Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Working Title: South Brunswick Savers

Can you think of a better title to rename our De-Clutter Club into something larger? We have branched off in our conversations over the past few years to discuss coupons, free deals and ways to make money from your clutter, so now we are going to embrace this concept and add it to our agenda – to discuss the myriad of ways to keep your household budget under control and still live comfortably and be generous to your neighbors.

Kathy W. Quinto-David is a local resident who has been exploring these cost savings options for some time now and has great information she would like to share with other residents. She will join us for our meeting in March when we can discuss the expansion of our “mission” to include related topics such as “couponing” and resource sharing.

To get us started thinking along these lines, I am including some tips from some of the books I mentioned in my last blog that are available in the library on this topic. I will continue to share a few of these tips every other day or so until we meet again on March 1.

From Be CentsAble by Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee about coupons (Chapter 1: “Everything You Don’t Know about Coupons,” New York: Penguin Group, 2010, pages 1-23):

Couponing requires some research and strategies to do effectively, but with a little preparation time and rethinking the possible, the authors say that you can actually get brand-name items you use at a deep discount and even for free! They say that you need to use your resources to get coupons – your local paper has coupon inserts as well as the large regional papers and the local paper costs less to purchase or subscribe to. But not only can you get coupons from the paper, but there are many online sites that feature high-value coupons including manufacturers’ websites. They suggest joining the mailing lists of manufacturers that you use frequently; they will send coupons to their loyal customers by email and by snail mail.

Create a “junk” email address with Hotmail or Yahoo that you can use on the sites that require you to register. The authors say that most retailers will accept online coupons as long as they have a barcode and an expiration date and they also suggest printing them in black and white to save on the cost of ink! Great suggestion for most of your printing needs – you can find these print options under PRINT in your web browser; you can probably also select a draft mode that uses less ink but still prints a readable page.

They also remind you to look on the product itself for a peel-off coupon to be redeemed at the register. And there are coupon books that are sold as a fundraiser by a lot of non-profit agencies. The Friends of the Library used to sell the Entertainment® Books that you can also purchase online at the publisher’s website at www.entertainment.com; the books are 35% now that it is February. And, in order to stay competitive, magazines are including coupons that make their magazines pay for themselves.

And not all junk mail that you get at home is junk. Look through some of the circulars that are left in your mailbox or driveway – you could be throwing away free money!

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