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Candy Foote of Pyrites makes frequent appearances throughout St. Lawrence County to talk about how to use the Internet and other resources to save, and even make, money. Here, she periodically shares more of her savings tips. To read more about Candy, go to Pyrites Mother of 12 a "Coupon Queen," Writes Book On How To Clip and Save a Lot. For a video, see Candy Foote Describing Strategic Shopping from YouTube.com. Her website is at CandyFoote.com
Holidays like Easter can be expensive, so plan
By CANDY FOOTE
Are you getting ready for Easter yet?
Holidays can be super expensive. I remember when it would take a full week's grocery money just to pay for our holiday dinner! Yikes!
One of the main goals in Strategic Shopping is to simply have a plan.
Make a holiday list. Write out your exact plans for Easter.
- Are you making Easter baskets?
- Are you going to have an egg hunt?
- Do you want new Easter clothes?
- Do you want to send some Easter cards?
- Are you hosting a holiday dinner?
Once you know what you would like to accomplish during the holidays, then you can prepare for them.
It's not too early to stock up for Easter.
Many stores have been offering super deals on candy for weeks. When you match up the store sales, store coupons, manufacturer coupons, and the store rewards programs, you will be able to get your Easter candy at rock-bottom prices, or even for free!
Make sure you have a holiday box in your pantry. Pick up non-perishable items off from your Easter dinner grocery list and keep them altogether in your pantry.
Even if you can't find an amazing deal on the groceries you need, by purchasing them little by little, you will take the bite out of buying them all at once.
Have a happy and frugal holiday!
Learn more about Strategic Shopping at http://candyfoote.com/.
No magic formula to save during sales
By CANDY FOOTE
One of the main keys to Strategic Shopping is simply shopping the sales.
That's it. No hoops to jump through. No magic formulas to learn.
Shopping the sales is THE most important thing that you can do. It will easily cut your budget in half, and then some.
It sounds easy enough, doesn't it. Shop the sales. Easy, right?
Well, it isn't always the easiest thing to do. We need a whole new mindset in order to apply this strategy.
Generally speaking, Americans want what they want when they want it. It doesn't typically matter whether or not it's on sale.
We can't afford to shop that way.
Here's the deal. Instead of saying, "Hey, I feel like having steak tonight," say, "What's on sale this week?"
Meals are prepared around the sales. So, if that happens to be chicken instead of steak, then guess what? Supper will be chicken.
But, don't stop there. Never find a great sale and buy enough just for supper!
Buy enough chicken until chicken will be going back on sale. Since there are only three basic meats that the stores cycle - beef, chicken, and pork, you can generally count on it going back on sale within three weeks.
(You will want to keep track of the things you buy to see when they hit their rock-bottom prices.)
Once you start doing this it won't take long to build up your pantry and freezer. With a stocked-up kitchen you will have more freedom in selecting your meals.
Learn to shop the sales, then you can start preparing meals from both the sales and your stockpile.
Start small. Add shopping the sales to your normal, weekly shopping, and work your way up to just shopping the sales.
Learn more about Strategic Shopping at http://candyfoote.com/
Valentine's Day doesn't have to be a budget-buster
By CANDY FOOTE
It's February and that means it's time to celebrate Valentine's Day. Love, romance, chocolate, flowers, and a lot of money seem to go along with February 14th.
I have some good news though! Valentine's Day doesn't have to eat your entire paycheck this year!
Treat this day just like you would treat any other shopping day. Be strategic. Have a plan. Know what you want. Find out how to get it at the best price.
One of the biggest mistakes love birds make is waiting too long before making their purchases.
Don't do that! Start preparing now!
What do you plan on buying this year?
• Chocolate? Check out the local drug stores. They are offering all kinds of deals on chocolate right now. Add in some coupons, and you will get some awesome chocolate deals.
• Flowers? Have you ever noticed that flower prices tend to go sky high on Valentine's Day? If your pre-order your bouquets, then you can get $10 off at FTD.com. You can either order online, or call them, but be sure and use the coupon code: If you order FTD Valentine's day flowers early you save $10 with coupon code SAVETEN.
• Dinner? Don't be ashamed to treat your date out to a nice dinner, while saving a few bucks! Places like the Norwood Lobster House and the Potsdam Ponderosa offer printable coupons right on their websites. You can get a free appetizer coupon when you sign up for The Texas Roadhouse's e-newsletter. Check your restaurant's website to see what they have to offer. Another option to save on dinner is to check out restaurant.com's website. You can purchase gift certificates at rock-bottom prices.
Don't let Valentine's Day break your budget this year. Take a few moments right now and prepare!
Shop now for next Christmas and save a bundle
By CANDY FOOTE
How are you doing on your Christmas shopping?
Yes, you heard me right – Christmas shopping.
Christmas is never over – it's always coming.
Remember last month when you were making all kinds of promises to yourself concerning next Christmas?
I'm not waiting until the last minute next year!
I'm going to get organized and be more prepared next year!
I'm sticking to a budget and not going into debt anymore!
On an on you made promises throughout the month of December. The problem is once Christmas passed, you totally forgot, or possibly just didn't care anymore about all of those promises.
Don't forget what I said earlier, Christmas is never over – it's always coming.
January, February, and March are three of the best months to do your Christmas shopping.
These months are excellent for a few reasons.
There's a huge variety of things on the clearance racks this time of year.
Many of those clearance items are the same type of wintry things you plan on buying when Christmas comes back around.
These same items will be at their top prices in October, November, and December, but are at their rock-bottom prices right now.
Shopping now instead of later will save you 70 to 90 percent on your Christmas shopping.
I know it's painful, but take a moment and think about how much you typically spend on Christmas gifts, decorations, wrapping paper, etc.
Now, take 90 percent off from that and picture all of that money in your savings account. When you stop crying, make a concrete decision that this year is going to be different.
This Christmas is going to be filled with all kinds of good and fun stuff without the stress and without breaking the bank.
Make a list of those things you buy every year, then buy them when they hit their rock-bottom prices.
Don't wait! Get started this week.
Merry Christmas and happy shopping!
Check out my newest book, 'Christmas with Strategic Shopping – The Twelve Months of Christmas' over at http://candyfoote.com/
New year offers chance for planning shopping goals
By CANDY FOOTE
I love the beginning of a new year. It feels like a fresh, new start, doesn't it? I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, but I am a huge fan of goals and steps of action to reach those goals.
Many people wonder what the difference is between resolutions and goals. Well, the Candy Foote definition goes something like this:
Resolutions are promises or resolutions we declare for the year. We feel determined and even frustrated. (The frustration comes from all of the failure that has accompanied these resolutions in the past.) The problem is that resolutions get lost somewhere in January or February.
Goals, however, come with a plan of action. Goals in themselves are really no different from resolutions. You must have a plan of action!
I keep my life on my calendar, and this includes my goals. I set aside time for my goals. After I have written out a list of goals I want to accomplish within the new year, I break them down month-by-month, then week-by-week. Some things are broken down as far as day-by-day.
I don't just put it onto my calendar, but I have a plan to accomplish these goals.
Strategic Shopping is always a goal on my New Year's list. Like everything else, it doesn't just happen.
Stores make it easy to plan out strategic shopping strategies. You just have to know their cycles and systems.
You have probably noticed that the best time to buy anything to do with Christmas is after Christmas, but did you know that there are certain things being spotlighted each day and month?
For example, Dec. 26 is National Candy Cane Day. (Isn't that odd? I would have thought Dec. 25 would be National Candy Cane Day!)
January is National Oatmeal Month, National Beef Month, National Meat Month, National Tea Month, and National Soup Month.
With this foreknowledge, I am able to watch for corresponding coupons before hand. The stores will be marking these items down to rock-bottom prices, and when I add in my coupons, I will get super cheap, free items, or even paid to shop!
I want to help you to meet all of your Strategic Shopping goals for 2014. As a mother of 12, I have learned quite a few shopping tricks out of pure necessity!
Let me help you to put more in your cart while keeping more in your wallet in 2014.
December poses shopping challenges
By CANDY FOOTE
It's December and that equals a lot of sales and deals. Actually, there are so many sales and deals that it can be downright overwhelming -- even if you are a strategic shopper!
Here are a few tips to help you stick to your budget and keep your sanity throughout the holiday season.
- Don't try to get every deal in town. Yes, I know it's an awesome price, but it is just too overwhelming to try to get everything. Believe me, there will be more deals coming, so don't stress over missing out on a few of them.
- Don't buy on impulse. You already know this, but are you paying any attention to it? If you happen to find something in the store that you just have to have, then walk around the store with it for a little while. Take time to think about it before you actually purchase it.
- You really don't have to buy a gift for everyone that you know. If you feel the need to give something, remember that a simple Christmas card is often good enough.
- You don't have to fix a meal big enough to open a restaurant. I know that you always fix certain things, but just remember that since you are the one who made this plan, you are the one who can change it.
- Simple gifts work fine. Grab a coffee cup from a dollar store and fill it up with chocolates. It's simple, frugal, and fun!
- Don't overdo on wrapping paper. Every gift doesn't have to be wrapped. Ribbon and bows can be just as pretty as paper. One year I ran out of paper, but instead of running to the store, I ran to the kitchen. I wrapped the rest of my gifts with aluminum foil. These gifts look so festive under the tree with the Christmas lights bouncing off from them. Think outside of the box - or paper as the case may be. :)
Take time to actually enjoy this time of year.
Schedule a private Strategic Shopping class and learn how to become a Strategic Shopper! Email me at email@example.com for details.
Meat bargains are out there, if you look
By CANDY FOOTE
Everyone wants to know how they can save on meat. If you aren't careful, meat can quickly destroy your budget!
I have put together some ways to help you save in that area:
• The stores will have a different meat on sale each week. Typically, meat is on a three week cycle, since there are basically three major meats – beef, pork, and chicken. Stock up to get you through until the next sale.
• Look for store coupons on meat. Check their websites, Facebook pages and fliers.
• Email different meat companies and ask if they will mail you some coupons.
• Locate a small time local butcher and play “Let's Make a Deal.”
• Many times bulk stores, like BJ's and Sam's Club have meat for the best price in town. You will have to purchase it in bulk. (That works well for my mega family though.)
• Your local grocery store is always marking down meat. They don't want to have to throw it away when the expiration date is getting close, so they simply mark it down to rock-bottom prices.
• Buy boneless hams and have the deli slice it into sandwich meat. The slicing is free, the ham is way tastier than the actual deli meat and the price is way cheaper.
• Meat sales are seasonal. It's hard to beat 49 cents a pound for meat, but at Thanksgiving time, you can pick up turkeys at that price – and even cheaper sometimes, so be sure and stock up!
You can attend one of my Strategic Shopping classes. For a schedule of upcoming classes, or to schedule a private class right in your own home, visit my website, http://candyfoote.com/
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your own private class.
Strategic shopping is about having a plan
By CANDY FOOTE
Many people think that couponing IS strategic shopping when in reality it is just a part of it.
Strategic shopping is having about having a plan. It's about knowing when to buy the things on your list.
Using coupons can save you big time though.
If you are going to take the time to use coupons, then be sure that you are getting coupons that your family will actually use.
One way that I do that is by emailing the companies of the products that I use. I just say, My mega family, which includes 12 children, loves your products (or would like to try your products). Could you possibly send me some coupons? Thank you for your time.
Now before you get scared, don't worry. You don't have to have 12 children! This works with small families too. :)
Companies love to hear from their customers and you will love getting great coupons for items your family uses right in your mailbox!
Be sure and attend one of my Strategic Shopping classes! For a schedule of upcoming classes, or to schedule a private class right in your own home, visit my website: http://candyfoote.com/
You can also email me at email@example.com.
'Man stores' offer coupons, too
By CANDY FOOTE
My father and husband would always listen politely while I shared all of my strategic shopping deals, but they were just being that . . . polite.
They didn’t care much about how I got super cheap items, free stuff, or even paid to shop. (Well, except for the part that my hubby had more money in his pocket!)
I finally found a way to get them on the coupon bandwagon. Tool coupons! Yup, that’s all it took!
When they found out that Harbor Freight offered its best deals through coupons, they were hooked! Then when they found out the other man stores offered coupons along with other strategic shopping deals, they jumped on board.
Practically any deal that you can find at Harbor Freight requires a coupon, but don’t worry because you can find these coupons everywhere. The newspaper almost always has Harbor Freight coupons. You can find them in magazines, through their e-newsletter, on their website, and on their Facebook page. I love their free item coupons and hubby loves their 20% and 25% off any item coupons.
Harbor Freight isn’t the only place offering great deals. Sign up for Lowe’s and Home Depot’s e-newsletters and you will get exclusive deals and coupons right in your inbox. They will also beat a competitor’s price by 10%. (A store must be in the same town in order to be considered a true competitor.)
If you own a vehicle then you won’t want to miss out on all of the coupons and deals that the auto parts stores offer. A few months ago, my husband was happy to use a $10 off a $50 order at Advanced Auto.
Auto Zone, Advance Auto, AAA coupons and deals are everywhere and they include way more than a quarter off of a bag of chips.
Learn more about strategic shopping at http://candyfoote.com/.
Supermarkets offer coupons online
By CANDY FOOTE
If you have a local Price Chopper, then you will want to be sure and utilize their e-coupon program.
Price Chopper offers new coupons, both manufacturer and store, every week beginning on Sunday.
Many of these coupons offer ***HOT***HOT***HOT*** deals, but the coupons are limited, so you will not want to wait too long to jump online and upload these coupons.
This is how it works:
Go to Price Chopper's website and sign up for their FREE online account.
You will link your AdvantEdge card to this account.
Every Sunday when they add new coupons, just sign into your account, then click on the e-coupons. You will be given a selection of manufacturer and store coupons.
The manufacturer e-coupons can NOT be doubled and if you have uploaded them to your card, the store computer will deduct those first. You will want to be careful when choosing these because if you have a regular paper manufacturer coupon that is valued higher, or can be doubled to get a better deal, then you wouldn't be able to use it since the e-coupon has been selected.
The store e-coupons, like any other store coupon, will NOT be doubled, BUT it can be stacked with a manufacturer coupon if you have one.
The BEST part is that Price Chopper will often offer FREE item coupons!
These coupons do not require any other purchase, so they are really totally FREE!
You just simply click the SAVE button under the coupons that you want, and when the clerk swipes your AdvantEdge card, the computer will automatically deduct your coupons.
One week, Price Chopper was giving away:
one can of StarKist tuna fish
one 2 liter bottle of Polar soda or seltzer
one bottle of Arm & Hammer laundry detergent
Hurry over and upload your coupons NOW so that you don't miss out on these great deals!
Coupons work, and not just for junk food
By CANDY FOOTE
The other day I asked my FaceBook and Twitter friends what was keeping them from using coupons.
“There aren’t coupons for anything except junk food.”
“I can’t print coupons off from the internet so I miss out on the good coupons.”
“I can’t afford the Sunday paper.”
“It’s too much work!”
“I don’t have time.”
Coupons conjure up different thoughts for different people. Other comments I’ve heard are:
“They are a waste of time.”
“I don’t need to save pennies and quarters.”
“Coupons mean you’re a cheapskate.”
“People who are using coupons are ripping off the stores causing the prices to go up.”
Everyone thinks something different when it comes to coupons. It’s even pronounced differently, but the bottom line is coupons are cold hard cash.
They are money. Best yet, they are tax-free money!
Actually, the organic food companies have really jumped onto the whole couponing bandwagon.
Websites like Earthbound Farms Organics, Organic Valley, and Mambo Sprouts are always rocking out coupons!
I even use coupons on milk, cheese, and eggs!
(Some of you are shopping at your local farmer’s markets this time of the year. Good for you! You may not be able to use coupons, but you can still do some strategic shopping and get top-quality food at rock-bottom prices! Shopping late in the day may limit your selection, but many farmers don’t want to haul everything back home, so you can haggle and get some great deals!)
Coupons are put out in limited quantities. Otherwise the manufacturers would go bankrupt. If you missed out on their coupons either in the paper or online, you can still save with coupons on produce and meat.
Go into your local supermarket and check out your meat and produce sections.
Supermarkets are filled to the brim with meat and produce.
The problem is this stuff doesn’t last long.
Since the stores don’t want to keep throwing all of this stuff away, they mark it way down by putting coupons on these items.
If your store stacks coupons, then you can add manufacturer coupons with these coupons to get ultimate savings.
(Ask the produce workers and butcher when they typically mark these items down. Ours are usually marked down in the late mornings.)
I don’t feed my family a lot of processed junk food. Most of our food is fresh or homemade, but we still save big with coupons.
How to get magazine subscriptions for free
By CANDY FOOTE
Normally I get my magazine subscription for free through websites like allfreemagazine.com.
All Free Magazines
Totally free, not try me with the this free issue magazines, but totally free subscriptions! (Sometimes they require me to fill out a little survey which offers different items for sale. I just check no on all of these and then they put my free subscription through. Also, some of the subscriptions are online instead of actual in your mailbox type subscriptions. I prefer to get the actual magazine in the mail. Be sure and read before selecting.)
I do, however, pay for one magazine subscription and that is the ALLYou magazine.
This magazine is known as the coupon magazine because it is loaded with coupons that you can cut out, coupon codes, recipes, thrifty living ideas, and overall plans of action you can take to live the frugal lifestyle without feeling like you’re missing out on life!
Even though I do pay for this subscription, I certainly wouldn’t want to pay full price, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to either!
ALLYou is having a spectacular summertime sale. You can pick up a six month subscription to this magazine for only $1 per issue. That’s just six bucks!
Hurry and order your ALLYou subscription today!
July, August great months to fill up
gift closet for pennies on the dollar
By CANDY FOOTE
I love the deals that can be found during the months of July and August. I spend much of these months shopping and filling up the gift closet for pennies on the dollar.
This summer, I will be stocking up on razors that I will get either extremely cheap or free through the use of sales and coupons.
Patriotic flags and décor, and all kinds of summertime toys will be marked down to rock-bottom prices on the clearance racks.
Shop those clearance racks this summer, but don't buy too early.
Many clearance items will follow the pattern of 50% off, 75% off, and finally 90% off. Although both 50% and 75% off are great deals, 90% off is stock-up price!
And one of my all-time favorite deals just started this week – school sales! Watch for stores to offer free items when you make a small purchase in their store, like spend $5 get five additional items for free.
Watch http://candyfoote.com/ for all of these deals and more this summer!
Best time to save? After the holiday is over
By CANDY FOOTE
“Strategic Shoppers” never think a holiday is over.
No, we know that holidays are always coming!
The best time to buy for a specific holiday is when the holiday just ended for the year.
For example, the best time to buy American flags is right after the Fourth of July.
That way you can pick up all of your flags and patriotic décor for as low as a dime each!
Don't forget to check out the clearance racks
By CANDY FOOTE
If you haven't checked out the clearance racks in a while, then you are missing out on some major savings.
Start by getting a new mindset. Clearance items aren't what they used to be.
It isn't just damaged and expired trash that they are trying to get rid of anymore.
Clearance racks are filled with all kinds of good things -- even socks and underwear!
The store just needs to move this stuff out. Normally they have ordered too much, or just simply don't have room for it.
The best part about clearance racks is that you can use coupons on these items making them super cheap, FREE, or sometimes, coupons even enable you to get paid to shop!
Don't throw Strategic Shopping out the window just because you can't stand the thought of using coupons!
The truth is making your purchases at the proper time is the most important part when it comes to saving.
Waiting for an item to go on sale can easily save you more than half the price.