Posts tagged ‘Shopping’

June 24th, 2011

I’m Couponing Without Being (Too) Extreme [5 Tips]

by VK

I think it was the fourth, maybe fifth, friend mentioning “Extreme Couponing” to me who finally convinced me to watch the show.

Oh, I’ve never had a complex about using coupons, nor have I understood people who think that using them in public is a sign of poverty. (Little known fact: frequent coupon users tend to be affluent, making $70k/year or more, which kind of raises the chicken and egg question, doesn’t it?) In fact, I’ve clipped coupons on and off throughout my life, just like my mom did and her mother before her, to save $0.25 here and $0.45 there. That’s the kind of couponing most of us think of when we turn up our noses and proclaim, “But I can save more by just buying the store or generic brand.”

If nothing else, TLC’s Extreme Couponing disproves that notion. The ladies and occasional gent featured on the show have ignited a couponing craze after viewers, including me, watched them take home literally thousands of dollars worth of groceries for less than the cost of a movie ticket. “Why,” the thinking goes, “if they can do it, so can I!”

Or, at least, that’s how I got hooked into serious couponing. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not racking up their kind of savings. I’d go so far as to say few people ever really do, and that even the people featured on the show don’t routinely score those kind of deals, either.

With cameras rolling prior to their trips, each and every one has confessed “I’ve never tried to make this big of haul before”, or some variation on that theme. The honest ones admit to using ‘extreme’ tactics to gather the hundreds of coupons they’ll be using on their trip, whether through buying up every copy of the Sunday paper in town or using coupon clipping service. One even went dumpster diving (with her kid and pregnant best friend, no less!) Yet another, Jaime Kirlew, went so far as to ask her store for an alphabetized list of every product they sell, and which aisle it’s located in, so she could prepare her coupons in advance. As to her “preparations”, well… let’s just say she’s been widely accused of coupon fraud, and it’s not the first time, either.

Point is: like many other people who tuned in, I’d hoped to walk out of the grocery store with cart after cart full of groceries, all for a mere $5. When that didn’t happen, my first instinct was to blame myself. Fortunately, my second instinct was to do some research on the matter and, like millions of other viewers, I came to the conclusion that this is just another ‘reality TV program’ that has very little to do with reality.

But I didn’t stop couponing. In fact, I’ve stuck with it and, through trial and error (and a couple of tricks I share below), I’m getting pretty good at it as you can see by the pictures of my receipts up there! So, without further ado, here are my five best tips for cutting your grocery bill with coupons… realistically:
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November 19th, 2008

Holiday Shopping: How Do You Do It?

by VK

In my previous post, I mentioned how I absolutely hate shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. At the time, I figured most of us net denizens felt the same way, so imagine my surprise when I learned that internet shopping has only grown 1% this past year.

Of course, the reasons are varied. Some online retailers charge exorbitant shipping and handling fees; there’s always a risk that merchandise will arrive damaged or not at all; and because sizing differs from place to place, the fit of clothing does, too. When it comes to clothing for myself, I rarely make purchases online. But I’m all over online shopping for my husband’s gifts, including clothes.

Heck, last year I bought him not one but two pairs of shoes online even though he’d never actually tried them on. See, he’d been wearing the same three pairs of shoes for years: a $6 set of flip-flops he’d bought at a tourist gift shop on vacation a few years ago; a pair of nasty-looking beige “suede” slip-on shoes he’d picked up at Wal-Mart; and a set of 11-year-old pale gray wingtips that he wore to work regardless of whether they matched his slacks.

In other words, he had nothing but fugly footwear. When your husband has size 14 feet, it’s hard not to notice how horrid his shoes are, much less how horrible they look with whatever he’s wearing. So I decided I just couldn’t take it anymore and ordered him a pair of brown Italian leather loafers and a nice pair of oxblood wingtips. Then I “lost” both his beige slip-ons and his pale gray shoes.

Sure, I was running a huge risk the new shoes wouldn’t fit, but I figured he’d have wear them because they look good — and because I’d already paid for them — even if they weren’t comfortable. Fortunately, the shoes fit like a dream. So much so that he thanked me for making him upgrade his footwear, since the others had lost their support quite some time ago.

For Christmas this year I’m doing the same thing with his carnival-colored, riotous Cosby-style sweaters. All six of them. The same six he’s been wearing since The Cosby Show was still airing in prime-time. While I’m at it, I might just upgrade his underwear, too. Believe me, it’s time.

Do you have a shopping confession to make? Then hurry and enter it in the Shopping Confession contest for your chance to win up to $1500 in gifts and prizes! Find out more details in this video, and be sure to tell them you heard about the contest here!

February 19th, 2008

This Week’s Savings

by VK

I’m so excited about some of the deals I have for you this week, all of which feature products or services perfect for parents. But here’s the deal: these offers are only good through ITTIB and its partners. They’re not on any of my other blogs, and you won’t find these deals on the manufacturers’ websites, either.

• First, from one of my favorite online book stores for harder-to-find stuff: New books – save up to 30% on new books at Alibris.

• Remember, the one with the most toys is the one least likely to bother Mommy or Daddy while they’re on the computer. So check out eToys: Big Savings, Gift with Purchase Offers & Value Packs!!. (My son’s favorite toy from their store: the Lazer Tripwire that sounds an alarm whenever his sister tries to pilfer the Halloween candy he still has in his room.)

• Now’s the time to start your seeds for your early spring garden. Save money in the process with Gardener’s Supply Company – 15% off on orders of $25 or more!!

• Last, but not least, something that every busy Mom (or Dad) needs to take the stress out of making dinner: Crock-Pot Slow Cookers from $9.99

February 6th, 2008

Valentine’s Gifts Coupon Codes

by VK

I’m introducing a new sub-category called “Coupon Codes” (part of the “Shopping” section) here at ITTIB. See, now that I’m running 5 blogs, I finally have the leverage and traffic to attract some great deals from advertisers and I’m passing them on to you.

This week’s specials available to ITTIB readers are bound to please those of you who don’t share my hated of Valentine’s Day. Click the link, do your shopping and your discount will be applied at checkout.


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