Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Super D Duper Deal @ Walgreens....

So I thought I'd found a good deal at Kroger when I got 5 boxes for $4 of this Kraft Mac N cheese yesterday. I think I've just one upped myself...and I found this deal all on my own, and now I'm sharing it with you!

Walgreens this week has Kraft Velveeta Mac N cheese, Kraft Deluxe Mac N cheese (in a box), and Kraft "Homestyle" Deluxe Mac N cheese on sale 3/$5 (look in the ad for this week because my store didn't have it marked n the shelf correctly). You can match that with the in store coupon from the January coupon book for when you buy 2 you save $1. AND if you have coupons from this sunday paper, you can use up to 3 of the $1/1 kraft deluxe Mac N Cheese Homestyle. (if you buy 3 that is) and stack them together. Making 3 boxes just $1!!!!!!!! Normally these are $2.89-$3 each so this is an AMAZING DEAL!!!!

The Homestyle deluxe mac n cheese pouches (4 1 cup servings in each) come in original or italian cheese w/ bread crumb topping. I'm thinking it would be great to add in some chicken and veggies and make a meal out of it!

Just please don't clear the shelf (meaning don't go in and buy 21 boxes just because you can). Leave some for everyone else to enjoy the savings. I got 3 today and I may go back later in the week and buy 3 more boxes if I can. Also, if you have the coupons but your store sells out, don't panic. Just get a rain check. Since no register rewards are involved it should be available for the sale price.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My first huge haul!!!

So first stop was Walgreens.
I had no register rewards to use, but I saw they had a great sale on granola bars. Right now the Fiberone bars or Nature valley granola bars are 2/$4. I love those fiber one chewy oats & chocolate bars and I had several coupons for both kinds so I bought a bunch! I bought 5 of the Nature's Valley bars and I had coupons that took off a total of $2.50 on five total. So that brought be down to $7.50. Then I found several loreal makeup on clearance. They were btwn $11-$13 orignally, all marked down to $3.19-$3.29) This is where having had multiple papers came in handy. I had 5-yes 5 coupons for a total of 9 items (totaling in $19 more off)...plus when it spit out the Register rewareds in the end, it gave me another $5 off my next purchase because I bought so much in makeup!!! So its basically like I got $108 in makeup for just $5!!!!!!
So it spit out a $5 off rr (from the makeup) and a $3.50 off rr(from buying 5 boxes of bars)...
I bought 5 FiberOne bars, and I used 5 coupons. Some for .40/1 some for .50 off 1... and some more of the makeup. It didn't give me the $5 coupon this time but it did do another $3.50 off. rr

So at Walgreens, I paid a total of $24 out of pocket after tax, saved a total of $133. and walked away with $12 towards my next purchase.

Next stop was CVS. Now here, I had shopped around and I found bottles of Maalox (ewwwwww) for $5.89. I had 4 coupons for $5 off 1 Maalox from the paper this past Sunday, making them just .89 each plus tax. I paid that and then I got a $10 off because I spent 20 (before coupons) on Maalox. I then bought 6 of lays and doritos chips (2/$5) and 2 packs of Citrus Fizze drinks. I used 2 $1/1 coupons on the drinks,( and because I purchased $20 worth of participating products, I got a $10 extra bucks back.) Total was like $30 or so and I used $10 that I earned the other day from the cleaning supplies deal and the $10 from the maalox. I paid a total of about 10 out of pocket and like I said, I got another $10 back in register rewards.

Last stop was rite aid. I walked in there the first time the other day for the almost free Special K cereal deal...today I got several stay free maxi pads for next to nothing!
This one was a little more confusing. Since I am still new to Rite Aid, I wasn't sure exactly how it would work. I actually had 2 up rewards from the special k I didnt use so I started out with an out of pocket amount.

Rite Aid's policy is to allow you to use no more than 2 coupons per item, only 1 of which may be a manufacturer's coupon. However, they will allow you to use a b1g1 free coupon, with an additional $1/1 item (or whatever amount) thus lowering the price of the item you "buy" and getting the 2nd item free. So I had 5 b1g1 free coupons, and two $1 off 1 coupons. What I did was this:

I bought 4 stayfree pads (they have to be the 14-24 count, only certain packages count for the promotion -you get $2 up rewards for every set of two you buy) @$2.50 each.
-$5 (for two free ones)
-$2 for 2 $1/1 coupons
paid out of pocket $3 plus tax

Then I did a 2nd transaction and I bought 6 more, and I used 3 b1g1 coupons.
-$4 up rewards *I got 2 from my first purchase*

paid $3.50 plus tax.
Got $6 in up rewards back!!!

Total for the day I paid into the stores, including up rewards I used (because if you didn't start out with any (you would have to pay $20 to cvs i used in Extra bucks)that money out of pocket was $69, but I still have $12 from walgreens to use on my next purchase, $10 from CVS and and $6 more from rite aid. So it's like I paid in $69 and got back $28. So it's like I paid $41 really..... Does that make sense. You will start to save alot more if you can roll your register rewards and catalinas, just be careful that the store you are shopping at will still print the catalina if you buy that same item and pay using a catalina from purchasing that item earlier--Walgreens will not, but Rite Aid will.....

Anyways drumroll!!!
Total value of goods--$304
Total spent including catalinas i used to pay in--$69
Out of pocket expense $49
Total catalinas I walked away with $28
Total amount I saved (not including catalinas saved for next time) $255!!!
Are you kidding me?!?!?!!?!?!?!!?

Making my list...checking it twice....

So today's a big day! My daughter is having her party with my family for her 5th birthday....and we are going to see her perform at her gymnastics showcase...but not before I get in a little shopping. On the shopping list for today things I am hoping to find are:

Lysol Healthy touch hand sanitizer (hoping to score some RR in case there are good deals on sunday, I will want to have some RR on hand to lower my oop)
Granola bars-Fiber one and Nature's Valley

Rite Aid
Stayfree maxi pads--gosh I hope there are some left because I can get them for a great deal!

maalox. Again, gosh I hope there are still some left!!!

More to come soon!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tips and Tricks

So, if you didn't already know, you can load coupons to your Kroger plus card by registering on Kroger's website (see above links). You just input your info and your Kroger card number and you are set to go! This is a great way to maximize your savings, especially if you only need 1 or 2 of an item, because you can use this along with your paper coupons you've clipped.

There is another tip that you can follow to maximize savings. Say you are new to couponing, and you don't have the coupons I mentioned. Or perhaps, you want to stock up and don't have enough. You can actually buy the coupons online. There are several reputable websites, as well as ebay (just be sure to check out the ratings and how far away the seller is) where you can buy them. You aren't actually "buying" the coupons, but you are paying for the clipper's time to cut them all out. If someone is selling them on Ebay the same rule applies.
Why are people selling them?

Perhaps they bought several newspapers for one specific coupon to stock up on an item-sometimes it can be worth it, and this is a way to recoup some of that money spent if they don't need the other coupons. You are paying for the time it took them to clip it out. They are saving you the time of cutting, and you can get several for a nominal fee-usually 5-10 cents a coupon.

I actually bought several for the first time today. I spent just over $5 with postage for about 60 different coupons.

With my coupons, I'm going to be getting Hillshire farms shaved lunchmeat tubs (normally $4.79 right now it's on sale for $3. I have a .55 cent coupon I ordered that doubles to $1.05 (it actually doubles to $1.10 but I've deducted .05 for the cost of the coupon and shipping) so I'm getting them for just $1.95 each. These are 9 oz containers. So I'm getting them cheaper than the store brand or cheap processed kind even, or lunch meat from the deli. Since when can you get over a pound of quality lunch meat for less than $4?!?!!

Also included were 30 coupons for Lean Cuisines Market Creation bags (among a few other coupons) that I mentioned in my previous post. We eat a lot of the regular boxed lean cuisines around here, and I always like to stock up when I see a sale-usually when they go on sale for around $1.50-$1.75 (without coupons, I feel that's a good price since they are normally $2.25-$2.50). Right now they are both $1.70 each when you buy any 10 participating products at Kroger. That's not a bad price for the box Lean Cuisine Entrees as it is-before coupons- but it is an even better price for the Market Creations, which are normally $3.50 each.

I bought my coupons for those items for 9 cents each. Each coupon was for $1 off 2, deducting another .50 off each box, making them just $1.20 each!!! This is a steal, in my opinion, considering like I said that normally they are $3.50! So I bought 30 coupons-don't worry...they don't expire till March, so I have enough to have in case another sale comes around. I am going to buy 30 (using 15 coupons for $1 off each.

The regular price is $3.50 x 30 is $105 --yikes!!!!
but the sale price is $2.20 with your card x30 is $66..still a yikes!
When you buy in sets of ten (again you can mix and match with other participating items) the price is just $1.70 a bag x 30 is...$51(getting better...)
I am buying 30, so I will be using 15 of my $1 off coupons.
$51 -15 = just $36!!!!!!!
That is a savings of $69 yall. Not to mention if you are buying these verses eating out for $5-10 a day!

If I really wanted to stock up, I would use all 30 of my $1 off coupons and buy 60 for $210. But wait, I used my card and got them for $132. But wait...I bought 6 of the 10 sets to get the deal, so that takes another $30 off (buy any 10 participating items, get $5 off x 6=$30) so that makes it just $102. BUT WAIT!!! I used my 30 of my coupons (paid about $3 for all of them after postage) so I am saving $27 more. So for $75 I got 60 meals, and saved $135 even after I paid for coupons.

But if you are buying 60, won't that clean out the entire supply? you ask...

That beings me to my next tip. Special Orders. I did my first special order today. :D (does happy dance). I called over to the Kroger store and talked to the manager. I wanted to buy 10 of 3 different varieties. They only had 24 today of each kind I wanted, and today was the first day of the sale...so she ordered an extra case (10 of each) of my 3 favorite kinds for me, and I can come in and pick them up on Saturday morning. I didn't have to pay in advance either like I thought I might. (That may depend on the manager on duty or your particular store.)

There are some excellent deals to be had!!!

@ Kroger this week...
***EDIT--you can also go to Cellfire.com, shortcuts.com, and PGeSaver.com to get coupons loaded to your store's card. I apologize if the green giant coupons are not from the Kroger website (I'm not sure) as they show up in my list of saved coupons, but I wasn't thinking that they might have been loaded from Cellfire instead. Sorry for the confusion!!

B1G1 Free Jimmy Dean Sausage. The regular price is $4.79 each.
If you go HERE you can go to their
Facebook page and print a coupon right from your computer for $1 off one. Once it prints, you can hit your back button once it it will automatically print a second time (most online "bricks.coupons" are this way). So you can print two of them off, and get 4 packs of sausage for 9.58 or $2.39 a package. You *might* be able to use a coupon on the "free" sausage too and get them both for $2.79 total, but I am not sure, as I have never tried that...I will have to edit them later and find out.

Also there is a nice $1 off 1 Hillshire Farms Deli Select coupon going around on some of the coupon websites. I'll have to see if I can find that.... There is also one HERE to their FB page. If you "like" them, they will give you a coupon for $.55 off one, which doubles @ most Memphis area Kroger stores to $1.10 off. Right now they are on sale for $3 each (you do not need to buy $2 to get the 2/$6 price at Kroger). That makes these 9 oz lunch meat tubs just $1.90 each. If you print two you get two for just $3.80 for 18 oz lunch meat!

Also, there are always plenty of toaster strudel coupon printables to be had on the computer (HERE) or HERE as well as an E coupon on Kroger's page (HERE) for $.50 off when you buy 2, AND manufacturer coupons from the 12/20 General Mills insert. These are also a part of the buy any 10, get $5 off promotion. That means a savings of .50cents an item! So the price is $1.99 or just $1.49 after the promotional deal x 2, is $2.98.
-.50 e coupon
-.50 if you have the GM coupon from December.
-.50 again because that GM coupon will double.
So you can buy 2 of them for just $1.48, or just .74 a box when you buy 2!
That is a savings of $2.50 when you buy 2 boxes!!

The Green Giant Valley fresh steamers are on sale for $1.99, and when you buy any 10 participating products, you get an additional .50c off PER product, (you can mix/match). This makes them just $1.49 each before coupons!! BUT WAIT!!! There is a .50cents/2 coupon you can load to your Kroger card, making them just $1.24 a box...BUT WAIT!!! THERE'S MORE!!! There's another 50cents off 2 coupon that I clipped out from the paper. Guess what--That doubles to $1 off 2!!! This makes them just .74 each if you have the Kroger E coupon (HERE), and the coupon from the 12/20 Smart Source Coupon insert in the newspaper. This is why it pays to pay the waiting game a little ....because I saved my E coupon, and my paper coupons till right now I can get two steamer bags for just $1.48! That is 1 cent less than they were wanting me to pay for just 1 on sale! Ok, so say you don't have the paper coupon, you can go HERE and you have already used the E coupon (you can only use the Kroger plus card coupon once), they are still just $1.49 a package.

-.50 e coupon
-.50 if you have the SS coupon from December.
-.50 again because that SS coupon will double.
So you can buy 2 of them for just $1.48, or just .74 a bag when you buy 2!
That is a savings of $2.50 when you buy 2 bags!!

Lean Cuisines, Lean Cuisine Market Creations (the bags), and Hot/Lean Pockets are $2.20. They are also a part of the promotional buy any 10 get $5 off deal, making them just $1.70. That is an especially great deal already on the Market Creations, since those are normally $3-4 or more each! I have 2 $1 off two coupons that I clipped out of the January 2nd, Smart Source Insert. That makes them just $1.20 each. This is a CRAZY CRAZY deal, in my opinion, and totally worthy of stocking up, if you have that coupon.

Lastly, and I am saving the best for last here people...is FREE COLGATE TOOTHPASTE. Yes, that's right. FREE. If you've been clipping your coupons, on (i think**) January second, there was a coupon for .50 off any colgate 4.0 oz or larger. The 6oz size is on sale for $1 at kroger and most Memphis areas (if not all) double coupons of that amount, so you get $1 toothpaste, -.50 and -.50 again if they double, making it free! Freeeeeeeeeeee!!! lol :D


Monday, January 10, 2011

Ok, so as promised....

Lysol healthy touch was $1.99 after coupon and register rewards. The cereal was $1.25 a box but then I got $2 register rewards for buying 2 boxes...means they were like .25 a box!!
The razors were 3.99 after $1 rr and my b1g1 free coupon making them $2 each...probably could have done better considering they weren't on sale, just the $1 back rewards...but I needed them.
The pens were $1.99 each and I had 2 $2 off 1 coupon making them free.
Those toothbrushes were on sale @ walgreens for $2.99. I had a $1/1 coupon and a $2/2 coupon from MFR, and you can stack an MFR coupon with the walgreens in ad coupon for $2 off any total care reach product and so I got $3 off each tooth brush making them free.

Total out of pocket was $18, but I got $10 back in RR- a $7, a $1 and $2.

Ok, so then I went to another Walgreens and bought another of the lysol healthy touch. I used the $2 off rr from before, and my $3 coupon in the paper making it cost just $7 oop. Then I got another $7 back rr. I turned around and used that $7 rr, the first $7 rr, and the other $1 off rr (from first purchase) towards some wipes @$6, shaving cream for myself and hubby that were not on sale @$3 each, and a Loreal eyeshadow quad for $3.49 (that was originally $12!!)...total was like $2 something after tax.

So for like $30 after tax (which you have to pay the BEFORE discount tax amount) I got all that in 3 purchases at Walgreens.

Also, CVS has a deal going on thru saturday where you buy 6 12 packs of pepsi products for $20, and you get $10 back in Extra Care bucks (same deal as register rewards. It just prints on your ticket an you can turn around and use it on whatever your next purchase is.) So it's basically like getting 6 12 pack cases for $10 or around $1.66 each.

I got 6 renuzit air fresheners for .44 each (@.88c each, and I had a coupon from the paper for buy 3 get 3 free.) at CVS.

They also have a money making opportunity if you have several of the Finish dish tab coupons. You can buy 7@ $3 each, or $21. When you spend $20 on select cleaning products you get $10 back in Extra care bucks off your next purchase.(You can mix/match, on lysol sprays, wipes, toilet bowl cleaner, airwick ultra fresh matic, airwick warmers etc...you don't have to only do the dish tabs kind) then use 7 $2.25 off 1 coupons from the paper last week. So $21 -2.25. Making your out of pocket total be $4.25. Then you get your ECB, actually making you about $6 to spend!! (you can then turn around and use that right away on the pepsi deal if you like, making your OOP even less!)

I did not do this, since I had already used most of those coupons at walgreens last week. I did however, do this:

$27.28 before sale....-$10 extra care bucks I earned,
$17. 28 - $5 because one of those airwich refills was free with a coupon. -$4 coupon off the Airwick ultra kit. -$2.25 of those finish tabs with my coupon, -$2.64 because 3 of those renuzits were free with my coupon. So all this was $3.39!!!!!

I went to kroger to see if I could get any more of the dawn hand renewals or regular dawn-as I recieved some coupons i ordered in the mail today...but they were out of everything!!! Oh well :( Maybe they will continue the deal next week, but I doubt it, as this was the 2nd week for it.

So anyways, I have been working on a stock pile, and even though it's very small compared to some...I think it's pretty great, considering how little I spent on these items. I don't really want to have alot of excess, I just want to get it to where I don't have to pay full price for staple items--like I did today with the wipes and shaving cream. After a while, I will only buy again when it is on sale, and buy all that my family can use in say, a 3 month period before it will go on sale again for cheap. That way, I am saving money. This is not everything, considering alot of it, we have already put in places-ie the toilet paper, body wash etc..... but here it is so far. Keep in mind most of this was very cheap or free--see earlier posts for the other item info. And the glade stuff on the bottom...those air sprays were .17 after a $1/1 coupon when it was marked down after Christmas on the apple cinnamon air freshener...which I could spray all year round. Love that stuff. The candles were like .25. All those were on sale @ walmart after Christmas so they were 50% off and then I had coupons on top of that price....

******EDIT--See, kids...this is why it pays (literally) to comparison shop. The exact shaving cream I bought @ walgreens without a coupon that was not on sale, was 2.99 for each. It was just the cheapest they had and I just bought it, full price :( Now I am looking and CVS had BOTH those kinds on sale for cheaper!!! I could have saved another $2. Also, they had razors on sale there too that I had a coupon for. Boooo!!!

A few things ...

and more to come

Lysol Healthy Touch Hand Soap System 8.5oz $11.99
-$3 off coupon in yesterday's paper.
-$7 register reward (this will print on your ticket, and you'll have to use it on your next purchase--you can turn around and use it on anything you like. The only catch is that if you turn around and use it on this same hand system, it won't print you out a reward of $7 again. You can do a separated transaction for the 11.99 again, and get an additional $7 though, and you can also put those two $7 register rewards on the same transaction as well--does that make sense?

But basically, it's like getting these for 1.99!!!!
I went to one walgreens and bought 1, and another walgreens and bought a 2nd one.

Also, Rite Aid has Special K (their regular price is $4.79) on sale b1g1 free, and if you go to Special K's website and sign up for their weight loss challenge, it will let you print up to 2 coupons each for a B1G1 free deal-up to the price of $4.49. So if you go to Rite aid and use your wellness card, the coupons actually cancel eachother out. All you have to pay is the .30 cents that their regular price is over the coupon, and tax. I walked out of the store with 2 boxes of cereal for .64 out of pocket, oh and $1 off my next order...lol So I *made* money by buying them hahahaha I love it!!

more later...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

CVS deals woohoo!!!

I love getting free stuff. The more I get into couponing, the easier I find, it is to get super super cheap, or free stuff. Yes I do get things I wouldn't normally buy like candles or tons of air freshner...but its because I am paying literally a few pennies for them, depending on how you look at it. I saw thing one interview with a couponing "master" and she said that she believed everyone should be able to buy things at a price they feel like they should pay. I thought that was an interesting concept. Although I'm not sure it means I can and will get every item for free just because I don't think I should have to pay for it (lol) I think if you watch the sales, and use coupons, play the waiting game a bit...you can get what you feel is a really great deal. Especially if you already comparison shop and do the grocery shopping for the house--you know what the "normal" (inflated) prices are. Truth be told, it's kind of a mind game. They mark things up normally to be able to afford to mark them down occasionally/frequently (depending on the item).

So I'm working on a deal right now, it's a two part deal...considering my cvs was out of about half of the items I wanted, i didn't do as well as I planned, but still not bad at all.

Right now @ CVS if you have your extra care card, you can get some amazing deals. One thing I am having to get used to is the Extra Care bucks. If you look at the weekly ad that comes out in the Sunday paper, it will advertise various deals-one of which being the ability to earn back extra care bucks. What those are are this--here is a scenario:

Buy $20 worth of selected items, get $5 back, or get $10 back. You don't get cash back, but for every different scenario where you earn them, they all print on the bottom of your receipt, so don't throw it away!! You can only earn one per scenario (at all, not just per transaction) though. So like this morning, they had various cleaning products and airwick air fresheners by $20 get $10 back. They are smart to do this, because #1 people will come in to buy it simply because it is a gimmick, #2 they know most people will not remember to save their receipts or will lose it, #3 those who do, are at least (more than likely) going to be leaving and coming back in the store--unless like me, you turn around and do another transaction immediately. They know if you leave, and come back again later, you are more likely to buy additional things than what you came for or spend more money than planned.

That's where you have to be smart. Shop with a list and only buy what you came for. If you buy things you weren't planning to buy, especially if you are a coupon shopper, you will end up spending more than you planned--like I did this morning. What happened this morning, was arguably not my fault, but I could have been better prepaired and paid even less out of pocket.

Ok, so right now, one of the extra care bucks deals they have going on is this--buy $20 worth of select products, get $10 back. You have to buy the correct product/brand to get the deal. The good news is, the price is before your coupons are applied. Sometime in the past week (sorry I can't remember exactly which ad, I think it was red plum though...don't quote me!) they had tons of coupons for airwick products. From what I can tell, air fresheners are one of those products that they are constantly putting coupons out for. So right now, it just so happens that several of the airwick products are included in the CVS deal. There also were several cleaning products coupons out recently as well.

The `CVS sale I am talking about is this:

$3-Lysol power toilet bowl cleaner, all purpose cleaner, or wipes (only certain sizes) OR Finish Electrosol powerball dish tabs or Jet Dry rinse gelpacs.
$4-the 12.5 oz Lysol disinfectant spray
$5-Airwick scented oil refills (for the warmer), or freshmantic or i motion refill cans
$6 -Lysol neutra air or Airwick Freshmatic Ultra kits

Of course you can mix and match, but you have to purchase at least $20 of some combination of these items to get the $10 EC bucks. Not too hard right? Ok, so like I said, that total is before they take your coupons off.
I had coupons for just about all those items, so the challenge was to find out what would minimize my money spent up front out of pocket. I decided just whatever got me closest to the 20 without going over too much would be the best deal--too much math makes my brain hurt, lol.

So I had 2 sets of coupons for most of the items, because I've asked my grandma to save per coupons for me. The airwick ultra kit was $6 and I had 2 coupons that would take $4 off--so I wanted to buy 2 of those. I also had buy 1 get one free airwick spray refills. and I had buy any scented oil refills get a free warmer. I also had a $1 off finish coupon, and a $2.25 off finish coupon. I also had $1 of 1 lysol spray, and $1 off 2 spray, and $1 off 2 toilet bowl cleaner. So lots of coupons that corresponded with the sale.
The problem was, when they went there, some lady had just come and bought their already meager supply of the Airwick kits, so I will have to go back to a different store, or check with him Thursday when his delivery truck gets in.

Oh, and they also had an Extra Buck deal on candy that made them free. I got a kingsize (really small though) "Reeses minis" for $1.59 and a snickers for .89 and they printed off extra bucks for that exact amount on my reciept as well, so it's like I got them for free.

Here's what I ended up purchasing these are the sale price that count toward the $20:
2 Airwick spray refills @$5 each --$10
2 Lysol disinfectant sprays @$4 each- $8
1 Electrosol finish dish tabs @$3 each- $3
1 reeses minis KING SIZE @1.59-$1.59
1 snickers @$.89 -$0.89
now we took off my coupons
-$1 for the finish (I plan on using the $2.25 as well)
-$5 for one of the air fresheners
-$1 off the lysol--this is where I screwed up. I had a second lysol spray coupon for off of 2, but I hadn't planned on buying 2. I could have saved more if I had been more organized.

My total was $16.48 or $18.12 after my state tax was added. Now, that in it self was not so great in my opinion. It says I saved $16.25 btwn the "sale" prices and my coupons. BUT, when you consider I get $10 back towards my next purchase, It's like I got those items for $9 after tax. Which really isn't bad at all.

So, I am still on a hunt to find the 2 airwick kits, because after coupons those will be $2 each. And I want to get some of the lysol wipes which 2 of them will be $5 after my coupon, and then I will probably buy 1 oil warmer refill for $5 (and get the warmer itself for free). I also want to take advantage of the renuzit air fresheners...Those are on sale for .88 cents, and I have a buy 3 get 3 free coupon. So for

$6 airwick ultra kit x2
$3 lysol wipes x2
$3 toilet boil cleaner x2
$3 finish powerball tabs
$.88 Renuzit x 6
-$1/2 lysol wipes
-$1/2 toilet bowl cleaner
-$2.25 for the tabs (because I only used the $1 off earlier)
-$8 for both of the airwick $4 coupons)
-$2.64 for the 3 free renuzits
-12.48 from the extra bucks

I'm left to pay $3.15 out pocket (plus tax) I think you have to pay tax before the coupons and everything come off but still... that would only be $2.14
That's $5.29 including tax

Let's recap. I spent $18.12 earlier and I'm spending $5.29 now. That's a total of $23.41 for
2 Lysol disinfectant spray
2 Lysol toilet bowl cleaner
2 Lysol wipes
2 Airwick ultra air freshener spray kits (comes with 1 can already)
2 refills for the Airwick Ultra kits
2 packs of Electrosol Finish powerball dish tabs (20 count each)
6 Renuzit adjustable air fresheners,
1 snickers bar
and 1 reeses minis
and a very clean smelling house!

Also if you noticed, you might be able to get the deal again if you had a nice friend who let you use their cvs card since my 2nd transaction also included over $20 worth participating items before coupons and discounts. You just wouldn't be able to use your extra care bucks on this purchase (obviously) since you can only use the bucks towards purchases with your card.

When I make my 2nd trip, I will definitely post about what I ended up doing. It's worth noting that they also have several deal on cleaning supplies and I will probably take advantage of those.

Hope all of that makes sense, but feel free to post questions if you have any. Also one more tip. I am relatively new to CVS shopping, so I checked with the store manager this morning. Unless it specifically says, you do not have to purchase two items, to get a 2/$4 price. You can purchase 1 for $2. They write it like that so you will not want to ask, and assume you must buy 2, spending more money.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's just a game, people!

Ok, so I have been using coupons for a while now, but only fairly recently did I figure out the secret. You have to buy things when they are on sale, and use a coupon with the sale. Price match, do a little comparison shopping, and when you stumble upon an amazing deal-stock up. I mentioned that I was recently able to get dawn dish soap and hand renewal dish soap for super cheap (49 cents a bottle). The way I did that way I saw it was on sale for $1.49 I had been saving up my coupons for a while- this is not an item I needed right now, so the only reason I bought it was it was so cheap. I bought 1 bottle of the regular dish soap, 3 of the hand renewal and one of the pump foam ones-just to try. This honestly, will likely last us at least 6 months, possibly even a year. We have a dishwasher, so the only thing I use liquid soap for is to wash my hands or when we have alot of dishes, or to clean the kitchen. These aren't the tiny bottles either, they are the regular size. Anyways, I also snagged a couple different types of olay lotion for $1 each--I make lotion, but I can't even make it that cheap!! I only bought 2 bottles though, and I bought 2 bottles of herbal essences for $1 each, and two bottles of pantene proV @ $1 each. Realistically, I use about 1 bottle of shampoo and conditioner a month, so does my husband (though I don't think he uses the conditioner). So I just bought him shampoo for 2 months, and me a supply for a month, for $4. Normally it would have cost us about $5-6 for the cheap brand, and likely upwards of $15 if I bought the same kind not on sale (like I used to do whenever I needed something, I just bought it.)

Now, I was so excited to have spent so little and saved/gotten so much in my opinion, for what it was worth. I posted a couple pictures on facebook and got alot of friends asking how I did it, that they never seemed to be able to make it work. I am just learning still so I am not going to say I did all of it by myself, I had help. There are several sites, and blogs that post things for you that make it easy to know what to do and where the good deals are. I will get to that next post. But first I want to say this: Someone made the comment "am I going to be the next person on Extreme Couponers?". At the time, I didn't know what they were talking about. I have since seen the show. I think that those people (first of all, it seemed to show varying degrees and while I wouldn't agree that all those people were obsessed/addicted (at least not in a serious 'need help' kinda way) that I can very easily see how for some people it can take over. All things in moderation I say.

I stay at home, so yes, I have a little more time than most moms. Joanie Demer (thekrazycouponlady.com) has had that couponers average $85/hour. That to me, is incredible. My husband is employed outside the home, and I only work from home to make a little extra money at this point. I homeschool my daughter, I take care of all 3 kids under 5 on a daily basis, I enjoy playing video games with my husband, I attend church on a regular basis, and I have a lot of other things I enjoy doing through the week. My time is very valuable. And I have no doubt that the $85/hour is accurate-to a point. I think you could to it to an unnecessary extreme. When you are buying things you don't need without giving that excess to those who do need-I don't see how that is necessary. When you are buying things you don't need in excess with money you don't have, that is not necessary.

When you are spending SO MUCH time, doing all this research there is a point where you need to take a step back and think, is this worth my time? What I think is neat is while I am still learning this, I haven't really spent any more time than I did before, and I managed to save money. Before, shopping for a family of 5, I could spent nearly 200 and 2 hours in one trip to the grocery store. That did not include planning, gas or anything else. And that also didn't include the addition 1 or 2 more (throughout the 2 weeks) trips back to the store or gas or time, because I was out of something, or we needed to pick up something for dinner or ...whatever! Hopefully within a few months those trips will stop. I will make just a couple planned trips every week/few weeks and save money also. Since I stocked up on things like TP, hand soap, dish tabs, air freshener (scored some apple cinnamon glad air freshener for .17 the other day!!!), toothpaste etc for all we'll need for a month or more, and pennies on the dollar, I won't be buying those items again for a while, thus saving me money.

That being said, I can see the point, to some extent, of having a stock pile. Plan ahead. When you see toilet paper for 75% off what you normally pay, and you have the money, buy a 3 months supply or whatever. People do that kind of thing at Sam's or Costco all the time and no one harasses them about it. Buy in bulk, save money. If you can buy the same number of items individually and save the money even moreso, and you have that money to do it, then go for it! The economy is still not the greatest shape, and who knows what could happen. My husband could lose his job tomorrow, you just never know. So if I had a nice stockpile of a or two worth of food storage to be prepared for that, or even just to offset the cost of rising food prices, it might be helpful. But do you really need to store 150 deodorants in your basement-probably not. Do you really need so much that you need to take out insurance on your stored items, probably not. Although I have often dreamed about a blast from the past-esque scene of me shopping from my own personal grocery store...who didn't drool over that? If you find great deals, use that chance to donate to your neighbors & family, church, or local food pantry.

You can easily save with coupons, and shop the store sales in just a few minutes a week. After a while. you can just replenish your stash and you won't have to buy something regardless of the price just because you ran out and needed it. Hopefully some day I will get to that point. I would love to have a small stockpile to shop from instead of having to buy something every week, and then that money is all savings. Just take into account these things. How often am I buying this item? What are the items I use for my family that I have to buy them on a weekly/bi weekly basis? How much money do I spend on groceries? What are the shelf life of those items? When is the item likely to go on sale again? If its something that goes on sale every couple weeks and has a relatively short shelf life, like yogurt or canned biscuits, just buy what your family will use in that period of time. Don't buy more than you have places to store, or that you won't be able to use (unless, again, you intend to donate it).

Ok, so yeh. That's my "vent" post about the show. All things in moderation. I'm not saying those people were/weren't as KRAZY as they seemed-I don't personally know them. I just think that anyone can do this, and you can do this without having it have to be your whole life. You can just use a few minutes a week to make the savings still equal big bucks!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ringing in the new year

So it looks like I will be ringing in the new year with savings... :D After finally getting organized I made several purchases this week that added up to big savings!

My first trip I went to Kroger, and took advantage of some sales on the last day of their ad, matched them with coupons on my kroger plus card as well as manufacturer's coupons. I scored $4.50 packages of jimmy dean sausage for $1.50. And Kroger had a deal for when I bought 2 packages of sausage, I got a free carton of eggs. I got 4-30 oz. tubes of pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough, free birdseye vegetables (they were on sale for $1 and I had a couple $1 off coupons, 2 free candy bars (50 cents each regular price and coupon was .50 cent off that doubled), children's triaminic for .29 cents when i matched the online coupon with the sale and the mfr coupon. I got canned biscuits for just over $1 a can (again matched e coupons, with a 3/$5 sale, and had .30-.50 c off coupons that doubled. I spent a total of $33 and saved a total of $38. Wooohoo!!!

Next trip was back to Kroger again.
I went back once the new sale started and scored even more sweet deals.
They had a buy 4 participating items, get $4 off instantly deal. I matched it with coupons, some that doubled making the average price about $1 with many things being completely free. They had old spice or secret deodorant on sale for $1.29. Then I had a couple coupons for $1/2, an e coupon, and one for buy 1 deodorant get 1 full size body wash free. (So for around $2 I bought 3 old spice deodorants and a body wash. Yay for hubby!) I later went back an bought more deodorant so hopefully hubby will be good till at least spring time. I also noticed that Vick's Sinex nasal spray was like $7.49 on sale and I had an $4 e coupon and a $4 off coupon from the mfr, making it pay me to buy it! That's called overage. Not all stores give you the overage, some cut it off at the purchase price-it just depends. I also got a huge 12 pack of charmin double rolls for just $2.50 (again I used coupons matched with the sale and an e coupon loaded to my kroger card.) I also got tampax pearl tampons for something like $.49, since I again had a coupon and an e-coupon. I spent a total of $15 and saved over $50 which was a total of 76%.

I also hit up target and bought the mini chicken sandwiches from the freezer section. They were target brand, and even though there were only 6 in there (they were small, hence the "mini") it was a great deal because it was on sale for $2, and I had a coupon for $1.50 off any market pantry (target brand) frozen chicken item, making them just .50!!!

Yesterday I made a couple drug store runs to get great deals that matched my coupons. Gillette fusion (for men) razors ten to run about $10-$12. I had coupons for $4 off and the store price offered $4 back in register rewards (both at walgreens and cvs, so I went to both making them just $1.99. Many stores only allow you to do one of that particular deal. Walgreens is not one of them, but I had to go to both places anyways so I just used one at each store. I also scored some $6 nail polish for .99 (when you consider they turned around and handed me the register rewards to use right away, since I got $5 in rr on my reciept). I got pantene proV shampoos 2/$4 walked away with $2 in register rewards, making them $1 each!! I also went back to kroger and got many of these great deals from the day before AGAIN!!!

I payed less than 40 for everything here (this is combined from the trips above) and this isn't even everything.

Today I went to Walgreens, and I knew about a deal to buy some children's flu medicine for $8.99 to get $9 back in register rewards. Thanks to theKrazycouponlady.com for the tip about this great deal!
I printed off a $2 coupon off the computer and paid $6.99 for the item (meaning the store paid me $2 to buy it.) I then turned around and used those $9 from yesterday's deals plus today's $9 rr, and bought several items. I used coupons for glad trash bags (both from the January coupon book to Walgreens, and also a coupon I printed on the computer) and then I had several coupons for Huggies. Huggies right now are 6.99 at Walgreens which really isn't a bad price. I was able to print out a couple $2.50 off/1 coupons and I had a $3/1 as well, I used the $3 coupon for 1 pack of diapers and the trash bag coupons and that made those items free (after I applied the register rewards). I also found Cheerios for $1.99 and I had coupons for those. You can find those in the paper from today, and online just about all the time. So I got them for 1.45 each-regular size boxes, not little ones, either!!

Oh, and I forgot to say, when I purchased the children's medicine, it also spit out a catalina coupon for a free box of breathe right strips (costs about $6-$7) which I turned around and used right then. I did make a 2nd trip to Walgreens also. Since I know my little man needs size 2 diapers I went ahead and bought some more. I did the same scenario (bought meds, turned around and used the RR coupon for $9 off my next purchase right away, and that time I bought the medicine it also gave me another coupon for breathe right strips. I only had a $2.50 off coupon for 1 diaper that time, and didn't buy the trash bags so I ended up having to pay $3.90 in tax, for 2 packs for diapers and some breath right strips. Not too bad. Total of this trip was around $50, but it was about $150 worth of stuff, and I still walked away with coupons and catalina deals to use next time.

Total spent on all these deals, approx, $125 and saved $250. I'd say that's pretty good, wouldn't you?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Figuring it out....

So, as many of you know, I fancy myself as somewhat of a bargain hunter. It all started when my mom would take us (all 3 girls) to garage sales as a kid, buying clothes and lots of other stuff second hand. We would get really excited when we saw toys because we knew we could take our allowance and buy much more than we could at the store, for less money. In kid terms, all that equaled was, well, more toys!

Now that I am grown, and I have 3 kids myself, I am doing the same thing! I love going to garage sales. Over the years we've gotten some really great finds by buying 2nd hand. When my husband and I first got married, we got our Christmas tree at a yard sale for about $5! I have bought baby clothes for all 3 kids at garage sales. Then I discovered consignment sales. Slightly higher prices, but they are all in one place, which saves gas. PLUS, you can sell WHILE you buy, and someone is doing all that work for you!

I also just really love a good deal anywhere I can find it. We got a new store called Dirt Cheap, where I live. I found tons of brand new educational workbooks for 90% off the list price, some as low as 10 cents each. And of course, since we are a homeschooling family, I stocked up! My husband also found us a really nice MR. COFFEE coffee maker for $8. It was brand new in the box, never even opened!

In effort to save money, about 2 years ago I started shopping @ aldi for everything but my meats. My husband is the one who works outside the home, so we like to cut corners where we can. Then a friend told me that she was saving money using coupons-so much so, that it was cheaper than buying the generic brand! I was all for that, but I never did figure out what to do. I would go to the grocery store and bring 5 or 10 coupons with me (mostly for things that were not on sale or not something I'd be, and I honestly thought I'd be getting a good deal.) Then I mentioned to a friend of mine that I was not saving like she was, and I didn't know how she did it. Picture this- I'm fumbling down the aisles digging through my purse for that coupon I knew I had. Half the time, I dropped them while walking up and down the aisles. OR I would clip them and put them aside, only to lose them or forget them before I even went to the store. Sound like you? I asked the people I knew what I was doing wrong because I honestly didn't get it. And they all said the same thing. BUY A Notebook with 3 rings, and buy a couple packs of baseball card page protectors.

So, that's what I am doing. I just started saving all my newspaper inserts and ones from the mail and I cut them out and put them in a binder. I have it organized by aisle type. To be honest, that did take a little while-a couple hours-mostly because I have been saving all my coupons since the beginning of November and I had to cut them all out and organize them.

I only recently figured that out, and it really saves alot. I'm also going to work on building a stockpile up of items. That's one of my goals for the new year, to not have to make any purchases out of necessity other than what is normal weekly buys (milk, etc). I know almost always when my husband (who is a deodorant snob-he only wears a particular kind and brand-Old spice) runs out of deodorant, I'm going to end up paying $3 or $4 for it, and he always seems to be running out!!

So, now that I got my binder, and I had 2 or even 3 coupons for some things, I checked out the coupon websites and made the list of things that were 75% off or more. I also checked the sales papers to see what kind of deals were going on, and if I had coupons or online coupons on my kroger card. Did you know that if you shop @ kroger, you can use a manufacturer's coupon (the paper kind, either one printed off the computer, or from the newspaper) AND go to kroger.com and load e-coupons on your card. You can use both of those. If you use both of those, and combine it with a good sale, I'm finding you can get top dollar items for cheap or free! Now, I don't claim to be the first person to figure this out. I am still learning myself, and there are alot of great sites, tutorials and videos out there explaining what to do. Each store has there own deals and policies regarding coupons. CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens are all drugstores in my area that offer some type of rebate program that prints out receipt tape with $ off your next order.

It really is like an addicting game that is so much fun! You can get as much or little as you are willing to put into it, but for me, the hunt is half the fun--the huge payoff is when you "win" at the cash register. Earlier this week I bought $75 worth the stuff for about $15, and today I bought $55 worth of stuff for $15 at one store, and $16 worth for $3 at another store, and another $18 for $4 at another store!! This is so much fun and there is nothing like feeling like I am winning the coupon game!