Posts Tagged ‘coupons’

Find a Coupon or Discount Before You Buy One More Thing

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

A penny saved is a penny earned.  I once told a friend that with access to the internet one can find a coupon, discount, or sale for pretty much anything.  At the time I had found her a BOGO (Buy One Get One) for Amtrak train tickets so she could come visit me from DC.

Today, another friend sent me a link to a website that pretty much consolidates thousands of sales out there.  The site lists weekly ads for retail and grocery stores.  It posts online and printable coupons for retail stores, restaurants, and grocery items.  There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of stores, retailers, and products listed.

I am going to love comparison shopping between my local grocery and drug-stores.  Usually, I wait until Wednesday and then go to each of the stores’ websites and run through a rigamaroll to get their weekly ads to pop up.  Now I can go to this website and just click on the store I want to see.  $1.99/lb roasts and $.99 cantaloupes be wary… I am coming for you!  This will also be helpful with my occasional soujourns to AC Moore, Michaels, JoAnns Fabrics, BabiesRUs, etc…  These stores typically always have some sort of coupon (20% – 40% off) in their weekly circulars, but since I don’t shop there regularly I tend not to keep the flyers on hand.  Now when I need to run out and get something, I’ll just print the coupon from the store I want and head out the door. 

FYI – if you think that I am getting anal about finding discounts and don’t think they save you all that much here are some true stories.  I recently spent $22.41 on 10 sewing patterns with a savings of $146 from the original price.  That’s a huge difference and not one to sneeze at.  In the case of my Amtrak friend, we were able to get 2 round trip tickets for her and a friend for a total cost of $86, down from $172.  For an intern, that was a huge savings for her. 

The site also posts money-saving articles, in addition to a blog which features the latest great deal out there.  I’ve only listed a few things that you can see on the site.  Go check it out for yourself and start saving some big bucks.

Be Frugal: Every Dollar Matters  – http://www.befrugal.com/

Walgreen’s beats CVS for deals

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Previously, I had waxed poetic about my love affair with CVS.  Well, there’s a new beau in town and its name is Walgreeens. 

I noticed in the Sunday paper that Walgreens and CVS had many of the same items posted in their flyers.  They also had many of the same items on sale.  In general, Walgreens tended to be less expensive than CVS item per item.  What really got my attention were the items at CVS that had Extra Bucks tied to them.

At CVS they have a program called Extra Bucks.  The idea is that if you purchase a product that has extra bucks listed for it, you will “earn” those extra bucks to be spent at a future purchase.  The difference between Walgreens and CVS is that Walgreens gives you the savings up front and doesn’t make you come back in to “use” your saved dollar. 

For example: CVS charges $2 for Puffs Plus and gives you $1 in extra bucks for your next purchase.  They say it’s like purchasing Puffs Plus for $1.  That’s splitting hairs.  You have to give them the $2 and then you have to come back and “spend” that $1 savings on something else.  You have to keep spending money to keep earning your savings rewards.  At Walgreens they just give you the savings up front, no strings attached.  Sounds easy enough.

So I gave Walgreens a try.  I picked the items that were on sale via Walgreens specials/coupons and matched my coupons to them.  Here’s what I purchased:

This all cost me $40.56 pre-tax post coupons, discounts, and specials.

This seemed a little high to me.  I was worried that the drugstores were jacking up the prices so they could “discount” them to get people in.  To soothe my penny pinched mind, I went to WalMart to do price checks.

FYI – Last year I created a spreadsheet of all the grocery stores in the area to compare prices of our commonly purchased items.  Aldis and WalMart tied for #1 cost savers with Aldis slightly higher.  I chose Wal Mart for my Walgreens price check because they would have comparable brands.  (Aldis has their own brand)

Here’s what I found:

Item for item sans any sales/discounts/coupons, Wal Mart was $3.17 less expensive than Walgreens.   

WalMart = $67.66  Walgreens = $70.80

However, AFTER sales/discounts/coupons, Wal Mart was $27.10 more expensive than Walgreens.

WalMart = $67.66  Walgreens = $40.56

Final analysis?  Walgreens is actually less expensive IF you buy the items that are on sale and use Walgreen’s coupons from the Sunday paper.  The savings amplify when you match those sale items with manufacturer coupons.

Frugal Tip of the Day:  Love drugstore sales, but Beware!  Only buy what is on sale or discounted.  An extra bonus if you have a manufacturers coupon to match that sale item.  Many items that were NOT on sale were outrageously more expensive than a grocery store.  I’m guessing that they hope you make some impulse buys once you get in there to buy the sale items. 

Coupon Revival

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Coupons have a second chance in my house for 2 reasons:

1) We finally got a subsription to the Sunday paper.   Having the paper delivered to your house makes it more convenient to keep on top of the coupons.

2) My husband has gotten involved.  He not only goes through the coupon inserts, but he goes through all the store flyers cutting out their coupons too. 

We’ve been sitting together on Sunday nights matching coupons to store sales and making out a shopping list of sorts for me to tackle throughout the week.  He also watches the little one while I “dash” out to clean up with my coupons.  It is amazing how much extra time and effort is involved when I have to shop with the baby.  My hubby has been very supportive of watching him while I shop at night so I can 1) get a break from the baby and 2) get out of the house!

Anyway, I am on an about face from my earlier post cursing coupons.  We’ll see if we can pinch a few more pennies this week.

Clipping coupons is not for me.

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Okay.  So in the very early days of my blog, I touted clipping coupons as a way to save money.  There are entire coupon clipping blogs and websites that do nothing but tell you how to save using coupons.  There are books and dvds about how to use coupons.  There was even a lady on the Today Show last month showing how she always pays less than $10 for $100s worth of groceries using coupons.

My comment?  Bah, humbug.  On the triple coupon days, I toted all my little coupon filled and category sorted envelopes down to the store and still spent $80 on the same amount of stuff.  The only difference from normal?  Now we have $80 of “name brand” and fru-fru stuff.  I have dish soap that smells like lavender.  I have deoderant that smells like perfume.  I have weird fruit gels that I’m afraid to try.  I have all this strange stuff because I had a coupon…

Now people tell me- only use a coupon for the things you buy.  Well, I rarely see coupons for things we use.  Maybe the problem is that we are too set in our ways or are not adventurous enough.  We like what we like and we don’t want to deviate.  I’ve been using the same face cream, toothpaste, shampoo, deoderant, dishwasher soap, handsoap, dish soap, and toilet paper for the past 10 years.  I’m 37.  My butt has been there and done that.  It prefers Scotts 2 ply toilet paper over all others.  Who am I to argue with my ass?

I think the last straw came when we were at Wal-Mart this past Saturday.  Having memorized my coupons by now, I felt a rush when my hubby needed shaving cream, shampoo, and deoderant.  Finally!  I pulled out the coupons that I had been sitting on for months just waiting for this day.  They were all expired by 2 weeks.  There went $2.50 in savings and my coupon box had to be rescued from the trash by my husband.

Ever the penny pincher, he has gently suggested that we get a subscription to the Sunday paper so that we always have current coupons.  He has also asked me if I want him to buy me that Today Show woman’s book on how to buy groceries for next to nothing.  I told him to go ahead as long as he doesn’t mind walking funny for a few weeks if you get my drift.

Nevertheless, I am going to give it another try.  We finally have a subscription and I have the current Sunday paper in hand ready to cut out the next batch of coupons.  I GUESS that if I see a coupon for something we use, I should just go out and buy it IMMEDIATELY rather than wait until we need it.  I’ll let you know how it goes in a couple months…

P.S. If anyone out there has ANY tips for me please send them my way.  I cannot believe that I can’t figure out how to maximize my savings using coupons.  Talk about the little things in life that make you feel small.

Triple Coupons at Harris Teeter – April 28 through May 4

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Grab your coupons and head down to your nearest Harris Teeter!  If you live in one of the 8 states and 1 District of Columbia that Harris Teeter is located in you are in luck.

From April 28 through May 4 they have triple coupons up to $0.99.  You can use 20 coupons per day, per household.

Check out my earlier post about triple coupon madness.  This time around, I’m going in prepared!

Target Lets You Stack Coupons

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Did you know that Target let’s you stack coupons?  This means that they will accept one manufacturer’s coupon and one Target coupon for the same item.  They also accept coupons printed off the internet.

Last week, Target sent out coupons for baby products.  I remember hearing somewhere about stacking coupons and looked up Target’s coupon policy.  Here’s the gist:

•    Target accepts one manufacturer coupon and one Target coupon for the same item (unless prohibited)
•    Super Target coupons can be used in any Target store if the store carries the item
•    We gladly accept valid internet coupons

I searched through my coupon stash to find ones that matched Target’s coupons.  If I didn’t have a coupon for an item that I wanted, I went online to the manufacturer’s website and printed one off.

Here’s how much I saved:

A & D Diaper Rash Cream: Original price  $3.94 minus $2 Target coupon minus $.95 manufacturer’s coupon = $.99

Desitin: Original price $4.94 minus $.75 Target coupon minus $1 manufacturer’s coupon = $3.19

Earth’s Best Rice Cereal: Original price $2.09 minus $.75 Target coupon minus $1 manufacturer’s coupon = $.34

Total cost pre-savings: $10.97

Total cost after savings: $4.52

Total saved: $6.45

Frugal Tip of the Day: Deals like these sound good, but be smart about your coupons.  I had a coupon for Pampers and 1 for Huggies.  Combined with the Target coupons I could have saved 6 more dollars.  However! Even after the coupon deals, the Pampers and Huggies were still more expensive than the diapers we buy at Costco.  Keep an eye on the prices and don’t get suckered by the bargain.

CVS – A Total Steal of a Deal!

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Here’s what I bought last Sunday for $15.57 pre-tax:

15 Bucks Worth of CVS Groceries

I felt like I had robbed CVS.  Well, to be exact I told the cashier – “Man, you all are just giving it away!”  Yes, I said “You All”.  Moving on…

I don’t know if I am more shocked that I only paid 15 bucks for all that loot, or that I shared a picture of my maxi-pads and hair dye with the world.

Building upon what we learned from my CVS lesson, I meticulously scanned the Sunday CVS insert in the paper and looked for sales.

These are the 4 things I looked for:

1) Sale items at a discounted price.
2) BOGOs – Buy One Get One offers, either free or half price.
3) If buying the item would earn me Extra Bucks – bonus if the item was also on sale.
4) If we would actually use the item.

I circled everything interesting that I found and then went to my coupon stash.  I found all the matches that I could and crossed off everything on the list that I did not have a coupon for.

With 9 coupons, one CVS $4 off $20 coupon, and $12 in Extra Bucks in hand I went to CVS.  I left CVS with 14 items, another $4 off $20 coupon, and $10.50 in Extra Bucks.

Total cost: $18.50 after tax

CVS receipt showing the savings after the coupons.
Total savings: $53.09

Total Money Saved at CVS This Shopping Trip
Total discounts for next time:  $14.50

More CVS Coupons and Extra Bucks

As I said earlier, a total steal!

Frugal Tip of the Day: Look for a Customer Care Card Coupon Kiosk.  I’m not sure if that is the official name, but it will be a tall machine where you scan your CVS card to print out coupons on the spot.  I scanned my card and got a $4 of $20 and some EBs that had been adding up in my account.  Also, buy the Green Bag Tag for $0.99.  Attach it to your reusable tote and earn 1/4 of an EB each trip.

Here is why we need 4 boxes of cereal:

Baby Spilled His Cheerios Everywhere

The baby grabbed the cereal container off the table and dumped the entire thing in his lap and onto the floor.  This little dude knows what he wants!

Triple Coupon Madness at Harris Teeter – The Results

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

I meticulously organized my coupons and chose THE 20 that I would use at Harris Teeter’s triple coupon day.  I tried to find items that we actually used, or might use, and I tried to use the most expensive coupon under $1.  For example, I pulled a $0.75 coupon over a $0.25 one. I waited until the baby had a nice long nap and then we trundled off to the store.

Wow.  It was crazy.  There were money-saving moms everywhere with recipe boxes overstuffed with coupons, envelopes, file folders, and even a 3-ring binder which used baseball card inserts to separate each coupon by product!  I was such an amateur.

Here’s what I learned:

1) Get the VIC card and subscribe to their emails.

They alert you as to when the triple coupon sales are.

2) Shop the first few days of the sale, NOT the last day.

Most of the items that had coupons in Sunday’s paper were all sold out.  Most of the BOGOs were sold out too.  (BOGO – Buy One Get One free/half-off, etc)

3) Don’t just bring 20 coupons!

Of course, I seemed to be the only newbie with my handful of coupons so this probably wouldn’t apply to most of you.  Luckily, I had stuffed all my other coupons in the diaper bag.  Of the 20 I wanted, 5 were sold out and 2 didn’t bring the price down to a satisfactorily level.  I scrounged to find replacement coupons to take advantage of the triple savings.

4) Harris Teeter is expensive.

Just because you can triple a coupon does NOT mean it is a good deal.  I couldn’t believe how expensive the food was at Harris Teeter in general.  I could get some items cheaper at other stores without even using a coupon.  It helps if you know your prices in general before you are suckered into a “deal”.

5) Don’t shop with a 9-month old baby on triple coupon day.

The incessant hunting and pecking through the aisles for that ONE item didn’t thrill my child.  By the 16th coupon he was done and let me and the general population know it.  That literally explains my last 4 items purchased – 2 Pillsbury cinnamon bun dough packs and 2 Pillsbury pizza crust dough packs.  My husband was like, “what the hell?”.  I’M SORRY, I PANICKED!

6) Be nice to the cashiers.

I talked with 2 of them.  After a week of triple coupon mania, they have had a rough day.  Please have your coupons in order.  No expired ones.  Buy what you are supposed to.  They will be more willing to help you out when the coupon doesn’t scan for some reason or another.  It is the difference between, “this won’t scan” and shoving it back at you versus “this won’t scan because you didn’t get the right size” and letting you run down the aisle to get the right one.

With all that trauma behind me how did I do???

I ended up paying $42.16 and had coupons worth $47.65.  I still felt bad for paying the $42.16, because I bought several items that I never would have in the first place had I not been consumed with trying to triple a $0.75 coupon.  $2.25 off of $5.00 is still $2.75 I never would have spent in the first place.

On the whole, I would definitely do this again. I would be smarter about my shopping and leave the baby at home with the hubby.

Housecleaning 0, Baby Chasing 5

Monday, March 29th, 2010

My first day as an official SAHM and I got zero done that I thought I would.  On the other hand, I spent an entire day with the baby and that was very good.  The little dude wore me out!


On the plus side, today was the first day my blog was live.  I’m giving a special shout out to Rebecca for leaving my first comment.  I had read that the first comment is a momentous occasion and I must admit to feeling giddy!  :-) And thanks to all my Facebook friends who gave me some great tips on where and how to search for bargains.  I think I’m going to put an email form at the top of this blog for readers to submit their tips and ideas.

I am going to clip the coupons from yesterday’s paper and go to bed.  I have to head out to Harris Teeter first thing in the morning to get the triple coupon deals!

p.s. Yesterday we did not go to a gas station to get the paper and did not blow money on lotto tickets.  We went to Wal-Mart instead and blew it on 2 pints of ice cream – a much better investment!

Triple Coupon Alert!

Monday, March 29th, 2010

This just in!  A friend has emailed me and told me that a local Harris Teeter has triple coupons through tomorrow!

Oh be still my beating heart.  I think I’m going to pass out from the excitement.  I am finally going to put my coupons to good use.  Nickel yogurt here I come…

I almost want to wake the baby up and go now, now, NOW!

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