Archive for category shopping

Coupon Sherpa’s Top 9 Group-Buying Sites

Another one from Jeff and the gang at Coupon Sherpa.

“After yesterday’s announcement that Living Social would add 25 cities to its deal roster (bringing them to 52 total), it’s clear that the “group-buying” phenomenon is more than just a fad. The model is genius in its simplicity: Sites find local businesses willing to provide large discounts in return for spreading their names to new customers. Consumers log on daily, check out their hometown’s deals and either sign up or ignore the deal. But as this trend picks up steam, more and more competitors are coming on the scene. How do you know which one’s for you? Today we’ve rounded up the top 9 group-buying sites currently online, summarized how they operate and offered a quick review from our own experiences. Enjoy, and happy shopping…”

Read the article in its entirety at Coupon Sherpa

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Lo-Fi Grocery List Management

Some Background

grocery_small.pngSome of you who read this blog may have already seen that I have written extensively about meal planning and grocery shopping . I have recently all but abandoned the electronic versions of my daily planning (save gcal and gmail contacts). In trying to fudge an electronic system to fit into my planning and GTD systems, I decided that it was time to go back to paper.

I am currently saving up for a Levenger Circa system. While I am doing so, I am moving my planning systems to paper; waiting for the day i can afford that punch and notebook. In the process, I found that my current grocery shopping system was starting to show its age. It worked fine, but it just wasn’t very well laid out. I also found that I didn’t like to have to flip through several pages in my book to find my current list. I am hoping that the ability to rearrange pages will make this adventure complete.

A Bit of Googling

After searching around a bit, I found that there were a good deal of pre-printed forms available for not only the circa system, but for pretty much any system out there. This helped out a great deal, as I am now able to get a head start on getting my thoughts in order. While I found a ton of shopping list templates out there, nothing really seemed to suite my needs.

I must immediately confess that I am not a designer, nor am I productivity expert. I downloaded a copy of Inkscape and did my best.

The Final Product

I didn’t say it was pretty. I will say that so far, it’s pretty functional. While I hate to call it a final product, I think it’s pretty serviceable for now. You can download the fully printable PDF here.

To use the form, all you really need to do is start planning your meals on the days on the left side of the form. I am making a huge assumption that you are at the intermediate stage in cooking your own meals and that you have looked at my previous example and are comfortable with making a sensible grocery list.

Once you have made your meal plan, simply use the list on the right side of the sheet to plan our your grocery shopping. While I have mentioned these things in my previous post, I do think a few things bear repeating:

  1. Before you head out to the store, double check your pantry and make sure you don’t already have these items in stock.
  2. Divide your list by department to speed up your trip.
  3. Keep your eyes from wandering over the impulse buy shelves.
  4. Keep in mind that many of these items can be bought orders of magnitude cheaper at bulk food stores and farmers markets.

In The End.

I hope this list works for you, and helps you save a little bit of dough on your grocery adventures. But! If you find that there is something missing, or something that might be tweaked to make this make more sense, let me know. Let’s call this list v1, and we’ll keep working on it until we get something that is as dialed in as it can be.

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Coupon Stacking from the Coupon Sherpa

coupon_stacking.jpg From Jeff over at Coupon Sherpa:

The idea of coupon stacking is: combining store coupons, manufacturers’ coupons, and possibly other rebates and offers to save big on weekly sales.

Stop by The Coupon Sherpa and check out their latest offering on Coupon Stacking

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Discount Gift Cards at Gift Card Granny

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Just in case you missed my post on what a bad idea gift cards are, you might want to check here.

I seems like alot of people are finding the same thing. Rather than take the heat on a card they may not use, recipients of these unwieldy gifts are now selling them online at great discounts.

From Jeff C.:

“With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, gift card sales are booming as usual. It’s estimated that 3 in 10 shoppers will pick up gift cards for Dad, adding up to 1.2 BILLION in spending. Though they make a great last-minute gift, a staggering number of gift cards are never even used. There’s an estimated $40 BILLION in unclaimed gift cards collecting dust in US homes right this moment. What to do? Gift Card Granny, a leading resource for the buying and selling of discounted gift cards, has compiled an exhaustive list of merchants who offer cards, and provided details on just how much you can get back via each of the top online gift card resellers.

Some are offering as high as 80% of the card’s original value! Check out the full list and make sure Dad’s gifts don’t go to waste this year.”

Check Out the Gift Card Granny

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What’s on Sale Right Now?

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Photo: rakspassion

Some Background

This is just an idea that I have been kicking around. I think it might have legs. I actually searched for two whole minutes to see if it had already been done. I found one, but it wasn’t what I really liked. Rather than bore you all with a design spec, I will tell a little story.

I’ll Tell you a Story

This evening, I was cleaning up my office, and I realized that I needed some plastic storage totes. I see them all the time in sales circulars for dirt cheap at local stores. Unfortunately, I don’t remember when I saw them last. I don’t know which store. I do know that I can find the flyers online, and go through each of them. Although it’s totally awesome to be able to get all the flyers at once, this still seems like only half a solution.

After mulling this around, I decided to go ahead just buy them at the first place I hit tomorrow, and dream up a solution in the meantime.

A Possible Solution – In English


Wouldn’t it be great if there was a website that did the following?

  1. Pull all the sales flyers and circulars from the internet.
  2. Index them.
  3. Allow users to search those indices based on geographical location.

For instance, I need plastic containers. My profile would know where I live, and spit out a listing of all plastic containers in my area. I could also do the same search with “pork chops”, “oranges” or whatever.

That way, I could quickly find the best deal at the time on the items I am looking for. For things I buy all the time, like milk, I could set up an alert that would tell me where milk goes on sale each week.

While I am still in the “I’m thinking out loud” mode, I really think this could be done. Sadly, it would take more than just one guy (me) to do this. I could handle the coding, but not the design or the social engineering of the site. If you are interested in what I am talking about, read the next section.

A Possible Solution – In Dork

Just about everything about this site is simple. No one is going to bust a brain stem on this. There is, however, some work that would need to be done.

Without doing much homework, I am guessing that most store sites (CVS, Walgreen, and the like) do not have an RSS feed of their weekly sales. I don’t really have any interest in figuring out where the sites host their sales, then either scraping their site, or indexing their pdf (well, this might not be too bad.. yeah.. it will). Meanwhile, you would have to monitor each site for any changes in how the code their sites and where they store their info (yick!). It might be better to work out a deal with the store to get access to an RSS feed. I would imagine that the companies would be more than happy to sit down and hear out the pluses on them doing such a thing.

The other problem is that, once a deal is struck and the RSS feed is a reality, anyone else could step in and do the same thing. I also don’t know how I would feel about getting exclusive rights to an RSS feed. That just feels sleazy to me. Be that as it may, I still have bills to pay, and have to have some income coming in. On the other hand, the site could rely on ad revenue.

Anyway, I am still thinking out loud, but I would love to open a discussion on this, and possibly make it a reality with the help of one or two other people.

Let me know what you think.