The last few years have sent me in a very different direction from the beginning of my adult life. When my son started 3rd grade, a series of events convinced us that I needed to quit work, and homeschool my son.
So now my feminist streak has mellowed a bit to the realization that true freedom for women, should include the right to be a housewife and mother, IF that is what a woman wants to do, and feels she must do.
So that is where I've found myself...mother, cook, housewife, and with that comes....boredom set in a bit, and so did the realization that living on one income could be challenging.
And somehow, I slowly ventured into a new sort of hacking...Retail hacking. It has a simple premise really...how do I get everything...for as little as possible.
It started when we decided we wanted to learn some survivalist tactics. One of the things that everyone recommended was...have a stockpile of food. Well, now I not only have a stockpile of food, but I'm keeping my father and sisters pretty well stocked too, and we're making huge donations to the Salvation Army on a fairly regular basis now.
Here's my the brunt of my method. I will say that I am very lucky to have several stores within 3 miles of my home. That helps! Well, I will try to make this as short and concise as I can, so I'm going to focus on my method, not on my sources. :)
First, you need the largest supply of coupons you can get. I probably get about 35 different free magazines a month just from searching the internet occasionally, looking for free magazines, I search those for free coupons. I also make it a point to get up early on Sundays so I can get the double newspaper for one price - that's twice the coupons. Before Saturday of each week, I search the net to get a list of coupons coming out. Usually on or right at major holidays the newspapers do NOT carry coupons. I also search stores for coupon pads, and I swap coupons and forms with friends. I look for coupons and rebates on line. Basically, I keep my eyes PEELED for coupons. Any coupon. That's important. Yes, sometimes I get things I don't USE - but I do it in order to gain more than I've spent. For instance, a coupon on a glucose monitor, 20.00 off. A store runs a sale, buy same glucose monitor for 20.00, get 20.00 back in register rewards. I just netted a glucose monitor (which I will give away) and 20.00 for whatever tax it cost me. That's why you save THEM ALL. You never know.
Next, I get every sales paper for close by stores each week. I carefully match my coupons WITH the sales. I don't rely on ANY pay site to tell me how to do this, it is quite easy to do yourself. I also consider things like store coupons, REBATES, Satisfaction Guaranteed forms, and rewards programs, such as CVS's extra value bucks, free incentives, like movies, and Walgreen's register rewards.
THEN, you combine these things. For instance, most stores will give you both items free if they are running a buy one get one sale, AND you have a BOGO coupon. That's how I netted about 60.00 worth of free makeup this week.
In fact, several stores now regularly pay me to take their inventory off their hands.
One week, a drug store paid me 5.00 to take about 120 rolls of paper towels off their hands. I had to take a truck for that trip.
While my brain was once filled with information about how to identify the latest computer virus or malware, now I keep a running roster of retail prices at different stores. My online friends are now mostly other women who are also retail hackers, who, instead of sending urls to test to each other, now regularly ask each other for price checks and links to the latest coupon out that will net us something free.
On the technical end, our quest is to defeat the dratted coupon printing software so that we are not limited to ONLY 2 coupons. The more computers you can put to work, the better. Sometimes you even need more than 1 IP. We're not trying to hide our IP to look at contraband - we're wanting to hide our IP so sites will push us down another free movie ticket!
There's a whole 'nother subculture out there that are not compiling port numbers and what they do, but UPC numbers. They're not dumpster diving for manuals - it is your receipts that they are looking for - so they can be paired that with UPCs for REBATES.
In the last 2 days, I've sent 17.00. I've got about 120.00 worth of merchandise, 2 free movie tickets, and 12.00 back in gift cards, all while keeping it legal - I ONLY use legal coupons, and I only use them in accordance with store policy. That is, unless the cashier gives me overage, which they tend to do, even if you tell them they need to reduce the coupon, then I just keep my mouth shut.
Combine this with regular stockpiling and rotating your stock, new to the back, old used first, and we've found we have to buy very little that is not on serious sale.
A housewife has to do something to keep from going insane.