Saturday, December 15, 2012

Frugal Friday

It's been such a busy week, as I'm sure all of you can relate. I may just have to retitle this segment
"Frugal Friday and/or Saturday"!

How to save on other stuff besides groceries.............

Whenever we think "coupons" we typically think "save 50 cents on mac and cheese" or "save 1 dollar on cereal", but there are many coupons and deals out there for non-grocery items as well.

I try not to pay full price for anything, and it does take a little work. But, anything worthwhile does, right?

Here are just a few ways I save on other stuff...............

Coupons: There are just as many coupons for non food items as for food items. Typically it's best to not be brand loyal, that way you can match a sale item with a coupon and get a good deal every couple weeks. If you are brand loyal, then you may want to stock up while it's on sale.

Store Cards: Many stores have reward cards. And, they will advertise a special "sale" price that is only for card holders. Some stores offer discounts for homeschoolers, and some offer special cash back rebates. These are my favorite non-grocery store cards for my area:

Barnes and Noble: Educator discount

Office Depot: Educator rewards card, and if you sign up for the birthday club, they offer a free cupcake or cookie and other goodies on your birthday.

Books a Million: Educator discount

JoAnn: Educator Discount

Michael's: Educator Discount, also if you sign up for their weekly email, they offer great coupons.

Kmart/Sears: Shop Your Way Rewards card-you get a certain number of points per dollar spent that you can then redeem towards purchases.

Buy Used:   Don't be afraid to buy used. I often shop thrift stores, consignment, yard sales, Craig's list, and ebay. Many times you can find new items still with the tags! I am very picky, because a) I want an item in good condition-VERY good condition, and b) I want to spend very little for it. I have found that consignment tends to be a little more pricey than a regular thrift store, but the quality is better. Ebay is a great place to buy used. I've gotten a lot of winter clothes for my kids this season on ebay. You do have to bid, just decide what you're willing to spend and stick with it. Also, you have to consider shipping charges. A $2 pair of jeans might be a good deal, but not with an $8 shipping charge added on. Two of my great finds on Craig's list are my book shelf and my table. The book shelf is one of those tiered ones like what magazines are on at the library. The table was a steal and seats at least 12. We had to drive an hour to pick it up, but it was definately worth it. Craig's list and ebay are great when you are looking for specific things. Yard sales are my number one favorite, though. Prices are a steal and it's fun to see what treasures you can find. My children love to go. They've learned to bargain and can make 50 cents stretch pretty far!

Sales: Things are always going on sale at some point, because merchants want their stuff to be SOLD. So, if you have patience, wait for that item to go on sale. And, many stores will also refund your purchase price difference if you bought and item and then the next day/week, it went on sale. Also, many stores will price match a sale item. Of course, they would rather have you buy the item from them for a little less then to buy it from a competitor!

Mailing Lists: Get onto stores mailing lists. I'm on a ton of mailing lists, and get notice of  upcoming sales/deals, percentages off coupons, free shipping, etc. Many stores, especially restaurants will offer birthday freebies. Some are email lists and some are postal mail lists.

Groupon: There are several varieties of this idea, but Groupon is the only one I've used so far. Most recently I've gotten 2 for 1 IHOP coupons and $10 for $20 at Toys R Us.

Photos: Coupons are always coming out for percentages off photo items, or get so many prints for free. I really like Shutterfly and Walgreens. There are other great photo places, but those are just two places where I've recently gotten good deals. I got a coupon for a free hard cover photo book when I had Brennan and 50 free prints. Walgreens just had a half off sale where I got 50 prints for half off and a free photo calendar.

The "Drug Store" Game: Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid offer HUGE savings. Between the coupons, register rewards and store cards, you can spend next to nothing, literally, on stuff that you can use every day. The only secret is that you have to keep it going. Register rewards will expire and then it's like losing money. I'm not currently doing any of these deals, because I just don't have the time to spend on it right now. I may go back to doing it, but I may not.

This list isn't exhaustive. There are so many other deals to be found. Don't forget to check my favorite coupon/deal sites! Here are a few other deals I've gotten recently.

-Gymboree was offering a free onsie (and free shipping) to new parents with a ten dollar purchase. I was able to get another onsie and skirt on clearance, so total, I got two quality onsies and a skirt shipped for under $20. I was also able to get a pair of Robeez for Brennan from the Robeez website for less than $10 shipped!

-The Mailbox was recently offering Buy 1 Get 4 Free on their theme kits. I was able to get 5 kits (2 for K and 3 for PreK) shipped for a little under $16.

-S and K Men's warehouse had a BOGO sale with sale items. I got two polo shirts shipped for under $10.

-Jill's Steals and Deals recently offered select American Girl dolls with accesories for $50. I was able to get a certain child a very special Christmas present shipped for about $58! (These dolls regulary sell for about $130!)

-Kohl's had their Elle line on clearance. I was able to get several Christmas things (that I have to leave secret) for several girls (who need to remain nameless) for about $12 shipped.

-And for myself.......from Amazon a Scotch Thermal Laminator with 100 pouches shipped for under $30!

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