Monday, January 31, 2011

Stocking up for the ice storm!!

And I don't mean toilet paper, milk and bread! I had an awesome Rite Aid run today!

Yesterday I read on The Krazy Coupon Lady that Lay's Stack were $1.00 each and producing a $1.00 +UP snacks is my kind of snacks! Here's how it went down.

Transaction One:
Bought 6 cans of stacks $6.00
Bought 2 Edy's Grand Ice Cream at $2.99 a piece= $5.98
Complete Contact Solution=$7.99
Used a $1.00 off purchase Video Value Coupon
Used $1.00 off complete peelie (this is a coupon attached to the box that you peel off!)
Used $11 in +UP rewards
Total 6.97 plus tax.....will receive $7.99 SCR (single check rebate) and received 6- $1.00+UP and 2- $2.00+UP's

It was such a good deal I stopped on my way home for more!
Transaction Two:
1 Edy's Grand Ice Cream 2.99
1 Dawn regular dish soap 0.97
1 Dawn Hand Renewal Dishsoap 0.97
5 Lay's Stacks 5.00
Used 0.50 off Dawn hand renewal coupon (it expired today)
Used 0.25 off Dawn dishsoap
Used $9.00+Up
Paid 18 CENTS out of pocket! Walked out with $7.00 +UP's! 

I forgot to say in my Rite Aid post yesterday that you need a Wellness Card, if you are familar with most retailers these days you have to sign up and get their plastic card.  This card earns you points, and also activates the +UP's to print.

My girl's were super stoked to see that I brought home ice cream tonight! Pretty sure we're going to have Root Beer floats as we watch our Steelers crush those Packers!

Why would anyone want to coupon?

There are stereotypes out there that people coupon because they are poor.  In my opinion, this is so false!

I got hooked with couponing on my most recent maternity leave.  I love my employer but they do not offer any paid time off.  Since I was having my last baby, I wanted to take the entire 12 weeks offered by FMLA.  My husband and I discussed this prior to having our wonderful daughter and planned ahead financially.  The first 3 weeks I was able to use vacation time I accrued, and during that time I stumbled upon coupon blogs.  It was an epiphany, I swear!  Why should I give Walmart/Giant Eagle/Target or any other store for that matter more than I needed to?  If I could try a product I normally wouldn't buy for pennies, why shouldn't I?  If I can get my kids little lip glosses for free, then why not spoil's not costing me anything!

It is an amazing rush seeing your total go from almost a $100 down to $50!  It's a game I play with myself, see how much I can buy and for how much. This would make me a complete nerd to some, but I am a happy coupon nerd! While grocery shopping I try and keep my average price per item under a $1.00.....this includes my meats, veggies and everything.  This weekend I bought diapers, meat, and a ton of other groceries and my average price per item was $1.17.

Couponing became such a hobby for me that I began to think where could I stretch our dollar further! My husband and I work hard for our money that I would much rather keep it in our bank account than someone else's.  If I was in my house and found a dollar on the floor I most certainly would not pick it up and put it in the trash! I kind of look at couponing this way, if you can save $50 by taking an hour or two out of your week why wouldn't you?

Just to prove that wealthy folk use coupons too, check out some links :)

Hilary Swank uses coupons

Just a coupon article

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rite Aid

I have a love/hate relationship with this store.  It seems like for me I can get the most bang for my buck at this store, but often times I leave frustrated.  Don't let this scare you away, just go into it knowing that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose! I probably shouldn't call out the different stores, so I will just say that in MY experience the Beaver county stores are WAY WAY more friendlier than the Allegheny county ones. But it could just be the one I went to in Allegheny county.

Anyways....Rite Aid has a few reward programs.  I am going to walk you through the basics and then tell you the deals I plan on scoring this week.

Single Check Rebates or as bloggers call them SCR's.
In the ad you will see a product listed and it will tell you it qualifies for the Single Check Rebate program.  What that means is:
1. You have to buy the product. (Make sure you take the ad so you can check it with the item you buy, because I have had things not be marked correctly)
2. You need to go to Rite Aid's website and sign up for the program
3. Enter your receipt information.  (This is so simple and only takes like 2 minutes....promise!)
4. At the end of the month, request your check!
5. Within a few weeks a post card will arrive...this is your check. It's small and I always worry it will get lost in the mail but it never has!
Note: Usually these all have a limit of one, so you can not go and buy 87 items and expect to get an SCR for all of them...although this would be nice!

This week's SCR deal: Complete Contact Solution, pay $7.99 and then you will receive a $7.99 check!  Free contact solution is as good as it gets! To make this deal even better, I think I might have $1.00 off coupon so actually I am making a $1.00!  

+UP rewards Program:
This program is a little easier to deal with because you buy the product and once your receipt prints out it has the coupons off your next purchase.  You can roll these and go back and buy the same product.  There is usually limits on the +UP rewards you can receive but it seems to depend on what day of the week it is!
+UP rewards expire so you need to make sure you use them before they do! I like to try and roll them into deals that I know I will earn more UP's!

Example: A few weeks ago, Rite Aid brand tissue's and toilet paper were on sale for 0.99 and you received a 0.99+UP reward. I saw on a blog that if you bought 10 tissues not only did you get the 99 cents on all of them but a $3 mystery one! I went in and bought 10 boxes of tissue along with a few rolls of toilet paper, walking out with more +UP cash than I spent.  On my way home I ran into the Rite Aid and bought more tissue and toilet paper using the +UP's I received in the morning, spent $0.00 out of my pocket and walked out with more +Up's! Needless to say, we're good on tissues and toilet paper for awhile!

I didn't really check for deals regarding the +UP this week but I will later.  If there is something completely awesome I will be sure to tell you all!

Oops-Almost forgot to mention! Rite Aid also has Video Value's! This is something you need to do on their site.  It's another thing you register and log into.  With this program you watch short commercials and earn coupons.  These coupons can be paired with a manufacturers coupon AND a in-store/ad coupon! 

This summer I was able to use a in ad coupon for Bengay, along with a manufacturer's coupon, along with a video values coupon to get free Bengay! (Actually it was probably a money maker!)

Definitely something to check out!

Walmart and Target Free Samples

I mentioned in my last post that Walmart gives free samples.  In this post I hope to give you step by step instructions so you can get some goodies delivered to your door.

Recently Target added this feature to their website.  The samples on their site go fast by I will help you with this as well.

1. Go to Walmart's website
2. In the search box type in "Free Samples" and hit enter
3. In the middle of your screen you will see "Free Samples" "Coupons" and "As Seen on TV", click on the Free Samples one. 
4. Usually it will take you to another screen and show a bunch of different products.  Right now it says "New Samples-Coming Soon"  BOO.
5. If there were products listed you would click on them and it would take you to the products ad...and in the ad there will be a place to click for a free sample. (Warning sometimes they are sneaky so look hard!) 
6. Once you click for the sample a pop up box from Walmart appears. In this box you will need to enter all your info.  I suggest you make a spam email for free samples so your regular one doesn't get a bunch of junk! Answer a few short questions and click "send me my sample"
7. Check your mailbox for little blue and white boxes! 

*While you're on Walmart's site, look for the Kraft Touch of Philadelphia Cheese ad, if you follow this you can print two $1.00 off coupons....which are on sale at Giant Eagle this week (till Wednesday!) for $2.00! So you can get 2 bags of name brand cheese for $2.00! That is .14 more than one bag of Walmart's brand cheese!*

Target Samples
1. Go to Target's website
2. In the search box type in Free Samples
3. You should go to a new page that says "Welcome to the Sample Spot"
4. Looks like right now you can get a sample of Maybelline!
5. Answer their survey, fill out your address information and get a sample in a few weeks!

I don't really wear makeup, but my 10 year old will love some for her caboodle!

It's the little things...

Saving money is something I am passionate about.  If you can keep more money in your bank account then why would anyone just throw it away?  Little things, can add up into big savings. Here are some of the little things our family does.

Haircuts-Yep, I cut my hubby's hair. This saves us at least $20.00 a month.  If I had sons, I would cut theirs too...or at least try! For now us girls get our haircut in salons...but we usually use a coupon! 

Dryer Sheets-Did you know that by cutting them in half, they last twice as long and you're clothes still smell good?  Some people don't use dryer sheets at all so this will only save money for the people that do!

Meal Planning-I make meal plans based on what I have in the house and what's on sale.  My newest method of this is to just make a list of 14 dinner options and we cross off after we made it.  I also have a list of all the snacks and breakfast items we have in the home.  So far it seems to be working! 

Also if you can do one meatless meal a week, the extremely frugal folk says that says you a ton.  We're not quite there yet...maybe one day!

Eating Out-We have a lot of room to improve in this area but I think we're a lot better than most families!  We try to only eat out once a week...and usually for under $25 (which for a family of 5, that's good)
We pack lunches for work and school. By cutting out my usual Friday lunch, we have saved about $25-30 a month! 
I am a huge fan of Starbucks and used to drop at least $25 a month there....currently I try and keep it at $6 a month.  That means once a month I treat myself to a latte and baked good.  It's harder for me to resist treating myself in the winter but the savings make it worth it!  Plus, I got a lot of gift cards for Christmas so I used them right up!

Recycle-I realize recycling is good for the environment....but you know what else?  If my family recycles that means less items are going into the garbage bags, which also means we have to buy less garbage bags!

Budgeting-If you know where your money needs to go, and know how much is coming will save money.  Most important part of a budget is sticking to it.  I am slacking on this but one of my goals for 2011 is to make a budget and stick to it!

Freebies-If a free sample is offered take it!  Walmart's website always has about 5 free samples.  They require to fill out a small form and within a few weeks the mail man delivers a box to your door!  Usually they have a coupon along with the sample....double score!

Stockpile-A lot of people said they watched Extreme Couponing and it reminded them of me, well for the record my stock pile is teeny tiny compared to the people on that show! With health and beauty items I try to have 6 months worth on hand.  I pretty much have enough toothpaste and toothbrushes to last my family a long time!  My line of thinking though is if I can buy a name brand product for half of what I would spend on the generic version at Walmart then I should.  I used to spend $3.76 on their face soap....I currently have 4 Clearasil's that I probably spent $3 on total.

As for food, I have noticed if I buy more and leave it in the pantry my family will consume it.  My newest trick is to hide it in my closet and once a week bring the goodies down to the pantry!  Recently we discovered a brand of frozen chicken breasts that are really good.  They typically go on sale for $4 a bag...the next time this sale comes along I will probably buy 5 bags. I wish I had a chest freezer!

Making own cleaners-Couponing has provided me with a ton of cleaners for $1 or less.  Periodically though I am out of cleaners and waiting for the next sale to grab more.  If this happens, I will bust out the baking soda, vinegar and whatever else to get the house clean.  Luckily though, this doesn't happen often since I stockpile cleaners too!

Temperature-We keep our house at 66-67 degrees in the winter.  To some this is cold, and to others more frugal than me this is nothing!  We have an old house and if we put it at the standard 70 then it would run constantly! In the summer we try and do 70-71...depending on who's home!

Hand me Downs and Secondhand Clothing-I love hand me downs!! Having 3 girls is nice too :) I gladly accept clothes from people when they offer, and often times I try and pass my girl's clothes along too.  I also will go to a kid's consignment or thrift stores to see if I can find name brand clothes dirt cheap. I did this with maternity clothes for myself too!!

There is probably more little things that add up to savings that I am forgetting.  If you have some to share, I would love to hear them!

Saturday, January 29, 2011 to get them!

I save the most money for my family by shopping sales and using coupons.  There are so many places to get coupons that there should be no reason why people don't use them!! I will make another post on how to organize your coupons, but for now let's stick with where to get them!!

Online-There are several websites that you can get coupons from. I currently use:

I usually enter 90210 as my zip code just because you get more coupons, but definitely play around and see if you can find different things!  Another online coupon source is Facebook.  Often times if you like a product on facebook they have a coupon offer....lots and lots of coupons this way!!

More online coupons is at, but Target is a whole topic in itself, and I will save that for another day! I LOVE Target!

Paper: Some blogs recommend getting a paper for every family member in your house.  Now I am not that hardcore. I don't even get the paper delivered! But I do try and get it each week! In the paper you will see Red Plum, Smart Source, and P&G inserts.  If you're a PA local then the Red Plum and P&G usually some with your grocery store ads!

Another option: Email companies for products you love or want to try.  Usually they will respond and send you some coupons.  When I was pregnant with Brenna, I emailed Seventh Generation and Boudreaux's butt-paste, they sent me tons of samples and coupons!  I need to get back on that train!

Check your packages before you throw them out! Just the other day I was looking for a box top label for the school and spotted a coupon instead! I try and always check the inside cardboard for hidden coupons!


Alright, I am going to give this a shot!  We'll see how it goes and where it goes from here.

First-Brian, stop making fun of me :)

Second-Some things I plan to cover is how to coupon, awesome deals, little things my family does to save money, and all my favorite blogs who are in the big time!