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Friday, April 23, 2010

The Bzz on Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner


My latest BzzAgent campaign was Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner.

I've been tempted to buy on of these for awhile but never did because I wasn't sure it would work and therefore be worth the money. But while I was on Spring Break (and spring cleaning) my Bzzkit arrived in the mail. Since cleaning the tub was obviously on the list of hated cleaning projects, I immediately installed the cleaner! (I didn't even clean the shower first)

The cleaner works by spinning 360 degrees and spraying the shower with a cleaning solution. It's 40% more powerful than they're original formula. There are actually two sprayers, one focuses on the "grime zone" the corners where yuckiness collects. After the last shower of the day you simply close the shower curtain or door and press a button. 15 seconds later, there is a beep to let you know it's coming, the sprayer starts. The cleaner combines with the water left on your shower walls to create a sheeting action and clean your tub.

Then it protects and lets water sheet off rather than beading up and leaving ugly water spots. It's clear so it won't leave visible residue on colored times and it even smells nice.


They've sent along some coupons so let me know if you'd like one for 3 dollars off a Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Getting Free Stuff

There are lots of ways to get free things.

Companies offer free samples of their products regularly. These are often single use sample size but occasionally a company will send a full sized product. These samples most always require you to request them. The easiest way to see if a company is currently offering a freebie is to visit their website. Often there will be a link marked "Promotions" that will take you to a page to leave your information. I recommend visiting the websites of products you really like often to see what freebies or printable coupons they're offering. Many companies have Facebook pages now. When you become a fan through facebook you may bet a freebie or a coupon for a free item.

Occasionally a store's website will offer a free sample of a product they sell. Walmart, Sam's Club, and BJ's Whosesale do this often.

Another way to get free stuff from manufacturers is to share your feedback on their products. Visit a company's website and click "Contact Us" to leave you positive or negative thoughts. I've received free products for contacting a company about expired coupons in the packaging, and when I shared my negative opinion of a new flavor. You could also write to or call the companies. They're contact information is always on the can, bottle, box, or bag. It's been suggested that you attempt contact every 6 months, although I usually only contact them when I have something to share.

Sometimes a new business, or an established business looking for new customers, will offer give-a-way freebies. Things like magnets, baseball caps, travel mugs, etc. Finding these is basically just luck or being at the right place at the right time.

Of course there are coupons for free products in the Sunday paper. Sometimes there are buy one get one free coupons that can be combined with sales and other coupons to get both items free.

Let's say an item is regularly priced at $1.50 and on sale for $1.00. You have a buy one get one free coupon and a coupon for $1.00 off one. If you use both these coupons, you'll get both items free.

If your store doubles or triple coupons and you catch an item on sale it could be free. You're price book will help you decide which store to use which coupon.

You could join a survey or opinion groups and get free things in exchange for sharing your opinion and telling your friends. BzzAgent, General Mills Pssst . . ., Kraft 1st Taste, House Party and SheSpeaks are just a few of these programs.

Before you start signing up for company newsletters, sending away for freebies and joining survey panels consider creating a alternate email address for yourself. Sometime companies sell your email address or a freebie that seems to good to be true is and having a separate email address will save you're having to wade through all that spam.

Another place to get free items is a program called Freecycle. Freecyle is made up of many community based groups and it's purpose is to keep usable but unwanted items out of the landfill.

One last place for freebies is blogs and message boards. Often bloggers and members of certain message boards pass along info on freebies they've found. Check back here every Sunday for a couple of freebies I've found.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Are coupons only for junk?

You can't buy healthy foods with coupons, right?


When you try to eat a healthier diet you try to stay away from prepackaged foods. You try to eat more whole foods. You try to stay on the outside edges of the grocery store. Sometimes it seems all the coupons are for the not so healthy foods.

You can eat well and still use coupons. The first thing you have to remember is coupons are not just for food and not just for the grocery store. Take those coupons to your favorite mass retailer (Target) or drug store and don't forget the health & beauty, paper products, and pet aisles at the grocery store.

With coupons you can save money on everything from toilet tissue to band aids, cough syrup to shampoo, pet food to charcoal. The money you save there can go toward healthier food.

Also don't forget about other uses for grocery items. Vinegar makes an excellent cleaner, honey will soothe a sore throat, Epsom salt will ease aching muscles, oatmeal will help the itch of poison ivy, and olive oil and a little salt is great for scrubbing off dead skin.

Also look for coupons on produce. One of my local stores often offers cents off coupons on your fresh produce order. Many manufacturers of organic products have coupons available for their products as well (Earthbound Farms and Stoneyfield Farms spring to mind).

Please don't decide coupons are not for you just because you don't eat processed or prepackaged food.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Making a Plan

Now it’s time to create a battle plan.

Gather the sales fliers of the stores in which you wish to shop

They may come to your mailbox, arrive in your local newspaper, be part of an email, be available on the store’s website, or you can pick on up at the store itself.

If your going to get your copy of the sales flier from the store, I suggest you drop by and pick it up some day before you intend to shop. If you try to shop will a stack of coupons and an open sales paper you’ll miss deals, fall for sales that aren’t really sales, and generally not use your coupons to their greatest advantage.

You might also want to consider shopping at more than one store, especially if you pass several stores on your way home. Yes, shopping at more than one store takes more time and yes, it could use more gas if you go out of your way to a sale, but it will allow you to take full advantage of sales and your coupons.

Make a menu

Planning your family’s meals may be a new concept to you but it will really allow you to make the most of what you have on hand and control what you buy. Decide how many days you’re going to shop for at a time. (One week at a time will allow you to take advantage of weekly sales.) Write down what you want to make during the chosen time period, glance through the sales fliers and your cabinets to get inspiration. Make a list of ingredients you need to make these meals and snacks. Leave things you have in the pantry off the list.

For Example:

Dinner Things I Need

1. Fajitas Tortillas, chicken, bell pepper (I have onion & spices)

2. Hamburgers Ground Beef, Hamburger buns ( I have fixing’s)

3. Sub Sandwiches Sub Rolls, chips, meats (I have cheese and toppings)

4. Homemade Pizza Bell Pepper, mushrooms (I have dough, sauce & cheese)

My grocery list, which I try to organize buy department might look like this:

3 Bell peppers



Hamburger buns

Sub rolls


Ground beef 2lbs

Chicken 1 lb

Sandwich meats

Check the sales and your coupons

Now it’s time to really look through the papers and see what the sales are. I like to sit down with a piece of paper and the write down the sale items that look interesting to me. Also make a note if that store is having a double or triple coupon sale or a 3 day only sale that week.

Lets say after looking through my papers my list might look like this:

Store 1 (doubles up to 50 cents)

Canned cat food 2/1

chips (select varieties) 1.50

Milk BOGO (normally 3.50 according to my price book)

Store 2 (doubles up to 99 cents)

Can soup 2/3

Milk 2.99

Hamburger buns 75 cents

Store 3 (face value)

Can soup 2/3

Chips 1.00

Canned cat food 2/1

Now I look through my coupons and see if I have any match ups. Don’t forget to check the printables sites.

Store 1 (doubles up to 50 cents)

Canned cat food 2/1 .50/2 (doubled to 1.00/2)

chips (select varieties) 1.50

Milk BOGO (normally 3.50 according to my price book)

Store 2 (doubles up to 99 cents)

Can soup 2/3 .55/2 (doubled to 1.10/2)

Milk 2.99

Hamburger buns 75 cents

Store 3 (face value)

Can soup 2/3 .55/2

Chips 1.00

Canned cat food 2/.50 .50/2

Looking at this list we can see that even though canned soup is the same price at stores 2 and 3 we should buy it at store 2 because they will double our coupon. Store 1 will double our cat food coupon but we will still get it cheaper at Store 3. As for the milk, Store 2 has it on sale for 2.99 and Store 1 has BOGO. We’ve checked our store’s coupon policy and so we know that BOGO rings at half price. The milk at store 1, normally 3.50 is on sale for 1.75, so that’s the one we’d pick.

Decide which items you’ll buy at which store then go back over your ingredients list to see if anything that wasn’t on sale has a matching coupon. Look through your price book to decide which store you should visit for that item. Make sure to double check that you have the correct size, brand, flavor, etc. required for the coupon.

There are many websites which offer coupon matchups. Essentially they’ve done all the sales paper rummaging and coupon sifting for you so they can tell you which stores you should visit for which items and which coupons you should use. The only problems with that is prices, coupon distribution, and store variety varies by region so you need to check your price book to make sure you’re getting the right deals.

Make sure you take all your coupons with you in case you stumble upon an unadvertised deal.

Making a Pricebook

A price book is a list of the prices of various items and various stores. As with coupon organizing there are many ways to make a price book. A price book doesn’t have to be in book form. It can be a notebook, a spreadsheet, a stack of index cards, or whatever works for you.

To start gathering your price info you can check your recent receipts, check the sales paper for the regular prices or sometimes visit the store’s website. Harris Teeter has a feature called Fast Lane and while it’s designed to let you order groceries online and then stop to pick them up, couponers can use it to get the prices of items they’re thinking of buying.

Your price book page might look like this:

CerealStore 1Store 2Store 3
Brand A2.503.002.00
Brand B2.003.503.00

The price book is a work in progress. You’ll keep adding to it as you shop.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Changes in the way you shop

In order to get the most savings possible you may need to change a few things. You may decide to shop at a store that doubles coupons instead of the store you’ve always used. Taking full advantage of coupons and be brand loyal is also a bit difficult. If you need flour and your preferred brand is full price but the competition is on sale and you have a coupon you might want to switch brands, at least temporarily.

The problem with switching brands and trying new things is that you’re almost sure to buy something that no one in your house will eat. To avoid this buy only one of a new thing to test. If it’s a hit go back and use those duplicate coupons and stock up. If you weren’t able to walk by that sale and you bought 10 boxes of something no one likes consider donating it to a local food bank.

Another thing that might be new to you is stockpiling. This means when there is a sale plus coupons (especially tripled coupons or super doubles) you buy more than you need for that week’s menu. When there are good sales and tripled or super doubled coupons you can often get staple items for free or for a few cents each. Learn your store’s habits, usually these super sales happen at the same times each year and if you know one is coming you can stock up on those coupons and be prepared.

Shelf stable foods, bath and body products, paper products, and cleaning supplies all have really long shelf lives and if you stock up on it while you can get it free or nearly free it will be there waiting for you when everyone else is paying full price. If you have the freezer space you can treat some perishables in the same way. If you don’t have the space or the appetite don’t buy more than you can use. You’re not saving any money at all if you’re throwing away partially used or unopened items because they’ve spoiled.

Visit for a list of how long to keep things before tossing them.

When you stock pile you can take advantage of seasonal sales. Stores regularly put certain items on sale, BBQ sauce, ketchup, paper plate and meats Memorial day weekend, baking supplies during the holidays, diets foods in January, etc. If you stock up then you’ll have them when you need them and they’re only available at full price.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Have Unwanted or Expired Coupons?

What to do with unwanted and expired coupons? Unwanted coupons can be traded with friends or family members, sent along on coupon trades or trains, or simply left on the shelf next to a product at the store for someone else to find.

But what about those expired coupons?

Expired coupons can be mailed to military bases overseas. They can still use recently expired coupons at on base grocery stores. Visit here for info on what, how and where to send your coupons.

You could also donate unwanted coupons to a local school or daycare. The coupons can be used to teach economics, counting, or adding and subtracting. Senior centers, assisted living communities, churches and shelters may also accept your unwanted coupons to help with their charitable works.

If you have a lot of unwanted coupons look around your neighborhood and see what good you can do with them.