Beginning with this September issue, the newsletter will be posted on the site during the first week of the month instead of the last. I’m also starting two new features. Eating with the Seasons and Is There a Cheaper Alternative?
Ways to Make Money When You Buy Groceries
Sometimes when I’m wandering around the supermarket I think wouldn’t it be great if someone paid me to shop. There’s already a way to do that. Okay, it’s not an hourly wage but there are some ways to make money when you shop by using coupons, refunds and yes, sending UPC codes from certain products in exchange for gifts.
There is Some Work Involved
It does take some extra time and effort to look for refunds, but it’s definitely worth it. One of the easiest ways to learn about all the current deals is to subscribe to one of the many coupon and refunding publications. Some have print editions, some are strictly on line. On line subscriptions tend to be cheaper. Two well known ones are www.refundcents.com and www.refundlebundle.com.
Go To the Web Sites
The Internet has made refunding just that much easier. I often go to a company’s Web site to find out if they have any upcoming promotions or refunds on certain products, especially for items I frequently use. The best thing about visiting the site is you can often print out the refund form and not have to worry about sending a stamped addressed envelope, or searching your local store for the right one.
Check The Store Aisles
And speaking of your local supermarket, I’ve found a couple of in store promotions for things like ‘try it free’ that I haven’t seen anywhere else. So it pays to keep your eyes open while shopping.
It’s Easy But…Refunding is fairly easy, but there are some rules you have to follow. Most refunds have an expiration date, so make sure you beat the deadline. Also, read the instructions carefully. Don’t forget to include everything the company wants. Sometimes it’s the UPC label, (this has lines and numbers printed on it), sometimes it’s the cash register receipt with the product and price circled, or sometimes it’s both.
Manufacturers are really picky about receiving everything they’ve requested. If you forget just one item you’ll get everything sent back, which can mean by the time you resend it you’ve missed the expiration date.
If you want to give refunding a try then it’s time to start saving your cash receipts and also the UPC codes. Not so long ago companies also wanted box tops and labels, but these days I’m seeing more requests for just the UPC code. If you really want to get serious about refunding it’s a good idea to clip the UPC code from every food package, not just the ones you currently need. Somewhere down the road you could find a refund for a product whose UPC code you already have, which is another way to save some money. You can keep them in a file with your coupons and organize them by brand name.
Some of the Bonuses
So what are some of the rewards for buying a particular product? It could be in the form of a total refund on your purchase price, which technically means you’re eating for free. I especially like this type of deal on new to me products. If we don’t like it, I haven’t wasted any money. Sometimes you’ll get coupons for other products, like free produce or even $3 off chicken. Sometimes your rewards come in the way of gifts that could be magazine subscriptions, CDs, cookbooks etc.
Cooking Web Sites
The other day I was clearing through some files and found a stack of recipes I’d clipped and forgotten about. I can’t resist clipping recipes but keeping them all organized isn’t easy. One way to avoid the clutter is to use online sites. Here are some of my favorites-
•www.recipegoldmine.com, the name says it all. There’s just about everything here, egg and cheese recipes, no sugar added, crock pot recipes. Tips like making the perfect pie, and even some free culinary e-books.
•www.foodsiteoftheday.com, this changes constantly so be sure to visit it more than once. And this site isn’t just about food, there’s food-news and ideas too.
•www.mealsforyou.com, another one of my favorites, it not only offers tips and guides, but sections on special diets, quick and easy recipes and a place to store your own favorite ones. I always like the tip of the day. The most recent one I saw was what to do with overripe bananas. Just this week I was faced with that dilemma.
•www.momsmenu.com, as the name suggests this web site has a family cooking emphasis with a lot of great information and links.
•www.mealtime.org, this site has emphasis on canned foods, but also links to such topics as pizza, and brown bag lunches.
Eating With The Seasons
My other new book project, besides the one based on Budget Smart Girl, is a cookbook emphasizing recipes using foods that are in season. Eating what’s in abundance is one of the best ways to save money. Starting next month, I’ll be including a recipe featuring something that’s in season but for now, here’s what to look for in September
I’ve been seeing lower prices on cabbage, (I’ve seen it as low as 35 cents a pound), carrots, squash is hitting the stores and getting less expensive now, beets, cauliflower, garlic…great for roasting and making your own garlic cheese bread. I’ve also seen prices on raspberries getting lower and of course, we’re heading into apple season so all varieties are going to be on sale and don’t forget the apple cider too.
My Favorite Articles on the Web This Month
There were no end of great articles on the Web this month, my favorites were-
http://uk.biz.yahoo.com/23082010/389/10-lifestyle-changes-save-money.html This was from a UK site but the tips were great for everyone, everywhere.
Is There a Cheaper Alternative?
And the second new feature is there a cheaper alternative? Don’t know about you but sometimes I really enjoy eating something but the price is higher than I want to pay. Greek yogurt is one example. It used to be hard to find but now more companies are making it but always seems to cost twice as much as regular yogurt. Okay, it’s thicker, creamier and yes, doesn’t have the sometimes sharp bite of some other yogurts but I asked myself is there something that special about it that makes it cost more? There is a cheaper alternative. Yes, it takes some work but it’s simple. I’ve been buying 32 ounce containers of Dannon plain yogurt. I put a sieve lined with cheesecloth over a bowl and turn the yogurt out into it. I put it into the fridge and let it drain. It takes about four hours and you’re left with a thick yogurt that looks just like Greek yogurt but for a lot less. You can use it in recipes or eat it as is…I like to sweeten it with agave nectar but you could use honey and it’s great for breakfast topped with fruit and granola. And next on my list to try, a topping for oatmeal.
Splurge on A Budget
I often joke that if I won the lottery one of my splurges would be to get a weekly massage. Getting a regular pedicure and facial can also seem out of reach for most of us these days but as I always say there’s a solution. Last week I was shopping at the local strip mall and noticed the beauty school there was advertising a facial, pedicure and manicure for $29.95. So if you have a local beauty school where you live, check it out.
Check The Tires
Summer travel is winding down but that doesn’t mean we should ignore maintaining our cars. The folks at Goodwrench sent these tips to pass along to you.
- According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA,) 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries occur every year due to tire-related problems.
- Keeping your family vehicle’s tires inflated to the recommended pounds per square inch (psi) will not only save on gas, but will provide a safer ride.
- It’s important to keep in mind that during the warm weather of summer, hot road surfaces can cause the pressure to increase in a tire. As a general rule, for every 10-degree rise in temperature, a tire’s pressure increases one psi.
- Invest in a quality tire gauge! Eyeballing tires to measure pressure can be misleading, as radial tires often look fine even if they are under-inflated.
-And by the way, be sure to rotate your tires on schedule. Since each tire performs different tasks (such as steering or front versus rear wheel drive), tires wear at different rates, and you’ll get more life out of the tires you bought this way.
See you next month and have a good one.