You might have seen the TV shows where people score amazing deals with
their extreme couponing habits. But how realistic is it. Studio 5 contacted
the brains behind the deal-finding website Utah Sweet Savings to find out
what they could buy for $100.
Becky Vilos, from Utah Sweet Savings spent a couple weeks finding the best
deals and showed up in our studio to show us what she got with her $100
Clipping coupons… Amazon sales… Earning store credit for checking my
email? How do I get the most for my time with all the money saving
avenues that are out there?
A few years ago my sister in law started couponing and wanted to share her
extra coupons with me. She told me about all the great deals she found
where items were sometimes completely free. Sounded good to me! So
next Sunday I grabbed a newspaper and clipped out the coupons for the
items I thought I was likely to buy. I put them in a little envelope in my
purse and headed to the store – ready to score some fantastic savings.
As soon as I got to the store and pulled out my coupons I was sorely
disappointed to find that even with a coupon, the brands that I normally
buy were still cheaper. Irritated, I set my coupons aside and went back to
just buying what was on sale. A short time later another sister came to
stay with me. She started telling me about all the free stuff she was getting
with her coupons and that some things she was even getting for near free
on Amazon. I wasn’t even interested in hearing the whole shpeal this time
– anything beyond shopping sales just seemed a time waster. Luckily she
was just a little pushy and took me to the store with her own coupons. She
kept telling me I had to “stack” coupons – whatever that meant. When we
got to the store I found out just what she was talking about.
Stacking coupons is the way to go!
Instead of using coupons the week they come out, you hang on to them
until the item is on sale. Then you “stack” the sale with your coupon. In
many cases, you can even go a step (or two) further. Coupons that come
out in the paper are generally manufactures coupons – and many stores
have their own coupons for the same products. You “stack” your sale price
with a manufactures coupon and the stores coupon, making a great deal –
this is where you start to see freebies. There are also mail in rebates
(which can often times be done online!) and rewards of store credit that
retailers will offer for buying at their store.
I headed to the newspaper office and they allowed me to buy the 4 previous
weeks Sunday papers and I was set! The next week I headed into Target
with coupons in hand and ready for a completely different experience. I
did 2 transactions – my first transaction earned me $15 in Target gift
cards, which I used to pay for my second transaction. All in all I bought
about $120 in products and spent a total of $20 out of pocket. As I walked
for the door, my heart was pounding – I felt like I had just experienced my
first shoplifting offense. Funny enough, this was actually what I would
eventually consider a “poor” shopping trip.
A few times a year Rite Aid has a week with great mail in rebates (which can
be done in about 2 minutes online). These trips are the ones I get really
excited over. I generally fill my cart with about $150 of merchandise
(make-up, medicines, diapers, etc.). When all is said and done I spend
about $20. Then comes the really fun part – I get a check in the mail for
$50! Yup! Getting paid to shop.
Online shopping will get you a great deal without leaving your house!
I try to keep my shopping to a minimum – with 3 kids and one on the way I
don’t have time to run all over town to deal shop. That is why I LOVE
shopping online. Shipping is almost always the killer of any great online
deal, but slowly I’ve found ways around paying for shipping. For example –
Sites like Target.com offer a deal each day that is shipped free – or if you
are placing your first order with a site like Totsy.com you will get free
shipping. Refer a friend and get a $10 credit – use that towards my
shipping. I’ll admit my biggest frustration with online shopping is that
there are just so many sites out there, it is truly time consuming to watch
them all, I don’t want 100 emails to look through each day for a lot of
things I’m not going to use, and most crazy good deals I’d be interested in
only last 1 day. This is where www.UtahSweetSavings.com
come in. Their team
of deal finders check all the “Daily Deal” sites for you. When something
comes up that is a great deal and is usable (sorry, but I don’t want to be
emailed about a different spa treatment every day!) they’ll post it on their
site with a link right to the sale. I love getting my toilet paper, diapers and
wipes all shipped to my door for super cheap. This saves so much time to
just check one website a day and just get the best of the best.
Reward Websites give you money back for shopping!
The last part of “Deal Shopping” that I wondered about for a while before
jumping in – are all the “rewards” websites. When are they really worth it,
and what do I really get? There are several programs that I’ve found have
actually worked really well for me. My favorite is Swagbucks. It is really
simple to use (It’s a search engine, like Yahoo or Google) and they have lots
of rewards to choose from – the most popular being a $5 amazon gift card.
Remember, you aren’t getting something for nothing. They want to know
how you use the internet and where you spend your time. You are getting
paid for sharing that information. This doesn’t bother me, so I’m happy to
get paid for my time online. Last year I made $200 for checking my email,
facebook and a few other searches each day. (You can learn more about
swagbucks on www.UtahSweetSavings.com
site as well as other reward
There are so many ways to save money with coupons and online shopping
that pretty much anyone can find a style that works well for them. Deal
finder sites are great in catching you up on ways to save and finding you
the specific deals to save you huge amounts of time. You can find more
specifics on how to use your coupons and where as well as online shopping
finds and reward programs at www.UtahSweetSavings.com