Before my life went completely crazy, I had a very useful hobby.
In 2011 I lost my job, had uterine cancer resulting in a radical hysterectomy, and then later that year surgery on my foot to remove a bone that kept breaking. Yeah sounds painful, it was. Our home went from two descent incomes to one just like that, and the second person became a financial burden with many medical bills. (My words not his.)
I felt awful and cried feeling like I was not contributing to the household. One day I remembered a blog I read once months before that talked about living on a budget and couponing. Hmmm…budget and couponing. Hmmm…couponing. I have heard of the extreme couponing, but this blogger’s method was not extreme. That is what I needed. I did not have the storage for a lot of stuff I do not need, and clearing the shelves bothers me. I hate empty shelves.
You need to know something about me. In the past if I had a nickel, I spent a dime or even worse a quarter, that equalled $35.20 in the red in my bank account. My husband is the same way. Our finances were not in the best shape, but we were doing okay with two incomes, the scraping by kind of okay.
So enter in the blog I read. I thought I can do this. If I can save us some money I will be doing something to help our finances. So I did. I loved it. It often made me laugh as I taught my Mother how to save money with coupons, because she is the queen of saving money. Over the years if we found an awesome sale we could call her and proudly proclaiming, “I found a _____sale.” The ____ is her name.
I am excited that I earned the nickname “Coupon Queen”. I knew what was on sale, where, and what coupons would matchup. I knew coupon policies better than managers of stores, and I expected them to comply. (This is the very reason I have only watched about 10 minutes of Extreme Couponing. They do not obey the policies on the show. You cannot realistically do what they do, nor do I feel like we need to. Personal opinion. Stores have even come out and said that they break their own policies for the show.)
I would do really well on our shopping trips, and yes, occasionally, if I hit a sale right, I would come out with free items, or with the store owing me a couple of dollars. But that was such a rare thing. I think my best shopping trip was at Harris Teeters $400 worth of groceries for $70. We ate on that for a while.
I miss couponing, but I do not do the shopping now. Having someone else buy with your coupons and list does not give me that save rush. Hopefully one day I feel not be afraid of going out in public again.
For Christmas my saving grace was Amazon. Amazon Prime $79 year free two-day shipping, plus you get Amazon Instant Video. What made that a sweeter deal is website that I found a few years ago.
Ebates is great. You can sign up clicking Ebates. What do I like about it? First is that it is FREE! Really free. Second, when you sign up you get a gift card of your choice, I think when I signed up I chose $10 Target. I am not sure what the cards are that you get to choose from now. Now the really awesome part. You get CASH BACK from stores that you already shop at. So my Christmas from Amazon, I was able to get 4% cash back. I think Amazon is at 1% now. Even when you renew your cell phones. CASH BACK!
Another way I have used it is for Wal-Mart. I believe it was 2% cash back at the time. Wal-Mart has site to store. I order my items through Ebates on the Wal-Mart website, and the item puts cash in my pocket, not to mention it is paid for and you have someone pick up the items for you if you cannot go yourself. I think other stores have this also.
I have received almost $100 back from Ebates. They send your “BIG FAT CHECK” quarterly.
Another way to save or even make money is Ibotta. I really like Ibotta. It is a smartphone app, IOS and Android compatible. You look at the offers and if they have an offer you like you select it, buy it, scan your receipt, and you get money. Bing Bang Boom. You can stack this easily with other coupons, because it is a cash back situation. Love it! The one thing really unique about Ibotta is that they get coupons from manufactures and items that normally do not have coupons. Like a couple of weeks ago there was an offer for $1 back on milk. They are running a special now that if you register now, yes it is free (that is all I do) but as I was saying you register now, and redeem and offer in 10 days you will automatically get $2. $2 is $2.
With today’s economy we all need all the help we can get. I will try to share more of my money-saving ideas along and along. I like helping others save money, I miss teaching others about couponing. I have thought about starting a website dedicated to it, but then things went crazy. Finances are usually a huge stresses for us, or they are to me. Maybe if I can share a few tricks of the trade that will help relieve some of your stress, I will feel better and so will you.
Again, please do not be confused. That is not a current promotion from Harris Teeter. It was just one that I had taken a picture of.
Happy Saturday and hope you can save some money. Please use the links to sign up so I can get credit. (grovel, grovel) ~Hope