This column originated because years ago, people always said to me that it wasn't worth their time to shop for sales or cut out coupons.
Then came the recession, and I started getting more questions on how I get so many products cheaply or free. That was the start of The Fru-Gal. I tell people that it takes a little work, but in the end it's worth it. If someone walks up to me and tells me, "I love your column," I ask them if they follow my advice. Some say yes and some say, "I know I should." What everyone needs to know is I have no special qualities that let me find deals other than being observant and organized. Here are some of my favorite Fru-Gal tips. Just take a minute to sign up or participate in the offers I write about, and I promise you that you won't be disappointed.
1. Don't pay more than about a dollar for toothpaste, soap, mouthwash, deodorant or shampoo. Here are this week's deals:
Go to Coupons.com to print out the $1 Colgate coupon and two $2 Speed Stick Gear deodorant coupons. Every computer can print only two coupons for each item. Buy one Colgate Total or Max Fresh toothpaste for $3.49 at CVS, use the $1 coupon and get $2 extracare bucks.
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Buy two Speed Stick Gear deodorants at $5.29 each, use two $2 coupons, pay just $6.58 and get back $4 extracare bucks.
At Walgreens this week, buy a 16.9-ounce Scope Classic mouthwash for $2.99 and receive $2 in register rewards to use on your next shopping visit.
2. I now have the Wall Street Journal delivered to me every day for free along with at least ten magazines a month. Never give your credit card number for any freebie. If you visit Valuemags.com, all you have to do is sign up for the subscription. Some are digital and some come right to your mailbox. The subscriptions do change often, so check every once in a while. There is a limit of how many they have. I know that will deter many people from trying, but trust me, their limit is very high. If you spend just about five minutes doing a couple of quick surveys, Rewardsgold.com has many free magazines subscriptions, including The Wall Street Journal.
Do you have lots of pictures on your phone or computer? Get them printed for free. Shutterfly, Snapfish and Mypublisher offer freebies when you sign up. What they also give you is free items throughout the year, and you just have to pay shipping. So always check your email for those promotional codes. What I like about these gifts is they are unique to each person receiving them. Wouldn't all grandmothers love to have a calendar filled with pictures of their grandchildren? Sign up for the Snapfish app to score 100 free 4 by 7 photos each month. Enter the promotional code SHIPFREE at checkout to score free shipping for your order. Become a new customer of Shutterfly and receive 50 free 4 by 6 prints good one calendar month from the date you sign up. Walgreens photo center online has many freebies throughout the year. Sign up to get emails sent to you.
3. Don't pay shipping on any order if you can choose store pickup at checkout.
4. I believe in paying it forward. It is always good to give, but when you receive something for doing so, it is extra special. My favorite reward is movie tickets when I give blood at the Kentucky Blood Center. They have this freebie lots of times throughout the year. The movie ticket freebie is on now until July Fourth. It is really easy to set an appointment right online.
5. Always, and I mean always sign up for loyalty rewards at places you visit. One of my favorite is Raising Cane's. Just for signing up, you will receive a free box combo (a $7 value). I know sometimes it's overwhelming to get email promotions, but lots of freebies will come your way. My other favorite is Victoria's Secret Pink Nation, which gives me about three pairs of panties free throughout the year.
6. When ordering online, start by going to Ebates.com and sign up. Ebates has hundreds of websites where they give you a percentage of your purchase back in quarterly checks. For example, right now, if I order something at Kohl's, I will receive 3 percent of my purchase price from Ebates.
7. Always check out promotional codes on Ebates when ordering. I have found lots of free shipping codes that you enter at checkout.
8. Sign up for free classes that are offered all over town. Last week, I attended a "Do-it-Herself" class at Home Depot taught by Ada, and we made a serving station. She was a great teacher, but it was just me who showed up, so I was lucky to be able to take the big project home with me. I have taken classes at the Fayette extension office, the library, Williams-Sonoma and many other places, where I always have a wonderful learning experience. On July Fourth, take the kids to Home Depot for its Learn to Build class. They will make a Minions scooter, which they will be able to take home. Sign up online.