Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cheap Salsa at Publix This Week

Pace Salsa (16oz jar) is on sale this week BOGO for $2.79 and Target has a new coupon on their website for .50/2 jars. There was also a .60/2 coupon in the Sunday 12/5 Smart Source insert.

So 2 jars of Pace for just $1.69 with both coupons

Amazon Year End Deals

Amazon has some great Year End deals you may want to check out, especially if you received a Target gift card for Christmas and are looking for a good way to spend it :)

Drugstore Plan of Attack Week of 12/26

  • Colgate Total $2.99 - $2 ECB - $1 coupon = FREE
  • Tone Body Wash $3.88 - $3 ECB - $1 coupon = FREE
  • Dawn .94 - .50 coupon (11/26 p&g insert)
  • Fuze 3/$3 - $1ECB wyb 3 = 3/$2
  • Listerine 50% 1L = $2.75-$1/1 coupon = $1.75

= $10.06 -$6 ECBs = $4.06 OOP, Get $6 ECB

Rite Aid
Gilette Fusion Pro Glide $9.97 -$4 Coupon (12/26 P&G insert) $5.97 - $5+UP
Mucinex $19.99 - $1.50VV Coupon - $1.50 MQ = $16.99
Dayquil $5 - $1.50 coupon (11/29 P&G insert) = $1.50 - $2+UP = $1.50

= 26.46 - $20 Gift of Savings Reward = $6.46 OOP, Get $7+UP

DirectBuy Review

I had a spam in my email today about getting a free pass to check out the local DirectBuy showroom.  It reminded me that I should write a blog about our experience with DirectBuy.

A few years ago, just after we bought our house and had put a LOT of money into remodeling parts of it, we got some info on DirectBuy and decided to check it out.  The Free pass basically is an invitation to come and sit through their sales speel (a really long infomercial) and then you sit down with one of their sales people who attempt to convince you to join DirectBuy.  The showroom is really just a catalog warehouse (and by that I mean a warehouse of catalogs) with a few products scattered around with signs to show you the MSRP on the item and then the price if you buy through DirectBuy.

I won't say exactly how much the membership is but let's just say it's 4 digits (before the decimal).  It's been a few years so it may have gone up or down now.  The idea is that you save money by cutting out the "middle man" and ordering directly from the manufacturer, via a catalog. 

The upside is that yes you can save a TON of money. 

The downsides are plentiful (imo)
  • It's a lot of work - you will basically have to know the exact model # of the item you want and then find it in a catalog in order to place your order.
  • It can take up to 8 weeks or more to get your items.
  • You will pay shipping.
  • The biggest discounts are on higher end items.
  • You will have to spend a lot to recoup your initial investment.
IMO, Directbuy can be a good thing if you plan ahead and IF you are doing some major remodeling.  If you are doing a kitchen or bath project and using some higher end items in said kitchen or bath you may be able to recoup your investment (and then some).  However, you will be putting a lot of work into finding your products.  On lower to mid price items you will do as well (or better) to shop sales at stores like Lowes and Home Depot.  You also have to remember that you can't compare those stores to the items in the catalogs at DirectBuy because both stores change the item/serial #'s on products (or have specific models made just for them).  So an item may look like the same exact thing but the model #'s won't match (this is also how these stores can get away with having price match guarantees - it's hard to price match when the model #'s are different).  So you will end up going to the other stores to find the items you want, write them down then go back to DirectBuy and dig through catalogs in an attempt to find a matching item so that you can order it. If you are lucky that item will still be available for you.

We did join but we ended up losing a good bit of money.  We only ordered 3 things through DirectBuy that I can remember.

Flooring - we got a great deal on flooring, getting close to 50% off some Bruce hardwood.
Refrigerator - we tried to order a refrigerator, only to be told 2 weeks later that it was no loner available.  We ended up going to Lowes (in the same time-frame we also replaced pretty much every other major appliance in our house (none of which did we get through DirectBuy - we just weren't buying high end enough to make it worthwhile).
A Bosu Ball - I saved about $20 on this item from the best price I found locally.  I ended up waiting about 3-4 weeks for it arrive.

Had we joined a few months earlier, I know we would have made better use of the membership.  When we joined we were not allowed to look through the catalogs before joining, all we could do was let them look up a specific item.  As it happened, we'd just purchased the faucet sets for our bathroom and I still had the item # on my phone.  When they looked up this particular item the cost through them would have been a fraction of what we paid (and I got it through my uncle who passed on his employee discount at a local plumbing supply).

Saving money often means spending time (and vice-versa), the case of DirectBuy is no different.  You can save some money if you are willing to put out a lot of time and energy.... and if you are doing some MAJOR projects.  But, if you aren't doing major projects and you aren't willing to put in a major time investment, then I wouldn't suggest joining.

Our membership expired over a year ago and I doubt we'd rejoin, even though we do plan to remodel our kitchen at some point in the future.  We'll find other ways to save money on the project, but we don't think that the monetary investment to join DirectBuy and the time we'd have to invest would be worthwhile (for us).

Coupons Make it Easy & Cheap to Try New Products

My last poll was asking if you'd ever tried a new item just because you had a coupon. 100% of those who responded said that yes they had!

  Last week I picked up two bags of Ore-Ida hashbrowns just because they were free at Publix (with sale and coupons).  You gotta love it when things work out like that.  I love it all the more when the item turns out to be good.  Actually, we enjoyed the O'brian style potatoes so much I had to go back and buy two more bags even though I didn't have any coupons for them (they were on still on sale BOGO).

The other side of that coin was some sort of BBQ pork that I picked up a few weeks ago at Publix. I don't even remember the brand (but I'd know it if I saw it).  It sounded good and I'd had a similar product in the past that I loved.  Unfortunately, this one I did not love.  I popped the bowl in the microwave according to directions, took one bite and threw the rest out.  My husband had turned down an earlier offer to have this for dinner; I let him know he was lucky.  I'm just glad it was cheap... then again I wouldn't have bought it otherwise.

Lowes Has Stuff to Put Your Stuff In!

I didn't say it! They did! LOL. But, I love the line. Anyway, if you are needing storage stuff you might want to check out Lowes. They have free standing shelves on sale for up to 30% off and Christmas storage (for all the wrapping paper and decorations you are buying on clearance) at 50% off.

PLUS... If you go through Ebates to buy it, you'll get an additional 6% back on your purchase! (heck that's enough to cover sales tax in some states).

We've been converting our 4th bedroom into a storage closet/pantry, and hubby has been saying he wanted another shelving unit for in there, so we will most likely be ordering one online and picking it up later in the week (since we are snowed in again today). These are the units we've been buying and they work really well for storing things of all sizes (from small boxed/canned food items to large things like Costco sized paper towel packages and clothes baskets). We have two out in our garage (one for just general organization and one for laundry organization) and 3 in our bedroom pantry (2 are just organizing stuff like holiday decorations and extra pillows, boxes,etc that we don't have anywhere else to store).

If you aren't familiar with Ebates, it's a website that basically pays you back a % of the affiliate fee that online retailers pay them for sending them buyers. Today they are offering double cash back to many retailers (6% for Lowes) PLUS if you are a new user they will give you a $5 gift card after you make your first purchase through them.

Post Holiday Clearance vs Pre-Holiday Sales

So I just got an email from Rite Aid announcing that they have their Christmas on clearance starting at 50% off.

I'm not so sure this is great. A month or so ago I was talking to a young lady in my FPU class about chocolate! We are both chocolate lovers and she mentioned how after Halloween she'd passed up on some chocolate that was on sale because they were trying to be frugal. She went home and thought about and went back the next day but by then it was gone! :( My response to her was that she'd probably find better deals shortly than she saw after Halloween anyway as many stores were having great sales on chocolate leading into Christmas.

Since I was trying to learn more about what works and what doesn't I have been paying more attention this year than ever before. In the past, I would shop the after holiday sales to buy certain holiday themed things; Shopping after Halloween to buy Halloween decorations and chocolate and shopping after Christmas for wrapping paper, cards, etc. Ok, I would shop after any holiday for chocolate - Hello, my name is Julie and I have a chocolate problem! So I told her about the great deals I'd seen at Rite Aid and CVS on chocolates already, getting them for .50/bag.

It was at that point that I realized that perhaps it's not worth waiting till after the holiday to stock up on things, but that you might actually get better deals BEFORE the holiday. .50/bag for candy is way better than 50% off. A couple of weeks ago I got tape for better than free on multiple occasions. I didn't buy any wrapping paper because I knew we'd bought enough after Christmas last year to last us a few years (same on bows).

Decorations may still have the best deals after the holiday. You rarely see the nicer decorations, dishes, serving items, etc marked down very much (or even on sale for more than a little off) before the holiday. Of course, waiting till after the holiday means you may not have much of a selection BUT if you are frugal and only buy a few items that you really like each year when they are on sale you can build a really nice collection of items.

We Use Coupons

I've been having a ball on We Use Coupons today. I signed up a few weeks ago and have been getting their daily email regarding new threads but it was only today (after being snowed in) that I really had a chance to check out the many topics available. I've wondered for quite a while how so many bloggers get such a head start on what deals are coming up at what stores and now I know. I still don't know how the folks at We Use Coupons find out all the info they know, but I'll be adding them to my daily to do list.

Click here to check out

Rite Aid Resolution Rewards

After paying us back for shopping over Christmas, Rite Aid is paying us to shop again. This time they are calling it "Resolution Rewards" and when you spend $100 on select products.

From the Rite Aid website:
Get a $20 +UP Reward when you spend $100 or more on specially marked items now through January 22. Just look for this symbol on hundreds of specially marked products throughout the store. Your $20 +UP Reward will print on your receipt when the qualifying threshold is met. You can use this +UP on your next purchase.

To view the list of qualifying items, click here

Unlike the program at Christmas, your purchases are tracked and reported on your receipt letting you know how close you are to reaching the threshold.

There are a ton of major brands and items listed, so in theory this shouldn't be hard to hit...however, if they are subtracting coupons used it may be difficult.