Wednesday, October 20, 2010

E is for Economizing Efforts

 So, the economy isn't great.  Times are tough.  Everyone's tightening their belts, right?
Should one be thrifty only when times are hard?  Heck, No!  I love saving $ all of the time, it just helps most when every penny counts.  And if things are stretched thin for average josephine's like me, what about those who have even less?

Well, I'm no money guru but I do have a few tricks I love using & thought I'd share a few with you today!

My favorite 'funny money' is Discover Card's Cash Back Rewards!  *find out more HERE* I use my Discover Card whenever I can.  I use it on groceries, gas, clothes, restaurants, misc.  I hardly carry any cash anymore.  But I pay off my full balance every month & I only buy something if I'm ok with the price it costs right now.  I don't think about any money I get back.  When I'm ready to cash out I can do a number of things.

1) I can use the Cash Back Bonus $ to reduce my balance due.  Sometimes I do this when a reduced balance is really what I need.

2) I can use it to make a donation to a handful of organizations & Discover will donate a percentage more.  This option is great because there is no additional out.of.pocket expense to me.  I'm helping out a great cause *I usually choose the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund* plus Discover kicks in a little extra.  I feel good - they feel good!

3) I can get a gift card at a participating store.  So, for example, at time I cashed in $20 in Cash Back Bonus $ and got a gift card for $25 at American Eagle!  I did that for each of the girls so for $40 I got $50 in GCs.  If a special occasion is coming up and I know we'll go out to dinner I may cash in $80 and get 4 $25 GCs to Buca di Beppo.  Bring that in with a $10-off coupon usually found in the weekend paper & I may not have to pay anything more out.of.pocket on a dinner for 5+ people!!  I usually fund my hardware store needs for my projects with Lowes GCs using my Cash Back Rewards $ although this one's not as great of a deal.  (For $45 I only get a $50 GC.)  And it has come in handy, when I have enough advanced notice, to order a card to give as a gift.  How often do you get to buy a GC for less than the face value?!

btw I didn't get paid for this endorsement - I just love my Discover Card! <3
Ok!  'Nuf about that!  Moving on -

There are 2 sites where I get good deals. &
 If you get on their email list they will send you regular deals.  For example, during a special promotion at I purchased a $25 GC for $2!  {Yes! You read that correctly!!} I chose a local restaurant I've wanted to try.  Handy Hubby : ) & I tried it out on a date night.  We ordered $31 worth of food.  We spent about $14 total on our meal out.of.pocket (including tax & tip).  I might not have been willing to try it if not for this GC!  {Make sure you read the fine print for each establishment}

The same goes for  They do offer restaurant coupons but lots of other things too.  I've tried indoor rock climbing experiences, paint.your.own pottery places, a wine tasting nite.  All things I would never pay full price for but at a discount I'm willing to give it a try.

And finally, I've recently discovered the world of couponing!!  Where have I been?!!  I mean I've always used coupons but not to this level!

To supplement our church food pantry, a new committee started requesting that parishioners donate their weekend ads after they've clipped the coupons they want first.  We meet weekly to sort the ad packets and clip the coupons for the best deals of the week.

Last week, I MADE $ buying toothpaste at CVS for the pantry!!  How you ask?  Well, the toothpaste was on sale for $2.99.  CVS was offering $2.99 in Extra Care Bucks but we also clipped a coupon for $1 off so I made $1 in ECB/tube!  I used my ECB on Halloween candy.  I can't bring myself to turn in that receipt to church for reimbursement - I'd feel like I was stealing!!

Now I pick up any deals that end up being free and donate it to the pantry.  Makes me feel good. 
There are several sites that watch weekly ads:, Just Trying to Save Money  blog & The Coupon Goddess blog!!  Check them out!

And one final tip - I promise!  If you love owning books you should check out!  You list books that you are done with.  When someone requests one of your books, you pay to send it out *media mail* and when they receive it you earn a credit.  You, then, can use your credit to request a book someone else has listed. They actually have divisions to swap CD's & movies too.

My girls have to purchase their own books for school & we can usually find most of the books they need for English on paperbackswap.  It saves us a little cash.  And when they are done with it we can keep it or repost it. 

As usual, I've run on too long!  {If you knew me in real life you'd say I'm shy - Honest!} I just get so darned excited when I can save $ on something I was gonna get anyway.  It never hurts to watch your spending!   So there you have it, Folks!  A few of Emily's Economizing Efforts!
How do you economize?



Annesphamily said...

You are exceptional clever with this post. I like how you laid this post out. It was clever and excitingly informative. Anne

Judie said...

Now that Keil is going out on his own after a year of living with us, I am trying to teach him how to economize! Of course, he can always come back here and raid my freezer, where he will find meals that I have frozen for him! Hahaha!

Christy said...

I always love economizing tips! You should check out ebates too - a great way to earn cash back!

Red Couch Recipes said...

Thanks for the tips on Restaurants. com and Groupons. I am going to try them. Great, enthusiastic post for "E" day. Joni

My name is PJ. said...

E is for educational! Great info!!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

You have it going on. I love all the ways you are saving and making money.

gabe said...

I love the paper back swap thingie. . .gonna have to look that one up!

Great E post!

Write Chick said...

I also use a credit card instead of a debit card to earn rewards dollars. Very important to pay it off every month though, cause mine is starting to go over.
I'm also careful with money, and got some REALLY good ideas. Thanks! This post was wonderful.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Our book club does a swap every month when we meet. We all bring the books that we have already read (with our names in them) and then put them in a big basket and everyone just picks out their new reading material for free!

Jackie said...

Hi Emily I'm happy that you have saved money . I only have one credit card and that's all I can handle , besides I live in Canada and they probably don't have it , I don't know . Anyway thanks for the economizing tips . It was a pleasure.

Sue said...

Some great and timely tips here. Thanks!


fredamans said...


Jenny said...

What a fun and informative link to Alphabe-Thursday.

We use the cashback cards on our Chase accounts and you can get gift cards to Target and Barnes and Noble. It is really fun to get the rewards and gives me a little bit of an extra shopping bang for my much tighter buck!

This was really an excellent link.

Thank you.