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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cooking with your Kids

One of my favorite things to do with my son and dayhome kids is to bake a cake, muffins or rice crispie squares. The kids love it, I give them each a job, one pours the oil, one measures the flour and someone else mixes. I think it is so important to teach your kids to cook, so I am always excited to see kid friendly kitchen stuff. All of these items are from Snug as a Bug

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coupon Frustrations and How to Overcome Them!

As with everything in life, there is always some sort of negative side of things. When it comes to our latest hobby of couponing, we have come to discover some frustrations that come along with it. Here is a list of some of those things that irk us and some tips on how to overcome them:

#1 Too many coupons to know what to do with!! The best solution we have found so far for this is our coupon binder, as Jennifer so nicely described in a previous post! Using different type of page inserts and dividers you can organize your coupons by useful categories to make sorting and locating easier! We have also made a pile of coupons that we know we will not use and use these coupons for trading with others and coupon "trains".
You can also donate any coupons to people in need. For example, donate your pet food coupons to a local shelter!

#2 Binder is too full! This is a current problem we are both having. We have yet to come up with a great solution. We question if we need a bigger binder, a second binder, or if we should search for a better system! Some ladies go as far as large carrying cases that look like tool boxes! We have yet to get to that level yet, but who knows!

#3 EXPIRY DATES! This is one of the saddest realizations as a coupon diva.....when a coupon you have has expired. At the moment we take these expired coupons and give them to Jennifer's son as he has graciously taken on the hobby of couponing just like Mommy! He has his own little coupon binder and plays store with his friends and uses expired coupons and flyers! I love this idea :)
When coupons are nearing expiry and you have more than you can use, don't just go and use them! If you have enough to save a decent amount of money on the item and you know you need it then go for it! But don't just use them "just because". Some useful tips would be to trade them with someone you know will need them and put them to good use. ALSO, one of the neatest solutions we have come across so far is to take those coupons to the store with you when you go and leave them with that product so that someone else who is shopping for that product can take advantage of the coupon!!

#4 Cranky store workers! This one is a bummer and sometimes can't be avoided. Some people just seem to be against coupons for some reason and want to do everything in their power to prevent you from using them. It's sad really, but to each their own. To avoid conflict here are some things you can do: Make sure you have a copy or good knowledge of the store's coupon policy. That way you can present it to prove that what you are doing is allowed. You can also go to Customer Service with your purchases rather than a regular cashier as they usually have a bit more knowledge of the coupon process and if authorization is needed for the transaction (ex: price matching) then they are able to do so right there. ~Debra

Monday, October 19, 2009

Silent Communication and Early Learning

More and more parents are now discovering the world of Sign Language and using it to communicate with their babies at a very early age. Sign language gives the child a means of communication before they are able to use verbal language. It is amazing to see how much they understand!

Sign Language is a language, just as English, French or Spanish are languages. There are different sign languages as well. One of the most commonly used in North America is ASL, or American Sign Language. However, when it comes to baby sign language, parents can also use their own signs to communicate a word or phrase. Whatever you feel most comfortable with, as long as your signs are consistent and you and your child both understand the meaning!

We use sign language with Emma and all of my dayhome children use baby sign language. It is a fantastic way to communicate! Only one of my dayhome children is using verbal words and very minimal at the moment. They are able to tell me when they are “all done” a meal or activity, and when they want “more” of something. One child is also able to say “please”. I know if I had worked a bit harder with Emma there would be even more signing but we focused on mealtime as the main point of interest in having her communicate. We are now using more signs when we speak with her. I now use “help”, “stop”, "please", "thank you" and “sleep”. I have sign language cue cards and a g

reat book but I find DVDs are a wonderful way to learn with your baby as you can see the lesson!

The Baby Einstein series of DVD’s has a Baby Sign Language version which is a great way to learn basic words such as ‘Mommy’, ‘Daddy’, ‘cookie’, ‘baby’ etc. The children also enjoy watching this movie as it is created to suit their attention-span.

One of my most FAVORITE resources are the Signing Time DVD’s. These are so much fun and very educational. They sign to very fun songs and teach many, many different signs. I

was first introduced to these DVD’s when I worked at a playschool and I fell in love with them. The children thought they were fun and they were learning so much at the same time. Visit their website to learn more!

I would encourage any parent to use baby sign language, even if it is only a couple of words. It is a lot of fun for your child to learn and gives you such an amazing feeling to know you have given your child a means of communication well before they are able to speak verbally! What a gift.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Using Your Coupons

Tips For Using Coupons

Starting out:
  • Look through your fliers for best deals
  • Check your cupboards for needed items
  • MAKE A SHOPPING LIST- Know what is on sale, what you need to buy no matter what and what is on your wish list. I write on my list how many coupons I have for each product. That way I don't have to go through my coupons in the store to find out how many I have
  • Know the stores coupon/ price matching policies
Organize all your coupons the night before at home:
  • Clip all like coupons together ( do not staple)
  • Check all Expiry Dates
  • Check all conditions ( can not be combined with any other offer, good only in the USA, can only be used at such in such store, can only be used when you buy a certain size, an additional product etc)
  • Put all the coupons you are planning on using in an envelope ( take your coupon binder in case you come across a great deal, but it is much easier to shop if all the coupons you are using are in an envelope)
  • Bring competitor fliers for price matching
During Shopping:
  • If at all possible, do not bring the kids or at least bring help with the kids
  • Never shop hungry you will buy extra stuff you don't need
  • Try to shop at times you are not rushed, time to browse- Some of the best Deals are in the clearance bins. $5.00 Shampoo marked down to $1.00 and then use your 1.00 coupon, you get the product completely FREE
  • Also do not shop at the stores busy hours- Lines are longer, cashiers are more rushed and not in the best moods. I like early mornings or late in the evenings
  • Remember something is not a deal if you don't need it or are not going to use it.
Cashing Out:
  • Often it is best to go to Customer Service to cash out- That way you are not holding up lines, the customer service rep often has the authority to accept questionable coupons, they usually know the policies better, it is also easier to price match at CS
  • If you have a huge cart and ALOT of coupons you could also ask for the cashiers to open an extra till
  • Be nice to your cashier, cashiers will start fighting you on policies if you are rude, but if you are nice they will usually go out of the way to be nice to you
  • Ask the cashier if she prefers the coupons with each item or at the end ( I prefer with each item that way if there is a problem with a coupon, you can check the product at the same time)
  • Don't forget to use your Airmiles and stores cards ( Save on Card, Optimum Card, Sobeys Card etc) the points add up fast

Enjoy your savings!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Canadian Coupon Websites

Another London Drugs ( LD) shopping spree

2 bags of Pampers - $18.99 PM w/ SDM $13.99 X2 =$ 27.98 - $25.00= $2.98
Crest Pro Health Tooth paste- $2.99-$3.00= FREE
Satin Care Gel- $2.99-$3.00= FREE
Crest White Strips-$49.99- PM w/ SDM $29.99- $30.00= FREE
Scrub Free- $2.99-$2.75=$0.24
Panteen Shampoo & Panteen Conditioner $3.99 each = $7.98-$8.00= +0.02
Pampers wipes- $4.99-$2.00= $2.99
Huggies Wipes- $3.99-$3.99= FREE
Glade Candle $8.99- $8.99 Mail in Rebate= FREE
Huggies Pure Natural Diapers $12.99-$13.00= FREE
Alimentum $6.99-$5.00= $1.99

Tax $5.29
Total $25.12
( the cashier screwed up on one coupon it was suppose to be $3.00 and she only put $0.30)
After the rebate I would have paid $16.12
Coupon savings of $88.04
Mail in rebate of $8.99

PM- Price Matched
SDM- Shoppers Drug Mart
The - amounts were my coupon amounts/ item

Where can you find Canadian Coupons?

Mail coupons: ( you order free online, they will be mailed to you within a week)

Printable:( Never change the sizing of a coupon, it is considered Fraud just like altering money)

When you shop using your Visa-

Newsletters ( sends coupons, samples each month)
20. 3M

Paid Coupons
22. Don't forget Ebay. Ebay is a good place to get started with coupons. Make sure you are not paying to much for them, that they are Canadian, English and watch for shipping costs.
23. The Healthy Shopper This is a book of healthy coupons the book is free but you do pay $4-$5.00 for shipping

Well there is 23 coupon sites to get you started. If you know of anymore sites please share them. I will continue to add more savings tips soon :)

TIP:Remember if you see a coupon in the store for a product that you buy all the time grab a bunch of extra to use in the future. Most Coupons don't expire for a few months/ a year and a Manufacture coupon can be used in any store. ( Costco does not take coupons other then their in store coupons)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Grocery Shopping Tips

My Big Savings Of The Week

After Debra's wonderful post on Couponing the other week, we both started doing it ourselves and have had amazing results so far. I have saved $228.10 in less then 2 weeks and most importantly on stuff I actually needed.Here is a photo of my latest shopping trip. All of this stuff came to $122.29 and I paid $10.82 with tax.

Here is how I did it.

1.First off I started by emailing all my local stores and asking what their coupon policy and price matching policies were.

Specific questions were:
Do you accept manufacturers coupons?
Do you accept online coupons?
Do you allow customers to stack coupons? Or to at least use both an in store coupon and manufacturer coupons together?
Do you price match?

Once they emailed me back I printed off their policies and put them in a binder. Most cashiers have no idea what store policies are and if you are having trouble with a cashier, you can show them the email. (every store I emailed, emailed me back with in a week)

TIP-London Drugs is stacking friendly. Which means they will allow you to use coupons up to the value of the product. Each of the coupons must be different ( different USP code) and none of them can say " can not be combined with any other offer" This is their policy. You still pay tax on the full amount of the product though and any online coupon over $2.00 needs in store approval. London Drugs also allows you to price match with other local stores ( item must be in the flier and in stock at the competitors store)

2. Second I called our local paper and asked to have the fliers delivered to my house.

3. I then sat down and started writing down prices of the items I use all the time ( Pampers, wipes, shampoo, soap, deodorant) and comparing them to sale fliers. Now in my binder I have a list of prices for these items. I can compare the sale price to the best price and know if it is a good deal, if I should wait for it to go on an even better sale or if I should price match it with another local stores price.

4. Start collecting coupons.

Where can you find coupons?
Local fliers, newspapers, magazines, back of food boxes, in store and online.
Make sure to sign up for newsletters from companies you use alot of for example Pampers, the newsletters almost always include coupons

TIP- When you find a coupon on something you use alot in store, grab extra and keep them for a later shopping trip.
5. Put all your coupons in your binder and organize them in sections ( beauty, baby, food, household etc) This way you can clearly see what you have. Hockey card holders are great for holding coupons. In your binder you should also have scrap paper, pen, scissors, calculator, shopping list,store policies and list of prices. Carry your binder everywhere.

6. Only use coupons on items that are on sale to get a better price for example-

In my photo I bought a Box of 156 Pamper Baby dry Diaper. They were on sale for $26.97 (already a good price) I then had a bunch of coupons. 6 x $2.00 off ( all were different coupons some printed off line, some from save.ca, some from Pampers newsletter etc. I then also had a $3.00 off and 2 X $5.00 off when you buy a box of pampers and wipes. So in total I got $25.00 off the pampers and only paid $1.97 for the box of diapers.

But it gets better since I also bought a box of 320 wipes which were on sale for $8.97 ( remember I had to buy wipes to save the $13.00 on the diapers) I also got to use coupons on the wipes. So I used another $6.00 worth of coupons on the wipes so I paid $2.97 for the wipes.

7. When you get a great deal, stock up. The whole goal is to never buy something not on sale. So stock up when you get that great sale and never pay full price again.

I think couponing will become a regular topic on our blog and we will continue to share some tips, coupon sites, sales etc. So keep checking back and hopefully we can help you shop for free as well.

If you like the post make sure to leave comments:)