Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CVS Deals March 29- April 4

Here are the best deals I see for this week at CVS:

Extra Bucks deals:

~Buy 2 Softsoap Ensembles Hand Soap ($3.99) Get $4 ECBs (limit 3)
Use $2/1 and $1/1 from the 3/22 SS insert or 2 $2/1 coupons from the April Reinventing Beauty coupon book (pictured below) found in store
Free or Pay $.99 after coupons and ECBs

~Buy 1 Accu-Check/Aviva Diabetes Monitor at $9.99, Get $9.99 ECBs (Limit 1)
Free after ECBs

~Buy 1 Glade Sense and Spray Lasting Impressions at $5.99, Get $1 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $4/1 coupon from the March All You magazine or the 03/29 SmartSource insert
$0.99 after coupon and ECBs

~Buy $10 worth of Pond’s Towelettes, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)
Buy Ponds Towelettes 3 at $3.49 to $3.99 each
Use 3 $1.50/1 coupons from the 03/29 RedPlum insert
$0.33 to $0.82 each after coupons and ECBs

~Buy $10 worth of Veet products, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)
Buy 2 VEET products at $5.49 each and
Use 2 $2/1 coupons here or here or from the Reinventing Beauty book found at CVS
$0.99 each after coupons and ECBs

~Buy 2 Fantastik Cleaners at $2.50 each, Get $1 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use 2 $1/1 coupons from the 03/29 SmartSource insert
$1 each after coupons and ECBs

Non- Extra Bucks Deals

~Rimmel Cosmetics are on sale B1G1--Buy 2 mascara products and use the free mascara coupon from the April All You magazine (pg. 35) to get two free mascaras after the coupon and sale! (Coupon has been confirmed by All You to be valid at all retailers, not just Wal-Mart as is stated on the coupon.)

~Sally Hanson Nail Polish is on sale B1G1 (2 for $2.49)--Buy two and use the $3/2 coupon from the March CVS Reinventing Beauty magazine making these free plus possible overage after the sale and coupon.

~Nature's Bounty products are on sale B1G1--Buy 2 products priced at $4 or less each and use two $2/1 coupons here to get these free.

~Scrubbing Bubbles Action Scrubber is on sale for $2.99--Use the $2.75/1 coupon here to make this $0.24 after the sale and coupon. If you have the $1/1 coupon that has been printed out at the end of some receipts, you can use this in conjunction.

~Lysol All Purpose Cleaner, Toilet Bowl Cleaner, or Wipes are on sale for $2.50--Buy three and use the $0.75/1 or $1/2 coupons from the 3/15 SmartSource insert or the $0.50/1 coupon here. Then submit your receipt for this $3 rebate when you buy three. After the sale, coupons, and rebate, these will be $0.75 to $1 each.

~Listerine Pocket Packs are on sale for 50% off ($2.15 each)--Buy 2 and use the $3/2 coupon from the 03/15 SmartSource insert to get these for $0.65 each after the sale and coupons.

~M&M’s candies are on sale for $1.50 per bag--Buy 3 bags and use the $1.50/3 coupon from the 03/15 RedPlum insert to get these for $1 each after the sale and coupon.

March Monthly Extra Bucks Deal

~Buy 1 CVS Pharmacy Vitamin D 400, 100-ct. at $2.99, Get $2.99 ECBs (Limit 1)Free after ECBs

Also, my CVS store had 75% off all their Dollar Days items that are normally priced $1-$3 each making these $0.25-$0.75. They included things from coloring books and bandaids to household items like disch cloths and microfiber cleaning cloths like the ones in the Friday's Frugal Find.

Be on the lookout for the April Reinventing Beauty booklet that looks like this:

Thanks to Money Saving Mom for a heads up on this!

Monday, March 30, 2009

My CVS deals 3/30

Here are the deals I did today at CVS:

Deal 1:
2 bags jelly beans- on sale $0.50 Sunday and Monday only
2 Sally Hansen nail polish $2.49 each, Buy 1 Get 1 Free (B1G1)
2 Rimmel Sexy Curves Mascara $7.49 each B1G1
2 Paas egg decorating kits
2 SoftSoap Ensembles hand soap refills 3.99 each
1 ACT 3 oz Total Care Mouthwash $0.99

$33.91 before coupons and B1G1 sale

Coupons used:

(2) $1/1 Sally Hansen nailpolish
(1) Free Rimmel Sexy Curves mascara from All You magazine
(2) $2/1 Softsoap Ensembles from Reinventing Beauty booklet I found at the store today
(1) Raincheck for ACT mouthwash for $1.00 ECB
After coupons and B1G1 total spent out of pocket was $1.50! I received $3.98 ECB for the egg kits, $1.00 ECB for the mouthwash, and $4 for the Softsoap to total $9.97 ECB. Not too shabby!

Deal #2:

Accu Check Aviva Glucose Kit $9.99
I used the $1, $3.98, and $4 ECB and paid $1.06 out of pocket and received $9.99 ECB


1 Jelly Beans $0.50

1 CVS Gallon size storage bags $2.25

2 Small storage bags on clearance $0.25 each

1 Coloring book clearanced to $0.25

1 multipack pocket size kleenex packs clearanced to $0.25

1 Hair brush kit clearanced to $0.49

1 Dishcloths $0.50

1 Flower notebook clearanced to $0.25
(Can you guess what is going in my 2 year old's Easter basket?!)

1 Electrisol Power Tabs dishwasher detergent $3.99 (we really needed this)

2 Softsoap Ensembles $3.99


(1) Electrasol $1/1

(2) CVS Softsoap Ensembles $2/1 coupons

$9.99 ECB

Total after Coupons: $3.62-This should have been $2.12. I just noticed they charged me full price for the dishcloths, but since it would cost me more in gas to return them, I'll just keep them.


All right. Let's get to the good stuff. Now that we've covered the coupon basics, let's move on to the drug store basics! And we shall begin with one of my favorite stores...CVS! I have scored so many good bargains at CVS and spent so little money there!

CVS has their own rewards system. It is one of those stores that you need a little key tab for. If you don't already have an Extra Care Card, sign up for one, then guard that little key tab with your life! (Alright, if you lose it, just give the cashier your phone number and they can look it up in the register.) You can also apply at any CVS store. It's free and simple.

What does your ExtraCare card do for you?
  • You earn 2% back on all in-store and online purchases (more on that in a minute)
  • You earn 1 Extra Buck for every 2 prescriptions you fill at CVS
  • You are able to take advantage of sale prices
  • Occasionally receive a coupon for a free item
  • You can scan your tag at various scanners in the store to receive extra coupons
What is an ExtraBuck?

An ExtraBuck (ECB) is a coupon that prints at the end of your receipt for money off your next purchase. For instance, this week the Paas Egg Decorating kit is on sale for $1.99 (Sunday and Monday only). The ad says buy 1 and get $1.99 in ECBs. When you buy the item, you pay $1.99 for it out of pocket, then a coupon to be used on your next purchase will print out at the end of your receipt for $1.99 making the item essentially free. This ECB can be used for anything at any CVS, with the exception of alcohol, tobacco, lottery, gift cards, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid cards, prescriptions, and special order Home Health Care items, including footwear.

How do Extra Bucks save you money?

This week Softsoap Ensemble hand soap dispenser refills are on sale for $3.99. The ad says buy 2 and receive $4 ECB. There were coupons in the paper last week for $2 off 1 and $1 off 1 of these. Now, if you buy 2, you will spend $7.98-$3 in coupons=$4.98 out of pocket and receive $4 ECB, making it $0.98 for 2 of these fancy hand soaps. If you have 2 of the $2 coupons, you will break even.

Now, occasionally, an item is on sale free after ECB and there will be a matching coupon in the paper. For instance, toothpaste is very often free after rebate and there are often coupons for them. Say the toothpaste is on sale for $2 with $2 ECB. If you have a $1 coupon, you actually will make $1 off the toothpaste. Buy the toothpaste for $2- $1coupon= $1. Receive $2ECB.

Alright, now to take things to the next level, the way to really make your money and your ExtraBucks work for you is to take the ExtraBucks you receive from one purchase and roll them over into another purchase that you can either get for free or make money off of. Do you follow me? If not, here is an example.

Let's say the limit to the number of toothpaste deals you can do is 3. You have 2 coupons. Purchase 2 toothpastes at $2 each. Use 2 $1/1 coupons. $4-$2 coupons= $2 out of pocket. Receive $4 in ECB. Now, do the above scenario for the soaps. (Purchase 2 at $3.99 each= $7.98-$3 in coupons=$4.98. Use your $4ECB from your toothpaste. $4.98-$4ECB= $0.98 Pay $2.98 out of pocket for 2 toothpaste and 2 soaps and still have $4 in ECB to use on something else from the soaps you just bought.

CVS "rules":

  • You can pair a manufacturer's coupon with extra care bucks and coupons that print at the end of your receipt
  • If an item is out of stock, you can get a rain check for that item at it's sale price with extra bucks
  • You can do more than one transaction at the register in one trip. (Make a purchase, pay, make another purchase without leaving the counter, pay, etc.) This way you can bring all your purchases up to the counter and keep rolling your extra bucks so you can pay a minimum out of pocket. I try to keep it to a minimum of 3 for the sake of people behind me.
  • Some CVS take expired Extra Bucks and some take competitor's coupons
  • A limit of how many times you can take advantage of an ECB offer is printed in small print next to the item in the ad. This is usually between 1-5 times
  • 4 times a year, the 2% of your total spent at CVS will print as an ECB. So, you earn free money by buying things at CVS.
  • You will not be given back money on ECB. If your total comes to $3 and you have a $4 ECB, they will not give you back $1. You either need to find something else to add in to make up the $1 or forfeit the $1.

Suggestions for those new to CVS "dealing":

Start off slow! Let me repeat...start off slow. As good as "CVSing" can be, it can be very overwhelming at first. It takes some time to really figure out how to make it work for you. I also suggest figuring out your deals at home, putting your coupons and your deal scenarios in separate envelopes and labeling the envelope according to the order you want to do the deals in. Also, it might be less stressful to do a deal, bring your items to the car, come back in, do your next deal, etc. instead of trying to roll a bunch at once. Bring a calculator with you and tally up your totals to make sure you at least break even in your deals. If not (say you still need $1 before you can use your total amount of ECB) grab an inexpensive item that you could use and make up the difference with.

The weekly CVS deals are advertised in the weekly flier and then there are monthly deals that are advertised in a separate flier located next to the weekly fliers as you walk in the store. Sometimes these monthly deals will be advertised in the weekly flier to bring attention to them, but it does not mean that it is a monthly and weekly deal (meaning the deal does not double).

One last note: before you look at this and say...this is too much work- no thanks....give it at least 3 months before you give up. It takes time to work out the kinks and figure things out. Sure you may not figure out all the best deals or spend the least amount out of pocket as other people right away, but, you will still be spending less then you were initially right?! So stick with it for a bit, and you'll never again pay for shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving cream, razors, deodorant, body wash, lotion, mouthwash, and other things!

Please feel free to ask questions, esp if you don't understand something! No question is a dumb question! I am more than happy to help!

Shaws Deals 3/27-4/2

These are the best deals I see at Shaws this week. Remember, Shaws doubles coupons up to $0.99


$1.00 Mann's Sunny Shores Vegetable Medley printable .55/1- Can be printed twice Free plus $0.10

Good Deals:

Post Cereal-2/$3-must buy 2 - 12-24 oz Selected Varieties (this is an even better deal if used with manufacturer's coupons and the catalina deal listed below.)

Kellogg's Cereal 3/$6.00 ~ Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Cocoa Krispies, Honey Smacks, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes or Jumbo Krispies (if used in conjunction with manufacturers coupons, Shaws Get Inspired coupon for $1/3, and the Catalina deal below, this could be a great deal.)

$1.99lb 80%lean ground beef

Seattle's Best Coffee $5.99, $1 coupon here, manufacturer's coupon $1, plus Catalina deal buy 1 get $1 catalina coupon= $2.99 Note: these are 13 oz, so this is only a good deal if you like this coffee, otherwise it still is cheaper to buy something like Folgers on sale with a coupon

All the below are $1 each

Bar S Jumbo Franks

Dole Canned Fruit Pineapple, Mandarin Oranges or Tropical Fruit-

Dole Canned Fruits .75/2 (exp. 4-25-09)

Bounty Paper Towels- Bounty .25 (exp. 3/31/09) - Bounty .25 (exp. 3/31/09)

Del Monte Tomatoes 14.5oz- Del Monte No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes .40/1 (exp. 4/4/09)

Catalina Deals:

POST DEAL 3/27-4/19: Buy 3 Get $2.00Buy 4 Get $3.00Buy 5 or more and get $5.00- Works on ANY post cereal 10oz or larger Honey-Comb, Shredded Wheat, Honey Bunches of Oats, Fruity Pebbles, Grape-nuts, Trail Mix Crunch, Raisin Bran, and Post Selects Raisins, Dates & Pecans

KELLOGGS CEREALS / MILK 3/20 - 4/12: Buy Kelloggs Cereals 12 oz. or largerBuy 3, get 1 free gallon of milk- Buy 5, get 2 free gallons of milk-Buy 7, get 3 free gallons of milk-Free milk up to $4.69 per gallon. Any brand. Any flavor.

Shaws Get Inspired coupons include a coupon for a free lemon this week.


Buy 6 Post Cereals that are marked 2/$3, use 1 (or more if you have them) $1/1 coupon from paper= $8 out of pocket; receive $5 catalina coupon; essentially $3 for 6 boxes of cereal making them $0.50 each

Did you see any other really good deals at Shaw's this week? Let us know in the comments! And of course, these are not the only deals. Check your flyer for any deals that may be good for your individual family. These are just the more noteworthy deals.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It's menu plan monday again! Here is our menu for the week!

Monday: Leftovers from Sunday's party- Ziti Bake, veggies and garlic bread

Tuesday: Sweet and Sour Crockpot Chicken with pineapple in it...yum!- I'll post the menu soon!

Wednesday: Quick Fix Beef Burrito Skillet and veggie

Thursday: Hamburgers (with fresh meat from South Dakota! Thank you Sarah!)

Friday: Tuna Melts

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Leftovers or visit family

As with any Menu Plan Monday, check out other menus at Organizing Junkie!

Coming soon...

I took the weekend off to spend time with my family. My youngest turns 1 on Thursday, so we had a family party today. We spent yesterday preparing and today celebrating, so there has been no time for blogging. However, I've got a post in the works on how to make the most of your local CVS and a few more great Shaws deals for this week.

So, stay tuned and I should have these posts up by tomorrow evening!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday's Frugal Find

I'm going to start a new feature called Friday's Frugal Find! Each Friday I'm going to feature a different frugal find!

First up is reusable cleaning cloths! Thanks to my friend Rebecca for giving me these. They work awesome!

We go through so many paper towels around here. While complaining to Rebecca about how expensive and wasteful paper towels can be, she recommended these and gave me a few of her extras.
I used them for the first time cleaning my bathrooms this week and let me tell you...I'll never go back to paper towels! These cloths do a great job on the mirrors with minimal streaking or lint. They polish up the chrome and don't rip like paper towels do. I used one for my mirrors and sink and one for my toilet. When I finished cleaning my bathroom, there was not a single paper towel in the trash when usually it's over flowing! I just threw them into the wash when I was done! They look like they'll be great for dusting too!
I believe she said she bought them at Target in the car care section. They're advertised for cleaning the inside of a car. She thought they were about $7 for a pack of 20. You could probably find a smaller pack too for cheaper. This is a great value though considering a big pack of paper towel is usually around $6 or so!
Thanks so much Rebecca!
Did you have a Frugal Find this week? If so, please leave a comment so we can hear all about it!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Target Deals this week

I know the week is almost over, but for those of you planning a Target run, head to Stretching A Buck for this week's deals.

There are some great deals, like 2 Shick razors for $0.49; free Artisan Mini Loaves and Gillette Body wash, contact solution, Shout wipes, and Pledge furniture polish.

Free 3-Scoop Ice Cream from Friendly's!

I don't know about you, but I LOVE free ice cream! Free and ice cream are great things to begin with, but combined together....what could be better?!

To receive your free 3-scoop sundae from Friendly's, just sign up for their newsletter. Thanks for the heads up Money Saving Mom

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hot Coupon!- Link no longer working

*NOTE: No longer working.

Pace Salsa has a coupon for $4 off one jar of salsa through Smartsource.com right now. And, to make the deal better, you can print 4! (I'd heard reports that you could print 10, but I was only able to print 4). Smartsource was giving my computer a hard time about printing the coupon, so I did have to download Firefox web browser in order to get it. (If you do need to download this, just re-open my blog in Firefox and click the link for the coupon.) You can try it on Internet Explorer and see if it works for you as I know it does work for others.

Get your coupons here before they run out! I know Shaws had these on sale for 2/$4 and I was able to get 2 with one coupon!

Free Redbox code for today (3/25)

Get a free movie rental from Redbox until midnight tonight (3/25) with the code MMM325. When at the Redbox, select "Rent with Promo Code", insert code and then select your movie. Continue to check out. Find your closest Redbox and see what movies are available here. Make sure you return the movie within 24 hours to avoid being charged a late fee.

Crockpot BBQ anything!

I made another easy, inexpensive, yummy recipe last night.

Crockpot BBQ Pork or Chicken

1lb meat (I used pork sirloin $1.57)
1/2 jar of BBQ sauce ($0.20 on sale through a Shaws catalina promo)
Rice ($0.25)
Corn on the cob (free from Shaws booklet)

Place meat in crockpot, pour BBQ sauce over it, turn it on low and let sit. If I use frozen chicken, I let it sit all day. The pork last night was really thin and cooked in about 4 hours. The great thing about this recipe is you can serve it as is with sides or shred the meat when it's done and use it in sandwiches, over rice or mashed potatoes. It was really flavorful too!

Grand total was $2.02 for 2 adults and a toddler!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why bother with a menu?

Follow up comments to yesterday's Menu Planning Monday prompted me to consider, why do we write menus? I never use to write a menu. I'd buy meat. Take something out of the freezer the night before or day of, flip through my cookbooks at 4:30pm wondering what in the world was I going to make for dinner tonight. No, can't make that...don't have the right ingredients. No, don't have what I need for that one....guess I'll call my husband on his way home from work and ask him to pick up some extra ingredients. Or, there were many a day I'd forget to pull something out and decide I just wasn't in the mood to cook so let's just go out. Talk about a frustrating process!
Grocery shopping became...I'll pick up this; oh maybe we'll have this sometime this week; guess I should stock up on that; not sure when I may need some of this.

Then children came along and not only was this process frustrating to begin with, it became maddening! As anyone with children knows, suppertime is the worst time of day. The children are at melt down stage. They're hungry, whinny, clingy...you know what I'm talking about. Your husband is coming home from a long day of work and deserves a nice...or at least decent! meal and will be hungry on arrival. If you don't know what you're cooking and don't have anything prepared, life is miserable!

So, how can you avoid all this frustration? Plan a menu!!!

Menus are great. They keep you organized, less frustrated and save you money! By having a menu:

  • you know what to pull out of the freezer the night before, giving it time to defrost in the fridge.

  • the morning of, any prep work for dinner can be planned to alleviate the stress of doing everything at dinner time.

  • it allows a grocery list to be made for everything needed for the week so only one grocery run is necessary, thus avoiding wasted time running into the grocery store multiple times a week and spending extra money while there.

  • it helps in keeping a grocery budget. If a specific grocery budget is set, you can plan meals that will fit within that price range. Then, anything that is not needed for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner is not necessary to buy. If pasta sauce is not on the list, you don't need to buy it!

  • it saves all that time in the evening flipping through cookbooks! It groups all the work to one set time a week.

So, how do I plan a menu?! Every Wednesday (I grocery shop on Thursdays) I sit down during the girls nap/quiet time, I look through my freezer, fridge and pantry first to see what I already have and need to use. Then I look through the grocery fliers and figure out what is on sale. I base my menu on what is on sale and what I already have. I jot down what I'm going to base meals off of...chicken, beef, pork, beans, lentils, etc. With this in mind, I look through my cookbooks and list a meal for every day of the week. I also keep in mind whether there will be leftovers or if we will be somewhere else for dinner. I also plan what side dishes I will serve with dinner. As I write my menu, I add things to my grocery list that I know I will need to buy.

This is my Life Planner. It is a weekly calendar. In the first column I list each day's meals. Each column after that is for: my most important tasks to accomplish each day; tasks for the AM; afternoon tasks; evening tasks. I write my grocery list on the To do List on the right side as I go along. The bottom sticky is for notes. I found this calendar at Walgreen's recently on clearance. I needed an extra dollar and change so I could use my register rewards and this was $1.25. It's been working really well! Before I found this I just used a notebook.

How do you plan your menus? Some people plan a month at a time. Does that work better for you? Any tips on menu planning that were not mentioned in this post?

Monday, March 23, 2009

$1 A Scoop at Ben and Jerry's!

Head to your closest Ben and Jerry's tomorrow (Tuesday March 24) and donate a non-perishable food item and receive a scoop of ice cream for $1! What a sweet deal!

Saving O' The Green Ends Tonight

Did you take advantage of Money Saving Mom and Living on a Dime's Saving O' The Green $1 an ebook sale yet?! Take advantage of it now, because after midnight tonight, the books return to their full price!

Menu Plan Monday

I'm going to start trying to post our weekly menu on Mondays in an effort to help give some ideas for inexpensive dinners. Every Monday, Organizing Junkie features a Menu Plan Monday roundup where several, ok many, many, blogs add their menu for the week. This is a great way to get menu ideas. Go here to see this week's round up.

Our menu for this week is as follows:

Monday: Bacon Wrapped Chicken with mashed potato and a veg
Tuesday: BBQ Pork Chops in the crockpot with rice and a veg
Wednesday: Pork and Beans with left over pork from Tuesday with bread
Thursday: Sweet and Sour Crockpot Chicken with rice
Friday: something meatless for lent- probably pasta and sauce
Saturday: something else easy- hot dogs and homemade baked french fries
Sunday: 1st Birthday party for our youngest daughter

Every week I write a menu, but I don't always stick right to it. Some days I'll take whatever meat I planned to use and make something different with it. But it is essential for me to make a menu each week so I have a plan to make my grocery list off of.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

$5 Dinners Sister Schubert’s Yeast Rolls Giveaway

Erin at $5 Dinners has a great blog and posts dinners that amount to $5 or less every day! She's a great resource for anyone looking to cut their dinner budget AND she does this while cooking for 2 children with food allergies! She has a great giveaway for a hand-painted gift basket that includes: two pans of Sister Schubert’s rolls, a choice of Sister Schubert’s specialty gift products, a package of Mook’s Cheese Straws, two packs of Red Diamond Estate coffee and a hand-decorated, seasonal cookie. What a great giveaway just in time for Easter.

To enter to win the giveaway, leave a comment on her post.

Good luck!

The Rules of Coupons!

What are the "rules" of couponing one may ask?!

  • Only one manufacturer's coupon (MQ) may be used per item

  • Only what is stated on a coupon may be bought with the coupon- check for the right size, brand, number of items, variety, etc.

  • Most stores only accept coupons up until the expiration date- some stores make an exception and accept expired coupons- I don't have any around here that I know of

  • Some stores double coupons as long as the coupon does not say "Do Not Double"- most only double coupons up to $0.99 - Shaws is the only store around me that I know of that doubles

  • A store coupon (one that a store specifically puts out and does not say "manufacturers coupon) can be used with a manufacturer's coupon (a coupon put out by the brand itself) on the same one item. This can make a great deal!

  • A coupon can be used on a rebate item

  • Internet printable (IP) coupons can not be photocopied. This is illegal

  • If a store has a sale to buy one item, get on free (BOGO), many stores let you use a coupon on one or even both items

  • If a coupon is valued at more than what you purchase an item for, many stores will give you the extra money off your bill (without even realizing it). However, they will not give you the money in cash if they end up "owing you money" in the end. This extra money is called "overage". In this case, it's best to throw in a small "filler item" like a pack of gum or a candy bar to make up that extra money.

Do you know any other coupon "rules"? Please leave us a comment if you can think of any!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cool Freebie

Customize your own magazine and receive 5 free issues complements of Lexus! Choose from the following magazines Travel + Leisure, Golf, InStyle, Money, Real Simple, Sports Illustrated, Time and Food & Wine, and each issue will have articles from your choices. Go here to get your copy!

Shaws Cereal and Milk Deal

The Shaws deals are a bit slim this week, but I did make out on some cereal this week, which we really needed!

Buy 3 boxes of Kelloggs cereal and get 1 FREE gallon of milk
Buy 5 boxes of Kelloggs cereal and get 2 FREE gallons of milk
Buy 7 boxes of Kelloggs cereal and get 3 FREE gallons of milk

This deal works on any Kelloggs cereal, but selected ones are on sale this week. Your best bet is to buy the Kelloggs on sale for 3/$6 and use coupons. Coupons.com has a $1 off 2 boxes of Kelloggs Frosted flakes coupon that you can print twice. There also were a few coupons in the paper recently- one $1 off 1 box of selected Kelloggs cereal and one $1 off 2 boxes of any Kelloggs cereal.

When you check out, the register will print out what is called a Catalina (just the name for the company) coupon. The milk catalina says "Free (up to $4.69, any Brand, any Flavor) One Gallon of Milk". You can use this coupon at any purchase until the expiration stated on the coupon. You must buy all your cereal in the same shopping trip for this to work. This Catalina deal is good until 4/12.

Here was my scenerio from today:

$0.80 spent out of pocket and those papers are for 3 FREE gallons of milk and one $5 off $40 coupon

7 boxes of Kelloggs ceral on sale for 3/$6= $14

2 Motts Applesauce 6 packs 2/$4= $4

Total before coupons= $18

Coupons used:

(2) $1/2 Frosted Flakes printable from Coupons.com

(1) $1/1 any Kelloggs cereal (newspaper coupon)

(1) $1/1 selected Kelloggs cereal (newspaper coupon)

(2) $1/1 Kelloggs Mini-Wheats Bluberry, Strawberry or Maple Sugar internet printable from coupons.com last month

(2) Motts applesauce $0.55/1 internet printable (Shaws doubles coupons- so this doubled to $1.10/1)

$18-$7.20 in coupons= $10.80

$10.80- $10 Catalina coupon from a previous sale= $0.80 out of pocket for 7 boxes of cereal, 2 packages of applesauce and I received 3 coupons for a free gallon of milk and a $5 off $40! According to my receipt I saved $33.17!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Coupon Process

When you get your coupon organizer up and running, it's time to start filling it with coupons! I have recently put myself on a "coupon routine". I get my coupons on Sunday from the paper. On Monday evening when the kids are in bed I clip my coupons. (a word to those who have children, it's not usually very productive to clip coupons when children are within reach. At least my children have come to love coupons and love to "help" and I end up with very disorganized coupons when they are present!)

If I have time, as I clip them, I sort them into piles, trying to keep in mind my categories and subcategories. I then put them all away in their assigned envelopes. I used to do this on Sundays while my husband watched the football game (can you tell what a football fan I am?!) Now that he doesn't really watch it, I either do it while I watch a movie or as we're talking or during some quiet evening time! (Or when the girls are napping). If I don't have time to sort them, I stick them all in a pile and throw them in my coupon drawer. Yes, I have a drawer in my kitchen devoted to coupons! This is where my coupons go until they are filed, my store fliers are stored, and any thing else that is "coupony".

I also keep a pen in my coupon organizer and an envelope titled "Shaws" and one titled "CVS"...which you'll see why in an upcoming post.

Now, a very important note...when you clip coupons, clip EVERY coupon! Just because you don't use a certain brand, do not leave it unclipped (unless of course you would never consider getting it, even if you could get it free or get paid to "buy" it.) The only coupons I don't clip are for medications I don't use or for animal products, since we don't have animals. Otherwise, even if we've never bought it, I clip it, because there have been several times I've gotten something free or been paid to get it because I had the coupon!

As for Internet coupons, rather than waste paper and ink, I don't print them unless 1)I'm afraid the limit of how many the company will allow to be printed will be met or 2)I know I'm going to use it soon. Otherwise, I look through them and keep in mind which coupons are there. Then when I look through the fliers and see something on sale that I can get a good buy with one of the Internet coupons, I print it off.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Healthy, Inexpensive Meal

I was asked this week to post some inexpensive recipes, so since I made one tonight, I thought I'd post it. I meant to take a picture, but we ate it up before I remembered to take one!

Pork Stir Fry approx. $2 for 3-4 servings

1 lb Pork Sirloin ($1.69)
2 Packages of Frozen Veggies (free from Shaws booklet free coupon)
1/3 bottle of Kraft Asian Sesame Dressing (part of a recent Shaws promo where I probably spent
less than $0.25 for the bottle)
1 tsp each of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and Teriyaki sauce

Slice up pork and marinate in dressing for an hour. Place in skillet on medium high and cook until pork is browned. Add vegetables and remaining seasonings. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook until vegetables are hot and pork is cooked through. Serve with rice.

This is super easy and very healthy! If you don't have the dressing, you can certainly just use Soy sauce and Teriyaki sauce. There are also Chinese spices out there that can be added. You can get fancy depending on your budget and add more vegetables, bean sprouts or slivered almonds. You can also switch out the pork for whatever is on sale- chicken, steak, pork, or shrimp.

Bon Apetit!

Great Limited Time Offer!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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Is Eating Out Eating You Up? e-book
224 Meals In A Hurry e-book
Grocery Savings e-book
Menus That Make Cents e-book
Plan Ahead Leftovers e-book
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Menu Planning Made Easy
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Kids Recipes
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470 Crockpot Recipes

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Saving O' The Green e-book Sale

Here's to happy savings!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Organizing your coupons

Now that we've established where to get your coupons, let's talk about how to organize them! There are so many different ways to organize that it really is up to the individual and what works best for you. I will explain a few options that I've seen and the one I personally use.

My personal coupon organizer is an accordion binder/folder.

It works for now, but as you can see, I'm beginning to bust out of it! It would be a great way for a beginner to start though! I have each section categorized and then use envelopes to sub categorize as such.

Dental floss, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash

Cosmetics/Hair body wash/soap, Olay products, lotions, mens, shaving, deodorant, makeup, shampoo/conditioner, feminine care

Cleaners/Paper Products paper products, dish products, sponges, plastic, laundry, batteries/light bulbs, household cleaners, air fresheners

Medicine chap stick, eye drops, stomach, vitamins, cold/cough, pain relievers

Baby baby food, diapers/wipes, wash/lotion

Dairy milk, eggs/butter, yogurt, cheese, Pillsbury products (I know...their not dairy, but they are refrigerated!)

Jar/Can oil, canned, salad dressing, condiments

Rice/Pasta/Spices spices/marinades, pasta, pasta sauce, salsa/Mexican, rice

Breakfast/Snacks Peanut butter/jelly, coffee/tea, bread, snack bars, candy, juice/soda, crackers/cookies, chips/pretzels/nuts, cereal

Baking Baking mixes, misc. (I should really rework this category and the breakfast/snacks category as the breakfast one is bursting and the baking one has few coupons in it.)

Frozen pizza, entrees, ice cream, vegetables

Meat/Produce/Restaurants self explanatory

Like I said, this is a great way for a beginner to start! For the more advanced, Crystal at Money Saving Mom has a really great way for organizing coupons. I think I may be switching to that soon.

Other "couponers" use binders with trading card pages and organize their coupons by brand or even by coupon. Like I said, there is no one right way. Whatever works for you. Also, what works for you at one point, may change or you may find you just keep tweeking it.

So, now that you've got your coupons, start organizing!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Free Book

Until 11am ET tomorrow morning, you can download a copy of The Difference by Jean Chatzky from Oprah.com. From Oprah.com:

"What can The Difference teach you?
The top five things you can do to not just survive but thrive during tough times
The eight things that make The Difference (i.e., the key traits and abilities of people who describe themselves as financially free)
Advice for those having job insecurity as well as strategies for finding a job
Why money doesn't breed happiness—but happiness can breed money
The direct connection between The Difference and your health
How people who know The Difference make a difference for others
Myths and facts about the wealthy"

Shaws Deal Alert!

Shaws just came out with a Cool Savings flyer that has 5 coupons for FREE items!!! If you don't already use coupons, here is your chance to make a simple start. The booklets are in the store found in various places depending on your store. Check at the entrance near the circulars, at the bottom of the registers, or for a display with a penguin on it in the freezer section. If you can't find them, check with customer service. These coupons include:

1 Free Shaws Frozen Bagels
1 Free Shaws Frozen Deep Dish Pie Crust
1 Free Shaws Lemonade concentrate
1 Free Shaws Vegetable Steamers
1 Free Shaws Frozen Corn on the Cob

The booklet also includes other coupons as well. There is no where on the booklet that says one per customer, so as long as there's enough to go around, take a few!

Where do you find all your coupons?

Sunday newspaper- Generally, the Sunday newspaper (and only the Sunday edition) has 2-3 coupon inserts. These include the Red Plum and Smart Source inserts. Occasionally, Procter and Gamble includes an insert as well (I believe it's once a month). Weekends of holidays, the Sunday paper does not have any coupons. The cheapest way I've found to buy a paper is by subscribing to your local Sunday only paper.

Internet Printables (known in the blog world as IP)-
Coupons.com is great source for coupons. They upload new coupons every month and allow you to print two of each coupon.
BettyCrocker.com- You do need to set up a free account with them.
Some brands have their own coupons as well. If I am looking for a coupon for a specific brand, I type the product into my search engine followed by "coupon" (ie: Chex Mix coupon) and see if it comes up with one.

Trading Coupons- I haven't done this myself yet, but I know there are places where you can trade or buy coupons from other people online.

Catalinas- A Catalina is a coupon that prints out at the register. It will often be for a specific product or a certain amount off your next purchase.

Free Samples- Free samples usually come with a coupon for that actual item.

Blinkie Machines- Those little machines that spit out coupons in front of products at the store...I find that when those are out, that item tends to go on sale soon!

Tearpads- Like the blinkie machine, these are pads of coupons found in front of an item at the store.

Coupon flyers- Found at the grocery store.

Store coupons- Either found on the store's website or in a flyer at the store.

Requesting a coupon- Sometimes a company will send you coupons if you request it from them.

Scoring a good deal

Most good deals are scored through combining more than one deal at a time. Very rarely are you able to match a coupon to an item and get it free, though it has been done. Coupons are not the only way to score a deal. The following can also land a good deal.

Sales: Everyone knows this one. An item's price is knocked down to a certain percentage off the normal price.

Rebates: Most drug stores have rebate programs. You buy an item at a certain price and pay out of pocket for it. Then, either online or through the mail, submit your receipt, a form, and the product'sa upc code and a check will be mailed to you for either a portion or full mount of the item's price.

Coupons: Since there are different sources for coupons and "rules" for coupons, I will treat this subject in another post.

Free samples: Believe it or not, you can get some really good freebies! I've gotten travel size shampoo samples, microwaveable popcorn, magazine subscriptions to Traditional Home, and Metropolitan Home, and others.

Cash back programs: There are programs online like Ebates that offer you cash back on your purchases. It's free, easy to use, and you get $5 for joining!

Do you know another great way to score a good deal? Leave me a comment!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Let's get started...

Some common myths about couponing.

1. You end up spending more money when you use coupons because you buy things you normally wouldn't if you didn't use coupons.
-This can certainly happen...if you're not coupon savvy! However, if you continue to follow along, you'll see how using coupons can get you food for cheaper than store brand items!

2. Couponing takes too much time.
-It can, but once you get a system down, it will go faster. As with anything, the more you want something, the harder you'll work at it.

3. Coupons are only for junk food.
-If you opened my freezer right now, you'd see that this is certainly not the case! I have so many frozen vegetables in there, I'm running out of room! I also have stocked up on cheese and some bread. There are certainly coupons out there for unhealthy things, but ultimately, you choose what you buy. Plus, if you save money buy using coupons for things like frozen vegetables, you can in turn use the money you saved, on items that don't often have coupons.

4. Coupons only come in the paper and the paper costs money.
-Some of my best coupons come from blinkie machines or tearpads at the grocery store. If you purchase only the Sunday paper and pay $1 a week for your paper and you use $5 worth of coupons, you've already paid back what you spent on the paper.

5. Coupons really don't save you that much money....what, maybe $5 a week.
-Follow along this blog and you'll see otherwise real soon! A majority of my savings is from matching coupons to sales!

Do you have any other questions about coupons? Please leave me a comment and I'll be happy to try and answer them for you!

How Recession Proof Shopping came to be

I've always been a saver and thought I had a pretty good concept of saving money until my husband was laid off from his union construction job in November... just 5 months after we bought a new house, 7 months after we had baby number two, with Christmas 2 months away, and bills still being delivered to our mailbox. If anyone has any experience with the construction field and unions, you'll know lay offs are to be expected. My husband has always been back to work within a month, if not sooner. This time is different. With the economy plummeting, he's still out. All the jobs are still waiting to be funded!

When we got the news, we sat down and went through our finances. With cutting back to the bare minimum, we'd be ok. As I took a second look at our expenses, I decided to take a second look at what that bare minimum really included. What expenses did I have control over? Groceries and household products. How could I get them for less and knock my bill down?

I turned to online sources. I discovered many blogs about saving money and decided to put my best foot forward and really try to par our shopping expenditures down. This has opened up a whole new world of being frugal for me. One I must admit I'm becoming rather attached to!

It is not uncommon for me to stockpile and spend anywhere from $10-$20 and save $100-$300 on groceries. I started telling family and friends about this and sending them pictures. I've had so many inquiries on how I do this that I thought it was time to start a blog to avoid loading family and friends email inboxes with emails titled "coupons" or "great grocery deal".

This was a recent Walgreens run in which I spent $16 and saved $177! This includes 6 packages of diapers and 7 packs of wipes!

So there you have it! Recession Proof Shopping's birth story!

Welcome to Recession Proof Shopping!

Welcome to Recession Proof Shopping! The purpose of this blog is to guide you through shopping during the recession and help you get the most for your dollar. With our economy on a downswing, it is important to make those dollars stretch, and stretch some more!

My goal is to make this blog a place where the average person can learn how to "work the deals" with as little effort as possible. My focus will be on shopping for the necessities in life, ie: groceries and household goods, but I will also include other deals I come across.

Please feel free to ask questions and make comments.