Category Archives: rebates

Free Baby Books

I was hesitant on posting this link until I was sure it worked and it works!

I got an email from this company offering me a set of free Dr. Seuss baby books and I signed up. I was told my package would arrive in a few weeks so I waited…and waited…and then I figured it would never come and I was okay with it because it took me two seconds to sign up.

But then today, I checked the mail and lo and behold, free books!


The shipment is allegedly broken up in separate shipments but I got a little stack to start with and I could not be more excited so I wanted to share! Do you have any freebies you know of for moms?

Free Baby Samples

Starting anything new is scary, just in general, right? A new job, a new relationship, breaking in new shoes (my least favorite!).

Parenting is no exception. One thing I found to make the first few weeks easier–having tons of prepared stuff at hand. This means snacks for you, advil portioned out for the postpartum pain, and baby stuff galore (diapers and wipes, oh my!).  There is no such  thing as too many newborn baby product samples!

In my third trimester I decided to start registering for free samples in part due to anxiety. I had a million thoughts and questions.

Will I be able to breastfeed? Which brand is best? How much do I make? Is pampers really better than huggies?”

I decided the best way to figure this all out was to try it all for free. I googled “similac samples” and other similar terminology to find the list below! Each box is unique and comes with coupons, so I definitely suggest you try the different products when your baby is born to figure out which works best for you!

The Enfamil and Similac sample boxes are very similar. Both ready-to-feed bottles and a variety of powder versions that you can try out. They also include coupons in the form of checks. The store you buy from simply scans the “check” as a form of payment so you can use them in conjunction with manufacturers coupons!

Enfamil Samples

Similac Samples

Sam’s Club Baby Box

The Sam’s Club sample box is the least useful of the different samples. It has a size 3 diaper, wipes, and toddler food.

Amazon Prime members can take advantage of the Welcome Box for free!  Just complete a Baby Registry using Checklist and have over $10 of purchases from their registry (from yourself or gifters).

If you open a registry at Babies ‘R’ Us, in store you will get a welcome bag. Mine included a NoseFrida which was a lifesaver for our little guy who was born during cold and flu season.

NoseFrida-product

Most pediatricians have free samples in the office, too, you just have to ask to get them.

Let me know what freebies you scored!

When (and Why) to buy a NEW Car

If you remember I previously posted about when to buy a car. This week I am posting (finally) about when it’s good to buy new versus used.

  1. Duke it Out–Call different dealerships and ask for their best quotes. Tell them about yourself so that they know you’re a real person (real phone number, email address, where you live and what you do). Tell them what you want as your walk out price. Not the final sale price but what the final walk out price you want. Get them to send you quotes in writing and send those quotes to other dealers asking them to beat it. Many dealerships will not engage and you can’t blame them, to them you’re not a real person yet. But talk to the ones who do bite and use those quotes to get as close to your best price.
  2. Maintenance on used car-No matter who you are and how well you take care of your car, after a certain number of miles it will require upkeep. Depending on the car make, model and year, however, these costs can vary but after 30,000 miles they will all start to cost money. Furthermore, after the factory warranties (typically 5 year, 50,000 miles), the car’s value takes a big dip making resale harder and costing more in repairs.
  3. Financing Options-If you can get a car loan at 0% (which many Toyotas and Kias offer), you should definitely take advantage.  Instead of taking the money you get from the sale of your car or putting a lot down, you can put that money into either a high-yield savings or the money market, as long as it earns more than 0% it’s a better investment.                                   I recently looked at 2 cars and broke down the financing options.
    1. 2015 Toyota Rav4 XLE with 29,000 miles-used price 22,400
      1. Financing available on this model was (lowest rate through USAA) 2.49%. Car’s cost over 72 months becomes $24,138
    2. 2017 Toyota Rav4 XLE new with 0 miles-new price 26,500
      1. Financing through Toyota at 0% car’s cost over 72 months remains the same, 26,500

Between these two options I balanced the little more than $2,000 difference. On one hand the new car comes with 2 years of free maintenance and oil changes.  They also include 5 year, 50,000 bumper to bumper warranty. These perks and the fact that I am buying a car that I can later sell as “first owner” and newer, with fewer miles made the decision clear for me and my family, new car wins.

If you decide to go with the new car route you should wait until the end of the year. During this time dealers are trying to get rid of that year’s stock so you can get great deals on new cars. If you can get in on a weekday they will give you further discounts. Also, try to garner loyalty by going back to a dealer from whom you have purchased before because dealerships do value those relationships (my personal dealership gave us an extra $1000 off for that relationship).

And as always, don’t be afraid to walk away!

 

5 Cheapest Ways to Buy an iPhone

Hello friends! Sorry for not posting for a while, I was on maternity leave!

While being out I took dozens of pictures. During the course of taking all these pictures I received the dreaded “not enough storage” error message. After deleting pictures (backing them up first of course), deleting apps, uninstalling/reinstalling facebook/instagram and restoring my iphone I realized I simply need more than 16GB.

Then I went to buy the iphone and whoa. They are expensive! And no more of that “free iphone with plan upgrade” stuff they used to do. So you just have to bite the bullet and pay full price out of pocket.

Except maybe you don’t. I did some research. Okay, I did a LOT of research. I have found some ways to buy an iphone without breaking the bank.

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  1. Buy refurbished-Do your research on the sellers because you want to make sure you have a warranty and that the phone is certified refurbished. Amazon and Best Buy are both reputable for refurbished iphones.
  2. Wait-I researched the history on when to buy, looked at pricing trends and found that end of the year, holidays are the best time to buy. Black Friday or Cyber Monday are the ideal days to buy, but really anytime between those days and Christmas will guarantee the greatest deal.
  3. Buy What You Need-We would all love the latest and greatest technology but sometimes that’s not feasible. I looked at the iphone 7 and although it’s cool, the accessories are not cheap. Do I need the 7 or will the 6s suffice?  Looking at the specs I realized the 6s is plenty and I can get much more storage for less than the 7.
  4. Sell your old iphone-Check out ebay to see how your phone is selling and you may end up only paying half for your new phone after factoring in the sale of your old one.
  5. Keep the Box/Accessories-To maximize the resale of your old iphone keep the box and accessories and take great pictures of them together to get the maximum bids.

This list is not exhaustive of all the ways to save money on a new phone but this should get your started. Do you have any other ideas or ways to save money on an cell phone? Tweet, comment or message me, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Best Times to Buy a New Car

I have been passively hunting for a new car for a few months now and a friend recently asked me what I was waiting for. I told her I was waiting for the best deal and the best financing options which typically come in the last quarter of the year. She asked why and that started an hour of me rambling and talking her ear off (my friends are so patient with how excited I get about deal hunting).

So there ARE best times of day, week and year to buy a car!

Image result for free stock image car

1. Day of the Week-Not all deals are made the same and they happen on different days of the week! Weekends are the worst time of the week to buy a car. Why? Because most people have their weekends off and want to use that time to run errands including buying a new car. So when you go to the dealership on a Saturday and are iffy about a deal, the dealership will shoo you away to make room for the next person in line!
2. Time of Day-According to Autotrader.com, the best time of the day to buy a car is at the end of the day.  According to the car site, salespeople might be more likely to be weak willed at the end of the long day and thus willing to discount more as long as it means they get a commission at all.
3. Month(s) of Year- The last quarter of the year is the best time of year to buy a car from a dealership. The dealerships are trying to move out all the old inventory to make room for the new.  I have personally purchased 2 new cars from dealerships in the month of December at fantastic deals.

Extra Notes:

  • If you are really looking to buy a car from a dealership (new or used), reach out to your friends and family and ask if anyone you know is looking to buy a car, too. Heck, go on facebook and ask your facebook friends! The best car deal I ever got in my life was when my dad, sister and I all needed new cars so we walked into a Honda dealership here in Georgia, and walked out with 3 top of the line Accords (leather heated seats, souped up etc, in 2007) for insanely low prices.  At one point the Honda dealership manager came over to us and told us, somewhat irritably, that his sales rep wasn’t make as much commission on each car but was pleased to do so because of the aggregate.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away! There’s no such thing as a “one time deal” that “cannot be matched”. I have walked away many times and had dealerships call me begging me to come back with an even better deal!
  • This usually goes without saying but I will say it anyways: do your research.  I once had a dealership salesperson try to tell me the KBB value of a car I was interested in was $2000 more than it really was. This was back in the day before smartphones so I had to pull out the printed out KBB estimates but now you can download the app and save the information for when you arrive.

 

4 Top Coupon Code Websites

As a frequent online shopper (I hate the unforgiving glare of department store changing rooms), I find that often prices in store versus online are different.  I most often notice that price online are cheaper than in store.  Regardless, to maximize savings I always, always look for a good coupon code.

There are lots of click-bait sites that will taught huge savings but when you click there’s nothing, so make sure you’re using a reputable coupon site.

These are my favorite 4 sites for coupon codes:

  1. Retail Me Not-This website to me is the OG. My favorite part of this website is that users can offer feedback so that a single coupon will have a user-submitted % success rate and a place for users to leave comments. This way you don’t have to waste time going through dozens of fake or expired coupons.
  2. Coupon Cabin-I like Coupon Cabin for the rare time that a retailer is not on Retail Me Not. They also have the option to search locally by entering your zip code.
  3. Krazy Coupon Lady– I don’t love this website but I will definitely put up with it for a deal! My reason for disliking it is not actually the content but the way the website is set up. It’s very overwhelming, not a clean design, and there are way too many ads mixed in with the content. The pop-ups are also a pain to deal with. I do like that the website has a “tips” tab and it’s a good alternative to the above two.
  4. Coupons.com-I like the actual coupons that I can print and take in store, but I must say that from its inception this website requires that you download their “printing installer”.  This is insanely obnoxious especially when you want to just print something specific on the go. BUT when you plan ahead and have the installer, the coupons are great!

What’s your favorite couponing website?

2 Ways to Lose and 2 to Save at Target

I love shopping at Target. Who doesn’t?  The lights, the layout, the colors, they all come together to make the buyer feel at home.  And that’s the point, Target wants you to feel warm and fuzzies in their store because then your wallet magically pops open and boom, there goes a few hundred bucks!

To me the two biggest money pits at Target are the big red CLEARANCE end caps and the dollar spot.

  1. The dollar spot is not comprised of one dollar items. In fact, most of the stuff in this section is $3-$5. “Omg Minoo, loosen the purse strings” you’re groaning to yourself.  But if I grab a handful of these items every time I shop, I can look back and say I spent hundreds in the “dollar spot” on junk! Save yourself the money, nothing and I mean nothing in that section is worth it.
  2. The other money pit is the general use of CLEARANCE on the aisle end caps.  Target uses these orange and white clearance stickers marking how low these clearance items are and suddenly you feel like you need Essie nailpolish that was originally $14.99 but is now on sale for $10.00. You don’t. Just walk away. If you really need an item, maximize your savings by doubling up with coupons or check amazon.com to see if the price is really a limited-time steal.

target

Now, how can you SAVE money at target? Here’s how.

  1. The Target Red Card Debit Card– I love this card because really, the last thing I need is a credit card but a debit card lets me use the money I currently have but at target with an additional 5% off.  When you use your Target Debit Card (or the Target Credit Card  at Target stores or Target.com, you will receive 5% off your purchases. If you use a REDcard in the same purchase transaction with another form of payment like a gift card, the 5% discount will apply only to the purchase amount tendered to your REDcard.   LASTLY, the 5% discount does not apply to the following:
    • Prescriptions, clinic services at Target and Target Optical™ eye exams
    • Target gift cards and prepaid cards
    • Previous purchases
    • Target credit account payments, Target Debit Card cash back and cash advances on the Target MasterCard
    • Gift wrap and shipping and handling charges on Target.com purchases
    • Wireless protection program purchases and deposits required by a mobile carrier
  2. Cartwheel App by Target–This app is a must have if you frequent target or if you are planning a trip and want to look up coupons.  My phone is doing that awful thing where it tells me I’m out of storage even though I’ve deleted everything, so I delete and re-download the target app based on my trips to the store.  I will say that the app’s coupons often exclude clearance items so read the fine print. The best savings come when the app has a coupon for an additional savings off clearance items in a category (like apparel).  Also, the app today cannot be used for online purchases (but I bet that will change soon).

These are the ways I save and spend at Target, how do you save when you shop there? Tweet, Instagram or message me here!

Cash Back for Dining Out

I first must give credit where credit is due.  I like to think that I know everything there is to know about frugality, but let’s be real, I don’t. A friend of mine, Anna, actually referred me to this first program after redeeming her $20 gift card.

The way it works is based on your spend with participating restaurants. At first the list was pretty small and I did not find myself going often but recently they have added a lot of great restaurants that I frequent.  So basically the amount you earn is directly related to how much you spend at any of their participating restaurants, bars, and clubs (including tax and tip, holla!) in a 1 year period.

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Members earn 5% back until they have spent $250.

– Members earn 10% back when they have spent more than $250 and less than $750.

– Members earn 15% back when they have spent more than $750.

Perfect! So far I am only at the 10% mark but with their growing list of participating restaurants I think I can get up to 15% soon!

Now, combine this program with Opentable‘s reward program and you may find yourself eating for free a lot more often than you think.

The way it works with OpenTable is that you earn points when you make and honor reservations made through their site or app.  

I put this in bold because reservations made directly through a restaurant’s webiste or by calling them directly do not earn OpenTable points and if you do not honor your reservation (you skip out or don’t check in at the hostess stand), you do not get those points.

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I can say with confidence that about 85% of the time I dine out, the restaurant I go to uses OpenTable. Even if it’s at a slow time (hello, I love a good 5:00pm dinner) or the place never gets crowded, use the app anyways so that you can earn points!

Here is how the points break down:

2,000 Dining Points = $20 Dining Rewards Gift

5,000 Dining Points = $50 Dining Rewards Gift

10,000 Dining Points = $100 Dining Rewards Gift

I use OpenTable for everything in terms of dining out, even work lunches etc. The more you use it the more you earn!

Between these two programs you can be getting rewards money on a monthly basis and that makes a huge difference in cutting into the dining-out-budget!

Ensuring Success with Mail-In Rebates

Mail in rebates are a strange beast. We are in an era of everything online, fast, immediate so the idea of mailing in a receipt and wait for a check in the mail is kind of foreign for most of us.

I wish people weren’t afraid of them because I am here to say, they DO work!

I have a list of ways to ensure you get your rebate no mater what:

cashback

  1. Be over-inclusive-By this I mean if the rebate asks for “the original UPC” I often collapse the box and send the WHOLE THING. I started doing this 12 years ago when a company said they could not “verify the item based on the UPC alone”.  This also helps because a lot of packages have 2 UPCs so it’s hard to know which one to send. By sending the whole box you get rid of the confusion.
  2. Keep a copy of the receipt-If the rebate asks for the original receipt MAKE A COPY of it for your records! This tip comes from an electronics company that had a mail in rebate for $50 on a $200 item. I sent in the receipt and the company said they never got it. I learned my lesson.
  3. Write Legibly-Even if your address is clear on the envelope, if it’s not clear on the form they can refuse to send you the check. Do not give them any reason to deny to claim!
  4. Put the correct email address-I used to put fake email addresses because I did not want to get SPAM. Unfortunately, a lot of rebate companies will communicate issues or problems with your rebate via email, so make sure you put the right one. in general fill out the form correctly.
  5. IF Rejected-Write or call them! I was recently rejected for a rebate on a item. The item had an online form and I filled it out precisely. A week later I got a letter in the mail saying that I did not purchase a qualifying item. What?? I 1000% did! I had the box to prove it! If only they’d asked for the original UPC! Well, in fine print on the bottom of the letter there was an address to send appeals. I sent in the box, the form, the receipt and crossed my fingers. Alas, I got the check in the mail 2 weeks later! So don’t let a rejection discourage you!
  6. Check your rebate status-Follow up on the company’s preferred method whether it’s a 1-800 number or website. And don’t be afraid to complain! You are not in the wrong to ask for what you are entitled to!
  7. Cash the check ASAP-A lot of times the checks or prepaid cards that companies use for rebates expire within 30 days so make sure you use them as soon as you get them!

Weddings on a Budget

A lot of people have asked me in the past how I managed to keep my wedding last year within budget.  At first I created a spreadsheet of the things I did but then that got too messy so I’ve decided to create a blog post.

  1. Michael’s- DIY wedding invitations. These invitations range from $30-$50 for a box of 30 or 40 and with the coupons Michael’s always has you can get a lot of cheap. We ended up getting 120 invitations for $72. That’s less than $1 per invite AND it includes the RSVP card and a nice card holder, tissue etc.  All you need is a regular printer, inkjet or laserjet. Here’s the one we used:invite
  2. Groupon-We used groupon for our photobooth and it was well worth it! Now a lot of groupons expire but don’t let that dissuade you. I emailed the business owners and asked for an extension on the expiration date and the owner agreed.
  3.  Publix-wedding cake-I know you want the fanciest bakery cake ever but the Publix cake tasted better than our fancy one (we did a Publix grooms cake).
  4. Venue-Choose a venue that lets your bring your own booze-This speaks for itself. If you can find a venue that lets your bring your own alcohol you can just go to Costco for your alcohol and save thousands of dollars. That’s what we did!
  5. Wedding Planner-GET A WEDDING PLANNER-We used Wedding Belles and we could not have been more pleased. I know that you think a wedding planner just costs you money but ours actually SAVED us money. They recommended someone for our centerpieces who was significantly cheaper than any other vendor we spoke with. They save you a lot of headache and money, I promise it’s worthwhile. Not only that but our planners had a day-of emergency kit incudling double sided tape, snacks and more. We could not have survived without them.
  6. Wedding dress-I did the Jenny Yoo dress from Nordstrom.com (using ebates for cashback, duh) which ended up costing me about $212.  I then went to a local tailor to get a custom made sequined ribbon to put around my waist for an additional $25. So total I spent $237 for my dream dress. But there are lots of affordable options including Jcrew Bridal, Macy’s Bridal and even some pre-owned options.  I know you cringe at pre-owned but really, with the prices people sell for you can get a designer dress for the fraction of the cost.
  7. THE RING-I will say it once and I will say it again: Diamonds do not have value. I tried selling a diamond ring and eventually successfully sold it for ONE HALF of the original purchase price. And I was lucky! Check out I do now I don’t.  I know, again you are cringing at the thought of a second hand ring but with the thousands of dollars you will save you can get the ring reset at a jeweler and lose the icky bad joojoo.
  8. Bridesmaid’s Dresses-To help your bridesmaids save money try going a non-traditional route and having them get non-bridesmaids dresses. What I mean is fun cocktail dresses. I chose my from ASOS. By choosing something that’s NOT a bridesmaid dress you are giving them a fighting chance of ever wearing the dress after the wedding. Not only that, but everything with the words “bridal” or “wedding” are automatically marked up 50000000%.  By choosing something non-bridal you are guaranteeing that money will be saved!