5.17.2011

I Love a Bargain!

I have always been a bargain hunter when it comes to clothes & household furnishings --- there is nothing better than finding the perfect piece of furniture at a garage sale or thrift store.  My house is full of them.  I am constantly being asked "Where did you get that?" or "Can you decorate my house?" --- the answer is usually at a garage sale and no, I can't.  Decorating your home with bargain finds is not a quick process.... in fact, it has been almost 3 years since the remodel and I'm still not done decorating.  It's always a work in progress.  I think that is what I love about it.  I'm a work in progress, too.  The Lord isn't finished with me yet and I am constantly learning, growing and evolving into who He wants me to be.  That's what my house is doing!

With as crazy busy as we are here at the Holmes house, my time to browse through thrift stores and spend Saturdays at garage sales is slim.  In fact, I can count on both hands the number of times in the last couple of years that I have been able to go thrift shopping.  I really miss it.  That leads me to this weekend!  I am so excited to spend Saturday morning thrift shopping with my friends at the Greenwood/Phinney Ridge Garage Sale Day!  It happens once a year and it is non-stop sales - we literally run from one to another!  So much to see and so much potential in every piece of "junk"!  I love that!

My latest obsession with bargains is couponing and online deals!  Yes, it's work, but there is nothing better than stocking up on things that you need for next to nothing!  Or getting some fun deals on things that you would otherwise never try out!  We have tried cupcakes, pizzas, movie theaters, and many fun online stores that we would never have shopped at if there was some fabulous bargain!  I have been getting a lot of questions about where and how I find the deals ---- well, I have to be honest.  I let other people do the legwork for me!  There are so many great sites & blogs out there keeping track of everything, that I just follow along.  I keep track of all the blog entries on my Outlook Express RSS Feed Reader --- right next to my email.  It's super quick and super easy.

Here are some of the great blogs I follow for learning about deals:

http://www.couponconnections.com/
http://www.thekrazycouponlady.com/
http://www.centsablemomma.com/
http://dealseekingmom.com/
http://happymoneysaver.com/
http://frugalchicliving.org/
http://www.frugallivingnw.com/
http://www.wildforwags.com/
http://www.thriftyandthriving.com/
http://www.queenbeecoupons.com/
http://www.nwcouponlady.blogspot.com/


In addition, these two sites will give you a heads up on future sales and ads so that you can look for coupons to go with the sales:

http://www.iheartriteaid.com/
http://www.iheartwags.com/

I also follow many daily deal sites - they send me daily emails with their deals of the day.  There is no cost associated with signing up, they will just send you a daily email of the deal of the day.   It's great to have one show up that I would buy anyway --- like scrapbooking goodies at the Urban Scrapbooker!

For those of you that don't like tons of email junk mail --- create an email address just for your deals and coupons.  That way, it won't overwhelm your regular email site!

Groupon --- fabulous daily deals - I have purchased movies, food, shoes --- you name it!

Living Social --- another daily deal site - this site will give you $5 in your account just for signing up to receive the emails!

EverSave --- another daily deal site - this site will give you $3 in your account just for signing up.  Just ordered a fun sock-gram for $1!  Can't tell you more because they are a small graduation gift for Jordan --- but they were a $12 value!

Deal Pulp --- another daily deal site - this is one of my favorites.  Not sure, but I think you may get a $5 credit just for signing up.

Plum District --- another daily deal site.  I have purchased $10 Papa Murphy cards as well as $10 Taco Time gift cards from this site for only $5.  Love the gift card deals because they work great for Christmas or birthday gifts and you can always use other coupon or discounts with them!  This site will also give you $5 in your account just for signing up.

Housewares Deals --- this daily deal site is limited to kitchen and household items.  I have purchased all my new silverware through one of their deals!  Love this site!  In addition ---- if you see a daily deal from here that you like...be sure to use ebates.com as they will give you an additional rebate!  See below for all those details!

Zaycon Foods --- this is a food wholesaler that has "events" in the Washington/Oregon/Idaho area.  You can sign up to receive an email when they are coming to your area.  It is bulk purchase of meats and produce.  In January I purchased 40 pounds of high quality fresh chicken breast for $1.69 a pound.  Let me tell you, it was so worth it!  I am wishing I had bought 80 pounds because we went through it in less than 8 weeks!  Then a few weeks ago we did the ground beef event --- 40 pounds of 93/7 lean ground beef.  OMG --is it good!  Anyway, if you have a freezer and want a great deal --- sign up to get their emails when they will have an event in your area.  It only happens a few times a year.

Okay ----- other ways to get a bargain or some extra cash:

Swagbucks --- This is a search engine.  You receive points for doing what you always do - searching the web.  In addition, if you are going to purchase any of the above daily deals --- try looking under the "earn" bar on the home page.  There is a daily deal site and if you purchase the daily deals through that Swagbucks link you will get additional points.  For every 450 points you can get a code for a $5 gift certificate to Amazon.com.  I was able to let Luke shop on Amazon for his birthday present using $50 that I have earned since the first of the year! This is a no-brainer for me.  Even if you don't use this for your search engine --- purchasing your daily deals through there is worth it.

Checkpoints --- This is a phone app --- basically you use your GPS to tell them where you are shopping, then you scan in product UPC's for points.  For me, this is a great deal since I spend a ton of time in the car waiting for games to start or practices to be over.  Instead, I go to the nearest store, scan items and earn points.  You can "buy" a $10 Amazon gift card for every 3000 points.  Another way to increase my balance over at Amazon.

Ebates.com --- This is a website that gives you cash back for all your online purchases.  Every time I hear about a great deal online, I check with Ebates before I buy.  If the site is one of their vendors --- it will send you over to that site from Ebates.  Then you will get a portion of your purchase rebated back to you.  They send checks out every quarter.  My last check was for $29 - basically just little bits here and there for purchasing other deals on the web that I was going to buy anyway.  It's also a great site to find discount codes and coupon codes for things you are looking to buy.

The ebates thing is fabulous!  It is really my favorite one of the bunch.  I found a deal on a magazine I wanted through Magazines.com, I think it was like $9.95.  So, I went to ebates.com and typed in Magazines.com and it was one of their vendors.  It then directed me to their site where I purchased the magazine.  Ebates.com then put 26% of the purchase in my ebates.com account as my rebate!  That was part of the $29 check I rec'd!  I also did this with Austin's cleats from Shoe.com, Computer software from Symantic, Paint supplies from Home Depot -----etc.    I think you may get $5 placed in your account for signing up!

Okay --- a couple more things that I do:

Surveys --- I belong to a survey group called Pinecone Research --- they send me a check for $3.00 for every survey I complete.  They usually take about 15 minutes.  Again, something I do while I am waiting for the kids somewhere!  I think I have done over 20 surveys since the first of the year. They are the most reputable survey site out there.  They only take new participants at various times during the year.  You can check it out.   I do a few other too --- but not worth recommending.

National Consumer Panel - This is a company that tracks consumer spending.  In return, you get points that allow you to shop for items in their store.  I've just started this and it is a bit time consuming at first.  However, the points and items in the store are very nice and I can't wait to order my first item.  They do not take everyone and you have to qualify. 

Okay --- there you have it.  All the ways, I save money which allows me to stay home with my kids!  Hope some of those ideas work for you!

Kim :)

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