Saturday, February 22, 2014

Deals, Coupons, Rebates, and Blessings Part 1

Our personal finances were very tight in January. I blogged here about how paying bills then worked for us. My eyes were opened then to some of the good deals we have that we have taken for granted before. I was able to get some treats very cheap at a time that we didn't have $ for extras. I thought I would blog about a few of these as they may be helpful to you.
*When I began teaching I joined Children's Book of the Month Club. I would get my free books for joining, buy the books to fulfill the membership and then cancel. I did this a few times while I was teaching. When Lamb 1 was born I decided to remain a member even if I only bought a few times a year when they had a really good sale. They used to have a great sale at the end of the year but I didn't see that this year. I almost missed a coupon in their mailing for $20.14 off an order in January. It really did work and I got a free book just paying $1.20 for shipping.
*I got a teacher reward card at Staples as a homeschooler. They e-mail me deals several times a week. I think you could get on their e-mail list without having the teacher card. Recently they sent a coupon for free 5 pack of paper after the rebate. I have done this twice and donated all that to our church/preschool. It works this way-with your coupon you get a small discount at checkout but you do have to pay about $20 for the 5 pack. You mail or online the rebate and it comes back as a Visa prepaid card. The second time I paid for it with my Visa card from the first time. Or you can use a different coupon for just one pack of paper and it comes back as a check about $3.50. When I cleaned out the schoolroom we had about 10 packs of paper from doing this the last couple of years. You do have to wait about 6 weeks for the refund but it does end up just pay the sales tax. Plus I will get a rebate coupon as part of my teacher rewards.
*While I was in Staples getting paper, I always check out the clearance section. Today they had several clearance sections so I was glad I looked at all of them. They had some drawing books and some buckets of craft supplies for $2 each. Plus I had a coupon for 25% off my purchase so it brought them down to $1.50 each. When I cleaned out the schoolroom I noticed we could use some more craft supplies. I bought several and plan to give some as gifts. The Lambs divided up so all the same kind of craft supplies were together in baggies. They love little buckets and I'm sure they'll find a use for them. They can help themselves to popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners etc. now when they "need" them.
*I have blogged about this before but I thought I would mention it again since Fort Wayne, IN now has a Costco. We have had a Costco membership for about 10 years even when we only went to Costco a few times a year because we lived 4 hours away. We got their American Express card. We got this hoping to pay for our yearly Costco membership. It does end up paying for our membership plus more for us. Not every place takes A.E. but we use this card each time we buy at a place that does, not just Costco. We pay off the balance each month. If we are near Costco we buy gas there even if it isn't time to fill up yet and we rarely buy gas any where else. Their rebate is once a year a check to be used at Costco. Those 3%, 2%, and 1% add up. We just got this year's rebate and it was the biggest we have ever had, partly because we bought a refrigerator last year. Ram took the rebate and cashed it in for a Costco gift card. Then he shopped with my shopping list of food we were starting to run low on and also picked up some treats. We were able to stock our pantry for "free" this month. We still have over $100 on the gift card for another shopping trip.

I will continue this next time as we had so many blessings I can't fit it all in one post!

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