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At The Mall Today...

I was at the mall today and lucked into a sale at The Children's Place - everything in the store was 30% off. I signed up for their store card and got an additional 10% off, for a total discount of 40%. Not bad. I bought some clothes for the kids for Christmas.

I then went to Old Navy where they were having at 50% sale - but on only some of the items. I found a pair of pants that I liked for my daughter, but they weren't marked down. I thought I'd ask anyway, and made a firm decision to not purchase them if they weren't marked down.

I asked the cashier (who overheard me tell my friend I wasn't going to buy them unless they were marked down) and she told me that they had a "promo discount" of 25%. Hmmm. I bought them, all the while wondering if the discount would have been applied if I hadn't asked about it...
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It Pays To Compare Prices

I'm lucky I'm a numbers nerd (lol). A lot of people, my hubby included, don't have the time or patience to calculate and compare per unit pricing.

Today I went to Shopper's Drug Mart, specifically for a couple of their "limit 4" sales items. Any time a store has a quantity limit, it's usually a good price, designed to get you in the door. If you can leave with only four of the "limit 4" items, you're bound to come out ahead.

Today's Shopper's "limit 4" sale was on toilet paper. I bought my four packs of 12 rolls for $3.99/pkg., and went fleeing for the exits, ignoring all the pretty Christmas displays... (!!! Ahh!!! Christmas shopping :-)

I got home and did the math, and sure enough:

Shoppers: $3.99 for 12 2ply rolls (352 sheets, ttl 4224) = $0.000944 per sheet
: $19.89 for 36 2ply rolls (425 sheets, ttl 15,300) = $0.0013 per sheet

Good to know...
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Photo Calendar Sale

I usually order photo calendars every year as Christmas gifts, and the best price I've found so far was $14.99 each.

Until this year that is: Staples Copy and Print is having a "buy one get one free" sale. That means their highest price calendar, the "deluxe", which is regularly $20, is now $10 (if you buy two of course). This promotion ends November 28th.

The net results of that is this year I was able to get one MORE calendar than I got last year, at HALF the price that I paid last year.

Works for me!
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Tackling Credit Card Debt

Here's a tried and true method for dealing with credit card debt that many have had success with. I thought I'd review it here for anyone who hasn't heard of this method or tried it themselves yet:

1) Pay the minimum on all your cards except for the one with the highest interest; on that one pay as much as you can.

2) Once that highest interest card is paid off, take that money that you were paying on it and apply it to your card with the next highest rate.

3) Continue on down until all the cards are paid.

This is assuming, of course, that you're not charging more on the cards than you're paying... if you're not, then it's an organized, sure fire way of definitely paying them all off.
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Organizing Coupons

One of the deterrents I faced to actually using the coupons I had so meticulously clipped was the fact that I could never find the ones I needed while in the store. I finally came up with a simple system that works for me:

  1. Sort coupons into piles by BRAND
  2. Paper clip each pile
  3. Put the piles in an order that works for you (alphabetically, by product type) and store them in a zip loc bag in your purse.
Voila! If you see Tide on sale, you flip through the clips until you get to your Tide coupons. I tried clipping by product type but found it faster to clip by brand, because by brand is usually how the coupons are redeemed.

For those of you who are interested in a more sophisticated system, there is a neat product called The Couponizer, featured in this post at

Happy shopping!


Saving Money On Cat Litter

We ran out one day, so as a temporary measure I lined the box with newspaper (we get four free local papers and TONS of fliers every week).

I haven't looked back. I would never have tried it in the first place because I thought that cats need to bury their waste, so why would they use the newspaper? They still try to bury it (my cat is forever pawing at the newsprint, wondering why it won't cover her, um, deposit). As long as the paper is in the box that they associate with litter, it's all the same to them.

The nice thing is, because they can't bury it, you're motivated to change it more frequently. Some people may see this as a disadvantage, however I find it easier to pick up and dispose of the paper rather than scoop around digging for stuff (it's less messy too, and you'd wash your hands either way anyway).

The drawback is that you can't recycle the newspaper once it's been used, but how environmentally friendly is cat litter anyway?


The Danger Signs by Suze Orman

I'm watching The Suze Orman show and she just finished covering 6 warning signs of impending financial ruin, i.e. "the point of no return". I flipped open my laptop and started madly typing as she spoke. Here's what she said:

You are approaching the point of no return if the following is true:

1) You owe money on a credit card(s) with balances increasing every month, and you are only able to pay the minimum.

2) You need to take a loan from a retirement plan or mortgage to pay your credit card or living expenses.

3) You purchase necessities (food, for example) using credit cards.

4) You are living on cash advances.

5) You are falling behind on bills.

6) You can no longer afford life or health insurance.

(Phew... I don't feel so bad ;-)

10 Things To Try Using Less Of

Why not? You may be using more than you need. It's worth a try anyway...

1) Shampoo

2) Conditioner

3) Paper towels

4) Dishwasher detergent

5) Laundry detergent

6) Fabric softener

7) Juice (add some water - dentists recommend this anyway)

8) Ground beef (try cutting back in recipes: when you purchase it, instead of buying by the pound, buy three pounds and divide that into four portions. Then use one of those portions where a recipe would call for a full pound).

9) Cream in your coffee. (seriously??!! Yes, Jeanne, just try it ;-)

10) Toilet paper. I remember when I was a child my Dad would ask me to run and get some TP so he could clean his glasses: "But only ONE square, OK? I don't need more than that. Just one."


15 Ways To Save Money On Kids' Clothes

Here are some ideas for saving money on kids clothes:

1) Hand me downs.

2) Thrift stores.

3) Buy some neutral, unisex pieces.

4) If your daughter is slender like mine, some of last years' pants (depending on the cut and style) can work as this year's Capri's.

5) Cold water wash and hang to dry items that aren't as dirty, to reduce wear and tear on the fabric.

6) Buy items too large so you can get use out of them longer.

7) Swap meets.

8) Ask for clothes as gifts (luckily both my kids love receiving clothes so they never wish they'd gotten a toy instead).

9) Browse through clearance racks and buy high value items even if they're too big. For example my son at the moment is wearing an adorable blue football sweater that I bought new from a Zellers clearance rack when I was still pregnant with him. Hanging in his closet are larger items, bought new on clearance, that he'll grow into.

10) Sell the stuff you can no longer use, if you don't have anyone to exchange or hand me down to. I know people who have made some spare change selling their kids' too small items on
websites such as eBay, Craigslist, and in garage sales.

11) Shop at garage sales.

12) If you've purchased something full price from stores such as Old Navy or The Gap, check afterwards to see if that item has gone on sale. Bring in your receipt for a partial refund.

13) Buy off season. This October I bought my daughter a skirt at Wal Mart (from the last of their summer items) that was regularly $12 and had been marked down to $3.

14) Keep track of sales.

15) Take advantage of programs such as Sears' KidVantage.


Sport Mart Sale

If you need higher end sports shoes (my poor feet have been feeling the "cheap shoes woes" with all the high volume walking I do), Sport Mart quite often has "buy one get the second half price" for their footwear. Today my husband and I each got a new pair with this discount.



Circuit City Tip

Here is an interesting tidbit for Circuit City shoppers... I read this warning on about Circuit City price tag strategies.

Apparently they have a policy about keeping the price tags the same at every store, so if a certain store wants to raise the price, they don't tag the item, and then raise the price, then apply a "discount". In reality the customer may be paying the regular price or even a higher one.

8 Tips For Saving Money On Food

Saving money on food is something we can all do. Here are some ideas that we've done in our home:

1) Grow your own spices (SO easy, and so delicious fresh :-)

2) Never buy ANYTHING already prepared. Grate your own cheese, for example.

3) Portion control! Start noticing how much food gets disposed of - in the trash, compost, to the dog, etc., and gradually scale back the amount you serve accordingly.

4) Try generics. It's true that some name brands are better (i.e. you get what you pay for), but many are no different and you won't know unless you try. Buy the smallest size of a generic brand to try it out, to minimize waste if you don't like it.

5) Mix generics and brand names to make the expensive kind last longer. Peanut butter is a good example - my daughter loves Kraft and isn't as fond of the cheaper Presidents Choice, but when I mix them together she doesn't notice.

6) Cook with less meat. There are excellent sources of meatless protein that are more cost effective.

7) Use coupons for items that are already on sale.

8) Invest in a bread machine. Easy, yummy, nutritious, and cost effective... what more can you want?

6 Saving Money Tips For Parents

Here are some saving money ideas for parents:

1) Limit your kids' exposure to television ads. I have noticed that as soon as I switch away from Treehouse (which has no commercials) to another children's station and my daughter is inundated with toy ads, she starts asking for stuff. Her birthday list now has "Bratz" instead of "a doll". (If you're the kind of parent who has no trouble saying "NO" again and again and again and again and again, you can disregard this tip ;-).

2) Buy clothes too large out of season when they're on sale. I have a portion of each child's closet that has new clothes, several sizes too big, bought brand new on clearance (such as $2 for a shirt).

3) Shop in thrift stores. This is key: don't go in when you need a particular item - instead make it a weekly routine to stop in and browse for new arrivals. Be prepared to leave empty handed. The more you go in, the more you're likely to find items that look new, and if you're selective about what you buy, you can get nice things for a fraction of the cost.

4) Plan ahead. A friend was telling me that she just (on Nov 3) bought next year's Halloween costumes for her two kids - they were marked down to half price.

5) Have your kids make festive decorations instead of buying them. my daughter had lots of fun drawing and cutting out Jack-o-lanterns for our window for Halloween, and she's looking forward to Christmas decorating projects.

6) On the do-it-yourself note, my daughter also loves to make birthday cards. I've noticed that many of her friends exchange home-made cards at birthday parties.


Nickel And Dime

I came across this story in my money saving web surfing, and just thought I'd pass along the link:

"A Nickel And Dime Budget " -

What moved me about this story was the extreme degree of this woman's poverty, and her struggle to support herself and her 12 year old daughter (it made me appreciate how lucky I am!). The way that she is able to sustain herself and her daughter on her meagre income is eye opening, to say the least.


Saving Money By Catching Scanning Errors

Did you know that you can save money by catching scanning errors at participating retailers?

The Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code is a policy that gives you an item for free if it's scanned incorrectly and it costs under $10, or gives you an adjustment if that incorrectly scanned item costs more than $10.

Participating retailers include Wal-mart, London Drugs, and Save On Foods. You may have to involve a manager because there may be new cashiers who are unfamiliar with the policy, but if you are willing to do so, you can save a few dollars.

Here is a link with more information on the policy, and another link as well.

Happy scanning!