Freebie Friday!

I love Vista Print! It’s the company I use for my business cards and return address labels for my Etsy shop. I’ve also ordered return address labels for personal use–Christmas cards, Jonah’s birthday invitations and thank you cards, attaching to items loaned out to friends. Basically, I can’t say enough about Vista Print! Vista Print often runs special deals for FREE items. (You know how I love FREE!) I found out about a promotion they have right now, and I thought I’d let you in on the secret…  

With this deal you can choose from 250 FREE business cards, 140 address labels, or a free personalized keychain!  You will have to pay shipping which is usually between $3.50-7.00 depending on what you order.
Think you don’t need business cards? Here are some ideas for different ways to use them:
  • Mommy Calling Cards–So you can easily exchange info with the mommy of your child’s friends
  • Cards on gifts–So they know where to send the thank you card!
  • Teacher Gifts–Fill in the info of your favorite teacher and give as a gift! (New Teachers would love this!)
  • Graduation gifts–Fill in the info of your favorite grad and give as a gift for their job search!
Don’t forget to head on over to Vista Print and get in on the deal! I love Freebies!

My Standard Wedding Gift

Over the weekend I went to a wedding shower for Jake & Maggie. I took a gift that is becoming a standard around here….a monogrammed market tote filled to the brim with free cleaning supplies from my couponing adventures.

While it wasn’t exactly on their gift registry, I think it’s pretty useful. I’m wondering 3 things:

  1. Is it ok to give things that aren’t on the couple’s gift registry? (Especially if they have really expensive taste?)
  2. Is it considered tacky or smart to give things I get for free with coupons? (They don’t have to know I got it for free, right?)
  3. If it is considered tacky, does the adorable monogrammed market tote cancel out the tackiness? (I’m really hoping you say it does.)

Feel free to share your thoughts!

Budget Freedom

Recently someone heard we were going to Disney World and immediately said, “But I thought you guys were on a budget?”

I’ll admit, the word “budget” is usually used in the negative context.
For example:

“Sorry we can’t go out to eat with you this weekend, we’re on a budget”
( a common thing we used to say!)

Most of the time people think of a budget in terms of things they can’t do or can’t buy, but I see things differently.  To our family, the budget is a tool; a way to equip us with the freedom to do or buy things we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. If we want to go on a vacation, we add a line in the budget and save up for it. By having a plan for the money flow in our house, we see where there is extra leftover. And yes, with a budget there is usually some leftover. It may only be $5, but we don’t complain. $5 is golden around here with my crazy couponing ways!

Once the end of the month has arrived, we reconcile the budget and put all of the leftover money toward our debt snowball or something else important (like the new tires we had to buy last month. Boo!) Now, we can’t always buy what we want immediately, but with a little planning and even more patience, we’re having great results!

Coupon Town Hall Recap

Last night at the Coupon Town Hall, I got to meet Jenny, the face behind Southern Savers. She has impacted our family’s grocery budget so much through her coupon lists on her blog, that I had to go meet her and say thank you and see if there was anything new for me to learn. I will admit, I was a little bit of a “groupie” and had a picture taken…but I promise I wasn’t the only “groupie” there! Here is the picture of Jenny, me, Ruth, and Chrystal (left to right). Ruth and Chrystal were my biggest skeptics at the first coupon class I taught and now they have transformed into crazy coupon ladies with a stockpile started, too!  Although Ruth admitted to me that last week she actually paid for toothbrushes last week when her kids were sick so she wouldn’t have to give up the 2 “good” toothbrushes in her stockpile…shame, shame, shame!

It was an interesting night, to say the least…

  • We got stuck in traffic on the way there, probably because I ran a little late and we left later. Oops, sorry girls!
  • We got evacuated to the basement for an “intermission” during a tornado warning.
  • Everywhere we wanted to eat was closed afterwards…we ended up at Chili’s which was fine, but I had a gift card for Panera that I was wanting to use instead of real money.
  • We got stuck in traffic on the way back.

Although I already knew most of the basic things she talked about, there were a few things that she said that made me think about things in a different way…

  • Often times I will be discouraged if I don’t have the coupon listed and will skip the item. What I hadn’t really thought about was that when it is on the list, it is the lowest price during the sales cycle. So even if I don’t have the coupon, I should atleast be taking advantage of the sales cycle. This was probably my biggest “Well, duh!” moment I had.
  • I learned about some of the security measures that internet printable coupons have built in them. This was really interesting to me. Did you know that every time you print your internet coupons they can find you if they need to? It is somehow connected to your IP address, which means they can find you if you abuse internet coupons by scanning, copying, etc. Not that I would ever do that sort of thing, but it was interesting to me…those coupon people are pretty smart!
  • Jenny plays a game with herself to see how long she can make a $5 gift card last at CVS….Once she made it last for 8 months!!! This was amazing to me! I roll my Extra Care Bucks from week to week, but had never thought about seeing how long I could make things last! I’ll definitely be trying this to see how long I can go!

It was such a great evening, even with the traffic & tornadoes. I feel refreshed in my coupon quest to save my family money. A special thanks to First Baptist Church of Cleveland for hosting the Coupon Town Hall! An even bigger thank you to Jenny of Southern Savers for coming from South Carolina and having a FREE Coupon Talk! Jenny, if you ever read this, you have helped our family more than you will ever know with your blog. It has enabled me to cut our budget so much that I was able to resign from teaching in the middle of a recession and be a full-time stay-at-home-mommy to my sweet little guy, Jonah. For this, I truly thank you! God is using you greatly in the lives of so many! Thanks for sharing your gifts!

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I’m a coupon lady…and proud of it!

I am so excited I can’t stand it! I’m going to hear Jenny from Southern Savers (my favorite coupon list-maker) tonight at the Coupon Town Hall in Cleveland, TN….for FREE. (And you know how I love that four-letter word!) Even though I’ve been couponing for quite some time now, I’m sure I’ll learn something new and leave inspired to keep up the hard work of saving money for my family. I’ll admit that with Parent’s Day Out starting back up, hosting community group weekly, MOPS meetings, and leadership meetings for MOPS & Women’s Ministry, and now some medical things going on with me I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with being “busy” and haven’t been as motivated–not to mention, I’m just plain old TIRED. Sometimes we just need a pep-talk ya know?!? I’ll give you a recap tomorrow, but for now I want you to check out Jenny’s site HERE. Click on a store name in the header bar and see how you can save money this week at your favorite store!

Oh, and look what sweet Amanda wrote about me and my couponing ways HERE. She’s being smart and learning to coupon before she gets married! Go Amanda! Thanks for the shout-out!

Don’t forget, you can always check out my ETSY shop, and start a little Christmas shopping this weekend…the prices are low enough that you don’t need a coupon. :) I just shipped out  an order for a coffee cozy today!

http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping

I Heart Coupons!

I {big, puffy, red heart} coupons!

(insert friends’ eye-rolling here “Here she goes again”)

First, let me tell you there are 3 different types of people when it comes to coupons…

  1. People who don’t use them
  2. People who use them occasionally when they remember or it is something they use
  3. Crazy Coupon Ladies

I have officially gone from being status 2 on the list to a status 3. Yes, we’re talking fanatical, off-your-rocker type crazy…..and it’s paying off.

I’ve learned there is an art to “couponing.” I know it sounds silly, but there really is. Most of us just use a coupon whenever we feel like it, not really paying attention to the price, because hey, it’s cheaper than it was. What I’ve learned is that if you pay attention to the prices and wait to “play” your coupon when the item is on sale you’ll save even more. Now pair that up with double coupons and you’ve got yourself one great deal! (I’ll wait while you do the V-8 thing to yourself)

I’ve been doing the hardcore coupon thing for a little over a month now and I’m amazed at what I’ve saved. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, because I find it downright confusing at times. Lucky for us there are plenty of resources on the web that walk you through it step-by-step. You can find a few of these places on the right in my blog list. Once you go to them…you’ll find even more so make sure you have time to do a little blog-hopping.

And to help you understand why I’m just slightly excited here’s an example from yesterday’s shopping trip…

1 box Raisin Bran
1 Softsoap bodywash
1 Colgate 360 toothbrush
1 Colgate sensitive enamel protect toothpaste
1 Colgate Visibly White toothpaste
2 Sure deodorent

This should have cost me $29.66

It only cost me $1.79!!!!!!!!

That’s a savings of 94%


(I’ll wait while you pick your jaw up off the floor…..)

Wait, you look skeptical…don’t believe me….see for yourself…

plus

Equals…$1.79

Oh, and I almost forgot….because this was from CVS and they have the Extra Care Bucks program (swoon) I also have around $11.49 in extra bucks to use on my next order! It’s like I’m getting paid to shop there!

I {big, puffy, red heart} coupons!

I’ll work on getting a post put-together with all of my favorite resources because I know you’re curious now. Until then, here are a few to get you started:

Happy Couponing!