Tag Archives: personal experience

Tougher Times – More Savings!

7 Oct

Thank you to everyone who’s still on board with me & my blog. I’ve had a really rough family situation going on lately, but things seem to be leveling out now, and I’m hoping to get back to blogging full time!

The title of this post is indicative of how a lot of people are feeling right now. Because of circumstances beyond our control, things are going to be harder for my husband, daughter and I this fall and winter. Money is going to be just a little shorter, and time is going to be spread very thinly between all of our commitments and obligations. With that being said, I’m trying to look at this situation as a chance to really put my couponing & savings skills to work. This will be an opportunity for me to really make our money work for us.

What about all of you? What does the harvest and holiday season approaching mean for your budget? Couldn’t we all use a little extra cash in our wallets at this time of year? Since that’s not a likely scenario for most of us, I propose that what we can do instead is bulk up on the coupons (and sales ads!) in our arsenal instead, and really make good use of the time that we have, so we can devote more of it to enjoying our family & friends.

Look for a new series coming next month – Couponing Toward Christmas – and stick around for some great tips on making whatever amount you have in your family’s budget this year streeeetch!


BIG NEWS – Upcoming Couponing Classes!

25 Sep

First let me say it’s great to be back to blogging – my computer is finally among the living once more, so I will hopefully be able to stay on top of bringing you money-saving tips more regularly! (Look for a post later this week about local artists & how you can save money while supporting your community!)

Now, onto my big news – This fall, I will be conducting a bi-weekly couponing class right here in my community. Here is the information you need to know on the class itself, as well as how to get in touch with me if you’re interested! Keep in mind – walk-ins are perfectly welcome the day of each class, but reserving a spot will ensure I have all of your FREEBIES ready when you arrive!

  • Classes will be held every other weekend, in the LifeSong Church building in downtown Russell, KY. (If the demand increases, I may add more classes!)
  • Classes will be 3 hours long each time, and will cover the same material each time. (So you only need to take the class once!)
  • The classes will cost $20 per person, or $15 for LifeSong Church members.
  • Classes will run from the first weekend of October through the last weekend of December. 

Beginning in January of 2014, I will be offering FREE weekly follow-up meetings for anyone interested in learning even more about coupons, shopping smart, stretching a dollar and saving big! This “Life Group” will be open to church members and anyone who has attended one of my fall 2013 classes!

If you and a group of friends/family are interested in taking a class but can not attend, I can come to you! Just contact me to set up a date/time and payment information, and I will give you a discounted group rate!


I can be reached at: c.blackaby.barker @ gmail.com or 606-834-8088

I also have Facebook & Twitter, so find me there if you’d like!


Thanks for everyone’s interest, and please be sure to share this post with everyone you know who’s interested in saving money! (So basically, everyone!)

Weird Places to Score Great Deals

31 Aug

Have you ever found a great deal where you least expected it? I think we all have, but for me, it’s become part of my couponing strategy. Many of my best hauls have come from sales on unexpected items at seemingly random stores. In this post, I’ll give you a few examples. Try some of these out for yourself to snag great buys!

  • CVS or Rite-Aid for grocery deals – I have often found great buys on grocery items at my local pharmacies, and sometimes these deals also include an incentive such as ExtraBucks or +Up Rewards. Add coupons (stack store and MF coupons at both locations!) and/or reward dollars from previous purchases for even deeper discounts!
  • Health/Beauty items at Kroger or other grocery stores – Most of my best deals actually come from closeouts and clearance at my local Kroger store. I’ve also found great deals on toothpaste, floss, feminine care items and even household items like laundry supplies at smaller, independently owned grocery stores. Many of these places have additional promotions – like reward point systems – and accept coupons. Some even double coupons! Check for these deals while doing your regular grocery shopping, and save more every time you shop!
  • Home improvement & decor items at dollar stores – Though many people obviously have certain styles they’re fond of or specific qualities they’re looking for in home items, I’ve found that if you’re not terribly picky, you can clean, maintain and even decorate your home frugally by shopping at dollar stores. The selection varies widely from location to location, but if you drop by with any sort of regularity, you can find practical, inexpensive and attractive home accents, and brand name cleaning supplies. (As well as the convenience of purchasing these items alongside every day essentials!)


Where have you found great (but maybe unexpected) deals lately?

Free Papers in Your Community – Free Coupon Resources!

31 Aug

In most communities, there are several free, small weekly publications available. These can be found on stands at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, etc. Some – like the “Tri-State Weekend” in our area – are even delivered straight to your mailbox weekly, all for free.

These papers can include grocery store circulars – great for planning shopping trips – as well as restaurant coupons, savings at farmers’ markets and more. For what they are, these papers are great resources for couponers. Free, easy to find (sometimes even sent right to your home) and full of great coupons and deals. 

I highly suggest those of you who are new to couponing (or haven’t checked these little papers out!) go out and find these gems in your community, and put them to work for you!

When is a Dollar a Deal? (Dollar Stores)

2 Aug

Today I made a trip to a Dollar Tree store. Everything in this store is a dollar, and though other dollar stores don’t have quite those kinds of prices, they all offer some great values. However, it’s important to note that some things are great deals at dollar store prices, and some aren’t. How can you tell what’s what? Here’s a quick (and by no means concise) list of ideas for what to buy at dollar stores -and what to wait for another store to pick up.

Great Dollar Store Values

  • Select Toiletries (Some brand name products are sold at dollar stores for around a dollar ,while they are up to twice that price elsewhere. Check the size, though – sometimes value is more than just price per item!)
  • Food/Beverage items – Buy your bottled soft drinks at the dollar store – specifically Dollar Tree. Our local store offers 21 ounce bottles for a dollar each; much cheaper than the local grocery stores or even Wal-Mart. 2-liters are less expensive elsewhere at times, but if you can’t find them on sale when you need them, head to your favorite dollar store. 
  • Newspapers – My local Dollar Tree offers Sundays newspapers for only a dollar, while they are $1.25-$1.75 elsewhere. This may not seem like great savings, but if you’re buying several papers every week, all year long, it adds up to a great deal over time. Be sure to get there early, though – many stores sell out early on Sunday because of this great price!
  • Personal care items – Check your local dollar stores for feminine care, vitamins & other medicines, sexual health products, razors, cosmetics and other products at better deals than stores like Kroger or CVS, and sometimes their prices are even comparable to Wal-Mart & other big box discount retailers. This can save something other than just money – if you can get your favorite items for the same prices without having to drive to a crowded big box store, you’ll save your time and sanity as well!

Not everything is a great deal at dollar stores. Beware not-so-great prices on:

  • Sample & travel size items – Often sold for around a dollar at these stores, these items can be found elsewhere – often is larger sizes or of better quality – for less. Check Wal-Mart or Target for deals on these items. 
  • Canned goods – A dollar a can for veggies? $1.50 for a can of broth or condensed soup? These deals are not worth the time of anyone who can shop sales elsewhere. Stack coupons with sales at grocers like Kroger to grab much better deals here. (As always, Aldi also has great deals on these items – no coupons necessary!)
  • Entertainment – Movies, cds, electronics, etc.; not the thing to pick up during a dollar store trip. Though you may find good deals on these items here, it’s unlikely that a better deal can not be had elsewhere, especially during seasonal sales. (Think holiday shopping season!) Dollar stores offer limited quantities & selection, so try big box retailers or websites like Amazon for these items.

In short, some items are great buys at dollar stores – especially those $1 deals! – and some aren’t. Try taking a trip & scouting prices on your favorite items at your local store, then compare them with the prices you’re accustomed to paying elsewhere. You may just find a treasure trove of awesome deals you’ve been missing!

More Than One Way to Use a Coupon!

14 Jul

Have you ever had great coupons for products that you just don’t use? Maybe it’s time to try something new, or rethink your product-usage habits!

NOTE: This post contains non-descriptive discussion of personal care items – you have been warned! 

For instance, I recently used coupons to stock up on Pull-Ups & Kandoo brands “flushable moist wipes”. My baby isn’t old enough to use the bathroom, so most parents in my situation wouldn’t have purchased these items. However – I’m of the school of thought that wipes are wipes, so we use them in our diaper bag as “travel wipes”. They work just as well, and are great for her sensitive skin, plus you can flush them in the public restroom. Fabulous! They also make great “grown up” wipes, for everything from daily messes to bathroom trips (think Charmin or Cottonelle wipes!) and considering they were all free, it’s great to find multiple uses for them for our family!

Another item I have spoken to several women about lately are products from brands like Poise & Tena. With high value coupons for these products coming out on a regular basis, they’re great stock up items. But they’re not only great for those people who have bladder leakage/incontinence/postpartum issues, but they make great everyday liners & pads that can be used in place of products like Always & Kotex, which are usually more expensive for coupon shoppers. And really, who’s going to know that you have a Poise/Tena pad on, other than yourself? With products that are used once and thrown away, why not use what you can get for free, even if it was technically designed for something else? Makes sense and saves cents!

Of course, the best thing to do when you find great coupons for items you don’t or can’t use is to donate these items. My husband & I used the $5/2 Clairol coupons this last week to buy nearly $60 worth of shampoo, which we then donated to a local charity, for almost nothing out of pocket. Donating is easier when you can afford to do it regularly, and coupon make that happen!

So flip through your organizer or binder this week, look at your coupons, and ask yourself – if I won’t use this product, how can I change that? Or better yet, who else can use it? Your answers may surprise and benefit you more than you can imagine!

Frugal & Fun – eBay

8 Jul

Do you eBay? If you’re in the market to save money, you should definitely look into this easy to use auction site. 

Most people know you can find new & used goods for sale & auction here – like the world’s largest estate/yard/garage sale or flea market – but did you know you can also snag just about any COUPON you’re looking for here? 

Of course, because of the nature of the items, you’re not paying for the coupons, you’re paying for the seller’s “time and effort” find, clipping and packaging the coupons for you. Sound a little silly? Maybe – but consider how much you can save in the long run grabbing coupons this way.

This week, for instance – the Sunday newspaper had only one insert in it. Though this isn’t much in the way of quantity, the quality was pretty good, with high value P&G coupons. I knew I wanted four or more inserts, but who wants to pay that much to get coupons? (Papers can be $1.50-$1.75 here, and can be even more expensive in other regions!) So I tried eBay

I was able to find an auction offering five uncut P&G inserts for only $5.00, shipped. Meaning I paid just a dollar an insert, and they’ll be delivered to me without ever having to leave my house. Pretty sweet. Even sweeter when you consider I paid for the total with my PayPal account balance, which consists entirely of money I’ve earned from Ibotta. So really, I paid nothing for the inserts, nothing for shipping, and I saved the time & money I would have spent fighting Sunday crowds for them. Win, all around! 

So next time you’re looking for a specific coupon, consider giving eBay a try. When you receive your shipment of coupons at your convenience, you’ll be glad you did!