Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back in Business

It's been a crazy week, I was out of town all last week and I'm just now starting to settle back into my routine. We did our weekly King Soopers shopping trip, made a stop at Safeway, and went to Walgreens on Sunday. I'll be going to Rite-Aid and Target later on this week. Here's the totals so far this week:
Total spent: $50.92
Total sale and coupon savings: $65.07 (56%)

I totally goofed on my Walgreens order this week, forgot to have them scan an in-ad coupon AND forgot to grab filler items so that I could use my RR from last week :(. My DH is going to return and re-buy some of my items, as well as pick up some more RR items (and use RR from last week to pay for it). Even with the snafus, we didn't do half bad:
Total spent: $11.01
Total sale and coupon savings: $6.20 (36%)
Total savings after RR: $9.19 (45%)

King Soopers
It was a quiet week at King Soopers, but I still got a few good deals. I got a few goodies in the mail while I was gone, including a coupon for a free bag of Ore-Ide sweet potato fries (my favorite). Here's a few more of my favorites from the week
  • Raspberries are on sale for $1/box this week, paired up with the Driscoll's coupon makes them FREE.
  • Santa Cruz organic lemonades are on sale for $1.25 each, pair up with the Santa Cruz coupon makes them $0.25 each!
Total spent: $40.96
100% savings is a beautiful thing.
Total sale and coupon savings: $33.67 (43%)

We don't normally do any grocery shopping at Safeway. However, this week you can score FREE Jack Daniels BBQ sauce.

        Jack Daniels BBQ sauce normally $3.15 each
        On sale for $0.99 each
       -$0.55/1 (SS 5/08) - doubles to $0.99
      =FREE BBQ sauce

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Walgreens Paid Me!

It was a HUGE week at Walgreens. Here's what I scored this week
  • 2 bottles of Tone body wash
  • 2 12 oz bottles of Complete contact lens solution
  • 2 packages of hair ties
  • 4 packages of panty liners
  • 1 box of Bayer asprin
  • 2 boxes of Tylenol Precise cream (I know, we needed more, right?)
  • 2 packages of Oscar Mayer hot dogs
  • 2 packages of Haribo gummy candy
  • 5 Nestle candy bars
  • 3 boxes of aluminum foil
  • 1 Listerine whitening mouthwash
Here are my grand totals:
Next week's shopping fund
Total spent: $17.91
Total coupon and sale savings: $63.79 (78%)
Total savings after RR: $91.79 (112%)
This means that after RR, Walgreens actually paid me $10.09 to take this stuff out of their store. Even after taxes, I made $5.16 by shopping today! Better yet, I checked out with my favorite Walgreens cashier at the store by my work today. She is always very friendly and was absolutely blown away by how much I saved today.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Productive Saturday

My washer and dryer actually
match now!

       I leave for my trip tomorrow, so the pressure was on to get most of my errands done today. The first task of the day was to get rid of our old dryer (that finally died earlier this week) and switch it out for one that my dad and stepmom are letting us use for the time being.
       Since we were rearranging anyways, I cleaned out the laundry room AND moved the location of our stockpile. The personal/household items stockpile is getting full very quickly. Once I get back from the trip, I think I will clean out underneath our bathroom sink so we can start stockpiling things there as well.  
       After we had finished with rearranging the laundry room, it was off to the grocery store. I usually grocery shop early on Sunday mornings, but between working Sunday morning and leaving town Sunday night, I figured my plate was going to be pretty full already. I do plan to make a Walgreens stop on my way home tomorrow afternoon, as there are a TON of great deals this week. Here's the lowdown on our weekly King Soopers trip:

Total spent: $22.48
Total coupon and sale savings: $45.55 (67%)

       It was a small trip, as we just got a few fresh items for my husband and stocked up on a few good deals. My favorite deal of the week was on Wisk detergent. Originally priced at $8.19 each, on sale for $3.99. Use the $2/1 MQ (5/15 RP) makes them $1.99 each. It looks like there will be a decent deal on ketchup once tomorrow's coupons come out (those who know me know we go through a LOT of ketchup in our house), so I'm pretty excited for that. My husband will probably be making a Monday or Tuesday stop to stock up on that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

In the Mail

I received another freebie in the mail today, a coupon for a free box of Cottonelle Fresh flushable wipes (still available)

After 7 weeks of couponing, I am finally starting to start getting samples/freebies in the mail. Here's what I've gotten in the mail so far this week:
  • Atkins start kit (still available)
  • Gillete Fusion ProGlide Razor (no longer available)
And both came with coupons, of course!

Something for Me!

With all the great deals lately on men's deodorant and bodywash, I was starting to feel a little left out. As much as I love couponing for other people (especially charity) and sharing great finds with friends and family, sometimes it's nice to get something for yourself. My RiteAid trip this week was all about me.
Total spent: $13.96
Total coupon and sale savings: $46.35 (77%)
Total savings after +UP and SCR: $55.35 (92%)
My favorite score was on the Almay foundation. I am picky when it comes to foundation, and this is the foundation I've been using lately. But at $13.50+ per bottle, it can get pretty expensive. I didn't even have any coupons for Almay, but they were buy 1, get 1 50% off. Plus, I could get a $2 SCR for each that I bought. This brought them down to about $8 each.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday Shopping Wrapup

Yesterday was our weekly grocery shopping trip to King Soopers, and I went to Walgreens as well. Here are our totals:
Total spent: $35.91
Total coupon and sale savings: $130.08 (79%)

King Soopers
Total spent: $28.55
We donated all of this! 

Total sale and coupon savings: $79.55 (73%) 

This was probably the cheapest week we've had yet at King Soopers! We paid $30.22 out of pocket, including sales tax.  And again, I feel like we have more than enough food for the week, plus we stockpiled some more essentials. But the best part of the trip? We scored another 18 POUNDS of pasta to donate to our local food pantry.
I am going to be gone most of next week, so our next shopping trip will probably just be easy meals that my husband can make for himself while I'm away (unless there are any great deals for my stockpile). Once I get back, I would LOVE to try out freezer cooking, and see if this is a strategy that would save us both time and money.

Total spent: $7.36
Total sale and coupon savings: $50.53 (88%)
Total savings after RR: $57.53 (99%) 
It was another great week at Walgreens! Lots of freebies and great deals this week. I used a $4 and $5 RR to pay for part of my order, but got a $3 and $4 RR back! 
I was very excited to find the Sally Hansen Hard as Nails polish were on clearance for $1.09 each. I have 4 $1/1 MQs, which made these $0.09 each.
I checked out at the cosmetics counter for the first time, which I think I will be doing from now on if I can. The cashier was great, even when we ran into trouble with the Scotch magic tape deal. The manager at this store was very accommodating and we got through our transaction without any problems. I will probably be going back to Walgreens to get a few deals that either weren't in stock or I didn't have the coupons on hand for. I am also planning on visiting RiteAid today, so I will try to update later this evening with my finds.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Walmart Deals and Freebies

I had read a report of possible free Purex laundry detergent at Walmart this week, and that in combination with a few more freebies was enough incentive for me to plan a trip. I have also been on a quest for cheap long-sleeve white shirts to wear during an ecology study I will be doing in the Sonoran desert in a few weeks. This is not the time of year to be looking for long-sleeve shirts, but I thought I might be able to find something at Walmart. Here's what I scored.
  •  2 3-packs of Ivory bar soap
  • 4 pack of AA Rayovac batteries
  • Noxema bikini razors
  • 2 white shirts
Total spent: $7.88
Total coupon and clearance savings: $17 (69% savings)

Price tags both say $5,
but one actually rang up at $3

I was pretty bummed to find that the Purex detergent I thought I'd be able to get wasn't on sale. I don't even use this brand of detergent, but I was hoping to score a bunch (I had 6 coupons!) to donate. I will be donating the bar soaps I picked up, and will be able to buy quite a few more boxes of pasta at the King Soopers mega event again this weekend that I will donate as well.
It looks like it's gonna be a fairly slow week at both Walgreens and RiteAid this week, and while I'll stop by to pick up the freebies, I'm probably going to slow down on couponing a little this week and give myself some much-needed time to relax. I will update tomorrow after our weekly grocery shopping trip.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Walgreens Finds

I found some great stuff at Walgreens this week, but unfortunately I encountered a LOT of rude staff. I think there are a lot more people couponing now after the TLC show, so maybe cashiers are just losing patience with people? I don't know what the deal is, but I stuck to my guns and got my deals at the end of the day. Here's how it played out.

Total spent: $10.43
Total saved: $65.18 (86%)
Everything except one item I bought was free after coupons. Here's what I got this week:
  • 5 packages of Carefree panty liners: $0.99 each, used $1/1 MQ from the 5/8 SS
  • 7 packages of Tylenol Precise: $7.99 each, used the Walgreens coupon (found in the May coupon booklet) for $3 off, and used $5/1 MQ from the 5/8 SS
  • 1 bottle of Act mouthwash: $6.99, used a printable $2/1 MQ
Updated Stockpile Pictures
I think we are set on Tylenol Precise for a looooooong time.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

How to get coupons

As I've been talking to more and more people about my couponing adventures, one of the most common questions I'm comming across is "where do you find all these great coupons?" There are lots of sources to find great coupons, both in print and online.
Right now I subscribe to two Sunday newspapers. The number of coupon inserts will vary from week to week, but you can expect at least one, and sometimes up to five, booklets every week. I also ask anyone I know who subscribes to the paper but doesn't coupon if I can have their coupons. I've also been able to score coupons from my work, where there are often several copies of the Sunday paper laying around. The most common booklets you'll find in the paper are Red Plum and Smart Source, but sometimes Proctor and Gamble or other manufacturers will put out booklets as well.
Walgreens and RiteAid have their own store coupons that they print every week. These come in the newspaper as well, and can also be found at the front of the store. These store coupons can be stacked with manufacturer coupons, so I like to grab a copy of the store coupons when I head in to shop.
Some other sources of print coupons are catalinas found in grocery and drugstores. These are the coupons that print out after you check out that are good for money off your next purchase.
There are TONS of coupons to be found online. The great thing about sites like Southern Savers is that they will link you directly to the website where the coupon can be found. But if you're in the mood just to see what's out there, here are some websites to check out:
  • Coupons.com
  • Redplum
  • Recyclebank: this website is more of a movement than just a regular old coupon site. It began as a way to encourage people to start recycling more by giving them rewards for their recycling. However, there are lots of ways you can earn points on this site if your community recycling program isn't a part of Recyclebank. This site often has coupons that can't be found anywhere else. (Disclaimer: the link I've provided is my own personal referral link, which means I'll receive points for anyone who signs up through this link).
  • Smart Source
  • Manufacturer websites: many manufacturers will post coupons on their websites. You can also sign up for their e-mail lists (I created a separate folder in my Gmail for these emails so they don't bog down my inbox) so you can be notified when new coupons are added.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Late Night Freebies

After reading about some of the great freebies I somehow missed earlier this week, my husband and I decided to head out to a couple stores after dinner. First we went to Walgreens, where we had one of my most favorite cashier moments yet. We got 6 bottles of the Right Guard body wash, which is B1G1 at Walgreens this week. We then used 3 B1G1 MQs (RP 5/01) to make them COMPLETELY FREE! The cashier, however, was a little confused when we went to check out. Here is a brief summary of our conversation:
Cashier: "You can't use these, because these are already B1G1."
Me: "Really? Because I'm pretty sure your coupon policy says that you can."
Cashier: "You're going to try to get all of these for free aren't you?"
Me: "Yup. That's the plan anyways."
And lo and behold, when he scanned the coupons they did indeed go through. So all we paid was sales tax :)
Total spent (without tax): $0.00
Total sale and coupon savings: $29.94
This was a good lesson that you should ALWAYS know your store's coupon policy (I may consider printing out the policies of the stores I shop at the most to keep in my coupon file).
Next, we headed to Walmart. We scored 2 packs of disposable razors, 2 travel size toothpastes, and a 4-pack of batteries, all FREE. No snarky cashier here though :)
Total spent (without tax): $0.00
Total sale and coupon savings: $6.85

Successful charity shopping trips, plus a few things for me.

First stop of the day was to Walmart to pick up Ivory soap for free. I got 4 3-packs of bar soap.
Total spent: $0.21
Total coupon savings: $4 (95%)

Then it was on to King Soopers for my pasta bargain, plus a few other things. I was bummed to find out that my store didn't carry one of the varieties of pasta I was planning on getting, so I had to do some fidgeting with the shopping plan while I was in the store. Most of the items I bought today were part of the "Buy 10, get $5 off instantly" mega event, so I had to buy in increments of 10 items to get the best price. I ended up getting:
  • 3 bags of Boulder Canyon potato chips
  • 1 Freschetta pizza
  • 16 boxes of pasta
  • 1 bag of cat litter
Total spent: $11.59
Total coupon and sale savings: $41.60 (78%)

However, a large chunk of my out of pocket cost for this trip was the cat litter (which we unexpectedly ran out of, and I had to get more). But as I was looking for the best deal on cat litter, I found this rebate for World's Best Cat Litter. So once I receive my rebate for the cat litter, the King Soopers trip breaks down to:

Total spent: $3.00
Total coupon and sale savings: $41.60 (93%)

So after I returned from my shopping trips today, I decided to gather everything together that I was going to donate and head over to Longmont's OUR center. Here's what they received today:
  • 14 boxes of pasta
  • 4 3-packs of Ivory soap bars
  • 5 toothbrushes
  • Several travel sized toothpastes and floss
I spoke with the man who was processing donations today, and he said that lately they've been feeding 300 people a day at the kitchen, and serving 180 families through the food bank. I am so glad I could do something, even if it was small, to help these guys out! I will absolutely be donating here again.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Giving Back

It's been a little over a month since I've started couponing in earnest, and I really think it's change my mindset about money and our lifestyle. There is so much to be said for the peace of mind you feel when your finances are in order, and being able to handle emergencies and other unexpected expenses. I think that couponing, along with sticking to a strick budget, is going to be the path for us.
With that being said, I think that using coupons can do even more. I was able to print off 15 $1 off 2 coupons for a brand of pasta that's on sale at King Soopers this week. The pasta is $0.50/box, so with these coupons every single box will be free. That will net me 30 BOXES of pasta, which is probably more than my husband and I eat in a year (not to mention it's whole grain pasta, which I'm still trying to convince my husband won't kill him). I will have to make 2 separate King Soopers trips to buy this pasta due to their coupon limits, but it is totally worth it to me. I have found a very worthwhile charity in my community that I have decided to donate most of this pasta to. Once I decided I was going to donate, I started looking for more freebies that I might not normally go for, and found a few other things that I'm going to try to score for my donation this week.
Despite how stressful our finances can be at times, we have been truly blessed with good jobs, good education, and supportive friends and family. We have never found ourselves in a truly dire situation, and I'd like to think that if we did, there would be someone there to help us out. I know there are people in our community, however, who are not as fortunate as us, and I would love to know that I could do something, even if it's small, to give them some peace of mind.

What a coincidence, I just happened to see that next week is the official Couponing for Community week. Even more inspiration to try to grab some great deals to donate!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

King Soopers, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid Trips

Today was our weekly grocery shopping trip, and we also stopped at Walgreens and Rite-Aid to grab some of the great deals this week.
Total spent: $78
Total savings (after all RR, +UP, sale, and coupons): $133.85 (63%) 
King Soopers
A pretty small trip this week (especially for us!), but I feel like we got everything we needed for the week.
 I am LOVING the Driscoll's berries coupons right now. I got two $0.50 off coupons when I registered with them, then I made my husband register with them as well for two more. Then this morning (since it is now officially May!) I got two more $0.50 coupons because it's my birthday this month! With our grocery store doubling MQs up to $1, this has made for some really great deals on berries. Today I got a full pound of strawberries for $0.50. Find this great offer here.
Total spent: $29.97
Total sale and coupon savings: $21.30 (41%)
Good deals at Walgreens this week, including a few freebies. The picture is from my second Walgreens trip of the day, after I realized that I forgot a few freebies the first time around.

Total spent: $20.33
Total sale and coupon savings: $55.19 (73%)
Total savings after RR: $65.19 (86%)
I honestly probably should have spent more time with my Rite-Aid planning this week. I messed up on a couple of my coupon matchups, and didn't buy enough to qualify for the $12 rebate I was hoping for. I'm going to go ahead and go back at some point this week to get $8 worth of qualifying items (I won't be paying $8 out of pocket, of course) so that I can get my $12 rebate. Despite all that, I did score some great deals this week, and am looking forward to getting my single check rebate later this month.
Total spent: $27.70
Total sale and coupon savings: $29.36 (51%)
Total savings after single check rebates and +UP rewards: $47.36 (63%) 
Updated Stockpile Pictures