Friday, July 30, 2010
- 10 cups of Dannon Light and Fit Yogurt: 10/$5 (used a -$1 coupon) $4 for 10
- HT eggs: e-vic special .67
- HT Baked Beans: $1.47
- Turkey Tenderloin: $8.99 (used a -$5 coupon on it because it needed to be sold by the next day) $3.99
- Angus London Broil: $10.21 ( was on sale B1G1 so it ringed up half price, plus used a -$1 beef coupon hanging on a near by bottle of wine) $4.10
- Gallon HT Skim Milk: e-vic special $1.97
- HT Fat Free Half&Half: vic special $1.47
- Krunchers Chips: vic special $2.99 (used a -.75 coupon that doubled) $1.49
- Total Cereal: e-vic special $1.99 (used a -.75 coupon that doubled) .49
- Townhouse Crackers: vic special $2.49 (used a -.75 coupon that doubled) .99
- 4 Healthy Choice Lean Cusines (for Zach while I am out of town): B1G1 special (plus -$1 off 4 coupon) $4.70 for 4
- Rewrapped Bananas: $1.12
- True Lemon drink mix: B1G1 ringed up half price $1.49 (used a -$1 coupon) .49
- HT Coffee: vic special $2.50
- Eggo Waffles: vic special 2/$4 (used a -$1 off 2 coupon) two for $3
- Pretzels: vic special $2.50 ( used a -.75 coupon that doubled) $1
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Reader Sara wrote me an email asking a great question: "how do you keep all your coupons organized? do you carry them with you at all times? do you always plan ahead? just curious to see how you handle this because i'm sure at any given point in time, you have a crazy amount of coupons cut out and saved....i could see my purse being over taken by coupons! haha."
Now some different ways to organize...
- You could invest in a coupon file folder ( I know for a fact that they are sold at Walmart and I am sure Target has them too) they are normally located in the school supply section and it is a small wallet size folder that has tabs. I organize mine by months. (you can do either months the coupons expire (I do this) or by the month you got the coupon) Example: this past Sunday...would go under July's tab, it's up to you. I also separate within each month food item coupons from household/beauty item coupons with a simple index card. For example: under the month of Sept. you would look in and see food coupons first and then find an index card followed with all household/beauty item coupons. Then would be the October tab.
- You can get a coupon binder.... I would wait and do this until you have more coupons then you know what to do with. Most likely starting out a coupon file folder should work. I will explain a coupon binder in greater detail on my blog at a later date. ( I am hoping to do a video of this!)
- Another way to organize is you can take a shoe box and create your own organizing system. For example: I have seen one woman who organizes her coupons according to items or brands so it looks like this: An index card with General Mills, one with Huggies, one with Organic Valley, one with Post, one with Dole...etc. She keeps them in alphabetic order... so when she needs dippers she knows to look under H for Huggies and P for Pampers.
- Another way ( I know too may ways right) is to keep the inserts whole. In other words do not cut the coupons out until you need them. There are tons of coupon database systems ( I am not that advance yet on my blog-sorry!) but I could show you one.. where people list the coupon and the date it was published with it. So every Sunday you could just put sticky notes on the inserts to mark the date... and then go to the database and see what coupons to cut out of your inserts (I suggest giving them a "home" in your house so you know where they are) and cut the coupons you need for that shop. A great coupon database system for this is couponmom.com
Again, organizing really comes down to you and what works for you. So think it over and don't stress. Again, think big picture! Saving money and bringing down costs. Please don't hesitate to email me with any of your coupon questions!
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
- I always pick up a newspaper outside the grocery store down the road. The $2 I spend on the newspaper pays for it's self with all of the coupon savings I get from it. I always check Sunday Coupon Preview to see if there will be coupon inserts in this weeks paper.
- On Sunday's I am feeling super ambitious I head over to our local coffee shop (Starbucks, Barnes & Nobles, or Dunkin Doughnuts) to scan for left behind newspapers. I can't tell you the number of times I have gone and found newspapers near the trash can- waiting for someone else to read them, and take the coupons home! I have even asked a local Starbucks what they do with their leftover newspapers and they have showed me where they set a pile of them for anyone to take! This is a great way to get FREE coupons. I have also heard of people asking their local library if they can have the coupon inserts-most were happy to do so. * the way I look at it, it can't hurt to ask*
- The internet is a great coupon source. There are tons of websites that offer great deals Coupons.com, smartsource.com, and redplum.com are just a few to name.
- Requesting free samples or writing your favorite company/brand. Many times, companies will include coupons with the free samples or send you some for being a loyal customer.
- Look for peelie's on product labels at the grocery store that offer coupons. (Example: I was going to buy some shredded cheese, and saw that the kraft cheese had a peelie on it, making it the best offer on cheese!)
- Or sometimes walk through the wine section of the grocery store to look for hanging coupons on bottles of wine. Most of these coupons are off of meat, cheese, or produce (which are hard to come by) and if you read the label on the coupon most say "no wine purchase necessary". Free for you to take. :)
- The last source that I have for getting coupons is a magazine called "ALL YOU" it is sold only at Walmart stores (unless your order a subscription) for $2.99. Most issues contain over $50 worth of coupons inside and sometimes up to $100+! The magazine pays for itself and is also a great read offering money saving and household tips.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
So this may shock some of you.... I was not raised in a particular frugal type of family! We (Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, and I) were fortunate enough and very blessed that we had very little we desired because if we wanted it, we normally got it.* Instead we lived a very nice lifestyle and got to take advantage of some of the benefits that hard earned money can give you. We went on some awesome family vacations: ski trip out west, bahamas, many trips to California, Disney World, and renting a houseboat in Idaho (my favorite trip). My mother has a wonderful sense of style and so our house is beautifully decorated, and although any one will tell you that it is lovely they will also tell you that our home is the most laid back home. (spilt a glass of soda? no worries just mop it up with a dirty t-shit left from brother on the floor-lol) Our fridge is always packed with tons of food, so much so that friends of the family know to make sure to smell/check the expiration date of what they are getting ready to eat. :)
Having been raised in this type of household, I think the reality that I might not get to live that kind of lifestyle or be able to provide that for my kids one day became really overwhelming. I realized that at this time in my life I have to work hard to stretch my dollars so that we not only live but also save.
Then something kind of crazy happened, and I know many of you feel it too. The economy took a dive. Suddenly the "comfortable" lifestyle for not only my family but for many others had to change.
However, I think it has allowed us all to reflect on things. Sure, we miss the vacations but the more I started to think about it the more I realized I loved the vacations because of the intimate time we got to spend together as a family. Yes, it was nice to see a new place, but the memories created through laughing are what I cherish most. I loved growing up and our family always entertaining others, but now I realize it wasn't about throwing a really great party- instead I value the sense of community that my parents instilled in us. As for the fridge, I have learned that more isn't necessarily better which has helped us to keep our costs lower.
My family is all in town visiting Zach and I this weekend and it's so nice that we all get to simply be together. Here's the crazy part: Our hanging out is not centered around money instead around our living room table playing board games into the wee hours of the morning, laughing and enjoying each other's company. It's true what they say, the best things in life don't cost money. And you can't get more frugal than that! :)
*note* my family was raised to be thankful for everything we ever received, and each of us has carried that into the way we live our lives.
Stay tuned- next week I am going to begin a blogging series on Marriage & Money.
One of my favorite stores to get awesome deals at is CVS. I love them for many reasons: they have an awesome rewards program, they except coupons, they are EVERYWHERE, and I have found most of the staff extremely nice. Here are the ways to make your dollar really stretch at CVS. (I cringe when I have to pay full price for any household item: toothpaste, paper towels, detergent, toilet paper, etc.)
First off, if you don't have a CVS card... you need to get one. You can go into your local store and get one or sign up online. Their card allows you to receive special in-store coupons (they print at a kiosk at the store), it rewards you for buying featured items in their weekly ad, and it gives you special gifts. (last week I got for free a hand sanitizer pen!) So go get a card.
Now that you have a card here is how you maximize your savings:
CVS has a rewards program that is called Extra Care Bucks. Literally, for buying certain things featured in the weekly ad at the store, you will get money back to spend at CVS at a later time. (they print out on the bottom of your receipt when you check out)
You then can use this "cash" to buy other things that will reward even more extra care bucks.
Now here is where you can really maximize is by using manufacturer coupons on products to stretch out your extra care bucks even further.
Let's do an example:
Last week I bought some Celsius Green Tea at CVS. It was on sale for $7.99 but if you bought it and had a CVS card (which I do) you were to get $7.99 extra care bucks printed at the end of your receipt. Meaning next time you went to the store you had a free $7.99 to get whatever you wanted.
Now here is where the deal gets even better-- I had two different coupons for the Celsius Green Tea. Both where manufacturer coupons. One was a $2 off coupon from the internet and the other was a $3 off coupon from the newspaper.
CVS lets you stack coupons...which means combining an internet coupon with a printed one!
Therefore I only paid $2.99 for the Celsius Green Tea but was still given $7.99 in extra care bucks to spend at a later time! I basically made money off of the product!
Now it can get even better because CVS sometimes will send out "special" coupons that take money off of your total order. They are coupons that look like this: $3/$15 or $5/$20.... meaning spend $20 dollars and take $5 off (making your total to $15) or spend $15 and take $3 off (making your total $12). I basically look at this money as free money. And it's a great way to maximize savings,
Think about it: on your next shop, if you used the $3/$15 coupon plus your extra care bucks $7.99 (continuing with the example above) You are only going to spend $5 out of pocket for $15 worth of stuff. Again if you were to use manufacturer coupons as well, you could make your costs even lower!
I have shopped at CVS before and paid .26( that's right 26 cents) for $30 worth of stuff! You really can make it work.
Now if you are starting out.. I recommend starting small. Buy just one or two items that offer you back ECB's (extra care bucks). Almost every week CVS has a deal that "is like getting the item for free" where they offer the money back in ECB's. (example: last week the Celsius Green Tea) I would start with something like that, just to get you going!
I am going to try and post later on today some deals that are coming for the new week at CVS (CVS ad week runs from Sun.- Sat.) Meaning this Sunday there are new deals.
I know it's a lot to take in. So if I missed anything or if you have any other questions please leave a comment or email me so I can make sure to clear it up! Thanks!
Friday, July 23, 2010
It's Mega Swagbucks day!
Do you know what swagbucks is? It's only the new latest tool in helping you to save more money!
Swagbucks is a online search engine (like any of the others) however, it rewards you for your online searches. It rewards you in swagbucks which then you trade in for awesome prizes and gift cards. Friday's are Mega swagbucks day meaning you can earn even more bucks through searching!
Some of my favorite gift cards are the $5 amazon and the $10 starbucks card! The way I look at this is that almost every day I end up searching for something on the internet (whether it's directions, a website, or a good deal for something) and I figured why not get rewarded for it?
I have been using swagbucks for about 2 weeks and I am already at 324!! Woo Hoo! What's even more is that if you refer friends or family you will earn up to the first 1,000 bucks that they do!
I simply made swagbucks.com my homepage when I open up my internet and simply type in whatever I am looking for from there. Apparently you can download a toolbar to make searching more accessible, but I felt uncomfortable doing that. Making it my homepage has worked well for me.
At the rate I am going I should be able to get a gift card in a month. If I keep up at this rate I will have 12 gift cards a year...or at least $60 in amazon gift cards to spend! Not a bad deal considering I would be searching anyways.
If you are interested in joining swagbucks.. join here. Join today and receive a free 30 swagbucks! Enjoy your gift cards. Love saving and earning money!
*Note, by clicking on the links above, you will be under my referral. Make sure to then refer all of your friends and family for you to earn extra swagbucks!*
Thursday, July 22, 2010
After I had been cutting coupons from the newspaper for a little while, I decided I wanted to try and find more coupons to continue maximizing my savings. I soon discovered the world of internet coupons- which are just as good if not better than newspaper coupons. I found that by typing into search engines particular coupons I was looking for ( to match up with a sale going on at a store) that there was a whole other world of people like me who were trying to keep their grocery bills low!
Checking blogs became like checking email for me. I probably was looking at them every other hour. (Zach can confirm this). So after months of following blogs and continuing to get the best bang for my buck, I decided my obsession with coupons and saving money had really become a passion of mine.
I am hopeful that in doing something I am passionate about, not only will I love my work and help others but also be able to contribute to our household income. My even greater hope is that my passion for saving will reveal and inspire ways for you and your family to do so as well!
Cheers to saving money! :)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Deal at Harris Teeter this week!
(lots of yogurt deals-lol)
Here are few that I found just quickly looking through my coupons:
- Dannon Yogurt (fruit on the bottom) 10/$5 (special e-vic price 10/$4) Use the $1 off of 10 newspaper coupon (exp. 8/8) Pay either $4 for 10- making it .40 a cup (if e-vic member $3 for 10- making it .30 a cup)
- Daisy Sour Cream 2/$5. buy 1 at $2.50 and use the .50 newspaper coupon (exp. 7/31) and pay $1.50
- Sargento cheese 2/$4. Get both and use the $1 tear pad (look in the store for one )coupon (exp. 8/31) Pay $3 for both.
- Danimals yogurt $1.99. Use the $1 newspaper coupon to make it .99.
- Danactive yogurt 2/$4. Buy 1 and use the $1 newspaper coupon (exp. 7/31) Pay $1 for 1.
- Luigi's Italian Ice B1G!. Get one and use the .50 newspaper coupon (exp. 7/31) half off plus another $1 off.
- Watermelon .69 lb obviously no coupon..but a great deal and who doesn't love watermelon in the summer!
Alrighty, so now that we have a running list of coupon terms (here) it's time to get to know how different stores coupon policies work.
My favorite grocery store in the region is by far Harris Teeter. In almost every store I have been in is clean, welcoming, and the customer service is wonderful. Not to mention they have some awesome coupon policies which help us to save tons of money.
How to Save at Harris Teeter
- First off, you have to be a vic (very important customer) card holder to get all of the vic sale items in the store. You can sign up for a card at the customer service front desk.
- If you want even more "special" rewards or offers be sure to sign up for their e-vic membership. Not only will you receive weekly emails with what's on sale at the store, but also get super awesome specials offered to you. You can sign up here online.
- Harris Teeter will double up to 20 coupons per day with a face value of .99 unless other wise stated on the coupon (for example: .55 would become $1.10 off of that product) any other coupons you give would just be redeemed at their face value.
- B1G1 free items will ring up half price if you just buy 1. This is where you can look for some great savings when paired with a coupon that gets doubled. ( For example: a few weeks ago there was sale on a type of bread B1G1 free, I only bought 1 (which made it $2.30) and then used a .75 off coupon from the internet that got doubled. Meaning for 1 loaf of bread I paid .80 when normally it would have cost $4.60!)
- There is a catch on B1G1 free items..Harris Teeter will only allow you to use 1 coupon for the item, not two since you are "getting 1 for free".
- Harris Teeter will except internet coupons and even double them (so long as the coupon doesn't say differently). However they do NOT except coupons from the internet that are B1G1 free. (They had issues in the past of people using fake ones).
- If the store is out of something that is on sale... get a RAINCHECK. They never expire/go bad and you can still use your money saving coupon with it when you do use it (so long as the coupon has not expired).
I know, Harris Teeter is already an amazing place to get some good deals, but every once in a while it gets even crazier! These are the weeks I live to shop (you can ask Zach)...TRIPLE COUPON WEEK and SUPER DOUBLE WEEK
Now these are special weeks that Harris Teeter puts on normally every 4 to 6 weeks. (They have been doing it more frequently given the state of the economy the past year)
- Triple coupon week is when Harris Teeter triples the value of your coupon! (For example that same .55 coupon is now worth $1.65 and your .75 coupon is worth a huge $2.25!) This makes for an insane amount of deals to be had!
- Super double coupon week is where Harris Teeter will double coupons with a face value of $1.98 or less. ( This is a great time to use your larger coupons to get some big savings.. a $1.50 coupon means you get $3 off the item!)
- Again, with both types of special weeks they will only do the first 20 coupons you use a day. So during these weeks I am at Harris Teeter almost every day! :)
Hopefully now you can see why I love Harris Teeter so much! Later on today I will post some deals that are going on this week on vic special. ( Harris Teeter's week runs from a Wed. to Tues. meaning the new deals start Wed.)
A special note:
*Some coupons say "do not double" across the top of them but normally do any ways. A trick I have learned is to look at the first number on the coupon barcode..if it starts with a 9 it will NOT double..however if it starts with a 5 it usually does! ;) My suggestion is to try it out one time with a "do not double" coupon and see what happens!*
*Also, it is RUMORED that Harris Teeter will be running a triple coupon week NEXT week (the 28th-3rd)...I will keep you posted on this. But that means it's a good time to start gathering up coupons. Later on this week I will let you know where I get my coupons from...there are more places than you know! lol*
To see a full list of Harris Teeter's coupon policies click here
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
- They are wonderful for "emergency situations!"Have you ever started to run the laundry and then realized you were out of detergent? Or gone to wash your hair and forgot that you were out of shampoo? Well, free samples help solve those "emergency situations".
- They are great for traveling. My husband's family lives in Canada and so we travel at least a few times a year. Now that most airlines are charging for checked bags.... we try to bring our luggage on board. Free samples are the perfect size for going through security!
- You can use them to create a nice welcome basket for your guests. It's such a nice gift to offer to your guests that make them feel loved and thought of. The best part is whatever your guests don't use (since they are all packaged individually) you can recycle over to your next guests that come. I simply leave a jar/box of samples in our guests bathroom.
- Most offer you money saving coupons! With almost all of those products pictured above I received a coupon. The best part about this, is that the coupons that come with the free sample normally don't expire for a LONG time. This is great because it gives you more time to pair the coupon with a sale....which makes for the greatest savings!
- It's a great way to try or test out a new product.
- And last but not least who doesn't love getting mail! In the past week I received 4 different free samples. It's like getting a present with no strings attached! I love it!
Monday, July 19, 2010
So yesterday I went and picked up a few things at CVS (second picture) and Harris Teeter( First picture)... check it out:
Well- here goes nothing. I have started this blog in an effort to pursue one thing I am really passionate about- SAVING. I have no idea how this blog will be recieved or if even anyone will see my words here; but I hope to simply spend some time sharing with others what I love.
Saving money became a priority to me once I graduated from college and soon realized I had to spend money in order to live! (Shocker, I know). I think the reality that my hard earned money quickly went out the door was a surprise to me and made me want to stretch my pay check as far as I could. Lucky for me, one of my part time jobs at that time was a cashier at a grocery store, which would forever change my life- I was introduced to COUPONS!
Seeing the insane amounts of money that costumers would save gave me the curiosity to look into coupons. Almost instantly I was hooked. By simply pairing up coupons with weekly sales I was able to significantly reduce the amount of money I was spending on food in my budget. What was even more was I found that every time I went to the store and had huge savings I got a rush of adrenaline that left me feeling elated. I would spend $2.32 on $25.38 worth of goceries..I mean I was practically stealing from the store!
It's hard not to get hooked after such success. So after I had been cutting coupons regularly I began to look for other ways to indulge my new passion, which I will share later on this week!