Tanger Outlet Center | Free Coupon Book and 20% off Coupons

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If you’re headed out to Tanger this weekend, they’ve got a few specials going on.  You can print the coupon above (or on their Facebook page) to receive a free coupon book today.  If you’re not going today, they will be posting another hot Thursday offer on their Facebook page tomorrow morning.

You can also fill out this form to have a 20% off any single item at participating stores coupon emailed to you.

My Christmas List | What I’ve Bought: Part 1

I’d like to take a few minutes to tell you what gifts I’ve purchased so far this holiday season, along with my current savings.  Many of these deals are no longer available, but several were posted here!

I normally don’t list items I’ve bought with credits, as I am a blogger and sometimes receive more credits than the average reader.  However,  this year I’m on a mission to see how far I can stretch the estimated credits an average referrer can use.

I’m really trying to cut back on the number of gifts we give this year, as we are in the process of buying a home and eliminating a LOT of clutter.

Item Retail Cost
EA Sports NFL Training Camp-Wii $39.99 $12.71 Paid in full with Swagbucks Gift Cards
Barbie Twillerbaby Play Set $9.99 $1.48 Mattel Sale
Barbie Twillerbaby Play Set (bought two) $9.99 $1.48 Mattel Sale
Polly Pocket $9.99 $2.48 Mattel Sale
Polly Pocket $7.99 $4.99 Mattel Sale
Steak and Shake Gift Card $10 $5 Saveology
Steak and Shake Gift Card $10 $5.99 OnSale
Farm Frenzy –DS $24.99 $6.48 Paid in full with Swagbucks Gift Cards
National Geographic Books $20 $10.00 Sale: $10- used $10 in free credits from Plum District
Dollhouse $49.99 $25.00 Sale: $25- used $25 in free credits from Eversave
Melissa and Doug Toys
$80
$38
paid $13.90shipping costs only, these were gift cards from SaveMore, bought with credits
Guitar Center Gift Card
$50
$25
Groupon Half Price gift card, paid for with Groupon

Credits

Total
322.93
$138.61
Adjusted Price after Credits: $35.32

If you’d like to learn how I shop like this, or how I bought $3,000 worth of items last year for under $400, register for the next Christmas Savings workshop on October 27th here:  Upcoming Workshops We’ll analyze your own Christmas list, cutting the cost of each item in HALF or MORE!

Can’t take a workshop?  Get the 40 page Ultimate Christmas Savings Ebook + the 18 page printable Christmas planner today for just $10 (a $63 value)! 

How to buy birthday gifts with absolutely no cash!

Between the hubs and I, we have a pretty large family and a host of close friends.  Ironically, almost ALL of those that we would buy birthday gifts for have birthdays in August.  I’m also so busy in August that I don’t have time to scour every store for the best clearances.  Sure, I keep a gift closet, but it doesn’t always have exactly what I need, and as the kids get bigger, it’s harder to hide things from them. 

Enter Amazon.com.  I can order what I want, when I want, and it arrives in 2 days because I’m a member of Amazon Prime (the best money you will EVER spend).  I can leave the gifts in the shipping boxes and throw them in the closet.  The kids know that I buy tons of random things from Amazon, so they have no idea what’s in these boxes and won’t touch them (unlike the box I got from Heely’s that was wrapped in packing tape with their logo).

Amazon is typically cheaper than other stores, I can do my shopping 24/7, and in Missouri, purchases are tax free- which saves me an additional 12%. 

The best part about Amazon is that they offer giftcards on SwagbucksSwagbucks is a search engine that pays you to use it.  You randomly earn points (called Swagbucks) that are redeemable for gift cards and prizes in their store.  Once you reach 450 Swagbucks, you can redeem them for a $5 Amazon gift card.  These gift cards have no expiration date and can be ‘stacked’ together to make one large purchase.  I earn between $50 and $125 a month in Amazon gift cards- simply by using their search engine. 

Wanna sign up?  It’s EASY!  Click here:  Sign up for Swagbucks

If you’re looking for even more information and tips on how to use Swagbucks, check out this post:  Getting started with Swagbucks

Walmart Amazing Electronics Event | November 6th and 7th

In years past, Walmart has run ‘Super Saturday’ sales for the first 2 Saturdays in November.  These sales boast some pretty good discounts, and some items are cheaper than they will end up being for BF (Black Friday).

This sale starts at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, and the best deal I see is a $50 iTunes card for $35.  However, there is a limit of 1-2 per customer.  Their site says a limit of 1 on the item page, but a limit of 2 on the page announcing the sale.  I’m not sure how they’ll enforce it, so if you get an ad today, let me know what it says!

The other items listed are:

Compaq Laptop: $288

26” Vizio LED TV: $198 (GREAT price on an LED)

PS3 bundle- console+game+PS3 Move AND a $50 WM gift card: $399

Vizio 32” LCD TV: $298

Vizio 42” LCD TV: $498

Vizio 47” TV: $698

Vizio 55” TV: $898

Walmart.com Pre-Black Friday Sales

Rotating Electronics Holiday Banner

Walmart.com has just kicked off their Pre-Black Friday sale.  There are some pretty good deals, and remember that most items will ship to you for only 97¢ or to the store for free!

Some of my favorites are:

Viore 32” LCD TV: $299

Hamilton Beach 6 Speed Stand Mixer 12 Piece BakerEze Bakeware set: $49

PS3, Wii, DS, and Xbox games: 2/$30

Selected Video Games: B2G1

Sony Alpha Digital SLR Camera: $379

Click here to see these and all 172 items!

Saving Your Way to a Better Holiday Season | Finding Coupons!

Big_Toy_Book_CoverCover of 2008 Big Toy Book

The best Christmas sales don’t always start on Black Friday.  Actually, many of the pre-Thanksgiving sales are right up there with the Black Friday deals.  Store are looking to capitalize on profits for the entire quarter, and the sooner they get you to buying, the more money you’ll spend. 

Instead of offering huge weekly sale ads, stores will put out a book of coupons at the end of October, filled with special pricing, incentives, and coupons.  These books mainly include children and baby items.  Their goal?  To put the products in the child’s hands.  When I was small, I had a Sears Wishbook.  My mother said I drove her nearly insane with that book and my constant begging and ‘I wants’. One day, she got so fed up, she threw it in the woodstove.  Then I drove her insane with my crying over the loss of my book. 

I don’t think I cared if I actually got those items, I was just dreaming about them (I’d like to think anyways- like I remember, I was 3!).  A few years ago, I opened one of my gifts and found… a 1984 Sears Wishbook.  Thanks to Ebay, things like that are much easier to get your hands on now.  The funny thing is, in this era of nostalgia that the toy companies are pushing on us, many of the items in the book are on store shelves now! 

Enough of my digressions.. let’s get to the point.  These books are great because:

  • They are full of discounts.
  • You can pre-shop from your couch.
  • Your kids can make their Christmas lists off of them!

Many parents give their kids markers and the books and let them go to town on circling items.  This encourages them to make their Christmas lists (or write their letters to Santa).  The earlier you shop, the better off you are!

What books are available?

Some of the biggest books are the Toys ‘R Us Big Book, the Sears Wishbook, and the Target Toy Coupon Book. 

When are they released?

All of these books are released the last Sunday of October.  With it falling on a holiday this year, I’m not 100% sure, but I assume it will come out on the 31st.  There is a slight chance it may come out this weekend!

How can I get them?

Sears: I cannot find an online registration (if you find it, let me know!).  You can either call their customer service number at 800-549-4505 to be added to their mailing list or you may view the entire book online. 

Toys ‘R Us: This will be in the Sunday paper, can be picked up in-store, or will be delivered to the homes of those on their mailing list.  To join the mailing list, call: 1-800-869-7787 then select options 1, 2, then 4. 

Target: In previous years, the coupons have been available for print on their website. They also come out in selected Sunday papers.  You can also find these in the store, hung from the endcaps in the toy and electronics departments. 

Are there other types of coupons available?

Of course!  Around the holidays, retailers are putting out coupons like crazy to get you to purchase their products.  Watch in the weekly inserts (in your Sunday paper), on printable coupon sites such as Coupons.com and Redplum, and stuck to products.  The Christmas shopping season is full of holiday peelies! 

Watch for rebates, too!  For the last 3 years, Mattel has offered a $50 prepaid Visa for the purchase of $100 Barbie products.  Hasbro puts out rebates for board games every year. 

Don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series- they will help you save (and earn!) some serious holiday cash!

Making a List

Setting Your Budget

Finding Extra Cash

Earning Some Dough

Saving Your Way to a Better Holiday Season | Finding Extra Cash $$$

coin purse

It’s only 49 days until Black Friday, have you started your saving yet?  For many, saving for the holidays is a daunting task.  Many will resort to putting their purchases on credit cards and accumulating some horrifying interest.  Saving doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. 

I’ve also discovered some unique ways to save your income for the holidays.  Again, some of these are effortless, others will take less than 1 minute a week.  Seriously! 

First thing’s first.  You should have already made your list and set your budget. (If you haven’t, click on those red words and read some good tips on how to do it.)  I know, it seems crazy to already be thinking about it, but remember, planning is everything.  No, I’m not a super organized freak (not to be taken as derogatory, I envy those of you who are), but holiday spending is something that can get out of control extremely quickly if you don’t monitor it closely.

Once you know how much you’re going to spend, you need to figure out how long until you are going to spend it.  If you are planning on doing the majority of your shopping on Black Friday, you have 49 days from today to save for it.  That’s just 7 paydays!  If you are planning on spending $1,000 this year, you’ll need to sock back $143 each week.  Now if you started your saving on January 1st, you would be putting up $21 each week and drawing interest on the balance in a savings account. 

Creative Ways to Save

  • Pick up a store gift card and add to it regularly.  I’ve found that gift cards to Walmart and Target are pretty much the same as cash.  If you run short during the year, you can use them to buy groceries, diapers, fix a tire, or even buy a prepaid cash card.  If you add just $5 a week during your regular shopping (and who doesn’t go to Walmart once a week-if you don’t, trust me, the rest of us are jealous and you don’t need to post your success in the comments), you’ll never notice it gone.  That’s as much as you’d spend on a magazine in the checkout line. 

Your $5 a week will equate to nearly $250 each year!  You can even use it to buy gift cards to restaurants and other stores. 

  • Buy Amazon Gift Cards.  This is very similar to the above, except that Amazon literally has anything you can dream of (unlike some Walmart stores after the remodel).  You can purchase these online and add them directly to your account so you always have a positive balance with them. 

 

  • Open an ING Direct AccountING is an online bank that has been around for years.  It’s a very reputable bank that allows you to set up countless free savings accounts (similar to the envelope method if you’re on the Dave Ramsey program) for whatever you choose.  We have one for each of the kids, vacations, savings, etc.  You can choose to manually transfer money from your bank account or have it automatically withdrawn on a certain day.  You can set up recurring payments and cancel at any time. 

The upside to this is that you still have cash, and whatever you don’t spend, you get to keep tucked away!  It does take about 2-3 days to transfer the money back into your bank account, so you won’t be tempted to spend it on impulse purchases. 

If you implement one (or all) of these tips regularly, it will become habit.  You will become accustomed to dishing out $5-$20 each week and not pay a bit of attention to it.  Your savings will grow, grow, grow!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the next post in Saving Your Way to a Better Holiday Season.  This post will help you earn some extra holiday cash! 

Christmas Savings Workshop Tomorrow Night!

Christmas Workshop

The last public Christmas Savings workshop of the season will be held tomorrow night, October 8th, in Springfield, Missouri.  This workshop will save you HUNDREDS on your Christmas list.  Even if you’ve taken it during a previous holiday season, there are lots of new tips, tricks, trends, and techniques.  You probably have a new Christmas list for the Q&A session, too!

You may register by clicking here: Register for Christmas Savings Workshop

Christmas Savings Workshop Description

Once a part of the Sensible Shopping workshop, the Christmas Savings workshop has now taken on a life of it’s own. This workshop teaches you how to save on every expense you have throughout the holiday season.  Last year, we gave $2,060 worth of gifts for only $311- including an Xbox360, mountain bikes, camcorders, and MP3 players.  All items are new and purchased from stores you probably already shop at!  Receipts are provided for all of my purchases

In this class, we cover:

  • Setting a realistic budget
  • Earning gift cards to pay for your purchases
  • Alternate ways to save for the holidays
  • Store clearance schedules
  • The best times to buy certain products
  • How to take advantage of Black Friday prices everyday
  • Maximizing your Black Friday shopping trip- how to hit fewer stores and get everything you’re after
  • Finding Black Friday ads early
  • Shopping online for Black Friday
  • Holiday sales schedules
  • The hottest items of the year
  • and more!

Each attendee is asked to bring his or her personal shopping list.  We’ll go over them all at the workshop and I’ll tell you exactly where to purchase the items on your list for less.  We guarantee to save the cost of your registration on just ONE item on your list!  This workshop pays for itself.

Saving Your Way to a Better Holiday Season | Setting the ‘Ol Budget

Piggy Bank

Last week, we discussed how to write your list and why you need to do it so early (If you missed it, read this post).  I’m sure all of you have at least a partial list written, if not, take a few minutes today and jot down everyone you intend to purchase for this season.  Also include other holiday expenses, such as cards, postage, food, gift wrap, etc.  This should not take very long and will help with setting your budget.

Once you’ve gotten your list ready, it much easier to allocate your budget, but first, you must set an overall budget.  Your overall budget can either be the amount of actual cash you’d like to spend or the total retail value of all gifts.  I recommend using actual cash, so that you do not get caught up in deal shopping and exceed your budget. 

You also need to take a few other things into consideration:

  • Will you set an amount per family or per person?  If you have a sibling that’s married with 6 children and another with only 2, will you spend the same amount on each person or each family? 
  • Will your budgeted amount be for retail value or what you actually spent on it?  If you have a $25 budget for Cousin Joe and you find a $25 video game for $5, will you consider the game his only gift or will you keep shopping until you’ve physically spent $25? (I still recommend setting your overall budget as the maximum you hope to spend)
  • Do any of your gift exchanges impose limits?  If so, make sure you follow them!

Here’s an example of a very simple Christmas budget:

Person Each Overall Budget
Spouse $50 $50
Child (x3) $100 $300
Parents (x4) $25 $100
Siblings (x6) $20 $120
Nieces/Nephews (x8) $20 $140
Teachers (x2) $20 $40
Decorations/Tree $50 $50
Gift Wrap $30 $30
Cards/Postage $40 $40
Donations $100 $100
Food $140 $140
Total   $1,000

Let’s say that you have a $1,000 overall budget (for the sake of perfectly rounded numbers).  You may want to spend $100 one each of your kids, $25 on your parents, $20 on your siblings and their children, etc. (see above chart). 

It’s very important to figure in incidentals such as foods for parties, hostess gifts, Christmas dinner, stocking stuffers, etc.  

I’ve created a very simple Christmas budget Excel spreadsheet that will help you stay on budget.  Try to update it every time you purchase a gift!  You can download it here:

In the next post in the Saving Your Way to a Better Holiday Season, we’ll talk about super easy ways to sock away some extra cash to help combat that budget! 

I’m curious, what is your Christmas budget?  Overall or per family?  Leave a comment below!

Saving Your Way to a Better Holiday Season | Making a List

Christmas Workshop

I’m sure that somewhere, either in the back of your mind or up front and center, you’re already thinking about the holidays.  Did you know that there are only 80 days until Black Friday? 

As with nearly anything, planning alone can save some money, but when you team planning with the knowledge learned in a Christmas Shopping Workshop, you can save a fortune!  Because not everyone is able to take a workshop, I’ll be running a series of posts that will help you get started.  Please stay tuned throughout the fall for more posts geared at your holiday shopping!

Making a List

One of the simplest and most beneficial methods of planning is list making.  Making the list is the easy part, but keeping it updated and with you at all times might prove to be a bit more difficult.  I like to keep a handwritten copy in my planner- which goes everywhere with me.  You could also keep a small notebook or a paper in your wallet.

I start my list by writing down every person that I need to buy for.  It’s sometimes hard to do that if you start shopping early.  In my husband’s family, we sometimes buy for his siblings, but other years we only buy for the kids.  We leave this up to his siblings to decide.  I go ahead and add them to my list- just in case I find a great deal on something.

My extended family used to draw names- but they never wanted to mess with it until Thanksgiving Dinner (which was held the Sunday after Thanksgiving).  That is not enough time for me, as I’m usually done by Thanksgiving.  If your family draws names late in the year, try pressuring them to draw earlier, or even at Christmas for the next year.  This will give you plenty of time to plan.

Write a full list, one that includes family, friends, teachers, bus drivers, mailman, etc. You don’t want to be caught with unexpected expenses later!

Stay tuned for the next post… Setting the ‘Ol Budget