Monday, October 20, 2008

Problems with Target

I called Target's Guest Relations number listed on the e-mail I got from them for my inquiry last week about their coupon policy. They were no help at all. Basically I was told that they (corporate) work with the individual stores in interpreting their coupon policy. What!! That is so frustrating.

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

Shopping Saturday

I did some power shopping today. I hit Target, Walgreen's (2 of them) and Walmart.


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 did have a pretty good trip otherwise, I did the advertised 10/$10 Vitamin Water/Smart Water to get a $5 gift card and got sandwich size Ziploc baggies (25 pack) for $.50 each. I had a bunch of Target coupons that I received in the mail to use with manufacturer coupons to get cheap pet food and toilet paper and there were some Glade Scented Oil Candles priced at $2.50. I have $2.00 coupons, which made them $.50 each.

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

Frugal cooking

I was inspired by MoneySavingMom's post about eating beans for a week - almost (View post here).

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

Fun day at Target!

I had a pretty good haul at Target today. I would have done better, but neither the cashier nor her manager would allow me to use some of the $1.00 coupons I had for $.99 trial sized items. The coupons did not say "excludes trial size" so they should have taken them but the manager said that I couldn't because I was going to be getting them from free - DUH!
She said that the only way you could get something for free using a coupon, was if the coupon said "free" on it. I tried explaining to her that they get reimbursed from the manufacturer for the coupon so it shouldn't matter what product I was getting as long that there weren't any exclusions on the coupon. She wouldn't budge. What was worse, another manager got there before her and started telling the cashier to adjust the coupon to the value of the product, but the other one told her that wasn't the store's policy.
Needless to say, I e-mailed Target to get clarification on their policy so I can have it in my hand the next time I go there (which will be soon, so I can get my other "free" stuff).

Anyway, here's my haul...

The total before I returned the items they wouldn't let me use coupons for was $33.xx. My total after crediting back the 4 $.99 items and all my coupons (I didn't buy anything a I didn't have a coupon for) was $4.52 including tax. My goal was to stay under $5.00 and I did it!
I have to give credit to Money Saving Mom for her post on this week's deals (you can see her post here) in helping me.
Here's the breakdown of what I got:
Carnation Instant Breakfast - $3.94 x 4 - $14 = $1.76
Sunsilk - $2.99 - $2 = $.99
Kotex - $.99 - $1.50 = $.48
Johnson's Buddies - $.99 x 6 - $6 = -.06
Clean and Clear - $.99 - $1 = -.01
It helps to do your homework before going to the store AND having your coupons with you at the store because you never know what deals you're going to find.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I need to vent!

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been doing a lot research to plan out my shopping trips, trying to coordinate coupons with sales, getting ideas from the various websites/blogs and I have become very frustrated. How is it that a company/retailer can advertise a sale or list prices for an item in one place and not in another?! I know that there are different "markets" out there for the stores, but it's really starting to irritate me.

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!