The Basics of Coupons: Some Coupon Etiquette

Using coupons is a great way of saving money at the store, but sometimes things can go wrong at the store.  Here are a few simple tips to help make things go a little more smoothly:

  1. Check your coupons closely for expiration date and to make sure you bought the correct product, size and amount of product.
  2. The wording on the coupon is what the product is for, not necessarily the item pictured.  Sometimes packaging has changed and other times the picture does not include every product covered by the description.
  3. Follow the rules, never copy coupons.  Internet coupons usually allow 2 prints per computer.
  4. Know your stores coupon rules.  You can find most stores coupon policies on their website.  I mentioned a couple in my post about where to print coupons.
  5. Be nice to the cashier.  Many cashiers appreciate a friendly customer.  Getting upset only makes matters worse.  If you have a problem and know you are following the rules, ask for a manager.  Many times the cashier just wants to make sure she/he will not get in trouble by taking the coupon in question.  Being familiar with a stores coupon rules is a great benefit.  I have found that many of the managers are not even familiar with their rules that are posted right on their website.
  6. Keep your transactions to 1-2.  If you need to do more, visit another store or at least go out to your car with your purchases and then go back in.  Remember that some coupons and stores limit the number of coupons/deals you can do in a day.  Don’t clear the shelves of every item.  It’s just not nice.  If there is very limited stock when you get there then by all means, go ahead.
  7. Do not take every coupon on a display in a store.  The coupons are there for everyone, not just the first one to see them.  It’s okay to take a few, but not the whole pad!
  8. Enjoy using coupons to save on things you buy.  Remember that in many states you pay tax on pre-coupon amounts, so an item is not always completely free.
Have any questions about using coupons?  How about any suggestions?  Need a place to order coupons?  See this post about ordering coupons.  
Making a habit out of living frugal …..

Mega Swag bucks Friday

Search & Win

If you haven’t checked out Swag Bucks, then today is the day to learn a little bit about Swag Bucks and how to earn.  Each Friday I will add tips or reminders on ways to earn Swag Bucks.

It took me a little while to get started, but when I really did, I started earning fast.  In 29 days I have earned enough for 3 -$5 Amazon cards plus I am half way to my next one.  While that may not seem like much, the earnings will keep coming as you get more experience at earning and also get some referrals.  I have not been an active Swag Bucks searcher for long.  I kept forgetting to use it for searching.  Now I made Swag Bucks my start page and that reminds me every day to use them to search and win.

What is Swag Bucks?  Swag Bucks is a search engine that rewards you for searching,by giving you Swag Bucks.  Swag Bucks is another name for points.  You can redeem your points for prizes in the swag store.  The most popular prize is a $5 Amazon Gift Card which takes 450 swag bucks.

I use my Swag Bucks to for $5 Amazon cards.  These are great for grocery items we use that at times are a great buy on Amazon, birthday gifts and most of all to save up for Christmas shopping.

Ways to earn Swag Bucks:

  1. Free Games – you can earn Swag Bucks periodically while you play
  2. Daily Deals – If you like to purchase deals from Eversave Or Groupon, you can often find there daily deals here and earn points while purchasing
  3. Swag Bucks on Facebook – can help you stay current on ways to earn and at times there may be a swag code hidden somewhere on the page
  4. Toolbar – you can earn a bonus once a day by downloading and using the toolbar
  5. Print and Use Coupons – you can earn 10 Swag bucks for every coupon you print and redeem.  It takes up to 12 weeks for these rewards to show up in your account, but what an easy way to earn while using coupons to save money

Do you search with Swag Bucks?  What is your favorite way to earn?

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

This post contains affiliate/referral links.  See my disclosure policy.  If you would like to click on my referral links, I would be grateful for your support.  If not, you can also go to Swag Bucks via your browser.

Taming the Trash with Organization: Part 4 – Organizing the Bills

Organizing the bills could very well be the most important part of starting or maintaining a budget.  Without a simple organized system you may lose a bill, forget to pay bill or even suffer a late fee for paying a bill late.  Organizing your bills does not have to be complicated, a simple easy to use system will give you great benefits.

I use a binder to organize my bills.  Can you tell I like binders?  They are great at holding the things I need in an organized fashion.  I use binders for my household notebook, recipes, blog and bills.

My bills binder holds the bills to be paid in the front pocket.  I then use clear page protectors for the rest of the binder.  You could also use tabbed dividers with pockets too.  I did not have any at the time and keep forgetting to get a couple to hold some important papers.

The first page of my binder is what bills will be paid each week.  If you are just starting a budget, you may not have this done yet.  We will go over setting up a budget in a new series to start soon on budgeting.  Right now the purpose is to get all your bills together, and in one place.

I use a standard sheet that lists my bills that happen every month and divide them up by what week they get paid.  I do the same thing every month, so I just make multiple copies and use one each month to mark off etc.  I add any one time bills, or non-monthly bills in where there is room in the budget.  Some people find that using calendar pages and filling in which bills will be paid on what days works for them too.  Find something that will work for you.  If color will get you a bit more excited about the process of bill paying, use some pretty fonts and colors.

The second page of my binder is my financial goals.  This is where I keep the list of our financial goals.  Keeping it close helps to remind me what is next after accomplishing goals on the list.  I update the list as needed.

The next pages include things like my insurance policies for quick reference, my spending worksheets (more to come on that soon), and any other papers I might need to refer to during bill paying.

As you use your binder you will be able to figure out what works for you and make it more personal to you.  Not everyone uses the same methods, the point is to get things organized and save time when it comes to bill paying.

Be sure to join me next week as I start a series about Creating a Budget.  I will go over ideas for starting and maintaining a budget, and how to make it work.

How do you organize your bills?  What has worked for you and what hasn’t?

***Please remember I am not a financial expert or professional.  I post about what has worked for me and what I have learned from research and helping others.  I cannot be held responsible for any ideas expressed here.  You are to plan, read, follow at your own risk. For more read my disclosure/privacy policy.

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

The Basics of Coupons: Ideas for Getting More Coupons

Now that you are started collecting coupons, you should know that the Sunday paper and the internet printable coupon sites are not the only place you can get coupons.  Often times there are many different coupons out than what you find in the Sunday paper.

Here are a few ideas to help you add to your coupon stash:

  1. Store displays – many times you can find displays in a store offering coupons.  Remember to leave some for others.  Some Extreme Coupon Users have given couponing a bad name by taking all the coupons in stores and trying to use large quantities of the same coupon in a transaction.  More about this in a future post.
  2. Store fliers – many stores put out fliers with coupons in them.  Not always are these coupons good at just that store.  Check to see if the coupon say “store name” coupon or manufacturer coupon.  If it says manufacturer, it can be used at any store that takes coupons.
  3. Company email – look through your pantry at the products you use and visit the companies contact us option on their website and ask for coupons.  I always write about the products I buy from them and how much I like them.  If you have a problem to report, they love to get that feedback as well.  I would also recommend contacting companies that have products you would like to try.
  4. Friends and Family – let them know you will take any coupons they want to get rid of. You may be surprised what they bring you.  Many people get coupons in the mail that they never sent for or requested.
  5. Co-workers – same as with family.  You may be surprised at what they save for you.
  6. Samples – many of the free samples you can request come with a coupon too.  It’s like a double treat!
  7. Special Sunday paper inserts – Parade, USA sections in the paper have often had coupons in them.  I check my papers thoroughly.

How do you get extra coupons?  Have any questions or comments?

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

It’s Mega Swag Bucks Friday

Search & Win

If you haven’t checked out Swag Bucks, then today is the day to learn a little bit about Swag Bucks and how to earn.  Each Friday I will add tips or reminders on ways to earn Swag Bucks.

It took me a little while to get started, but when I really did, I started earning fast.  In 22 days this month I have earned enough for 2 -$5 Amazon cards plus a little left over.  While that may not seem like much, the earnings will keep coming as you get more experience at earning and also get some referrals.

What is Swag Bucks?  Swag Bucks is a search engine that rewards you for searching,by giving you Swag Bucks.  Swag Bucks is another name for points.  You can redeem your points for prizes in the swag store.  The most popular prize is a $5 Amazon Gift Card which takes 450 swag bucks.

I use my Swag Bucks to for $5 Amazon cards.  These are great for grocery items we use that at times are a great buy on Amazon, birthday gifts and most of all to save up for Christmas shopping.

Ways to earn Swag Bucks:

  1. Mega Swag Bucks Day – Every Friday at Swag Bucks is Mega Swag Bucks Day. That means you have better odds at winning higher amounts of Swag Bucks.  Big wins and big bucks is what Swag Bucks calls it.
  2. Daily Poll – Go to Daily polls on the menu on the left side of the page.  You can earn one point for voting on the current poll.  There is a new poll everyday.
  3. Swag Bucks TV – Go to Swag Bucks TV on the menu on the left side of the page. You can earn points for watching videos.  There is a meter that comes up on the top of the page.  When it gets full you will earn points.  I love to leave this running while I am folding, cooking etc.  Great way to win while working.
  4. Trusted Surveys – Go to Trusted Surveys on the menu.  Many times I do not qualify for the surveys after I get started, but I still earn a point for trying.  I have earned some big points for some of these surveys.  The surveys under profiles on the right side of the page will also earn you points.
  5. Referrals – when your referrals win Swag Bucks, you do too.  You can earn up to 1000 for each referral.
Do you use Swag Bucks to search and win?  What is your favorite prize?  What will you use your Swag Bucks for this year?

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

This post contains affiliate/referral links.  See my disclosure policy.  If you would like to click on my referral links, I would be grateful for your support.  If not, you can also go to Swag Bucks via your browser.  

 

 

The Basics of Coupons: Where to Print Coupons

Printing coupons can be a way to get coupons on items you frequently use.  Many times these coupons have a higher cents off than the coupons from the Sunday inserts.  Last week we talked about some basic coupon printing information.

This week we are going to talk about some of the places you can print coupons:

  1. Coupons.com
  2. Smartsource
  3. Redplum
  4. Target
  5. Coupon Network 
  6. Manufacturer’s Websites – visit the websites of brands you frequently use.  Some manufacturers offer printable coupons for their products.
  7. Store Websites – some stores offer coupons on their websites.  They may be store coupons and/or manufacturer coupons.

Be sure to check out these previous posts to learn more about coupons:

  1. Coupon Lingo
  2. Ordering Coupons 
  3. Printing Coupons

One of the best resources for coupon use is your store’s coupon policy.  If your store doesn’t have their policy online, you can call and ask or ask when you visit.  Here are the coupon policies for some of the major chains:

  1. Walmart
  2. Target
  3. Walgreens

Do you have any questions?  Any suggestions on other places to print coupons.  Be sure to leave a comment letting us know.   

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

 

This post contains affiliate/referral links.  These affiliate/referral links help cover the costs of maintaining this blog.  See my disclosure policy

Taming the Trash with Organization: Part 3 – The Binder

Last week we talked about making the to do lists.  One of the most important things about a to do list is making sure you don’t put too much stuff on the list.  You will only feel down if you cannot possibly get it all done.  Make sure to include activities with your children on the list too.  I have found that double spacing on the index card works best for me.  The size limits me to just a few things.

This week we are going to talk about putting the binder together and putting it in use.  There are many ways you can label your binder, and what works for one person will not always work for you.  The important thing is to make it work for you.

The front pocket of my binder holds items that I may be thinking about ordering or items that I want to research more, as well as some scratch paper.

The next thing in my binder is my calendar.  When I make appointments I try to make sure I write them in on both calendars.  On Sunday, when I am planning our next week of school, I also compare calendars to make sure I have everything on them both.

After my calendar, I have my to do list.  I keep this list up front so I can easily pick out some things to work into my week.  The list reminds me of the important things that need to be done.  It helps keep me on track.

The sections labeled with tabs are next.  I like to use tab dividers with pockets to hold blank grocery lists, chore charts, menu planners, lesson planners and price book pages.

My binder is currently divided into the following sections:

  • Household
  • Grocery/Menu Planning
  • Goals
  • Homeschool
  • College
  • Blog

In each of these sections I use the folders on the dividers and blank page protectors to hold items for that topic.  To give you an idea I am going to tell you what items I have in each section.  Remember that you may need to label your tabs differently to make your binder work for you.  Also notice, I did not mention bills.  Bills have their own binder/folder and will be talked about in a future post.

  • Household – blank chore charts, one year planner.
  • Grocery/Menu Planning – blank menu planner/shopping list pages, list of meals we like with ingredients each meal takes, price book pages, and my own stock up price list.
  • Goals – In this section I have a sheet filled in with our goals for the year.  You can have one for personal, finance and family.  You can have separate ones for each or combine them.
  • Homeschool – lesson plans for past weeks, current lesson plan in a sheet protector, blank lesson plans for future weeks, a resource list, craft ideas, reading lists, a reading wish list, some of our curriculum scope and sequence, reference sheets and my copies of papers we turn in to our school district.
  • College – I have a senior in high school this year so I keep her scholarship award letters, acceptance letters etc in this section as well as financial aid information.  She has her own folder and notebook where she keeps the scholarship applications she is working on, ACT information and any other college related stuff she has to fill out.
  • Blog – I recently added a section for my blog related information.

If your children attend public school you may have a “school” section for important school papers.  The point is use the binder to organize the papers and lists you have laying around.  Keeping it in one or two (bills) locations will help streamline your life.

I use many printable charts and sheets from many different sources.  I have found a combination that works for me.  You will also need to find the ones that work for you.  Below I have included links to the places I get my printables:

Here are some links to binders that other bloggers have posted about:

Coming up next week:  Organizing the Bills

Do you have your own binder?  What kind of system do you use?  Need help?  Leave a comment letting us know.