When people recognize me in public, they often refer to me as "that coupon lady."
But I am much more than that. I try to teach people how to live a frugal lifestyle. Knowing how to save in every aspect of your life will have ramifications in many areas.
As the Fru-Gal, I do use coupons. But my personal makeup has many layers that makes me not cheap, but resourceful.
One of my strongest traits is to be prepared. I am that person buying summer merchandise at 75 percent off at the end of the season, or shopping the week after Christmas for next year. I also try to think of different uses for items. For example, beautiful red holiday bowls can be a nice gift to someone for Valentine's Day. And anything green can be used for a St. Patrick's Day celebration. And I buy solid holiday wrapping paper to wrap my presents because it can be used for every occasion.
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Organization plays a large part in saving money. I encourage people to organize their surroundings before they buy more items. This will not only stop you from overbuying, but it will inspire creativity and motivate you to save money.
In my attic I have designated sections for all my holiday supplies and presents with all the presents separated by recipient. Having this organized took a little time, but was worthwhile when it comes time for me to look for a purchase.
Also, I have a list of people I buy for. When I purchase a present for them, I cross them off the list. Even if I find a great deal I know how to stop buying and realize enough can be enough.
When organizing, commit to a single area or pile that you can completely tackle within the time available. When you're ready, select another area and tackle it. Gradually you'll work your way through your entire home.
It is hard sometimes to get rid of stuff you paid good money for. But just because you bought something doesn't mean you have to keep it forever. If you used it, you already received some return on your investment. If you didn't it's OK to admit it was a mistake and move on.
I can't say it often enough: Never buy something just because it's on sale or accept something just because it is free knowing you probably are not going to use it.
Storage can become an issue. Closets get full, the basement gets full and the garage can get so full you can't find a place to park the car. But, what people don't realize is they might not need more storage, just a better storage system. If you keep everything you might need someday you will need a warehouse to hold your stuff. Think about what is useful in your daily life and what things you need to have a good life. You will be surprised how much stuff you don't need to achieve this.
Ways to save
■ Walgreens shoppers! Through Aug. 30, buy any full size Toni & Guy product and receive 5,000 Balance Reward points (which equals $5 off). Also be sure to ask the cashier at the cosmetics counter if she has any $3/1 or $2/2 Toni & Guy product coupons to help you save even more.
■ Stock up your crayon supply this week at Toys R Us. Get Crayola 24 count crayons four for a $1. This offer is good until Aug. 30. Plus, they offer buy one get one free Crayola crayons and markers.
■ Staples has Brother HL-2240 laser printers on sale for $59.99 (regular $119.99) plus you can print out a $5 off $30 Staples coupon at Staples.com (click weekly ad). Don't forget to sign up for Staples Rewards to receive 5 percent cash back from purchase.
■ Learn how to make cute Cake Pops. Class materials include a supply list and recipes, detailed and close-up instructions. http://craftsy.me/1AQLmMZ
■ This week at Target, purchase five select General Mills cereals and get a $5 Target Gift Card. Get a $1 off Target mobile coupon when you purchase three General Mills cereals. Text OFFERS to 827438.
■ This week at Walgreens, Vitamin Water Energy drinks are on sale for $1.50. Buy one and receive a $1.50 Register Rewards with your purchase, making the drink free. No coupons are needed.
■ Through Oct. 8, you can get a free Colgate toothbrush at Target. Just text THANKS to 827438 and get a Target mobile coupon good for $1 off one Colgate oral care item: toothpaste, toothbrush or mouthwash. Your local Target should have the basic Colgate toothbrushes priced at around 94 cents, making it free after the store coupon.
■ For a limited time, whenever you create a baby registry on Kohl's.com that contains at least 25 items and you enter the promo code SNUGGLE on final page of sign up, you may receive an email within 14 days containing a free $25 Kohl's in-store or online coupon.
■ Get a free subscription to American Baby magazine. http://bit.ly/1viBWcW
■ If you enjoy discovering new music and artist on the rise check out Amazon's free downloads. http://amzn.to/1q1vh3y
■ Brides to be can get a free engraved keepsake heart from Things Remembered. http://bit.ly/1pCnoBR
■ Get a $5 Walmart eGift Card when you buy four Minute Maid 59 ounce cartons. Just text a copy of your receipt to 811811 along with the words Minute Maid. You can do this five times.
■ Get surprise discounts from RedBox every day through Sept. 2 when you text SHOP to 727272. You will receive discounts from 50 cents off to a buy one get one free code via text message.
■ Calling all students. At Amazon.com you can use your .edu email address to get a free 6-month Amazon Prime membership valued at $50. You'll enjoy free two-day shipping on thousands of items as well as special pricing on almost everything sitewide. After your free six-month trial period, Amazon offers the Prime membership for half price.
■ Print certificate or show on your phone to receive a free three-step system sample pack of invati products from AVEDA locations. http://aveda.cm/1on3423