Jul 29, 2011

Deal Sites - For Merchants

I've just recently done a lot of research on sites like Groupon, Eversave, Savermore, Plum District, and Livingsocial. What each of them offers their buyers is collective buying power. We all know the idea - when you buy in bulk, you can get a better discount. It's a totally awesome deal for the consumer - because you're able to get things that you wouldn't normally be willing to splurge on - for a discount. For instance, I purchased a deal on livingsocial a few weeks ago for a new yoga/pilates studio here in town. The deal was a measly $15 for a whopping 5 classes of my choosing! That's only $3/class - when the normal rate is $15/class. That's about a 75% savings! For that amount, it was worth the risk! Two days ago I bought a Groupon for $2 movie tickets from Fandango - when tickets are usually $10 each at the theaters in my area. That's an astounding 80% off. So how can businesses offer these amazing prices and still make money? Well, here's the deal - I would have NEVER heard about MoveStudioCharlotte, had it not been for the Living Social Deal. And, if I had heard about them - at $15/class - I probably wouldn't have been willing to just try them out without having someone I knew personally recommend them. But, since I've now been to 3 absolutely fantastic Pilates classes, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to continue going - even after my voucher runs out! For the movie ticket, I was able to buy 2 at that price, and I do have a coupon code for free popcorn, and I don't drink sodas - so they're not going to make any more money off of me. But, I'm pretty unusual. Most people are going to go to the $2 movie, and be so excited that they got in for so cheap, that they're going to buy popcorn that cost $8, and a drink that's not much less - and that's where they'll make their money! The value to the merchant is not the amount of money they're making off of the voucher (because they're only making about 50% of the amount of the voucher) - but the FREE ADVERTISING and great potential for repeat business at full price. According to some of the sites mentioned above, 70% of people who use vouchers, spend more money than what the voucher is good for and come back at full-price! When I owned my small business, we used to run an ad in a society magazine at a whopping $500/page/month...and just hope that it would give us a return on our money. It was very hard to come up with any money at all for advertising, and especially at that kind of (standard) rate. With all of these deal sites, you have absolutely no out-of-pocket expense, you get tons of traffic to your website (lots of people check you out even if they don't buy the voucher), and when you do sell a voucher - you make at least a little money. When has there ever been advertising that makes the merchant money? Some sites don't give you any compensation until you log-in the voucher codes (after people have redeemed them), but some sites give you your money regardless of whether or not the customers ever redeem their vouchers. Even though it is revenue at a severe discount, it gets people in the door! So, here are some ideas on how you could use these deal sites for start-up businesses (most of them have regional deals as well as national deals - so you can specify it to your location):
Photographers - your usual rate is $250 for a sitting fee, 1 hour on-location shooting, and choice of 2 5x7's or 8x10 print. Deal is offered for $120. You're only going to make $60 on this deal, but you've got a brand new batch of customers, and the likelihood of them not buying more prints is pretty slim.  And better yet, if they like you and are pleased with your pictures, they're back for more at full price!
You can specify travel parameters, number of people in shoot, whatever you like! 
Couponing Class - your usual rate is $30 for a 2 hour class on all the ins-outs of coupons. Deal is offered at $15 and will include a coupon binder and door prizes (you can use your couponing stash - so there is no out-of-pocket expense). You're only going to make $7.50/voucher on this deal, but you'll likely have 50 people buy it - and you can offer the class at two different days/times with 25 in each class. You'll make $187.50 per class! Not bad for 2 hours of work! 
Babysitting - your usual rate is $10/hour for babysitting with a minimum of 3 hours. The deal is offered for $15 for 3 hours! Someone in Charlotte needs to do this - I would totally buy it!!! :) You'll only make a measly $7.50 on this deal, but if you do a good job and the family likes you, then you'll have full-paying customers at your beck and call. If you're worried that you'll get called into all kinds of strange and bad areas, you can specify locations and even conditions (preliminary meeting required at a public location). 
Personal Chef - your usual rate for on-location cooking is $35/meal for a family of 4. The deal is offered for $15/meal - with a minimum of 3 meals ($45). You'll make only $22.50, and a lot of that will be absorbed in food cost - so not a lot of money actually made. But, you do control their menu choices and food selection. If they love your food, they'll book your services at full-price! You sacrifice a few hours for the possibility of gaining lots of new clients!

There are thousands of possibilities! If you don't have a website, set up a blog! For the babysitting idea, I would certainly want to know who I'm getting to babysit. Set up a blog, upload your photo of yourself, your bio, your references, experience, and any certifications you have (First Aid, CPR, etc). Blogs are free, super easy (if I can do it, anyone can), and can do pretty much anything that a website can. Same thing with the other ideas - for the personal chef, you can upload your menu, prices, pictures of your food, etc - all on a blog!

The deal sites are a wonderful win-win scenario; 97% of merchants who have used them, want to use them again! So, even at the super discounted rates that merchants are offering their goods/services for - it's totally worth it! Give it some thought! Let your creative juices flow! Super cheap, super simple...so it's right up my alley! :)

Jul 28, 2011

Adorable Kiddo Tags at Savemore.com

Savemore.com is a deal site that offers deep discounts from various retailers. Today, one of their deals is for kiddo tags. If you know me personally, you'll know that I LOVE things that are personalized. I'm such a sucker for anything with any kind of monogram on it! Well these tags are absolutely adorable! And - they're on sale for a super great price. What's even better - if you're new to savemore.com, you get an instant $10 credit. Right now, they're doing an amazing deal where you can get $25 worth of  kiddo tags for $12, AND shipping is 100% free on this deal! So, when you use your $10 credit, you'll get the $25 worth of kiddo tags for only $2!!! These would be great for personalizing your own child's things before going on a trip or to someone's house, and they would be unique and special birthday or baby shower gifts! So, click this link to get started! I'm guessing that $25 worth of the products would be enough for a couple of sets!!! Happy shopping!!!

Jul 27, 2011


Giftcardrescue.com is a brilliant site that basically buys/sells your unwanted/unused (or partially used) gift cards and then re-sells them to those who do want them - at a discount! Why would you want to buy gift cards for random amounts? Well, I'm going to Panera Bread for lunch tomorrow with a friend. Unfortunately, I don't have any coupons right now for Panera Bread, and it almost makes me ill to pay full price for anything. So, I went on the giftcardrescue.com site and did a search for Panera Bread to see if they have any gift cards there that I can purchase. If they had one in stock, I could buy whatever value they have for a discount. Unfortunately, two things are wrong with my plan for this outing. 1) They didn't have any in stock - so the plan is a bust. 2) I waited too late and didn't allow enough time for them to send it to me. So, I'm out of luck for my Panera Bread lunch (maybe I can convince my friend to go somewhere I can get a good deal???) - but I thought I'd browse around the site to see what they do have! If you're a Kohl's shopper (and I know some of you are) - they currently have all kinds of GC's for 17% discount.
You can currently snag these GC's at Kohl's: 
$100 GC for $83 
$45.16 GC for $37.68
You'll get a regular GC in the mail - and then you can use whatever discounts/coupons you have on top of it!
They are also having a promotion on Home Depot and Lowe's GC's - for 9% off. That may not seem like much, but if you've got a large purchase to make - that's basically saving you your tax (which as we all know, adds up)! And all J.C. Penny cards are marked 16% off! There are hundred's of different GC's at a huge range of dollar amounts - so check it out before you go somewhere, or stock up on the stores that you frequent!

Also, if you have gift cards lying around that you don't want/need/can't use, you can get up to 90% of the value of your cards when you sell them to giftcardrescue.com! Check them out!

Calling all Qdoba Fans

This is for my BIL who really likes Qdoba! If you have a Qdoba nearby and like their tacos, you're in luck! Text FREETACO to 67463 and you'll get a text coupon for a free taco! Even better - it's totally free with no purchase required! Like a lot of the deals, you'll have to move quickly; the coupon expires tomorrow (July 28th)!

Awesome Groupon Deal - $2 Fandango Movie Ticket!!!

Groupon has an amazing deal today! If you go through this link - you can get up to 2 Fandango Movie Tickets for only $2 each! I just bought this deal - so that means my hubby and I can go to any movie anytime between now and April 20, 2012. Fandango is just an online movie site where you can purchase movie tickets! Groupon will give you a code to use on Fandango when you're checking out. I've done it before an it is super simple! For only $2 per ticket - that's an AWESOME deal! Yippeee!!!

Purchase now, because the deal is only good for another 13 hours!!!

Unfortunately, this deal was so popular that it sold out already!!! Hopefully they'll do it again soon, since over 30,000 people purchased this deal in only a few hours!!! I'll try to let you know sooner next time!

Jul 25, 2011

$10 off a $10 purchase at Pier One!!!

Go here to like Pier 1 Imports on Facebook. Then you can print off a $10 coupon, good towards any purchase of $10 or more! Hurry up on this one, it expires on 7/27/11!!!

Jul 23, 2011

Finish Tags

I'm fairly certain that I posted about this when I first ordered the finish tags, but I just got them in the mail yesterday and am super excited about them! They are still available - completely FREE - until August 15th, so if you are interested in getting a set - go to finishsafe.com.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, they are medical emergency tags. You can register yourself, child, spouse - and enter in all their information: Name, Address, Contact Numbers, DOB, Blood Type, Allergies, etc. You set up a username and password and can go in and edit the information as it changes. They'll set you up with a Lifepin Number - unique to you. So, then you'll get in the mail this set of tags - wallet card, bike tag, luggage tag, key chain tag, shoe tags, and a wrist tag. These tags have your name, year of birth, lifepin number, and then instructions on how to get the emergency information. So - in the event that something awful happens - whoever finds you/your child can text (or call) the lifepin number to get information on who they should contact. I did one for my daughter - and it has information like her pediatrician's name/number, that she is breast-fed, how old she is, who her parents are and their contact information. I think this is such a great idea! I've attached one to her diaper bag, one to each of her strollers, on her luggage, and one in my wallet.

So, you can get a set of these tags completely free until August 15th! It does take a while to fill in the information, but I think it is totally worth it!

Jul 22, 2011

Good Steward = Going Green

Every era has its trends and I think our current one is definitely "going green". My dad was "going-green" way back in the 80's...back then it certainly wasn't called that. He always called it "being a good steward" - particularly, a good steward of the things God had given us. So, we grew up learning to reuse and re-purpose lots of things - without becoming pack-rats. We recycled aluminum cans and glass bottles for extra spending money, we turned the ignition to the car off  rather than letting it idle, car-pooled whenever possible (heck, we were even a 1 car family of 10 for a long time), walked where we safely could, opened the windows and used the attic fan until the heat became un-bearable, and saved a modest number of grocery bags for reusing. These things seem pretty normal and even moderate on the being green scale these days, but this was definitely not the norm back in the 80's and 90's - when the good ole USA was in an economic boom. These days we've swung the other direction. Rather than being thought of as a little odd, if you don't recycle, shop local, and at least try to eat organic - you're pretty much considered an un-healthy and un-conscientious member of society. Amazing how things change! I don't agree with the typical people who support the "going green" initiative  - because I don't believe that we have some vague responsibility to mother earth. Rather, I think that we're to be good stewards of what God has given us; that we shouldn't be wasteful, that we should reuse, recycle, and re-purpose as much as possible. Not simply to save a few dimes (which is nice), not to save the ozone layer (which is won't), not to erase our carbon imprint (which it can't), and not to reverse global warming (which is nuts) - but because we are all responsible for what we do and how we behave in every area of life. But, I guess the saying "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" might apply here. I have no power to start a global trend, but someone else did. As a result of this "going green" frenzy, everyone is looking for ways to be a better steward (whether they call it that or not). It's now cool, hip, and trendy to do what I've always been taught to do. So in this case, I'm not really concerned that I don't agree with everyone's motives - as long as we're actually doing what's right! So in the spirit of "going green" - I'm going to share a little something that my husband has been doing for years. The milk carton pictured above has been cleaned and a hole cut out that is big enough to fit your hand in. You simply store your plastic grocery bags in it until you're ready to re-use them, or take them back to your grocery store to recycle. We keep one under our sink, store all of our plastic bags there, and then use the bags instead of trash bags. We loop the bag handle on the door handle of our pantry - and put everything in there that can't be recycled, composted, or put down the garbage disposal. This is a surprisingly small amount of stuff - and we just take it out at the end of the day (so we also don't have to worry about anything sitting there long enough for it to start to smell). We still have large trash bags for bigger items, but I probably have to buy them less than 1/2 as often now! We also keep a carton in our car, and one in our garage. They are super handy, and keep the plastic bags contained and neat. My husband "made" them for pretty much everyone we knew for a while and they at least pretended to be excited about them! :)

So do you have any nifty recycling/re-purposing tips? Please feel free to email them to me (pictures too if you have them) at savesimplyblog@gmail.com! There might just be a special prize for the coolest.... :)

Jul 19, 2011

Quick Tip of the Day

Ever feel guilty for throwing out the plastic cutlery that comes with take-out food? Or wonder after a BBQ or picnic, what on earth to do with all the plastic knives that come in cutlery sets? Well - I say keep them to cut brownies! I know it sounds crazy, but I learned this little trick from my mother and I haven't found anything that works as well. I have tried a super thin knife, heated under hot water - to see if that would cut through the brownies smoothly. I have tried a fancy Pampered Chef device that is supposed to deliver impressive results. But nothing cuts brownies as cleanly and effortlessly as a plastic knife. You'll notice the top horizontal cut and the first half of the 2nd cut (on the left-hand side) - how they are rougher than the rest; that was with me trying something other than the plastic knife. Then I remembered this trick and found a knife - and the rest of the cuts are perfect! This is recycling at its best! Save those knives!!!

*Also works well for cheesecake!

Jul 12, 2011

MoveStudio Charlotte

About 2 weeks ago Living Social featured a new Yoga/Pilates studio here in Charlotte called Move Studio Charlotte. I've been looking long and hard for a good Pilates class since I moved here 4 years ago, so I thought I'd give this place a try. My first class was this morning and I'm SO EXCITED! This place just opened up in May and is very small right now, so it's awesome. There was only one other person in the class with me - so we got a lot of one-on-one attention and great help with our technique. The instructor is the director of the place and she is a certified Pilates instructor. It was a complete body workout, with all the moves flowing into each other smoothly, in a nice relaxing atmosphere. Just perfect! The class ended 2 1/2 hours ago, and my thighs are still a little wobbly; it was that good of a workout! :)

One of the cool things about this place is that there is no monthly fee. You can either pay a per class "drop in" rate, buy a small package of classes (gives you a $3/class discount), or buy a large package of classes (gives you a $5/class discount). You sign up and pay for your classes online in advance - therefore reserving your spot in the class. So, if you go on vacation, or have a busy couple of weeks and don't make it to a class, you don't have to worry that you're paying for time that you're not using!

So if you're in the Charlotte area and looking for a top-notch Pilates class (they offer Yoga, Social Dance, and Contemporary Dance as well) - you've really got to check out Move Studio Charlotte (located on Hawthorn/Central - Plaza Midwood area).

Some Great Target Deals I Got Yesterday

Two Packages of 2 Sharpie Markers - on price cut for $1.00 - use (2) $1 Target Coupon here to get it for free!
Two Packages of 2 Papermate Profile Pens - $1.34 or $1.44 - (2) $1 Target Coupon here to get each for 34¢ or 44¢!
One Set of Mead Flashcards (they have addition, multiplication, colors, sight-words) - on price cut for $1.79 (normally $3.99) - use $1 Target Coupon here to get for 79¢ each!
Two boxes of 24-count Crayola Crayons - on price cut for 40¢ each (no coupon necessary)!
Hydrogen Peroxide - 52¢ - use75¢ Target first aid coupon here and get it for free!
Rubbing Alcohol - $1.14 - use 75¢ Target first aid coupon here and get it for 39¢!
Up and Up Face Scrub - $2.10 - use 75¢ Target face wash coupon here and get it for $1.35!
Two Packages of Hefty One-Zip Baggies - $2.04 each - use (2) $1 Target Coupons here and (1) $1/2 Coupon from the Sunday Paper Insert (7/10) = 52¢ each!
Two Up and Up Small Gauze bandages - $1.04 each - use (2) 75¢ Target Coupons here and pay only 29¢ each!
*Nuk Learning Cup - $6.99 - use $1.50 Online MF Coupon (no longer available I don't think) and $1 Target Coupon here - and pay only $4.49!

*I know this isn't that awesome of a deal for the Nuk Cup - but I really need a cup for my daughter - so I went ahead and got it!

I used my Target Red Card (a Target debit card linked directly to my checking account) that got me a 54¢ discount, and I brought my own re-useable bag which got me another 5¢ off. My total for everything listed above was $10.68 (total with tax)! Not bad considering that about $5 of that was the cup for my daughter! :)

Jul 9, 2011

Deals this week at Earthfare

If you have an Earthfare in the area, you can get the following deals this week by printing off two coupons from their website:
· Athena Cantaloupe for $1.00 (coupon only good through Sunday, July 10th)
· Click on the "What you Eat" tab and then take the "Boot Challenge". Once you pick which item "gets the boot", they'll give you a coupon for a trade. This week the deal is: trade any dip with partially hydrogenated oil, and get a free Earthfare Organic Salsa! (coupon good through Tuesday, July 12th) Keep in mind, the item you trade can be practically empty! It doesn't have to be brand new at all. The whole idea is that they want you to get rid of something unhealthy that you've been eating, and try their healthier/fresher version!

Jul 8, 2011

Swagbucks: Super easy ways to make a few extra bucks

I've mentioned swagbucks on here before, but I recently found a few ways to get some serious extra swagbucks that I thought I'd share with you. But first, I'll explain a little about what swagbucks actually is if you're not familiar. They are a site that offers a search engine, coupons, games, and advertisements - and rewards you with virtual dollars for using them. Those virtual dollars add up and can be used to purchase things from the swag store - my favorite being the amazon.com e-gift card! It takes 450 swagbucks to get a $5 GC. This may seem like a lot, but it adds up quickly and I usually get a $5 GC about 3 times a month...just for doing things I'm already doing on the web.

So here are a few ways to rack up swagbucks pretty quickly:
1) Anytime you want to print a coupon from the coupon network - go through swagbucks. Within a few weeks of using it, you will get 10 swagbucks added to your account. It takes a while, and there (to my knowledge) is no way to know what coupons have credited - but you'll log in one day and all of the sudden have 50 more swagbucks than you did the day before, and that will be the reason!
2) Install their tool bar and use the Search Box every time you visit a website - even if you know the web address. Every 3-6 searches (sometimes more, sometimes less), you'll be rewarded with swagbucks.
3) Every morning, when you first log-in, you'll get 1 swagbuck, just for having the Toolbar downloaded. Then click on the daily poll and take 3 seconds to vote; you'll get 1 swagbuck. Then click on Trusted Surveys, and you'll get 1 swagbuck just for visiting the trusted survey section of the site - whether you take a survey or not (which I never do, because I never qualify). So right off the bat, not matter what - you can get 3 swagbuacks every day - and it takes all of about 10 seconds.
4) Sign up for Free Offers. I shied away from this until just last week, and then decided to give it a try because they assured me that my CC wouldn't be charged, and I would still get the swagbucks even if I didn't continue beyond the trial periods. So, I signed up for freecreditscore.com and got a whopping 1,000 swagbucks! The trial is 7 days long and I used it long enough to get my credit score, and cancel it 5 days later. I had my swagbucks within an hour of signing up - and that got me $10 in amazon gift cards! Then I signed up for netfilx - free 30 day trial - and got another 1,000 swagbucks (so another $10 worth of amazon gift cards). I'm still using my free netflix trial and really enjoying it. We probably won't keep it, but considering we can watch unlimited instant movies on our computers for only $7.99/month - and they have TONS of old movies that we like - Fed Astaire/Ginger Rogers, Alfred Hitchcock films, etc. (that you can't get at Redbox or Blockbuster kiosks or even in the stores) - it might be worth it!

If you don't have a swagbucks account and are interested in signing up - just use the box to the right of this post and sign up. You'll get 30 swagbucks just for signing up!

Jul 5, 2011

Fantastic Deal in the making at MYHABIT

Myhabit.com is a spin-off site owned by amazon.com. It is another deal site, but the cool thing about it, is that you can use your amazon credits towards any purchases. Since it is brand new, they are offering a flat $25 credit off of any purchase (no minimum) AND totally free shipping anywhere in the US (including AFO/FPO military addresses!!!!)!

Now, you may be a little shocked when you visit, because most of their stuff is very high-end. But, every now and then they'll run a special and have things marked in the $15-30 range. I just missed out on a super cute baby clothes sale where things were marked in the $20's - but the sales rotate daily, so I'm waiting for my big chance to snag an amazing deal!

You can log-in with your amazon user ID and password and they'll start sending you email updates when a new deal is posted. All you have to do for the $25 credit is enter SUMMER25 at checkout (code is good until August 1st). Happy shopping!

Jul 1, 2011

Savemore.com - special $10 credit just for signing up

I think I've featured Savemore.com on here before, but I think the deal they have going on right now bears repeating! Right now, just for signing up with your email address and zip code - you get an instant $10 credit! That credit can be applied immediately to any deal they have going on. So here's a deal idea: Right now they have a deal with a company called coveryourhair.com. You can get a $15 credit with that company for only $7! So, that means if you sign up with savemore.com and get your instant $10 credit, you can immediately use it for the coveryourhair deal and still have $3 left over. Once you get your code from savemore, go over to coveryourhair.com and enter in promo code JULY4 during checkout for an extra 17% off your entire order! There is a $4.99 flat rate shipping - but when you consider that your total out of pocket cost is going to be $4.99 to have it shipped to your door, and you're still going to have an additional $3 credit at savemore.com - it's a great deal! I was able to find 2 adorable knit baby hats and 2 baby barrettes for a total of $14.92 (with the 17% discount) - so I'll get those shipped to my door for $4.99. These would make wonderful baby gifts! If coveryourhair is not your thing, there are lots of other deals at savemore.com. And you don't have to use your credit immediately - so you can hold out for something you're really excited about! So click here and get started! And as an extra bonus, savemore is offering a $10 referral credit! So once you sign up, share your unique link with all of your friends and you can earn $10 when they sign up and buy a deal! Pretty awesome!!!