Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings


A year and a half ago, I stood in a store, reeling from sticker shock. Although I'd used coupons for years, the challenge of making ends meet during unemployment was daunting.

Not long after that fateful day, my friend, Miriam, introduced me to Swagbucks. It's a Free Internet search engine that rewards you with points that can be exchanged for many items. My favorite is the $5.00 Amazon gift certificate.

Miriam then told me about blogs that take much of the work out of putting deals together with coupons. Did you know that you can use a manufacturer's coupon with a Target coupon? I didn't. Below are some ways I stretch my budget:

1) The 2 cent and 3 cent coupons of yesteryear have given way to more generous savings. I had a $5.00 coupon not long ago for a hair care product. Coupled with a dynamite sale and a store savings program (in this case Rite Aid's +Up Rewards), I paid pennies for the product. Sign up for their Wellness card and also CVS' Extra Bucks Card, and see your savings grow. Walgreen's offers Register Rewards without any special cards.

2) I hang out at blogs like Hip2Save, The Krazy Coupon Lady, Moneysavingmom.com, Forthemommas, and Chachingonashoestring. They tell me about potential deals at my favorite stores and where to find the best coupons.

3) Swagbucks feeds my book-buying habit. Other folks purchase their kids college textbooks, save for Christmas, or even purchase groceries with the Amazon gift cards they earn. Check the link in this post to sign up for an excellent program. You can even get Swagbucks for printing out and redeeming grocery coupons - a double blessing.

4) Freebies - the above-mentioned blogs will also alert you to freebies out there. This week I got a coupon for a free, full-size bottle of Pantene shampoo, as well as a sample of Honey Nut Cheerios.

With all those great savings, you can put aside some cash for that writers conference you've been longing to attend for umpteen years or purchase a new printer. When your church or local food pantry has a collection, you'll be able to donate items you have on hand or purchase at a sharp discount.

Thanks, Miriam, for helping me be a better steward of my resources. Now, I'm telling others, so they can benefit as well.

Jump into the couponing waters! It's fun. Do you have any money-saving tips or unique ways you raised funds for charity or a writers conference? Any testimonials from fellow Swaggernauts?

Note: The link to Swagbucks is my referral link. Swagbucks is FREE!

20 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. I'm pleased it's helping to buy books for you .. and I'm sure many of us will be looking for similar ways of saving money .. I know people are always on the look out for a little extra to stretch funds ..

Thanks - long may it last .. cheers Hilary

Linda O'Connell said...

Susan, Thanks for these wonderful sites, every penny counts.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

Swagbucks is available to UK residents. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Linda -

They not only tell you about deals, but also teach you the basics of couponing.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. useful to know .. and I'll definitely bear it in mind .. as I 'see' you quite often! Other things on my mind for now ..

Cheers - Hilary

Chatty Crone said...

I am a swagbucks member too!

Jessica Nelson said...

These are such practical tips, I'm just overwhelmed by the idea of trying to get everything organized and together. Even when I cut coupons, I forget to use them. Blech. Thanks for the ideas!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Very impressive, Susan.

I like Swagbucks, and now my husband is into it, too. We always get the Amazon coupons.

See you in a week! Can't wait!!!

Love
Jen

quietspirit said...

Susan:
I try to do all my online searches through Goodsearch. They pay registered charities for each search. There is Goodbuy, a branch of Goodsearch, that donates certain percentages to registered charities for each purchase made. The percentages are all different. Once a year the faith based nonprofit I work with receives a check.

Britt Mitchell said...

A generous, helpful, and interesting blog, Susan. We get a lot of blog posts telling us about conferences, books, and resources, but hardly ever do we have any that help us afford those things!

I share books with my mother-in-law. If she gets one, she passed it on to me and vice versa.

Thanks and it's good to be back with you :-)

~Britt

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

Of course, your first priority is Mum. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Chatty -

Very cool! We'll have to compare notes one of these days.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

It's like anything else: Eat that elephant one bite at a time. You might want to start by picking up a coupon organizer at your local office supply store. I think Walmart and Target also carry them.

I started off slowly during the learning curve. There's no rush. Check out the blogs. I think you'd really enjoy Moneysavingmom.com. She has articles on time management, kid activities, recipes, and money management in addition to coupon deals. Her kids are all under 7 (two girls and a boy).

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

Wow! That's great. We'll have lots to talk about when you get here. 7 days and counting!

(Did I put enough exclamation points in here?)

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

This is an excellent way to give to charity. I've heard of several search engines that do this.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Britt -

I was so excited to see your name pop up in my email! Welcome back. Are you posting at your blog?

My Mom gets to read all my books. She's become quite adept at critiquing them. She's usually right. Maybe I should have her do book reviews. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for sharing Swagbucks with me; it's been a good experience. Thanks also for this info. I'll have to check out the links I am not familiar with.

Happy writing!
Blessings,
Karen

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

I'm glad you're enjoying Swagbucks. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Faith Imagined said...

I have read a lot of good things about Swagbucks. I need to check into it more. Thanks for the info. It is really needed during these hard times.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

If you need more information, I'll be happy to assist you. Swagbucks won't make you rich, but it's another tool to help you trim your budget.

susanjreinhardt AT gmail DOT com

Blessings,
Susan :)