Last year, I found something I viewed as a game: how much money could I save in one trip using coupons. At the beginning of 2010, I decided that I was going to start keeping track of how much money I saved using coupons, store rewards and internet earnings. So far this year (and we’re not even through April yet), my savings have been over $600.00.
Now, I admit, I’m blessed to live in an area that has stores that double coupon values and do special double and triple coupon events but there are still plenty of ways to save out there. So, I thought today I would share some of the things I’ve learned about couponing as well as opportunities to earn a little money or gift certificates that are available via the internet.
Let’s start with the coupons. I would say the first step would be to stockpile coupons for at least two months before you try and start shopping with them. There are several blogs out there that are dedicated to store sales by region. If you live in the states, you can find a blog in your region here: http://bargainbriana.com/introducing-the-frugal-map/. These blogs are helpful because very often the blogger does all of the legwork for you. She will take your local ads and go through them and then go through her coupons and give you the best deals that are to be found.
The next suggestion is to only use coupons with sales. You are not really saving any money if you are just using coupons because you have them. When you do this, you are very often buying items simply because you have the coupon and this is when you get into trouble. When you use a coupon in conjunction with a sale, this is when you really start to see your savings add up.
One other suggestion is to organize your coupons so it is easy for you to find them. You can buy coupon organizers or you can keep them in envelopes or shoeboxes. Another way to organize coupons is to get a three ring binder and keep your coupons in baseball card sleeves (this is quite a bit more time consuming and it can be challenging to get the coupons to fit in the sleeves. Coupons can be found in the Sunday paper and they can be printed at www.coupons.com, www.smartsource.com and www.redplum.com. Many manufacturer websites offer coupons as well. You may want to create a new email address for your coupons since you will get emails from manufacturers. Just don’t forget to check that email regularly.
Ok, those are several tips to begin saving money using coupons, now let’s talk about ways you can earn some extra money. We’ll start with shopping online. If you do much shopping online, there are a couple of sites that will give you a percentage of what you spend back. Simply go to the website, find the store you would like to shop at, link to the store through that website and shop normally from this point. A couple days after your have ordered, a balance will show on your account on the rebate site. I know of two of these sites: http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=6bG04P46CnVMuIDlUa0sig%3D%3D and http://www.shopathome.com/?IAFCG=QZoXL1+av5qvXjQHY64waA. Refer friends to these sites and earn even more.
Don’t feel comfortable shopping online? Well, there are other ways you can earn money online. The first is inbox dollars at http://www.inboxdollars.com/?r=ref4426883. You set the number of emails you would like a day, open the emails and choose the “click here to confirm reading email” button. Another great way to earn some extra cash is http://us.beruby.com/promocode/u5OQYJ . Just logon to this website and continue on to yahoo, google, myspace, facebook and twitter from here and you earn half a cent every time. You earn one cent just for logging on to the site every day. Both of these websites do take a while for the earnings to add up but if you can get some referrals, things start moving quickly. I was on inbox dollars for about a year before I saw my first $30 but it seems to be adding up more quickly this year.
The final thing I will share with you out there is a site called Swagbucks. Check out http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/nashpredsfan. You earn points for putting the search toolbar on your computer (I get points every morning when I log on to the computer) and using the Swagbucks search engine. When you load the toolbar, you can also get special codes. Swagbucks also gives you points for shopping through them. You can redeem this points or “swagbucks” for several items, including electronics, e-gift certificates, music, apparel, books and magazines and more (see the swagbucks store for all available). Again, this is another site that you really start to see quick results once you have a few referrals.
I hope some of the above may be helpful to you. I am happy to answer any questions that I did not address here. Happy savings!!!