Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bigger or better

Every college student has played Bigger or Better. A group breaks into teams and they all go out with 1 penny. They knock on random doors asking to trade for something bigger or better. They may get a hat, then trade that for a toaster, etc. The team with the biggest or best prize at the end wins. I have even known teams to end up with a couch in the end! It's a cheap, fun way for college students to pass a Friday night.

Recently, I played a similar "game" with my skymiles. We had 100,000 skymiles, enough to take a great trip. The options were exciting as we dreamed of all the ways we could enjoy our free airfare.

First, we considered going to Europe. At 50,000 miles each, we could get 2 tickets. What a deal. Then, we thought about the cost of hotels, etc and the poor exchange rate. We quickly decided that wasn't the bargain we were looking for.

Rather, we decided to take a family vacation to Disneyland. With each ticket costing 25,000 miles, we could get 4 tickets for free. Great deal. End of story, right? Wrong.

In the process of narrowing our dates, my husband happened on an airfare sale. The tickets that were $300+ the week before, were on sale for $115. Now, using 25,000 miles to buy the tickets didn't make sense. Why waste that many miles on a cheap flight? Then my husband made another great discovery. Pay with miles. The Delta American Express card recently started offering this option-- 10,000 miles = $100. So, using only 10,000 miles, we were able to get our tickets for $39 each (that includes taxes and fees). A killer deal!

So, we went from 2 international tickets, to 4 domestic tickets, to (up to) 10 dirt cheap tickets. All costing 100,000 skymiles. That's my kind of bigger or better game!

My point in writing this is: 1) Credit Cards with rewards are great. Whatever kind of reward you prefer, you can find it. Look into them and you can get something for your everyday spending. You do it anyway, get rewarded! 2) When you use your rewards, don't just automatically assume you know what they are worth. Look for deals to make them even better.

PYP in the News (or PYP) is a site that compiles lists of the best grocery deals paired with coupons. I have been using it for 2 years. Right now is a great time to join PYP since they are coming up on their 5 year anniversary (March 11) and will be giving away prizes to celebrate. Here is a link to the first giveaway--a shelf reliance storage system. (If you win, I'll try to contain my jealousy!)

Check out this link for a news story on Pinching Your Pennies to learn more.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Online Coupons

Printing coupons from websites is a good way to get coupons for only the cost of ink and paper. Check with your local stores about their printable coupon policies. Most accept them, but some have limitations and a few do not accept them at all.

It is legal to print 2 of each coupon. (Coupon websites automatically allow this. Some sites allow more, but 2 is most common.) Each coupon will have a unique bar code. NEVER photo copy coupons. It is coupon fraud and is illegal.

Coupon Sites

You can also print coupons by signing up for online newsletters such as: Beech Nut, Malt-O-Meal, Unilever, Kellogg, etc. Check websites of your favorite brands to see if they have coupons available.

Couponing Tips


Successful coupon shoppers also use the following tips to maximize their savings.
* Don’t buy something solely because you have a coupon.
* Combine sales with coupons to get the best deal.
* Generic brands are almost never cheaper than name brands bought on sale with coupons.
* If the coupon says “off any size”, its often most profitable to use it on the smallest size.
* Remember one store never has the lowest price on everything.
* Stock up when the great deals come.
* Moderation! Know how much your family can use.
* Check expiration dates on all food and perishable items.
* Multiple coupons.