Monday, October 31, 2011

I had a small meltdown in the parking lot...

I went to Weis Markets to get a great deal on paper products, but they were all out.  So, what was gonna be a "super savin' maven" trip turned essentially into a milk run...a really expensive milk run...  You remember that milk and cereal deal I did 2 weeks ago?  The one where I got 8 boxes of cereal for super-cheap?  Yeah, all that cereal is gone.  Two people went through 8+ boxes in 2 weeks!  So, I had that dreaded four-letter word on my hands (N-E-E-D) on more than one front.  Here's what I got:

(2) Tostitos BOGO @ $4.99
(3) Eggo waffles @ 3/$5 (trying to cut our cereal addiction)
(2) GM cereal $2.50 ea. (:O)
-$0.75/1 Cinn. Toast Crunch (doubles to $1.50)
(2) O.S. cranberry juice with calcium $1.79 (clearance!)
(1) Pillidelphia cooking cream $2
-$1/1 cooking cream
(1) A&W Root Beer 2 Liter (Coke prices were sooo high, so I subbed root beer) $1
(1) dozen eggs $1.89
Clementines $3.99
(1) gal. milk $3.29
(2) Freschetta pizzas $5.50 ea.
-$1/1 Freschetta pizza
(1) Newspaper $2

Total: $42.41

Aaaaand here's where I nearly cried.  Look at my cart again.  It looks like nothing to me--a few pizzas, some chips...  I was a little encouraged to see on my receipt that I had saved 35% ($23.60), but I still had to call my sister for some talk therapy.  She told me about her latest trip where she spent $150 and saved 8%.  I felt a little better.  She also commented, "I've created a monster!," and it is so true.  I'm pretty sure I'm "addicted to saving;" hopefully, I'll get over that soon (dad did say not to take up gambling).  In the meantime, I'll focus on the CVS run I did on Saturday.  I was pretty excited.  Here's what I got:

(2) Fun-sized bags M&M's $2.50 ea.
-(2) $1.50/1 Mars candy (9oz.+) coupons
(2) Fun-Sized bags Hershey's milk chocolate bars $2.50 ea.
-(2) $1/1 Hershey's candy (any, 9 oz. +) coupons
-4 ECBs

Total: $1.60 (on CVS gift card)
ECBs received: 3
Credit in Savings Star account: $1 (for buying M&Ms)

It's like I paid $1.60 for 4 bags of candy!!!  I saved 90% off retail price ($4 ea.)!!  I was purdy excited!!  See, I AM a "super savin' maven"!

Friday, October 28, 2011

One last grocery trip this week...

I noticed a lack of meat from my shopping trip on Sunday, so I planned another trip to Martin's.  Their pork tenderloins were BOGO (orig. $6.29/lb.?  Who pays these prices??) and I had two coupons, so it made them about $2/lb. (muuch better).  My sister-in-law is right: Martin's really is the best for coupons.  I've been through their U-Scan 4 times in the past few weeks, often doing 2 transactions and no one even bats an eye at my stack of coupons.  One more week of getting spoiled like this, and I'll be hard-pressed to return to Weis or Food Lion.  I'm not usually in the Martin's areas, so I decided to go on Tuesday after MOPS.  Oh how I love grocery shopping at night!  No crowds, no lines!  It's so peaceful just to stroll up and down the aisles all alone.  It's like a long walk on the beach in my corner market.  Aannyyway, I felt I did well, especially for a second trip (my savings quotient goes way down on second trips).  Here's what I got:

(2) Loaves bread (BOGO) $3.29
(2) Pork Filets (BOGO) $10.00
-(2) $2/1 coupons
(1) Applesauce $2
(4) Bird's Eye vegetables $1 ea.
-(2) $1/2 coupons
(2) small Freezer packs (clearance) $0.25 ea.
(1) medium freezer pack (clearance) $0.37ea.
(4) Gerber baby food jar (clearance) $0.37 ea.
-$1/4 Gerber baby food ANY ctalina (makes it $0.12 ea!)
(1) Gerber organic brown rice cereal (clearance) $1.74
-$1/1 Gerber organic cereal catalina
(1) Beech-Nut Oatmeal $1.99
-$0.60/1 Beech-Nut cereal (doubled to $1.20)
(2) Bertolli marinara sauce $2 ea.
-$0.75/2 Bertolli sauce (doubles to $1.50)
(1) Almond breeze shelf stable $2
-$0.55/1 (doubles to $1.10)
(2) Welch's juice drink $2 ea. (I was thirsty--this was my splurge item)
-$1/2 Welch's juice drink

(I was reeeaaalllyy tempted to get $1 ice cream, but I resisted and my waistline thanks me)

Total before savings: $58.87
Total savings: $36.30
Total paid: $22.63 (incl. tax)
Catalina: $1 oyno (from buying pasta sauce)

After catalina, I saved 63%!! 2/3 savings is unheard-of--even for me!  I was really excited to see so much baby food on clearance (well, 30% off isn't really clearance in my book, but...) so I got to use some awesome baby food coupons.  Yeah!

Coupons paid for my lunch!

I wanted to make a quick stop by Martin's on my way home from church, but Jesse and I were both getting pretty hungry.  Since I had been doing so well with my budget, I suggested we get subs at Martin's and use "grocery" money.  Since Jesse ate his sub in the car, that meant I could take a little longer shopping, no?  =D I decided to make this my weekly grocery trip and add in almond milk and produce.  Here's what I got:

Transaction #1:

(4) Bertolli Alfredo Sauce $2 ea.
(1) Country Crock spread $1.99 (good thing this was on sale w/ a coupon--Jesse had just asked for it)
(1) Almond Breeze shelf stable $2 (I haven't been able to finish the half gallons lately)
(1) Gallon milk $3.39
(2) Newspapers $2 ea.
(1) Powerade $0.77 (for my lunch)
Bananas $1.12

-(2) $0.75/2 Bertolli sauce printable (both doubled to $1.50)
-FREE Powerade (my coke rewards--I keep these on hand in case I get thirsty while shopping)
-$0.55/1 Almond Breeze (doubled to $1.10)
-FREE milk catalina ($4.50)
-$1/1 Country Crock

Total before savings: $24.99
Total savings: $14.09
Total paid: $11.19 (incl. tax)
Catalina: $3.75 (for buying 4 Bertolli sauces--made it $0.33 ea.!)

Transaction #2:
My lunch (not pictured)
(1) Newspaper $2 (I hadn't planned on getting 3 papers, but I had to get something quickly to make my total >$3.75)

-$3.75 catalina

Total before savings: $4.69
Total savings: $3.75
Total paid: $1.23 (incl. tax)

So, I saved $17.84, or 59%!!!  I think I'm finally starting to get tired of bananas.  =D  So, we'll see what sort of produce I'm "in the mood for" next week.

Sir Screams-A-Lot

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More grocery shoppping at CVS this week

Though I hadn't planned on it, I did the gift card deal again this week. It included Gatorade and paper towels (we were out of both), so it was a perfect sale for me.  Here's what I got:


(4) Starburst stick $0.50 ea.
(2) Scott Mega Paper Towels $6 ea.
(2) Bumble Bee tuna $0.77 ea.
(4) Cheez-it $1.99 ea.
(10) Gatorade $1 ea.
(1) Candy Corn $0.99
(20) Kodak prints $0.29 ea. (not pictured)

-(2) $1/1 Scott paper towel
-(2) BOGO starburst manu. q's ($0.50)
-BOGO starburst CVS q ($1.19) (I had only planned on using 2 BOGO q's total, but my cashier and I had a miscommunication)
-$1/2 BumbleBee tuna (recyclebank)
- 20 FREE Kodak prints (facebook)
-9 ECBs, $10 gift card (from last week)

Subtotal: $10.25
Total: $11.17
ECBs: 1 (starburst), 0.99 (candy corn), $10 gift card (for buying $30 in select merchandise)
Total saved: $53.48
Considering the ExtraBucks I burned on the transaction, I spent $18.17 on $64.65 in groceries!  I saved 72%!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can I get one more post in before the weekend?

I have no more than 1/2 hour... let's see...

After a cleaning day marathon on Tuesday, I took a day off with the other Trelindas (Becky and Laurie).  Yesterday, I got back in the grocery game.  I actually split my grocery shopping between Wal-Mart and CVS (I DID use ExtraBucks to buy groceries this week!).  Between the two trips, I saved 59%.  Which seems a little low for me, but I didn't "save" anything at Wal-Mart (it was probably 40% off grocery store prices).  I had to go to the dreaded 'mart to get some pharmaceuticals.  I did the math and their "everyday" prices on generic meds were lower than CVS's sale price this week.  So I picked up some other things we were out of: brown sugar, bread (we can't fit a 2 months supply of bread in the freezer), Pam (with free-bate), and bananas (we're on a banana kick lately) for $8.32 (with a rebate for $2.86).  We didn't need any milk or eggs (also things I can't fit in my stockpile) because of the great deals last week, so here's all I got:

All of the rest of the items, I got from CVS.  I had to go to 2 stores because the first store was out of Freshmates (no rain checks on the gift card deal).  Here's what I got:

Store #1


(6) Puffs + lotion (these are bigger boxes) $1.50 ea.
(2) Goldfish crackers $1.50 ea.
(1) Wisk HE 50 oz $4.99 (orig. $8.99??)
(1) Almay eyeshadow $5.99 (I just wanted this and I figured for <$1, I was worth it ;D)
(1) Pamper's jumbo pack $8.99 (for new baby niece coming!)
-22 ECBs
-$1/1 Pamper's
-$2/1 Pamper's CVS q
-$1/1 Almay
-$2/1 Wisk
-$1/6 Puffs (stupid low value coupon...)

Subtotal: $2.97
Tax: $1.64
Total: $4.61
ECBs: 4

Store #2
(They had the freshmates that I wanted here, and also the eyeliner I was hoping to exchange from earlier in the week)


(2) Charmin Freshmates $2.50 ea.
(1) Almay eyeliner $5.99 (exchange)
-(2) $1/1 Charmin
-$6.35 (exchange)

Subtotal: $2.64
Tax: $0.66
Total: $3.30
ECBs: 4 (from the Almay exchange--this was actually a duplicate since it was an exchange.  I explained that to the cashier, though, and she said to keep it--Yay!!), $10 CVS gift card (now I won't have to pay tax!)

So, all total, I spent $7.91 at CVS for $49.68 in products.  I used 22 ECBs, got back 8 ECB and a $10 gift card.  So, I saved 81% for groceries!!  So far this week, I have spent $20.93 from my grocery budget!  I love staying under budget!!

I was wondering what to do with the unused freshmate containers and had an awesome idea: turn them into Cheerio dispensers!  This is Timothy's new favorite thing!  He can even push the button to open it (Jesse taught him that ;D)!

Oh yeah...and I missed my deadline =D

Lesson Learned...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Milk and Cereal. Cereal and Milk. Cereal and Milk.

I've been trying out new grocery stores to get out of my couponing comfort zone.  Martin's has a great milk and cereal deal this week that I had to jump on (twice!).  I saw a similar deal two months ago and Weis had it shortly thereafter, but we're hurting for cereal right now (I splurged and paid $2.50 a box at K-Mart!), so I didn't want to wait for it.  I hope to "get up the guts" to try Rite-Aid again, but not this week--I'm out of cash.  Since I did the milk and cereal deal twice, I did 2 transactions.  I'll walk you through the first transaction:

Transaction #1:

(1) Reese's Puffs (my favorite and doesn't seem to cause migraines--yet) $3.35
(1) Lucky charms $2.50
(1) Kix $2.79
(1) Cocoa Puffs $2.79

-$4 off instantly wyb 4
-$1/2 GM cereal
-$0.85/1 Kix cereal (doubled to $1.70)
-$0.50/1 Lucky Charms cereal (doubled to $1)

Total: $3.73
Received: $4.50 off next purchase with milk (says "no cash back" but took $4.50 off the next transaction when I bought milk for $2.99)

It's like I got a gallon of milk and 4 boxes of cereal for $2.22!!  Since that's about what I'd have paid for a 1/2 gallon of milk alone, I'd say I did pretty well!  Unless I had a specific coupon, I bought the cereals I WANTED, not the ones that were cheapest (a few were on sale for $2.50 ea.).  Even if you didn't have coupons and bought 4 boxes of cereal at $2.50 each you could get a gallon of milk and 4 boxes of cereal for $4.50 ($6 up front with $4.50 off a $3 gallon of milk)!  That's a great deal and you didn't even need to clip coupons!! 

I did this transaction again and bought the rest of my groceries (including $1.99/lb. boneless/skinless chicken breast and Lysol wipes $0.15 after rebate) and here's my total for the second transaction:

Total: $56.80
Total value purchased: $99.10
Rebates: $4.50 (milk Catalina coupon--I'll redeem it later), $5 (for Lysol wipes)

Between both transactions and the rebates, it's like I spent $54.72 for $115.88 worth of groceries!  That's a 53% savings!! 

Since Wednesday, I've spent $84.50 (minus $14.50 in rebates) on $221.74 of groceries (and baby food and make-up)!!!  That's a 68% savings!!!  Go me!!!   Alas, I did go $10 over budget out of pocket, so it looks like I'll be buying groceries with extrabucks next week!  =D

LOVE this eyeliner!

Yesterday, I forewent a big shopping trip to CVS.  I did stop in and make some money on eyeliner, but I'm saving my "big trip" for after Wednesday (b/c I figured I'd be out of money in my envelope--I was right).  Here's what I got:

I bought:

(1) Intense I-color liquid eyeliner Purple (for brown eyes) $5.99
(1) Intense I-color liquid eyeliner Raisin (pictured) (for green eyes) $5.99

-$3/$10 make-up purchase CVS coupon
This printed from the coupon machine on Saturday (when I stopped in to make $4 on haircolor!) and it expired Sunday, hence the Sunday make-up run.
-(2) $1/1 Almay product manu. coupon
-7 ECBs from last week (I don't even know when I got these anymore--I've got 27 to my name right now...)

Subtotal: $0.00
Total: $0.30 (on my rebate card)
ECBs received: 8 (from Almay), 1 (green bag tag)

I tried the "Raisin" and loved LOVED it so much, I'm not going to even try the purple.  I'm actually planning on exchanging the purple for another raisin for my sister.  Even though CVS has a no questions asked guarantee on make-up, I don't usually like returning make-up that was free (just doesn't seem right...).  I'm okay making an exception in this case because it's unopened and CVS can still sell the purple eyeliner.

Just the Essentials at K-Mart

I've been trying to branch out from my usual stores lately.  On Friday (I think it was Friday...), I went to K-Mart for groceries.  They really didn't have good sales this week, but I had some great high-value coupons, so I still saved like a maven.  I only really "did" one deal, but for a trip that was basically "just the essentials," I thought I did very well.

Total Value Purchased:  $75.18 (including $25.74 in "free" blush)
Total Spent: $22.79
Total Coupon value: $35

This was the exception to the rule that you save more with coupons than sales.  K-Mart was running a deal that you get $10 on your next order (which I used immediately) when you spend $35 on P&G items.  Since I had $24 in coupons for the blush, it basically covered the cost of the make-up, plus the other P&G items I needed (like mouthwash and cascade).

*Special Alert:* Every lady who comes to my house for the next month will get a blush "favor" just for visiting.  And if you act now, I'll even throw in some lipstick ;P

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Coupon Story

Jenny at Southern Savers prompted us to share why we use coupons and I thought it would be nice to post here also.

My husband and I used to fight about money all the time. He set a budget based on how much money we had left after bills, savings, etc. I felt like it was waay too low ($50 for 2 people for a week), so I would just go and get what we needed and let him deal with "making it work." It sounds horrible now, but the way I felt was that we NEEDED food, but the other things, like saving for retirement, were not as important for a pair of twenty-somethings. I would always look at the circular and set up my menu around the sales and I would almost always buy generic. I thought I was a savvy shopper and if I couldn't make $50 a week work, then it must be impossible. I would regularly spend $100-$150 dollars per week and it would inevitably lead to a fight.  While I was complaining to my sister one day, she told me..again…to try couponing.  She had been following Jenny’s blog for a while, but I thought it was too complicated for me.  Finally, I decided to try CVS/pharmacy.  I watched all the tutorials and read all the “getting started” information and then I waited for a week that Jenny was excited about to try my hand at it.  It only took 2 weeks of free stuff for me to get hooked on using coupons.  Now, a year later, we have added a baby and I have a comfortable grocery budget of $75 per week.  For that, we get all the essentials and even have money left for non-essentials, like body wash and ice cream.  I really feel like I’m “living the life” and I feel that coupons make our lifestyle comfortable.  It’s funny because I live better “in this recession” than I ever did before.  I have more in my pantry and more in my wallet than I had a year or two ago; I feel like a complete coupon success story.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I took the week off (yeah right...)

I really wasn't going to go to CVS this week.  really.  They didn't have any interesting sales.  Well, they did have Q-tips at their 6 week low price...okay, I'll just go for Q-tips...gah!  They got me in the door and look at me now?!? 

When I walked in, my very favorite manager was on duty.  I commented on how they got their new Reinventing Beauty magazine in (it costs a dollar, but has lots of great coupons) and she was like, "oh, I have something you may want."  She then went to the back and brought me the insert with all the magazine's coupons!  She says something like, "Yeah, they send these for the employees with the magazines I thought maybe you could use them..."  Are you kidding me?!?  Coupons!!  There was a $5 off a $10 Glaxo-Smith-Kline purchase in there, which I stacked with 2 printable coupons and a sale to make $1.50 on sensitive toothpaste!  My sister asked me to pick these up for her when deals come along and I was happy to oblige.  Free toothpaste is the cornerstone of the coupon game: you should never pay for toothpaste.  Actually, I have to pay ~$1 for toothpaste because I can only have cinnamon flavor, but if you don't mind mint, you're golden. 

So, here's what I got on my week off:

(3) Hallmark cards $0.99 ea.
(2) Softsoap foaming hand soap $3 ea. (rain check)
(1) Q-tip 300 ct $1.99
(1) Sensodyne Pronamel $4.49
(1) Sensodyne Iso-Active $5.99

-$0.60/1 Q-tip (recyclebank)
-(2) $0.70/1 Softsoap
-(1) $1/1 Pronamel
-$1/1 Iso-Active
-$5/10 GSK oral care purchase
-12 ECBs (from last week)

Subtotal: $0.44
Tax: $1.29
Total: $1.73
ECBs received: 3 (Hallmark), 4 (Softsoap--rain check), 5 (Sensodyne)

So, I went in for $1.50 Q-tips and walked out with nearly $30 in products for the same much for my week off... =D

ETA: I realized since this post that I prabably was not supposed to use the $5/10 coupon and the two $1/1 coupons because they were all labeled "manufacturer coupon." (I thought the reinventing beauty magazine coupon was different)  It just goes to show, I sitll have stuff to learn...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lotsa Diapers!

Timothy grabbed one of the packs and pushed it all around the living room. It's his new favorite toy.  =D

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

I wanted to catch a few more deals this week, so I went to CVS and Food Lion yesterday.  Diapers aren't going to be on sale for the next few weeks, so I went to CVS to get a couple of packs to last me.  With my small stock, I should be good for 3 weeks.  We also needed wipes and, this time, the full priced CVS brand was the cheapest (at 2.3 cents ea), so they diluted my "savings."  Here's what I got:

Here's how I did it:

(1) CVS napkin $1.49 (75% off clearance)
(2) CVS double packs of wipes (these are between Target and Huggies in quality, my manager mentioned CVS brand is 100% guaranteed, so you can take them back if you don't like them)
(2) Huggies jumbo $8.99 (the extrabucks are limited to one, but they were still at my "buy price" after coupons)

-$5/$25 total purchase
-$3/1 Slip-On Diapers
-$2/1 Little Movers Diapers
-(2) $1/1 Huggies jumbo pk (from the magic coupon machine)

Subtotal: $13.45
Total: $14.69
Saved: $22.50 (61%)

Wouldn't ya know?!  After I went and splurged on diapers at CVS, there was an unbeatable sale at Food Lion!  I'm not complaining too much because I always need diapers.  =D I actually stopped in for some shredded cheese and popcorn on BOGO and here's what I got:

Here's how I did it:

BOGO Items

(2) Kraft BBQ sauce $0.79 ea
(1) Country Time Lemonade $1.89 (FL doesn't require that you get 2)
-$2 off Peelie on BBQ sauce for 2 sauces and 1 drink mix
(2) O.R. popcorn bowls $2.49 ea.
(4) Kraft cheese $1.61 ea.
(2) Fisher Price diapers $3.14 ea.

Other Items
(1) 1/2 gal. milk $2.23 (?!?)
(1) Apple Sauce to-go $1.69 (we needed portable baby food)
(1) Idahoan box potatoes $1.09
-FREE Idahoan potatoes in All You Magazine
Overripe bananas $0.45
Bananas $0.90 (we like bananas =D)

Total $24.82
Saved: $24.97 (50%)

Note that I only used 2 coupons (and one was a peelie) so all of that savings came from shopping the sales.  "Extreme Couponing" is really a misnomer because coupons are just the icing on the cake. You really save money with sales, not coupons.

Since I got a number of rebates in the mail this week, it was fairly easy to stay on budget.  Including my earlier trips, my total grocery spending was $47.50 (plus $20 in rebate cards, I think, but they have already been paid for).  That means I have officially "caught up" on my grocery budget! 

I also spent $22 this week for 5 jumbo packs of diapers and 4 pkgs. of wipes!  I've been using the Fisger Price diapers and I'm really impressed with them.  I'm planning on going back today or tomorrow to get more.  =D  I may take a "week off" couponing this coming week and just get the necessities (partly because I'm not seeing any exciting sales).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's a Chreeetmas Meeeracle!

When things go decidedly against "Murphey's Law," I tend to get excited.  As I thank God, I usually exclaim, it's a "Chreeestmas Meeeracle!"  I don't know why.  I probably got it from a sibling who got it from some movie....    Anyway, I had two "Christmas Miracles" when I went to CVS this week.  On Sunday, I went to CVS and spent far less than I was expecting (which was the only reason I stayed on-budget this week).  As it turns out, I had been the benefactor of a ($9) cashier error.  When I used my BOGO coupons, I got credit for the full price of each item instead of their sale price.  I had to add a candy bar and take away 7 ECBs to get my total back in the positive (50 cents!!).  Here's what I got:

(3) Dove Shampoo $3 ea.
(3) Dove conditioner $3 ea. (I needed to get that many for the sale)
(1) Edge gel $1.99
(1) Schick Hydro 5 razor $8.29
(1) Huggies Jumbo Pk. $8.99
(1) Sinus medicine $5.99 (*gasp* retail!)
(1) Reese's Pieces $1.19 (see above)

-$8.50 quarterly ECBs
-$2 ECBs (b/c I promised not to trash my ECBs)    =D
-FREE Huggies jumbo pk. (store coupon for buying 6) ($11.99 <-- the full price)
-(3) BOGO dove haircare coupons (3x$4.89 <-- full price)
-$5/1 Schick Hydro
-$0.75/1 Edge shave gel
-(2)$1/1 Dove hair care (ymmv on using $$ off coupons with BOGO coupons)
-(1)$0.75/1 Dove hair care (I actually had another $1/1 Dove in the car, but I decided it was worth exactly 25 cents of trouble to get it, seeing as I had everything ready to go)    =D

Subtotal:  -$1.21
Tax:         $1.77 (gasp!)
Total:       $0.56
ECBs:      5 (Dove), 3 (Schick), 1 (Huggies), 1 (Green Bag Tag)

When I got home and saw why my total had been so low, I honestly wasn't going to do anything about it.  Every time I've pointed out a mistake made in my favor before, the manager says to just keep the difference.  I told Jesse about it and he suggested I just try to make it right and see what they say.  That worked because I had forgotten 2 coupons for free toothbrushes and wanted to go back out on Monday.  I didn't really have the cash in my budget to pay the difference if they took me up on the offer, though.  As I was evaluating paying with extrabucks (awkward!) against going further over budget this week, I opened a letter containing a $10 rebate!  Since I had "paid" for that rebate weeks ago, it didn't come out of my already depleted grocery envelope.  When I got to CVS, the store manager gratefully accepted my offer of repayment.  Since I was there, I got these:

(2) 2-pack Reach toothbrushes $3.99 ea.

-(2) $2/1 Reach toothbrush
-4 ECBs (from Sunday)

Subtotal: -$0.02
Tax:        $0.48
Total:      $0.46
ECBs:     4 (2 each)

So all told, I spent $10.22 for $87.65 worth of necesities, which is a savings of 88%!!  As a bonus, I have 17 ECBs for next week!