Saturday, January 31, 2009

This week's totals

I made two trips to Meijer this week and mostly bought a bunch of salsa, cheese, chili seasoning, avocados and Alouette cheese. I also got rain checks for more Alouette, Sargento and Chi-chis since they were out of the particular varieties that I wanted. If you have coupons for a sale item that you use a lot of it's always a good idea to ask for rain checks if you don't get a chance to use up all of your coupons that week.

Total spent at Meijer: 71.87
Total saved: 77.82

Total spent this week: 89.28


Back to CVS tonight. The Fusion Gamer razors were finally in stock and I also had more Gillette shampoo coupons, as well as a $5/$30 that I got in by inbox. (Hooray!) So here it is:

(3) Gillette shampoo/conditioner @ 4.99 each, used 2.00/1 coupons, earned 3 ECBs each
(2) Fusion Gamer razors @ 7.99 each, used 4.00/1, earned 4 ECBs each

Used 5/30 + coupons
Paid with 11 ECBs, 1.85 out of pocket, earned back 17 ECBs.

Friday, January 30, 2009

CVS Tutorial

I just found this great CVS tutorial for anyone who still has no idea what in the world Jessica and I are doing at CVS every week.

This particular blog is written by Mary Ellen who lives in Shelby, North Carolina. I visited Shelby once. They have a stellar farmer's market.


I have some Seventh Generation coupons that expire this weekend so I thought I'd make good use of those, along with the billions of 2.00/1 Target Kotex coupons I have sitting around from 1/4, and the Kotex manufacturer coupons from 1/11. Remember that Target coupons can be combined with mannys for even better savings.

I bought:
(1) 7th Gen laundry detergent @ 7.99, used 1.00/1
(1) 7th Gen dish soap @ 2.69, used 1.00/1
(2) Kotex pads @ 2.94, used 2.00/1 Target and 1.00/1 manufacturer (FREE plus overage)
(2) Kotex liners @ 2.94, used 2.00/1 Target and .75/1 manny
(1) Organic maple syrup clearanced to 4.48

Total before coupons: 28.27
Total after coupons: 14.77

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kraft coupons--enter to win

The word on the street is that your chances of winning are higher in the morning.  I tried Saturday night and lost--tried Monday morning at 6am and WON. good luck!

article on High Fructose Corn Syrup

Check this out from the Washington Post if you are interested

An interesting turn of events at CVS

Starting next week, those of us in Michigan will be in a CVS test market. What they are testing, I don't know, but it worries me just a little bit. I've seen the ad for next week and the only ECB deal is Hershey bars. Yay.

My plan this week is to roll as many ECBs as I can, and maybe get some rainchecks for the free Gillette shampoo and razor so I can use them to roll more ECBs if the deals dry up as my bucks expire in the next few weeks. Apparently these test markets pop up periodically and they last for a few weeks or so; sometimes the ECB deals are the same and sometimes they aren't.

Anyhoo, here is my random assortment from this week. I blew through a bunch of ECBs but I really needed diapers.

(2) Gillette shampoo @ 4.99, used 2.00/1 coupons and got back 3 ECB each
(1) Dove beauty bar @ .99, used 1.00/1
(2) newspapers @ 1.75
(2) Huggies @ 10.00 each, used 1.50/1 coupons and got back 5 ECBs
(1) cheese eating baby. She was free after ECBs.

Paid with 25.99 ECBs, paid .79 OOP, earned back 11 ECBs.

Best deals this week

There is a pretty good deal at Target this week on DiGiorno frozen pizzas. They are 3.99 each and it's being reported that with each pizza purchase you get a free 2 liter Coke product. I've also read that you can potentially find 1.00/1 DiGiorno coupons on select Capri Sun products at Target, and that there are rebate forms out there for the pizza as well. Lucky you if you have those, and still a really good deal if you don't.

I made a quick run to Meijer yesterday but plan to go back later in the week so I'll do my totals then. For now, here are the best deals that I came across:

Meijer ice cream pints are on sale for $2. Use the 1.00/1 Meijer Mealbox coupon to get a pint for a dollar.

Q-Tips are on sale for 2.50. Use the .30/1 from 1/18 to get a 500 ct. box for 1.90.

Bic Comfort 3 razor 4-packs are $3. Use the 2.00/1 from 1/18 to get them for a dollar (great donation items).

McCormick seasoning packets are .34 each after .25/2 from 1/18.

Nabisco crackers are on sale; use the 2.00/2 from 1/25 to get a great deal on these. I also found a tearpad on the center aisle display in my store; Get a dollar off when you buy any Nabisco cracker and any Kraft cheese. Kraft is also on sale this week for 2.00. (Or take some of these Qs to Kroger and use them toward the $5 off 10 items deal which is back this week and includes Kraft cheese and Nabisco crackers.)

Select General Mills cereals are Buy 4, get $5 off instantly. They are all regularly priced so it's not an awesome deal, but there are some coupons out there that could make this an okay deal if you need cereal. Try my coupon link to the left for some printables and check the 1/18 insert for a .50/1 Multigrain Cheerios (which will double to a dollar).

Chi-chi's salsa is .99 for the 16oz. Use the .55/1 from December to get each jar for .44.

Sargento shredded cheese is on sale for 1.89. Use the .55/2 or .50/2 (depends on your region) from 1/25 to get these for 1.62 or 1.39 each. Great deal either way.

Tropicana OJ is 2/$5. Use the 1.00/2 from 1/4 to get each for $2.

Aunt Millie's cracked wheat bread is 1.25 each. Use the .35/1 from 1/11 to get a loaf for .55.

Bird's Eye Steamfresh veggies are .65 after sale and .35 coupon from 1/4. Good deal if you need veggies; but I have a hard time paying for frozen vegetables since they often pay me to take Steamers.

Jack's salsa is BOGO free, so $2 each.

The new Healthy Living booklets are available in the seafood/meat department display. Inside there is a coupon for .75/1 Dole Fresh Discoveries salad. Those are on sale for 1.67 this week, so a bagged salad for .92.

Cascadian Farms organic jam is $3. Use the 1.00/1 coupon to get it for $2.

What else do you see this week?

Doctor Kracker at Whole Foods

Have you guys tried these things? "Cracker" doesn't do them justice. They are super dense and chock full of good-for-ya ingredients such as flaxseeds, oats and spelt. This week at Whole Foods they are $5.99 and on sale BOGO free. If you go here you will find out how to receive three .75/1 coupons. If the coupons come before the sale ends (WF usually runs sales for at least 2 weeks and their sale week begins on Wednesday), you will be able to use 2 coupons on the BOGO deal, making each package of crackers just 2.25.

I found this coupon offer on Sage and Savvy. If you have a few minutes go check it out; it's a really great site with detailed product reviews and sweet giveaways from a self-described "light green" wife and mom of two.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I love Kroger. Kroger's my favorite.

Kroger won my heart today. I was going to forego it altogether this week but I checked Hot Coupon World to see if I was missing anything and boy oh boy was I. They are having a promotion this week: Buy 10 selected items and get $5 off your order instantly at checkout. I knew about the deal, but there were some unadvertised products included that I didn't know about and for which I had coupons, which meant big savings (including a moneymaker!). You can do this deal up to three times per transaction. Here's what I bought:

(2) Juicy Juice @ 2.49, used .50/2 doubled (1.49 each after coupon/promo)
(2) Kleenex with lotion @ 1.79, used (2) .40/1 (.49 each after coupon/promo)
(6) Kraft chunk cheese @ 1.99, used .75/1 blinkie located next to the product (.74 each after coupon/promo)
(4) Kraft shreds @ 1.99, used .75/1 blinkie, located next to the product (.74 each after coupon/promo)
(4) Ken's salad dressing @ 1.99, used (2) 1.00/2 from 1/11 (.99 each after coupon/promo)
(2) Ro-Tel canned tomatoes @ .99, used (2) .30/1 doubled from 1/18 (free plus .22 overage after coupon/promo)

Not included in the promo were the following items:
(3) Clif Z kids bars @ .99, used .50/1 doubled from Whole Deal flyer- FREE
(1) Flat Out wraps clearanced to 1.49
(1) Gigantic container of organic baby greens clearanced to 3.49
(4) Horizon organic milk singles @ 1.00, used (4) .25/1 doubled
(1) cantaloupe @ 2.00
(2) bananas @ .40

I also got a couple of great catalinas... a 1.00/1 Stoneyfield Farms YoBaby 6-pack and a 1.00/1 Luvs diapers. Those are both extremely hard to come by so I'm delighted.

Total before sales/coupons: 88.25
Total after coupons/promo: 24.55

Total for the week: 85.61
Total for 2009: 239.20

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dear Cassie...

Generally speaking, I am the last person you want to come to for advice. I don't usually give it; mostly I just sit there and go, "Oh, man, that sucks. I don't know what to tell you." There are, as with everything in life, exceptions to this. I've had a few people ask me what works for me based on my own issues and experience and I decided to start a new feature called Dear Cassie in order to post my responses to some of the most frequently asked questions posed by my friends as they relate to saving money and green living.

Dear Cassie,
I thought it wasn't an option to save money eating organic food. I never see coupons in my paper for healthy stuff. How is it possible to cut my grocery bill without sacrificing the health of my family? Thanks. -Mindy

Dear Mindy,
It is possible to save money on healthy, nutrient-rich foods. It just takes careful planning and some creativity. Here are my top tips for eating well and living green on a budget.

1. Decide what your priorities are with respect to foods you eat and products you buy. Like, I don't care if my pasta or bananas are organic, but my milk needs to be. You might not care if your meat is grass-fed, just as long as your shampoo is paraben-free. Determine what your non-negotiables are, and then allow yourself some flexibility with everything else.

2. More mainstream companies are getting into the 'greenstream', which means there are increasingly more coupons available for earth-friendly products. The newspaper regularly contains coupons for organic or cage-free eggs, soy milk, breads and baked goods free of HFCS and trans-fat, natural peanut butters, jams and pasta sauces, whole grain pasta, organic canned tomatoes, and organic or hormone-free milk just to name a few. There are also coupons for "any variety" of certain products, which means you would be free to use that coupon for Cascadian Farms Organics on any product within that line. I have also had quite a bit of success in emailing companies to tell them how much I enjoy their products, and asking them to send coupons (I include my mailing address in the email). Also look for coupons in unlikely places. Whole Foods and Plum Market put out Mambo Sprouts coupon booklets every quarter. A lot of natural food companies put coupons on the products themselves (always check inside the packaging too). The wine section of your local grocery store will often have coupon tearpads, or coupons right on the bottles. I've found 1.00/1 coupons for cheese, produce, meat, seafood and bakery items with no wine purchase necessary. You can use these on any type of product listed, so that can mean free organic produce or cheese, or a discount on your grass-fed meat.

3. Use store coupons and promotions. In the Ann Arbor area for example, Whole Foods has been putting out monthly coupons for $X off of a $X purchase. Plan your trip and try to get as close as you can to the required pre-tax transaction amount. Give that coupon first, and then hand over your other coupons. You will lower your total significantly. Also, many stores have Catalina Deals. Catalinas, or Cats, are the coupons that the cash register spits out with your receipt. Sometimes the Cats are for specific items and other times they work like a gift card ($1.50 off your next purchase, etc.) so you can apply them towards anything in the store. Check places like Hot Coupon World to find the current Catalina deals at your local store.

3. When a coupon comes out in the paper for something you use a lot of, order more from a clipping service like The Coupon Clippers or The Coupon Master. For example, we buy a dozen cage-free eggs every week. Eggland's Best coupons come out regularly in the paper. On those weeks I order coupons so I can get a dollar off of my eggs every week until the coupon expires. Doing this every 3 months costs me about 60 cents and saves me more than $12.

4. Learn to play CVS (or the other drugstores). They all have rebate programs that you can use to get things for free. CVS carries all kinds of clean, green products and you can use your earned Extra Care Bucks on those and pay nothing or close to nothing out of pocket (pre-tax). You can also use those ECBs to buy the things we all need (TP, feminine products, toiletries, diapers) so you have more money in your grocery budget for organics.

5. When products you use a lot of go on sale, clearance or close-out, buy as much as your budget allows (and use coupons if you have them). It may seem ridiculous to buy 4 bottles of shampoo or 6 jars of jam when you don't need them right then, but you will be saving money in the long run because you won't be forced to buy at a premium when you do need it.

6. Do a Google search for organic produce delivery in your area. This is a great way to incorporate organic fruits and veggies for a fixed weekly, bi-weekly or monthly cost. I spend $23 every week on a large box of produce. It's enough to feed a vegetarian family of four and I never have to guess how much of my budget will go towards organic produce each week. It's already allotted and I don't have to think about it. Also consider growing your own veggies, and check out co-ops and your local farmers markets for awesome savings. (Charlotteans, your farmers market is the best I've ever been to!)

7. Make your own cleaning products. White vinegar and baking soda are cheap, cheap, cheap. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and baking soda is a great abrasive and stink-remover. (Just don't mix them together or you'll have a volcanoesque science project situation.) You can find instructions for making your own cleaners online.

I hope some of this information will help you begin to save on your grocery bill. For more information on the basics of couponing, check out this post.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Whole Foods

I had a $10/$50 from this month's Ann Arbor Observer that I decided to put to good use today. I cancelled our produce delivery for this week since it seemed kind of blah, which meant I had to actually buy a few fruits and veggies at the store. So here's how I did: (Don't pay any attention to the dorks on the laptops in the background.)

(2) Farmer's Creamery Milk @ 3.99 each (I've said it before... I won't buy any other kind of milk. It's my bi-weekly splurge and worth the cost.)
(3) Quorn nuggets @ 3.50 each (Alysa turned me onto this stuff and we love it. We don't usually do meat substitutes but the nuggets are a great quick lunch for the kids.) Used (3) 1.00/1 coupons sent to me from the manufacturer
(4) Back to Nature mac and cheese @ 1.69 each, used (4) .70/1 coupons from Whole Deal flyer
(1) Matt's chocolate chip cookies @ 4.39 (not on sale, no coupon. Have you had these? If not, don't start and you won't have a problem.)
(1) 3 lb. bag organic pink lady apples @ 4.99, regular price (The loose organic pink lady apples are on sale for 1.69/lb... huh? This was definitely a better deal.)
(2) Odwalla Green Machine @ 2.50 each, used (2) .55/1 coupons from a tearpad at Meijer last month
(1) organic grape tomatoes @ 2.50
(1) Dr. Sears kids vitamins @ 9.99, used 1.00/1 coupon from last month's Whole Deal flyer
(1) organic red pepper @ .83

Total after sales, but before coupons: 52.93
Total after coupons and bag refund: 34.73

Just to put this in perspective, if I had paid full retail price for the milk, cookies, apples, vitamins and one of the Quorn products I would have paid more than $35. So looking at it that way, I essentially got 2 Quorn products, 4 mac and cheese, 2 Odwalla juices, tomatoes and red pepper for free. My cashier, Bud, couldn't believe it. "Wow," he said. "You really know how to shop."

This is just the tip of the iceberg, my friend.

Weekly total: 61.06

Monday, January 19, 2009

10/50 Coupon--my scenario

I scanned my card yesterday at CVS and a 10/50 printed--usually, this would be a "JACKPOT" moment, but this week at CVS isn't the best for freebies/cheapies, I always feel pressure to use these, but I didn't want to "spend just to save" (as my husband warns me of) so I took the coupon home and plotted...
I came up with this ideal scenario, but knowing that things are commonly out-of-stock, I was ready to leave the store if they didn't have it all in stock---surprise! they did.  so I came up with this scenario---it's a lot just to get free TP and free diapers, but hopefully the Hope Clinic will accept the medications as donations--I've given to them in the past (and hope to give my time to them someday as well...maybe in 19 years).   

Anyway, from what I'm reading online, many cards are getting this at the coupon scanner thingy this week, so if you have ECBs you want to roll or have a big purchase to make, check at the scanner--mine was to expire 1 week from the day I printed it.

Going in, I had $34 in ECBs I wanted to roll as much as possible:
-3 Throat Coolers (finally in stock again!) @ $4.99 each (giving $4.99 in ECBs back each)
-1 Nasogel @ $7.99 (gives back $7.99 in ECBs)
-2 CVS Allergy tabs @$3.79 each (gives back $3.79 each in ECBs)
-1 pampers @ $9.99 each
-1-20 ct double roll cottonelle pack at $12.97 (gives back $4 in ecbs)
Total = $53.xx
--pay with 10/50, BOGO throat coolers Q-valued at $4.99, $0.50 off throat coolers Q, $2 off nasogel Q, $1.50 pampers Q, 0.50 off cottonelle Q for a total of $34.01--paid remainder with $34 in ECBs
--pay $0.01 out-of-pocket!
Get back $34.xx in ECBS--voila! free huge TP pack and pampers and lots of meds to donate.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Early trip to Meijer

I usually wait until later in the week to go shopping but for some reason I was motivated enough this afternoon to do what will most likely be my first of many grocery runs this week.

There is a pretty big sale this week on select Meijer Organics items. Many of those are products that we use a lot of, like the vegetable broth (3/$5) and butter (3.99).

Starkist Tuna pouches are 20% off (1.67) and I had (4) .75/1 blinkies from Kroger last month as well as (2) B2G1 Free coupons from 1/4. So I got 6 pouches for 3.68, or about .61 a pouch.

Aunt Jemima pancake mix is 3/$5; use 1.00/2 coupon from last week to get them for 1.17 each.

Prego is also 3/$5. There are peelie coupons on packages of Pepperidge Farm garlic bread for .50/1, which will double, making each jar just .67. (Remember only 2 like coupons will double. I had to do mine in 3 separate transactions in order to maximize my savings.)

Total spent: 26.33
Total saved: 31.74

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Free stuff

Quaker Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond True Delights (they sound divine, I don't know if it's a bar or a snack pack or what though!)-- free sample via snail mail
This will take you to a link for a free 4 pack of Hansen's Junior Juice--I actually don't know if this is available in my area, I'll have to check it out.

Let's hope this is it for the week.

Went back to Meijer this morning for wipes and also picked up some tortillas for dinner.

4 Huggies wipes @ 2.00 each, used .50/1 coupons doubled
1 Mission tortilla @ 3.99, used 1.00/1

Total spent: 7.35
Total saved: 6.56

Total spent this week: 80.64

2009 Running Total: 153.59

Friday, January 16, 2009

Surprises at Meijer

When I was cruising through Meijer earlier this week I noticed an endcap in the freezer section with Green Giant Steamers marked at 1.00. Since I found two more Skippy coupons that I wanted to use up I headed back tonight in order to investigate more thoroughly.

Sure enough, Steamers are free after the .50/1 coupon from 1/4 doubles. I had to do 4 separate transactions since only two like coupons will double per transaction, but I ended up getting all of this for a song:

(7) Steamers- FREE
(2) Yoplait Kids Yogurt (I didn't know these were HFCS-free... thanks, Jessica!)- 1.00 each after .50/1 coupons from 1/4
(2) Skippy- .54 each after .40/1 coupons

Total spent: 3.08
Total saved: 20.61

I plan to run by again tomorrow because Huggies wipes are on sale for 2 bucks and those .50 coupons from last week are burning a hole in my binder. It's hard to beat a dollar for wipes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Meijer and Target

Thanks to Jessica for keeping this blog updated while I was out of town. She is now officially a co-author and will be posting here regularly (I hope!) because a) she has a knack for finding great deals and b) she's super-great. So look for more from her in the future.

Now about the great sales at Meijer this week. Aside from frozen nostrils I got the following out of my trip tonight (Carrie calls this "grocery porn"):

I bought 41 items. Here are some additional highlights that weren't mentioned earlier:
Rubbermaid totes are 3.99, used 1.00/1 from 1/4 to pay 2.99
Coffeemate holiday flavors are 1.19, used .50/1 to get each for .19
Tropicana OJ is 2.50 each, used 1.00/2 from 1/4 to get each for 2.00
Kraft string cheese is 3.00. Used 1.00/1 printable to get it for 2.00
Parmesan is 3.50; had 1.00/1 coupons
I found 6 cans of beans clearanced to .44 each which is my rock-bottom stock-up price.
I also found a large jar of Prego clearanced to 1.50; I used a .50/1 peelie on Pepperidge Farm garlic bread to get it for .50.

Total spent: 47.21
Total saved: 66.54

I also hit up Target to get some of the freebies Jess posted about earlier. I got
(2) Johnson's Buddies soaps
(2) Kotex
(1) pack of page dividers for my coupon binder @ 2.69

I used The 1.00/1 Buddies coupons (which beeped, by the way, but my cashier pushed them through) and the Target 2.00/1 Kotex in addition to the 1.00/1 manufacturer coupons. I ended up getting overage which went toward my total on the dividers and I put the rest (2.XX) on a Target gift card.

Yesterday was also produce day, so my total for the week so far is 70.21.

2009 running total: 143.16

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Free at Target

More "lady business" first.  They have 16 ct Kotex pads on sale for $2.97--use the $2 Target coupon  and the $1 Kotex manufacturer's coupon, both from this week's paper for free pads.

Secondly, Target sells the Johnson's buddy bars for $0.97 a piece--which makes them free after $1 coupon from the 1-4-09 paper.  I picked up 5 of these for free for donations yesterday.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Intro and Meijer this coming week (beginning 1/11)

I'm Jessica, a coupon newbie, but loving it and getting better every day--we are trying to decrease our grocery budget by nearly 50% compared to last year and I'm getting there--I used to spend $100-120/week despite doing the right things by meal planning, buying in bulk and sale shopping, but now stock-piling and couponing are really making all the difference--we're hovering around $60-80 per week most of the time, including the $1-3/week it takes to buy coupons (I saved $20 in coupons alone this trip).  It's become a fun hobby as well.  Anyway, Cassie invited me to post, and I came across some great deals at Meijer today (after my third trip in 2 days to CVS for more soy joy and free wipes!), so I thought I'd share them.  

Here goes:
-Chex mix marked $1--FREE after $0.50 coupon doubles (saving for my kiddo's 3rd birthday party)
-Kellogg's plain Special K waffles (10ct) are ringing up at $0.69, not marked this way--FREE after $0.75 coupon (I found this deal on's meijer forum last night)

-Skippy Natural PB is 3/$5 (usually about $2.80 each at my store)--a $0.40 coupon doubles, making these $0.87 each--great price for stocking up!
-Bisquick Heart Smart (no transfat) mix is priced at $1.99--use a coupon (I had a $0.60 off and a $1 off coupon, so I bought 2!) for a great price as these are usually>$3 each and great for quick fixes and easy pancakes/waffles
-Yoplait Kids yogurts and smoothies are $2 for a 6-pack, use coupons from last Sunday's paper to get them for $1 each (no HFCS)
-Nature Valley bars are $2/box on sale-->$1/box after sale + coupon from last Sunday's paper
-General Mills cereals are $2/box--I got 4 boxes for $6 after my coupons (Total and multi-grain Cheerios! our faves!)  also I got a catalina (not sure what triggered it) for $2 off 5 boxes of any GM cereal, so I may go back and repeat this later this week to stock up.
-Meijer all natural pasta sauce for $1/1 sale price (great for Cassie's crockpot lasagna recipe that we'll be having later this week)
-Avocadoes $1/1
-Bagged Dole lettuce $1/1
-Green Giant boxed frozen veggies are $1/1--but $1/2 after coupon
-Softsoap is $1 on sale, but $0.30 after a $0.35 coupon doubles (I passed on this deal, but thought I'd share)
-There are some nice items for donations as well, like Tuna/Hambuger Helper and ChefBoyardee Ravioli after sale and coupon--as well as Meijer brand big tomato cans.

A big week for stocking up and I'll go back later in the week for more cereal, peanut butter, and Nature Valley bars, my coupons are begging to leave my binder this week! I spent $62, saved $64....not bad, for a novice.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This week's shopping trips, and a word about promotions.

Meijer was a bit of a bust this week. I had to buy some convenience items since we're out of town this weekend and I wanted to make feeding the kids as easy as possible for my saint of a mother-in-law who is staying with them for 4 days.
Total spent: 64.90
Total saved: 46.85

I saved a lot of money this week by using gift cards that I got for taking advantage of one promotion or another. The last time Kmart had Super Doubles I found a rebate form on the Kotex display. If you bought 5 Kotex products you would get a $5 Kmart gift card in the mail. So I used (4) .75/1 Kotex Lightdays coupons which doubled to make them all free, and I also had a BOGO free coupon from a Kmart mailer. So I spent nothing out of pocket and was able to get a $5 gift card for the cost of a stamp. I’ve been holding onto that card for a few months and decided to use it yesterday for dollar doubles. I bought:

(1) Special K Berries cereal @ 2.50 (used 1.00/1 doubled)
(4) Glade candles @ 2.50 each (used 1.00/1 doubled)
(2) Revlon nail clippers @ 2.49 each (used 1.00/1 doubled)
(1) Cottonelle flushable wipes @ 2.99 (used 1.00/1 doubled)

Total before coupons: 21.13
Total out of pocket: .13

Whole Foods had a gift card promo in December. With a coupon (found in the Observer) you would receive a free $10 gift card for any gift card purchase $50 and up. I bought a $50 gift card and got my free $10. Last night I had to run to Whole Foods for milk and “potty candy” (chocolate covered raisins for my potty training toddler) and was able to use 9.70 of that $10 to get my milk and very necessary toilet motivators for nothing out of pocket. And by the way, I learned that Whole Foods (and probably other stores) will take the gift cards that are all used up to use for store credit situations, so make sure you’re recycling those zero-balance cards.

I wasn't going to go to Kroger but then I remembered I had that .50/1 Cottonelle coupon that was expiring this weekend, and I also found another one on (see my link to the left) so I wanted to go get my free TP. I also took my Free French's Worcestershire Sauce coupons and a 1.00/2 Bounty coupon. I got:
(2) Bounty Basic single rolls @ 1.03 each
(2) French's (I left my third coupon for someone else to find)
(2) Cottonelle
After my bag refund, paper coupons and e-coupons I spent 44 cents.

And of course the obvious promotions to take advantage of are the weekly ECB deals. (At least for me, because I just have way too much time and ECBs on my hands.) This week was huge at CVS. I made several more trips than what I posted earlier but I’ll combine them all here for simplicity’s sake. In addition to my earlier trips I bought:

(1) Huggies Jumbo @ 9.49
(7) boxes of SoyJoy bars @ 6.00 each (earned back 6 ECBs each), used $3/10 coupons
(3) CVS sensitive wipes @ 2.99 each (but also BOGO half off)
(1) Febreeze candle, clearanced @ 1.99, used $2.00/1 coupon

In addition to mannys I also used a variety of CVS coupons. My total out of pocket was 2.46 and I made a few dollars’ profit in ECBs.

The biggest thing I’m learning is to never turn my nose up at a dollar or two, because it adds up when spent wisely. That $5 gift card at Kmart is a perfect example. When you learn to stretch your grocery dollar 5 bucks goes a long way.

Running total: 72.95
Total saved: a crapload. (I just put all of my receipts away and don't want to go digging them back out, so you'll have to take my word for it.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The CVS Brand-o-rama

I Heart CVS has a coupon posted for $3 off any CVS Brand purchase. There is no minimum purchase required, so choose any CVS Brand item(s) that costs under 3 dollars and you'll get it for free. Combine that with the BOGO Half Off sale going on this week and you'll be a big winner. Not that you already aren't. You'll just have the free stuff to prove it.

A couple of things to note about this. First of all, the coupon does state one per customer, though in the past coupons like this haven't beeped when used more than once for separate transactions. Second, mine didn't actually scan and needed to be entered in manually so if your store is coupon un-friendly you may have a problem. My store is awesome and therefore I had no issues.

So what did I get? A tub of CVS sensitive baby wipes and a small pack of CVS tissues for a grand total of 25 cents. And to think I would have spent no less than $4 for both items under any other circumstances, especially since we were in desperate need of both and I was afraid I was going to have to just suck it up and pay real money. Thanks, CVS!

Need trashbags? Lightbulbs? Envelopes? Tissues? First Aid supplies? Baby or toddler items? Print yourself a coupon and get to gettin'!

Monday, January 5, 2009

My big idea

I've decided, in the interest of interest, to keep a running tab of my spending and saving this year. I'll include all of our groceries, newspapers, toiletries and personal care items purchased from CVS, Kroger, Meijer, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Since this is the first official grocery week of 2009 it's a great time to start. I'm very curious to know exactly how much I can save in a year's time, since I started couponing mid-year and saved a ton. So I'll be documenting all of my spending here, trying to stick to a $4420 budget for 2009, which comes out to $85 a week for a family of 4 (and the baby practically eats more than the rest of us combined).

I already documented my Meijer trip from yesterday. Here are my 2 CVS runs, with a photo from tonight's.

Yesterday, I bought:
(6) Newspapers @ 1.75 each
(1) Garnier shampoo @ 2.99
(3) Hershey bars @ .89 each

Used $3/$15
1.00/1 Garnier
9.79 ECB

Paid 2.37 OOP
Earned 2 ECB


(Sorry to put my lady business out there like that, but we're all adults here, right?)
I bought:
(4) Stayfree @ 4.50 each
(1) Band-Aid @ 3.00
(1) Maybelline Shiny Licious Lip Gloss @ 5.79

2 BOGO free Stayfree from 1/4 paper
4.00/1 Maybelline lip from a few weeks ago (expired today)
9.98 ECB

Paid 1.64 OOP
Earned 10 ECB
(The deal here is if you buy $20 worth of Stayfree and Bandaids you'll get 10 ECBs, making everything about 2 bucks after coupons and ECBs, and a moneymaker if you use the $3/$15. Jessica put together this great deal. Thanks!)

Total spent so far this week: 4.77
Total saved: 72.62

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cheap Electrasol

Looking for a place to use those 2.50/1 Electrasol coupons this week?

Meijer has them on sale for either 2/$6 (Belleville and Farmington Hills) or 2/$7 (Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti).

Target has them on sale for 3.25.

Walmart sells them for 2.88. (I don't shop there personally but this is definitely the best price if you're into it.)

I went to Meijer this morning with my 6 coupons and $6.50 in catalinas from a couple of deals last week. I ended up paying .76 in tax for 6 boxes.

Still haven't bought your papers yet today? Try rolling them into a CVS deal using the $3/$15 and some of the freebies this week to get a discount. (And remember to get the Free Press, not the Ann Arbor News, if you're in this area.)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Whole Deal

The new Whole Deal flyer and coupons are out at Whole Foods. The good news is there are some exciting, high-value coupons this quarter. The bad news is the coupons are no longer manufacturer Qs, they are now Whole Foods coupons. But I'm all about making lemonade from lemons (or non-toxic lemon-scented cleaners for that matter) so I spent some time in Whole Foods today looking for the best deals. Oh, the sacrifices I make...

First of all, you should be checking the Ann Arbor Observer for $/$$ coupons. This month there is a $10/$50 coupon on page 23. Those will save you lots of money, because you can use that coupon first, and then use any other coupons you have to bring your total down further. (Whole Foods sells A2 Observers, so I bought another one today for another coupon.)

The most exciting coupon/sale match-ups this week are:
Wolfgang Puck organic canned soups, 2/$5 (regularly 2.99). Use the 1.00/1 Whole Deal coupon to get each for 1.50.
Method Naked Wipes are on sale for 2.99, regularly 4.99. Use the 1.00/1 WD coupon to get them for 1.99 each.
Muir Glen diced tomatoes are 2/$3. Sign up here to print a 1.00/1 coupon which will get you a 15 oz. can for 50 cents. Also remember that the small cans of tomato sauce are .99 every day, so those are free after coupon.
Near East couscous is $2. Use the 1.00/3 WD coupon to get three for 1.67 each.
Back To Nature crackers are 2/$5. Use the .70/1 WD coupon to get them for 1.80 each. Or if your kids love mac and cheese as much as mine do, the BTN versions are regularly priced at 1.69 and 1.99; around a dollar for organic mac and cheese is very decent.

Here's an example scenario to show how easy it is to save money at Whole Foods just by doing match-ups.
(6) Method @ 2.99 each
(6) Wolfgang Puck soups @ 2.50 each
(5) BTN mac and cheese @ 1.69 each
(1) BTN crackers @ 2.50
(1) Muir Glen diced tomatoes @ 1.50
(3) Near East couscous @ 2.00 each

Total before coupons: 51.39

(6) 1.00/1 Method
(6) 1.00/1 Wolfgang Puck
(6) .70/1 Back to Nature
(1) 1.00/1 Muir Glen
(1) 1.00/3 Near East

Total after coupons: 23.19

These are all staples for us, so now is a great time to stock up the pantry. If anyone finds any other great deals this week, let me know!

Big moneymakers at CVS, and coupons. Lots of 'em.

Thanks to Jessica, I was tipped off to a great moneymaker this coming week at CVS. I've come up with a little scenario for anyone who wants to get started this week with the CVS game, or if you have ECBs sitting around.

(2) Children's Throat Cooler Ice Pops @ 4.99 each
(1) Nasogel Drip-free spray @ 7.99

Use the following coupons in this order:
Throat Coolers BOGO free
2.00/1 Nasogel

If you have ECBs:
Pay with 7, pay .98 + tax out of pocket and earn back 17.97 in ECBs
If you don't have ECBs:
Pay 7.98 + tax and earn 17.97 in ECBs.

This is a HUGE profit and rarely happens anymore with printable coupons and the $/$$, so if you want to get started this is your week.

In other news... in this Sunday's paper there are TONS of great coupons, including:
.50/1 Green Valley Steamers (these are often on sale for a dollar, which means they will be free after your coupon doubles)
2.50/1 Electrasol which means free or nearly free dishwasher detergent
.55/2 Mueller's pasta which will probably get you pasta at Meijer for less than .40 each
1.00/1 Colgate which is always good for free/moneymaker toothpaste at CVS
.75/1 Palmolive Pure and Clear dish soap
.50/1 Sargento cheese snack which will double for cheap cheese
.50/1 Nature Valley Granola Bars (you'll probably be able to get them for a dollar after sale and coupon)
a $30/1 and a $20/1 glucose monitor coupon which means eventual moneymakers at CVS
BOGO free Stayfree which just might mean free feminine products
1.00/2 Tropicana 64 oz. (hard to come by if you drink Tropicana)
and lots lots more.

So my plan at CVS is to use my overage from the above deal to get 6 newspapers, pay with 18 ECBs and about a dollar out of pocket. Even if you buy a paper or two using actual money, with the Electrasol coupon alone you'll make your money back and then some so it's worth the investment this week.

Thank you to Jessica, my CVS protege-turned-virtuoso, for the tip off on the CVS deals and for being so hard core.
Props to I Heart CVS for the coupon links.
Thanks as always to Taylortown Preview for the coupon list. (It took her 5 HOURS to type up the deals this week!)