Friday, September 27, 2019

Couponing Made Easy

Everyone loves a good bargain, but not everyone loves to sit for hours upon hours printing, clipping, cutting and organizing coupons.

Me, I love to shop, and I love a good deal. It's my passion to live frugally and bring joy to others with the deals I find. It's the sole purpose behind M&K Ultra Marketing Services, this blog and becoming an eBay seller.

I have been a couponer for years. Long before the internet made it easy to find bargains, I sat at my table cutting coupons and meal planning around my bargain shopping. Things have gotten a lot easier with digital coupons, at least I'd like to believe that.

For some, the internet made things more confusing. With so many websites, apps and advice out there it can be hard to find what works efficiently, and what is a waste of time. For this post, I wanted to bring you a good, easy way to coupon without spending hours learning and becoming overwhelmed with the insane amount of information available online. Use this as a guide and develop a system that works for you!

Getting Started

Photo: Pink Drink from Starbucks, a personal favorite

Assessing your habits

What does your family eat? What products are you loyal to? 


This may seem like a no-brainer question, but you will not get very far in your couponing efforts if you buy things your family will not eat and use. So first things first, take an inventory assessment of the products you use in your home. Maybe you have a specific type of shampoo that you swear by, or your picky child will only eat skippy peanut butter. Make a list of everything you use in your home, your favorite coffee places, your hair salon etc and highlight any product you are brand loyal to. Go ahead, I'll wait.

By now you should have a long list with a lot of highlighting on it.  Do you only shop at specific stores or are you a person that likes to shop the deals? Divide your list up into columns that are specific to your shopping habits. Excel or Google Sheets are perfect for this task, and while these steps are time-consuming to get started they will help to keep you organized, saving time and money.

As you can see from the infographic, my loyalties lie with Meijer, Walmart, Discount Drug Mart, Dollar Tree, and various thrift stores in the area.

Now for the fun stuff!

Finding the Deals

So now you have a list full of your favorite everything, head on over to your favorite stores' websites and see if they have an app for your phone and join the loyalty programs if you haven't already. 

Next, get cashback & coupon apps on your phone. These apps are tested personally and approved. 

Get the Ibotta App, Ibotta will give you cashback on your purchases. 
Get the Coupons.com App. You will be able to print coupons, clip digital coupons and get cash back on some purchases. 
Get the Krazy Coupon Lady App. Coupons, tips and invaluable information on couponing from newbies to the extreme!

Tip:
→Buy the Sunday paper for the coupon inserts.


Step By Step

If you are ready to start saving read on this step by step guide should get you on your way today!

  1. Pick a time of the day, week, or month that you want to spend a couple hours focusing on savings. I do a large trip twice a month. Meats & Staples on the first trip, and Pantry, toiletries and whatever staples we need to restock on the next.
  2. When you are ready to start working, take a good hard look at your list and compare your highlighted products to your loyalty programs, store coupons, the Ibotta app, Coupons.com, Krazy Coupon Lady and any others you sign up for in the process.
  3.  As you are scanning through, make a note in your Excel or Google Sheet on how much is saved, how many of each item you can purchase or that is required to purchase for EACH coupon/cashback you have clipped. Make sure you have clipped/selected each product on your list in the various programs.
  4. Cut out the coupons you will use from the Sunday paper inserts
  5. Print the coupons that you will use at each store you plan on shopping at. 
  6. Put printed/cut coupons in separate sandwich Ziploc baggies for each store. I suggest baggies as they are easily thrown into a pocket or purse. 
  7. Use a sharpie to label each baggie
  8. Make a shopping list! I repeat make a list!!! Divide your list by the stores you will be going to on your next trip. On your list, notate the coupons and cashback offers.
  9. Put your list for each store in the coupon baggie designated for those stores. If you don't have coupons for a store you are going to, make one and add the list in!
  10. When you are ready to shop, grab your baggies and go! 
  11. Put your receipts and coupons in the baggie it belongs to. Save your coupons for the next time you shop at that store.
  12. Scan your receipts to the apps you use and watch the cashback roll in!


Ready Set Shop!

And that's it, a super simple method to save money on your favorite products. Drop a comment of how much you have saved using this guide!

If you want to delve further into the topic, make sure to check back for more posts on frugal living and couponing! 


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Stupid Flu...

So I am sick-hooray for the flu virus going around! 

As I am working from bed, I am revising the eBay shop. I also am working on uploading a new playlist to my Youtube page about my sons' journey with Chorea. Go check stuff out while I get better and back to writing!


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Coffee Cash AKA Beermoney- Gamer Style

If you have never heard of Coffee or Beermoney, it can be rather confusing to find your way around and figure out what is real and what is a scam. Essentially Beermoney or Coffee Cash as I like to call it is tasks, surveys, small gigs and the like that you get paid to do online. It is termed after a beer or coffee because it is surely not enough to count as a stable income to pay bills but will buy you a coffee or a beer!

Personally, I loathe surveys and clicking a ton of links. An email here and there to click is one thing but I am really not interested in spending hours clicking a bunch of links or answering surveys that never end so this post only focuses on sites that will pay you to play games, do searches and watch videos.

For more information on the plethora of other ways to make Coffee Cash visit Beermoney on Reddit!


Get Paid to Play & Watch Ads

As a general rule, I highly suggest making a new email for all of these sites, this will keep your inbox from getting junked up and you will be able to only "work" when you want! Remember, you will not get rich from this-Do NOT quit your day job! 

**Note: All of these sites have been vetted by many people on the subreddit Beermoney, if something goes awry, I will pull it immediately! 

InboxDollars Play for free and enter tournaments to win money in your account. Another cool perk about this site is that you get paid for clipping and using coupons, which makes this one my absolute favorite!

Swagbucks The downside of the gaming on this site is that you do have to pay into the game. They will credit you "SB" (Swagbucks) for buying things in the game, but I already pay for my WoW subscription, so I will pass on buying these in-game items. However, they do pay you for watching videos so its a quick way to make some coffee cash with a few minutes a day.

GAIN No games to play, but some videos to watch for quick coins.

InstaGC Again no games, but watching videos adds up! 

*Stay tuned for more once they are vetted! 


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Frugal Cleaning Series- The Bathroom

The newest "craze" is going green by cleaning your home with all-natural products. Being the cool hippie mamma I am, I am all about saving the environment and eliminating toxic chemicals. However, the cost of these products is hard to swallow when you're also a frugal mamma!

I have seen a lot of companies spring up-selling "Non-Toxic, Chemical Free" products. The price tags compared to other products on the market are not at all frugal mamma friendly. So I took to the internet and found vinegar to be the most talked-about cleaning solution. There does seem to be some disagreement as to whether it truly cleans as well as a chemical such as bleach, but I was willing to give it a try.

For the sake of this series, my family and I have intentionally left certain areas of our home to get dirty enough to see a difference. In this post, we left one side of the toilet and our shower alone for a few weeks. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to get this part out of the way, although I am quite sure the teen boys were ecstatic that I wasn't yelling at them about missing the toilet every day!

So for your viewing pleasure here are some before and after pics of our first experiment in "going green".


Before


After


Before


After


Conclusion:

Not bad if I do say so myself. The pics aren't great, but I hope it shows the big difference that vinegar, water, and a microfiber cloth from the store that starts with a Wal and ends with a Mart. My bathroom doesn't even wreak of vinegar!

Experiment with this for yourself:

1/4 cup vinegar
1 bucket of hot water
1 clean microfiber cloth 

This experiment cost about $1.50, not as cheap as a bottle of bleach at the dollar store but since I can use this in any part of my house and on dishes, and it took me less than 10 min to clean my entire bathroom, it gets a Thumbs Up on the frugal mamma scale.







Thursday, September 12, 2019

It's hard out there for a hustler

Good Grief, I went on vacation and now its already fall! Kids are back in school, we were blessed with kittens and I have been doing the fall cleaning, Joys! Not.

Getting back into the swing of work has been tough, that tends to happen to the best of us when we have kids on break and crazy mom lives. Since my sons decided homeschooling wasn't for them, I am once again free during the day and have rearranged my schedule to reflect that.

As always feel free to use my method of madness to suit your own needs!

Cleaning Schedule:

Monday- Kitchen
Tuesday- Dining Room
Wednesday- Living Room
Thursday- Hallway & Bathroom
Friday- Bedroom
Saturday- Basement
Sunday- Laundry

Schedule:

10 am-12 pm Social Media Work
12 pm-2 pm Freelance
2 pm- 3 pm Coaching
4 pm-6 pm Freelance
7 pm-9 pm Coaching
10 pm- 12 am GPT

Notice I left a few time slots open? As I have mentioned in previous scheduling posts, I am not a morning person. I don't think the morning hours will ever work for me. There is also a matter of volunteer work at my sons' school, Dr. Appointments, coffee/lunch with friends, grocery shopping and showering daily.

I also take on a lot of freelance work because I like it. I enjoy breaking up my workday and doing different tasks throughout the day, otherwise, I would lose my ever-living mind. The ironic thing is that my whole business model is living and working frugally. One would think that bouncing from project to project would be considered a waste of precious time. Perhaps, but on the other hand, if it keeps me interested and I am helping my fellow humans, I am happy!

My goal is to avoid burning myself out. I take on only a few coaching clients at a time, and my freelance work is generally short term. I don't do well in "jobs" that have a boss looking over my virtual shoulder. I get bored and frustrated very easily.  I prefer gigs that I can log in and out and just make some easy money. NSA (no strings attached) gigs are much more up my alley.

The best part of running my own business is that I can mix and match and make my schedule work for me. I don't recommend quitting your "grown-up" job and jumping into a home business, but if it's your ultimate goal it can be done- Hit me up if you need help, it's what I do!