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Friday, July 31, 2009

FREE Wisk Detergent!

There's talk of a FREE bottle of Wisk being sent to your doorstep when you comment on THIS post here...

(Follow the link to comment on THAT post; be sure to leave all your contact info so they can get in touch with you to send it out).

Thanks to Deal Seeking Mom and Thrifty Mama who both had this posted!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kroger's P&G Promotion this week... Spent $17.71, saved 70%

If you haven't gotten to Kroger yet, get over there TODAY to take advantage of their 1-Day ONLY Kellogg's and Sunshine 50% off sale. Most all Kellogg's cereals, bars, and Sunshine crackers are 50% today only. This includes my husband's beloved Cheezits, although I only snagged one box b/c I wanted to be sure the coupon I had would work.

Also, the P&G promo is not as much of a pain as I thought. There is no rule about buying other items to get the $4 off; it just pops off so long as it's a participating item. I got 8 P&G items and got $8 off. I also had no issue with my P&G e-saver coupons except for one: I used a paper coupon for Buy 1 Herbal Essence product, Get a Styler FREE, and I was expecting to also get $1 off the 1st product (not the FREE Styler). But nothing.

There were a couple of items that were going to be free after coupon (non-P&G) that were cleared out, but no biggie. Overall, here's the highlights and how I did:

*Oil of Olay Body Wash - I found a smaller bottle that was tagged with the sale for only $2.99. With the $2 coupon this was only $.99!

*Manager's Special Meats - They must have JUST filled the bin b/c it was overfull. Lots of Bob Evan's sausage links/patties for $1.09-$1.19 WITH $.55 off peelies! Also snagged some Laura's Lean Beef and used a $1 printable toward that.

*Febreze Noticeables Refills - I had PLANNED to get one of these for the kit I got nearly free a few weeks ago as they were listed on Southern Savers at $2.75... but at my Kroger the only Febreze stuff tagged was the "Home Collection" which started at $6. No thanks! I'll wait.

Total before sale & coupons: $57.64
Total AFTER sale promos: $42.75
AFTER Coupons............ $17.71 (Saved 70%)

* * * * *

UPDATE: DH was out of Pepsi (ACK! The HORROR!).... so we trekked RIGHT back to Kroger and got 2 more boxes of cheap Cheezits! PLUS... I had heard about some sort of coupon booklet out on the blogosphere for a $10 rebate on Kelloggs/Sunshine/Keebler/Eggo products and I found 'em! They're the "Fuel for School" booklets and mine were in a display near customer service.

Not only do you get $10 back when you buy (and save receipts for!) 10 participating items listed on the booklet, but it also comes with a ton of coupons! Now, most of these are not FANTASTIC... b/c they are the "Buy 2 of these, get $1 off this other thing" kind (which, to me, leads to unnecessary spending). Still, if you can plan your purchase/sales carefully, you can make them work, b/c you can STILL use other coupons of the items you HAVE to buy.

So, for example, I used the one for $2 off 2 bottles of Sprite Zero (2-liter) WYB 2 Boxes of Cheezits. The Sprite 2-liters were on sale 4/$5 so this made them $0.25 each!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shop for a Good Cause!

Here's a great coupon to use this weekend at any GAP, Old Navy, or Banana Republic store:

Gap Give & Get - Save 30% and Donate to LLS! For 4 days, from Thursday, July 30th through Sunday, August 2nd, your Give & Get coupon will allow you to receive a 30% discount on in-store purchases at any Gap, Inc store with 5% of your purchase proceeds going to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!

For more information visit:

Where: All Gap stores in the U.S and Canada, including Gap, Gap Outlet, Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factory Stores, and Old Navy

When: Thursday, July 30th - Sunday, August 2nd

Why: Using this coupon helps support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

How: Download this
coupon to receive your 30% discount.

We have a coworker who is currently fighting a rare form of Leukemia, so I'm all for anything that trumpets that cause. Note that you cannot use it for the purchase of gift cards OR in conjunction with using a gift card (hubby has one from Christmas and I was all set to use that... but instead we'll try to keep it close to the amount of his card, pay cash and use the coupon... and then use the gift card on more stuff).

High dollar MILK coupons!

Hurry over to Coupons.com for these b/c they WILL go fast! This is a great coupon (or set of 'em) for those of you who go through a lot of milk!

*Buy a gallon of WHITE milk, Get a FREE 1/2 gallon of Chocolate! (Up to $3.75)

*FREE gallon of WHITE milk with a $100 grocery purchase! (Up to $4.00)

They are NOT state or store specific! Hip2Save has posted them on her site (thanks!) and the comments helped me figure out how to get them... The quickest method seems to be to use zip code 63090; they should be on the 1st or 2nd page. You should get 2 prints out of them.

NOTE: There are a couple of zip codes for Utah and Idaho that are generating a $0.75 milk coupon and a $1.00 cheese coupon... these are NOT the ones you want (they ARE only good in those states).

Monday, July 27, 2009

To Kroger or Not to Kroger... Week of 7/26

Jenny at Southern Savers has the full list of deals up for Kroger this week. I originally was planning to skip a week, then I decided I'd go after reading about the 50% off Cheezits and Kelloggs products AND the Buy 4/Get $ off P&G deals...

Now, after reading some of the comments I'm not sure I'll go again! Or at least, I'll only go on Thursday for cheap Cheezits (b/c we go through those about as fast as Pepsi). Not only do you have to buy $4 in NON-Proctor&Gamble products to get the discount, but there are also reports of the PG e-saver coupons not coming off of items. I'm not sure if this is the "deal" Kroger is advertising it to be.

If I DO decide to go, here's what's looking good:

Thursday July 30th Only

Kellogg’s Cereal and Bars, 50% off
-$1/2 Special K or Special K Bliss Bars RP 7/12
-.75/1 Special K Chocolatey Pretzel Bars printable
-$1 off Special K Blueberry printable
-$1/2 Nutri-grain Bars inside select boxes of Cereal
-$1 off Kellogg’s Cinnabon Bars printable
-$1 off Kellogg’s Cereal inside select boxes of cereal
-$1.50/2 Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats or Raisin Bran printable

Keebler or Sunshine Crackers & Cookies 50% off
-$1/2 Keebler Fudge Shoppe Cookies printable
-$1/2 Keebler or Sunshine 100 Calorie Right Bites printable
-.75/1 Sunshine Cheez-It’s Whole Grain printable

Eggo Waffles 50% off
-$1 off Eggo Bake Shop printable (limit reached)
-$1 off Eggo products “How do you Eggo” booklet
-$2 off Fresh Fruit wyb (2) Eggo products “Kellogg’s Fuel for School” booklet

10 for $10 (all $1 each, no matter how many you purchase)

Kroger Mini Peeled Carrots or Red Radishes, 16 oz
Kroger Frozen Vegetables, bagged 16 oz
Mangoes, each
Kroger Pasta Sauce, jarred
Barilla Pasta, entire line

Crest Toothpaste, 6.4 oz
-.75/1 off any Crest Toothpaste PG 7/05
-.50/1 off any Crest Toothpaste PG 6/07 (makes it FREE)

Chef Boyardee canned pasta
-$1 off Chef Boyardee printable (makes it FREE)
-$1/4 Chef Boyardee Cans Conagra home mailer

Listerine Pocket Packs, 24ct
-$1 off Listerine Pocket Packs SS 6/14, 4/26, 3/15
-.50/1 off Listerine Pocket Packs SS 6/14, 4/26
-$3/3 Listerine products SS 3/15
-$5/3 Listerine Products SS 3/15(all coupons make it FREE or with overage)

Mentos Gum
-$1 off Mentos Gum, (exp. 7/31) SS 5/03, 6/21 (makes it FREE)

Ivory Body Wash or Bar Soap 3ct

Right Guard Deodorant, 2.8-3 oz
-$1/2 Right Guard products SS 7/12 (makes it .50¢ ea)

Buy 4 Procter & Gamble participating items get $4 off the rest of your purchase(must have other items in your transaction than just the 4 P&G items)price shown is after $1 per item promotion discount

Cascade Dish Detergent 75oz or 20ct $2.99 ea
-$1 off Cascade PG 7/05-.50/1 Cascade PG e coupon
(use paper coupon with e coupon makes it $1.49)

Puffs Facial Tissue .69¢ ea
-.25/3 Puffs Single Packs PG e coupon (makes it .52¢ ea)

Febreze Home Collection
Refills $2.74
Candles $6.49
Starter Kits $10.24

Olay Soap 6pk or Body Wash or Lotion $4.49
-$1 off Olay Soap Pack PG 7/05, 6/07
-$2 off Olay Body Wash PG 7/05
-$1 off Olay Body Lotion PG 7/05
-.50/1 Olay Bar Pack, Body Wash, or Lotion PG e coupon
(buy Body wash use $2 off and e coupon makes it $1.99)

Aussie Hair Care $1.99 ea
-$2/2 Aussie Products RP 7/26
-$2 off any Aussie Product PG e coupon
(buy 2, use paper coupon and e coupon makes both FREE)

Herbal Essences Hair Care $1.99 ea
-$1 off Herbal Essences Hair Care PG 7/05
-Free Styler wyb any Shampoo or Conditioner RP 7/26
-$1 off Herbal Essences PG e coupon
(buy styler and other item use both paper coupons and e coupon makes both FREE)

Gillette Fusion Razor $6.99
-$4 off Gillette Fusion PG 6/07
-$2 off any Gillette Fusion Razor $120 Savings Rebate Booklet
-$1 off Gillette Fusion PG e coupon

Gillette Venus Razor $7.69
-$2 off Venus Embrace PG 7/05, 6/07
-$3 off Venus Embrace or Breeze PG 6/28
-$2 off Venus Embrace PG e coupon

Santa Cruz Juices $1.25 ea
-.75/1 Santa Cruz Juice printable

Bic Crystal Pens, 10ct .89¢ ea
-$1/2 Bic Stationary products printable

Close Out Deals
International Delight 32oz Irish or Cinnamon Creme $2.54

-$1 off International Delight printable
-$1/2 International Delight Quarts SS 6/21

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Couponing Question: When to make a fuss or not

It's only Sunday and there are already about 130+ comments on the CVS post on Southern Savers, SEVERAL of which deal with the Kashi promo that I had trouble with... based on what I'm reading, those TLC Honey Almond bars I got last night should have rung up as part of the deal. Hmmmph.

Here's the funny thing: on our way out for the day's adventures I got DH to stop at another CVS so I could run in to grab some drinks for us AND.... another box of Kashi cereal (since I knew that worked). THIS store in Maryville didn't have the ECB signs up on the Kashi products either. Is this a coupon conspiracy of some sort? It just seems weird that those tags wouldn't be up.

So, I now HAVE my ECBs b/c the cereal triggered them, but I'm debating taking those Honey Almond bars back to my usual CVS for a refund. It's not so much that it's a lot of extra money, but that a deal that should have worked did not.

I've had the same question when it comes to shopping at Walmart. Normally, I only go to Walmart if there's an especially long and appealing list of cheap/free stuff, and I normally NEVER go when it's super busy. But, on 2 consecutive shopping/couponing trips to Walmart I went when it was fairly busy (once on a Saturday afternoon -- yeah, never again!)... and on both of those I got over charged.

On the first trip the cashier rang up an extra Mac and Cheese and forgot to scan a coupon or 2. Okay. No big deal. On the second, the cashier double rang up a couple of items putting me $4 over where I should've been. For both of these, I didn't notice until I was already home and it would've been rather difficult to take those receipts back to the store to prove I didn't actually get those items.

So, I guess my question is: When you're saving sooo much on any one trip and others, at what point do you make a fuss over being incorrectly charged or a coupon not being rung up, etc? When is it worth it? Just curious.

CVS - Week of 7/26... No ECB sales tags finally burns me

I didn't get a chance to post up the deals from CVS for the week but I can tell you that I followed Jenny's plan at Southern Savers again ALMOST to a tee. I actually just got back and I'm now convinced that midnight Saturday shopping is a MUST with these 3-day only school supply sales. Sheesh. I’m not sure if they had not stocked their shelves yet but already I got the last 2 eraser packs and index card cases. Still, I managed to get all the school supply deals which was great.

I did run into a few small issues... The Neutrogena stuff was listed somewhere as starting at $3.49 and Jenny's plan gives a $6 pricepoint. My CVS also only had $7.99 cosmetics as the cheapest Neutrogena item. No biggie, I got two lip glosses essentially free. I also had that $25 prescription transfer gift card so I put any transaction amount owed over $2 on that.

Also, I got there closer to 12:30ish this time and they were JUST starting to do the ECB tags but I still had to hunt for most everything using my list as I usually have to. I figured this method would burn me eventually (just a little) and it did.

Can’t complain; on my 2nd trans the cashier actually allowed me to end up with a NEGATIVE $0.04 balance…? And I paid for the 1st and 3rd transactions with my $25 prescrip transfer gift card (total spent abt $9). Read on... Here are my transactions:

Trans #1
(1) Colgate Total Advanced Toothpase ($2 ECB) - $2.88
(2) Caliber Composition Bks 100 shts ($.99 ECB) - $0.99
(2) Caliber/CVS Erasers 7-15 ct ($.99 ECB) - $0.99
(2) Neutrogena Cosmetic (3.49-14.99) BOGO - $7.99 ea

-$4.00 ECB
-$1.00 of Colgate Total

-$3.00/1 Neutrogena Cosmetic
-$3.00/1 Neutrogena Cosmetic

Total OOP w/ tax: $5.21
Pay with Precription Transfer Gift Card!
Get 5.96 ECB back

Trans #2
(4) Bic Triumph Pens 2-4 pk BOGO - $3.99 ea
(2) Caliber Pencil Case or Index Card Case ($.99 ecb) - $0.99
(2) Pilot Easytouch Pens, 2 pk ($.99 ecb) - $0.99
(2) Tot Swingline Stapler or Caliber Sticky Notes 2 pk ($.99 ecb) - $0.99

-$5.96 ECB
-(4) $2.00/1 Bic Triumph Pens

Total OOP w/ tax: $1.25
Get 5.94 ECB back

Ok, here's where I went wrong. On my last trans I did the Kashi deal and tampons. I got home and saw that I had snagged a box of GoLean cereal, TLC bars, and a box of honey almond bars that was right next to the TLC bars. But the Honey Almonds aren’t part of the deal! They rang up for $4.69. I was frankly pretty tired and just wanted to get in, get out so I didn't question it or check my ECBs at the register.

Trans #3
(1) Kashi GoLean Cereal 3/$10 (Get $5 ecb wyb $10) - $3.33
(1) Kashi TLC Bars 3/$10 (Get $5 ecb wyb $10) - $3.33
(1) Kashi Honey Almond Bars - $4.69
(1) CVS Tampons ($1.89 ecb) - $1.89


-$5.94 ECB
-(3) $1.50 any Kashi product

Total OOP w/ tax: $3.87
Pay with Precription Transfer Gift Card!
Get $1.89 ECB

Obviously, I'll have to go back this week to get one more Kashi product that qualifies in order to get my $5 ecb. At least I have that gift card!

Friday, July 24, 2009

General Savings Tip: Bakery Outlets. Find them. Use them. Love them.

There are a lot of items that new couponers often think they can't really get frequent deals on, like meats, veggies/fruits, and basic dairy like milk because there simply aren't a lot of coupons offered. One of the things I often could NOT find deals/coupons for was bread. ... Let me correct myself: I couldn't find a lot of deals for the name brand stuff I really liked and WANTED to buy. Only the generic store brand. Which was perfectly fine but... I don't know. Having grown up in an area that had umpteen Italian bakerys and delicatessens in walking distance, I'm kind of spoiled when it comes to bread and baked goods! I'm not TOO good for Kroger brand sliced bread but I know the difference between that and the fancier whole grain kind with fresh oats or pumpernickel seeds and a good crispy crust...

One thing you can do to save some money is hit up your local BAKERY OUTLET. We have about 3 of the Merita/Dolly Madison outlets in our area alone and last week I took my mom by one out of curousity. What a gold mine! Mind you, this will all be processed packaged breads/baked goods, but it's all going to be brands like Wonder, Hostess, Sara Lee, and affiliated.
The other thing is that it is an "outlet" and prices are lower for a reason; most all the product is nearing its sell-by date but it IS all still good for at least another couple weeks or so. But it's PERFECT if you need bread for a dinner, party, BBQ, or if you know you can get through a loaf in 1-2 weeks in your family. Often things like hotdog buns are cheaper than storebrand by half. I managed to get a bag of Merita Warming Rolls for $1.00 and a big loaf of Wonder Texas Toast for $1.19. These would have cost me $5 together easily at the store if not more.

Now, what about if you don't have a big family or event to buy for? What then? It's hardly worth it to spend even a $1 on bread that will be unuseable in a week or 2... Well, I used the warming rolls as a side item for dinner all week (they go great with homemade chicken soup, btw). For the Texas Toast, fortunately, most bread freezes quite well. I decided to make my own frozen Texas "Garlic" Toast: I melted a few tbsp of butter spread in a cup, and mixed in Garlic powder, a bit of salt, and chopped basil. Pour/spread over the individual slices, then wrap in freezer paper and stuff into freezer bags. All we'll have to do is toast them in oven for 4-5 min per side.

You could also buy the clearance stuff to make homemade breadcrumbs. My grandmother used to do that all the time... but, yeah, I'm partial to buying them in a can myself.

They also have pies, doughnuts, cakes, and even cereals at much reduced prices. One tip is to bring either cash or checks; I'm not sure if it's common practice at all of them but mine did not accept credit/debit cards.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

CVS Prescription Transfer rewards and upcoming weeks...

Okay, so maybe I'm behind the curve on this but I just got into following the site "i heart cvs", and WOW. I had no idea that they got the sales flyers complete with ECBs so far ahead of schedule! I was wondering how other blogs I followed were able to post up about getting your hands on coupons for one thing or another that was GOING to be on sale at CVS in a couple of weeks.... I guess I just figured they had a serious "in" with a store manager, LOL.

The reason that this discovery is so perfectly timed is because I took advantage of something that made up for the mild hassle of Ingles shopping; I transferred a prescription to my local CVS and got to take advantage of the $25 gift card reward! Shortly after I signed up for my CVS card AND registerred it online, I got a mailing with 2 coupons for $25 each, one for any prescription transferred. So I went over there the other day and moved one from Walgreens. It made more sense since I moved it to the 24 hr CVS I always shop at now, plus it's just around the corner from our house.

Supposedly many pharmacies do this sort of program and many will also honor competitors' offers and coupons for the same thing, although I've read varying reports on which stores will and won't. My CVS has a big sign up that says they will take competitors' offers, at least.

The great thing is that I can take this $25 card and use that to pay for my Out-of-Pocket charges for the next couple of weeks of rolling ECBs! There is a $2 minimum charge rule, so maybe I'll save it for when I really want a big ECB deal (one of those Buy $20, Get $10) or when I've got very few ECBs to start with. I'll be starting this week with $4 ECBs.

Waiting on the full matchups from Southern Savers for CVS but I know there will be another set of free school supplies to take advantage of... More stuff to donate to my girlfriend who teaches at a fairly low-income middle school. After THAT, the week of 8/2 is looking REALLY good, so says Jennifer at Coupon Mommie and a few others. The sales flyer states that there's going to be well over $100 in ECBs to be had that week, including the Electrasol/Lysol/Airwick deal, Blink Tear Gel (my contacts will be grateful), Cheezits, Pepsi, Head & Shoulders AND Pantene, and another deal including Johnson & Johnson products (Benadryl D is on that list and that's EXACTLY what my gift card may go toward... I hate fall allergies!).

I may seriously lose my little coupon mind. :-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ingles Triples: Spent $25.58, Saved 67%

Well, I'm back from my first "triple coupon" event at Ingles and honestly? I'm not sure it's worth all that WORK. I spent a good HOUR in the store, maybe a bit more actually, checking and double-checking my math ...

I had a list all figured out beforehand where my total before coupons/tax was about $52. This would allow me to triple 15 coupons, most of the items being free or under 50 cents. I also had coupons that would not triple (over $0.50) for a lot of the other items to get me to that total but still keep my out of pocket cost under $20. There were several free or cheap items that were GONE, if you can believe it, and others that I just couldn't find. I did a quick tally and my total had gone down to $38. I didn't want to bother with a raincheck b/c I don't shop Ingles that often, so I did the best I could to fill in the blanks. (This is where having ALL your coupons with you is a lifesaver!)

Total BEFORE Coupons/Sale: $77.12

AFTER Coupons: $25.58

The other thing is that it DOES take a loooooooong time to check out. I'm not sure that the cashiers don't have to manually double AND triple all the coupons, b/c it just took forever. My cashiers were pretty young but patient and polite. I will note that I WAS able to triple coupons that said "Do not double or triple" on top and I DID get overages on my triples. Still.... I think I'll wait for Publix to come here before trying tripling again.

Here's what I got:
(2) CoffeeMate Single Serve Packets (BOGO coupon)
(2) French's Fried Onions (tripled both)

(1) Dunbars Roasted Red Peppers (tripled)
(1) Dukes Mayonnaise
(2) Betty Crocker Mini Warm Delights (tripled both)
(2) Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad (tripled both)
(1) Hormel Compleats
(1) Mahatma Brown Rice (tripled)
(1) Mahatma White Rice
(1) Weber Grilling Marinade (tripled)
(2) CoffeeMate Flavored Liquid Creamer (tripled both)
(1) Reddi Whip (triple)
(1) Skim Milk
(1) Glade Sense & Spray Starter kit
(1) Cascade Rinse Agent
(1) Glass Plus w/ Jet Dry (tripled)
(1) Suave Body Wash (tripled)
(1) Whiskas Temptations (tripled)
(1) Post Trail Mix Crunch (got to use the $2 coupon that expires today!)
(1) Country Style Pork Ribs
(2) Tyson Boneless Chicken Tenderloins
(1) Whole Catfish
(1) Potatos, 5 lbs

If you're going to try Ingles this week, make your list, take ALL your coupons and be prepared to make some back up purchases just in case.

Overall, it wasn't a bad trip but for time's sake, and I DID also manage to get a couple more meats in there by only going a few $ over my projected estimate. But... give me Kroger anyday.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Info on Ingles for Triple Week

I haven't had time to get to the store yet but I'm busy putting my list together and gathering tips/deals from various matchups. UPDATE: You can get lists of matchups HERE, HERE, and HERE (thanks CouponMommie, Southern Savers, and Saving Your Cents).

Also, here's an updated review of Ingles coupon policies with special regard to triples, AND a link to Gabrielle at Couponing in Critical Times who posted some tips for shopping Ingles this week and in general. In reviewing the blogs I learned a few new things, too (but then I didn't much bother with Ingles for coupons either). It ain't Kroger b/c of that 3 for every $10 spent rule, but it's workable.
  • Ingles will only TRIPLE coupons that are $0.50 or less (maximum savings of $1.50). This is the same cap as for doubling. Anything $0.51 or over will not triple OR double; during Triples week, doubling is essentially replaced by tripling. I also read on Saving Your Cents that some Ingles will not triple $0.50/2 coupons... This may be a case of how YMMV b/c I'm pretty sure I've never had problems with those coupons doubling in the past...

  • As with their regular doubling during the rest of the year, Ingles will only TRIPLE 3 coupons for every $10 spent (that's $10 BEFORE tax and BEFORE coupons are applied... So if you have 4 items that are $2.50 each before ANY coupons or tax, you could apply 3 "triple-able" $0.50 coupons toward that batch of items). When you have $20 in total items, you can triple 6 coupons, $30 lets you triple 9, and so on.

  • UNLIKE with Kroger, Ingles' published policy on triples is that you will only receive up TO the value of the item (i.e. Item "A" costs $1.25 and you have a $0.50 coupon... the coupon will triple & you'll get that item FREE, but the extra $0.25 generated by the triple just disappears into a black hole; it is not applied to the rest of your total purchase like at Kroger). Which means no "overage" savings. Now, Gabrielle over at Couponing in Critical Times reported that she DID get the overages on her triples this week... but I'm not going to bank on it. I'll just be pleasantly surprised that way. :-)

  • You CAN use coupons for your other items, so long as they don't qualify for tripling. There is no limit that I'm aware of on non-triple coupons, so this is a good time to get out those $0.75 and $1.00 coupons!

  • In order to "work" around the 3 coupons/$10 rule you will need to put forth some effort and keep track of how much you're tallying up BEFORE coupons. Supposedly not all Ingles are strict about the 3/$10 rule... but better to err on the side of them holding to that rule. To keep myself from overspending at the store, I personally go through the ad and matchups before shopping and make a list in MS Excel. I highlight all the items that I'd like to buy that should be free or close to it with a triple coupon. I make a column for the pre-coupon price and I get it to "sum" up as I add items. Once I have my list, I try not to deviate unless I'm adding items that don't use a triple coupon.

  • Another trick to ensure you don't get caught by the 3/$10 rule is to plan to make some other non-coupon purchases like meats, fish, or produce. I like Ingles' seasoned fish section, and they also tend to have Pepsi fridge packs on a decent sale (which I never get coupons for despite being in the Xtras club... grr). I'll buy 4-5 of those at a time and that's $12 right there, allowing me another 3 tripled coupons.

  • When at the store... DO NOT use the self-check out lane! I never would just because the purpose of those lanes is for people to get in/out quickly, and I'd hate to tie up one cashier who's overseeing 4 "lanes" with my stack of coupons. But I didn't realize that Ingles has to manually triple coupons for this event; so if you don't go through a regular line, you don't get triple value.
Saving Your Cents has a really good "scenario" for how she's going to work Ingles this week to show how to combine triple coupons and buy enough "extra" to get your total purchase up BUT STILL spend as LITTLE out of pocket as possible. Be sure to check it out! If I have time I'll post up my plan later...

Monday, July 20, 2009

TRIPLE Coupons at Ingles!

The local Ingles is having a TRIPLE coupon event this week! This is the first time any store around me has done a triple coupon week, so I'm pretty excited. Still..... It's Ingles. Ingles has a rule of not doubling more than 3 coupons for every $10 you spend and that same rule applies to tripling, I'm sure. Of course, that $10 is before any other coupons, so as long as you're careful, deals are doable.

Jennifer at Coupon Mommie has a selection of matchups already and I'm already copying a few down for my list! Go here to check them out. Also, Saving Your Cents should have a list of matchups coming as well but it probably won't be for another couple of days. I'm not sure if there will be a lot of unadvertised deals like Kroger normally has, but I'm hoping so. The ad in the paper looked good, but not fantastic.

Speaking of Kroger, they are continuing their MegaSale through this week so if there are any deals you didn't get in on, there's still time. I'll probably be focusing on Ingles this week myself. Now that I'm doing CVS on a regular basis I can only handle one other store at a time!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

CVS - A few changes to the plan this week

What's that thing they always say about the "best laid plans"? Well, they have a point. Things don't always go the way you'd like. We had some unexpected company on Saturday evening and by the time they left I was in no mood to drag myself to CVS. I wasn't feeling too hot today, so I finally got out to one before dinner this eve. I ended up hitting my 2 closest stores (one regular, one 24-hour) and the first one was out of the binders, pencils, and memo books. So I did this:

Trans #1
(2) Caliber/CVS Filler Paper 150 sheets ($2 ECB) - $2.00
(2) Papermate 1.2 Pens 10 ct ($.99 ECB) - $0.99
Filler Item: Thyme Leaves (Clearance) - $0.50

Use $6 ECB

Total OOP w/ Tax: $0.52

Get 5.98 ECB back

I debated doing the Bandaids/Neosporin/Johnson&Johnson deal next, but the only thing I could find that was $2.99 (where their prices started) was the J&J cloth first aid tape. I put 4 of the cloth tapes in my basket... then took them out. We just DON'T use that much medical tape (thank goodness)! The bandaids and Neosporin were all in the $3.29-$5.00+ range and I couldn't come up with a scenario I liked. And I wanted to still try to score the free school supplies. So I headed to my 2nd CVS; they had the binders! But no pencils or memo books. Like I said, I was still feeling cruddy and just wanted to get home to make dinner so with the binders in hand, I did these...

Trans #2
(2) 1" Vinyl Binder ($3 ECB) - $3.00

Use $5.98 ECB

Total OOP w/ tax: $0.58

Get $6 ECB (still have another $2 from last week for a total of $8 ECB)

Trans #3 (I decided to get some things we WOULD use)
(1) Neosporin w/ Pain Relief - $5.69
(1) Bandaids w/ Antibiotic (Mixed Size) - $4.49

-$0.50 off any Bandaids
-$1.00 off any Neosporin printable

-$8 ECB

Total OOP w/ tax: $1.44

Get $5 ECB

Trans #4
(2) Speed Stick Pro 2.7 oz Deodorant ($2 ECB ea) - $2.99
(1) Filler: Swanson Chicken Broth - $1.49 (b/c I was making soup that night)
(1) Cheezits Travel Box - $1.00 (I could've found another 50-cent filler but hubby likes these and the box was a cute travel size)

-(2) $1.50 off any Speed Stick printable
-$5 ECB

Total OOP w/ tax: $1.21

So, ALTOGETHER, with CVS "sale" savings, I got $40.87 in items for $3.75 out of my pocket. I also have $4 ECB from the Speed Sticks for the next week. I doubt I will go chase down the pencils and memo books at this point; I still have all the supplies from last week and it should make for a nice little "gift" bag of supplies for my teacher friend.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

CVS - Week of 7/19... And the Newbie becomes a Teacher?

I'll try to make this quick as I have a younger friend coming by who wishes to learn "The Way of the Coupon". I'm not sure if I'm fully experienced and equipped to teach her, but I'm planning to show her around a couple of websites, help her make a list and go take advantage of Kroger's Mega Sale tonight!

As for my own couponing adventures, it's looking like another great week at CVS for free school supplies! We can use 1-2 items around the house here, but otherwise I'll be donating it to a friend who teaches middle school. I'll be going off of Jenny's basic Grand Plan over at Southern Savers, with a few twists b/c she's starting the week with $5 ECB. I'm starting with $8 thanks to the Pepsis I sprung for last week for the spouse.

Trans #1
(1) Caliber/CVS Filler Paper 150 sheets ($2 ECB) - $2.00 ea
(2) 1" Vinyl Binder ($3 ECB / 3.49 w/o carD) - $3.00 ea
Use $8 ECB

Total OOP = $0.00
Get $8 ECB back

Trans #2
(1) Caliber/CVS Filler Paper 150 sheets ($2 ECB) - $2.00 ea
(2) Papermate 1.2 Pens 10 ct ($.99 ECB) - $0.99 ea
(2) Caliber/CVS Pencils #2, 24 ct ($1.99 ECB) - $1.99 ea
Filler item - $0.05 to $0.99
Use $8 ECB

Total OOP - $0.01-$1.00 (roughly)
Get $7.96 ECB back

Trans #3
(4) Neosporin/Bandaid/J&J Red Cross - $2.99 ea

-$1.00 off Neosporin or $1.00 off Red Cross or $0.50 off Bandaid
-$7.96 ECB

Total OOP - $0.00 to ... ??? (Should be under $2.00)
Get $5 ECB

Trans #4
(2) Speed Stick Pro 2.7 oz Deodorant ($2 ECB) - $2.99 ea
(2) Caliber/CVS Memo Book 50-80 pg ($.99 ECB) - $0.99 ea
Filler item - $0.05 to $0.99

-(2) $1.50 off Speed Stick IPs
-$5 ECB

Total OOP - Under $1.00???
Get back $6 ECB for next week

This should result in about $43 in items for under $5.00. I'll be going out at midnight to make sure I score the school supplies that seem to run out so fast, so wish me luck!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

ALDIS deals and some FAST shipping!

WOW. I am IMPRESSED. Just yesterday I posted about the great deals I scored at the Half Off Depot website for Knoxville, and it's funny because I was telling a coworker about them and she was all set to have me help her place an order for the hair salon certificate... then she decided not to. Why? Because she wanted to be able to use it for her daughter this weekend. I told her that shipping normally takes about a week and that's not bad considering it's only $1 and some change to ship.

Guess what was in my mailbox TODAY? Both of my certificates! I'm not going to count on this to happen again but kudos to Half Off Depot!

Anyway, I had the day "off" today so I decided to introduce my mom to the local ALDIS food market that opened up this past Spring. For those who aren't familiar, ALDIS is a great little mini grocery warehouse. A lot of their products are one-off brands that are very similar to (if not actually made by) name brands, but they do NOT sell rejects or outdated items. Still ALDIS comes with a few quirks:

  • They don't accept coupons. Their website basically states that they keep their overhead and prices low enough that they don't have to. Part of that low overhead includes a "stack shelving" system using just the grocery flats, bringing your own bags and doing your own bagging, and paying a 25-cent deposit to "unlock" your cart (which you get back upon return... less employees to run around after them).

  • They take only cash, debit cards, or food stamps.

  • Their produce has gotten mixed reviews from store to store, but I think that's because they lack the fancy cooling/misting shelving of bigger stores. Still, if you can find out when their deliveries are and shop the next day, their prices are better than grocery stores.

  • They offer a double your money back guarantee for all of their products. If you don't like it, they will give you your money back PLUS a new item. I've had a couple of things I wasn't CRAZY about, but not enough of a difference to ask for a refund. Overall, their off brands are quite good.

Because of all this you'll find that most ALDIS items are at least $1 off grocery stores if not more. Before I started couponing I thought they were HEAVEN, which is why I took my mom shopping there. I personally find that the best deals are on things like their meats and produce on a regular basis. Otherwise, I can usually get most other things for even cheaper or free on a good sale with the right coupon... but if I needed it NOW without a coupon, ALDIS is where I'd head.

While following Mom around I jotted down a few things that were looking good and tempting:

Cattleman Bacon-Wrapped Beef Filets, $1.99 ea.

Roseland Asstd Pork Chops, $1.99/lb

Tyson Chicken Drumsticks, $1.29/lb

Grainger Ground Beef, $1.69/lb

Cornish Game Hens, $2.29 ea.

Sea Queen Fish Filets, Crunchy, $2.99

Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers, $2.49

Mangoes, $0.69 ea (Mangos are $1.00 at Kroger this week on sale for reference)

Pineapplea, $1.99 ea (I've seen these on sale here for $.99 but this is a good deal compared to Kroger)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Half-Off Depot of Knoxville = Cheap Haircut & Salsaritas!

While scanning a couple of local blogs I follow, I caught this post by KnoxMamaBelle about a Salsarita's certificate available on Half Off Depot. When I went to check it out (b/c we have a new location near us now) I ALSO found a certificate for my favorite hair salon. Score! I was able to get a $20 certificate to Salsarita's for $10, and a $50 certificate to my salon for $25! (Figure that's a dinner for us with a litle extra and the cost of a haircut/blowout). With local shipping I only paid $36.39 for $70 in services.

(I know, anyone who is die-hard frugal will say I can get my hair cut for way less than even $25, but it's one of a few things I will NOT skimp on. My super fine hair can be tough to work with if it's going through a rough patch -- I get stressed and my hair will make a break for the shower drain within a day! Seriously... so, I'm pretty loyal to any stylist who can not only cut it right but doesn't wince or flinch at it. EVER...)

I originally found out about Half Off Depot while browsing Metropulse.com one day (our local entertainment paper). They seem to have started out in the Greater Atlanta area but have expanded to include several southeastern cities in TN, AL, MS and others.

All you have to do is plug in your zip code or search for your city and you'll get an instant list of participating vendors and available deals. The basics on Half-Off Depot:
  • Everything listed on the site for your city is 1/2 off the retail value; SO, if the certificate is worth $25, your COST will only be $12.50. Sometimes, they'll put certain items on SALE where you'll pay LESS than 50% of the value.

  • You will have to spend the ENTIRE certificate in one shot when you use it. I've never heard of a vendor issuing "change" for an unused portion of these certificates, so if you don't use it all, you lose it.

  • Each certificate DOES come with an expiration date. These vary but are usually good for at least a couple of months. Just make sure you note when that is.

  • You MIGHT get issued TWO $25 certificates to fulfill a $50 certificate order (or two $10 certificates for a $20 order, etc). If this is the case, it will normally state that you will be getting 2 smaller certificates in the "Restrictions" or "More info" tabs on the bottom of the item's page. This is important only because some vendors may only allow the use of ONE certificate per table or group (check by calling the vendor; I have had managers happily accept two per table b/c it was 2 separate checks) and this may affect how you intend to use the certificate.

  • Make SURE you read all the "Restrictions" and "Location Details/More Info" (tabs located at the bottom of that screen). Sometimes it's specified for select locations. Many restaurant certificates specify that you cannot use the certificate toward the purchase of alcohol or toward any tax/gratuity on the bill. This usually isn't a big problem for most people but it'll help you plan how to use it (if you're intending to take some friends out for dinner and buy several bottles of wine... the wine will be out of your pocket).

Don't let the restrictions and quirks scare you; these are really easy to use just like any other 1/2 off coupon and I've never personally run into trouble with them so long as I was in keeping with the rules. I'm looking forward to a cheaper haircut and Salsaritas in a week or so!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kroger success! $133 in Groceries... for $37

Okay, so while it may not be well-known except maybe to my patient spouse, one of my couponing frustrations as a newbie has been what I call "The 50% WALL." The 50% Wall exists primarily at Kroger and often Walmart. It it is not an issue if one intends to go in for a relatively SMALL run of items consisting mostly of snagging the stuff that is free or close to it. But go in to purchase a larger number? It's tough. For me it's tough because I'm usually adding meats or frozen dinner/lunch items to mix. And I'm just NOT the kind of couponer who feels the need to go buy TEN of anything. (I don't have that kind of stash anyway.)

But today, the wall came down. :-)

A big part of it was Kroger's Mega Buy 10 Get $5 Off Sale. But I also made sure to make a very specific list of the items I needed/wanted to buy and I stuck to it. Mostly. Well, until the 2nd store on the way home.

I bought 38 items at Kroger, 30 of which qualified for the Mega Sale. Here are the numbers:

BEFORE Sale/Coupons: $86.86
AFTER Kroger Sale: $67.28 (not bad, but not great!)
AFTER Sale and Coupons: $16.20

I saved 81%! I've normally only ever done that at CVS!

Okay, so after that I was riding a small high so I stopped by Food City. Usually? I don't really care for Food City for regular groceries. They're priced high to start with and they don't double coupons at all. But they had Cottonelle Toilet Tissue on sale for $5.99, we were low, and with my $1 coupon it made for a good price for 12 double rolls. I also had a $5 Giftcard to use up.

I do love Food City for their meats, especially the marinated stuff, and so of course I went straight to the Manager's Special section. Feeling like we deserved a treat, and since it's grilling season, I managed to score 5 nice NY Strip Steaks for only $15! They were originally $30! I also snagged some Tyson chicken strips for the spouse to snack on (coupon). And the TP. :-)

Adding those in to be fair....

BEFORE Sale/Coupons: $133.43
AFTER Sale and Coupons: $37.30 (keeping in mind $15 of that is STEAK.. yum)

Total Savings: 72 %

And here's what I got! I know, it's lame to be so proud of a decent haul, but I am!

Here's a list of what I snagged (some free treats/some staple items and supplies/other stuff I got for other people because it was $0.25 or less!):
(5) NY Strip Steaks
(2) Tyson Chicken Breast Tenders
(2) Sunny D Smoothie
(2) Temptations Cat Treats
(2) Zatarains Rice & Beans
(4) Healthy Choice Complete Entrees
(4) Kraft Mac & Cheese
(2) Fiber One Yogurt 4-packs
(2) Smart Balance Butter Spreads
(2) A-1 Steak Sauce
(1) Cheezits
(1) Quaker Quakes
(1) Chex Mix Snack Mix
(2) Chiquita Single-Serve Apple Bites w/ Caramel Dip
(2) Peaches
(1) Mango
(1) Duracell 4-pk AAA Batteries
(1) Rolaids Antacids
(1) Motrin Ibuprofen Caplets
(1) Colgate Max White Toothpaste
(2) Softsoap Hand Soap
(2) Playtex Hand-Saver Kitchen Gloves
(2) Speed Stick Deodorants
(1) Hartz Crunch 'n Clean Dog Biscuits

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kroger Mega-Sale starting this week 7/12

WOW. It's a pretty good week at Kroger with their Buy 10 / Get $5 off mega-sale going on! Go see Jenny at Southern Savers for the FULL and complete listing of deals and sales; she got to go shopping on Sunday and managed to find an additional 20 unadvertised deals (some part of the Mega Sale, some just good deals).

Also, see Hip2Save’s post on some new high dollar IPs on Coupons.com! A couple of these will make for more FREE items. A few of the things I'll be buying will be just to get the freebie or overage and I'll then donate them. Here's what I'm looking to possibly pick up:

Buy 10 get $5 off - Buy 10 participating products get $5 off instantly - really .50¢ per item

Price listed is AFTER discount!

Cheez-It Crackers 7.5-10 oz $1.49 ea
Quaker Quakes .49 ea

Sunny D Drink 64 oz 79¢ ea

-.25/1 Sunny D Original Or SunnyD Smoothies Product SS 6/28, 6/14
-.25/1 Sunny D Smoothies July All You (makes it $.29 ea)
-.55/1 Sunny D product SS 5/31 (makes it .24¢ ea)

Smart Balance Spread or Butter Blend 12-16 oz $1.49 ea
-$1/2 Smart Balance Buttery Spreads RP 6/21
-$1/2 Smart Balance Buttery Spread printable
-$1/1 Smart Balance Spread (mfr peelie) (makes it $.49 ea)
Free Smart Balance Milk wyb Smart Balance Spread RP 6/28
Free Smart Balance Peanut Butter 16 oz wyb Smart Balance Spread RP 6/28

Simply Potatoes .99 ea

International Delight 32 oz $2.89
-$1 off International Delight printable
-$1/2 International Delights SS 6/21

FiberOne Yogurt 4 pk $1.99
-$1 off Fiber One Yogurt SS 7/12 or printable
-$1 off Fiber One Cellfire e coupon (use both together makes it FREE)

Kozy Shack Pudding $1.99 ea
-.35/1 off any Kozy Shack product SS 3/29
-.35/1 off Kozy Shack “Nothing Goes to Waist” booklet at Publix
-$1 off Kozy Shack SimplyWell SS 4/26

Healthy Choice or Marie Callender’s Entrees Frozen, 6-17 oz $1.67 ea
-$1/2 Healthy Choice Frozen Meals printable (makes it $1.17 ea)
-$1 off Marie Callender’s Pasta Al Dente Frozen Meal SS 5/17

Tyson Chicken 22-32 oz Bag Frozen $6.27 ea
-$1 off Tyson Bagged item June All You Mag. (makes it $5.27 ea)

Betty Crocker Brownie Mix or Kroger Cake Mix 18.25-20.5 oz 88¢ ea

A.1. Steak Sauce 10 oz $2.49 ea
-$2 off A.1. Sauce SS 6/14 (makes it .49¢ ea) (NOTE: This expires 7/14!!!)

Zatarain’s Rice 6-8 oz 99¢ ea
-.75/2 Zatarain’s Rice Mixes or Pasta Mixes RP 6/07 (makes it .61¢ ea)
-$1.25/3 Zatarain’s Rice Mixes or Pasta Mixes RP 6/07

Deer Park Water 3 Liters or SoBe Life Water 20 oz 49¢ ea
-$1/2 Deer Park Water 6 pk or larger in store dispenser
B1G1 Sobe Lifewater printable (FF) or printable(IE) (makes it .24¢ ea)

Chex Mix Snacks 7-8.75 oz $1.29 ea
-.50/1 Chex Mix printable or printable (makes it .29¢ ea)
-.50/2 Chex Mix Or Chex 100 Calorie Snack Mix SS 6/7
-$1/2 Chex Mix Or Chex 100 Calorie Snack Mix SS 6/7
-.50/1 Chex Mix ShortCuts eCoupon (use with .50/1 printable makes it FREE plus overage)

Wrigley’s, Eclipse or Extra Gum 3 ct Multipack $1.50 ea
B1G1 Eclipse Gum June All You

Temptations Cat Treats .99 ea
-.50/1 Temptations Treats RP 6/07 (makes it FREE)
-$1/2 Temptations Treats RP 6/07 or printable

Hartz Crunch & Clean Biscuits $1.99
-$2 off Crunch & Clean printable (makes it FREE)

Purina Dog Chow 3-5lb bag $3.49 ea
-$3.50 off any Purina Dog Food printable (makes it FREE)

Advil or Tylenol Pain Relief 20-24 ct $2.50 ea
-$2 off Advil PM RP 7/12
-$1 off Advil RP 6/21
-$2 off Tylenol PM Product SS 6/21
-$2 off Tylenol Arthritis RP 5/17, SS 6/21
-$1 off Tylenol RP 6/07 or printable

Irish Spring Soap or Speed Stick Deodorant 2.3-3.25 oz Deodorant, 3 bar Soap $1 ea
-.75/1 Speed Stick Mens 24/7 Cellfire e coupon
-$1.50 off any Speed Stick or Lady Speed Stick deodorant (see Hip2Save’s post on new IPs on Coupons.com!) (makes it FREE)

Rolaids 30ct $1 ea
-$1 off Rolaids RP 6/07 (makes it FREE)

Colgate Toothpaste 4-6 oz $2 ea
-.75/1 Colgate Total Advance Toothpaste Cellfire coupon
-$1 off Colgate Total, Sensitive, Max Fresh, Max White Or Kids Toothpaste SS 6/28
-.75/1 Colgate Total, Sensitive, Max Fresh, Max White Or Kids Toothpaste SS 6/28
-$1 off Colgate Max White Toothpaste printable

Duracell Batteries Sizes AA or AAA 4 ct, D2 or C2 2 ct, or 9V 1 ct $2.50 ea
-$1 off Duracell CopperTop 4 pk + AA or AAA or any size C, D or 9V RP 6/28
-.50/1 Duracell CopperTop 4pk + AA or AAA or any size C, D or 9V RP 6/28

SoftSoap Liquid Soap 7.5 oz $1.00 ea
-.40/1 Softsoap printable (makes it .20¢ ea)
-$1 off any Softsoap printable (see Hip2Save’s post on new IPs on Coupons.com!) (makes it FREE)

Dixie Paper Plates or Bowls $1.49 ea
-.50/1 Dixie Ultra RP 5/10
-$1/2 Dixie Ultra RP 5/10

Scotch-Brite Nail Saver sponge 1 ct $1 ea
-.75/2 Nail Saver sponges RP 6/07

Other Deals
Avocados or Mangoes $1 ea

Southern Grown Peaches 79¢ lb
Fresh Silverbrite Salmon Fillets $3.99 lb
Chiquita Pineapple and Apple Bites 2.2-2.8 oz pkg. $1 ea

-Free Chiquita Bites printable

Tyson Fresh Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast $1.99 lb
-$1 off Tyson Fresh Chicken product SS 6/28

Aussie or Herbal Essence Hair Care 6-14 oz $2.99 ea
-$1 off Herbal Essences Shampoo, Conditioner, Styler PG 7/05
-$1 off Herbal Essences Shampoo, Conditioner, Styler PG e coupon
-$2 off Aussie Product PG e coupon (I'll have to use a couple of my current PG e coups to make room to load this one again)

Secret or Old Spice High Endurance Deodorant 2.25-3.25 oz $2.33 ea
-$1/2 Secret Anti-Perspirant or Deodorant PG 6/07
-$1 off Secret Clinical Strength PG 6/07
-$1 off Secret PG 7/05
-$1 off Old Spice Antiperspirant/Deodorant PG 6/07
-$1/2 Old Spice Deodorants PG e coupon(buy 2 old Spice, use e coupon and 2 paper coupons makes it .83¢ ea)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

CVS Success! With a tweak here & there...

YES! Just got back from my 2nd CVS trip having completed all of my deals for the week. There were a few changes and last minute purchases, but overall I think I did pretty great. I'm also really thrilled with myself for finally learning to do the multiple transaction thing. Both the cashier at midnight last night and this morning were perfectly pleasant and fine with it (yeah, I did go back TWICE, but that's partially because I was waiting on our Sunday paper to get a coupon I needed to finish off the round).

Random scary/funny story: I asked the midnight cashier about the robbery they'd had several weeks back (someone walked up to the pharmacy demanding Oxycontin -- surprise, surprise) and if she was working. She said, no, she was off that night, but they had been robbed again just LAST night (Friday eve)! Here's the funny part: the thief only got away with $122 from the cashier, but he didn't even get that far with that amount. He went out the back door by the Pharmacy... right into a couple of squad cars who were passing through! I was just glad to hear everyone was unharmed and that it got resolved quickly. It really makes you want to be extra nice to the people who work the counters after midnight; they take on more risk than just a messed up sleep schedule.

Anyway, onto my deals... The midnight trip was to round up the school supplies in the first 3 transactions I posted below. I had a feeling these would go fast and I was right; by this morning most of them were GONE. One thing that may be working in my favor is that my 24 hr CVS does not put up the sale tags until early early Sunday morning. I managed to make some good guesses and get all the right items, but from now on I think I'll take printed pics from the ad scan with me just in case. NOTE: These are all after tax

Trans #1
(2) CVS 1 Subject Notebook - $.99 ea (earn $1.98 total ECB)
(3) Papermate Grip Pens - $.99 ea (earn $2.98 total ECB)
(1) Portfolio 2 Pocket Folder - $.05 ea (filler item just to be safe)

Total OOP = $0.00

Trans #2
(1) CVS Scissors - $2.99 (earn $2.99 ECB)
(2) CVS Glue - $.99 ea (earn $1.98 total ECB)
(1) Portfolio 2 Pocket Folder - $.05 ea (filler item just to be safe)
USE $4.95 ECB

Total OOP = $0.07

Trans #3
(1) CVS Scissors - $2.99 (earn $2.99 ECB)
(2) CVS Ruler - $.99 ea (earn $1.98 total ECB)
(1) Portfolio 2 Pocket Folder - $.05 ea (filler item just to be safe)
USE $4.95 ECB

Total OOP = $0.05

HERE'S what I did Sunday morning... A few curveballs: I only had ONE of the $2 coupons left for the Tylenol Arthritis, so I printed off (2) of the $1/off any Tylenol. I did NOT see the $1/off Scott Towels or Tissue in todays inserts but I wasn't going to get upset over an extra $1. Also, my dear spouse indicated that he was out of Pepsi cans. (For those unaware this has the potential to lead to nuclear caffeine meltdowns of seismic proportions.)

I also decided to ditch the Photo Book deal b/c I didn't realize you had to bring IN photos to create it right there (I thought it was just a little scrapbook-y album type thing). A nice idea, but I didn't have time. So...

Trans #4
(1) Gillette Fusion Razor - $7.99 (earn $4 ECB)
(1) Tylenol Arthritis - $3.99 (earn $3 ECB)
USE $4/off Gillette Fusion
USE $2/off Tylenol Arthritis
USE $4.95 ECB

Total OOP with tax = $1.66

Trans #5
(1) Tylenol 8-hour - $3.99 (earn $3 ECB) (LAST one!!!)
(1) Tylenol Arthritis - $3.99 (earn $3 ECB)
(1) Scott Towels - $5.49
(4) Pepsi 12 Packs - 4/$12.00 (earn $2 ECB - How conveniant!)
USE $1/off Tylenol IP
USE $1/off Tylenol IP
Use $2/off Scott Mega Rolls 4-pack (ok, I had put this in my pile last night thinking that was the right coupon, then checked the post this am and realized it wasn't... but forgot to yank it; NOT something you should do but this was an honest "oops" and I'd have been fine if they hadn't taken it)

Total OOP - $16.04 (kill me!)

TOTAL ECB for next week - $8.00

So, altogether, I got $57.49 of items for about $17.00. That's not too bad considering that I paid about what we normally do for the Pepsis, and they were the majority of that OOP cost. ORRRR... If you want to factor in the "CVS Sale Savings", I got $83.77 in products for $17.82! That's an average 79% savings. How are you doing this week?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

CVS Deals - Week of 7/12

If you haven't checked it out already, go visit Jenny here over at Southern Savers to see her deals for this week at CVS (aka "The Goldmine").

Once again it is looking like a GREAT week at CVS with tons of possible free or cheap stuff! I'm going to do my best to follow Jenny's "Grand Plan" at the bottom of the list to get about $54 in products for only $4 out of my pocket (plus tax). Just like her, I'm starting the week with $5 ECB, so even true newbies can get in on this one by shelling out an extra $5.

Trans #1
(2) CVS 1 Subject Notebook - $.99 ea (earn $1.98 total ECB)
(3) Papermate Grip Pens - $.99 ea (earn $2.98 total ECB)
(1) Portfolio 2 Pocket Folder - $.05 ea (filler item just to be safe)


Total OOP = $0.00

Trans #2

(1) CVS Scissors - $2.99 (earn $2.99 ECB)
(2) CVS Glue - $.99 ea (earn $1.98 total ECB)
(1) Portfolio 2 Pocket Folder - $.05 ea (filler item just to be safe)
USE $4.95 ECB

Total OOP = $0.07

Trans #3
(1) CVS Scissors - $2.99 (earn $2.99 ECB)
(2) CVS Ruler - $.99 ea (earn $1.98 total ECB)
(1) Portfolio 2 Pocket Folder - $.05 ea (filler item just to be safe)
USE $4.95 ECB

Total OOP = $0.07

Trans #4
(1) Gillette Fusion Razor - $7.99 (earn $4 ECB)
(1) Tylenol Arthritis - $3.99 (earn $3 ECB)
USE $4/off Gillette Fusion
USE $2/off Tylenol Arthritis
USE $4.95 ECB

Total OOP = $1.03

Trans #5
(1) CVS Photo Book - $7.99 (earn $7.99 ECB)

Total OOP = $.99

Trans #6
(2) Tylenol Arthritis - $3.99 ea (earn total $6 ECB for next week)
(1) Scott 12 Roll Bath Tissue - $6.99
USE (2) $2/Off Tylenol Arthritis
USE $1/off Scott Tissue
USE $7.99 ECB

Total OOP = $1.98

The only issue is that I may not have 3 of the $2 coupons for Tylenol and if so, I'll have to rearrange a bit there but I'll worry about it when I get through the first 3-4 transactions.

There are a LOT of school supplies that are only on sale Sunday through Tuesday and are FREE after ECBs. That tends to make them go fast so I'll be hitting my 24 hour CVS at midnight. One thing I think I WILL try tonight... multiple transactions at one store. I'm not sure if it'll work b/c the midnight clerk at my local 24 CVS is... well, he's not exactly personable. Let's just put it that way. Also, that CVS got robbed about 2 weeks ago around 4am on a Sunday so I'm thinking that the whole store is probably still on edge. Anyway, I usually just hit a round of CVS stores over 2-3 days, but I'm thinking it'll be easier if I can just separate them out at one. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Reach out to manufacturers for coupons

As a newbie, I know that it can be really frustrating to see the weekly lists of deals being posted and know that you don't have the newspaper insert coupons needed from weeks and weeks ago (meaning you can't get that deal). It's also even more frustrating if you don't or just aren't ready to subscribe to a huge metro-paper, and your local version either gets low-dollar coupons for items versus cities like Atlanta, Nashville, etc... or none at all (yep, still seething a bit over that Angel Soft coupon).

But you CAN get some pretty decent coupons that not everyone else will have... by reaching out to the manufacturers of your favorite brands and just... ASKING. Here a few reasons to try this if you haven't already, and to not give up if you HAVE but have not really gotten any results:

(1) You tend to get GOOD coupons for at least $.50 (doubles to a $1.00 usually!) off ANY one of that type of product. ANY kind, size, shape, etc. The coupons with few or NO restrictions are not always easy to come by!

(2) The coupons the manufacturer sends you directly are generally good until the end of the year, sometimes well into the NEXT.

All you need to do is make a list of the items you use frequently (or would like to use more if they were more affordable). Then, go to the website for the product (Google it if needed), search around for a "Contact Us" link, give your full name and correct mailing address in the form provided, and compose a short cheerful message in which you tell them that you LOVE using/eating/cleaning with their product, add a quick detail perhaps, and then mention that your region rarely gets coupons for their product. Or that you haven't seen any in awhile. Or ask if they EVER offer coupons (it's okay in my book to "play a little dumb" here). Thank them for their time, and hit SEND.

The responses you'll get will vary, and you really won't get any results for a week or two, sometimes more. You may just get an email thanking you for your comments and letting you know that they DO indeed provide coupons in local papers and to keep your eyes open. But usually you'll get a nice little envelope or postcard-style mailer that thanks you for you taking the time to write and encloses a couple of coupons for you to use.

SOMETIMES... the person at the office who sends these things off will have been having a really good day when they stuffed your envelope, because you can get HANDFULS of coupons that fit all of the numbered descriptions above. Woo-HOO!

In my short time couponing I've gotten:

(1) coupon from Heinz for $.50 off any Heinz product
(1) coupon from PastaRoni (and affiliated) for $1.00 off any PastaRoni or affiliate owned product (there were at least 6 completely different grocery item logos on the coupon)
(2) coupons from Mahatma Rice for $.50 off any rice
(4) coupons from Lea & Perrins for $.50 off any L&P product
(4) coupons from Purina for $3.00 off any Purina Cat food (Danion, Zander, and Shin-shin all say thank you!)
(8) coupons from Tyson for $.50 off ANY Tyson product (this has worked on FRESH meat with no problem!) Tyson, you win the prize in my book!

So, take a look through your pantry, see what you use, and then hit your keyboard running! If you go into it expecting the usual form email reply, you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

FREE Arby's Bacon Cheddar Roastburger

One of the things that I'd been doing waaay before couponing was cashing in on samples, free item certificates, and those wonderful Buy 1 Get 1 deals at restaurants. It's a carryover from my broker-than-broke college student days, but, really: who doesn't STILL like to get stuff for free?

If you haven't signed up for the Arby's Extras club, you need to. I signed up initially when they were advertising their "Free Wednesdays" summer campaign and was all set to go every Wednesday and neatly collect on my free tea, sandwich, shake, whatever. Then I found out that Knoxville, TN wasn't one of the participating markets... DRAT. I had sold my soul (or email address, whichever) to another onslaught of junk email. Fantastic.

But, wait... TODAY... FINALLY... I got a message about THIS:

Yup, it's an actual COUPON for a FREE Bacon Cheddar Roastburger with purchase of a regular drink... It expires this weekend so guess where I'm going for lunch tomorrow? :-) By the way, I did try one of these many many Wednesdays ago (when it was SUPPOSED to be free... and that's when the "We're sorry, Knoxville isn't doing that" bomb was dropped... Grrr), and they ARE as good as they look. Probably as bad for you, too, but hey, it's summer.

I can't promise you'll get it in time to use it but why not take a chance and sign up? Free stuff DOES happen!

All You Magazine

After all the great deals at CVS this week -- and the lack thereof elsewhere -- I'm taking a week off from major shopping trips. I did however need to swing by my local Wally-World to pick up the July issue of All You magazine (and a refill for my Glade Sense & Spray gadget... NO coupon, yep, sorry). I found out about this sweet little publication about a month or so into my couponing venture and I am definitely addicted.

Here's the quick low-down on All You:
  • You can ONLY get it at Walmart (as far as I know... and I foolishly looked for it in tons of other stores b/c for awhile I had all but stopped going to Walmart).
  • It's about $2.24-$2.49 per issue off the rack but you get anywhere from $60-$100+ in coupons in EACH issue (this month's has about $69... in May I think there were $112!).
  • You CAN subscribe to it via delivery, usually for a much better deal than buying it off the rack like with every magazine; multiple sites have great discounts on it (I know, I am committing a carnal coupon sin here by still buying it off the rack... but, let me explain...)
  • The ONLY downside is that occasionally the store version will have extra insert booklets or a few more coupons than the subscription version. All You is supposedly working to change that, and when I confirm that they do it'll come to my mailbox.

All You ALSO tends to have a few select and really SWEET coupons that you won't necessarily find in your regular inserts. For example, my quick scan through this issue found a $.50 off 1 Viva Paper Towels (that'll be free on the right sale) and a Buy 2 Get 1 FREE on Lean Cuisine (... okay, I MAY have to go use that at Kroger this week while LC's are still $2 each; normally the best coupon you can get is $1 off 4 or 5).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

FREE Ziploc Containers

Yay for FREE stuff! Hurry up and go here to sign up for a free gift pack of Ziploc Pack-and-Go containers. Only the first 10,000 respondants will get one!

You will have to join Right @ Home to participate but you'll be eligible for other free promotions and coupons. See the terms below:

First 10,000 people to respond will receive a Ziploc® Pack-and-Go Gift Pack. For your chance to receive a gift pack, simply complete all required information on the form below by July 31, 11:59:59 p.m. Central Time (CT). Offer available to U.S. residents only. Gift packs available until July 31, 2009, or while supplies last. Only 10,000 gift packs available. Limit: one (1) gift pack per household/address. S.C. Johnson is not liable for any typographical errors in the offer or any illegible, lost, late, damaged, separated, misdirected, incomplete, stolen or nondelivered email or redemption requests. Gift packs will be mailed by September 15, 2009. Gift pack offers are available to Right@Home™ members only.

Now that I HAVE all this STUFF... Where do I put it?

Most any couponing blog, site, queen, princess, or whatever will eventually tell you that in order to maximize your savings, you need to get friendly with the S-word: Stockpiling. It's a pretty simple and basic concept that we've known WORKS for decades and decades since now. Farmers and other families that grew/raised their own food would always put up the excess for winter to get them through the lean season. Hey, even the fabled ants worked all summer to get their winter stockpile ready (though I sometimes think they were just showing off to the grasshopper). But we're not really raised for a lifestyle of stocking up on things anymore, are we? Why would we be when Walmart is open 24/7 so we always have SOME way to get the things we need quickly and easily?

Ok, so maybe TODAY we don't need to stockpile to keep from starving in the winter! Still, TODAY having a stockpile of the things you use often means that (1) if you DO have a week or 3 where you can't get to the store you have plenty of supplies to get you by and (2) if you time your shopping purchases right, you'll rarely EVER be stuck in the situation of running out of something and having to run to the store and buy it at regular ($$$) retail price.

But that can lead to another problem. Suddenly, you find yourself surrounded with STUFF... and no place for it to go!

That's kind of where I am at the moment. In one of my initial posts about how I've had to tweak this couponing thing to work for MY lifestyle, I mentioned that I don't stockpile like the "grid" is about to go down next week. I just don't have the space for it. Limited cabinets, no pantry. I did get a set of plastic shelves and managed to cajole some of the spouse's "Man Zone" (garage) space away from him for them. And I filled them up. And I revelled in walking by my little stockpile every day. And life was good.

Then TN did what she does best every summer; she opened the door to 80% humidity and 90 degree temperatures and invited them RIGHT ON in! It hasn't gotten REALLY bad and actually since the humidity lifted last week, the garage has stayed nice and cool all day. But it got me thinking that I need to come up with a better solution. I don't want to open a bottle of BBQ sauce in 2 mos and be blown out of my garage! (We already had a gallon of milk that went toxic on us in 2 days b/c our fridge had broken down; no need to repeat that.) So far -- nada.

I made a comment about it on another one of the blogs I follow, All Things Frugal 4-U and Me, and she actually posted a bunch of ideas and photos of different systems for food storage! I've looked at a few of them and am currently waaay jealous of the pegboard "store" style system. The under-the-bed drawers and containers might work... except we already maxed out our storage in that arena. And we have a cat who likes to wriggle under there when he's not feeling so hot... and he occasionally leaves evidence of that (I'm thinking I don't want that near ANY food I store; I don't care how airtight it is!)...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One last CVS run, I swear!

Well, I tried something a bit new for today: purchasing items TOWARD a CVS deal in one transaction and then purchasing the rest in a totally different one. (Don't ask why I had never done this before... I was somehow under the misguided assumption that I HAD to - or it was best to - buy everything for one deal in one shot).

Since I had to head to Maryville this evening straight from work for dinner plans, I had a little time to kill. I also wanted to snag a card for my wonderful spouse for our anniversary. Lo and behold as I was driving around the mall perimeter: CVS!

I went in hoping to luck out on the Trail Mix cereal deal (buy 3/$10, use 3 coupons for $2 each, use $4-5 ECB and come out FREE having made $5 ECB)... but again, nothing but a big hole in the shelf space. This is the 4th CVS I've visited in 3 days. I'm giving up the ghost on that one.

Then I remembered the receipt that had the 3 Febreze items I'd bought yesterday; I was beyond the $10 minimum needed to earn the $5 ECB for that deal. Before coupons and everything, I had actually purchased 3 items for $14.50. So, I only needed to spend another $5.50 to reach the next $10 increment! I didn't have any more coupons on those, but I had $5 ECB from my last transaction... Eh, what's the difference if I roll $5 to get another $5? So I did this:

2 Febreze Air Effects, $3.00 each
1 very cute and not-traditional sappy anniversary card, $.99 (before you judge, it WAS just a REALLY perfect card!)
$5 ECB

Total OOP before tax: $1.99
Get Back: $5 ECB

So, I now have gotten $37.94 in products and spent only about $4.23. One thing I love about CVS deals is that I save probably the most I have EVER saved on any individual transaction. I know, I know, it's a lot easier when you're doing relatively small and simple transactions compared to the ladies who get out of a grocery store having saved over $100 and spent under $10. But still! It's exciting to look at my spreadsheet and see that my savings percentages for these 4 CVS trips ranged from 72% to 93%. If you haven't tried CVS yet, this is still a great week to get in on it!

CVS Deals - Week of 7/5

The 4th was great but the really exciting thing this week is the HUGE amount of CVS deals and, more importantly, FREE stuff to be had with a small initial investment! If you're really new to CVS I highly suggest you check out Jenny's posts on how to get going over at Southern Savers. As she says in her how-to blog, CVS is a literal GOLD MINE... you just need to get in on a good week (which this is) so you can get started with a minimum OOP (out of pocket) cost and start rrrrrolling those ECBs (Extra Care Bucks).

Jenny has a fabulous grand plan for herself to get about $85 in products for only $1.50 (*bowing to her couponing greatness*) but she has also posted a good starter set of deals. I was only starting the week with $4.00 ECBs myself and didn't have the coupons for those glucose meters that seem to always be a moneymaker, so I chose to run the starter deals.

I did a midnight run on Saturday after a BBQ b/c I learned in just a few weeks that the REALLY good deals at CVS can run out of stock quick, especially when it's an item whose ECB pays for itself. I had planned to hit a few more on Sunday but we ended up heading to a movie with some Regal giftcards from Xmas. By the time we got out, all of the CVS's around were closing! I have to give credit to my very supportive & understanding spouse; he actually took a looong route home so we could try to hit any CVS that might be open.

Finally, I just had to rearrange my deals b/c I was NOT able to find the Trail Mix cereal anywhere, and it seemed like a couple of other deals were getting cleaned out quick (Febreze mostly). So here’s what I did between Sun/Mon (w/o sales tax):

Transaction 1
($3) CVS Transparent Tape - $1.49 ea
-$4 ECB from last week

Total Due: $0.47
Get back $4.47 ECB ($1.49 for each Tape) / $2.00 ECB spring Savings (unexpected - yay!)

Transaction 2
Febreze Noticeables Kit - $6.50
Febreze Fabric Refresher - $5.00
Febreze Air Effects - $3.00
-$4 Off Noticeables
-$.50 Off Fabric Refresher
-FREE Air Effects wyb Fabric Refresher
-$6.47 ECB

Total Due: $0.53
Get back $5 ECB ($5 ECB wyb $10 in Febreze)

Transaction 3
Head & Shoulders - $4.99
Head & Shoulders - $4.99
Dawn Dish Soap - $1.00
Dawn Dish Soap - $1.00
-BOGO Head & Shoulders
-$.50 Off any Dawn
-$.25 Off any Dawn
-$5.00 ECB

Total Due: $1.24
Get back $5 ECB ($2 ECB for each H&S / $1 ECB wyb 2 Dawns)

Altogether I got $30 in products for $2.24 with $5 ECB for next week. It's not $85, nor is it the $60 I originally planned out but not too bad (though if I DO run across the Trail Mix cereal, I will do that deal with the Colgate as my last for the week... and that should bump my total back up to $60)! NOTE: Unfortunately, the CVS tape and Pencils/Sharpeners that were returning the full purchase price in ECBs were only Sunday/Monday deals. BUT, if you have the coupons for them, you can definitely get started using the Febreze scenario or the Head and Shoulders. Good luck!