admin / July 6, 2018

Ways to Save with Amazon

Before I begin, a full disclosure, I recently signed up to be an Amazon associate which means I can earn affiliate fees if anyone clicks on or makes a purchase through one of the links I’m providing in this post… and actually that’s my first tip for saving and making money on Amazon is to become one of their associates.


I never thought I’d find coupons on Amazon but yes, they have them and here’s a link (no, this isn’t one of the affiliate links). You can use them for lots of stuff and another way to shave off some money from your order.



Prime Member and Prime Day

For years, I put off signing up for a Prime membership at Amazon thinking I’d never use any of the perks but I was wrong. I get free books, a way to watch shows and movies and avoid cable fees, 2 day shipping with no minimum order. I know in the long run I save money and they also have their Prime Day coming up with exclusive offers for Prime members. If you’re not already a member and want to give it a 30 day free trial here’s the link-

<a target=”_blank” href=”″>Prime Day – Prime Membership $3 bounty</a><img src=”//″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />


Prime Pantry

Another perk of membership is access to their Prime Pantry where you can get lower prices on food and household items. I have found some great deals on many items. Use this link and get $10 off orders of $40+ with trial

<a target=”_blank” href=””>Prime Day – Prime Pantry $3 bounty</a><img src=”//″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />


Deep Discounts

I guess this says it all, use this link to a section that has items that are discounted-

<a target=”_blank” href=”″>Shop Amazon Outlet – Clearance, Markdowns and Overstock Deals</a><img src=”//″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />


Kindle Countdown Deals

If like me, you’re an avid reader, you know the cost of books can quickly eat into your budget. Check out the Kindle Countdown Deals where authors and publishers discount their books. I should also add that with Prime membership you get access to lots of books and magazines you can borrow and even a free first read each month. Here’s the link for the countdown deals-

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Amazon Fresh

And while I have tried this yet, I’m about to because it’s now available where I live. Groceries delivered to your door. Perfect for when you forget something and don’t want to head to a store to be tempted to buy more than you’d planned. Use this link to get $30 off your first order

<a target=”_blank” href=””>Prime Day – Amazon Fresh $5 bounty</a><img src=”//″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

admin / September 19, 2013

Saving With Coupons

September is all about coupons. With the price of just about everything increasing, including food, using coupons can stretch your budget even more.

On some of my trips to the supermarket I won’t buy anything unless I have a coupon or it’s on sale and it’s amazing how much you can save.
Here are some of my coupon tips I’ve stumbled upon over the years-

Meal Planning
If you’re in the mood for some real penny pinching, plan meals around the coupons you have on hand. I’ve used coupons for tacos, refried beans, pizza, frozen potatoes, soup etc. Some of these meals have become favorite standbys even when I don’t have coupons for them. It’s a great way to get creative in the kitchen too.

Combine Deals
Supermarkets are getting kinder to us and they usually put on sale at least a few items that have corresponding coupons. It’s the perfect way to save even more. And sometimes with a little homework on your part you can find combo deals yourself. Sometimes I’ve found toothpaste I’ve ended up paying just five cents for. And if you need some help, check out this site

Double Coupon Day
For years I was envious when I heard people say their local store had double coupon days. Finally a store very close to where I live started Double Coupon Wednesday. Just five coupons and nothing over a dollar, but if you pick the right item and it’s something you need, you save a lot. Check out stores in your area for similar deals.

Stock Up The Pantry
Coupons are a great opportunity to stock up the pantry on things like ketchup, butter, flour etc.

Wait For the Holidays
I’ve found that some of my best couponing days are during the holidays when lots of things go on sale. And an added plus is once again they’re for items I can store in the pantry or in the freezer for year round use.

Put Some of the Budget Aside
I always spend about ten dollars on buying items with correspondings coupons that I can save and store. A good pick are non-perishables like dishwashing liquid or tissues. You know the prices are going up so it’s a good way to beat the increase.

Not Just Groceries
Coupons aren’t just for food items. I use coupons for hair salons, restaurants, cinemas, etc. More companies are using them and if you search online you’re likely to find one you can use. Check out this site

Where You Find Them
I no longer receive a Sunday paper so I’ve been using sites like, also lots of food packages have coupons on the back or inside that you can clip.

And here are a couple of links to sites that are useful in tracking down even more coupons. The first one gives you a preview of what will be in the upcoming Sunday paper…great way of planning meals ahead of the shopping trip. And the second one is a site that lets you print coupons-

admin / February 12, 2012

Saving Money On Heart Healthy Products

Here is Marcia’s February post all about ways to save on good for you foods-

One of the myths about coupons I frequently hear is that the only coupons available are for processed foods; that there are no coupons on healthy items. While I will admit that you will see more money-saving coupons good on snacks and desserts, there are certainly plenty of coupons issued for organic foods, gluten-free products, sugar-free products, as well as all natural cosmetics and cleaning items. So since February is American Heart Month, let’s take a look at how to save big without buying artery-clogging items.

The Coupon Hunt

The key to finding coupons on healthier fare is to start looking in new places. For example, skim magazines targeted at fitness fans, who are likely to be health conscious. Take a look through flyers and publications at the doctor’s office; ask if they have coupons or samples to share. Search online for brand names you buy and the word “coupon,” to see what may be available. Review the coupon inventory at coupon clipping services such as or and order coupons that may not have appeared in your local paper. Send fan email to companies that produce products you prefer, asking if they can spare some coupons. If you’re having trouble collecting coupons on products you buy, or would like to buy, go on the offensive and ask for them from the manufacturer.

Rely on Rebates

Another way to buy healthier food is to look for rebate forms that offer money back when you buy a certain category of products. For example, last weekend I found a rebate of $5 off a pound of pistachios. I can buy any variety (organic, salt-free, etc.) of pistachio that I prefer and the rebate still applies. The same is true for rebates off meat and seafood – you can buy organic, free range chicken if you so choose and you’ll still earn the rebate. I find some of the best rebate forms on

Use up Overage

Some folks who buy a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and who struggle to find coupons on these items, still manage to get their produce cheaper by taking advantage of overage. Overage occurs when a coupon is worth more than the price of a product. Some stores allow you to take that difference between the coupon value and product cost and apply to other items in your cart. Wal-mart is one store that allows overage and will even give you cash back if you’ve earned it through overage.

So let’s say you have four coupons worth $2 off bars of soap, which cost $1 each. The coupons are worth $8 and the soap will cost $4, leaving you with free soap and $4 extra. You can use that extra $4 to buy eggs, milk, and juice, for example. It doesn’t really matter what product you have to buy to get the overage – you can donate anything you don’t want or need – as long as you maximize your overage to cover the cost of items you do want.

You may need to be a little more creative to save money on gluten-free cupcakes or organic milk, but the savings opportunities are still out there.

Happy saving!

Marcia Layton Turner is an avid coupon clipper who saves thousands of dollars a year by using them. She is also the author of Extreme Couponer: Insider secrets to getting groceries for free.

admin / June 16, 2010

Buy It or Make Your Own

During every trip to the supermarket I ask myself is it cheaper for me to buy that item already prepared or should I make my own. It’s not only money that I base my decision on, time plays a factor too. Here are some guidelines I’ve come up with and items I will and won’t buy already prepared.

If you’re short on time then opting for readymade makes perfect sense. One great example is potatoes, whether they’re mashed, oven roasted etc. I keep at least one package of each in the freezer or pantry. And the great thing is instant potatoes taste a lot better than they used to and they’re always on sale too.

If it’s not only your wallet you’re watching, but your weight, sodium or fat intake then going the homemade route makes more sense.

Check the Season
Right now the produce department is brimming with berries, green beans, corn, etc. During the summer months I opt for buying fresh veggies, but when a particular vegetable or fruit isn’t in season, I’ll choose canned or frozen. Another example is red peppers. I love roasted red peppers but they can be pricey. I have found some good deals but when the prices go low…like right now, I’ll buy them, roast them myself and then store them for future use.

Things I’ll Never Buy Readymade

Fruit, Vegetable and Cheese Platters
They look tempting but they can run about $20-25. They’re easy to put together yourself and I can’t imagine handing over that much money for something that wouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to do yourself.

Flavored Oatmeal
I used to love the individual flavored packages of oatmeal… that was until I did an interview and we got onto the subject of premade foods. The interviewee pointed out the true cost of these little luxuries. Now I make my own and add things like chopped dried fruits and they’re just as good, if not better.

Sometimes I’ll buy soups to keep in the pantry if the price is right, or like last week, I had two $1 coupons for a brand that was on sale. However, most of the time I’ll make my own. It’s cheaper, you control what’s in there and it’s a good way to use leftover items like vegetables and cooked chicken.

Individually Wrapped
Lots of supermarkets have a special section with items that are washed and prepared for you and individually wrapped like potatoes, onions, etc. But have you seen the price for such convenience, $2 for one onion! Think I’ll pass on those.

Smoothie Mixes
Manufacturers must know we’ve gone smoothie crazy because each week another premade smoothie mix hits the stores. I’ve checked the ingredients on most of them and it’s just chopped frozen fruit. How easy and inexpensive is it to get a freezer bag and make your own mix.

Some Things I Will Buy Readymade

Salad Dressings
I do make my own but I will more a ready prepared one when I have coupons. Seems like I always have at least one on hand. They’re usually for a dollar so on double coupon day that’s $2 off a salad dressing that costs around $3.95. I probably could make one for that price but it’s nice to have one ready and waiting in the fridge if I don’t get around to it.

Spaghetti Sauce
Once again coupons and the fact at least one brand always seems to be on sale swings things in the favor of readymade.

Not Just Things You Eat
And it’s not just food items you can make yourself. One reason I make my own products like cleaning supplies is I know what’s in them. Baking soda and vinegar are my two favorites and I even started making my own dishwasher powder too. It’s really simple to make
2 cups washing soda
1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda
Mix ingredients together in a storage container and use about 1 ½ tablespoons per load. I added some essential oil to mine…lemon or tangerine to give the kitchen a nice smell while the dishes are being washed. If you live in an area with hard water, I’ve found squeezing about a tablespoon of lemon juice to the mix (for each load) helps glasses from turning white. I buy lemon juice in one of those plastic lemons you find in the produce department and keep it with the mix.

admin / December 21, 2009

Six Desperation But Yet Budget Friendly Last Minute Gift Ideas

Still not sure what to get one or two people on your list? Running out of money? Or has someone unexpectedly given you a gift so now you feel obligated to buy them something too? Just a few days left but don’t despair. Here are my six favorite ideas.

More people are finding it hard to make ends meet. These days I’m seeing just about everyone in the supermarket holding coupons as they peruse the aisles. If you’re in a bind, buy a coupon wallet and add some coupons from your own supply. Even download some from the Internet. It’s an idea gift for an elderly neighbor or someone who’s out of work and needs to stretch their budget.

I always head to the bookstore when I need a gift that looks expensive but isn’t. Places like Barnes and Noble and Borders have at least a couple of aisles full of books that are deeply discounted. Some are fiction; some are illustrated books on topics like cooking and gardening. They even have aisles packed with children’s books, some as low as $1.

Magazine Subscription
Here’s another gift idea that’s come to my rescue at the last minute, a magazine subscription. Buy the current copy and wrap that along with a card saying a year subscription is on its way. Best thing is most magazines have cards placed inside with discount offers for subscribers. An added bonus, it’s the gift that arrives every month of the year.

Coffee or Tea
Check the supermarket shelves and you’ll find holiday flavored teas and coffees at bargain prices. The other year I found eggnog flavored teabags that tasted a lot more expensive than their $1.99 price tag. Great for drinking yourself or for keeping on the shelf just in case someone stops by with a gift for you.

One other thing that seems to go on sale and is often marked down drastically a few days before Christmas is chocolate. I’m seeing most stores offering boxes of chocolates, buy one get one free. Most are in the $5-7.99 price range, making this another bargain buy.

Gift Certificates
Many stores and businesses are offering added bonuses when you purchase gift cards. For example, buy a $25 gift card and get a $5 gift card free. One option is to keep the larger amount gift card for yourself and give away the $5 gift card or vice versa. Either way it’s an added bonus and a quick gift.
And if you’re really in a bind, time and money wise, you can always make your own. Maybe one week of dog walking services, I’ll make dinner one night, I’ll wash your car…Best thing is you can match them to the recipient’s needs.

admin / October 26, 2009

The Blog-Coupons at the Library

On my way out of the library I always stop to check out the free magazines they keep in the foyer. One thing that caught my eye last week was the book of coupons they were giving away. The local county is offering Choose to Reuse Today coupons. The front of the book says Save Cash, Save the Planet. Get Great Stuff. Most of the coupons are for discounts on items you can buy if you take something old to be recycled or refurbished. I’m not sure how many I’ll be using but it’s a great way to get rid of unwanted items and save some money.

Almost Halloween and I can’t believe it’s November on Sunday. All the supermarkets are gearing up for baking season. Sales on everything from sugar, flour, chocolate chips, even canned fruit. My usual ritual is each time I go to the store I’ll buy a few items to store in the pantry or even the freezer.

Word is Halloween sales are down this year. Bad news for retailers but good news for us. Next week watch out for some major discounts on everything from candy…which can be used in holiday baking or stocking stuffers to costumes. If you have some extra cash why not buy next year’s costume or party favors now.

And speaking of Halloween, I’ve been thinking about what treat I’ll be baking this Saturday. I don’t know why but pizza has become our Halloween meal. I always like to follow it up with a Halloween (or at least pumpkin) themed dessert. While I was checking recipe sites for some ideas and I found one for pumpkin chocolate bars at which is the site of the Nestle company. They have lots of other goodies on the site too.

This week on Budget Smart Girl…the end of another month means the Budget Smart Girl newsletter. There’ll be news about a recipe Web site with links to free samples and coupons. Beauty products that are good for you and your budget. Plus, a cereal giveaway.

Have a good week and a safe and fun Halloween.

admin / September 14, 2009

The Blog-The Library Has It All

I’m back to my regular reading schedule so last week I stopped by the library. You know it’s one of my favorite spots not only for books and DVDs, but if your library is anything like my local one, it has classes and resources that show you how to save money.

I picked up the fall events and classes brochure and found a ton of good stuff. Lots of libraries in the area are offering free gardening classes and best of all some now have free courses called Money Matters, everything from couponing 101 to getting by in tough times. Another thing I discovered from the brochure was that beginning October 3rd you can borrow something called a Power Check meter which helps you identify high energy appliances. You check them out just like books and they come complete with a home energy assessment worksheet.

Seems like more manufacturers are offering coupons for their products…which is great news for us. I’m even finding more inside packages of things like pizzas. Some are even printed on the inside of the box, so be sure to check before you toss it out. Here’s some I found on line, click on free cereal

I ‘cashed’ in some points I’d earned through our local recycling program. One was a dollar coupon for cream cheese. I know that always goes on sale close to the holidays so I’m guessing with the coupon it will probably be free. I also got a coupon for a free bottle of Seventh Generation dishwashing liquid. I usually buy it when it’s on sale and it’s one of the best cleaners around. I also cashed in points for $5 off a gourmet pizza for a new franchise that opened in the area.

This week on Budget Smart Girl-Cheap foods that are good for you and ideas for quick and easy meals.

Have a good week.

admin / September 11, 2009

September is National Coupon Month

September is National Coupon Month so what better time to use these little slips of paper to help stretch your food dollar. Here are some ideas and hints on finding coupons, and how to use them for maximum benefit.

Newspapers and Magazines
I get about 50% of my coupons from the Sunday newspaper. If you’re looking for coupons for food items, it can’t be beat. Magazines, especially women’s magazines, are another good source. And if you want to buy items like natural and organic foods, try picking up a copy of Delicious Living. My local co-op has free copies at the information desk and every issue has at least two coupons I can use. The best part is they often have a face value of $1, which is great news when it’s double coupon day at my local supermarket.

And Speaking of…Your local supermarket is also a good source of coupons. Look out for those little red machines that are attached to the shelves along each aisle. They usually have a flashing red light so you can’t miss them. And if your store has a double coupon day, these can be a goldmine. And don’t forget lots of stores produce their own coupons. If you don’t receive a newspaper containing a flyer, make sure you check the one at the store before you head down the aisles.

New to the Stores
If you see a product that’s brand new, there’s a good chance the company who makes it will be giving away free coupons and samples to introduce it. Check their Web site.

Just How Much am I Saving?
I’m guessing these days people who never shopped with coupons don’t read the newspaper without keeping a pair of scissors by their side. If you’re still not convinced just how much you can save think about this. If it’s only $10 a month, that’s $120 a year…money that could be pay another bill or even money you could add to a mortgage payment. Believe me; using coupons isn’t a waste of time.

Coupon Swap Groups
If you really need more coupons and have no way of finding them, why not start a coupon-swapping group. You could put a notice up at day care centers, the supermarket notice board, or even the local coffee shop. Get a group of people together and meet once a month to swap coupons. Let others know what you’re looking for, and even swap money saving tips and recipes.

Straight to the Source
Before I head to a store, I not only check their flyer, but their Web site too. Sometimes that has special coupons that are only available online.

Hot Coupon World
If you haven’t already visited Do it today and sign up for their newsletter that arrives in your e-mail box twice a week alerting you to deals and links to lots of great coupons. These days I find at least 50% of my coupons through this site.

All You
You might remember me telling you that during a recent trip to Walmart I bought a copy of a magazine called All You. It’s not only a great read but a goldmine for coupon hunters like myself.
And speaking of Hot Coupon World, one of the links this week was to Currently they’re offering a two year subscription to All You for $29 (after cart coupon).

Flattery Gets You…coupons
We all like to receive a pat on the back from time to time. And being nice to companies and manufacturers can sometimes reap you rewards in the form of coupons. If you’re pleased with a product, let the company know. And check if they have a loyalty program or newsletter so you can receive e-mail alerts about specials and coupons.

And Remember…
Don’t let your coupons just sit there. At the beginning of each month, pull out the ones that expire in the next 30 days and work out your week’s menu with the coupon items in mind.

admin / August 17, 2009

The Blog- Good Finds

Anyone try the recipes I included in last week’s Preserving Summer Produce? I made some of the strawberry jam. While I was at the store on Friday I noticed a sale on strawberries and stocked up. Now I have two jars of strawberry jam sitting in the freezer ready for winter.

We have a grapevine growing over an arbor near our patio. Most years the bounty’s been so-so and what does grow is usually eaten by raccoons looking for a bedtime snack. However, this year we cut down some trees and the vine’s getting more sun, hence a bumper crop. I checked it this morning and so far, the grapes are untouched. Now I’m thinking about making some grape jelly.

One thing that seems to go missing in my house is hangers. I saw that Walmart had a good deal…, a pack of 10 for $2. Seems the deal was even better than that. When I stopped there this morning, it was a pack of 10 for just $1.17. And while I was there I also picked up a copy of All You magazine. I’ve never read it before but the front cover said $72 worth of coupons inside. You know me, I love coupons. Seems there are coupons for just about everything, not just food. And if you go to, they have more coupons. I haven’t read all the magazine yet, but it looks like it’s packed with good stuff.

And if you like cereal and movies, check out Buy specially marked boxes, collect five tokens and you get a free movie.

This week on Budget Smart Girl, things to buy in August and how cooking with herbs can make any meal taste gourmet.

Have a good week.

admin / February 5, 2009

How to Never Pay Full Price Again!

Yes, wouldn’t it be great if you never had to pay full price for anything ever again? Well, there’s a way and it’s thanks to sites like the one I’m about to tell you about.
Karen Hoxmeier is the mastermind behind a Web site called I recently chatted with her to find out about the site and how Budget Smart Girls can use it to get the best deals on everything from kids clothing to dresses for that special occasion.

Budget Smart Girl (BSG)-When I read your bio it seems you’ve always been a Budget Smart Girl. Is that true and is that how the Web site got started?
Karen Hoxmeier (KH)-I’ve always tried to get the best deals on everything. And in 1999 I started to shop online, searching for bargains. I had three little kids so finding the best deals was essential. I got so good at it I started sending e-mails to my friends alerting them to the deals I found. Before I knew it, 200 people were on that e-mail list, and many of them I didn’t even know but they’d got to hear about me through word of mouth.

BSG-And I would think these days the site’s really popular.
KH-People are definitely in a bargain hunting mode and once you get into that mind set it’s almost impossible to give up.

BSG-Say I’m new to the site and online comparison shopping, how does it work?
KH-If you’re looking for a specific item you can type that word in and see what the search brings up. Say for example you’re searching for a good deal on a digital camera; the site lets you do a price comparison check too.

BSG-Are there more deals out there now?
KH-Definitely, you can pick up some great bargains every day. And one tip I have is if you find something that’s the price you like, buy it and buy it quickly because some of the deals only last a few hours and some have limited numbers. When the merchandise is gone, that deal is over.

BSG-I noticed you have a newsletter we can sign up to receive, what will we find in it?
KH-It’s sent out Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and it will tell you about five deals that are especially worth checking out.

BSG-And you have a prize drawing.
KH-Yes, some companies donate gift cards and you can win something twice a month, on the 1st and the 15th.

BSG-Are you noticing any particular buying trends during this recession?
KH-Yes, people are purchasing items that they consider necessities and not luxury items. Right now winter clothes are popular. Some prices are reduced as much as 75%.

BSG-Yes, I noticed while I was on your site that there was a child’s winter jacket on sale for $2.98.
KH-Yes, some of the deals are incredible.

BSG-Any insider secrets to finding the best of the best?
KH-Yes, you can sign up to follow mybargainbuddy on Twitter and find the most up to date deals.

BSG-And it’s not just about finding discounts, what other perks can you find.
KH-Check out the free shipping deals, sometimes that can save you money too.

BSG-This has to be a labor of love for you.
KH-It’s grown into a full time job for me. I’m at the computer as soon as I get up and checking what deals are out there to post on the site.

BSG-Any money saving tips you can share?
KH-Yes, wait till it goes on sale, never pay full price for anything. And with groceries, don’t buy it unless you have a coupon. And here’s something I do to save money. If I see a good deal I’ll buy it for later use. Put your good deal finds in storage containers and when a birthday rolls around, you don’t have to go shopping.

Thanks Karen and I’ll be using the site to find myself some good deals on jeans. I’ll let you know what I find.

Check out the new Budget Smart Girl Store Dismiss