Blog Changes + Update (Finding your Store Shopping Lists)

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You may have noticed – we have some changes!  The last month we have been working on a new design for the site to make it easier for you to find things.

We took the items off the right hand side and put them in drop down menus at the top.Capture

You’ll find the grocery store matchups under “Store Coupons” up at the top of the blog.

The search box is at the very top right of the blog, and the resources (Restaurant Round Up, Retail Round Up, Sweepstakes Round Up) are at the bottom in the lower left corner.

As always, I’m sure it’ll take some time to adjust – we have more adjustments to make, font size a bit bigger, hopefully it makes it easier for you to navigate.

Easy DIY Felt Board

A felt board is like a reusable blank canvas just waiting for little hands to create a story, it’s a wondrous tool to strike any child’s imagination. A felt board is not only for play but can also be a great tool to teach letters, numbers, shapes, patterns, and much more without  using any paper and the best part is you can reuse it over and over again for many years even.

A few years back I went to a local teacher supply store and found a large 4 foot long felt board and instantly knew I wanted it, until… I saw that price tag. A whopping $75 for a long piece of felt. :-/ Looking at it I thought, hmm…this might be easy to make. So I set off to the craft store and purchased a piece of felt for $1.15 a yard. I grabbed some glue sticks for my glue gun and a few pieces of scrap felt in various colors ($1 for a large bag of those scraps) and home I went determined to make a felt board. Did I make it? Of course, did the kids enjoy it? Yes they did, so much that after 3 years of use I decided to make portable felt boards to keep in the car for those longer than usual car rides. [Read more...]

Update: New Mobile Site + New(er) Android App

 

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If you haven’t yet picked up on this new feature to the site, I’d like to let you all know tonight since I’m working on some ads & things are slow.

Several months ago – late last year, I had put together an Android app for the site – many of you took advantage of it.. I know it had it’s quirks. The app was a plug-in that was free as a WordPress add-on, which means that because I did not develop it, I couldn’t really change how it worked.

Fast forward to this last weekend.. we were in the mall, and I was trying to get on my site & I just got tired of not having a mobile site. So I came home & went to work on finding a vendor who could do that – Conduit.  Those of you who have been on my site the last 2 days – you have seen it, each time you visit my site from your device you’ll be prompted.

Conduit also made a new app for the app-store for my site – so head HERE to grab it. Delete the old Android App & add this one – it’s better.  I merely provided them the info, & picked colors – I did not make this myself so once again it may not be perfect.

I know feedback on this is wavering – some of you don’t like the “prompt” each time you come to the site, some of you can’t see the grocery lists, etc – the prompt is there unfortunately & cannot be changed – and the mobile site is & app are not a substitute for coming to the “real” site to do your grocery lists. They are merely an aid for those of you that are away from the regular computer.

With that said – I hope you find it helpful – the iPhone app is in the approval mode with Apple and for now I am at their mercy – lets hope it gets approved the first round.

Happy Easter from My Family to Yours!

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I want to wish all of you a very happy Easter Day – hopefully you spend some quality time with your family today – and the kids, and enjoy the beautiful weather.

I had to share this sweet story with you – I will say that we made very small baskets for the kids – just a few things in each. We ran out last night very late to Fry’s & Target in hopes to capture some of the deals I posted earlier in the week (Marley & Me DVD… Nestle Jingles Eggs, Peeps, Cars 2 Cars).  Not the best move – next year I need to be better prepared.

I did find the Laugh & Learn Puppy at Target that I had a rain check for – thought “Score! For the Baby!” Had managers initials on the expired Target coupon, and still had issues at the register; we moved on….. to Fry’s – this is where it got sticky.

I took in the baby + my 5 year old, but alas – minutes later I saw this guy with a 2 year old pushing a car cart around the store – my daughter screams “Mom! It’s my DAVID!”  I gave Dave half of the instructions – get this, down aisle 9 – “Roger that! Moving out!” 

My 2 year old has to have my Fry’s store mapped out….. because just a few feet later, he jumped out of the car cart and took off down the Seasonal Aisle – screaming CAI! CAI! Daddy vroom go CAI!”   All while I was in the candy display up front – thought to myself….could this be “MY” son?! Oh gosh – imagine that!

My husband paid for his order & met me outside with a huge, huge wad of receipts. There was no way these were his….he only purchased Cadbury Eggs + Cheetos for the kids.

“Oh, well the lady in front of me left her receipt, and her paper catalina.  And here’s my receipt too. And one from the floor. It’s a coupon. I took the other two because there are coupons on the back of the receipt….” – they are important!

The catalina was a 20% off coupon for Sports Authority that all of us have been getting.. I just though it was amazing that he was so excited to help…I had to smile.

And on the way home – “I think I need to start writing to companies to get coupons”. Hmm – sounds good….who are you going to start writing to first?  “I think I’ll start with my favorites – everyone who makes BEER.”

Educating Yourself on Fraudulent Coupons

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Yesterday as I was in Fry’s, I couldn’t help but notice a paper taped to the shelf showing that a high value $8/1 Huggies Diapers coupon had surfaced in my local store – and my store had caught it.  I have to say I was a little sad .. knowing that a store that is so coupon friendly had been taken advantage of.

These high value $8/1 Huggies Coupons have been floating around the last few months – making their way into emails to those of you who may be new to couponing – or, even to some of you who have been couponing for some time.

Fraudulent coupons not only hurt the store, but they also hurt you as well – they are most often tied to your shopper card – if you are shopping at Fry’s, Safeway or Bashas your store loyalty card can keep track of the coupons you use on the shopping trips you take.

How do you know what coupons are fake and which are real?

Coupon Information Corporation — a not-for-profit association of consumer product manufacturers dedicated to fighting coupon misredemption and fraud. They maintain a list of fraudulent coupons that you can reference.

Too Good to be True If a coupon seems “too good to be true” more than likely it is.  You will never find a printable coupon for $5 off Pampers Wipes, or $7 off Olay Soap.

Emailed to you as a PDF – If you have friends that have sent you a coupon via a PDF, more than likely it is not legitimate.  Although some manufacturers put coupons in PDF form, they do so on their site – and for a reasonable amount.

Coupons should never be saved in google documents, or saved as multiple coupons to a sheet.

As always, use your best judgment when using printable coupons from an unverified source.

Instagram–Coming to Android (Sign up Now!)

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Do you have instagram? If you have an iPhone or an iPad, it’s the BEST invention …  I have it, and it’s hooked to my Twitter account. It allows me to send pictures, through Twitter, to my Facebook or my Twitter account.

Great news…… instagram is coming to Android – if you want to get on the waiting list, head over & punch in your email.

Once you hook yourself up to instagram, search for people you know.. you’ll find me, and a multitude of others there. I often times will go shopping & take pictures of my finds – straight from the aisle at the store :)

Viggle: Earn Gift Cards + More from Watching TV on your Apple Device

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Just a few weeks ago, a few good friends of mine at Drugstore Divas let me in on “Viggle” – for those of you who follow me on Twitter, we talk about stuff quite long into the night – if you are not on twitter, you should be…… because I often times will send pictures of deals I find at the grocery store too :)

Maria & Lisa let me know that they were using Viggle to earn gift cards … from doing simple things like watching TV on their Apple device. Sounded different – so I downloaded Viggle on my iPad from the app store and have been glued ever since.

Viggle allows you to earn rewards for watching particular Television shows or ads on your Apple device. You simply “check in” to a show, which can be any time during the program, and you will then receive points from the time you watch the show on forward. You earn 2 points per minute and shows (below) will give you bonus points.

You can also earn bonus points by answering trivia during a show… or watching trailers & ads – sharing your check-ins on Facebook or participating in Viggle Live.  You can earn a total of 12,000 points per day (as of 12 a.m. EST).

Here are some “Bonus” shows that will give you bonus points today 03/21:

8 pm:
American Idol – FOX – 8:00-10:00 – 300 pts
One Tree Hill – CW – 8:00-9:00 – 200 pts
Survivor: One World – CBS – 8:00-9:00 – 200 pts

9 pm:
Bent – NBC – 9:00-9:30 – 250 pts
*2nd New Bent at 9:30-10:00
Criminal Minds – CBS – 9:00-10:00 – 250 pts

9:30 pm:
Happy Endings – ABC – 9:30-10:00 – 225 pts
Lakers at Mavericks – ESPN – 9:30-12:00am – 200 pts

10 pm:
Duck Dynasty – A&E – 10:00-10:30 – 275 pts (replay at 11pm, 2am & 3am)
*2nd New Duck Dynasty at 10:30-11:00 (replay at 11:30, 2:30, 3:30)
The Soup – E! – 10:00-10:30 – 200 pts (replay at 1am)
South Park – Comedy Central – 10:00-10:30 – 200 pts (replay at 12am)
Psych – USA – 10:00-11:00 – 200 pts (replay at 1am)

Since you are earning a monetary amount, you are required to report the income you earn once it reaches a specific amount – therefore, if you earn over $500 in prizes/cash, you will be issued a 1099 from the IRS for tax purposes.

Do note that you will need to confirm your email address with Viggle BEFORE you will get your rewards. You can do this through the profile screen.

I encourage you to check it out – especially if you have an iPad, iPod…. or iPhone. I’m fairly intrigued with it-  you can earn an Amazon gift card for just 7,500 points – which for me took only a matter of a day.

New Dish Network Promo + Savings on your Cable Bill (As low as $19.99/mo)

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The last few months we have been lucky enough to have a pretty thoughtful reader come forward to offer many of you savings on your cable bill –

A good many of you have taken advantage of the offers in past month, and kept him super busy on the phone.

Reader Josh just got some new promotions and wanted me to pass them along to you in hopes that it will encourage you to think forward in terms of reducing your cable expense – if you are willing.

Are you paying too much for cable? Did your DirecTV bill just go up? Have you ever thought about Dish Network?  Dish Network offers packages at a promotional price of only $19.99 a month. Current promotions include free HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Showtime, and Blockbuster Movie Pass for 3 months. Free HD for life and free installation for up to 6 TVs.

Are you big on recording your favorite shows? Just released is DISH NETWORK’S WHOLE HOME HD DVR called the HOPPER. It comes with a 2 terabyte memory (over 250 hours of HD recording), and can record 6 programs at once during primetime hours. The whole home DVR service gives you full DVR functionality on every TV in HD, so you can pause, rewind, and record live TV in any room. Plus, access your DVR library from any TV, so you can record a show in one room and then watch it in another.

Sign up thru Elite Digital Services and receive $50 when you mention that you are a Freaper with Cents’Able Shoppin. Call or email Josh today at 480-707-1182 or elitedigitalservicesllc@gmail.com for more.

Make sure you mention you’re a reader – he’s a reader too… he will pop over on Facebook once in a while – you can check out his page HERE.

New Features to the Blog & Printable List Update

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A few helpful tips for those of you reading the blog recently – as of today, I have a new tab atop that is named “Retail Codes”.  If you click that, you will be led to a page that has retailers & coupon codes that you can use to save a bit if you need to order everything from clothing to photos & more.

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You are also able to “add” a deal to that list should it not be already provided.  Hopefully this makes your life a bit easier as well.

I know some of you have been experiencing issues recently with the printable shopping list. I spoke with the developers today who took a look at the feature, and determined that it is working 100%.

The printable list feature is a JavaScript code that runs as a code in my WordPress theme – with that said, if you are experiencing issues, I suggest you consider the following:

  • The list will not be compatible with older versions of Firefox or IE – so you will need to make sure you are upgraded to the latest version of software for the browser you opt to use.
  • Please ensure pop-ups are disabled
  • The  list will have a tendency to “hide” should you have too many windows open, if you don’t see the list pop up, close a few of your browser windows.

If you are not familiar with the printable list feature I have on my site, I encourage you to try it out.

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For each grocery store/drugstore on the blog, there is the ability to do a printable shopping list. Please understand that this is not a feature I created personally, but one that was done by a programming company who does blog design & tech work – the printable list is almost similar (and exactly similar in some cases) to that on other frugal blog sites – as we all share referrals for outsourcing on our blogs.

With the printable list, you can print your grocery trip + coupons; with the email list, you can email your shopping list to another person – just one, or many. Refer to the picture above – you will select the “envelope” icon, and then it will open a pop up box for you at which time you can insert email addresses.

The New GS-1 DataBar Barcodes | What the Changes Mean for You

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The last few weeks, I have noticed many of you with increased questions on the new GS_1 DataBar barcodes on your coupons – some of you have had experiences at your local retailer where the coupons were not accepted – in which case you were left at the register feeling bewildered.

There are some new barcodes emerging on our coupons – called GS-1 DataBar barcodes – some of you may have noticed that we no longer have 2 barcodes but only 1.

Why the Changes on the Barcodes

The barcodes will hold much more information when the coupon is scanned – expiration date, product info and dates just a few of the new features.

The changes due in part to coding on coupons has actually been a process that has taken several years – and was essential in preventing misuse of coupons.

How the New Barcode will Affect your Checkout

The new system means less fraud – and also less trouble at the register for those of you (and I) who use coupons regularly. Your checkout process should be faster, as the coupon can now only be used for the item intended.

Although many retailers have adopted new POS (point of sale) systems this past year, there are some retailers who have yet to upgrade – in those cases, your coupon will beep..  retailers can enter in the numbers by hand, however, some retailers will reluctantly do that due in part to their store policy.  Hopefully you won’t run into that issue – if you do, you can politely explain the changes to the system – in hopes that they will input the code.

Some of your Questions Include:

1) Will these new barcodes allow for doubling?
2) And if so, will some or ALL of them double? Regional?
3) When will ALL stores have to have their systems ready for the new codes, so they will scan?
4) How about stores rejecting them if they do not scan (ie: Target)?

A bit of useful information I came across – that will provide some insight, though still leave some questions up in the air

  • if the coupon says do not double, the new barcode MAY prevent it from doubling…depending on how the store software is done
  • …if it says do not double, expect it to NOT double
  • …if it doesn’t say do not double, should double ok
  • some coupons have the do not double in with fine print, so read carefully

Participating in a “Stockpile Swap” (& Why it’s Necessary)

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Stockpile “Swapping”: Definitely not a term you hear of every day…..  But it definitely is something that some of you may partake in.

As I make dinner tonight, my daughter explained that “she wanted ONLY spaghetti”.  Well, I’m in trouble…. I have no pasta.  But after a few minutes of trying to coax her into eating something different, my memory triggered “Alyssa gave me pasta!”   Sure as sugar, my laundry room stockpile shelf has 6 boxes. Thank heavens for stockpile swapping.

Many of you have stockpiles that are incredibly large; some of you, like me, may have less of a stockpile – whatever your situation, stockpile swapping can definitely benefit you.

Couponing together with neighbors & friends always serves handy in these cases where you may run out of a certain item, but may need a different item – in those cases, you may want to consider “stockpile swapping” – Spaghetti Noodles for Coffee. Cake Mix for Canned Tomatoes.

I’m fortunate enough to live by several readers and we honestly help each other quite a bit – in fact, not only did Alyssa bring me pasta, she made me food when my 3 month old was born… likewise, 4 weeks later, I made HER food when her child was born.

Just last night, Jessica needed to do a run to Fry’s – but alas, she had no working printer. I printed her coupons for her, while she entertained my 3 month old with smiles & giggles….. eventually when I run out of ink, I’m sure Ill be able to call her & walk 3 houses down & pick up the coupons I need for my trip.

Have you participated in a stockpile swap?

OR, have you teamed up with a neighbor/close friend to support your crazy adventure?

NEW 2012 “Savings Spreadsheet”–Track your Yearly Savings

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Last year, 2011, I introduced a “Savings Spreadsheet” to help those of you who love to crunch numbers, keep track of your savings with coupons through the year. I started, and halfway through 2011, realized I could not possibly blog, handle kids, the house, and maintain receipts. I admit I failed miserably… those of you who may not know me, I am severely disorganized at home.

But some of you multitasking Queens & Kings may be able to do a better job than I.  Now we’re in 2012, and I had a very generous reader tweak the sheet for me, and now it takes care of percentages for you. Thanks so much to reader Patricia for that :)

The “Savings Spreadsheet” that I made has 14 worksheets. The first worksheet (shown above) is named “Annual Summary”.  This sheet is a roll up of the 12 monthly worksheets.  You need not touch ANYTHING in the Annual Sheet. It has all been automatically programmed for you. When you fill in the monthly worksheets, you will only fill in the highlighted area only.

The highlighted area will automatically fill in the monthly summary total and the annual summary.

There is also a sheet for Rebates – so you can track your submissions. That sheet rolls up and is factored into the Annual Summary also.

I suggest sitting down once a week with all of your receipts and entering them in then. I keep USED TO keep a tray on my desk in my computer area – every time I made a run to the store, I come home and “dropped” the receipt in the tray. I then sat down once a week to input the figures.

Hopefully I haven’t confused anyone!  Go HERE to download the sheet – it should open fine for you. I created it in Excel and saved it as an Excel Macro Enabled Workbook. 

To edit it yourself, or input numbers, you will need to re-save it with an alternative name on your desktop.

 

Thanks Patricia!

NEW “Forum” Feature on the Website: Trade Coupons, Share Events, Recipes & More

 

Folks, my husband has really puleld through today for me. I was trimming Zaycon and said “hey, look up a forum for me for my site”.

Minutes later, he had looked it up, installed it & more. On the top bar of my site you’ll see “FORUM” – click the forum and see the topics you can contribute to.

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There are a variety of ways to log in. If there are any “forum” topic suggestions that I did not include, feel free to suggest in the comments & I will ad. I can have up to 999 forum topics. I was so proud, I said “Hey, honey, tell everyone on Facebook what you did!” He goes “I don’t think so. You better not.”

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{Update} ENDORSE: Suspending Current Endorse Service For Everyone Until Relaunch

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Many of you, including myself, got an email from ENDORSE yesterday – for those of you not familiar with ENDORSE you can read about the program HERE.

Those of you who did not get an email, it seems as if they are going to suspend current endorsements:

Your enthusiasm for Endorse has been incredible.  As much as we would love to keep helping you shop and pop, it has proven far too difficult for us to both support the current site and to build the new one.  Therefore, as of today 01/16, we are suspending the current Endorse service for all users until we relaunch Endorse 2.0 in the next few months. 

We will provide POP rewards for purchases made by today, January 15, 2012 and will process all mailers that we receive by Monday, January 30, 2012.  You will have two weeks until January 30, 2012 to send in your mailers and POPs and get your rewards.  We will not process any mailers received by us after January 30, 2012.

What this means for you:

  • If you have sent in previous envelopes, they will provide POP rewards for those envelopes.
  • They will not process any mailers received after 01/30.
  • Please recycle any mailers you may have, that will not be used.
  • Those of you who have current receipts – you may send them in prior to 01/30 to get POP rewards; they will send you a check even if your balance is less than $25.

I sent in a mailer the first week of November; and have yet to receive credit; I am guessing that they got overwhelmed & underestimated how many users would take advantage of the program. Nonetheless, I will be putting another mailer in the mail this week – and stuffing it full. I encourage you to do the same so you can receive your POP rewards on those recent purchases.

Reference Material: Sales Cycle List for Planning Purposes

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The last few weeks, I have had a few requests for information on sales cycles – when is it the best time to stock up on BBQ sauce? When should I stock up on cleaning items?

When I say “stock up” by no means do I mean in an extreme fashion.  I don’t consider myself an Extreme Couponer… in fact, I despise that term. Anyone who shops with my family regularly would discover that we are very modest in our purchases;  just yesterday I ran into Fry’s to get ONE pack of Carefree, ONE Wolfgang Puck Coffee, and more.  Knowing what to expect each month can help you plan a realistic shopping experience, and enable you to have the coupons on hand to do that.

Over time I have learned that my house is rather small, and I don’t need to purchase what I cannot use feasibly. This stock up price list helps me by showing me what I can plan for “realistically” during the year.

A few months ago, I spent a few days putting this list together; Hopefully it helps you get a better idea of what you can plan for throughout the year as well.