OK, so we're back.
Last time someone took down my Coupon envelope. For what reason, I'll never know. This time I have a strategy.
I'm going down to the main office and speaking to the person who is in charge of managing the laundry rooms, and this the fliers boards. I'm going to ask permission to "install" a permanent enevelope, the tin one I've been looking at. The last one I did in fact order I gace to my neighbors to use as an outgoing mail holder. Works great. Anyways.
Going down there and asking to install it permanently and hopefully next to the board instead of on it. I'm getting permission so that I can then do this: ask for a note that can be photocopied and posted NEXT to the envelope to let everyone know that I am allowed to have it there, and no, they may not simply remove it since it's made of paper and I paid for it. I'll prolly post a paper explaining how to use the envelope and some coupons.
I've partially put this motion in plan by going next door to my neighbors and gathering all the ads they don't need or use, to cut the coupons out. I also happened to get some from my friends mom, a nice good batch too. Overall, I've cut them and I have a LOT of coupons. I mean a lot. Basically, so many that I had to get a mini box to hold them all, and I'm still cutting.
Of course afterwards I purge them to make sure they are all valid and if there's any I might use. This is where a lot of science comes in, involving getting the coupons and applying them to personal use.
After I cut them, I trim them because no one needs access blockage. Then I purge them to make sure that they are all valid. Anything still good even two days from cutting day gets put in. Anything still good only for one day is not worth the time. I check the validity while cutting, and again after cutting.
When I'm done, I go through them to see if there's any I could use and this is where it actually got complicated.
First, you have retailer coupons, and then you have manufacturer coupons. Retailer coupons can only be used a certain store. Manufacturer coupons can be used anywhere that product is sold, for the most part.
Coupons are completely useless unless you know how to use them skillfully. (Yes, it is an art.)
Let's say I have a coupon for product Planet. But actually, I usually buy product Starfish. If product Planet isn't equal to or less than in price value compared to Starfish, I'm not really not saving any money. For example:
I'd still be paying $3.10, so, I'm not saving anything.
Unless I intend to sample product Starfish.
So we have that. Next, I had some coupons for meal deals at various restaurants. This became pretty tricky since I can't just go eating all whenever I want, so I have to factor various things to determine which coupon is best to use:
When I'm going out.
The area I'll be going to.
Am I going out with another person?
Which location might be closer
Which location regularly has cheaper meals?
Do I want to try going to a different place anyways?
Can this coupon be applied to me and my friend if we eat out? (That way, we both might as well get a decent deal, since we can split the bill anyways. Many meal coupons require an extra entree or beverage to be purchase to get any value out of it.)
Wow, complex. Coupon moms, you should be teaching a class on this! American college kids NEED you.
I'm still working out it.
Howeve,r i nthe midst of all this, I did notice something. I personally think that instead of constantly making consumers keep up with various sales, deals and advertisements (and wasting SO many trees), it would be so much easier if Sears, and Best Buy and others could just put out COUPONS instead. But that's just me. I'm sure there's another side to it I'm not seeing, yet.
Happy Coupon Cutting!
Viewing the 'Budgeting' Category
OK, so we're back.
It looks like my budgeting is getting off to a bad start. I was going ot go out shopping thinking I still had my 60$ but it turns out I only had 12$ to my name! Yikes!
Always ALWAYS check your balance before you go out.
...is when the store you want to shop at that night is closed. I seriously wanted to buy at least $10 worth of stuff at the Asian Depot but they were totally closed.
It's a perfectly good way to save money. Hard to buy stuff when the stuff isn't there...
So I went to Publix and bought $10 worth of birthday gifts for my brother.
I really really like the Asian store because they always have wierd imported foods that you can't read since it's written in Chinese. It's fun to pick it up and go "Let's see if I can finish this one!" so sometimes it's like going into a theme park for me. You never know what will be there. I buy the stuff just to try it. (Maybe if I start a really really good food blog on it, I'll get paid and be able to afford to buy the stuff =/ )
The Asian Store has a nice trick though, which isn't posted anywhere in the store. If you pay with a card, there's a minimum of $10 you have to buy, or they won't accept the purchase or transaction. It really makes me go gurr.
It's pretty expensive. When a box of Pocky costs like 2.99 to 4.99, yeah.
/sigh Oh Asian Store.
My goal for 2010 Financially: Budgeting. I want to get it down to some sort of art if only for a year. I have a car bill, and a medical bill, and a car insurance bill (shared with Dad) to pay. I'm also considering the birthday gifts I need to buy. Sometimes I but them early so I'll be ready, but I can't buy too much, and I won't be buying ANY Christmas gifts again. So, things included in budgeting:
Money That Goes To Dad For Whatever Else
Car Repair Bill
Yearly Birthday Gifts
I do need to spend it wisely. Let's see...there's not much I really want except for Makoto Shinkai's Sora no Kioku book, because I like his art. And I need about 2 to 3 new pillows because somehow they got soaked with only God knows what or how, and it's a health need for real. I may need a new photo album. I may need to get a new monitor, because my current one is actin' funny.
I also need to totally get my PC redone. But if it costs too much, I might as well save up for a new one, and God-willing I'll be able and it might even be a Mac, not that I need one or deserve one. But I'm a tech junkie and I haven't had a Mac to work on. On the other hand, I really think Safari is the ugliest browser in the world, but it happens to display things actually beautifully.
So, budgeting. Tomorrow in fact I'm going to start buying some early birthday gifts. (I'm one of those currently).
I'll prolly need to cut back on Starbucks. I don't buy too often but it CAN be addicting, only because Starbucks is like the only cafe we all know off the top of our heads anywhere even though all coffee you buy tastes the same anywhere.
So, budgeting for the third time is my goal.
Coupon Update: Somebody tore down my wonderfully cheaply made paper coupon envelope....which is why I've ordered a galavanized tin one I can screw it into the wall ^_________^. Or board.
I also need new clothes. Oh boy.
I'm a sticker freak. When I write letters, I smother, splatter and strangle them with stickers. I'm a sticker connoseiur.
But I ran out of stickers. And I didn't have the money for more. Well, I decided NOT to spend the money on more.
Instead I decided to strictly use what I already have. I have markers, pencils, color pencils, stencils, glue, misc gluable things, scrapbook paper. I decided that instead of buying stickers I'm going to use what I already have. Sticker industry, I'm on strike! (Nothing personal).
Ok, so it won't save me a lot of money in the long run. Most stickers around here (FL) cost anywhere from $0.99 to $2.99 and up for the expensive fancy stuff.
It saves me from buying the unnecassry and afterwards it's fresh to start over once I really have used everything up. I've had these pencils and markers and pens for YEARS now. It's time to use them.
Also with my beloved stickers to provide the pretty prety colors and pretty pictures, I'm forced to be more creative. (Or, in more recent cases, just to deviantart.com for ideas.)
And I've decided to this with everything. My papers, food, body lotions (thanks to my friends over the years, I have a 4 year supply at least), and tons more.
Saved me from buying more crap and wasting money!
USE it or WASTE it.
This year for Christmas, I wanted to go all out. I mean, ALL OUT. I wanted to buy practically EVERYONE I knew on the planet a gift this year. I still didn't have a lot of money but I thought "Well, if I make a plan, then maybe..."
No more than $3 per person, gift wise. Factor in FL tax, and that means any gift wouldn't cost more than $3.21.
Which would mean the following as well:
5 persons: $16.05
10 persons: $32.10
15 persons: $48.15
20 persons: $64.20
25 persons: $80.25
Ok, so...it didn't work out. However, the three dollar plan does work in some cases, and it's reasonable since you won't be able to find anything for $2 where I at least live. But I did still decide that if I ever want to splurge on someone to my money's content I'm doing it on their birthday.
I don't know about all of us, but have you noticed that when you pay for gas in cash or with your card inside the store, you actually get less gas than when you pay as you go at the pump with your card? Try it next time.
Around the last dollar amount, it always slows down. It reduces to a trickle, so you're not really getting as much as you could.
Something to think about. It always annoys me.
After spending some times on SA, I was suddenly struck by an idea which I thought might help people, and was something (novel) to my life. I live in an apartment complex and we have a laundry room. I'm constantly taking mindless trips down there for no apparent reason, and I figured I might as well make myself useful. Why not start a community coupon bin? It could be hung up on the wall and people could add and take coupons as they needed, and should someone find an expired one, we can put a note on it asking everyone to throw away the coupon. (You have time to kill at the laundry matt anyways).
The benefits I figured would be that people tend not to take advantage of things not easily accessible, and for those who don't have computers to visit Coupons.com, having some sort of option would still be nice.
But where was I going to enough coupons to kick this thing off? I went next door to my neighbor who regularly gets the paper. Our apartment complex has just started a recycling center and I knew he'd have some batches of newspaper, and their shiny glossy ads with them. I was right. Two whole batches and 3 hours later I had over 40 coupons and offers valid, cut, and ready to be used!
I grabbed on envelope, wrote a nice message on the front (including Do Not Throw Away Please!) snuck out (at 3.am) and posted it in the laundry.
I climbed out the next night, and discovered the papers ruffled, which meant someone has at least looked at them.