Holy December Batman!

christmas-background-2

Uh, is anyone else wondering where the year went and how December arrived so suddenly?  I remember our Halloween in California and then  just Sunday we arrived home from Utah to resume life after our Thanksgiving feasting.  I’m in awe!  It’s December!

Well we have successfully taken down Halloween decorations and the tree is up. We only put the tree up so the Christmas Train has something to go around.  Turning on the train is seriously a nightly December ritual and might be the only thing our boys enjoy about the whole holiday season. 

And Mikey did a very nice job hanging the ornaments on the tree today.  While the top 1/2 is a bit bare, I’m sure  when Josh wakes up from his nap to discover the hanging goodness and he will force us to move everything up a few feet and leave the bottom 1/2 bare. 

And to all those Christmas card sending maniacs who mail before the calendar even reads December, know that I have received my FREE photo cards with envelopes and shall be making a much earlier trip to the Post Office compared to last year (I sent them out during January with a “better late than never” attitude).  I’m still debating on my Christmas song parody to write out for our family Christmas letter.  Can’t rush perfection, or lack of any ideas =o)

I’m really excited for Christmas this year.  Maybe because I did really well in August to toy shop at KMart when toys were 75% off and I used coupons =o) or because I’m determined  to finish up some unfinished Christmas craft projects.  Really, I’m going to finish them!  My kiddos are old enough to open presents and get excited for them, which I think is the best part of being a parent during the holidays.  Oh, and sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows is delightful too!  There’s just so much good holiday cheer and excitement this year.  Anyone else super excited?

Thank You Columbus!

So I’m still going to free sewing classes every Thursday and our next project is to make a tiered/ layered skirt.  Upon further googling I think they are also called gypsy skirts and they are “sew” easy to make.  You can do lots of layers.  I currently have one similar to this, but in brown.  It’s so comfortable!

Well I headed to Joann’s fabric store in hopes of finding the perfect fabrics to coordinate and do a multicolored skirt.  We (the boys and I) searched high and low and through every row twice.  I finally found my match in the red tag remnant bins and got brown and red dotted material with shiny silver stripes going through it.  They were 50% off the already reduced price!  Just what I was hoping to find- treasure in the leftovers!  I spent less than 5 bucks on my elastic and material and I’m so stinking excited, because I think I can make 2 skirts!  So thank you Columbus for discovering America and for having such a great day for sales!

Deals for Dummies

So I ventured to Target this evening in hopes of finding another Leap Frog Tag Reading System for Josh and some other stuff and only got half of what was on my list.  I ended up buying 50 items and getting my $112 total down to $22.93!  I used 63 coupons!!  I think that’s a record!  I’d post a picture, but remember, the old laptop is out of service, the new laptop was returned for having a bad CD rom, and now my pc hard drive upstairs is going out too!

Here’s a little of how I work my coupon magic:

Tag Reading System on clearance for $29.99, but rang up $19.98 at check out.  I used a $10 off manufacturer coupon I printed off from their website AND a $5 off Target coupon for a Tag product.  This is called STACKING - when you use a manufacturer coupon + a store coupon for the same item. You can do this at grocery stores too!

Nextcare Bandaids (8 count) were on clearance for 68 cents.  I printed off  a bunch of $1.00 off coupons from their website that didn’t specify a size, so buy the smallest size to save the most amount of money (usually found in the travel/ trial sized section).  But Amanda, your coupon is more than the value of the product. This is called OVERAGE. That extra 22 cents went to pay down something else and make my overall bill lower.  Always make sure you have a FILLER- an item to make up the price difference.  I bought way more stuff than 22 cents worth so my overall total went down so I didn’t worry too much. Note: some stores will adjust down the price of the coupon to match the value of the item if the item is cheaper than the amount on the coupon. 

My total purchase was over $50 so the first coupon I used was a store coupon for $5 off a $50 dollar purchase.  Use these kinds of money off coupons first since your total is at its highest, then use your other coupons.  If you do it in reverse, then your total will be too low and you won’t get that free extra $5.00 off your purchase.  Make the free money work for you!

Here’s a list of what I bought:

Tag Reading System, 2 Aveeno baby washes, 2 Johnson and Johnson Buddy Wash Soap Bars, 3 Johnson and Johnson lotions/ baby washes, 6 paper towel rolls, 3 single toilet papers, 3 deodorants, 8 boxes of Kudos granola bars, 8 boxes of Pop tarts, 2 boxes of Kelloggs Yogos fruit snacks, 8 Nextcare bandaids, 4 packs of Bic pens, 1 box of Kotex pantyliners.

The free stuff I get (usually health and beauty items in the travel sizes) are great for overnight trips and also for storing in my backpack  that’s a 72 hour kit.  If there was ever an emergency I want to grab and go with my shampoo and stuff.  That’s a post for another time. Just think Hurricane Katrina!  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bag to grab that already has your necessities in case you have to flee immediately?

Also, I’m always donating food to people and food drives and things like that.  Buying 8 boxes of Pop Tarts may seem excessive, but when 1 box cost me way less than $1.00 then I don’t feel so bad giving them away.  I also am a proponent of food storage.  There’s nothing more irritating to me than going to my cupboard and being out of an item.  (I did have to run to Smith’s twice last night for this very reason).  So, when things go on sale, I use coupons on top of these sales and stock up!  Think Hurricane Katrina again.  Stranded in your house with help no where close.  If you’ve got some comfort foods and regular everyday foods stocked up, you could easily survive a disaster.  Oh yeah, and non food items are important too!  Let’s not get stuck without toilet paper, diapers, wipes, or trashbags! 

Well there’s some info to let you think about. Any questions?  And just a heads up that Smith’s is having their caselot sales the 2nd week in September, yay!

Free Food ($10 value)

Schwans has a nice promo going on right now for new customers.  Check out the link to get a FREE $10 in food!  I got us a pizza, but since there was no tax after I ordered I wish I would have picked a $9.99 item. Oh well!  FREE dinner for a night is wonderful so thanks Schwans!   Let me know what you get!

http://www.schwans.com/promos/freefood/freeFoodProgram.aspx?offer=MG

From WAGS to Riches

Remember that awesome Alby’s sale where you buy 10 items and a voucher for $10 off your next purchase pops out?  Well that’s similar to what’s going on at Walgreen’s and so I’m finally getting the courage to tackle shopping at Walgreens and really use their sales and coupons to my advantage.

Walgreen's Deals

Walgreen's Deals

Case and point- I bought all this stuff for $36.61.  There’s 6 packs of diapers there!!  Count them up, yes, 6 Pull Ups packs.  Any mom knows that is a great deal all by itself. 

A Closer Look

A Closer Look

The deal this week is buy $25 dollars (before coupons) of Huggies products and get a $10 voucher off your next purchase.  You can save the voucher for later or you can use it to buy your items in transaction #2.  You could by more diapers with the voucher, but another one will NOT pop out if you use a voucher.  At Walgreen’s you can not roll vouchers.

Make it work for you- go get $10 worth of items (after scanning coupons)that are super cheap or on sale and end up getting them free with your voucher.

If you have 2 of the same b1g1 free coupons then you get both items for free at Walgreens.  This is how I did really well.  Got Air fresheners, toothpaste, candy bars, toothbrushes, and some other things for free, because of these types of coupons.

and Over Here

and Over Here

Also, you can use a regular coupon and a Walgreens coupon for the same item.  I got  $8 free air fresheners, because I had a $4 off regular coupon and a $4 off Walgreens coupon that made my item free!

So you do have to plan things out.  I have everything rung up first.  I hand over manufacturer coupons, internet coupons, and then Walgreens coupons last.  If I have a voucher (also called a catalina) then I hand that over very last.

So 3 transactions today, spent $36.51, saved $125.57 (the value of all my coupons I handed over), and I got 30 something items.  I don’t need everything I purchased, but free is great and items go well in care packages or little gifts for people.

I’m totally going again, because I found more air freshener coupons and shampoo coupons I forgot to use so maybe I’ll see you there if this post inspired you to try shopping at Walgreens.

Anyone NOT going to use the $5 off and $3 off Huggies coupons from coupons.com?  I’ll come and get them since I already reached my limit on my computer =)

Kick Butt Alby’s Deals

The Great Albertson's Deal
The Great Albertson’s Deal

 

I was so excited for my purchases at Albertson’s today that I couldn’t wait to get the groceries in the house- I unbagged them in the trunk so I could take a picture!  I made it with 2 kids along for the ride.

I spent $40 and some change on all this!  I got those ice creams and the 3 Muskateers in the clearance section for $1, but they ended up being free with my last transaction, because I used a $10 off catalina.

Want to learn more and how and the ins and outs?  Go read about the “special list” that tells you what’s on sale and lets you print off coupons to save even more money HERE

I separated my groceries into 6 groups of 10 items to get the most bang for my buck.  I separated my coupons with a paper clip based on these 6 groups.  So coupons for transaction #1 were paper clipped together.  Coupons for transaction #2 were paper clipped together in their own little group.  Etc. Etc.

So, 10 items (all the same price for this buy 10 item sale to work) in group #1 were rung up by the very friendly teller.  I then hand her over coupons for only those items… easy to do b/c they were paper clipped together.  Yay, money from coupons starts coming off.  Pay her and out pops a catalina (coupon from the store you get at the register after paying) for $10 off my next purchase.

Well, next group of 10 items are rung up.  I hand over coupons (paper clipped together) and $ is deducted.  Then, I hand over that $10 off catalina coupon from my previous purchase and BAM -$10 off my total.  I think I spent $2.50 on this transaction.  Well, out pops another catalina for $10 off my next purchase.  Are you catching on?

Ring up next group of 10 items. Hand over coupons and watch my total go down.  Hand over catalina from previous purchase and BAM, another $10 dollars comes off!  Out pops another catalina for $10 off my next purchase.

Lather, rinse, repeat.  My last transaction didn’t have  items from the sale going on (purchase 10 select items get $10 off your next order), but they were free since I used the catalina from the previous purchase to knock $10 bucks off.  My last transaction was 10 bucks exactly, handed over catalina, no money owed!!

Are you with me?  I love this stuff.  And yay for free and super cheap comfort foods to help stock up the 3 month supply of foods my family will eat!

I did make a few mistakes- I am human!  I was supposed to use some Alby’s coupons and manufacturer coupons for double deals and get some free paper towels, but I sort of didn’t think things through in time to make it work.  Oh well!  My motto is: you gotta leave room for improvement =o)  Okay, one more look at the goods!

                    

 

Store Closings!

All Lucky’s Stores and the Albertsons on Trop & Eastern and Lake Mead  & Jones are closing their doors on Feb 19th.  So, everything in the store is marked down 10-90%.  The non food items are better deals right now- diapers are 25% off, medicines and first aid stuff is 50% off, baking items are 25-50% off, spices are 50% off, household cleaners are 25-50% off.  We’ve been to an Alby’s and a Lucky’s and the prices are the same.  Alby’s did have a better diaper pack available though, so glad I got diapers (Huggies) there.  Oh yeah, and they are still taking Q’s so even more $$ off your purchase.  Have fun bargain shopping!  Everything is on sale, but not everything is a great sale!!  Be careful not to get crazy just because there’s a big store closing sign.  Don’t go in thinking everything must be a super fabulous low low price, because it’s not!

Target Deals

Target Deals

Target Deals

This post is overdue, but it did happen in January =o)  If you don’t know, I love coupons.  They save me mucho dinero when I combine coupons with sales! 

Today’s lesson: clip coupons for brands you don’t usually buy. Why?  You can get lots of stuff FREE that are perfect for that 72 hour kit that’s disassembled all over this house! And FREE stuff is good for gifts or mother’s survival baskets for VTers and things like that!

I spent $20 bucks (it should have only been $15 bucks, but lesson learned) and some change and got all this at Target.  $1.00 coupons are great for trial sized items and clearance items, because they end up being free!

Overage= the Airwick things were on clearance for $4.24.  I had a coupon for $5.00 off an Airwick thing, so I had $$ left over to use towards something else!  Cool huh?  I had overage on the batteries, Downy, Tide, and the airfresheners.  It helped lower the price of the paper towels which were needed for my year supply of non food items.

Lessons learned: watch cashier as they scan- I had 2 $5 off coupons for the Airwick air fresheners and she only scanned 1 coupon!  I really like Costco brand toilet paper and paper towels, because they are individually wrapped and thick quality.  I wish I didn’t get the paper towels from Target now =o(

Okay, more lessons later! I don’t remember how many coupons I used, or my $$ saved because of coupons, but couponing is not really about how much you save…. it’s about how much you spend!

Point for Hubby’s Team

She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed Sent Me!
She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed Sent Me!

I sent hubby out the door with coupons and a small list.  I’m so pleased with his purchase!  Check out these cute little first aid kits that were FREE after coupons at CVS.  Good job hubby!  He’s slowly becoming a coupon crazed shopper like me =o)  Or maybe he just abides by my wishes to never leave home without coupons!

And Kmart is doubling coupons up to $2.00 this week. I’ll have to organize my coupons to see what I can get for super cheap.

Has anyone gone to a free Smart Shopper class offered where they teach you more about shopping with coupons?  I’m interested in what it’s all about and want more info.