Coupon Clubs: Friendship & Savings!

deals_and_Coupons_version_2 (2).jpgOne of the questions I get frequently  is how do I get so many coupons?

I used to subscribe to FIVE Sunday papers (so much waste!!), but the best way is that I belong to a coupon club!

A what?  A coupon club.  We meet once a month, bring our extra coupon inserts, clip, trade, nosh, gossip and share tricks and tips.  We have a private Facebook group, so we can discuss deals and post our “wishlists”.  Each of us posts a list of coupons that we would like, and as the next meet up draws near, those who are attending clip and print coupons for each other.  Each meet up is like Christmas morning, we trade envelopes of the clipped coupons we requested.  We also talk about deals, frugal living strategies, and help each other. We’ve been together about 7 years!!

In addition to trading coupons, we also have teamed up with a local American Legion Post. They collect Sunday coupon inserts from members. We clip them and return them (taking whatever coupons we’d like). The Legion mails the coupons overseas for those military families living on base overseas. Overseas Military commissaries (that’s the on base grocery stores) accept coupons expired up to 6 months after the expiration date. So not only do we get access to multiple inserts, but, we are able to help others.

We also collect sample sized toiletries and items that we are able to get for free and donate them to the American Legion Post for their homeless veteran outreach.

If you are interested in starting a coupon in your local area, check out Facebook or meetup.com- there are lots of coupon clubs all over the country.

I have a Facebook group for people in my local East County San Diego area. We meet twice a month during the week. If you are interested in joining, check out our group:  Weekday Frugalistas: East County

I post freebies, deals, and other stuff between meetings, and I post a run down of what we discussed at the meeting afterwards, so even if you cant go, you’ll still be up to date!

If you can’t find a local coupon group, there are website dedicated to helping couponers. My favorite is:

 

Visit Hotcouponworld It's all about the deals.HCW has forums for all the major stores, including grocery, drug and mass merchandisers. Trade coupons, find freebies, and find local coupon groups.  You can trade coupons and view their coupon database! I’ve met lots of friends on HCW!

And if you are looking to print coupon online, check out my list of printable coupon resources here.  Every coupon you print helps support our blog!

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Saving Money in the New Year on Clothes!

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The tote of clothes to grow into!

I’ve written about clothing swaps before, but I wanted to share some additional resources and tips.

Last night I was pulling out the 24 month clothes for Bitty Bird, and making a pile of 18 month clothes that she had outgrown and I thought about how there were probably other moms (and dads) doing the same thing!

I try to keep clothing in the next size up for Bitty, but Lil’ Man hasn’t bee growing very much, just wearing his clothes out, so I only have a few outfits in the next size up for him. Everything lives in a tote in her bedroom. But don’t worry, she can’t get into it. It’s part of her changing table set up.

We rely on clothing swaps and hand-me-downs for the bulk of our kids clothes. There is no reason that you have to spend thousands of dollars on dressing your kids!

Here are some tips to how we save big on kids clothes:

Trade with friends!

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The Pile of outgrown clothes!

We lucked out that a lot of our friends had girls about a year before Bitty was born. We received a bunch of hand me downs prior to her birth, and we continue to as well. This is great because I turn around and share them with friends who have kids after Bitty has grown out of them!

Handing down clothes or trading with friends is a great way to keep costs down and keep unwanted/outgrown clothes out of landfills!

Some of our favorite outfits have been hand me downs!

Check Craigslist Free Section! 

I have found tons of clothes (not just for the kids) in the free section of Craiglist. People move, or don’t have time to sell or donate clothing they no longer want. Instead they post on Craigslist! I’ve scored Jack and Janie, Gymboree, and even Nordstrom brand kids clothes all for free!

And in a similar vein:

Check out Clothing Swaps! 

Here are a few in Eastern San Diego County:

  • Finders Keepers Dates change. Usually quarterly in La Mesa
  • Skyline Church Clothing Plus Swap Takes place twice a year.
  • Pathways Church Clothing Swap Takes place once a year.
  • Foothills Church Shop and Swap Once or twice a year
  • Miss Charity’s Closet Monthly swap at Sonrise Church 8805 N. Magnolia Ave Santee, CA 92071 (2nd Saturday of each month)

And these two, while not specifically clothing swaps, do have clothing available for those in need

  • The Closet on 54th: Open 3 times a month on a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday 11:00am to 2:00pm. Located at Calvary Lutheran Church, 3060 54th Street, San Diego, CA 92105. Men, womens, and childrens clothing.
  • Naomi’s Closet: at Santee United Methodist Church 8964 N. Magnolia St. Santee, CA 92071 Wednesdays 10 AM – 12 PM and every 1st & 3rd Saturday, 9 AM – 1 PM (ladies clothing only, men are not permitted)
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My Helper, making soup for her babies.

Last night after separating and pulling out all of the outgrown clothes, I made two stacks. One was clothes to pass along to friends, and the second was clothes that were in play condition. A little wear, some staining, but still in ok shape (good for playing outside).

The play clothes I posted on our local Buy Nothing Group on Facebook.

I’m really looking forward to some clothing swaps this year! I have a bunch of clothes in my closet that I want to swap out!

Bricks 4 Kidz Imagine This Contest!

Ok, so we are slightly Lego obsessed around here, when I found out about the Bricks 4 Kidz Imagine This Contest, I had to share!

Post a Photo of Your GREATEST ORIGINAL LEGO CREATION For A Chance to Win $200 And Be Featured in A NATIONAL BRICKS 4 KIDZ ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN! Want to win? Here’s how…Visit their Facebook page here and Submit Your Photo. Encourage friends and family to VOTE FOR YOUR PHOTO. The person with the most votes wins!

The contest runs through September 12th. The person with the most votes will receive a $200 cash prize and be featured in the 2017 Bricks 4 Kidz advertising campaign. Second and third place winners will receive a $50 cash prize. Enter your Creation Today!

Lil’ Man is working on his entry right now!

San Diego, CA area Coupon Group looking for new members!

Are you a new couponer looking for a couponing tribe of friends who “get” your love of saving? Are you an old time couponer who remembers the Good Ol’ Days of Double coupons?deals_and_Coupons_version_2

If you live in San Diego and are interested in finding some like minded couponing buddies, check out my new Facebook group here.

We’ll be getting together in East County twice a month to talk strategies, tips, hints, and of course, to share coupons!

In between meetings, we’ll share tips and tricks, hot deals, and share our love of saving!

 

Try Products for free with BzzAgent!

I get asked a lot, “How do you get so much awesome stuff for free?” I could lie and tell you it’s my good looks, but really, it’s because I belong to a couple of  really awesome Word of Mouth Marketing companies. Word of Mouth (WOM) Marketing- It’s not a new concept, but nowadays companies are starting to realize how powerful consumer recommendations can be.  Remember the “I told two friends, and they told two friends” commercial from the 1980’s? That’s word of mouth marketing.  Since the invention of the internet, WOM marketing has been amplified.

There are companies that connect consumers with companies and products looking to market directly to a specific cross-section of the population.  What does that mean for you?  Sign up with a WOM Marketing company and when they have products that someone like you would like and use, and they will have you complete a brief survey and send you the product.

Often times, the product they will send you will be full size.  Additionally, they will send marketing materials with talking points for you to share with friends.  Depending on the product, samples and coupons may be included! Once you receive your kit, you try out the products and “bzz” about them by posting on FB, Twitter, G+, or on your blog. You can also “bzz” face to face. When I get a lot of coupons in a kit, often times I’ll “Coupon Fairy” when I’m at the store (that’s a term for leaving coupons on the shelf next to the corresponding item). You report back to Bzzagent when you share/”bzz”.

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The BzzAgent bee looks Angry, but he’s just determined to find some sweet deals

My favorite WOM Marketing by far is Bzzagent. Bzzagent was founded in 2007 and they work with a lot of great national brands. In the past I’ve received diapers, wipes, beer, frozen food, razors, cereal, and tons of other awesome stuff to try and share with my friends.

The Campaign I’ve got right now is for Kroger brand products. For those of you who are thinking, “Kroger??” Kroger is the company that owns a bunch of grocery stores across the US, including Ralphs and Food4Less here in So. Cal. Like most major grocery store chains, they have quite a number of private label (formerly known as generic or store) brands.

Kroger is no slouch, check out the wide variety of their Private Label Brands:

Kroger® Brand: The classic Kroger® Brand has you covered with the products you love most in every section of your local store.

Private Selection™: Each Private Selection item has been carefully crafted to delight your senses — from the artisanal breads and cheeses to prime meat cuts and decadent desserts.

Simple Truth™ & Simple Truth Organic™: Every Simple Truth product is free from 101+ artificial preservatives and ingredients — taking the worry out of what’s in your food.

HemisFares: Kroger’s culinary explorers traveled the globe to bring you an extraordinary collection of authentic, regional food specialties.

Everyday Low Price Brands: On a tight budget? Look for P$$T…™, Check This Out…™ and Heritage Farm™ items throughout your local store to discover great prices on everyday essentials.

My BzzKit contained:

  • Kroger® Brand Tomatillo Lime Flavored Tortillas
  • Simple Truth Banana Chips
  • P$$T… Brownie Mix
  • Private Selection Coffee (I got Breakfast Blend)
  • Coupons for FREE Bacon, Pasta, and Mexican Cooking Sauce

This morning I made the Brownies up as cupcakes (perfect for portion control). They are super fudgey and chewy- YUM! I’m setting the rest aside for dessert tonight- I’ll be pairing them with fresh berries and Fat Free Cool-Whip.

I’ll be cutting up the tortillas and baking them to give them some crunch to top our taco salads tonight.

There are quite a few other WOM Marketing Companies such as Smiley 360, Houseparty, Influenster, MomsMeet, and VocalPoint, but I find that overall Bzzagent provides the better campaigns and they have more kits to supply so more people can try out products. Some other WOM Marketing companies make you jump through hoops to get campaigns for example:  Locate products on shelves and take a selfie with them in store, post to your blog, FB, or other Social Media outlets before you are considered or approved for a campaign. That’s just too much work for my tastes, especially when you aren’t guaranteed a spot if you do all of those things!

WOM Marketing is just one way I score free stuff to share with others and stretch our family budget.