PINK PIGGY BANK

When trying to reach a "real human" on a customer service call, try this link next time:  http://www.dialahuman.com/

When we spot savings, we snoop to conquer and share with you. Remember, money saved is money in your pocket.  When we grocery shop, the coupon savings goes in to our change charge. Last year, it paid for a nice vacation to California. Two years ago, we purchased an HDTV.  Consider that coupon savings as a little bonus for your hard work.

Like to Sleuth Shop. Is Sally Ann's (Salvation Army) and Goody's (Goodwill) your favorite haunts?  Like resale shops and thrift stores as well. Here is a directory to resale and thrift stores throughout the USA. Plan your vacation around these haunts!
http://www.resaleshopping.com/



Ever wonder if you had money that was laying dormant somewhere? Perhaps a loved one left some money in an unclaimed account. To find out if there is money to be had, visit: http://missingmoney.com/

Don't Miss this Neat Coupon Organizer

http://supermarketsmarty.com/Grocery-list-features.html
I have one and could not go to the grocery store without it!

• Write On Wipe Off

• Nutrition Symbols

• Meal Planner

• Notes Section

• Coupon Pocket

• Label Lens

• Eco-Friendly

The Smarty package includes:

  • Supermarket Smarty reusable dry erase grocery list
  • Retractable refillable dry erase marker.



    *For a limited time enter "WWMAG" coupon code and receive a 20% discount and free magnet clip!

 


NEW HIT & MISS PRODUCTS FOR 5/5/10

New Products Hits & Misses for 05/05/2010 - Supermarket Guru

If you have never seen Phil Lepmert's website, you are missing something. Every week he  previews five new products and rates them. Phil keeps you up to date on the current supermarket trends and shares some tasty recipes.  Be sure to bookmark his website.
Also, bookmark his blog:  http://www.simpleanddelicious.com

Penny-Pinching Is Fine, But It Won't Save the Profligate

 by Alina Tugend
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
provided by
The 
New York Times
Sometimes I read about ways to pinch pennies and I feel good. We turn off lights, often buy in bulk, use compact fluorescent light bulbs and put tap water in our reusable bottles instead of buying disposable ones. A pat on the back for us. When I read another list and realize there are some things I just don't want to do. I don't make my own cleaning supplies. I am pretty hopeless about remembering coupons. I rarely wash out baggies.
A kick in the pants for us.

It turns out there are a million ways to save small amounts of money, and not all of them are going to fit all of us. I know some people who have elaborate coupon systems that work well for them, but it's just not something I want to spend time on. I do use every rewards card I can, though, to rack up points toward a free movie ticket, meal or flight.
[Click here to check savings products and rates in your area.]

I'm not saying my choices make sense. I'm simply saying that saving is as individual as spending.  And perhaps, despite common wisdom, the small ways to save don't really help us. They can even but hurt us by fooling us into believing we are making genuine financial changes when we're not.  "We've read so much about economizing -- here's how to clip a coupon and save 10 to 20 percent," said Jeff Yeager, who wrote "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches," (Broadway Books, 2008). "But what we're missing is the golden epiphany of the time -- not can we save, but what do we need?"
Cutting out the little stuff, what's known as the latte factor, "works on paper, but not necessarily in reality," said Mr. Yeager, who also runs the Web site ultimatecheapskate.com. "It's analogous to the easy weight-loss plans -- that you can save in a quick and painless way."

If we're living way beyond our means, drinking a little less coffee may make us feel as if we're doing something, but we're really avoiding making the more challenging decisions.
Rather, we need to focus on the big choices in life, like buying a smaller house or downsizing the one we have now, Mr. Yeager said. Or living at home during college so we don't run up debt and then moving out when we graduate (rather than, as seems to be increasingly necessary, moving back in with the parents after college).  I can see these issues are important to think about and even act on. But can we start a bit smaller?
Yes, Mr. Yeager said. How about this idea, which is a common one, but worth repeating? Eat out much less. Forty-five percent of the average family's food budget is spent on meals prepared outside the house (that includes fast food). Imagine how much we can save by eating at home.  I don't have to imagine it. I know. That's one of the things we cut back on last year, and it has made a difference.  But notice, I said cut back. We haven't eliminated it altogether. There are times when a Chinese takeout or a restaurant dinner is just what we need. And that's O.K., said Rebecca Schreiber, a certified financial planner for Solid Ground Financial Planning in Silver Spring, Md.  "People tend to focus on the smallest areas that have the least impact," she said. "The key is satisfied spending." That is, don't just spend out of habit, but because it's something you really want. For instance, many people eat lunch out almost every day. It may be because they enjoy the food, but part of it is the activity surrounding the meal -- getting outside and socializing.

So try to do that in a cheaper way, Ms. Schreiber said. Instead of going to a restaurant, buy some fresh lunch options at a grocery store. Then meet with friends and eat outside or in the work cafeteria.  "You can get a salad for $4 at Trader Joe's," she said. That may be more expensive than making one at home, but it's less than ordering it in a restaurant.

When working with a client, "we get into the weeds of the behavior," she said. "We listen to the frequency and timing of the spending." For instance, one client says she goes shopping every weekend with a friend, not because she needs anything, but because it's something they always do.  "You might need to stop shopping with that friend, and find a less destructive habit," Ms. Schreiber said. "I used to take my 4-year-old son to the mall every weekend and think of something to get. What I really wanted to do was just get out. Now we go to libraries, playgrounds and museums."

Another big place to save, Mr. Yeager said, is cellphones. Don't have one.  I fear this is a battle Mr. Yeager is waging largely in vain. But his argument is that most people spend at least $1,500 to $2,000 a year on cellphone bills (I did a quick calculation, and that is true for us). While most of us tend to believe that having a cellphone is not just a convenience but a safety issue -- how else do I keep track of my children? -- the number of people killed using phones while driving belies any true safety claim, he said.  While I'm not going to give up my cellphone, I did go to the Web site fixmycellbill.com and plugged in some information to see if I was on the right plan. People waste a lot of money paying for add-ons or minutes they don't need. The site will, at no cost, tell you how much you could save by changing plans or carriers. For $5, it will give you a detailed report.
I was happy to see that our plan was the most economical one available on our carrier, but apparently if I switched carriers, I could save about $600 annually. Something to check out.

Here are some more ideas I picked up. They may not help you climb out of a deep financial hole, but if you just need to trim your budget slightly, they're worth considering:
• Your printer is a place you can save bucks. Change the font on the documents you print. A Dutch company, printer.com, found that Century Gothic and Times New Roman use significantly less ink than some of the more common fonts. It found that Century Gothic, for example, uses about 30 percent less ink than Arial. And I've found that ink bought on the Internet from companies like inkjetsuperstore.com is far cheaper than in major stationery stores.
• If you were already considering buying a new refrigerator or clothes dryer, many states are offering a cash-for-appliances rebate, modeled on the highly successful cash-for-clunkers rebate program. Each state is administering the program differently, but if you act fast you might get a rebate if you buy a new energy-efficient appliance.
• Taking a shuttle to the airport or paying for parking can run into hundreds of dollars. My neighbors and I started a reciprocal deal. If the timing allows for it, we drive and pick up her family and she does the same for ours.

I rejected a few ideas out of hand. Flattening the toilet paper roll just enough so people can easily pull out only a few sheets at a time seems, well, pathetic. It might save a few pennies, but that's one lifestyle choice I don't want to live with. I'd skip the latte instead.

Stores that Accept Competitors Coupons

Grocery Stores:
Publix: accepts competitors $s off coupons, i.e. $10 off $50 *and* store coupons, i.e. $1 off produce– some Publix stores will accept SuperTarget and Walgreen’s coupons– others will only accept coupons from direct competitors meaning only other grocery stores. Do not accept competitors’ prescription drug coupons.
Winn Dixie: Some stores will accept competitors’ prescription drug coupons
Albertson’s: Some stores will accept competitors’ prescription drug coupons
Mass/Discount Stores:
Target: Some Target stores will accept competitors’ prescription drug coupons
Kmart: Some Kmart stores will accept competitors’ prescription drug coupons
Walmart: Some Walmart stores will accept competitors coupons (i.e. $10 off $50 and $1 off Revlon) and ALL Walmarts match competitors’ advertised prices (NOT buy one get one frees or percentage off— i.e. 25% off shampoo– but they DO match advertised prices–i.e. Aussie Shampoo: $1.49)
Craft Stores: All of these stores accept each other’s coupons.
Michael’s
Joann’s
AC Moore
Pet Stores: All of these stores accept each other’s coupons.
Petco
Pet Supermarket
Petsmart
Home Improvement Stores: Both of these stores accept each other’s coupons.
Lowe’s
Home Depot
Drug Stores:
CVS: competitor prescription drug coupons should be accepted in ALL CVS stores, selected stores will also accept Walgreen’s and Rite Aid coupons, both $s off (i.e. $5 off $20) and store coupons (i.e. $1 off Revlon)
Walgreen’s: accept competitors’ coupons for prescription drug coupons.
Rite Aid: accept competitors’ coupons for prescription drug coupons.
Office Supply Stores: All of the below stores accept each other’s coupons.
Office Max
Office Depot
Staples
Home Stores:
Bed, Bath & Beyond: BB&B accepts its OWN expired coupons, as long as they are hard copies (not their printable coupons) so DON’T throw them out just because they’re expired.
 That's savings in your bank!

Thrifty Snacks to eat before you Grocery Shop
Running, errands, snack on a banana before you hit the aisles. You will be likely to stick to your list and not over-buy because your tummy is growling.  The source of the fruit's money-saving power, tryotophan. Research has found that eating foods rich in the amino acid boots the body's production of seratonin, a brain chemical t hat controls the urge to splurge and helping you to stay on track. Thanks for the Tip Cathe.

Get More Grocery Coupons

Add More to Your Coupon Collection When You Know Where to Look 

 

Grocery coupons are plentiful in the Sunday paper, but there are other sources you could be checking to save even more money when you grocery shop each week.

Grocery coupons are indispensable tools when you are trying to save money. There are those who consider coupon clipping to be a practice for only the frugal minded, however every household budget can benefit from saving money. Whether you are a seasoned coupon clipping pro or a simply a wide eyed novice, there are many outlets through which you can find the money saving coupons you seek.
Four more sources for you to consider:
  • Coupon clubs
  • Grocery coupon websites
  • Grocery websites
  • Savings clubs

Coupon Club

The theory behind such a group is simple. Coupon club members share grocery coupons they don't want with other members who do want them. Thus, everyone in the club gets more of the coupons they will use.
To start your own coupon club, just send an email to your friends, family and coworkers to check for interest. Once you have established your membership base, decide how the club will conduct business. Some coupon clubs get together once a month to trade coupons. Others stay in contact by email and use traditional mail to trade their grocery coupons.

Grocery Coupon Websites

There are many online sources for grocery coupons. Grocery coupon websites usually operate the same way. Typically, you join the site (usually nothing more than an email and password is needed to become a member) and then scroll through the available coupons, checking boxes for the ones you would like to print. After you download a basic application you will be able to print your grocery coupons directly from your own printer.


Be wary of grocery coupon websites that require a membership fee or any that ask for in depth, personal information. There is such a thing as counterfeit coupons, and it is important to ensure that your online grocery coupons are legitimate. Conduct a search of the site you plan to use and include the words "coupon scam" or "counterfeit coupons" along with the name of the site if you suspect the site is fraudulent.

Grocery Websites

There are extra savings awaiting those who go searching for grocery coupons directly from the store by way of grocery websites. Grocery chains such as Kroger, Albertson's and Pathmark have email clubs (also called e-newsletter clubs) through which customers can register themselves (with email and home address) to receive exclusive mailings that contain coupons and special offers. Search for the store at which you do your grocery shopping to see if there is an email or e-newsletter club you can join.

Savings Clubs

Many grocery chains offer savings clubs to customers who wish to join. Through these savings clubs, you can receive coupons that are catered to your specific buying habits. When you are enrolled in a grocery savings club, each purchase you make is tracked when your membership card is swiped at the register. Information about your buying habits is used to send you coupons for the products you buy the most.
The Sunday paper is only a starting point for gathering the grocery coupons you need. When you network with other coupon clippers and make use of the many sources of coupons available with the help of the internet, you can build a collection of grocery coupons far greater than those from the paper alone.


Cashing In
I stay on top of coupons that are coming out on Sunday. That way I know whether to buy one or more newspapers in addition to our home delivered paper. If you want to follow what's moving and shaking with coupons, check this out: http://www.grocerycouponguide.com/articles/2010-coupon-insert-schedule/

Oh Mama
We found the most interesting Blog, Mamacheaps.  Mama is sharing links to companies who gladly share their coupons. It never hurts to ask for coupons. I do it all the time.  When you find a product that you like, let the manufacturer know. They reward loyalty.  Here is a link to Mamacheaps coupons: http://www.mamacheaps.com/2010/02/list-of-free-product-coupons-available.html

What? Feed a Family of 4 on $800? Yes you can!
Want to feed your family of 4 on $800 a year?  My friend, Erin does just that. Erin is the super sleuth of coupon savings and is featured on local television to share her couponing tips.  Here is a link to Erin's blog where you will not only find out how to budget your family but wonderful recipes, give-always, etc. http://jane4girls800dollarannualbudget.blogspot.com/ If you want to follow her ABC Local post on Friday Freebies and other neat cost-cutting tips, here is the link to that Erin's "Super Saver" http://ktrk.typepad.com/supersaver/

GROCERY SHOPPING TIPS

We call it as we see it.  This page is devoted to little unknown tips and hints.

Get smarter about grocery shopping. These tips could change your family eating habits.

1. If you hate crowds and lines, shop at dinnertime (5 to 9 p.m.) or even later. Only 4 percent of shoppers hit the aisles between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. Least-crowded day of the week? Wednesday.

2. Go ahead and reach way back for the fresh milk. Everybody does.

3. Coupons with a bar code are easy to scan. The other ones take an eternity. But if you're willing to wait …

4. That star fruit has been here a lot longer than the broccoli. Familiar produce turns over more quickly than exotic things.

5. "The more products you see, the more you are likely to buy," says Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat. "That's why the aisles are so long and the milk is usually in the far corner."
Clipart.com

6. Like employees with a good attitude? Shop at chains that are employee-owned, suggest customer-satisfaction surveys. When employees have a stake in the profits, it shows in their attitude.

7. The "grazers" order food at the deli, eat it as they're shopping, and get rid of the wrappers before they check out. We also call that stealing.

8. I'm not just selling groceries, I'm selling real estate. Look high and low-literally-for good values from smaller manufacturers who can't afford to stock their products in the eye-level sweet spot.

9. We're marketing to your kids too. That's why we put the rainbow-colored cereals and other kiddie catnip at their eye level.

10. Be wary of "specials." When people see signs with numbers-"8 for $10!" "Limit: 5 per customer"—they buy 30 to 100 percent more than they otherwise might have.

11. The baby formula is locked up because thieves resell it on the black market. Ditto for the cough and cold medications, smoking-cessation products, razor blades, and batteries.

12. Driving your Ferrari to the Piggly Wiggly and want to avoid shopping-cart dents? Park far, far away.

13. You'll end up tossing 12 percent of what you buy.

14. "Don't buy anything with more than five ingredients (too processed), with ingredients you can’t pronounce (too processed), with anything artificial (tastes bad), with a cartoon on it (direct marketing to children), or with a health claim (misleading)," says Nestle.

Photos.com/Jupiterimages
Photos.com/Jupiterimages
15. Paper? Plastic? We don't really care. But asking us to double-bag…that's just wasteful.

16. Dig and reach for the freshest produce. Older merchandise gets pushed to the front of the bin and spread across the top to encourage customers to take it first.

17. This isn't a social service agency. "The purpose of grocery stores is to get you to buy more food, not less," says Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat (North Point Press). Only 14% of consumers overall stick to just the items on their shopping list.

18. Very few people really like the "loyalty card" program, and it's expensive for us to run.

19. Attention, shoppers: Don't start your shopping just as we're closing. We just want to leave. It's been a long day.

20. Watch out for gimmicks. They are intended to get you into a store more frequently and to keep you away from competitors.

21. The person who supervises it all has a tough job; they're just a big babysitter.

22. Thanksgiving is our least favorite holiday.

23. Bring back your recyclable cans and bottles, but please rinse them out first.  Leaving soda inside is unsanitary and we find it disgusting.

24. Signs of a store in trouble: Stocking fewer perishable items, storing non-perishables in refrigerated cases to make them look full, and "dummying up" shelves with empty boxes. If we were offering the best prices and highest quality, wouldn't there be more people shopping here?

25. I'm not getting rich here. After-tax net profit for the grocery industry is less than 2 percent, and by the end of 2013, the Food Marketing Institute, an industry group, predicts annual average wages will be just $18,000.

26. If you get in the 10 items or less line with 25 items, don't be surprised if you are asked to leave. If you have 12 items, not many people will care.

14. Watch those shopping-cart handles. They're covered in bacteria, says food-safety consultant Jeff Nelken. Use a sanitary wipe if the store provides them. Finicky shoppers can even patronize supermarkets that send their carts through a cart wash.

27. Skip the center aisles. That's where you'll find the junk food, like sodas and snack foods.

28. Check sizes. "Manufacturers are constantly trying to repackage things to make them sound like a better deal," says David Livingston, a supermarket industry consultant. "Some new peanut butter containers may look the same, but look closely and you'll see they actually have less peanut butter inside. Ninety-five percent of customers don't watch this kind of stuff."

Best Stuff Not to Buy in Bulk

by Seth Fiegerman
Monday, March 29, 2010
provided by
mainstreet_logo.gif
Too Much of a Good Thing
While the frugal part of me cringes to admit this, not all things are great to buy in bulk. The truth is that some items go bad too quickly, take up too much space in your house or actually cost less to buy it individually. Here are some tips you should know when considering what you should and shouldn't buy in bulk, as well as our list of products that you should generally stick to buying in small doses. Obviously, prices on these items do vary from store to store, but keep these examples in mind. Also, we each consume products differently. If you live in a house with 10 other people, you might want to skip reading this and spend your time looking at apartment listings instead.

Brown Rice
rice.jpg
We all know that it's usually not a smart idea to buy perishable products like eggs or milk in bulk, but there are plenty of other things out there that people tend to store indefinitely without realizing they expire within six months to a year. Case in point: brown rice. In general, we tend to think of rice as something that just lasts and lasts, but brown rice (which happens to be better for you than white rice) has a much shorter shelf life because it contains more oil. So, buy in moderation and make sure to store it in a refrigerator if you plan to keep it for long periods of time.

Candy
candy.jpg
One key rule of buying in bulk is that you should beware of purchasing guilty pleasures like candy and other junk food. Otherwise, bulk buying can turn into bulk eating. One consumer put it best on Savingadvice.com: "If I go to my local store and but 2 candy bars for $1 a piece, I spend $2 and they will last a week. I buy a box at Costco of 24 candy bars for $12, they still will be gone in a week. Even though the unit price is less, I end up spending more."



Paper Towels
papertowels.jpg

It may sound like a good idea at first. Paper towels are not perishable and they do tend to cost less when you buy them in bulk. But according to Joshua Thomas, a spokesperson for Target, there is a downside to buying this in bulk. "Paper towels may be more evergreen but before you buy them in bulk, you need to think about how much space you have in your home," he said. And the last thing you want is to have paper towels taking up space you could use for other necessities. Just because some bulk items are lighter on your wallet doesn't mean they won't weigh down your life in other ways.


Toilet Paper
TP.jpg
Just like with paper towels, you don't want to go overboard purchasing toilet paper. Yes, we all dread that moment when we go to the bathroom only to find there's no toilet paper left, but at the same time, you don't want to have your cabinets and shelves overflowing with rolls of Charmin.


Nuts
nuts.jpg

In general, you should try to avoid buying nuts in bulk, unless you're the kind of person who munches on them throughout the day. They may be more affordable in bulk, but nuts usually expire within one to two months. "The high fat content in nuts (particularly in peanuts, pecans, and walnuts) causes them to go rancid rather quickly," said Alejandra Ramos, home-cooking expert and creator of the site AlwaysOrderDessert.com. "If you must buy them in large quantities, remember that roasted nuts last longer than raw ones, and shelled ones last the longest. Light, heat, and moisture also affect the quality and they have the tendency to absorb smells so always store nuts in the fridge or freezer. This also goes for seeds and nuts like sesame seeds, flaxseeds, and pine nuts."


Mayo (and Other Condiments)
mayo.jpg

Ramos also recommends shoppers avoid buying condiments like mayo, ketchup and salad dressing in bulk "unless you'll be using them right away at a large party or event." These items, she said, tend to only last six months to a year and "take much longer to get through than you'd expect."





Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements
vitamins.jpg

Even stuff that's good for you may end up being a bad investment. Several consumers wrote to us about why it's not worth buying vitamins and other supplements in bulk and the experts agree. "Unless you are absolutely certain that you won't mind drinking the same flavor of protein shake every day for the rest of the year, avoid buying the jumbo containers of soy-isolate. Even the most hardcore fitness enthusiasts need variety, and these products do eventually expire," said Linsey Knerl, better known as The Dealista. "The same can be said for vitamins. Unless you are certain that you'll tolerate them well, don't stock up. Sample a smaller size of packaging for a few weeks, note any side effects, and only proceed with an 'economy-size' package if it agrees with you."

Diapers
diapers.jpg

Knerl also urges parents to refrain from buying diapers in bulk when their children are entering a growth spurt. "I've run into problems when I purchase a large case right before baby grows," she said. "While you can squeeze some kiddos into a smaller size for a time, it can be a hassle to have purchased a large case and then have them go to the next size -- with over 150 diapers in the old size still hanging around."



Bleach
bleach.jpg

Bleach is another item that you might be inclined to buy in bulk but unfortunately it goes bad over time. According to The Scripps Research Institute, bleach has a shelf life of six months and then "starts to degrade." Each year you keep the bleach around, it loses 20% of its effectiveness, and you lose that much more of the money you put into it originally.

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