Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

November 25, 2012

MELINDA HESTER: Online retailers provide great deals

ASHLAND — I love Amazon.com for Christmas shopping. With “Deal Alert of the Day,” you can save big. Look under “Deals” section or Amazon sales.

Virtually anything, and everything, ships to your door. It’s so much better than battling the malls and still a less-than-retail price with many more selections than the malls will ever have. Here are the hot items for toys this year.

Furby has made a comeback and is probably the biggest item on the list. Yes, Amazon has them.

I predict that “Hunger Games” will be a big draw, simply because the new movie “Catching Fire” is ready to come out. The three-book set, a trilogy of Hunger Games, would be a great gift. Also, I found on Amazon the “Mocking Jay pin,” and many other items. There is even what I think will be a really hard to find item, the Barbie Katniss Everdeen doll by Mattel. Very hard to find item, and Amazon has it from the comfort of your computer instead of fighting the mall.

Better decisions mean less money spent. Also, some days they advertise free shipping. This is valuable to you in shipping directly to the person on your list.

Toys R Us, Walmart, K Mart and Sears have weighed in with their picks for this year’s hottest toys. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Lego, Barbie and Twister top the list. Leapfrog LeapPad 2, V Tech Inno Tab Learning App Tablet, and Barbi Sisters Cruise Ship are some others.

Let frugal living help you save money toward Christmas giving.

Here are some great gift ideas that don’t cost the couponer much at all. Buy some gift bags and tissue paper from the Dollar Tree, and give Oil of Olay BathWash and a squishy sponge. Most women would love this. Also, slip in candy, or Nivia lip balm.

We take these things for a dollar or less all the time. Very nice gifts. Go through your stockpiles to fill Christmas gifts for office parties or your neighbors. What man wouldn’t love an expensive razor and shave gel, that we might have $2 or less invested in? Possibly add an Axe body wash and matching deodorant for a great usable gift. For the normal shopper, this gift would cost about $22. For the couponer, possibly $4 or less.

Ok, here we go!

CVS

We have $10 ExtraBucks when you spend $30 on P&G items. I know this sounds like a lot of money, but don’t let that distract you. We’re going to bring that down.

This is how most women buy their Tide. Tide is an expensive detergent. When do you normally get $10 off for buying six, and also get to use coupons for $2 off three. Use two coupons and you just saved $4 off of six Tide. Because you bought six, you now get $10 in EB bucks to spend anyway you want in the store.

If you want to do a second transaction, using the $10 in store bucks, you could go for the Crest Pro Health deal. Spend $10, get $5 EB and four Dawn dish liquid hand renewal at 99 cents each. Minus a 75 cent coupon each, bringing them down to 24 cents a piece. Spend your $10 EB bucks and guess what? You now have $5 more EB bucks to do a third transaction.

Buy one Oil of Olay Body Wash (possible Christmas gift for someone) at $5.50, use the $1 coupon in today’s P&G ad for a $4.50 final cost. Buy one Dawn dish liquid at 99 cents and use a 50 cent coupon = 49 cents. Use your $5 in store bucks and you just picked up $2 in EB bucks again.

Buy one Blistex using the $2 EB, and you get $1 EB back. Save the $1 EB for next week. There are many different games to play with this. You could take your store bucks and put them toward toys. CVS has many nice toys in this week’s ad. Bring that price down.

Rite Aid

‰St. Joseph Aspirin $4.99 -$4 Up - Coupon $2.25 Limit one.

‰Samy Shampoo or Conditioner $3.99 - $3 UP Limit 2.

‰Poland Spring Water 3/$3 - $1 UP.

‰Salon Grafix HairSpray or Mousse $4.99 - $4 UP Limit 2.

‰Right Guard $2.99 - $1 UP Coupon $2 off 2 Limit 2.

‰Colgate $2.99-$2 UP - 75 cent coupon. Use 1 coupon on each toothpaste Limit 4.

‰Gillette Disposable Razors B1G1 Free Use a $2 coupon on the free one = $5.49 for 2.

‰Venus Razor $9.99 -$4 UP - $3 coupon.

Rite Aid will not allow you to use your UP Rewards on the same day. They require a second shopping trip on a different day. Of course, this is to get you in the store again. But, you could possibly have $19 in UP Rewards if you do the deals above. This can be used toward toys, candy, Christmas cards, wrapping or decorations.

Let your store rewards help with Christmas.

Home cookin’

One of the biggest ways to save money is to cook at home. Little changes put much more money in the family fund.

I won’t name the restaurant, but it was one of our favorites, and started with a B. Gone now, I really miss their hot dogs. I was cruising one of my new cookbooks, and found a possible close match. I remember their hot dog had a thin sauce like this, and it sounds close. If you miss a certain restaurant with crinkle cut french fries, try this sauce recipe with steamed hotdogs.

1 ½ pounds ground beef

½ cup finely chopped onion

1 bottle (14 oz. ) ketchup

2 tablespoons chili powder

¼ cup water

In a pot over medium heat, cook the ground beef and onions, stirring and crumbling the meat. Use a potato masher for this. Brown it carefully. Just steamed really, and barely browned. Keep the onion soft. Drain off the fat, and stir in the ketchup and chili powder. Add the water and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Soft steam the hot dogs. Serve on bun. Make your own hot dog all-American by adding mustard, minced onions, and this sauce. Serve with crinkle cut French frys, and a crushed ice Coca Cola. Put your ketchup in a little white paper serving cup and serve on a white paper plate. Happy reminiscing! If it’s even close, I’m happy.

Sabra’s club

Don’t forget to put away something for children who might not have a very Merry Christmas.

I would like to mention Sabra’s Coupon Club again to anyone interested in couponing.

The next meeting is Dec. 3 at Giovianni’s on Blackburn Avenue starting at 5:30 p.m. We trade unused coupons, and this club is making a huge difference in lives. No cost. We couponers know how to get it free, or nearly free.

Have fun working those stores!

 

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