coupons

Tips for Starting a Family While On a Budget

Starting a new family should be something you anticipate, not dread. However, when your budget is getting in the way, it can force you to think about your finances more than the actual extension of your family. To help put your wallet at ease, you can use the following tips to help make your dream of being a new parent one that is affordable.

Your Baby Grows Fast, So Think Ahead

We tend to go overboard with the spending for newborns, especially when it comes to clothes and shoes. However, keep in mind that your baby grows very fast during the first year of life, which means you’re going to be buying new clothes and shoes regularly. So rather than going all out on a full newborn wardrobe, spread it out. Buy outfits for 0-3, 3-6, 6-9 and even 9-12. You’ll be thankful that you thought ahead as your baby’s growth spearheads forward faster than you can blink.Couponing

Don’t Always Buy New

Likely, you have friends and family who have had babies that are now older, so why not ask them for their unwanted baby clothes, toys and cribs? This could save you tons of money, since this is where most of it goes. You may even be able to load up on nappies, strollers, onesies and bottles as well. Another option is to hit up a thrift store that sells lightly used baby items.

Consider Breastfeeding

A lot ofis spent on baby formula. A way to bring down the cost of feeding your baby is to use breast milk instead. Invest in a breast pump, and use that while at work when you fill up during feeding times. This will also allow you to store milk for when your baby is being watched by your spouse or other people. Then when your baby gets older, you can make your own baby food, using a food processor.

As you’re shopping around for new baby items, you should check out eBay and other similar sites. You can also use coupons from Groupon Coupons, which has over 50,000 coupons for over 8,600 stores. That’s a lot of savings for you and your new family, so make sure to check them out!


Couponing A Better Way to Save in 2014

Couponing For RealMaybe you know, were raised by, or are a coupon lady. We all know the type. In years past, hardcore couponers curated hefty binders to house their precious double and triple savings paper coupons. Couponing was a calling, a preoccupation, a lifestyle. For these committed shoppers, the payoffs could often be unpredictable. Coupon clippers would frequently stagger home under the weight of 256 rolls of double-soft toilet paper. “I got it for buy 1 get 2 free!” they would rhapsodize as justification. I remember those days fondly. But I am happy to say that today, there is a better way.

These days you don’t need a printer or the old plastic binder that was de rigeur for coupon kings and queens of yore. Today, you can get by with just your smart phone. Modern apps do a lot of the work for you, presenting a simple image to be scanned by many retailers. Sage-One online accounting products can help you find out just how much you’re saving, but for now I’ll describe how various coupon apps saved my wife and I on our weekly grocery bill.

As budget shoppers, we try to eat well on $100 a week or less. We both downloaded several coupon apps to see the difference they could make. Yowza worked well and was easy to use. Within seconds of firing up this app, we found coupons from several grocers in our area (as well as lots of other kinds of stores as well). We saved the coupons that were relevant to the stuff we eat (peanut butter from Whole Foods, Vegetable Oil from Safeway, Tomatoes from Giant, etc). We weren’t about to drive to every grocery store in our area, but there were enough coupons related to stuff we regularly eat at our nearest grocer, so we headed there to shop.

On the drive, I was scanning the local paper for printed coupons. Using SnipSnap I was able to take pictures of these coupons on my phone. Once at the store, I didn’t have to drag along the paper coupons, or one of the aforementioned plastic binders. I was worried at first that the cashier wouldn’t be able to scan the coupons off my phone, but she had seen this before, and the discounts went smoothly.

The last app we tried was Grocery Smarts. It worked very much like Yowza, but for some reason brought in a pile of different coupons. We were able to pick up some popcorn and kombucha at steeply cut prices, all in the time it takes to fill a grocery cart.

Finally at checkout, we saved $19.84. Our total price would have been $118.16, but through app-couponing, we were able to keep it under our goal of $100. I wasn’t sure we would have been able to do it, but we were keeping track of our total mentally, as we shopped. We nailed it. Saving fifteen or twenty dollars once a week for a year is going to add up quickly. I was amazed at how little time it took to save this much. Couponing is never going to be the same, and neither will my grocery bill.


5 Coupon Hacks To Save Money

Who doesn’t love a deal?

You don’t need to be a die-hard coupon maniac to enjoy the thrill of BOGO (buy one get one). You don’t need to spend hours pouring over multiple copies of the Sunday paper to get a little rush as your grand total is reduced at checkout, either. Saving money just takes some savvy.

Here are five coupon hacks that can save you money from the comfort of your laptop or smartphone.

One thing to consider? Be careful about potential coupon fraud. It is easy to get fraudulent coupons or coupon codes online. If you don’t trust a site don’t continue, or you could open your computer or email address up to hackers. By following the official store brands and websites and using legitimate couponing websites or apps you can prevent fraud.

Get Honey

What’s sweeter than local honey? Honey the browser-based coupon-finder! That’s because Honey is a free coupon search engine that works with just a click.

Honey is a free extension that automatically searches for and applies coupon codes when you shop online. Honey works for over 100 online

stores so far, and growing. Here’s a video that shows Honey in action.

Fan & Follow

Don’t neglect to “like” or “follow” your favorite stores and brands in social media. Giving a simple “like” will put the store’s specials into your Facebook news feed. So will following the brand on Twitter. Monitor both for savings by checking in periodically, or keeping a notepad nearby to write down savings codes.

PHOTO: Flickr user MissMessieSavingStar Grocery Coupons

How would you like coupons automatically loaded onto your store loyalty cards? No cutting coupons and no need to remember to bring them with you. That’s the premise of SavingStar, a free service.

The savings here go on “behind the scenes” — you don’t get a discount at the register or see the discount on your receipt. You do, however, accrue your savings into a SavingStar account. Then you are paid via your bank account, PayPal, or Amazon gift card.

The money accumulated here can be spent at a number of online retailers or donated to your favorite nonprofit, like American Forests. If you choose the nonprofit route, you can effortlessly give to worthy causes without changing your shopping habits.

Rethink What You Really Need (Free!)

Coupons are great, but so is living with less and consuming less. One of the best coupon hacks is to focus on changing your lifestyle. Get off of as many treadmills as possible and your savings can be significant. Who says you have to live like everyone else, anyway?

Start at home. Reduce your family’s overhead costs by moving into a smaller house or getting rid of one of your vehicles. Plant a square foot garden to offset some of your food costs. Commute to work on your bike. Make your own laundry detergent and hang your laundry to dry on the line to reduce your utility costs.

These and multiple other changes do add up. Simplifying your life can also be deeply satisfying, too — and that’s worth just as much, or more, than any coupon savings.

Citations:
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Katie McCaskey is a freelance journalist writing for Vistaprint Deals, the official website for Vistaprint coupon codes. Besides running a small business in Staunton, Virginia, Katie has covered personal finance and small business marketing topics for over 10 years.


Slash Home Expenses with Service Bundles

Despite high gas prices and a volatile economy, now is still a good time to be a consumer if you know how to find the best deals. Corporations are merging services and competing to squeeze every last penny from your wallet. That might sound a bit intimidating at first, but it has created a new age of “bundling” where one company aims to fill your every need. Here is how to take advantage of this trend and save big on the services you use most.

Track Your Spending
The first step in saving money with bundling is to know how much you are spending on your current services. This means looking back at your last few months of bank transactions. Take notes on what you actually pay for monthly services like power, cable television and mobile communications. If you have a small business, especially if it is home-based, then you’ll want to factor these bills in as well. In short, you want to know how many checks you are writing, and for much, so that you can accurately compare bundle deals that fit your needs.

Measure Usage Patterns
Remember when the cable guy sold you on those premium channels that were “only” $10 more per month? Well now is the time to evaluate those upgrades to decide if you actually used them. You’re going to encounter these upsells again while shopping for bundle deals, and it is much easier to be honest with yourself now because you will be tempted again by these offers during the sales process. Take a look back across the board on all the special features you’ve signed up for. Things like unlimited long distance, high definition channels and cell phone insurance may not be worth the extra money they cost you.

Pick Your Must-Haves
Okay, so now you know how much you are spending, and what features you no longer need from your monthly service providers. The next step is to identify the products and services that are most important to you. Perhaps you love your iPhone, or you just cannot live without Food Network on Demand. No problem with that, as long as you know in advance. Let your preferences steer your decisions on who you are willing to do business with.

Shop Smart
The first phone call you to make should be to your existing cable or phone company. Communication companies like this usually offer the most services under one contract, and this increases your odds of saving more. You can listen to their pitch if you want, but the more direct approach is to tell them you are shopping for the best bundle deals on phone, internet and television service. Stating this up front should get negotiations moving faster.  At the end of the discussion, have the representative email you a copy of the prices, features and contract.

Your next phone call is to the competition. Once again, get right to the point and give them the monthly quote you got from the first call. Ideally you will be offered a lower price, but even if not, you still want all of the details emailed to you. This is because promotional offers can vary significantly. It could be that the first few months of one service is cheaper, but after this introductory period the price goes up substantially. Be careful with “bait and switch” offers like these or else you’ll get stuck in an expensive contract.

The bottom line is that you should use service bundles to save money, but be sure to do your homework first. Understand what you need, and how much you are currently paying before you start shopping. If you are paying separate providers for cable, telephone and internet then you are likely paying much more then you should. In these cases, a simple phone call could save you hundreds of dollars a year!

Compare prices across all internet service providers in your town with http://internet.inmyarea.com Find out who has the best prices and see who has the best service.


Promo Codes Are they Worth the Fuss?

Promo Codes Are they Worth the Fuss?

Nowadays it seems like everyone and their dog offers promo codes for this service or that product. The amount of promotional e-mails that fly into inboxes can stack up quickly, leading to an overabundance of e-mails full of special offers and discount codes that can seem overwhelming. Then, when you do want to buy something, it seems that a promotional code is nowhere to be found. You have to spend several minutes before each online shopping trip searching for relevant and active codes to use on your purchase. It can seem like the entire process is not worth the effort.

However, promotional codes can provide customers with beneficial discounts and significant savings on products if used properly. When used in the correct ways, promotional codes live up to their hype and are worth the fuss it takes to find and use them on most products.

The Goal of Promo Codes
Retailers offer promotional codes to customers as a way to bring in new business, pull shoppers into their online stores, and as a way to improve brand loyalty. Customers feel like they receive a better deal with the option to save with free discount codes and are more likely to shop at a store that offers visible discounts. Retailers use this marketing strategy to get customers to commit to purchases. When customers feel like they get a good deal, then they are much more likely to shop at that store again. This benefits customers and the retailer at the same time.

Types of Promo Codes
Promotional codes come in several different forms in the online world.

• Voucher Codes: Vouchers provide shoppers with a code they can enter at checkout for additional discounts on products. These codes often provide additional savings on select products or may offer free shipping or even a free product with purchase. These codes are the most similar to the traditional couponing experience and are often sent through e-mail advertisement campaigns.

• Discount Deals: Discount deals are hosted by third-party sites and allow retailers to build up their customer base by offering unique discounts to customers. Customers can usually find discounts for the entire store, such as a deal to pay $25 for $50 worth of products at the store. These discount deals connect retailers with customers and benefit both sides of the equation.

• Loyalty Points: Loyalty points provide a way for retailers to reward their customers. Customers that shop often at a specific brand can earn rewards points that will offer larger discounts, exclusive deals, pre-sale shopping, and even cash back. This is one of the best ways that retailers can reward loyal customers and help them feel valued.

Benefits of Promo Codes
Promotional codes offer many benefits to customers. The popularity of promo codes means that it is possible to find a promotional code for nearly every online store on any given day. No matter what you are shopping for, you will probably be able to find a discount for at least a few dollars. Promo codes also help you save with every purchase. The steep competition between online retailers means they are constantly trying to outdo each other. This results in greater benefits for customers and bigger discounts on merchandise from clothing to large electronics.

Drawbacks of Promo Codes
If you are not careful, you can fall into the pitfalls of promotional codes. It is hard to resist good deals, even if you are not currently in the market for that item. If you find yourself placing an order for a new product almost everyday, then you may be purchasing items that you do not need just because of the enticing discount. Some promotional codes only work when you purchase certain items, such as only working on new merchandise and not the sale merchandise. Receiving hundreds of promotional offers in your mailbox each week can be irritating and time-consuming to delete.

Eliminating the Hassle
It is not difficult to eliminate the hassle of promotional codes. Unsubscribe to all offers expect for your favorite brands where you shop often. Look at the discounts each week, but only make a purchase if the store offers something you actually need. When shopping for anything else online, complete a quick search for a promo code to help you save more on your purchase. Many websites have a list of all current promotional codes for online shopping.

Citations:

This is a guest post by Sam, who currently represents Ozvouchercodes a phenominal resource for saving money with online coupons and promos.


Couponing for Beginners

Couponing for Beginners

As the economy gets tighter, many families have come to find that couponing is the only way to get what they truly need while sticking to the family budget. If you have wanted to get started using coupons but aren’t sure where to start, this quick-start guide is just for you.

Step 1: Get Your Coupons

There are many sources for great, usable coupons that will save you big. Try these for starters:

  • The Sunday Paper – Get the paper with the highest circulation for the biggest variety of coupons. If you are serious, buy one paper for each family member.
  • Friends and Family – Ask your loved ones to save any unwanted coupons for you. They will probably be happy to do so.
  • Hit the Internet – There are thousands of printable coupons on the Internet. You can find them on couponing sites or on manufacturer sites.
  • Use a Clipping Service – If there are current coupons that you could use in multiples, ordering from a clipping service could save you quite a bit in the long run.
  • Check Your Stores – Many stores have coupons available. All you have to do is ask or look around.

Step 2: Get Organized

Your organizational system will depend upon your style and preferences. Here are some possible ideas to get you started:

  • Envelopes – For beginners, a check file or a set of envelopes will suffice. As your operation grows, however, you will probably need to change your system a bit.
  • Electronic Organization – For the least amount of work, file your coupon inserts by date and then locate the ones you need through an online database of coupons.
  • Binder – One of the most effective systems for serious couponers is to use a three-ring binder with baseball card holders. Simply take your binder with you every time you shop.

Step 3: Learn Your Store’s Policies

For maximum savings, you will need to know your store’s policies on coupon redemption.

  • Loyalty Card – Many stores offer a loyalty card that offers special savings. These cards are free, so make sure to get yours.
  • Doubling or Tripling – Many stores will run double or triple coupon promotions. Find out when your store does so and shop on those days. You will also need to know the maximum double and triple amounts as well as how many coupons you can use during the promotion.
  • Stacking – Check to see if your store will allow you to combine store and manufacturer coupons on the same item.
  • Competitor Coupons – Many stores will honor coupons issued by their competitors and will also match advertised sale prices. It is worth your time to know which stores do so.

Have a Plan

To get the most from couponing, you must have a solid plan. Make a list before shopping and try to use coupons on items that are on sale for the highest savings. Check weekly ads and make sure to ask for a raincheck if an on-sale item is sold out. Just be sure not to buy an item you don’t need just because you have a good coupon. After all, couponing is about saving on items you would buy anyway, not spending unnecessarily.

About the Author

Kevin D. is a writer for HowDoIbe.com. This is a site that can help you learn how to save money, and even learn how to become a investment banker. You will learn more about couponing, and save more than before.

Image credit


Things You Can Do More Cheaply With Coupons

Things You Can Do More Cheaply With Coupons

Coupon websites give us a fantastic opportunity to get great discounts on all sorts of activities which range between a whole host of different things. The temptation for many people here it seems is to look at only eating out as the main thing you do with coupons, when actually there are many more great opportunities this can open up. Here we will look at a few of those activities, which will hopefully give you some inspiration as to ways you can have a great day out and save money.

Restaurants

Well yes, restaurants still are something you can do with coupons, so make sure that you consider this option and do use them from time to time. In fact if you’re looking to save money then you may as well always pick venues that have coupon deals and over the course of a couple of years you can probably save hundreds this way.

Activities

More exciting perhaps are the range of activities you can get involved in using coupons. These generally mean things like driving classic cars or sports cars, going bungee jumping or skydiving, doing high ropes, caving, white water rafting or anything else of that ilk. This way you can enjoy a great adventure and get your surge of adrenaline while also ticking off items from your bucket list. If you are the kind of person who believes life is about the experiences then this is a must for you.

Staying in Hotels

Coupons will often help you to save money on hotel stays and this can be used in many ways. Of course you can use this to get money off of a holiday, or you can plan your holiday around them. Likewise it can also be useful of course for family events and business trips. Alternatively though, just booking a hotel somewhere and going to stay there for a night or two can be an incredibly relaxing and romantic way to spend a weekend.

Classes

Coupons for classes are particularly useful as they enable you to increase your skill set and to even improve your CV. This way you can learn a language, learn to cook, learn to give massages or pick up any number of other skills in order to have more strings to your proverbial bow.

Cinema

You can also use coupons at the cinema which is a great way to make a general activity cheaper and turn it into something you can do on a whim or when you want to rather than it being something that you can only do on very special occasions.

Shopping

Often coupons can help you to get great deals at particular stores and this is of course a good way to save yourself a regular expense such as your weekly shop, or to get things you want that otherwise wouldn’t be able to justify. Do remember though – it’s not saving money unless you would have bought it otherwise.

Treatments

You can also get coupons for spa days, which are a great way to unwind and take a break from everything – the health benefits of which can’t be overstated. At the same time you can also use coupons when getting various necessary treatments which include things like haircuts, getting waxed or doing your nails.

Brian Kreesy likes to share some attractive textbook coupons on his site to help readers to get the best deals in textbooks. He has come up with a site named TextbookCoupons.com to achieve this.


Finding an online coupon that works!

Finding an online coupon that works!

If you love saving money, then I’m sure you’ve been down this road before. Just picture it, you are at your favorite online merchant, shopping for a new piece of clothing for that hot spring wardrobe. You add a new blouse to your cart, and there it is, “enter your coupon code here”. You say to yourself “a discount opportunity!”. But you don’t have a coupon code. So what do you do? You go to Google and you enter the “merchant’s name’ + “coupon” and Google give you a whole bunch of sites claiming to have a coupon code from that merchant, for your new blouse. You click on the first search result, and you see plenty of merchant offers, but alas, no coupons! Then you go back to the next site down in the search results, and YES, there is a coupon code for 15% off. Great! You’ve found one! You copy the coupon code “BIGSAVINGS30”, and paste it into the little rectangle to get your discount, but much to your dismay the following message is flashed in red, “coupon is expired” or “coupon invalid” or “coupon not recognized”. We’ve all be been down this road of online coupon disappointment. Well, I’ve got some helpful tips for you to avoid this path, and hopefully save big on your next purchase!

My tips for getting working coupons:

1. Always, and I mean ALWAYS subscribe to the merchant newsletters. Folks, this is the easiest way to get a working coupon. Also, most merchants send out exclusive coupons that are not available on coupon sites.

2. Go to a coupon site that has comments for each coupon and expiration dates. I often read the comments for each coupon to see if the coupon worked. This is a great time saver.

3. Check the restrictions listed for the online coupon. Most good coupon sites will list important restrictions for the coupon they are promoting. This is very important, because it’s possible that the product your trying to purchase is restricted for a number of product categories.

4. Sometimes there are NO coupons available, and the coupon is embedded in a link. I’ve noticed that a lot of merchants are moving away from coupon codes, and moving more towards a clickable link that you can click and get a discount applied. So take off your blinders, and read each offer to see if it “click to activate” coupon. Please note that you may have to add and remove that product from your cart, to see the discount.

5. Search for a coupon code BEFORE you start shopping. Go to your favorite coupon site, and browse for coupons. For example, I’ve frequently seen 30 to 40 percent off Banana Republic coupons published, which can be applied to a wide variety of products. Also, you’ll know the coupon restrictions before you start shopping, so you can avoid a lot of frustration.

I hope these tips can help relievesome of the frustration of using coupon codes. Finally, please keep in mind that it’s just shopping, and it should be a fun and pleasant experience!

Happy couponing!

Melissa is currently a daily deal couponer at Hotdealsboard.com!


Is Extreme Couponing For Real?

Is Extreme Couponing For Real?

The TLC show Extreme Couponing is back on the air this week, and while it’s great to bring attention to helping people save money particularly in this economy – it’s not right to give them unrealistic expectations. The show depicts people who are getting tons of merchandise for free. But really, who needs 25 bottles of mustard at a time?

If you read any of the established couponing blogs that are out there, you’ll find many of them say that this idea of extreme couponing isn’t the best way to go about saving your family money. It’s true that using coupons will produce savings, but who has 60+ hours a week to spend searching for, clipping and organizing coupons?

It’s also unrealistic to expect that using coupons will always lead to free stuff. This just isn’t true, despite what you see portrayed on Extreme Couponing. Most coupon users pay for their groceries, and do pocket savings. But getting free stuff each week? Not going to happen.

The show operates like this: Cameras follow extreme coupon users who stockpile ridiculous amounts of items, often using coupons upon coupons upon coupons to end up getting many items for free. The thing is, they’re stripping store shelves bare only to bring those items home and stock their own shelves, often with way more than their families will ever use.

What isn’t filmed is when these same coupon users have to return to the store the next week to stock up on items they need for every day, like milk, eggs, bread and meat. And they wind up paying full price for these items most of the time. So while they may have 14 bottles of ketchup and a year’s worth of toilet paper on the shelves, they still can’t cook dinner for their families without having to return to the store to buy more.

Let’s cut to the chase – the whole point of clipping coupons is to save money on your grocery bill, not to see how many items you can get free or to stockpile 40 tubes of toothpaste. You don’t have to get extreme to save money.

The reason we all clip coupons is the expectation that in the end, we’ll walk away with a little extra in our pockets. We shouldn’t and don’t expect to never pay for groceries ever again.

Extreme Couponing would be much more useful to the average consumer if it provided real tips and tricks people can use day to day to save them money and time.

Guest post provided by Coupon Circus a website designed to help consumers save money while shopping online. Offering popular discounts such as Overstock coupons, Best Buy Coupons and over a thousand other popular promotion codes and discount codes.


7 Best Coupon Sites for the Frugal Family

7 Best Coupon Sites for the Frugal Family

Online coupons have rejuvenated the coupon industry as evidenced by recent statistics that show that coupon redemption in the country increased by almost 8% in 2010, generated over $2 billion in savings for consumers.

Given the critically tough financial situations many of us are experiencing, many families have grown more appreciative of the benefits of using online coupons. This is especially true when they realize that with the wise use of coupons, an average family of four can save as much as $6,000 in a year. What could you do for your family with an extra $6k?

Coupons have been around for a long time, but the internet has drastically changed their ease, variety, and benefits. While previously concentrated on print medium, coupons have now taken on a more updated look with the birth of printable online coupons that are available for almost any major brand.

The big question has become where to go online for discounts? Finding the specific coupon website that offers the best deals can be frustrating and time consuming, which is why we’ve summed up a few of best sites to help narrow down your search.

1. Krazy Coupon Lady this extreme couponing site offers coupon choices that can help you complete your grocery and household shopping needs in an instant, from toothpastes to frozen goods, all the products that you need in your pantry will have a coupon counterpart on this coupon site.

2. Hip2Save a coupon site that promises to veer away from the age old couponing styles of your grandmother. Hip2Save was founded by three exceptional mothers who are tirelessly looking for ways to save. A good thing about this site is that it is hourly updated with new coupons for their members.

3. WeUseCoupons this coupon site is most recommended for mothers as it contains a forum site that can help members get additional insights on stretching their budget. It also offers valuable information on how you can best use your coupons to meet your family’s expenses.

4. BluWiki a little different from your typical site, bluwiki.com is composed of a social community where members can exchange ideas and log there personal journeys towards saving money. You’ll find far more information on most types of products and follow successful tips to maximize your savings on everything from Swiffer Wetjet packages to Quilted Northern toilet.

5. RetailMeNot if you are looking for national brands such as Kohl’s and Urban Outfitters, then RetailMeNot is the best site for you as it boasts of more than 10,000 online partners and has almost everything from clothing and groceries to electronics.

6.$5 Dinners this is a food and cooking site that is perfect for parents who are constantly frustrated on the rising costs of grocery items and on choosing daily menus for the family.

7.Kind Coupons aptly called Kind coupons, this site is able to combine great discount deals with philanthropy as it donates 50% of its entire profit to charitable institutions.

This short list of quality coupon sites is all you need to get started on saving money on your next purchases for the family. A little research can mean big savings over the course of a year, so dive in and start pinching pennies.

As a member of the BluWiki.com community, I have to say I’m biased as to where to visit first. If you’d like to get a peek at the community and products and deals we’ve talked about, then check out these Swiffer wetjet coupons and Quilted Northern toilet paper coupons pages. Thanks!


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