Showing posts with label writer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writer. Show all posts

Frugal Beauty Tips - How to Save Money and Still Look Amazing

Every woman wants to look great. However, in this economy, most women can’t afford to spend a fortune on beauty products. Luckily, women definitely don’t have to break their budget to look amazing. They simply need to know the three important rules of looking beautiful on a budget.

Rule #1: Learn When to Spend
Expensive is not always better. Even when it is, it’s not always necessary. When shopping for beauty products on a budget, women must know when to save and what products to spend a little extra on. For example, expensive conditioners really will leave your hair healthier, shinier, and silkier, especially if you color your hair. However, you can skip the expensive shampoos. As long as you use a good conditioner, you probably won’t even notice the difference when switching to a more affordable shampoo.

Another example of this is with nail polish. The fact is, all polishes chip. It’s an annoying fact of life. To make your polish last longer, you need a great top coat. If you spend a little extra on your top coat, you can save on the polish.

Rule #2: Don’t Be a Beauty Snob
Many women believe that they need to purchase expensive cosmetics to get quality. This is simply untrue. Supermarket brands are surprisingly high quality. If you have a hard time believing this, compare the ingredients in luxury cosmetics and supermarket brands. Many times, you’ll find that the ingredients are very similar.

There are also certain cosmetics that should always be purchased cheaply. Never spend more than a few dollars on blush, eye liner, lip gloss, and eye shadow. It’s okay to spend a little more on foundation, mascara, and lipstick, since these products tend to be the staples of many beauty routines.

Self tanners and lotions are also products that should be purchased at your local supermarket. Many women actually prefer supermarket self tanners to those sold in department stores. The only type of lotion that women may want to splurge on is their facial moisturizer. Preserving the health of your skin will actually end up saving you money. Healthy skin doesn’t need expensive makeup to look great.

Rule #3: Multi-Use Products Are the Frugal Beauty’s Best Friend

So many women completely overlook multi-use cosmetics. Many different cosmetic manufacturers make all over color sticks that can be used on the cheeks, eye lids, and lips. Bronzer is another product that can be used in a few different ways. Brush some bronzer on the cheeks and eye lids for a simple, fresh-faced glow. Not only do these products save money, but they help women simplify their beauty routines.

If you find yourself in a pinch, many lipsticks can double as blush, lotion can double as hair smoothing serum, and eye shadow can be moistened and used as eye liner. To be a frugal beauty, women need to be creative, savvy, and willing to stop believing that affordable always means low quality.

This guest article was contributed by Kelly Austin from Higher Salary. Visit her site for information about the average medical billing and coding salary and pay information for other popular careers.

Living Frugally While Studying Abroad

 
Some little girls dream of their weddings from age three. I on the other hand, dreamt of living in Istanbul (and many other international cities) from age 5. Every time I would go on an international vacation with my family, whether it was Turkey, Spain, France, Argentina, or even Zambia, I imagined what it would be like to live in the apartments overlooking the main squares of various metropolises. These vacations were lots of fun, especially because my dad was footing the bill for a week or more of travel. However, when I decided to study abroad, I was under a much more stringent budget. My overall stay couldn't exceed more than the tuition, room, and board of my home university. Although my home university was private, with expensive tuition, this ended up being VERY difficult endeavor. If you plan to study abroad in Europe or even Asia, things can get pretty expensive. Here are some tips to help you save money during your exciting abroad experience.

Before You Go: Choosing your Destination

If money is a big issue for you, you should choose your location wisely. If you barely have $300 to spend a month, Moscow (one of the most expensive cities in the world) probably won't be the best choice. You should find a place where the currency exchange rate works in your favor. Try going to South America or Central America if you are an American! Countries in this region are likely to give you bang for your buck. Also, just because the exchange rate works to your advantage doesn't mean a city will be cheaper. Ask your program director or study abroad office for some financial advice! 

Live with a Host Family

If you have the option to live with a host family during your study abroad semester/year, you should definitely consider it. Most programs, such as the Center for International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and International Studies Abroad (ISA), provide home stay options. Home stay options usually guarantee and incorporate at least one or two meals a day for students. This saves you from finding and funding your own (often expensive) meals. Usually the home stay option is not significantly more expensive (it's often cheaper) than living in a university dormitory. Plus, by living with a family, you will get a better acquainted with the cultures and traditions of a country or region!

Evaluate Costs of Living in an Apartment Versus a Dormitory

If you are unable to find a cheaper home stay option, make sure you check out local apartment costs. Many times, monthly rent can be much cheaper than the boarding costs of a dormitory. Programs usually allow you a grace period to leave a dormitory when you arrive. Living in an apartment can give you the independence and experience to truly get to know a city! 
  
Don't Buy Souvenirs until Your Last Week

My greatest expenses during my studies abroad: my unnecessary shopping expenditures! I traveled within Turkey almost every weekend. I wanted to buy an item from every place I visited. After all, you want to remember a place long after you visit it. The reality, those souvenirs mean NOTHING to me now. If you really want to remember a place, take great pictures. If you just NEED to buy something, buy a postcard from the various cities you visit. Tell yourself you won't buy anything until your last week of your study abroad experience.  You will be less likely to buy everything in sight, as the novelty will have probably worn off!
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online college. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.

One Bottle to Saving Money, the Planet, and Your Sanity

A look at the ingredients list or price tag of any household cleaning spray or shampoo is usually enough to curl your toes.  
 
Parabens are called "gender-benders" in the scientific community for a reason, and bleach leaves an awful smell from vapors that actually irritate lungs, skin, and eyes, especially of children and pets.  Moreover, items like personal and home cleaning agents—even when on sale—aren't always cheap.  The cost on the environment is a heavy price to pay, and more directly, they aren't always cheap on our personal bank accounts, especially since they don't seem to last very long.

Conventional cosmetics and cleaning companies make us pay good money to feel like we're doing the earth and our bodies a favor.  But not Dr. Bronner. For over 60 years, Dr. Bronner's line of soaps has appealed to thrifty eco-enthusiasts across America.  Now, their line is fair trade, organic, and still affordable.  Best of all, they're multi-purpose.  Save money and time by making your own shampoo, face wash, and household cleaning spray with just one diluted bottle of Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap!
 
DIY Shampoo and Body Soap
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap
  • Optional 2 tsp jojoba oil for dry hair
  • Optional 5 drops of lavender or tea tree oil for oily hair
Mix the ingredients together in an empty bottle and shake before use.  It's watery, but its lathering capabilities will surprise you; try flipping your hair over your head in the shower and applying directly to your scalp so it doesn't just run down your neck.  Because lavender and tea tree oil are natural antiseptics, they'll help de-grease an extra grungy scalp (especially if you use a lot of hair products).  You can add the essential oils yourself or just buy the lavender or tea tree oil varieties they have at the store (they have 8 scents in all, each infused with different essential oils).  The eucalyptus and peppermint soaps do the best jobs at clearing sinuses, so stock up now in preparation for spring.
 
You'll find that as you use this gentle shampoo, your hair's natural moisture will keep you from having to spend as much money on hair products.  There's no sense in stripping your locks of helpful and natural oils just to replace them with parabens and petroleum.  As long as you wash a few times a week and use fewer chems, don't ever doubt your cleanliness.
 
DIY Face Wash
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap
No, you read that right.  It's that easy.  Whether you have fairly easy-to-please skin or the kind that has you prowling www.acne.org (which gives Dr. Bronner 4.5 out of 5 stars, by the way), Dr. Bronner's soaps are gentle on your skin and just tough enough on germs.  The mistake most people with problem skin make is stripping it dry, causing oil glands to go into overdrive.  Just follow cleansing with your typical toning and moisturizing routine and watch your pores shrivel, skin clear, and stress drop.
 
DIY Home Cleaning Disinfectant Spray
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap
  • 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil
Tea tree oil was recently discovered in an Italian study to inhibit the spread of bacteria—even the fearsome H1N1 virus.  Rather than relying on bleach (and its toxic vapors) or low-grade pesticides to clean your tiles and counters, try mixing these ingredients in an old spray bottle to disinfect almost any surface.  Tea tree oil isn't toxic (unless you down a whole bottle of it at once), so you don't have to worry about the kids and animals touching the surfaces you've cleaned.


Credit: Dr. Bronner
Bio: Alexis Bonari is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she's been. Whenever this WAHM gets some free time she enjoys doing yoga, cooking with the freshest organic in-season fare, and practicing the art of coupon clipping.

Online Coupons: Changing the Way You Save

Online coupons can help you cut back on your spending if you are a frequent online shopper. A lot of businesses have turned to using coupons as a way of luring consumers to buy from them. There is a wide range of coupons you can benefit from. All of them offer discounts on the indicated services and products. One of the most respected and top distributor of coupons is Valpak. The company offers coupons for a range of products and services. Restaurants and food courts, grocery stores, car shops, clothing malls, electronics, massage parlors and hair dressers are just some of the products/services covered by Valpak coupons.

Other than the instant discounts you get when you use online coupons, you can benefit from loyalty points and reward programs. This is for people who use Valpak coupons frequently. Keep looking out for these offers so you can apply for those that you qualify for. Large companies often partner with Valpak to give tremendous offers that can go a long way in helping you save money. You could win yourself a three month supply of grocery or get free car service worth $5,000 at a particular service station. This is a clever way that businesses use to attract customers. If you happen to be one of the lucky customers to win these packages, you get to save quite an amount of cash in the process.

You have every reason to use online coupons because coupons work with all major credit cards. Also, you probably buy most of your stuff online as most people shop for nearly everything online. If you get coupons for half the items you’ve added to your shopping cart, you will have saved a considerable amount of money. How can you find these free online coupons, you ask? Simply visit the Valpak website for a list of available coupons. The company has recently categorized coupons based on location so that consumers who would like to get discounts at their local stores can benefit. At the website, type in your zip code for a list of coupons available in your area. You can choose those that you would like from this list and print them out.

Online coupons can only be used on the net, not in physical stores; except where stated otherwise. Check also that the coupon is available for all shoppers as some are specifically for first time shoppers only. To get the most out of your coupons, choose those that can be used over and over again. Coupons with a one-time-use promo/discount code have a clear warning that they cannot be used again. But even this one-time discount is worth having. As a caution, always check the validity of the coupon before picking it. Many online coupons are designed to last only a few days so do not get one if you do not intend to use it until a month later. Others do not have a validity period indicated; it is the store that decides when they can be availed, depending on the demand of items on offer.

Sally is frugal shopper, a health nut and a workout fanatic. She’s an expecting mother and elementary school teacher in the Chicago area.

Change Your Mindset, Save Some Money

Most frugal living blogs out there will give you specific advice for saving money on one or more aspects of life, like how to cut down on your grocery bill, how to pay off your student or credit card debt, or how to avoid spending too much during vacation. While these types of articles can be very helpful for those of us who are financially impaired, I think some more general advice about money can be equally as enlightening. Based on a few articles I've read about the psychology of money, here are a few tips for spending money using your head.
 
1. Don't spend a lot of money on a new hobby until you've achieved a certain level of mastery.
Although this tip is pretty specific, it can apply to lots of different areas of financial health as well. I've noticed that many people have a tendency to buy all the most expensive gear for new hobbies before even really learning the hobby. For example, you may buy a nice guitar before really knowing how to play it, or you'll buy a pricey treadmill before really dedicating the time to exercising. Invest cheap and reward yourself with better gear once you've really achieved some measure of success.
 
2. Never go to the grocery store hungry. Or, don't spend money when you've been deprived.
This is an oldie but it's a goodie, and it's generally true in life as well. We human beings have lower reserves of will power than we'd like to think. As such, if you've been depriving yourself of anything for awhile, you'll inevitably go overboard whenever you do finally decide to give in.
 
3. Saving is not the same as penny-pinching.
Saving money is something that we all reasonably aspire to, and it's definitely a noble and worthwhile goal, as good finances are part and parcel of a good psychological health. At the same time however, penny-pinching is the act of going to an extreme, which can be devastating to your emotional well-being, too. If you plan your budget well, leaving room for the occasional slip up, and you enjoy your spending your money when you do spend it, then you are on your way to financial success.
 
4. Avoiding a financial problem will never make it go away. Trust me, I've tried.
There's something about keeping track of bills and other money matters that makes nearly everyone I know cringe and sometimes engage in avoidant behavior. When I was in college and had problems keeping track of overdraft fees, I'd continue spending money. For some reason, I just avoided checking my balance because part of me simply didn't want to know. As you can probably guess, this was a terrible strategy and I ended up in the red more times than I'd care to admit. Denial never really works in any respect, not least of which with money. So if you find yourself thinking about a bill or anything related to money, stop what you're doing and get it done immediately. You'd be surprised by how mood-lifting tackling money problems right away can be.
 
Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com. 

Be Smart and Avoid Contractor Scams

 
Spring cleaning means a lot of things to a lot of different people.

Inside chores such as cleaning out the basement, attic, or garage are generally easier for the homeowner and family members to do themselves. This is also the case with most yard clean up and a number of other odd jobs around the premises.

However, when it comes to fixing part of the roof, windows, or other damages incurred during the wintry months most of us feel the need to put our trust in a hired professional.

It's here that things can get tricky because of all the great contractors out there a few good scam artists know how to work the field ripping off a lot of innocent customers with schemes and offers too good to be true. Yes, being frugal is admirable but taking unnecessary financial risks isn't.

That's why when it comes to spending your hard earned cash don't underestimate the power of the customer over a convincing sales pitch and your right to say no.

In order to fully appreciate how easy it is to get caught up in great deals consider the following red flags when handling contractors:

1.      Did you find them or did they find you? If a contractor knocked on your door because he was in the neighborhood on another job or had some left over supplies from another job and 'noticed' you needed a similar repair be careful.

2.      Request references and to see their license and insurance documents. If they refuse or don't have an official office it's a big question mark.

3.      Don't be rushed into making a decision. If they won't let you take your time and say the price is only good for a day or two it's probably a scam. Check them out, get a second opinion, and don't worry about losing the deal of the century.

4.      Be suspicious if they want to come inside and inspect your home for pressing repairs because they will always find something. If you do let them in never leave them alone in a particular room and never agree to anything on the spot.
  
5.      Be suspicious if they don't want to sign a contract.

6.      Be suspicious if they want the entire payment up front. 

7.      Be suspicious if they want cash only. Always pay with a check to document the deal.

8.      Be suspicious if extra expenses come up in the middle of a job outside of the quote and what's written in the contract. If they made a mistake or misquoted its up to them to take the hit, not the customer. Sometimes hidden expenses arise but hopefully by then you've done your homework and have a certain level of trust.

9.      Be suspicious if they won't let you take pictures of the job. They don't have to be in the shot themselves but photos are a good way to document each stage in case of a problem down the road.

10.  Be suspicious if you have elderly parents or friends living alone and a contractor approaches them about doing work. Seniors are easy targets who can't always verify things in hard to reach places and will rely on others. Make sure they don't agree to anything without running it by you first.

Jakob Barry writes for www.Networx.com a growing community of homeowners and contractors getting the most from their resources by sharing and monitoring home improvement projects together. He covers various home improvement topics including green gardening tips and general contracting.

How to Get Out Of Debt This St. Patrick's Day


St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner. The holiday is a great opportunity for people to get together with friends and family and knock back a few beers. Traditionally, people don green attire on this holiday. However, if you want to enjoy all of the St. Patrick's Day festivities, there is another green thing you need to worry about. That green thing is money. Many people suffer from mountains of credit card debt. Debt can be suffocating for anyone who finds themselves in it. For St. Patrick's Day this year, it is time to take steps to get out of debt.

Assess the Situation
The first step to getting out of debt is to figure how serious the situation is. To do this, pull up all of your credit card statements and figure out exactly how much you owe. You also want to think about how you wound up in debt to begin with. A good way to do this is to track your spending for a week. Write down every cent you spend. This will help you understand where all of your money went. The first step to getting out of debt is understanding how you got there. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting in to debt all over again.

Make a Budget
If you want to figure out a plan to eliminate debt, you need to figure out how much you can afford to pay. In order to do this, you should make a budget. A budget is a template that helps you live a financially responsible life. You can make your budget in any number of ways, but a monthly budget is the most common format. When making your budget, you want to list several categories. First, list all of your income. Then, list your fixed expenses. This includes loan payments, rent, and utilities. The next category will be your variable expenses. This includes groceries, gas, clothing, and entertainment. This is the area where you have some flexibility. Assign a reasonable amount that you feel you can stick with. After your expenses, list another category. This category should include money you can put toward debt and money you can save. If you have left over money in your variable expense categories, that is more that you can put toward debt. The key is making a budget that you are comfortable with.

Learn to Save Money
If you pay a little more attention to detail, you can save a lot of money in every category. With groceries, look for coupons and sales before you go out. If you have a smartphone, take advantage of the many apps that are geared toward saving money at the store. To save on gas, consider combining trips. If you plan your activities ahead of time, you might be able to knock out more errands in one trip. For your gas bill, turn your thermostat down a couple of degrees. You will still be comfortable while saving a sizeable amount of money on your bill. As for entertainment, look for special event deals. It may be difficult to find a money saving pattern that works for you, but you will see results once you do.

Consider Debt Relief
If your credit card debt is sizeable, consider debt relief programs. First, contact your credit card company. They may be willing to work with you on a payment arrangement that will save you money and not destroy your credit. If you have debt on several cards, consider a debt relief service. These services can help you eliminate credit card debt in a less stressful way. Essentially, they will eliminate fees and interest so that you can save in those areas. As long as the debt relief program is reputable, you should be able to eliminate your debt as time goes on.

Author’s Bio: Mark Paul is a regular contributor for Debt Consolidation Advice and guest writes for several other finance related blogs. He covers the debt relief industry and provides helpful ways for getting out of debt. He also offers various tips for saving money and being financially responsible.

Do It Yourself Debt Settlement

You might decide to settle your own debts instead of hiring a debt settlement company because you want to save money on settlement fees. Or, perhaps you’ve heard about scams rampant in the debt settlement industry and want to avoid being taken advantage of. Some people decide to settle their own debts so they have control of the process from start to finish. There are lots of good reasons to settle your own debts.

Getting Started
When you decide you’re going to settle your own debts, you stop making monthly payments on your debt. Instead, each month you’ll deposit your regular monthly debt payments into a separate checking account whose sole purpose it to hold your settlement funds until you’re ready to pay a settlement. You might open this checking account at an entirely different bank if the credit cards or loans you want to settle are at the bank of your primary checking account.

Creditors routinely agree to settlements between 40% and 70% on balances that are 90 days or more past due. The account must be past due for the creditor to deem it risky enough to take a settlement on. If the creditor thinks they can get the full balance from you, they won’t agree to a settlement.

When to Make a Settlement Offer
Once you’ve saved up enough money to pay a settlement (about 50% of the current balance due) and you have an account that’s more than 90 days past due, you can make a settlement offer. If this is the first time you’ve mentioned settlement to the creditor, you might briefly mention it as a possibility. For example, you might say, “I’m having trouble getting caught up on my payments. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to pay this account in full. If I could come up with the money, would you be interested in taking a settlement on this account.”

When you bring up settlement with the creditor, be prepared to offer a dollar amount to settle the account. So, if you owe $10,000 and you want to settle for 50%, offer $5,000. If the creditor refuses or asks you to pay an amount you’re not prepared to pay, politely end the call and repeat the process in another month or so.

Settling Your Account
When a creditor agrees to a settlement offer, there’s one more step that has to happen before you make payment. You need to get a settlement agreement on company letterhead. The settlement agreement should include the date of the offer, amount of the settlement, date the settlement must be received, and a note saying the settlement will satisfy the account in full. You’ll get the settlement letter faster if you have access to a fax machine. That way you can sign it, fax it back, and make the settlement payment.

Many creditors will take the settlement payment over the phone if you give your checking account and routing number. The creditor may also accept a cashier’s check or money order for payment. Make sure you confirm the payment method.

Frank Collins is a seasoned writer with strong background in both personal and business finance. You can read more of his articles about debt relief options, credit counseling and related services at the debt settlemmient blog.

What Can You Learn From Ted Williams? (The Guy With the Golden Voice)

What can you learn from Ted William's sudden fame?
Ted Williams shot to fame when his interview went on YouTube. The interview was made at the time when he was homeless and used to ask for donations at a bus stand with a board in his hand and his recorded voice asking for donations. The interview became so famous that lots of job offers landed in his lap. Even NBA has asked him to join. There are a lot of financial lessons one can learn from his sudden shot to fame. This is true that happiness as well as misery is not permanent and it depends upon you to have a determination in life to change your misery into happiness. You need to have a good savings plan so that you can tackle any financial shortcoming.

Frugal lessons worth learning from Ted Williams' story
There are a lot of times in life when you feel confused about the debts you have and how to get out of financial misery. There are a lot of people who have a lot of money and don't know what they can do with it. You can also win sudden lottery and may not know what to purchase first. You must have a clear vision of everything so that you don't get greedy and lose everything in the process. Take a look at the financial lessons you can learn from Ted Williams' story:
  1. Clear about what you want
    You must be clear about you want from life. There may be times in life when you may get confused about the different things that may land into your lap. If you get confused about the job offers or other financial things you get, you must prioritize the things and choose the ones that match your needs. If you have a lot of job offers, you may try to go for those interviews that solve your purpose and recognizes for your caliber and whet you can do. If you have a lot of debts, you must pay the ones with the largest interest rates first while paying your other debts minimally. This clear vision of yours can really help you reach the goal you've set for yourself. 
  1. Put a stop to reckless spending
    You may be a millionaire or a pauper. But if you earn $5, you must try to save $3 and spend $2. This is smart financing and if you're smart with money, you can reach anywhere you want. At least, you'll not have debts to pay off. Money doesn't take time to get over and once it's over you need to think of other ways to secure your future. You need to draw a line between "wants" and "needs". If you know the difference between the two, you'll be able to save money. Try to consult your family before purchasing any big thing so that you know if others are ready for it. When you get a check, try to save most of it. Don't spend any money till the time you get the check in your hands. Try to work out a budget and include your kids too in the budget formation so that they can learn to be money responsible. 
  1. Get experts advice
    This is another way you can manage your finances. If you are confused about the money you want to save and the amount you need to spend, you can seek financial advice from your experts or elders so that you don't fall into debts. Try to put all your problems in front of them so that they can give you the required advice on the ways to manage your money. When Ted Williams was asked about the jobs he would choose, he said that he'll seek help of a therapist and would focus only on few offers. He also wanted to solve his previous financial problems so that he wouldn't make the same mistakes again. 
  1. Invest apart from savings
    If you have a savings account and want to grow our money more, you can go for investment options so that you can have a safe and secured future. Look for lucrative investments so that you can get better returns. Start small and don't get greedy in the process. You must also lead an honest life and pay your taxes on time. Keep away some money for emergencies so that you don't have to break your investments. Try to seek experts' advice when you're going for investments so that you know which ones suit you the most.  
Apart from the financial tips and lessons given above, you must take things slow in your life. If you have any problems in life, try to tackle it smartly and never get carried away. Manage the money you earn and have so that your future doesn't get into debts.

Author's Bio : RP is a guest writer for various finance related Communities including CDFA, FCB, Debt Consolidation Care etc. She is a PG degree holder in Marketing and Finance and right now working in a reputed bank as a relationship manager. She is well equipped to write articles on debt consolidation , debt settlement, frugality, savings, economies of states etc.

When Coupons Get Others Mad

I've been thinking

One of the things that bugs me the most about being a couponer is that people (and by people I mean, cashiers, managers, other customers) think I am getting away with something, ripping off the store, cheating the system, some even say I am stealing. And it makes me furious.

This attitude comes from a lack of knowledge about how coupons work. If you're here reading my blog, you probably know how coupons work. Here's a quick reminder for all of us...

Manufacturer's coupons: When the stores submit these to the clearinghouse, they are reimbursed FULL FACE VALUE plus $.08 per coupon. So the store makes MORE money by accepting your coupon than by the average shopper handing over cash/credit.

*If a coupon is difficult to read/scan at the fault of the manufacturer/design, the store can charge the manufacturer even more for the handling of these q's.

*Most Clearinghouses are huge conveyor belts that scan coupons to tally the reimbursement value, so that cashier that agrees to "give it to you for free, shouldn't that be enough?" by marking your $1 coupon down to $.75? Just made $.25 for the store. That huge scanner doesn't pay a single inkling to that little $.75 the cashier wrote on your coupon.

*Stores even get reimbursed postage for the cost of shipping the coupons to the clearinghouse.

Doubling/Tripling coupons: A gimmick to get you in the door. The store eats the cost of doubles/triples. They consider it worthwhile if it causes you to shop there rather than at... Wal-Mart.

Competitor Coupons: This is truly a loss for a store. There is no reimbursement value for competitor coupons. Like doubling/tripling, accepting competitor coupons is a gimmick to get you in the doors to buy all your other items at their store rather than the competitor. Stores that accept competitor coupons are using a brilliant marketing strategy. They are counting on you wanting to buy all your items in one place, and hoping that if you have a competitor's coupon that you can use at their store, you'll stick around for the other things as well.

Store Coupons: Store coupons are a little tricky to define. Let's take Publix as an example. Regular Publix shoppers will notice that those Advantage Buy Flyers have coupons and sales that rotate on a regular basis. One that appears often is the $6/2 Sundown Vitamins coupon. The CEO of Publix may be a nice guy, but he's not browsing the local store looking for things to give away. I promise. :) What happens is, some head honcho at Sundown gets together with some head honcho at Publix and they strike a deal. The value could be based on number of coupons redeemed, or number of stores that run the sale. Specifically for Publix, the most recent numbers show that Publix is getting reimbursed approximately 75-80% of the Store coupons' face value. So don't let anyone say to you "Publix doesn't get reimbursed for these" "We can't give it to you for free" "We can't pay you to take it". Because that shows lack of knowledge of how these q's work.

BOGO deals (Publix): You may not be aware of this, but like the store coupons, sales like the Mega sales at Kroger and BOGO sales at Publix are also marketing ploys that are reimbursed by the manufacturer! If Publix is selling Scrubbing Bubbles BOGO at $3.99/ea, that means, you, the consumer, will pay half price for the item, or $2.00. At the end of the sale, Publix tells Johnson and Johnson, hey, we sold 100 bottles of Scrubbing Bubbles, costing us $199, now pony up. And Johnson and Johnson PAYS Publix for running the special and promoting the product. It is another form of advertising. Most recent numbers show that BOGO sales at Publix are reimbursed at approximately 70-80%.

ETA: It occurred to me I failed to mention rainchecks. Rainchecks are another loss for a store. The store is reimbursed the difference of the sale to the store, but if a raincheck is issued, the store is the one to eat the cost when you do use the raincheck. The manufacturer will cover the "deal" for the week the item is on sale, but the store is responsible for keeping the items in stock. If a store has to issue a raincheck, then the amount of discount given is lost since it is beyond the sale week. This is a reason you will have limits enforced on rainchecks.

It makes me crazy that people have this mindset that people who use coupons are abusing the system. I hate that. As long as you are an honest couponer, using legit coupons and following the store rules, then you are doing no such thing. Abuse comes from illegal photocopies, stacking two manufacturer coupons on one item, and so forth. That is true abuse of the system. Most of us? We are just honest people looking for a good deal.

And in the end? The store wins. The store wins BIG by catering to couponers. Let me show you what I mean. . .

When I shop at Publix, I use the trick of buying multiple moneymakers to build up overage to afford the items I need. This helps reduce my out of pocket expense. Do I need 10 bottles of Aleve? 8 Rolls of J&J gauze? 10 boxes of Phazyme? Not right at the moment, and I certainly wouldn't walk into Publix and pay for all of that with cash. So Publix makes a higher profit by selling to me than the average person who runs in for a few things.

My most recent shopping trip:
For Items I use regularly that I stockpiled or needed (eggs, Morningstar, fruit, etc)

Total Cost: $125.61
Total store coupons: $5
Total Mq's: $64.15 (Quantity of mq's presented: 51: $4.08 handling fees)
Total doubles: $4.50
Total BOGO: $60.49

For Moneymakers:
Total cost: $108.96
Total store coupons: $103
Total Mq's: $82

(Quantity of mq's presented: 41: $3.28 handling fees)
For this scenario, we'll go with an 80% return on BOGOs and store q's.

So, for this trip, after reimbursement, the store will have received approximately $288.50, losing $38.20 in store coupons, doubles and BOGOs.

BUT If I wasn't a couponer, and only bought the items I needed/wanted, and we're assuming I am still stockpiling... The store would have made $120.62, losing $17.60 in store coupons, BOGOs and doubles.

When I shopped, I cost them $20.60, but I brought in an additional $167.88.

Now. Which stores was it that wanted to turn away the couponers????

This is a post written by another great blogger and posted with permission. I couldn't do it justice to paraphase, plus its her content, so just visit her blog I Prefer Publix to see all the comments if you want. Originally posted Sunday, January 24, 2010