Monday, October 27, 2008

So begins Kmart's double-coupon week

Suave hair care: $1.49 each, two $1.50/2 coupons = FREE
Pert shampoo: $3.49 each, two $2 coupons = FREE
Gillette shampoo: $3.50, $2 coupon = FREE
Endust: $3.29, $2 coupon = FREE
Tiny Bonz: $2.50, $1.50 coupon = FREE
Hershey's: $2.50 each, two $1 coupons = $.50 each
Maalox: $3.99 each, three $2 coupons = FREE
Tylenol: $4.49, $2 coupon = $.49
Total before coupons: $43.69
Paid: $1.49 plus $1.97 tax

I LOVE this. I have a ton more Suave coupons, and it's right across the street from my gym so I'll be going back a few more times :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


MMMM. Everyone needs more fiber in their diet. (Unfortunately this post is about the dietary kind, and not the wooly kind) Especially when you are quite literally paid to take it from the store. It's insane. I kid you not.

Here we have 9 boxes of Benefiber sticks, Kiwi-Strawberry flavor. Add to your water, 3g fiber. mmm. We'll see how I like the a day, I could use that! ;)
First off, I got envelopes, which we need, regular price $1.19. Yup, bought something NOT on sale.
Picked up four bags of candy (I need to exchange one, wrong kind for rebate)
4/$10, used 3-$1 coupons, and will mail in for $4 (+$.40 bonus) rebate this month. I also used $6 RR to pay for this stuff, so minus $2.21 for the candy and envelopes.
I then found my $2/1 benefiber coupons from Sunday's inserts. Some were for the sticks specifically, and some for ANY product.
Regular price: $7.99 (unfortunately one of my stores was $8.49. Not sure if that was correct price, but store was closing anyway, and I was rushing through).
Use 3 manq (-$6.00)
Use $5 IVC from the store's Oct. book (takes off EACH one)
Paid $2.97 plus tax.
Yeah, you read that right. The first time I did this the BA (Beauty Advisor) was all excited and exclaiming that I know what I am doing! Fun when they get excited, too. Then did it twice more at two other stores.
All told I spent $14.27 on my gift card and used $6 RR, $21 manq, $45 store coupons.
Earned $24 RR and $4.40 rebate

Paid mucho to ME for taking this stuff from the stores. I LOVE it. Plus tomorrow and Saturday are the monthly "double dip" days. Oct rebate ends Sat, but Nov starts Fri. Makes for some good deals. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

$.65 each

That title pretty much says it all. Seriously.

There is a great Catalina out there right now, and I've done it at Jewel, heard of people getting it at Meijer and my brother got it at Hy-Vee, so it should be any store that has a Catalina machine working properly. It runs through 11/2 and if you buy 2 boxes you get $1 on your next order (OYNO) or 3 boxes grants you $3 OYNO. Unlimited times, of course. Frosted Mini-Wheats in these flavors: Cinnamon Struesel, Strawberry Delight, Blueberry Muffin, Vanilla Creme or Maple Brown Sugar.

At Jewel through tomorrow, the Mini Wheats are $4.49 BOGO. I had a stash of printable $1/1 coupons all printed in the last week, plus some coupons from issues of All YOU and a couple expired printables. I had bought two boxes last week just because we wanted them, which triggered the Catalina and reminded me of it. Then Matt and I went back for four boxes, used the $1 and got a $3 OYNO. I decided to head there after work yesterday and stock up.

24 boxes of cereal total, 2 gallons of milk (duh, need milk! haha $1.99 best price in ages!), and a snack from the deli counter for $1.60.

All told I had 23 $1 off coupons, used 1-$1 Catalina and 5-$3 Catalinas in 6 transactions total (I LOVE self-checkout. I did five transactions yesterday and got only one odd look from the service desk manager.). On my last receipt I also got a coupon for a free loaf of french bread.

PLUS I ended up with six boxes of regular bite-size Frosted Mini-Wheats. Matt had noticed a Gutiar Hero t-shirt promotion on the box where if you cut out the 'token' from the box plus $6.99 you got the shirt, or FREE with 6 tokens, not even S&H! Because only three boxes are needed to trigger the Catalina, I was able to use my fourth box of each transaction as the regular and got six tokens. I'm hoping it arrives in time to put in his stocking! I gave some of the cereal to my mom and hid the rest, so he wouldn't see I cut out the tokens. haha!

Regular, non-sale price: $107.76 for the cereal ONLY
Sale price BOGO: $53.88
Minus coupons: -$39
Milk and snack
Tax: $1.33
Total: $17.46 for 24 cereal, 2 milk, 1 snack. OR $.65 each
PLUS a free loaf of a bread AND a FREE t-shirt. It doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, October 20, 2008

CVS early in the morning

Went to CVS before church yesterday because yes, I am that crazy.

GUM children's toothbrushes (2-pk): $3.99 FREE after ECB x2
Candy corn: $1.29 FREE after ECB x2
Powerade: $1.69 FREE after ECB
Colgate Toothpaste: $2.99, $2 ECB, -$1 manq = -$.01
Excedrin Express Gels, 20 ct: $1.99. -$2 manq, $3 CRT = -$3.01. The crazy thing is, there is also a mail-in-rebate for free, but is it worth my time and a stamp? LOL

I spent $.43 on my gift card, used $11 ECBs and earned $14.25 ECBs. That's the way to grow your ECBs, by buying things that are free but that you have coupons for (really this time it was my CRT that helped me).

Sorry no photo. Gave away the toothbrushes and opened the candy ;)Boring blogging, I know.

Waiting for word on Kmart double coupons for next week...supposedly it will be nationwide again! I have an envelope full of coupons just waiting to be used there.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where do I find coupons?

Here are some general things to know about coupons:

I frequently abbreviate a manufacturer's coupon as manq to save on typing. This also allows differentiation from a store coupon.

Coupons can be found in various sources:

Inserts come in the Sunday paper (most likely). The Chicago Tribune is where I get mine, and they publish the early edition on Saturday which allows time to prep for Sunday deals. Starting early also allows time to return to the store for more if there is an amazing deal. I buy mine at the dollar store (Dollar Tree, to be specific) because the regular price is $1.99. So I can buy 2 for $2 and get twice as many coupons! This helps out for BOGO (buy one, get one) deals. The various inserts are "Red Plum" (used to be Valassis), "Smart Source" and "P&G" (Proctor & Gamble). Every so often there may also be a General Mills-specific insert.

Each week should have at least a Smart Source (SS) and a Red Plum (RP). P&G is generally published the first Sunday of the month. It depends on what day of the week the month begins as to when they will add the insert.

Tearpads are found in stores. These are those pads of coupons generally found on drink coolers or stuck to shelves in front of the products. These are normally not store-specific.

Peelies are coupons stuck to products, and are generally meant to be used on purchasing that item at that moment. It's up to you, but I personally don't take extras of those as they are on that certain bottle for someone to pick up.

Blinkies are those red machines in the aisles or on freezer doors that spit out coupons. They are manufactured by Smart Source.

a Catalina is the machine at a cash register that prints coupons. At many stores these are white with red borders. Other stores have upgraded to full-color printing on white tape. Catalina sponsors the machines, and the coupons are now known as that. These generally print the store logo on them. While the wording usually says "redeemable AT" and NOT "redeemable ONLY at" xyz store, most stores will only take their own Catalinas...your mileage may vary (YMMV). Oftentimes when you see a sign or ad that says you get $x off your next order when you buy (WYB) it is a Catalina for "$x off your next order" (OYNO).

A CVS Primer

Here are some frequently used terms/abbrevations on my site, and some general info for shopping at CVS to get the best deals. =)

CRT = uh, I actually don't know what it "stands for" (my guess is coupon register tape, but never confirmed) but it is a store coupon that prints either from the price scanner or on the end of your register receipt. These are redeemable *only* at CVS and are store coupons so may be combined with manufacturer's coupons.

ECB = Extra Care Buck These are printed at the end of your receipt. By reading ads or the monthly book, you will see items that are "like free" after ECBs, or give you $1 back when you buy two, for example. These expire four weeks from when they were printed, so plan wisely!

Extra Care Card = this is their loyalty card. Use it to get the sale prices and earn ECBs. You only get deals by using your card, and the ECBs are tied to your card.

CVS weekly sales generally run from Sunday-Saturday. Monthly deals are monthly based on calendar dates.

ECB's are like store credit/cash. However, you do not get change, so plan wisely. For example, if an item is $3.99 get $3.99 ECB, limit 2, this means you are allowed to do the deal twice on your card (either in a week or month, whatever the sale dates are). If you buy one item in a trasaction, you will get one $3.99 ECB. However, if you purchase both in one transaction, you will get a single $7.98 ECB (the combined ECB of the two items). It's up to you how large you want your ECBs.

In the same example, you could buy one for $3.99 and get your $3.99 ECB back. Then buy the 2nd of the same item in a new transaction and give them the $3.99 ECB. This will make you total out at $0 and print a new ECB. It's fun to see the cashier's face at this point.

When a deal is "Spend $15 on these Dove products, earn $5 ECB" you may purchase items individually and your receipt will keep a running total for you. The $5 ECB should print once you buy the correct amount. Just be sure to complete this before the deal period ends.

Watch for $x/$xx coupons to be e-mailed to you or printed as a CRT. These sometimes have specific restrictions on them. You must spend the correct amount, not even a penny less, or the coupon will not work. Also, hand this over first so your total is high enough (not after your other coupons)

The best way to plan a transaction is total up your items TO THE PENNY. This is very important when doing deals that require certain dollar amounts to be purchased. Once you have this amount, subtract any store coupons/CRTs you may have. Then decide how many ECBs you want to use. I know my total of manufacturer's coupons, and want to use those last to pay.

Depending on your state, you will know what is/isn't taxable and at what rate. ECBs are store cash, therefore they are store discounts and reduce your taxable amount. However, they do NOT pay for sales tax. They will only accept ECBs up to your taxable amount. On the other hand, manufacturer's coupons do not reduce the taxable amount, but they DO pay for sales tax (like cash). So after using store coupons and ECBs, you want your manufacturer's coupons to cover just about all of your remaining total (if you are aiming for the lowest out of pocket (OOP) cost.)

So hand them your store coupons first, then ECBs, then manufacturer's coupons. I then use a gift card from a transfered prescription to pay for my reamining OOP cost. I have yet to pay any cash at CVS, as I keep getting more gift cards, $25 at a time. It's great!

I'll add to this as I think of more, and will permanently link from the sidebar. Please also visit the CVS forum at Hot Coupon World to learn more about CVS in general and also the weekly and monthly deals.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Major Update from Last Week

Okay, here goes the catch-up from last week's trips

This is a CVS and Walgreens trip together. At Walgreens I bought a Wisp on sale for $5.99, used a $5 coupon and received a $3 RR. I then bought another Wisp (same deal) and four Lindt candy bars ($2.49 each. Used two BOGO coupons and a Walgreen's $1 on each coupon) so I paid $4.49 cash and earned $6 RR to use next time.
As for CVS:
Paper Towel: $1.99 -$2 CRT = -$.01
Speed Stick Deodorant: $1.99 -$1 manq earn $1 ECB
CVS Vitamin D 120 ct: $2.99 FREE after ECB
CVS Bar soap: $.99 each, earn $1 ECB on each
Vitamin Water: $2.29 FREE after ECB

Another Walgreens trip was to get some refills for the oil candles I bought last week.
Candle Refills: $1.99 each. B2G1free coupon, $1 rebate on each = $.68 for all 3
Lindt bars: $2.49 each, BOGO coupon, $1/1 IVC = $.49 for 2
Schick razors: $6.99, $.99x3. One $2 IVC and 4 $2 manq = -$.04 for all
Pencil for filler @ $.69 and used my $4.50 RR for an amazing deal!

I didn't realize that by using my $5/$30 CVS coupon would cause the paper towel CRT to not scan, meaning they only gave me $1 off and these are awful paper towels...oh well!
Paper Towels: $1.99 -$1 CRT = $.99
Cotton Swabs: $3.49, "100% free bonus" (Two packs taped together) earn $1 ECB = $2.49 for 750 swabs, which we needed anyway!
Bic Soliel: $5.99 -$2 manq x2 earn $4 ECB = FREE
WellPatch: $5.99 FREE after ECB (could NOT beleive I stumbled upon these. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to use my coupon!)
Schick Razors: $.99 each, FREE after manq (as always)
Candy bar for kicks
Spent $4.40 on GC (yes, more than I'd ever want to spend, really. But I didn't want the hastle of taking the paper towel off the order, etc. Plus, it's still my free gift card anyway)
Used $17.98 ECB but earned $21.24 ECB
Value of items: $28.38

Promise, post of terms and FAQ soon. Just takes time. I should be working ;)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Kmart totals

Went back on Friday and paid just tax, Matt stopped in Saturday and paid just tax, I went yesterday and paid for some makeup and I now have our 5-day grand total.

These three last trips totaled:
Propel: $1.00 ($.50 coupon doubled) = 10 FREE
Visine: $3.99 ($2.00 coupon doubled) = 2 FREE
Johnson's Buddies Soap: $.99 ($3.00 coupon, full value) = -$.03 for 3
Right Guard Deodorant: $1.99 ($1.00 coupon doubled) = FREE
Physician's Formula Eyeliner: $3.17 after 40% off sale, $1 coupon doubled = $2.31 for 2
GREAT price on the makeup, since I LOVE that brand.

Sale Totals:
Items before coupons: $129.37
Coupons used (doubled amount): $120.70
Cash before taxes: $8.67
That's a total savings of 93.3% over regular (sale) prices.

Rumor has it they will be doing this a few more times because they seem to actually make money due to how they can claim/expense the double coupon value. Also, they don't restock during the sale (not at any store I was at) so they only sell a limited quantity of these "free" items. Also, they got me in the store, didn't they? I haven't gone to Kmart in over a year, and now I spent about $10 with tax the past 5 days *snicker*

Watch for an "FAQ" post of sorts, explaining acronyms and the like, base don requests from friends

Friday, October 03, 2008

Another Score at Kmart!

What if I said I paid $4.79 plus $2.72 tax for that photo?
The Halloween candy cost me $4 and the ziploc bags $.79.
Yeah, the rest was free after coupons. If you haven't gone yet, you need to! Hopefully Sunday, the last day of double coupons, they'll have some different items on sales, plus we'll have new coupons. Craziness.

Candy: 2/$4, used 2 $1/2 coupons, = $4.00
Ziploc Vacuum starter kit: $3.99, $2 coupon = FREE
Ziploc bags: $2.79, $1 coupon = $.79
Suave Shampoo (BONUS size!): $1.49 each, two $1.50/2 = FREE
Sunsilk Shampoo: $3 each, two $1.50 coupons = FREE
Maalox Chewables: $3.99 each, two $2 coupons = FREE
Pert Shampoo (BONUS on one): $2.99 each, two $1.50 coupons = FREE
Purina food that Jack likes: $1.99 each, $1 coupon = FREE
Whiskas Treats: $1.39 each, $1 coupon = FREE
Endust: $3.29, $2 coupon = FREE
Propel: $1 each, $.50 coupn = FREE

Weekly totals
Before coupons: $98.29
Coupons used: $91.93
Paid (w/out tax): $8.15
That is a 91.5% savings over the regular price. Yup!

We're going back tomorrow for more Propel, hehe. Matt takes it to basketball every week, so FREE is worth driving there.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Mother Load!

In the year I've lived in this apartment, I've never been to the K-Mart. It's even a Big-K. I used to love those....we would eat lunch there when we were young cuz we loved it. hmmm

They have been having double coupons lately, but never in my area...but this week I scored BIG TIME!

But the usual CVS and WAGs first, with this PSA:
I highly recommend Hot Coupon World as a starting place for CVS and WAGs. Read the FAQs and you should be able to catch on. I do use a lot of abbreviations here as a friend pointed out, but it is easy (in my opinion) once you know how both stores work and what the deal is.

I was planning to go to CVS, but it was made sweeter when I got a $5/$25 coupon in my e-mail before signing off. I also printed my $.50 ECB for Summer Spending. Always glad it's so small, since it means I spent under $30 for the last three months.
Gillette Fusion Razer: $9.99 $4 manq earn $5 ECB total: $.99
Gillette Venus Embrace Razor: $9.99 earn $3 ECB MIR for $9.99 total: -$3.00
Colgate Toothpaste: $2.99 each $1 CRT, two $1 manq earn $2 ECB on each. total: -$1.02 for 2
Schick Trial Size Razors: 8 packs at $.99, free after manq
Totals: Spent $1.36 GC, used $6.00 store coupons, $13.92 manq, $12.98 ECB and earned $12 ECB for later.

For once, Walgreen's worked like I know it is supposed to, I had employees that didn't try and mess things up or insist they know what's what. Because most of them don't, unfortunately.
I had a $4 RR in hand from the Gillette Fusion I bought earlier in the week.
Picked up an Oral-B toothbrush and two Halloween pencils to not have a negative balance. Used $.75 manq on TB, and pencils were $.20 each. Earned $4.50 RR after spending the $4 I have (which two other stores would not let me do in the past. which is why I was thinking of giving up on RR).
Went to the other register with the Fusion Bonus Pack and one Halloween pencil as filler (RR counts as a manq, must have two items with two manq). Spent my $4.50 RR and used a $4 coupon on the razor. Earned $4 RR.
Did both transactions a second time.
Total? $3.70 cash Plus I still have a $4 RR and coupons to do the TB and razor once more each, leaving me with $4 RR still! These razor bonus packs are perfect for donating, because they have the shave gel and a shampoo. Perfect!

The absolute haul was K-Mart. I gathered my coupons and went in ready for deals. It was just like any other K-Mart. HUGE parking lot with maybe 10 cars. Are they like this across the nation? Because around here they are ALWAYS empty. I found everything I wanted and then some, and tonight have more ideas and coupons of things to go back for. Limit 4 on one item, so I need to go back for more Propel for Matt anyway.
All coupons listed below are then doubled!
Gillette Shampoo: $4 with $2 coupon, 2 FREE
Sunsilk Shampoo and Stylers: $3 with $1.50 coupon, 4 FREE
Pert Shampoo: $2.99 with $1.50 coupon, 2 FREE
Beneful Dog Treats: $4.99 with $2 coupon, $.99 (Christmas gift for FIL's dog)
Glade Carpet Powder: $2.19 with $1 coupon, $.19 (been waiting for a good deal on this!)
Propel: $1 with $.50 coupon, 4 FREE
Ice Breakers Gum: $1.09 each, $1/2 coupon, 4 FREE
Total: $3.55 cash YES!!!

Note to those with coupons like the $1/2...the way K-Mart's register is set up is spiffy for these doubles, but this coupon gave me trouble. Because the item is only $1.09, the coupon only doubled to $.09. But it requires two items to use. Thankfully the service desk guy was just like, whatever, what do I owe you? Gave me my $1.82 back and I was on my merry way.

But my mom bought Halloween candy using $1/2 coupon, but it doubled correctly because a single item is $2. So watch your doubles carefully!

I hope I explained things well enough ;) and I hope I don't bore you knitters out there that don't do my shopping style. But I know I have inspired at least one person to do this. Yay!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Dolman Top Progress

Well, Here we have the finished back (rectangle piece), front (rectangle topped with a triangle), and the start of the sleeve (cuff to cuff).

I am a teensy bit worried about the front piece. I think I decreased too tightly, and I'm hoping it doesn't pose an issue when seaming. We shall see. I am thoroughly enjoying this knit, and skein #2 is NOT rubbing off on my fingers, which is a relief. I have a wish of wearing this to a special work meeting on October 30th, so cross your fingers! Hubby says I can do it

Walgreens for Christmas gifts

So last Friday I went to Walgreens, it being the "double dip days" where the rebate books (which include store coupons) for September AND October were working. I got some things to use as gifts (Pretty Glade candles) and the Trick-or-Treat candy. We live in an apartment that seems to have very few children. It was rather disappointing last year, so bought small bags of things we would eat anyway.

Glade Oil Candles: $5.99 -$2 IVC -$2 manq -$2 rebate = -$.84 for 4
Hershey's Harvest Bags: $2.50 -$.50 IVC -$5 rebate on 4 bags = $2.50 for 4
Rimmel Foundation and L'Oreal cleansing cloths: FAR so -$2.55 for both after rebate bonus
Glade Gel Refills: $1.99 -$1 manq -$1 rebate = -$.66 for 6
Glade Jar Candles: $2.99 -$1 manq -$1 rebate = $3.56 for 4
Halloween Pencil $.10 as filler for coupons
Used $5/$20 store coupon (after all other coupons)
Totals: $40.57 on gift card after $15 in store coupons and $19 in manufacturer's coupons, earned $42.33 rebate.

I also took a quick trip there yesterday to do some RR deals...Might go tonight to see if I can "roll" one into the other. Some people have success, but I've yet to do that at 'my' stores.

Gilette Fusion BONUS pack! $8.99 -$4 manq, earn $4 RR
Gilette Shampoo: 2/$10 -$2 manq x2 -$5 rebate = $.50 for 2
Trident Gum: $1.19 BOGO with in-ad coupon, $.55 manq x4 = $.18 for 4
Oral-B toothbrush: $4.49 -$.75 manq earn $4.50 RR
Halloween Pencil as filler $.20
Totals: $7.26 on gift card (all gone!) $5.77 cash. Used $2.87 store coupons and $6.20 manufacturer's coupons, earning $8.50 RR (spent $4.50) and $5.50 rebate.

Now that I used up my GC though, debating on buying anything more. It's like an addiction, I guess. I bulked up on groceries the past few weeks, so we made a pact to only buy essentials for the next three weeks (milk, bread, eggs, yogurt, lunchmeat, cheese, produce). The point is to save money this month, and also eat what is on hand (which is a lot) but then of course a little part of my mind is saying "so you can afford a few bucks at Walgreens!" Because if I can "roll" my RRs, I can get more razors (hopefully the bonus packs) as gifts, and more toothbrushes. But I dunno...oh well. Tie me down! LOL