Sure, one Savvy Shopper is good. But think about what an army of bargain hunters could do for you.
We thought about it, and the possibilities excited us.
So we organized a team of shoppers willing to share their best finds, money-saving tips and savvy methods. There's more than 40 of them on board. We call them the Savvy Shopper Street Team, and they've already contributed more than a dozen fabulous finds in just a week's time.
Look for their tips on the Savvy Shopper blog — dailypress.com/savvyblog — and on the Daily Press' shopping page — daily press.com/shopping. You'll also see them active on Twitter (follow @hrsavvyshopper and the hashtag #hrshop) and on Facebook (face book.com/savvyshopper).
You'll see them in the newspaper, too. They'll test store brand products in a new series designed to help you choose quality items at a cost savings price. And long-standing bargains will make it into the weekly Savvy Shopper column that runs on this page.
Here's an introduction to some of the team members, along with some of their tips on saving money. We couldn't fit all of them in today's paper, but you'll become familiar with the whole team in the next few months. And, I hope, that you'll join our money-saving community, too.
Donje PutnamThe 35-year-old from Newport News is a stay-at-home mom with a 7-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son. She's a regular Twitter and Facebook bargain hunter, and she's a pro at finding deals by layering sales, coupons and reward programs. Last week, she told Savvy Shopper blog readers that Target shoppers could layer a $4 off newspaper coupon for Gillette Fusion razors with the sale (razor cost $6.99) and a $5 gift card reward for shoppers who purchased any two Gillette products. She also takes advantage of kids-eat-free deals at local restaurants and makes sure to buy clothes out of season.
Denise PonsThe 46-year-old from Newport News is a showroom consultant and lighting specialist with Ferguson. She's keen on energy-saving methods such as use of a programmable thermostat and compact fluorescent lights.
Last week, she advised readers on the Savvy Shopper blog to check out Amazon.com for some magazine subscription deals (one-year subscription to Glamour magazine for $7, for example). She also pointed readers to the Ferguson Center for the Arts buy-one-get-one-free ticket sale and reminded shoppers that Ferguson has an eBay store where home appliances and fixtures sell for as little as $1.
Robyn GilesThe 29-year-old from Newport News is a social worker and mother to three children under 5 years old. With three little ones to clothe, she takes advantage of local consignment shops, and she makes sure to re-consign the clothes when her children have outgrown them. She's also proficient in finding printable online coupons. Last week, she shared a 60 percent off one item coupon for Michael's craft store and a printable coupon for 15 percent off Children's Place.
Vicki BenderThe 50-year-old from Newport News has three grown sons and three grandchildren. She's currently unemployed, and is using several methods to keep her costs down. She suggests always calling services to negotiate better deals, for example. Recently, she saved on her TV bill by asking the company if it would give her the same deal they were offering new customers.
Kellie GroggThe 32-year-old from Yorktown is a stay-at-home mom with twin 2-year-old daughters. She saves money by checking the Web site naughtycodes.com when shopping online. She also sews some of her daughters' clothes and makes sure to stock up on grocery items when they're on sale.
Michelle HarlanThe 33-year-old from Newport News is an Army wife and stay-at-home mom with a 7-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son.
"We became an active duty family a year ago, and I gave up working when we moved, so saving money is like my part-time job now," she says.
Part of her money-saving method includes always shopping on days when her coupons will be doubled, taking advantage of drug store reward programs for her hygiene and cleaning products and using Facebook to keep track of promotions and free offers from retailers.
Robbie BelchThe 36-year-old from Yorktown works for the James City County department of Parks and Recreation. He has a systematic method of saving money that includes watching the newspaper circulars, checking the Internet for printable coupons before heading to the store and checking retailer Web sites that don't advertise in a print publication.
He also scopes out the big box stores that receive less foot traffic than other locations.
"Target, JC Penney and Kohls at The Marquis shopping center in Williamsburg, beside Water Country USA, have the best clearance deals since they're lower volume stores," he says.
Last week, he encouraged readers to visit the clearance section of Target, where he found a pack of 144 pens for about $6.
Tammy WilliamsThe 44-year-old from Newport News is a senior administrative assistant with a 22-year-old son and a 15-year-old son. Her cousin, Terri Fuell, also a team member, calls Tammy a "coupon queen," and Tammy says she always bases her grocery list on the coupons she has in hand. She also limits her dining out by bringing her lunch with her to work.
Sarah ChappellThe 27-year-old from Newport News works as a nurse. She works to find good buys on Web sites like Craigslist and eBay, and she also looks for coupons and online surveys that will offer free goodies.
Last week, she advised readers to take advantage of Walgreens Register Rewards program and get $5 back for spending $5.99 on a men's body wash product.
Shannon MicaliThe 34-year-old from Newport News is a stay-at-home mom with two young sons. She's an avid follower of money-saving mommy blogs around the Internet. The Web sites babycheapskate.blogspot.com, freebies4mom.com, dealiciousmom.com, savemoneyblog.net and moneysavingmom.com are some of her favorites.
Martha GrondinThe 27-year-old from Newport News teaches music at a local preschool. She saves money by growing her own vegetables, she says. She doesn't have a large backyard, but she is able to grow some herbs, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and lettuce. She also buys in bulk and bought a beef share from a local farmer.
"It's expensive, but we like organic, grass-fed beef and buying it from a local farmer is much less expensive," she says.
She and her husband also canceled their satellite TV subscription and their land line phone in favor of newer technologies like Hulu (a free online TV service) and Google Voice for their phone use.
Krista TalleyThe 33-year-old from Newport News is a listing and sales secretary for a real estate company and mother to a 2-year-old boy. She's a proponent of surveys — "you get freebies this way," she says — clipping coupons and buying in bulk. She uses the Web sites dealofday.com, dailysteals.com and crazytowndeals.com to stay in the savings loop.
You can find more shopping news at twitter.com/hrsavvyshopper, facebook.com/savvyshopper and on Nicole Paitsel's Savvy Shopper blog at dailypress.com/savvyblog.