Tuesday, May 5, 2009

my points, and coupons

In some of our other postings we've mentioned My Points, and we've definitely talked a lot about coupons. Thought it might be fun to share some more information about both!

Through My Points you can earn points by taking surveys and by reading and responding to offers that are emailed to you. Many of the offers are things you can get for free - and you don't ever have to take the offers, you just need to click on the email My Points sends you, to go to the website of the "offering" company and then you automatically get your points. You can also earn additional points by shopping online through the My Points site - though we've not used that part of the program. Once you earn a specific number of points, you can redeem them for free gift cards that you can use at Target, CVS, Walmart, bookstores, several chain restaurants, etc. We've been My Points members for about a year now, and have received 5 ten-dollar Target gift cards, all for taking a handful of surveys and clicking through a lot of email offers. It's a great program - and sign up is free, of course!

As to coupons - as you can tell, we use lots of them when we shop! We subscribe to the Sunday paper, so we get a bunch each week that way. Then we also use several online sites to print more at home. Not all stores take web coupons - but most do. It's always a good idea to ask before you shop, if you're headed somewhere where you're not sure - so you don't get up to the register with your purchases and then find out they won't take your coupons! Some people like to buy coupons online (through Ebay and other sites) but we don't find that necessary - we've been able to save plenty of money without going this route. If you do decide to try to buy some, be very careful - there's lots of coupon fraud out there, and we've also heard about people buying a package full only to find out the ones that arrive are expiring within days. My grandfather always used to say "if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is" - good advice to remember!

Anyway, we print a lot of coupons from Coupons.com, Smart Source, and Red Plum. We also print coupons directly from the websites of different brands we know we'll use (like Stonyfield Farm). Sometimes to print coupons you have to "join" a website's club or email list - but we have a gmail address that we use for that purpose, so our home email isn't flooded with marketing materials and newsletters. If you have a printer hooked up to your computer, and some time to spend online, looking for coupons before you go out shopping can be a great way to save money!

There are also "snail mail" coupon offers on some websites. For example, Home Made Simple offers mailers of cleaning supply coupons for Proctor and Gamble brands on a regular basis. And Eat Better America has printable coupons and mailers for General Mills brands like Muir Glen and Cascadian Farms. Plus, when you request free samples, the samples usually arrive in the mail accompanied by coupons.

All in all, there are tons of great ways to make sure you have lots of coupons for your shopping trips. If you have other ideas that we didn't mention, please let us know!

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