Monday, May 4, 2009

Guest Post - Kami shares Saving & Earning Tips and Tricks

Please join me in welcoming Kami as she guest posts about four different tips and tricks she uses to save and earn from home! I was so excited when she contacted me last month about her interest in sharing with all of us....thank you so much, Kami!

Hi Everyone!

My name is Kami and I'm married to an awesome man named Carter. We have two boys, ages 28 months and 4 months. I am a CPA with a specialty in taxation, but retired when my first child was born. I work part-time during tax season for a local firm. It's a great arrangement that allows me to telecommute so that I can still care for the children. Though I'm relatively new to the coupon world, I've been a frugal person my whole life. My parents taught us to be wise stewards of the money God blessed us with. My husband was raised the same way and it is our desire to be sure we honor God with our lives, especially with our money.

Here are some of my favorite ways to save money. Hopefully they help you and your family!

1. Clothing

My mother always said I have a champagne taste on a coca-cola budget. She's right: I learned it from her! For our clothes, I buy name brand and high-end clothes. By wearing classic styles which we update from time to time with inexpensive trendier pieces, we are able to keep our clothing expenditures low. I used to think that discount stores were automatically cheaper. I have since learned that it is not always the case. Many times I can find the same item priced better as the big department stores. My favorite way to buy clothes is on clearance. I used to be a bit nervous about only shopping sales at the high-end stores. But now I just wear a cute outfit and go have fun!

As for my boys' clothing, they are young enough that I can buy a season ahead. I love to buy sweet little smocked and appliqued outfits for them, but those can run $70 an outfit! But by shopping the clearance racks at my favorite stores, I usually pay about $10 - $15 per outfit. Another thing I do is patronize the local stores and make friends with the salespeople. Because they know me, they often offer me additional discounts or freebies. For instance, last fall I wanted a pants outfit for my older son to wear to church. The store owner offered take off an additional 20% and monogram the outfit for free if I would let her keep it an additional month for display purposes. This was fine with me since it was something he wouldn't grow into for a while. We both benefited!

2. Furniture

As with clothes, I prefer to buy the highest quality I can afford; that way it is sure to withstand the test of time. With furniture, buying "pre-loved" (sounds better than saying "used" doesn't it?) furniture is a wonderful way to save lots of money. My favorite places to buy are on Ebay and through local antique stores. Knowing what to buy can be tricky. I've spent many hours browsing local stores to learn all I can about the quality of the items and figure out what I do and don't like. Every few years, a company will discontinue a certain line. Almost always they come out with a new line that is similar in style and color. This means that you can find something you like in the store and find its predecessor on Ebay. Discovering the previous line's name is easy - ask the salespeople!

We purchased our dining room set at a consignment store five years ago. It is a mahogany Henredon set complete with the table, two leaves, eight chairs and the china cabinet. The retail on the set was around $30,000. At the consignment store, we purchased it for $4,100 - a savings of over 86%!!!

3. Online Offers

I had actually done some online offers back in 2004 and earned an iPod, iPod shuffle, Dell computer and Samsung flat-screen monitor. Those sites all required referrals. It became increasingly difficult to get referrals and I told myself I'd never do it again. Once I stumbled upon and found out about the do-it-yourself offers, I couldn't wait to try! My first two sites paid out $500 in Visa gift cards. My third site paid out a $500 Home Depot gift card. Click here if you would like to try your own $500 Gift Card offer. I also recently started my first Nuitech site. I'm loving these online deals!

4. Vegetable Garden

I live in Alabama and we are able to grow a large variety of vegetables and some fruits here. Gardening requires minimal investment for a wonderful return. Produce is one of the items that I can rarely buy with a coupon so even after the cost to plant and water, I still save money. Plus, it's organic! There are lots of websites with helpful information on how to get started. We have enjoyed the Square Foot Garden method ( but there are hundreds of internet sites to help you get started. We began our first year with one small planter box containing three plants. This year we have approximately two hundred plants growing blueberries, pole beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, okra, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, corn, squash, and a variety of herbs.

Are you a reader, like Kami, who has benefited from one of my methods or has some of your own? Feel free to email me about doing a guest post. They are always welcome.

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KristinBrianne said...

This has been very interesting!! Would it be possible for Kami to e-mail me? I live in Alabama too and I'd love to know where these store are that she's finding the great deals! I think I'm missing something.


Mary Beth said...

Doing my first offer now . . . and now I COMPLETELY understand why so many other commenters say it's nervewracking!!!

One question (at least for now). I followed your instructions to pick which offers to do ahead of time, however sometimes when I clicked on choose offer, I didn't like the terms, etc., so I never completed that offer but went on to complete a different one.

All of the offers that I clicked on to view their terms are showing up under the Gold, Platinum, etc. lists on my Check Gift Status pop up window, but I'm hoping that only the completed offers are the ones that have to be from different companies. Do these exploratory clicks count against that? I wasn't able to evaluate the offers until I could learn more.

I'd really appreciate your insight on this. Thank you for ALL your help!

Carrie @ said...

Mary Beth,

Don't worry...only the ones that you actually complete and go to approved will count towards the duplicates.

The rest will just say pending next to them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristin,

I'm going to email you now.


Mary Beth said...

Thank you again, so much, for this post Kami!

I have a general question . . . tried poking around in a couple of the Netblue offers, just to see who the sponsors were and how many offers were needed. Instead, I keep getting redirected to insurance quotes. Since I really didn't want to input a lot of personal info for a quote, just to see if I would go thru to the prize site, I stopped.

Somewhere else I believe I saw comments that Netblue had been sold; are their prize sites temporarily down?

I can't thank you enough Carrie! I only found out about your site around three weeks ago, but I've learned so much! And I have both offers approved under the Silver category on the prize site that I set up yesterday on IDeals -- can't wait for the rest to go!

Anonymous said...

Mary Beth,

Good luck on your sites! I've done 4 of these sites back in 2004 (all referral sites) and am on my 4th site through Carrie's site. I get nervous every time! :)


Bargain Seeking Mom said...

Thanks Carrie for all of your information!
Can you email me: I think I have the same one! Retailed for $16K I believe but bought it for $4K. Which is still a great deal but obviously you did better! Looking for nightstands now. Thanks! Annabell