Monday, June 20, 2011

Home School Lesson: Finding Deals, Spending Wisely

Meet Timi, Finance Extraordinaire!  She has a degree in Family Finance ('er something cool like that).  She is a former homeschooled student herself.  She has a darling little girl and a boy presently growing in her womb I call "Spud"....Because that's what he is right now, a lil' "Spud".  Timi has the beauty and poise of June Cleaver.  I want to raise a daughter like her.  Which most likely will never happen.  Knowing me, I'll be lucky to raise a daughter whose tattoo's are all spelled correctly.  This is Timi's first post filled with financial saviness.  She is passionate about helping families finances be in order.  Read on and save money.  Take it away, Timsters!!....

By Timi:

I first wanted to share with you a little bit of my personal stance on money and being frugal so you kind of get an idea of where I'm coming from and why I do and enjoy doing these things.

First off, I find it utterly ironic that money and finances are such a taboo subject in our culture, yet Jesus talked about it A LOT.  If Jesus found it to be such an important subject matter, most likely we should too!

I believe we are simply stewards of money - that the money we earn, are giving, are spending, are saving, etc is not our own but the Lord’s and that we are called to wisely steward our finances and to always honor Him with our spending, saving, and giving.  If we have the mentality that our money is not our own, but the Lord’s, then it makes it a whole lot easier (though not necessarily always ‘easy’) when He takes some away, or calls us to give above what our human minds think we can (a few references; Psalm 50:12 & Romans 14:8).

2 Cor 9:7 says:’… for God loves a cheerful giver.’ It doesn’t say – a cheerful giver of a certain percentage, or a cheerful giver of when people feel they can give.  This is where it gets tough for a lot of people.  So, one way I have found that helps me have a cheerful heart when the Lord calls me to give above what I humanly think I should or want to, is to work at finding deals and spending wisely.  This is one reason why I do this stuff and spend the time I do on finding deals.  If I find deals on items I normally would have purchased for our household anyway, then I was able to save some extra money that I hadn’t planned on doing so.  If I find great deals on items I know others could really benefit from, then I was able to give of my time and resources to help others and that’s really fun too.

* Where can you find coupons?

* Types of coupons:
1. Manufacturer’s coupons – most coupons you print online or get in the mail/newspaper are manufacturer’s coupons.  This means it’s the manufacturer of the item that put out the coupon – so any store that accepts coupons should accept any manufacturer’s coupon.
2. Store coupon – this is a coupon put out by a specific store.  It can only be used at that store (unless your store accept competitor’s coupons).
3. Catalina coupons – these are coupons that will print out on or with your receipt.  They are store coupons that you can use on your next purchase(s).
4. Mobile coupons – some stores (ie Target and Office Max) have mobile coupons now – you can sign up to get a text once/week with a list of mobile coupons.  They each have a barcode and you show it to the cashier and they scan it off your cell phone.

* How do coupons work:
1.  Most stores will accept one store coupon and one manufacturer’s coupon per item. 
2. When a store accepts a manufacturer’s coupon, the customer pays the store that much less, but the store sends the coupon to the manufacturer who then reimburses the store the amount of the coupon, plus a ‘handling fee’.
3.  A coupon is technically supposed to lower down to the total price of the item if applicable.  For example, if you have a $.99 item and a $1 coupon, the coupon is technically supposed to ring down to $.99.  Stores (other than Walmart – their new coupon policy says they will accept the full amount of the coupon and will pay you the difference or will use the difference toward other items) will not give you cash back.  So – if you’re only going for an item that you have a coupon for more than the total, you need to get something else on your order to cover the overage.

* Coupons don’t always save you money! Watch the price per ounce – oftentimes store brands will still be cheaper than name brands with a coupon.  If you were going to buy the name brand anyway, then you just saved yourself some money, but if you normally buy the store brand and you have a coupon for the name brand, look at the price after the coupon and the price per ounce to decide if it’s worth using the coupon.  If you just buy something because you have a coupon, you still spent more than you would have without the coupon.  Coupons save you money when it’s either an amount off an item you were going to buy anyway, or if it provides a free or money-making deal for you.

* The ‘golden’ coupons – coupons with no size limitations!  If you learn what items your stores carry in the travel section (particularly Target and Walmart) you can get some free items with coupons that don’t limit the size. 

* Don’t let the picture on the coupon fool you!!!  Stores and manufacturer’s will usually always show the picture of your most expensive (of their greatest money maker) option that you can use the coupon on.  Know what the coupon is good for and choose the item that is the best deal for you.

* Sales tax and coupons – coupons are not supposed to cover sales tax.  So, you have to keep that in mind when deciding on doing a deal or not.

* Most stores have a copy of their coupon policy online – check these out so you know your ‘coupon rights’ when shopping there.  Oftentimes the cashier’s are not aware of their own policies.

* If you find great deals for items you may not use, consider getting them as a donation to an individual or organization in need of such items.

* Let others do the deal-finding work for you!  There are so many ‘deal sites’ online right now that get paid to find the deals for you so take advantage of these and save yourself some time!  Here are some of my favorites:

* Here are some coupon jargon provided on these sites that you may run into when reading/hearing about deals:
  •             Sunday Newspaper Insert Abbreviations:
GM = General Mills
PG = Procter and Gamble
RP = Red Plum
SS = SmartSource
*Date for insert is typically in very small print on the spine of the insert.
  • Other Abbreviations and Money-Saving Terms:
B1G1 or BOGO = Buy One, Get One Free
B2GI = Buy Two, Get One Free
DEAD = Offer No Longer Valid
DND = Do Not Double
EX or X = Expires On
FAR = Free After Rebate
FILLER = Item Purchased to Reach a Minimum Total in Order to Get a “Deal”
GC = Gift Card
IP = Internet Printable
Jedi = The Cashier You Want!
MC or MQ = Manufacturer’s coupon
MIR = Mail In Rebate
NED = No Expiration Date
OOP = Out of Pocket
STACKING: Using Both a Store Coupon and a Manufacturer’s Coupon on One Item
TMF = Try Me Free Offer
UPC = Universal Product Code – Those black straight lines with numbers under them
YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary – Deal may work for someone else, but it may not work for you.

* Check out or to purchase gift cards at a discount – if you purchase cards for stores you would normally shop at anyway, you’re getting an additional savings on top of any other deals/savings you may find in-store.


"Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you." Acts 13:38

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