Friday, September 30, 2011

Swagbucks: 100 Swag Bucks for New Users


Have you been thinking about signing up for Swagbucks but just haven't gotten around to it? Well, now is the time to join. Through Oct. 3, new sign-ups will receive an additional 70 Swagbucks when they sign up here and use code BIGTIMEBUCKS- this is in addition to the usual 30 Swagbucks. So if you sign up now and use the code at sign up, you'll have a total of 100 Swagbucks in your account right off the bat.

Looking for more ways to earn Swagbucks? You might enjoy reading this.

What is Swagbucks? It's a free search engine kind of like Google. The great thing about it is that each time you search the web using Swagbucks, you have the chance to earn "bucks" which you then can trade for things like gift cards from Amazon, Starbucks, Target and more. My favorite thing to redeem my Swagbucks for is Amazon gift cards. (It only takes 450 Swag Bucks to get a $5 Amazon gift card.) I've gotten so many great things for free thanks to my Amazon gift cards earned through Swagbucks.

End of the Month Coupon Print

It's the end of the month...which means that many of the printable coupons will change. So if there are any that you want, print them now!

Here's some of the popular ones at Coupons.com:

And don't forget to check out the ones at RedPlum and the Coupon Network.

Free Sample: Prilosec OTC


Sign up here for a free sample of Prilosec OTC.

Obtaining Coupons: Coupon Websites- Part Two


I had posted earlier about getting coupons through coupon websites such as Redplum, Coupons.com etc. Well, as I was jotting down some notes to finish this series, I realized that there are several other coupon websites that I really need to mention as well. And so I decided to add a Part Two and Part Three to the Coupon Websites idea.

* Saving Star
One of my new favorite coupon websites is Saving Star. I think of this website as working more like a rebate program rather than a coupon program, but technically it is considered a clip-less coupon program.

With this site you simply link up your store cards for stores like CVS, Rite Aid, Giant, and Weis to the Saving Star program. Then you click on the coupons that you want added to your cards. If you use that coupon before it expires, the dollar amount of the coupon will be added to your Saving Star account. Then when you reach $5 in your account, you can cash it out via Paypal, for Amazon gift cards and many other options. If you don't use the coupon before it expires, you've lost nothing.

The great thing about Saving Star coupons is that they can be used in addition to both store AND manufacturer coupons. So essentially you can save 3 different ways on one product, which is really rather great!

My tip for Saving Star- log into your account twice a month and add all the coupons that you can to your cards. You might think you won't ever buy a certain item but you never know. Just recently there was a moneymaking deal at CVS on Airwick air fresheners. I typically don't buy them, but since it was a moneymaker I decided to buy them and give them to someone who will use them. Imagine my surprise when several days later I saw $2 was added to my Saving Star account because I had bought an Airwick product! It was one of the coupons I clipped, thinking I'd not use it and it actually paid off!

* Vocalpoint
This is actually more than just a coupon site, but since one of the main reasons I love Vocalpoint is because of the awesome coupons I receive from them, I thought I'd mention it here.

If you don't have a Vocalpoint account, sign up for one today. Approximately once a month I receive a free sample item from Vocalpoint and they always come with several coupons. The coupons are always high value and sometimes one will even be for a free product! So on top of getting coupons, you'll also have the fun of sampling some interesting new products as well.

* Kraft First Taste
This is one of those sites that I have a love/hate relationship with. I love them because sometimes I get great offers from them. I hate them because often when I see posted on other sites that an offer is available, I check my account only to discover I didn't receive it. It seems there is no rhyme or reason as to who receives what offers, but at any rate, it won't hurt to sign up! You never know, you might be one of the lucky ones!

So what offers does Kraft First Taste send? If you sign up for an account, they occasionally will offer coupons for various Kraft products, typically something that is new or recently "improved". These offers range from a coupon for a totally free product (those are the ones I never get!) to coupons for $1 to $2 off. In the past the coupons have been for things like Planters Peanut Butter, Philadelphia Cooking Creme, Wheat Thins & Triscuits, and Kraft Shredded Cheese.

Did you miss the other posts in this series? If so, here are links to them- Contacting Companies, Coupon Websites- Part 1, Coupon Trading, Store Emails & Fliers, Newspaper Inserts- Part 1 and Newspaper Inserts- Part 2.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

SaveMore: $10 Credit = Free Reusable Water Bottle


If you haven't signed up for a SaveMore account (a daily deal site) you can sign up now and get a $10 credit. You can then use that credit to purchase a WaterBiz Reusable Water Bottle for free! The water bottles are only $5 and shipping is free.

Sunday Coupon Preview


Want to know what coupons to expect in this Sunday's paper? Go here.

Have you entered my giveaway for the Time Keeper Household Planner?

Weekly Spending Summary

Okay, so this is frustrating. I've been trying since Monday to get my computer to let me download pictures off my camera to no avail. I've been having some issues with my laptop and this has convinced me that it is time to take it somewhere to get it looked at.

Anyway, I guess you'll have to deal with a no-pictures post. I'm sorry!

Total Spent:
$58.82
Total Saved with Coupons: $72.89
Total Saved with Sales: $58.71
Total Saved: $131.60

Rite Aid
: $34.98
Saved with Coupons: $45.00
Saved with Sales: $35.29

I bought 4 packs of diapers, two 12 packs of Scott toilet paper, 2 tubes of toothpaste and 1 box of Kleenex. My out of pocket was high because I did a deal where I got $20 in UPRewards for purchasing certain items. I debated for a bit whether or not it was worth it, but finally decided that it was, even though my out of pocket would be somewhat high initially.

CVS: $0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $15.69
Saved with Sales: $8.97

Had I not had a gift card my out of pocket would have been $11.31. I don't like to have my out of pocket be that high and had planned to buy a few other things and roll the Extra Bucks from those purchases towards this diaper purchase, but unfortunately the CVS I went to was out of the things I had wanted to get. So I decided to go ahead anyway since I still got a great deal on diapers- I got $10 Extra Bucks for purchasing these 3 packs.

Giant: $10.88
Saved with Coupons: $12.20
Saved with Sales: $14.45

The yogurt and tuna were free after coupons. The flour (4 bags) I purchased with a rain check from last week. I had planned to wait to get more until Oct. since I had just gotten some and I'm struggling to stay under budget this month. But much to my chagrin, the flour I bought last week was buggy. Yes, buggy. The gross thing is that I made some biscuits with it before I noticed it too. :(

Sharp Shopper:
$12.96

I don't often shop at discount groceries partly because I don't often go near one and partly because with using coupons I can often get things cheaper than I can buy them there. But since the local Mom's Group that attend is near Sharp Shopper I thought I'd stop occasionally and see what deals I can find.

I was pretty impressed with the deals I got and decided that if I ever stop couponing I think I should shop there along with Aldi.

I found eggs for $1.30/doz. (cheaper than Aldi's $1.50!), low-fat cream cheese for $0.50/block (I don't use this in baking but it works great for my Cream Cheese Potato Soup), sharp cheddar cheese (our favorite!) for just a little over $2.00/lb., organic orange juice for $0.99/gal. and a big bottle of French dressing for $0.99 (have had a hard time finding good deals on this with coupons).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Coupons.com: New Coupons


There are some new coupons available at Coupons.com including these:

Vistaprint: 140 Free Labels (Pay Shipping)

First of all, I want to be clear that this offer is good today, 9/27, only.

Vistaprint is offering 140 address labels for free- just pay shipping which will vary anywhere from $3.03-$3.83. There are over 7,000 designs to choose from, so you should have no problem finding one that fits you!

The great thing about address labels is that they have so many other uses. You can use them to put your name on dishes, toys, books and more!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Ruffies Trash Bags: $1.12 at Walmart


Red Plum recently added a couple of new coupons and one off them is a $0.50/1 Ruffies trash bags. The 20 ct. tall kitchen Ruffies trash bags are regularly priced at $1.62 at Walmart. Use the coupon to get them for only $1.12.

To find the coupon you may have to use zip code 77477.

Weekly Spending Summary

Finally after weeks of spending too much, I had a week where my out of pocket was incredibly low even though I actually did purchase quite a bit.

I bought some fresh fruit and other things at the bulk food store this week, however I didn't list that below because I used grocery money cash to pay or it.

Total Spent:
$8.20
Total Saved with Coupons: $87.84
Total Saved with Sales: $19.05
Total Saved: $106.89

CVS:
$0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $16.98
Saved with Sales: $1.20

Had I not used a gift card to purchase this I would have paid $0.82 out of pocket. I had a $3/$15 Baby Care purchase coupon that excluded diapers so I used it to get nursing pads. The Dawn was bought with a rain check. I've been getting rather frustrated because it seems like CVS is out of stock on so many sale items recently. I ended up having to get a bunch of rain checks once again this week. :(

Giant
: $5.82
Saved with Coupons: $7.19
Saved with Sales: $2.49

I charged $2.54 of my bill to a Visa gift card that I received as part of a Kellogg's promotion. So actually my bill was a bit more than the $5.82

Rite Aid: $0 (spare change)
Saved with Coupons: $57.75
Saved with Sales: $14.20

I had two $20 UPRewards that I used to pay for these things. The Prevacid was a rain check item from last week (and should be a moneymaker after a mail-in rebate) and the GUM Perio-Balance was a $5 moneymaker after coupons (the only reason I bought it!). I also purchased a package of Pampers wipes that is not pictured. I got it free after a FREE product coupon. Was fun to have a really good week at Rite Aid again!

Walmart: $0 (Visa gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $3.00

I have a couple of Visa gift cards that I earned as part of a cereal rebate that I used to pay for this purchase. Had I not used that, my out of pocket would have been $5.24.

Target: $2.38
Saved with Coupons: $2.92
Saved with Sales: $1.16

I was excited to finally find a store that carried the small bottles of Simply Orange for less than $1! I had $1 coupons that were close to expiring and since I was in Target for some other things I decided to check and see what they had them priced at. I also noticed that eggs there were only $1.19/doz. Aldi's price right now is $1.50 so I was happy to find some that cheap!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sunday Coupon Preview

Go here to see what coupons you can expect in this Sunday's paper.

Frugal Family Outdoor Fun


When have you last taken a break from the mundane daily grind and gone outside to play with your family? Clorox2 has declared Sept. 24 to be Worldwide Day of Play and is challenging people to take their Play 2Day Pledge, http://clorox2play2day.com, and it got me thinking about some of the things we've done with Logan this summer.

We don't spend lots of money on recreational things as a family. Fun can be free too you know! And so in the spirit of being thrifty, I thought I'd share some of the simple things we've done outside as a family this summer.

Every Tuesday evening is family night here and often that finds us taking a walk downtown. Sometimes just for the sake of taking a walk and sometimes to get ice cream at our delicious local creamery. But every time it involves Logan riding the trike he got for his birthday- legs frantically pumping as he flies along. I often wish that I could freeze those moments. Him intently riding his trike, hunched forward, focused. Us walking behind, enjoying his boyishness. It's such a simple thing really, but it brings all of us such joy.

There have also been evenings where we've walked to the park 1 1/2 blocks away. Sometimes we take Logan's ball along and play ball tag and sometimes we just sit, relax and read while he amuses himself kicking his ball, throwing sticks and just running off that endless energy of his. Again, a very simple thing to do but one that provides lots of fun.

And then there are the times we just stay put here at home but end up going outside to play. Usually the favorite thing to do is play ball. I think Logan could spend hours doing that! Our yard is small but we can still find room to set up a mini baseball field. Honestly, I'm always amazed at the delight little people can get from simply spending time together playing like that. And there's something about being outside that seems to bring out extra spunk!

One more thing that we did this summer that wasn't totally free was to go mini-golfing. That is actually one of our favorite memories of the summer! Our local mini golf place has little child sized clubs and so we all three could play. Well, the youngest one of us didn't really play but he sure did have fun being like mama and daddy! And we were continually laughing and being amazed at how his wild swings could get him such good shots so often! Maybe we need to loosen up a bit and we'd get a hole in one a little more often too? At any rate, the $15 spent that evening was worth every penny of outdoor family fun.

The thing that really stands out to me as I think back to outdoor things that we did this summer is that all of them were easy to do and most of them didn't cost us a penny. It just goes to prove that having fun really can be free!

What have you done fun outside this summer with your family? Do you have creative, cheap ways of having fun outdoors?

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox2® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Giveaway: The Time Keeper Household Planner ($11.75 Value)


I am very excited about this giveaway because it is for something I absolutely love! Let me explain. Last year I bit the bullet and bought The Time Keeper household planner. I've tried other planners before but have never used them successfully- after a couple of weeks I always stopped for one reason or another. But after hearing several people talk about how much they loved this planner, I decided to give it a try and decided that if this one didn't work, I was just a hopeless case when it comes to using planners!

Well, I'm here to tell you that The Time Keeper has become a real lifesaver for me. And I am still using it 9 months later. The simple, uncluttered layout of The Time Keeper makes it easy to use and this past year it has helped me keep my head together and be SO much more organized. My unorganized brain especially appreciates the little extras like the Monthly Projects and To Do Lists headings as well as the Gift Lists and Notes pages found in the back. Now instead of searching for random lists on my desk, I simply go to my planner and can easily find what I want! All these features inside a beautiful, feminine looking planner have me sold!


Initially the cost held me back from buying it, but it has been worth E.V.E.R.Y. penny. I can now see at a glance what days I have free, what days I have appointments, what days we have something planned in the evening and it is just so freeing. No more worrying that I might have forgotten about a certain commitment and double booked- it's all right there in my planner. And I love that I can take it with me wherever I go. It's like a second brain and truly has made my life more stress free.

And that is why I was so excited to be able to offer one reader a free Time Keeper Household Planner! If you want to read more about the Time Keeper head over to this website. In fact, you can even order one for yourself (or as a gift) if you don't win!

For you locals, The Time Keeper can be purchased at Nancy's Notions, Goods, and Home Messenger.

Okay, so about the giveaway. As I mentioned, one reader will win a
Time Keeper Household Planner.

You have four different ways to enter the give away and each thing counts as a separate entry.
Please leave your email address with each entry! The giveaway will end 10/3/11 at 4 p.m. (EST) and the winner will be chosen via random.org. I will then notify the winner by email and they will have two days to respond before the next winner is chosen.

MANDATORY ENTRY:

1.
Do you currently use a datebook or household planner?

OTHER ENTRIES (to be done after mandatory entry)


2. Become a follower of this blog (see top left hand corner of blog). If you are already a follower, give yourself an extra entry by posting that in a comment.

3.
Subscribe to this blog (see top left hand corner of blog). If you already subscribe, give yourself an extra entry by posting that in a comment.

4.
Tell other about the giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc. and leave a link to your post in your comment.

HOT New Coupons!


Coupons.com just released some hot new coupons:

The ones that you especially may be interested in printing are these:
$6.00 off two Schick Disposable Razors
- Walmart has the 10 ct. packs priced at around $2 each. And since they allow overage on coupons to count towards other purchases, you could use this coupon to make some money!

$5.00 off one Quattro for Men Razor
- Walgreens has these on sale next week for $8.99 with a $5 Register Rewards, making them free plus overage after the coupon.

$5.00 off one Quattro for Women Razor or Refill
- CVS has these on sale next week for $8.99 with a $4 Extra Bucks, making them free after the coupon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Red Lobster Cheese Biscuits

Don't you love the glamorous shot? It was time to eat when I suddenly remembered I had wanted to take a picture to share with you. :)

These biscuits are oh so yummy! Simple and yet full of flavor, they pretty much melt in your mouth. I think they are the perfect thing to go with soup and we eat a lot of them throughout the fall and winter months.

Red Lobster Cheese Biscuits
2 c. Bisquick (use my homemade version!)
2/3 c. milk
1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning

Mix Bisquick, milk and cheese. Drop by spoonfuls (should make 8 biscuits) onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 min. In the meantime, melt butter and mix with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. After biscuits are baked, brush butter mixture onto rolls. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 servings

For other recipe ideas, check out Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday, It's a Blog Party's Delicious Dishes, 33 Shades of Green's Tasty Tuesday, and All the Small Stuff's Tuesday's at the Table.

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Coupons at Coupons.com

There are some new coupons over at Coupons.com:

Weekly Spending Summary

I spent more this week than I had hoped, but there were things I needed and I also stocked up on flour and sugar at great prices which will help me out later.

Total Spent: $75.84
Total Saved with Coupons: $43.43
Total Saved with Sales: $51.15
Total Saved: $94.58

CVS:
$0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $17.43
Saved with Sales: $20.09

I would have spent $10.00 out of pocket for this had I not used a gift card to pay for this purchase. I actually made a couple of dollars by buying the Airwick and Finish. Of course that was fun!

Rite Aid: $0.84
Saved with Coupons: $8.00
Saved with Sales: $7.18


Giant
: $20.64
Saved with Coupons: $8.00
Saved with Sales: $9.19

I actually purchased 4 Giant brand cream cheese, 8 more pastas and one Heluva Good cheese as well. I thought I had taken a picture of that, but apparently I didn't!

The Planters were free after a FREE product coupon that a gentleman gave me the other day. He saw me using coupons and handed me some that he said he didn't want. Not sure why you wouldn't want free peanuts, but hey, I'll take them!

Weis: $9.49
Saved with Coupons: $10.00
Saved with Sales: $14.69

The chips were $0.49 each and the cereal $0.50 each. I actually was overcharged for the cereal- long story- and when they gave me my credit they gave it to me in cash. So my out of pocket still shows more here than I actually paid.

Aldi: $13.55


Centerville: $22.47


Millers Natural Foods: $8.85
I bought 10 lbs. of raw sugar.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sunday Coupon Preview


Go here to see what coupons you can expect in this Sunday's paper.

Canvas People: Free 8x10 Canvas (Just Pay Shipping)


Right now you can get a free 8x10 Photo Canvas from Canvas People- just pay shipping and handling which runs around $14.00. This would make a great Christmas gift or even just be nice to have to add something new to your own walls.

To order your free Photo Canvas just upload a photo, select the correct size, click on the no frame, no special effects and add to your cart.

My Latest Fun with Coupons

The Food Bank- when I was there though, the shelves were MUCH emptier!

I am so excited about my latest new experience with couponing! This past Tues. I went to the local moms group that I attend. It was the first meeting of the season so we just had a welcome brunch and then had time to just connect with each other again. For about 15 minutes though, one of the ladies from the Conestoga Valley Food Bank shared with us what they do, their needs and their vision. I was really impressed.

Not only do they help quite a lot of local families get through hard financial times by giving them needed food and grocery items, they also have a real heart for caring for these people. Instead of having the people line up to get their food and household items, they set up appointments for each individual/family and then a volunteer meets with them, helping them get the items they need and also giving them a chance to talk if they wish. Lots of times they are able to care for these people by listening to them and praying with them. I was so blessed by the ministry that the Conestoga Valley Food Bank is doing!

But my ears really perked up when Beth mentioned that they can always use volunteers to do different things, one of which was shopping for the items they give away. I've been wishing I could volunteer somewhere but with a 3 yr. old it's pretty hard to be able to do that very easily. (I have family that would babysit but they live about 30 min. away.)

To make a long story short, I am now going to do shopping for the food bank, watching for low prices on the foods and household items that they need and using my coupons to get them ultra cheap. The great thing is that I can do this on my own time and really, it won't even take up much of my time because I'll simply do this while I'm already doing my regular couponing/shopping! And obviously, they'll reimburse me for my purchases too. It just feels like the perfect fit.

So why am I sharing this with you? For two reasons. For one, if you live locally and have items that you get for free (or very inexpensively) and would like to give them to the food bank, I'll gladly work with you to make that happen. Also, I'm guessing that other food banks would love to have someone do this same type of thing for them and I thought it might be something that some of you all would enjoy doing.

For you locals that would be interested in donating items to the food bank, they will take pretty much anything. Items like cereal, canned fruit and veggies, pasta, Hamburger Helper, toothpaste, shampoo and soap are things that they give out to each person. However, if someone donates other items they happily pass those along too!

Freebie: Baby Talk Magazine


Go here to sign up for a free subscription to Baby Talk magazine. Don't forget that magazines often contain coupons. It's a great way to get a few more coupons!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

$20 Whole Foods Certificate for $10

Wow! I'm wishing I lived near a Whole Foods, but I don't. So maybe some of you can take advantage of this awesome deal from Living Social for me.

Go here (search under Philadelphia if you don't see it) to get a certificate for $20 worth of groceries at Whole Foods for only $10.

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Bisquick

I'm always looking for ways to save and also to eat healthier. So when I came across this recipe for Homemade Bisquick I was pretty excited. Not only is it cheaper than buying Bisquick it is also much healthier because the homemade version has no partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which I really like to avoid. And you couldn't ask for an easier thing to make! It literally just takes minutes.

On top of all that, we actually liked how the things I made with this turned out better than when I made them with Bisquick mix! I've used it now for several different things and they all turned out more delicious than usual. Can you tell I'm sold? :)

Here are two of our favorite quiche recipes using Bisquick- Zucchini Quiche and Crustless Bacon and Egg Quiche,

Okay, so on to the recipe!

Homemade Bisquick
5 c. flour (you could use half whole wheat flour)
1/4 c. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. shortening (I use butter)

Mix dry ingredients together then cut in butter until crumbly. Store in refrigerator** and use as you would Bisquick.

Yields: A little over 6 cups

** If you don't use butter or margarine for this recipe, but instead use vegetable shortening, you could store at room temperature.

For other recipe ideas, check out Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday, Blessed with Grace's Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Fudge Ripple's Tuesday Night Supper Club, 33 Shades of Green's Tasty Tuesday, and All the Small Stuff's Tuesday's at the Table.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekly Spending Summary

Total Spent: $24.94
Total Saved with Coupons: $39.00
Total Saved with Sales: $33.20
Total Saved: $72.20

CVS: $0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $24.47
Saved with Sales: $11.98

Had I not had a CVS gift card to pay for this purchase, my out of pocket would have been $5.06.

This was a pretty fun trip. I had two coupons from the CVS coupon machine- one for $3/$15 Baby Care purchase and one or $1/1 Pampers Jumbo pack. I also had a $5/$25 coupon that was emailed to me. I used manufacturer coupons for the Huggies and Pampers as well as the two coupons from the CVS coupon machine, which really helped bring my out of pocket down. And I ended up getting $6.99 back in Extra Bucks.

I bought the Bengay with a rain check.

On a side note, I've been waiting to do my CVS trips until Thurs. or Fri. since almost every week I get a coupon for $4/20, $3/$15 or $5/$25 emailed to me. Usually with what I planned to buy I can hit that amount so it makes it really worth it. And this is where my rain checks come in handy. If I'm a little short on hitting the out of pocket that I need to spend to be able to use my coupon, I simply use one of my rain checks to buy something to get my total up.

Rite Aid: $0
Saved with Coupons: $5.00
Saved with Sales: $12.86

I had a rain check for the Oxi-Clean making it free. I've never tried it before so I'm anxious to see what I think. I figured for free I couldn't go wrong!

Giant: $3.08
Saved with Coupons: $5.15
Saved with Sales: $2.44

I had a FREE product coupon for the Cottonelle wipes. Thanks to two Giant store coupons that printed out from the catalina machine a few weeks ago, the Ginger Ale was a $0.25 money maker and Dial soap cost me $0.19.

The Giant coupons I had were for $1.50 off any Health and Beauty purchase and $1 off any carbonated beverage purchase. I'm really hoping to get more of those kinds of coupons!

Darrenkamp's: $12.86
Saved with Coupons: $4.38
Saved with Sales: $5.92

Got eggs for $0.79- a great price any more around here! And just so you know I'm not always a total tightwad, I'll tell you about those chips you see. I was shopping and it was close to lunch time. I saw a display of $0.99 chips and they looked so good and suddenly I was craving them like crazy. We were going to have sandwiches for lunch, so I decided to splurge and buy a small bag of chips. Every now and then I get tired of always being so careful about what I spend and how and it's kind of fun to just buy something for the fun of it!

Expressly Local Food: $0 (used $0.85 spare change)

This was kind of a dud deal in some ways. I had seen a daily deal on Living Social for a voucher for $20 of food at this place for only $10. I had a $10 credit so I figured I might as well get it and I figured I'd use it to get a bunch of raw sugar and then maybe some produce etc. All that they sell is organic and all-natural so I figured I'd be eating healthy too. :)

Well, it turns out that I didn't read the fine print close enough. The voucher was for $20 of PRODUCE, not anything else. That's not all bad, but $20 buys a lot of produce even at a store where the prices are rather exorbitant! But what could I do but go ahead and get some produce. The annoying thing was I had just bought lettuce, apples and potatoes and my in-laws had given us a bunch of peaches too. So we have been eating lots and lots of fruit and potatoes around here! Oh well, at least it's rather healthy stuff. And yes, it was also a good reminder to read the fine print more closely!

Misc.: $9.00
I got cash out to pay for produce at market.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Monthly Spending Summary (Aug.)

Whew! This was NOT a good month. I way overspent and nearly used up all of my cushion, which isn't too comforting since I still have apples to buy and I'd like to stock up on meat at a local meat sale in Sept. Seeing how much I spent this month really made me aware of how lax I've gotten with my spending. I've rather subconsciously slipped into the mode of just buying things that I kind of want even if it isn't the best price ever. When I could just do without it.

The upside to my overspending is that some of it was done on items that I submitted rebates for. So in the next month or two I should see a nice credit on here thanks to that.

Monthly Grocery/Household Budget: $190

Total Spent:
$229.57
Total Saved with Coupons/Sales: $265.95

Week 1: $46.50
Week 2: $131.80
Week 3: $47.24
Week 4: $4.03

Other Expenses: $87.85
- This was for groceries at a bulk food store, tomatoes and 1 1/2 bu. peaches to can.

Credits: $12.99
- I have Rite Aid Sing;e Check Rebates to thank for this!

Ending Monthly Balance: - $114.43
Balance carried from Jan.-July: $141.29

Ending Annual Balance: $26.86
- In case you are confused, this is the amount I have left over for the year. This comes from being under budget in some previous months. So basically I am ahead by $26.86 for the year.

Obtaining Coupons: Manufacturer Websites

It's been a long time since I did any posts for my Obtaining Coupons series. With the busyness of this summer I just didn't get the series finished. But now that life has slowed down a bit (should I even say that?!) I intend to try to finish the series.

Manufacturer Websites are a great way to find coupons. Many manufacturers offer coupons directly on their website or if you sign up for their various clubs and email newsletters you can get access to printable coupons as well. There are some websites that I have learned pretty much always have coupons for their products linked on their site. So if I see one of their products on sale that I want, I'll visit their website to see if they have a coupon available.

I suggest that if there is a specific brand name product you want to buy, but don't have a coupon for, plug the name of the product into your Swagbucks search engine and that should direct you to the manufacturer website for the product. Then you can see if there are any links to coupons. Sometimes your search will be fruitless and you'll find nothing. Other times, you'll feel like you hit the jackpot when you spy a $1 coupon for that Wishbone dressing you love.

Just a quick side note. I've found that coupon databases don't even always have the coupons listed that I've found on manufacturer websites. So while those databases are helpful, they are not fool proof!

To get you started, here are a couple sites that I like to visit.

* Kelloggs

* Heluva Good
- Their 8 oz. blocks of cheese frequently go on sale at Giant and Weis for $2. If I use the $0.50/1 I can get the cheese for $1, since those stores double $0.50 coupons.

* Nestle Baking Products
- I can frequently find $0.50/1 Nestle chocolate chip coupons here. If I see them on sale, I simply visit the website to see if there's a coupon available. Of course there are always other coupons available as well.

Do you have a specific manufacturer website that you love? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Did you miss the other posts in this series? If so, here are links to them- Contacting Companies, Websites, Coupon Trading, Store Emails & Fliers, Newspaper Inserts- Part 1 and Newspaper Inserts- Part 2.

Sunday Coupon Preview


If I remember, I'm going to start posting this every week. I thought it might be helpful for those of you that purchase the Sunday paper to have a bit of an idea as to what coupons you'll be getting. Simply go here to preview the coupons for this Sunday, 9/11.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Giveaway: Safeway (and Affiliated Stores) Coupons

I have kind of a different kind of giveaway this time. Two of my recent free magazines came with several coupons that are good for Safeway stores and since we have no Safeway near by and since they are such good coupons I decided to do a giveaway for them in hopes that someone else can enjoy the savings.

First off, these coupons are good at Safeway, Vons, Dominicks, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Genuardi's, Pavillions, and Carrs stores.

Here's the list of the coupons being given away. There are 2 of each coupon. All coupons expire 9/30/11.

* $1.00/1 Frozen Safeway Store Brands Products. (Fine print: Safeway Select, Lucerne, Eating Right, Open Nature, Safeway, O Organics, or The Snack Artist. Excludes Frozen Meat & Seafood Items. Minimum $3 Purchase on Participating Items Required.)

* $1/1 Open Nature Product (Fine Print: Minimum $3 Purchase on Participating Items Required.)

* $5/$15 Any Frozen Items Purchase (Fine Print: Excludes Frozen Meat and Seafood.)

* $1/1 Totino's Pizza Stuffers (4 ct. selected varieties), Pillsbury Breakfast Scramblers (7.4 to 8 oz. selected varieties), OR Eggo Muffin Tops (12.9 oz.). Minimum $3 Purchase on Participating Items Required.)

You have four different ways to enter the give away and each thing counts as a separate entry. Please leave your email address with each entry! The giveaway will end 9/10/11 at 8 p.m. (EST) and the winner will be chosen via random.org. I will then notify the winner by email and they will have two days to respond before the next winner is chosen.

MANDATORY ENTRY:

1. Tell me one interesting thing about yourself. (Hey, I might as well make this interesting for me too! )

OTHER ENTRIES (to be done after mandatory entry)


2. Become a follower of this blog (see top left hand corner of blog). If you are already a follower, give yourself an extra entry by posting that in a comment.

3. Subscribe to this blog (see top left hand corner of blog). If you already subscribe, give yourself an extra entry by posting that in a comment.

4. Tell other about the giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, or your blog and leave a link to your post in your comment.

Is Couponing Worth It?

Sometimes I ask myself, "Is using coupons really worth it?" I'm usually thinking of all the time spent clipping coupons, getting my shopping lists together and then of course shopping. And it just makes me wonder somtimes.

And then I've had people ask me that very question, "Is it really worth it?". Occasionally I've even heard some very rude comments about "those people that waste their time couponing". So finally last week as I was thinking about this whole thing some more, I decided to crunch some numbers and see what I could learn. Here's what I discovered.

Between coupons and sales, this is what I saved each month on my grocery and household items for the first six months of the year.

Jan.: $551.47
Feb.: $624.50
March: $554.15
April: $410.34
May: $265.12
June: $405.28

Total Saved: $2810.86

Now say I was doing this as a job and wanted to see what my "pay" was based on the money I saved buy using coupons and shopping sales. There were 25 weeks in those first 6 months and say that I spent 10 hours each week clipping coupons, planning my shopping trips, and actually shopping. (And trust me, I'm pretty sure I spend NOWHERE near that amount of time!) I would still be making the equivalent of $11.24/hr.! (This is calculated from the amount I saved.)

Not only did I save $2,810.86 in those six months but I also got LOTS of grocery and household items for myself. Plus I was able to have fun sharing my stockpile with others.

So, the next time I have someone ask me, "Is couponing REALLY worth it?" I'm going to ask them if they think making $11/hr. by going shopping is worth it.

What do you think?

Weekly Spending Summary

Total Spent: $37.09
Total Saved with Coupons: $40.16
Total Saved with Sales: $16.31
Total Saved: $56.47

CVS: $0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $9.00
Saved with Sales: $3.00


I had a rain check for the Bic Soleil Shimmer razor. Both stores that I frequent had been out of the razors since they were on sale back at the beginning of August. My coupon for it expired but one of the managers assured me that they would honor it anyway when it came in since they weren't getting it in stock. I was pretty impressed!

Rite Aid:
$5.37
Saved with Coupons: $13.00
Saved with Sales: $5.58


Giant:
$0
Saved with Coupons: $5.16

I had two FREE product coupons that I used for these items.

Weis: $9.98
Saved with Coupons: $7.00
Saved with Sales: $7.73

It's been a while since I was able to get free pasta and I was nearly out, so I was excited to be able to stock up again this week! The sugar wasn't an amazing price, but still cheaper than Aldi so I went ahead and got it since I still have applesauce to do and will need sugar for that. Oh and I can't forgot the moneymaking cheese!

Walmart
: $7.04
Saved with Coupons: $6.00

I had two FREE product coupons for the yogurts. And the Cascade sample packs were free after coupons as well. Gotta love doing dishes for free! :)

Aldi: $10.13


Centerville: $0 (used cash that I had gotten out for grocery)

So what's in all those bags? Apples, peaches, lemons and potatoes. Lots of fresh, yummy stuff!

Toys R Us:
$2.99
I had called several weeks ago to inquire about ToysRUs.com being out of stock of diapers that were on sale. Anyway, to make a long story short, the customer service rep offered me a $15 online credit good on anything as well as free shipping. So I took advantage of that and got an 84 ct. package of size 1 Huggies diapers. I was pretty pleased as I made out better than I would have with the original deal!

Bed Bath & Beyond: $1.58
I bought a Yankee Candle votive with ShopAtHome's Wild Deal. Since I'll get reimbursed via ShopAtHome for this purchase, I figured it was easiest to just put this under grocery.

Can You Help?

Reader Lorenda left this question in the comments of one of my recent posts:
"Do I need to look through the insert and keep tab of what coupons are in it or is there a list already compiled for me somewhere that I can get? For example, a certain thing goes on sale and I know I saw a coupon for it a week or two ago, how do I find it? Do I need to look through each insert?"

I personally use the coupon database at Hot Coupon World to find what coupons are in what insert. But Lorenda's question made me wonder if there perhaps is a place that lists all the coupons from each insert. Do any of you know of such a website?

Thanks so much!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Cheese that Made Me $0.80

I got back from Weis a little while ago feeling both frustrated and happy. Frustrated because they were all out of the cereal I was going to get for $0.50 (I got a rain check) and happy because I made $0.80 on cheese that I had figured I'd pay $2.00 for. Yes, you read right, I got PAID to buy cheese!

So what happened? Well, when I was ringing up my two blocks of cheese I realized that instead of ringing up at $2/each they were ringing up at $2.40/each. So after I rang up the cheese I headed to customer service to get my $0.80 back. Then about the time I thought about the fact that they might have an accuracy scan policy, the gentleman at customer service informed me that I'd get the whole $2.40 back for the one block since it didn't ring up correctly plus the extra $0.40 for the other block. I also had two $1 coupons for the cheese which resulted in me actually ending up with $0.80 extra in the end.

There are two reasons I am telling you about this little incident. One is because it was a good reminder for me to always check my receipt. I had bought 2 blocks earlier this week and never noticed that they were ringing up wrong. It really does pay to look over your receipt and make sure that everything rang up at the correct price.

The second reason is to remind you that many grocery stores have an Accuracy Scan Policy. This simply means that if an item doesn't ring up at the shelf price, you will receive that item for free. This is typically only good for the first item and any item after that you just receive the adjusted amount for whatever you were overcharged for the item. So really, although it's a pain to have to fool with going to customer service when an item rings up incorrectly, you do usually make out pretty good.

Now, I think I'll go enjoy a slice of that delicious sharp cheddar cheese that made me money! :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

How I Organize My Coupons

I was organizing my coupons yesterday and thought about the fact that you all might find it interesting to see how I do it. I know there are many different ways that people do this and mine is kind of a hybrid between several of the "typical" ways. I like it because I feel like it takes less time than clipping every single coupon and yet I feel organized with it too.

I have three different places that I keep coupons- an envelope that I keep just clipped or just printed coupons in, a small coupon folder that I put printed/clipped coupons in that I take to the store with me, and a file folder satchel where I file my coupon inserts.

Envelope
I have this envelope tacked to the cork board by my desk, right next to where my computer and printer are. (Very glamorous looking, eh?) :) When I cut a coupon out of a magazine, print a coupon online or get a coupon in the mail with a sample, I tuck them in here. It's kind of my landing place until I have time to put them in my coupon folder in a more organized fashion. But in the meantime, I don't have them cluttering up my desk, which is what used to happen.

Coupon Folder
I store all my clipped coupons in this little file folder. When I am getting my shopping trips ready for the week, I take any coupons from the envelope (as talked about above) and put them in their correct spot in the file folder.

I have the file folder set up with these categories: Grocery, Household, Personal Care, and Baby. I know that isn't as many categories as many people use but I like it and find it easier to work with than when I tried having categories like Oral Care, Feminine Hygiene, Cereal etc.

Then in the front I have a spot where I put the coupons that I plan to use that week for my shopping trip to each store. I take all the coupons for each store, paper clip them together and put them in the front. Then when I get to the store, all I need to do is pull out the appropriate clipped together stack of coupons and I'm ready to go. I also keep all my FREE product coupons clipped together and put in the front there so I am reminded of them often and can use them before they expire.

File Folder
I found this lovely file folder at ROSS one day. I was excited because I was looking for something to file my coupon inserts in that wouldn't look ugly sitting by my desk. It fits the bill perfectly.

Anyway, I'm kind of getting on a bunny trail am I not? Back to how I use the file folder to organize my coupons. When the coupon inserts come each Sunday, I immediately get them and mark the date on the front of the insert in the top corner. Then I file them in my file folder, putting each month together in order by date.

So one slot in my file folder will hold all my June inserts. One, all my July inserts and so on. Then when I need a coupon from a certain insert, all I need to do is locate it and cut out the coupon.

At the end of every month or so, I go through the inserts and take out any pages that have only expired coupons on. In other words, if the page has a coupon that is still good I keep it, otherwise it gets tossed. This keeps my file from getting too huge and thick and saves me from leafing through pages unnecessarily.

I really love this system because I found that cutting out each coupon took way too much time plus my coupon folder soon had so many coupons in it that it was frustrating to find what I was looking for. For me, this has been a real time saver.

So there you have it. Nothing glamorous or amazing but it's what works for me when it comes to organizing coupons!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

CVS Advisory Panel

Not too long ago I learned about the CVS Advisory Panel. Not sure what rock I've been hiding under, because the Advisory Panel has been around for a while, but somehow I don't remember ever hearing about it.

Anyway, if you shop at CVS at least occasionally you'll definitely want to sign up for the CVS Advisory Panel. In exchange for doing occasional surveys regarding CVS products and services, you'll get Extra Bucks emailed directly to you.

Just today I got an email request to do a survey about some programs CVS is thinking about rolling out. The survey took me less than 10 minutes and as "pay" I got a $5 Extra Buck coupon. Not bad pay in my opinion!

Are you a CVS Advisory Panel member? What has your experience been like?