Saturday, January 8, 2011

Looking Back at My Favorites of 2010


We've had quite the year in the Deal Hunting/Blogging/Couponing World in 2010!

While I was sitting here doing my End of December and End of 2010 Financial Numbers, I got to thinking about all the deals that made up my year. 
Here is a List of my Favorite Deals and Ideas of 2010.

7.  GROUP BUYING--2010 was the Year that the Purchasing Power of the Group blossomed!  From Groupon to EverSave to Living Social.....purchasing everything from food to landscaping services in a group to get a great discount for said item/service was hot!  Even the slow adopter of all things new and trendy ME got in on a couple of group buying deals...lol  I snagged some food-type Christmas presents and a much wanted magazine subscription(my one and only subscription)near the end of 2010.

Since many of the companies that offered great discounts via group buying in 2010 did so to lure new customers toward their brand and make them repeat customers, we'll see if this marketing ploy worked in 2011.
Or will group buying be a bright hot nova that burns out quickly?  Time will tell.

6.  FOCUS GROUPS & SURVEY SITES--I've been a member of Pinecone Research for a couple of years now.  They are a highly reputable company and I recommend them if you ever see that they are soliciting for new members.  You won't get rich taking their surveys(nor will you get rich doing ANYONE'S surveys!)but it's steady compensation for the time you spend completing their questionnaires. I figure if I'm online anyway, I have time to do a survey now and again for a few dollars.
I also joined in 2010 a Focus Group company.  I've had 2 opportunities in the last 6 months to take part in a focus group, each of which paid considerably for your time(and thoughts).  I was only able to take part in 1 of them as I didn't respond back quickly enough to the 2nd offer.  With focus group work, the sessions tend to fill up quickly so if you snooze, you loose!

5.  SOCIAL MEDIA--Another "hot" idea in 2010 was companies using Facebook to promote their products.  Many major companies made Facebook pages last year and if you "Liked" their page you could take part in giveaways for Prizes and/or Coupons, including many, Many FREE ITEM COUPONS!
Sluggy "heart"  free item coupons!!
Free cheese, tea, shampoo, goat cheese, neti pots, gum, bacon, mac and cheese, pain reliever, facial tissues, cereal, vitamin supplements, chips, etc.....these are all items I got for free from liking companies on Facebook.
And if the automated system for sending out the Free Item Coupons went haywire, that was even MORE fun.....like the Free OREOS I got for liking the Oreos brand, or rather the FIVE packages of Free OREOS.lolol

4.  BLOGGING PERKS--Ok, so I am not a bigtime blogger.  I have a teeny tiny blog with a fair amount of readers(thank you all!).  The big corporations don't drop me emails to give me freebies in exchange for promoting them to my readership or fly me to conferences on their dime.  I wish they did, but they don't at this point. ;-)
But there are still some deal perks for blogging at the level I do.  I do get some interest from companies who want me to review and/or promote their items.  I don't take many up on their offers because the product has to be something I feel my readers would appreciate hearing about and/or something that's appropriate for this blog.
And I do reach out on occasion to companies myself to see if they'd be interested in supplying me with product to try and to give away to my readers. 
I am an affiliate of MyBlogSpark. They are a company that acts as a "middleman" to hooks up bloggers with companies wanting to promote their products online.  They send me offers that I usually accept.  The best part is they almost always offer a giveaway component....I like giving stuff away to my readers!

Another of the perks of Blogging is ad revenue.  If you place ads on your blog and people who come to your blog click on these ads, you will earn a small cash pittance each month.  This will eventually mean you get a check.  You can also sign up to become an affiliate of another site and earn cash or credit toward items available on their website.  It's a great passive income stream(or trickle in my case).  Just don't go overdoing it so that there are inappropriate ads or so many ads that readers can't find your content.  I've seen some blogs with ads so garish and obnoxious that it took 10 minutes for my eyes to focus again after leaving their site!lol

3.  CATALINA COUPON PROMOTIONS--Since I didn't travel much out of my local area in 2010 to the larger grocery chains, I didn't have opportunity to take advantage of many Catalina Deals.  The Cat Deals here were few and far between in 2010.  And when Weis had them they seemed always to be on products that there were NO valid coupons available for, and/or the amount you needed to spend was far greater  than the value of the Catalina you received.  Catalina Deals are only worthwhile if, with the sale prices and coupons you can use on the items, you have low out of pocket on the initial purchase and the Cat Coupon is a decent amount to roll to do the Cat Deal again.
My best 2 Catalina Deals for 2010 were both at Price Chopper NE surprisingly! Glimpse them HERE and HERE I don't usually shop at PC as their baseline prices here are always higher than Weis Markets or the local independent ShurSave affiliate stores.  But their Catalinas usually beat both of my usual grocery store.  HERE is the end of the best week of Catalina Deals at Weis Markets in 2010.  That was mid February 2010....they are well overdo for another good week! ;-)

2.  INTERNET PRINTED COUPONS--2010 for me at least was the year of the IPQ.  Our Sunday insert Coupons just got worse and worse this past year.  Less of the good regional coupons and more and more 'filler' in the insert pages of offers for trinkets and cheaply made clothing.  I know we had a Red Plum insert this year that had a total of THREE COUPONS and none of them were for FOOD!  There were 10 pages of offers to purchase bras, mumus, arthritis gloves, wolf knives, m&m clocks, porcelain babies, collector plates, ceramic dragons, etc., etc., etc.
If I had to guess, I'd say that 9 out of every 10 coupons I used in 2010 was printed off the internet.  By September I had stopped buying multiple Sunday paperspretty much and had taken to using a clipping service or eBay to obtain the good Manufacturer's coupons. 
Internet printed coupons are great but they are very limiting if you want to stock up on an item.  Being limited to 2 prints per computer of any coupon means you need to find access to multiple computers to access more of that coupon.  This is not always feasible.

And my favorite Deal Hunting/Couponing/Blogging thing for 2010......

1.  RITE-AID--I was a Rite-Aid devotee in 2009.  Back then, with the Single Check Rebate system, Rite-Aid was all about "you have to spend money to make money".  You'd buy items(and use your coupons), then have to wait for your cash refund to be mailed to you in about a month.  Of course, since you used coupons to purchase, your cash refund check was more than what you spent out of pocket, which was awesome.  But until you built up a pool of cash to buy your following month's SCR items, you were having to spend money oop.
Well in 2010 Rite-Aid introduced the Wellness + system, where certain items would give you Wellness Rewards(later on they became +Up Rewards)which were similar to Walgreen's Register Rewards or CVS's Extra Care Bucks.  Rite-Aid also kept the SCR system so you can combine getting cash rebates with the instant +Up Rewards for even better deals and less money out of pocket.  And Rite-Aid released tons of $X off $XX purchase coupons in 2010 as well as very nice high value coupons and deals if you joined the Wellness+ program.
Early on in 2010 I tried to spend less oop than I'd receive back in SCR checks.  Then I concentrated on completing SCR deals for Rite-Aid gift cards to cover my out of pocket outlays.  By April, between the free gift cards and the Wellness/later +Up Rewards, I pretty much had NO out of pocket spending for the rest of the year at Rite-Aid.  Now you have to LOVE a store that PAYS YOU to take things home, right?!!?!!
By the end of March 2010 I believe I had used up all my Walgreen's RRs and CVS ECBs and from that moment onward the only drug store I shopped at was Rite-Aid.  There were more than enough deals at Rite-Aid to keep me happy and by concentrating on just one Drug Store I believe I made better scores and I kept more of my sanity.....though the sanity part is debatable. ;-)

So what were Your favorite Couponing/Blogging Related Deals & Happenings in 2010?
Leave a comment and let us know!

Sluggy

9 comments:

  1. Love this post. What a great wrap up for the year! I can relate in every topic area. The internet printables especially have been crazy fantastic this year. Some of my best deals came from internet printables. The $2/1 Swisss Miss is a great example of an excellent printable. Makes me wish I had 10 computers to work with. If they keep up like that I just might invest in used pcs to print extras! Thanks for sharing. I totally enjoyed this post!!!

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  2. Goddess--Thanks for stopping by!
    I just wish with the IPQs that I didn't go overboard and print out Qs for stuff I didn't end up buying....what a waste on my part.
    I think the used pcs to get more prints is a great idea....I'll have to put some of my Rite-Aid profits to fund that.lol

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  3. Wow..impressive PC Cats ;) I thought I was Queen Catalina (PC)... I bow to you!

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  4. This is EXCELLENT! I totally agree with everything on all fronts. I wish the limit of two prints on IPQs was relaxed a little - not to the point of copying or overuse, but maybe 4 prints instead of 2... As for insert coupons, I don't even bother buying extra papers anymore. If there's a coupon I like, i'll just go to MyCouponHunter.com or ebay and see what I can find there. Usually I can score a bunch of the good ones for less than I'd pay for a couple extra newspapers.

    Very much looking forward to watching you work all these deal avenues in 2011 right here on your blog :)

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  5. love this post too! I still get 6-8 papers a week, but I am reconsidering that this year. I am nervous about ordering coupons though. I want them the Sunday it goes on sale or I wont get it! But even then, its so hard because Rite Aid doesnt stock well and my manager says he cant special order things for me. I absolutely hate when I see a great coupon listed in the preview and it doesnt come in my insert! 9 times out of 10 my inserts are pretty sucky too, but there is always a coupon or two that more than makes up for my OOP expense for so many papers. idk what to do about this lol

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  6. Sheila--Hey, thanks for coming by to see me today! And can't we both be PC Catalina Queens? ;-)

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  7. Pretty--I agree about the print limits....a couple more would help out us deal hunters get our fill. It's at times like this that I miss my old magically printer that passed into that electronic junkyard in the sky last year...sniff sniff...lol

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  8. Seymour6--I SO GET what you are saying. Like when a great Q comes out on the 1st day of the sale but you know about the sale a week before but since the Q isn't printed in the inserts yet you can't order them until after the sale starts and by the time they come(IF the arrive before the sale is over!)the shelves at the store are empty. So danged frustrating!!

    And my inserts suck like yours....but that was a good thing for me this week because since none of the papers here had the $2.25/1 Finish Q, the Wags all had the product still on the shelves when my Qs came on Friday. So I had a rare win on that one.lolol

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  9. I've been a one paper girl for a while and sure love the printables. Fortunately, I can print a set at work and a set at home. My favorite coupons in 2010 were the $2 coupons on Smart Balance milk. I kept getting them and they made for some cheap milk for quite a while. And that is the one thing we have to buy every week for Hubby, on sale or not.

    I do get an extra set of inserts from my MIL, so that helps a little too.

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