such big quantities as to where you have no room for anything. Always research before you buy and see if a friend or family member can use that product. It’s helping you out and helping them out. If you can get an item from a store and be paid $0.50 for it and put that $0.50 toward diapers, shampoo, food…then why not? The poligrip was one of the best things I’ve been able to coupon for. Not only did I use the overage on things I really needed but now my grandma, who’s on a strict budget, will be set for quiet awhile on a product that is sorta expensive to buy when you have to buy 3 a month.

Still don’t believe the power of couponing? Ask me questions and I’ll gladly answer them. I’m here to help you out, if you need or want the help.

Candy Bar Ideas

I’m obsessed with the new trend of having a candy bar at your wedding! I love the idea of having everyone be able to enjoy our favorite sweets and take some home in a cute box as a little wedding favor.

I really didn’t know anything about candy bars until Pinterest.com became a hit and then everything you could ever imagine was on there. I stumbled across the candy bar idea on the wedding section and I’ve also seen people use the candy bar idea for little kids birthday parties. Simply perf! (perfect) haha.

I’ve seen people use apothecary jars, cylinder and square vases and other different styles of jars. I’ve been researching prices on all different types of jars at Michaels, World Market and Pier1. I’ve seen them range from $9.99-$45!!

I found these at Pier1 for $24 for both! Not a bad price and I absolutely love the chalkboard label. Perfect for writing down the specific candy that is in the jar.

I also found these that I think would add some character because they aren’t exactly the same style as the ones above. I kind of want to have random jars in style and shape.

These range from $2.99-$5.99 and are available at World Market.

I also found some traditional apothecary jars that I’d love to buy and use but they’re a little more expensive. However, I have seen people use these for cottonballs and q-tips in the bathroom and it makes the bathroom around look much fancier! Haha.

These are listed on Peir1’s website for $24.95 for the left one and $19.95 for the right one.

I think out of the two above, I’d probably be more likely to go with the short one so that it’s easier for people to get candy out of and it’s a little rounder.

I found this cute little round one at world market that I’d love to get and it’s not too expensive either!

$14.99 at World Market.

Found this one on the webstaurantstore.com. Cheap pricing on jars! This one is a gallon and is $7.69 ea when you buy 2.


Here are some cute candy bars that other people have put together that kind of give me an idea of how I want to arrange mine.

photo courtesy of pinterest.com

photo courtesy of pinterest.com

photo courtesy of pinterest.com

photo courtesy of pinterest.com

I can’t wait to start getting things together and make this all happen!!! Luckily since I’m a couponer, I should be able to get a bunch of candy for cheap. Hopefully! Now I just need to make a list of our favs!

How many different types of candy should we have? I think more than 4 because I want a good variety!

Saving Money: One Coupon at a Time!

How to Save Money by Couponing:

  1. Step One: Purchase a Sunday paper. They’ll have anywhere from 2-5 inserts per week (except Holidays usually).

2. Step Two: Clip Inserts and match them up with deals from Target/CVS/Walgreens and local grocery stores.

3. Step Three: Go out and score some good deals!!

Here are my most recent deals!
39 (1 not shown) Bottles of Sierra Mist Free. Here’s the breakdown:

Used $1/1 Manufacturer Coupon – $1 at Walmart = Free

Three 12pks of Coke Products and 10 Boxes of Purina One Beyond Cat Food for Free. Here’s the breakdown:

Used 3 Free 12pk Coupons for the coke = Free
Used Free up to $3.25 on Purina One Beyond Cat Food = Free

Used the same Free up to $3.25 Coupon on these and got 15 boxes for free plus made $3.90 overage!

On this deal I was able to use the $2/1 Jimmy Deans D-lights Coupon and get each box for Free. That’s a total of 20 boxes of breakfasts for free! Here’s the breakdown:

$2/1 Jimmy Deans D-lights Breakfast Coupon – $2 each at Walmart = Free!

Here is a recently updated picture of my stockpile in my linen closet. I had to reorganize everything so I could fit more cat food.

Hope you all enjoyed my post. Let me know if you have scored any amazing deals!

Hello Couponing!

It’s been a long time since I’ve couponed. Well, actually since I’ve couponed hard core. I have still been couponing but just for little things like canned cat food. The last time I was really into couponing hard core was back in June or July. I got out of it for awhile because I was dealing with relationship issues/break up and my grandpas health diminishing/passing away. Now I am slowly getting back into thanks to my best friend Emily and a few other people.

Tuesday and Wednesday I got out into the field again and did some couponing. This past Sunday had a coupon for $2/1 Jimmy deans d-light product. They’re on sale at Walmart for $2 so I could pass that up.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Sierra Mist $1 – $1 coupon = Free
  • Jimmy Deans $5.97 – $2 coupon = $3.97
  • Iams Cat Food $1 – $1 coupon = Free

I used my walmart gift card and didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket.

Wednesday I made another Walmart trip and here’s the breakdown:

  • Sierra Mist $1 – $1 coupon = Free
  • Jimmy Deans $2 – $2 coupon = Free
  • Hot Pockets $2 each – $1.25/2 = $2.75

Had $2.66 left on my Walmart card so I ended up paying just $0.09 out of pocket!!

I’m so glad I’ve gotten back into couponing. Since my fiance will be home soon I’ve been trying to stock up on groceries and free/cheap things so that way we can use our money for bills and gas to get around town. Thankfully there are a lot of great people in the couponing community and I’m able to get coupons for items I can stock up on and have on hand since I have such a tight budget. Thanks to all of the ladies who have sent me coupons! I appreciate it!

Can’t Kick the Couponing Bug

Couponing really isn’t hard to get into. Yes, it takes a little bit of time and effort but it’s very rewarding. Atleast, in my opinion it’s rewarding. I have had many friends come up to me and say, “Katie, you need to teach me how to do this! I want free stuff!”. At the end of the day though, they end up saying it’s too much work, they don’t have the time or just lose interest in it.

Overall, since I have been couponing, I have gotten 100+ bags of cat food for free, about 30 cans of cat food free, 8 shampoos/conditioners free, 3 boxes of allegra free, toothpaste for free/cheap, 3 cheap deodorants, 4 bags of dog food free, 7 free bodywashes, 21 free room sprays (I had more but gave some to friends), free floss, free pantiliners, and a bunch of other items for really cheap. I think the most I have paid for an item with a coupon was $1.97.

I would say I have definitely benefitted from couponing. Some people think I’m a hoarder because I have 15+ room sprays but if it’s free I’m going to get it. Plus I’ve slowly been giving away things to friends. I’ve given away about 7 bags of cat treats, 5 bags of cat food, dog food, body wash, razors, candles, bug spray and room sprays. I’m not one of those people that hoards all of these things I will never use. If they are free and I won’t be using them, I still get them but end up giving them to a friend who can use them. Plus, with couponing I have been able to save a ton of money and put that toward bills and other things.

Here are some pictures of my stockpile and items I’ve gotten for cheap/free just by couponing. Enjoy!

Spent $3.55!

I spent $3.55 on the above items.

Spent $0.06 on all of these.

My stockpile in my closet. All of the Glades were free. Razors w/shaving gel were $1.97 ea. and the soaps were all $0.69. The bodywash was $0.50 ea.

My stockpile in my linen closet which will soon be turned back into a linen closet.

Got all of these for free!

I hope you all enjoyed my post. **Friends..Come see me if you need anything!

If you’re looking to get into couponing it’s really easy.

  1. Step 1: Buy a Sunday newspaper. There are sometimes up to 4 coupon inserts in this paper. Match with the ads and you’re set
  2. Step 2: Follow The Krazy Coupon Lady on Facebook. She posts up deals at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Safeway and more. She’ll also tell you what coupons to use where.

I hope you all enjoyed this post and feel free to leave me some feed back or comments.