Monday, April 25, 2011

A better way

O.k. I’m obviously in new territory here. Thanks to my precious friend Dathel, I’ve discovered a different couponing website that I like A LOT more. This is probably why the professional bloggers do things like research and write a series of blogs BEFORE posting them.

There are several things about this site that I like better than the first site. For one it’s pretty :). It definitely appeals to the girly side of me. It’s brightly colored, well organized , and easy to understand. There is a section for beginners. It contains a 10 day breakdown of how to get started and how to make the process work for you. A LOT simpler and less redundant than the 31 virtual classes.
Day 1: Change the way you shop
Day 2: Find coupons
Day 3: Learn How & When your coupons
Day 4: Learn the Lingo
Day 5: Get Organized
Day 6: Tips for making checkout a breeze
Day 7: Build your stockpile
Day 8: Rain Checks
Day 9: Finding Balance
Day 10: Making KCL a way of life

She also has separate sections for different stores. For instance, if you are wanting to only shop at Albertson’s there is a special section that will show you their weekly specials, where to find coupons that match those specials so you get the best deals, the store’s coupon policy, and a 101 crash course on how that specific store handles coupons so you can get maximum savings.

There are tabs for several popular stores and a drop down list containing quite a few more.

If you are wanting to know if a certain sale item is a good deal the site has neat little graphics to tell you if you should stock up. 3 cans means a price worthy of stocking up a 3 month supply, 6 cans for a six month supply - meaning you won’t see sale prices this good for at least 3/6 more months, so get it while you can.

In addition to the regular grocery/drug store savings, She also shares good deals for retailers so you can potentially save more in ALL areas, not just your grocery budget.

Thanks to all the helpful info I’ve found here I’ve begun to re-think my binder. Similar to what I had decided before with a few modifications. I’ll have pics with my next post.

One other aspect I like about this site is that you don’t have to sign-up to use it. No unwanted emails in your inbox. Check it out. I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Friday Freebies!

Now, while I will be observing 'Good Friday' tomorrow, April 22nd, I tend to think a lot of people will focus more on Earth Day. In fact, several businesses are having fun promotions to celebrate... And I'm sharing them with you. (you might already know)...

  • Trade in your current skincare to receive a FREE* full-size Origins Cleanser. One day only at Origins – Earth Day 4/22.

    Now swap potentially harsh chemical ingredients for the purity of Origins. Bring your current skincare product (full or empty) to any Origins store and we’ll trade it for a FULL-SIZE of one of our gentle, high-performance cleansers.

    Choose either Checks and Balances™ Frothy face wash 5 fl. oz./150 ml or A Perfect World™ Antioxidant cleanser with White Tea 5 fl. oz./150 ml.

    Just bring in your current skincare – any full or empty tube, bottle or jar regardless of brand – to any U.S. Origins department store counter or Origins Retail Store location on April 22nd to be recycled or responsibly converted to energy.

    To find an Origins Store closest to you visit:

    Origins products are formulated without Parabens, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oil, PABA, Petrolatum, Paraffin, DEA and animal ingredients (except cruelty free honey and beeswax).

    *Limit one cleanser to a customer while supplies last. No purhcase necessary. Offer not valid on

I worked for Origins briefly a million years ago and LOVED the Checks & Balances face wash. This was before they came out with A Perfect World (which smells AMAZING). If you live in Ft. Worth there is an Origins store in University Village or you can visit the counter in Neimans @ Ridgmar Mall.

  • Bring in a reusable mug or tumbler to any Starbucks in the U.S. or Canada and get a free brewed coffee or tea. Your choice of brew, hot or iced – it is spring after all!

    From the Starbucks website: "Why are we doing this? We recognize the impact one can make through careful, conscious choices. So we want to encourage and reward those of you who use tumblers or travel mugs in your daily routines. You’re helping to reduce our environmental impact!

    If you don’t have a tumbler or travel mug, they will be available for 20% off on Earth Day, April 22. Just so you know, anytime you bring in your own tumbler or travel mug to a participating Starbucks, you get 10 cents off your drink every day.

    What if you can’t bring in a mug and don’t want to buy a new one? That’s okay too. Just request your coffee or tea in one of our “for-here” cups and we’ll pick up the tab.

    Last year, when we did a similar promotion on Earth Day, more than 1.2 million of you participated. Let’s see if we can beat that this year!

    Although reusable serveware and tumbler use still only accounts for a small percentage of total beverages served, those of you who did bring in reusable mugs still made a significant impact. In 2010, people brought their own tumblers into our stores more than 32 million times, keeping nearly 1.45 million pounds of paper out of landfills."

Note: And every other day of the year go visit my husband at Four Star Cafe in Downtown. It won't be free but you will be served coffee with a smile by a good-looking guy! :)

  • This isn't a freebie but a great find my sister, Erin, recently turned me on to. NailPro on Bryant Irvin, two doors down from Starbucks, in the same strip center as Palio's Pizza, does Spa Pedicures for $20. EVERYDAY!! Currently they are running a special where you can get a mani AND a pedi for $30!! I took some of my birthday money and got one last week and was very pleased. All of the employees were nice and the place was very clean. It was a lovely indulgence I didn't feel guilty about later.
If you've got any AMAZING freebies or great deals, please feel free to share! :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting Organized

She looks so happy being organized :)

After breezing through the first ten or so virtual classes I deduced that my first step is to get organized. In an effort to save my sanity and ease my way into this process I’m going to keep it simple and shop one store when couponing. And to my delight, it ain’t Wal-mart. I’ll get into the where and why later as not to confuse the issue at hand…. Organization.

I’ve read about several different methods for organizing your coupons and the one I like best is the binder method (vs. shoe box, recipe holder, bins). I need a few things:

  • A three ring binder
  • Baseball card binder sleeves (I value my life enough to not empty out the ones currently housing my husband’s collection so I plan on checking Hobby Lobby and if I can’t find some there I’ll check a sports/comic book shop) You could also use photo holders
  • A zippered binder pouch large enough to hold a pencil/pen or two and a small calculator (or you can use the one on your phone, if it is handy)
  • A few plastic page protectors

The page protectors will be used to hold a copy of my chosen store’s coupon policy, possibly a price list of regular items I buy, and an empty one in the front to hold the coupons I will need at checkout.

The card sleeves will hold the coupons. There are several ways to organize these: by product type (Dairy, frozen, household, etc) or by store layout (What’s on aisle 1, aisle 2, etc.) I think I’m going to start with the second one but this may change.

Here is a great link on how to get organized and a little more detail on couponing itself:

Her binder is a little overwhelming. She goes to several stores and clips GAZILLIONS of coupons. She suggests a binder with a strap or rigging up your own… I’m not that hardcore. I also didn’t read much into the part at the bottom about rebating…. Baby Steps. I think this is key in not getting overwhelmed and giving up.

So my goal for the next few days is to gather my supplies and get my binder together. I’ll post pics when I’m done. Then I plan on starting a Price Book. She explains what this is and how it works in the article. I will only log prices on the things I buy most often or that I’d like to stockpile.

Hope this helps get you motivated to get organized. If you need a little more of a visual I’m sure there are youtube videos - sorry I didn’t have time to find some good ones to post here.

Coming soon…. Where to find coupons

Happy Organizing!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Extreme Couponing

After watching a few episodes of TLC’s Extreme Couponing I decided to start researching it for myself. Seriously, what ‘keeper of the home’ doesn’t want to be a good steward of the resources we’ve been given? If I can figure out how to make my budget go just a little bit further it’ll be worth it right? Right. So my search begins. I have noticed a few things about couponing:

  • · It takes lots of time & planning
  • · You must be extremely organized
  • · You need some storage space to house your buys
  • · Most food coupons are for prepackaged (usually unhealthy foods) and RARELY for fresh fruits/veggies
  • · It’s harder to meal plan and shop based on the plan. It appears to work better the other way around. Shop the bargains and plan meals around what you get.
  • · You can’t shop with all your kids in tow

Several of those do not appeal to me or do not fit the way our family functions at all. So, I’m going to try an experiment. I do like the idea of stockpiling household items: Paper towels, toilet paper, toiletries, etc. Things we buy on a regular basis and that I won’t make for myself.

I’m starting here:

It is a website started by a guy who has been featured on Extreme Couponing. And seems pretty well organized. Best of all, it’s FREE.

There are 31 virtual classes that address all different aspects of couponing, from how to get started/organized, to stockpiling, to where to find coupons. I’ll watch the videos one by one and devise a plan. And, I’ll share what I learn here.

I’m hoping for the best but trying to keep a realistic perspective. Most things that I’ve read have said that those $1,000 shopping trips for $50 almost never happen. A more realistic goal is to save 50-75% per trip.

If you want to trek along with me you can register on the website: . You can put me down as a referral – jlbrowning. I’ll be posting more helpful links in the future.