Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's a Lifestyle.

Sometimes, "hidden savings" mean more than the ones printed on your receipt. For instance, you may pay $20 ("full price") when buying a haircutting system, but you'll save $15 every other month when hubby doesn't have to visit the barber.

Or you may pay a premium when buying "organic" produce, but when you use it to make your own baby food, you've saved tons of money!

Of course, the best deals are the ones that "stack" hidden savings with the more visible type, e.g., you may get a great deal on all-natural applesauce and feed it to your baby (if it only consists of apples and maybe Vitamin C) instead of buying "baby" applesauce in jars. 

I made my own baby food last week and I'm pretty proud of myself. Yes, I paid full price for organic apples (one of the "dirty dozen"), but I saved a bunch by avoiding those cute little jars (and it tasted purdy awesome!).

I took a short cut with the carrots and used the "baby-style" ones (not "organic"), so all I had to do was dump them into a pan with some water and let 'em go!

Honestly, peeling 3 pounds of apples wasn't really worth my time. Next time, I'm just going to go "label shopping" and get the adult applesauce with just apples in it.

A friend mentioned that frozen vegetables whirred in the blender makes great baby food. I definitely plan on trying that!

By the way, yesterday, I cut hubby's hair for the first time.  I think I did a pretty good job! What's your best "hidden savings" tip? I'd love to hear it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Money Monday

I had some twists and turns to my coupon adventure yesterday.  Toys R Us was running a $5  diaper sale.  Come to find out, the Huggies diapers were BOGO50% also (unadvertised).  I took my merry old time getting over there and not only were they out of the diapers at Toys R Us (judging by the holes, they hadn't even "stocked up" for the sale--did they not think people would want $5 diapers??), but apparently other people had the same idea I had and they were out of stock at the Target down the street (Target and Wal-Mart will price-match an advertised deal--$5 is still a DEAL).  Much as it saddens me, I think I'm gonna let this one go.  On a brighter note, I got diapers with my ECB profit today and only paid $2 in tax for everything, so I'm not hurting for diapers (like I was).  I also used my stale gas points from Weis to get half off gasoline today!

Here's what I got:

Here's how I did it:

Transaction #1

(2) Schick Slimtwin $8.99 ea.
(1) Skintimate Shave gel $2.49

Notes: The prices were slightly different than the deal idea I shared earlier, so I had to adapt my plan. By the time I got to the store, they were out of the cream shave (which was on sale for $2.49 with a $1.50/1 printable coupon).  I could have gotten a rain check for the whole deal at that point but I prefer the gel anyway.

25% off all reg. price items (coupon in my email)
Note: The register took $3.81 off–it seems to work on full price products that PRODUCE ECBs (razors), but if you USE ECBs, it counts against the total.  I wasn't sure it would do anything, so this was a nice bonus for me!
(2) $2/1 CVS store coupons for Schick disposable
Note: The register beeped on my second CVS coupon.  I'm not sure why because you should be able to use 2 CVS coupons with 2 qualifying items.  There is a Limit 1 per purchase (of specified products), but no where in CVS's unofficial policy nor on the coupon does it limit to 1 CVS coupon per transaction. 
(1) BOGO disposable coupon
(1) 0.75/1 Skintimate
3 ECBs (from last week)
$0.71 in tax (negative subtotal)
10 ECBs

Transaction #2

(2) Jumbo Packs of Huggies Jean Diapers $8.99 ea.
(1) Kotex U $3.49

(2) $2/1 Huggies Jumbo or larger (home mailers)
(1) $1/1 Huggies Jumbo or larger CVS coupon (printed at the red coupon machine--happy dance!)
(1) $3/15 Baby Care purchase CVS coupon (also from the magic coupon machine :D)
(1) $1/1 Kotex U product
2 ECBs (from last week), 10 ECBs (from last transaction)


2 ECBs (Kotex)

So, I got $52 worth of necessities for $2!  WooHoo!  The packages of diapers each had a $2/1 coupon in them, which is great because I had just used my last 2 coupons.  Plus, there's a Buy 6, get 1 Huggies jumbo pack deal at CVS for the  "summer" (details, anyone?).  I only need to buy one more to get my free pack!

ETA:  I got the details from CVS via facebook:  Huggies jumbo packs are included in the buy 6, get 1 free.  Boxes and larger are not included.  The promotion runs through December 31st.  It takes a few days to update the total and get your coupon (kinda like beauty club works).  I just got my 6th pack (at $5 no less) and hope to get my free coupon soon.  I'll let y'all know!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Make money getting paper!

There's a great deal at Staples this coming week just waiting to happen--make a profit getting paper!  Here's how:

(1) Kodak photo paper $13.99 ($12.99 easy rebate)
(2) Staples multipurpose paper 500 sheets/ream $5.99 each ($5.49 easy rebate)

(1) $5/$25 Staples purchase coupon (in circular and online)

Total due:
$20.97 ($22.23 incl. 6% sales tax)

Submit for easy rebates and receive:

You've effectively covered your tax and made a little profit getting some really nice paper! If you have the storage space, go ahead and get 2 Kodak photo paper packs, and you'll basically get everything free after tax and rebate (note: you're only going to save $$ if you actually submit the rebate ;P).  If you decide to do the deal, you might go ahead and pick up the $0.01 items and the FREE after rebate items.  If you don't need them, there is a drop box at the front of the store for school supplies for low income children and I'm sure they'd love them!  Or, save them for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes!  That's my plan!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thrifty Thursday and Deal Idea!

Well, CVS disappointed my this weekend: not even one lil' freebie.  I went on Saturday because they had sent me a 5/25 coupon and I needed diapers.  I was hoping to hit that sweet spot on Saturday evening (there was a descent diaper deal "last week" and a good price on Zantac "this week").  But, I guess CVS has gotten wise to the issues streaming from running two sales at once because there was a sign on the door that they would no longer change over the sales on Saturday night.  Oh well.  I had a backup plan and got 2 packages of diapers and 4-12 packs of coke for $20 total and I'll save my extrabucks for the awesome Schick deal next week. 

Here is my haul from Weis (yes, I did just call it a haul--I guess that makes me "extreme").  I got almost $100 worth of groceries for $50.  Some of the highlights of my trip were: $0.20 bagged salad, 24 jars of baby food for $6, half off feeding supplies, and 8 packs of Gatorade for $4 each (makes it $0.50 each).  I didn't make it to 50% this week, but I splurged on full price organic apples (I'm going to try making my own baby food) and O.J.(a necessity when I'm sick).

CVS has a GREAT deal this coming week and the best news is: you don't need newspapers! 
The deal is: when you buy $20 worth of products (BEFORE coupons), you get 10 ExtraBucks.  If you've been saving your inserts like me, I have a great deal idea for you:

(1) Schick slim triple disposable for her ($8.39)
(1) Schick Slim Twin Disposable (7.99)
(1) Skintimate cream shave (3.99)
(note, these are the "shelf prices" at my store--your store may have slightly different ones, but you want to hit $20 according to the shelf price at your store)
(1) BOGO Schick disposable razor (Smart Source 6/26) (will take off $7.99)
(1) $1.50/1 Skintimate cream shave (printable)
(2) $2/1 CVS coupon for any Schick disposable razor (printable) (It says ENERGIZER in red)
Total due:
Get back:
10 ECBs

It's like getting paid $3 to take their razors!!

If you haven't been saving coupons, you can still get free razors.  Here's how:

(2) Schick Xtreme3 disposable razors ($8.49)
(1) Skintimate cream shave ($3.99)
(2) $3/1 Schick Xtreme3 disposable coupons (you have to "like" them on Facebook) (printable)
(1) $1.50/1 Skintimate cream shave (printable)
(2) $2/1 CVS coupon for any disposable razor (printable) (It says ENERGIZER in red)
Get Back:
10 ECBs

Schweet!  I love making money on stuff I need!  I'm also hoping to work some diapers into the mix.  I'm pretty certain that CVS is going to be decimated by the time I get there on Sunday evening, but that's okay, CVS's rain check policy is awesome, so, now or later, it's a great deal!  There are actually a number of great deals at CVS this week.  Check out Southern Savers for great coupon match ups.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Labor Day

Sorry, guys, no cartoon today.  I had a cool idea and everything, but instead of drawing, I cleaned my house!  Well, one tiny part of it anyway... 

For the longest time our nice wide hall upstairs has been a catch-all for stuff we're just not sure where to put.  My domestic mantra is, "a place for everything and everything in it's place," which can be difficult in a 1200 square foot house without even a linen closet to its name. 

One of the biggest obstacles was my wonderful "craft box," where I stored everything about which I once said, "OoOh, I can makes something with that."  Let me just say, that I had already "pared down" my multiple huge boxes to one large bin of "materials" when we moved into our new place.

But, my bin, like everything else needed a "place" and that place wasn't in the hall.  Since I needed a place that was both accessible and out-of-the-way, I decided to use one of those under-the-bed storage bins that we had (also in my hall) and keep my craft stuff under the bed. 

I got rid of lots of stuff, like all my candle making and gallery glass supplies and even found a canvas-board (for paintings) buried amongst the clutter of the bin! 

I got rid of two-thirds of my supplies and now everything is tucked neatly under my bed, where I can reach it if I have a creative moment.  I'm very proud of myself!

Timothy got a taste of a real peach today.  He's pretty proud of himself, too!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cheap gas at CVS!

Who knew you could pay for gas with coupons, too?!  CVS is running a gas deal all summer long that when you spend $30 on select items, you get a $10 gas gift card.  Honestly, I haven't been too excited about the deals because I'd prefer just having $10 in ExtraBucks (so I can "roll" them).  Plus, gas comes from a different envelope, so it gets tricky: "What part of this $13 purchase goes into the gas budget?"  Last week, I ended up paying $15 (mostly in ExtraBucks) for groceries that produced a gas card, and I put the entire purchase in my grocery budget, so this week I'm "charging Jesse" for the gas card...all of the $3 that it cost...  I could have actually gotten it for free with ExtraBucks if I had broken up the transactions, but it was still a good deal as is.  Here's what I got:

(2) Off! Clip-on starter kits $8.89 ea.
-(2) $2/1 Clip-on starter (printable--no longer avail.)
(2) Off! Clip-on refills $5.79 ea.
-(2) FREE refill wyb Off! Clip-on Starter (printable--no longer avail.)
(1) Complete contact lens solution $7.99
(1) Similac Ready to Feed formula $6.39
-$5/1 Similac formula (from pediatrician's office)
-$5/1 Similac formula CHECK (Similac home mailer--can be stacked with coupons)
-$5/30 CVS purchase (e-mailed to me)
-10 ExtraCare bucks (from previous weeks)

Total: $3.60
ECBs received: 7.99 (contact solution), $10 gas card

I asked the manager who was ringing me up if I could use my rain checks for 2 Extrabucks when you buy the Off! starters (I figured I couldn't, but I asked anyway). She said yes! So the deal was even better! I paid in $3 and 10 ExtraBucks and got out 12 ExtraBucks and $10 in gas! Plus, I finally got the Off! Clip-on that I've been wanting to try (there's something disheartening about spraying poison on your person...). 

I'll probably go back later this week for a $1 razor.  There was supposed to be a coupon in Sunday's paper, but it wasn't in the Herald Mail, so I'm going to wait and see if it was in my parents' free paper. 


Movie Monday!!

There are actually a number of coupon codes available for your Movie Monday.  These expire on 7/15, so you've got plenty of time to take advantage of a free movie night.  As always, the codes only work on $1 rentals at Blockbuster Express (the big blue boxes at Sheetz and Food Lion). 


Don't forget to pick up a free Slushee at 7-11 on 7/11/11 (today!).  Have fun with your freebies!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chick-fil-a at the low low price of our dignity!

Chick-fil-a had a promotion yesterday that you got a free meal if you dressed up like a cow.  Of course, we (Becky and I) had to participate!  The restaurant was filled with cows!  Awesome!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thrifty Thursday--Grocery Edition

You probably know how much I love CVS, but I like to save money at the grocery store, too!  Thing is, when I get through buying those things that spoil each week--milk, eggs, produce--or that I simply don't have the space to store a six week supply of--meat, etc.--I barely save 40% after sales and coupons.  That's not too bad, but no where near the 95% I'm accustomed to saving at CVS.  This week was an exception: I didn't NEED much of anything except milk and fruit, so I was able to buy a six week supply of grocery items at their rock-bottom prices (40% or BOGO, also see Jenny's "Buy Price" for grocery items).  Weis wasn't impressing me this week, so I decided to go to Food Lion and Martin's.  I try to keep it to 2 grocery stores a week while I'm getting my stockpile.  Once I have a good stockpile, I should only need to shop at one grocery store a week to get a 6 week supply at it's rock bottom price (every item has a rock-bottom price).  I actually didn't have that many coupons this week--about a half dozen--but I bought my items anyway because most savings came from the sale, not the coupons.  I spent less than an hour matching coupons using my two favorite sites--For The Mommas and Southern Savers--and one hour shopping both stores (they were across the street from each other). I spent a total of $51.44 and saved $53.96, or 51%!  Fifty percent is what I strive for at the grocery store each week, but I have rarely succeeded in that goal.  It was like I got paid $25/hr. for my time in savings!  Completely worth it to me!

Here's what I got:

At Food Lion, I got:
6 bags Tostitos (BOGO)
6 2-packs of baby food ($0.39 ea.)
6 Powerade
3 Pkgs. whole grain pasta (free with coupons)
4 lbs. 93% lean ground beef
1 Cantalope
2 Bananas
Spent: $37.62
Saved: $26.07

At Martin's I did two gimmicks.  One was $6 off instantly plus $4 off milk on your next order when you buy 4 boxes Kellogg's cereal and $2 off your next order when you buy two different Scott products.  I did these in one transaction and used the catalinas they produced for the second transaction.

Transaction #1:
5 boxes Kellogg's cereals (avg. price: $3.25.  I had a $5/5 any kellogg's coupon, which covered the extra box)
1 single roll Scott TP
1 single refill Scott flushable wipes (I had a $0.50/1 coupon that doubled to $1 and made both free + profit)
Paid: $7.63
Saved: $12
Got back: $6 in catalinas

Transaction #2:
1 Brownie mix
1 Frozen Waffles
1 box fruit bar Popsicles
1 box Italian ice
1 Almond Breeze milk
1/2 gal. milk
1 block Colby cheese
1 block Muenster cheese
Paid: $6.19
Saved: $15.89

The best part is, this LOOKS like a solid $85 worth of food to me (back when I was buying store brands), but I paid $50 for name-brand items!

Monday, July 4, 2011

HAPPY Independence Day

Thank you to all those who have served our country and fought for our freedom!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Money Monday--Early Edition

Well, I'm pretty darn excited about shopping today.  I saved an average of 90% between retail stores, the grocery store, and CVS.  At the mall, I got $82 worth of stuff (mostly gifts so I didn't take a pic) for $18.
I ran into Martin's b/c we were out of milk and (of course) I knew they were running a cereal and milk deal, so I decided to do that (I left my coupons in the car and I'm not even sorry).  I got 4 boxes of cereal for $2.75 each, with $6 instant savings and a Catalina for $4.50 off milk.  So, I spent $5 on the cereal and did a second transaction for the milk.  The milk was only $2.79, so they were going to give me $1.71 back--in cash!--so, I "donated" $1 to their charity and they literally gave me $0.71 with my milk!  How awesome is that?!?!

Now on to the really fun stuff--CVS!  I FINALLY got to redeem my rain checks for my toothbrush heads and went ahead and did the rest of my shopping for the week.  I'm actually done grocery shopping for the week, unless I want to snag a deal somewhere later. 
I got a coupon for $2/2 Pantene, Herbal Essences or Aussie hair care from the magic coupon machine at the front of the store.  When you stack that coupon with the sale ending Saturday and a manufacturer's coupon, it makes the pantene free after ExtraBucks. 
I had saved up some 35 ExtraBucks in the past couple of months to use on these toothbrush heads.  They did make a error in my favor, so I burned slightly less ECBs than I was expecting.  So, here's what I did:

Transaction #1
1 Oral B Dual Clean brush heads 6 count 29.99 (orig $49.50, ouch!)
1 Dawn Hand Renewal Dish soap  0.99
-$5/$25 purchase in my e-mail
-$3/1 Oral B replacement heads (it was in the starter's pkg.)
-$1/1 Dawn Hand Renewal Dish soap (inside my parents' Charmin pkg.)
-20 ECBs (it was actually only 14 b/c they scanned one voucher, couldn't seem to get it to work and gave it back--turns out, it had scanned)
Total: $2.96
ECBs received: 20

Transaction #2
same 2 products
-$3/1 Oral B
-$1/1 Dawn
-27 ECBs (I used the 6 bucks from above here, too.  oops!)
Total: $0.60 (tax)
ECBs Received: 20

Transaction #3
Pantene shampoo $3.49
Pantene conditioner $3.49
(2) Cheez-it crackers $4
Cascade detergent $2.99
Oral B manual toothbrush $3
Oral B Pulsar toothbrush $5.99
(2) Head and Shoulders 2 in 1 shampoos $9.98
Always Infinity $3.99
(2) Christophe anti-frizz conditioners (clearance with $2/1 tearpad right there!) $4.18
-20 ECBs
-$2/2 Pantene CVS q
-$3/2 Pantene manu q (SS 6/19)
-$1/1 Cascade (PG 7/03)
-$2/1 oral b manual toothbrush (PG 7/03)
-$3/1 oral b pulsar toothbrush (PG 6/05)
-$1/1 Always infinity (PG 7/03)
-BOGO Head and shoulders q ($4.99) (PG 7/03)
- (2) $2/1 Christophe hair care item CVS q (tearpad)
Total: $0.94
ECBs received: 10 (2 for the Pantene, 1 for the manual Oral B toothbrush, 3 for the Oral B Pulsar, 2 for Head and Shoulders, 2 for Always Infinity)

Including the $100 in toothbrush heads, I got $170 worth of stuff for $5 out of pocket!  Awesome!!!  Plus, $13 of my purchases qualified for the gas promotion.  If I spend $17 more (before coupons), I get a $10 gas card.  Hmmm....should I get more stuff and free gas?  I'll let you know what I decide...

Be sure to get your paper on Sunday.  There are some pretty easy deals with the coupons in the P&G insert this week: the free manual toothbrush, the $1 always, and the $2 cascade all used Sunday's coupons.  Check out Southern Savers for the full list of best CVS deals this week (btw, I'm not affiliated with Southern Savers, I just really love the site!).