Happy Cyber Monday! ..and busiest shopping time of year

    I'm big on online shopping. Save gas money, save time, save money by researching to find similar items at a lower prices, and at this time of year, save yourself from fighting traffic, long lines, and save your life [have you seen how cray cray people get on Black Friday?] So my opinion is that if you're online shopping at all you're doing it right, BUT if you're not using EBATES, you're missing out!
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SO EASY:

     EBATES is pretty much the only way I shop online and it's so easy. With over 1,700 stores I never have trouble finding what I need! I simply log into my EBATES account, search for the store or the item I'm looking for, click to open a shopping cart at that store, and start shopping and earning!
    Saving money is something else I'm 'big' on so I'm always on the lookout for great deals which are guaranteed at EBATES. Even if they don't have a current coupon code for the store you're wanting to shop at, you're always going to get cash back. On average, I usually get about 3.5% cash back. There are stores that only give 2% cash back, there are stores with 10% or more, and some days stores have special "double cash back" times [like today!]! Even as little as 1% is still something in my eyes.

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE:

    If you've seen the commercial on TV you've probably thought, "no way" - and I can tell you, the amount some of those ladies have 'gotten back' is either blown out of proportion, combined from several years, or they have a slight shopping addiction. My first check was around $15, nowhere near $900, but that's my half of a date-night dinner out, a movie ticket, or a few specialty coffee drinks at Starbucks! I honestly thought it was too good to be true but so far it's worked. If I'm already shopping online, I may as well get a little extra back!

DIRECTLY FROM THE EBATES WEBSITE:

"People often ask: "This sounds too good to be true, how are you able to do it?" It really is quite simple. Just like almost every other online shopping center, we get a commission from the stores when you make a purchase. Instead of keeping that money - like almost all other sites do - we share it with you!"

SIGN UP NOW:

    Signing up is so easy and EBATES does not ask for any bank or credit card information, simply an address for where they should send the check. Which, ps., they're also willing to send to a charity of your choosing if you wish. You can learn more by clicking the link below! Happy Shopping!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back
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Budget Talk

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    Is your resolution to start saving money by couponing? This post is totally not to trash "Extreme Couponers," but to inform those who may be getting into couponing and falling into the traps of couponing. I don't know if I can still categorize myself as 'newlywed,'  but I will anyway. As a newlywed, I quickly learned that my college diet of cereal, peanut butter and jelly, Lean Pockets, Goldfish, and carrots and apples for every meal wouldn't cut it. I had to start shopping for actual meal food to support this "growing boy." Our first grocery bill made me want to cry. I had never spent so much in a grocery store! Enter idea: start cutting coupons!
    These are some things I learned about cutting coupons:
  • It's time consuming.
  • They don't work if you leave them clipped to the fridge door. Or in your purse.
  • Couponing can actually make you spend more money by enticing you to purchase things that you wouldn't normally buy. And then you may or may not ever use that item..
  • Purchasing something because the coupon says, "buy one get TWO FREE!" is NOT a good idea if you have never purchased the product before - it's wasteful after you try the first yogurt and it was awful so the other two just sit there and grow mold. This is also not a good idea if you have to use an extra bathroom as a storage room. "Honey, where are the paper towels?" "Oh, in the shower!" - True story. I think that was from a Wife Swap or Hoarders show.
  • Percentages aren't always as big as they seem! Beware Target Cartwheel users: 5% off doesn't even cover tax anymore!
     Tips for Couponing:
  • Try using apps on your phone to spend less time cutting!
  • Don't let it become to stressful or overwhelming. Saving money should be fun!
  • Only coupon for things you need!
  • Along with the first one, don't buy something just because it's on sale.
  • If you're going to do a "buy one get TWO FREE" deal - check expiration dates! Is this something you can "get rid of" or eat before it expires? In addition, set reminders for Groupon expiration dates and read the rules closely!
  • If you can, wait until you're ready to check out before looking for coupons. Target and my local grocery store both have free WiFi in stores and they have couponing apps [seriously the way to go]. I avoid spending excess money by looking at what's in my cart then searching in the keyword search bar for that item [or on Target's app you can just scan the item with your smart phone. Genius.].
  • If you ignore the previous tip, you'll end up spending more money and time doing this: Looking through Target's coupon app before heading in, Ooh! "20% shirts" and "5% shoes," head straight to those departments and force yourself to find something just because it's "such a great deal!" Who knows how much time you'll spend trying to find something to fit the "deal."
    I'm not a pro or extreme couponer by any means, and I am definitely not an expert. But these tips are from personal experience of how I [in a sense] lost money from couponing. If you want to learn more and save more, I recommend using:
..along with any coupon app your local grocery store might offer! Happy Saving!

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Happy New Year!

    Turns out, due to the mail and packaging services being behind and the fact that I only sent them out a week prior to Christmas, our cards were super late - sorry friends and family! This year I resolve to getting them out earlier in December so that there is less of a chance of that happening again!
    As part of my resolutions for the New Year, I am beginning "Tuesday Tips" and "Friday Favorites." I will try to post as many Tuesdays and Fridays as possible; but with work, trying to get a new hygiene license, and preparing for a move that we don't have a date for yet.. it might be tricky! A move? Yes, we will be moving in 2014! No set date yet though! The new city [revealed later, unless our moms, dads, or siblings have already spilled the beans!] wants Tyler there May 1, but they want to keep him here until his replacement arrives in June - so for now, the two cities are battling it out!
    Today's tip, and many Tuesday Tips, will be about budgeting. Everyone's making resolutions for the New Year and this is a popular one! I feel like [while yes, I am a shopaholic] this is something I have a grasp on and can help share my budgeting and saving tips with you! It also helps me to have it written down and out there so I can "practice what I preach" so to say. Here it goes!

If You Can Wait, Wait!

    I know. This is the hardest thing to do, ever. You love that over-priced sparkly pillow and it would look just perfect on your couch. Or that $90 sweater that would look great with your new pencil skirt. Happens to the best of us. We rationalize spending on things that go on sale a month later and we haven't even used or worn them yet! I will admit, there are things that are not worth the wait and sometimes you just need to pamper yourself, but do it within reason!
"Good things come  
                to those who wait.."

Worth the Wait: Holiday Decor.
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    This year I was out of town, so I did not get to go after Christmas shopping for deals on Christmas decor - even my husband was disappointed we missed getting more Christmas decorations. Even though I missed out, by some grace of God, there were a few things left at Pier 1 when I stopped in last night. I picked up the ornaments above for about $1 each. To begin with, the ballet flats were just under $4 and the high heel just under $6, and I got the flats for $0.96 and the high heel for $1.38. Quite the steal. I purchased several of the flats to use under bows for next year's Christmas wrapping.
    All holiday decor is like this! Once the season is over, everything goes on major sale so they can get rid of it and stock the next item. You may be a little short on decor this year, but you won't be short on cash from over-spending, and next year you'll have a great selection!
How to Wait and Deciding What is Worth the Wait

It's a long process, but I make myself do this with most items and it's saved me a lot of money!

1. Take a deeeep breath and walk away from the item.
2. Go home and wait a minimum of 3 days. But preferably a week.
3. After the required time, reevaluate. Have you forgotten about the item? If so, not only is this item worth the wait, it might be something you can live without. Can't get it off your mind, dream about it nightly? Continue on before rushing to the store:
4. Make sure you have funds for the item in your spending money [complete breakdown on how I get my "Spending Money" number to come in a future Tuesday post] - not only should you have the funds for the item, but you should have 1.25x the price. Ex. If an item is $25, make sure you have at least $31.25 available. This accounts for tax, a pack of gum or lip balm you might pick up in the check out lane, and leaves you a little bit of cushion so you're not maxing out your spending money.
5. Have a vision for the item. If it's a clothing item, do you have at least 2 outfits prepared for it? Shoes, same thing. Home decor, if it's not holiday decor, is it something that can be set out for at least 2 seasons of the year, and is it a durable, "years to come" piece? You get the picture; make sure it's not something you'll only wear or use once.
6. Still in love with the item? Check online. Sometimes other stores have the exact same item at a lower price - just watch out for taxes and shipping fees. Also, check the store for any coupons or online deals. No luck? Proceed to step 7.
7. Head to the store and find it. If the item isn't there, I tell myself it wasn't meant to be. If the item is there, I do three things [I told you, long process!]:
  • Pick it up and reevaluate. Again, think of just how you'll use the item. Also, if it's clothing, try it on! Some things look great on the hanger and awful on.
  • Walk away without it. If it's painful, keep walking. Graze down a few isles and come back to the item to see if you still feel the same way about it.
  • Count. Is it the last one? or are there plenty there? If the answer is plenty, it might be worth waiting to see if it goes on sale at a later date. Last one, or only a few left? Proceed to final step.
8. Buy it or Wait. You're seriously thinking, "but I did wait.. a whole week!" After truthfully [see steps 4 and 5] going through the steps, if you've decided it's needed, buy it! You've waited long enough. If it's still if-fy, then wait a little longer. I once walked away from a necklace that was $30 thinking it was over-priced for dainty costume jewelry. I repeated these steps a total of 3 times. The 3rd time I went back to the store, the necklace was over 1/2 off. Definitely worth the wait!

    Yes. The process is long, and painful, but worth it. I can honestly say I've saved a TON of money and stayed in budget by being patient and waiting! What's meant to be in your closet will always find a way to be in your closet.

Happy Saving!
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