Q&A: Angela Seeks Out Savings at Angelasos.com!

There are so many services available to people that they might not be aware of that I wanted to start interviewing people about what services they offer to make more people aware!  Each interview session will include business related questions and then a few fun questions so people can get to know the owner of the business!  If you are interested in having your business/ services featured, please email me at pennypinchingparents@yahoo.com !

A former classmate of mine, Angela, frequently posts GREAT deals on her personal Facebook page.  Just today I said to her, you should start your own deals site and what do you know?  She offers an amazing service which she let me interview her about!

  1. Q: Tell us who you are and what you do. A: My name is Angela Keegan and I absolutely love to find the best deal on anything you are shopping for. From Vitamins to vehicles or restaurant equipment, I have been able to save some serious cash for my customers. If you have something that you are intending to purchase, find the price wherever you would normally just go and buy it and then contact me, I take it from there. I then search online to find the best deal on that, of course how can you ensure that I truly get you the best price on the product? The way I get paid is on how much you are saving from the original price, so it is in my best interest and yours to find the absolute best price I can since I would receive 30% of the savings. However in the off chance that I can’t beat the price you gave me, then it costs you nothing.
  2. Q: How did you get into doing this? A: I first got into this when buying auto parts and realizing how significant the savings could be on just those items. My in-laws were the first to see the benefits of that savings and told me I should get paid to do this. My father then said the same thing when he could see the savings in his hand, so with multiple people telling me to get started with a business to get paid to do what I enjoyed and do it from home, I decided it was time to start my business.
  3. Q: What is the #1 mistake consumers make when making a big purchase? A: The number one mistake consumers make when making a big purchase is walking into the nearest store and just buying it without shopping around. Unfortunately many people don’t have the time or the patience to shop around and even the knowledge in some cases to know where else to look, which is where I come in.
  4. Q: How can people contact you? A: It is very easy to contact me via my website in the “Contact Me” section at www.angelasos.com. I tried to make it easy to remember with my business name shortened to AngelaSOS, if you can remember my first name and then that you need help saving money then SOS should come to mind.
  5. Q: Do you target a specific area or can you help people regardless of location? A: I can help anyone anywhere as long as they have an email address or have access through a family member or a friend. Currently I work with PayPal but due to their charges, I am considering switching to an alternative company to avoid having to pass those PayPal charges onto my customers. Since there are protections in place for both of us using PayPal, the 2.9% can set everyone’s mind at ease, knowing that there is no private account information provided to either. It also allows for anyone anywhere to pay via credit/debit card even if they don’t have a PayPal account. I would like a program that provides the same protections. If the transaction is local and cash then we would avoid either of those options.
  6. Q: What is the type of item you are most frequently asked to seek out? A: Auto/ATV parts are currently the most popular items. I will honestly look for anything. With each purchase I gain more knowledge about something else out there in the world.
  7. Q: What is your favorite store to shop at? A: My favorite online store to shop at is www.woot.com because of the varying deals available everyday and their pricing is 99% of the time the cheapest for the item available but not necessarily for something you are specifically looking to buy at a certain time.
  8. Q: What is the one material thing you own that you couldn’t imagine life without? A: I couldn’t imagine my life without my Macbook, of course I got a deal on it and with a free printer
  9. Q: Last book/magazine you read? A:Truthfully I don’t take the time out to read magazines or books but I am realizing that I really should make the time for it to keep my mind sharp. Sadly I suppose the last magazine I read was Lowe’s Creative Idea’s haha! Although there isn’t much reading involved, it does give some inexpensive ideas for creating all kinds of things around your home…shocking isn’t it that I can’t get away from saving money even in my reading choice
  10. Q: You win an all expense paid vacation to anywhere in the world…where do you go? A: All expenses paid trip that I would love to win would be to go anywhere that isn’t here, but seriously, if I had to choose, I would say Italy for at least a week. I would even very happily take Ireland!

To learn more about Angela and see if she can maybe save you some money, head to her website by clicking here.

Grocery Store, Meet Couponing Queen

I truly believe that when I walk into a store carrying my bag of couponing tricks that entry music should be keyed and a fan should softly blow my hair.  Kind of reminiscent of the scene on Bridesmaids as they are boarding the airplane to go to Vegas. 

I have had several people ask me questions about how time consuming couponing is.  The truth is, just like anything else in life, you have to be willing to dedicate time to be successful.  I look at it like a part time job from home.  And when I get my receipt after cashing out, whatever the savings is for that trip is my paycheck.  How many people get a paycheck with no work involved?  I can clip coupons while watching TV, I can scan sales flyers while in my pajamas, I can make grocery lists while sipping on coffee.  Right now as I type this I am en route to a bridal show with my sister.  I would much rather give a few hours at home to lower my grocery bill then have to work a second job. 

I start out with checking out my food inventory.  I work with what I have already in my freezer and cupboards as well as what the upcoming sales are to make a meal plan.  I generate a meal plan (see picture below which you can buy one of these here).  Once I have the meal plan set, I write down all the ingredients I will need for those meals.  I cross off any that I already have on hand.  The remaining list goes on my grocery list as well as any breakfast or lunch items we need. 

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For household items and toiletries, I keep a running list as I am cleaning or getting ready for the day of what I need or am low on.  Those items also go on my grocery list.  The rest of my list consists of hot sales.  Each week when I shop, I try to grab a few ultra-low sale priced items to go towards the following week’s meal plan. 

Once I have looked at the new sales & coupons, made my meal plan and composed a grocery list I begin putting together coupons to use.  If an item is on sale but you don’t have a coupon, check the company’s website.  Google the name of the item with the word coupon after it. 

I usually have a target amount in mind that I want to spend.  If you get to know prices well, you can estimate the cost of each item and get an idea of what the total will be.  If you are over your target, you either need to rework your meal plan or find more coupons. 

There are certain items that I will pay more for the better alternative.  For example, I will not buy margarine although it is much cheaper than butter.  I tend to buy the milk that says no hormones on the carton even if it costs fifty cents more.  However, for a majority of the time I have no problems going with the store or generic brand.  Say I need Hershey’s Syrup.  It’s on sale for $ 2.79, I have a coupon for 50 cents off but the store brand is $ 1.50.  I will go with the store brand.  Now, grab your binder & bag and get ready to save money!!

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If you are a Price Chopper Shopper, make sure you hit up the iSave coupon machine at the entrance of the store.  Scan your AdvantEdge card and a sheet of coupons will print out.  I usually find one or two of these sheets of coupons laying around the store when people abandon them.  I snatch them up too because the coupons are different for each person! 

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Today I thought it was funny when a woman came up to me and commented on how organized I was.  This is what was in the front section of my cart..

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Stick to your list unless you come across a hot clearance item.  Keep a running total of how much the groceries will come to that are in the cart.  Double check your coupons before checking out to be sure you have every coupon you need.  If you are buying items that have coupons stuck to them, pull them off yourself as I have had too many experiences when I get home and find out the cashier never even took the coupon off the item to use. 

Today’s total before my AdvantEdge card and coupons was $ 208.45.  After card and coupons my total was $ 137.54!  Full week of breakfast, lunch & dinner for four as well as a few items for next week!  Total savings almost $ 70.00 which would have been net pay for working 10 hours at minimum wage! 

Price Chopper Coupon Matchup 1/13/13

When I first started couponing, I of course started following couponing sites.  The most frustrating thing for me was when they did the coupon matchups they would say use such and such coupon from four weeks ago to get this great deal.  When you are just starting out, you don’t have the coupons from four weeks ago.  Each week I will do the matchups for that week’s sales for Price Chopper with that week’s coupons to help out those just beginning. 

Price Chopper Coupon Matchup

Saturday- Look at the deals I post with the upcoming weekly flyer and coupons available in the Watertown Daily Times. Make a meal plan according to sales.

Sunday- Wake up early and head out to pick up the Sunday edition of the Watertown Daily Times to get your Price Chopper ad that will have exclusive Price Chopper coupons in it and coupon inserts needed to snag the sales.

Price Chopper coupons (in ad) (Remember these are store coupons that can be stacked with manufacturer’s coupons for BIG savings!!

  • Quaker Oatmeal $1.99 with coupon
  • Pepsi 6-pack 4/ $11.00 with coupon  **Stack this coupon with (2) $ 1.00 off 2 multipacks coupon on coupons.com for total price of 4/$ 9.00 ($ 2.25 per 6 pack!!!)
  • $2.00 off 1lb or 2lb Price Chopper Bagged Shrimp
  • Chex cereal 3/$ 6.00 with coupon
  • Get $3.00 off entire purchase when you buy 5 Aunt Jemima, Quaker or Captain Crunch items
  • $ 2.00 off any Cheese purchase of $ 3.99 or more from the Deli or Specialty Cheese departments
  • Ziploc Storage Containers 2/$ 4.00
  • $ 5.00 off 2 Enfamil Premium Infant Powder Formula
  • $10.00 off Rug Doctor Shampooer Rental
  • $ 2.00 off 3 American Greeting Cards

Deals Using Coupons From WDT

SS stands for SmartSource coupon insert.

  • Huggies Jumbo Diapers**Sale Price $ 8.00 – SS coupon for $ 1.00 off = Final price $ 7.00
  • Huggies Pull-Ups**Sale Price $ 8.00 – SS coupon for $ 2.00 off= Final price $ 6.00
  • Chef Boyardee Ravioli**$1.00 x 5 cans = $ 5.00 – SS coupon for $ 1.00 off of 5 = final price of $ 4.00 (80 cents each!!)
  • Dreamfields Low Carb Pasta**$ 2.29 x 2 boxes = $ 4.58 – SS coupon for $ 1.00 off of 2 = $ 3.58 ($ 1.79 each)
  • Campbell’s Tomato or Chicken Noodle Soup**$.99 x 10 cans = $ 9.90 – SS coupon for $ 1.00 off of 10 = $ 8.90 (89 cents each!!)
  • Campbell’s Chunky Soup**$1.50 x 4= $6.00 – SS coupons for $1.00 off of 4 = $ 5.00 ($ 1.25 each!!)
  • Scott Extra Soft 12 Rolls Toilet Paper **$ 6.99 – SS coupon for $1.00 off = $ 5.99
  • Cottenelle Mega 9 Roll or Double 12 Roll Toilet Paper**$ 6.99 x 2 = $13.98 – SS Coupon for $ 1.00 off of 2 = $ 12.98 ($ 6.49 each)
  • Kleenex Facial Tissues**$ 1.50 x 4 = $ 6.00 – SS coupon for $ 1.00 off of 4= $ 5.00 ($1.25 each)
  • Windex Glass Cleaner**$ 2.50 x 2 = $ 5.00 – SS coupon for $ 1.00 off of 2= $ 4.00 ($2.00 each)
  • Scrubbing Bubbles Total Kitchen Foaming Cleaner**$ 2.50 – SS coupon for $ 1.00 off = $ 1.50
  • Celestial Tea**$ 2.79 – SS Coupon for $ 1.00 off = $ 1.79
  • Dannon Activia Yogurt 4-packs**$ 2.00 x 2 = $ 4.00 – SS coupon for $ 1.00 off of 2 = $ 3.00 ($ 1.50 per pack or 38 cents per cup)
  • Scotch-Brite Scour Pads**$ 2.00 x 2 = $ 4.00 – SS coupon for $ 1.00 off of 2 = $ 3.00 ( $ 1.50 each)
  • Schick Quattro Disposable Razors**$ 6.99 – SS Coupon for $ 2.00 off = $ 4.99
  • Glade Relaxing Moments 4 oz Candle**$ 2.50 x 2 = $ 5.00 – SS coupon for $ 2.00 off of 2 = $ 3.00 ($ 1.50 each)
  • Skintimate Shave Gel**$ 2.50 – SS coupon for $ .55 off – Price Chopper Doubles Coupon $.55 = $ 1.40
  • V8 V-Fusion 46 oz bottles**$ 2.50 x 2 = $ 5.00 – SS coupon for $ 1.00 off 2 = $ 4.00 ($ 2.00 each)
  • Kotex Maxi Pads BOGO Free- Use SS coupon for $ 1.50 off of 2

Don’t forget you will need an AdvantEdge card to score all sale pricing!  It’s free & you earn money off gas for your vehicle!!

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Check Out Food on the Table!!

The biggest complaint I hear in regards to couponing is the meal planning and grocery list making part.  I once read that a typical household has about 15 recipes that they repeatedly make for dinner because they just don’t know how to meal plan. 

A friend recently told me to check out Food on the Table, a FREE website that helps with meal planning and builds grocery lists for local stores!  Amazing! 

First you select stores in your area you like to shop at.  Then you give an idea of what kind of foods & ingredients your household likes.  That list generates recipes (with pics) for your to choose from for your meal plan!  Once your recipes are selected, your grocery list will generate!  Print, Shop, Save….SuperMom (or Dad) to the rescue!!

Did I mention it’s FREE????!!!

Help Affording Drugs

Prescription drugs, of course.  What else were you thinking?  Seriously, we need to buy pharmacy stock in this home.  I almost named this post I live with a bunch of Druggies.  Proof:

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Those are my husband and my daily meds.  I think maybe three of those are mine by the way.  Quick flashback for medical history purpose:

2006- Met husband, fell in love…He goes to a routine physical for his CDL license, doctor mentions a heart murmur he might want checked out.  He comes home, mentions to me..I remember feeling something in my gut (instinct most likely) that said this isn’t good but we let it go.  Partly due to the “Nothing bad can happen to us” ignorance and partly due to no medical insurance as he was self employed.

2007- Married, Madi is born, Isn’t love grand?

2008- Finally secure health insurance on May 1st.  May 2nd Brian goes to a family doctor.  That weekend the doctor called Brian on his cell, from the doctor’s cell.  Side note…it’s never good news when that happens.  From that moment it is a blur of tests, procedures, doctors, hospitals that all climax on July 3rd with my 37 year old, non-smoking, slender build husband having open heart surgery.  Our daughter wasn’t even one yet.  Yet he was laying on the operating table trying to repair a heart that had about 5-10% function left. 

He did survive, only to find out three months later that the surgery had not been as successful as hoped.  December 26th he went back in the operating room to have a defibrillator implanted in his heart in case it stopped on him.  He would have to start the proceedings to be on the heart transplant list if there was not improvement after increase in meds. 

Aside from the obvious of never ignoring a possible medical issue do you know what the lesson is here?  Never get married.  The minute you marry them and take them off the single lot, they break down on you and run like crap.  And there are no Lemon Laws in marriage.  Damn contracts.

Did I mention my Dad was also diagnosed with cancer in the same year?  A cancer that has an extremely small chance (almost zero) of going into remission.  Hellooo perfect ingredients for a nervous breakdown. 

2009- Had to shut down the family business, struggled financially for the next almost three years due to trying to recover from the loss of income while he was recovering from surgeries (most of 2008).  Aside from financial reasons, he could no longer perform the strenuous physical activity his business required and could not handle the stress of running his own business.  This was a VERY difficult year as he fought reality.

So that brings us to today.  Brian is doing extremely well, but has many medicines that truthfully keep him alive.  They keep his blood pressure, heart rate and stress down.  They keep his heart beating regularly.  They keep his blood thinned to prevent clots.  He can’t go a day without these meds.  It is EXTREMELY expensive. 

We went for a short period where the government decided we were no longer poor enough to qualify for Family Health Plus, a state assisted health insurance and we had no insurance.  His medicines alone were near $300 a month.  Ouch.  That doesn’t include his ongoing medical care.  Seriously Government, we be poor folk.  The least you could do is throw some free lunches our way for the kids.  We live paycheck to paycheck but qualify for no help at all, in any manner. 

So luckily he married a Penny Pincher.  If there is a program out there that will assist or reduce costs, I will find it. 

We do now have health insurance with a prescription plan thanks to his amazing employer.  It should not be a luxury or a “benefit”.  It should be something every American has.  That is why I don’t see 100% harm in the Obamacare plan.  I don’t think that they are approaching it in the right manner, but I think the goal of getting coverage for all Americans is a priority. 

My heart goes out to those without a prescription plan who rely on those medicines to keep them alive and well.  There are several avenues to take to try to alleviate the cost of medicines. 

1.  Ask the doctor for samples.  Seriously, they get them for free and you have to be honest with your doctor that you can’t afford them.  Our doctor’s office would mail us a three month supply of samples at a time.  FOR FREE.  So be forward and tell them your situation with no or inadequate prescription coverage. 

2.  Call around to local pharmacies and explain the situation and ask if they have any pharmacy founded programs to assist with the cost.  Most pharmacies do.  In fact Price Chopper offer many medicines FREE OF COST.  Free antibiotics and Free Diabetic medicines and supplies. 

3.  Find out which pharmaceutical company manufactures the prescription you need.  Then contact that company and ask if they have a patient assistance program to help cover the costs.  Most will help with the cost after you and your doctor fill out some paperwork for their files.  Even though we do not qualify for ANY type of assistance under the sun, we do qualify for these patient assistance programs! 

In addition there are several resources out there available to people who can’t afford their medication.  Here are some links to those resources:

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

Rx Assist

Needy Meds

Turn off the TV, Turn on the Savings!

If you are struggling to pay bills and put food on the table, sacrifices sometimes need to be made.  Heat, food, electricity…all necessities.  Internet, television, smartphones are all luxuries.  So here comes my question…if you are seriously pinching pennies could you live without cable or satellite television programming? 

If the answer is absolutely not, can you at least downgrade to a cheaper programming package?  Do without the DVR or second receiver?  Can you cancel your cable/satellite service and instead use Netflix or Hulu

I find when I turn my TV off, I find more time to blog, read, exercise, cook from scratch, clean my house and my favorite- spend time with my family!  Make movie night a special treat instead of a habit. 

I challenge you to try it for a month.  Simply wake up tomorrow and pretend the TV is broke.  Unplug it (this saves on energy too).  Take the batteries out of the remote.  Take on organizing that closet you have been wanting to tackle.  Take your kids to a museum.  Make an entire meal from scratch.  Read a book.  Exercise.  At the end of the month evaluate if you could do without the boob tube. 

If you aren’t ready to quit cold turkey, ease into it with a free month of Netflix.  To learn about the details for a free month click here.

I don’t think anyone on their death bed wishes they would have watched more television.