Posted by: Alex | February 14, 2011

Buy as part of a group

Now way back when it used to be that you could only get a discount for having a group of 20 people buy tickets at once, and perhaps that is still have case at some ski resorts. What has sprung up recently is a collection of websites that gather people to form these groups and in turn you/I get to be part of a group and reap in the benefits of saving money. So here are the sites you can sign up to receive daily deals on, I believe most if not all of them let you choose which city you live near. In my case it’s Boston.

BuyWithMe
Groupon
Eversave
Weforia
LivingSocial
kgbdeals

You might be wondering what kinds of deals you would signing up for, so here is a sampling of ones I have bought: $25 dollars for a $50 gift card to a store, $10 for a $20 Amazon gift card, $7 for a VIP ticket (front of the line admission, skate rental and a drink) to the Frog Pond, $30 for a 6 room house cleaning valued at $150. There are all sorts of deals, ones I did not buy but thought were a great deal were for restaurants, ski resorts including room and tickets, well you get the idea. I say sign up and you never know you might stumble upon something that will save you some money.

Having mentioned all the sites above, there is one that recently changed it’s style and I think for the better. What can be better than getting great deals as mentioned above you ask? Well let me tell you, how about someone giving you money to try out a restaurant or a store, yup that’s exactly what LevelUp will do for you. They give you anywhere from $2 to $25 dollars to try out a place, that’s it no strings attached. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

While we are on the subject of saving money – Entertainment Book – it’s good if you like to be active and explore your city, has a ton of coupons for restaurants and fast food places such as Burger King. I think it retails for $35 but if you are signed up to weekly emails from CouponMom (which I am) you can get it for $20 and free shipping.

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Posted by: Alex | June 27, 2010

Get things for FREE at CVS

Having covered my general coupon strategy in an earlier post , now it’s time to dive into the details for where I do most of my shopping. That’s right CVS, after 1st picking up this coupon strategy 2 years ago I thought to myself look at all this stuff I can get for next to nothing so for a period of a few months I went to Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS but then I realized as nice as it is to get free stuff – it’s nicer to save time while you are at it. So I settled on just CVS which I believe is the best out of the three. I will detail shopping at each in later posts and you can decide for yourself which one you prefer. So here are the steps to follow for getting things for free or better yet making money and getting the items for free at CVS:

1. (One time only) Sign up for an ExtraCare card at CVS. This takes a few minutes and can be done in store or online. Without this card you cannot reap the benefits of all the sales. It comes as either a card you can put into your wallet or on your key chain. Personally the key chain wins out every time. While you are at it, go to CVS.com and make sure you are signed up to get email alerts on the different deals available to you. My personal favorites are: $4 Off a $20 transaction or $5 Off a $30 transaction. Assuming you only buy things you would have bought anyways this is free money.

2. Each Friday CouponMom posts the preview deals for what will be on sale the coming week and more importantly what you can get for FREE Another option is to just wait until Sunday and look up the same deals except this time around no need to go to the preview page. Either way you will want to sort on percent saved and the items that have the highest percentage of money saved will appear at the top. 100% saved = FREE. That however is not all, some items will actually make you money. Here is one of my favorite examples: Buy Old Spice Body Wash for $4.00, get $4.00 in Extra Bucks. Then in small print it states ExtraBucks limit of 2 per household. Now if using CouponMom you see there is a coupon in a particular Sunday paper that states BOGO – But One Get One FREE, what this means is that if you have this coupon you can stroll into CVS, pick out 2 Old Spice Body Washes and when you go to pay you hand them the 1 BOGO coupon. The transactions end up like this: you pay $4.00 for the two products, and then on your receipt you get $8.00 ExtraBucks. In my opinion this is earning $4.00 and getting two products for FREE.

Now you might wondering what ExtraBucks are, well I will tell you. It’s the equivalent of cash the only difference being is that (a) it can only be spent at CVS and (b) it expires typically about 1 month from the time you got it (it prints out on your receipt when you buy a qualifying purchase so make sure you don’t just toss your receipt without checking if there are any ExtraBucks on there)

Having said that, the only reasons I go to buy something at CVS are (a) I can get something for FREE based on this weeks specials (b) I receive an email coupon for $4 off $20 then I would go to CVS and see if there are things that I need anyhow and buy them.

The only time it makes sense to buy generic (i.e. CVS brand) is if you do not have a coupon and the brand item is not cheaper. Before you are ready to check out – I recommend coming up to any one of the several price check machines they have in the store and checking the prices on what you are about to buy – this will confirm you are getting what you expect. This machine is also a good 1st stop on any trip to CVS as when you scan your ExtraCare card sometimes you can get coupons printed out right away, before you even buy anything.

Interesting tidbits:
1. If you go to the store on Sat, you might notice the specials listed on the shelves already reflect the price from the upcoming week. Do not worry everything that is on sale and the ExtraBucks are in effect until midnight. However as an added bonus anything that is not on sale that Saturday but will be on sale starting Sunday – the prices are already in the system so you can buy it for the Sunday price.
2. When looking for items on sale especially those that have ExtraBucks associated with them, be careful to not fall into the trap of only thinking that there has to be a price tag right above the item, and if all those are gone, you are out of luck. Typically the items to the left and right assuming they are the same brand – qualify for the sale – just use the price check machine and if the price matches the sale price you can bet you will get the ExtraBucks for this item as well.
3. If the item is just not there, go up to a store clerk and say: I would like a rain check for xxx where xxx is something you point to in the store circular (they can be found at the entrance to each CVS). The rain checks at CVS do not expire and they include not only the sale price but also the ExtraBucks you would be getting.

Posted by: Alex | May 26, 2010

Save money by buying online

Did you know you can save a lot of money by not going to retail stores? BestBuy, Staples come to mind. I should say that from my personal experience this is particularly true for any electronics but applies to other things as well. Here are the steps I recommend you follow the next time you need to buy anything (food excluded and possibly other things):

1) Sign up to email specials on several sites and keep an eye out for good deals. My personal favorite is Buy.com. Not only are the deals sometimes as high as 90% off retail, it offers FREE Shipping on just about everything and even though it states 5-9 days it usually arrives in 2-3.

2) (Optional – if you are unsure about whether or not to buy it) Search for the item on Amazon to read through the reviews. Another option is to just Google the ‘product reviews’ (where product is the name of what you are thinking about buying) and you are bound to get websites with reviews of the product.

3) Before you buy anything go to Google and type in the name of the site you are about to buy from followed by the words coupon code. (i.e. buy.com coupon codes) A good site is www.retailmenot.com. A better option which I recently found out about, is a Firefox add on CouponHelper. It basically shows you all the coupon codes available for the site you are considering purchasing from, which in essence saves you the time you would have spent searching for coupon codes. It does the dirty work for you.

Another recommendation I have is to not be afraid to buy refurbished. I have bought several things including the laptop I am writing this on and have been extremely pleased, it’s basically something that works just the same as if it was brand new except it’s not brand new but costs significantly less.

Posted by: Alex | May 24, 2010

Saving money by not clipping coupons

This is an in-depth description of how you can use CouponMom to save you time and money. The only other thing you will need is to get your hands on the coupon circulars (SmartSource, RedPlum, Proctor & Gamble are the big three) that are found in the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe. (and possibly other newspapers? – as long as the coupon circulars are the same, then the cheaper you can get your hands on them the better)

1) File Sunday coupon inserts. From now on every time you buy the sunday paper, DO NOT cut out any coupons. Label each coupon booklet with the date of the paper (no need to include year) 3/26 and put the corresponding letter based on the coupon booklet type: RP = RedPlum, S = SmartSource and PG = Proctor and Gamble (there usually come out on the 1st sunday globe of each month). Once you put a label on file it away (I use a monthly system where each folder corresponds to a month and then in that folder I putthe 4 sets of coupon books)

2) Match the coupon to the store sale for the week, this has already been done for you at www.couponmom.com Depending on which store you want to look at click on the appropriate link below: (click the triangles on the right under the Save % column to sort showing you all the FREE items 1st, or the ones that you can get the cheapest that week)

CVS
Walgreens
RiteAid
Shaws
Stop & Shop
Target
Walmart

I personally use only the CVS one but others might find more useful.

And now they have an even better solution, a combined list highlighting all the best deals across all the drugstores.

3) Once you select the store and sort on what you can save the most
money on, put check marks in the items you want and more importantly
either print (Display selected deals)
or just write down from which
paper to cut out the coupon. Another feature is to email the displayed list to yourself (and others if you put in comma separated emails)

4) (Optional) The last link here is for if you want to go to BJs (or any other store that couponmom does not have a deal page for), put together your
list, then for each item in that list put it into the search field in
this link and it will tell you from which paper to cut out the coupon:

Grocery Coupon Database

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