Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Finals--Fail!!

Lately, I've been trying to whip my grocery budget into shape and make $50 stretch for each week (normally, I have $75 to play with).  With that in mind, I'm pretty frustrated by my grocery shopping trip yesterday.  It didn't help that I did a veritable marathon of shopping: 3 hours of Martin's and ...Wal-Mart.  I had a deceptively successful trip at Martin's: $13.35 for $38.54 of meal-completers (e.g., taco seasoning, stuffing) that my pantry desperately needed.  I didn't get anything at Martin's that wasn't on sale and/or had a coupon because Wal-Mart's prices are lower than retail prices at the grocery store.  I went to Wal-Mart to pick up some deals with my high-value coupons, but they were all out of everything that I went for (except baby food).  So I got $38.33 of stuff we needed, including decongestant, Gatorade powder, and baby food.  Wal-Mart took more time, energy and cash than I had to give...but, at least it cost less than the grocery store?  I spent a total of $51.68 last night, which is "close enough" to $50 for me, but leaves no cash for newspapers on Sunday.  By the way, if you're thinking about buying newspapers for their coupons, this week is the time to start--there's going to be a meeellion coupons in there. 

Thankfully, last week (i.e., before Wednesday) was better. I went to CVS and got all this stuff:

Here's how I did it:

Transaction #1:

(1) Schick Quattro Trim Style $8.99
(2) Rimmel mascara $4.19 ea.
(1) Rimmel eyeliner $4.49

-$5/1 Schick Quattro razor or refill
-(3) $1/1 Rimmel cosmetic (manu. q)
-$3/2 Rimmel cosmetic (store q)
-10 ECBs (from last week)

Paid: $2.18 (mostly tax)

Got back: 3 (Rimmel), 4 (Schick) ECBs

Transaction #2:

(1) Renu contact lens solution $8.99
(1) Ajax dish detergent $0.88 (I needed something to cover the $0.01 overage--CVS must be cracking down!)

-7 ECBs
-$2/1 Renu
-$0.50/1 Ajax (from All You magazine)

Paid: $0.43

Got Back: 7 ECBs (Renu)

So, I ended up paying $2.61 for $40.72 in products, or 94% off!  Yay!!  I really didn't like the trimmer attachment to the razor, though.  I wish I had opted for the free refills, as the Quattro is my favorite razor.  Oh well, I was still excited I got to try it for free!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

FREE Movies!

I never pay for movie rentals.  ever.  Now, I do pay overdue fees if I don't return a movie on time, but I never pay for the first night.  I wanted to share with you all how it works, so I'm gonna try my hand at a tutorial.  Hopefully, you'll be able to get free movies from Blockbuster Express tonight. :D   Let me know if you "get it."

1. Head over to and see if there are codes for free movies available.  They're always available and I've never run out of codes (but I have run out of movies!).  You're gonna click on "free blockbuster express codes" under the "free stuff tab."  Like this:

There will be a number of codes when you click on that link.  Make sure to note the expiration dates and special exclusions (usually related to location or something).  If you're not very tech-savvy, stop here.  Write down or print out the codes (write more than one in case one doesn't work) and toodle yourself over to the nearest BBX kiosk, pick your movie, and submit your code during checkout.  VIOLA!  Free movie rental.  If you're computer literate, continue to Step 2 to reserve your movie online.

2. Open a new tab (or window) and go to Select your kiosk to see what movies are available at your location.  Like this:

3. Choose your movie.  You can get any movie that doesn't have the "Hot List" flame symbol on it.  The flame symbol denotes new releases and the codes almost never work for those, so I just wait until they're no longer "new."  Also, let me recommend to check the content of your movies regarding violence, sex, etc.  We find it far more helpful than MPAA ratings (who's rating these movies now days anyway?). 

4.  Checkout.  You will need to set up an account using a credit card (so they can charge you $1 per day late fee if you're lax about returning it).  Note: I have used both prepaid debit cards (from a rebate) and my debit card to complete my rentals and both work fine.  If you're a no credit card kind of family, have no fear!  During checkout, there is a box for promo codes.  Copy and paste one code from to get your movie super free!  This is how it will look:

5.  Go get your free movie!  Bring the card you registered with and touch "pick up" to get your movie for free!  Now, you have to return your movie by the next night at 9pm or else you'll be charged $1 on your card, so make sure to return them on time!  You will get 3 emails receipts: one when you reserve the movie, one when you pick it up, and one when you return the movie.  They will note a charge to your card of $0.00.  Have a fun movie night, y'all!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Still Monday!

Well, this week was quite different than usual.  I did almost no planning and ran in to CVS on a whim (I was planning on going tomorrow).  As I was waiting for a prescription, I went ahead and did my deals for this week.  I ended up balancing an unexpected *need* for wipes (where'd they all go?) with a deal for candy (okay, maybe not balanced, but fun).  Here's what I got:

Here's how I did it:

Transaction #1

(4) bags of Mars fun sized candy $10
(1) Huggies Snug and Dry $9
-$1/1 huggies jumbo pack CVS coupon
-$1.50/1 Huggies jumbo pack manufacturer's coupon
-$1/1 Snickers PB squared--I had a second coupon and I think I tossed it :(
-$1.50/2 Mars candy
-FREE (up to $2) ANY drink or candy purchase (CVS facebook coupon--avail. through 9/22!)
-12 ECBs

Total due:
just tax ($0.31)

ECBs received: 4 (for buying the candy), $9 toward baby deal

Transaction #2

(1) Huggies Little Movers Slip-On Diapers $9
(1) Huggies wipe refill 3 pack $6
(1) Similac Ready to Feed formula $5
-$5/1 any Similac product (from my pediatrician's office)
-$0.40/1 Huggies wipes
-$3/1 Huggies Slip-On manu. coupon
-$2.50/1 Huggies Slip-On CVS coupon (home mailer)
-4 ECBs from transaction #1

Total due:

ECBs received: 10 (for buying $25 in select baby products, which includes the diapers from transaction #1)

Total cost out of pocket: $6.21 for $56.53 in products, or 89%!

I didn't hit the sweet 95% that I usually like at CVS, but I got diapers and wipes so I'm really happy.  I'm really excited about all the great candy deals lately!  I tell myself no candy unless they're <$1 or free.  These work out to $0.38 per bag, so I "splurged."  This from the girl who can't eat chocolate...  But, I'll stock my little candy dish (such a treat) and if there's any left at Halloween, I'll turn my porch light on!

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Lunch--Chicken Noodle Soup

Summer is almost over and it's starting to get cold.  I had a hard time finding anything warm enough for us this morning!  Thankfully, there was one outfit's worth of clothes for Timothy to wear. 

I got the bug to cook something wonderful this afternoon.  Chicken noodle soup sounded puuurfect.  ...and it was.  I used a sweet potato ice cube to cool my bowl down and it turned the broth a beautiful shade of yellow.

Now, before you go thinking I'm superwoman, I did take some shortcuts that really turned out well:  I used canned chicken (which is surprisingly good in soup) and a frozen "chicken noodle soup mix."  I had to use my own spices and chicken base ("Better Than Bullion"--most awesome ingredient since hot sauce) because the seasoning packet had MSG in it.  Even though I couldn't use the seasoing, I really liked the product and would buy it again (on sale, of course).  This was as good as any real homemade soup that I've had!

Now I'm off to have leftover birthday cake for dessert.  What?  It was Jesse's birthday on wednesday and we can't let perfectly good cake go bad.  Doesn't everyone eat "lunch dessert"?

Monday, September 12, 2011

What I love about Sundays!

We interrupt this program to bring you an important announcement:  My big sister (and best friend and coupon mentor) had a baby boy!

Welcome, Isaac Brady Lanoue!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

I've decided: Sundays are better with savings.  For the past two weeks I've been over budget on groceries and I need to get back into financial shape.  So, I told myself I'd only spend $25 this week and guess what?  I spent $24.31!  First, I went to Weis because I needed the coupons from this Sunday's paper (though now I can't remember why...).  Since I've been getting a lot of meat deals lately, I didn't need a whole lot of the expensive staples.  I did, however, need baby food (still haven't gotten "ahead" on that front) and cake for Jesse's birthday on Wednesday.  Here's what I got:

Highlights include $0.50 Cheerios, free cake mix, and BOGO bread.  All total, I spent $22.21 and saved $16.82, or 43%. 

"How", you may ask, could I have spent $22 at Weis and only $24 total?  That, my friend, is the magic of CVS.  I'm pretty dern excited about my trip (can you tell?).  Here's what I got:

Here's how I did it:

Transaction #1
(1) Newton's thins $2.50
(1) Softsoap body wash $2.99
(1) Huggies jumbo pack diapers $8.99
(1) CVS allergy medicine 5 ct. $3.69
(1) Rephresh Brilliant pH balancing (...weird...beggars can't be choosers...) tampons $6.79
(2) Summer's eve wipes (16 ct. BOGO @$2.69)


-8 ECBs (from last week)
-$5/$25 CVS coupon
-FREE Huggies jumbo pk. (CVS coupon center machine from buying 6--8.99)
-FREE Newton’s thins (CVS magic coupon machine coupon--go scan your card!--$2.50)
-$0.75/1 Softsoap body wash
-$1/1 Rephresh (money maker on tampons!)
-$2/2 Summer’s Eve products

Total: $0.11 (negative subtotal)

ECBs received: 2 (body wash), 1 (diapers), 3.69 (allergy), 6.79 (rephresh)

Transaction #2

(4) Coke 12 pks.


-9.79 ECBs (I should have used the 6.79 and 3.69 since this week's goal was to minimize "out of pocket" expense but oh well...)
-(2) $1/1 Coke product (recyclebank coupon)

Total: $1.99 ($1.21 subtotal)

ECBs received: 3

So, I spent $2.10 out of pocket for $61.27 in products. I started with 8 ExtraBucks and ended up with 6.69--it's like I paid $3.41 a.k.a. 6% of the "shelf price."  Between Weis and CVS, I got $102.40 worth of groceries for $24.31 or a savings of 76%!! I don't think I've ever had such a productive job/hobby. :D

Friday, September 9, 2011