Friday, September 24, 2010

Finally Friday!!

Thank goodness the weekend is here!  I have to work a little bit tomorrow, but that means some overtime.  WOO!

I just checked out the Sunday Coupon Preview and we are getting 3 (!) inserts this weekend, including my favorite, the Proctor and Gamble insert.  Check it out to get an idea of what's going to show up in your paper this weekend. 

Also, the Walgreens monthly coupon booklet is coming out on Sunday, so check out the list of coupons that are going to be available for October by clicking here. 

Have a great saving weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Learning by Experience

Stacy went shopping on Friday.  She found some good deals, but she also learned a lesson about couponing.  Watch as items ring up and/or check your receipt before you leave the store.  And don't forget to use the coupons you've spent your time clipping!

"I bought an expensive salad dressing only because I had a coupon for $2 off-then forgot to use the coupon. I usually irritate the cashiers by disputing charges at the checkout. This time I was in lala land and missed several errors: 1) I bought 4 loaves of day-old french bread at Wal-Mart for .90 each except I was charged full price for 1, 2)I bought 10 bottles of shampoo at ALPS because they were the lowest I have ever seen them priced. Again, I was randomly charged full price for 4 of those. So to add it up, I wasted $4.89. Ugh!"

If something rings up incorrectly, point it out to the checker.  At the worst, you might have picked up the wrong item.  But at best, you'll save yourself some money by catching those mistakes.  Computers are not infallible!!  If you don't notice the errors until after you've finished the transaction, you should be able to take your receipt to customer service and get it sorted out.

Most important, don't beat yourself up too bad.  We all have our off days and can miss those deals.  Just be kind to yourself, and try to be a little more vigilant to not make a similar mistake next time.  For myself, making a mistake like that makes me a lot less likely to make it again since I'm looking for it more carefully.
Have any of you ever had to dispute the price an item rang up as?  Was it difficult, or did the employee work with you to figure out the mistake?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Don't Throw Away the Paper!!

Here is a great way to use the rest of that newspaper that comes with your coupons!

Click Here

36% Saved

Dear Couponers,

I hope everyone had a nice Monday! 

I had a great shopping day on Saturday but haven’t yet been able to post about it.  Saturday night we went to the fair, and then Sunday we went to church and then went out of town for a Monday morning meeting.  But now I’m back and ready to roll.

At CVS, I got 2 cans of Campbell’s Chunky soup that were on sale 2/$3.  I also had two coupons for .50/1, so I got those two soups for $1.00 each.  Original price before sale was $2.99.  Husband decided he wanted some nuts, and cashews were on sale, and I love cashews, so we got a can of those.  Normal was $5.99, but we got them for $2.99.  And lastly, Lucky Charms were on sale for $1.88 per box.  I had a coupon for $1.00/2, so that made them $1.38 per box.  Normal was $4.29. 

I had planned on getting a bottle of Nivea for Men shower gel, which was on sale for $4.99, with $4.99 in ECB.  I also had a coupon for $1.00 off, so that would have made it $3.99 OOP, with $4.00 back in ECB.  The plan was to buy the shower gel in one transaction and use the ECB to pay for everything else.  Unfortunately, they were sold out.   I still got a great deal.  I spent $7.75 and saved $12.80.

At Walgreens, Progresso soup was on sale, 4/$5.00.  I had two coupons for $.50/2, so I got the soups for $1.00 each.  Unfortunately, Walgreens doesn’t print the individual “saved” amounts, so I’m not sure what normal is, but I imagine it’s around $2.50 - $3.00 each.  Then Froot Loops were on sale, $1.99 each, and I had a coupon for $1.50/2, so the two boxes of Froot Loops were $1.24 each.  I FINALLY got my Glide floss that I’ve been trying to find in stock all month.  It was on sale for $3.99, and I had a store coupon for $2.00 off and a manufacturer’s coupon for $.75 off, so it was $1.24.  I think normal is around $5.00.  Then the Ragu pasta sauce was on sale 2/$3.00, so I got two of those.  I also got about $10.00 in non-sale items that the husband and I were needing.  So in all, I spent $19.69 before tax, and saved $19.85.

Because I got soup and cereal at both of the drug stores and the fact that I still had some meat and vegetables left from last week’s shopping (all frozen of course), HEB was a breeze.  We bought some on sale peaches, some more vegetables, with a coupon, baked potato chips, with a coupon, cheese, juice, and some ELF brand makeup supplies for me ($.99 each!!) as well as a few other things.  We spent $38.65 after tax, and saved $4.12 between sales and coupons.  And I’m pretty sure four boxes of cereal and six cans of soup are going to last us, so maybe next week’s HEB trip will be a little lighter as well.

How is your shopping going?  Post your deals in a comment and I’ll give you an entry to showcase how you’re doing!  And don’t forget to pass the blog on to your friends.  Everyone needs to save money!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Hopefully, I'll quit posting about pasta sauce soon.  I just wanted to point out how good drug store deals can be.  Ragu pasta sauce seems to be on sale everywhere right now.  I just found that it is on sale at HEB 2/$5.  But CVS has it on sale 3/$5, and Walgreens has it on sale 2/$3.  What were you saying about the drug stores being more expensive?

Your Two Cents

If you haven't noticed, there is a new poll to vote on.  There are four days left to vote.

Sunday's Coming!!

Guys, don't forget to check out the Sunday Coupon Preview and get an idea of what coupons are going to be like this weekend.  Remember that it's not an exact match for everyone, but more of a guideline for what's coming.  I sure hope that I get the Scotch-Brite coupon, though!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Tonight we're having spaghetti and I'm making extra sauce so that we can use it another night  . . . probably two other nights, from the looks of things.  So now I've got two nice, heavy glass jars.  I'm sure you guys have dozens of ideas about how to use those jars.  One option is to use them as glasses.  I don't know about you, but I've got enough glasses, and the threads on the rim feel kinda weird.  LOL

So, what else is there to do with glass jars? 

money saving tips

I don't know about you, but I love to read articles on different ways to save money, not just couponing.  The problem is, these articles very seldom have tips I can put to place in my own life.  At this point, I don't pay for utilities, since they are included in the rent.  I don't have children that need babysitting co-ops.  I don't have a $3-$5 a day coffee habit.  But I still want some good hints on how to spend less in various areas of my life. 

I'm going to spend a little time in between shopping trips :) looking for some hints that we can all use to save a little money in our day-to-day activities.

First, here is an article I found for you about saving money with laundry expenses.  The Simple Dollar suggests using cold water instead of hot and drying your clothes on a line instead of in the dryer.  They also offer a recipe for homemade laundry detergent and give you an alternative to using fabric softener.  There are only eleven points, so it's a pretty quick read. 

On the website Dumb Little Man, I found several more tips, but the one I liked the best is for those of you who work outside the home.  Vending machines and convenience stores are really expensive!!  If you're able, keep a stash of snacks, preferably healthy ones, at your workspace.  That way you avoid paying for the very expensive items in the vending machines or running to the covenience store down the road.

So check these out, and let me know what kinds of frugal tips you practice!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Shopping at CVS

My favorite store to shop at is CVS. I can’t get all my shopping done there, but I seem to find the best deals there.

The very first thing you need to do to go shopping at CVS is sign up for an Extra Care Card. Very important!!! This is what enables you to get the greatest deals.;jsessionid=z8pGMN1ZnG1SQGR6mB5dJL5d7Zvp3TQ1YfVKLvMhVCCpvy46G8FL!-2081313833

You will get in the mail a credit card sized card and two small cards for your key chains. I forget how long this takes to show up, but sign up for it right away so that you can start saving as soon as possible. If you don’t have a card, the cashier might scan a “generic” card (or her own card? Who knows?) to enable you to get the sale prices, but you are still missing some of the things that make the Extra Care program so great.

When you get your card, make sure you can log in to the CVS website and that your card is attached to your account. This enables you to receive coupons in your email every so often, and sometimes those coupons are pretty spectacular! My biggest savings often come from using those emailed coupons. Often these coupons give you a certain amount off of a total transaction amount. These coupons can be applied BEFORE your coupons and ECB, which means your total OOP can drop dramatically.

Some CVS stores now have a price scanner somewhere near the front of the store. It is also a coupon printer. YAY! Scan your Extra Care card and it will print out some coupons for you. I’ve gotten as many as five or six in one shot. They usually have very short expiration dates, so you’ll want to decide right at the moment if it’s something that you want to use. Look them over well so you don’t miss something good! I very seldom actually use the price scanner option since I very seldom pay full price, but it is helpful sometimes if you’re trying to make sure you’ve picked up the right item for a sale.

Make sure to scan your card with the cashier every time you make a purchase. CVS uses your Extra Care card to track your quarterly spending, and at the end of the quarter, you are awarded with a certain percentage (1% or 2%) of your spending back in Extra Care Bucks (ECB). You can either log into your account and print them from the website, or they will print on your receipt on your next transaction at the beginning of the next quarter. These ECB spend like money at CVS. They are nontransferable, and you have to have your card scanned when you use them.

ECB are also awarded for buying certain items, the same as Register Rewards at Walgreens. You buy such and such item for X amount, and X amount of ECB prints on your receipt. They print on THE END of your receipt rather than on a separate piece of paper like at Walgreens. Make sure to check the expiration date on these so you don’t lose out on your deal. And of course, keep track of them! If you lose them before you spend them, it’s like throwing money away.

If you read the Walgreens directions, you’ll remember that you can’t “roll” RR. Meaning, you can’t pay for an item with RR earned from an identical item and still earn the RR again? At CVS, you can. You can buy an item for $5.00, earn $5.00 ECB and go back and buy the same item again with those ECB and get ECB again. Make sense? It’s alright if it doesn’t. It’s a little tedious to shop that way, but some people do.

Just like Walgreens and HEB, you can stack coupons. If CVS has a coupon for an item, you can use it with a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item. You can also use manufacturer’s coupons on sales.

Before you go in the store, have an idea of what you are going to buy and how your coupons are going to serve you. It’s a lot easier to sort out at home than in the store. But be flexible. Sometimes things are sold out!

Again, just like at Walgreens, you might want to do several transactions in order to use ECB from one transaction to pay for the next transaction. Just be nice to the people paying full price and let them go ahead if you have several transactions to do.

When you’re at the register, hand your coupons to the cashier in this order: $ off transaction coupons (VERY IMPORTANT that this goes first!), CVS store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons, then ECB, and very last, money to make up whatever balance you might have left.

Now that you (hopefully) understand CVS and ECB better, go take a look at your CVS ad and see what kind of deals you can work out. Let us know what you find! If you have any questions, please ask and we’ll get it figured out.

Sunday, September 12

Ok, guys, did you get your newspapers this morning?  We went to early service, picked up a paper afterwards, and I came home and started clipping!  I looked over the CVS and Walgreens ads again, this time in print and with my new coupons to compare them to. 

I didn't get a Ragu coupon or an Uncle Ben's coupon, both of which I was hoping for from seeing the Sunday Coupon Preview, so that's just a reminder again that we can't depend on that list being accurate for our locations. 

But I did get lots of great coupons and printed a few more from the various websites, and I've sorted out what I'm doing at both the drug stores this week.

At CVS, Nivea for Men Active 3 bodywash is on sale for $4.99, and you get $4.99 in ECB back.  I also have a $1.00 off coupon for the same item, so I'm going to pay $3.99 for the body wash and get $4.99 back.  YAY!  And since I'm only buying about $5.00 worth of other items, I've decided to make the body wash a single transaction so that I can go ahead and use those $4.99 ECB to pay for the other items.  (Remember, ECB work similar to RR at Walgreens.  I plan on posting information about CVS this afternoon, so you'll be able to understand that better.)  For the second transaction, I am going to be purchasing a few things. Campbell's Chunky is on sale for 2/$3.00, and I have 2 - .50 off coupons, which brings the price down to 2/$2.00, or $1.00 each.  Lucky Charms, which I seldom buy name brand, is on sale for $1.88 a box, and I have a coupon for $1.00 off two boxes.  That will put them at $1.38 per box.  That puts my total at this transaction for $4.76.  Remember I have $4.99 in ECB, and we don't get the difference back so in order to spend it all, I'm also going to get a pack of gum, which I like to keep in my purse anyway.  Assuming the gum is around $1, I'm going to pay about $.75 for this transaction.

That has me spending around $6.00 for the two transactions, which is about $13.00 worth of stuff, and that's after the sale prices, since I don't know what regular is at CVS on these items. 

Now, on to Walgreens.  First I have a quick correction to make.  I looked at the Walgreens coupon policy this morning, and you can't have more MANUFACTURER COUPONS than items.  That means, as I read it, that the Walgreens coupons don't count in that total.  I think that's wonderful because this deal I am going to do this week has one less manufacturer coupon than items, but if I added the store coupons, I would have to add extra items to make the difference.

So here we go.

Progresso soup is on sale 4/$5.00 with a coupon from the ad.  (Hubby eats a lot of soup.  LOL)  I also have two .50 off 2 coupons for the soup.  That makes the soup 4/$4.00, or $1.00 each.  This soup was on sale at HEB the other day for $1.50 each, so I'm pretty excited about $1 per can. 

Froot Loops are on sale for $1.99 per box.  Again, I don't usually buy these name brand.  I have a coupon for $1.50 off 2 which makes them $1.24 each.

Ragu pasta sauce is on sale, 2/$3.00.  It's also on sale 3/$5.00 at CVS, but Walgreens' sale comes out to less per jar.  It also comes to less than I bought the HEB brand pasta sauce for yesterday.

Crest Glide floss (remember it was sold out on me last week?) is still on the same deal, $3.50, with $2.00 off with a Walgreens coupon and $.75 off with a MFR coupon. 

Lastly, I have a RR left over, which is going to expire on Saturday, so I had better use it!

This isn't as good of a deal, but my total before coupons is 15.97 (after any sales that I don't have the regular price for) and after coupons is 9.72.

If you've worked up any deals from your ads this week, post them in a comment, here or on Facebook, and I'll post it here for you so we can all see the goodies you've found.

Also, don't forget to share this blog with anyone you know who wants to learn how to use coupons.

Be watching for the CVS post later this afternoon.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lessons Learned

I learned two things today.  First of all, always buy road hazard when you get new tires.  YESTERDAY we had two new tires put on because one of them had a weather crack and I'm sure the other wasn't much better.  This morning, we found a screw in one of the new tires.  It was in the side wall, so it couldn't be patched.  Since we did not have road hazard, we had to buy ANOTHER tire today.  This time we got road hazard on it, and they let us put road hazard on the other, retroactively, since we just bought it yesterday and it was fine.  LESSON LEARNED, thank you very much.

Here's another lesson.  Find and print the coupon policies for every store you shop.  I brought my very nice free cookie coupon WYB a first package of cookies and a gallon of milk to HEB, my favorite grocery store.  Now, I've read their coupon policy, but I didn't have it in my trusty notebook. 

Here is what it says:

Buy-one-get-one-free coupons (BOGOs) are accepted. (i.e. Buy X, Get X Free)

“Free product” printable coupons are not accepted (i.e. Get X Free)
Click Here if you want to see the HEB coupon policy. 
It makes perfect sense to me that my free cookie coupon is just fine because I have to buy a first package of cookies as well as a gallon of milk to use it.  Their scanner was having trouble (it wasn't even wanting to scan my HEB issued coupon I got last week) and the girl said that since it was a get X free coupon, they couldn't use it.  I persisted, and the girl gave it another go and it finally went through.  Since I didn't have the coupon policy with me, if she insisted, I wasn't going to push, even though I knew I was in the right.  I don't want to become a bothersome couponer.  I'm just glad that, and my other coupon, finally went through.  But I'm printing the coupon policy right now so I don't have that problem again.
My goal was to be at $50 or less.  I didn't reach the goal.  I spent $67.00, but I saved $20.00, so all in all, I'm pleased.  Though, I have a feeling if I wasn't shopping with my husband, I would have hit my goal, considering the several additions he made to the shopping cart.  LOL.  That's alright.  I'm trying to not be too militant about this because that just gives coupons and shopping a bad flavor, and I'm enjoying it so much that I don't want to turn it into a bad thing. 
In summary:
Have a great weekend and don't forget to pick up your paper(s) tomorrow!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Walgreens Sneak-Peek

Walgreens SneakPeek is now available for next week's ad!!  Make sure you're looking at the ad for your location so that your deals are accurate. 


The poll has four days left.  If you haven't voted yet, please do!  And I'm planning the next poll question.  If you have a suggestion for a poll question, let me know.

here come some more coupons!!

Ok, guys, Sunday's coming!  And this Sunday, there are three inserts in the paper:  General Mills, Smart Source and Red Plum.  Go to Sunday Coupon Preview to get an idea of what's to come.  Remember this this list isn't exact because coupons can vary from region to region, but the list does give you a general idea of what's going to show up.  It can help you decide if one paper is plenty or if you think it might be worth it to get an extra one (or two?)  Don't forget to click "more" under each insert list to see the full list.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

CVS Deals

Hey CVSers, I just saw that has $1.00 off coupons for Wisk, the laundry detergent I got bogo yesterday.  If you print two of those, if your CVS is doing the sale, you should be able to get two bottles of Wisk for $6.99.  Not quite the deal I got with the $3.00 off coupons, but if that price looks good to you, the sale is on through Saturday.

And on to next week's CVS.  My area's ad showed Ragu 3/$5.00.  I was hoping to find some good coupons to match up with it but I didn't run across any.  Campbell's Chunky soups are 2/$3.00.  I have a printable coupon for $1.00 off of 2, so that would make the soups $1.00 a can. Husband likes those, so that's going on my list! 

coupons and next week's CVS ad

Facebook has a Campbell's Soup coupon to check out!  Click Here   It's .50 off two cans.  If you find a good sale, that could make for some cheap soup!

I also found a new coupon website called  Right now there are only two coupons, one for Cheezits and one for Famous Amos cookies.  You have to register to print.

And for CVSers, there is a sneak peek posted for next week's ad:  Click Here Make sure to choose upcoming weekly ad so you're not looking at this week's.  The dates above the ad will help you be sure.  If you see a good deal, let us know!

TIffany E got some great deals!

"Rick and i took our first trip to walgreens.

I used the 3/$1 off coupon for the Campbell soup at hands they had a coupon For 99 cents each.

Also got a small travel size degree Was $1 i had a 75 cent off coupon for it Plus i got St ives body wash was $2.99 but it was on the register rewards so i got a $2 coupon for it.

Over a good first experience.

Dillons here is having a cart busters event and we got a few of good deals.

They had the 10 for $10 on Colgate toothpaste you dont have to buy 10 items. I had 3 Colgate toothpaste $1 off coupons so 3 free tubes.

Also had 2 quaker oatmeal $1 off coupons. They had it on sell for $1.98 so I bought 2 boxs for 98 cents each. Very good day. Just cant wait tell i get more coupons and i could have saved even more."

Tiffany E
Let us know how your shopping trips go!  Give us both the victories and the not so stellar wins.  We'll learn from each others' good shops and we'll learn from the goofs. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

64 loads for $1.49

One thing that always puts me in a great mood is a super trip to Walgreens or CVS!  Today I left work and went to Walgreens after my free dental floss.  Unfortunately, they were sold out.  I have to say, that floss is a good deal if all you do is walk in the store and see the Walgreens coupon for $2.00 off, so I'm not surprised it was gone.  That was really the only thing I was going to Walgreens for; everything else was just extra, so I left there and went on my way to CVS.  I was a little worried that the deal I wanted there was going to be sold out, too, because it's a stinking awesome deal, but it wasn't!! 

I am not brand specific on laundry detergent, and today I was very grateful for that fact!  Wisk Ultra was on sale for buy one get one free.  It costs $8.49 per container.  Since it was bogo, it was $4.25 each.  Then I had two $3.00 off coupons, which I think came from the newspaper the Sunday before last.  So that made them $1.25 each.  AND I had $1 Extra Care Bucks (similar to Register Rewards at Walgreens).  That ECB made them $.75 each.  Before tax, I paid $1.49 for two laundry detergents - 64 loads.  I think I'll wait a little while before I buy laundry detergent again!

The moral of the story is:  hold onto all your coupons.  I nearly tossed those out because I didn't think I'd have any use for them.  Watch the sales and compare the pretty good or even average looking sales to your coupons and find an incredible deal!

Have any of you made it to Walgreens or any other store using your printed coupons from the first of the month?  I'd love to hear any of the great deals you're finding.  I'll post your deals in an entry so that we can all celebrate together.

And if you think you know some people who want or need to save some money, please share this blog, either by emailing the link or putting the link in your Facebook feed.  There are some deals out there we've just got to share!

Have a happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

chicken spaghetti on the cheap

I just found a recipe for chicken spaghetti that is said to feed 10 people for $8.00!!  There are certainly not 10 people in this house (I don't think they would fit!) but it could sure make some leftover lunches the next day . . . and the next day.  LOL

Here's the link if you want to check it out.  Chicken Spaghetti

spaghetti sauce

Dear Couponing friends:

Since I know I am going to do pasta at least once, probably twice, next week, I've had my eyes peeled for pasta and sauce coupons.  I just found a sauce coupon.  Click Here  It is for Classico brand.  If you're brand specific on this one, lucky for you!  If you're not brand specific, be sure to look at the prices on other sauces and check out the unit price to see if this turns into a good deal for you.  It might help for you to start bringing a calculator to the grocery store so you can make sure you're getting good deals.  The coupon is good until October 7th.

I did find a suggestion yesterday on how to stretch spaghetti sauce or make a generic one taste a little better.  Here you go, if you're interested. 

2 cans or jars of spaghetti sauce
1 - 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 - 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 1/2 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 - 2 lb groud beef, browned and drained

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

I know that's a lot for my household, so I'm going to freeze the extra in Ziploc bags.  Bags are better than bowls because you can freeze the bags laying flat and they take up a lot less space.  This is especially good if you're only working with a little freezer. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Free Dental Floss

It seems that more of you have Walgreens nearby, so we’re going to talk about Walgreens first and CVS later.

The drug store deals take a little extra work, but for the extra effort, the payback is very good. If you simply walk through CVS or Walgreens, you would probably say that the prices are generally higher than your grocery store or Wal-Mart prices, but when you learn how to shop at the drugstores, you realize that there’s no place you’d rather shop!

The biggest part of learning about shopping at either of the drug stores is learning how to use the loyalty programs. Walgreens’ loyalty program is called Register Rewards. You don’t have to sign up for this at all. It is an automatic program. When you look through the ad, look for items that are listed as having Register Rewards attached. When you buy items with Register Rewards, when you check out, the register prints out an extra ticket along with your receipt. This extra ticket, your Register Reward, functions like a coupon that applies to the balance of your next purchase. The next time you make a purchase, present your coupons in this order: manufacturer’s and store coupons, RR and then finish the balance with your cash. It’s so much fun to watch the balance drop as those coupons get scanned in!

Sometimes items are listed as free after Register Rewards. If you have coupons for that item as well, you’ve really hit the jackpot. Say you find that Walgreens is selling toothpaste for 2.99 per tube, but you get 2.99 in Register Rewards when you buy it. If you have a $.50 off coupon, you only pay 2.49 for the toothpaste, but you get back 2.99 in Register Rewards.

Walgreens has many sales listed in the circular besides RR deals, and there are also often store coupons in the circular. These sales and coupons can be combined with your manufacturer’s coupons to save even more. For example, if you have two coupons for a buy one get one free sale or a buy one get one half off sale, use both coupons and see just how little you have to pay for those two items.

Some Walgreens shoppers do multiple transactions per visit. That way, you buy a few items per transaction and use the Register Rewards from one transaction to pay for the next transaction. It’s pretty incredible, though I’ve not had the inclination to try that out more than once. But if you do want to try it, I will help you sort it out if you’d like. One thing you need to know when you do multiple transactions is that you can’t “roll” the RR. That means you can’t use the RR from one transaction to buy the same item on a future transaction and receive the RR again. You can receive RR each transaction, but they need to be on different items. Just remember if you try this out, be polite. Multiple transactions can take a little while, so let other people go ahead of you. It’s only fair. You’re spending a lot less than they are, so have pity and let them pay full price first.

Each month, Walgreens puts out a booklet that is kept in the store next to the circulars. Make sure to look it over (lists of included coupons are usually available online at the great deal blogs) and match it up with the manufacturer’s coupons you’ve gathered.

If your coupon is for more than the price of the item you’re redeeming it for, the coupon will be adjusted. You won’t find the Walgreens clerk giving you money back (unless you count your RR that is!)

If you get a coupon from Walgreens that says $ off $$ - if you spend so much you get so much off your purchase, keep in mind that the total purchase has to be after all of your coupons have been applied.

A very important thing to remember when you’re putting together your deals is that at Walgreens, your number of coupons cannot exceed your number of purchased items in a transaction, including your RR. It’s really easy to remedy, so long as you keep it in mind. If you’re going to purchase five items, but you’re using eight coupons to do it, you need to purchase three more items in order for all the coupons to run. One of my couponing friends keeps a list of small house essentials that she purchases when she needs a “filler” item. That can include batteries, pens and pencils, or really any other item that you’ll use anyway.

Here’s an example:

This Saturday, I am going to Walgreens for one item. I don’t usually make a trip for just one item, but it’s too good a deal to pass up. I’ve become attached to a particular brand of floss, and it is on sale for $3.50. The monthly Walgreens coupon booklet has a coupon for $2.00 off. I have a manufacturer’s coupon that is for $.75 off. And last week, I bought a bottle of Listerine mouthwash that earned me $1 RR. If you’re keeping track, that puts me at one item and three coupons. And with a negative cost of $.25 before tax. But I need two more items. I’m not sure yet what they will be, but I’m hoping to get two things that are less than $1.00 together. So for this nice floss and a couple of other items, it will put me around a $1.00 OOP.

What was that you were telling me about how your grocery store is so much cheaper than the drug stores?

If you have any questions about shopping at Walgreens, please feel free to ask. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but it’s worth taking the time to figure it out.

Here is a link to the Walgreen's coupon policy.  You might want to look it over and even print it out and keep it with you when you shop.  Sometimes the cashiers don't know policies as well as they should.  :)  Walgreens Coupon Policy

(If you do more research online about shopping at Walgreens, you might find something called an Easy Saver or rebate booklet. Unfortunately, they don’t do that program anymore.)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

$50 or less?

Generally for us,a trip to HEB takes anywhere from $60 - $100 out of the bank account each week.  This week, it was actually $55.00 after a few coupons.  Even though I feel I do very well shopping at the drug stores, I haven't mastered shopping the grocery stores yet.  I've decided that I am going to try to make my shopping trip next weekend $50 or less.  And I would like to make that a fairly consistent number.

I am going to use the website $5 Dinners for some inspiration. 

I am thinking of changing up what I purchase to both add some variety to the menu and to find some cheaper alternatives to what we already get.  I will let you know about how my grocery trip goes next Saturday.

I've also started considering going to Sam's Club for paper goods (toilet paper and the like) and possibly bulk meat.  Do any of you use Sam's Club?  Since there are only two of us in my house, I am undecided about paying for the membership.  We don't have a lot of space to stock up, so I will have to be selective about my bulk shopping choices.

One last thing, it was pointed out to me that one of the readers couldn't comment because she didn't have an account.  I changed the settings so anyone should be able to comment.  It won't show up right away, though, because I have set it for moderated comments, just in case.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Way to Save!

Here are some general grocery shopping tips to make the most of your coupons, your store’s sales and your time! There’s a lot of information here, so take it in a little at a time if you need to.

Keep a running list during the week of items that you are out of or nearly out of. Try not to run out to the store for just one item. You KNOW you’ll get more than just the one item and you’re wasting time and gas.

Before shopping, look at the sale ads and compare them to your coupons. Plan your meals for the week around items that you already have and are on sale. If you are able to buy mostly sale items, you’ll see a great difference in your final total.

Remember that for the most part, you can use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on the same product. You can also combine sales and coupons. Today, I bought toothpaste that was on sale, and I had a $2.00 store coupon, and a $.75 manufacturer’s coupon. I bought a good name-brand toothpaste today for $.75. Be careful, though, that you really are using one of each kind. For example, most of HEB’s coupons in store are actually manufacturer’s coupons. Look in the bottom corner and if it says “M” it is manufacturer’s, and if it says “S” it is store.

Watch for super buy one get one free deals. If your store is doing a buy one get one free on X and you have a manufacturer’s coupon for buy one get one free on X, you can actually get both free! I got several free bottles of Sobe a couple months ago with a deal like that.

If you find something marked down to a great price, if it is something that will keep and you use often, buy a few. Designate a space for these extras. I have a Rubbermaid tub where I keep non-food items that I’ve bought cheaply but don’t have use for quite yet, such as toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, laundry detergent. If you do this for many of the items you use most often, you will find that you don’t have to buy things at full price quite so often. I haven’t bought laundry detergent, mouthwash, deodorant or toothpaste for full price since Christmas.

It may be helpful to you to put your grocery list in the order that they are found in the store. It makes for a quicker trip and there is less backtracking, so you are less likely to find items that are not on your list.

That being said, stick to your list! Don’t let those unneeded items find their way into your cart. If you find a great deal you weren’t expecting, consider it carefully, and if it is worth it and won’t blow your budget, go ahead and get it. And this statement works both ways. Stick to your list. I went to CVS today and cut four items off my list, which meant I couldn’t use the $5/$30 coupon I had. I figured that those other things I didn’t need at the moment, and I was trying to pare down my costs, seeing as it’s getting close to payday . . . and of course that means the budget is getting a little tighter. And when I got out of the store, I realized that the five items I bought would have been just about equal to what the nine items would have cost after I added in my other coupons.

If you are serious about saving and have the time, shop more than one store. Be wise about this because you don’t want to spend more gas and time than you are saving, but some weeks, I go to HEB, CVS and Walgreens, if the deals are good enough.

Don’t assume that Wal-Mart is cheapest!! Wal-Mart may be cheapest if you aren’t watching sales and coupons, but once you add those in, a regular grocery store may be better. Do some research and make sure you really are shopping where you are getting the best deals, whether it is Wal-Mart or some other place.

Don’t assume that bigger packages or bulk stores are cheaper. Be aware of unit prices. Usually the unit price is marked on the price tag.

Take advantage of shoppers’ cards and loyalty cards. Also be aware of the coupon policies at the stores you shop. Most of those are available online.

Buy in-season vegetables and fruit. Consider trying out the local farmer’s market.

Don’t be brand-specific. As much as possible, be flexible as to the brands you buy. At the least, choose a few brands that you like. That way, if your favorite is not on sale, another brand may be and you still get a good deal. Sometimes we just have to be brand-specific, but where possible, try out others. And don’t be afraid of trying generic.

Pay attention to what your coupon SAYS. The picture is not quite as important. Often a coupon will be put out with a picture of the most expensive option and then it says “any variety” so you could use it on the least expensive option. Sometimes coupons say what sizes are allowed or will say any size. Sometimes you have to buy more than one of an item to use the coupon.

If you’re shopping for many people, consider buying more than one paper a week. I buy one a week, and I get the coupons from the newspaper at work. For two people, that is plenty. But if you have a large household, you might want more. Just make sure your time clipping and sorting is balanced by the money you’re saving.

If you have any tips that I didn’t put here, please let me know, and I’ll post it. If you need more clarification on anything, don’t hesitate to ask!

Friday, September 3, 2010


What a great week to start a couponing blog!  I'm sorry, guys, with the holiday weekend, there will be no coupons in the newspaper this Sunday.  Don't buy a paper unless you want to read the news!

Spectators or Participators

Now, I'm not one to beg for feedback, and I know you guys are reading because my stats say so, but I am really hoping this blog can be a place we can work together to save more on our shopping.  That means tonight I am going to ask you to participate! 

I do my shopping on Saturdays, except for the occasional time I get to do my CVS and Walgreens shopping during the week, so Thursday and Friday nights are the nights that I start getting my shopping lists in order.  And that means I am trying to answer the age-old question:  "What's for dinner?" 

Food can be one of our biggest expenses, but it's one we have the most control over.  You decide what you eat, where you buy what you eat, where you eat, and how you eat.  And that can make the difference on whether you meet the budget for the month.  Um . . . you have a budget, right?  Believe it or not, I feel more freedom with a budget than without.  I guess we'll have to talk about that sometime, too.

The point of all this is that I want recipes.  So pull out your trusty recipe book and find your favorite, and hopefully frugal recipe and post it in the comments.  It can be a recipe for an entree, a side, dessert, a snack, breakfast . . . whatever.  Just make sure it tastes good!  I'll post your recipes as entries so we make sure everyone sees them. 

Here's my offering to the cause:

Key West Chicken

3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs honey
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp chopped garlic (I usually just use garlic powder)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves  (I can find chicken thighs for $1.00/lb pretty much all the time at HEB and bone-in split breasts for $1.00/lb pretty regularly.  So you don't have to use boneless, skinless.  Just use whatever you like and whatever fits your budget.)

In a shallow medium dish, blend soy sauce, honey, vegetable oil, lime juice and garlic.  Place chicken into the mixture.  Marinate in refrigerator at least 30 minutes.  Bake until done.

I love this recipe because it's quick, except for the marinating.  There's very little other prep work so you can spend your evenings doing other things rather than cooking.

Now let's find out what you've been cooking!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

how low can you go?

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick

Jack go under Limbo stick!!
No, we're not talking about limbo.  We're talking about groceries.  Not quite as fun, unless you're seeing some deep savings. 
One way you can start saving money is by tracking prices on items you use a lot.  How often do you notice what you are paying for your favorite brand of laundry soap or peanut butter?  Do you know what the best price is on your favorite snack or the foods you pack for lunch?  Like everything else, start simple.  Get a spiral notebook or maybe a small pocket notebook and start tracking the prices on items you buy the most.  I tried this a couple years ago and tried to track EVERYTHING I bought, and I soon realized that is a bad idea.  It's hard to keep up with when you've got so many items, and you get bogged down.  So choose five or ten items, however many you are comfortable with, and start tracking the prices you see from week to week.  Sales tend to go in 12 week cycles, so by the end of that time, you'll have probably noticed the prices of your items fluctuate, and you'll find them at the lowest point.  Now that you know how low you can go, watch for those deep sales to come around again.  And buy extra.  I don't necessarily recommend having a room the size of a child's bedroom filled with your extras, but maybe you can buy enough to last you a few weeks, and maybe even enough until it gets to that deep sale again.  I have an average size plastic Rubbermade tote that has some extras in it -- extra toothpaste, mouthwash, laundry detergent.  I got those things at very low prices, so I don't have to run out and buy one at full price when I need a new tube of Crest. 
Buy something at full price if you need it right then, but make it a goal of yours to be able to buy at least a few of your most common items at those good sale prices.  $.99 mouthwash instead of $6.00 mouthwash and $.25 deodorant makes for some extra cash to be spent elsewhere.
It's Thursday, so I need to get off here and start planning my shopping trip for Saturday.  I got a CVS coupon in my email today that I plan to make very good use of!

how to get gift cards for FREE (FOR REAL!!)

If you are my Facebook friend, I'm sure you've seen me talking about Swagbucks.  A lot.  Almost too much?  I don't know.  LOL.  It's worth it, though, even if you think I'm a little crazy.

Swagbucks is an online search engine that rewards you points for using their search engine.  These points can be redeemed for all kinds of gift cards as well as many other items.  Why not earn some goodies while you're doing something you would do anyway.

I don't do much actual searching these days, so one of the ways I maximize Swagbucks is instead of typing "" or "" or whatever else into the address bar, I search for it via Swagbucks, either at the website or the downloadable toolbar.  What I'm looking for is almost always one of the first few responses, and at least a couple times a day I win Swagbucks! 

Another way to earn lots of "bucks" is to get referrals.  Yes, that's what I'm trying to do now.  LOL.  When you refer someone, you get Swagbucks every time they win some when searching, up to 1000 Swagbucks.  (There a few other ways to win Swagbucks; you aren't matched for those.)  If you are trying to get a referral, make sure you have them use your referral link or click on your banner.  Otherwise, you don't get the referral.  If you sign up, I'll tell you where to find those on the Swagbucks website.

Other ways to win Swagbucks are by filling out surveys, answering polls, finding Swagcodes that show up from time to time, and doing your online shopping by clicking through their website. 

Exactly what can you get through Swagbucks?

I got a $20 Target e-gift card (just the code, not an actual card).  I bought a spice rack, and all I had to pay was a couple of dollars shipping that the gift card didn't quite cover.

I have gotten several $5 gift cards, and with those I bought a Game Genie for my Nintendo (yes, the old one) for nothing OOP and just the other day I got a rice cooker for $1.79, the little bit of shipping left over that my gift cards didn't cover.

And now, I have another Amazon gift card waiting for a few friends so I can do some more guilt-free shopping! 

As an idea, one of my Swagbucks friends saves all her gift cards and is planning on using them for Christmas shopping.  Wouldn't that be nice?  Christmas gifts without hurting your credit rating??  LOL.

If you're interested, click this link or click the banner on the right of the screen.  They will start you out with 30 Swagbucks! 

Let me know if you have any questions.

what a mess!!!

Now you've printed a bunch of coupons and hopefully cut them out.  You're planning on picking up your newspaper Sunday morning, and you're starting to wonder how you're going to keep all these little slips of paper together.  Well, let me tell you, one letter-sized envelope is not going to cut it.  If you're going to save more than a quarter here and a dollar there, you're going to need to get organized.  It won't hurt much, I promise.

There are, for the most part, two ways to organize coupons.  You can get the little pouch with dividers and tabs that you can label.  WalMart has them for a few dollars, or you can find something of a higher quality on ebay or etsy.

This first picture is one I found just now on ebay.  One convenient thing about this is that it latches on to your shopping cart.  It looks like this one doesn't have a lot of dividers, and you're going to need a lot more than three. 

This one I found on etsy.  It has 26 dividers, and it's a lot deeper.  Once again, it latches on your shopping cart, so it's easier to take in the store.

This next way of organizing coupons is a little intense. . . . But if you can convince yourself to carry it into the store, in my opinion, it's really the best way to organize your coupons.

This is a coupon binder.  It allows you to easily flip through and see every coupon you have, without having to sort through a stack of coupons in the grocery store.  At its basic, it is a zipper style three ring binder and baseball card sleeves.  You may want to a spiral notebook or a stack of paper to use for your grocery lists or as a price book (we'll talk about that later), folders to hold ads if there isn't a place in the binder for them, and a pencil pouch.  You probably will want to store a pair of scissors, pens or pencils, and highlighters or magic markers.  Really, though, the point of the coupon binder, or any coupon organizer, is to make it work for YOU.  Whatever helps you to keep this mess organized and functional.

Whatever you use, you definitely want to make sure it is something you can use in the store.  You really don't want to leave any of those babies behind because even if you weren't planning on buying the shampoo you've got that coupon for.  If you go in the store and discover that it's on sale, when you add the coupon to that sale, you could get it cheaper than you've EVER bought it for before.  And if you left that coupon at home, that's just too bad.

So start considering how you want to keep your coupons organized.  Start simple if you want.  Use the small organizer and if that works for you, great.  If not, try something else.  Like I said, just be sure it makes sense to you and is helping you get those good deals.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How to Talk to Couponers

When you jump into couponing, it’s just like every other group of people, whether it’s Mensa, dry wallers, or the five girls or guys you’ve known since you were three. It has its own language that you need to learn to converse with others. So here is a list of terms you might want to be familiar with if you go looking at sites that post various coupon deals.

There’s a lot here, so just skim it over for now, and use it as a reference as you need it later.

AC – After Coupon

AR – After Rebate

BLINKIES – Some stores have coupon boxes in the aisles for specific products. These are called blinkies because sometimes they have a blinking red light. As if we need a blinking light to notice a coupon. LOL

BOGO or B1G1F – Buy One Get One Free (woo!)

CATALINA – These coupons are printed at the cash register when you check out. You might also see it called CAT.

CRT – Cash Register Tape

CVS “Boyfriend” – This is the price scanner at some CVS stores. It also prints coupons if you scan your Extra Care Card. Many couponers refer to it as their “boyfriend.” I don’t. LOL. I love the scanner, but I think the nickname is weird.

DND - Do Not Double

DND5 – Sometimes a coupon will say Do Not Double, but the bar code starts with a 5, and most computers will double it anyway.

ECB – Extra Care Bucks. These are part of the Extra Care program at CVS. It’s my favorite way to save and soon I’ll be telling you how to do it, too!

EXP – Expiration.

FAR – Free After Rebate

GG – The Grocery Game. Great website that researches the deals for you and tells you when items are at their rock bottom price. There is a free trial. Subscription rates are reasonable and can easily pay for themselves.

GM – General Mills insert.

HBA – Health and Beauty Aids

HTH – Hope This Helps

IP – Internet Printable coupon

IVC – Walgreen’s Instant Value Coupon – These coupons are in the weekly ads or in the booklet printed out every month. The booklet is usually located at the front of the store, next to the ads, and is stuffed with great coupons.

MFR – Manufacturer coupon

NED – No Expiration Date. Sure would be great to run across one of those, but I’ve not seen one yet.

OOP – Out of Pocket – actual money paid after your coupons.

OYNO – On Your Next Order. These usually come as catalinas. You can’t redeem them right then, but you can use them the next time you’re in the store or the next time you make the specified purchase.

P&G – Proctor & Gamble. The lovely newspaper insert. My favorite coupons are in this one.

PEELIE – This is a coupon that you find on the product in the store. Sometimes they are for the product you’re buying (yay!) and sometimes they are for other products from the same brand.

POP – Proof of Purchase

PSA – Prices Starting At

Q - Coupon

RC – Raincheck. You can sometimes ask for this in the store when an item is on sale and they are out of stock. This enables you to get the deal when they have received more, even if the deal is officially over. Sometimes sales will say no rainchecks, or a raincheck may have an expiration date.

RP – Red Plum newspaper insert.

RR – Register Rewards. These are at Walgreens and are similar to ECBs at CVS. We’ll learn about these, too.

SS – Smart Source newspaper insert.

STACKING – Using a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on the same product. Great savings here!!

TEAR PAD – A pad of coupons or rebate forms found near a product.

V – Valassis. Red Plum used to be called this. You may see it used occasionally.

WAGS - Walgreens

WYB – When You Buy. This means you have to buy something else to get the deal. Sometimes a coupon will give you product A for free when you buy product B or give you a discount on product A when you buy product B. For example, Gillette often has a coupon that gives you a free body wash WYB a deodorant.

YMMV – Your Mileage May Vary. This basically means the deal might not be the same where you are located as compared to where the blog poster is located.

$/$$ - X dollars off when you buy XX worth

.50/1 – Fifty cents off one item

.50/3 – Fifty cents off three items

One last thing: there is a question box at the bottom of the page where we can talk coupons. Ask any questions you have or answer any questions you see there.

Have a wonderful night!!

First of the Month!!

Hey, guys, here's a quick rehash of something from my last post.  Coupon websites reset old coupons and add new coupons at the first of the month.  Today is September 1st.  I am looking at right now, and there are some great coupons!  Yogurt, frozen vegetables, frozen pizza, soup, medicine, lice treatment (school is back in session, you know!), baby formula and a lot of other great stuff.

I'll be back soon with another post.  But before you read it, go get your coupons!