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  • My New Favorite Way to Save: Price Matching

    As I mentioned on Facebook the other day, I shop at Target all the time but just price matched for the first time ever there.

    I loved it!

    And I will definitely do it again.

    See this basket?

    Lego gift basket

    I just put it together for a fundraiser at school, after collecting money from other parents and purchasing the Lego sets at Target. The giant box at the back of the basket is the Lego Star Wars Sith Fury-class Interceptor, which had a shelf price of $89.99. I was standing in the store, talking to a mom I’d run into, when it suddenly occurred to that it might be cheaper at Amazon and that I could price match if it was. And it was! When I looked it up on Amazon on my smartphone, it came up $71.36.

    Naturally, I headed over to Guest Services, and asked them to match Amazon’s price. They have to look up the item on the Target-owned iPad to verify the price, and I was told that for Amazon, the item has to be “sold and shipped by Amazon.” (Luckily for me, the Lego set was sold and shipped by Amazon at the time, because it’s over $130 from a third-party seller right now!)

    It seems like once the Target team member has verified the other store’s price, it’s a simple matter to change the price when ringing up the item. My receipt shows the item at the price-matched price, and underneath that, it says “Regular Price $89.99.”

    You can read Target’s full price-matching policy here.

    Do you price-match?

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    The New Ibotta: New Users Get Free $2 Credit


    A few months ago, I told you about a new iPhone and Android app called Ibotta, which can potentially save you lots of money. They’ve rolled a new version today, so I wanted to re-introduce the app because I still love using it.

    What’s The Same

    The basics of Ibotta have stayed the same: Once you’ve downloaded Ibotta, you simply choose the offers you’re interested in, then go shopping. Once you’ve purchased a qualifying item, you upload a photo of your receipt through the app, then scan the barcode of the qualifying item, also through the app. Ibotta will verify that your purchase qualifies for the offer, and then credit your account. I’ve done it many times and find Ibotta very easy to use.

    You can cash out your savings through Paypal when you hit the $5 minimum threshold, or donate your savings to a school or the United Way. Maybe the best part about Ibotta is that you don’t need a store loyalty card, and it works at so many stores, including Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Kroger stores and their affiliates including Ralphs, and Safeway stores and their affiliates including Vons/Pavilions. See the full list here.

    What’s New

    Bonuses and Store Extras: To find bonus offers and special store-exclusive offers, go to the Main Menu in the Ibotta app (tap on lines icon at the top left of the screen). Bonuses include $1 when you refer one friend, $5 when you refer 4 more friends, $1 when you redeem at least 1 offer each week for the 4 weeks in a row, and $0.50 when you redeem 4 offers by the end of April. My store extras include 4 offers redeemable at Target only.

    Friend Bonuses: Ibotta is now offering extra incentives to refer as many friends as possible. In addition to the $5 bonus I just mentioned, you get $7 for referring 5 more friends. If you can get 100,000 friends to sign up, they’ll give you $150,000 (good luck with that!).

    Newbie Bonus: New Ibotta members can get a a free $2 credit when you join Ibotta and redeem 2 offers within the first 2 weeks of registering. Current offers include Capri Sun (perfect for Ralphs), Ball Park Franks, Healthy Choice and more. It should be really easy to redeem 2 offers in 2 weeks.

    I’m not sure how long the $2 sign up credit offer will last, so join now while it’s still available!

    And thank you if you join(ed) Ibotta using my referral link!

    Save on Everyday Items with Amazon Subscribe & Save

    Amazon has made some changes to their Subscribe & Save Program that could potentially save you a lot of money. But there are pros and cons to weigh, so I thought it was worth dedicating a post to discussing the new Subscribe & Save.

    What is Subscribe & Save?

    If an item is eligible for Subscribe & Save, there will be a box just under the price that tells you the Subscribe & Save price, and over to the right, there will be an option to order through Subscribe & Save:

    Subscribe & Save

    Subscribe & Save gives you a discount of 5%, plus FREE shipping with no minimum. The “subscribe” part of it means that the item will be automatically shipped to you again. You can select an interval of anywhere between 1 to 6 months. However, you are not locked into anything, and you can cancel your subscription or delay the next shipment at any time on the Your Subscribe & Save Items page.

    What’s New

    Recently, Amazon revamped Subscribe & Save to consolidate Subscribe & Save orders into one shipment per month. They also increased the Subscribe & Save discount to 15% if you have 5 or more Subscribe & Save orders in your monthly shipment (except diapers and wipes). While this doesn’t help if you need something right away, it’s a fantastic way to save on everyday items that you might need but can’t easily get for less in The Drugstore Game or by being an extreme couponer at the grocery store.

    For example, my March shipment included Gillette Mach3 Razor Cartridges, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads, and Philips Sonicare for Kids Replacement Brush Heads. The Mach3 is my husband’s favorite razor and less than $2 per cartridge is a lower price than I can find in-store, plus a good price for a new razor these days is $1.99 so it’s cheaper to buy these cartridges – whereas a few years ago, it made more sense to buy new razors because they were free at the drugstores. As for the other items, I was out of magic erasers, which I love to use, and I couldn’t even find the kids Sonicare brushes at Target. Add in a couple more subscriptions for things we use, and I got things I need at a great price, all delivered to my door. (And I paid for them with FREE gift cards that I earned though Swagbucks!)

    When to Buy Through Subscribe & Save

    Every shopper should have a stock-up price list, so that you know when something is a great buy. If you shop regularly and pay attention to sales, you tend to know what you regularly find on sale at your stock-up price, and what’s rare to get super cheap.

    I find that Amazon is a great place for those items that don’t fit into either of those categories, but which you buy regularly. The razor cartridges from my March order are a perfect example, since I rarely, if ever, find them at the same price at a brick and mortar store.

    Amazon is also a great source for hard-to-find, and consequently more expensive, items. A perfect example is fair trade cocoa powder, which I can only find at Whole Foods, and for a much higher price.

    And of course, there are the irregular bargain buys that pop up fairly often. For instance, we often see a stock-up price on toilet paper – there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to when the deal is available, but if it’s there, then it makes a great addition to your monthly Subscribe & Save shipment.

    In sum, shop wisely and let Amazon Subscribe & Save save you money and time.

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    Ibotta for iPhone and Android: A new way to save money + $5 sign up credit

    ibotta share the love

    There’s a new app for iOS and Android called ibotta that can potentially save you lots of money. I’d say it’s most like SavingStar, in that you select offers before you go shopping, and get the savings after you make your purchase.

    However, with ibotta, you don’t need a store loyalty card. Instead, you upload a photo of your receipt through the app, then scan the barcode of the qualifying item, also through the app. I’ve redeemed one offer and found the app very easy to use with my iPhone 4S. Their offers are for many things you probably buy anyway – the offer I redeemed was for Glad food storage containers. Current offers include Kellogg’s cereals, Huggies diapers and wipes, Chapstick, Dove and many more. (Update 1/10/2013: I’ve since redeemed approximately one dozen offers and continue to love ibotta!)

    Maybe the best part about ibotta is that it works at so many stores, including Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Kroger stores and their affiliates, and Safeway stores and their affiliates. See the full list here. You can cash out your savings through Paypal when you hit the $5 minimum threshold, or donate your savings to a school or the United Way.

    Right now, ibotta is offering a $5 sign up credit when you join here and redeem at least one offer. (I’ll get a $1 referral credit, so thank you!) The $5 offer can end any time ends on January 17, 2013, so don’t delay in joining.

    Save Money, Time & Stress by Using Free Programs

    I just spent over an hour working with spreadsheets on Google Drive for our PTA, and that got me thinking about how amazing it is to be able to do so much for FREE these days. The other members of the PTA committee and I use Google Drive to share spreadsheets, so that we can all view the same document, make changes, and see what everyone else is up to. As room parent for my older son’s class, I just created a free classroom web site on Shutterfly, and both my sons are on sports teams that have their own Shutterfly sites. So I thought it would be fun to share some FREE resources that can save you time, money and stress:

    Google Drive – Google, of course, has other great free programs like Maps and Gmail, but in this instance I’m really focused on Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) because there aren’t many free programs like it. You can create spreadsheets, word processing documents, PDFs, and more. I particularly like the capability to create different formats all in one place. There’s also an easy sharing mechanism so multiple people can have access to the same document, and free templates.

    Shutterfly Share Sites – Shutterfly makes it really easy to create a private web site for a sports team, classroom, family and more. Having a my own web site, I found it a little frustrating that the template was more customizable, but it’s very easy to work with and has some great options. For sports teams, you can post the team’s record and a snack schedule; classrooms can have a roster and volunteer list. Not surprisingly, all templates encourage posting pictures, and I discovered that I can download another parent’s pictures of my child to my own computer. I was so grateful, because I ended up with some amazing shots of my older son playing soccer that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

    Volunteer Spot – If you coordinate events that require volunteers to sign up, you might want to give Volunteer Spot a try. I haven’t created anything there myself, but I’ve used it to sign up for volunteer slots at events coordinated by others, and it was really easy. – This is a great web site for generating random numbers, which is perfect for blog giveaways but also for any kind of raffle. (We just used it for a PTA raffle, in fact.) It’s also a fun site to let kids play around with.

    Rafflecopter – If you host giveaways, Rafflecopter makes it really easy. You might have noticed I use them for all of my giveaways now. I know there are paid services that might be better, but I love that I can use Rafflecopter for free. :)

    Firefox Extensions – I always blog in Firefox because there are some great extensions that I use all the time when drafting posts, most notably Clippings, which makes it easy to paste frequently-used text. There are many other useful extensions, like ad blockers, screen capturers, and more. Google Chrome also has extensions, if you prefer Chrome.

    What are your favorite free programs to use?

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