Getting to know the world of coupon-ing

September was ‘National Coupon Month.’ I’ve never been able to get into the idea of clipping coupons each week, saving them in a binder, ending up portrayed as some crazy lady on a reality TV show where I buy 6 shopping carts full of unneeded groceries for $3…

But, I started to wonder – how much time and effort would it really take to save some big bucks at the grocery store? Luckily, you don’t have to go subscribe to a bunch of newspapers for those Sunday coupons anymore. Thanks to the internet, it’s relatively easy to hop online and start coupon-ing! So, I figured why not try out a few sites throughout the month and see if coupon-ing works for me.

I’ve listed three sites below that I found to match my ‘coupon-ing level.’ I don’t want to pay for super-secret-extra-special coupons, so all the sites listed provide FREE printable options. Some of them are apps for your phone, or have an app companion to the website. Before you get too excited and start signing up for each site, here’s one simple, yet great tip from the website ilovecouponmonth.com:

“Sign up with an alternate email address. Don’t make the mistake of joining every coupons site and manufacturer newsletter list with your main mail account. Get another free account from Yahoo or Gmail and make that your “deal mail” address. Check it before you go shopping every week so you won’t be bombarded with ads on a daily basis.”

Now, where to find some coupons for that grocery bill:

  1. RetailMeNot – Offers both Android & iPhone apps, plus easy to use website. This one is by far my favorite!
  2. CouponMom.com – This website takes a bit of getting used too. I felt overwhelmed the first time I visited, but take your time getting to know the site! All the work is done for you.
  3. Coupons.com – The layout is similar to that of CouponMom, lots of information all at once! I’ve found it’s best used by selecting either the ‘coupons’ or ‘local coupons’ tab at the top.

 

Decorate your Dorm

I remember the last summer before my freshman year of college like it was yesterday. You’re excited, anxious, nervous and ready to take on the world all at once. One of the biggest curiosities for me was wondering what my dorm room would be like. I mean, this IS the place I’ll be calling ‘home’ for the next year of my life, will it feel like my own place? I looked around online and in magazines for decorating your dorm tips and WOW, I didn’t realize my dorm would have a dangling chandelier, fancy furry carpets and interesting hand painted furniture! Well, when I walked into my dorm a few months later it was slightly different than I imagined…

There were two beds, two dressers, two desks and a closet – all made out of weird orange-ish fake wood. The floor was tile and the walls very bare and white. I felt a bit nervous at first, how was this ‘cold’ room with weird furniture ever going to feel like home? I took a deep breath and thought about the magazine dorms I studied all summer. No, my room won’t have the most interesting one-of-a-kind chandelier, but I could take some ideas from their perfectly designed dorms and apply them to this real-life, not modern studio apartment, dorm scenario.

For Part 1 of this series, I’m going to focus on transforming the sleeping area:

From my experience, simply ‘decorating’ my bed was the quickest way to make the room feel drastically different and home-like.

What to do?

  • Get a comforter with bright colors or bold prints to instantly transform the room
  • Get a thick, heavy comforter and a lightweight blanket/comforter. My dorm temperatures were sometimes very unpredictable so having both options readily available was a life-saver. (Storage tip: Don’t take up valuable storage space by trying to keep the extra comforter in a bin somewhere, keep it folded at the end of your bed!)
  • Get fun pillows! Adding one or two accent pillows made my bed feel more sophisticated, anyone else feel fancy with theirs?
  • Find an interesting bedside table lamp. Every dorm is different, but my bedside table is what separated the two beds and didn’t come with a lamp – score! See below for a do it yourself idea to transform a thrift store find.

 

Where to find deals:

  • Target – has a back to college section on their website, check out the on-sale items HERE.
  • HomeGoods – I wish I knew about Home Goods when I was in college, but I somehow missed the memo. HomeGoods has pretty much everything for your decorating needs and most important – always at discount prices! Find your nearest location HERE.
  • Fab.com or download the App on your smartphone – I have the Fab app on my phone – everything is offered at discounted prices and is my go-to for decorating ideas. I’ve used it so far to get pillows, rugs, dishwashing tools, coasters, shoes…half of my apartment…check it out online HERE.
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond – Every year Bed, Bath & Beyond has tons of ideas for college, check out their deals HERE. Also be on the lookout for coupons in the mail, I’ve received a few 20% off and $5 off coupons!
  • Thrift Store – We all know about the great prices at thrift stores, but what would you get to decorate your dorm with? Be creative! My friend found a white, older looking lamp at a thrift store and here’s what she turned it into:

 

Now she has a fun, bright colored, modern owl lamp! She simply spray painted the owl with the blue color, bought a new lamp shade and voila! Awesome owl lamp.

 

If you have any tips for decorating a dorm, let me know in the comments!