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Save Money Monday: Save on Back to School Purchases

Back to school shopping is an exciting time for children and a stressful time for parents. As the fall approaches, many parents’ thoughts are turning to how to save money on back-to-school items. The start of the school year can be tough on your household budget. School supplies seem to get more expensive each year and it’s amazing how quickly supplies lists can tally up into large expenses. Doing this for multiple children for years can put a strain on any family budget. Luckily, there are some easy ways to make the back-to-school purchase season less daunting.

If you are worried about your ability to pay for school supplies, this year, there are some surprisingly simple ways to help make the start of the school year easier.

Start at home

Begin by thoroughly investigating office supplies and school supplies you already have. We often have supplies tucked away that we may have forgotten about. Open drawers, and you’re likely to find a forgotten stash of #2 pencils, a random pack of erasers, or unused rolls of tape. Also, many school supplies such as pencil sharpeners used by older siblings, can easily be reused. Plain office supplies, such as white binders, can be redecorated with pictures and markers to be unique.

Think outside of the box

Parenting Magazine suggests doing basic school shopping at the grocery stores. You can easily browse circulars for bargains and coupons that might not be available in traditional school supply stores. In the same vein, hit the various end of summer sales for back to school clothes. Clothes for warm weather can be worn through most of the fall and can be used again come spring.

Buy Used or “Un-Used” Items

Search both the printed classified ads in the PennySaver, and back-to-school online listings at PennySaverUSA.com. Look online for common back-to-school items that someone may be trying to unload. Often, used items are simply products of which someone purchased too many. They may have never actually been used. Families that have children who have gone away to college, or who have completed their academic years, will often place items from their childrens’ room on sale in the fall. It’s the perfect opportunity to purchase reduce price books, toys and furniture that are in near perfect condition, for considerably less money than if you were to purchase new in store.

Shop Online

Everything seems to be online now, even back to school shopping. Look for online offers and savings. Many stores and companies email discounts or post coupons and deals to their blogs during this time of year.  Some companies and website even offer online freebies for back-to-school items. Sign up for our Free Friday Newsletter, to never miss out on another freebie again. Rather than heading straight for the nearest retail location, do some surfing online first. You will be surprised at how much you can save.

When you are ready to start looking for savings on back-to-school purchases for your student’s list, there are a number of ways to save money and keep your family budget in check for the coming year. These tips will definitely help you start on the right foot.

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Save Money Monday: Food on the Table Giveaway!

In this Save Money Monday post, we’re introducing you to one of the best sites to get all of your grocery shopping/dinner time needs in order, Food on the Table.

Food on the Table is both a web and mobile service that creates meal plans and generates grocery lists. After selecting food preferences and dietary needs, members can choose from various recipes that fit their lifestyle, and Food on the Table automatically builds a grocery list for each item needed. It then goes a step further by showing the user local sales on grocery list items. It is meant to take the stress out of meal planning by providing recipes, organizing a grocery list, and fitting into your budget.

The better way to plan meals and save money!

The better way to plan meals and save money!

Seriously… the only thing it doesn’t do is get the groceries for you and make you dinner.

Since we are obsessed with this wonderful site, we want to pass on the word and share the experience with our loyal readers and followers. Sign up for a free account today and start planning your meals!

To make this even sweeter, we’re holding a rafflecopter giveaway to give one lucky person the opportunity to win a premium membership to Food on the Table and a $25 grocery store gift card of your choice!

There are many ways to earn entries into the drawing, so the more you complete, the better your chances are for being chosen as the winner! The contest starts August 1, 2012 at 12:01am EST, and ends on August 7, 2012 at 11:59pm EST. See here for complete rules.

Giveaway starts August 1st. Good luck to everyone! :)
Food on the Table Rafflecopter Giveaway


If you have any problems entering the giveaway, please contact us at feedback@pennysaverusa.com so we can resolve the issue right away. Thank you.

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Save Money Monday: Saving on Your Electricity Bill

It’s Summer, and as the temperature rises so do your electricity bills. It doesn’t have to be that way. In this Save Money Monday blog, we’re going to provide you with household tips to cut down costs on your electricity bills this Summer and through the rest of the year.

Turn off the Lights

Whenever you’re leaving a room, turn off the lights. Even if you may have the intention of returning within a few minutes, you can easily become distracted, and those few minutes can turn into an hour or more–resulting in a waste of electricity and your money.

Replace Light Bulbs

Replace any incandescent light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent bulbs.

Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

If you know you’re the forgetful kind, and probably won’t heed the first tip very diligently, then replace any incandescent light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent bulbs instead. These light bulbs not only use less electricity–saving about 50% when it comes to lighting, but they also emit less heat, reducing your air condition usage. These can be found at many home supplies/hardware stores.

Limit Electricity Usage at Peak Times

For most areas, peak electricity times are during the daytime. Utility companies capitalize on this, and charge you a higher rate during peak hours. If you’re at work during the day, make sure everything is turned off before you leave. If you’re at home during peak hours, open the windows and let the natural sunlight in. Save money and electricity by doing the laundry and washing the dishes late at night or early in the morning.

Turn Off/Unplug Appliances

You can easily save on your monthly electricity bill by turning off or unplugging appliances that are not in use. Some appliances will continue to use a small amount of electricity on a constant basis, even if it’s not in use. Over an extended period of time, the small but consistent usage adds up and leads to more money out of your pocket every month.

Buy Energy Star Appliances

When buying new appliances, look for those that have the Energy Star label. These appliances have been rated by the government and are energy efficient. They are usually slightly more expensive, but save you more during the lifetime usage of the appliance.

Use your Appliances Efficiently

Whether you have or don’t have Energy Star appliances, you can use the appliances that you do have in more energy-efficient ways. For example, when using the dishwasher or doing the laundry, make sure you have full loads and use energy and/or water saving modes.

While most of these tips seem to be just minor adjustments, when combined they can really add up. In today’s economy, every single penny counts, that’s why you’ve got PennySaverUSA to help you out.

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Save Money Monday: New Dog Supplies Checklist

So you just adopted a new pet… now what? It’s easy to get carried away at the pet store, so here’s your guide on what to buy and what to skip on that new dog supplies checklist.

New Dog Supplies Checklist:

  • Adjustable snap-on collars, tags, and a leash – Go for the basics!

    Forget about the fancy accessories, a basic nylon 6-foot leash, nylon snap-on adjustable collar, and standard tags will be all your new pup needs to be on your way home. Skip the fancy bling and opt for a sensible choice. If your pup is teething, you’ll be glad , you didn’t go for the designer variety. As for collars, a basic adjustable, snap-on collar ensures that you’ll be able to accommodate properly based on your new pet’s growth.

  • Training collar – Invest in a head harness!

    Head harnesses are widely used to help your dog learn proper manners while on walks. Because you can control their posture, you can easily teach your pup when to sniff, when to leave it, and how to walk without pulling. Once your dog is used to the head harness, he’ll have the skills to properly go on walks and you won’t have to invest in pricier body harnesses because your pup won’t have pulling problems.

  • Food – Invest in higher quality ingredients!

    Keep the same brand that your pup has been fed and gradually mix in a new brand or flavor of food that fits your budget. It’s important to note that higher quality foods will last longer because they provide all the essential ingredients for a healthy canine. Do your research and check with a local pet supplies store to see if they have bulk discounts.

    New Dog Supplies Checklist

    Go for the basics in food and water bowls, and invest in higher quality ingredients!

  • Food and water bowls – Go for the basics!

    Sure, a personalized set of bowls looks really cute, but you can save by choosing a dishwasher safe set instead.

  • Toys – Repurpose old stuffed animals!

    Speaking from experience, my pups love old stuffed animals more than any new store-bought toy. After a cycle in the laundry, it’s like a brand new favorite friend. Pick out a few different toys and introduce them in rotation so there’s always “something new” for your pup to obsess over!

  • Treats – Invest in raw knuckle bones!

    Raw bones are a great value find! These are very satisfying chewing treats and it’s very cheap to find these raw bones at your local butcher shop or carniceria.

  • Dog bed and crate – Invest in a quality crate!

    A quality metal crate is a must-have for any new puppy. If your dog is already house trained, you may opt for a comfortable dog bed instead. Crates help with providing a safe place for your dog to be safe & comfortable when you are away.

  • Training – Get free tips online!

    Dog training is all about training the dog handler more than the dog. So it’s more important for you to learn how to interact with your dog in a way that suits your lifestyle than letting someone else train your dog. You can get started online with a variety of videos that can teach you how to use positive reinforcement to train your dog.

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Save Money Monday: Dog Grooming on a Budget

Whether you have an active outdoor dog, or a dormant pampered inside dog, you definitely need to factor in grooming. From nail trims to hair cuts, your expenses could end up costing more than your personal trip to the salon! This Save Money Monday, we’re sharing  pet care tips for saving money while keeping Fido nice and clean!

Pet Care Tips for Grooming on a Budget

Fido loves a bath in your tub even better than going to the doggy salon

Brush your dog daily.

One of the first things you should do when you get a dog is to get a nice brush or comb. Brushes are good for shorthaired dogs while combs are good for dogs with medium to long coats. And if your dogs’ fur tends to curl and get matted, a finer comb can help detangle and dematte. Now that you have the perfect brush or comb, use it daily. When you’re watching TV, grab the brush and start grooming away. If your dog is skiddish, it’s best to introduce your grooming tool slowly and reward your dog with a treat for each time they get closer to the brush. By brushing and combing daily, you can help with excessive shedding, and you’ll be able to keep your doggie’s curls free of tangles!

Doggy wipes.

Use unscented baby wipes to wipe down your pup’s face & ears a few times a week. This helps get rid of the stinky dog smell. You can also use wipes on their paws after walks to keep their paws clean! You can save a couple of bucks by making your own wipes! Just use diluted doggy shampoo or baby shampoo.

Clean your dogs’ ears.

Most of the time, the worst smell comes from a dog’s ears, especially if you have a dog with floppy ears. You can use a solution of 1 part vinegar, 1 part alcohol, and 1 part water to make your own ear cleaning solution. Dab it with a cotton ball and run it along the outer parts of your dog’s ears. If you suspect an ear infection, contact your vet immediately.

Bathe your dog.

Hopefully you’ve been brushing, wiping, and cleaning out your dog’s ears on a regular basis now. Your stinky companion should be not so stinky anymore. So maybe you can cut your baths to every other week, or even down to once a month. Either way, you can save a ton of money by bathing your dog yourself. Fill the tub and start scrubbing away. Lather, scrub, rinse, and repeat. Be sure to do an extra rinse to rinse off all the excess shampoo! If you don’t have a bath tub, check with your local doggy groomer to see if they have self-service stations available. For a small fee, you can rent all the supplies and towels you need to make your doggy squeaky clean!

DIY doggy hair cuts.

If you are confident in your handling skills, please proceed cautiously. You can use a hair trimmer on your dog to trim the fur to a desired length. Pick an area to start. It can be at the back of the neck, or at the shoulders. Run your trimmer in one long stroke. If you’re happy with the length, continue throughout the dog’s body. Invest in a high quality trimmer and avoid those huge grooming bills!

For more money saving ideas for the four-legged friends in your family, catch-up on some good reading with our Pet Care Tips blogs.

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Save Money Monday: Perfect Gift for Dads and Grads is Pennyshout

Father’s Day is right around the corner! June 17, to be exact. That Sunday, your favorite real-life superhero will be showered with gifts, food, and an amazing time. But how do you show the man who taught you how to walk, bike, and drive, how much you truly care without going overboard? In this economy, we all need to save where we can. And Save Money Monday has your back!

Use #Pennyshout as a Father's Day Gift

#Pennyshout Rewards Wonderful Dads for Father's Day

For the wonderful price of completely FREE, you can submit a #pennyshout to your favorite Pops. Just tweet @pennysaverusa with the hashtag #pennyshout, your message, and your dad’s zip code by June 7, 2012. Your message will appear in our Wednesday, June 13th, print PennySaver for your Dad to bear hug you for the genuine and heartfelt message.

To get some inspiration for writing an uh-mazing #pennyshout, check out our Love Notes on Tumblr where we showcase the sweetest messages printed in the PennySaver.

And don’t leave out your favorite grad! #Pennyshouts are now being accepted for graduates too. Just tweet @pennysaverusa with your message, #pennyshout, and the zip code of graduate to say a huge congratulations in our print PennySaver. Then remember to tell your graduate to read the Pennysaver on the following Wednesday to see your congratulatory message.

Other ways you can submit your #pennyshout, if you’re not a Twitter user:

Celebrate Your Favorite Grad with #Pennyshout

Celebrate Your Favorite Grad with a #Pennyshout that Inspires

  1. Call 1 (800) 995-3333 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1 (800) 995-3333 end_of_the_skype_highlighting and a PennySaver representative will help you
  2. Mail your message to Attn: Dads & Grads Greeting/Private Party, P.O. Box 1689, Vista, CA 92085

This free Dads & Grads promotion is only available for California residents. But we would like to thank all the wonderful fathers out there for being supportive and loving as well as all the graduates for a job well-done!

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Save Money Monday: Enjoy Your Day Off with Memorial Day Sales

Happy Memorial Day PennySaverUSA.com friends. We hope you are spending your day with loved ones and enjoying a sunny day off.

Before we proceed, we would like to take a moment to honor our armed forces this Memorial Day and the amazing sacrifices they have given to make our country safe and prosperous. Thank you to everyone who is serving, has served, or has lost a family member. What you have given is a gift we can never repay.

Honoring our armed forces

Now, onto the Save Money Monday discounts. We’ve rounded up the best Memorial Day sales from around the web to make your day off even more spectacular. Let’s get this party started.

Home Improvement Coupons

With the extra long weekend, many of you will be picking up a paint can and brush to knock off your home improvement honey-do list.

Clothing Store Coupons

DIY not your thing? Don’t worry, while the rest of us are digging in the dirt, you can spend your day shopping with clothing store coupons in the cool, AC breeze.

  • Justice Girls wants you to save up to 70% off on their fashion-forward clothing.
  • Old Navy is breaking out one awesome online sale on 5/28 Memorial Day only. Just visit Old Navy’s online store and save 15% off your order (20% if you use your Old Navy, Gap or Banana Republic card) when you use the coupon code ONPLUSUP.

Grocery Store Coupons

Now that your home’s in tip-top shape and your wardrobe’s up to date, it’s time to prep for your Memorial Day Party with some great grocery store coupons.

  • Albertsons is offering chicken as low as $1.29/1b, fresh Atlantic 5 oz salmon for $2.99 each, and russet potatoes for only $.49 a pound. We bet you’re firing up the grill already. (Thanks Queen Bee Coupons for the tips)

Last but not least, our favorite daily-deal site SaverTime.com will knock $5 off any daily deal you like. You just have to sign up before 5/31 to claim this exclusive offer.

Memorial Day Sales

We hope you’ll have as much fun attending these Memorial Day sales as we had finding them. See you back in the office on Tuesday!

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Save Money Monday: Saving Money with Pets

Food, grooming, housing, toys, doctor’s visits… all of those little expenses add up. So be sure you know where to go to find deals on pet care!

Buy food in bulk

If you shop for your pets at your grocery store… stop! Where you buy human stuff isn’t the best place to buy all the items you need for the four-legged members of your family. Your choices are limited and you end up paying for the convenience of buying everything in one trip. Even when products go on sale, it’s probably towards the end of their shelf life. Pet supply stores offer quite a variety of products so you can compare prices and ingredients. Pet specialty stores tend to get frequent shipments and because they sell in bulk, prices are often cheaper! Rule of thumb: Purchase dry food that’s manufactured within the last 6 months and buy 3 months of food at a time. You can save the hassle of always having to restock while making sure the food you’re serving isn’t stale!

Set aside pre-seasoned portions to give as treats

This doesn’t mean start feeding Fido your table scraps! Whenever you are preparing a big meal, you can always save a pre-cooked portion for Fido. When you roast a whole chicken, you can bake the giblets plain in the oven for a nice little treat. Or if you’re cutting up some steak, before you season, set some aside for Fido!

Low-cost Vaccination Clinics

Annual vaccinations are required for pet services including boarding, grooming, licensing, and just plain playing in the park. When your pets are due for vaccination, be sure to check with your local animal shelter or animal hospital for low-cost vaccination clinics so you can save on the office visit fee that you would have to pay if you were going to your regular vet. You could also use veterinary service coupons to help save a couple of bucks on your annual vaccinations.

Pet Coupons

Visit your pet food manufacturer’s website for exclusive offers and free samples of new products! We’re always featuring great deals and freebies we find on our blog for both cat owners and dog owners!

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Save Money Monday: Tips for moms with babies

This post was written by PennySaverUSA.com staffer Carissa, who has a beautiful baby girl about to turn 1-year-old

I’m fairly new to the mom game, with my beautiful daughter turning 1 next week. It’s been an amazing experience thus far, and naturally along the way I’ve quickly learned some Save Money Monday tips when it comes to buying her all the things she needs. That cute little face definitely came with a high price tag.

Baby Shopping Tips

Stick to the off-brands when buying baby clothes.

Avoid Brand Names

Babies grow so quickly and they outgrow their clothing in no time. Babies don’t know the difference between a designer label and a bargain brand. They’re so cute; they’ll be able to pull off anything.  If you plan on having more children, buy unisex colors for your first-born, so when your second, or third, or fourth child arrive, you have a supply of baby clothing that can be reused regardless the gender of the baby.

Buy in Bulk

Get the value-box diapers and wipes that come in boxes of 150-228, if you can. The cost per diaper/wipe works out to be less, and you can save up to $300 a year! Diapers do come in different size ranges, so when buying in bulk keep in mind that if you think your baby is within a pound of the maximum weight limit on their current diaper size, be sure to purchase the next size up.

Stay Glued to Sales and Coupons

Sales and coupons are your best friend. Stock up during sales, and you don’t have to worry about rushing out at the last minute and paying full price. When it comes to coupons, you can find one for almost everything that you need — baby food, diapers, clothes, etc. Don’t forget to use them when you’re at the checkout register.

When I realized how many coupons I was able to find, I created a coupon binder to keep them all in one place. I organize it by product, and then organize the coupons by date, so I make sure to use the ones that are closer to expiring first.

One of the easiest ways to get coupons is to sign up for reward programs with different brands of the products that you buy for your baby, either through their email newsletters and/or Facebook or Twitter pages. They’re great places to find contests, special offers, coupons and giveaways of your favorite products.

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Scan our new Mother's Day 2012 section for great gift ideas.

DIY Baby Food

Making your own baby food is also an easy way to save some money. Buy the fresh produce, dice or blend, and store. Only buy the pre-made baby-food products that would cost more or require more of your time and effort to make. You can find some free baby food recipes online and you can save yourself up to 50%.

When you do have store-bought snacks, make sure to store them properly in airtight containers so they last longer. If your baby is using formula, choose powdered. It’s an additional step over the ready-to-feed formulas, but it’ll save you in the long run.

Ask the Doc

Get your money’s worth out of those pediatrician appointments! Ask your pediatrician for free product samples. At my daughter’s checkups we get cans of formula and creams for her skin.

It’s only been a year, but I continue to become a savvier mom by the day and I hope these Save Money Monday tips will help you, too!

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Save Money Monday: Mother’s Day gift ideas

Mother’s Day is less than three weeks away! Before you know it, Mother’s Day 2012 will be here and you’ll be scrambling for a great gift.

PennySaverUSA.com’s Save Money Monday is here to help you avoid the commotion and get a head start with the following list of Mother’s Day gift ideas.

Flowers

JustFlowers.com: There are lots of online flower sites out there, but one of our personal favorites is JustFlowers.com. They have fantastic prices and are dependable. Find out their latest discounts by clicking here.

Art

save-money-monday-mothers-day-gift-ideas

For those seeking a unique Mother's Day gift idea, this DNA imprint should do the trick.

DNA Imprints from SaverTime.com: Simply getting a Georgia O’Keefe print is no longer good enough. If you really want to impress for Mother’s Day 2012, buy this deal for Canvas Print Artwork as Unique as Your DNA from DNAImprints.com. Yep, you read right, you can have your mom’s DNA made into an artistic print. With this deal from SaverTime.com this unique gift will cost you just $199 ($416 value).

Stylish tote bags

Beneterre tote bags from SaverTime.com: Disposable bags were so 2011. Stylish tote bags are now all the rage. Help your mom join the movement with this $12.50 deal for $25 Worth of Chic, Reusable Lunch Bags, Wine Totes & More from Beneterre via SaverTime.com.

Greeting Cards

Cardstore.com: The selection at this site is outstanding. They even have Photo Mother’s Day Cards that you can create to add a personal touch. The best part … when you buy two Mother’s Day cards, you get the third one free! You can take care of your mom, grandma and wife all at once.Mother's Day #pennyshout giveaway

Beauty products

Sally’s Beauty Supply: It’s tough to go wrong when giving beauty products for Mother’s Day. One of our favorite stores for beauty products is Sally’s Beauty Supply, and it just so happens they are having some amazing sales right now!

Chocolate

Hotel Chocolat: It might be an old standby, but chocolate continues to be a popular Mother’s Day 2012 gift idea. Why? Because moms still love chocolate! HotelChocolat.com has luxury chocolates available in nice gift sets at a good price.

Housewares

Kitchen Aid: If your mom enjoys the kitchen, then there are few brands with better Mother’s Day 2012 gift ideas than Kitchen Aid. Check out their web site for the latest deals on items ranging from blenders to slow-cookers and more.

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