How to Save on Your Farmers Market Purchases

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How to Save on Your Farmers Market Purchases

How to Save on Your Farmers Market Purchases

Farmer’s markets are a great way to get local in season produce at a great price, if you keep a few tips in mind.

Also, look for a Farmers Market in your area on the Thrifty Michigan Map!

So, how do you take advantage of the finds at the farmer’s market?

~ Walk the whole market first.

~ Take a look and see where other people are making their purchases

~ Take a notebook with you. Make notes about the products as you walk. What is the quality of the produce? What are the prices like?

~ Know what’s on sale at the store and what the price is. There are benefits to buying at the farmer’s market, but if price needs to be your main concern, make sure you know where your price points are at.

~ Don’t wait to long to arrive if you want pretty selections. The best selection is in the morning. Many vendors pick right before coming to market.

~ Go later in the day if you want to haggle. Many vendors want to sell as much as possible so they don’t have to take it back home and risk it spoiling before they can sell it. (Thanks Wendy!)

~ If you are cooking or canning the produce instead of serving it on a tray for guests, ask for seconds at a reduced price. You can often save this way and once it’s cooked or canned any oddities are harder to spot. (Thanks Holly!)

~ Make your own selection whenever possible. Avoid letting the vendor just grab whatever is near them.

~ Try something new and use sites like SupercookRecipe Matcher and Cooks to find new recipes to try.

If you are on public assistance of any sort, make sure you take advantage of these bonuses:

~ Bridge Card recipients can “double up” at farmer’s markets (doesn’t begin until 7/1/13 in Michigan this year). One time per day you can visit a specified booth at the market. They will swipe your card for an amount you specify up to $20 and give twice that amount in tokens to spend at the market. Find a participating market.

~ You do not have to use all of your double up tokens in one visit. You are allowed to hold on to them to purchase in bulk at a later time. Though it’s suggested that you use them by 10/31/12 as they will roll to 2013 ONLY if the program gets renewed.

~ WIC recipients should ask about the “Project Fresh” vouchers. For each household member that qualifies for WIC, you can receive one booklet of (15) $2 vouchers ($30 per person) to use on fresh produce at participating vendors at farmer’s markets. The maximum number of books per family is now capped at 2 for 2013.

~ Market Fresh is the same program as Project Fresh, but for seniors. These vouchers are usually handed out at service and senior centers and are limited in number.

What other tips do you have for How to Save on Your Farmers Market Purchases?


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Ten Tips for Making Meals in a Hotel

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Tips for Making Meals in a Hotel

I had a great conversation with a lady a few years back that was amazed when I mentioned packing our own food for a hotel. We were talking about spring break plans and I told her about a nice price I found on a place we had been wanting to go. I then mentioned that we were packing most of our own food for the trip. We got into a discussion about the types of things I prepare and how we keep it healthy.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard that travel plans require eating out. I want to let you know that is not a requirement! The amount of eating out you do is a direct result of your desire and effort.

We take several small vacations a year. Part of what makes it more affordable is packing our own food. We will spend some money on snacks and a meal or two out over the course of vacation. Here are ten tips that will help you plan, pack and save.

Here are Ten Tips for Making Meals in a Hotel

1 – Know your amenities. Call the hotel if your online reservation isn’t clear. Know if you have a mini fridge, microwave and coffee pot (or more depending on the hotel). This will help you better plan your packing.

2 – Know what’s included. If your hotel has a free breakfast, you can skip taking all that with you. Take advantage of the included goodies. Find out if they serve coffee all day as many do and avoid a Starbucks run by grabbing a cup before you go out.

3 – Prep before you go. This is one of the few places where I make a meal plan. I pre-prep as much as possible and put together freezer meals/bags of what we want to eat. Most everything can be seasoned ahead to avoid having to pack seasonings that take up space.

4 – Freeze what you can. Avoid taking up space in your cooler with ice by freezing as much of the food as possible for travel.

5 – Boxed or canned are your friends. You don’t have to worry about keeping things cold when you travel and many of these items are easy to prepare or warm in a microwave.

6 – Grocery shop when you get there. For some things. Skip things like gallons of milk that take up a lot of cooler space without a large savings return. Chances are you will maximize space and savings even if you end up paying $0.50 more of a gallon.

7 – Don’t forget the plates. And other tableware. We’ve done it both ways – disposable and washable – but it depends on how much room we have in our room. When it’s a small room we take disposables so that we aren’t using up counter space we don’t have.

8 – Travel with appliances. A slow cooker, panini press/counter top grill or electric skillet could be your best savings tool. They fit well on the small counters in a hotel room and are easy to use. (PS – Don’t forget the dish soap!)

9 – Keep it simple. Elaborate meals are harder to prepare on the go and don’t always travel well. Think soups, sandwiches, easy microwavable things and easy to assemble. Some of our favorites for travel are chili in the slow cooker, nachos (chips, taco meat, cheese and pre-cut veggies), pulled pork BBQ, paninis and breakfast for dinner.

10 – Use it. Sounds simple enough and if you plan right it’s not hard to do, but it’s very easy to slip into “well, we are out and about and there’s a restaurant right here”. Depending on how long you are on vacation it’s easy to waste even more money by eating out and having to throw out food you brought that went bad because you didn’t eat it.

How do you manage food in a hotel?


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How to Save Ink Printing Your Coupons

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How to Save Ink Printing Your Coupons
Want to know how to save ink printing your coupons? You can save a lot of money when printing coupons with just a few simple steps. Start by ordering your ink online for less. You typically do much better online than in store, but as always, check your in store price as well.

Most stores allow you to print your coupons in black & white. There are so many other security features on coupons that having them in color is not that big of a deal anymore, that means that purchasing the more expensive color ink is not necessary for printing coupons in most cases. Make sure your store does allow it first!

Once you know you are in the clear to print them without color, here’s how you get them to print properly:

On a PC, Start at the start menu (sorry Mac users, I don’t know the exact process, but you should be able to figure it out). My printers are found under the “Settings” menu.

Click on printers to open up the printer window. Then, locate the printer you want to change the settings for. If you right click on it, you will see another menu.

Most printers will show you the option for “Printing Preferences” at this point. Some of them, you will need to go into “Properties” first.

Click on “Printer Preferences” to open up this new window: (It will be different based on the type of printer you have, but with a little looking you should find something similar.) My printer has a “Quick Print” option, other printers will call it “Draft” or “Print in Draft”. Select it for it to print a lower quality, but still readable coupon.

Finally, look around for the print in “Black and White” or “Grayscale” feature to eliminate printing in color.

Now you know how to save ink printing your coupons.

Now it’s time to get those coupons. Print them from major internet printable sites right here on Deals in the Mitten!

Coupons.com
Coupon Network
Red Plum
Smart Source

Questions? Just ask, if I’ve never used your type of printer, maybe another reader has and can help!


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How to Roll Gift Card Deals at Target

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How to Roll Gift Card Deals at Target
Here’s your guide on How to Roll Gift Card Deals at Target.

Target often offers “Gift Card With Purchase” on everything from Home Items to Groceries. These offers are sometimes available for several weeks, but most often only last 7 days.

Typically the bigger the item, the larger the gift card offered. Some large electronics purchases have offered up to a $50 gift card.

The most common gift card offer we see is the $5.00 offer. Buy X number of products and get a $5.00 Target Gift Card Free.

You CAN use coupons to purchase the items and still receive the gift card. You CAN still use both a manufacturer coupon AND a Target coupon on the items if available and applicable.

If you have purchased the correct items and quantity, the register will automatically alert the cashier to add the $5.00 gift card to the order. In fact, the register stops allowing items to be scanned until the cashier completes the action. The $5.00 gift card will ring up as $0.00, but be activated immediately for use with a $5.00 balance.

Pay for your order total and the gift card is yours.

How to Roll Gift Card Deals at Target

Plan your trips.

Plan to make several small transactions.

Each gift card earning purchase should be a separate transaction.

Pay for your first transaction, use the gift card you receive to pay for the second, you will still qualify for any gift card you are supposed to earn, continue to repeat with separate transactions.

If you end up having under $5.00 to pay with your gift card, the remaining balance will still be there for future use.

You can plan to use remaining gift card balances on other non gift card earning purchases so you don’t forget you have them, or just take them home with you for later use.

You can also use the gift cards you earn in store to pay for online purchases at Target.com!

Now you know How to Roll Gift Card Deals at Target

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Do-It-Yourself Reusable Dryer Sheets

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About a year and a half ago, I was looking for a way to get rid of our store bought dryer sheets for something free of chemicals and something that creates less waste and this is what I found!  While I do not make my own fabric softener, the Sunny Day Fabric Softner – 32 oz – Liquid that I purchased when I started isn’t gone yet! ^Heather

What You Need:
*Natural Fabric Softener – I purchased Sunny Day Fabric Softner – 32 oz – Liquid for about $10 (it costs $9.38 shipped right now).  This bottle should last me two years.
*Flannel Fabric – I purchased flannel baby blankets from a garage sale for $.25 each.
*Pinking Shears – These are expensive and if you won’t use them on a regular basis, just borrow them.  That’s what I did – thanks, Grandma!
*Empty baby wipes container – If you don’t have any, ask a friend with a baby to save one for you.  Most likely, they have plenty!

What You Need to Do:
*Cut the flannel into strips.  Use the pinking shears so the edges don’t fray.
*Put the flannel strips into the baby wipes container.  Fill it to the top but don’t overfill.  If you fill it so full that you have to smoosh it down, the fabric softener may not soak in to all of the sheets.
*Mix 1/4 cup of the fabric softener with 3/4 cup of warm/hot water.  I have an old measuring cup specifically for making these so I pour the fabric softener in first and then add the warm water until it reaches the 1 cup line.  I use a plastic fork to mix.
*Pour the fabric softener/water mix over the flannel sheets and give it an hour or two to soak in.

Using the Sheets:
Throw them in with your wet clothes just like you normally do!  When you get to the bottom of the dryer sheets, you may notice that the sheets aren’t very wet.  That’s fine – it still have the fabric softener on it and will work just fine.  If you live in a dry area (like Michigan in the winter), you may need to use more than one dryer sheet.  I’ve always had to do this in the winter with my regular dryer sheets so this really is no different for me.

The hardest part is cutting the strips of flannel but you only have to do that once!

Please remember as you check out these deals that Amazon.com prices and freebies can change in a moment’s notice. These are checked as posted for prices, but in five minutes they could be different.


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How Does Endorse Work? Earn Cash Back and Donation Credits

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How does Endorse work

How does Endorse work?

I’m going to break down the ins and outs of this app for you and help you start saving.

What is Endorse? (Sign up here)

Endorse is a smartphone based rebate app – iOS (iOS 5 or higher): iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, iPad (3rd generation+), iPad Mini, iPod Touch (5th generation+). For Android: Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, Motorola Triumph, Motorola Droid, Motorola Asix, HTC. Many other Android devices are compatible, as long as they are an Android version 2.2 or higher, and contain rear-facing camera. It pays you back for things you already buy. These are not coupons. You must make your purchase first, then submit your receipt for your reimbursement. You can earn from 10-100% back. And you can submit receipts even if they don’t have Endorse offers on them to earn points that can be donated to Donors Choose to help local schools!

Where can you earn?

Almost anywhere, but there is no list I can find that says who/what is excluded.. Unlike ibotta that only works at participating retailers, there is no specific store you must shop at for your Endorse rebates. My assumption is that where ever you shop, your receipt must list the item in words for this to work. I can’t imagine a store receipt with just prices would be accepted.

Some offers can be increased if you share them socially. Offers refresh on Thursday each week and can vary by user. If you don’t have an offer and a friend does, they can share it with you, you claim it and it will be added to your app to use.

How do you earn?

You check your app or claim a shared offer from a friend, then shop. Upload your receipt and wait for the confirmation. You have 6 days from the date of your purchase or until the expiration date of your offer (whichever comes first) to upload your receipt. You can even submit receipts from online retailers. You must submit the ENTIRE receipt and it must be clear and readable.

Every submitted receipt earns 5 points towards a Donors Choose donation.

How do you get your money/donation credit?

Via Paypal or check. If you select to be paid via Paypal you can cash out at anytime. If you choose to be paid via check, you must wait until you have at least $25.00 in your account to request payment.

When you reach 50 points, a Donors Choose voucher in your name will be sent for you to apply to the project of your choice.

Additional Tips.

It is important to note: Endorse does the percentage calculations based on your pre-tax AFTER coupon price. If you have ANY unidentified coupons on your receipt, they assume the coupons are for item you are submitting your rebate for. So, if you have something you are buying for an Endorse rebate and you want to be sure there are no coupon issues, it’s suggested that you separate out your Endorse item(s) for a transaction by themselves.

Receipts can only be submitted once, but multiple offers may be redeemed from one receipt. You can buy multiple of the same item to maximize your reimbursement, but they must all be on the same receipt.

Don’t try to break their rules, they can and will remove your account if you do.

How does endorse work? Let me know if you have questions. I’ll do the best I can to answer them, otherwise please contact endorse at hi@endorse.com.

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Introducing Category Email and RSS Subscriptions for Deals in the Mitten

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Deals Banner

 

I never could get this idea to work with my old site platform, but I think I’ve got it now. You can Subscribe to Deals in the Mitten by Email still to get the full feed via email as well, but I’m excited to announce category feeds!

What does that mean? You will get a separate email for each one you subscribe to. You will not get an email if there has not been an update in the 24 hours since your last email. If you subscribe to the full site feed, these individual feeds will duplicate things you get in the full email (also highlights them if you want to do it for that option and keep the full feed as well).

MEIJER
Subscribe to Deals in the Mitten » Meijer Only by Email

Add Meijer Only to your RSS feed reader

WALMART
Subscribe to Deals in the Mitten » Walmart Only by Email
Add Walmart Only to your RSS feed reader

TARGET
Subscribe to Deals in the Mitten » Target Only by Email
Add Target Only to your RSS feed reader

AMAZON
Subscribe to Deals in the Mitten » Amazon Only by Email
Add Amazon Only to your RSS feed reader

KINDLE BOOKS
Subscribe to Deals in the Mitten » Kindle Books by Email
Add Kindle Books to your RSS feed reader

NEWEST PRINTABLE COUPONS
Subscribe to Deals in the Mitten » Newest Printable Coupons by Email
Add Newest Printable Coupons to your RSS feed reader

FREEBIES
Subscribe to Deals in the Mitten » Freebies Only by Email
Add Freebies Only to your RSS feed reader

GLUTEN FREE DEALS
Subscribe to Deals in the Mitten » Gluten Free Deals by Email
Add Gluten Free Deals to your RSS feed reader

ORGANIC & NATURAL DEALS
Subscribe to Deals in the Mitten » Organic & Natural Deals by Email
Add Organic & Natural Deals to your RSS feed reader

PHOTO DEALS
Subscribe to Deals in the Mitten » Photo Deals by Email
Add Photo Deals to your RSS feed reader

This is just a start. Please comment with the categories (from the menu bar of this site) that you would like me to create subscriptions for and I’ll look into adding them.

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Bartering Basic Tips: Get the most from your trades

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Bartering Basic Tips
Bartering Basic Tips – Bartering can be a rather simple process, if you know how to go about it. This should aid you in the art of bartering.

Have you ever bartered before? It’s an old art form that is coming back into mainstream life with a vengeance. When I was a teen, barter was almost a dirty word. No one traded anything (almost anyway). Money talked. If you wanted something, you earned money and paid for it. If you didn’t have money, you worked to make it.

Know the value

There are several parts to this. Know the value of what you want. Know the value of what you have. Know what value the item you hold is perceived to be by the other party.

Know the value of what you want. If you want someone to clean your house, do a little research. Find out what professional businesses would charge as well as independent cleaners. Use those prices to assess what you think the other person is worth. If they have no experience, figure low (but don’t devalue them). If they work for a company doing janitorial or housekeeping work, I would feel that they would be of higher value on a personal job.

Know the value of what you hold. Don’t plan on giving something away just to get what you want, but don’t overvalue a possession either. Again, I believe that research is the key here. Again to use the cleaning example, check out your skills against professionals and independent cleaners. Know that if you start with no skills besides your own home cleaning, that you will need to price yourself lower until you build a reputation.

Doing research will also help you know what they value of your item is perceived to be by the other party in the transaction. If you let an emotional attachment to an item get in the way of the process, it can cause friction in the agreement. They probably won’t have an emotional attachment to your stuff.

Know what you want from the transaction

Are you looking for a one time deal or an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship?

For a one time deal, and to use the cleaning example again, maybe you decide to offer to clean a friend’s house in exchange for an item they are selling, but you don’t want to pay cash for. Once you pick a value of your cleaning service, you are ready to negotiate.

Maybe you want piano lessons. Maybe you have a skill (sewing/horseback riding/etc) that you can barter those lessons for. If the cost of a horseback riding lesson for an hour is equal to the cost of a piano lesson for an hour, you could be in business!

Be Bold, But Don’t Push

Once you know what you want and what you have to offer, you need to approach the other party. Go in with your research in mind and make your proposal. If you get a flat out “NO”, you should consider looking for a different person to barter with. Not everyone is open to this type of agreement. If you get a “I’ll think about it” or “let’s talk”, be ready to state your case.

State your case in the terms that you believe will get through to the other person. If you think they are more likely to want to save time, use that. If they are a numbers person, state your case in dollar value.

Don’t try to force an agreement if it’s not working out. No one wins in a situation when one of the parties feels forced into the agreement.

Be Okay With Walking Away

Sometimes you will need to walk away from a barter. When the terms just aren’t fair, there’s no point in pushing the deal through. When you know your value and the other party is trying to take advantage of you, you need to be willing to walk away from the deal so that you don’t feel used. If you do your research, and go into negotiations knowing where that point is, you can walk away still knowing that you tried, but it wasn’t working out.

Set Rules

These can be very specific and laid out in a formal document or as a verbal agreement.

Unless you are bartering something very in depth or valuable, there’s no reason to think lawyers. If you feel the need to put it in writing, a simple paper with the terms signed by both parties should be sufficient. Even just email documentation of the agreement would work as a record. My personal example is the bartering I do for this blog. I often accept non-monetary items (products/coupons) in exchange for my review/write up about a product or website. Again, it goes back to value. How much is the item worth vs how much my time is worth. Or even in some cases, how much value is in the write up vs how much publicity it gives me.

Verbal agreements work just fine between parties who know each other well. We have an ongoing verbal agreement with a friend. We provide a maintenance service for them and they provide a training service for us. Verbally, these terms have recently changed. We are picking up extra work in exchange for extra training. This agreement has been mutually beneficial for over two years.

Start Small to Gain Confidence

Have you heard the story about the guy who turned a paperclip into a house through a series of trades? Over the course of several years, he was able to trade up until he had what he wanted. A house.

Find your “paperclip” and test the waters. Maybe you make paper crafts and your friend makes cloth crafts. Make a straight up trade based on retail value. Taking the step to make this sort of trade will help you find the right words when the stakes are higher.

Value is In the Eye of the Beholder Even When Research Shows a Price

Maybe you have a motorcycle and want a car. Maybe someone else has a car and wants a more fuel efficient means of transportation. Value is not always in the price of the item itself, but in what it saves or brings to the person who owns it.

Be Fair

In case I haven’t pointed it out enough: be fair. Bartering is not about getting something for nothing. It’s about finding a way to create a mutually beneficial transaction without having to pay for it.

What will you use these bartering basics tips to get?


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*Security Alert* Update your Java {used for coupon printing}

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If you have Java installed on your computer you will want to install this update ASAP. Earlier this week the Department of Homeland Security released a warning about a flaw in the program that puts you at risk. Installing the update that came out today should fix it.

Not sure if you have it? Chances are you do if you print coupons, especially SmartSource coupons online as their program runs off the Java platform.

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How to Change Your Zip Code on Coupons.com 2013

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Coupons.com has changed it up again and a lot of you are wondering how to change your zip code on Coupons.com. Now when you try to change your zip code using the “Local” tab it doesn’t stick. You can see the local business offers, but when you go back to the “Coupons” tab it reverts back to the zip code on your account.

Here’s how to change your zip code on coupons.com if and when you need to:

Step 1: Visit Coupons.com and look for the option to sign in or sign up. If you don’t have an account, you will have to make one. If you have an account and are already logged in, skip to Step 3.

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Step 2: Click to sign in or sign up and log in or register. If you have an account and just need to log in, you will see this:

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Step 3: After you are registered or signed in, you will be directed back to the coupons page and need to look back at the top right to access your account information. Click the arrow next you your name to get the menu options, select “Account Setting”.

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Step 4: Change your zip code. If you are switching to a zip code that is not in the same state as your current profile, you must either selected the state that the zip code is in or you must clear it completely.

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Step 5: Scroll to the bottom of the page and “Submit Changes”. You do not need to opt in to any of the mailings to do this, you can just click it.
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After you submit, you will be returned automatically to the coupons page and your zip code change will have stuck and you will be able to find the coupon(s) you were looking for if they are still available. Now you know how to change your zip code on coupons.com!

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