Monthly Archives: December 2011

Quick Start Savings Part II: The Stockpile

After you get a handle on your current financial state, you need a stockpile.  A stockpile is a hoarder-esque cabinet of every non-perishable good you would possiblt need.  I currently have a years supply of:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body Wash / Soap
  • Deoderant
  • Toilet Paper
  • Napkins
  • Detergent
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Tissues
  • You get where I’m going with this…

The key to a stockpile is to find free stuff and buy a ton of it.  A few months ago CVS had a fantastic deal on Tide detergent – each 42 load bottle cost me around 30 cents after Extra Bucks and manufacturer coupons. I bought 15 bottles, which will probably last me a while. Most of my cleaning supplies were bought at Target – their prices, combined with Target store coupons and manufacturer coupons made them free.

Food is a little trickier due to expiration dates.  One of my staples is diet soda, which only lasts a few months (regular soda lasts much longer).  Cereal is pretty hard to find for free, but if you stack coupons it can be as little as $1 per box. Check out local saving blogs and national blogs to find out what’s free (or very cheap) each week.

To start a stockpile, you need to start clipping coupons, which can be found in a variety of places:

  • Sunday Paper (my #1 choice) – you can buy the paper for $2 at the store, or you can get it delivered for about 50 cents a week – I recommend getting multiple subscriptions.
  • Junk Mail – that stuff you throw away contains coupons – look for the Red Plum and SmartSource inserts, money mailers, etc.
  • Dedicated coupon websites like coupons.com
  • Manufacturer websites
  • Store websites

Ask your friends and neighbors to keep an eye out for coupons, and keep all of your coupons in a binder, sorted by category. Click here for more information on making your binder.

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Quick Start Savings Part I: Current Financial Status

Faced with a financial crisis, be it unemployment, looming medical bills or any event that will radically alter your standard of living, you need a quick start plan to get into a savings routine.  This is happening to more than a few prople right now, and here is the plan I’m proposing.

Part 1. Current Financial Status: What is going on with your money right now?

  • Get a mint.com account – load all of your credit cards, bank accounts, etc, and go through the last few months of uploaded expenses.  Where are you spending your money?
  • Figure out the bare minimum amount of money you need to survive. This includes:
    • Mortgage
    • Insurance
    • Utilities
    • Car Payment
    • Cell Phone and/or Internet
    • $100/month for food
    • Medication and other vital expenses
  • Look at your savings (if you have any) and figure out how many months you can get by spending money on just the necessities.

However long that is, it’s time to start cutting back on your expenses. Some easy places to save a ton of money are:

You can save money on your mortgage and utilities, but those are more complex, and will be discussed later. Next, you need to start building your stockpile.

Today’s Haul: $112 Savings

If I save any amount of money in a day, it’s a pretty good day.  But when I am able to save over $100 in one day, that’s what I would call a haul.

$79: Shoprunner.com

Thanks to Facebook, I got a free 1-year membership to Shoprunner.com.  All I had to do was “like” their facebook page and I now have free 2-day shipping from a ton of stoes on the internet for an entire year.  I’ve thought about signing up with them before, but couldn’t really justify the purchase.  Now I don’t have to!

For those who don’t know, Shoprunner.com offers free 2-day shipping with NO minimum order to over 50 websites, like Drugstore.com, Toys-r-us, Newegg, etc.  It’s like Amazon Prime but a ton of places instead on one.

$33: Lot18.com

A few moths ago, I signed up with Lot 18, a fine foods and wine e-tailer, and got a $20 credit using a promo code I found on Slickdeals. They are currently having a sale on 2007 Ruston Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvingnon.  I picked up 2 bottles that retail for $45 and paid $11.86 after the Lot 18 sales price and my signup credit. Bottoms up!

My Amazing Saving Weekend

I wanted to let you guys know about two more medical discounts I found last weekend.  The first…

Contact Lenses

My doctor charges me $80 per 90 count box, so if I want 6 months of lenses it would usually be around $320.  This time I used Vision Direct, which is a super low-cost contact lens site.  I went through Ebates, which had 16% cash back at Vision Direct (it was a daily double). They have a new customer coupon for 25% off your total order.  My final cost after cash back was $193, which is an amazing 40% off retail price.  After I mail in my acuvue rebates, it will be nearly 50% off retail.  Take that, eye doctor.

Next, a new method for Prescription Medication savings.

For those of you who don’t know, I have a highly acidic esophagus, which requires a very expensive medication – like $47 per month after insurance.  It’s crazy.  Anyway, I was talking to my friend (whose dad is a pharmacist) to see what my other options were, and I pulled up the medication website on my phone.  These websites have coupons, people. I had no idea.  This one covers the out of pocket cost up to $55.  I just filled the prescription today and it cost me $0.  And according to the coupon, all of my refills will be free as well.  All because I checked out the drug manufacturer’s website.  I pulled up the websites for some of my other prescriptions and found 2 more coupons.

Now combine that with the prescription transfer methods I use on a regular basis and we are potentially making a profit of $60 and getting free medication. How fantastic is that?

So I saved $174 this weekend just by using the internet. That’s a pair of shoes!

Getting Started

For people looking to get into couponing, here is what you need to prepare:

A Coupon Binder

This is where you’re going to keep all of your coupons, organized by category.  For information about what goes into a coupon binder, click here.

Deal Email Address

Being aware of the latest and greatest deals means getting a large number of emails.  Keep them separate from your regular emails by opening another Gmail or Yahoo account, like LaurensCouponEmails@yahoo.com.

Deal Facebook Page

There are great deals on Facebook that come from liking a company’s page, but they usually require access to your wall.  Unless you want your wall flooded with messages about how you like wheat thins, get a separate account for your coupons.

Twitter

Sales and deals can be gone in a matter of minutes.  Having a Twitter account on your smartphone and following the tweets of companies and deal sites will let you know what’s happening in real time.

Bookmarked Pages

There are a few sites you should go to every day, so bookmark them on your browser. The basic ones are Slickdeals, Free Stuff Times, and Retail Me Not.

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