Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weekly Spending Summary

This was for this past week. It was a fairly average week as you'll see. :)

Total Spent: $34.59
Total Saved with Coupons: $51.48
Total Saved with Sales: $63.59
Total Saved: $115.07

Rite Aid:
$0 ($0.29 spare change)
Saved with Coupons: $43.49
Saved with Sales: $24.79

The Nivea was free with a rain check and coupon. I was pretty happy about getting it since there haven't been many free deals on men's body wash and Vince was almost out. The Oral-B toothbrush was also a rain check item.

CVS: $0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $7.99
Saved with Sales: $2.80

I would have spent a whopping $0.08 if I had not had a gift card. :)

Darrenkamps: $34.59
Saved with Sales: $36.00

Time to stock up on meat! I bought approximately 18 lbs. of chicken tenders and also some loose sausage that was in the markdown bin.

Weekly Spending Summary

I'm behind on posting as you know. This is for the week of 6/12 to 6/18.

Total Spent: $24.16
Total Saved with Coupons: $38.68
Total Saved with Sales: $28.13
Total Saved: $66.81

CVS: $0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $20.48
Saved with Sales: $4.98

I apparently forgot to take a picture of this purchase. I got: 1 CVS 9 volt battery, 1 Motrin PM 20 ct., 1 Schick Hydro 5 razor, and 1 Zyrtec 5ct. I would have paid $1.97 for this had I not used a gift card that we earned through our credit card rewards program.

Rite Aid: $7.19
Saved with Coupons: $9.20
Saved with Sales: $11.12

I've done more transactions lately at Rite Aid that qualify for Single Check Rebates than UPRewards, so I'm a little low on them to help me pay for my purchases. It felt funny to pay this much out of pocket at Rite Aid. Haven't done that in a long time.

Giant: $0.99
Saved with Coupons: $3.00
Saved with Sales: $3.58

Weis: $2.00
Saved with Coupons: $6.00
Saved with Sales: $8.45

Walmart: $12.29

Vince forgot to get milk from the local farm we usually buy it at, so I paid double what we normally pay and got a gallon at Walmart. I can't believe how expensive milk is!

Aldi: $1.69
This was for a bag of spinach.


Logan helping fold washcloths

Oh my. I never planned to take a blogging break, but I guess I kind of just did, didn't I? Life has been wild around here the last couple of weeks. We've had Summer Bible School (which we were in charge of), 2 sets of overnight guests, a bunch of green beans (I got 14 1/2 qt.) to put in the freezer and all sorts of other things. I kept thinking I'd get a post or two done but simply had no extra time. And so this blog just was kind of quiet.

And on top of all the busyness I wasn't feeling just amazing either. Those of you that know me in real life know this already, but we are excited about welcoming another little person to our family in December. Yes, I'm pregnant! I'm starting to feel better but the last number of weeks have been a bit of a drag with being extremely tired and feeling kind of yucky too. I'm glad that seems to be a thing of the past.

While we are excited, after losing our newborn daughter almost 8 months ago, we also feel some trepidation. Eleni's condition was a rare thing (it occurs in 1 in 60,000 births) so we really have no reason to worry about it happening again. But we are just much more aware that something could go wrong. And so we are constantly having to consciously choose to trust God and rest in Him. However, it's comforting to know that if something happens again, God will walk with us then just like he has the past 8 months. We won't be alone and we'll have His grace to help us get through it.

So that is what's been happening around here. I hope to get a couple of posts up in the next several days, but I have more green beans coming, possibly some blueberries too and we are looking forward to having some family come spend the weekend with us as well. So, it doesn't look like life will be slowing down.

Blessings to each of you!

"Working" at popping bubble wrap while I did green beans :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Birthday Freebies

It's our little family's birthday season- June and July- and I thought I'd post an updated list of birthday freebies. Since I've discovered these, it is one of the highlights of my birthday. Only problem is, you can gain a lot of weight if you do them all! :)

* Baskin Robbins- Sign up for the Birthday Club and you'll get a coupon for a free scoop of ice cream for your birthday.
* Burger King- Your child can receive a free kid's meal on their birthday when you sign them up for Club BK.
* California Pizza Kitchen- Sign your child up for CPKids and they can enjoy a free kids meal.
* Dunkin' Donuts- If you have a Dunkin' Donuts gift card, you can register it for the DD Perks Rewards and among other things, you'll get a free medium beverage of your choice for your birthday.
* Krispy Kreme- If you live near a Krispy Kreme you may be able to get a dozen free doughnuts on your birthday! Simply call your local store ahead of time to see if they participate. (I've never tried this one since we don't have a store near us, but I'm told many locations do offer this yummy treat!)
* Panera Bread- Sign up for a Panera card and you'll get a coupon for a free sweet or pastry.
* Red Robin- Sign up for Red Robin's e-club and you'll get a free burger on your birthday.
* Ruby Tuesday- Join Ruby Tuesday's So Connected club and you'll get a free hand crafted burger- no purchase necessary- on your birthday. I couldn't believe it last year when they let me choose any burger I wanted and gave me fries and a drink too!
* Starbucks- Have a Starbucks gift card? Register it here and one of the perks you'll get is a coupon for a free Starbuck's birthday drink. It might be worth getting a $5 gift card and registering it just for this! :)

Two deals that are not quite as good but that I'll mention anyway...
* Cold Stone Creamery- Join their birthday club and receive a coupon for a free treat with the purchase of another one.
* Dairy Queen- Join the Blizzard Fan Club and receive a coupon for a Buy 1 Get 1 free blizzard on your birthday.

And two non-food related deals...
* If you create an account at they send you one of these offers and you can then redeem it for a $5 check. Not a bad birthday gift in my mind! Just be watchful, the subject line of the email just says something related to birthday and nothing about a coupon.
* Toys R Us- Sign your child up for the Toys 'R Us Birthday Club (click "Birthday Club" at the top of the page) and they'll receive a free gift (rumored to be a $3 Toys 'R Us gift card) on their birthday.

Have you ever done any of these freebies? Do you know of others? I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Obtaining Coupons: Newspaper Inserts- Part 1

One of the most popular way to get manufacturer's coupons is by purchasing a Sunday paper. Most Sunday papers will include a set of coupon inserts- anywhere from one to three inserts is typical. The three most common inserts are: Smartsource (abbreviated SS), Red Plum (RP) and Proctor & Gamble (PG). Occasionally you will also find General Mills (GM) inserts as well.

The frustrating thing with Sunday coupon inserts is that not all papers carry the inserts AND the inserts vary greatly with each paper. For instance, Lancaster Intel might have a coupon for $0.75/1 Colgate toothpaste; while the Washington Post coupon for Colgate toothpaste might be $1/1. So if you are using coupon databases to help you figure out where to find coupons for a certain product, you might see that the 6/5 RP insert was supposed to have a certain coupon in it, however your insert is totally missing that coupon. That is because some inserts DID get the coupon, however, obviously not all of them did and you were one of the "lucky" ones that didn't. :)

The spine of one my inserts- I was hoping you could read it but...

Maybe you are wondering how to know just what week your newspaper insert is from. If you look on the spine of the insert, it will say something like this: Advertising Supplement to Washington Post 6/5/2011. That simply means that the insert was from the Washington Post newspaper and it was for Sunday June 5.

You can either purchase the Sunday paper at your local store/newspaper stand or you can subscribe to it. If you are purchasing the paper every Sunday, you may want to check this schedule to see if it is worth purchasing and to decide how many papers you want to purchase. Some weeks there are no inserts so you'd be wasting your money on a paper.

If you are planning to regularly purchase a Sunday paper, I'd highly recommend subscribing to it, as you can save quite a bit. I recently called up our local newspaper and asked them what the best subscription rate was that they could give me for just the Sunday paper. It was $0.88/week as opposed to the $1.75/week that is charged at newsstands.

What tips do you have for getting coupons via the newspaper?

Did you miss the other posts in this series? If so, here are links to them- Contacting Companies; Websites; Coupon Trading; and Store Emails & Fliers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Weekly Spending Summary

Not much to say about my spending this week...just a normal week really.

Total Spent: $24.15
Total Saved with Coupons: $54.49
Total Saved with Sales: $32.47
Total Saved: $86.96

$0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $26.00
Saved with Sales: $19.57

Rite Aid: $3.30
Saved with Coupons: $27.49
Saved with Sales: $10.03

Giant: $4.50
Saved with Coupons: $1.00
Saved with Sales: $2.87

No, I didn't buy the one bottle of dressing half used. I just didn't have time to shoot this picture until I had already used part of it. As you'll read below, I didn't plan ahead to well and so I had to pay almost full price for these items. That's just life sometimes.

Aldi: $16.35

I bought some unexpected items because I had to take some food to our church fellowship dinner and I also wanted to make an awesome taco salad (I really should post the recipe) for Vince's birthday meal and I hadn't planned ahead at all. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Free Audiobook: A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada

Christian Audio's free book of the month is A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada.

Thanks Money Saving Mom!

Free Stuff for Kids with Good Report Cards

Wow! Who knew that you could get so much stuff by simply having a good report card?

Call ahead to be sure your location is participating.

Peter Piper Pizza: Free 7 inch 1 topping pizza for good grades on report card

Chuck E. Cheese: Bring in a recent report card with good grades and receive free game tokens. (Food purchase is required)

Cheryl & Co: Free cookie for every A on report card

Krispy Kreme: Get a free donut for each A on your report card (up to 6).

Baskin Robbins: Free scoop of ice cream for a good report card

Chick-Fil-A: Report cards with all A’s and B’s will receive a free 8 piece chicken nugget.

McDonalds: Free happy meal for report cards with all A’s

Pizza Hut: Report cards with 3 A’s or more will receive a free personal pan pizza and drink. Dine in only.

Limited Too: Take a report card in within 30 days of it being issued and receive a $5 same day discount for good grades.

Thanks, Frugal Lancaster!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weekly Spending Summary

I felt like I did a bunch of shopping this week, especially compared to the last couple of weeks. But I still didn't spend that much thanks to gift cards and the like.

Total Spent: $31.37
Total Saved with Coupons: $53.02
Total Saved with Sales: $23.90
Total Saved: $76.92

Rite Aid:
Saved with Coupons: $34.02
Saved with Sales: $18.74

I had FREE product coupons for the Poligrip.

Giant: $0
Saved with Coupons: $11.50
Saved with Sales: $5.16

I had FREE product coupons for the Johnsonville sausage.


I used a $20 gift card that I earned by redeeming Pampers Gifts to Grow points to pay for this purchase. I decided to get dairy products since they were what we needed right now and since they are also harder to find good deals on regularly.

Walmart: $0 (gift card)

I used a gift card that we got through a credit card points program to pay for this purchase. Otherwise my out of pocket would have been $10.12.

We were celebrating Vince's birthday this week and I needed ice cream. I was excited to see that the Walmart brand is all-natural now. Grabbed some other stuff while I was there...although, as is typical for our Walmart, the item that I actually went there for they were out of stock on. Grr!

Forry's Country Store: $0
Saved with Coupons: $7.50

I purchased a $15 gift certificate for only $7.50 from a local daily deal site for Forry's. I had fun using it and actually spent $3 for the above purchase- I used cash from my grocery money that I have for market.

Kaufman's Fruit Farm:
This was for some pectin to make strawberry jelly.

Misc.: $6.00
For fresh ground whole wheat flour from my mother-in-law.

Friday, June 3, 2011

You Might Enjoy...

* Ways to Make the Monotonous more Fun
Do you ever feel, like I do, that daily life can start feeling a bit dull? I thought these were some great simple suggestions to make it more fun.

* Natural Ant Control Remedies
Thank goodness we don't have trouble with ants, but I'm sure some of you do. And they are so annoying! Hopefully one of these remedies might work for you.

* Do-It-Yourself Veggie and Fruit Wash
Maybe I'm weird, but I actually just wash my fruit and veggies in water. But I thought that this was a great inexpensive alternative to using the wash that you can buy. And I actually just might have to start using it on some of the "dirtier" stuff I buy.

* Making Daddy Feel Welcome
An excellent post on small things to do to make Daddy feel welcome when he walks in the door after a long day. It was such a good reminder for me! I can too quickly get in the harried, putting-together-supper mode and not give Vince the welcome he deserves.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Groupon: $20 Old Navy Voucher for $10

If you are an Old Navy fan, you might want to purchase today's Groupon for a $20 Old Navy voucher for only $10 (once you get to the Groupon page click on "All Deals" and you should see the Old Navy offer. The voucher will expire 7/30/11 and is good at any Old Navy store in the U.S.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Using Rainchecks 101

Back several weeks ago, reader Kathy suggested that I do a post on rain checks. She said, "I've been afraid to try them but it seems to really work for you." I thought it was a great idea and promised her that I would try to get a post up soon. Now more than a month later, I'm finally getting it done!

What are rain checks?i defines it as a
"coupon" or ticket
entitling a customer to purchase at a later date and for the same amount a sale item that is temporarily out of stock." And that pretty much sums it up. If you go to a store and they are out of a sale item, they'll give you a rain check that you can use later to get that same item at the sale price. It's really quite easy and painless usually.

What stores offer them?
Drugstores and most grocery stores. I didn't realize for a long time that grocery stores offer rain checks and missed out on a lot of deals because our closest Giant is rather pathetic and often runs out of sale merchandise.

There may be other stores that offer them as well. (Obviously Target does according to the above picture.) Any one know of any? And if you are at a store and want to know, just ask them. The worst they can do is say, "Rain WHAT?!" :)

How do they work?
Say you go to CVS and they are out of the Gillette body wash that was on sale for $2.00 with an Extra Buck of $1.50. You can simply go to the check out and ask for a rain check for that item. In my experience both Rite Aid and CVS will write the rain check to reflect the Extra Buck or UPReward that you would get with the purchase. So in other words, you don't have to miss out on getting your Extra Buck/UPReward just because the item wasn't in stock and you had to get a rain check.

At grocery stores you have to go to the customer service desk which is a bit more unhandy because you shoot more time. But it's still often worth it.

The length of time that a rain check is good varies on the store. I think Rite Aid's rain checks say they are good for 30 days (I don't know if they enforce it.) CVS rain checks never expire. And obviously grocery stores will vary greatly. Just look at the fine print on the rain check and you should be able to figure it out.

What don't I like about them?
The thing that frustrates me with rain checks is that sometimes I have coupons to use an item and they expire before the item gets back in stock, so a rain check isn't much help in that case! On the other hand, sometimes another coupon will come along and I'll still be able to get a good deal.

And you have to remember to use them! I know, it's a no-brainer. But when I first starting using rain checks I buy the item and sometimes forget to give the cashier my rain check. SO annoying! And kind of along the same line is remember to ask for the rain check. I can't tell you how often I have left the store and gotten home before I realized I had forgotten to ask for a rain check for an out of stock item.

The Bottom Line...
As Kathy observed, rain checks have worked really well for me. I use them frequently and it sure beats running back to the store later in the week to get the good deal they were out of stock on!

So, do you use rain checks? What do you like or hate about them?