Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday's Mini-trips

I haven't done any big shopping trips lately because I've been so busy, but today I couldn't resist using up a couple coupons on a few sales that were about to end. I went to CVS and Walgreens. At CVS I used the $10 ECB from last Friday's trip to get a box of U by Kotex ($3.99 after this printable), some hair rollers($5.49), and some chocolate to take up the rest of the $10. I paid $1.42 in tax and that's it. The best part is I got $4.99 back in ECBs from purchasing the Kotex product and I got a surprise coupon for $4 off my next order of $20 or more!! I saved over $11 this trip and got $9 in coupons for future use!

At Walgreens this week Covergirl cosmetics were on sale buy 1 get 1 half off so I went in to use the coupons I got from my CVS trip last week from the Tampax packages. Each coupon was for $5 off any two Covergirl products. Walgreens also had a few Pilot pens on sale for $0.99 each and I had a coupon for $1/1 which made them free! I got everything pictured here for $5.95 before taxes. Nothing amazing, but still a $16 savings.

This wasn't the best week for couponing and everything, but I couldn't resist getting in on just a couple deals. It looks like it could be a few weeks before any awesome deals come up, but we'll see :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How I Find Deals

My friend Stephanie asked what kind of sites I use to find great deals so I thought I'd take a little time to explain my process. Quite honestly, I rely pretty heavily on many, many amazing blogs. Some of my favorites for finding deals are Money Saving Mom, My Frugal Adventures, and Pinching Your Pennies. The women at Money Saving Mom and My Frugal Adventures post a lot of great advice about combining sales with coupons, freebies, freezer-cooking, and even fun projects to do with your kiddos! I mainly use Pinching Your Pennies for their forums that have grocery lists. The lists lay out the current sales by store and then show you the price after any coupons are used. I use the lists for the local grocery stores and for Walgreens and CVS. Walgreens and CVS have their own incentive programs that take a little while to learn. You can read up on it here.

A friend of mine gave me and another friend of mine a tutorial on how to use these resources, which was SUPER helpful! But it really is one of those things you kind of have to pick up on your own. I have started branching out into reading other types of blogs focused around saving money while still eating right, having fun, etc. I use Life as Mom, $5 Dinners, and Good Cheap Eats for recipes, advice on freezer cooking, and random other helpful advice.

All of these sites have a ton of really helpful information, tips, and advice on how to save money while still living well. These sites don't catch every single deal out there, so I usually do a little investigating of my own whenever I go into the stores to see what else I can get :) A little extra work in reading these blogs, planning, and shopping is really paying off. I'm always looking for new ways to save. What do you do to keep more of your hard-earned cash in your own pocket?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A few weeks' worth of Freebies!

Everything seen in this picture was 100% free in one way or another. There were several other things that I have gotten free, such as additional coupons, another box of Pop-Tarts, more toothpaste, more feminine care products, lotion samples, and coffee samples that just didn't make it into the picture. Everything except for the Purex, all, and U by Kotex samples I got from getting in on sales and using coupons. But every week I sign up for samples and coupons to be mailed to me through various places like Wal-Mart and manufacturer's websites. It's a quick way to pick up a few extra deals!

I'm not trying to brag, I just wanted to show you how a little extra work in clipping coupons can really pay off!!

A Little Friday Couponing

So I got the crazy idea to go through my coupon book while Elijah was napping and kind of remind myself what I had in there. The bad news is that I found about 50 expired coupons and a lot more that are going to expire in just a few days! The good news is that I can donate expired coupons to military bases overseas so they won't go to waste, AND I had a little spare time today so I got to go around town checking out what deals I could get in on with my soon-to-expire coupons. I realize that I am getting to be borderline obsessive with the coupons. I clip them from the paper every week, search for them online, and even fill out those annoying surveys on manufacturer's websites just to save a dollar! But on days like this it is totally worth it!

First I went to CVS and got all of this stuff for $1.99 before tax and about $4 total. (The tax was so much because I still have to pay tax on the items that I got for free.)

In order to get these great deals I used a combination of Extra Care Bucks and coupons. I had $5 ECBs from a previous transaction to start with.

Transaction 1: Spent $3.89 after tax and saved about $15 off sale prices
John Frieda Shampoo and Conditioner - 2 for $10 plus $5 back in ECBs.
Used two $2.50/1 coupons and $5 ECB from previous transaction
Free after ECBs and coupons.

Stridex - $3.49
Used $1/1 coupon ---> $2.49 after coupon.
(Plus there was another $1/1 coupon inside)

Transaction 2: Spent $0.36 after tax and saved almost $30 off sale prices
Pop-Tarts - $2.79
Used coupon for one free box that I received by participating in the Flavor Rewards program.
Free after coupon.

Tampax - 2 for $5
Used a $1/1 and $2/1 coupon along with the 5 ECBs from purchasing the John Freida products.
Free plus overage after coupons and ECBs!
(Plus... two of the three boxes came with $5 coupons for Covergirl!)

Feeling pretty good about my shopping experience at CVS, I decided to go to Fry's. I got all of this for $6.30 after tax. I saved $14.71 or 71%!!!

Viva paper towels - $2.17
Used $1/1 coupon---> $1.17 after coupon

Bounty paper towels - $1.19
Used $1/1 coupon---> $0.19 after coupon

(2) Oral-B toothbrushes - $1.00 each
Used $1/2 coupon---> $0.50 each after coupon.

(2) Ivory bar soap - $1.00 each
Used two $1/1 coupons---> Free after coupons.

(4) Gerber 3rd foods - 3 for $2
Used $0.75/4 coupon---> $1.92 for all 4 jars

(4) Gerber 2nd foods - $0.55 each
Used $0.75/4 coupon---> $1.45 for all 4 jars

And so after a quick trip to CVS and Fry's I spent roughly $10.55 for all of this!!!

If I had paid the sale prices on these items I would have paid $24.02. I saved over 50% off of the sale prices of these items, but if I had paid retail for this stuff I would have spent about $80 which means a savings of 87%!! So thank you to Tara who taught me how to use coupons, Briana for being my coupon buddy, and Money Saving Mom, Pinching Your Pennies, and My Frugal Adventures for the heads up on great deals!! In the next few days I'll try to post a picture of all the stuff that I've gotten for free over the past few weeks. :) Even though I was skeptical of couponing at first, I am totally a believer now. I would recommend it to anyone.