Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Good Secrets and Shirt Drawer Organization

It's been a while since I've posted. Sorry to keep you all hanging. These are some of my best secrets... There are many websites out there that match up current coupons with deals available at CVS and Walgreens or other stores. These are a couple of my favorites: and There are links to many others on these. I will add this warning... Don't look at these sites until you have some time to spare because they become addictive! I'm serious, they can cause you to neglect your children the first time you get on them! It's crazy the deals that are available. I'm inspired by some of the people out there who can get by on a weekly grocery budget of $40 for a family of four. Maybe someday I'll be able to get to that point. I'm definitely not there yet.

Okay, so on to my coupon arrangement. You'll see after you look at the above sites why it's helpful to keep your coupons stapled together, however, I've found that this method doesn't help me at all when I go to the grocery store, so I've changed my ways. I got tired of going through all the fliers to see if there were any coupons I needed for groceries. I now have a binder that I keep the clipped coupons in under their category. I'll go into detail on that in a later post.

I think the best deals we've gotten this week were on peanut butter and spaghetti sauce. Walgreen's had a deal to buy 8 Unilever products and get $10 register rewards back. The products that were ones we use the most are peanut butter and spaghetti sauce, so we bought
four of each. They were advertised at $2.00 each. I had coupons from the 8/2 Sunday paper for 0. 40 off each Jiff peanut butter and had printed off coupons for $1/2 Ragu coupons. From the initial price of $16.00 we got $1.60 off for 4 Jiff coupons (I bought extra papers for all the inserts this week), and $2.00 off for Ragu. The total before tax was $12.40. I don't have my receipt right here and don't remember the grand total, but I received a $10.00 register reward back after buying these items. Can you believe it? It's like getting all that stuff for $2.40 plus tax. I love these kinds of deals! Today the deals at Walgreens got even better with a coupon released on their website for $5 off a $25 purchase good for today and tomorrow (this is the link http://http// The $25 has to be after all manufacturer coupons, but click on Walgreens on hip 2 save's site for some scenarios. You can get an even better deal than I did.

This week I've been sorting through things around the house trying to get rid of clutter. We're going to have a garage sale in the next several weeks. Maddie and my friend Di have been helping. They are the organizing types. I'm not. Di showed us a cool way to arrange Carter's t-shirts in his drawer so he doesn't tear through all of them, leaving them strewn about the closet floor, to find the one he wants. Di should patent this arrangement - I love it.
I've shared some good stuff with you all, now it's your turn to tell me your tips and deals.


Monday, July 13, 2009

One stop shopping - sometimes

Just a quick post today to give you another trick I use. If there are great sales on at several different grocery stores, and if you have a Walmart in your area, they will match the sales prices. When I'm making my grocery list I'll go through all the fliers. Recently I found a great deal on Ranch Style Beans at another grocery store (0.39 a can), found Goldfish at Target for 1.33, and Keebler cookies at a drug store for $2. I wrote out my list and put these items on the bottom of the list with the prices and what store had them on sale. When I checked out at Walmart I put all the items that needed "price adjustments" at the end of the groceries - kind of separated them from the others. Before the clerk got to those items I told her that those needed price adjustments. I've done this twice now and haven't had any problems. I just told her how much they were at X place and she adjusted the price. I brought all my circulars just in case she wanted to see, but I wasn't asked for them. They have to be advertised deals. The last time I had a big Walmart trip, by doing this and using coupons, I lowered my bill from $200 to $150. That's a pretty good savings if you ask me. I know other people who are even better at it, maybe someday I'll get there.

Since I've been couponing, I've found I buy most of our toiletries and a lot of our cleaning products at CVS or Walgreens. It's hard to pass up free. They're usually only free after you consider the bucks they give you back at the end of your register receipt.

Another thing... There are a lot of printable coupons out there available. I'm trying to figure out how to put the links in the sidebar, but I'm not that hip on computer stuff. There are also sites that let you sign up for free things. There is a big warning I would like to give you about those deals. One of my friends reminded me of this yesterday. If you want to take advantage of these offers, it is imperative you set up another email account. Most of the offers require an email address. If you give them your regular email, your inbox will be bombarded. Sign up for a free email with hotmail or some other free service. You can use that address to sign up for the freebies. Then you only have to periodically check it to clean it out and decide if anything in there is worth keeping.

The kids and I went to the YMCA today to swim. It is scorching hot here - in the 100's. It's nice to have a place we can go and splash around and still stay cool without sunscreen:)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday - start saving

We went to church this morning - a very exciting day. Over 30 people were baptized today. Isn't that amazing? We're members of Immanuel Baptist Church here in Shawnee ( After church we grabbed lunch and then went to score some deals at CVS. Later we went to the dollar movie - it's actually $1.50, but what a deal. Hannah Montana is playing there now and the kiddos hadn't seen it yet. If you want to check times, here's the link - (click on Hornbeck). I know most people here know about it, but some may be new to the area. It's an old-time theater that's fun to visit.

Ok, I promised an explanation of some of the good deals, so I'm starting from the beginning. Here's a way to get started couponing if you're new to this. Start saving the entire coupon inserts. I've found it's much easier to do it that way. Maddie helps me a lot with this. We usually get two papers - the state and local. If there are some really good coupons, I'll buy extras of the local paper - just because it's cheaper. If you have some connections with people who throw away their inserts, they could be a good source of extras for you. There are actually services that sell coupons, but I think that's a bit overboard. There are three different types of inserts: Red Plum, Smart Source, and P&G. Not every weekend will have all three. When we get them, we put one staple in towards the middle of the folded edge - just to keep them secured together. We then write the date on the outside with sharpie. The dates are written very tiny along the "binder" side, but it's easier to write it big on the front and it saves time. We have made separate pocket folders for each type of insert (one for Red Plum, one for Smart Source, and one for P&G. Here are a few pics.

Date at the top, staple in middle along left edge.

This system works for us, but do whatever works for you. It might take awhile before you really start to score some deals if you don't have lots of coupons already, but there are several good deals this week that don't require coupons at all. Here's the breakdown of what we got today.
This is from the CVS trip - sorry, no more little girls available. I usually end up with more, but the detergent I wanted (Gain) wasn't available in HE. Here's what we got: the kids each got a package of candy ($2.89), 5 pocket folders for back-to-school (on sale $0.25 total, 1 gillette fusion razor $7.99, one box electrasol tabs dishwasher soap ($3.99), one pkg Tylenol 8 hour 24 count ($3.99), 2 70 pg notebooks ($1.98 - total), 2 rulers ($1.98 - total), 2 school glues ($1.98 - total). Now, that totals around $25.05... But alas, I had a $2.50 coupon for dw soap from 7-12 Smart Source (SS), $2.00 coupon for tylenol (from 6-21 SS), $4.00 coupon for razor (6-7 P&G) which brings the total to $16.55. Now the biggie - I had $16.00 in Extra Bucks from our last trip to CVS. Extra bucks are basically free money in the form of coupons at the end of your register receipt. Every week, if you look at the circular, you'll notice some items that say 5 Extra Bucks, or whatever amount. So, when I gave them the $16.00 from last week I paid... drum roll please... $1.32 for all of the above items. Amazing, huh? It gets even better. Most of the items I bought were eligible for Extra Bucks, so at the end of my receipt I had $16 Extra Bucks to use next time!

Here's the receipt, but I don't have an amazing camera, so this is as close up as I could get. Here's a tip as well. Some of the stuff sells out quickly. If you don't get there in time and they're out, just ask for a rain check. They'll give you one and on it will be the code for the Extra Bucks -you'll get those when you come in later to purchase the item(s).

Some people ask if I end up buying things I wouldn't normally buy when I use coupons. Yes, I do, but I don't buy things we won't use or need. I bought some Eggo bakeshop products (they're freezer pastry/breakfast items) that I probably wouldn't have bought, but with my coupon I only paid 50 cents a box. That's breakfast for all my kiddos for a couple of days and you can't beat that price. I also usually don't buy $7.99 razors, but when I get them for free, why not? I've only been doing this since about April and before that time I had only bought disposable razors. It seems like a splurge, huh?

On my last trip to CVS I bought eight bottles of shampoo - they were on sale, I had buy-one-get-one coupons and then also had coupons for the ones I paid the regular price. Make sense? I know we won't use eight bottles now, but they're the brands we like, so I just won't have to buy shampoo for awhile. By the way, I ended up paying $16.42 for eight bottles of shampoo (four head and shoulders and four pantene), three boxes of cereal (fruity pebbles and 2 post trail mix crunch), two therma care heat pads (I had rain checks for these) and two things of candy for the kids. Then, I got $16 Extra Bucks back. You can't beat that.

Another option for the extras you end up with - give them to someone who needs them. A friend of mine sends a care package to her grandparents every month with necessities in it. I've done the same for my dad. I certainly don't recommend hoarding tons of things you don't need, but just get what you will use in a reasonable amount of time. I have enough of a stash that if I get too busy this fall with school I'll have enough toiletries on hand for several months.

Ok, enough for today. I'll type up some more tips tomorrow. Let me know the good deals you score!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A New Start

I'm sure many of you have been following our family on I am planning on keeping up that site, but primarily for the purpose of remembering Mav, raising awareness of congenital heart defects, and helping others work through the grief and the tasks that follow after losing a child. That blog, along with all your support has been a lifeline for me and has helped me get through the past ten months. I know some of you are curious about other aspects of my life, so I felt like I needed a new spot share those - out of respect for Mav's precious life. Here I will share some of my great deals, some great businesses to visit in our area, some of my favorite blog sites, other favorite things, my daily adventures and challenges with my family, and my journey to get back to where I need to be with God. I'd also like to have an area for prayer requests - you can send yours in and will have a community of people praying for you. I'll start nurse practitioner school in the fall, so I'll share my journey with that as well. I won't be working while going through school, so I'm sure I'll have some creative money-saving ideas along the way. Come along and enjoy the ride that is my life - there's never a dull moment.

Here's the first of my favorites - I love getting pedicures at Natural Nails (Shawnee Mall by Dillard's). It's a splurge, and I don't do it that often. This one is from a few weeks ago - just before I went into the hospital for my ASD closure. Their pedis seem to last forever - seriously. Just ask for "the sisters" and tell them I sent you. Maybe I'll get a free pedicure some day:) I love polka-dots. They also do really cute plaid designs.

Here's a close up of the dots in dots - a bit blurry. I know I don't have the cutest toes, but I like them better when they're painted. So fun for summer and flip-flops.

Check in tomorrow for some deals I'm going to take advantage of this week.