My mortgage goes “adjustable” this month. This should be fun to watch. Everyone’s so freaked out about adjustable mortgages – am I being too relaxed about it? I’m not freaked out. I don’t know how much it’s going to go up – I’ve never actually done the math – sounds boring. LOL
My mortgage was 4.87% for 5 years fixed and then it goes (this month) adjustable. I thought about refinancing but decided against it – for now anyway. Hmm. I wonder if it’s already gone out of my checking out…I’m gonna go check.
In the meantime…
I’ve been meaning to do this post for awhile. We use coupons – a lot. I have not paid ANY real money for hba items (shampoo, deoderant, razors, toothpaste, tylenol, bandaids, soap, feminine “items”, etc.) in at least 3 years. Don’t get me started on the strange land of beer & meat. I could make your head spin.
So here’s a REALLY simple/basic tutorial, if you’re interested.
You get the Sunday paper, it has coupons in it. At the grocery store they have tearpads and blinking machines with coupons too. Eureka. These are meant to make you go out and BUY the item that’s featured. But…what if you waited till the item was on SALE and you put the coupon against it?
Where to start?
1. Know your local grocery stores coupon policy. If they double coupons – yay. Typically a coupon with a barcode that starts with a “5″ will double. If it starts with a “9″ you are SOL. Find out how many of the SAME coupon they will double at a time. Typically, four – but check.
2. Save the coupons. Grab them from any source you can. The Fiance and I have been known to stop the car on Sunday evenings outside newstands…after they close. Hey, look at that pile on the street waiting for the recycling truck! If you live in NYC chances are your foyer has PILES of them in ugly plastic bags. I had a co-worker who used to bring me dozens. Gosh I miss working with her. What I’m saying is, seek and ye shall find.
3. Read your store circular, do the math – or be lazy (who cares?) and read one of the many coupon message boards. The fanatics will lay out the deal for you.
4. Get to know Target and CVS. Other than your local grocery store they will be your favorite destinations. The CVS “ECB” program is a gold mine. Learn to “roll your ECB’s” and you’ll giggle all the way down the street.
5. Don’t become overwhelmed because then you’ll just quit. Pick 3 items that you are sick of paying money for and track them. For us it was deoderant, razors and “feminine items”.
Ok so here’s a quick “for instance”.
Deoderant goes on sale several times a year. Especially if they are introducing a NEW version. Let’s say you have a coupon for $.75 off Sweaty Pitts brand deoderant coupon. It’s your favorite brand. Stop & Plop Grocers puts it on sale for $1.50 and they double up to 4 coupons at a time. What do you do? You get 4 of the Sweaty Pitts deoderants and 4 of your coupons and you hand them to the cashier WITH your loyalty card. Depending on your state you may or may not have to pay the tax. You’ve gotten 4 FREE Sweaty Pitts deoderants. What do you do now? RINSE and REPEAT. Go through the check out as many times as you can. If you end up with lets say…168 of them…I’m sure there is a shelter that would welcome the surplus. If you only get 4 – that’s fine too.
Bad Information Straightened Out…
Most people think that phrase “one per purchase” means you can only use ONE coupon during your check out. Wrong. Each ITEM that you are PURCHASING is a separate PURCHASE. Capice? 4 deoderants = 4 coupons. (note: unless the coupon says it’s for X amount of 2 items for the sake of simplicity, let’s say it’s a coupon good for purchasing ONE item).
You can use a STORE coupon WITH a MANUFACTURER coupon. Have you been on Target.com recently? They have Target STORE coupons. You print them at home. You can use a Target coupon AND the manufacturer coupon together. Let’s say Target has a coupon for 75cents off any Nature Valley Granola Bar and you have a you have a manufacturer’s coupon for 50cents off ANY Nature Valley Granola Bar. Put them together (you can, really, it’s allowed!) and you have $1.25 off ANY Nature Valley Granola Bar.
Did anyone notice the word ANY? Think about it…ANY. They don’t care what size package you buy…so buy the smallest/cheapest package…NOT the biggest. (Note: unless of course, they specify the size – then you must buy that size).
When I first figured out coupons…I spent too much on things I didn’t need – because they were only 10cents or 15cents or whatever. Don’t overspend because you’re “saving”. We donate a ton of stuff – that’s a good thing. One of the Fiance’s best days was rolling up to a shelter and walking in with contractor bags full of tampons, pads, toothpaste, etc.. He thought it was the funniest thing ever. Here’s a pic of a portion of that loot…who knew I was engaged to Robin Hood?
I refuse to spend more than 50cents for a box of cereal – and I don’t have to. My favorite cereals are Honey Nut Cheerios and I have a serious Frosted Mini Wheats addiction.
Do I have to coupon? No – but why should I spend more than I have to? I don’t have the data here but I read once that the average “couponer” has a household income in excess of $75K – that’s well above the national average. Pull out your coupons and use them, no need to be secretive and think people will think poorly of you. If anything, I think poorly of people who flush their money down the toilet. Snore!
Oh right, I might be doing that with my mortgage. Oops.
I should go check that out…
It would appear that they took the same amount out – maybe next month?
Oh here’s another fun deal for a new couponer…it’ll blow your mind. The Sunday paper this past weekend had a coupon (most markets…) for BUY ONE GET ONE FREE Cover Girl make up. On this coming Sunday (new sales start on Sundays) CVS is running a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE promotion on Cover Girl. OK, you do the math…
Grab 2 Cover Girl items of the same price that are in the promotion, walk to the register, hand them your loyalty card and ONE coupon…BOTH ITEMS ARE NOW FREE. The store promotion and the manufacturer’s coupon void each other out and YOU win. I love Cover Girl make up. I think I have a Noxzema addiction and it smells like Noxzema-licious.
Get a $4 off a $20 CVS purchase HERE.
Or maybe you just need some free underpants…it could happen.
Next time…find out how BEER = MEAT and how WINE = ALMOST ANYTHING.