Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Going Green!

I've been wanting to write about this for a couple months now, but haven't gotten around to it! I always want to find more links but still don't have them all. So here's a run down of some of my favorite tips for now:

  • Go to the library! I borrow 10 books at a time, and take in a reusable tote to carry them home in. They also have CDs and movies if we want

  • Use reusable bags: I am SO good about bringing these in to the grocery stores. However, many of the times I run in to CVS or Walgreens I forget my bags in the car. I need to keep them on the seat, or front floor, rather than the trunk. That way I can grab them. However, I still get plastic bags for my fresh meat, for sanitation purposes.

  • Walk when you can. We live within walking distance of several grocery stores and parks, so we walk when it is nice out. If I am feeling adventerous, the library and train station are 2 miles away, and doable.

  • Buy containers for leftovers and your lunches. Oftentimes I will still freeze items in plastic wrap or bags (mainly fresh meat) as it fits better. However, I generally leave things like bread in their original wrapper and then put that in a ziploc. This means the bag is not dirty and I reuse it over again. I also make pudding and jello and pour into serving-size containers, and buy large containers of applesauce and yogurt to divide up.

  • Make your own cleaning supplies. I picked up spray bottles from the dollar store and picked up vinegar, baking soda, borax and washing soda. I made an AP cleaner, window cleaner, and you can use straight up (or water diluted) vinegar for SO many things. Buying bulk means less packaging as well, and we bought a glass jar to keep a convenient amount of baking soda out for cleaning (to sprinkle) and baking. This means no more annoying boxes when you need a teaspoon for your cookie dough!

  • Shop local/small stores. This saves gas, and also saves money becuase they are generally cheaper. While one of my local stores sometimes doesn't have the best quality, the prices are right and they often have markdowns of still-decent produce.

  • Grow your own! I love gardening. We had a large one in the backyard growing up. Last year we had a lonely jalapeno plant, which didn't produce much. But this year we are going to try bell peppers and tomatoes, exciting! This is great fun and can be done cheaply if you are careful not to go overboard

  • Compost...this is something I want to look into. We have plenty of coffee grounds, eggshells and carrot peels on a weekly basis, and it'd be great for the plants. Nitrogen, calcium...return the earth back to the Earth!

I also wrote this to plug a blog I have been reading for several years now. I think I got to Allison's blog from Laurie's blog. (Laurie also gardens, and she's started on a crazy adventure for this summer!) I admire all that Allison has gone through and wish her the best. So when I saw she had made reusable mesh produce bags, and is selling them on Etsy, I had to go buy some. I try to cut down on plastic produce bags, and when I buy apples or tomoatoes or bulky items, I don't use them, which surely the cashiers don't appreciate. But when you buy grapes or green beans you need a bag of some sorts. Her mesh bags come in a cute carrying case, and I'm pushing you to go get some! I did read yesterday about making your own, but I think tulle would tear easily. Plus, I guess you could consider me a little lazy to not want to pull out my sewing machine. But this seemed like a great option ;) So I finally signed up on Etsy, and maybe some day I will sell my own stuff. However, I hope I am not first going to be enabled into buying knitterly things!!!

Enjoy :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Go CVS, go!

CVS 4/22

Transaction #1:
Act mouthwash: $3.79 x2, $1 manq x2, earn $2 ECB each
Purex: Used my RC from last week for $6.99 BOGO, PLUS my 2 BOGO coupons! = that's FOUR free detergents! I left 2 bottles with my youth pastor, will give the other 2 to another family at church.
One-a-day vitamins: $10.29 x2, $4/2 manq, earn $4 ECB each = $8.58/2 (not too bad!)
Used a $5/$30 coupon that came in my e-mail today, spent $12.48 in ECB and $5.34 on GC. Earned $12 ECB total. I didn't mind using that much of my GC because I needed vitamins anyway and it's a better deal than going to a different store and using straight cash. I still have a balance of $24.23 on it, and another $30 at home LOL

Transaction #2:
**Machine printed out a $2/$10 CVS purchase AND $2/2 nuts :)
CVS kleenex: $2.59 x2, $1/2 CRT
Fruitopia (CVS) shampoo: $2.50, $1 CRT
Cashews: $.79 x3, $2/2 CRT = $.37 :)
Used a $3.99 ECB and $.10 on GC. teehee. Manager checked me out and was like "can't beat that!"

So yeah, it's like I 'lost' $4.47 in ECB (because I spent that much more than I earned), but I'm supposed to get $10 from a CVS survey I did (should print this week). PLUS, next week there is a "spend $20 earn $10 ECB" on a whole page of items, including Zyrtec D, which my uncle uses, but of course 24 come in a pack, you're only allowed to buy one per month, and his doctor has him take two a day. So I buy them once in a while for him to have enough. So it is $19, use $4 manq and buy a band-aid for $1 use $1 q and earn $10 ECB. I just pay cash for these, so I get $10 ECB 'free.' Except I already bought a box this month, so hubby has to get it LOL

Quick Tar-jay Run

So on Sunday, Target was giving away free reusable shopping bags to the first however many customers. Now, I have plenty 'o bags, so that's not a deal I would run for, but I figured they would be out pretty quickly. They open at 8 on a Sunday, and we went after church (so closer to 1pm) and they still had them, so yay!

Picked up two Tidy Cats. I *always* buy it at Target, even if it isn't on sale because they have an amazing price on a huge 35lb bucket. They were on sale for $11.79 or so, and if you bought 2 you got a $5 GC. I used a $2 store q and $1 manq x2, so great deal, plus the $5 and a free bag!

Target 4/22

Today I stopped in with my Glade coupons that were able to be printed again!
Reynolds recycled foil: $2.50, $.55 man q, FREE rebate = make about $1 on it :) worth the stamp
Glade Soy Candles: $5.79 x2, buy 2 get a $5 GC, $4 manq x2 = again, more than free!

Used my $5 GC from Tidy Cats to pay, plus $1.30 cash. still have $5 GC and will get a $2.50 rebate on foil =) Plus, these candles smell amazing when burning. I've had the apple and the orange vanilla (mmm, dreamsicle!)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dominick's Catalina Deals

Wow! I'm used to doing these deals at Jewel, but Dominick's is slowly becoming my store of choice, espeically with only a week left of Jewel allowing expired coupons!
Check out all I got for only $17.71 cash (well, using my free gift cards, that is).

Dominick's Craziness

Summary of deals: Spend $30 on select (over 3,000!) items and earn a catalina for $10 OYNO, through 5/5. Also, buy 2 Bertolli Premium pasta sauces and earn a $2 OYNO. Surprise: Buy Starbuck's coffee and earn $1.50 OYNO! I saw a lot of great ideas by reading this post on I love seeing what people do in their area! We each get such unique things, and yet overlap such as the Bertolli. You HAVE to watch for these overlapping deals to make the most of it.

Transaction #1:
Kraft Deluxe: $2.50
Kraft Mac n Cheese: $.59 x3, $1 off WYB Kraft Deluxe
Safeway Salad Dressing: $2.79, FREE store coupon
Wasa Crackers: $2.49, FREE manq
Rubbermaid Bottles: $3.99 x2, $6 certificate from Rubbermaid from a complaint I had
Bertolli Premium Pasta Sauce: $2 x4, $1 manq x4
Oscar Mayer Deli Creations: $2.50 x2,FREE + $1.50
Total: $11.19 on gift card. Earned $10 + $2 x2
All items were of the $30 deal, and the point was to start me going!

Transaction #2:
Kraft Mac n Cheese: $.59 x2
Bertolli Premium Pasta Sauce: $2 x8, $1 x2, $.75 x6
South Beach Bars: $2.50, $2
Skippy Natural PB: $2.50, $.50
Electrasol Tabs: $3.99 x2, $2.50 x2 from tomorrow's paper ;)
That was all for the $30 promo, then needed rest for my $10/$50 coupon
Safeway Salsa: $2.50, FREE store coupon
Progresso Beef Broth: $2.50 x3, $1 x3
Mission Tortillas: $2.29, FREE store coupon, $1 manq
Mission Chips: $1.88, $1 store q, $1 manw Shelf said $2.99, so I got a GREAT deal here!
Safeway Frozen Veggies: $2, FREE store coupon
Dominick's Tote Bag: $.99, FREE store coupon that took off $2!
Total: Used $4 in catalina I earned previously, spent $4.29 on GC. Earned $10 + $2 x4
ARGH! The self check froze. Sheesh. But I had the BEST guy helping me. Even though the service desk manager was yelling at him to open due to lines, but he was obviously helping me and the other self-checkers. She announced for people to step over to lane 3 and unload, then yelled at him again. So he had to take all of my bagged groceries and go over to the register and let me "cut" in front of the others, I felt bad for them but oh well. So I think he took off more coupons than he should, plus with all the craziness I don't think I even had exactly $50, but it worked out in my favor in the end.

Transaction #3:
Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers: $2.50 x4, $1 x4
Crisco Spray with Flour: $2.99
Starbucks Coffee: $8.99, $2 store q, $2 manq
All Small and Mighty: $4.49 x2, $2 x2
Total: Used $10 and $2x4 catalinas, spent $1.38 on GC. Earned $10 and $1.50
I did this at self-check and it worked, but a few coupons wouldn't scan so the same guy fixed it up and wondered if I bought stuff to get all these $10 yadda yadda. He was impressed!

Transaction #4:
Safeway Bacon: $6.99. But for 3 pounds, Thick Cut, Hickory Smoked deliciousness? YUM
Ghirardelhi Chocolate Chips: $3.85 (rip off!!)
Total: Used $10 Cataling, spend $.85 on GC.
Saw me doing this one, and he joked "$.85...can you handle that?" LOL He was so cool. Never had such great customer service at Dominick's. Even when he had that manager yelling at him.

So what's the bottom line?
The regular shelf price total would be $174.78. However, with coupons and using some of the earned Catalinas, I spent just $17.71, of course with a free gift card. I still have $10 and $1.50 left in Catalinas. That's basically a 90% savings overall!

Also, the Bertolli, Skippy and All count for the Unilever deal where you buy $40 of product, and a ham or turkey up to $20 free! I'm $4.52 short, so my mom will probably do a few Dominick's deals this week, plus buy a ham. Then we will split the ham. So that makes the deal even sweeter!

Hope this inspires some of you to go on out and shop!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Back in the Game!

So yeah, I was sad I had used up my Walgreen's gift card, but thankfully I had a coupon from them so I could transfer my prescription there this month. Right when I got it I did a quickie of 12 Mentos gums ($1 each, $1 coupon ;) ), one more Glade candle and 2 spices on sale for $.50 each, so paid $1 + tax

Walgreen's 4/16

Yesterday I stopped in for some deals :)
Splenda: 2/$7, used $3/2 manq so $2 each (Splenda is my fave! I've been taking it from Starbucks when I go LOL)
Colgate toothbrush: $3.29, earn $3.50 RR
Scunci hair elastics: $2, earn $2 RR (hoping to use these at Dominick's this weekend! Yes, they are manufacturer's coupons)
Necco Chocolate Marshmallow eggs (Love these!) 4x$.24
Peeps 2x $.37
$11.52 on GC, earned $5.50 back on RR, not too bad, considering my Wag's days are almost over with the rebate ending this month...

CVS 4/16

Then I hit up CVS, where the deals were HOT! First off, I asked the manager if I could use my Catalina's that had printed out at Jewel for BOGO Sobe Lifewater, because they are in fact manq's and just say "redeemable at" and not "redeem ONLY at" and only say Jewel because they printed there.

Transaction #1:
CVS Cotton Swabs: $1.50 (needed them, good price)
Colgate 360 Toothbrush: $3.99, earn $3.99 ECB
Softsoap: $4.99, used $1 manq, earned $4.99 ECB (like I need more!)
Sobe Lifewater: $1.69 BOGO, limit 6, used 3 BOGO coupons = FREE
Paid $.96 on GC, used $9 ECB and earned $8.98 ECB

Transaction #2:
2 more Sobe for FREE
1 more toothbrush
RC for $3.49 shave gel, earn $3.49 ECB
Spent $.12 on GC, used $$7.48 ECB and earned $7.99 ECB
Rainchecks are great because they round up to the nearest dollar, meaning my $3.49 ECB printed as $4. Love it! woo hoo

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Jewel Freebies

Jewel Freebies

My last free milk coupon was expiring today, so I wanted to use it up, just in case. Never know with them!! So the milk was free (also sending in the "rebate" for 3-$1.50 coupons. I LOVE this milk. mmmm).
Ronzoni on sale for $1.25, used 3 exp. and 6 new coupons = $.25 each
Vitamin water on sale for $1, used $1 coupons
Cashed in an instant lotto ticket for $3. My total was $2.72, so basically free since the lotto was a gift in the first place! woo hoo

Now i need to find a deal on chicken breast as we are out!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Win Some Crocs!

One of the blogs I read is offering a chance to win free crocs. Hurry, deadline is today!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Freebies in the mail!

This i why I love getting the mail:

Mail 4/6

"Free" bakeware from Easybakeware...all you pay is $1 shipping, but I haven't been charged yet...did one in my name, one in Matt's, both arrived. Yay! Round cake pans! You can do it every month, so this month I sent for a mini muffin pan and a cheese grater. We'll see how that goes! When you sign up for $1 shipping, you are enrolled in a club, but you can cancel online with a few clicks of the mouse, and print confirmation and you aren't charged for it. This is exciing!

Got samples for Gain fabric softener (from Sam's Club) and Old Spice has a new bodywash (WalMart). The Wal Mart samples are the best because they arrive in under two weeks, always. Not like other samples that say 6-8 weeks, and take so long you forget you ever signed up for it. Much like the instant Cream of Wheat sample I just got today...that was a long time ago!

Also had an envelope from General Mills. Saw this on my mom's fridge yesterday and wondered where she got it from LOL I'm wondering if we got it from Pssst since that is GM...who knows. Didn't sign up for it, as far as I know. Plan your weekly menu and your shopping list. Fun! I really should create menus since we want to use up stockpiled food this month (and spend less in general).

Also, got two-$25 Amazon gift card 'codes' from our bank rewards program. It isn't the best and the customer service is just plain awful. Took us since October 2007 to earn this much. It's only because we got all of the bonus points (first bill pay, check, debit purchase, credit purchase, etc) that we even got this much. "Cost" 11,000 points for $25, and I figure we earn 500 per month. I think we will get $25 more before we close this account when we move. ugh. to laundry and dishes, and also clipping and sorting all of those coupons that were in yesterday's paper! 5 sections, and none next week due to Easter. I also took a CVS Advisory survey yesterday, asking me questions about the Walgreen's and CVS ads and earned $10 ECB that will print the end of the month. Great!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Jewel Special Sale

April Fool's Jewel

Jewel had a one-day "hurry in!" sale, no rain checks. Well, there was good enough stuff!

Mann's veggies: $.99 x3
Eggs: $.57x2 (why yes, I DO have 4 dozen eggs in my fridge!)
Sara Lee lunch meats: $1.99/half pound. Bought two pounds total to freeze for the rest of the month.
Jewel cheese: $.99 x2
Spent $16.13

Also last night we got me a new coffee maker at Target, this one, since I did need a new one. Matt doesn't drink coffee and thought it too expensive. But I was able to plead my case by what all features I liked and how it was good for me. We had our own cars as we had come from church (we both go straight from work due to location) so I left with the other groceries while he paid for the coffee maker. We get home and he shows the bag of Cheetos he bought at checkout, since I wasn't there. I say DUDE had a $1 Target coupon, would have bought you I teased him for 'wasting' $1. Silly boy!!

April Grocery Goals coming next!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Target Worked for me!

When Target works the way it should, it can be pretty amazing. I'll talk about my April Grocery Goal soon, but basically buy 'needs' only and get the best deals possible.

There was a "want" I wanted to make for breakfast this Friday. I am off work (but doing some work, go figure) so am making Matt a nice breakfast and nice dinner (he is off Fridays since he works 4-10s). i want to make this amazing looking Blueberry Baked French Toast (except without the berries). I love her blog and have made a few recipes. I also love Stacy's Pita Chips with hummus (I have the whole grain ones at home). Well, this calls for a family size bag, which is 10oz, but I have yet to see that at the store. I probably got a better deal because at Target the 6 oz bags are $3, and I had 2-$1 coupons, so I will have 2 oz left for snacking!

Here's what all I got:

April Fool's Target

Stacy's Chips: $3x2, $1 manq x2 = $4
Archer Farms Artisan Mini Loaf: $.99, $.99 store q = FREE
Meow Mix Cups: Clearance for $.34 each, $1 manq = $.02
Johnson's Buddies Bars: $.97x4, $2 manq x2 = -$.12 (too bad the rest of my q's expired yesterday! The ones I did use expired today)
Johnson's Safety Cotton Swabs: $1.29 x2. $1 manq x2, $.75 store q x2 = -$.92
That made my total WITH tax $3.60! Not bad for the chips that were a 'want'! LOL

When a Deal is Not a Deal

So, I have quickly learned that not every 'steal' you find is indeed good for you. Especially when you run out of storage room, and have some brown bags of groceries stashed under the kitchen table *ahem*

Anyway, when Jewel first had the Kellogg's deal (read online before it was in their ad) about getting free milk with cereal, Matt and I went, but the ones on sale were not the ones we would eat. So even though we could have paid $5 for 10 boxes of cereal and 3 gallons of milk, it isn't worth it. Sure, even if we had given away all of the cereal to friends who would eat it, it would be $5 for 3 gallons of milk, which isn't even great, and I would have 'wasted' coupons in the process.

We waited until Special K turned up on sale, which is something we love, and had coupons for. We did the deal twice for a total of 3 free milk and 8 boxes of cereal. Our cereal shelf is now full, and we are happy.

Also, my work had a free pizza lunch today. I did end up having a little bit, but at first I wasn't going to. Matt was like "but it's FREE. Save your leftovers for another day." However, I have enough leftovers to last me all week, so I needn't do that. I am also working on healthy eating and don't always WANT something that's 'bad' for me. But I did have a few pieces, because it was actually pretty good once I sopped up the grease. I also can 'guess' the calories fairly accurately, based on other pizza I have had recently.

Basically, just because something is free, doesn't mean you should buy it. But if you can make it work for you, go for it! If you have the means to buy things for pennies on the dollar and donate to shelters and share with friends, then by all means go for it!! Just be sure you aren't out growing your storage space (or your familiy's patience)