Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Check out this environmentally friendly and creative organizational tip from The Tranquil Parent.

Kroger deals this week

Private Selection organic frozen veggies- $2
Garden of Eatin' tortilla chips- $1.99
Annie's mac-n-cheese singles- $3.99
Traditional Medicinals herbal tea (select varieties)- $3.49
V8 Juice- $2.99

Meijer deals this week

Select Meijer Organics items on sale!
(Salad dressing, mushrooms, tortilla chips, stick butter, milk, peanut butter, fruit spread, olive oil, pan spray, bread, cereal and instant oatmeal)

Cascadian Farms organic granola bars- $2.50 ($1/1 coupon makes it 1.50)
Chi-Chi's salsa- $1.25 (go here and click on 'Specials' tab to print a coupon for $1/2, making them .75 each)
Skippy Natural peanut butter (no HFCS or trans fat!)- $2.00 (.40 coupon doubles to make it 1.20)
Mott's 100% apple juice- $2 ($1/2 coupon makes it 1.50)
Aunt Millie's multigrain bread- .99
Ben and Jerry's pints- $3 (print coupon for $1/2, makes them 2.50 each)
Stoneyfield Farms milk- $3/ half gallon
Stoneyfield Farms YoBaby yogurt 6-pack- $3 (look for printable coupons for SF products on their website.)

The Basics

Okay coupon newbies, this post is for y'all... your Coupon 101 online tutorial if you will. Here are the basics of saving big.

1. Combine store sales with coupons. This is the way to get free products, and also the way to save the most money on your weekly grocery bill. I usually only get one newspaper on Sunday mornings (The Free Press) and those coupons are plenty. There are some weeks that I will buy more than one because of a really good coupon, (Taylortown Preview shows you the coupons that will be coming out the following week) but I can usually find additional coupons at The Coupon Master if there's something I need a lot of. I also grab coupons in stores (on tearpads near products or out of those coupon dispensers- called "blinkies") and save them for later when an item goes on sale.

2. Stock up on the deals. When something you normally use goes rock bottom, buy as much as you can to keep your pantry or freezer stocked so that you won't have to pay full price when you need it. At first it can be awkward to transition from mostly "need shopping" to "stockpiling" but a well-stocked "home store" will save you lots of money and time and ensure that you always have the ingredients you need right at your fingertips with no last minute trips to the store.

3. Don't buy crap you don't need and won't use. Seriously. Chasing deals for the sake of chasing deals is a waste of time and money. Make the sales work for you and your family's needs but don't buy 57 cans of 4-cent dog food if you don't have a dog... unless you plan to donate it. The same can be said of food that you deem to be unhealthy. I don't care if someone is paying me to take trans-fat and high fructose corn syrup this week... I won't. Maybe you won't take free broccoli or brussels sprouts; just don't compromise your own personal standards for the sake of a dealio.

4. Don't be brand loyal. Experiment with different brands and different products. None of us like to think we are loyal to certain companies simply because of advertising but you'd be surprised how many times you reach for the Charmin just because you are used to doing it. Branch out and try the Cottonelle. (Especially when it's free!)

5. Buy the smallest size that the sale/coupon allows. This will lower your out-of-pocket cost.

6. Use the internet. Sites like Hot Coupon World and Coupon Mom will help you find the best deals in your area. Coupon Mom lists store sales and coupon match-ups so you know exactly how much you're saving.

7. Set a weekly budget and really try to stick with it. Mine is currently $80 a week and that includes the $23 box of organic produce we have delivered. Most weeks I'm pretty dead on, and it's always a fun challenge.

8. Plan your shopping trips. This (along with #7) will really eliminate excess spending and impulse buys.

9. Leave a little room in your budget for unadvertised deals. Check for clearance and closeout items. I bring my coupons with me to the store just in case I find a deal that's too good to pass up.

10. Organize your coupons. I use a 3-ring binder with 9-pocket pages (like you used to use for Garbage Pail Kids. Oh, you know you had 'em). I have it alphabetized by category (Baby, Beverages, Breakfast, Condiments, etc.) and I have a tab for each section. Other people have filing boxes and some don't clip their coupons at all until they need them; they save the inserts and write the date on the front. I like to bring mine with me when I shop so the binder works best for me personally. Just find a system that works for your needs and stay on top of it! It's no fun having three weeks worth of coupons to cut and file (don't ask me how I know).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Almost free Tom's at CVS 9/28

Here's a quick scenario to get you Tom's of Maine toothpaste, mouthwash or deodorant for around a dollar out of pocket (if you have ECBs) this Sunday only.

(1) Covergirl Clean Liquid Makeup @ 5.49
(1) Tom's toothpaste (5.2-6 oz), mouthwash or deodorant @ around 5.50

$2/$10 coupon (it expires on the 28th)
$1/1 Covergirl product coupon (will be in this Sunday's paper)

Pay with 7 ECB, pay around .99 out of pocket + tax, earn back 6.99 ECB

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Burt's Bees Sweepstakes

Go here to be entered into a drawing to receive a year's worth of Burt's Bees products or other fun prizes.

New Whole Foods in Ann Arbor!

The kids and I went to the new Whole Foods on Eisenhower (across from Briarwood Mall) this morning and WOW did we hit the jackpot! Going in the door we were given a free reusable shopping bag, and the doors then parted to usher us into Free Sample Land. The kids and I grazed on fresh fruits, veggies, cheese, bread, chips and juice and I got some free samples of hand lotions (paraben-free and totally delicious smelling).

I scoured a few aisles for coupons and there were quite a few to be found on frozen foods, baby bath products and in the juice aisle. I'm sure there were more but Ocean kept trying to break into his "potty treats" (yogurt covered raisins from the bulk bins) and we had to get out of there quickly.

As I was checking out I noticed a stack of coupon books by the register. The cashier threw a couple of them in my bag and there are some pretty good $/$$ coupons as well as coupons for free "when you buy" products (like a free pound of potato salad when you spend $25... stuff like that). I would consider them really good coupons if you shop at WF anyway... if not you may not find much use for them.

If you're in the Ann Arbor area in the next day or so head over that way. It's a nicely laid-out store and it's worth the trip for the free shopping bag and delicious samples (plus parking is a lot better than the store on Washtenaw... *shudder*).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

CVS for newbies

Here is a link for anyone who wants to get started at CVS but still has questions. Lavonne over at Economic Endeavors has a Beginner's Guide to CVS which explains everything nicely. 

CVS carries several earth-friendly lines (Be.Fine, Cristophe, Vickery and Clarke Apothecary, Burt's Bees, Dr. Bronner's and Tom's of Maine to name a few). Using ECBs, coupons and sales it's easy to get your natural products deeply discounted if not free. Read Lavonne's tutorial and then follow along as I show you my weekly scenarios to get those green products for cents on the dollar.

This month at CVS...

There is a monthly ECB deal for Cristophe shampoo and conditioner. Buy $15 in Cristophe products, earn $5 ECBs. So I did a little research and found that they make a paraben-free, sulfate-free, fragrance-free shampoo and conditioner. Each goes for $7.99.

-Purchase your shampoo and conditioner
-Use your $2/$10 coupon
-Pay with 5 ECB
-Pay around $9 out of pocket for some pretty awesome shampoo and conditioner
-Earn back 5 ECB. (Which means you're really only paying about $4.)

You can do this deal twice; just remember it ends on September 30.

Meijer Deals

Organic Broccoli- $1.67 each
Quaker Oats (Quick or Old Fashioned 18 oz.)- $1.29 (.50 coupon in 9/7 paper doubles, making it .29)
Nestle Juicy Juice Harvest Surprise- $2.25 (1.00 coupon in 9/14 paper makes it 1.25)

Kroger Deals

Organic Raspberries (6 oz.)- $2.50
Organic Strawberries (16 oz.)- $3.00
Cascadian Farm Cereal- $3.00 (1.00/1 coupon in 8/24 paper makes it 2.00)
Garden of Eatin Tortilla Chips- $2.29 (1.00/2 coupon in 8/17 paper makes them 1.79 each)
Private Selection Cage Free Eggs- $1.79

This Week's Freebies

Bear Naked Granola sample

Jergens Natural Lotion (paraben-free, not tested on animals)

Nature's Bounty free reusable bag!

Subscription to Kiwi Magazine with the purchase of any Annie's product

Cookie sample from Kashi


We are Cassie, Jessica and Jill. We like saving money. We also like feeding our families nutritious, organic food whenever we can. It makes our bodies happy. It makes the earth happy. Happy is good.

There are lots of awesome savings blogs out there for us coupon nuts. We found, however, that there is a gap in the earth friendly/natural/green products sect when it comes to hardcore coupon cutting and bargain hunting.

Enter: Envirosavings. Our goals are
-To gather all of the deals we find on natural, healthy, green, and/or eco-friendly products and consolidate them into this blog.
-To offer savings tips to those who are new to the couponing world.
-To practice the 80/20 rule of eating and living well. We try to feed our families healthy, natural, organic foods 80% of the time so that we don't feel guilty about the 20% when it's just not possible. (Or when we really, really want an Oreo. Hey, it happens to the best of us.)
-Cassie will also use this as a place to keep track of her spending. There's nothing like a website to act as natural accountability!

Thanks for stopping in and we hope you find something useful to you and your family!