Saturday, August 11, 2012

General Back to School Savings

Stephanie Ashcraft and The Tucson Morning Blend teamed up to share simple ways that families can cut cost on Back to School expenses.  The story aired on the 11 a.m. program on Wednesday.   You can watch the video clip here.

1.  Saving on School Supplies
Office Depot, Office Max, Walgreens, Target, and other stores will come out with their sales ads on Sunday.  They end on Saturday.  There have been some screaming back to school prices.

2. Saving on School Shoes and Clothes.
BIG 5 Sporting Goods has to be my favorite place to save on Shoes.  In their weekly ad, they always have Shoes regularly priced from $39.99 to $54.99 for only $19.99.  They sell great quality shoes that won't fall apart before your kids outgrow them.  Your kids can try on shoes to assure that they fit at any local BIG 5 store in town.
3860 W. Ina Road, Tucson, AZ
Tel: 520-744-5019 
Oro Valley
10390 North La Canada Drive, Oro Valley, AZ
Tel: 520-742-4987
Daily 10am - 9pm, Saturday 9am - 9pm, Sunday 10am - 7pm

4901 North Stone Avenue, Suite, Tucson, AZ
Tel: 520-292-2778
Daily 10am - 9pm, Saturday 9am - 9pm, Sunday 10am-7pm
6441 South Midvale Park Road, Tucson, AZ
Tel: 520-573-4135
Daily 10am - 9pm, Saturday 9am - 9pm, Sunday 10am - 7pm
5695 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson, AZ
Tel: 520-296-3326
Daily 10am - 9pm, Saturday 9am - 9pm, Sunday 10am - 7pm

If you are positive that you know the size that you need, you can also save a lot of money on name brand shoes by ordering online.  My favorite website to save money on shoes is
They offer different deals everyday up to 70-90% off.  They have great daily deals and clearance deals.  They offer FREE shipping on all orders as well.

Three Ways To Save on Clothes:
    A. How to save shopping at Department Stores.
    Sign up for customer loyalty cards for the stores you frequent the most and for their email or mailing list for great coupons to be delivered to your door. JcPenney and Kohl's are my favorite stores for saving money through the programs they have available.
    B. How to save at Discount Stores.
    Burlington Coat Factory and Ross Dress For Less are great places to find name brand clothing at a fraction of the cost.
    C. How to save online. and are my favorite places to find unique and designer clothing for kids at great prices.

3.  Saving on Haircuts.  
 JcPenney is offering FREE haircuts for children grades K-6th the entire month of August.  Call your local JcPenney Salon to schedule an appointment.  Please be prepared to leave a cash tip as a thank you.

4.  Saving on Lunches. 
Send a creative homemade lunch for less than a school bought lunch.

Here are some of my favorite blog posts with creative lunch ideas from around the web:
- Lunch Organization (I have nonperishable lunch items in different baskets in my pantry.)  

Ways to Save:
How to Save $ on School Lunches

Save Money On Healthy School Lunches

My personal tips:
1.  Have a lunch station area in your refrigerator and pantry area.  Buy snack and sandwich size ziplock bags.  On Sunday, prepackage individual servings of fruits or veggies in the snack size bags to store in the refrigerator within easy reach.  Place granola bars, snack items (gold fish, pretzels, chips), fruit cups (applesauce or diced fruits in cup), juice boxes, and treats in separate containers in the pantry.  My kids pack their own lunches, and we only worry about sandwiches or another main dish in the morning.

2.  Buy school lunch items when on sale or in bulk.  For example, we have grapes when grapes are on sale.  My kids love Sun Chips and Veggie Sticks and Chips, so I purchase them in bulk at Costco or Sams Club.  Matching coupons with sales at the grocery store can also give you substantial savings on lunch items.

3.  Pack food that you know that your kids will eat.  I helped with the kindergarten on the first day of school.  A mother had been so creative with a child's lunch that the kid wouldn't eat it.  The child kept complaining about how hungry she was as she watched the other kids eat, but she wouldn't touch her own food.  Allow your kids (including your kindergartener) to choose what they put in their lunch.  Offer choices acceptable to you and allow them to take ownership of their lunch.  A hungry child will disrupt a classroom.  They can't mentally digest all they are being taught when their growling tummy is their main focus.

4.  Remember that we live in Arizona.  If you are sending something with meat, yogurt, milk, or anything perishable, pack an ice pack.  Milk can curdle in a couple hours in a hot backpack.  You can freeze their caprisun juice pouches and GoGurt Yogurt packages.  They will be perfect temperature at lunch time.

Side Note:  Kids love receiving little notes in their lunch box.  It's Written on the Wall offers a free download of 30 cute notes that you can print from your computer and cut.  This is a simple way that you can add a smile to your student's day!

5.  Start Couponing

How to Make A Coupon File Box

I get asked all the time, how I do my couponing. I was going to type up how I organize my coupons, but then I found another money saving blogger, Southeast Texas Deal Seeker, who already had posted how to do it on her blog with pictures. Click here to see how she does it.

I do the exact same thing but I use a larger file box. Every Sunday I place the coupons in a file folder and record the Sunday they came and which inserts were included. I place all my printable ones from the Internet in files with the source listed, so I know where to find them as well.

PG- Proctor and Gamble
SS- Smart Source
RP- Red Plum

I also use this Pinching Your Pennies link to know when to toss the old inserts that have expired. The link is for Arizona couponers only.

Each week I post the grocery deals for each grocery store. Look in the right column under the follow me on twitter button under Labels. I list the deals for 6 grocery stores. They are listed as "Grocery: ..." I list the Sunday Paper date and the insert for the coupon needed.

Coupon Basics for Tucson

Safeway, Bashas, and Frys double coupons taking up to $1 off everyday!! Translation: If you have a coupon for .25, they take off an additional .25. If you use a .65 coupon, they take off an additional .35. The only exception is if the coupon or printable coupon states DO NOT DOUBLE.  Check the ad for current coupon promotions.  Right now every coupon under $1 is worth $1 at Fry's.

Pair coupons with sales items to get amazing deals.

Pinching Your Pennies is a free website that lists weekly deals with coupons. Click on the current list. I love that they give the deals STAR ratings. You know that 4 or 5 stars is a great deal.

If you live outside Arizona, click here to see the deals listed by other States!

Click here for information on organizing and couponing in Arizona. 

Want to Increase Your Couponing Savings even more?

If you are wanting to seriously coupon, there are websites that charge to see a more intense list of coupons matched with what is on sale. Couponsense is the most used here in Arizona. They have a more comprehensive list for the serious couponer. They teach you how to combine online loadable coupons with manufacturer coupons to get even better deals. Right now they have a promotion for those who want to try it. $4 for the first month and $15 each month after. You can cancel at any time.  

I think I save at least $15 extra each week using Couponsense than I did using Pinching Your Pennies.
I also saved so much time using Couponsense.  Before I was copying and pasting each individual deal I wanted to use from Pinching Your Pennies to make my list.  Then, I'd go by each deal and cut out the individual coupons.  Couponsense cut at least 2-3 hours off my couponing last week.  You click on the deals you want to use, it generates you a shopping list per store and a coupon cutting list that tells you that from this specific Sunday insert, you need these coupons for your deals.  I'm LOVING this.
If you choose to try Couponsense, use the promo code:  enjoy the savings
Select Referred by friend and enter Stephanie Ashcraft.  It should show Andrea VanHorn as your instructor.  She lives here in Arizona and is one of the top 10 couponers in their company.

Newspaper Subscriptions 

AZ Daily Star- $4.30 per month for Sunday paper.
AZ Republic- Multiple Sunday Papers available. More expensive. More coupons.
AZ Republic- $1 per week for 1 Sunday paper

Printable Coupon Sources

There are so many ways to get coupons. 

Lately I realized that I am using more printable coupons than coupons from the Sunday paper. You can get printable coupons from so many sources for pretty much everything you need for your family. FYI-Most of these websites reset their coupons and add coupons at the beginning of each month. Some even reset coupons on the 15th so you can print them again.

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