Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Set the DVRs for 12/29 at 8pm on TLC for Extreme Couponing.
I'm not surprised that this kind of program is coming to TV...since ever morbid and perverse aspect of life has a reality show to its' name. But this is a show with BENEFITS!! Not only do you see the crazy state of the extreme coupon shopper in their frenzy, but you get to glean techniques and skills that you can use to benefit yourself and family.
I think what impresses me most is that most of these shoppers are fairly new to couponing...like 3-4 years new. Economic times have caused the vast majority of people to review their expenses and see where they can cut corners to reduce costs. Food is the second highest expense in the budget, following the mortgage/rent. And generally, it's one of the only expenses that is "discretionary"--whatever we choose it to be. That means that it fluctuates on our mood, the cost of foods we are drawn to, or if we have less money to work with. For the credit-saturated culture that we live in, most of the residual expenses on groceries get diverted to a credit card when liquid funds are not available in the bank.
I've been "bargain shopping" for over 16 years, "coupon shopping" for the last 10 years, and "extreme couponing" for the last 6 years. I used to be the novelty customer at the stores I shopped locally. Now I'm just one of masses that are trying to get the most for my buck. I see women who are far more organized and methodical than I am with 6" binders full of coupons and lists of game plan options for the products on sale. I see some who shop using coupons for single quantities and those who shop for case lots. Everyone plans their strategy according to what they can store, expiration dates, and what they use. But the bottom line for all the couponers is: they do it to save money. Because coupons are the only time that you will see a cost realization that is reduced and paid for with money you did not have to make yourself! The coupons are acting as "cash" to pay for products that you would normally have to pay for yourself. That means the money you could have spent stays in the bank rather than going into the grocers' tills. Think about that. How much money do you spend on food? How much money could you save? If you put the numbers on paper...it's surprising how much you will pay yourself if you create a game plan for you and your family. Good luck and happy shopping.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
My mom is a Veteran--Air Force. We are on the road and you know--I know where we are going to eat tomorrow. Thank goodness there are Subways in every airport :)
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
There's another great deal going on this week at Safeway on Barilla pasta and sauces (either Barilla or Classico). It seemed like an attention grabber when I first saw it. But I found coupons for all the products. The sauce is usually upwards of $4 a bottle, so the $2 price point is noteworthy if you are buying a couple. But 2 free boxes of pasta with the $4 purchase is praiseworthy. But what makes this deal newsworthy--using the $1.25 on 2 bottles of sauce coupons and the save $1 on 2 boxes of pasta coupons. You have to buy 2 boxes at a time with the pasta--layer the coupons on the deal/transaction and your total for all four items is $1.75. That's awesome. Regularly priced, this would cost over $10. On sale, it's $4. As a connoisseur of a fabulous deal--less than HALF of the advertised price. Why not do at least 2 transactions and get twice the amount of food for still less than the suggested sales' price? You'd still have 50 cents towards another transaction. This the perfect example of how to get money ahead and food ahead without adjusting purse strings.
I looked at the Albertsons' ad last night and felt the serotonin release in my brain. I love Con Agra sales. I researched http://www.ebay.com/ and found all the coupons that I wanted to use. I ordered then--all should have been posted in the mail today by the sellers. This morning I called the local Albertsons' store and ordered the goodies I wanted in bulk. This is when the slight "hoarder" tendency I have comes out in force. I found amazing coupons for Hunts' Snack Pack pudding cups, Chef Boyardee, Hunts' tomatoes, Pillsbury cookie mixes, Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate, and Hebrew National Hot Dogs.
I'm just thrilled about the pudding cups. Here's what I did: they are 88cents a 4-pack. I'm going to purchase them in the bundle of 30...the coupons save $1 on every three...plus the Con Agra save $10 transactions of $25...making each Snack Pack 20 cents...that's 5 cents per serving. Considering that this is my second post in as many days about this deal--you can tell that I'm excited.
I'm not a canner. But I have traditional values and core beliefs in being prepared for whatever circumstances. I googled "food storage" and thought it was the best basic explanation for why it is important to have food on hand. In a strained economy, it still doesn't have to cost a lot to get ahead of the game and put up some seasonal "canning"--literally. Taking advantage of the good deals will never go out of style or be deemed outrageous. Make good choices, and be prepared.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
This is a huge week for the pantry if you are looking for stellar deals to put away. Con Agra, manufacturer of products like Hunts' Tomatoes, Healthy Choice, Chef Boyardee, Pillsbury, and Crisco is doing the fabulous deal of buy $25 worth in one transaction, save $10 on your next transaction. I LOVE THIS kind of savings. Because even though the prices scream "good deal"--there's an even greater deal in the works. Cans that are on sale for 88cents each, go down to 55cents if you buy 30 of them. (Don't freak yet--there's more!!) And if you put coupons on top of those prices...the numbers keep dropping even more. So for example: on the Chef Boyardee--they are 88cents a can. 30 of them would cost $26.40. Minus off the $10 OYNO coupon (since I'll start my first transaction next week with the one I just came home with tonight) for $16.40--then add all those stellar coupons. I found some "Save $3 on 10 cans of Chef Boyardee" on www.ebay.com; so I would apply 3 ($9 worth) of those coupons to the adjusted sales' price of $16.40, for a grand total of $7.40!! That's basically 25cents a can. That's a screamin' savings.
I took this method to ebay for several other sets of coupons...for Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate, Hunt's Spaghetti sauce, Chef Boyardee, Pillsbury Cookie Mixes, and Hebrew National Hot Dogs (our family's personal favorites...and we're not even Jewish ;)
Because my quantities are larger than normal, I'm going to call the store tomorrow morning and have them case order the lots that I want so that I'm guaranteed my product when my coupons get here in a few days. Problem: I may have to make a couple trips to the store in order to get my haul home. The reason I share this kind of tiddly bits...because anyone can get in on this kind of savings. Plan, Plan, Plan. I just wish I lived in the areas that are doing "Coupon Round-up" and multiplying coupons up to $1 each for HUGE savings. I can't imagine the kind of hauls with those savings! Hope somebody else is taking advantage of those opportunities to build a family food storage--or a "victory pantry".
Go to www.albertsons.com to view the ad and start a savings plan today :)
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I went on a little binge shopping spree last night at the local Albertsons'. I bought into the Proctor and Gamble deal where you buy $30 of the selected items and get $10 towards your next purchase. I ordered my coupons early and they were in the mail on Friday. By Saturday they were burning a hole in my pocket. I just knew that if I went shopping on Saturday, there would be doublers in the Sunday ad. Guess what? I'm kicking myself today!! I should have waited till Monday, like I always do...but I put the cart before the horse and it cost me some $aving$! Oh well. I'm here to share so that you can save your cash and stockpile your pantry--so even this experience was a reminder that we are playing a game of wits and mystery. Patience is sometimes our friend.
I know...I got a great deal even without the doublers and I'm still beating myself up. I bought 4 cases of paper towels (regularly $9.99 each), 9 bottles of Herbal Essence hair gels ($3.69-$4.29 each), 1 Cover Girl Mascara ($5.19) for the new teen in our family, 12 packages of the superior Glide dental floss ($3.99 each), and 20 bottles of Pringles (regularly $1.99 each) for $54. But if I had extended a little self-control or had a magical crystal ball--I could have save more than half of what I spent; taking the savings from a 65% savings to 75-80% savings. So here's the plan. I still have more coupons...much to my delight. The Pringles will be free. The Herbal Essence goods will be free. And I am going to go through my stack of coupons and make a buying strategy that will make most people weep. Heehee. It's that time of the year...Hunting Season--and I love a good hunt...if you know what I mean.
Doublers are free money. They take the face value of a coupon, up to $1 each, and double it. You are allowed the three in the ad flyer per transaction. These babies are worth bucks and bring out the dumpster diver in me. When you combine them with a pretty stellar deal already on ad in the store, like the Proctor and Gamble save $10--the savings can constitute a pretty hefty chunk of change. The trick is to use the coupons on the cheapest items, making them as close to free and then letting the $10 coupon cover the more expensive items and using the coupons on them that are not doubled, as well. Just remember, you can use ONE coupon PER item, but only 3 of the coupons can be doubled PER transaction. If you buy into the P&G deal, make sure that you are not going over the $30 transaction requirements. Keep the totals to the requirements and just do multiple transactions instead. You save TONS more money in the long-run.
So here are three words to inspire your grocery savings: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
This week Kraft is doing a "Huddle to Fight Hunger" promotional on their designated products. You get $5 off a purchase of 5 Kraft items. Woo Hoo!! If you purchase in increments of 5, that's a $1 savings per item. Now slap a coupon on it and you have a deal! For items like Cool Whip, that are $1 each, buy 5 for $5 and you get a $5 Catalina towards your next purchase. If you do the math, that equals free Cool Whip. (I'm wishing that my second refrigerator hadn't chosen this week to bite the dust).
Not everything is stock-up worthy without fridge space. But things like Capri Sun sale priced at $1.99 become 99 cents a piece when purchased in sets of 5. Not to shabby for those Back to School lunches. Oscar Mayer hot dogs are on sale 2 for $3. Print a coupon to save $1 on 2, combine with the Catalina $5 savings and they are reduced to free. Remember--those dogs FREEZE!! Kraft salad dressings are similarly priced for a deal. There are coupon books available at Albertsons that contain coupons for many of the items that are going on sale. The Kraft salad dressing is one of them--save $1 on 2. If you combined it with the "Huddle" promo--you could stock up on salad dressing for 49 cents a bottle. With the dressing that cheap, a variety on the shelf could never hurt.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
And just like everyone else--I seem to get into the ruts of what sounds good and what to make that my family will enjoy. Because no matter what kind of day I've had, how many other wonderful things I participated in, or didn't....everyone still shows up at the feeding trough with expectations of an organized meal. So freezer meals are not only time savers, but life savers.
For the freezer meal night in September, we are doing the following selections:
1. Swiss Chicken--chicken, swiss cheese, Pepperidge Farm bread crumbs, cream soup, butter
2. Easy Taco Bake--ground beef, green pepper, onion, Bisquick, cheese, corn, cumin, garlic, eggs, and milk
3. Chicken Cordon Bleu--crepes, chicken, ham, swiss cheese, cream sauce
4. Swiss Dump Steak--round steak, tomatoes, onion soup mix, gravy mix
5. Amazing Meatloaf--ground beef, oats, cheddar, brown sugar, ketchup, onion, seasonings
6. Chicken Supreme--chicken, alfredo sauce, havarti cheese, bacon, green onion, mushrooms
7. Polynesian Pork Roast--apricot preserves, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, broth, molasses, cider vinegar
8. Sunshine potatoes--red potatoes, cream cheese, butter, sour cream, garlic, bacon, seasonings
9. Crunchy Oriental Pork Casserole--pork cubes, chinese noodles, celery, water chestnuts, soy sauce
10. Mountain Man Breakfast--hashbrowns, sausage, bacon, eggs, cream cheese, peppers/onions
11. Cranberry Chicken--cranberries, french dressing, onion soup mix
12. Peach Cobbler--peach, butter pecan cake mix, butter, coconut, nuts
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
I started the production by preparing all the individual ingredients--I cheated on the bacon. I bought the already cooked bacon that you only had to cook in the microwave for 1 minute. It was marvelous because it wasn't over-crisp and the clean-up was brilliant--like none.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
A LOT!! I had to go on a shopping splurge tonight to sooth the inner-coupon clipper. I got a bee in my bonnet and couldn't stop until I knew that I had what I needed. And what would that be, you wonder? A lot for only $9.15. I started out with 2 Albertsons' coupons...one for using the loyalty card and earning the $5 off your next purchase--you earn these for every 5000 points that are tallied by the dollars you spend in their stores within a shopping period. I also had a $2 off coupon from doing a phone survey found at the bottom of the receipt from a prior visit. They print out randomly. So for full disclosure: I went into this deal with a total of $7 in my favor.
What I got:
15 boxes Betty Crocker Au Gratin Potatoes
15 boxes Betty Crocker Roasted Garlic Potatoes
5 cans Green Giant green beans
5 cans Green Giant sweet kernel corn
4 Gum toothbrushes
3 Betty Crocker cake mixes
3 Betty Crocker frostings
2 Bisquick Shake and Pours
10 cans of Old El Paso refried beans
6 bags of Kraft shredded cheeses (from Fred Meyer in a rain check)
What? A t-shirt?! OK. They were on a display at Albertsons' of plain t-shirts in numerous colors for $1.25 each. I picked a navy, ladies-style cut that I know my 12 yr-old will wear. Shhhh..... Don't tell her I did Back to School shopping for her at Albertsons' or she'll quit talking to me, for sure. So all together for the stuff you see here--I paid $9.15 after coupons and also got 500 Box Top coupons for our local elementary. **The Box Top coupons (redeemable for cash by K-8 schools) are worth $50 alone. What I also hate to disclose, is...well. This little picture is only a sample of the amount I purchased tonight. Let's just say I spent less that was the school will get...Oops. Never mind. The school is getting over $200 is redemption coupons from our family. I spent less than $50 and got tons. I still need to call the store and special order the Bisquick in a bulk amount (um, like, maybe 80)--because I do that kind of thing when they are free. And who doesn't like NO Clean-up dishes when you make pancakes? (Sold!! To the lazy lady with the coupons!) I used my savings last week and splurged on clearance paper plates, so we are set for carefree dining...
If I had paid retail price, before sale promotionals and coupons, my total would have been $165.58. With these numbers, I realized an almost 95% savings on the stuffs here. Not too shabby for an hour of peace from the chitlins at home.
I was on a high when I left. I got three of the phone survey coupons at the bottom of various receipts for $2 off each. So, I'll do those and head back to the store on Monday or Tuesday to get a few for things on the cheap/free. I was thrilled to note that most of the expiry dates on the foods I bought tonight are well into 2011 and even into 2013. No worries about not using the quanities or stuffs by a certain date here.
And here is another trick of the trade: If you have food that you purchased in bulk and aren't going to get through them by the expiration date on the product--load them up and take them to the local food bank just before the expiry date--and you can take a full RETAIL value deduction on a donation slip. The donation slip should be saved and put with your tax information. It's tax deductable under "charitable donation" on your Schedule A. You can write off up to 40% of your AGI to charitable donations. Check with an accountant or at http://www.irs.gov/ for more information on charitable donations. But this is just one of the benefits of the law of reciprocity. What goes around, comes around. Be generous with your fellowmen, and your generousity will pay off in the end by getting to keep more your earnings come tax time.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Occasionally, I've been known to toot my own horn. Here is another occasion--"toot, toot!" I just got back from Albertsons'. It's Tuesday night. Didn't have any plans or purchases in mind for the eleventh hour of the sales' week. But my neighbor across the street has taken some of my tips and put them to good use. Well...today she gave me her extra doublers from the Sunday paper. Not wanting to waste a precious coupon doubler, I went to the computer at 8:30pm to refresh myself with the sales' ad and figured that it might be worth a trip down the hill to my favorite grocery haunt. I decided a mere 4 transactions would suffice--but I brought the 100 toothbrush coupons I recently ordered off of ebay...for a "just in case" back-up item to use any extra doublers. And as would have it, the toothbrushes were on sale for $1.19 (doubling the $1 off coupon allowed me to subtract 81cents x3 coupled/doubled for a total of $2.43 in overage per transaction). So doing transactions with three toothbrushes and smaller amounts of groceries, I had final amounts ranging from 17-89 cents per transaction. Doing 10-12 transactions really paid off...to the tune of $165.84 in savings. And for all of the viewers who stand in judgment of the value of couponing--please note the items that were "purchased" in "coupon cash" rather than liquid cash--like produce and milk; which are items that generally don't have a coupon specifically for them available. If I had freezer space and forethought--we would have been having steak for dinner tomorrow instead of cereal! Oh well. Better plans next time :)
So--here's what I got for $11.88!!
3 gallons of milk
8 boxes of General Mills Cereals
12 bags of Malt-o-Meal cereals
6 large apples
2 bunches of green onions
1lb of carrots
3lbs of bananas
22 Gum Toothbrushes
2 bottles Kikkoman's Teriyaki sauce
2 bottles Kikkoman's Teriyaki glaze
8 jars of Prego spaghetti sauce
21 cans of Starkist Tuna
Now, if I had paid regular price for all of these items, before any coupons, etc...this total would have been $177.72. But I paid $11.88 and came home with a $1.oo OYNO Catalina coupon, 35 cents off of gasoline for up to 20 gallons, and 4 free movies from Redbox--woo hoo!! So the little jaunt to my favorite haunt was well-worth the time. I shutter to think what I could have done if I had come prepared with a grundle of coupons and a method to my madness. Tonight was just a great reminder of what kind of good you can do without a lot of money or time.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
If you've looked at your ads today, you may have noticed a theme in the things that are on sale right now...school supplies. I am a bargain shopper--year-round. When I see rulers, erasers, and notebook for less than 10 cents each--NOW is a good time to stock up. As much as I hate it, now is the perfect time to teach my kids the value of what you can get for a dollar; and in my case, 5 kids equals $5 worth of spendings for $100s in savings. Most people excuse what they spend based on expediency. They just go to Wal-Mart or Staples and buy all their supplies in one go. But if you start watching the ads from the beginning of July till the first of September, every store has selected items that they put on sale every week that is considered their "loss leader". A loss leader is the product they are giving away or reduced to such a low price that they are not making any money on it. In fishing, we would call this the bait. But if you are a bargain shopper and willing to shop at multiple stores, you take the bait and as many kids as you have--and go shopping. Packs of pencils for a penny, notebooks for 8 cents, folders for 9 cents, rulers for 5 cents....the savings is tremendous and worth a little homework.
I teach preschool and stock my supplies right now for the whole school year. Last year, some of the markers started losing their mo-jo in April. I thought I could hit the local Wal-Mart and buy a few packages to get to the end of the year. YIKES!! The same markers that I had purchased in August for less than 50 cents a box--were now no less than $2 a box, on sale. I have such an intolerance for paying full price for anything, but when it's still four times the amount I paid on sale in August...I have a mental revolt. So I'm going to make sure that this year I have over and beyond what I need to get through the school year so I won't have an anxiety attack come springtime.
I found a new link this morning that I think is wonderful to look at if you don't carry the Sunday paper. It's http://www.shoplocal.com/. It has several of the local stores and their ads all at one viewing. I noticed that a couple of stores are missing, but no worries--I can navigate their websites by putting their names in with a dot com after it, usually. Buyer beware: lots of people see the same ads and have some method in their madness, so don't wait till Friday or Saturday and think that you will get all the items you want in stock. Most loss leader products are going to be sold out early in the week and most stores won't issue rain checks on promotional items. It doesn't hurt to ask if there will be secondary shipments though.
Save, Save, Save. It pays to pay attention. One of the office stores was offering a rebate for the price of the backpack! In layman terms, that equals free backpack (limit one per household). Buy $20 backpack, and get a $20 gift card. Suggestion: use the gift card to pay for the school supplies that are also on sale. Whatever you don't use on the card, can be used next week, and the week after for all the other things that are going on sale. Good luck and happy shopping.