Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More ways to save-writing to the companies whose food you love

For a little bit of your time, you can usually get some high value coupons or FREE product coupons by writing to food companies of your choice.

These are who I wrote to last month and what I got in return:

Johnsonville Sausage- 2 $1 off coupons for any 1 sausage

Plum Organics- try one product on us for free (we get the fruit snacks at BRU)

Van's Waffles- Free box of waffles (saved me about $4-expensive little waffles)

Earthbound Organic Farm- $1.50 off pre-packaged salad

Pilgrim's Pride- $1 off any product (using this to buy E her mickey mouse nuggets at Target)

Organic Valley- $1.50 off any size milk (which made for some cheap milk 2 weeks ago)

Some companies will only mail you coupons 1x per year but for 10 minutes of your time, you might be able to save a couple of dollars. Most big companies (Heinz, Kraft, General Mills) usually write be back and say they don't mail coupons but be on the lookout for ones in your paper. I gave up on those last year but I might try 'em again to see what happens.

And if you get something and don't like it, write to the company and explain your dissatisfaction. They might throw in something for you in return :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Couponing 101

Why type a ginormous post when you can check out Amber's blog on how to get started with coupons. When you land on her blog, you will see a category called....you guessed it...coupons.

I am getting to be a fanatic about this. I just got my MIL 3 (4 packs) of Activa yogurt yesterday for $1.50. Should have waited an extra day b/c I would have gotten them for FREE today at Farm Fresh. Oh well, got 2 things of creamer yesterday for free so I shouldn't whine too much.

Here is a quick run down on some couponing FYI

Coupons that start with 9 WILL NOT DOUBLE. These are usually blinkies and store coupons. But I would say 90% of my coupons start with 5 and 99% of the time they will double/triple accordingly. Try a few out at your local grocery store to see if the ones that say DO NOT DOUBLE do in fact, double. Nobody around here manually enters coupons-the little scanner thing does the doubling thing automatically.

Stores such as Target/CVS/Walgreens/Rite Aid will let you use one store coupon AND one manufacturer's coupon for the same item. I have print outs from each store stating their coupon policy in my handy dandy binder.

Don't spend loads of $$$ on fancy schmancy binders/organizing systems until you are really doing this thing on a daily basis. Why waste all that money if you aren't committed to it. Use envelopes and organize this way until you are really serious about it.

The expensive grocery stores will usually have the "best" sales BUT what really makes it a great deal is the coupon(s) used on top of the item that is on sale. This is where you save the $$$.

Write a list, buy what is on your list only. The expensive grocery store knows they are having a great sale but really really hope that your preschooler throws in that $5 box of cookies without your knowledge. Stick with your list and buy only what you need. Return extra items that made it into your cart for refund.

Search coupons.com, redplum.com, smartsource.com for online coupons you can print.

My favorite money saving sites:

moneysavingmadness.com
moneysavingmom.com
thefrugalgirls.com
hiptosave.com
couponingtodisney.com

My child is up from her nap-did not get chance to link above sites so cut and paste and enjoy! Oh, and check out Amber's blog-she has a great post on terminology you will find in handy :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sears Care thank you!

Wouldn't you know it? Sears actually commented on my blog post about the little dishwasher mishap of 2009. And guess what? Sears Care refunded 20% of our purchase price....$277.00!!! We have THE top of the line dishwasher that Sears carries. But now we got it at almost the same price of the dishwasher we first ordered and then cancelled b/c it never got delivered in the first place.

Following me? :)

Thank You Sears-I am making sure I tell everybody who will listen about your Sears Care department and how quickly you help solve the situation. Big thank you to Gabriel for following up with me on the phone calls I first ignored.

Will be shopping at Sears again-yay!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Get out of my mama's way lady



Harris Teeter was doing super double coupons this week (will double up to $1.98 face value) so I had quite a few $1.50 coupons that doubled to $3 which made for a nice trip.

Total Value of Goods pictured: $116 (granted some of these prices are higher than Walmart)

What I paid: $37.17


These items I got for $0.22 or less after using my coupons

Creamer: Free
Guac:Free:
Beachnut: $0.22 a box (snacks for school)
Potatoes: Free
Lysol Wipes (2 containers): Free
Dozen eggs(hiding behind one of the boxes): Free
The most expensive thing I got was coffee at $3.99. Must have coffee and must have good decent coffee. Even better b/c it was on sale and I had a coupon.
Best part about this trip-took my child who was once again nap-less and as I was trying to maneuver my cart into the cheese section, Emma, at the top of her pretty little princess voice yelled:
GET OUT OF MY MAMA'S WAY LADY!
Classy. Real classy.
I thought the little old lady was going to flip her lid and I wasn't in the mood to deal with the drama. Made Emma apologize and the nice little old lady laughed and said our children say the funniest things sometimes and that I really must have wanted the last package of the 2% mozzarella cheese. We left the store shortly after that little outburst, singing the theme song from The Little Einsteins on the way out to the car. But in the end, outburst and all, it was worth the trip.
4 Reusable bags=check
Plastic bag count= 1 for the spot shot but thank goodness b/c it leaked.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My first CVS Deal

Scenario...child who has been screaming for 2 hours straight in her room (doesn't want to take a nap) so I decide to drag her butt all the way down to the CVS store close to the beach...its about a half hour drive and always traffic heading down there, even in the winter:
What I got:
That is 4o big rolls of TP (high quality TP I might add), 4 cans of oust, 3 boxes of SoyJoy (6 bars per box), Nivea body wash, 2 Nivea lip balms and 1 40 watt GE light bulb.
Total Retail Cost.....$87.37
Total Savings....$71.94
Plus the tax which was crazy on certain items...geesh
What I paid....$18.32 plus $10 overage in ECB
That folks is an 82% savings if I did my math correctly.
How? I walked into the store with ZERO ECBs
Back up....check out Money Saving Madness blog (listed on the side of my page) to explain how CVS works and what ECB's are.
Anyway, here how the transactions went down:
#1
Light Bulb
Oust
Oust
SoyJoy
SoyJoy
Total=$22.97
Coupons:
-$1.50 off light bulb
BOGO free on Oust
-5.00 of $20 purchase
Total oop (plus tax) $13.14
Total ECB back....$20 (6 for oust, 12 for soyjoy and 2 for light bulb)
#2
TP
Soyjoy
Nivea lip balm
Nivea lip balm
Nivea body wash
Total=$30.96
Coupons:
-20 ECB
-$5 off any purchase of $30
BOGO on lip balm
-2 off body wash
Total oop (plus tax)...$2.15
Total ECB back....$15 (6 for soyjoy, 5 for Nivea stuff, 4 for TP)
#3
Oust
Oust
TP
Total=$20.97
Coupons:
BOGO oust
-15 ECB
Total oop (plus tax)....$3.03
Total ECB back....$10 (6 for oust, 4 for TP)
At least at this store, you can do transactions back to back to back and use your ECB you got back on TP to buy yet more TP. I have heard other stories from people about rude cashiers, no more than one transaction per day but at this store, the lady who helped me out was great. No problems taking my Internet, my target logo (but manufacturer's coupon) or my bogo. Great thing about ECBs...even though 2 of the ousts were free, I still got $6 ECB on them.
Yes, this took about an hour of planning and adding up scenarios for the BEST deal and the crazy drive down there BUT what I saved alone was worth it. I search other blogs for the CVS deals, find the coupons they tell me to get plus the ones I have and combine the two together.
If you are thinking that the prices are higher here and that you could spend this amount at Walmart with their cheaper prices....well you would be off on this purchase. Even if the TP was $8 at Walmart (its 20 double rolls) which is really low....you could buy the TP and spend $18 but still have to buy the rest.
Let's put it this way for the skeptics, I paid $18.32 for 40 rolls of TP...about 0.45 a roll which is a great buy and got the rest of the stuff for free, plus $10 of free money to buy more things.
Good? Start CVSing. And I broke my resolution of the plastic bag usage by 1 today :(

Sunday, January 3, 2010

To do 2010

I always have lofty unattainable New Year goals but I am going to try and stick with these.

1-No more plastic bags. I have some decent sized reusable bags and I am going to either be carrying items in my arms or in the bags. I did really good 2 years ago and then slacked off. Target now gives you 0.05 credit per bag, so does farm fresh. I am sure one day in the not so far off future plastic bags will be banned.

2-Eat from the pantry. FishMama has a challenge going on this month called eating from your pantry/freezer. We have some stuff stockpiled up and I am going to try really really hard to use whatever we have in the freezers/pantry for January. The exception are for things such as produce/OJ/milk/coffee creamer/eggs. We are going to use up everything first before buying more.

3- Couponing like crazy. Ok, the other exception for #2 is a mad crazy deal (like getting dishwasher detergent for $1.25 or No Yolk Noodles for $0.05...I can't pass up on amazing (not just good, amazing good) deals for the pantry. I use a variety of coupon sources and have saved loads last year using them. Sure, it takes daily work searching, printing, sorting, planning but in the end I can afford to splurge on weekly Starbucks, organic milk/produce and high-quality bread. One day I will post the sites...there are about 10 of them I check on daily.

4-Keep work and home separate. Sometimes the office is crazy (and we have another office which I handle insurance for, billing for) and once I am home, the phone still rings. Which I don't mind but sometimes I cut lunch short, or playing with Emma short to handle these things. New rule- I am taking an hour lunch without picking up the phone! We'll see how long this lasts....

5-Potty training my IA child. It's going to be a tough road ahead but hopefully by the time she is 4, she'll be out of diapers. Otherwise, the testing that lies ahead for her in the fall of 2010 will not be fun (and be in Ohio) so keeping all possible body parts crossed.

6- The whole diet/exercise/eat right blah blah blah and maybe try for another baby...but not unless I get into better form. I know when I am serious when the afternoon cup of coffee is gone...so not anytime this winter :)

7-Blog more. Done 2 posts within the last week. Happy 2010!