Couponing – a VERY quick and general guide!

Coupons are not new, but can be difficult to understand to a lot of people.

  • In the US of A a lot of coupons double, they don’t do that in the U.K at all.
  • You can use as many coupons as you like in a single transaction, however you can’t use more than one coupon for every item you purchase. Check the coupons, most of them say “limit of 1 coupon per purchase” or something similar.
  • You can buy as many items as you have coupons for. For example, I have two Fairy coupons for 1£ their washing up liquid. I can buy two and use one coupon for each bottle, since they’re two purchases.
    • However, you can combine the coupons with rewards from a chain. I have an offer from Sainsbury’s that says: Buy catfood X and get 200 nectar points. I also have a 2£ coupon for said catfood that I can use with that, since it’s NOT a coupon.
  • Make sure that you use the coupons within their dates. Use it before it expires.
  • Most coupons don’t exclude travel sizes or specify a certain size that you need to buy, for example: “This coupon is only valid on Fairy 750ml”.
    • If there are no size restrictions on the coupons, buy a smaller size to maximize your savings. I have a 75p of Head and Shoulders coupon that is valid on any size bottles. I’m going to use it at my local Sainsbury’s, since they have a 300ml bottle for 1£. After the coupon I’m going to pay 25p for a bottle of shampoo and I’ve got 2 coupons!
  • Read the coupon policies of your favourite shops and if you can’t find it – ask them via their website or on social media.
  • Also, make sure to check magazines, inserts and your Sunday newspaper for coupons – even free magazines and the back of your bus tickets can have sweet deals and coupons in them!
  • Buy the chain’s own magazine, they can often have coupons. Have a look through them first, just to be sure.
  • Join baby clubs if you’re expecting or have a child who wears diapers. The diaper companies often have clubs that lets you earn points, rewards and coupons on your diaper purchases. Check out Pampers website!

How to read a coupon:

A coupon/voucher will contain:

  1. X£ or Xp off
  2. What it’s valid on and/or what it excludes
  3. Valid for – an expiration date
  4. How many coupons you can use per purchase/transaction/household
  5. Your name
  6. Information to the shop on how they can redeem the coupon

If a coupon says:

  • 1 per purchase = you can use one coupon per item purchsed, so if you buy two of product X that means that you can use two coupons – one for each item.
  • 1 per transaction = You can only use one like coupon per transaction, but there’s nothing that stops you from buying three of the same thing, with coupons, in three seperate transactions
  • 1 per household = You may only use one coupon per household (you and your closest family – you, your partner and your children)

 

How to get coupons:

Be advised that you need to double check Extreme couponing and Money Saving Expert, since sometimes their coupons are invalid.

 

  • Check out the websites of your favourite brands and sign up for their newsletters. They can contain a lot of coupons!
  • Sign up to all the shops loyalty programs (Nectar, Tesco Clubcard, Morrisons…), that’s an awesome and free way of getting coupons.
  • Google is your friend. Google your favourite brands + vouchers and see what comes up.
  • Write letters to the brands you like and write REAL letters with pens and papers. Include what you like about them, why you buy them and maybe a suggestion of what you’d like them to make, improvements of their products or a new flavour. If you have children – have them draw pictures and send off to their favourites too. Companies likes that! If you have pets – send cute photos of your animals to the companies that makes the food they like. Be creative! A lot will send out a standard “thank you” letter, but some will send free stuff and/or coupons.
  • Join or create a coupon swapping group and swap coupons.

 

 

Have a look at YouTube for different people who coupon and explain it. Here are some great couponing people:

  1. Holly Vlogs (UK based)
  2. Hip2Save (USA)
  3. Southern Savers (USA)
  4. Krazy Coupon Ladies (USA)

 

I hope that this helps somewhat and please, ask if you have any questions.

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Saving on redecoration!

As some of you might know, I’m renovating my home and therefore also doing a lot of redecoration and my budget is very, very tight. That’s why I’m doing as much as possible on my own as a DIY project. Since I’m currently unemployed I’ve got the time to spend on renovating. The big things like gas, plumbing and electricity I don’t do – mostly for legal reasons, I’m not a professional so I can’t legally do stuff like gas and electricity. Plus, I don’t know the first thing about them either, so that’s why I’ve brought in skilled people to fix those things for me. I’m also bringing in a carpenter to repair two rooms for me, the state of them are just too bad for me to have a clue what to do.

But stuff like painting, putting up wallpaper and small stuff I’m doing on my own and I’ve got some hints for you that I’m using. Things that’ll save you money and have saved me quite a few pounds and pence. Just a moment ago I actually saved 48.99£ on paint buy using a “Buy 3 for 2” deal on paint from Homebase. They have the deal through tomorrow (August 20th 2017), so if you hurry you can still catch it online and they deliver from just 3.95£.

I used the deal twice, meaning that I bought six pots of paint and only paid for four (3for2 x2) and that saved me 48.99£. I bought two 2.5 liter cans of primer for walls, one 2.5 liter can of primer for wood, one 2.5 liter can of blue bathroom paint and one each of 2.5 liters of red and a soft white colour for walls. That’s how I used the deals, because I really needed those buckets of colour for my house. Now I’m waiting for a good deal on tiles for my bathroom and a good deal on damp colour for my soon to be pantry that has black mould in it.

 

Here are a few tips from me on how to save on renovation and redecoration;

  • Plan ahead – if you know in advance exactly what you’re going to do and what you’ll need to get when you do that, half the battle is already won. Planning is key.
  • Write lists – it may seem silly, but writing down what you need and how many will save you trips to the shops and in the end money.
  • Calculate the paint – count as closely as you can how much paint you’re going to need when you repaint a room and don’t forget to include the primer and undercoat when you calculate how much paint you need.
  • Make a budget – boring but absolutely necessary to keep the costs from stacking up. Sit down and make a realistic budget with room for errors and mishaps. By following the other steps you minimize the errors, but be sure to plan ahead for them. Also, plan out rough sums for everything – for example: 200£ on paint, 500£ to hire a redecorator to do some work, 400£ on materials etc.
  • Get a few DIY books – go to your local bookshop, second hand shop, or go online, and invest in a few good DIY and redecorating books and learn how to do as much as you can from them. Plus Youtube is a great source for learning DIY stuff by watching people in action. You can always use DIY books in the future anyway or lend them to family and friends who are renovating.
  • Go deal shopping online – it pays off to do your research online for the materials that you’ll be using for the renovation and don’t be afraid to buy things ahead of time, even if you won’t be needing the stuff for a little while. Some of the paint that I bought won’t be used until the carpenter’s been here and I don’t even know when he’ll be here. But since Homebase had a great sale I bought the items anyway. Not doing so would have cost me at least another 50£, which I now saved. Spending a bit of time on the internet can save you big bucks in the long run.
  • Ask your family, friends and neighbours for help – if you need help putting something up, painting, redoing stuff or something like that, don’t be afraid to ask for help. But you know, buy them pizza or throw a nice dinner party afterwards to say thank you. After all, they’ve worked for you for free! And always provide them with water, goggles, face masks and whatnot that they need while helping you with the work at hand.
  • You don’t need the fancies things – people seem to have an idea that when you redecorate or renovate, you need to use the absolute best of the best when it comes to paint and material, but this is simply not true. I’ve bought a lot of material (paint brushes, sandpaper, cutting knives etc) from Poundland and never had any problems. When I go to Homebase or any other DIY shop I always buy the cheap stuff, because I know that the quality is often just as good as the more expensive stuff. The same goes with paint, some of the paints I bought was about 14£ for 2.5 litres! The only thing I’ll spend a few more pounds on are the damp seal and anti mould paints, because it’s so important not to have mould, mildew or damp in your home. That’s the only exception. Plus, go online and dig around.
  • Order online for delivery – if you find a few good deals in an online shop, but can’t pick it up – get it delivered to your house. Some shops have free delivery, take a small fee or you get free delivery after hitting a certain sum. Try and get to that sum, but if you don’t then go for delivery. Most places take about 4£ for standard delivery and in the end, you’ll still save money this way. If I were to deduct the 3.95£ delivery fee from my savings I’d still save about 45£. So, it really doesn’t matter.

Coupon Policies

It can be very difiicult to know what goes at what chain when it comes to coupon policies – who accepts coupon, who doesn’t and do they have any limits on the amount of coupons/vouchers that you can use in a single transaction. Therefore, I’ve created a page where you’ll find links to the various store chains in the U.K and their coupon policies. Some of them don’t have a policy and where that’s the case, I’ll try to contact them on social media or through their website to find the answers.

I’ll try and expand the page to the U.S too, but for now it’s the U.K. chains that I’m focusing on.

ICELAND Coupon policy

  1. These terms and conditions (“Terms”) set out how Iceland money off, discount and instant rewards (whether in the form of vouchers coupons, till receipts, electronic or otherwise) (“Coupons”) can be used and the rules that apply to their use. Please read these Terms and the terms and conditions printed on the Coupon carefully as your use of the Coupon means that you accept and agree to these Terms and those on the Coupon.
  2. The amount of money off, discount or other promotion, the dates the Coupon can be used and all other information required to use the Coupon (including any restrictions) are set out on each individual Coupon. If the Coupon says anything additional to these Terms then the Coupon terms will apply. If there are any contradicting points on the Coupons to these Terms, then these Terms shall apply.
  3. Unless the Coupon says otherwise, Coupons cannot be redeemed online.
  4. Only the original printed Coupon is valid. Iceland will not accept amended, damaged or photocopied Coupons. Iceland reserves the right to refuse to accept any Coupons with incorrect codes or which Iceland reasonably believes to be copies. Iceland does not accept any liability for any lost or damaged Coupons – once you have the Coupon it is your responsibility, so keep it safe.
  5. When using the Coupon in store, the Coupon will need to be handed over to the cashier for him or her to swipe at the till.
  6. If you want to use multiple Coupons, not all offers may be redeemed within the same transaction. You should read the terms on each Coupon carefully.
  7. Coupons are not transferable, cannot be used more than once and have no cash value. Unless the Coupon states otherwise each Coupon can only be redeemed against one item. The Coupons cannot be used for the purchase of carrier bags or putting any electronic savings on your Bonus Card. Where a minimum spend is required in order to obtain or use a Coupon, then purchases of carrier bags or putting electronic savings on your Bonus Card will not count towards that minimum spend.
  8. Coupons cannot be used for alcohol purchases in Scotland.
  9. Iceland does not accept any responsibility for any computer or equipment failure resulting in a transaction failing to register or any Coupon failing to be generated or printed.
  10. Our product descriptions, pricing and specifications are accurate at the time we print our Coupons and marketing materials, however we reserve the right to withdraw or substitute items at our discretion.
  11. All of our products are subject to availability, whilst stocks last, and may be available in selected stores only.
  12. Iceland reserves the right to modify, withdraw, terminate or temporarily suspend any promotion or Coupon in whole or part at any time.
  13. All Iceland promotions, including Coupons, are governed by the laws of England and Wales and are subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  14. Iceland may amend these Terms at any time. All changes to these Terms will appear on our website on this page (www.iceland.co.uk/details). Please check our website regularly for changes. We recommend you check these Terms when you are thinking of using a Coupon.
  15. The Promoter is Iceland Foods Limited, Second Avenue, Deeside Industrial Park, Deeside, Flintshire, CH5 2NW.
  16. If you have any queries about these Terms or any Coupons, please call our Customer Helpline on 0800 328 0800 Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat 8am-8pm and Sun 8am-6pm (opening hours subject to change and calls may be recorded).
  17. Offers sent to Bonus Card holders: Only the person named in any offer communication can earn or use Coupons sent to them by swiping their Bonus Card, with the Bonus Card number stated in the offer communication, at the till when making a purchase in any participating Iceland store.
  18. Offers sent to Bonus Card holders: When that customer shops and their Bonus Card is swiped at the till, during the dates of the relevant promotion, the applicable Coupon will either be automatically printed at the till or the Coupon redeemed immediately.
  19. Offers and Coupons (Non-Bonus Card): If an offer is promoted in our stores, online or in any other communication, provided that all of the qualifying conditions of that offer (if any) are met during the dates of the promotion, the Coupon will either be automatically printed at the till or the Coupon redeemed immediately.

Chocolate Snowballs Recipe

Today I had a huge craving for something sweet, so I made some Chocolate Snowballs – an easy treat that you can freeze, is a favourite with kids and a no bake. In Finland, this recipe is a very traditional sweet and often the first thing that a child learns how to make in the kitchen, since they’re super easy, hardly any ingredients, no knives involved and no stoves or ovens! I remember learning how to make this at about five years old and I still make them – over 20 years later. We often have Chocolate Snowballs at children’s parties or on Saturdays – that are the Swedish and Finnish day when children can have sweets after dinner.

The Snowballs are also very easy to make vegan or gluten free. For vegan – use vegan or milk free butter. For gluten free – use gluten free oats. I always use the darkest cocoa powder that I can find, since it brings a deeper flavour and makes it a bit less sweet and sugary.

 

Ingredients;

300gr butter

3dcl sugar

6 tablespoons of cocoa powder

8dcl oats

4 tablespoons of water

2.5dcl (1 cup) shredded coconut

 

How to make them;

  1. Combine the sugar and the butter to a dough. The sugar and butter should be well combined and smooth. Use your hands for this.
  2. Add the cocoa powder, oats and the water and combine with your hands. Make sure that everything is an even dough and that there aren’t any specks of sugary butter left.
  3. Grab 2 flat plates. On one of them, add the shredded coconut and put the other one on the right hand side of the coconut plate.
  4. Roll little balls of the mix to smooth balls and the roll them in the coconut. Place the Snowballs on the empty plate.
  5. Once you’re done, put the Chocolate Snowballs in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up and set.
  6. Enjoy!

What are coupons & why should you use them?

Coupons have been around for decades now, but few of us actually know how to use them, think that they’re something for old people or poor people. BUT! While it may be true that old people and people with limited means use them, middle class people use them too to help them save money and spend it on other things. Or, they’ve been inspired by a certain TV-show on TLC.

Have you watched Extreme Couponing on TLC or on the internet and now you want to do that for yourself, but don’t know where to begin? Well, look no further – this is The Poor Man’s Guide to the Galaxy’s very own “Couponing 101” crash course, which will teach you the foundations of couponing. Not extreme couponing like you see on the telly, but everyday couponing that will reduce your grocery bill by at least 40% every week – reasonable and responsible couponing! If you want to use these skills like the ladies (and gentlemen) of the TV show, go for it – just remember to not clear the shelves while you’re at it.

A coupon is a piece of paper (or a piece of data on you mobile) that has a specific value of a certain product or a range of products from a manufacturer, all specified on the coupon itself. Let’s say that you have a coupon worth 1£ off Pixie washing up liquid Platinum and the bottle costs 2.50£. That means that you get a 1£ rebate if you have the coupon scanned by the cashier at the checkout. The bottle will, after the coupon is applied, cost you £1.50 instead. However: you can’t cash in the coupon all by itself without purchasing the product that it’s valid on, as it holds no value without the product. It’s like a gift card, you can use it in the shop, but not exchange it for hard cash. Every coupon has a different value and ranges anywhere from 20p and up to about 1£. Those are the regular coupons and anything beyond that is called “high value coupons” because of their higher value. The high value ones are rarer and don’t get distributed as often as the lower valued ones. Coupons are also often called vouchers in the U.K.

These days you can find coupons of off anything, basically, from milk to microwaves and the sky’s the limit on the types of coupons that are out there. But why should you be using them on your groceries? Most people I meet say that it just doesn’t pay to clip, look for, print and use the coupons – they don’t save anything, or a minimal amount! Well, then you’re using them wrong. It’s like with anything, you need to educate yourself on how to use this to your advantage, which the vast majority don’t do. But, with the easy steps that I’m going to show you in this educational series you can save at least 40-50% on your grocery bill, without even feeling like it’s a lot of work. Honestly, who wouldn’t like to spend less for more? This doesn’t even mean that you have to compromise on what you normally eat, it just means a bit more planning but other than that – nothing changes. You can even use vouchers to save on other things that groceries; travel, holiday, everyday things like coffee (or covfefe…), going to the cinema, fast food etc. You can live a full life, with more savings to spend on other things; paying of your mortgage at a higher rate, pay your debts faster, student loans can be memory much faster and you can start building a savings account for your retirement or unexpected costs.

 

According to my calculations I’ve saved about 1200£ since I started using coupons 3 years ago; that’s 400£/year! And you could do even better!