The Queen of Coupons Reigns......


Monday, July 26, 2010

Baskin Robbins Free Cones

Summer promotionals are cool...sometimes even ice-cream cool. Baskin Robbins is doing a Buy 1 Get 1 Free ice-cream cone promotional through August 8th. If you live near a BR--that might mean a terrific family outing one hot summer night with the family. Check out this website to print the coupon that you need to get in on this "cool" deal. I just need another person to go with us to make our numbers even for this treat. I'm sure I'll have no problems finding a taker.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

BaCk 2 ScHoOL

If you've looked at your ads today, you may have noticed a theme in the things that are on sale right 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 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.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I love Catalina!!

Catalinas are the best. They are bonus savings to whatever you are buying and can almost always be used on any kind of purchase except gift cards and gas. So what are they? Catalinas are coupons that are printed at the register at time of check-out. They are long pieces of paper-almost like a second receipt. They are sometimes coupons from the manufacturer or cash value on your next purchase. So for example, when a promotion is going on at Albertsons' that says "Buy $30 worth of Proctor and Gamble products and save $10 off your next purchase"--it means that a Catalina will print that states "Save $10 on your next purchase" courtesy of Proctor and Gamble for any grocery item. Buy steaks, candy, milk and acts like cash up to the $10 amount! You can think of it in terms as you just 33% off your original purchase (prior to coupon application) or you can see it was 100% free for the items you buy with the Catalina! Either way--the glass is full, full, full!!

This is fabulous savings if you calculate your purchases. But sometimes the Catalinas are dollar amounts off a set number of purchases. For example, June was Dairy month at Albertsons', and for every 5 sets of dairy purchased--you saved $5 ($1 per item). So for things like yogurt, cheese, sour cream--the prices were pretty good to start, but by buying 5 of them, minusing the $5--the prices became stellar--and then add a coupon--and most things were free.

Well--this month has another great upcoming Catalina promo going on for Kraft cheese. Buy 5 participating Kraft items, and receive $5 off your next purchase. (In coupon lingo--that means a Catalina print-out will occur at time of check-out for $5 good towards any other items before using manufacturer's coupons). The promotion starts 7/19 and goes through 8/15. GREAT in terms of length of offer and the products are bound to go on sale in that time frame and the $5 off still applies even if the product is full price or sales price. So savvy shoppers would plan to buy their monthly supply of cheese when it goes on sale and take advantage of the $5 off by doing multiple transactions. Do I sound like a tour guide of your local grocery store yet? This Catalina promotional is going on at Albertsons'. Kroger stores (Fred Meyer--locally), and possibly Safeway (verify that before you spend your life savings' on cheese).

If your thinking that this is just about sandwich slices--wrong. Besides the Kraft singles (excellent for cheeseburgers, by the way), it also includes Philadelphi cream cheese, Velveeta cheese, string cheese, cracker cuts, deli cut cheeses, parmesan cheese, Cheez Whiz, Knudsens' sour cream and cottage cheeses, and packaged cheeses. Fan-tab-ulous deal if your family eats cheese...all kinds of cheese.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lowe's Build and Grow

We just clued into something that has been going on for awhile at Lowe's. It's their Build and Grow kids building project activities. They are free workshops that are every other Saturday. You go online to register your kids and you get to go put a kit together that makes something fun out of wood (with screws and nails, of course) for the kids to play with or display.

Yesterday we went for the first time and the kids make a ball and cup toy. The kits were out on the table and included everything they needed to put it together. The information at the website showed that it was from I figured that the projects would take about that long. It was actually much faster--or my kids are just geniuses :) But for an investment of 20 minutes, they all came away with a fun game and the excitement of having put it together themselves.

So for a great supplemental activity to do with your kids this summer--this is a must have on the list. And the real deal of the whole event--it's free. So go to for more information and upcoming schedules.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Walgreens is Supreme....

I've been couponing for years, but I've never really taken advantage of the drug store programs that are available until recently. Several of the stores have had image over hauls and introduced programs that often get overlooked unless you are serious about saving some cash. So I've had to take my own advice and research the store policies for Walgreens and Rite-Aid because they have some amazing sale pricing if used by a savvy shopper--like myself. Knowing store policy is everything when it comes to whether we pay for it or get it for free! I have a new favorite in my savings game--Walgreens. They have a "Register Rewards" program that is similar to the Catalina coupon program in grocery chains, but differs in a few ways with how to maximize your savings.

Each week there are items in the ad that state when they are purchased a register reward is generated. For example, Schick Proglide razors are normally $10.99+. They are on sale for $9.99 and the ads says that when you buy one, a $5 register reward will print at the conclusion of the transaction. Taking the savings into account, the product can be advertised at $4.99. This gets a little tricky because you don't pay $4.99 on the first transaction--you pay $9.99, minus whatever coupon you have for it. In this case, I had a $4 off coupon for it. So the sales price comes up at $9.99, then the manufacturer's coupon reduces $4 off, down to $5.99. I conclude the transaction and pay $5.99+tax. Then a $5 register reward prints out that I can use on anything in the next transactions. By placing that coupon with the product at check-out, and deducting the value of the register reward, the real cost of the razor becomes 99cents. That's a pretty good deal for a very expensive razor.

Where it differs from the Catalina program is if you use it on the same product that you just purchased--another razor, it will not generate another register reward. But if your buy something else that generates a reward as well, pay for it with the register reward from the last transaction (the razor in this situation)--a new reward is generated. It will probably take a few tries to get the hang of the program, but once you do--great savings will be rolling in your way, especially on items like shampoo, soap, razors, household cleaners, and body care products.

The registers at Walgreens view the register rewards as "coupons"--even though technically they are not and can be combined with manufacturer's coupons. But the since the register sees the register reward as "coupon" and you are not allowed to exceed the number of coupons to items purchased ratio, you must use a "filler" item to even out the number of items purchased to "coupons". This means--grab a 25 cent piece of candy or pack of gum to bring up your number of items purchased. It seems kind of silly to start throwing extras into your cost-saving transactions, but you have to play by the store's rules and you want to use the manufacturer's coupons AND the register reward/store savings program.

Week after week, there are different items that are featured in the drug store ads that are fabulous deals. Don't be greedy and ruin a good thing for everyone else by mass purchasing an item to the frustration of the store. Purchasing little bits at a time over a period of time will add up quickly and turn out to be quite a stash in your family's inventory. When you combine the freebies with coupons, the cost-savings is extended to everything that you buy and you still go home with register rewards to use on the next weeks' deals. It has been a lot of fun to add another dimension and variety to the home and storage inventory.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Barnes and Noble Deals....

Many of you know that I have a thing for books. I love them. I don't like to borrow, check out, or trade them. I'm all about ownership. I love children's books to grown-up books. I just found a great deal from Barnes and Noble that is only good through July 6, 2010--so expediency is the key to this great one. They are having a summer warehouse sale and they have books as low as $1.78 --a lot. If you spend $25 or more, you get free shipping. And here's a great additional savings: if you put this code in the box under save 20% off your highest item--not total, but item. So I just bought 11 books and after tax, discount, and free shipping, the total was only $32. Love it!! Coupon:!%20See%20site%20for%20details