Coupon Capers

How do you get your coupons? I've been struggling in my mind whether its worth it to buy a lot of newspapers to get a consistent supply of coupons. Another blogger has an offer to get the Sunday paper for 0.50 each. I already get two papers delivered to my house, but one is the crappy St Pete Times which does not distribute the Smartsource insert. But DH likes that TV guide better, otherwise I'd cancel it. Then a couple people bring me their inserts to work and I can get a couple SS inserts that way.
Then on Monday nights, I go recycling with DH and the dog. Usually I can walk about 6 blocks and pick up about 10 copies of the inserts. But in Tampa, since January when SPTimes quit carrying the SS insert, it means I only get half the usual count, about 4 or 5. I could walk around another block but I've canvased the neighborhood and its not really productive to go off my route. It also seems as though more people are cutting coupons than previously. There are houses where I always used to get the insert, and now they're not in the recycle bin. So I can get my 10 RPs, but I'm lacking in SS.
I do check the insert on Sunday mornings to see if I REALLY need a coupon in SS, but then is it worth buying a paper for $1? For example, this past weekend there is a Texas Toast crouton coupon for 0.50. These go on BOGO a couple times a year and then the coupon makes them really cheap. They also go on Advantage buy. Since we eat salads for lunch every day, we go through a bag of croutons every week, so I need to have a lot around. In fact, I need to get some this week with the new coupon. But I only have 6 copies, plus a few printables of same.
So is it better to suscribe to more papers or buy coupons? I've only bought coupons once. I got 20 of the $4 knox coupons for 0.40 each, when my supply ran out. I was hooked on that easy overage, after months of phazyme and knox - I'm going crazy now. Anyway, I'm thinking it may be better to skip getting the extra 6 papers each and every week for a cost of $156 dollars a year? Or, should I just spend a few bucks every so often when I really need some coupons? Will I spend up to $156 each year buying coupons - because that's what getting all the extra papers is essentially.
Whats a couponer to do?

It is a Long Road That Has No Turning

We spent a lot of money this weekend. But we saved a lot of money too. The BP gas card deal at Publix is a great opportunity to save gas money, but its important also to conserve gasoline by exploring ways to decrease our usage. Now that we have $500 in gas cards, I would like them to last a long time, like maybe 5 months.
I'm not even sure if we can make it that long, so lets do the math. Based on our driving last year we drive about 20,000 miles a year in all our vehicles - one car, one truck, two motorcycles and my bicycle. If we continue to commute and travel at the same rate, we will consume about $144 of gasoline each month (assuming average gas cost is $2.80 per gallon). So maybe five months is a little optimistic, but if we ride our motorcycles and I bike to work more, we can cut gas use down to $100 month.
2009 miles
The Irish proverb "it is a long road that has no turning" is a warning to add some twists and turns into your journey so that the path you are travelling does not seem long and boring. It means that when you get tired of the frugal behaviors and always cutting back, just acknowledge that you need some change. Even for a day or a weekend, give it up and splurge.
As I was saying before, we spent a lot of money this weekend and I think that was our turn in the road, to get off the frugal path - yet its planning for future needs and taking advantage of getting discounted gas.

Gassing Up

Did you get your BP gas card at Publix this week yet? I hope so, cause if you didn't you might not get one because they are scarce now in Tampa.
Yesterday was the most beautiful day of the year and we spent in motorcycling around town with my pocket full of coupons to get the $50 BP gas card for $40. That's a 20% savings on gas! The close stores in our neighborhood were out of cards on Friday, and many others we checked were also out. We did luck out and using our matchups for Buddig meat (free), Swiffer refills and starter kits (0.69), All laundry detergent (0.99), Contessa meals (1.99) we ended up getting $500 in gas cards that only cost of $400. We'll have enough gas prepaid now for many, many months.
If you are unable to find the deal, I would save some coupons from this weeks ad because the last time this fiasco happened, Publix honored the coupon for another week since they were out of stock during the sale.

TGIF 3/2010

Happy Friday!

Welcome to the Friday Follow Blog Hop. Take a look around and leave a comment. I'd love to check our your blog. Its tough to get through the whole list and find you, but if you leave a link, I'll get there.

Here's how YOU can join the celebration:

•* Link up your blog name and URL using the MckLinky below. Only need to add on one blog to be seen on all the blog hops.

•* Grab the Friday Follow and Sponsor buttons and include both on your Friday Follow blog post.

•* Follow the Friday Follow hostesses listed in the first 3 slots.

•* Follow as many other blogs on the linky as you'd like

•* Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you're from Friday Follow

•* Follow back when you get a new follower through Friday Follow

The list is new each week. The links do not carry over. Please link up each week for new participants to find your blogs. The list is only open to add your blog links on Fridays. It will be visible all week to visit the blogs listed.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Small Handfuls Make a Load

One of the Irish proverbs I shared yesterday is "small handfuls make a load". We all know that to be frugal involves a lot of small activities or measures to help toward the goal of living within our budget. Being frugal may mean skipping the soda when you go out to eat a restaurant, or only getting one topping on your pizza or splitting desert. It also means stacking the extra $0.30 coupon on top of the $1 coupon to get a few more pennies off your grocery bill. Its really a lifestyle of making small adjustments to help make the "load" of money we've saved.
Well, I've been thinking of recent activities I've done to help make a load:
  • Listed a post hole digger on Craigslist, sold for $20. This was not a quick sell, it was re listed many times and after the first time I never even posted a picture (which you should always do to help make the sale).
  • Listed pet meds on Craigslist, sell for $250 - this is a pending sale to happen on Friday. My elderly dog died and I have some expensive meds to get rid of. I'm selling for 1/2 price, but its better than nothing.
  • Host a house party. I was selected for the ziploc party which is planned for this weekend. Not a score of money, but who doesn't need ziplocs and containers?
  • Secret shop for Marketforce this past week at one of my favorite burger joints, make $7, plus get $10 reimbursement for food. Involved 15 minutes on the computer to scan receipt and complete survey questions.
  • Click on a bunch of websites like Swagbucks, Mypoints, Youdata to get points towards rewards, my favorite is gift cards. I just received another $5 Amazon gift card yesterday.
  • Occasionally complete surveys that come in my email, however most of these are blocked at my work and by the time I get home I'm not into it anymore.
  • Participate in beta tests of new technology equipment, I have a new mobile computing device on the way for a beta test.
  • Sign up for free samples from blogs, slickdeals, fatwallet and emails. Just received my full sized Pantene shampoo a couple days ago.
  • I'm trying to stay away from online shopping but the free stuff sucks me in. I just ordered free prints of our kitchen remodel project and ordered some free birthday cards I need for upcoming events.
  • Print coupons (of course) and sign up for more to be sent to me.
  • I would like to say that this blog brings in some affiliate income but it is negligible, maybe someday.
What do you do for your "small handfuls"?

Happy St Patricks Day - Irish Proverbs

Happy St. Patricks Day!
In the spirit of celebrating the holiday in a frugal manner, and hopefully keeping more green in your pocket here are some old Irish Proverbs that convey wisdom in some wise words. I have highlighted the FRUGAL proverbs in RED so you can see if you're living the life of a frugal one.
A buckle is a great addition to an old shoe.
(Be frugal and make something old usable by fixing it up)
A cabin with plenty of food is better than a hungry castle.
(Live within your means, don't be house poor)
A disease known is half cured.
(Be aware of your ills, know the cause and you can heal faster)
A fast is better than a bad meal.
(Eat healthy and well, it is better to not eat if its not good for you)
A good retreat is better than a bad stand.
(If you don't have a valid argument, don't get involved)
A good servant makes a good master.
(Work hard and you will be promoted)
A hut is a palace to the poor man.
 (Any roof over your head is better than no roof)
A lock is better than suspicion.
(Secure your belongings)
A new broom sweeps clean, but an old broom knows the corners.
(Experience and familiarity make a difference)
A quarrel is like buttermilk: once it's out of the churn, the more you shake it, the more sour it grows.
(duh, don't prolong quarrels)
A quiet tongue shows a wise head.
(Silence is golden)
A small benefit obtained is better than a great one in expectation.
(It is better to receive your benefit than to expect to get one and not get it)
A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea.
(If you have something, it is better than the potential to get something – keep it)
A true friend laughs at your stories even when they're not so good, and sympathizes with your troubles even when they're not so bad.
Source: (Irish)
Anything will fit a naked man.
(or a frugal man)
Better be safe than sorry.
(know your risk)
Better fifty enemies outside the house than one within.
(don't make enemies of someone you must live with)
Better one good thing that is than two good things that were.
(Enjoy what you have, not what you had)
Every Jack has his Jill.
(Keeping looking for you life partner, they're out there)
Every patient is a doctor after his cure. (We think we know everything once we've lived it)
Everyone is wise until he speaks. (Silence will be construed as wisdom, just keep quiet)
Falling is easier than rising. (to succeed takes more effort than to fail, keep trying)
Handfuls make a load. (Every little bit helps, saving a small amount does add up to a lot)
Handle the pudding while it's hot. (Seize the opportunity when it is there, don't delay your decisions)
If you have to swallow a frog, try not to think about it. If you have to swallow two frogs, don't swallow the smaller one first.
(If you have an unpleasant task or situation, handle the worst one first and the next won't seem so bad)
It destroys the craft not to learn it. (Don't put out poor quality work, learn the correct way to do something)
It is a long road that has no turning. (Give yourself a break in striving for that big goal, a small diversion may help you achieve it)
It is better to exist unknown to the law. (Just don't get involved in trouble)
It is not a fish until it is on the bank. (Don't rely on something til you have it in your hand)
It is not a sin to sell dear, but it is to make ill measure. (Its okay to make a profit, just don't cheat people)
It's no delay to stop to edge the tool. (Take time to sharpen your skills and tools, it will then make work quicker )
It's no use locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.
(Always do the right thing and accidents won't happen)
Its no use going to the goat's house to look for wool. (Look in the right place for what you want)
Let him who will not have advice have conflict. (If you won't listen to wisdom, figure it out yourself and make mistakes)
Need teaches a plan. (When you need something, you'll figure out a way to make it happen)
Never burn your fingers to snuff another man's candle. (Don't harm yourself to help others, you won't be able to help yourself then)
Never buy through your ears but through your eyes. (Don't believe everything you hear, see it for yourself)
Nodding the head does not row the boat. (A good intention does not get you anywhere, action is what matters)
The best way to keep loyalty in a man's heart is to keep money in his purse.
(Loyal workers stay if paid well, Loyal customers come if they save well)
The full person does not understand the needs of the hungry. (If you have all you desire, it is easy to forget the needs of others who lack what we have)
The hole is more honorable than the patch. (Frugality, use something up so completely, and then patch it with pride)
The mason who strikes often is better than the one who strikes too hard.
(Consistency & increased frequency in your actions makes for better quality)
The seeking for one thing will find another. (Keep your eyes open, you never know what you will find or learn)
The slow horse reaches the mill. (Consistent small or slow efforts will eventually get your there)
The thief is no danger to the beggar. (If you have nothing to lose, you are free from fear)
The wearer best knows where the shoe pinches. (You know best what works for you based on your nature, more so than others)
The work praises the man. (Your work is an example of your skills, it is your reputation)
There is light at the end of the tunnel. (Eventually you will solve your problem and it will be over)
There's no need to fear the wind if your haystacks are tied down.
(Preparation is the key to confidence in times of adversity)
Though honey is sweet, do not lick it off a briar. (Some things are not worth the cost to get it)
Two shorten the road. (Share your journey with someone and it is easier)
Two-thirds of help is to give courage. (Help others help themselves with encouragement)
We'll never know the worth of water till the well go dry. (The frugal person knows the well will run dry some day, and is prepared for it)
What fills the eye fills the heart. (what you see is what you want, don't let your eyes lust)
What the child sees, the child does. What the child does, the child is.
(Be a good example, others will follow your lead)
What's good for the goose is good for the gander. (Do unto others as they do unto you)
When a twig grows hard it is difficult to twist it. Every beginning is weak.
(Don't let bad habits or situations solidify, correct it in the beginning)
Where the tongue slips, it speaks the truth. (watch what you say)
Winter comes fast on the lazy. (If you are not prepared for hard times, you will suffer quickly)
You are not a fully fledged sailor unless you have sailed under full sail, and you have not built a wall unless you have rounded a corner.
(You need to succeed through the difficult situation to call yourself experienced)
You must crack the nuts before you can eat the kernel. (Work is necessary before you receive the fruits of your labor)
You must cut your coat according to your cloth. (You must deal with life as it is presented to you, deal with what you have)
You'll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind. (Good intentions never accomplish anything unless you put them to action)
You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.
(You must nuture your own potential even if you have great ancestry)

How to Save on Car Insurance

Yesterday we got our renewal notice that our car insurance is due again for the next 6 months, and to my amazement it had gone up $100 since last renewal six months ago. I checked back to the renewal a year ago and it had only increased $6 from the previous period. So why did it increase now? We haven't moved, haven't changed anything - same cars, same driving status, same address, no claims and yet it increased $100.
So DH who used to be an insurance agent, called and talked to the company to find out why our rates increased. They said it was due to Florida rates increasing, so supposedly everyone will get higher rates. Florida has more uninsured drivers than most states and the problem is expected to get worse, according to a study released by an independent research group.
The study by the Insurance Research Council says the recession will likely trigger a sharp increase in the number of uninsured motorists. The study estimates that one in six U.S. drivers will be uninsured in 2010. "An increase in the number of uninsured motorists is an unfortunate consequence of the economic downturn and illustrates how virtually everyone is affected by recent economic developments," Elizabeth Sprinkel, senior vice president of the IRC, said in a news release.
Florida had the fifth highest uninsured driver estimate at 23 percent, according to the study. The four states with higher estimates were: New Mexico, 29 percent; Mississippi, 28 percent; Alabama, 26 percent; and Oklahoma, 24 percent. The study found that the number of uninsured motorists was indelibly linked to each state's unemployment rate. Based on unemployment rate projections, researchers estimated that the number of uninsured motorists in the United States will increase from 13.8 percent in 2007 to 16.1 percent in 2010. It is estimated that only 50% of drivers in Florida have inadequate insurance or none.
So back to our story, we have good coverage with all the high amounts of liability, uninsured and bodily injury. But do we need it? Our truck is 12 years old, and our Camry is 6 years old. Why does the truck cost more to insure than the newer Camry? All of these answers elude me and the insurance representative was no help either. Anyway, here's how we try to be frugal with car insurance:
  1. Don't get involved in any collisions or incidents. It always is cheaper to just not get involved. This includes incidents with police officers who may ticket you for something stupid that you need to go to court for to get adjudication withheld. I learned this many years ago when I was given an "improper use of horn" ticket by a traffic cop at Busch Gardens, I went to court to fight it on my perfect driving record and it was adjudicated but ended up costing $67 in court costs.
  2. If you don't damage it, you don't have to fix it (or pay for it). We try to park in the back of parking lots with shopping carts, or on the edge of small lots to avoid having our vehicle bumped into by other things. Bummer this didn't work a couple weeks ago though, some big truck with a 4" tail pipe exhaust backed into the front of the Camry and left a large donut indent in our bumper.
  3. Pay your car insurance in full. Usually companies will give you up to a 15% discount for paying in full rather than installments. If you can get yourself to save a portion of your premium each month and pay in full this will save a good amount.
  4. Increase your deductibles. If you can save money to pay your deductible out of savings, this will decrease your premium because its cheaper insurance if you have a higher deductible.
  5. Eliminate collision and comprehensive coverage if you have an old car. Experts say that you should look up your vehicles blue book value (BBV) at and then subtract the deductible value. Divide this number by the annual premium cost and if your result is less than 3.5 it makes sense to eliminate the coverage.
  6. Get comparable quotes from many sources. Use online quote calculators and compare insurance from many sources. We checked Progressive, Esurance, Geico all online instantly. This way even if you don't switch you can feel comfortable knowing you are getting the best rate you can.
So in the end we decided we just need to pay the new higher amount, its the price of living in the land of sunshine.

Florida Appliance Rebates

The State of Florida will implement a mail-in rebate program to help residents replace older, inefficient appliances with ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances. The program is scheduled to begin April 16, 2010 and is scheduled to last ten days. The program is timed to coincide with Florida's Earth Day Activities.

Eligible products include
  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Clothes washers
  • Dishwashers
  • Room air conditioners
  • Gas tankless water heaters
Florida will offer residents a 20% rebate off the price of a new ENERGY STAR qualified appliance. Consumers may also receive an additional rebate with proof of having recycled the old appliance.
Contact: Florida Energy & Climate Commission
Total Funding: $17,585,000
Program information subject to change. Rebates may be offered for a limited time only. Before purchasing a product, check with your program sponsor to ensure rebates are available, and to confirm product eligibility and program requirements. Products purchased must meet efficiency criteria as established by the state.

Publix Great Deal on BP Gas Card & All Detergent

Publix has the coupon in their flyer coming out Wednesday for $10 off $50 BP gas card. This is a great deal at 20% off gas. The coupon specifies you need to purchase $25 worth of groceries to use the coupon, but here's a great way to make that work. And who doesn't need gasoline??
All Small & Mighty Laundry Detergent – Assorted Varieties – 3x Concentrated, 32 oz bot. Or 2x Ultra, 50 oz bot. – BOGO $5.99-$1/1 PRINT & PRINT 
-$2/1 ; $1/1 All Liquid Laundry Detergent, Any 50 Oz. Or Larger 02-07-10 RP
Get 4 All 50 oz = $24.00
Get one filler item for $1.00 (produce, bread, etc)
Get $50 BP gas card
Use 4 $2/1 All coupons (or use $1/1 printables for a less great deal, but still a deal)
Use this competitor coupon SaveALot $5 off $20 PRINT
Use $10 off $50 Publix coupon for BP gas card wyb $25 groceries (from the ad)
-12.00 BOGO All
-10 off Publix BP coupon
-8 off All coupons
-5 off $20 SaveALot coupon
= $40 OOP for your $50 gas card and 4 laundry detergents and your filler

Celebrate Savings Rebate

A new rebate is available on Georgia Pacific products. Spend $20 in the following products: Brawny, Quilted Northern, Dixie, Sparkle or Vanity Fair product and get $5 back via mail. This rebate offer is valid from 3/11 – 4/18. Go here for Rebate Form