Monday, December 29, 2008

Enjoying Yourself While on a Budget

So I normally post about getting the most bang for your buck, and stocking up on things you know you need, and on and on. But the other side of being frugal is to not be so cheap you deny yourself small luxeries like maybe a $5 pizza from Little Caesar's once a month, or a coffee (which we now have gift cards for, yay gifts!). It also means to save your cash for a larger purchase.

We have been wanting the Wii (well, mainly me. But Matt would want the Xbox360. I pointed out there aren't really many games I would like, having always had a Nintendo system. The games also cost more.) His cousin brought his Wii Fit over to grandma's and we really liked it. Granted it's costly too, and also sold out EVERYWHERE. But I would also get the Jillian Michaels workout game, which would help us work out more when it isn't convenient to go to the gym.

So we took our cash, Target gift cards, and drove on a Wii hunt on the way home last night.

First stop was Fry's, where they ONLY sell the console in a bundle with crap we don't need like HD A/V cables (we don't have a fancy-dancy TV) and a charging dock for the remotes (duh, rechargeable batteries!). So we left there, because I don't really like them anyway.

Went across the street and Toys R Us was out, so run next door to Best Buy. As we near the video game section, we see an employee holding a Wii box above his head. I think he was showing the other associates he had one so they would know. Matt is like "Hey, got any more?" And the guy says that one was just returned and it is now yours (don't worry, unopened. Guess they didn't want it??!?). So we get that, and an extra remote and nunchuck (no one else had remotes in stock! Best Buy only had 3) and yeah, tax is 8% there, ugh. So that was $335.

Then Matt goes back to Fry's to buy a 'gun' for the Wii for $16 (again, that 8% tax).

We stop at Target on the way home (all of the Targets around us are in high-tax areas. This one is 10%. Silly Cook County) to pick up the super-sale-priced items of Call of Duty ($39) and Guitar Hero World Tour w/guitar and game ($77...GREAT price. At/over $100 everywhere regular price) and spend $127 (but use $75 in GC on that).

That brings our total to $478.56. Why did we feel we could spend that amount?
1 - This is the third Christmas season for the Wii, and it has yet to go down in price. It will most likely be a long time before it does
2 - We had $75 in Target gift cards
3 - We had a combined total of $265 in cash of Christmas gifts
4 - Matt has an amazing job and just got his bonuses and his PTO will be paid out in a couple weeks
5 - This is something we really want and can use together
6 - We can sell our Game Cube console as the games work on the Wii
7 - May even sell N64 as we really don't use it (use our SNES though!)

So yes, I feel if you can pay 'cash' for things like this, go for it! I would never ever charge it if I could not afford it. While many people don't even have credit cards and would have paid straight cash for this shopping spree, I don't agree. I get money back on my credit card (3% on most purchases, 1% on the rest. Earn $200 in your 'rewards account' and you can actually get $250 CASH back, NOT a statement credit!), pay it in full each month, and do carefully watch how much I put on there. So it is worth it to me to put all this cash in the bank and charge the system. I like the security of charging large electronics in case something is wrong and it needs to be returned and the store gives you trouble. We will use the PTO to pay for the rest of the system. More games will wait until we have extra money again (like my birthday in February when maybe the Wii Fit will be back in stock) but for now Guitar Hero is one of our favorites anyway.

We also plan ahead for things like Matt can upgrade his cell phone in March when he needs to sign a new service plan, but it may die ahead of that time. He is already planning to use his birthday money (January) to buy a nice one that will last him the next two years. With careful planning, you CAN have the nice things you want that are truly extras!!

I hope you enjoyed this full disclosure. I'd be happy to discuss more of my ideas on budgeting ;)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Knitting Update!

Road trip to Iowa last weekend. Knit the rest of sock #1 and the entire foot (ready to turn heel) on sock #2.
I somehow lost my amazing mittens between last winter and this winter. So bummed! My hands have been SO cold. So now that the negative temps are done (at least for now!) I have yarn to make more, because my uncle spoiled me. My bro was with me and picked out yarn for mittens as well:
It is called "Navy Nite" but is definitely purple. Strange. He'll wear them though. Mine will have the same turquoise with a darker turquoise as the main color.

FO! Dolman top from Knit So Fine. Yarn bought half off at Stitches. Fits fine, just the BO on the front piece is too tight so it is hard to get on and off but I like it!
Yay gratuitous kitty shot! He's so sweet when he is sleeping
Sleepy Kitty!

It's been snowing for about 20 hours! So pretty, but a pain driving in it, ugh!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

CVS 2-day sale

I put everything away immediately after arriving home, because we had to clear off the table to eat, so no pic. Boring, I know ;) Plus hubby was cranky from going to the store and having to wait for the cashier to write out 4 different rainchecks. But I got most of what I wanted. However, we picked up the wrong eyeshadow at first and thankfully the cashier caught it before she rung it up, except that I then had to recalculate as I stood there, meaning I wasn't able to used my Crest $1 coupons, but I did use some expired coupons (no idea if this CVS accepts them or not, but she pushed them through)

Hall's cough drops: $2.59 Free after Extra Bucks (FAECB), $.50 manq
Crest Pro-Health: $2.99, earn $2 ECB x2 = $.99 each
Sally Hansen Nail Polish: $5.99 FAECBx2, $3/2 coupon
Excedrin: $3.99, used $2 manq and $1 CVS CRT (both expired), paid $.99, earned $3.99 ECB and will mail-in for $3.99 rebate, so -$6.57 for it! Great stuff, plus only 20ct, so more is always good.
Trans. #1: used $17.67 ECB, $.49 on GC, earned $22.56 ECB

For Trans. #2 at 2nd store, our goal was to use up my ECBs expiring on 12/26.
Russel Stover's holiday candy:$.50x2
Hershey Take 5: $.89 (this should be my 10th Hershey bar to earn a free one)
CVS band-aids: $.79, great sale and an item we needed! Regular $2.99
L'Oreal HIP eyeshadow: $6.99 FAECB, $1 manq
Benefiber: $7.29 FAECB, $2 manq
Bandaids: $4.49 (Matt uses a lot of bandaids in winter. finger splits)
Trans. #2: used $17.96 ECB, $.74 on GC, earned $14.28 ECB

So still came out $1.21 ECB ahead ;)

Now debating on if I should go to Walgreens at midnight, or when I wake up at 6:30. They had 5 hairdryers in stock. Tomorrow ONLY (think it is an item they want to clear out, no rainchecks) a $20 hairdryer is on sale for $10 and you earn $10 RR. GREAT! Mine has a funny smell sometimes, which isn't good. This seems decent and is the same speed as my current one, so worth it if I can find it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Walgreens Today

The $5 RR I got from last week's deal expires the 20th, so I had to use it up this week. I was happy to see the kid's Listerine on sale, which Matt loves, haha.
Listerine: 2/$9, used two $1 coupons
Russell Stover's Chocolate Cream Egg: $.39 (as a filler to use my RR)
Paid with $5 RR and $2.16 from my gift card, earned $4.50 RR on the Listerine!
Yes, there are two eggs in the picture...when she scanned the 7-day coupon from the ad, the register said "incorrect product" and we realized I picked up the Cadbury egg. She took it off and I ran back for the RS one. Well, even though she voided it, she somehow put it in my bag...but that's the one I wanted anyway ;) Oh well. Bonus for me, because I'm not driving back to the store for $.59 they accidentally gave me. They'd surely tell me to keep it anyway.
Then I stopped at another store, where I don't think many couponers go as they seem to have things I need for my deals.
Bought 11 boxes of Turtles ($10.89), used 7 $1.50 coupons ($10.50) = $.39 for 11 boxes Great gifts as my dad and his step-dad love these.
Bought 2 Russell Stovers Luminaries for $4.99 each. They count for the "buy 2 get $10" rebate, which after bonus is $11.
Paid with my $4.50 RR and $6.24 GC. Will earn $11 on my rebate GC!

Total today: $6.63 cash and $9.50 RR used, earn $11 rebate. Very cool!

Baking Bonanza

I'm not used to taking food photos like Bezzie is, but here goes:

Pumpkin rolls. Very mild flavor, but yummy nonetheless. Pretty color, as well!

Kolacky dough, totally forgot the finished pic since I finished them at my mom's house. Why yes, pound of butter and brick o cream cheese. Add flour. Finito. I used apricot preserves on them, turned out so good and got many compliments at our work potluck today =)

Double Chocolate Treasures, a very old Quaker oats recipe that we make every single year. I love it. I chopped up bags of Hershey Bliss milk chocolates instead of buying semi-sweet chocolate chips. Also used them for the Muddy Buddies.

This is just how I roll in my tiny kitchen. You can see the mixer with the butter for kolacky, waiting to soften so I can cream it. The red bowl is the chocolate treasures waiting for the cookie sheets to come out of the oven. Chocolate chip and sugar cookies on the cooling racks (those were Betty Crocker mixes, not too bad!)
So I used free chocolates, and the Chex cereal and BC mixes from all my Jewel deals. Also made a bundt cake with free items as well. Lovin the deals this holiday season!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Target Today

Airwick LuminAir on 'sale' for $4.99, use $5 coupon so FREE!
Also bought an 8/10 digital print we are using as a Christmas gift, and a pair of socks for a sock exchange with my small group. Used the $5 GC I got a few weeks back and paid $2 cash. Lovin the deals!

CVS - Small Trip

Powerade $1.69 FREE after ECB
Complete $8.99 FREE after ECB
Cotton Swab as filler $.50
Spent $.31 on GC
Used $10.78 ECB, earned $10.58 ECB

Walgreens Mid-Week Special

Last week they started this, but I didn't feel the need to do it, but this week I just couldn't pass it up! Spend $25 on anything, and get a $5 RR for your next purchase. I only had $7 left on my GC, but wondered just how little I could spend!

Reynolds Wrap ($1.69 towards total) -> $.99 w/in-ad coupon, $1 manq = -$.02
Sure Deodorant ($2.50 towards total) -> $1.50 ESQ, $1 manq = FREE
Bic Soliel ($6.99 BOGO) -> $3 manqx2 = $.99
Walgreens Cough Drops ($.99 towards total) -> $.69 w/in-ad coupon = $2.07 (use towards the spend $25 on WAGS get $10 gift card)

Total: $25.84 as rung
Store coupons: $9.80
Man. coupons: $13
Total w/tax: $3.88
Received $5 RR

Totally sweet =) More of my fave razors (I'll NEVER run out!), foil for my holiday baking, and deodorant to donate, along with the cough drops

To be fair...

Yesterday, the first person Matt connected to (after voice prompts, it rang, no holding at all) was very nice and helpful. Said try this, try this, still not working...okay, in IE check this...okay, uncheck that box...magic! It worked. We asked her (hey, we had reason!) if this meant we really had internet (since it is showing when I check our account online) and they would not take it away like they did last time...and she confirmed that. So only time will tell, but at least we got someone who knew how to troubleshoot. so...yay!

Now off to run errands. There is a Walgreen's deal I want to pull off, but it always depends on them having every item in stock, which is soooo tricky. Wish it wasn't! But I do drive past 4 of them on my way to church. haha.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Open Complaint of Comcast

So...on Wed 11/26 Matt calls Comcast to request the $25 'economy internet package' we have seen offered on TV and on postcards to our mailbox. Seems easy enough. They give him a confirmation number and tell us what our monthly bill will be for the TV and internet combined. Say I can pick up my free self-install kit to go with the modem we purchased from Amazon. There will be a phone number to call to connect our service once I have it hooked up. Easy enough, eh?

Pick up kit on Friday. Very friendly at the office. Get home. Install modem. Pop in the Comcast CD to install the internet. All is smooth until I get to a screen that tells me to choose my service level so they can configure my modem. Only problem is, they list a $42 and a $52 service. Okaaaay, now what. No phone number in box that says "call here to connect!" So I call their general number. I go through EIGHT people and am on the phone for an hour, being switched from all departments, most of which have no idea why I was transferred to them. Finally get a guy who tells me to select the $42 service to configure my modem, but he does see on my account the confirmation for the economy internet and it will all be fine, I'll be able to get online and will be charged the correct monthly amount.

While that was a horrible experience, at least I had internet.

For a week.

Matt calls me this past Friday because he turned on the computer and the internet won't connect. I give him a few things to try and we determine it has to be on their end, seeing as how the internet was fine on Thursday and we didn't do anything to the computer since then except turn it off overnight.

So he calls comcast. They say there is no internet on our account; that we are only subscribed to TV. Excuse me? How the heck did I use it for a week if I "don't have internet"? It's not like you can magically connect to Comcast's internet. They said they could send a technician out on Saturday, but only after Matt insisted because he had work to do online (which he really did...sheesh). They said between 10-1 so we sat around at home even though we had errands to do. Then a bit before noon they call and say due to weather they will be later, 1-4. Okay fine. We run our errands in a quick hour, eat lunch. They call at 3 to say they can come at 6. Which we couldn't wait for as we had my Christmas party from work.

So they wasted my entire day, we don't have internet, and they have very inconvenient service hours and we aren't home this next Saturday either. Meanwhile, you know they now have internet on our account even though we can't access it. ARGH. So if they ever do come, surely they will try and pin it as our fault, which is $50, and not their fault which is free to us. But seriously. We did nothing to make it stop working. It's them, no question. So now I am trying to play with things and uninstall all of the Comcast software but to no avail. Now it gives weird error messages about my operating system not being correct, etc. I think not.

I think what happened is even though that guy said it would be fine to configure my modem with the $42 option, someone noticed it and saw we weren't getting the level of service we are signed up for and cut us off. But I'm having trouble restoring my computer back to the previous state before comcast arrived, so I'm not sure if/when I can fix it. We really want internet, and this is the most economical option. Plus, I don't want the hassle of returning an opened modem to Amazon, nor having to drive back to the Comcast office with my install kit. This is some of the worst service EVER.

ETA: Checked our account online today. yup, as of 12/6 it says we are being billed for economy internet for 12/5-1/6. I think not! If I can't fix it tonight they are going to hear from us to say that they cannot bill us until they come out and set it up for free since they are the ones that broke it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Snowy day!

There was almost three inches on my car this morning. Yay!!

CVS Today

Today I bought the Promax Energy Bars that are on sale this week for 3/$5 and in the monthly book there is a "Buy 3 get $5 ECB" deal, limit 5.

Transaction #1: Buy 6 bars, use $10 ECB, earn $10 ECB

Transaction #2: Buy 6 bars, use $10 ECB, earn $10 ECB

Transaction #3: Buy 3 bars. Buy 2 Gas-X strips ($5.69) and one chewable ($10.69), $1 coupon on each Gas-X. Spend $23.47 ECB, earn $15.

So I lost a little bit of bucks, but it was an item we needed. Plus, I will use the energy bars as my uncle's Christmas gift. woo hoo! More free Christmas shopping ;)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving @ CVS!

CVS was rocking the freebies for Thanksgiving! I did mess up my transaction by my one L'Oreal lipgloss not making it to the counter from my cart, so I didn't use all of my coupons. I had it figured to the penny (of course) so I should have known that something like that was up, but oh well. You can also see I bought the wrong candy bar (which I think a lot of people did) but the cashier printed the ECB anyway. I got to the store at 11:40 Wednesday night and two other women were already there. Good thing they had enough of the freebies for all of us!

So basically in my first transaction, everything was a free item except the Schick Quattro Titanium. I had $17 in coupons plus a $5/$30 CVS coupon.

Transaction #2 bought a L'Oreal, Soliel and Maybelline so that I would have smaller ECBs for later. The Maybelline wasn't printing either. But this guy just printed it out, no problem. Loved him! He was happy we were all there getting deals and keeping him busy for the first part of his overnight shift.

Total value: $105.21, sale price $88.62
Used $5 in CVS coupons, $59 ECBs and $24 manufacturer's coupons
Paid $2.42 on gift card.
Earned $23.84 MORE ECBs than I spent!

Then yesterday I stopped at CVS on my way home from work to pick up a second L'Oreal and a universal remote since Matt said we could use it. Paid with two $6.99 ECBs since that was the cost of those, making my total zero and getting $6.99x2 back.

Whew. Now I have to use these $80 ECBs before they expire at Christmas! Hope there are some good deals soon. Wouldn't mind blowing them on a few things. Matt does need bandaids and that's one of the few items he is picky about.

I also convinced Bezzie to go buy a few 'free' items. hehehe

Friday, November 28, 2008

At home!

Whoah. This is the first time my home computer has been connected to the Internet in 18 months.

It's only 1Mbps speed, but we shall see how it goes.

And it only took 8 people 50 minutes to connect my modem. I hate Comcast.

But now I can look up recipes when I need to make something for dinner with the ingredients on hand, I can check coupon deals, I can post photos, I can Facebook...and I can now knit on my lunch break since I have the internet at home with which to pay my bills. ahhhhh, freedom.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

100 Meme

Yeah, I don't normally do memes, but this one is vaguely intriguing. Enjoy!

Things I've Done (In Bold)
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch (fiber arts definitely count!)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (not fun, let me tell ya!)
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (rather boring, actually)
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper (I still have a copy!)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (another thing, not fun. goes with the ambulance)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant

Friday, November 21, 2008


I stayed home sick yesterday...ugh. Just a general weariness/yuckiness etc. I had bound off the Hemlock Ring Blanket Wednesday night. Yesterday I finished knitting the sleeve of my Dolman top, and seamed the bottom front and back on one side. Once I seam that, and the sleeve seams, I can pick up stitches for the ribbed band that connects the sleeve pieces to the bottom pieces, and also around the neckline. I can't wait to wear this! I love the fabric it is creating, even with size 3 (I think...and 1 for the ribbing!) needles.

Next up: I think I'll do the "Back to School" vest in Fitted Knits. I think I just may have enough of the yarn Ana spun for me in exchange for me knitting a shawl...might squeak by. Need to see where I can conserve yarn on it.

Also, the library got in the new MDK book, and I am definitely in love with the Daily Sweater. I may even have enough yarn to do it...I was thinking my Berella "4" that I have stashed could be perfect. We shall see! All of a sudden I'm on fire for knitting. yay!

Final Catalina deals

Last week I picked up 10 boxes of granola bars.
Chex bars: $3 each. Coupons: $1.25x1, $.60x5
Curves bars: $3 each. Coupons: $.75x4
Used $10 ConAgra Catalina.

Paid $13 and change for 10 granola bars, got back $15 (3x$5) and FREE gallon of milk (actually just a $4.50 coupon!)

Yesterday I ran out to Jewel. Unfortunately, these $5 Catalinas actually do say "one per purchase" on them, so I had to play by those rules.

Transaction #1:
Milk: $1.99
Pillsbury items: $2.50 each, buy 5 get free 1lb butter
I bought: Flaky Twists, chocolate. $1.00 x2
Crescent rolls, reduced fat. $.55 x3 from tubes!
Got free butter ($2.77 value)
Paid with $4.50 milk Catalina, $5 Catalina. $1.67 cash!!! Great deal!

Transaction #2:
Philly Cream Cheese: $.99 x4, $.50/2 x2
Simply Orange: $3, $1 Catalina I had
Used $5 Catalina, paid just $.12! That's tax only ;)

Still have one more $5 to use. This is fantastic! The cream cheese and crescent rolls are for an appetizer I will make for an ornament exchange, so getting holiday goodies for free is great.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CVS batteries!

Had to go to two stores this morning, as the first one did not have any of the $9.99 packs in stock, of which I needed four. At the second store, I had to get 4-16 packs of AA as they were out of AAA, but hey, I know peeps who can use them anyway. Just glad I was able to maximize the deal.

Transaction #1 (did on Sunday as my $3/$15 expired that day)
2-pack 9V: $5.99
4-pack 9V: $9.99
Used $6 ECB
Used $5/2
Used $3/$15
Used $.75x2
spent: $.70 on GC

Transaction #2
4-pack D: $5.99
16-pack AA: $9.99
Used $8.98 ECB
Used $5/2
Used $.75x2
spent: $.67 on GC

Transaction #3
4-pack C: $5.99
16-pack AA: $9.99
Used $8.57 ECB
Used $5/2
Used $.75x2
spent: $1.11 on GC

Transaction #4
16-pack AA: $9.99
16-pack AA: $9.99
Used $13 ECB
Used $5/2
Used $.75x2
spent: $.64 on GC

Total value of batteries: $87.42
Used $23 in store coupons
Used $6 manufacturer's coupons
Spent $3.12 on gift card
Used $36.55 ECB

Earned $45 ECB. I'm more than ready for the Thanksgiving sale! I'm also hoping a store this week will have 4 Glade glass scents in stock so I can roll a $5 ECB. If not, oh well. Getting my coupons ready tonight!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hemlock Ring - Almost Done!

All that's left is the edging...I couldn't do it last night as I wrote down the BO row incorrectly and was left with a mess so had to wait til I got to work today to check the pattern. D'oh!

Bezzie accused me of being a super fast knitter. Alas, I was not too busy this week, being able to come home after work each day but one, which meant plenty of knitting time. I sit on the couch with the cat, watching Food Network and knitting. Welcome to my life! At least I go to the gym beforehand so I am then allowed to lounge around.

Hopefully I'll finish tonight! 8 days for a baby blanket. Not too shabby!

What, momma?

Jewel ConAgra Catalina Deal

Jewel (and many other stores) had a Catalina deal this week for spend $20 on ConAgra products, get $10 on your next order. I have been wanting to try these new Healthy Choice meals, so went for it, on the basis that the $20 is on regular, non-prefered card price and NOT the sale price you are paying. It worked! Matt and I went and he was impressed as well, and gets to actually see how I work these deals.

Multiply this picture by two, and that's what I bought on the cheap this week!

Transaction #1:
5 Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers $3 on sale (non-prefered card: $3.95)
2 Orville Redenbacher popcorn $3.49 BOGO
non-sale total: $23.24
sale prices paid: $18.49
Coupons used: $1 on each item, total $7 off
Paid $11.91 cash, $10 printed out

Transaction #2 & #3:
Same items and coupons as above, but used $10 catalina each time to pay $1.91 cash each time.

Transaction #4:
Same items.
Fresh Mixers coupons: $1x9, $.75x1
Popcorn coupons: $1x3, $.40x1
paid with $10 catalina, and $2.76 cash

Subtracting the $10 catalina I still have, that's ($1.91x3)+$2.76 = $8.49 for 28 items, or $.30 EACH! Once again, this is the only way I shop Jewel! haha

CVS brand for pennies!

I had to refill my 'script anyway (with transfer coupon, of course) and knew I had a lot of CVS-brand coupons and felt I could make a good deal...

(pardon my non-skillz at photographing)
Green & Black Chocolate: $2.50 sale, $3 CRT = -$.50
CVS Facial Tissue: $1.99 BOGO (I swear the sign said that, but instead the cotton balls rang up as part of B2G1 with the facial tissue..same diff), $1/2 CRT = $.99
CVS Cotton Balls: $1.99, $2/1 essence of beauty item from Reinventing Beauty book = -$.01
Blade body spray: (store brand Axe) $4.49, $2/1 from Reinventing Beauty, earn $1 ECB = $1.49
Blade Energy drink: $1.99, $1 peelie from body spray = $.99
Used $2/$10 CVS purchase CRT
Spent: $2.16 on GC (subtract value of ECB = $1.16 for NEEDED items)
I'll pay $1.16 for things I actually need (except the drink, haha)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Planning for CVS Sunday

I got a PM on Hot Coupon World and someone was asking me if I had found any more of the CVS $5/2 Duracell battery coupons that work so well with the deal next week. I answered, no, no stores had them...still had just 1 but wish I could find 3 more. Turns out she is RAOK'ing me with 3 coupons! They are coming from Maryland and she is mailing them today. If they come Saturday it would be best, as after Sunday who know if the stores will have any batteries left. Stupid CVS and their stock issues ;)

CVS will give you $15 ECB back when you spend $20 on Duracell, with a limit of 3 deals!!! Insane.
Here is my deal planning:

Transaction #1:
One pack at $9.99, one at $5.99
Use $3/$15 coupon
Use $5/2 coupon
Use $.75x2 coupon
Spend $6 ECB
pay $.48 plus tax with GC
Duracell running total: $15.98
NO ECB's print.

Transaction #2:
One pack at $9.99, one at $5.99
Use $5/2 coupon
Use $.75x2 coupon
Spend $6.98 and $2 ECB
pay $.50 and tax with GC
Duracell running total: $31.96
$15 ECB will print

Transaction #3:
One pack at $9.99, one at $5.99
Use $5/2 coupon
Use $.75x2 coupon
Spend $6.98 and $1.59 ECB
pay $.91 and tax with GC
Duracell running total: $47.94
$15 ECB will print

Transaction #4:
Two packs at $9.99
Four Glade Glass Scents: $10
Filler for $1
Use $5/$30 coupon
Use $5/2 coupon
Use $.75x2 coupon
Use BOGO ($5 total) coupons for Glade
Spend $10 and $4 ECB
pay $.48 and tax with GC
Duracell total: $67.92
$15 and $5 ECB will print.

Way cool. I'm happy with it. Use $37.55 of ECB but earn $50! I may just earn enough to pay for all my Thanksgiving day "freebies." Whew. Saving money is hard work.

Hemlock Ring Blanket

Yay knitting!

I cast on Sunday night for this:

It's Knit Pick's Swish Superwash worsted in Sunshine..and it definitely isn't so crayon-yellow as this pic shows it. Late night, etc. Crappy, but hey, you get to see some progress for once.

(oh, the heart? Cuz I realized my coupon holder was there in the corner, with my phone number for the world to see...Photobucket has some cool editing features so I plopped a "sticker" right over it ;) )

Making Money @ CVS 11/12

Gotta love when you walk out with more ECBs than you started with, plus 3 bags full (but not of wool ;) )

Listerine Agent Cool Blue: $3.99, $1 CVS coupon, $1 IP coupon, earn $3 ECB each = -$3.03(The manager found these in the totes, made sure it was correct size, so very helpful! I'm loving this CVS)
Garnier Fructis: $2.99, $1 coupon, earn $2 ECB = -$.01
Rimmel Mascara: $6.99, $1 coupon, earn $4 ECB = $1.99
Cotton swabs ($.50) and Halloween slinky ($.13) as fillers
Best buy of the day: WellPatch. When they were free after ECBs last month, they never had them, mainly just 2 on the shelf at each store, or NONE. This month, you get $1 back, limit 5. So I used my raincheck for all five (still had 4 on the shelf!), and got $5 ECB back! That was a big part of my gain =)

Value of items: $61.59
Store coupons: $7.00
Man. coupons: $5.00
Spent $1.40 on gift card.
The real gain: used $11.27 ECB, but earned $21.59!! Ready for the battery deal on Sunday and then Thanksgiving day I will be there when they open. Woo hoo! There are about 35 FREE items (after bucks, of course) and according to the boards I read, last year it was dead on T-day and they had everything. Crazy. Wonder if this year will be any different...this is my first holiday season with them, and I'm so excited for it. Many coupons to be had for the free items, which means once again I'll earn more ECBs than I spend.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Jewel Trip 11/3

And so concludes my success at Jewel. Three stores, three transactions, and I am DONE. Frankly, I'm tired of it, I have no more coupons, and I got $46 free, so hey...good deals.

Transaction #1:
Chex cereal: 4/$10, bought 2, -$1/2
Progresso broth: 6/$10, bought 2, -$.50 x2
Macaroni Grill: 6/$10, bought 2, -$1, $1.10
Knorr Veggie Plus: 6/$10, bought 3, -$.60 x3
BC Cookies: 6/$10, bought 2, -$.75 x2
Total cash: $1.35
Used: $15 catalina from last transaction. I had to FIGHT to use them. The FE manager would only let me use 1, stating 1 per order, yadda yadda, and I pointed out the wording "May be combined with other coupon offers." Still no go. Takes off one coupon, I pay. Grab ad and go up to service desk to point out that the ad states "Save $15 on your next order". It doesn't say "Save $5, three times!" She stated the coupons said "do not double" uhhh, using more than one is not "doubling." How long have you worked at a grocery store? (I personally know she's a long timer...used to work at same store as her, but don't think she recognized me.) She got tired of arguing and took the other 2 of my coupons and gave me $10 cash. Heard her tell her assistant "I'll call once she leaves" so of course I hung out around the corner to hear her state her stupid reasons and say she was tired of me. haha. This is one reason I dislike Jewel... the customer service is generally poor.

Store #2: FE manager tells me sure I can use them all, and if I have trouble, give her name...that's why her name is on the wall. Now THAT is service!
Transaction #2:
Cheerios: 4/$10, bought 1, -$1
Skippy: 4/$10, bought 4, -$1/2 x2
BC Frosting: 6/$10, bought 2, -$.55 x2
Chex Cereal: 4/$10, bought 2, -$1/2
Cash spent: $1.29, used $15 cats
My new $15 did NOT print, told her yadda yadda, works on regular price, just did it at a different store. Bless her heart, she believed me even though she said it shouldn't work that way (duh, but that's your system...). She rescanned my order and my coupons came out...because she scanned 4 creamy PB rather than 2 creamy, 2 chunky. Assuming the chunky PB is NOT in the system. She also scanned one frosting twice, and not sure which flavor but assuming White because in my NEXT transaction, stayed away from PB but bought chocolate frosting...mistake!

Transaction #3:
Cheerios: 4/$10, bought 8, -$1 x7
BC Frosting: 6/$10, bought 1, -$.50
Celestial Seasonings tea: 2/$7. Yes, ridiculous, NO coupons...but Walgreens has not had this flavor, nor any other Jewel, and my brother loves it. So got it as his birthday gift, but worth it.
Total cash: $6.82, used $15 cats
Wasn't going to argue...going to assume the frosting was the culprit but did not want the complete hastle of having them rescan my order with a different frosting flavor...surely they would NOT understand that not all eligible items are actually in the system..I'm happy with $46 free dollars in catalina coupons, food to help out our church which is starting up a food pantry, and groceris to last me through the winter.

Grand Totals:
Value: $154.78
Sale Price: $105.98
Coupons used: $38.19
Store catalinas: $46.00
Cash: $22.25
Total of 49 items, so it's an average of $.45 EACH! Plus we will use cookies as Christmas baking and the Chex to make Muddy Buddies, YUM!

Yeah, things like this are the only reason I will set foot in that store.

This is just great!

Made me smile because I *LOVE* John Williams. heh. Gotta watch it. So worth it.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Jewel Trip 11/2

Jewel has been treating me well lately with their amazing deals, if you play them right. I'm still made because I just found out they extended their prescription program (to Jan. from Nov.) of buy 5 get a 10% coupon...uh, 10% off is NOT a deal to me because I DON'T shop there. It also means they decided not to give out GC with a transfered prescription, so they will not have our pharmacy business for many months!

Jewel was offering $15 OYNO when you spent $30, so I sat down with the ad and my coupons and made a list that happened to total exactly $30 (without me specifically trying that!). Thing is, I read my receipt afterwards and I did NOT spend $30...turns out the Progresso soup that in the ad was 6/$10, and how I planned my trip, rang up at $1 each. So I was short $1.34 and still got my coupons...still can't decide if you would get the deal on regular prices without your prefered card, or if the coupons are a 'prefered deal' and you wouldn't get them? hmmm. Too hard to figure out.

Ragu: 6/$10 (bought 4), 2-$1/2 manq
Progresso soup: $1 each (bought 2), 2-$1.10 printables
Macaroni Grill entrees: 3/$10 (bought 2), 2-$1.10 printables
Taster's Choice sticks: (not part of deal, had FREE cat) $1.29
Progresso Broth: (I LOVE this stuff!) 6/$10, bought 7 5-$1.25 manq (from Pssst...) 2-$1 manq
Knorr Veggie Sides Plus: 6/$10, $.75 manq

Value: $50.06
Coupons: $17.69
Cash spent: $12.79
Got: $16 in OYNO coupons. $1 "Holiday Buck" when you spend $25. I'll take it ;)
So they paid me $3.21 to buy all those groceries! Yummy. Need some soup recipes!!

Walgreens Trip 11/2

What a day at Walgreens! I impressed two cashiers, one who is about my age and does coupons too, and one who was quite amazed at my savings and asked where I got all those coupons.
Glade Wisp Flameless Candle: $5.99, $3 manq, earn $2.20 ESR = $.79
Schick Quattro razors: $5.99 each, 4-BOGO coupons, $3 IVC on each = -$.04 for 8
Bic Soleil Shimmer Refill: $6.99 each, 2-$3 manq, $3 IVC = $.99 each
Crest Pro-Health: $2.50, $.75 manq = $1.75
Dove bars: 2/$3, 2-$1 manq = $1 for 2
Ghost Peeps: $.25 each as fillers to use RR
Wrigley's Gum: $1.19 BOGO with ad coupon, used BOGO manq as well = 16 FREE

Value: $93.91
Manufacturer's coupons: $45.23
Store coupons: $39.52
Used $8 RR
spent $5.37 cash (basically just tax!)
Very impressed with Walgreens this week. Plus I now know some coupon-friendly cashiers at two locations. Should be a big help.

CVS Trip 11/2

Ice Breakers Ice Cubes gum: $1 each, used 5-$1/2 coupons, earn $5 ECB = 10 FREE
Hershey Bars: $.50 each, used 3 BOGO coupons = $1.50 for 6
Crest Pro-Health: $3.49 each, 3-$.75, 1-$1 coupons, earn $3.49 ECB each = -$3.25 for 4
Life Water: $1 each (because I thought I needed these to use my bucks...oh well. needed a drink anyway)
$34.61 worth of items
used $9.75 in coupons.
Spent $17.98 ECB and earned $18.96
Spent $1.53 on GC

Problem with the candy...After having bought 6 total of the green and blue, 2 rasberry and 2 kiwi strawberry gum, and 6 candy total for the "spend $10 get $5 ECB" should have been $13. However, my receipt only showed $8 and my ECB did NOT print! I returned the "red" gum and bought blue and green and the buck printed. So something between the red gum and the candy bars is not counting toward the total like it should...but I have no idea what because the math just doesn't work. And once you hit $10, and the offer limit, the receipt only says $10 for the total spending, so no idea what it really counted...oh well!

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