How to Save on Black Friday

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Make sure you don’t miss ANY deals on toys, games, electronics and more! Join Addicted to Saving’s Holiday Deals Facebook group and stay on top of all of the latest deals! And, don’t miss my 2015 Holiday Gift Guide to see all of the gift ideas I am loving this year!

One week!! Black Friday is one week away! Can you believe it? This is the absolute busiest time of year for me from a blogging standpoint. I’m constantly updating my 2015 Holiday Gift Guide, posting regular grocery store and drugstore deals as well as posting as many gift deals as I can find. In the midst of my work schedule, I will take the time to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Do you go shopping on Black Friday? I know many of you do. Personally, I will not be stepping foot in any stores on Black Friday.  Instead, I will be sitting online all day Black Friday and all day Cyber Monday posting deals on Addicted to Saving for all of you.  But if you ARE planning on heading out in the chaos known as Black Friday, I have some tips for you to make your day smooth AND frugal.

1) Make a Plan

Don’t go into your Black Friday shopping frenzy without a plan. Most stores will offer their sale ads online days before Thanksgiving, and we will be posting Black Friday ads as soon as they come available here on Addicted to Saving. We also have a Black Friday Category and a Black Friday Page that we will be updating as the ads/deals come available, so bookmark the page in your browser for easy access.  Of course, you can grab a newspaper and plan your strategy after your Thanksgiving meal if you prefer. Either way, you need a plan.  Saving money doesn’t just magically happen!  Decide which bargains you want to go for then make a plan to make it happen. You will need to decide which stores you want to shop at and make a list of the items you want to buy at each store. Decide in which order you will go to which store.

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2) Make a List & Stick To It

Don’t rely upon your memory — Black Friday will be stressful, confusing, and very busy. Write down your list of items at each store, or print the deals you really want from the Black Friday Ads in the Black Friday PageIf you veer from your list, you will end up spending more money than planned. And let’s be honest, on Black Friday it’s really easy to just pull our credit card out and buy everything we see because we automatically assume they are good deals. That isn’t always the case. So stick to your list and don’t get distracted by the bright shiny sale signs.

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3) Set Your Budget

I can’t tell you how important this is. While I will find you plenty of wonderful Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, you shouldn’t buy something just because it’s a deal!  Make a budget for how much you want to spend during your Black Friday excursion and stick to it. Will you be paying cash, writing checks, or using debit and credit cards? Decide ahead of time how much money you want to spend and how you want to spend it. I discourage credit card shopping as much as possible, unless you are in a financial position where you are 100% comfortable that you will pay it off in full the next billing cycle.  As you make your shopping list, note how many you need of each item. And keep in mind that some stores may impose limits on their best deals.

4) Bring a Friend

To make your Black Friday shopping a success, you may need to call in the troops. Enlist fellow savers in your shopping spree master-schedule. Will you be taking the whole family? Will you be shopping with friends? Put your heads together as you plan your strategy. If there are five shoppers in your group and five stores that you all want to shop at, make out your lists then split them up. Instead of each of you having your list of items from five different stores, send one person to one store with everyone’s list for that particular store.

5) Use Your Cell Phones

If you are shopping with a group, be sure to make use of your cell phones to communicate while you are shopping. Keep each other posted about your whereabouts and what items you have managed to snag so there are not unnecessary duplicates.

6) Shop Online

Since I’m online all the time anyhow trying to find deals for you all (and myself!), I’m more of an online kind of Black Friday shopper. Join my Holiday Deals group on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and set up your Twitter account to get a text every time I post a deal. Then turn it off once the Holiday Shopping season is over (or keep it on to get year round deals!)  😉  See my post HERE about how to turn on Text Alerts on your twitter account.  Both of these ways are excellent ways to stay on top of the latest deals.

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7)  Find out Return Policies and KEEP your receipts.

8) Realize that Black Friday sales are not always good deals. 

There was one year  when my husband and I decided to get up early like so many of you do on Black Friday. We left the house around 4:00 a.m. and were in line at Best Buy before the doors opened.  When the doors opened, we went crazy piling junk into our cart.  Why do I say junk? Because we had NO reason to be buying all of the stuff we bought! We got caught up in the frenzy and found ourselves buying things we didn’t need.  This brings me back to my first two tips Make a Plan and then Make a List and Stick to it! 😉

Make sure you join the group Holiday Gift Ideas for Less to insure you don’t miss any deals. 

Fraudulent $100 Publix Coupon

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Fraudulent $100 Publix Coupon
Publix shoppers – by now you may have seen the $100 off $120+ Publix coupon floating around on Facebook. If you haven’t seen this coupon, let me start off by telling you it is fraudulent. Last night Publix released a statement confirming that the coupon is in fact fraudulent and that the coupon is not valid at any of their locations. I would go so far as to recommend you not click on the coupon and especially do not give your email address (as pictured below) because I promise you that if you supply your info, you will begin getting lots and lots of junk email.


Fox 13 came over today to talk to me about the coupon. It’s tough for me because when I saw all of the Facebook statuses showing the coupon yesterday, I wasn’t tempted to click on it. I knew right away that it was bogus. But that said, many of my honest friends were innocently posting it thinking that it was legitimate.

If you were someone who thought the coupon was legitimate, I wanted to give you a few tips as to how to differentiate bogus coupons from legitimate coupons.

First – if a coupon looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you find a printable coupon for a free product or a high value dollar off coupon (example: $10.00 off diapers, $100 off groceries, etc), it most likely is too good to be true. Before clicking on the coupon, go directly to the brand or store’s webpage and see if the offer is there. If it is, then it may in fact be real. But 99 times out of 100, you will find that the coupon is bogus.

Second – a reliable place to find coupons is the coupon inserts in the Sunday paper. If you prefer to print out your coupons, reliable sources are,, and

Thirdly – don’t buy coupons online. If you go on ebay, you can find coupons for free products like Free Doritos, Free Huggies Diapers, Free Coca-Cola 12 packs, etc. The coupons will be pictured on ebay and may look real. But 99 times out of 100 they are not real. And when you go to the store to use them, the store will not accept your coupons. Or, the store will lose money if they do accept your coupons.

For me, couponing is a tangible way for me to help financially support my family by saving money at grocery and drugstores each week. I save hundreds of dollars each month using coupons and we can use that money towards bills/savings/etc. I am able to save hundreds of dollars and I don’t use bogus coupons. So I want to encourage you! If you focus on use legitimate coupons, you too can save hundreds of dollars.

If you have any questions about the legitimacy of coupons, leave a comment! I would love to answer your questions!


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Back to the Start

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screenshot(This was Addicted to Saving’s “look” in 2009)

When I started Addicted to Saving back in 2009, I really didn’t expect it to grow much. In fact, that wasn’t my intent. I was just trying to help some of my friends save money and I thought that typing up some of the things I had learned would be easier and less time consuming than helping each friend individually over the phone or via email.

At some point, Addicted to Saving started growing. And growing and growing. It became a part-time business. Then a full-time business. Then hubby stopped working at his job and he helped me on Addicted to Saving. We worked 10 hour days 6 days a week. We took one vacation during 7 years. It was a crazy time for us.

The website opened many doors for me and challenged me in ways that I did not expect. It allowed for me to become more confident in front of the camera. There was a couple of years when I had one or two TV interview almost monthly. It even allowed for me to learn how to speak from a teleprompter when I “hosted” a savings segment on Daytime. It also forced me to grow thick skin. For every 10 wonderful comments and emails I received, I would receive at least 1 or 2 that were harsh, rude and sometimes just mean. I’ve since learned that the delete button is my best friend and I have no problem deleting a rude email. That’s maturity for you.

During all of this time, as a family, we also worked on growing our family via adoption. Many of you were along for the ride as we experienced the highs and devastating lows of adoption. You were excited with us and encouraged us as we brought our son Asher home in August 2013. And you’ve watched him grow into a fun, busy toddler.

screenshot(This was Addicted to Saving’s “look” in 2011)

Through it all, Addicted to Saving has continued on. And it will STILL continue on. However, the traffic on it has slowed. And my work has slowed. I’m not able to work 10 hour days anymore. While I still have the same work ethic as before, being a stay at home mom with a 2.5 year old just does not allow me to be glued to the computer like I was before being a mom. Balance has become the new norm. It was difficult to learn at first but now it is definitely refreshing to turn my laptop off throughout the day.

All this to say, with the slowing of Addicted to Saving’s traffic, I’ve considered all options for it. And I’ve decided, I’m going to continue working it. I love it and I love helping people save money. I have a great gal helping me continue to work on it which frees up some of my time. However, I am going to weed back on some of the deals that I post.

screenshot(Addicted to Saving’s “current” look.)

When I started this blog, it was a “local” Tampa Bay blog. As it grew, I posted more state specific stores across the nation. Because I no longer have the time or manpower to devote to posting deals for state specific stores across the country, I’m going to focus on nation-wide stores like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, dollar stores and Whole Foods. And I’m going to focus on the Tampa Bay stores that I shop at which are Publix and Winn-Dixie. Since I love shopping online (who doesn’t), I will still continue to post online deals. And I am officially addicted to craziness of working 14 hour days over Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. So that won’t change.

I’m also going to add more articles on ways to save, things I’ve learned while adopting, ways to eat healthier, navigating life with a busy toddler, etc. My life is so much more than just saving money and I would love to share all of the things I’ve learned through the years (both the good and the bad) and also get advice from all of you!

And I need your help! If you are shopping and find an amazing deal, or if you know of a deal that I haven’t posted, please email me or leave a comment on this blog.

So bear with me as I start to make some small changes here and there. Thank you for taking this journey with me the past six years! I look forward to seeing what the future bring!

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Saving Money for a Sunny Day with SunTrust Bank

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If you are reading my blog, chances are, you are trying to save money. Your goal might be to save money so that you can get out of debt, or to put money in an emergency fund, or to put money towards your child’s education or to put money into savings. But how many of you are saving money for a sunny day?

What is saving for a sunny day? It is saving money not only for the “necessities” in life, but also for the fun extravagances that make life exciting! Don’t get me wrong, saving money is a GOOD thing – regardless of the reason. But sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in saving for a “Rainy Day.” For me, this year, I have been very concerned about having money in savings to cover unexpected household expenses (an AC breaking, needing to repair a roof, etc etc). Doing that is a good thing and a responsible thing. But sometimes, I get so caught up in saving for the “what ifs”, that I forget to save to splurge a little!

Do you have a savings account for a Sunny Day? I’ve just started thinking about starting one. It isn’t for anything extreme (although, I would love to take a month long trip to Italy). But it is for something realistic for our family. Our family is tired. We have worked a lot the past six years and we very seldom get breaks. So my Sunny Day account would contain money that we could put towards a week away staying on a rental house/condo on the beach (without internet and work)! Since our son is so young, staying on the beach would be the perfect way to keep all of us entertained and at the same time to relax and regroup.

So while I am going to keep my emergency savings account, I’m also going to start a Sunny Day savings account so that my family can take a much needed vacation and not have to charge any of the expenses!

SunTrust Bank wants to help us save for a Sunny Day. Go HERE to subscribe to receive their Shine newsletter and learn tips on saving money.

Have you saved for a Sunny Day? What fun activities are you saving money for?

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you. They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours.

Subscribe to the Shine newsletter and receive inspiration and advice twice a month to help you live for a sunny day. Subscribe here

Want to get your sunny day started now? Visit the SunTrust resource center anytime for help achieving your financial goals.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.

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How to Prepare for Your Shopping Trip in 6 Easy Steps

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how-to-prepare-shopping-tripDoes it take you a long time to prepare for your weekly shopping trips? Do you find the process overwhelming? I originally published this article back in September but wanted to share it with all of you again! If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that they don’t have the time to shop with coupons or that it is too confusing to shop with coupons, I would have at least a couple thousand dollars in the bank. :) However, I was able to put a couple of thousand dollars into savings by the money I saved using coupons. And using coupons is not difficult! It takes me between 30-45 minutes each week to get my shopping list and coupons together. (It does take me longer if my son is awake so I make sure to wait until naptime to get my list together. 😉 )

I wanted to give you the steps to show you just how quickly and easily you can get your shopping list together. Before we get to the steps, please don’t overthink couponing! You don’t have to buy items you won’t use. You don’t have to buy huge quantities of groceries (if there are awesome deals, I will buy 4 – 6 of the item). You don’t have to have lots Sunday coupon inserts because many coupons are available to print online. You do have to have the motivation to spend a little time putting together your list and then cutting your coupons. If you think of any questions while reading my steps, please leave a comment with your questions and I will answer them.

Step One: Turn your computer on.

I give the Weekly Ad & Coupon Matchups for 20+ stores and each of these stores have printable grocery list. Go through the list and click on the item(s) you want to purchase so that they are added to the grocery list.
shopping-preparationStep Two: Print your printable coupons.

As you go through the weekly ad & coupon matchups, you will be given the direct links to the printable coupons. As you see deals that you want to take advantage of, print the coupons that you need. Tips – most coupons you can print twice per computer. Also, I always print my coupons in black ink. Don’t waste your color ink on coupons!

Step Three: Print your grocery list.

You can see from the picture above, I will often write notes on my list as I think of additional items I need to purchase.

Step Four: Gather your coupons.

Gather all of your coupons off your printer, gather your Sunday inserts and store fliers.

(Coming soon – I will show you how I file my coupon inserts.)

Step Five: Cut Your Coupons

Since you printed out the printable grocery list, you will know where to find each and every coupon needed to take advantage of the deals. Follow your list. Tip – if you purchase additional items that are not on sale, make sure you check Addicted to Saving’s Coupon Database to see if there is a printable coupon or insert coupon you can use on that item!


Step Six: Go Shopping!

I carry my cut coupons, shopping list and a pen in a simple white envelope that I saved from junk mail I received. Some people carry coupon binders as they shop. For me, I find it is easiest to carry an envelope of coupons that correspond to my grocery list.  As I shop, I will cross of items on my list that I’ve added to my grocery cart.

Lastly, admire your savings! The receipt pictured above was not one of my most stellar shopping trips. BUT, I saved $17.00 using store coupons and $8.10 using manufacturer coupons. When I combine my coupon savings with the savings from store sales, I saved $38.41. It took me 45 minutes to get ready for this shopping trip and I saved $38.41. Was it worth the time? You tell me! 😉

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Living Off What I Have with my Overflowing Stockpile

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So I have a huge confession to make. I guess it isn’t really a confession… so much as it is an admission. My stockpile is at capacity. A few days ago I was going through the freezer in my garage and I realized that there was no free space in it. And the freezer is ginormous. Then I was going through one of my pantries and I realized it too did not have much free space. And I started feeling guilty. When I blog on Addicted to Saving and when I give coupon classes, I help all of you learn how to get the best deals while you are shopping and I give you tips on growing your stockpile. But I also tell you that if you let your food expire or if you have more food in your stockpile than you will use, that you are actually being wasteful and not good stewards. So, all that to say, I am going to be going through my cabinets, pantries and freezers and we are going to start really living off of our stockpile. And we are going to give away a ton of food that we will not eat.

Why do I need to tell you this? For a couple of reasons :) First, I want you to see that it IS possible to grow a stockpile even with the tightening coupon policies, higher prices of food and less and less high value coupons to use. (I’m still sad about the fact that we don’t get Red Plum coupon inserts in Tampa Bay.) When I first started couponing, we bought 8 (yes eight) newspapers every Sunday because I wanted 8 of each coupon. Now, we buy 4 papers. And most often, you will find us buying 2 boxes of pasta (even if they are dirt cheap) or two bottles of juice, etc etc. Even with us buying lesser quantities, we still have grown our stockpile. So don’t think that you have to buy 10 boxes of pasta at one shot. If you buy 4 boxes of pasta this week and then another 4 boxes of pasta next month, chances are that you will have a sufficient enough stockpile of pasta to live off of one box a week for quite a while. (Of course every family has different food preferences and your family sizes are different – so if you go through more pasta than once box a week, you will want to stock up on more than my previous example.)

Secondly, I want this to act as a reminder to you that you too should go through your stockpiles and make sure that your food is all fresh and that if you too have 10 boxes of pasta (5 of which you will never eat) you should give some away! There is nothing better than giving food away and blessing others!

And lastly, I am showing this because you are going to notice that my weekly Photo Show & Tell is changing. For the past 6 years, every Friday, we have gone grocery shopping with the intent of taking advantage of all of the best deals and then showing all of you what the best deals are. Every week we have bought food we didn’t need strictly with the intent of taking a photo of it and giving you step by step instructions on what coupons to use to take advantage of the deal. For us, money has become tighter recently. And I can’t bring myself to pay for and buy more food that we don’t need when we have more than enough to eat for months and months to come. In the freezer in our garage, we have at least 25 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and at least 20 lbs of lean ground beef. And I have at least 15 freezer slow cooker meals that I just need to thaw and cook. I just can’t justify spending more money knowing I have all of that food! That said, if there are stellar deals, we will still take advantage of them and instead of adding them to my stockpile, we will just immediately give them away! I can’t resist stellar deals!

SO – starting tomorrow, I will do my weekly shopping trip and I will take advantage of some of the sales. But not all of them. And you may notice that I’m buying a lot less (and fingers crossed – spending a lot less). But in addition to that, I will also put together a shopping list you can follow that gives you all of the best deals, prices, coupons and total out of pocket spending. I know many of you rely on my Photo Show & Tell to help figure out what to buy each week. And I don’t want to stop helping you. So my Photo Show & Tell will show you what  I bought and how I bought everything. But it will also give you a grocery list that will show you what I would buy if I had room in my stockpile. Sound good?

Update – I wanted to add one more thing :) For fresh produce (we love our fresh produce) we will either continue to get it at the coop we belong to OR we will stop the coop and get the produce that is on sale at Publix, Aldi or maybe even Sam’s Club. We haven’t decided yet how to handle produce…

To end this, I would love to hear how your stockpiles are doing? Are you too overflowing at the seams? Or do you need to add to it? Have you had a difficult time growing your stockpile? Share your thoughts! I would love to hear them!

Go HERE to read Introduction to Stockpiling  and learn how to grow your stockpile!

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*Tonight* FREE Addicted to Saving Holiday Savings Class, 7 – 8:30 pm (Tampa Area)

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Tonight is my first class in quite some time, and I’m so excited to talk about two of my favorite things – couponing and saving money on Christmas presents! Have you registered yet? If you live in the Tampa area, I hope you’ll join me this evening for a special class I’ll be giving: Holiday Savings: Meals, Gifts, & More!

The class is FREE and will be held at Calvary Church East Lake Campus in Tarpon Springs. This class will focus on saving money at the holidays. I’ll touch on basic couponing tips, how to save on groceries for the holidays, and of course, how to save on Black Friday and gift-buying all the way up through Christmas.

This event is free, but I would ask that you bring a canned good item so we can pool our resources together and donate to a local food pantry that our church works with. Go HERE to register.

Event Details

Date: Thursday, November 13th
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Place: Calvary Church East Lake Campus
1190 East Lake Road
Tarpon Springs, FL 34688
Cost: FREE (but please bring a canned good if you’re able)

Please pre-register for this class using the EventBrite Registration link below (or in the sidebar). There’s no cost, but we do need to know how many are coming to alert the facilities staff.

Hope to see you all tonight!

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Brother Refurbished Wireless Monochrome Laser Printer, $59.99 SHIPPED

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brotherIf you are looking for a printer deal, make sure you check out today’s Amazon Bonus Deal of the Day! We can purchase this Brother EHL2270 Refurbished Wireless Monochrome Laser Printer for $59.99 SHIPPED. Go HERE to view this printer.

Refurbished Details:

“When you purchase refurbished Brother products, you can save money and still be confident you are getting a quality, genuine Brother product. Each unit is carefully refurbished and undergoes a stringent quality control process to ensure optimal performance prior to being sold as a refurbished model.

In fact, we believe so strongly in the quality of our refurbished products that we cover them under the same limited warranty as new Brother products. “

Print Details:

  • Fast, high-quality printing at up to 27 ppm
  • Built-in wireless and Ethernet network interfaces
  • Automatic duplex printing for two-sided documents
  • Adjustable, 250-sheet capacity paper tray
  • 32MB memory standard

Go HERE to see all Amazon Deals on Addicted to Saving

Go HERE to see all Holiday Gift Deals on Addicted to Saving

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