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  • The Benefits of Having A Stockpile

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    Stockpile: a reserve supply of something essential accumulated within a country for use during a shortage – Merriam-Webster

    When couponers refer to stockpiling, they generally mean a big enough supply of something to last at least until the next sale, bought at a low price. There are significant benefits to building up a stockpile:

    Saving money – Because you buy stockpile items when prices are low (usually combining a sale and coupon), you have them on hand when you need them and don’t have to pay a higher price. Stockpile enough items this way and you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

    Less stress – Because you have items on hand when you need them, you don’t have to rush out when you’re short on time and cash.

    Emergency preparation – Living in earthquake country, we always have an emergency kit ready, but I also like knowing that I have lots of things on hand that would be handy in an emergency, like breakfast cereal, crackers and batteries.

    Real life example: A couple of years ago, my oldest son was hospitalized and I didn’t shop for a while. But I was able to draw on my stockpile for portable snacks to take to the hospital, and I didn’t have to worry about running out of basics like toilet paper and tissue when we got home. That meant I could focus all of my energy on taking care of my son and family.

    *Updated* It’s Not Illegal to Sell Expired Food

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    Update: It turns out I was reading the date code on the Nestle Pure Life wrong, so I apologize to Rite Aid for stating they were selling expired water since it wasn’t expired. However, the point of this post stands – it’s not illegal to sell expired food in California, and there’s little incentive for businesses to remove expired food from shelves and write off the loss.

    I stopped by a Rite Aid store today to pick up two 24-packs of Nestle Pure Life water. They’re on sale for $3.50, and you get a $1 +UP reward when you buy 2. I’ve been looking for a good deal on bottles this size to add to our stash of emergency supplies, so I was excited about this deal.

    But when I got to Rite Aid and checked the expiration code on the package, it said July 31, 2011.

    I don’t like that particular store much and am not friendly with the staff, plus I was in a bit of a rush so I just left without buying anything. But when I got home, I decided to find out what agency such violations are reported to. And so I discovered that there’s no violation at all. Apparently there’s no law in California that prohibits the sale of expired food items.

    If you play The Drugstore Game, you might recall that CVS agreed to pay $2 for every expired product found on its shelves, but the legal theory was not that they had violated a law against selling expired food but that they had violated state law regarding false advertising and unfair business practices since consumers expect products on store shelves to be within the expiration date.

    I am considering a complaint to the state Attorney General’s Office to ask them investigate Rite Aid’s practices in the same way they investigated CVS’s practices. But the real bottom line is that consumers must watch out for themselves and check expiration dates. It’s a good habit to get into anyway.

    Staples Programs: Easy Rebates & Staples Rewards

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    April 2013: Read about the updated Staples Rewards program here.

    In the coming weeks, Staples should have some amazing deals for back to school, but some of them will require you to pay upfront and then get your money back via Easy Rebate or Staples Rewards. Both programs are explained in detail below:

    STAPLES EASY REBATES

    Staples Easy Rebates are pretty much what they sound like. When you buy a qualifying item, the rebate information prints after your receipt, and you can submit your rebate online for processing. It takes 4 to 6 weeks for your rebate to arrive.

    Rebates are usually in form of checks or Paypal deposits. I’ve never gotten a Paypal deposit, but it looks like your Staples email address and your Paypal address do not need to match.

    Some rebates are in the form of a Staples gift card or Visa prepaid card. In some cases, you’ll be given the option to select a Staples gift card that has an increased reward amount that is greater than the Visa prepaid card or check.

    STAPLES REWARDS

    Unlike the Easy Rebates, Staples Rewards is a loyalty program that you must enroll in. Each quarter, you get back 10% of all ink, toner, case and ream paper, and copy and print purchases. Staples Rewards are issued in the form of a coupon that can only be redeemed at Staples.

    Staples also offers special Staples Rewards deals throughout the year – for example, the last two holiday shopping seasons, they offered 100% back on select Duracell battery purchases. Similar deals will probably be offered during the back to school shopping season – I seem to recall some kind of Staples Rewards deal on binders last year. As long as you spend your rewards coupon wisely, these special offers can be spectacular. (I recommend using rewards to buy ink or toner for your printer – you know you’ll need it for all of your coupons!)

    Note: If you’re a teacher, you may want to join Staples Rewards for Teachers, which also gives you 10% back in Staples Rewards on all teaching and art supplies purchases, and increases the limit per customer on hot deals (like the back to school penny deals) to 25.


    Banner via Escalate Media Network

    What I Learned This Weekend: Patience Pays Off (With a Little Luck)

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    We have a Brita faucet filter that’s at least five years old, so I decided last month that it’s time for a new one. (We have very hard water, and there’s quite a bit of discoloration where the water comes out.) I printed off my coupons – one was a Target coupon for $10 off with the purchase of a Brita system and multipack of filters, and a manufacturer’s coupon for $4 off any Brita system (neither coupon is available now).

    When I went to Target last month, the filters were on sale, but the systems weren’t. The Target coupon didn’t expire until 7/31, so I decided to wait. I checked the ad each week, and the shelf when I visited the store. But it wasn’t until the past Saturday that I spotted a good deal on its last day – if it was in the ad, I’d totally missed it.

    The cheapest faucet mount system was on sale for $14.84 (normally $16.49). And the multipack of filters was on sale for $25 with a $5 gift card offer. So with my coupons, I paid $25.84 plus tax. And I got back a $5 gift card to spend next time, so it was like paying $20.84. Considering the multipack of filters is usually around $29, I felt like I’d hit the lottery.

    What I realized afterward is that I’ve changed in the two years since I started playing The Drugstore Game. By nature, I’m not the most patient person, but I’ve learned that if I can wait, a good deal will come along. It makes me uncomfortable to see only a cup of mayo left in the jar and not have an unopened jar in the cupboard waiting, but I’ve learned to wait because maybe it’ll go on sale the next week – and it usually does.

    The corollary to this lesson is that it isn’t necessary to hit every sale at every store, because the deals will repeat themselves 🙂

    Morning Coffee: New Cellfire Coupons

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    There are new coupons at Cellfire.com – they’re the usual coupons for Nature Valley, General Mills, etc. Load them onto your store rewards card before they become unavailable. Links via Escalate Media Affiliate Network

    Get a printable coupon for 75 cents/1 Goldfish Grahams. Because it’s a new product, I would expect to find good sales on this product that make it close to free. Link via Brandcaster.

    Today’s Ebates Daily Double store is Victoria’s Secret, which is giving 4% cash back (instead of the usual 2%). It looks like the Semi-Annual sale is going on right now, when you can usually find some steep discounts. To learn more about Ebates, read my original review. If you sign up through my referral link, we’ll both get a bonus when you make your first purchase within 30 days!

    Starting 7/1, Staples is reducing the amount they pay for recycled ink cartridges to $2 each. So if you have cartridges to recycle, do it before the end of the month. And don’t forget that this week, when you spend $49 or more on HP ink, you’ll get double the rewards for recycling your used cartridges.

    Speaking of Staples, get a printable coupon for 15% off your purchase (excluding computers, expires 6/19). Here’s my plan: Buy one two-pack of HP ink in the ad (which is what my printer takes) at $57.99. Use the 15% off coupon and pay $49.29 + tax. I’ll get 20% of my purchase price back in Staples Rewards, which, assuming they go off the discounted price, will be $9.86. I’m also going to take 4 used cartridges to be recycled at $6 each, giving me another $24 in Staples Rewards. I’m hoping that since I’m doing this before the end of the quarter, which would be 6/30, that I’ll get my Rewards certificate in time to use it in the back-to-school sales.

    Moneywise Moms has a cute little project for personalized flip flops.

    Coupon Geek explains how you can get a free sample of Dove Shampoo via Dish Network.

    Get a printable coupon for $1/5 Del Monte Fruit Cup Naturals.

    Get a free sample of Bull’s Eye Barbeque Sauce, and a printable coupon for $1 off the product. (Note: the site for the sample loads better in IE than FF.)

    $5 Dinners has some suggestions on keeping expenses in check while controlling celiac disease and diabetes.


    Banner via Escalate Media Affiliate Network

    Morning Coffee: Four Days to Christmas

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    I’ve been so busy that I simply haven’t been able to register how far into the month we are, but goodness, Christmas is at the end of the week! I wonder if my sense of the month will be better when Alex starts kindergarten and my life is once again ruled by the academic calendar . . .

    Amazon has the Avent ISIS Manual Breast Pumpon sale for $26.25, which is a super low price. When I was pregnant with Alex, this was the manual pump with the highest recommendation from the Baby Bargains book.I actually bought one for about $40, but never used it because my supply problems* forced me to immediately buy a Medela Pump in Style Advanced.Disclosure: I’m an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

    The Toy Lightning Dealscontinue at Amazon today – there’s Buzz Lightyear starting right now, Bakugan at 10 a.m. PST, Polly Pocket at 11 a.m., and Star Wars at noon. The last deal is at 5 p.m.

    Amazon also has a new bunch of $5 magazine subscriptions,including Sunset, Southern Living and Health. There are also new $10 subscriptionsfor Entertainment Weekly and In Style. Offers expire 12/27.

    A Thrifty Mom explains how you can get a free ESPN poster with your child’s picture.

    Mommy Snacks has details on how to get a $5 off $25 Old Navy purchase coupon.

    Common Sense with Money
    has details on how to get a coupon for free Aveda products.

    *Previously: More on breastfeeding

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer’s full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.