Saturday, March 21, 2009

She Speaks - Try New Products For Free & Keep Them!

Do you like to try new products? Would you like to give product feedback to manufacturers before products are introduced in the marketplace? Well, now you can!!!

She Speaks was created by a woman who wanted to give all women a forum to express their opinions and connect with others. It is now a community of smart and insightful women who come together to share opinions and see the power of collective voices in action. SheSpeaks gives you many ways to have a say, including... testing products to inspire the companies who created them, writing your opinions on our blogs and discussion boards, creating your own product reviews, or getting expert advice on a range of topics to keep you in-the-know. And the best part is... it's FREE!

I have been a member for a year now and have tested some great products - including Ghiradelli Peanut Butter Squares (6 months before they hit the market), Opi Nailsticks, Pantene Shampoo, and the most recent one - Haagen Dazs 5 ice cream. I signed up for a She Speaks party in which I promised to have a party and invite at least 10 guests to taste new ice cream. We had the party last week and had so much fun! (Thanks to Laura for hosting the party!!!) Haagen Dazs sent me 7 pints of the new Haagen Dazs 5 ice cream. The concept of this new Haagen Dazs 5 is that it only has 5 ingredients. At the party, we conducted ice cream taste tests with our friends and now I get to report that 4 of the flavors were a big hit (chocolate, vanilla, coffee and mint). The fact that the ice cream had only 5 ingredients was a big hit, too!
I am happy to report that I will be test-marketing some other items in the near future. They send me bi-weekly emails asking my interest in certain products and I get chosen based on my feedback. I am excited to know that I get to test products before they are introduced to the world and maybe my opinion influences the manufacturer's decision. I just love marketing!!!

I highly recommend you check out She Speaks today!
Written by Elizabeth

Have A House Party!

I love to try new products and I love to host parties. I recently discovered a great little secret called House Party. What it is? It's cool people sharing cool stuff!

A House Party™ is thousands of parties happening across the country on a single day, hosted by people just like you. Each event is sponsored by a leading brand and focuses on something cool—like a new product, hit TV show, or great cause—that the sponsor wants its best fans to experience firsthand and share with their friends.

You host. Everyone wins. House Party lets you share the stuff you like with the people you like, through a fantastic, free party experience. What’s the catch? There is none: Our partners understand that if they share something good with the right people in a fun way, weĆ­ll all help spread the word.
I recently hosted a "Land O Lakes" House Party where I was sent free products, coupons, recipes and prizes for my guests. It was easy, fun and we got some great free stuff!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Couponing 101 - More Tips For The Beginner

Did you know that only 1% of coupons are redeemed each year? That is, only 1% of printed circular coupons (i.e. Sunday coupon circulars) are actually redeemed. This makes me wish I could get the other 99% of the coupons delivered to my house!! A new study just came out and showed that coupon redemption in the United States in the 4th quarter of 2008 increased 10% (over the same period the year prior). That is exciting news because as more coupons are redeemed, manufacturers will actually produce more we can all save more money.

Here are more basic couponing tips for the beginner. These tips focus on retail stores and how to be a savvy shopper! I hope this helps you all save lots of money!

1) Keep in mind that in order to stretch your dollar the most, you should be shopping in several stores....not just one. You will effectively save more money by shopping in competing stores. For example, I buy most of my groceries at Walmart, Winn Dixie and Publix. I can always compare prices of one against another and I know when it's a good deal. Many weeks, I will shop at all 3 stores so I can get the best deals.
2) Every week, you need to review the ads for your favorite stores (i.e. grocery stores, mass merchants and drug stores). The best way to get all of the ads in one place is the Sunday newspaper. Pull out all of the ads for stores you shop in and comb them to see what's on sale. I usually keep my grocery list handy as I review the ads and make notes where I should be shopping. You can really save money when you have coupons to use in addition to the item being on sale.
3) Combine store coupons and manufacturer coupons to get the best value!!! This really is the best kept secret in couponing and this is how you can get items for FREE!! Most stores do have their own coupons and often times you can find them in the store (check the customer service desk, the front lobby as you walk in, etc). You can also check the store website for printable store coupons. You can also join their frequent shopper programs and you may receive store coupons via mail. Lastly, if you shop there often, you may receive coupons on your register receipt (known as Catalinas - named after the company that developed this coupon). Here is a scenerio from my weekly trip to Target.... I use an awesome website called A Full Cup and they have Target IP's (internet printables). I check this website weekly. This week, they had $1.00 off Mott's Applesauce (4 or 6 pack) and I also had $.55 off manufacturer coupons. The price was $1.72 - I saved $1.00 then saved $.55 = I got this item for $.17 (for a 6 pack of applesauce)!! If you are a Target shopper, you should bookmark this site and check it often. Target is also very good to send coupons in the mail if you're on their mailing list. Many grocery stores have recently changed their policy about combining store and manufacturer coupons so you should always ask.
4) Know when store markdowns are done - which days of the week and for which departments. In addition, know where they merchandise the markdowns. I know that my Wal-Mart marks down food items on Wednesday and merchandises all products on end caps (usually the cereal isle). Usually, the products marked down are about to expire or have been discontinued or being repackaged. Target usually does food markdowns on Wednesday and clothing on Thursday. In Target, always shop the perimeter of the store - shop the endcaps on the inside to find the markdowns.

I love to hear your success stories. Please feel free to post comments with your successful shopping trips!!!

More couponing tips to come so stay tuned....

Written by Elizabeth

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Eating Restaurant Favorites While Saving Money!

Enjoy an evening at home with restaurants recipes without the big price tag to go with it? Try the Copycat Cookbook. You get thousands of of your fav recipes from favorite restaurants.

You can learn to cook like a pro with Copycat Cookbook. The book features 332 recipes from favorite American restaurants, including Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Applebee's and Chili. When you buy the Copycat Cookbook, you will also receive the cookbook volume 2 with 424 additional recipes and 3 other free bonuses with 1,500+ recipes.

Check out this wonderful website, and see what all the talk is about! The cost is $32.95 for the book and with it you will receive the cookbook volume 2 with 424 additional recipes and 3 other free bonuses with 1,500+ recipes. That's awesome. We love this. Not only can you enjoy your restaurant favorites, you will save money by making it yourself.
Written by Laura.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Win A Free Bra From Oprah Magazine!

Attention women!!! Don't we all deserve something free just for ourselves?! Here's your chance to participate in a marketing survey and you may be chosen to win a free bra! Simply fill out the survey, which only takes 5 minutes, and you'll have the chance to receive the latest bra from a leading manufacturer valued at $40. Hurry, this is a limited time offer!
Written by Elizabeth

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Couponing 101 - Tips For The Beginner

I have been clipping coupons since my days in college 20 years ago. In college, I clipped coupons so I would have more money for "entertainment". These days, I still clip coupons but it's so I can get the best deal out there and provide great products for my family. It's so easy to save money if you know a few tricks and are willing to spend a few minutes each week planning to save money.

Here are some easy tips for using coupons that even a beginner can follow:

1) Never go to the grocery store without 2 things...your list and your coupons.
2) Clip coupons out of the Sunday paper. Clip coupons for any products you or your family would consume.
3) Become familiar with IP's - Internet Printable coupons. You can print coupons online and take them to any grocery store or super center. There are 3 main sites I use: , Smartsource, and Red Plum. You will have to download the coupon printer software, but it's worth it!
4) Many companies have coupons on their websites. For example, my kids drink Juicy Juice every week and I went onto their website and found coupons I can print every time I need to buy product. Here are some links to products you may buy every week:

General Mills Kids Cereals

** Check your favorite products' websites to see if they have coupons on them!

5) Sign up for manufacturer newsletters. Choose 10-20 of your favorite products and go online to view the websites for these products. Sign up for their newsletters and/or mailing lists. These manufacturers will send you coupons via mail or email.
6) Your goal is to save money on products you need. You should throw brand loyalty aside and be willing to buy different brands - ones you have coupons for.

Stay tuned for more tips on getting and using coupons!
Written by Elizabeth

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

FREE Movie Wednesdays at Redbox!

Redbox is one of the greatest inventions ever! You can rent DVDs for $1 and they have convienient locations everywhere!!! Simply dispense the DVD and take it home. You can even reserve your movie online - so easy! We have 4 locations within 4 miles of us and we use it practically every weekend!

It's March Movie Madness for Redbox, so get in the game… on Wednesdays! Visit redblog every Wednesday in March for your Free Movie Wednesday code. Then visit your local redbox kiosk for your FREE 1 NIGHT's RENTAL.
Written by Elizabeth

Friday, March 6, 2009

Join The Coffee-Mate Brew Crew!

Calling all coffee lovers ... here's a fun way to get involved in the coffee industry! The COFFEE-MATE Brew Crew is an elite team of COFFEE-MATE fans who help spread the word about COFFEE-MATE and provide feedback on COFFEE-MATE products, promotions and marketing efforts to COFFEE-MATE’s marketing team. In exchange, COFFEE-MATE Brew Crew members can receive promotional items, samples, and coupons to share with friends, acquaintances, and others in the coffee-drinking world! In addition, Brew Crew members can complete simple and fun weekly activities and earn points that can be used to redeem great rewards in our online store. Interested in joining? Click here.
Written by Elizabeth

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Grocery Shopping ... Do You BPO?

Everyone asks us how we save so much money. It's easy. We love to save money so we put time and effort into it. Saving money effectively does require some time and effort (more so in the beginning). It also requires using coupons.

Here is the best way to get started. When grocery shopping, remember these letters: B P O

B - Budget
Do you have a budget? If not, create one now. In order to use this tool effectively, you must create a realistic budget and stick to it! Your budget is your guide to spending.

P - Plan
Are you a planner? If not, don't worry, it's easy. By planning, we mean that you need to plan your meals out before you go grocery shopping. Planning ahead and making a list of what you'll be eating during the week will allow you to make a list of things you'll need to prepare your meals, taking into account what you have on hand. Make your list while you are looking at your pantry, cupboard and refrigerator. The best way to save money is to make your menu based on what you have on hand (i.e. if you have alot of spaghetti, make spaghetti one of your dinners for the week). Make your list based on what items you need. NEVER go to the grocery store without a list.

O - Organize
Being organized is important if you will be using coupons. Coupons are a great way to save money when grocery shopping in today's economy. In addition, coupons are so easy to gather. Keeping your coupons organized will allow you to save alot of money and not be overwhelmed when you get alot of coupons. For our family of 4, we each have generally over 200 coupons in our coupon organizer every week. Our coupon organizers are our best friends! There are many methods to keeping yours organized but We LOVE the one from Couponizer! We have recommended this to others who have also fallen in love with it.
Written by Elizabeth

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Want Something For Nothing?

A couple of months ago, we found this great way to test and keep products for free. It's called BzzAgent! When you sign up you are invited to join their "buzz" campaigns. We've tested lipstick, nailpolish and household products. Our lastest campaign is to test-taste Chili's new Guiltless Grill entrees. We received 4 coupons each for free entrees to be redeemed at our local Chili's restaurant. All we have to do is use the coupons and/or give them away to friends and family. After taste-testing the products (for free), we create the "buzz" by telling others about Chili's Guiltless Grill items and then write a quick report on BzzAgent. Thats IT!!! Can you believe all we had to do was eat for free and talk!! Not hard at all for us. Its simple, fun and easy!!
Written by Laura

Monday, March 2, 2009

What Does Saving Money Look Like?

Saving money is easy. Saving money is fun. Saving money is second nature to us....we've been doing it for a very long time (30+ years combined between the two of us!). For all of the "newbie thrifty divas" out there, saving money may take a little work in the beginning but trust us, it will pay off!
For our family of 4, we have budgeted $60 each week to spend on groceries and household items. We stretch our budget by using coupons and usually save $20-$30 each week in coupons. This week, I have to show you what we bought (see picture):

Kashi Frozen Dinner - sale price $3.00 - I had coupon for free up to $4.50 value = $0.00
Snipes Frozen Ham & Cheese Minis - sale price $1.25 ea (2 boxes) - I had coupon for $1.00 off 2 = $1.50
Bertolini Frozen Pasta Bakes - reg price $5.96 ea (2 bags) - I had 2 coupons for $2.00 off each = $3.96 ea
Gorton's Frozen Talipia - reg price $3.52 (2 boxes)
Gorton's Frozen Fish Sticks - sale price $4.18 - I had coupon for $1.00 off 3 Gorton's products = $3.18
Yoplait 32 oz Strawberry Yogurt - reg price $2.14 - I had coupon for $.55 off = $1.59
Wheat Thins Crisps - sale price $2.00 per bag (2 bags) - I had a coupon for $2.00 off purchase of 2 so basically I got 2 bags for $2.00
Arnold Double Fiber Loaf of Bread - reg price $1.88 - I had a $1.00 off coupon = $.88
Thomas Plain Bagels - reg price $1.97 - I had a $1.00 off coupon = $.97
Jello Packaged Ready to Mix Jello (3 Flavors, Large Box) - reg price $1.00 ea (3 boxes)
2 Gallons of Wal-Mart Brand Skim Milk - reg price $2.98 per gallon - I had a $1.00 off coupon if purchase milk and 3 boxes of Jello Ready To Mix Jello
Fiber One 4 Pack of Yogurt - reg price is $2.12 - I had a $1.00 off coupon. I had 6 coupons about to expire so I bought 6 packs of yogurt.
Freshley's Chocolate Roll - reg price $1.00
Mach 3 Razor Refill - reg price $11.44 - I had a $2.00 off coupon = $9.44
Green Beans - $.26
Blueberries - $3.00 for large carton

Total Bill = $57.77 (coupon savings was $22.55)

See how easy it is! Now, where do you find all of these great coupons and how do you know when to use them? Stay tuned!
Written by Elizabeth

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Welcome To Our Blog!

Everyone asks us how we manage to save money on EVERYTHING! Well, we have lots of "insider" tips on how to save money. We are both moms of very active children - 5 total children, all under the age of 6. They require alot of food and supplies, which as moms know, drain our budget! We're here to help you learn how to save money and keep your sanity! It's really easy to do and can even be fun! That's right.....we have fun saving money every week!

We are so excited to be sharing money saving tips with our frieinds! We hope you'll like reading our blog and share it with your friends. We'd love to hear your ideas and comments, too!