Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two Ways to Prepare, Print & E-file for FREE

H&R Block Free Edition - Free to prepare, print, and e-file! It's easy and guaranteed to be accurate! 

TurboTax Free Edition - Guides you to your Maximum Refund! Prepare, print, e-file FREE! 

My suggestion - try doing the process on both and see which one gives you the better return before you hit submit.  Chances are that they are pretty similar overall and should be pretty close on the numbers.  If not, I'd question if one is missing some key info either in their process or in the numbers you entered. 

.45 Net Profit at Publix (After Tax)

I'd already made my Publix run for the week yesterday and picked up a few bags of Halls on that trip, but then last night I had several more Halls coupons arrive in the mail.  Since the sale ended today I decided I'd better run back by there and use them.  Halls were BOGO for $1.65 and I had quite a few BOGO coupons and just received (5) $1 off coupons in the mail yesterday, making it possible to get 10 bags for free plus overage.

I knew there would be some overage but I was still shocked when I saw on the screen that the total was -.45 after tax.  I looked at the cashier (one of my favorites) and said "Caleb, do you really owe me money?".  He looked up and smiled and said "Yes, I do".

Gotta love it when trips work out like that.  And to think if those coupons had arrived a day later I wouldn't have gotten that deal.

And in case you are wondering, I got these great coupons thanks to friends at WeUseCoupons.com

Money Saving Tip: Get the Loyalty Card

It's amazing how many times I had turned down offers in the past for customer loyalty cards at various stores.  It seems like most every store has one now.  It started with the grocery stores, then the drugstores, now even sporting good stores have gotten in on the action.

There were always two main reasons I turned them down.  I was worried that they cost money (some stores do still charge for them, like major booksellers), or I just didn't have the time to fill out the forms.  The truth is that rarely do they cost anything (always ask this upfront), and often you don't have to fill out anything on the spot, they will just give you a card and you can then register it online.

There are two basic kinds of loyalty cards:

1. The Savings Card: This is typically what you will find at your drugstores and grocery stores.  If you want the sale prices as listed in their weekly ads you will need the savings card.  Sometimes you will get lucky and a cashier will be nice enough to scan their own if you don't have one, but often stores have limits on the number of items that can be purchased at the sale price with a card, so don't count on that.  Get your own card.  Once you get it, be sure to go online and register it at their website.  This will often lead to increased savings and extra coupons.  Stores like CVS will often email their card holders special coupons for dollars off a purchase of X amount (most often $4 off a $20 purchase) or a coupon for a % off your purchase.

These types of cards also often allow you to load coupons directly to the card.  This is the case with your grocery card.  You can load coupons directly to it from your grocery store website, as well as Cellfire.com & Shortcuts.com

2. The Loyalty Card: I see these most often in specialty stores, Dicks Sporting Goods now has one as does DSW Shoes.  These points earn you money back based on your purchases, at DSW you'll get a $10 Rewards certificate for every $150 you spend.  They will also send you a $10 reward just for signing up and special coupons throughout the year.

Whatever the type of rewards card, if it's free sign up for it.  If it's not free evaluate how often you shop at the store and also whether or not your current purchase may be enough to make it free.  Sometimes the savings earned on one purchase is enough to pay for the card (this is usually when I decide to renew my bookstore card).

Cellfire Football Promo Mystery Q

CellfireCellfire is giving out another mystery Q this Thursday between 10am and 2pm PST, just log in and you can win a coupon good off of .50, $1, $2 or even $5 OFF your next grocery purchase.

While you are there be sure to load all the new coupons to your card, as there are quite a number of new ones available today.

Cellfire offers digital coupons that load directly to your store savings card, for stores like Krogers.  You can also use Cellfire on your mobile phone and get great discounts on retailers and restaurants.

How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half in 3 Easy Steps

When you see all these blogs and couponers who save these insane amounts on their grocery bill it's easy to get discouraged and think that you could never do that, or think it just takes too much effort.  The truth of the matter is that you can cut your grocery bill in half by just doing ONE THING.

1. Shop the Sales - plan your grocery purchases (and thus your meals) in accordance with what is (or is going to be) on sale.  Shopping sales alone will cut your grocery bill by 40-50% easily, without ever using a single coupon.  Each week, check the sale ads for your local grocery stores and look for the items you typically use.  Buy those items when they are on sale.

Now, granted, there are always going to be some staples that you need regularly that you can't get on sale when you need them.  For those items that are perishables, you will see little savings, unfortunately, but even those items do occasionally go on sale.  For non-perishable (or items that can be frozen)..

2. Stock Up - when the item is on sale, stock up.  Don't just buy what you will need for this week. Go ahead and buy several weeks worth.  The usual recommendation is anywhere from 1 months worth to 3 months worth. The reason for this is sales cycles.  Usually the items you see on sale now will be on sale again about 2-3 months (however, you may find them on sale again sooner at a different store chain).  You are basically spending more now to save much more in the future.  By buying it in bulk when it's on sale you avoid paying full price later.  This can save you as much as 2/3 off the price of this item over the course of 2-3 months.  If you eat a box of cereal each week that runs $2.99/box, and you see that cereal on sale for $1.99, buy 12 boxes and you've saved $12.  Of course, you could save even more by....

3. Using Coupons - clip coupons from the Sunday paper (or print coupons online) for items that you typically use (or might use).  When you find that item on sale, use the corresponding coupon with the sale.  This can often cut your price down 75% off the regular price.  If you use online blogs and websites that give you previews of upcoming grocery store sales you can even order extra coupons from a coupon clipping service (or ebay) so that you have more coupons to go with the stocking up principle.  Usually, buying coupons runs about .07 to .10 per coupon (sometimes you can get bulk amounts of coupons for an item on Ebay for as low as $1 for 30 coupons).

These are a few of my favorite places to check for Store Sale/ Coupon matchups:

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