Fabulously FRUGAL: How to be a savvy shopper!

Good Morning, Friends! Before I dive into today’s musing, it is only fitting I share with you today’s breakfast:

Breakfast (Tuesday, July 9, 2013):

1 container Yoplait 100-Calorie Tropical Yogurt

1 cup Special K Multigrain Flakes (A brand new flavor in the Special K cereal line, I couldn’t even locate a picture, so instead I’m picturing a random flavor of Special K).

1 cup Cascadian Farm Multigrain Squares (Again, sharing my love of these Multigrain Squares; deliciously neutral, yet comforting).

1 Banana (Always expressing my affection for the morning banana. Sweet and filling and the ideal addition to a bowl of cereal in yogurt… in my opinion, at least).

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TODAY’s MUSING: Savings at the store (i.e. grocery, discount chains, beauty supply, etc!)

Ask anyone, shopping can be an arduous, daunting, exhausting and time-consuming task. However, for some, shopping can become that of a game, a test to see how far one can stretch and maximize their savings. To some, hearing the word “coupon” can seem old-fashioned, a bother and another “piece of paper” to forget, or stash in the back of the purse or car. **STOP RIGHT THERE** If this is what you’re thinking or contemplating, what I am about to share with you, is bound to change that and if it doesn’t, it at least may plant the seed in your mind of something to try on a rainy, or inclement weather day. In an economy which seems to change in a mere instant, in my opinion, it’s always good to save an extra dollar when one can, because even if it appears to be simply a dollar, in the end, it adds up; believe me, the savings can be a pleasant appearance when you least expect it.

To make this a bit easier to read and digest, I figured I would organize stores and topics into categories. This way, it also makes it a bit easier for future reference… both your wallet and family will thank you 🙂

BEAUTY, BATH & COSMETICS:

ULTA Beauty:

Ahh, truly one of my favorite stores to buy my makeup and other bath and body products. I’ll tell you why: Ulta is one of the few stores where you are able to combine their store coupons (which you can always locate each week on their website – they typically post either $3.50 off a $10 total purchase, OR 20% off either your total purchase or a single item) and manufacturer’s coupons!

EXAMPLE: Here’s a prime example of what I mean with combining store and manufacturer coupons – Let’s say I want to purchase an eyeshadow for $10, and I have a manufacturer’s coupon for $2 off, and also an Ulta coupon for $3.50 off a $10 purchase. This means, I get $5.50 off my total purchase, which is almost a 50% savings!

DRUG STORES:

CVS Pharmacy:

Yes, I will admit, sometimes, the prices at CVS can be slightly higher than other drug store chains, however, they have a customer loyalty program called “Extracare.” After signing up for free either in-store or via their website (CVS.com), you are instantly sent coupons, or they are loaded onto your card, which will be swiped each time you make a purchase. Every few months, you will be awarded “Extrabucks,” for your purchases, which can be used as FREE MONEY! All CVS in-store coupons can be combined with manufacturer’s coupons, as well, which maximizes savings!

RITE AID:

Similar to CVS, RITE AID also has a savings program – Wellness Rewards, which is also swiped with each purchase you make. They award UP Rewards, which also serves as instant coupons and savings. They also have coupons in their weekly ads, which can be combined with manufacturer’s coupons.

Walgreens:

Similar to Rite Aid and CVS, Walgreens also has a customer loyalty program entitled – Balance Rewards, which is card that is swiped with each purchase! The points you accumulate will then be calculated into a savings certificate once you reach a certain level. Again, Walgreen store coupons can be combined with manufacturer’s coupons and great in-store coupons are featured each week in their weekly ads!

GROCERY STORE:

Whole Foods:

Wait a minute, what? I’m sure many of you who are familiar with Whole Foods and their prices and overall reputation might be thinking/contemplating, how can I possibly save at Whole Foods? Well, I’m here to proudly inform you, YOU CAN! Absolutely, 100%. HINT – Check out the bottom of Wholefoodsmarket.com; there is a coupon option. Click on that and you will see a list of product coupons, which changes each month! They can be printed and guess what? Whole Foods store coupons can also be combined with manufacturer’s coupons! SCORE! This can make for a great deal if both the price is right and the products are what you’re searching for. Another tip: each Friday, Whole Foods selects an item to be heavily discounted (i.e. two weeks ago, Organic Grapes were .99 cents per lb, down from the usual $3.99 per lb!). Here is a link to Whole Foods Coupon section: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/coupons

ShopRite:

For those of you who are fortunate enough to have a ShopRite grocery store nearby, your savings can be abundant! If you have a free ShopRite PricePlus card (sign up easily through either their website or in-store and instantly add ShopRite e-coupons to your card with the click of a button!). Lately, the ShopRite e-coupons have been pretty great and again, you can combine these with manufacturer’s coupons! The e-coupon discount is applied when the product is scanned at the checkout line with your PricePlus card. Simple, straight savings and more money in your wallet! Sounds like my kind of deal!

Giant/Acme/Pathmark/Wegmans:

If you live close by to either of these grocery stores, your savings with coupons will be bountiful! Each of these grocery stores, applies FULL VALUE to your manufacturer’s coupons. If you aren’t familiar with couponing, or even if you are, you might be wondering, what does she mean by “full value?”

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE of “FULL-VALUE” coupons: Let’s say, I have a coupon for .75 cents off of a box of Special K cereal. The coupon will be scanned and instantly becomes $1.50 off, because it is DOUBLE COUPONS, meaning the store (i.e. Giant, Acme, Pathmark, Wegmans) contributes their half to make savings double the amount! Woo hoo! I love a great deal, especially ones like these!

DISCOUNT RETAIL CHAINS:

Target:

Okay, so I must admit, I do get giddy whenever I discuss how to save at Target. It’s probably one of my favorite stores to maximize my savings and I absolutely LOVE sharing my tips with friends, family and even random strangers I see browsing in the aisles. At your leisure, head on over to http://www.target.com/coupons! Each Sunday, these coupons are updated and some are manufacturer’s coupons, while others are strictly Target store coupons. Again, here is an example of where Target coupons can be combined with manufacturer’s coupons and believe me, if you get the couponing right, you could be walking out of the store with items that are free or close to free! Excellent deals and savings, especially on items in high demand this time of year (i.e. dresses, t-shirts, ice cream, etc). Wait a minute.. did you see I said dresses and t-shirts?! That’s right, Target uploads CLOTHING COUPONS on their coupon section of their website. Right now, there are coupons available for 25% two Target clothing items, buy one dress get one 50%, in addition to many more. Plus, you can use these coupons on clothing already heavily discounted on the sale/clearance rack! Great buys and a great selection! FYI: occasionally, and especially as of lately, there will be people at the front of the store, handing out samples, and COUPON BOOKLETS. A word of advice, definitely browse through these coupon booklets before tossing them, because I will tell you, if you toss them away without a quick glance, you will be throwing dollars and dollars of savings away!

COUPON BLOGS:

What would I honestly do without my coupon blogs?! They are where I learned some of my greatest and most valuable couponing skills, tips and ideas! These women behind the most popular coupon blogs spend their valuable time providing a service to the general public and I honestly cannot thank them enough! Throughout the day, they are consistently updating not only with coupon links, deals, and ideas, but also sweepstakes and free samples for an array of products (i.e. coffee, body wash, etc). Be sure to check them out!

http://www.forthemommas.com

http://www.chachingonashoestring.com

http://www.moneysavingmom.com

http://www.livingrichwithcoupons.com

http://www.hip2save.com (also check out the Sweepstakes tab!)

http://www.momsneedtoknow.com

Websites:

Many of you may already know and be familiar with, the infamous…

Coupons.Com:

Each month, and even on occasion throughout the week, new manufacturer’s coupons are uploaded. They tend to change with the seasons and with what is in demand (i.e. ice cream in the summer). Usually, about two or three of the same coupon can be printed. Also, you can enter your individual zip code to receive coupons personalized to your area and area stores, which is always helpful. It’s a trusted website in my book and one that I frequent.

Smartsource.com:

Similar to Coupons.com, over here you can also print manufacturer’s coupons, however, they are less abundant than Coupons.com, but still very helpful and the same coupon can also be printed multiple times. This is a good resource and one I often utilize.

Magazines:

All You Magazine:

Some of you may or may not be familiar with All You, but I absolutely love it. Not only is the printed magazine fun and interactive, but their website is also exciting, filled with coupons, activities and sweepstakes. Many of the articles are reader-contributed (if you subscribe to their reader panel, they routinely send emails asking for responses to several questions, topics, etc). Their magazine is also brimming with lots of clippable coupons! A subscription to this magazine pays for itself with the number of coupons it provides! Definitely a great resource.

Newspapers:

Now that much of the news can be accessed at anytime and anywhere, some of you may or may not have a newspaper subscription, however I will say, even if you don’t subscribe each day or even on the weekend, it PAYS to pick up a weekend newspaper, because the coupon inserts often offset the cost of the newspaper itself! Some of the coupon booklets provide high-value and useful coupons, which of course can be combined with store coupons at retail chains such as (Target, Whole Foods, Ulta, and many others I previously mentioned). These coupon booklets become particularly abundant during the holidays and with the back-to-school time. They are often provided by the companies Red Plum, P&G – Proctor and Gamble, as well as Smartsource.

WHEW! That was a mouthful. Anyhow, I’m sure I could probably linger for days and days about where to score the best savings, but for now, I’ll leave it at that. If you ever have any questions, comments, concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me – Stylinstar53@gmail.com, or tweet me @Stylinstar53 and be sure to find me on Pinterest for great recipes, quotes, clothes, and the like also @Stylinstar53.

Happy Shopping!

Question: What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten while shopping?

– M.

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