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Archive for February, 2006

coupon exchange trains and savings

February 6th, 2006 at 03:20 pm

It has been a busy day. Despite having not having a meeting this morning (it was canceled at the last minute), I didn't end up with any free time. Well, maybe I did, it was quite enjoyable. I took some product testing results to FedEx, reorganized one coupon train and dropped the coupons in the mail (ack, getting expensive). A bit complicated as I can't reach some people and I don't want to send everyones coupons into a black hole. THAT would be irresponsible. A few new people would love to join and are in such close proximity, but I've already rearranged one train, and will have to look at the next.

DH had to pick up a few things, so we cruised through a new supermarket and of course received another pile of coupons. Interesting. Did buy another giant stainless mixing bowl. Always need another it seems, baking in bulk, especially for bread rising.

Incoming mail was nice, received $20 for circuit city and $20 for Lowe's, a pile of coupons for free product from Olivio, another pile from Iams. They sent the nicest puppy kit, just because I asked how to stop the new pup from laying in his water bowl. Also followed up with a company and they did finally send my $10 rebate. So that's $50 extra in today for the challenge.

I'll have to total another day, dog needs tending, as does DH.

Thanks to all for the wonderful comments. They are SO appreciated.

today savings and more rebates

February 5th, 2006 at 12:31 pm

Did a "quick shop" to all three stores in the next town, had my lists, coupons, deals replanned. Not bad.

I did a few "super deals", $5 IAMS puppy food coupon on a $5 4 pound bag, purchased requirements for two rebates. Had a $2 Lysol wipe coupon good on two, which were on sale for $2 each, but I have a rebate for $2.99 back. Did that. Had to buy 5 chicken for a $10 rebate, but had a $25 g/c from Club Mom accumulated points, so good to go.

Giant was the best, with the above g/c, the $74 bill went down to $12, and I will have the $10 rebate coming. I picked up one item not on my list, Coffeemate creamer in a new flavor, which added the $2. Oh well. Pretty close!

Total price was $120, total spent was $42 for the day, and I have the two mail in rebates. Also the "auto" rebates from Weis, should have $13 coming back from there.

So, not bad.

Stocked up on coupons. LOADS of them.

So, pretty good day. I'll have to do totals later, I have some "links" in the freebies to check. These things expire so fast!

If you are going to quit smoking, don't tell them!

February 5th, 2006 at 12:24 pm

Okay, I registered to receive cigarette coupons months ago. Nothing. Months. Nothing.

January I signed up with the quit smoking site, support, coupons off on gum and patches. For the last two weeks I have received a set of cigarette coupons EVERY day, different brand every day.

Somehow I don't think this was the purpose in requiring Phillip Morris to put a quit assist program on their web site. But there ya go...

I'm really starting to see the savings.

February 3rd, 2006 at 10:42 am

Yesterday was great, put two g/c claims into the mail, received another g/c from Club Mom for $25. Had a break through moment when DH agreed to drop by PetSmart to return a dog toy, even without a receipt, that fell apart after five minutes. They only gave us $1.50 for it, but hey, that's $1.50.

While I was online, DH brought a Weis ad we received in the mail to me. DH NEVER EVER looks at the "newspaper" mail. I'm chasing after him to make sure he doesn't throw out rewards like g/cs as junk mail. But he proudly brought this ad to me while I was online to show me they had 6 coupons for TRIPLE coupons, and he was putting aside in the coupon box. SHOCK AND AWE.

So during the commercial breaks last night, we sat down and chatted about the savings we have seen. We've never been careless with money, but while we were working 20 hour days for the corporation, we didn't coupon or shop sales or worry about all the details. We made good money, we didn't blow everything on toys. But we weren't careful.

After we retired, well, we were 40 and there was cancer and assault and so much else to deal with that we just kept on that routine. Then last September, DH admitted he had not created a budget before he invested most of our cash assets, and we were in a bind until March. So I dug out my resources and started making cuts. And I found this site, SavingAdvice, which offered good advice, good people, and excellent reminders on things I needed to be doing to get through.

In the 4 months since then, DH figured we have SAVED over $10K just by doing things we should have been doing anyway. We shopped around and cut Rx costs from $2K a month to $1K; with our new insurance plan (and SO much research) those costs have dropped to $500 or so. $4K+ in four months right there.

We started shopping sales, using coupons, working deals and rebates, stopped most impulse buying, and started using what we purchased (esp. fresh produce) and our WEEKLY bills from grocery and Costco (food, cleaners, entertainment, light bulbs, etc.) went from $500 a WEEK (embarrassed!) to $150 a week. That's $1400 a month, or $5K+ in four months.

I canceled all those "auto renewal" magazines that were "free", and renewed at exhorbant prices that were hidden on my cc bills ("free" People was $150 a year!!!), and memberships that we didn't need, totaling over $3K all together. That savings will flow over the year, but it's a huge impact.

There are also all the little things. We had budgeted $1K for reinsulating the garage, but research revealed a way to upgrade to the same level for under $100, and we had a gift card, so it was FREE.

I've also started speaking up a bit more. The $20 can of burned peanuts would have simply been tossed last year. This year, a letter to the company, a free can. Also compliments for products I am impressed by; coupons and freebies.

The best thing is that I've been reminded to THINK about what I'm doing. Do I need this, is this the best deal, what can I change to lower costs even more?

As March approaches and our investments become cash again, I don't plan to stop the process. Saving is a way of life, and it feels GOOD to be back in control.

Thanks to ALL.

Free trials and freebies

February 1st, 2006 at 05:07 pm

Wow. I have never been one to use freebies, or do free trials. But I have taken advantage of some of the $1 trials that give rewards, and I'll admit, it's very exciting to get those gas cards, gift cards. They keep emailing me more! I received two Lowe's cards today, should get two more tomorrow, already received $40 in Exxon and $80 in gas coupons. I also have g/c's coming in as rebates from several sites. Keeping up with cracking the best deal can be exhausting, who gives how many points; how many points does each site need for a $10 g/c; how does the value compare to cash back. ACK.

Freebies, I never understood them. I was so embarrassed by my mother grabbing up all she could in stores, doctors offices, whatever. But, truthfully, I am finding it's not a matter of being poor, but wise. DH pointed out that I had 20 bottles of shampoo and conditioners from last year, all that I purchased big for the lower price, and all that my stylist has warned me not to use after a few weeks. The little trials of Dove, Garnier, whatever they send, actually allow me to try the product (duh) and determine if I want to purchase it, let alone get the larger value size that has no value to me.

So, we continue to try these new ways, and incorporate the old ways.

Trying to get DH to look at auto insurance, which was actually a goal he gave himself two weeks ago. Jeffrey's challenges are excellent, even when they are reminders (so, DH's inbox is pelted with copies of the daily challenge...). I need to create a list of all the ways we have saved since October (signed up at this site).

Spent a fair amount of time cleaning out the freebie area. Too many redundant and expired posts. But it is always rewarding to find things there, and add to them. Haven't gotten below House/Garden (i.e. the dreaded HEALTH section), which is totally overrun.

Sent out a welcome letter to the members of the bullet train, with all the info they will need, and a few coupons to boot. I should receive the train in the next day or two, and I can't wait to restock and get it back onto the tracks!

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