e-Savings Soiree Series

e-Course: Navigating In Good Cents

by Beth Montgomery on April 26, 2010

in Coupons & Rebates, Tips & Basics

This is Part 24 of the 30-day Savings Soiree e-course by In Good Cents. View the most recent course in this series or head to the Saving Soiree e-course main menu. Want to make sure you don’t miss a new course?   Subscribe to In Good Cents via RSS or e-mail!

It’s crazy, but I teach so many classes and always forget to mention how to navigate and find the deals on In Good Cents, so today that’s what we are focusing on!   I’m going to show you what you can find on In Good Cents and where to find it.

Note to RSS and e-Mail Subscribers: There are videos embedded into this post, which will not appear to you.   To view it, please visit the post on the main site or check out the In Good Cents You Tube Channel.   While you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe, to get the latest videos first, before they are posted here.

- – Additional Resources from Previous Posts – -

Confused or want more help? Don’t forget that I teach classes and speak in the Central Indiana area! Use the code ClippingMyBudget to get $10 off a public class.

Grab the Saving Soiree e-Course button!

In Good Cents Savings e-Course

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This is Part 23 of the 30-day Savings Soiree e-course by In Good Cents. View the most recent course in this series or head to the Saving Soiree e-course main menu.

Want to make sure you don’t miss a new course?   Subscribe to In Good Cents via RSS or e-mail!

I recommend   detailed shopping list, so you’re completely prepared in the store and won’t end up with unexpected surprises at the end.   You’ve seen mine, but it can be confusing. So here’s a quick “how-to” on using my Grocery List Creator to save you money!

Note to RSS and e-Mail Subscribers: There are videos embedded into this post, which will not appear to you.   To view it, please visit the post on the main site or check out the In Good Cents You Tube Channel.   While you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe, to get the latest videos first, before they are posted here.

- – Additional Resources from Previous Posts – -

Confused or want more help? Don’t forget that I teach classes and speak in the Central Indiana area! Use the code ClippingMyBudget to get $10 off a public class.

Grab the Saving Soiree e-Course button!

In Good Cents Savings e-Course

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This is Part 22 of the 30-day Savings Soiree e-course by In Good Cents. View the most recent course in this series or head to the Saving Soiree e-course main menu.   Want to make sure you don’t miss a new course?   Subscribe to In Good Cents via RSS or e-mail!

I’m pretty sure You Tube hates me, because every time I pose really cute for the camera to start and think I have the perfect thumbnail, You Tube picks three of the most awkward poses of me for the frozen screen shot everyone stares at when they check out my page!

But, that’s not what we’re here to talk about.   We’re talking about getting ready to go shopping.   So today, take a peak into my life as I prepare for a grocery shopping mission with my 5-year-old daughter (the Head Coupon Clipper), while the two Associates from the Mission Determent Department nap!

Note to RSS and e-Mail Subscribers: There are videos embedded into this post, which will not appear to you.   To view it, please visit the post on the main site or check out the In Good Cents You Tube Channel.   While you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe, to get the latest videos first, before they are posted here.

Want my nifty little menu plan, shopping list, and deal-seeking list?   Download them and print them!

- – Additional Resources from Previous Posts – -

Confused or want more help? Don’t forget that I teach classes and speak in the Central Indiana area! Use the code ClippingMyBudget to get $10 off a public class.

Grab the Saving Soiree e-Course button!

In Good Cents Savings e-Course

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e-Course: Making a Meal Plan

by Beth Montgomery on April 21, 2010

in Frugal Cooking, Tips & Basics

This is Part 21 of the 30-day Savings Soiree e-course by In Good Cents. View the most recent course in this series or head to the Saving Soiree e-course main menu.

Want to make sure you don’t miss a new course?   Subscribe to In Good Cents via RSS or e-mail!

For some of us who can’t stick a a plan to save our lives, meal planning can seem tedious and unnecessary, but it really does save you money.   Here’s two simple reasons why:

  • When you plan your meals before you shop, you won’t have to run to the store for extra last-minute ingredients that will add to the grocery money you already spent.
  • With meals already planned, you’ll be less likely to opt in for take out or spend money at restaurant.

Meal planning, like organizing your coupons, is about finding what works for you.   It may look different for everyone, depending on you and your style.   You may go with monthly meal plans or you may do weekly meal plans.   You may choose to plan dinners, but have flexible breakfasts and use leftovers for lunch.   My suggestion would be to start with the Themed Approach, then change it up until it fits into your family’s life.

Download or Print
Meal Planner

- – The Themed Approach – -

For beginners, this is the easiest way to start out.   Make yourself a weekly or monthly theme.   Below is the one I started with for my own family, along with a few simple examples of what I might make that day:

Sunday:

  • Breakfast/Lunch: Big Brunch Combo
  • Dinner: Restaurant

Monday:

  • Breakfast: Baked (Waffles, Pancakes, Muffins/Freeze Remaining)
  • Lunch: Cold Lunch (Cottage Cheese, Sandwiches, Raw Fruits & Veggies)
  • Dinner: Mexican or Chinese

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: Dairy/Fruit (Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Strawberries, etc…)
  • Lunch: Hot Lunch (Chicken Nuggets, Mac & Cheese, Hot Pockets, etc…)
  • Dinner: Italian/Pasta

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Cereal & Milk/Cold Quick Meal
  • Lunch: Finger Foods (Crackers, Cheese Cubes, Chicken Nuggets, etc…)
  • Dinner: Left-Over Night

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Cereal & Milk/Cold Quick Meal
  • Lunch: Hot Lunch (Chicken Nuggets, Mac & Cheese, Hot Pockets, etc…)
  • Dinner: Salad Night

Friday:

  • Breakfast:   Hot Breakfast (Omelets, Potatoes, etc…)
  • Lunch: Cold Lunch (Cottage Cheese, Sandwiches, Raw Fruits & Veggies)
  • Dinner: Family Night (Pizza, Finger Foods, etc…)

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Frozen Left-Overs from Monday
  • Lunch: Left-Overs
  • Dinner: Slow-Cook Meal (Freeze Leftovers)

This approach eliminates a lot of the extra work, because you have an idea of what to make each day and before you go shopping simply have to fill the details.

- – The Scheduled Approach – -

If you like more variety, a scheduled approach might work better for you.   It’s similar to the above approach, yet instead of picking a “theme” for each day to help you plan, you can pick anything you’d like.   Still you pick a meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day throughout the month or the week.   This is a bit of flexibility, but still scheduled enough to save you time and money!

- – The Flexible Approach – -

I tried the Themed Approach, then went to the Scheduled Approach, but when it comes to cooking, I tend to go with my urges.   Too often I found myself throwing out my plan for the day, because I was in the mood for something different.   If I had the ingredients on hand and it didn’t require an extra store trip, I’d make it.   Now, I take a more flexible approach that works for me.

I make sure I have 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 7 dinners, so I can make it through the week without extra grocery trips.   But, depending on how my week looks, I may make one meal on Monday that can turn into another meal for Tuesday and Wednesday.   Or, I may feel like having a freezer cooking or baking day, and make a few meals for the week in a single day.   When it’s warm, I cook outside, when it’s too cold, I love homstyle comfort foods.   You get the point.

I have a plan.   I rarely stick to it.   But, I can’t stick to a recipe, instruction manual, or step-by-step plan, so why should meal planning be any different for me?   Unlike many other frugal shoppers, this works for me though, but if you’re new, I wouldn’t try this first!   It could end up costing you, instead of saving you.

- – Additional Resources from Previous Posts – -

Confused or want more help? Don’t forget that I teach classes and speak in the Central Indiana area! Use the code ClippingMyBudget to get $10 off a public class.

Grab the Saving Soiree e-Course button!

In Good Cents Savings e-Course

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e-Course: Preparing to Shop

by Beth Montgomery on April 20, 2010 · 5 comments

in Coupons & Rebates, Tips & Basics

This is Part 20 of the 30-day Savings Soiree e-course by In Good Cents. View the most recent course in this series or head to the Saving Soiree e-course main menu.

Want to make sure you don’t miss a new course?   Subscribe to In Good Cents via RSS or e-mail!

This is all wonderful, but do I spend days just getting ready to shop?   No! Time is money, but the time I spend couponing saves me tons and in the end is worth it for my family.

Now that we’ve talked Sales, Coupons, and Stacking Coupons, we’re now talking about how to get ready to shop!   We’re kicking it off, like always, with a quick video!

Note to RSS and e-Mail Subscribers: There are videos embedded into this post, which will not appear to you.   To view it, please visit the post on the main site or check out the In Good Cents You Tube Channel.   While you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe, to get the latest videos first, before they are posted here.

- – Additional Resources from Previous Posts – -

Confused or want more help? Don’t forget that I teach classes and speak in the Central Indiana area! Use the code ClippingMyBudget to get $10 off a public class.

Grab the Saving Soiree e-Course button!

In Good Cents Savings e-Course

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This is Part 19 of the 30-day Savings Soiree e-course by In Good Cents. View the most recent course in this series or head to the Saving Soiree e-course main menu.   Want to make sure you don’t miss a new course?   Subscribe to In Good Cents via RSS or e-mail!

It’s inevitable.   Sometime in your couponing career, more often than we like, we run into that cashier.   Sometimes they simply refuse to take one or more of your coupons and other times they treat you like   criminal.

First, it’s important to put things into perspective.   With couponing becoming so popular, the rules are changing often.   Many cashiers and managers are often simply confused or don’t understand and they’re trying hard to do their job.

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.   ~Jesse Jackson

- – How to Avoid It – -

Build a relationship. Early in my couponing career, I tried to fly under the radar.   I’d head to the teenage cashier who looked like he could care less what coupons I used and what I bought.   It took me too long to realize, that the other way is much better.   Now, instead of hiding, I make myself known.   I often visit the same stores, especially CVS and Target, so I look for familiar cashiers.   Building a relationship with cashiers and managers helps them learn that you’re one of the “good ones”, because there are so many “bad ones” out there.

Plan Ahead & Gain Knowledge. Make sure you have your stuff in order.   Plan out your shopping trip, read the fine print on coupons, and know your store’s coupon policies.   Also, if you have repeated issues, it never hurts to carry your store’s coupon policy with you.   You can usually get it from their website or via e-mail if you contact headquarters.

Stay Prepared. In store, make sure you stay organized.   If an item is sold out, remove the coupon from the stack you plan to hand the cashier, so you don’t end up using a coupon for a product you don’t have.   Simply watching and paying attention in store, can help you out too.

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.   ~Author Unknown

- – How to Handle It – -

1. Make sure you’re right. I can’t count the number of times, especially in the early days, that I’d hand my coupons over and one or more would be rejected.   Maybe I argued, maybe I kept quite, but once I opened my eyes, I saw they were right.   Maybe there was tiny print saying “one per customer” or whatever.   And it’s okay to be wrong now and then.   We’re human.   Simply apologize, decide if you want the product or not without the coupon, and move on!

2. Put it into perspective. If your $0.25 Do Not Double coupon is rejected, is it worth the hassle?   In my mind, no.   It would probably take longer to argue the issue and time is money!   But, if it’s your $3/1 coupon, well that’s another story.   That one I may be willing to go to the mat over, politely of course.

3. Kindly explain. Maybe the cashier is just confused, so put on your polite smile and explain.   If she’s telling you that your coupon says “one per purchase” and you’re trying to use 2 coupons on the 2 products you have in your cart, smile.   Then explain that you’re purchasing two of them.

4. Ask for a manager. A manager may know the coupon policies a bit better and can straighten things out, but at times they are confused as well, so repeat step 3 if necessarily and kindly explain.   If the manager tells you know, decide if you want the products or not and move on.   This isn’t over yet.

5. Tattle. This is one of those time that I condone tattling.   Call up headquarters, who is often very knowledgeable on coupons and policies. Explain the situation and hopefully they can straighten it out, so you won’t run into the issue again in the future.

6. Go to the extreme. If headquarters has your back, but you’re still having issues in store, program the headquarter’s phone number into your cellular phone.   Then, next time you run into the issue, call up headquarters and put them directly on the line with the manager, so they can work it out and get on the same page.

7. Move on & wait. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you won’t get your way.   So, maybe it’s time to look for another store or modify your shopping plans in the future.   And don’t be afraid to check back in the future to see if there have been any changes.   New stores are getting “coupon 101″ crash courses, so many more are up to speed.

I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.   ~Rudyard Kipling

- – What to Avoid – -

Do not cause a loud scene. It only makes you look ridiculous and often makes the manager or cashier so angry they are even less willing to listen to you.

Don’t make empty threats. Don’t tell them you’ll never come back, if you will.   Don’t tell them how much you spend and how much money they’ll lose without you, because you are only 1 out of the thousands of other shoppers who do frequent the store.   The loss of one customer usually doesn’t really hurt them.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.   ~Plato

- – Additional Resources from Previous Posts – -

Confused or want more help? Don’t forget that I teach classes and speak in the Central Indiana area! Use the code ClippingMyBudget to get $10 off a public class.

Grab the Saving Soiree e-Course button!

In Good Cents Savings e-Course

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