Take Advantage of Back-to-School Deals Even if You Don’t Have a Back-to-Schooler

I love the Back-to-School season.  Even though I’m not a student anymore it doesn’t mean I have no need for school supplies – and I’ll bet you and your family need some, too.

Year-round office supplies. Every year for as long as I can remember I’ve used the super sales to stock up on most of my office supplies for the year.   Pens, pencils, notebooks, paper – there are always a ton of great loss leaders.   And loss leaders – when retailers give ridiculously low prices in hopes that you’ll spend more money on high profit items while you’re there – are a frugal Mom’s friend.

Birthday Party Favors. Once  Son was born my Back-to-School shopping took on a new dimension.  Son sports a July birthday, so in addition to my own office supplies I’ve been taking advantage of the great deals as frugal party favors.  One year I got boxes of 25 crayons for a penny apiece!  You can bet I stocked up – I had enough for 3 years of parties!

Christmas Gifts and Stocking Stuffers. For the kids, for your spouse, to donate to a charity.  Shop early and save!

In my area I’m lucky enough to have Staples, Office Depot and Office Max all close by.  And then there’s Target, K-Mart and Walmart.  I can’t wait to see what deals I’ll get this year!

And speaking of this year – Son enters kindergarten next month.  I’m so very sad that his early childhood is nearly over.  I’m unhappy that Son will be in school all day (as opposed to the 1/2 day kindergartens in many other areas).  I’m going to miss him like crazy.  And for the first time since I graduated college I’m actually going to use Back-to-School sales for someone that is actually going to school.

I already have a lot of the things on the teachers’ supply list.  A few months ago I got a $10 off $10 purchase coupon in the mail from Office Max, so I’ve got a good head start.  But Son needs a backpack, and I’d like to get him a new lunchbox (though I may wait until after school starts and they go on clearance to replace it).

So I already took advantage of Staples’ super deals this week to get Son that backpack.  Staples was offering a box of pencils for a penny and a ream of copy paper for a penny after rebate, with a limit of 2 each.  Staples also offered a $5 off $20 purchase coupon.  So, here’s how it all shook out:

Pencils                       2 boxes @  $.01  = $     .02

Copy Paper               2 reams @$3.69 = $ 7.38

Backpack, 25% off                                     = $14.99

Subtotal:                                                        $22.39

Less $5 off coupon                                       -$ 5.00

Less paper rebate                                           $7.36

Total Cost:                                                    $10.03

So, for pennies over $10 I got the backpack, 2 reams of paper (and if you live in my house with Son’s love of drawing (mostly restrooms!) you go through a ton of paper!) and 24 pencils.  Woo hoo!

Important! I admit I’ve forgotten a time or two to submit the rebate.  Never again!   Send it it!!!!

I also picked up some 25-count boxes of crayons at Target for $.25 apiece.  Hey, those penny ones didn’t last forever!

So, this Sunday I’ll be sure to check out the paper, or perhaps just visit the stores’ websites, and see where the best deals are.  And I’ll plan my week to hit the sales – as long as it’s not out of my way.  But go early for those loss leaders – sometimes they’re gone by Monday!

One more thing – check to see if your state offers a sales tax holiday, and if they do wait to buy anything that isn’t usually on sale.  Florida used to do this, but I can’t find  any info on one this year.  I hope you’re luckier!

Deal of the Day October 11, 2008

Another Halloween Deal!

Joann Fabric & Craft Store is knocking 60% off all Halloween costumes, Halloween fabrics, and accessories. You can also save 50% off the price of any one regular priced item from the store with coupon code SFD287. Sale ending unknown, coupon expires 10/14/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

Subscribe to my RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

I just love 90% off sales!

This morning after dropping Son off at school I picked up Husband’s 96-year-old grandmother and took her shopping. One of our stops was at CVS, where they were marking many items 50-90% off.

Ladies, not even Husband gets me as worked up as a 90% off sign.

I picked up nearly $300 worth of items that I can either use or give as gifts for…

$24.00.

That’s more than 90% off, because I used Extra Care bucks.

I am happy.

I’m not sure if this is a chain-wide sell-off, but if I were you I’d call or drop by to see what deals you can get.

Me? I don’t have enough room for any more.

Though my haul did include four of EACH of these.

So, perhaps I do have room for some more…

Habit Forming

I’ve often read that it takes a month for something to become a habit. After thirty days it becomes ingrained; no longer unusual or requiring much effort. Whether it be dieting or exercising or prayer it becomes a normal, everyday part of your life.

I don’t think that’s true for all things – at least not for me. Eating well and exercising, for example, have never become ingrained and have always required much effort. I need to constantly re-commit, constantly re-direct my focus, constantly keep my eye on the prize (being svelte, being healthy). Sometimes weekly, sometimes daily, sometimes every fifteen minutes. At times I have the energy and/or resolve and/or willpower for it, other times I don’t. They may become part of a routine, but never become a habit.

Other things I seem to assimilate with little or no effort; almost too easily. I don’t even notice it’s happened, or if I do I have no recollection of having started it. Turning off the water while I brush my teeth or do dishes is a water-saving habit that I don’t even think about. Shutting the lights when I leave a room, or doing dishes in the ambient light from the living room are habits, too.

Shopping for good bargains is another big one for me. I read PaidTwice’s article Start Planning For Next Year’s Valentine’s Day Now about shopping the after-Valentine’s Day clearances to stock up for next year and my initial thought was, ” Well, yeah. Doesn’t everybody do that?” I’ve been doing that for years. In addition to buying trinkets to save for next year’s holidays, I also buy nondescript, non-perishable after-Christmas candy for Valentine’s Day, after-Valentine’s Day candy for Easter. After 4th of July candy for Halloween, After-Halloween candy for Christmas. Then the cycle starts over. I won’t buy unless the sale is at least 75% off, and more often ( like today at Target) 90% off.

After-Holiday isn’t the only time I look for clearance items. When I walk into a clothing store I walk directly to the clearance racks. I rarely look at anything that isn’t on them. It’s not important to me to be trendy – it just has to look decent and fit adequately (perhaps if I was svelte fashion would matter more…). I do the same when shopping for my husband, my son and anyone else for whom I’m buying a gift.

And Target. Sweet Target. I’ve already written that every week I walk their aisles looking for bargains. Now that’s a habit!

Craigslist. Garage Sales. Clipping coupons.

I’m not saying I always get the best deal possible. I don’t. I even (gasp!) waste money, on extravagances (hello pedicure!) or buying healthy food that never gets eaten (see above healthy eating comment). And it’s certainly easier to get those great deals since I’ve become a stay-at-home Mom.

But frugal shopping is such a habit for me that it’s uncomfortable not to do it.

Now if I could only get eating right and exercise to become that same kind of habit…

Share Your Holiday Shopping Coupon Codes and Deals!

Here are some great online and offline deals to save you money this holiday season! Some are from an e-mail my brother sent me, some are from mailing lists that I’m on, and some I’ve just found in my own web travels.

Please share any that you know of. If you’re a blogger just write your own post and I’ll link to it, or you can leave a comment or pop me an e-mail and I’ll include it here.

Please note that I am not an affiliate for any company and I’m not responsible for any errors or problems you may have using them. I reserve the right to remove or reject any link or comment, for any reason.

Let’s save some money!

Online Discounts:

American Eagle Outfitters Coupon Code: 87241053 (15% off through Dec 24, 2007)

Armani Exchange Coupon Code: STYLE20 ($20 off $100 from ? – ? )

Avenue : Coupon code 71299 (15% off entire purchase, plus free shipping on orders over $100 through December 13, 2007)
Banana Republic Coupon Code: BRHOLIDAY (20% off from Nov 27 – Dec 24, 2007)
Barnes & Noble Coupon Code: N6R7C4J (25% off Single Item AND Free Shipping through December 18, 2007)
Bed Bath Store Coupon Code: holiday07 ($15 off $75 from Nov. 28 – Dec. 10, 2007)

Bloomingdales Coupon Code: DEC25 (25% off (exclusions apply) through December 19, 2007).
CCO – Closeout Catalog Outlet Coupon Code: HD2007 ($15 off $100 coupon through 12/20/07)
Children’s Place Coupon Code: GGNRK4EHKGC7 (25% through Dec. 23, 2007)
Cloud Veil Coupon Code: 7LJ400 (45% off from ? – ? )

Disney Shopping: Coupon code3199 (15% off coupon expires 12/24/2007)

***Eastbay Coupon Code: EMEB72GC (20% off Giftcards from Nov 17 – Dec 20, 2007)

Esprit coupon Code: ESP12 (20% off purchase through December 31, 2007)

FAO Schwarz : no coupon needed(25% off purchase AND Free Shipping through December 17, 2007)

Frederick’s of Hollywood (25% off all purchases through December 12, 2007)
GameStop Coupon Code: AFF25 (25% off Used Games from ? – ? )

J Crew (MERRY30 to save $30 on $150, MERRY40 to save $40 on $200 and MERRY50 on orders of $250 or more. Expires 12/15/2007.)

JC Penney Coupon Code: MGP79 (15% off $75 through April 30, 2008)

Kirkland’s ($5 off $25 purchase through December 17, 2007)
Limited Too Just click link for savings (25% off f through Dec 24, 2007)
Linen & Things Coupon Code: 223823997733 (20% off from Nov 30 – Dec 31, 2007)
Liz Claiborne Coupon Code: LCMAIL3 ($25 off $75 or more purchase, free shipping through Dec. 10, 2007)

Lucy.com Coupon Code: 1207MWONDER (25% off purchase through December 13, 2007)
Macy’s Coupon Code: GIFTED (for Free Shipping, and also 15-20% off when you use your Macy’s card through Dec 17, 2007)
MetroStyle Coupon Code: MSTYLE50 (50% off Single Item from Nov. 28 – Dec. 31, 2007)
New York & Company Coupon Code: 7476 (through Dec 10, 2007)

New York & Company ($30 off a $75 purchase through December 17, 2007)
Nike Coupon Code: 2PCTH7A (20% off $125 from Nov 27 – Dec 24, 2007)

Old Navy Coupon Code: MYFRIEND ($10 off $75 purchase through December 13, 2007)

Origins Coupon Code: 1207FF (25% off until ???, free shipping until December 16)
***Overstock Coupon Code: 73989 (10% off $45 from ? – ? )
***Ralph Lauren Coupon Code: HOL2007 (30% off 11/10 – 12/10)

Red Envelope Coupon Code: SAVE12E9 (20% off purchase through 12/17/2007)
Sephora Coupon Code: FF2007 (20% off from Nov. 28 – Dec 31, 2007)
***Sharper Image Just cick link for savings ($10 off $100 from Nov 27 – Jan 31, 2008)
Snap Fish Coupon Code: FRIENDS07 (25% off on Nov 27 – Dec 25, 2007)

Target Coupon Code: TGAFLETJ (10% off through December 30, 2007)

Urban Outfitters Coupon Code: LUCKY2008 (20% off $100 purchase, unknown expiration)
Victoria’s Secret Coupon Code: FA78113 or FA78449 ($15 off $100, $30 off $150, $75 off $250, & $150 off $500 from Nov. 28 – Dec. 20, 2007)

West Marine Code:West10 (10% off through December 14, 2007)
WinkFlash Coupon Code: G3F8E7W4 (40% off from Nov 28 – Dec 15, 2007 )
Yankee Candle Just cick link for savings ($10 off $25 from Nov 27 – Dec. 22, 2007)

FREE SHIPPING

Apple Store – Free shipping with no minimum required. No code needed. Ends 12/10/07.
SkyMall – Free shipping w/code LSDFD. Expires 12/31/07.
Crate & Barrel – Free shipping on orders of $100 or more. No code needed. Expires 12/20/07.
Simple Human – Free shipping with a purchase of $25 or more. No coupon needed. Expires 12/25/07.
ESPN Shop – Free Shipping on orders of $20 or more w/code LKSP7E35. Expires 1/5/08.
Fashion Bug – Free shipping on orders of $100 or more w/code 776200107. Expires 1/23/08.
Dale & Thomas Popcorn – Free shipping on orders of two or more items w/code HOLIDAYFS. Expiration unknown.

JC PENNEY -Free shipping on orders over $25 w/code WPFS25. Expires 12/10/2007.

JoAnn Fabrics DECFSERR72– Free shipping on all orders through December 17, 2007.

Speedo – Free shipping on any order w/code SPEEDO124. Expires 12/19/07.
Swell – Free shipping on orders of $50 or more. No code needed. Expires 12/13/07.
Alloy – Free shipping on any order w/code XMASALL. Expires 12/16/07.
Delia’s – Free shipping on any order w/code XMASDEL. Expires 12/16/07.

PRINTABLE IN STORE COUPONS

American Eagle Outfitters (15% off any purchase through December 12, 2007)

American Greetings and Carlton Cards ($5 off $25 purchase through December 31, 2007))

Avenue (20% off (or 25% off with your Avenue card) entire purchase through December 20, 2007)
Barnes & Noble (10% one item through Dec 23, 2007)
Borders or Waldenbooks (20% off from Nov 27 – Dec 6, 2007)

Borders (25% off the list price of one item through December , 2007)

Cache (25% off purchase through December 10, 2007)

Children’s Place (20% off through December 31, 2007)

DKNY (20% off $100 purchase through December 24, 2007)

Dress Barn (20% off single item through December 24, 2007)

Express ( $10 off $20 or $20 off $60 purchase through December 11, 2007)

Foot Locker/Champs/FootAction ($15 off a $50 purchase through January 10, 2008)

Goody’s ($5 off purchase of $10 or more through 12/31/2007)
Gordmans (20% off Single Item from Nov 27 – Dec 9, 2007)
H&M (25% off from Dec. 7 – Dec. 9, 2007)
JC Penney (20% off on Dec. 9, 2007)

J Crew (MERRY30 to save $30 on $150, MERRY40 to save $40 on $200, and MERRY50. Exp. 12/15/2007.
Kirklands (25% off Single Item from Nov 27 – Dec 31, 2007)
Limited Too (25% off from Nov 27 – Dec 9, 2007)

Linen & Things (20% off from Nov. 27 – Dec. 31, 2007)
Loehmanns (15% off Reduced Item & 20% off Clearance Item from Nov 27 – Dec 31, 2007)

Loehmann’s (15% off total purchase through December 21, 2007)
Lord & Taylor (15% off from Nov. 9 – Dec. 24, 2007)

Mervyn’s (20% off purchase through December 8,2007)
New York & Company (through Dec 10, 2007)

Nike (15% off $125 purchase through December 24, 2007)
oshKosh ($10 off $50 from Nov 26 – Dec 11, 2007)

Pier 1 ($10 off $50 purchase through December 31, 2007)

Reebok, Rockport, and Greg Norman Outlet stores (20% off any purchase through December 31, 2007)

Sharper Image ($20 off a $75 purchase through December 6, 2007)
Sharper Image ($10 off $100 from Nov 27 – Jan 31, 2008)
Staples (12% off from Dec. 2 – Dec. 8, 2007)

Toys R Us ($10 off $100 coupon
Yankee Candle ($10 off $25 from Nov 27 – Dec. 22, 2007)

Now go save some money!

If you like this post, check out my post on Absolutely Free and Almost Free gifts, and my Stretch You Dollar page.


Black Friday – Oops! I Missed It Again

In my family Thanksgiving is not a one day holiday, it’s a four-day extravaganza. The turkey and trimmings are just the beginning of a tradition-filled, written-in-stone series of events that had been the same forever(at least until a few years ago when we started to actually leave the country to celebrate).

No matter where we are, though, I am destined to miss that most important day of the year for frugal-minded, bargain-worshiping people like myself – Black Friday.

Please don’t misunderstand – I’m always having a grand time with my family. And we’re usually shopping – at the Swap Shop or a Bahamian Straw Market. It’s fun and togetherness and kitsch and really, what could be better?

But.

Every year I miss the DVD player for $6.99. The 5 am earlybird special at Bed Bath and Beyond, where I can get 20% off my entire purchase! The Buy 1 Get 1 Free on Wiis. The free Mimosas at Tiffany’s (Okay, that one never really happened. You can probably get free Mimosa’s at Tiffany’s every day of the year,though. Not that I’d know…).

This year I couldn’t even bring myself to read the ads.

Perhaps one day I will be able to scan the web days in advance for the Black Friday deals, plan my route to take advantage of the best deals by time and location, become part of the fervor of excitement at 5 am as my fellow bargain shoppers wait bleary-eyed at 5 am for the doors to open so we can buy six iPods for the price of one.

I must live vicariously through others. Feel free to make me jealous by sharing stories of your coups!

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