King City resident Jen Fair uses extreme couponing to help support her organization, Mission Mahalo, a nonprofit that provides personalized care packages to troops overseas.
On Saturday, January 28, Jen will share her extreme couponing techniques in a two-hour class. If you’re interested in learning how to save hundreds of dollars per month, this is for you.
Date: Saturday, January 28, 2012 Time: 9:00 am to 11:00 am Location: 7929 SW Cirrus Drive, Bldg #23, Beaverton, OR 97008 Cost: $15 at the door (cash or credit). Receive a $5 OFF coupon for the class when you register in advance. (You must present the coupon at time of payment.)
FREE childcare will be available.
Proceeds from the class will be split 50/50 between Mission Mahalo and Good Samaritan Ministries to provide care packages for troops and community services.
For more information and to register for the class, click here.
To hear more of Jen’s story, watch this video:
(If you can’t see the video below, you can watch it on YouTube.)
Here’s an incentive to clean out your closets this weekend. PDXSwap will be hosting a swap for women’s medium-size clothing on Monday, January 12, in Tigard.
Details provided by PDXSwap:
WHAT: Women’s clothing swap for sizes 6–12.
WHEN: Monday, January 12, at 7:00 pm. Please plan to arrive about 10–15 minutes early.
WHERE: Tigard Senior Center, 8815 SW O’Mara Street, Tigard, OR 97223 (map). This is located on the #76 bus line, 1/2 block off SW Hall, on O’Mara. Handicap accessible. Please note that the building is under construction, so you will need to park in the upper lot. The swap will be held on the lower level; there is an elevator as well as stairs.
TIPS TO MAKE SWAPS RUN SMOOTHLY a.k.a. if this is your first swap, here’s how it works…
Scour your closets, drawers, and storage for clean clothes in good condition that you no longer wear, accessories, shoes, belts—basically any wearables (also jr. equivalents). Wash them up and bring them along to add to the swap.
Wear spandex/yoga/bike clothes or a swimsuit under your regular clothes so you don’t have to get naked to try things on (children may be present, and occasionally a janitor has come through near the end of a swap).
There will be two mirrors. If you can bring a mirror, please do.
Bring a bag(s) to carry your treasures home in.
Plan to arrive about 10–15 minutes before 7:00 pm.
At 7:00 pm, we dump all our bags of clothes into rows on the floor (we have an accessories pile in a separate place so no one is hit by an errant shoe or purse). You take what interests you and put it in a pile behind you (or on your chair—that’s your “base” at the swap). When your pile gets rather large, you try on the clothes in your pile, throw back what you don’t want, and put what you do want in the bag(s) that you brought.
There is no limit to the amount you bring or the amount you take home with you. We ask that you be courteous and generous with each other. If you can use it—take it! In fact, if you’re a quilter, felter, or other fabric artist and see something (especially something that is damaged or outdated) that you could incorporate into a cloth project, feel free to take it at the end of the swap when we’re bagging things up.
Depending on how many people show up, the exchange can last from 30–50 minutes.
Leftover clothes will be donated to organization(s) that will pass the clothes along for free.
Last year, KOIN News did a story on a PDXSwap event. Although the venue is different, it will give you an idea of what to expect:
I found two ways to buy the 2009 Portland/Vancouver Entertainment Book for $15. This is the lowest price I’ve seen so far. You’ll recoup your money after using just one or two coupons. The book normally costs $25.
1. You can buy online: I noticed today that the Entertainment Book website has taken $10 off the price of all books and thrown in free shipping. I’m not sure how long the sale will last.
2. Also, from today through Saturday (12/13), you can buy the book for $15 at Walgreens with the $10 off coupon from the weekly ad. You can usually find the ad in the store or you can print out the coupon from the Walgreens website here.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Entertainment Book, it’s full of coupons for restaurants, attractions, movie theaters, events and more. You can visit the Entertainment Book website to get an idea of what coupons are included before you buy.
I just looked through this week’s Albertsons ad and was pleased to see that Quaker products are on sale. Even though the sun is out right now, I know that sweater weather is coming. And for those eight or so months, I know I’ll want to eat a lot of hot oatmeal.
Through Tuesday, September 16, several kinds of Quaker products are on sale for $1.50 per item when you buy 10. In addition to the different kinds of oatmeal that Quaker markets, the sale includes Granola Bites, Breakfast Cookies, Bars and more. You can check out the ad at the Albertsons website.
The price is okay, but I wanted to see if I could save even more. Here’s what I found:
The Quaker Simple Harvest website offers a printable coupon for $1 off any Simple Harvest product, including Simple Harvest oatmeal. The website allows you to print two coupons.
The Quaker oatmeal website offers a printable coupon for $1 off any one box of Quaker Instant Oatmeal. Again, you can print two coupons.
These coupons bring the cost of 10 items down to $11 or $1.10 per item. Better. But…
As you may or may not know, Albertsons honors competitors’ coupons. This means you can use coupons published by Safeway, Thriftway and other grocery stores.
Thriftway’s weekly ad has the “Thriftway Double Coupon,” which offers an additional savings of $0.50 per manufacturer’s coupon, up to four. So by combining the four internet coupons with the Thriftway coupon, I save $6 total.
Now I’m down to $9 for 10 boxes of oatmeal or $0.90 per box. Great. But I’m also one of those people who saves coupon inserts from each Sunday newspaper and…
In last week’s paper, there were several Quaker oatmeal coupons in the Red Plum insert: Quaker Old Fashioned or Quick Oats ($0.50), Quaker Instant Oatmeal ($0.50), and Quaker High Fiber Instant Oatmeal ($1).
With this additional $2 savings, I’ll be paying $0.70 per item. Yum.
As I mentioned, there are other Quaker products, besides oatmeal, on sale. If these products interest you, and you’re a pack rat for Sunday coupon inserts, you can save even more:
In today’s paper (September 14), there’s a coupon for $1 off three Quaker Chewy Granola Bars or Granola Bites. The coupon is in the SmartSource coupon insert.
In last week’s paper, there was also a $0.55 coupon for Quaker Oatmeal To Go.
In the August 10 paper, there was a coupon for $0.75 off two Quaker Chewy Granola Bars or Granola Bites.
I found out about the existence of these coupons from the CouponMom website. The site has a tool called the Virtual Coupon Organizer, which is a database of coupons published in Sunday newspapers. If you’re ever wondering whether there’s a coupon for a specific product, you can do a search for that product and see if anything pops up. To use the database, you need to create a user account, but it is worth it.
If you’ve got all of the coupons I’ve mentioned, you can do all kinds of combinations. And if you can get your hands on multiple Sunday papers (maybe from relatives or neighbors), you’re in great shape. But remember, the sale ends on Tuesday.
(Note: I’m writing this pretty late at night. If you see any flaws in my logic, let me know! … Besides the fact that I’m buying 10 boxes of oatmeal, which seems like a lot. Trust me, I’ll eat through them all, and probably wish I had bought more.)
This is a good price, since you can recoup your money by using just one or two coupons.
The Portland/Vancouver Entertainment Book contains hundreds of coupons for restaurants, sporting events, attractions, stores and travel. The website provides details on the discounts, so you can make sure you’re getting coupons you’d actually use. Coupons expire on November 1, 2008.
If you’re planning a trip to another state, I also recommend checking whether it would be worthwhile to buy a book for your destination.
You can get 60% off purchases at Restaurant.com if you order through the Coupon Mom website and use the code EXTRA at checkout.
Restaurant.com sells discounted gift certificates for restaurants nationwide, about 50 in the Portland area. With the code, you can get, for example, a $25 gift certificate for $4. The code works for any gift certificate purchase.
To use the gift certificates, there are usually minimum purchase requirements, so be sure to read the fine print before deciding to purchase.
And be sure to visit the Coupon Mom regularly for more money-saving ideas!
I never thought I’d buy coupons. Pay money to save money; it didn’t seem intuitive. But my first experience with a coupon clipping service convinced me that, in the right circumstances, buying coupons is worth it.
Last week, grocery chain Albertsons advertised a special that caught my eye:
Not a bad deal in and of itself, but I knew that there was a $1 coupon from the Sunday paper a few weeks ago.
Problem was, I had just one coupon. Even though Portland-area Albertsons stores add an additional $0.50 savings for each coupon used*, one coupon hardly made a difference:
6 All detergents: $15 – $1 coupon savings – $0.50 additional savings = $13.50
Or $2.25 per bottle
But if I could get a coupon for each item purchased, I could reduce my cost substantially:
6 All detergents: $15 – $6 coupon savings – $3 additional savings = $6
Or $1 per bottle
Now this price got my blood pumping.
I decided to visit The Coupon Clippers, a site I had heard about in online coupon forums. Managed by Rachael Woodard, The Coupon Clippers is a coupon clipping service that provides manufacturer’s coupons and rebate forms for a small handling fee.
I ordered 14 coupons for All Small & Mighty, as well as 22 other coupons to use on other sales. The total cost for these coupons was $3.89. If I could do the All deal twice, the cost would be:
12 All detergents: $30 – $12 coupon savings – $6 additional savings = $12
Total cost: $12 + $3.89 (cost of coupons) = $15.89
Or $1.32 per bottle
This wasn’t as good as $1 per bottle, but it was an acceptable price for me. And if I could use the other coupons I had purchased, the cost per item purchased would go down even further.
I ordered the coupons on Tuesday night, and they were shipped on Wednesday. The coupons arrived on Saturday, enough time for me to use them on the sales.
I would definitely use The Coupon Clippers again. The process was problem-free, and the turnaround was as promised. If you don’t have the right coupons on hand and don’t have the ability or motivation to get them in a more economical way, I would recommend giving The Coupon Clippers a try.
Tips for using a coupon clipping service:
Read the fine print. Make sure you understand the ins and outs of the service, such as fees, location (this will give you an indication of shipping time), turnaround time for orders, minimum orders and limits, and customer service. For The Coupon Clippers, I recommend reading the FAQ section of the website before purchasing.
Check turnaround time. Will the coupons arrive in time for you to use them before a sale ends or before the coupons’ expiration date?
Do the math. Calculate the cost of the coupons into your total cost for the items. Is the total cost still acceptable to you?
* Portland-area Albertsons stores allow you to use the Thriftway and Safeway “doubles” coupons from the Oregonian Foodday issue.
In my last post, I talked about coupons. Now, what to do with all those coupons?
Alright, here’s my confession: I’ve been a big slacker lately when it comes to saving money on groceries.
I hope that this blog will help inspire me to do better. Again, it’s a time and desire issue. I just haven’t had the desire to spend time looking through weekly sale ads and matching coupons.
So…I’ve decided to extend my subscription to The Grocery Game. I did the $1 trial. Now the subscription price for 3 months goes up to $10 for 1 store, and $5 for additional stores. I’ve signed up for Albertsons. (Update: After 3 months, I decided to stop using The Grocery Game.)
Before I get to my routine, there are 2 things to keep in mind when looking for deals:
Try new brands. Especially when the item is free. You may find that you like another brand just as much as your old favorite.
Think ahead, stock up. Don’t pass up a free or very cheap item just because you have enough for now. Especially if it’s non-perishable, grab it while the grabbing’s good.
With that, here’s a rundown of my weekly deal-hunting routine:
Looking for Deals
At a minimum, I aim to do the following each week:
Go to Pinching Your Pennies Screaming Deals Around Town Forum. Store sales change each week, starting on Sunday; sometimes people know about the sales and post earlier than Sunday. I usually check toward the end of each week to see if there’s information for the following week or I check on Sunday.
Look for the Rite Aid and Walgreens threads for that week.
Check for free after rebate (FAR) or cheap items I’d like to pursue. I like Rite Aid’s rebate program better than Walgreens’ because it’s all online. But I do both, depending on the free items offered.
See whether anyone has been kind enough to post coupons for the FAR or cheap items that I want. If so, you may see a notation like “SS-10/1″ or “V-10/1.” SS stands for SmartSource and V stands for Valassis.The date is publication date. If I find a deal I want to pursue, and the coupon notation says SS-10/1, I go to the October folder in my filing cabinet and find the SmartSource insert that I dated 10/1.
If there are no coupons listed, check Coupon Mom’s Virtual Coupon Organizer for Oregon to see if there are SS or V coupons for the products I want. I may go one step further and see if coupon websites or manufacturers’ websites have printable coupons.
Similar to Pinching Pennies are Bargainshare’s Grocery Coupons and Deals Forum or the Rite Aid and Walgreens boards on deals.families.com. If I have time, I may check out 2 of the sites to see if there are any differences; usually the information on sales is the same, but the information on combining specific sales to specific coupons or rebates may differ. If you’re not familiar with these sites, you may want to check all 3 over a couple of weeks, and see which you like the best.
Both Rite Aid and Walgreens are a 10-minute drive from my office, so I typically go during a lunch break sometime during the week. Sometimes I’ll go on Sunday if I have time and if the item is something really good, which may mean it could sell out quickly.
On Sunday, I also check The Grocery Game. If I find any deals I want, I track down the coupons in my files. I also get the Safeway and Thriftway doubles coupons from the Oregonian FOODday insert (delivered on Tuesdays/Wednesdays). These coupons add 50 cents to any manufacturer’s coupon. Albertsons allows you to use 8 (4 from Safeway, 4 from Thriftway) per shopping trip. Albertsons accepts all coupons from any grocery store in the Portland area.If I need extra FOODday newspapers, I grab a couple for free from the FOODday box at a nearby apartment complex. Does anyone have a list of the apartment complexes that have FOODday boxes?