Couponing My Way To The Islands!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

~The CVS Game~

The following is the best explanation that I've found to explain what I call "The CVS Game".

If you are new to couponing, you may wonder why so many people talk about CVS Pharmacy. There are several reasons, but the number one reason is FREE STUFF! Close your eyes and imagine how much money your family would save each year if you never had to pay for soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, razors, deodorant, hair styling products, make up, body wash, lotion or OTC medicines such as Tylenol or Advil. For the average family, that amounts to about $500 a year in savings. If you know how to work CVS, you can stock up on featured items and never pay for toiletries again. PLUS, CVS offers ECBs and CRTs that you can spend on other things such as diapers, snacks or gifts.
CVS Card-Just like many grocery stores, CVS requires a card to enjoy their additional savings.
Knowing the Lingo:
Extra Care Bucks (ECBs)-These are valuable gift certificates that print at the bottom of your receipt. You earn ECBs when you purchase specific items or spend a specific amount of money on a particular manufacture. The ECBs you earn can be spent on ANYTHING in the store with the exception of prescriptions, alcohol, tobacco or gift cards.
Example; Buy Product A for $2.99 and receive *$1 ECBs. Once you purchase item A, the ECBs will print out at the bottom of your receipt. You can use those ECBs on the very next purchase, or save them for later.
*There is also a limit to how many times you can earn ECBs by purchasing item A. The limit usually range from 1-5 times per card.
Cash Register Tape Coupons (CRTs)- These are valuable coupons that print at the bottom of your receipt OR they can be printed at the store's Price Check/Coupon Printer. I love these coupons for 2 reasons; They are generally vague and can be stacked (discussed later) with manufacture coupons.
Example; $2 off any pain reliever or $2 off any facial cleanser. These are very vague and allow you to use them in a variety of ways. "Pain Reliever" can mean Tylenol or an Ice pack! "Facial Cleanser" can mean soap or a wipe! It's all how you (and the cashier) interprets the coupon. Plus, don't forget, you can use a manufacture coupon as well.
**Company Coupon Policy= 1 Store coupon and 1 Manufacture Coupon for each item*
*"Rolling" ECBs- simply put, this means you take the ECBs earned and use them to pay for an item that earns you additional ECBs.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

~Getting Started~

Listed below are a few pointers to the concept of couponing:

1. STOCKPILE - The idea behind this is not simply to get a good deal, but to stockpile. Once you have a stockpile, you will never again have to pay full price for items you use on a regular basis. You can now decide at what price YOU chose to pay - not what the retailers want you to pay.
2. NEWSPAPERS - Buy multiple newspapers. At least for the first few months of building your stockpile, so you have a variety of coupons and many of them to load up on the good deals.
3. BRANDS - Be willing to try new brands to get in on the best deals. There will always be things you just can't bend on, but it's important to try new things and with this, you will see HUGE savings galore.
4. SIZE DOES MATTER - A larger size may be less expensive, but the smaller item may be FREE after Q. I always bought in bulk (larger packages)...until now. Why get something cheaper when you can get it free? The idea is to diminish your OOP (out of pocket) and spend as little of your hard earned cash as possible.
5. ORGANIZE - Be organized. Sort your Q's. I use a binder filled with baseball card inserts so I can easily flip through and see (very quickly) what Q's I have available. Also, have your q's ready when you get to the register.
6. EDUCATE YOURSELF - Make sure you learn the stores coupon policy.
8. GIVE IT TIME! - Allow yourself 3 months of doing this before you give up. Once you start saving big, you will become addicted! It is work, but so worth it. Each week presents a new challenge for me!

~Great Household Tips~

Listed below are some great household tips. I've done a couple of them, but plan on trying many of them. Thanks Tiff for sending these to me.

Reheat Pizza: Heat up leftover pizza in a non-stick skillet on top of the stove,set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works. Mona, Orlando, FL
Easy Deviled Eggs: Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly,cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg.Just throw bag away when done easy clean up. Janet, Killeen, TX
Expanding Frosting: When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar/calories per serving.Kathy, Mesick, MI
Reheating refrigerated bread: To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster. Dave, Camden, DE ***********************************************
Newspaper weeds away: Start putting in your plants,work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers Linda, Monmouth Jct., NJ
Broken Glass: Use a dry cotton ball to pick up little broken glass pieces of glass-the fibers catch ones you can't see! Olive, Santee, CA
No More Mosquitoes: Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away. Diane, Moran, SC
Squirrel Away: To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it. Kathy, Maumelle, AR
Bike Verification: If you purchase a new bike for your child, place their picture inside the handle bar before placing the grips on. if the bike is stolen and later recovered,remove the grip and there is your proof who owns the bike. Janet, Carthage, IL
Flexible vacuum: To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings. Donna, Anderson, SC
Reducing Static Cling: Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and -voila - static is gone. Pam, Maple Rapids, NH
Measuring Cups: Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill it with hot water.Dump out the hot water, but don't dry the cup.Add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out. Kim, Goldsboro, NC
Foggy Windshield: Hate foggy windshields? Put a chalkboard eraser in the glove box of your car.When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth! Alicia, Tampa, FL
Reopening Envelope: If you seal an envelope, then realize you forgot to include something inside,just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two.Voila! It unseals easily. Mary, Lockhart, TX
Conditioner: Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's a lot cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair...Kerry, Canada
Goodbye Fruit Flies: To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass fill it 1/2" with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid, mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever! Barbra, Birch Run, MI
Get Rid of Ants: Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it "home,"& can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, esp. if it rains, but it works & you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed! Teresa, Mitchell, SD
Take baby powder to the beach: Keep a small bottle of baby powder in your beach bag. When your ready to leave the beach sprinkle yourself and kids with the powder and the sand will slide right off your skin.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

~Home Economist~

Since becoming a "Home Economist", I have changed many things (rather habits) in order to live more economically. In doing so, we've also tried to preserve the earth and go as "green" as possible on some things that we would not have thought of previously. Listed below are a few things that we do in our home to save money and the environment. Enjoy!

*Use florescent light bulbs

*Use rechargeable batteries (when possible)

*Unplug most all items not in use (t.v. & computer stay plugged in)

*Keep the thermostat at 66 in the winter (yes, it's cold)

*Turn the water off when brushing teeth

*Recycle all paper, junk mail and plastics each week

*Re-use the junk mail envelopes

*Use canvas grocery bags when possible

-Or re-use the plastic grocery bags as trash bags in the bathrooms

*Installed wind turbines on our new home

*Installed solar screens at our previous home (currently checking into it for new home)

*Had "green" carpet installed (environmentally friendly "Eco" carpet)

*Only wash large loads of laundry (if possible)

*Hang dry most clothing

*Recycle all fast food styrofoam cups

*During the summer months, I reuse the bath water to water the trees and flowerbeds (my hubby thinks it is a bit extreme :)

*Fill up the humidifier with the cold water while waiting for the bath water to warm up.

*Use the PUR water filter on the kitchen faucet instead of purchasing bottled water

*Donate to Helping Hands

*Host garage sales

*Shop garage sales for pre-owned toys. (I only buy the large plastic toys that I can disinfect.)

*Try to fill the cars up with gasoline in the early mornings
*Only run large loads in the dishwasher
*Don't throw anything of any value away....Either sell it or donate it!

Friday, January 23, 2009

~Target Clearance Deals~

Today my little lady and I were out shopping and decided to go to Target. My little lady LOVES to shop! Luckily, she is content with Wal-mart, Target and Kroger :)
These are some of my awesome finds today. So glad I had my coupon binder with me!
Pampers (I normally don't buy these, but they were cheaper than my regular ones)
Reg. $25 sale $21.25 - $1.50 = $19.75 (roughly .18 per diaper!)
(2) Blink Tears
Reg. $9.19 sale $4.58 -$4 q=.58 cents each
Crystal Light 3 pack
Reg. $7 sale $5.95
Listerine Value Pack
Reg. $5 sale $4.25-.75 q=$3.50 for 3 bottles ranging in size
(3)Garnier Fructis Conditioner
Reg. $2.99 sale $1.48-$1 q=.48 cents each
Pledge Dusters
Reg. $2.99 sale $2.05-$1 q=$1.05
Lysol wipes
Reg. $2.54-$1 q=$1.54
Gold Fish Double Pack
Reg. $5 sale $3.50

In the end my retail would have been $65, but I only paid $36!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

~Kroger 2nd trip in 2 Days!~

I had to hit Kroger's big sale again today and even found a few deals that I could not pass up!
Here are the highlights:
(10)Rotel-.37 each
(6) Kraft cheese products-$1.49 each
(2) Sun Maid Raisin Bags-$2-$1 q=$1.50 each
Bag of apples-$3.99
Chex bag=$1.69-$1 q-.60 q=.09 cents!
(2) Tropicana Orange Juice=$2.50-$1=$2.00 each
Mission Tortillas=$1-.55= .45 cents
(6)Kleenex=$1.07-.55 off 3 (2 q's)=less than .70 cents each
Ken's Ranch Dressing=$1.49-.75 q=.75 cents
Family Pack Meat-Reg. $13.90....Manager's special for $7.34 ($1.19 lb)!
Family Pack Chicken-Reg. $5.60....special $2.38
(11) Suave Shampoos Closeout=.77 cents + several ($1-$2q's)= paid .07 cents-.27 cents per bottle!
(3) Blistex=$1.09-.75 q =.34 cents each

I'm only listing the sale prices above, not retail. My retail total $102....After all of the q's went flying, I owed them $42.26! I saved $58.94 by combining all my q's and the store sale. You are probably wondering if I really need that much shampoo? Yes, eventually we will use it all! The trick is to buy in bulk when you can get it super cheap or almost free. So, we have a ton of toilet paper, toothpaste, Kleenex and shampoo. All things that we will use and it is so nice to not have to buy them but about once a year! Also, I just realized I should have bought 4 more items and I could have saved an additional $5!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

~CVS deal in November~

CVS:2 Stayfree pads $3.99 -$2 cash back=$1.99 each - $2 q = .99 cents each

1 Palmolive dish soap $1.49 - $1 cash back = .49cents -.75 coupon = FREE + they owed me .26 cents!!!

2 Bayer aspirin 2 for $3.00 - $2.00 q's= $1

Garnier hair product $2.99 - $2 cash back = .99 cents - $1.00 q = FREE + .01 cents

Basically, I had to spend roughly $14, but they turned around and gave me $10 back on a gift card. So, all of this for $4! This should be illegal (my mom is still questioning if it is or not)!!!

~Kroger meat sale in November~

*This is what it looked like once I separated it all!
I went to Kroger's big meat sale in November and it was a hit! I got $52.59 worth of roasts, chops and burger meat for $21.77
4 roasts
1 family pack of chops
2 family pack of burger meat
After separating all of it, I have enough meat for 24 meals. (not including left overs)I was soooo excited *\0/*.......It is almost February and we are just now needing more meat!
Totals =$51.?? (meats and other groceries)
Saved $66.52!

~CVS in January~

This was my CVS trip on Tuesday. I had an ECB about to expire, so I thought I would get a few items.

(2) Dawn concentrated dish soap $1.99-BOGO-(2) .50 cent q's=.50 each

(2) Maybelline mascara=$5.99-$3q-$3q=FREE+ overage

My total was only $1.06, but I needed to use the $2 ECB so I added the gum for $2.99-.75q and my grand total was $1.32 out of pocket!!!

This was a great buy last week!

(2) Cottenelle=$1.19-$1.00 q=.19 each

(3) Special K=$2.67-$1 q=$1.67 each

Milk $3-special buy 3 cereals get milk for= FREE!

Fruit bars =$2.

I also had an additional $1.60 coupons added to my loyalty card. I can't find my receipt to see how much I saved exactly, but I only spent $5.13!

~Quartly Totals for 2008~

Listed below are the totals that I saved by combining coupons along with store sales and comp ads during 2008.


As you can see....I'm well on my way to that tropical island!

~Kroger in January~

*This receipt was almost the entire width of my kitchen table!
*Hopefully you can see everything! My entire table was full and my buggy was loaded!

Kroger is having an amazing sale starting today, so me and my little lady went shopping! They are having the "buy 10 participating items and get $5 off total", which makes some of the items super cheap. The list is too long to explain, but here is the picture of it all along with totals. I will try to hit the highlights as best I can....Enjoy!
(6) Kraft cheese $1.49 each
Tyson chicken bag $6.99-$1 q= $5.99
(2) Lays chips $1.77 each
(2) Totinos pizza rolls $2.49-1.05q=$1.44 each
(6) Yogurt.60 each=$3.60 -.80q-$1 q=$1.80 or .30 cents each
(3) Green Giant Veggies=.99-$1 q = FREE! +I made $1 from loyalty q's!!!
(2) Act II popcorn=$2.09 -.80 q =$1.29 each
(2) Kraft cracker= $2.79-BOGO=$2.79 for both
(2) Glade =.48 cents each - $1 q=FREE!
(3) Bounty paper towels=$1.03-.75q-.25=.28 each for 2 and .03 cents for 1!
(2) Raisins=$2 -$1 q=$3 for 2 packages
(2) Nature Valley bars=2.18-$1.00=$1.18 for 1 and $2.18 for the other 1
(2) Ziplock bags=$2.09-BOGO-.80=.65 each
(2) Burritos=$3-$1=$2.50 each
(3) Pudding=$1 each
(10)Rotel=.37 each
Grapes=$1.99 per lb
(2) Sara Lee bread=$2.29-BOGO=$1.14 each
(2) Captain Crunch=$1.99-$1 q=.99 each
Salsa=$1.49-.75 q=.75 cents
My original total was $134.66 then I handed her my huge stack of q's..... After the dust had cleared my total was $58.93...Which means that I saved $75.73! I purchased 60 items for less than $60!

Walgreens deal in November


3 Pork n beans-(reg .79 each, I think?)= .39 cents

2 Bic Soleil Razor-(reg. 5.99 each)....used a Wags $3 q + $3 man q = FREE +they owed me .01 cent!!!!

2 Mascara- (reg. 4.49 each)...BOGO sale plus (2) $1.00 man q=$2.49

2 Excedrin- (reg. $6.99 each)...BOGO sale plus (2) $2 man q = $2.99

TOTAL OOPS (Out of pocket spending)= $6.50


~Kroger in November~

10 Hefty bags after sale and promo & coupon=.80 cents each

10 Tyson Chicken Breast packages=After promo sale= .79 cents per pound

Eggs= reg. price
diapers-reg. price $6.99

carrots promo sale= .49 cents per bag
Total spent $44 and SAVED $84!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kroger in November

Total Paid $25.01.....Saved $39.07!!!!

From the pic these are my deals:

1 pack cottonelle reg. $1.19 (.25 q tripled to .75 + .50 e q)= FREE +.06

1 pack cottonelle reg. $1.19 (.50 q doubled to $1) = .19 cents - .06 (from above) = .13 cents

1 box cereal-reg. price 2.68

1 box croutons reg. $1.59 (sale for $1.25)

1 box croutons (bogo coupon)=FREE (plus the register gave me $1.59 off, so I made .34 cents)

4 powerade reg. $1.?? (sale for $1 each, but .50cents each after my $5 back for participating items)

turkey reg. $1.99 lb (sale .39 cent per pound) was almost $12, got it for $3.84

Bounty paper towel reg. $1.29 (.25 q tripled to .75 + .25 e q) = .29 cents

2 Pillsbury cresent rolls reg. ?? on sale $1.67 (.25 q tripled + .50 cent off e q)=.37 cents each(I think)

Veg All veggies reg. $1.35 on sale for $1.25 (.35 q tripled to $1.05) = .20 cents

3 Colgate toothpaste reg. $2.19 sale for $1.50 ($1 q + .50 after part. item) = FREE

3 cookie mix reg. $2.29 sale for 2.00 (.40 q doubled + .50 after part. item)=.70 cents each

2 camp soups reg. $1.15 sale for .75 (.40 q doubled for 2)= .35 cents each

2 milk reg. $3 sale for $2.50 each

Kraft dressing $2.19 no sale

Kraft dressings $2.19 ($1 q off 2) = $1.19

blue bonnet .71 cent (no sale)

The Mommy of a Princess=The Queen!

I'm the mommy to a beautiful little Princess that is 2 years old. I became a full-time stay-at-home mommy in June of 2008. We made some huge sacrifices to be able to fulfill what we believe to be God's plan for our family. We sold our home, lived in a condo temporarily, looked for a new home for 6 months and then finally....God revealed the perfect home for us. We remodeled it (still are) and are loving living here. The best part is that I get to fulfill my "God dream" of sowing a seed into my most precious miracle.
I'm starting this blog because I am a big couponer. I get stopped in the grocery stores and pharmacies with people asking questions as to how I do it. I don't have time to explain it to everyone, but I thought it would be fun to share some of my savings success stories.
I started getting serious about couponing in September (that is when I no longer received a check). My goal is to save enough money each month for one year to pay for our tropical vacation (hence the background).
My husband of 7.5 years is the greatest man that I've ever met! Dreams do come true and my life is proof. Jeff is amazed and loves to see and hear about my savings. He is excited about our island vacation too! We've been on a tropical vacation each year that we've been married. We have taken our daughter with us that past 2 years. She loves the beach and waves :)
I'm looking forward to #8!