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Archive for February, 2007

Frugal Out of the Box ideas

February 21st, 2007 at 05:44 pm

Just a few random ideas & observations on how to extra frugal. This is another of my sorta long posts. As always YMMV.

Idea #1) Always look for multiple ways to get a benefit from something. My latest example: I wanted to use coupons (from a mail promotion + doing a survey for what I thought of their store) to buy some cat food. It was on sale, and I had two children staying with me last weekend. I went while the kids were here and spent a long time (close to an hour)going around to all the animals they had - it was like going to a mini-zoo for them. I then bought the food, which was on sale. After sale and coupons, the 10 lb. bag dropped from $19 down to $7. (yeah, it was the expensive type).

Idea #2) Don't be afraid to try and be super frugal, especially if you live by yourself. There was lots of ice & snow built up the past week. I used my buckets and a hammer and filled them up with ice, and after they melted I have been using them to fill the toilets. OK, that may sound nuts, but my last 3 month water and sewage bill was $10. How many people can claim a $3/mo. water bill?

Idea #3) I'm finding more of these survey requests attached to receipts. I have done them now for Burger King (Free chicken sandwich with drink & fries purchase), Pet Smart ($3 off any purchase), and JCPenny (15% off any purchase). OK, I don't shop much, but sheesh, it is getting easy to get things for much less (see my last post on getting gasoline cheap).

Idea #4) Getting items free after rebate is just amazing, even after I have done it so often. The past weekend I bought enough shampoo to last me for a year, and I should get all the money I spent back, plus some extra (I had a coupon for the stuff too!).

Idea #5) Finally, I have been reading ideas for college students to save money, so here is one of my own. One idea I never see is for the kids to learn to dry their wash in their room, instead of paying to use the clothes dryers. When I went to college, the washers didn't cost much, but the dryers sure did, and they were usually busier than the washers! I took to school a small drying rack I stored under my bed (thanks, grandma), and I also strung up a line I could take down quickly from one corner of the room to another. This saved me about $2/week. OK, it doesn't make you rich, but you should be there to learn, not go out and party. And I had very little money, so that extra really helped.

Don't pay full price for gas

February 12th, 2007 at 05:53 pm

I just wanted to enter this little thought for the day (or month in my case). If you're anywhere responsible with credit cards, get the ones that pay you back for your gas purchases. I mean really, why pay more for gas when you don't have to? I started my quest for cheaper gas last July by getting a Chase card that gives me 5% back for gas purchases. Its still my backup card when I don't have better options. I followed that up in September by signing up for a Shell CC. It gave me $40 back on three gas purchases. I ended up getting $70 of gas for $30. After that ran out, I got a Citgo card that gave me 20% back on the purchases. That ran out the end of the year (yeah, the good rates don't last long). Now I am on my new Citgo card (Citgo Plus). It gives me $5 back on every purchase over $15 - basically a 33% back card. This one lasts through the end of March. Next in my sights is a Hess card (10% back) or Chevron (I forget, but I think it was 20% back). Hopefully after that there will be one for Exxon/Mobil or Texaco. And maybe by next year I can start the cycle over again?

I will say having a fuel efficient compact probably helps my expenses more, but I like saving money easily whenever possible.

Coupons in the unlikeliest of places

February 5th, 2007 at 05:08 pm

To avoid another entry talking about my 0% bank transfers (actually there is no news), here is some odd places I have found coupons in the past two months.

I took my dog for a walk before Christmas and saw an envelope that a $10 off a $10 purchase coupon normally came in. On a lark I reached down and opened it expecting nothing inside. It was wet, and stepped on, but the coupon was still inside. I took it home, dried it and took it to the store, and they accepted it no problem. Extra free Christmas clothes for me.

Last week I was entering a store where I was going to use some coupons for free items, and I saw one of those insta-print coupons you get at the registers. I picked it up, hoping it was for something I liked. I was surprised by a $2 off any purchase coupon. I definitely used that one right away.

And for high impact saving, I did better than getting items for free - I got paid to get items for free. Early in January there were a few get "item for free" coupons in the Sunday insert section. After using them, I checked the recycling center for more. In the three weeks since then I visited 5 times and came away with 11 unused inserts. On a lark I checked the Rite-Aid site where you can get rebates online. Well one item I could get for free had a $2 rebate in both January and February. It was a max of 2 rebates each month. So I am getting $8 in rebates. I had extra coupons, so I bought more there and then applied for rebates for my grandmother and a friend. Now thats what I like, coupons that I can make money with.