Money Saving Mamas: Checkout 51

Ready for more ways to save money?! This is another rebate app that we love, but can be slower to earn money from. It is called Checkout 51. It is an app for your phone that gives you a certain amount of money for purchasing specific things. Similar to the other apps we have shared, you need to upload a photo of your receipt and then select the items you are claiming, however you do not need to scan the bar codes of the specific items like the other apps.

Once the receipt is processed, it deposits that amount into your account, when you hit $20 you can request a payout via check or PayPal! So while this does take a little longer than some of the others,  it is still an easy way to have a forced savings.  Particularly if you’re using the funds you have from couponing for something like a college savings, or a vacation, you can watch this accumulate.

Unlike some of the other apps that only pay you for one of a certain item, Checkout 51 allows you to claim multiples (with a limit that varies per item).  There are also bonuses for purchasing specific items or multiples that let you get more savings!

Important to note about this app is that the offers change on Wednesdays, which is different than most sales cycles.  So if you’re counting on it in your weekly match-ups, just be sure to shop and upload your receipt before the offers change! They are also limited and tend to be claimed fairly quickly, so if it’s a good deal, don’t wait to claim!

We like this as an added bonus for saving money.  So far FYM Emily has earned $83.55 and FYM Sherrie has earned $92.25.  Do you use Checkout 51? How much have you saved?

Extreme Couponing

Money Saving Mamas: Extreme Couponing

If there’s one thing that we love it’s saving money! With three kids between the two of us we certainly know how expensive life can be. We started couponing a few years ago and while we’ve certainly scaled back in some areas, we are still hunting the best deals!

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of our favorite apps to help you save! In the meantime, we wanted to share our top ten tips for Extreme Couponing: Mom Style.

#10: Consolidate Stores

As a mom, time is precious. Before kids we’d make multiple runs a week to as many as five stores. That’s just not realistic anymore. Forget the fact that we don’t have that kind of time, imagine getting your kids in and out of their car seats that many times, no thank you!

#9: Start a Stockpile

We can’t even explain how important this is. I can’t imagine what I would do if we ran out of diapers, paper towels, or toilet paper! Luckily, we don’t have to find out!! When they’re free (or really cheap) stock up on the items you use frequently. While storing these things may be annoying it is worth it in the long run for convenience and cost savings.

#8: Forget Brand Loyalty

With the exception of very few items, we don’t necessarily always buy the same brand. Being open and flexible allows you to save the most money. A salsa in one brand may be free, while another could be $4! We’ll take free please!

#7: Set Your Max Prices

How do you know you’re getting a good deal? You won’t unless you set some thresholds, there are certain things we just refuse to pay for, like shampoo. But there are other items we are willing to spend money on, but not a lot. For example, Emily prefers not to pay for coffee, but she’ll pay up to $1.49/lb.

#6: Meal Plan

Meal planning may not seem like it relates to couponing but it sure does! It’s not enough to look at the sales for the week, if you can create meals with what you have in your stockpile/freezer and then replace those items with the sales from that week- you’re always going to find that you save money.  It also doesn’t hurt to meal plan so that you’re not left scrambling and then end up ordering takeout!

#5: Shop the Sales

This shouldn’t need to be said, but shop the sales when they happen. If there’s a great deal on a ham before a holiday, but you’re not going to be home, get it anyway and freeze it. You can always use it and you may not see that sale again.

#4: Clip Coupons

Gone are the days where coupons only came in the Sunday paper. While you may still want to buy one (or 4) newspapers there are so many other places to get coupons. Try printing some from coupons.com, Red Plum, Smart Source, or even many manufacturers websites. We use a coupon database and check for coupons for every item before shopping!

printable coupons

Print coupons for your groceries and household items from coupons.com

#3: Rewards Programs

It pays to be a member! You know we love programs like Pampers Rewards, but did you know there are other rewards programs? One of our favorites is Kellogg’s family rewards.  You just link your grocery store card and you accumulate points for buying their brands. You can cash those points in for coupons!

Kellogg's Rewards Coupons

Rack up points for buying Kellogg’s products that you can turn into more coupons!

#2: Use Your Store Loyalty Card

Your store loyalty card is super important! For many stores, like Price Chopper or Shoprite, not only do you get sale pricing with your card, but many have e-coupons that you can add and stack with your paper coupons. That’s an easy extra savings!  And places like Target have debit cards linked to your checking account (Red Card) that doesn’t hurt your credit AND saves you an extra 5%!

Shoprite Digital Coupons

Add digital savings to your card with Shoprite’s Digital Coupon Center

#1: Stack It Up!

We always say, don’t just use one coupon! Know your stores coupon policy and use as many coupons as you can- that may mean a paper coupon, an ecoupon, a sale and a rebate through one of many available couponing apps. Check out our favorites in the next few weeks as we highlight them!

Couponing does really does pay off- we’ve saved thousands each year and are able to do so many more things for our families! You can put it towards your savings, family vacations, date nights, whatever you want! How do you save your family money?

Sherrie & Emily

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Creating a Diaper Stockpile 

One of the best decisions we have made at FYM was to create our own diaper stockpiles. Just over two years ago Emily had a New Year’s Resolution to become an extreme couponer. At the time she had left her job, taken a pay cut for a new one and she and Mike had just purchased their first house. So you can imagine that every penny counted. While there are some mommy and daddy essentials that some people say Moms have an excess of, diapers is certainly not one of them!

As a DIY fanatic, Emily always got her creative juices flowing for her pregnant friends and family. She wasn’t sure she would be able to have children, so buying diapers seemed a little far fetched, but picking up a package here and there when a good deal was out there seemed reasonable. Diapers always make a great gift for new moms and those DIY diaper creations were too cute to resist! Thanks to Pinterest, she not only found some adorable ideas, but that there were ways to purchase diapers without spending an arm and a leg. Her best strategy was to pick a price per diaper (and wipe) that fit the budget and stick to it, even if it meant taking a trip to another store to find a deal.

She knew from her sister, other mommy friends, and online reviews that Pampers Swaddlers seemed be the fan favorite. Although they are the most expensive, they have the best tried and true reviews of any diaper she’s seen, plus they have an awesome rewards system (read about it here)!

So how does one create a diaper stockpile? Well, Emily is here to tell you how!

When we first found out we were expecting I had about 4 packs of diapers and 6 packs of wipes in my stockpile. Clearly, I had to really kick it into high gear. However, not knowing exactly how many of each size we would need or no way of knowing how big our baby would be I was hesitant to really stock up. Thanks to some research (Pinterest saves the day again!) I found some moms out there that had a solution to my problem. They recommended the following breakdown for the first year:

2-3 packs of newborn size
840 size 1
570 size 2
1512 size 3 and 4

Holy moly! That is a lot of diapers!!! So here’s my first piece of advice for you:
Find a place to store all the diapers and wipes! 

My original plan was to aim to only pay 12 cents per diaper. Assuming you change 8 diapers a day that’s about $1 per day. However, it is slightly harder to achieve for Pampers so I accepted up to 16 cents per diaper if need be.  Something to keep in mind is that as the size of the diaper goes up, there are less in each pack, making your price per diaper go up. Based on the size, type, and brand an acceptable price is anywhere between 13 and 31 cents per diaper. There’s a great article here for more information on stock up prices.  As for wipes, I always aim to get them for free, but will accept a price of 1 cent per wipe.
This leads me to my second piece of advice:
Decide what you’re comfortable paying and stick to it. 

Now comes the hard part- shopping the deals. I have a couple tried and true times when I will buy diapers and here are my must grab scenarios.

Cash Back Offers:
Target has by far the highest price on diapers. They frequently (at least once a month) run gift card deals with the big boxes. A big box of about 100 diapers will run you about $25, but I won’t buy them without coupons. You can usually find coupons for $3 off each box and I suggest stacking it with the Target Cartwheel app if available. Target usually has 5% off diapers and wipes. Most of the time when you buy two boxes you’ll get a $20 gift card. Which means you’re really paying for the price of one, cutting your price per diaper to about 11 cents.  Sometimes they run the deal without the gift card offer but will offer a free box of wipes (containing 9 packs that usually retails for $15) and you can usually use a coupon for the wipes. Just recently Sherrie scored a great deal on diapers at Target rolling the gift card offers.  That means earning a gift card in one transaction and then using that gift card in the following transaction to save even more!

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Another place you wouldn’t think to purchase diapers is at Rite Aid. They have my favorite cash back deals. Occasionally they will have deal where you will get a certain number of points back for spending a certain threshold of money. The points later convert to cash to be used on future purchases. If you saved up your points and stack them with sales and coupons you can really save big! This may be a good time to get the bigger sizes so you can avoid paying a higher price per diaper.  Case and point? Last week I got 4 packs of size 4 Pampers for only $2.40! Although it wasn’t that many diapers (only 108) it came to about 2 cents per diaper! Unheard of pricing! So my third piece of advice is:
Take advantage of the deals at different stores. It’s worth the drive! 

So let’s say you buy one too many of certain size? Every baby grows at different pace and perhaps the suggestions above were slightly off. Now you have leftover boxes of one size as you move up to the next. Not to worry, you can always return or exchange unopened packages for a different size. Even if you don’t have receipt, most stores will still allow you to swap them out. So my last piece of advice:
Wait to open the boxes in case you need to exchange them.

 
As we approached the end of my pregnancy my husband kept telling me we don’t need more diapers! He was sort of right, but now I will focus on snagging up the deals for the bigger sizes. Couponing can get to be a little addicting so when you get you to a good place with your stockpile, try to remember to only coupon if there’s a really great deal.

Something you may want to do that I am doing is keeping a spreadsheet to track usage and see if my size guesses were accurate. I have an app to keep track of Madeline’s diaper changes (among other things- look for a post on that to come soon!). This data can be easily exported into the spreadsheet. My calculations show that I should have enough in my stockpile to last us 9-12 months. The best past is that it cost me less than $200 total. I’d say that’s pretty good! What do you think?

   

   Did you prepare a stockpile or are you preparing one for your little ones arrival like we did? Tweet or Instagram us your diaper stash using hashtag: #diaperstashfym
We’d love to see how you’re doing!

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