Friday, October 31, 2008

Today's Shopping List

As soon as the little one wakes, we're headed out. I've got my coupons all printed and ready to go! Here's my list, (in case you need a little inspiration) along with links for the printables.

Here's a little tip for those of you who are new to couponing. After looking at ads and blogs, I make up my list. I have an envelope for each store. I write my list on the outside of the envelope and indicate which items I have coupons for and how much they are for (or how much I expect to pay and how much I expect back in Catalinas, ECBs, RRs, etc). I put the coupons in the envelope for the store that I'm going to use them at. This prevents me from having to dig through my main coupon holder in the checkout line and not being able to find the ones I need.

Even if you're not heading to the store today, I would suggest printing these coupons now. They are all great coupons, so get your stash started! You can print most of them twice. They print best in Internet Explorer.


WALMART (Prices may vary by area, special thanks to Deal Seeking Mom and Money Saving Mom)

Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers $1.27
-$1.00 off Green Giant Steamers =$.27

Nestle Hot Chocolate (10 pack) $.1.00
- $.75 off Nestle Hot Chocolate = $.25

Kraft Bagel-fuls $2.12
-$1 off Kraft Bagel-fuls = $1.12

Kotex pantiliners (16 or 18 ct) $1.00
-$1.00 off Kotex = FREE

Nestle Toll House Morsels $1.98
-$1.50 off Nestle Toll House Morsels =$.48

Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour 5 lb $2.76
- $1.00 off Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour = $1.76

Ziploc Sandwich bags (25 count) $.75 *Couldn't find these
-$.75 off Ziploc Bags = FREE

Below are deals at someone else's Walmart, but I passed on them since my Walmart had higher prices. I left them on here so you can at least print the coupons and hold on to them for a good deal. Maybe your Walmart has better prices.

Toaster Strudels $1.50 *My Walmart had them for $2.12
-$1.00 off Toaster Strudels =$.50

Chex Mix Bars $1.98 *My Walmart had them for $2.56
-$1.25 off Chex Mix Bars = $.73

Betty Crocker Cookie Mix Pouch $1.00 *My Walmart had them for $1.50 :(
-$.75 off Betty Crocker Cookie Mix = $.25 (coupon may not still be available)

Progresso Soup 3/$2.00 *My Walmart didn't have this deal. It was $1.50/can
-$1.10 off 1 Progresso Soup = FREE
also -$1.00 off 3 Progresso Soup = 3/$1.00

Eggs $.99

Cheese 8 oz $.99 (buy 4, get $2 Catalina) *All out :(

Taco Bell Salsa $1.48 or Taco Bell 12 or 18 ct shells 1.04
-Mealbox coupon for $1.50 off (No longer available, I printed plenty, thank goodness, if you're in the area, I can give you a couple) =FREE + overage

Jello $.50
-Mealbox coupon for $1.50 off 2 (Still available) = FREE + overage

Strawberry Shredded Mini Wheats 4/$10
-4 coupons for $1 off box of Mini Wheats (no longer available) =$6
Receive $3 Catalina (coupon of next order= 4 boxes for $3

Imperial Margerine $.39 (limit 4)
Sugar 4 lb $1.29 (limit 3)

Milk $1.99
Carrots 2 lbs $.59
Onions 3 lbs $.69

Bubble Mailers 3/$1.oo with in ad coupon (get at at front of store), limit 9

I'm going to try this at Target! If it's a deal at my Target, I'll let you know in a separate post!

Did these deals work for you? What else did you see? Let me know what you found, the good and the bad!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cheap Cheese at Meijer

Meijer has 8 oz blocks of cheese on sale for $.99 through tomorrow (limit 4). To make this deal even sweeter, you get $2 off your next order with the Catalina (coupon that prints at the register). Thanks for the heads-up Liz!

Combine this with some of the other Meijer deals this week and it's definitely worth a trip! See you there!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rudimentary Rules Regarding Rebates

A few years ago, my husband and I did the Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) madness for the first time. We checked all the ads and decided what (if anything) was worth standing in long lines outside (thankfully is was Arizona, so it wasn't cold) in the middle of the night so we could fight our way into the store when the mobs rushed the doors and take as few elbows as possible when reaching across crowds for it. Then there's always the risk that your item is long gone before you even walk through the door. A large portion of these items advertised at too-good-to-be-true prices invovle Mail-In Rebates (MIR), at least in the computer industry. Though we didn't come home with everything we went for, we did get some sweet deals (or at least would become sweet once we received our rebate checks). After sharing our adventure with the rest of the family in town and getting a much-needed nap, we began on the paperwork that would make our deal worth all of our trouble. I had my first lesson in rebates.

Since that first experience with rebates, here is what I have learned:

Finding Rebates
Watch for items at the store or in ads that say "Try me Free." An example of this is the Sure deodorant offer I listed recently. The package has all the information you need to make the rebate submission or will refer you to a website that does.

You can search the internet for rebates for products you buy or would like to buy. Let me know if you find one and I will post it on this site! I have listed a few to get you started in the spreadsheet at the bottom of this post.

Note: Walgreens and Rite Aid have their own rebate programs that work really well and are much easier than MIRs. I will talk about them in the future. If you're dying to know about them now, check out their websites.

Buying a rebate item
For individual MIRs (not Walgreens or Rite Aid rebates), make sure to buy only one item with a rebate in your transaction, as you will almost always need to send the original cash register receipt in with the rebate.

Double check the offer to be sure that you have the correct item.

Use coupons when you can. Coupons will usually more than cover the cost of the stamp to send in your rebate. Also, rebates don't cover taxes, so your coupon can pay for or offset taxes. Anything more is just bonus. Lots of people wonder if you will get the full purchase price of an item back when you use a coupon. The answer is yes. Your receipt will have the full purchase price on the receipt. Coupons are usually subtracted at the bottom of a receipt, but the receipt will not specify what the coupon is for.

That said, if you use lots of coupons (in general), it is a good idea to make sure that your total out of pocket is at least what the full purchase price for the rebate item would be. The only time that I have ever heard of this being a problem is when you use CVS Extra Care Bucks to pay for your whole transaction (they ring up as a coupon), you don't spend any money out of pocket, so the rebate company doesn't think you paid anything for your item (even though you did pay your hard-earned ECBs). If this doesn't make any sense, don't fret. You probably won't ever be in this situation.

Requesting a Rebate
Keep your stuff together. I have an envelope in my coupon organizer that I put receipts I am saving for rebates right after I check out. Don't throw away your item's packaging, because you're probably going to need some of it.

Make your submissions as soon as possible, otherwise you will inevitably lose your receipt and UPC or just plain forget. The reason why rebates are such great deals is that lots of people who buy an item with the intention of requesting a rebate fail to do so. Companies know that.

Read the offer thoroughly. Note the date that the offer must be postmarked by. Note what information needs to be included. Will they accept printouts of the rebate form or do you need an original? Do they want you to circle your purchase? Follow the directions. Make sure you bought the correct item.

Write very clearly. If they can't read your address, they can't send you a check. It's that simple. Also, double check to be sure that you addressed your envelope correctly.

Document your rebate for your own records. If there is a discrepancy or your rebate is contested, you will need the information that you submitted. You can make a copy of the items your sending (receipt, form, UPC) or scan them into your computer. Lately I have been taking a digital photo instead. If you do a photo, just make sure it is clear enough to read all the important numbers.

Following Through
Keep your rebates organized. If you do several rebates, it will be easy to forget when you sent them in, how much they're for, and when you should expect them. I suggest making a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your rebates. You could start from when you first find an offer (I have some listed in the spreadsheet below), then update it when you make the purchase, request the rebate, and receive your check.

Your check will be for the purchase price on the receipt. Most rebates say on the form that the rebate is up to a certain amount of money. Those prices are usually higher than a price that the item would actually be at your store. You will not get this exact amount of money, just the purchase price at the store you bought it from.

If the estimated time has elapsed and you have not received your check or any communication from the company, contact the company yourself.

Here is a spreadsheet for your Rebate Records! I even started you out with a few!

Note: This link will open a Google Document. To save it to your computer, click on the "File" menu (within the Google Documents) and choose to export the file in whichever format is your favorite!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

To celebrate the Meijer Mealbox coupon for $1.50 off 2 boxes of Jello gelatin and pudding coming back (to find out more about Mealbox coupons go to the bottom of this post), I want to share with you my new favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies because it calls for pudding!

Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies (from

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Speaking of baking... here are some great Nestle baking coupons. Grab them now and hold on to them until the holiday sales! You can print each coupon twice.- $.75 off chocolate chips-$1.00 off 2 cans of Libby's pumpkin-$1.50 off 2 packages of refrigerated cookie dough-$1.00 off 2 cans evaporate milk.

Deals This Week (through 11/1)

First, check out CVS today! Last week I gave a heads up about deals for Monday (some still available later in the week), so be sure to print your coupons and go get the deals! I just got back from CVS and posted some updates for CVS.

I just posted some deals for Meijer, as well. I just got back from Meijer and it was awesome! I posted updates!

I will post deals for Walgreens and RiteAid later on. I hear that Walgreens isn't too exciting, but Rite-Aid has some great rebates this week.

I just tried to see where the closest Rite-Aid is and was super sad to find that there isn't one here! We just moved here a few months ago and I really thought I saw one as I was driving around. Bummer! They have lots of "free after rebate" things this week! If you use coupons you can even make some money! For those of you who do have a Rite-Aid, check out Deal Seeking Mom for some sweet deals.

County Market's site is down now, so stay tuned for that one, as well.

This Week at Meijer! (through 11/1)

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (4 lb) $7.49

Dozen Eggs $.99

Taco Bell Salsa 20% off= $1. 48 (or 18 taco shells are only $1.04)
-Meijer MealBox coupon for $1.50 off (page three, see note at bottom if you are new to MealBox)
FREE + overage

Jello sugar-free (4-serving) on sale 6/$3 (can also use for regualar gelatin or pudding, price varies, at Meijer on Prospect all Jello gelatin is $.50, not just sugar-free)
-Meijer MealBox coupon for $1.50 off (page two, see note at bottom if you are new to MealBox)
FREE plus overage, you MAKE $.50 with each coupon you use!

Kelloggs Frosted Mini Wheats 4/$10
-Use 4 $1 off coupons from sidebar or here
-Get an instant $2 off at register (This didn't work for me)
-Get a printout for $3 off your next order
You'll pay $6 OOP, but get $3 for your next purchase, (thanks cheapsk8mom!) I haven't tried it at my Meijer, but will give an update on how it goes!

I just got back from Meijer and I'm smiling big! I didn't see 4 for $10 advertised in the cereal aisle, but I did find it where the sales are (between food and clothes, straight ahead when you walk in). It is the 21.5 oz size (NOT the smallest size). I only found the Strawberry Delight (21.5 oz) and regular (24oz) Mini Wheats. If you don't have coupons for this yet, check the sidebar, or the site itself. The coupons come and go, so I have been stocking up. Let me know if you are having trouble finding coupons and I'll help you. Note that any of the coupons for new flavors can be used on any of the new flavors, not just the one pictured. Be sure to grab some taco shells and jello to take another dollar off your order!

Meijer MealBox Coupons Explained
It isn't hard to print these coupons, but I will give detailed instructions for anyone who may need them. So don't be intimidated by the length of the next paragraph!

Use Internet Explorer. Go to the page and find the box outlined in blue that says Meijer Mealbox Beta. Click on the tab (within the box) that says "specials." There are several pages of coupons (currently 3). You can scroll through them using the page numbers just above the top of the first coupon. When you find ones you want, click "add to shopping list" and press "ok" in the little box that pops us. When you have chosen all the coupons you want, click on the tab "shopping list" (next to "specials") . Then press "print list" near the top of the box. It will give you a popup with 3 checkboxes. I only leave "coupons" checked. Click "print" in the next popup. Another small window will open up shoing the coupons. Click on "file" and then "print." That should cover it.

The 2 coupons I mention about for gelatin/pudding and taco shells/salsa are both good until 11/15, so print out as many (or more) than you think you can use before then. They do not limit you to how many you can print, but they may limit you to one of each particular coupon per transaction (though you could do several back -to-back transactions).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Walgreens on Saturday

If you've looked around any other couponing blogs, you have probably seen this coupon. It's even available in my sidebar. It's a Friday-Saturday $5 off a purchase of $20 or more at Walgreens. My initial thought was, "Well that means I have to SPEND $15 to save $5."

Think again.

It's true that $15 must leave my hands, but if all goes as I now have planned, I will get every cent of it back.

Let me explain.

The October EasySaver Catalog (3" x 7" pamphlet you'll find by the ads at the front of the store, take as many as you like) is good through the 25th of the month. The November one is also out and also in effect. Things purchased Saturday (and Friday) can qualify for rebates for both months.

The way Walgreens does store rebates is pretty cool. You register on, put in some details from your receipt(s), and request your rebate. No stamp required! They will either send you a check or you can opt for a Walgreens gift card. If you choose a gift card, they will give you an additional 10% (a $10 rebate will be $11 on a gift card). You can reuse the same gift card each month. They will "reload" it with the next month's rebates, so you don't have to wait for a new one to come in the mail. Pretty cool system.

So, they key is to spend money that you will get right back in a rebate (or Register Rewards, which are printed coupons for a given amount off your next transaction, but I didn't have any of those in my planned transaction).

If something doesn't work out, I can always grab one of the "free after rebate" items so my total is over $20 after coupons and before tax. There are 3 for October and 2 for November. If's it's really close (I imagine I'll be $.02 off) I'll just grab a candy bar.

My total will be just barely over $20, then $5 will be taken off with the coupon up above. I will pay $15 OOP (out of pocket). I will receive $15.40 ($14 + 10% for choosing gift card). We can consider all these goodies FREE!
That's my plan. The only thing I'm a little unsure of is if the M&Ms are really on sale 2/$5. Hopefully everything is stocked. I'll post an update on how it goes!
FYI- You can get the manufacturer coupons I refer to in the spreadsheet here:
Arm & Hammer click on "get coupons"
Air Wick Freshmatic tons of other coupons, too
The M&M coupon for $1 off 2 is found in the October EasySaver catalog.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Keep Your Eyes Peeled!

I went to Meijer today to redeem coupons for Free Taco Shells and Jell-o Pudding, and found another source of coupons! At the front of Meijer on the shelves where all the ads are (behind where the greeter stands), there were several stacks of nice coupons! Since my couponing is fueled primarily by printable coupons (we don't get the newspaper), I am always on the lookout for other coupons. One of the coupons I found was for a free tub of Promise butter spread. There was a whole stack at Meijer on Prospect. If you're at Meijer, be sure to look around and under the ads at the front of the store for great coupons!
As a side note, I used my last Jell-O coupon and unfortunately it is no longer available to print on the MealBox Site (argh , should have printed more). The taco shells are, though. Today I noticed an 18-pack of Taco Bell taco shells for $1.30 (the same price as the 12-pack)! The coupon is for $1.50 off, so you make $.20 on each one, and now you can get 50% more in the package! Wahoo! We had tacos just the other night. Next time I think we'll have taco salad!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Art of Finding Printable Coupons

I have had lots of people ask me how I find my printable coupons. Here's the scoop:

Looking at other blogs. As soon as I get my site overhauled, I'll put up links to all my favorites. Until then, a few are: Money Saving Mom, Deal Seeking Mom, and Be CentsAble.

Checking the Hot Coupon World database. It's not always up-to-date, but it's a great place to start. Put what you are looking for in the box labeled description. Both general ("toothpaste") and specific ("Crest") are fine. You can put in the type of coupon you're looking for (choose "printable" from drop down menu).

Check my sidebar. You can scroll through the coupons or click to see them all. They change pretty regularly. Be sure and grab the good ones when you see them. Cereal coupons for $1 off show up pretty frequently!

Looking on manufacturer's sites. They want you to buy and become loyal to their products, so they give you coupons to encourage you! If you see something on sale, look up the manufacturer and see if they have a coupon.

I very rarely use a coupon on an item at full price, unless it is a product we would buy at full price. For example, I have used Clean & Clear facewash for over a decade. I usually buy it at Wal-Mart. I googled the manufacturer's site and sure enough there was a Clean & Clear coupon for $2 off any product (and I could print it twice)! Since this is something I will buy whether or not I have a coupon, the coupon (and it's a big one) is just money in my pocket!

Hearing from YOU! Try searching for manufacturers of products you are loyal to or will be buying anyway or found on sale. Leave a comment and share what you find!

Making Plans for Next Week: CVS

I glanced over the CVS ad for next week and found a few things that stood out. I'm sure there are more that I will end up posting later, but here's a quick heads-up.

UPDATE: Links fixed :)

If you didn't get your Kashi cereal at Walgreens last week, you have another chance! Next week at CVS, it's 2/$5.00. You can print off 2 coupons for $2.00 off a box of any Kashi cereal and another 2 coupons for $1.00 off Go Lean Crunch. So you can get 4 boxes of good healthy cereal for $4.00!

If you go on Monday, the fun size candy bars are 2/$3.00. If you haven't already printed this $1.00 off coupon for Nestle LINK UPDATED fun size candy (you can also try this link if the other doesn't work right), you can print off 2 and get 2 bags for $1.00!

There is also a $1.00 off 2 bags of Mars candy that you can print from my side bar (scroll through if you don't see it). Get 2 bags for $2.00! Make sure to go on Monday though! I was only allowed to use one of these coupons per transaction (more than one wouldn't scan), so I had the cashier split my transaction.

You can get some overage with SoyJoy nutrition bars. Next week they are 4/$4.00 and you get $4 EB (ExtraCare Bucks-- printed out at the bottom of receipt for use on next transaction) when you buy four, so it's like getting them free! Apply this $3 off 5 coupon and you'll make some money! 5 bars for $5 - $3 coupon = $2 OOP (out of pocket) + $4 EB! You get the bars for free and come out ahead $2! (thanks Coupon Cravings)

Advil PM Liqui-gels are on sale for $.99. You can print a coupon for $2.00 off any Advil PM. Free Advil PM plus $1 overage! The ad says quantities are limited and there won't be any rainchecks for this one. I had trouble finding this at first. It is in the travel size section since it's just 8 count.

For you locals, the CVS on Mattis and Springfield was out of Mars candy and I couldn't find the Advil. I went to the CVS on Neil and Green and found everything though! The Advil was in the sample section and also up by the register.

My first transaction cost me $.05 out of pocket:

2 bags M&Ms funsize candy 2/$3.00
-$1.00 off 2 bags (see above for link)

2 Advil PM Liqui-gel 8 ct @ $.99 = $1.98
-2 coupons for $2 off Advil PM = -$4.00

The $2 extra from the coupon overage went toward the $2 I had to pay on the candy. I paid five cents tax!

FREE Deodorant plus a dollar!

Find Sure deodorant with this packaging, use this $1.00 off coupon to pay for it, then send in this rebate for the purchase price! (Thanks Be CentsAble!) Since it's a mail in rebate, you will have to pay for a stamp, but the overage from the coupon will more than take care of that, so the deodorant is still free!
You can buy it anywhere, of course, but if you could combine it with this offer at CVS this week (buy $10 in Sure deodorants and Pert Plus shampoo and get $5 EB) , that would be extra cool! It depends on how much the deodorant is, whether or not it would be worth it. (The more expensive, the better.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

FREE (and even better) at CVS This Week (through 10/25)

Stop by CVS and grab some free things this week and make some money as well!

Excedrin Express Gels 20ct $1.99
Coupon for $2.00 off (you can print tiwce)
Get 2 boxes FREE

This one is going to sound funny. My husband doesn't need or want this, but I figure it will make for a good gag/over-the-hill gift for someone. You can make $10 on this one. Read on:

Touch of Gray men's hair treatment $7.99
Coupon for $2.00 off (requires simple registration)
Get $7.99 in Extra Care Bucks (printed out at the bottom of receipt for use on next transaction)
Mail-in Rebate for $8.00
Touch of Gray FREE + $10 overage!

32 oz Powerade $1.69 (limit 1)
Get $1.69 in Extra Care Bucks (printed out at the bottom of receipt for use on next transaction)

Butler GUM 2 pack Toothbrushes $3.99 (limit 5)
Get $3.99 in Extra Care Bucks (printed out at the bottom of receipt for use on next transaction)
These were out at my CVS. I'll check back later in the week.

If you get the Excedrin and Touch of Gray in your first transaction, you can use your EBs to pay for your Powerade and Toothbrushes in your next transaction. You'll get plenty more EBs you can roll into next week's deals!

See the whole CVS ad here

County Market Deals This Week (through 10/25)

There are a couple of sweet deals at County Market this week. You can print a few coupons to make them even sweeter!

Yoplait 6 oz. yogurt, Light, Thick'n Creamy, or Custard: $.39 each (limit 10 per visit)
Coupon for $1.00 off 4 Yoplait Light (you can print twice)
$.39 x 10 = $3.90 - $2.00 = $1.90 for 10 yogurt cups or $.19 each!

Nestle Funsize Candy Bars 2/$3.00
Coupon for $1.00 off a bag (you can print twice)
$1.00 for 2 bags or $.50 each!

Goldkist Whole Chicken $.69/lb (average chicken is 4lb) = $2.7
Don't know what to do with a whole chicken? Put it in the slow cooker until the meat falls off the bone. Use it in your favorite chicken recipe or just out of the pot. It's really easy! There's no complicated carving when you use the slow cooker!

County Market Milk 2/$5.00
This is cheap for County Market, though Aldi is generally the cheapest place for milk. It always seems to be $1.99 there.

I would recommend printing the above coupons even if you don't live near a County Market because they are really good coupons! Hold on to them and check the deals in your area.

To see County Market's ad online go here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Printable Coupons Specifically

Do you feel like you can't be a successful couponer because you don't subscribe to the newspaper? Think again! Here are a few keys to printing coupons online:
  • Many online coupons come directly from the manufacturer's site. More often than not, they will want you to register with them. I have a special email account that I use just for this purpose (I'm partial to Gmail). Then my regular email doesn't get too out of control. It is nice to have all my coupon and special offer mail in the same place.
  • Coupons that don't come directly from the manufacturer's site (as well as many that do) usually require a "coupon printer." The device is very user friendly, safe, and easy to download (as long as it is a reputable coupon site... no promises on the sketchy ones). Once it is downloaded you are good to go. You can click on my sidebar to download the printer. Once you have the coupon printer installed (or maybe even before) you will see all the coupons available at in my sidebar. You can scroll through (or click on "see all coupons") and them and print them directly. They change periodically.
  • Generally, you are allowed to print online coupons twice, though it depends on the coupon. I usually press back or go through the process again to see if I am allowed to print another. If I am, great. If not, it will tell me that I have reached the limit for this coupon. While I know I could find ways around this, I feel it is important to respect this and be honest in printing online coupons. Some stores have decided to not accept printable coupons because of fraud and dishonesty, fortunately, none that I know of in my area. Let's not ruin it for everyone by cheating the system.
  • If you're having trouble installing a coupon printer application or printing from it, try switching browsers. Firefox is my browser of choice, but I have found a few coupons that don't like Firefox (so I reluctantly copy the address into IE and print).
  • Cut out your coupons. This may seem like a no-brainer for the seasoned couponer with binders and filers galore, but a first-timer may not think of it. Not only is it easier for you to organize, your cashier will be much happier, as well.
  • Recycle! Save money and trees by printing your coupons on scrap paper!
  • One good resource for online coupons is Hot Coupon World's database. Put what you are looking for in the box labeled description. Both general ("toothpaste") and specific ("Crest") are fine. You can put in the type of coupon you're looking for (choose "printable" from drop down menu).
If you're new to couponing altogether, read Coupons in General.

Coupons in General

If you're like me (or like I was), you're probably wondering how clipping (or printing) a coupon for some cents off here and there is going to ever make a dent in your grocery bill. For those of you who are skeptical and/or new to the art of couponing, let me explain a few of my secrets:

  • Never use a coupon on an item at regular price. Obviously, $0.35 off a box of granola bars that costs $2.99 is far from a stellar deal. Though every bit helps and will add up eventually, you can do much better. Read on.
  • Wait until the sale price is good (or great) before using your coupons. When your granola bars are on sale 2/$3.00, your $0.35 coupon makes a bigger dent. Matching coupons up with sales is key.
  • Find out if any stores in your area do double or triple coupon days. Stores usually have a maximum amount they will double (i.e. coupons up to $0.50) and sometimes a maximum number of coupons they will double in a transaction (i.e. up to 15 coupons doubled per transaction). Combine this with a sale, and your coupon gets a lot more mileage. Your $2.99 granola bars are now down to $.80 a box.
  • Look for store coupons as well as manufacturer coupons. They can be combined to go toward the same item. This is a great way to get things free (see example of Pert Plus in the previous post). Store coupons can be found on store websites, in their ads, and monthly circulars. Manufacturer coupons can be found online, in newspaper inserts, in magazines, on tearpads or blinkies in the store aisles, or in your mail.
  • Clip and print coupons for any items that your family uses or would use if you got them dirt cheap or free. When you find coupons you're pretty certain you will use, it is much easier (at least for me) to clip or print them when you come across them, than try to find them when the sale actually comes up. If you don't use them, you haven't lost much.
  • Clip all high dollar value coupons. If you scroll through the coupons on the sidebar, for example, you should find some coupons for $1 off Kelloggs cereal. In Utah there were always 10 for $10 cereal deals at one store or another. That would mean free cereal! Here the lowest I have seen it go is 2/$3 (though I've only been here 2 months), but $.50 for a box of cereal is still pretty good! High dollar coupons don't usually get doubled, but they go a long way with sales. But, once again, don't just use the coupon because you have it, even if it has a high value. Wait for the deal to come along.
  • Plan to stock up. When you can legitimately get more than one of a coupon, do it! If you stock up on things you know you'll need and use, you won't have to make extra trips to the store to go buy them at full price. Having a food (and other essentials) storage is a great idea anyway!
  • Don't stress out and overdo it. Though you may have more time than money, don't overspend yourself saving. It's true that every little bit counts.
To you couponing newbies:
Did this all make sense?
What other questions or curiosities do you have?
Are you excited to start saving or still not convinced?

To you seasoned savers:
Did I miss anything?
What other general couponing advice do you have?

Free Shampoo at Walgreens Next Week

Regular size Pert Plus 2-in-1 Shampoo/Conditioner $3.49
-coupon for $2.50 off (from October EasySaver Catalog*)
-coupon for $1.00 off or $1.00 off (you can print 2 of each)

You can print off 2 coupons at each of the above links and grab as many EasySaver catalog coupons as you want, so you can get 4 bottles for free (you might have to pay tax).

*EasySaver catalogs are found on the ad rack at the front of the store. They come out each month and are filled with coupons and rebates. There are plenty at the store on Kirby and Neil in Champaign. The best part is that these coupons can be used in conjunction with manufacturer coupons. Just remember that the number of coupons you use in your transaction cannot exceed the number of items in your order. So, if you use two coupons on this item, you have to have some item (value isn't important) without a coupon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Baby Carrots at Super Target for Free or Very Cheap

photo thanks to

I am sad that there is not a Super Target near where we live in Illinois, but I thought all my friends back in Utah (and any one else near a Super Target) would be able to benefit.

Target has a great coupon for $1 off 1- to 3-lb. bag Green Giant baby carrots (excludes organic). This week a 1 lb. bag is on sale for $.99, though I think they are normally just $1.29. Depending on when you go, the could be free or very cheap. The coolest thing is that there is not a limit of how many coupons you can print! The coupons are good until 11-08-08. It's time to stock up!

Kashi Cereal $.50 a Box!

At Walgreens this week (through Saturday, Oct 18), Kashi cereal is 2/$5. A $2 off coupon makes it $.50! You can print 2 coupons.

Note: This (and many other online coupons) requires you to register with their site. I have a specific email account set up just for this purpose. It will let you print 2 $2 off coupons.

There is also a $1 coupon here that doesn't require any sign up. You can print 2 coupons.

If you don't already have a coupon printer installed, it will prompt you to install it. It is easy to install. This same coupon printing application is used for printing many many coupons online, so it's worth your time and effort.

The limit at Walgreens is 4 boxes. If they don't have any, they will write you a raincheck!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


My first couponing adventure was at Meijer. For those of you who don't live near a Meijer, keep reading. You can't do the first 3 deals listed, but I bet you could find the last three on sale at Wal-mart of you local grocery store and still get them free or super cheap for the printable coupon.

I got all this for $2.44:

Here's the breakdown of what I got and what it cost:

2 boxes of 12 taco shells @ $1.30 each = $2.60
- 2 MealBox coupons for $1.50 off (on page 3) = -$3.00
FREE (+ $.40 overage)

2 boxes of 4-serving Jell-o @ $.64 = $1.28
-1 MealBox coupon for $1.50 off 2 = -$1.50
FREE (+ $.22 overage)

2 boxes of 4-serving Jell-o Pudding @ $.84 = $1.68
-1 MealBox coupon for $1.50 off 2 = -1.50

4 Boxes of Green Giant Boxed Veggies @ $1.00 = $4.00
- 2 coupons for $1.00 on 2 boxes = -$2.00

1 box Honey Bunches of Oats- Just Bunches @ $2.00
- 1 coupon for $2.00 off a box= -$2.00

2 boxes South Beach High Protein Cereal Bars @ $2.00 = $4.00
- 2 coupons for $2.00 off one box = -$4.00

I spent: $2.44 total

I printed more of the jello and taco shell coupons. Mealbox coupons are unlimited. They don't expire for a while (though I think you'll only be able to print them this week). I plan to use a few every time I'm in the store.

CVS and Walgreens: Doing the Drugstore Thing

Drugstores are a whole different animal. I went in to drugstores a few times in college and couldn't believe the ridiculous prices. I had no idea why anyone would go there for pretty much anything... besides drugs. I have recently learned that if you work it right, you can get some great deals.

Each drugstore does their own rewards or money back program. At CVS, they're called "Extra Care Bucks" and Walgreens calls the "Register Rewards." Basically it is free money that prints with your receipt that you can use on your next purchase. It isn't a surprise, like sometimes at the grocery store, though. The weekly ad will tell you if a product qualifies for "EB"s or "RR"s. Many times the reward is worth the same as the price you pay for the item, making it essentially free (though you have to fork over the money initially, and spend money at the store later). It also is not uncommon for you to make money on a transaction by using a coupon (see vitamins and Dimetap below). You have to be smart about how you divide up your transactions to minimize your out of pocket expenditures.

Here are a few examples from my week:

At Walgreens I got:

Royal gelatin 5/$1.00

Dimetapp on sale for $3.99 [also: if you buy 3, you get $10 RR]
I printed 3 coupons for $2 off each one
$1.99 each or $5.97 total

I spent $6.97 (plus tax) and got $10 RR

This was a pretty big spend (though still a great deal, especially considering what it would cost be if I had to run to the stor at 3am for something like this... it's good to have on hand), as far as doing the drugstore thing goes, because it was my initial investment. I will use my $10 RR in the coming weeks for other purchases that will likely also result in additional RR money.

At CVS I made a few transactions (some on different days, others back to back) in order to minimize the out-of-pocket spending.

Transaction #1

2 Nature's Bounty vitamins, buy 1 get 1 Free = $4.99 (earns $2 EB)
-2 coupons for $2.00 off = -$4.00
$.99 (earned $2 EB)

1 CVS bar soap @ $.99 (earns $1 EB)
$.99 (earned $1 EB)

$2 spent, $3 EB earned

Transaction #2

idential to #1: $2 spent, $3 EB earned

Transaction #3

1 Colgate Total Toothpaste @ $3.49 (earns $2 EB)
-1 coupon for $1.50 off
$1.99 (earned $2 EB)

1 Colgate Max Fresh Toothpaste @ $2.99 (earns $2 EB)
-1 coupon for $1.00 off
$1.99 (earned $2 EB)

2 CVS bar soap @ $.99 =$1.98
$1.98 (earned $2 EB)

$0 spent, $6 EB used, $6 EB earned

Transaction #4

Tampax tampons (40ct) plus venus razor, on sale for $5.99 (earns $2 EB)
$5.99 (earned $2 EB)

$0 spent, $6 EB used, $2 EB earned

So at CVS, I spent a little over $4, got everything in the two pictures above, and still have $2 EB in my hand to use in the future!

Please let me know if you have trouble printing any of the coupons I link to on my site. I can help you troubleshoot or fix the link.

Let the Savings Begin!

For the first time in our married life, we are without an income. Mike is in grad school and I'm a stay-at-home mom. Although we've always lived pretty frugally, we'd like to keep the spending down even more since we don't have an income (unless you count student loans)!

I've recently started learning the art of couponing. Like any girl who gets a good deal, I want to tell everyone about it. However, I didn't want to clog up our family blog with all my savings sharing because, let's be honest, everyone who frequents the site just wants to see pictures of our cute little babe. On this blog, I plan to post the stellar deals I find around town, as well as money-saving ideas!