Saturday, January 10, 2015

Back in the Game!

I have been out of the "game" for a while.  I have dabbled here and there since my last post, but I have learned that stretching my dollar as far as it will go it ALWAYS as good idea because I had some bad luck at the end of 2013.

My usual shopping day is Saturday, so I am usually too late to benefit from some of the deals, but it's the only day I have to shop (and sometimes I don't even get Saturdays.)  I am still trying to figure out how I am going to organize myself to maximize my savings.  I still use Money Saving Mom and Southern Savers to track deals and find coupons.  I only shop a few stores so that limits the research, but it still takes a couple of hours to organize everything before I can do the actual shopping.

Today I shopped at Dollar General and Target.

Dollar General

I used Dollar General's digital coupons to take advantage of $5 off $25 today and looked for stuff I needed and could stock up on.

I took advantage of the buy 2 get 1 free Kellogg's savings and purchased:
2 Frosted Flakes
1 Mini Wheats
2 NutriGrain

The Poptarts are regularly priced at $2.00 and they had a peelie coupon for $1.00 off 2 boxes.

Also, they had Quilted Northern toilet paper (12 double rolls) for $5.75 and used a $.45 coupon.
The slippers were $6.00 and the Head and Shoulders were $5 each and I used a $1.00 digital coupon.

My total spent was $30.99 after taxes with a savings of $14.38.  I'm still learning how to get the best savings at Dollar General.  I know that the digital coupon apply after everything has been rung up, and that the $5 off of $25 is after everything else, but all the minuses seem to confuse me.


I did MUCH better at Target.  I planned it out and took advantage of some of the $5.00 gift card deals, used Cartwheel savings and did 3 different transactions.  I also use Shopkick (I earned 30 kicks for walking into Target).  I was able to redeem a $5.00 gift card to us on one of the transactions.  (I tried to use another $5.00 on the last transaction, but it gave me an error.  I didn't realize until later that I was putting in $10.00 and didn't have enough points.)

Transaction 1

Selected Kellogg's cereal and snack bars were $2.50 each and if you purchase 5 items you earn a $5.00 gift card.

I bought 2 each of the snack/pastry bars and a box of Special K cereal and used the $5.00 gift card from Shopkicks.  I spent $5.76 and earned a $5.00 gift card.

Transaction 2

Money Saving Mom clued me in on a deal to earn another $5.00 gift card from purchasing 10 Barilla pasta, Ragu pasta sauce and Old El Paso items.  See her post here.

My purchases were a little different than what she posted because I had different coupons.  I bought:
3 Barilla Whole Grain pastas ($1/3 coupon)
2 Barilla Plus ($1/2 coupon)
2 Ragu ($.75/2 coupon)
Old El Paso shells and 2 avocados ($1.00 coupon)
2 refried beans
1 chopped green chilis ($1/3 coupon)
1 mild Enchilada sauce (to get me to the 10 items - the Barilla Plus was not part of the deal)

Total out of pocket: $9.03 after taxes and $5.00 gift card from previous transaction.  Total savings $11.52 and earned another $5.00 gift card.

Transaction 3

I needed some miscellaneous groceries and looked at what was available on Cartwheel and bought:
Chobani yogurt was on sale 10 for $10 and there was a Cartwheel of 20% off Chobani 100.  They only had blueberry in the 100 variety so I only got 4 of those.
The frozen fruit was 2/$3 with a 5% Cartwheel.
The Ponds lotions are travel size and it takes me a while to use one jar, but they only had a few so I bought 2.
Finish was on sale Buy 2 get 1 free
I used the last of my creamer this morning so I decided to just get more and it was on sale.

My total out of pocket was $27.57 after using the $5.00 gift card from the previous transaction and taxes.  Total saved: $8.47.  Not as good as the other ones, but I got stuff I needed and would use.

Total spending for the day:  $73.35.  My goal was to stay under $100.00 which I did.  Now I only have to get a couple of things from Winn Dixie for the week and I will do that shopping tomorrow.  Winn Dixie usually has a 3 Day Sale starting on Sundays.  Hopefully I can keep that cost down to around $25.00.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Let's Not Waste!

It's been a while since I blogged.

I'm still trying to coupon more/better and shop smarter.  I don't know if it's working but I think I have found (at least a little bit) a way to save some money shopping.

I have started shopping at Sam's Club more, at least once a month.  I found that I can get three 1/2 gallons of Silk for $7.48 when the cheapest I can get it at Winn-Dixie (on sale) is $2.99 per 1/2 gallon.  That's a savings of $1.49 off three from the store and the coupons I can usually get don't save me that much.

I also pack a lunch for both my husband and I every day.  We are both trying to eat better so I have been making salads.  I buy the big pack of romaine lettuce, grape/cherry tomatoes, avocados, mushrooms, carrots and snap peas all from Sam's and that will last us two weeks for lunch, with leftovers.  I find that buying this stuff in the larger packages is cheaper since it's like getting it at a BOGO sale (which you very rarely find for produce).

I've posted in the past that I was making chicken salad for lunches, then using the chicken carcass to make chicken stock.  I haven't make chicken salad in a while, but we do have a bunch of chicken stock in the freezer that we will use to make soup when the weather gets colder.

This week the mushrooms started turning slimy buy then end of the week so I decided to make cream of mushroom soup to use to cook with later on.  I used this recipe but modified it a little because I didn't have 3 cups of mushrooms left so I only used 2 cups.  I increased the amount of onion (I used a small onion) and instead of half-and-half, I used heavy cream because I had it to use in another recipe.  It came out pretty well and I froze it to use later.

I'm trying to organize myself so I can get my coupons and weekly ads put together in shopping lists to do my weekly shopping on Saturdays.  It hasn't worked out yet, and I don't know what I'll be able to come up with time wise.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Shopping Trip 1/16 - CVS & Winn-Dixie

I didn't do any shopping last week since I had a busy week with other commitments.

I only did two stores this week (so far, I may do more on Saturday). I think my goal is going to be to try to stay under $10.00 a week at CVS.


I took a survey for 10 ECBs and had 5 ECBs left over from my last trip.

Transaction No. 1:

2 packs of Huggies Goodnights: 2/$19 (- 2/$2 MFQ)
Total: $15.00
used 15 ECBs for a total OOP: $.36
received 1 ECB

Transaction No. 2:
Arm & Hammer Spinbrush: $5.99 (- $2 MFQ)
Total: $3.99
used 1 ECB from previous transaction for a total OOP: $3.53
received 2 ECBs

Transaction No. 3:
Arm & Hammer Spinbrush: $5.99 (- $2 MFQ)
Total: $3.99
used 2 ECBs from previous transaction for a total OOP: $2.53
received 2 ECBs

TOTAL OOP: $6.42 and 2 ECBs for next trip


I am going to try to budget my weekly trips to Winn-Dixie at $50.00.

I didn't have any really good deals this week, but I did save:
$21.73 in rewards card purchases
$4.10 in manufacturer coupons
Earned $.20 Fuelperks.

Total spent: $46.30

Monday, January 9, 2012

Winn-Dixie Trip - 1/8/12

I did not stay within my $40.00 budget. My total with tax was $97.67.

The "good" bargains I got included Campbell's soups being on sale 10/$10 and I had several coupons totallying $1.00 so I got 11 cans of "cooking" soup for $10.

My mistakes were buying the wrong variety of a product.

I did earn $.65 in fuelperks though, so I did save me money on gas this week.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Walgreens - razor, tomato sauce, Advil & bonus candy bars

My trip to Walgreens was not that eventful, except learning that they now lock up the razors! I didn't realize that they were such a hot comodity that they needed to be under lock and key.

The trip went as planned, mostly. Apparently I miscalculated the cost for my second transaction and had to throw in some fillers.

Transaction No. 1:
Gillette Fuson Razor: $9.99 (- $5.00 MQ) = $4.99 + tax ($.86) and earn 4 RR
TOTAL: $5.86 and earned 4 RR

Transaction No. 2:
3 Hunts Tomato Sauce: in ad sale for $.39 each
Advil (24 ct): $3.00 (- $1.00 printable MQ)
TOTAL: $3.17 + tax (this is where my miscalculation came in, I don't think I took into account the $1 coupon for the Advil)


2 Snickers bars: $.69 each
TOTAL: $4.55 + $.35 tax
Used 4 RR from prior transaction for $.90 OOP

Grand total OOP: $6.76


The only other store I plan on shopping at this weekend is Winn-Dixie. I haven't done my homework for this one yet, but I hope to keep the total under $40.00.

New Year, New Shopping Habits

I am making a New Year's Resoluation/lifestyle change this year.

I've been couponing for a long time, but never really made it a priority. When I got good deals with very little out of pocket I was excited, but it never had much of an impact on my shopping habits.

I also decided that paying off bills is a priority this year. I'm tired of living paycheck to paycheck with little or no left over each week/month. I did manage to pay off my car last year, but there has been a lot of extras that have popped up to keep us from getting ahead. I want to get ahead!

I talked to my husband about it and told him what my plan was for this year. Of course, he is in total agreement with paying off our debt. I even told him that I was not going to be making unexpected/last minute trips to the grocery store to get anything. We were going to have to make due with what we have in the house and what I buy, which means we will have to be creative with our meals.

I will be shopping mostly at CVS, Walgreens, Target, Winn-Dixie and Dollar General. I have found that I can get a lot of grocery items at a really good price at Dollar General AND they take coupons. They also offer a $5 off $25 coupon for shopping on Saturday. I will also look at the Wal-Mart ad to see if they have anything really worth the trip, but I don't have one in close proximity to my house or work so if I don't have to spend the gas to go, I won't.

I'll post when (not if!) we pay off bills and my shopping trips (as you can see from the CVS trip posted already).

Here's to saving money!

CVS Shopping Trip

I have started my new year, new shopping habits. I'm trying to get things we need/use for as little money out of pocket as possible. I know I'm not always going to be able to, but I have decided to dedicate a few hours a week to organizing my coupons (I'm still working on the best strategy for this), looking through the sale ads and researching on the internet to find the best "bang" for my buck.

I'm going to treat my couponing like a part-time job by dedicating time in the evenings a couple days a week to do the work that needs to be done to minimize my spending.

That being said, I did my first trip to CVS this morning...

My plan was as follows:

Transaction 1:
Oral B spinbrush: $5.99 (-$3.00 coupon from P&G) = $2.99 (earn 2 ECB)
2 Dawn dish soap: $.99 each (-$.50 for Hand Renewal & -$.25 for regular) = $.49 & $.74
Eggs: $1.49
TOTAL: $5.71 + tax (approx $.50)*
use 5.99 ECB from previous purchase for approx $.22 OOP + earn 9 ECB for quarterly earnings + 2 ECB for toothbrush

Transaction 2:
Huggies Overnights: $9.49 (earn 1 ECB)
3 Hunt's Snack Pack (10/$10): $3.00 (-$.45/3 manu coupon) = 2.55
TOTAL: $12.04 + tax (approx $1.05)
use 9 ECB + 2 ECB for approx $2.09 OOP + earn 1 ECB

Transaction 3:
CVS Ibuprofen 500 ct: $9.99
TOTAL: $9.99 plus tax (approx $.88)
use 6 ECB from previous purchase + 1 ECB for approx $3.86 OOP

Of course they were totally out of the toothbrushes so I had to regroup my transactions.

Here's what I actually did:

Transaction 1:
Huggies Overnights: $9.49 (earn 1 ECB)
3 Hunt's Snack Pack (10/$10): $3.00 (-$.45/3 manu coupon) = 2.55
TOTAL: $12.04 + tax ($.94)
used 5.99 ECB + 6 ECB for $.99 OOP + earn 1 ECB and quarterly ECBs (9 ECB) + bonus 5 ECB for Beauty Club Rewards which I was not expecting.

Transaction 2:
2 Dawn dish soap: $.99 each (-$.50 for Hand Renewal & -$.25 for regular) = $.49 & $.74
CVS Ibuprofen 500 ct: $9.99
TOTAL: $11.22 + tax ($.26)
used 9 ECB + 1 ECB for $1.48 OOP

and I still have 5 ECBs for next week.


Not bad in my opinion. It's all stuff we use and/or need. I plan on a trip to Walgreens later today and will post after I finish to see how I did.

*We have a weird sales tax system that taxes food items at a different rate from everything else so I'll estimate the taxes for the transactions.