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Wednesday, July 30

My Obsession with Coupons (Part 3)

Wednesday, July 30
 I have given tips and tricks on how to obtain and organize coupons, but I thought wrap this how-to up with some tips and tricks to remember while shopping with your coupons.

Just because you have a coupon for it, doesn’t mean you have to buy it.
This is actually one of the most common problems I have seen with people using coupons. A lot of people think just because they have a coupon for it, they have to buy it. However, if you keep this mindset you might end up spending more money on things you don’t actually need.

Try to only clip coupons for the things you use frequently in the house, or on the things that you enjoy and might want to treat yourself to. Make a concise list before going to the store keeping in mind the coupons you already have and plan to use.

Make sure to read the coupon fine print and expiration dates.
When I was a grocery store employee this was one of most annoying things to encounter. People would have coupons for items and have the item in their cart, but failed to read the fine print stating they need to buy two of the item to use the coupon, or certain products are excluded to use the coupon and they need to run back to switch out the item therefore holding the line up.

Prevent this from happening by always reading the fine print of the coupon to make sure your items are eligible for your product. You should also make note of when your coupon expires for the same reason! That is another reason why my list is so helpful, I know when each coupon expires and the condition to receive the discount without having to go through my entire list!

Look out for store specials (Double Coupons, etc.)
Stores like Harris Teeter and Lowes Food occasionally have specials such as double coupons where all coupons up to $1.98 double (meaning a 1.50 coupon would actually save you $3.00) Specials like these really make your couponing efforts worth it. I have frequently gotten items for free with specials like this (having a coupon for $0.75 off one small bag of m&ms double meaning my m&ms are free!)

Keep an eye out for deals like these by looking up your local grocery stores to see if they have specials like this or keeping an eye on the paper!

Coupons aren’t just for groceries
You can find coupons for just about any product or service out on the market. Make sure to check store websites and e-mail newsletters for coupons for your favorite products. Stores like Victoria’s Secret and the JC Penney make-up counter post coupons quite frequently for free trial products or little freebies such as lip gloss or underwear.

Restaurants also have coupons available to make your night out a little easier on your wallet! Check websites for deals such as free appetizers or free desserts!

Hopefully, these tips and tricks will maximize your savings with each trip to the grocery store and leave your wallet feeling a little heavier than it used to.

Tuesday, July 29

My Obsession with Coupons (Part 2)

Tuesday, July 29

Now that your floor is covered in coupons that you have clipped and printed and now you are trying to get them all into one spot you are going to have to find some nice ways to organize them. No problem, there are tons of way that you can keep your coupons handy and available for your next shopping trip!

Mini-Accordion Folders
These mini accordion folders are nice because they are small enough to fit in your bag and be completely portable, yet they have different sections so that you can quickly thumb through them and find the coupon you need. I find it helpful to separate my coupons based on category (for example: one for frozen, one for bath and beauty, one for cereals and crackers).

I recommend making a master list of the coupons you have, their specifications for use (for example: buy one, get one), and their discount price so you don’t have to spend all day thumbing through the folder while at the store. Instead you can quickly check off each item and keep moving quickly and effectively.

Where to find them: You can pick these up at any office supply store. They have a variety of colors and patterns to suit your style and flavor. Etsy also has some very cute ones, if you are looking for a little something extra. Some of my favorites are: here, here, and here.

Envelopes
When I first began couponing, I used regular postal envelopes labeled with different grocery sections. Then when I went to grocery shopping and I was looking for coupons while waiting in the grocery line, I could quickly flip through the different folders and pull out coupons.

Just like the accordion folder, I recommend making a master list of all your coupons (or at least the coupons you plan on using) before heading to the grocery store.

Where to find them: Again, you can find these at any office supply store or even any drug store! You could also make your own (with plain or patterned paper if you want to be flashy) by folding some paper and securing the ends with a glue stick.


Coupon Page Protectors & Binder
This is perhaps my favorite way to organize my coupons because it gives me the ability to see what each coupon requires for use while I am shopping. The page protectors have slots for each individual coupon which you can then stick into a small one-inch binder (complete with tab dividers if you want to get really fancy) and thumb through them when you are preparing your lists or while you are at the grocery store.

Where to find them: These are a little harder to find than the envelopes or the accordion folder. You may be able to find them at some office supply stores (some places may even call them trading card protectors, but they are basically the same thing). You can also find them here on amazon for relatively cheap.

Hopefully, with these tips your coupons will find themselves a cozy, organized home without leaving your floor a paper-y mess. Make sure to look out for Part 3, where I will wrap up with some helpful tips to remember while shopping with coupons to make sure you get the maximum deals possible!

Monday, July 28

My Obsession with Coupons (Part 1)

Monday, July 28
I have no “normal” hobbies. I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I can’t swim, I can barely walk and chew gum at the same time.

However, just because I am uncoordinated and unskilled in many disciplines doesn’t mean that don’t have any hobbies. I have tons of hobbies: I browse the internet, I blog occasionally, and sometimes I even manage to accidentally pick up a book and read the entire thing without forgetting about it half-way through. One of these hobbies I’ve picked up over the last few years working in a grocery store is couponing. As a broke college student, it is definitely one of the more useful skills I’ve acquired.

Working in a grocery store through much of my high school career, I have seen my share of coupon kings and queens who manage to buy 15 bottles of ketchup for only $0.15, and after carefully watching and mimicking what I’ve seen, I have managed to compile a list of useful tips and techniques to help even the most casual couponer save money! 
 
The Sunday Paper is a Goldmine
I have found that the Sunday paper holds some of the best and most useful coupons. Sadly, you do have to pay for the paper (which is around $1.50-2.00 in a lot of places) but the potential coupons you uncover will definitely earn you your money back tenfold. You can always thumb through the paper at the store before purchasing to see if the coupons for that week are going to be useful to you before purchasing the paper.

Pros: The number of coupons in here is extraordinary and you will also find a ton of coupons from local businesses you might not find anywhere else.
Cons: You have to buy the paper.

The Internet Has Tons of Free Coupons
If paying for a Sunday paper is not within your budget, there are tons of free coupons available online. These coupon sites allow you to look through their database of coupons and virtually “clip” them. When you have looked through all the coupons you simply click “Print Coupons” and all the coupons you have clipped and collected will be printed.
My favorite online coupon sites are: CouponSuzy CouponMom Redplum

Pros: Absolutely free.
Cons: You do have to print them (which can be done for free at your local library). You also have to download the “coupon printer,” which takes a few minutes. However, I have found the coupon apps of the sites I have listed to be harmless.

Mail Flyers and Newsletters 
I know a lot of people see these flyers in the mail and think “ugh, junk mail” but if you look carefully some of these hold some pretty amazing coupons while also alerting you to some of the local deals. One of my favorite mail flyers is the redplum one I get in my mail box about every two weeks.

Pros: Just like the online coupons, these coupons are absolutely free.
Cons: They might appear to junk up your mailbox and you can’t control when they come.

Writing the Company 
This one may seem a bit weird, but trust me, it actually works. With some companies, if you write them either 1) asking for coupons directly or 2) commenting on their services they will send you complimentary coupons!

Pros: Absolutely free
Cons: It takes a bit of work to write them as well as the fact that you might have to pay for postage if you are sending a letter. Also, there is no true guarantee that the company will respond with coupons. I really only recommend this one if you are either bored with nothing to do, or if you like a product so much you are willing to take the gamble.

With these tips you are sure to find tons of useful coupons for your favorite products and services. Look out for Part 2 for tips about how to keep all of your recently acquired coupons neat and orderly for your trip to the

Friday, July 25

NYX Lip Butter Swatch

Friday, July 25

So I mentioned in my Friday Favorites that I love NYX Lip Butters, however I forgot to include one of my favorite shades (which I have yet to find time to wear in the summer) which is Licorice. It's a nice deep purple color. My one problem with Licorice though is that as the day goes on it smudges and fades a lot faster than the other colors and because the color is so dark and my natural lip color is so light it is a lot more noticeable. However, I make sure to apply lip primer before every application and just reapply the color every couple of hours.

I also decided to re-swatch Fireball because I feel like the picture came out blurry and the color did not look right in the first photo I posted and I want to better represent the colors. It is a lot more vibrant the the first photo made it out to be.

My next adventure in lip products is to find my holy grail red lip color and to find a nice matte deep purple (a little deeper than Licorice) that lasts.

Friday Favorites 7.25.14



It's Friday so here are some of my favorite things from the week:

1. NYX Butter Lipsticks
I am completely obsessed with these lip colors. Now I am someone who has never really gotten into lip color beyond a little tinted lip balm, however, these lip colors are the shit. I ended up getting them at Ulta during their NYX sale and I could not be happier.

So far I have three different shades: Honey, Candy Buttons, and  Fireball and I love them all.

They do not dry my lips out. I used the NYX lip primer and the color stays for a decent time even though eating and drinking (although I do find myself having to reapply at least one a day).

2. Pita Bread Pizza
I have been making pita bread pizzas almost every single day of the week this week. I randomly went to the store a few days ago and got some pita bread and was like "Hmm, I can make mini pizza with this..." There are two ways I do this:

a) I just take the plain pita bread, put sauce and cheese on it and then just eat it cold like a giant lunchable. This is for my lazier days.


b) I bake the pita for about five minutes @ 350F until it gets a little firmer and then I put sauce and cheese on it and put it back into the oven until the cheese is melted.


3. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Polish
I am very impatient when it comes to letting my nail polish dry. I always get the urge to paint my nails at the most inconvenient times (like right before I leave to go out for the day) or I end up painting my nails and having to pee two minutes later.

This is why I love this nail polish so much, I can paint my nails and in about two minutes they are dry enough for me to do basic tasks like carry around my purse or unbutton my pants. The color pay off is pretty good considering the price and while I do wish there was more variety in colors, it is pretty decent. While I still end up reverting back to my "fancier" polishes for special nail effects (think glitter or shiny flakes) when I really want to go all out, I do like the versatility of this simple polish.



Monday, July 21

My Adventure with DIY Ombré

Monday, July 21
I have always been really into hair ombré. I love how it looks effortlessly beachy and I love how it is coloring your hair without all of the commitment to keep it up.

So I decided that after almost a year and a half of being jealous of those who got to ombré their hair, I would take matters into my own hands and do it at home. I went to Ulta and picked up the L'Oreal Intense Ombre Hair Color. When it comes to coloring hair, I am clueless so I just picked up a random box and bought it. I ended up getting the box meant for those with medium to dark brown.


I went home and immediately began mixing it together and slapping it on my hair. I had read reviews online before saying that this kit only lightened their hair a little bit, so I didn't have high hopes for an intense blonde to come from this kit.

I will admit, the applicator wasn't all that great to use, especially on thick hair. I felt like even though I was doing my hair in sections, the applicator brush was still missing huge parts of my hair. Eventually I ended up ditching the brush and began working the bleach mixture in with my fingers and a comb.

I didn't have to wait long at all (about 20 minutes) for the color to bleach to work its magic before I washed it out with the provided shampoo. I then put some leave in conditioner in my hair and blow dried and curled my hair.

My final result was something that I am currently happy with. I could have done a little better making it even in the back, but when my hair is curled the uneven-ness is really not that noticeable.


Overall, I am really happy with how it turned out and I am sure if I ever get the urge to cut my hair into a bob again having the little bit of ombre will look extra amazing.
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