About Me

I recently started couponing on January 1, 2011 as a New Year's Resolution. I had never really couponed before because it always seemed time consuming- "how could a 25 cent coupon REALLY save you money?" I thought. Plus, I have never really stuck to a New Year's Resolution. So this year I decided to make a change- I would stick to both! And I have. So far I have cut our weekly grocery budget 70%! We used to spend $150 a week on little things that we could not even make a meal out of AND then we would eat out on top of that! Thousands wasted over a year. Now I spend on average $58 a week on groceries and personal items (toilet paper, body wash) AND I stock up on many of these items so I won't need them again for another 6-12 months! These number keeps going down as we begin to live off our stockpile. If you follow my blog, I will teach you some of the ways this newbie couponer has saved lots of money!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Publix 3.31.11 Trip

Tonight was a decent night at Publix. A couple of freebies or cheap items, a few items to add to the stockpile and some items to replenish the stockpile.

Below is what I got and how I did it:

(3) Garnier Hair care: (Reg. $3.05) The shampoo, conditioner and hairspray were on sale for $2.19. I had a $1 off coupon from the  RP 02.06 and RP 03.06. I figured I would stock up on some shampoo and conditioner, and get a bottle of hairspray as well. Total paid: $3.57, total saved: $5.58

(1) Garnier Curling Mouse: (Reg $3.05). Normally I would not buy this but I have not been able to stock up on this so I had to buy it since I need it for my hair. I did luckily have a coupon from the RP 02.06 so I was not paying full price for it. :) Total paid: $2.05, total saved: $1

(4) Suave Speed Stick Men's Deodorant: (Reg $2.43) BOGO for $1.21, used 50 cents off from the SS 3.26 which Publix doubles to $1 off. Paid 21 cents each, 84 cents. Saved: $8.88

(3) Truvia: (Reg. $3.99) on sale for $2.99. Used Publix $1 off coupon and manufacturer's $1 off coupon printable to get these for 99 cents each, $2.97 for 3 boxes (that is less than 1 box normally!). Saved: $9.

TIP: Remember you can combine a STORE coupon with a Manufacturer's coupon. This is a good example of: sale+store coupon+ manufacture's couponing. This is called Stacking. 

TIP: Truvia is great for you! It is not the typical sweet n' low/splenda type of "sugar." It is actually from an herb called "stevia." I can't process sugar well, but I love Truvia!

(2) Dentek Floss: (Reg. $2.59) on sale for $1. Used $1 off coupon from SS 1.16 (or SS 2.27)- FREE! Saved $5.18.

(2) Jolly Time Popcorn: (Reg $2.39) on sale for $1. Used 35 cent off printable which was double to 70 cents off. Paid 30 cents each, or 60 cents. Saved $4.18.

(1) Hunt's No High Fructose Corn Syrup: I just love this Ketchup. I was running low in my stockpile on this ketchup, so I bought one while it was BOGO for 73 cents. Saved 73 cents.

(1) Log Cabin Syrup: (Reg. $3.89) BOGO. Paid $1.95. Supposedly there is a coupon somewhere for this but I could not find it; would have been awesome! I normally would not get this at this price, but I won't need to buy syrup for awhile and I was completely out. I have waited for a deal and this is the closest I have seen in awhile. 

(1) Bleach: FREE! Saved $1.68. Publix Penny Item :) Any tips for using this type of bleach? I have not had to use this kind for awhile. I guess I could put it in a spray bottle to use for cleaning?

(1) Scotties Tissues: ($1.25) on sale for $1, used 50 cent printable coupon which double for $1, so FREE! Saved $1.25.

(1) Edge Shave Gel: (Reg. $2.37) on sale for $1.95. Normally this is not big enough of a sale to get me to buy but my husband needed it so I figured I would get it on sale and when I had a 55 cent off coupon from the 3.27. Paid $1.40, saved 97 cents.

TIP: If you need something, go ahead and buy it, especially if it is on sale and you have a coupon. Just do not stock up on an item unless it is a huge deal or something you use very frequently. The point is to never pay full retail price. 

(4) Campell's Cooking Soups: (Reg. $1.50) on sale for $1. Used 40 cents off 4 which doubled to 80 cents off. Paid $3.20, saved $1.80. 

Total: $16.47
Saved: $44.02
Price per item: 69 cents
Percentage Saved: 73%

Happy couponing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Dog Gone Good Deal! (Unadvertised Publix Deal!)

This week at Publix you will notice $2.99 hangtags on the Hartz Crunch Clean for dogs. BUT they ring up $1.99!!!! If you have the SS 03.06 then that means you have a $1.50 off coupon! I snagged 5 of these (reg. $2.99) for 50 cents each, saving $12.50! 5 boxes of dog treats should last us a year! And each box came with a little dog biscuit dispenser thing. Looks like my Riley and Lilly won't be needing any dental doggie treats for awhile. And the vet can stop telling me I need to brush their teeth- these lil biscuits are made to help with that! :)


If you do not have the SS 03.06 coupons, no worries! On most boxes of Hartz there is a $1 off coupon- $1 a box is still awesome. Also, there are printables available still at Hart'z website along with some other places.

I also picked up some Kraft dressing. The dressing is BOGO this week at Publix, so $1.24 each instead of $2.48. I used a Target coupon to go with this of Buy 2 get 1 free (just head on over to Targets website to get this coupon). So pretty much I used the Publix BOGO to get 1 free and then the Target coupon to get another free. Paid for 1 salad dressing and snagged 2!

If you are new to couponing, both of these deals would be super easy for you to do since both have printables. :)

Happy couponing!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Everyone Wants to be Rich, Just Like Everyone Wants to be Skinny: Why Saving Requires a Lifestyle Change

Everyone wants to be rich just like everyone wants to be skinny. Being healthy requires sacrifice- you need to eat well balanced nutrition meals and work out. It is simple: calories in, calories out. If your body requires 1,500 calories and you eat 3,000 calories regularly, then you will gain 1-2 lbs a week. The same goes for money. If your monthly budget is $3,000 and yet you only take home $2,000, you are going into debt $1,000 a month. Most American's are fat and in debt. It's all about choices. 

Couponing to me does not just involve cutting coupons out of the Sunday paper. Couponing is actively trying to pinch every penny and make every dollar work for you. "Couponing" the way I use it can include everything from cutting coupons, trading coupons, using sites like Groupon/Living Social for entertainment, shopping on discount days (Wed for senior citizens or Penny Item day at Publix), eating at restaurants when they have reduced specials on certain days, going to matinee movies, growing a garden, freezing/canning food and much more. 

It seems overwhelming at first; no one wants to live their life around a coupon or a deal. But if you want to be healthy and rich, you have to sacrifice. Eventually that sacrifice becomes a lifestyle change. Giving up fried chicken is a huge sacrifice for some people, but after they have lost weight, sleep better and feel better overall, the sacrifice was worth it. Eventually, the person does not even think about fried chicken anymore and their food choices become a part of their life. That is how couponing has become for me.

Take this weekend for example. I used a plethora of coupons that required hardly any effort on my part:


6am: Went to Walmart to get Gain dryer sheets, air fresheners and seeds for my garden. Used coupons on Gain and air fresheners from newspaper.
12pm: Went to JCPenny to get some clothes for work. Used $10 off $25 purchase coupon from online printable coupon.
1pm: Went to Michael's to get a frame for my certificate. Used 40% off coupon from newspaper.
6pm: Went to dinner with our friends to celebrate a birthday at Bucca Di Beppo. Used $10 off $20 purchase from newspaper.
9pm: Went to CVS to get Pledge deal early. Used coupons from newspaper.


12pm: Went to CVS for Axe and Bic deal. Used coupons from newspaper. Note: normally I would not have gone to CVS again, but I needed to pick up a prescription so I did this deal while I was there.
12:30pm: Went to Kroger to get a sweet potatoe for lunch side and get hand soap. Used coupons from newspaper on handsoap.  Note: normally I would not have gone to Kroger on a Sunday but I needed a sweet potatoe and had the new Softsoap coupons from this mornings newspaper.
3pm: My friend, ML, came over to get (4) of my $2 off diapers coupons. Gotta share the couponing love with fellow couponers- I don't have any kiddos, so why do I need diaper Q's? But $8 in savings can sure help her and her awesome family. Check out MLs fun blog and see what motivates her to coupon!
4pm: Went to movies with husband to see "Limitless." Used Living Social coupon where we paid $9 for two movie tickets. 

My whole weekend did not "revolve" around coupons, I made coupons revolve around my weekend. We made these dinner plans weeks ago, I just saved the coupon. I have been wanting to go to JCPenny, I just waited for a great sale/coupon. I got my certificate in the mail Thursday, so Sat I planned on getting a frame regardless. I needed  hand soap and Pledge wood cleaner since we were out, so I used my coupons. To someone new to couponing, it may seem like this required a lot of planning- it truly did not. I lived my weekend like I had planned and just added coupons to the weekend to save lots of money.

At first, Strategic Shopping will require time. You will have to think about each coupon, when to use it, how to use it, etc. Eventually it just becomes natural. If you want to lose 10 lbs. you can't expect to lose it in a week; it may take 2-3 months. The same goes for couponing. You will want to save 80% in 1 week; it will take 2-3 months until you learn the ropes and build up a coupon inventory. If you stick with couponing, it will pay off. It just requires a lifestyle change. It is up to you how dramatic of a lifestyle change you want or need to make. If you want to lose 5lbs, then casually go at dieting; if you want to lose 20 lbs, you are going to have to make a change. Same goes for couponing. If you want to save $5 here or there, go for it. But if you want to save $100 a week and 60-80%, you will have to make a change. Change your mindset. Change your behavior. Change your outlook. 

Happy couponing!

Axe and Bic Razor Deals (CVS)

This was not a WOW! deal, but I have been waiting for a decent deal to replenish body wash for my husband (we were down to 2) and razors (he had none left) so this was worth a trip to CVS. I was pumped about the Clean N Clear deal but they were all out. No worries! Just got the manager to write me a raincheck for 4 at a price of $2.99 each which he gladly did. He said since it is a new product, he went fast. It actually went fast since there are so many hot coupons for it. :)

TIP: Always ask for rainchecks if your store is out of an item. 
Rainchecks are good forever. :)

Below is how I did this deal which is good until next Sat:

CVS Deal:  Spend $15 on Axe, etc. products and get $5 ECBs back.

(4) Axe Men's Bodywash:  $5.79 on sale for $4.50. Coupons Used Buy One Get One Axe coupon in today's paper. Paid $9, saved $14.16. Not an amazing deal, but I can handle paying $2.25 each and getting $5 in ECBs.

CVS Deal: Bic Razors- Buy one, get one 50%

Normally I will not do these types of deals since I can't get ECBs, but my husband needed razors, so it was worth it since there was a store sale and I had a coupon. I usually will just get these types of deals at Walmart if need be, but since I was at CVS and it was a decent deal, I went ahead and did it.

(2) Bic Razors: Men's razor: $7.29, Women's razor: $6.88. 50% Sale: women's razor became $3.44. Coupons Used (2) $2 off Bic Razor coupons from today's newspaper coupons. Total: $6.73, saved $7.44. Pretty much I got one of the razor packages for free. Not amazing, but when you are in a crunch, it helps to at least save- $7.44 is still a great amount.

I also used $10 ECB I had from a few weeks ago to lower my OOP (out of pocket expense). 

Total: $5.73+tax
Saved: $31.61
Percentage Saved: 79%
Price Per Item: 96 cents

Not bad for some high dollar items, and I have $5 ECBs for next week's deals.

Happy couponing!

I PLEDGE allegiance....to CVS...!

There are some awesome deals at CVS this week! I usually shop CVS for the product and the ECBs, but this week there is a great mixture of ECB deals and just awesome sales!

We really needed wood cleaner, and I have been waiting months for a good deal like this to pop up! I was almost at the point where I was going to go to the dollar store to get some while I waited...I was holding the Pledge coupon for Buy one Get on, but I had not seen a great deal yet.

I actually got all this product last night- apparently if your CVS is not a 24 hour CVS, most CVSs start the deals Saturday evening! This makes for a less stressful Sunday and worrying about cleared shelves.

TIP: Check with your local CVS to see when their Sunday deals start- it may be Saturday!

This is how I did this deal:

CVS Deal: Spend $12 on certain products (e.g.Pledge) get $4 ECBs.

Transaction 1:

Pledge Wood Cleaner- $6 on sale for $3. Purchased: 8 Pledge products. Coupons Used: Buy Pledge Furniture Cleaner get Pledge Multi Cleaner Free, (2) $1 printables for Pledge and $1 ECB from my Green Tag purchase (I'll blog about this awesome CVS trick later). 
Total: $3.00+tax & $4 ECB.

Now normally I would have stopped there, but I wanted to replenish my stockpile and ensure we that we would have enough wood cleaner for a year, so since it was such an awesome sale and I had coupons about to expire, I went ahead and did a transaction #2.
Transaction 2:
Did the exact same thing again, using (2) Buy one get one free coupons, and then used my $4 ECB from the purchase above. 
Paid $2+tax.

TIP: This deal was limit 1 per customer. I did the same deal again because it is a great sale, but I knew I would not get an ECB back this time. Pay attention to the limits, but if it is a good sale, stock up! For this, it was worth getting $24 worth of product for $2 (50 cents each) and using my ECB.  A lot of times I will only use an ECB to get an ECB in return, but for products with high dollar value and a great return, just jump on the deal!

Total for 2 transactions: 

Saved : $45.32
Percentage Saved: 86%
Price per item: 63 cents

This deal is good at CVS until next Saturday night, so head on in! Also note that the Buy one get one free coupon in the circular I used expires today I believe, so if you want to use that, head on in today! If your store is out, check and see if you can get a raincheck and if they will accept the expired coupon (some stores do).

Happy couponing!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The chicken that just keeps on giving!

Two of my passions are saving money and eating healthy. This is why the whole chicken is one of my favorites to buy at the store! Buying a whole chicken will save you money and it can be healthier! These two birds are the all natural, no antibiotic, no preservatives, cage free etc. kind so I like to get them on sale when possible. And $2.92 for a chicken is not too bad! 

Right now my chicken is simmering on high for 4 hours in my crockpot. I sprinkled some of my McCormick seasoning (that I got for $1 using coupons) with some paprika and then added a little bit of Progresso Chicken Stock (free at Publix weeks ago! and just grabbed it out of my stockpile). I added a Bay Leaf (that I bought at the Health Food store in bulk- about 30 bay leaves for $1.50) and in a few hours we will have a nicely cooked whole chicken! I usually roast a chicken for dinner when I get home, but this is wonderful if you are gone all day (cook on low for 8+ hours) or just do not want to mess with it.

The beauty of the whole chicken is that will continue to feed your family for awhile!

Once we have finished eating some of the chicken for lunch, we will carve off the rest of the meat. We then use the meat for chicken salad to put in a sandwich or to top our salad with. Then I keep the remaining chicken bones in the crockpot to make chicken stock! Just add some water to the bones, simmer for 5-8 hours, and Voila! homemade healthy Chicken stock! And this makes for easy cleanup when you cook your chicken and your stock in the same pot.

TIP: If you have a smaller chicken, freeze the bones to use once you get more chicken bones, and make chicken stock with 2-3 whole chicken bones to get a more flavorful chicken stock. Using bones from one chicken makes nice stock for cooking but if you want it to be more flavorful for soups then add more bones.

So for $2.92 I am able to feed us a nice roast for lunch/dinner, chicken salad for lunch and then use chicken stock for homemade chicken noodle soup or to cook with! Tasty, healthy, easy and cheap!

Happy couponing!

A sweet smelling deal

So typically I will not stock up unless the price is a rock bottom price, and I typically will not go to Walmart (A) because it is always insanely busy, not enough registers, etc. B) they are typically not as coupon friendly as a CVS or Publix and C) their cashiers are normally so slow and confused by coupons). I usually do a Walmart trip once every two months. If a great deal has not struck and I have coupons about to expire, I will use them at Walmart. Walmart's prices do not fluctuate as much as a grocery store's prices do, so I usually wait and see if Publix/CVS/Kroger will have the product cheaper... and if not I will semi-begrudgingly head to Walmart.

This morning I went to Walmart at 6am because I knew it would not be hopping on a rainy Saturday morning at 6am. I mainly went there for the Gain Dryer sheets, but I also wanted some seeds for my garden. This is what I purchased:

4 Box 80 count Gain Dryer Sheets: $3.12, used $3 off coupon= 12 cents each. Saved $12. 

Note: There was a 40 count Gain for a litle bit less money. I believe I would have *pocketed* 30 cents or so (if this Walmart allowed overage- I am not sure if they do), but I did not think it was worth it. Paying 48 cents for 320 dryer sheets and not needing to worry about buying them for the next few years was worth 48 cents to me. Usually I would say buy the smaller count, always get something for free when possible, but in this case for me personally, I went with the larger quantity because the price difference was minimal. 

Renuzit Air Fresheners: I kept seeing this and figured I would try them out while I had a Buy 3 get 3 coupon. This really is not that great of a deal, but with Spring Cleaning, I thought they might be nice to have in the house and try out the product. I was actually shocked at the price at Walmart- 94 cents each! I have seen these as low as 70 cents at CVS. Ah, well. I just went ahead and bought them since I was there and it was still an ok deal. Paid $5.64 , saved $5.64, so paid 47 cents for each one. Unless I love these lil buggers, I probably won't pay that much for them again since I can get 4lbs of dog food for that price! :)

McCormick Seasonings: On sale for $2.12, used $1 off coupon, purchased 2. Paid $2.24, saved $2. 

Total: $8.36+ tax
Percentage Saved: 75%

This was an ok trip, but it is one of the reasons I don't shop at Walmart as much- the deals are not usually WOW! I never walk out of Walmart thinking- that was my best trip ever! There are weeks I can get TONS of groceries for $8. It sounds silly now because a few months ago $8 for all that would have blown me away. Now that I have become a couponer, I like to capitalize on every $1 that I spend. :)

But hey, at least my car smelled AMAZING on the drive home. Between the Gain Dryer Sheets and the Renuzit Air Fresheners, my nose was quite happy. :)

Happy couponing!

Friday, March 25, 2011

FREE Cookbook!

The National Heart Lung and Blood institute is giving away FREE Cookbooks!!!! When registering you have to "place" an order; however, you never give your credit card information. Just hit quantity "1," add to your shopping card, give them your address, and they will send you your cookbook with 40 recipes.

Hot: JCPenny $10 off $25 purchase Coupon (3.25- 3.26.)

There is an awesome JCPenny coupon out right now for $10 off a $25 purchase!!! This is a pretty good deal so head on over and print yourself off some coupons! This coupon has no exclusions and can be used on clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry or home items! The only catch is you have to use it by today (3.25) or tomorrow (3.26). 

Happy couponing!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Heads up, CVS Shoppers!

This Sunday, most of us should get a Buy On Get One Free coupon for Clean and Clear Body Wash in the Smart Source. This is on sale at CVS for around $2.99 this week, so if you buy two you will pay $5.98. If you use your 3.27 BOGO coupon and then these $2 off 1 coupons you should hit a pretty good deal.! You can use the $2 off coupons on a bodywash AND the BOGO coupon to get one free...so your total should be around 50 cents each. Not bad- $1 to get 2 bottles of body wash! A lot of these print campaigns have a quantity limit, so print yours while you can.

FREE NetiPot!

This is pretty simple. Just "like" NetiPot on their Facebook Page and then click the link provided. Fill out your information, and you will have a free NetiPot sent to you along with 2 saline packets. A $14.99 value and great for those of us with allergies this Spring!

Happy couponing!

Kibble, Cookies and Advil, Oh My!

This was a slow week at Publix for me, but there is a great deal that started today on Kibble! 

Here's how I did this deal:

Kibbles N' Bits 4LB bag: $4.99, BOGO for $2.50. Used $2 off coupon from Red Plum 2.20. Paid 50 cents a bag, saved $4.50 a bag!

TIP: Even when coupons in the circulars seem lame, still get at least 2 newspapers. The week of February 20th the Sunday paper was weak on coupons; had I NOT bought the paper I would have missed out on these great $2 off coupons. How can you pass up paying 50 cents a bag for dog food? And I thought my $1 for 3.5 lbs of Pedigree last week at Kroger was good... :)

Pecan Cookies: FREE! Saved $2.59. This was the Publix Penny Item today.

Advil: $4.30, on sale for $2.99. Used $2 off coupon from Kroger. Paid 99 cents, saved $3.30.

TIP: Use competitor coupons at stores that allow them. Just call ahead and see who they consider a competitor. My Publix considers Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc. competitors but not Walgreens, CVS, etc. Each store may have a different competitor so just ask.

TIP: If you do not have the $2 off Advil catalina that printed out from the Mega sale if you purchased medicine, there are $1 off Advils in the Sunday paper circulars from a couple weeks back.  Just check Coupon Mom to see where the Advil coupons are.

TIP: Check the Advil boxes for count size. The box I had was actually 24 count (coupon was good for 16+ count) but this box had a note saying 12 FREE, so I was able to get 36 count instead of 24! There were tons of boxes for just 24 count (and only a few with the +12 free!), so look for those that have extras thrown in there for marketing.

Total: $2.49+ tax
Saved: $19.35
Percentage Saved: 85%
Total Items: 5
Price Per Item: ~49 cents

Above the my receipt if you are new to couponing to see how everything prints out on the receipt and what to look for to double check your coupons and prices. 

Happy couponing!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Preview of this Sundays 3.27.11 Coupons!


These are the coupons that will appear in this Sunday's paper! There will be 1 Red Plum and 2 Smart Sources, so lots of coupons this Sunday. :)

Please note coupons vary by region. Sometimes you may have a coupon valued at more or less or not in your circular but most of these will be the same.

3/27 Red Plum
Advil 40 ct.+ $1 (5/31/11)
Children’s Advil 4 oz or Infants Advil 0.5oz $1 (5/31/11)
Advil PM 16 ct+ $1 (5/31/11)
Advil, Advil PM, Childrens Advil or ThermaCare no trial $3/2 (5/31/11)
Advil Cold & Sinus, Allergy Sinus, or Advil Congestion Relief Product $1 (5/8/11)

Alavert no 6 ct $1 (6/26/11)
Axe 4oz Bodyspray 2,7oz Anti-perspirant and Deodorant or 3oz deodorant $1 (4/24/11)
Axe Shower Gel or Detailer B1G1F to $5.99 (4/24/11)
Axe Hair 12oz or 22oz Shampoo $1 (4/24/11)

Ball Park products $1/2 (5/25/11)
Build-A-Bear Workshop $10/$30 (4/24/11)
Degree Men Anti-perspirant or Deodorant $1 (4/24/11)
Domino Organic or Demerara Sugar 24 oz .40 (5/31/11)
Domino Sugar products 2 lb+ .75/2 (5/31/11)

Dove Anti-Perspirant/ Deodorant or Body Mist no trial- travel sizes or Men+ Care .75 (4/24/11)
Dove Beauty Bar 6- bar pack+ no Men+ Care $1 (4/24/11)
Dove Body Wash 10oz+ no Men+ Care $1 (4/24/11)
Dove Hair Care product no trail or travel sizes .75 (4/24/11)
Dove Men+Care Antiperspirant/ Deodorant $1 (4/24/11)
Dove Men+Care Body and Face Bar 6-pack+ $1 (4/24/11)

Dove Men+Care Body and Face Wash 132.5oz+ or Active Clean Shower Tool $1 (4/24/11)
FiberChoice 90 ct $3 (5/14/11)
Kellogg’s Special K Multi-Grain Oats & Honey, Frosted Mini-Wheat Touch or Fruit in the Middle or Crunchy Nut Cereal .70 (5/8/11)
Kellogg’s Special K Multi-Grain Oats & Honey, Frosted Mini-Wheat Touch or Fruit in the Middle or Crunchy Nut Cereal $1/2 (5/8/11)

Lipton Tea Bags, Lipton to-go or any Iced Tea Mix .50 (4/24/11)
L’Oreal Excellence or Excellence to go shade $2 (5/22/11)
M&M brand peanut Butter Chocolate Candies, etc all the peanut butter varieties B2G1F to .99 (5/22/11)
Nutella 13oz Jar+ $1 (6/30/11)
Nutro Natural Choice dry cat food, bag $3 (5/22/11)
Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free dog food. bag $5 (5/22/11)
Opti-Free Replenish solution 10oz+ $1.50 (6/30/11

Pedigree Good Bites treats for dogs $2 (4/30/11)
Pillsbury Frosting $1/2 (6/30/11)
Poland Spring Brand Sparkling Natural Spring Water any flavor Two .5 liter 6-pack or four 1-liter bottles $1.00 (5/8/11)
Pond’s cream, towelettes, or cleansing products no trial $1 (4/24/11)
Pond’s Wet Cleansing Towelettes 30 ct only $1 (4/24/11)

Rimmel foundation or any Rimmel product $1 (5/31/11)
Slimshots Liquid Portion Control not valid on 2 ct $5 (5/31/11)
Stayfree $1 (6/30/11)
Suave Body Wash .25 (4/24/11)
Suave Men’s Shampoo or Styling product .50/2 (4/24/11)
Success Rice product $1/2 (5/31/11)
Systane Lubricant eye drops product $2 (6/30/11)

Thermacare 2ct+ $1 (6/30/11)
Tums 24ct+ $1/2 (5/31/11)
Vaseline Lotion $1 (4/24/11)
Whiskas Dry food for Cats $1 (5/21/11)
Whiskas tray any flavor B1G1F to .69 (5/21/11)
Whole fruit fruit bars .50 (5/7/11)
Whole Fruit Sorbet .50 (5/7/11) 

3/27 Smart Source #1
Allegra 24Hr 30 ct+, Allegra D 12 hr 20 ct, Allegra D 24 hr 10 ct $4 (4/16/11)
Allegra 24 hr 5ct & 15 ct, 12 hur 12 ct Allegra-D 12 hr 10 ct, Allegra D 24 hr 5 ct or any Childrens $2 (4/16/11)
Aveeno any $1 (5/15/11)
Aveeno $3/2 (5/15/11)
Bic Disposable Shaver – Hybrid, Soleil, Flex 4, Comfort 3 Advance $2

General Mills cereals $1/2 (5/7/11)
Clean & Clear Body Wash B1G1F to $5.99 (5/15/11)
Clean & Clear any $1 (5/15/11)
French’s Worcestershire Sauce .50 (5/31/11)

Halls Cough Drops single bag .75 (5/22/11)
Mio Liquid Water Enhancer $1 (4/30/11)
MJB .75 (5/31/11)
Nature Valley Granola Bars .75/2 (5/21/11)
Neosporin or Band-Aid .50 (4/30/11)
Neosporin AND Band-Aid $1.50 (4/30/11)

Prevacid 24 Hr $3 (4/23/11)
Prevacid 24 Hr 42 ct $7 (4/23/11)
Purina Chef Michael’s canine creations dry dinners 11.5 lb $10 (4/24/11)
Purina Chef Michael’s Canine Creations cans $1/5 (4/24/11)
Purina Friskies Tasty Treasures cat food cans B1G1F to .55 (6/30/11)
Purina Friskies canned cat food $1/15 (6/30/11)

Purina Friskies Select Indoor canned cat food $1/6 (6/30/11)
Purina Friskies Dry Cat Food 3.15 lb+ $1 (6/30/11)
Purina Friskies cat treats any size, any variety $1.50/3 (6/26/11)
Purina Busy $2/2 (6/27/11)
Skintimate Shave gel .55 (5/11/11)
Yoplait Fiber One Multipacks .50 (5/21/11)

Yoplait Green yogurt .60/2 (5/21/11)
Yoplait Original or Light Yogurt 4 pack .50/2 (5/21/11)
Yoplait Cups .40/6 (5/21/11)
Yoplait Go Gurt, Trix Multipacks .75/2 (5/21/11)
Yoplait Kids Cup Yogurt .50 (5/21/11)
Yoplait Greek Yogurt 4 pack $1 (5/21/11)

3/27 Smart Source #2
Bausch + Lomb Alaway Eye Drops $4 (5/31/11)
Bausch + Lomb Opcon-A eye drops $1 (5/31/11)
Colgate manual toothbrush except Colgate Plus or Extra Clean $1 (4/16/11)
Colgate Wisp 4 ct .50 (4/16/11)

Colgate Wisp 8 ct or 16 ct $1 (4/16/11)
Colgate Total Advanced Toothpaste 4.0oz $1.50 (4/16/11)

Dole Fruit Bowls .75/2 (6/30/11)
Eukanuba Dry Dog Food $2 (4/4/11)
Eukanuba dry cat food $2 (4/4/11)
Everybody’s Nuts 7 oz+ $1 (8/31/11)

Fat Foam Hair Color $2 (4/30/11)
Fleischmann’s Strip or Jar Yeast .40 (4/30/11)
Olay Facial Cleanser $2 (4/30/11)
Palmolive Dish Liquid 20 oz .50 (4/16/11)
Real California Butter with seal .55 (6/30/11)
Red Baron Pan Pizza or Pan Pasta $1 (5/29/11)
Red Baron Singles .75 (5/29/11)

Softsoap Liquid Hand Soap 8 oz .35 (4/16/11)
Softsoap Liquid Hand soap 28 oz+ refill .50 (4/16/11)
Softsoap Brand Body Wash 12 oz+ .75 (4/16/11)
Speed Stick Antiperspirant or Lady Speed Stick .50 (4/16/11)
The Biggest Loser Simply Sensible fresh Entree TMF to $6.99 MIR (6/30/11)
Zim’s Max-Freeze Maximum Muscle and Joint Pain Relief $1 (5/31/11)

Zim’s Crack Creme Brand Skin Care $1 (5/31/11)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Scrumptious Stockpile Meals

A lot of people ask me, "How can you live off $7 of groceries a week" or "How do you actually make an entire meal out of all that?" Well, it is actually quite simple. Since I have been couponing for almost 3 months now, I have a great stockpile built up of soups, rice, pasta, canned vegetables, condiments, frozen meats, chicken stock, etc. I buy lots of meats on sale or manager's special, and when there is a great deal I stock up on meats and freeze them until I need them that day. I also have a lot of coupons for frozen vegetables so I get them anywhere from free to 30 cents a bag usually.

We typically eat healthy or organic when possible, so grilled chicken, side of pasta and vegetables may be our meal for the night. The chicken may have cost 50 cents (discounted down, used coupon on) and the vegetables and pasta were free. So for 50 cents, we have dinner and lunch the next day- cheap and healthy. We do buy lettuce, spinach, lemons, tomatoes, etc. in bulk at Sam's Club in the winter and in the summer at the Farmer's Market, but they usually last us awhile. We also have a small garden in the summer so that supplies us with fresh vegetables as well. Once you get a stockpile built up, you will begin to see how easy it is to prepare meals with what you have. I thought it seemed impossible at first when I was told about it as well.

Below are two stockpile meals I have made this week:

Chili- I used canned Hunt's tomatoes (free), canned Rotel (free), canned beans (50 cents) and turkey (less than $2 for 1.5 lbs) that had been frozen to make this. All I had to do was dig in my freezer and stockpile shelves to find my ingredients. The only things not in the stockpile were the spices, and in the summer, all of them except the chili powder will come from my garden. Voila! Easy, yummy dinner. This fed us for a few meals and I could freeze excess.

Hot Dogs w/Pasta Salad: I grilled up hot dogs (Ballpark, 100% beef) that had been frozen from a BOGO (buy one get one) sale that I had a coupon for. I paired this with pasta salad (5g fiber, whole wheat)- the pasta was free (Kroger Mega Sale+ doubled 50 cent off coupon) and the Italian salad dressing (Publix Penny Item) was free. All I had to add was some basil and dill, both of which in the summer will be free from my garden in a month!

Once you build up your stockpile you will be amazed at how you can easily feed your family healthy, inexpensive meals.

Happy couponing!

A MUST read for new couponers!

If you are a new couponer, Stephanie Nelson's book "Coupon Mom" is a must read. I first saw Stephanie on The View. I remembered seeing her with a giant table of foods I bought all the time saying, "All this was FREE." I thought it was a scam or something was fishy...so I did not pay attention to it since "nothing in life is free" was always a philosophy I went by. When I decided to start couponing, her website kept popping up, and I am so glad it did. I have used her philosophy to coupon from Day 1 and her method is what has motivated me to keep going because it is so simple.

Instead of cutting out all your coupons, organizing them, losing them, not being able to find them...etc...she uses a method of keeping the entire circular from the newspaper, labeling them by dates, and then using her website to match deals with coupons. SS 3.13 means the coupon is located in the SmartSource circular from March 13 and RP 1.30 means RedPlum Jan 30; these are the two main circulars each week. So simple! When it comes time to shop, I print off my coupons, and cut the ones out I need and off I go. Extremely simple. I did not want to start couponing because I did not want to spend all day Sunday clipping; now I spend maybe 5 minutes a week clipping what I need.

You can get started without her book; I did. Just head on to Coupon Mom and watch the videos on how to get started. In 4 minutes you can learn her philosophy from the videos. I read this book after 2 months of couponing, but I still was able to learn a lot. She actually started couponing as a way to save money since she went from her marketing job to a stay-at-home mom; also, couponing was her way of trying to end hunger locally. Her main goals are to help you save money and to help you learn how to get products for free or cheap to donate. You can help yourself and help others using her method. :)

I recommend getting this book if you can. I borrowed it from my church library, so check your local library first. If not, look on Amazon or Ebay and see if you can find a cheap used one. It is a great investment, especially if you are a new couponer! She explains all the basics to you. I also recommend you watch the video clips of Coupon Mom on The View, Good Morning America, etc. You will really get a feel for her strategy and how it works.

Happy couponing!

A Magic Eraser for Rookie Couponing Mistakes?


 As a couponing rookie, I have made a few blunders that have made my totals double or triple what they should have been. This past Friday (see Mega Sale entry) my total was over $16 with tax. I was confused how it could be so high (yes, $16 is great for all that product but I knew it should have been less; all my items were free or 50 cents) yet I walked out of the store. Actually, I walked out of the store...walked back in thinking hmm maybe they did not take off for my Mega...and walked back out.  It was not until I seriously went over my receipt calculating how much I saved that I noticed a glaring $6.79 for Motrin PM when it was supposed to be 49 cents after coupons and the sale! I could have bought twelve 20 counts for that much! Half my purchase was medicine, the other half was dog food, chicken, etc! Ouch

Usually there IS a magic eraser for these mistakes. They make you sick when they happen; you try so hard to save money, clip coupons, watch for sales, and then a mistake like this costs you, literally. Luckily, there are customer service stations at every store and so far, I have yet to experience someone who would not help me. Today I went back, explained that I grabbed the 40 count and not the 20 count, and asked to return the medicine. They asked if I used coupons, I said "yes, this $2 one" and pointed it out. I received my $5.49 back in cash and felt much better. My total out of pocket was less and I saved much more. Had I needed the medicine and it was an emergency, I may pay that, but I was just using it to stock up. Stocking up at $6.49 is not acceptable. :) 49 cents, yes, $6.49, no way.

These mistakes will happen when you are new. I am 2.5 months in and clearly still make these mistakes. Last week for example (Mega Lessons) you can see I had another mistake happen. To fix it? I waltzed to customer service and got my $5 in cash. I just asked politely with a smile. It does take away from the excitement of your total when these mess up, but sometimes you need to be burned to realize fire is hot.

These two mistakes have happened at Kroger because I am not as familiar with the store as I am with CVS and Publix. I really only shop Kroger for extreme sales like the Mega sale. But I have had similar whoopsy's at Publix as well. I remember 2-3 weeks in to couponing I had $1 off 2 Ken's Steakhouse salad dressing. They were BOGO (buy on get one- meaning they were half off each) so I thought- WOW! That is amazing! I stocked up on 12 of them! I got home and realized my total was so high because I had calculated wrong. I thought the dressing would be 30 cents each, it was more around $1.30 each! Still cheaper than normal, but I did not need that much dressing and the expiration date was May 2011. It was overwhelming at first, but my husband mentioned I could try and return the items. Embarassed I went back to Publix; it was my stupidity, not theirs. (90% of the time the mess up is me, not them). The customer service rep happily gave me around $18 back in cash. I was confused because I had not spent that much. She explained she could not return my coupons, so they would refund me for my price before coupons. I ended up making money! I felt even more guilty, but she said it was ok because they get reimbursed for the coupons plus 8 cents so each one of us would be ok. I still never want to mess up again like that, but I learned!

So do not worry if you get that occasional high bill becuase you grabbed the wrong item for the sale or the wrong quanity count or you just calculated wrong. In the end, I have always been able to undo my mistakes. All it takes it a little double checking your receipts, some patience, a little bit of gas back to the store, and a smile with the customer service rep.

Happy couponing!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mega Sale Methods from Kroger Mega Sale

I have already shopped the Kroger Mega sale on Sunday when it first came out, but after checking some of the websites I use to find deals (Southern Savers) I realized more items were added that I had coupons for! Some of the coupons from 3.13 that I received were not on the list originally when I checked Sunday, so it was worth another trip out for me. Also, I had an awesome $1.50 off purchase of any chicken when you buy Philadelphia cooking creme (which I had another $1.50 coupon for :) Publix had been out of this, so when I saw the same deal and price could be done at Kroger, I was pumped!
TIP: Throughout the week, check the blogs and forums to see if any new items and coupons were added to the lists. For this purchase, I had no clue the cooking creme and dog food were a part of the Mega Sale until Fri because it was not on the original list. I like to shop Publix and Kroger deals the first day of the sale, but sometimes I will go back again for a great deal.

How I did this:

Note: All items on this list were Mega Sale items except the chicken. 

(4) 3.5 lb Pedigree Dog Food: $5.69 on sale for $3.99 with Mega sale price. Used $3 off any Pedigree Dog Food coupon from Red Plum 03.06. Paid 99 cents a bag. Saved $18.80.  28 cents a pound for dog food! I used to pay at least $1 a pound. 

Philly Cooking Sauce: $2.49 on sale for $2, used $1.50 off so 50 cents, saved $4. Here is why I bought this: A) It was a part of the Mega Sale and only 50 cents B) I had a coupon from chicken that said take $1.50 off any chicken when you buy Philly Cooking creme. So by spending 50 cents on cooking creme, I got $1 off chicken. So I found some chicken on sale and bought it!

TIP: Occasionally, there are items you may not need or typically buy, but if you buy them (cooking creme) you save on something you want (chicken). So use a coupon on the item you do not need or want (and donate to friends or shelters if you won't use it) and then get the discount on the necessity, in this case- chicken!

Chicken: $2.11 and $2.31. I used the $1.50 off chicken when you buy Philly Creme, so I paid 61 cents and 81 cents for chicken!

TIP: Most non-couponers say you can NEVER save on produce or chicken. They must not know there are coupons like this for chicken and produce. A lot of stores have "take $1.50 off produce when you buy Kraft cheese" or something similar. 

 (4) Rozini Pasta: $2 on sale for 50 cents with Mega sale price. Used 50 cents of 2 box = FREE. Saved $4.

TIP: I have an absurd amount of pasta right now because it has been free. Although it expires in 2013 and we eat a lot of pasta, next time my church asks for food for the local pantry, I will donate this pasta. One of the many benefits of stockpiling- you can donate for free or pennies! You get to use your talent to help feed someone else. :)

(2) Smart Balance Peanut Butter: $3.69 on sale for $2.29, used $1 off printable coupon. Paid $1.29, saved $4.80.

Red Gold Tomatoes: $1.09 on sale for $1. Used 50 cents off 2 printable, which Kroger doubles so $1 off 2 = FREE! Saved $4.36. 

Heluva Dips: $2.25 on sale for 99 cents, used 50 cents off 1 which doubled to $1 so FREE. Saved $6.75. 

TIP: We do not eat much dairy or dip, but this is nice to have occasionally and for when we have guests over.

Motrin PM: $6.79. I messed up on here. I grabbed the 40 count and not the 20 count, so this is why my bill was way more than it should have been. These should have been 49 cents each and I realized even with coupon it ended up being around $4... See update 3.20.11 below on how this was corrected

TIP: Pay attention to quantity! I made the mistake of looking at the sign (which the boxes were right behind) and not the box label. I had my list but did not verify quantity which I usually do.  Kroger is not as good as others about sale items being where they need to be so I lost out on about $4. I will use this medicine anyways, but it made my total higher and I did not realize it until I was typing this up.

Total: $12.62+ tax 
Note: this should have been $8.62+ tax, don't make the same mistake as me :)
Total Saved: $59.88
Percentage Saved: 82%

UPDATE  3.20.11
I went back to Kroger today to buy my 4 newspapers for the week. I was still bothered by my Motrin PM mess up of paying $6.79 for 40 count when it was supposed to be 49 cents with my coupon and Mega sale. So I brought my receipt with me and the box. They let me return the Motrin PM, asked if I had used any coupons, I said "yes, I used a $2 off" so in the end I received $5.49 back in cash, which I used to buy my papers and still had some money left over. It has been bothering me for 2 days that I messed that up... but now, all better! :)


Total: $7.83+Tax
Total Saved: $65.37
Percentage Saved: 87%

If you make little mistakes like I do, you live and you learn. It can be frustrating, but in the end, I saved 82% so I have to be happy.

Happy couponing!

Charmin & Puffs Tower- last day for deal today!

This was not the most amazing deal- but we like the Charmin wipes. They are normally around $5 a piece, so what I paid was worth it in the long run and this was a good stockpile price with coupons.

Deal: Get $10 ECBs when you buy $25 worth of select Proctor & Gamble Items (ends today- 3.19 so head on it!).

ECBs= Extra Care Bucks, money to use at your next purchase

I did not have any coupons for the Charmin, and I had already used my Puffs coupons, so this was purely a sale and store coupon shopping trip. I usually will not shop without a manufacturer's coupon; however, CVS does not double and if I had these coupons they would be 25 cents, so it was not worth passing up the deal for me. Normally those 25 cent coupons add up but the coupons I had were good enough for me to go.
How I did it:

  • Charmin Wipes: $5, on sale 2 for $5, Saved $2.49 each
  • Puffs: $3, on sale for 2 for $3, Saved $1.50 each

Coupons Used:
  • $10 ECBs from previous CVS purchase
  • $5 off $25 purchase emailed to me yesterday

TIP: When shopping at drugstores, shop similar deals to this where every time you buy a deal, you have coupons AND you get ECBs back for your next purchase. That is how I keep my totals low because I usually have $5-$10 worth of ECBs+coupons. 

TIP: Check your emails from CVS (and check your spam folders since it may be getting sent there!) Sign up for CVS emails. I frequently get 20% off and $5 off $25 coupons. These usually come on Fri and are good until Sunday. This is why sometimes I wait to shop CVS until Fri or Sat. The risk is they may be out of inventory, the reward is I saved another $5. If they are out, just get a raincheck. They computer will keep track of the deal for you if you buy some of the deal items and the cashier can override the system.

Coupons Received from CVS because of my purchase:
  1. $10 ECBs for my next purchase because I did the P & G deal
  2. $5 ECBs for my next purchase from the Beauty Club

TIP: Sign up for the Beauty Club at CVS! Just ask the cashier and in seconds they will sign you up. For every $50 you spend in beauty products (they keep the total, and this is $50 BEFORE coupons) you get $5 ECBs! This is my first beauty purchase payout. :)

Total: $9.50+tax
Saved $38.13
Percentage Saved: 77%
Coupons Received to use next time: $15

I actually *made* money theoretically on this. I spent $9.50 and received $15. CVS is amazing for this, but Rite-Aide, Walgreens, etc. have good programs as well. I always thought drugs stores were a huge rip-off, but they are where I save the most money frequently. Get to know your drugstore, get to know their policy, get to know their cashiers, and get shopping! :)

Happy couponing!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How I snag FREE items (and pick up some change along the way), how YOU can snag FREE items!

  • (6) Propel Waters
  • (2) Healthy Weight Green Giant Frozen Vegetables
  • (2) Mueller's Whole Wheat Pasta
  • (2) Vigo Yellow Spanish Rice
  • (1) 24 count small dog Dentastix Pedigree
  • (1) Sirloin Steak
  • (2) Bags Pepperidge Farm Crackers
  • (1) Publix Fat Free Italian Dressing
  • (1) New England French Vanilla Coffee
Total Items: 18

And...11 of the 18 items were FREE!!!

Propel Water- Sale 2 for $1, used a coupon from the Sunday paper for $1 off 2 bottles - FREE

TIP: These coupons were from the newspaper circular weeks ago. Always save your coupons! I normally would not buy $1 water, but when it goes on sale for 50 cents and I have $1 off two...I will buy free water. :)

Italian Salad Dressing- Publix Penny Item- FREE

TIP: Publix has a Penny Item every Wednesday. Find out if your chain has something similar or discounts a certain day.

Rice- $1.29, BOGO for 64 cents, used 50 cents off printable which Publix doubles, FREE + made 70 cents to use for the rest of my purchase

Mueller's Pasta- $1.49, BOGO for 74 cents, used $1/box printable coupon, FREE+made 26 cents a box.

TIP: If an item is free AND you can make money off it to deduct from your purchase, get it! If you can not/will not use the product, donate it to a local food pantry or friends.

Crackers- $3.49, BOGO for $1.75; used $1 printable. 75 cents/bag.

New England Coffee- $6.39, BOGO for $3.19, used $1 off printable coupon. $2.19

TIP: Coffee is expensive. And with food prices rising, the coffee price per pound is rising steadily. Stock up on coffee at around $2 or less if possible and freeze unopened bags until you are ready. I currently have a couple bags in my freezer. 

Pedigree Dentistix- $3.79, BOGO $1.90, used $1 off. 90 cents. Note: These were from the sale last week; I used last weeks raincheck mentioned in a previous blog entry to get these.

TIP: Normally I do not spoil my dogs with treats, but at 3 cents a dental stick, I had to! Check the ads for great dog/cat treats frequently. You can usually find great coupons and sales for food and treats. For food you may have to buy 3.5 lb. bags and buy more of them to get a good deal. 

Green Giant Vegetables- $1.79, BOGO 89 cents, used 50 cents off (the coupon said do not double), 30 cents/bag. 

Sirloin Steak: Sale for $2.89 

TIP: When you see meat on sale- stock up! Just pop it in the freezer. This was a great price for two nice sirloin steaks. They will grill up great!

TOTAL: $7.02+tax
Saved: $29.94
Percentage Saved: 78%

This sale is going on at Publix until next Wednesday so hurry in! If you do not have a coupon inventory built up, no worries! Everything I purchased except the Propel was actually a printable coupon this week! Just head to southernsavers.com to find your printables for this weeks items. 

Happy couponing!