Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I started this past weekend by going through a couple of the piles of papers that I have accumulated. I know that organization will simplify my life, I've just not been able to keep up with it. That being said, this 4-day weekend is probably going to be consumed with paper!!
This is a task that is going to require a lot of upkeep and decision making on my part, which is why I'm making it one of the many resolutions that I have for 2009.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I want to blog more. I've got a pretty good stockpile of razors, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and smell good stuff (candles) right now, so I'm going to search for deals that will reduce my food budget and see what can be "bought" for free! Even if I'm not going to buy anything myself, I'm going to try to post deals that I find.
I REALLY want to reduce my food budget. It's really hard for me because we don't have a Kroger, Safeway, Aldi or any other discount food store. I will see what deals are in the Winn-Dixie, Target, Wal-mart, CVS and Walgreens and share what I find.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I had coupons for Thermacare (they were out, of course), Zantac 150 and Benefiber drink mix sticks.
I had some left over ECBs (3.00 & 2.00) and wanted to keep my OOP as low as possible.
Zantac 150: $4.99 - $1.00 MQ
Used: 3.00 ECB
Total OOP with tax: $1.12 (I think, I lost my receipt somewhere so I'm not 100% sure of the OOP) - paid with gift card.
Earned: 4.99 ECB
Benefiber Drink Mix: $7.29 - $2.00 MQ
Used: 4.99 ECB from Transaction #1
Total OOP with tax: $.42 - paid with change in my purse.
Earned: 7.29 ECB
I also received an interesting CRT - 25 Free Digital Prints (up to $7.25 value). I have one from a previous trip of 10 free digital prints (up to $2.50 value). I have some pictures that I had taken over the Summer that I wanted to get printed up, so now I can get them for FREE!!!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Here's what I got and the coupons I was able to use at the register:
2 Luminaire @ $4.99 each - $3 MQ
4 packs of batteries @ $1.00 each - 4 @ $1 MQ (free after coupons)
1 package Goodnites @ $10.49 - $1.50
2 Snowcone Hot Chocolate mix @ $4.00 each
4 Cheezit @ $2.50 each - 2 @ $1/2
2 Fudge Shoppe cookies @ $2.33 each
1 Velvet color poster @ $1.00
1 Wall Calendar @ $1.00
Total OOP: $41.57 (At some point during my travels to the different departments in the store, I misplaced my Keebler coupons, so I would have bought different items and paid less).
And I earned a $5 GC for the purchase of 5 Keebler products.
Now for the fun part. The cashier tried scanning the $5 Luminaire coupon. It wouldn't go through so she called for backup (a/k/a a manager). I got the same story as the last time, I couldn't use a coupon for more than the price of an item. After some argument on my part about how they get reimbursed for the amount of the coupon, I was told that it was Target's policy to not accept coupons for over the amount and that they couldn't adjust a MQ down, they could only adjust down a Target coupon. When I realized that the manager was not going to budge on the issue, I told them to check me out and I would take care of it at Customer Service.
When I got to Customer Service, the girl told me that the she had already been called about the situation and that the manager was coming. I didn't have my copy of the coupon policy with me, so I asked for the corporate number and called while I was standing at the CS desk. I talked with a REALLY nice guy. In the meantime, a CS manager came up and was trying to explain to me that I couldn't use the coupon because when she scanned the coupon it came up to a negative amount. The guy from corporate tried talking to her and explaining to her how to override the coupon so I could use it. The CS manager was not very nice and argued with the corporate guy. She even told him that they needed to change the way the computers were programmed because she was told that they couldn't accept coupons over the amount and she wasn't going to do it. Unfortunately, their conversation got disconnected before he could tell her how to adjust the coupon.
In the end I was able to use the coupon, by returning both kits, having them both re-scanned, she keyed in my $3 coupon, used the $5 coupon and I paid the difference. It was a confusing and complicated issue that could have been resolved by the cashier hitting the K1 button to begin with.
The best part was, the different cashiers and managers kept telling me that they couldn't take coupons that would make an item free because they couldn't sell me anything for free. Luckily they weren't smart enough to see that I got 4 packs of batteries for free!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I am making an effort to see how much stuff, that I will use and/or need, for the cheapest amount of money out of my pocket. I'm talking about utilizing coupons and ECBs to keep the amount of cash I use to pay to a minimum.
I needed to pick up the pictures so I could get my Christmas cards out (I know I'm late on getting these out, but better late than never), so I browsed through this week's ad to see what I could come up with.
Here's what I came up with:
1 Schick Quattro Titanium Trimmer: $7.99 - $2 MQ
2 Johnson & Johnson First Aid Kit: $.99 x 2 - $3/2 MQ (coupon was adjusted down to $2.97)
1 CVS Lip Balm: $.99
Used $5.99 ECB
TOTAL OOP: $.45 (which is the amount of the sales tax)
The receipt shows:
Sales Tax: .45
I think that's why the $3 coupon was adjusted to $2.97 to cover the sales tax.
I also earned a $3 ECB. I still have 2 ECBs left from my last trip that I have to use soon.
Gummy Savers (2 bags)
Gillette Body Wash (1 bottle)
Friday, December 5, 2008
I have been doing a poor job of keeping up with my posts as I do frugal stuff, I'm sorry. I started my pumpkin extravaganza right after Halloween. We had three pumpkins for Halloween, 2 that I purchase from Whole Foods ($2/$10) with a coupon that was floating around back then and 1 from a local pumpkin patch. Last year we carved our pumpkins too early, so by Halloween night they were a gross moldy mess, so this year I was going to wait. Well, I waited so long that we didn't carve them at all.
I had been reading different blogs about cooking pumpkins to make puree and then using the puree to make all kinds of yummy goodies, so I did an Internet search to find a website with easy recipes since it was my first time cooking pumpkins. I found this one. I cooked the pumpkin in the microwave and froze the puree. I even roasted some of the seeds which are delicious.
I used their pumpkin pie (including crust) and pumpkin bread recipes, both of which turned out really good. I don't remember where I found the pumpkin muffin recipe, but I used this pumpkin cheesecake recipe. Everything turned out really good, except the muffins, because I ran low on puree and had to modify the recipe.
I will do this again next year.
I heard an ad on the radio yesterday morning on my way to work and couldn't wait to get into the office so I could pull up the website to see if it was true. IT IS!
Kmart will be doubling coupons up to $2.00 through Saturday, December 6th. I'm working on putting together some deals with the advertised sales, items that I'm running low on and possibly some stockpile items.
I'll let you know how well I did.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Venus Embrace $9.49 - $4 MQ
Paid with Gift Card
Earned $6 RR
Transaction No. 2:
2 Bounty Basics @ $.89 each (weekly ad coupon)
2 Kleenex @ $.89 each (weekly ad coupon)
3 Tylenol Cold $4.99 each - $4.50 MQ
1 Schick Quattro Midnight $3.99 - $3 Easy Saver Coupon
2 M&M Premiums 2/$8 - $1 ESQ - $2 MQ
Used $6 RR from previous transaction
Paid with Gift Card
Earned $5 RR
Transaction No. 3:
1 Venus Embrace $9.49 - $4 MQ
1 Trident Xtra Care Gum $1.49 (needed 2 items because I was using 2 coupons)
Used $5 RR from previous transaction
Paid partially with Gift Card and $1.03 OOP
Earned $6 RR
Transaction No. 4:
2 Lil Webkinz $6.99 BOGO
Used $6 RR from previous transaction
Total: $.99 + tax
Paid $1.62 OOP
Total cash out of my pocket $2.65.
The gift card I used was from rebates which is now empty, but I'll work some more deals later to refill it. Plus I have a coupon for $3 off my next magazine purchase.
Part of my decision to go to CVS is all of the free after ECBs deals. The other was a coupon I received in the mail for $5 off $10 for a new store that opened, which helped to start rolling ECBs.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I usually do my online shopping through MyPoints (you get points for shopping which you can redeem for gift cards) or Upromise (you get money posted to your account to use for your child(ren) for college), but with Ebates you can choose to get cash back for purchases. The downfall is that they only pay out quarterly.
Ebates gives you up to 26% Cash Back every time you shop online. You can shop at over 1000 stores including Barnes & Noble.com, Gap, Target, Buy.com and Expedia. Plus you get additional savings with exclusive coupons, free shipping offers, and limited-time sales! (If you sign up with Ebates through this link: http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=i%2FYPnC15PNVZYl0803Zkmw%3D%3D, we'll each get a $5 bonus when you make your first purchase!)
I made my first purchase last week using Ebates and have received a credit of $11.50 in my account. I think I've found my new favorite place to start me online shopping.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I had still had the IP coupons from a few weeks ago for $10.00 off and they expired today, so my cost was $4.99. I bought two.
I need paper towels and since they don't go on sale very often, I bought 2 rolls of the Bounty Basics ($.99 minus $.29 MQ) for $.75. I bought two of these also.
The last thing I bought was Pictureka (a board game). It was on sale this week for $15.00, minus the $5.00 Target coupon = $10.00.
Total OOP: $25.13 including tax
Total savings in coupons: $25.50
I had yet another "difficult" check out. I had to have the "one per purchase" discussion with the cashier. The best part was that none of my coupons beeped and none of them had to be pushed through.
Friday, November 7, 2008
This is how it worked out...
Coke 12 pk. 4/$12
- 2 BOGO coupons from Mycokerewards.com (The coupons had to be manually entered)
4/$6 - Done
Earn 3 ECB Earned 3 ECB
Dawn $.99 x 2
- 2 $.25 MQ
1.48 - Done
Crest Pro-Health Whitening $3.49 - Didn't have any on the shelf
- 1 $1 MQ
Earn $3.49 (money maker)
Kellogg's Cereal 2/$5
- 2 $1 IP
2/$3 - Done
Went during lunch and was hungry so I bought some Pringles. $1.99
Total OOP: $12.97 - 1.69 ECB = $11.28 Actual OOP: 11.47
Earn 6.49 ECB - Earned 3 ECB
CRTs (Cash Register Tape coupons) that printed were:
Save $2.50 on any Pain Reliever Purchase of $10 or more
Save $1.00 on any (3) Kleenex
Save $2.00 on your next Gillette purchase of $10 or more
$2.00 off Pediacare Gentle Vapors Plug & Nightlight
These all expire on 11/21/08 and can be matched up with manufacturer coupons for extra savings.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Every time I've gone recently I get a different story about exactly what their policy is. First I was told that I couldn't get anything for free unless the coupon said "free" on it. Then I was told that they cannot adjust the manufacturer coupon but they could adjust Target coupons, and I could only get the Lipton tea that was pictured on the coupon.
Why are they making it so difficult to use coupons?!
I tried explaining to the woman in corporate that I just want to know exactly what the coupon policy is. She told me that the e-mail I got was everything that I needed. Well apparently not, since I showed that to the cashier while I was in the store and it didn't make a difference.
My target is not a Super Target, so there are a lot of "deals" that I cannot get, but when I find something that I actually use and can get it's very frustating to not be able to get it.
The person from corporate told me that I could make an appointment with the Executive Team Leader on duty today to discuss it with her. I may try to call her later, but right now I'm so angry I might yell at the poor girl and she wasn't even there on Saturday.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Target ended up being an experience again. I tried using the $1 Target coupons on the Lipton To Go 4 pack located at the check outs priced at $.99 and again tried to get the trial size Bausch & Lomb ReNu Multiplus Solution. Long story short... the store manager was called and said that Target's policy was that Target coupons could be adjusted down, but manufacturer coupons could not and I could use the Target Lipton coupon on the Lipton To Go because it was not what was pictured on the coupon. I tried calling the customer service number while I was in line but apparently it is only open Monday - Friday! I have every intention of calling them on Monday to complain and get absolute clarity about the coupon policy since I get a different story every time!
I ended up spending $69.xx (the receipt shows: YOU SAVED 48.XX, I'm not sure what all is included in that amount) and earned a $5.00 gift card.
I also got a flu shot while I was there. They gave me a gift pack with a travel size tissue, bottle of vitamin C, hand sanitizer, a sample of Theraflu attached to a $2 coupon and a list of the generic prescription drugs that you can get for $4 a month.
I pretty much had sworn off of doing any shopping at Walgreen's after the "incident" I had with them about their prescription plan, but I am almost out of paper towels and wanted to use the coupons I had for Bounty and they had Arm & Hammer laundry detergent at an awesome price, $2.99 a bottle. I figured since I was there, I would get some things on the rebate list to build up the gift card I had. Besides, you can never have enough smelly stuff and cleaning supplies, right!
The Arm & Hammer was a limit of one. I wanted to get at least 2 bottles because I was able to print out two $1 coupons making them $.99 each. I prefer to use the A&H detergent if I can get if at a good price because I like the smell and feel that it gets our clothes cleaner. So, I decided to go to another store.
Between the two different stores that I went to, I ended up spending approximately $125.00. The amount I saved using coupons, advertised savings and WAG coupons was about $86.00. I estimate the amount I'm going to get back in rebates at $21.00 plus 10 %. I would have done better, but I realized as I was getting my coupons together for the second store that I had put a number of my coupons that I was supposed to use for the first store, in the wrong place in my binder, so I bought them again at the second store.
UPDATE: My rebate will be $24.20.
I went to Wal-mart looking for Glen Muir canned tomatoes, but apparently they don't carry them any more. While I was there, I picked up a few things that we needed, all of which I had coupons for, of course!
I should also note that I have both kids with me for this marathon, so my nerves were pretty shot and after all that shopping, I'm pretty exhausted!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Beans are a good source of protein and are filling. In New Orleans people have been eating Red Beans and Rice every Monday for as long as they can remember. Beans are also very versatile, you can use them as a base for a soup or stew, they can be a side dish or the main ingredient for your meal.
I'm trying to be more frugal and waste less by reusing things we already have and throwing away less food since that's pretty much just throwing money away, so I bought 3 different bags of dried beans (split peas, 16 bean soup mix and pinto beans) to see how many uses I could get. I decided to start with the pinto beans. I soaked them over night and cooked them in my slow cooker with some garlic and an onion and cooked them all day.
I used 1/2 of the beans and made refried beans (loosely based on this recipe), combined with left over taco meat, rice, cheese, tomato and tortillas for a Mexican bake. MEAL #1.
For the next meal, I used the other 1/2 of the beans and made a chili. I cooked some ground turkey, added pinto beans, cumin, chili powder and canned tomatoes. Served it was rice. MEAL #2.
For the last meal, I made flour tortillas, filled them with the left over chili and cheddar cheese, melted some Velveeta and salsa to pour over them, baked it for about 20 minutes, MEAL #3 - Enchiladas.
Not bad for one bag of pinto beans!
I have come up with some other creative meals with leftovers. One of them is Chicken Fried Rice. I found an easy recipe and have been making this for a couple of months. It's a good way to use the extra rice from a previous meal, stretch a package of chicken and incorporate vegetables into one meal.
I start by chopping an onion and carrots and cooking them in a large skillet with little olive oil until the onions are clear. Next I add chicken cut into cubes, some pepper and cook until no longer pink inside. Then I add the rice and some soy sauce and cook until most of the soy sauce is absorbed. Make a hole in the middle of the pan and cook 2 eggs. Stir to incorporate the eggs throughout the pan, add some frozen peas, cook until peas are warm. From start to finish, this meal takes about 20 to 25 minutes to make.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
There is not one store that doubles coupons in my area. Not even one day a week! I also have a hard time even finding products people are getting for "free". To make things worse, I went to Wal-Mart get some stuff that I knew they carried AND I had coupons for, but the shelves were bare! Now my coupons are expired and I've lost out of some pretty good deals.
I'm really determined to get the most for my money and get out of debt, but if this keeps up, it's going to be a long time before my family will be in a "good" financial position.
Thank you for listening, like I said, I needed to vent!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
BBQ pork sandwiches (I put leftover BBQ'd boneless ribs in the crock pot with some extra sauce)
This is a meal created from a previous meal.
Asian Shrimp and Coconut Soup (I got this recipe from Parents Magazine, you can see it here.)
It calls for pre-cooked shrimp and cut veggies. So I cooked the shrimp on Monday night and pre-cut the veggies and stored them in the refrigerator. It made the prep time less and we were actually sitting down at the table eating 30 minutes after I started cooking!
I pre-cooked the ground turkey so all I have to do is warm it up with the can of sauce while the pasta is cooking. (I'll have to pre-cook the pasta next time to make it quicker).
Chinese stir fry
I really like the Wanchai Ferry kits. (You can go to their website here.) I make two of them, Spicy Garlic Chicken for DH and I and Sweet and Sour Chicken for the kids and add frozen Chinese vegetables to make it a more nutritious meal.
My prep for this one is going to be difficult. I'll have to decide tonight what I'm going to pre-cook.
It's a start. I figured that since I was in the kitchen anyway, why not start the next meal while I was already cooking.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Well just this week (and it's only Wednesday) I've received 2 freebies. The first and most exciting was a free Swiffer Sweeper. Yes, I said FREE! These usually cost around $10.00. This is by far the best freebie I've received yet.
I also received a free sample of the new Orville Redenbacher 100 calorie snacks in the mail yesterday.
It's always fun to get home and check the mailbox. I don't know if it's going to have a special surprise for me or just bills! ;}
Monday, August 25, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
Restaurant.com offers discounted gift certificates to restaurants in your area. All you have to do is punch in your zip code and it provides you with a list of restaurants where you can get gift certificates.
I hit the jackpot yesterday. I was able to get $250.00 worth of gift certificates for $27.00, which included a gift certificate for my aunt that lives in the Chicago area.
We have several people that we give gift certificates to for Christmas, and since I usually start my Christmas shopping early, I thought this would be a good place to start with the bonus of saving LOTS of money.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I have purchased some energy efficient light bulbs and am using them to replace the old bulbs as they burn out. (I'm caught between going green and saving green right now). We also purchased an HE washing machine and dryer when we bought our house. We have a programmable thermostat and keep a/c temperature higher during the day when we're not home, so we are not cooling an empty house. I've also started turning on only the light in the room I'm in, turning it off as I leave the room, and opening the blinds during the day. (You must know, I have always been someone who turned on every light in the house because I was going to go back "in there".)
My latest "green" idea came for someone else's blog (sorry, I can't remember who). The question was asked about what people were doing with all of the plastic shopping bags you get from CVSing, etc. Someone wrote that they use them for their "smelly" garbage. Well, I had so many of them and nowhere to recycle them, I decided to start using them all the time. I even found a garbage can at Target specifically for those types of bags.
I usually only have to take one trip out to the "big" can a day.
Not only am I recycling the bags (being green), but I'm also saving money by not spending money on trash bags (saving green).
This time I bought seeds: cucumber, lettuce and baby spinach. In less than two weeks my cucumber seeds have sprouted and grown much faster than I anticipated.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
This brings me to the comment I just heard. I was walking toward the door to the building that I work in and there was a lady on the other side. I could tell that she was trying to push open the door. The problem was, she needed to pull. After she realized her mistake and opened the door, I jokingly commented "pull". She said "Yeah, the OTHER pull".
At least it made ME laugh!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
That being said, you may not thing that the things I purchased yesterday as absolutely necessary, but...
I was browsing through the Big Lots thread at Hot Coupon World and saw that they had underwear for $2.00. It is a 3 pack of Hanes little girl underpants size 4T which we desperately needs because 1) 4yo is going to a sleep over camp next week and I will need to send extras because she still has "accidents" and 2) our dog is a magician and can find little girl underpants and chew them up without me even knowing how he got them.
Total spent: $2.18 including tax
Since 4yo was accepted into "big" school, I hadn't even started supply shopping for her. I have almost all of 12yo's supplies, but I still have a few things to get and I'm meticulously scouring the weekly adds to see what's on sale so I can get everything at a reduced price.
4 transparent pocket folders - $.01/each
4 packs of 150 count loose leaf filler paper - $.15/each
Total spent: $.70 including tax
While I was on the Hot Coupon World website, I saw that Target had shoes on clearance. 4yo NEEDS (and I mean NEEDS!!!) shoes for school. I found a cute pair of little tennis shoes for under $4.00.
Total spent: $4.00 + tax
Friday, July 18, 2008
Even if you home school you children, I'm sure you know someone that could use them!
Monday, July 14, 2008
As I was cleaning this weekend I ran across a $10 CVS gift card I had redeemed from MyPoints. Since I technically would not be spending any of MY money, and I couldn't let the dog starve, I decided to see what I could do to get some ECBs because I am going to need to get diapers/pull ups really soon. And I did really well!
Here are my freebies:
It's not a lot, but it was free. Here's how and the rest of my trip:
Olay Regenerist moist wipes ($5.99) minus $3.00 Mfr coupon and $3.00 CRT = .01 overage
CVS Pantiliners ($.99) minus $1.00 CRT = .01 overage
2 cans of Pringles (2 for $2.00) - treats for my girls as a reward to being good while shopping
5 cans of dog food @ $.99
Total after tax: $7.63 (on gift card)
Earned: $1.99 in ECBs
BONUS: $8.50 ECBs for Spring Spending.
I have a $2.00 ECB from previous purchase so I have $12.49 in ECBs for diapers and to roll over and earn more ECBs.
Friday, July 11, 2008
I bought a some vegetable plants a few months ago: a sweet pepper, a jalapeno pepper and a Roma tomato. To date, I have had 2 jalapeno peppers and over a dozen tomatoes. The tomato plant is still producing and I have about a dozen more in various stages of ripening.
Considering I usually kill the plant that I really like and/or have plans for, I'm pretty impressed.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
For example, I signed up for a free sample of Kashi's Mountain Medley granola. I was excited about trying this product because I have tried other Kashi products and have liked them. Sadly, when it arrived in my mailbox, it was full of ants. I immediately threw it away and didn't think of it further, until I received an e-mail from Kashi wanting feedback on the sample. I would love to comment on it, but since I didn't get to try it, I couldn't.
This made me think, Kashi really wants to know what people think of their products, so I should let them know that I couldn't comment on the granola because of the ants. I pulled up the Kashi website and type a nice little e-mail to the customer service department letting them know about my incident. Guess what I got in the mail yesterday! Go ahead, guess!
A very nice letter of apology and explanation from Kashi and 3 coupons for a free sample of any Kashi product. I will be putting those to good use!
Like I said, Thank You Kashi!
Friday, May 23, 2008
Lately I've discovered that the boxes that business envelopes come in make really handy storage boxes for all those CVS items I've accumulated. I use the stickies to lable them and store them on the shelves in my garage. I even have a scrapbooking friend who will decorate the box with some pretty paper and give it as a gift to a new mom. It's a great way to reuse and recycle while being environmentally friendly.