Monday, July 21, 2008

Domestic Inspirations: Money Saving Mom

As I said in my last post, I've been feeling very domestic these days. So, I thought that maybe others could benefit from my crazy urges. Hence, a new category of posts - Domestic Inspirations. I hope to use this category to share the things that are inspiring my domesticity. Or my insanity. Take your pick.

First up, a blog I came across a week or two ago. Money Saving Mom is written by Crystal Paine, a woman about my age with a husband and two little girls. The blog, as Crystal states is "dedicated to helping you find great deals, stretch your hard-earned dollars, and live on less than you make so you can save more and give more."

Since money is always a bit tight, and since it's growing all the tighter with the price of gas and the price of groceries, I was very intrigued by some of the things I saw on Crystal's site. First of all, Crystal does a fabulous job of monitoring the various deals that major stores are running. For instance, right now she is keeping track of the great penny and 5 cent deals that office supply stores have been having for the great Back to School rush. While Back to School isn't something that's a factor in my life, there are plenty of other things that this kid-less woman can benefit from.

On a regular basis, Crystal posts the various deals that can be had at CVS. For those of you who don't know, CVS has one of those card programs that allow you to get special sales and deals. The key to the CVS program - the thing that makes it worth investigating - is that the program gives you back money. They call it Extra Care Bucks, or ECBs. Once you get familiar with the program, you can actually use it to get products for FREE. Yes, that's right. By combining coupons, sales, and the ECBs, you can get products for free. Now, of course, not *everything* will be free - but it can certainly be CHEAP!

I had known about this program for a while now. More than a year ago, my friend, Jen, showed me her closet full of free stuff. Ok, the whole closet wasn't FULL, but it was A LOT OF STUFF. But for whatever reason, I didn't jump on the bandwagon. Not really sure what has me more into it now, other than the fact that Crystal does a great job of explaining the program and illustrating exactly how to get the deals to work. At any rate, I encourage you to check it out - especially if you buy a significant number of health and beauty products. Here is Crystal's tutorial for getting started with the CVS program.

Lastly, Crystal's blog is great for finding free samples and printable coupons. I've signed up for several samples, and am waiting for my Happy Mail Day. I've also printed out a few coupons from the sites Crystal links to. Two pointers for you ...

1 - Use a "junk" email address for the sample and coupon requests. Companies can and do sell your email address, which is how you end up with spam and junk in your inbox. Free email addresses can be set up through Hotmail or Google, or you can set aside a separate identity for this purpose within your existing email program.

2 - Not every store will accept coupons printed off the internet. Check with your store before you march proudly up to the register with a fist full of internet coupons.

So, if you are looking for was to stretch a dollar (and really - who isn't??), I encourage you to check out Money Saving Mom. Even a little change can make a difference.


MelB. said...

Thanks for all the info. I do the CVS rewards thing and I must say it is well worth it.

Jen said...

oh my, I feel famous! Sadly, my box of free CVS supplies has come to the bottom, however, lasted me about a year of "cycles." However, I always get free toothpaste, and when it is "free" in Extra Bucks Rewards, you can still use a coupon!! Difficult to explain why, but if you uderstand their rewards, you'll get it! Most time the toothpaste has a limit of 5, so I stock up!!! DH likes to poke fun, but he has 1 tube in this bag, 1 tube in that bag, 1 in this locker, 1 in this drawer, etc.
Glad you've been domestic lately! I find it a chore to make myself a bowl of cereal! Which is sad, since I do have a lot of time!! :-)