Thursday, September 02, 2010

Just Call Me Coupon Kathy

But first, a word about the new guy on the block. Logan Wolf Track wasn't born yesterday, but yesterday was his coming out party.

September 1 was the release date for ONCE A FATHER, but it's been in stock at Borders and Amazon for several days, and it's already doing nicely on both of their series bestseller lists. And Romantic Times magazine gave it a very nice 4 1/2 star review. (Check out my web site for an excerpt.)

So Kathleen is pumped!

The four books on the left are loosely connected, and I can't help noticing--because, yes, I let my fingers do the clicking at least a couple of times a day--that the first 3 books are also doing quite nicely on Amazon. I'll draw a name from today's commenters and let that person choose one of the first 3 books. And here's my question: Can we get as much of a kick out of saving money as we do spending it?

Have you seen the commercial for... rats, I don't even know what it advertises (must not be a great commercial) but it has guys (men!) whooping it up over saving money on an everyday purchase. Not a car or a boat, not even whatever they're advertising, but something somebody actually needed. I got such a charge out of it the first time I saw it. Guys scoring a BOGO, high-fiving over a $10 bargain.

Last week I came home from grocery shopping with a cash register receipt that merited center stage under a refrigerator magnet. I had saved more than I spent. It was double coupon day, and I had coupons for quite a few items on my list that were also on sale. There were a couple of items I got free because the double coupon was worth the whole sale price. I also had a "$10 off your next shopping order" coupon and a few more perks, so on a $115 shopping order I paid less than $50. At Rainbow the cashier calls for a supervisor's approval when that happens, and everyone oohs and aahs. And then there's the "fuel perks" reward on top of it all, and on that register receipt we were up to 70 cents a gallon. Clyde used to disappear when I whipped out the coupons at the register, but he's finally gotten over it. He's all "Coupon Kathy counts another coup!" And he loves the fuel perks card. If there's one price guys watch, it's the one outside the gas station.

I've always used coupons, more or less. Mama grew up during the Depression, and she knew how to stretch a dollar. I was the oldest kid--the one whose parents are "starting out." I helped Mama fill the Green Stamp books and learned about outlet shopping back when outlets were attached to mills and factories. We used to buy fabric at the knit mill and hats at the millinery outlet--hats were big in the 50's and 60's--and shoes at the factory outlet. (Yes, children, there was a time when there were actual textile mills and shoe factories in Massachusetts.) So shopping sales and using coupons is in my blood. I adore the triple whammy of double coupon on top of weekly sale.

Admittedly my coupon clippers languished during the boom years, but with the recession, I've come to my centses. Just because money is tighter than it used to be doesn't mean there's no fun to be had with it. Ohhh, it feels so good to stretch. It's all in the attitude.

Here are some other savings measures I've taken lately:
--Craig's list (stuff like bicycles)
--sharing a premium Costco membership with dear daughter
--trying generics, sticking with good ones (Target's especially)
--Blockbuster online (1 dvd at a time works for us)
--get magazine subscriptions for as little as $5 a year online
--never use vending machines (grandkids don't ask anymore)
--use the Sunday paper
--trim the fat, spend on what nourishes (like BOOKS**)

What recession-busting tips do you have to share with us? Any lessons learned from generations past? Any hard lessons you've learned from our times that you want to pass on to the next generation?

**Mama watched the budget like a hawk, but I was always allowed to order 3 books from the Scholastics Book Club flier. Thanks, Mama. Not only for the books themselves--although I remember many of the titles to this day--but for making them a priority.

P.S. Don't forget to scroll down a put a firm click on the mammogram button!


Laurie said...

Bike or walk instead of taking the car on short trips

turn off the lights


use cloth bags for shopping

hang dry your clothes outside

don't buy what you can't eat or use

I love coupons!

stephenia said...

No vending machines/No fast food
Order water instead of a drink at the restaurant.

order a small special coffee instead of a giant one. I feel like I'm still getting a treat at half the price.

Use what I have and enjoy it instead of constantly searching for something "new" to buy. Especially clothes! A few new pieces spruces things up without breaking the budget.

Concentrate on making memories rather than having things.


gigi said...

Like you I have been using coupons and rebates forever. Over 26 years and the savings really mount up.
I like to check out the BOGO items at the supermarket and match it with a coupon that I have.
I now cut out all coupons and browse the coupon site for more coupons. You never know what you will find on sale in the markdown area of the local store. I get lots of personal items for free just because of a coupon and a discount sale.
To save money I am washing my clothes in cold water and I hang up the jeans in the laundry room and let them dry. The jeans last longer from less wear and tear in the dryer and my electric bill is smaller.
I also have changed to all the energy saving light bulbs throughout the house.

Cindy Gerard said...

Congrats on the great review, Kathy! 4 1/2 from RT! Woo Woo

I admire all of you guys who are so diligent with coupons. I HAVE to start watching them more closely but I've found that I have little luck with grocery store coupons because most often they're for savings on items I rarely use. For me, it's like buying a dress on sale 1/2 price then never taking it out of the closet because I really didn't like it or didn't need it. BUT, I do need to start watching closer - or maybe change my tastes?? :o0
Anyway, my big contribution to savings is my hybrid car. I get 37 - 40 mpg and that makes me feel very, very frugal!

Michele Hauf said...

Great tips, Kathy!

I too, only order water in restaurants (trying to get hubby to stop ordering those $4 beers!)

Started taking my own tin take-out container with me to restaurants, which I like to fill, so I want to take food home, which gives me another meal.

If I need to buy something, first I do a search online to find cheapest price.

Amazon's Prime shipping has saved me a bundle! Just got a bike from Amazon, free shipping! (But don't ask how the assembly went.)

I love doing the coupon dance when I save big bucks. And at Target they print out those bonus coupons sometimes for you. One time I got a coupon for a free box of tampons. A WHOLE box. I felt as if I'd done something special that day to be rewarded so. ;-)

CrystalGB said...

My family says I can make a penny scream. LOL So, I am definitely a couponer.
When shopping online, I always look for coupon codes for percent off and free shipping. I also shop through Ebates which credits you a percent back on your purchase.
I stock up on items that we use alot of when the grocery has 10 for $10 sales.
I read money saving blogs where they post coupon finds and sales they have found.
When I need to do an internet search, I use swagbucks where you can earn points to cash in for giftcards.

Linda said... (put me as your referral please - if you're not a member) has saved me lots plus made it possible to get favorite authors' older books for free. (same referral)gets rid of old dvds and I'm able to get Baby Einsteins for free (those are $15 each)for my new grandson.
-Walmart for cleaning supplies and canned goods - their Great Value brand is good. They match the weekly sales at all other stores so bring those flyers when you shop.
-Sam's Club - I share membership with my daughter and use them for photo printing, prescriptions and their ProForce cleaning stuff in large bottles are amazingly cheap. I just refill small bottles for use. The floor and dish liquids are very good and about $3 for a gallon. for as much baby stuff as possible. Excellent selection and free 2-3 day shipping with $50 purchase. Good prices and better selection than Walmart.
-I don't drive anymore due to disabilities. Talk about saving money!!! That car ate a ton of money on insurance, upkeep and fuel.
-I quit smoking 2 yrs ago. $6.50 a pack? A pack a day? Took a long time to figure out how to spend all that extra money. Chantix works and you cut down without effort so that it's cheaper to take Chantix and smoke.
-Sam's and Costco fill prescriptions without a membership and are much cheaper than anyone else. And far faster than any Walmart! Free food samples mean lunch is on them while waiting and their book selection is great and cheap if you do have a membership. The snackbar doesn't require a membership - their hotdogs are awesome.
-Friends2Friends - group consignment sale twice a year for baby and kid stuff. I've got to go finish pricing the maternity clothes and baby stuff we're done with for the sale this weekend (Fort Worth here) but they are all over.
-Dumpster Diving and yard sales. Eclectic taste saves a lot of money. Reuseit type networks (FTWorthfreestuff@yahoogroups) or freecycling networks are great for getting rid of your usable items and also not having to buy new when someone's got one they don't use.

Great topic - have enjoyed everyone's comments and I'll have to read Kathy's cowboy books. Cowboys are yummy (but they don't always smell very good in real life).

Helen Brenna said...

Congrats on the new release, Kathy, and the great review! Love all your covers, but I think COOL HAND HANK is my favorite.

Green stamp books - wow, haven't thought of those in soooo long.

My mom would come back from the grocery store and we'd check off EVERY price on the receipt. That was back in the day when the cashier punched in all the prices - no upc codes back then.

I used to clip coupons and should get back to it. There are a LOT of savings to be had out there if you pay attention. Who doesn't love to save money?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Wow! Had trouble getting online this morning--BIG thunderboomers during the night could explain it--but I'm taking notes on all these great suggestions

Costco makes a great mom-daughter outing. Lunch is so cheap! We've found great buys on non-food stuff, and we've learned to shop carefully--figure price per, share bundles, and don't over-do.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Linda, I'm totally down with PaperbackSwap, and I will definitely check it out. Authors don't make any money on the sale of used books, so we like to see our readers share. It can bring in more readers, which means more sales for our new books.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Note to Self: you have a teensy weensy bit of OCD, Kathleen.

I do have to remind myself that just because I have a deal at hand, I don't HAVE to go out and get it.

Example, Champs (Is it a national chain?) restaurant gave out "smart" cards on Mother's Day that automatically load up a $15 off deal the 1st of every month for a year. I saw it in my wallet last week and my inner child thought, "Gotta use this before the end of Aug." Inner Mama said, "Oh no you don't, girl."

So Self, exercise resistance muscle. It's not a deal if you don't need it, don't really want it, won't really use it.

It's that second thought that counts. Somebody mentioned waiting a day, especially on those unplanned purchases. What a difference a day makes!

LSUReader said...

I use coupons and generics when I can. I’ve always been a sales shopper. I don’t turn on lights in the house for most of the day—light from windows is fine.

My family has always liked on-line shopping. Lately, I’ve gotten hooked on When I shop at my normal stores through their links, I get a percentage of my purchase back. It’s great. And if anyone reading this wants an Ebates referral please let me know and we’ll each save $5. (My email is in my profile.) Happy saving!

Kathleen Eagle said...

LSU, I've wondered about Ebates because of the commercial, but when I googled it I found so many complaints that I moved it over to my mental "sacm" column. The biggest criticism seems to be that it puts spyware and, worse, malware on your computer. My son is always getting after me for downloading stuff that's hard to remove.

Have you gotten any rewards? How about 'puter parasites?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oops. That would be "mental SCAM column."

Minna said...

I swap stuff. It's a good way to get rid of stuff I don't need and get stuff I do need -and I don't have to buy it! My best trade so far: huge amount of yarn for a bunch of plastic beads -I had started to knit again and my neighbour had started a new hobby (beading) and didn't have the time for old one.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh, Minna, I love that one! It isn't good fences that make good neighbors--it's good trading.

Line from "Dances With Wolves" oft quoted at the Eagles' nest: "Good [pause] trade."

Leanne said...

Oh Coupon Kathy!:) I love this blog! I just wish I could see a pic of you during your victory coupon moment!:) I have always loved bargains and I have discount cards with all the grocery stores and buy my gas at the station associated with my #1 store. I like the online sale site rue lala. I also like for daily specials in my hometown or a city I may be visiting. and are good for travel. And as you know, I've made a resolution to do my own hair color this year which I think will probably save me between $800.and $1000.00 in one year. I love to both give and receive magazines as gifts. It's the gift that keeps on giving! OH, and I'm shopping my closet! Found a pretty brown purse NEW WITH TAGS that I've decided to pull out for this Fall!:)

KylieBrant said...

Great post, Kathy, even if it made me feel a tad guilty. I hate to budget. But I'm starting to get a bit panicky as the remodeling costs are starting to mount. I was quite excited about the sale on paint I found until dh informed me he doesn't like Sherwin Williams' paint. Can't say I didn't try!

Kathleen O said...

I am not a coupoun cutter, but I do buy items in bulk when they are on sale. I like to buy name brands, but if I find a genertic brand I like, I don't mind buying it all the time. But I have a lot of jars or can goods I have tried and not liked. So it is a waste becuase they end up going in the trash.

Have been waiting for your book to some out and now I can get to the bookstore and get it.. YEY!!!!

Kathleen Eagle said...

KO, don't forget to donate the unopened purchased that weren't your cup o' tea to your local food shelf.

Thanks for cheering the op to shop for my book! YEY!!!

Kathleen Eagle said...

So with this post foremost on my mind today, I noticed a BOGO in the midweek flier on frozen fruit bars, that I had purchased yesterday with a coupon (doubled) but didn't get the freebie. (Shouldn't they have put a sign on the freezer?) Had to run an errand in the vicinity, so I took my receipts, and the service counter clerk cheerfully gave me the freebie.

I really felt good about this exchange because during the previous errand I witnessed the behavior of a rude dog. It was nice to drive home feeling all better.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Okay, I gotta tell you about Rude Dog. Stopped at Office Depot, waiting in line with the last of the school supplies and, yes, the ten and even one cent loss leaders of the week. Guy trying to return something at the next register. Clerk explains that he can't take it back with out a receipt. Guy's on the cell speaking in that irritating look-at-me-I'm-on-the-cell-phone voice and he says, "I forgot the receipt, and the guy here isn't at all helpful." Clerk says quietly, "I CAN'T do it without a receipt."

And he can't. You know he would if he could. Why wouldn't he? How many times have you asked someone in retail for an opinion, a recommendation, a tip on a good deal and had them put you onto something good. Most people in retail like to the best they can for the people they're dealing with. A little good will goes a long way on both sides.

Laney4 said...

Kathleen, Kathleen, Kathleen,
There isn't enough room in this blog for all the things I do. Seriously.
I rarely buy anything other than food -- and the food almost always is on sale. Yes, I use coupons and am totally envious that Americans have double coupon days, etc., while Canadians don't. What we have, though, is an Ontario Scanning Code of Practice whereby if something is on sale but rings up as the higher price, I get it for free if it is valued up to $10.00 (and I get $10.00 if it costs more than $10.00). I have gotten lots of freebies from this.
I enter local radio contests to get restaurant gift certificates. Rarely eat out without one.
Subscribe online to various freebie web sites. Pass on these savings to 9 girlfriends.
Enter contests online and pass these web sites on to said girlfriends. (Girlfriends are the greatest!)
Ensure I have my shopping lists from flyers prepared, and then I visit the stores in one afternoon, ensuring I have the shortest route possible and sometimes deleting some places because their savings don't justify the trip.
Open/close blinds/curtains at various times of day to keep sun in/out, depending on the season.
Cook more than one thing at a time in the oven, ensuring lots of leftovers that can be reheated for meals at work or at home afterward.
Visits with girlfriends mean potlucks at one of our houses rather than at a restaurant. We can just curl up on the couches and gab to our hearts' content. Sometimes we go for long walks too.
Save my coupons, magazines, books, unwanted freebies, etc. for said girlfriends so we can swap and pass on to others (especially toward retirement residences and nursing homes).
Buy Christmas, birthday, wedding, shower, etc. presents/cards all year round to set aside when they are at least 50% off.
Write my own poetry to make special-occasion cards for good friends and family. Also do this for annual Christmas cards.
And the list goes on and on. I'm enjoying reading everyone's responses. Many thanks for sharing!
BTW, I just loved IN CARE OF SAM BEAUDRY and highly recommend it to everyone. Thought it was extremely well written and kept me hooked right to the end.

karenk said...

coupons :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

LSUReader said...

Kathleen--Re Ebates...I haven't gotten any computer viruses but we are aggressive in our home about scans. I joined about 6 weeks ago and I haven't gotten a rebate check yet. I can tell from the counter on the site that I've earned about $25. I think that's pretty good, since as I mentioned, I'm using these links for purchases I would normally make on-line.

Sandra Hyatt said...

Congratulations on the terrific review. Can't wait to read Once a Father and add it to my shelf.

I especilly love it when they put my favorite luxuries/treats on sale, my favourite chocolates or a good wine - great for sharing with friends.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Wow, Laney! You're a pro. Thanks so much for the kind words for Sam.

And thanks, everyone! This has been fun.