Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Stockpiling Gifts to Save Money

One of the things that I like to do to help save me money (and time) is stockpile gifts. Whenever I find toys or other nice gifts on clearance I buy them and keep them in my closet. Then when my kids get invited to a birthday party or I get invited to a baby shower or any other event that I need a gift for (teacher gifts, etc) I go into my closet and look through my gift stockpile.

For example, I got 4 of the Pictureka Penguin games at Walmart awhile back. They were on clearance for $3.50 and I had $5 coupons so not only did I get them free, but I got $6 in overage towards other purchases. Now the next time my kids are invited to a party or have a gift exchange, I have a gift to give that cost me NOTHING.

Another thing I have done in the past is use my Swagbucks to get $10 Starbucks & $10 Barnes & Noble gift cards. I then let Kaley give one card to each of her 5 teachers at Christmas.

Baskets are another way to use up items that you get for free. I find big baskets in good condition at garage sales and then fill them with items like candles, body wash, lotions, chocolate, etc and give them as gifts to teachers, family members and friends. They are always shocked at how many things are in the basket and it cost me very little to make it.

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Where to Get Coupons


In almost every Sunday’s newspaper, there will be coupon inserts. There are SmartSource (SS) inserts, Redplum (RP) inserts and P&G; inserts. Some weeks you only get one insert, some weeks 2 and sometimes we get lucky and get 3-4 inserts.

Besides buying newspapers to get these coupons, you can ask your neighbors for their coupons if they don’t use them, find newspapers with coupon inserts that have been left at coffeeshops, or even recycle for them (this is how I get 20-30 inserts each week).

Printable Coupon Websites:

There are several sites that you can get coupons from. Some include: , SmartSource , RedPlum , BettyCrocker , EatBetterAmerica , SnackPicks and facebook pages.


These coupons can be found on products and are like stickers that peel off the product. Most of the time they are manuf coupons but from time to time they are store coupons so read them carefully before using them (you might be able to stack them with other coupons)

Tear pads:

These coupons can be found near products in stores. You can peel the coupon from a pad.


These coupons are found hanging from bottles like wine, detergent, cleaning products, etc


These coupons can be found in machines near products. They have a blinking red light which is how they got the name Blinkies. The machines spit out one coupon at a time.

Coupon booklets found in stores:

Many times stores will have booklets full of coupons in their store. Sometimes these booklets contain manuf coupons (with or without store logos) and sometimes they contain store coupons. Keep an eye out for these types of booklets while walking into a store and while walking around the store (there is never a set place to find these booklets).

Inside Free Sample:

Many times you will find coupons inside of free samples that you request so always check for them before throwing out the packaging.

Home Mailers:

These coupons come in the mail and you usually have to sign up to receive them. MOST of the time they are high value coupons since they aren’t readily available to everyone or they are for a new products and the company wants you to try it.

Order Coupons:

You can order coupons from many sites. My favorite is MyCouponHunter.

Trade for Coupons:

I love to trade for coupons and use hotcouponworld trades. I love that I can get the coupons I want, get rid of coupons I don’t need and it only costs me a stamp to mail the coupons.

You can also start coupon trading groups where you get a bunch of friends together to trade coupons. This can also be a fun “girls night out”.

Email companies:

You can get GREAT coupons by emailing companies and telling them how much you love their product. CouponingtoDisney has a great list of posts for companies to email on her site!!!

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Coupon Organization

There are so many different ways to store your coupons and I have tried a few. Each person will eventually find what works best for their style of shopping. I will discuss the 2 ways that I have tried and the pros and cons of each method.

Coupon Binders:

Some people like to cut out the coupons each week and store them in binders to take with them to the store. You can either buy a pre-made coupon binder or make your own. When I tried this method, I bought 9 pocket baseball card holders from Walmart and a 3 ring binder and made my own. Then I bought divider tabs and labeled them with things like “cleaners”, “frozen foods”, “pet products”, etc. They also make 3 slot coupon pages for coupon binders for the bigger/longer coupons

What I like about this method is that you always have the coupons you need with you in case you find a clearance deal or unexpected in-store sale. It is a good method for those that aren’t extreme couponers!!!

What I didn’t like about this method is that it was a LOT of work to cut out coupons that I may never need. Also I get 20-30 coupon inserts each week when I recycle so there isn’t enough room in each card slot to put that many of the same coupon. Also I was constantly having to go through it to clear out expired coupons because my binder would get so big or too full to fit more coupons.

If you don’t have a lot of coupons, you may only need a small coupon wallet (I used one like this when I first started couponing, but it was just way too small for the amount of deals I do each week).

File Folder/Filing Cabinet:

This is the way I currently keep my coupons and for ME this works best. I make file folders for each week’s inserts. For example, I have a folder labeled 5/2 SS, and one labeled 5/2 RP (for those that don’t get a lot of inserts each week, you may only need one folder labeled with just the date).

What I like about this method is that you don’t have to cut coupons until you need them for a sale. When you see on a blog that the coupon was found in the 5/2 SS, you can go to your filing cabinet and pull out that file and then cut the coupon. Then I use mini binder clips to keep together each store’s shopping list with the coupons I need for the trip. That way when I go into a store, I only have to bring in one small stack of coupons.

What I don’t like about this method is that you don’t have coupons with you at the store for unexpected clearance finds and in-store sales. Also I ran out of room in my first filing cabinet and now have a second one in the garage (keep in mind that I get 20-30 inserts each week so my file folders are FULL).

Something I started recently is that I bought a file tote box (free after Office Depot rewards) and bring my P&Gs; with me since those items are usually what I find clearance deals on. This has helped me quiet a bit. I just have to go out to the van to get my coupons and not all the way home.

How do you store your coupons???

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Just Cashed Out for a $50 Amazon Gift Card

Swagbucks is one of my favorite sites to earn free Amazon gift cards.

If you aren’t already a member? Join HERE (you get 30 swagbucks for registering)

Plus you can earn swagbucks several other ways:

Take the Daily Poll each day and earn 1 swagbuck = 30 swagbucks a month

Check to see if you have any trusted surveys each day and earn 1 swagbuck just for checking. Do surveys to earn even more (I did 2 surveys yesterday and earned 250 swagbucks total) = 30 swagbucks a month plus any from surveys you do

Click through the Swagbucks Special Offers each day (you don’t need to do any of them) and earn 1 swagbuck = 30 swagbucks a month

Search on Swagbucks throughout the day and earn swagbucks (I usually win once in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon and almost always once at night) = amount varies but easily could be 600 a month from searches

Install the toolbar, each day you will wake up to 1 swagbuck for having the toolbar = 30 swagbucks a month

Enter bonus codes which can be found on their blog, facebook page, twitter page, and widget. I would say you can get at least 50 swagbucks a week from codes = 200 swagbucks a month

You can also trade-in old cell phones and/or old video games & consoles for swagbucks.

You should be able to easily earn 900 swagbucks per month (without doing surveys) which can be cashed in for 2 $5 Amazon gift cards or a $5 paypal payment (with 200 swagbucks left over)
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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Rewards Programs

Sherri at has compiled a GREAT list of rewards programs that I would like to pass on to you all (plus I added in some that I knew about).

These programs are great ways to save money and earn rewards!!!

My favorite is MyCokeRewards – Enter the codes from coke product caps and from inside 12-pack, 24-pack or flats and you can cash out your points for great rewards like coupons for free products, free movie tickets and more (often even gift cards but it is random when those come up)

Disney Movie Rewards – Collect points by buying Disney movies or going to see Disney movies in the theater. They also release bonus codes from time to time that I will post on my blog. You can cash in your points for GREAT products.

Stouffer�s Dinner Club – Find a unique 12-digit code inside every specially-marked package of Stouffer�s single-serve meals. Enter these codes and you can get coupons for free products and other gifts.

Fast Fixin’ Fanatics – collect 10 UPCs from Fast Fixin’ products and mail them in for a Free Product coupon

Pampers Gifts to Grow – (SIGN UP HERE)enter codes from inside packages of diapers for points. They also release bonus codes from time to time that I will post on my blog. You can cash in your points for GREAT products.

Huggies Enjoy The Ride Rewards – enter codes from inside packages of diapers and wipes for points. They also release bonus codes from time to time that I will post on my blog. You can cash in your points for GREAT products.

Tropicana Juicy Rewards – enter codes from caps to earn points. Points can be redeemed for varies savings including coupons for free products, bogo coupons and more.

ToysRUs RewardsRUs – Spend $150 in qualifying purchases, get a $5 reward certificate. Receive up to $20 “R”Us Dollars per month, $60 per earning period.

Nature Made Wellness Rewards – earn free vitamins, supplements, herbs, fitness DVDs, nutrition bars, vitamin guides and classical music CDs by entering codes found on packages for points.

LaVictoria LaVic Rewards – Enter codes from lids and get coupons for free items.

Contessa Foods – save your Proofs of Purchase and you can redeem them for valuable rewards.

Starbucks – register your gift card and earn rewards while you buy your drinks

Fresh Step Paw Points – enter codes from products to earn rewards like coupons, toys and more.

True Value Rewards – earn points for your purchases at participating True Value stores. As you accumulate points, we mail you valuable rewards, including cash discounts.

Staples Rewards – earn 10% back in Staples Rewards on all ink and toner, case and ream paper and Copy & Print Center purchases.

Best Buy Rewards Zone – get 1 point for nearly every $1 you spend at Best Buy or�. Reach 250 points and you�ll receive a $5 reward certificate. You can use your reward certificates on virtually anything you buy at Best Buy or

Office Depot Worklife Rewards -get money back for purchasing Office Depot products (like 10% on ink & paper, 1% on most everything else).

Office Max Perks – earn money back for qualifying purchases

Ace Hardware Rewards – earn points for purchases and get a $5 Reward for every 2,500 points

Credit cards are a GREAT way to earn rewards. I use mine to pay for everything and then pay them off each month so I never have any fees or interest but get the rewards for my purchases.

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Expiration Dates

Collin at Hip2Save posted this and I thought it would be a great addition to my Wednesday Words of Wisdom section. This should help you figure out how much to stockpile.

Most products include either a:

Sell-By date: Tells the store how long to display the product for sale. Be sure to buy the product BEFORE the date expires.

Best if Used By (or Before) date: Recommended for best flavor or quality. It is NOT a purchase or safety date.

Use-By date: Last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality as determined by the manufacturer of the product.

How long can I safely use


* Milk:
If stored around 37 degrees Fahrenheit, pasteurized milk will remain fresh for 2-5 days after its sell-by date.

* Meat:
All meat (whether its ground hamburger or a steak) should be eaten or placed in the freezer within 2 days of purchase. Even if the sell-by date is five days away, the refrigerator at home usually isnt cool enough to keep the meat fresh for more than two days. Frozen ground meat should be used within 3 months. Pork holds for 6 months. Beef, lamb, veal, and venison last 8 to 12 months in the freezer.

* Chicken:
Chicken should be cooked or frozen within 2 days of purchase. Poultry and other birds last about 12 months in the freezer. Do NOT that chicken on the kitchen counter as bacteria multiply very rapidly at room temperature. The safest way to thaw poultry or meat is to defrost it by placing the package in the refrigerator immediately after removing it from the freezer or by placing the package under cold running water.

* Canned Foods:
Be sure to store them below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, high-acid canned foods such as tomatoes, grapefruit and pineapple can be stored on the shelf 12 to 18 months; low-acid canned foods such as meat, poultry, fish and most vegetables will keep 2 to 5 years.

* Cake Mix, Pasta, Cookies:
Store in a cool, dry storage place and they will last up to six months from the date of purchase

* Cereal:
Edible 2-3 months after being opened in a dry room.

* Cold Cuts/Hot Dogs:
Discard them as soon as they reach their expiration dates

* Soft Cheese (i.e. Brie and Camembert):
Eat within three to four days of opening.

* Hard Cheese:
Last up to three weeks and can also be frozen up to six months.

* Eggs:
Properly refrigerated and handled, eggs are considered safe for consumption for four to five weeks beyond the sell-by date. Did you know that you should refrigerate the eggs in their original carton and place them in the coldest part of the refrigerator, not in the door?!


* Liquid Foundation:
3-6 months (Cream foundation can last 4-6 months)

* Concealer:
6-8 months

* Powders:
1 year

* Mascara:
3 months (I am guilty of keeping my mascara much longer than 3 months )

* Lip gloss & Lipstick:
1 year

* Eye/Lip Pencils:
1 year (Sharpen pencils at least once a week to prevent bacteria from being transferred to your eye area)

* Facial Cleansers & Moisturizers:
6 months

* Facial Toners:
1 year

* Body lotion:
2 to 3 years, particularly if its in a pump container.

* Shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel:
About 3 years.

* Sunscreen:
Check the package for an expiration date.

* Perfume:
About two years if you stash it away in a cool, dark place.

* Nail polish:

* Hairstyling products:
3 to 5 years. Most are alcohol-based, which helps preserve the

* Bar soap:
Up to 3 years.

* Shaving cream:
About 2 years.

* Deodorant:
Up to 2 years.

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – How Many Coupons Can I Use???

Using coupons along with a sale is the best way to get FANTASTIC deals. Many people are confused on just how many coupons they are allowed to use on deals so I will break it down in this post.

Here are some examples of what is allowed:

  • When buying one item, you are allowed to use one manuf coupon and one store coupon together (unless the coupon forbids it)
  • During a Buy One Get One sale, you are allowed to use 2 manuf coupons and 2 store coupons (some stores will say you can’t use a store coupon on the free item but that is rare)
  • On a Buy One Get One sale, you are allowed to use a BOGO coupon and get both items free (except tax if it applies)
  • When buying 2 products and using a BOGO coupon, you are also allowed to use a $ off coupon on the item that you are “buying”. —For example, a coupon says “Buy a razor and get a body wash free”. That coupon attaches to the body wash since you are getting that item free with the coupon. You are also allowed to use a $ off coupon on the razor since nowhere on the “Buy a Razor Get a body wash free” coupon does it say you have to pay full price for that razor. However, you can not use a BOGO coupon along with a $/2 coupon because the $/2 coupon attaches to both products. –For example, you can’t buy 2 body washes and use a BOGO coupon and a $4 off 2 coupon but you can use a BOGO coupon and a $2 off 1 coupon.
  • When buying 7 of the same product, you can use 7 coupons even if they say “one per purchase” (don’t allow cashiers to tell you differently). Each item is a purchase. One per transaction means you must ring them up in separate orders.

You can only use ONE manuf coupon per item. Some examples of different manuf coupons are: peelies, blinkies, insert coupons from Sunday’s paper, coupons from booklets or magazines, and internet printables. Since all of these are manuf coupons, you can not use 2 of them together on one item.

You can only use ONE store coupon per item. When a store (like Publix) accepts competitor coupons, these are also considered store coupons and you should not use another store coupon along with the competitor coupon. –For example, if you are buying an item, you should not use a Publix coupon along with a Target coupon because both are considered a store coupon. (this causes controversy with people for some reason)

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Ask to Check the Back or for a Rain Check

If you go into a store looking for an item on sale and the shelf is bare, always ask for them to check the back. 6 times out of 10 I have been successful at getting what I wanted. If they don’t have any in the back, ask for a rain check!!!

Most stores do give out rain checks, however some store do not offer them and some sales ads for certain items will specifically say “no rain checks” (even at stores that offer rain checks on other items).

Also most rain checks will have an expiration date so make sure you use it before it expires and make sure that if you are going to use a coupon for the sale, that the coupon will still be good by the time you use your rain check. If the coupon is about to expire, ask for them to write on the rain check that the coupon was good at the time you got the rain check (not all stores will do this).

***Just an FYI, I know for sure that Walgreen’s, CVS, Publix, Winn Dixie and Albertsons all give rain checks.

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Why You Should Buy Things You Don’t Need

I have been wanting a Lasko Wind Curve Platinum 42-Inch 3-Speed Tower Fan with Remote Control for awhile but they are between $50 and $60. This week I bought a ton of Ecotrin at different Walgreens on the way home from the Nick hotel trip (they were $2, I used a $2 coupon, paid NOTHING and got a $2 RR each time). At the end of the day I ended up with a LOT of $2 RRs and had spent NOTHING out of pocket.

Then the Neutrogena bar soap deal came up and I found several stores that had them so I turned my $2 RRs into $10 RRs.

Today Jeff and I were at another Walgreens (near the “cricket” pet store) and they had 6 more bar soaps (3 @ $2.99 and 3 @ $2.69). Then Jeff calls across the store for me and says “They have the Lasko tower fan here!!!!” I was so excited!!!

It was $54.99 so I added in 4 small packs of Fritos (99 each) and a Mt Dew 20 oz bottle ($1.49)

That made my subtotal $60.44 so I used 6 $10 RRs from the Neutrogena deal and paid 44 + tax.

So my point is… if I hadn’t bought the Ecotrin earlier in the week, I would not have been able to get the tower fan that I have wanted for FREE!!!

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