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Mar. 4th, 2010

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I've Moved!!!!

Hello everyone.  I know I don't have a lot of readers here, so I'm implementing a few changes while things are still really small.

First of all, I've been the only one blogging about my deals.  There's a reason for that.  I set up this community where only I have posting access.  As of right now, I'm changing that.  I will still be the mod, but I'm opening up posting to community members only.  Gone shopping and got some great deals?  Post them here so we all can triumph with you!  

Second, I'll be posting the deals I get on at my new blog location at blogspot.  If you'd like to keep following how I've been doing, please bookmark http://couponewbie.blogspot.com/.  (I don't have a paid account here, so if you do and would be kind enough to set up an rss feed here on LJ I'd be forever grateful - thanks).

I'm not in this for making a lot of money, but a few extra bucks a month would be nice.  I'm not nearly as intense as most bloggers are, and you can see that just by what I have posted previously.  Please join me over at blogspot.  Please post your deals here too.  This is for fun!  :)

Feb. 26th, 2010

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Wal-Mart trip 2/25/2010

I know I shop there a lot, but I really dislike Wal-Mart.  Their prices are normally higher than anywhere else and even with a list I end up buying more than I planned - because that's the type of place Wal-Mart is for me.  It's also the closest place for me to get to.  I normally use their pharmacy because it's the least expensive.  Thing is, this time I took a look at some of the good deals I could get there.  I decided to go ahead and use some coupons that would give me overage since I had to get to prescriptions (thankfully they were both on the $4.00 list).  The cashier was skeptical at first to give me so much overage, but the ladies behind me were very impressed!  I explained to them how the overage worked and the cashier agreed with me.  The ladies asked me questions like where I got my coupons and I explained.  They were just in awe that most of the stuff I bought was with coupons.  If you look out there, most things have a coupon available.  MOST, not all.

Here's the other thing.  I had 3 items to return today.  We bought a dog collar that was just too small.  I bought Kiddo Newbie a t-shirt that was 18 months instead of 3T because I was in a hurry and didn't look at the size.  There was also a dog shirt that Mr. Newbie said he didn't like at all even though it had a pirate/seaman theme and skull and crossbones.  I returned that last item expecting to get the $3 I paid for it back.  The $3 tag was even still on it.  They scanned the barcode and gave me close to $9 back!  The $3 tag was plainly on the shirt and it was definitely a Wal-Mart markdown tag.  That's up to them now, I figure.

Wal-Mart trip 2/25/2010

International Delight Coffee Creamer $2.26 (used free item coupon)
3-Knox gelatin $1.32 each (used 3-$4 off coupon - $8.04 overage)
2-Prescriptions $8
4-Coffee Mate Originals Sticks $.92 each (used 2-b1g1f coupons)
2-12 pack Shick disposable razors $1.97 each (used 3-$3 off coupons - $3.09 overage)
2-Shake-N-Bake $1.83 each (used 2-$0.75 off coupons)
1-Corned Beef $4.96

Total before coupons: $28.43
Total after coupons:$5.83 (yes, that's $2.17 less than the cost of the prescriptions alone)

Oh, and I promised one of the little girls outside the store that I would buy a box of Girl Scout cookies from her when I got out, which is why there's a box of Thanks A Lot's in the bag.  I hear they're good.  They better be for $3.50 a box!  They're really nothing to write home about.  Next year I'll get my standard whatever-the-name-of-the-shortbread-is.  At least it's for charity.

I liked how I did so well that when I went to Walgreen's to refill my color ink cartridge for 58% off, as is today's daily deal, I bought myself a cheap bottle of wine.  This cost me $3.24.
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Family Events for this weekend 2/27/10

I had been trying really hard to get these up by Friday, but this week and last week it just didn't work out.  Sorry about that.  Last Thursday, Mr. Newbie got hurt at work and this Thursday I ended up in the E.R. for what turned out to be a sinus infection causing a mega headache that made me think about my mortality for a minute there (my dad died of brain cancer and his dad died of an aneurysm so when something like this happens I freak out a little.  I'm OK, so that makes me happy!

On to the family events for this weekend.  As always, check the website given and call your preffered location to confirm they will be participating in this event.

Family Events for weekend of 2/27/2010
Event TitleLocationTimeWebsite
Dr. Suess Story Time
All Target locations
Read Across America

Build a LoweBot
10:00am-11:00amLowe's Build and Grow Clinic

Screening of Veggie Tales movie
Pistachio: The Little Boy that Wouldn't

Family Christian Stores


Family Christian Stores
Make it-take it: Build a Molecule
Michael's Crafts
Michael's The Knack

Make an I Love to Read Bookmark
Lakeshore Learning Centers
LLC's Free Crafts for Kids

 Story Time
Border's Bookstores
Depends on Location
Store Locater (my local store
has their own personal events
every weekend, so check.
 Story Time

Barnes and Noble Bookstores

Depends on Location
Store Locater (again,
my local store has their
own events so check
with your location)

Free Events on Tuesday 3/2/2010
Event TitleLocationTimeWebsite
March's Mini Model Build - Shamrock
Lego Stores
5PM while supplies last
Lego Stores Upcoming Events.
From what I understand, they are
very particular about the age 6-14
only rule.

Feb. 24th, 2010

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Kroger trip 2/22/10 -

Kroger 2/22/10

That is one full shopping cart!  I love it!  Now, I must admit that the stuff on the lower right was all WIC and I had picked out the wrong orange juice so I had to put it back.  Nonetheless, I did pretty well with the Daytona sale they were running.  This time I actually got a full 20 items, not 23, not 29, but actually 20!  I got a lot of looks over my coupon binder and comments on how I was a professional couponer.  LOL.  I'm humored easily.  Also, the cashier pointed out to me that Kroger is considering not taking internet printable coupons any longer due to the high amount of fraud.  Great.  Idiots ruining it for the rest of us again.

The breakdown:
2 Diet Coke $1.25 each = $2.50
Sweet 'n' low $1.96
5 Kroger chicken cordon blue's and chicken with broccoli & cheeses $1.00 each, paid $5.00
2 Kroger sour cream on clearance for $0.39 each
4 Gorton Fish Fillets $3.49 each = $13.96
Orida Frozen Fries $2.79 each = $5.58
Round Steak "reduced for quick sale" $3.90
Jennie-O Turkey Store breakfast sausages "reduced for quick sale" $1.69
2 Corned Beef (love this stuff!) $10.21 total
2 - Mission Tortillas $1.59 each = 3.18
16 Chef Boyardee cans on sale for $1.00 each = $16.00
Kroger pumpkin spice on clearance for $1.49
Kroger Value Paper Towels $0.63
Meow Mix Cat Food on clearance for $2.29
Beneful Dog Food on clearance for $2.19 (couldn't find coupons for either pet food, but apparently I had a Cellfire coupon for the Beneful)
2 Land O' Frost ham lunch meats - $3.49 each = $6.98
2 Ragu Pasta Sauces $1.95 each = $3.90
2 Go-Gurts $2.50 each = $5.00

WIC Items:
1 Gallon milk $2.38
4 Golden Delicious Apples $1.34
5 Naval Oranges $1.66
1 Quart milk $1.19
Jiff Peanut Butter $2.49

Ok, I'll be honest here.  I'm being lazy and don't want to re-calculate the totals below.  $7.40 was too much for the WIC that I had left.  I think only the apples, milk, and pb were counted as WIC items and I paid cash for the rest.

I can't even begin to remember which coupon went where.  I had a bunch that doubled and a couple of high value ones that didn't, as well as $6 off for the Daytona deal and a $4.00 on-your-next-order Catalina from buying all the Pillsbury pizza dough last week.

Total before coupons & sales: $107.26
Manufacturer coupon savings: $19.10
Bonus coupon savings: $3.78
Kroger plus card savings: $26.31
Total Savings: $49.19 - 45%!
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Walgreens trip 2/18/10 - spent $14.26, Saved $26.18

I didn't take a picture of this trip because this was the day Mr. Newbie had come home hurt.  I wanted to take a quick trip to Walgreens because we really didn't have any pain killers in the house and I wanted to make him as comfortable as possible.  Of course, since I couldn't plan this one out as much as I normally do, I just grabbed my huge coupon binder and left.  I knew the Walgreens ibuprofen was on sale buy-1-get-1, so I had planned to purchase that already.  I wanted to get him something that would reduce the swelling.  I also had a $4.00 register reward to use which I knew would lower my out of pocket expenses, so I wasn't too worried.

Walgreeens capsc patch 3 count $1.99 sale
Doans pills $4.99 sale, had a free item coupon, paid $0.00
Walgreens ibuprofen $6.99 for 2 on a buy 1 get 1 free sale
Icy Hot rub $4.29, used a $1.00 off coupon (made it the same price as the Walgreens brand)

Cost before coupons and sales: $40.44
After coupons and sales: $14.26
Total saved: $26.18

I can't imagine what I would've done if I had to pay for all this without the coupons and discounts.  Actually, I can.  I probably would've only bought the patches and ibuprofen.
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HEB trip 2/20/2010 - saved 39% - 93.08 before coupons, $50.66 after

Ok, here's the dealio guys, I'm way behind.  Like I said before, Mr. Newbie hurt himself at work and has been home all week on work comp.  Although we need the money, it's been awesome having him here at home with us instead of working 10-14 hour days.  I've been taking advantage of this by us spending time as a family.  We've been cuddling on the couch watching TV or running back and forth to take him to the doc since he couldn't drive last weekend.  Sorry, but family takes precedence over my blog (besides, my LJ, Facebook and Twitter can all be updated by text message while this blog can't). 

Still, I had to do some grocery shopping - alone!  He's been staying home with the kidlet while I ran around.  Yes, I've been running around during the day and it feels great!  So great that I'm going to continue doing so.... since he finally bought his "Dave Ramsey" car this week too!  :)  

On to the deal I did at HEB.  I don't normally shop at HEB.  I did before I used coupons because I always forgot to bring them with me and they have the yellow tags in store.  Once I discovered how much I could save, I ditched HEB in favor of Kroger since I save so much more there - not to mention the $0.10 credit per gallon of gas I get to save just for scanning my Kroger loyalty card and spending $100 before coupons and discounts.  I decided I wanted to do the HEB meal deal.  If you buy 2 pounds of either catfish or tilapia you got a number of items free.  I also wanted to get Mr. Newbie some Pop-Tarts and they had a decent deal there.  Oh, and the biggest reason I wanted to go was the Butterball Turkey Bacon on sale for $1.00 each and I had $0.75 off coupons, so $0.25 turkey bacon!  Here's the picture:

HEB 2/20/09

HEB is great on having in-store coupons and buy x get y free sales.  Thing is, the in-store coupons are manufacturer coupons and can't be combined with other paper coupons.  It's not a bad haul, just not the greatest.  The bagger wasn't the greatest either.  I finally got my free cooler bag and he put all the produce in there, leaving the meat in regular bags.  In Houston.  On a warm night.  Geez.

Here's the breakdown:

2 Eight O'Clock Coffees, $3.58 each = $7.16, used a $2.00 off when you buy 2 coupon, paid $5.16
Sliced white mushrooms $1.99
Yellow Onions $1.29 but got it free after purchasing the mushrooms
9 Pop-Tarts $1.00 each, used $1.00 off when you buy 3 coupon, paid $6.00
3 Butterball Thin & Crispy Bacon $1.00 each = $3.00, used $0.75 off each coupon, paid $0.75 for all three
1 Cantaloupe $1.00
1 Cucumber $0.69
1 Bell pepper $0.77
3 Kraft grated Parmesan cheeses, $3.77 each = $11.31, used $1.00 off each coupon, paid $8.31
3 HEB  Italian Meatballs $2.50 each = $7.50, used 3 "buy Kraft Parmesan cheese, get meatballs free" coupon, paid $0.00
2 Pounds Tilapia $16.74
Got these items free for buying the Tilapia:
Diet Big Red (would've been $1.49)
Hill County Fare Shrimp & Oyster Fry (would've been $1.48)
Fresh Express 3-Color Deli Coleslaw (would've been $1.50)
HEB White Cheddar Mac & Cheese (would've been $0,50)
Hill County Fare Charro Beans (would've been $0.69)
Pampa 100% Vegetable Oil 17oz (would've been (1.00)
3-Sunday Newspapers

Costs before sales:  $93.08
Cost after sales & coupons: $50.66
Saved: $42.42 - 39%
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Nielsen facts on coupon usage.

Promotions Get Personal: The coupon constituency of today and tomorrow | Nielsen Wire

Posted using ShareThis

I found this interesting.  See, I'm the geek in my family so I like to look at background information.  Seems like I'm not the demographic they're targeting with coupons, but I am at the same time ;) 

Feb. 18th, 2010

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Running Behind

Hi y'all.  I know I'm running behind on my posts.  I have one trip from a few days ago at Wal-Mart that I haven't blogged about yet, but it's because I couldn't find the receipt.  Cleaned up today and there it was - not where it belonged, but I found it!

And today I didn't get the cheap family fun things written out for a couple of excuses reasons.  First of all, I was a few weeks behind in clipping/sorting my coupons and it really needed to get done (as well as reading/chopping up the last two issues of All You).  I started clipping when the Dave Ramsey show started at 1 and didn't finish until about 6.  Yeah, I was behind.  The other reason was that Mr. Newbie called me to say that he was injured at work.  Looks like he'll be at least taking a day, if not more, off.  A 50-pound barrel fell on his back while he was unloading barrels from his big rig.  Ouch!  I was so glad I had RR's to use up and some freshly clipped coupons!  Fortunately I had some B1G1 for Doan's pills, $1 off Ben Gay, there was a B1G1 sale for ibuprofen, and a clearance on some of the heat pads that stick to your back.  I paid about $15 for $25 worth of stuff.  Just another reason to stock up on these items when they're on sale and not just when you need them!  

I'll be back as soon as possible, but as for tomorrow it looks like I'll be driving Mr. Newbie to see the company doctor for a work comp eval.  Cross your fingers that it's not as bad as it feels right now.

Feb. 12th, 2010

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January Savings

Like a lot of people, I downloaded the Savings Tracker from The Coupon Project last December.  I wasn't sure if I was going to use it or not, but I figured at least I'd have it if I chose to try it.  Well, I did choose to try it.  For some odd reason I decided to keep all of my January receipts.  This is so not like me.  I normally shred them about as quickly as I get them, but I was glad I didn't a few times last month.  For example, most of the Walgreen's in my area have decided to alter their Catalina coupon generator so that you don't get your dollars off your next order register rewards if you use coupons to lower your out of pocket costs.  I called the Catalina corporation to find out I should've gotten the rewards and by giving them the receipt numbers, I got them in the mail.  It was totally worth it!  Now I have a small binder that only has receipts, gift cards, and my cash.  This way I can keep them all in one place.

So, this is how I did for January:

Total Shelf Cost:      $  1,199.97          
Total Coupon Savings:      $     207.94     Variance:    $      (738.49)  
Total Savings:      $     461.48     Tax Paid   $23.67  
Amount Paid (after rebates):      $     738.49     Rebates Owed:  $                  -    
Savings Rate:   38.46%     Amount Paid (exc. Rebates)  $         738.49  

Wow, what a difference coupons and strategic shopping can make!  I saved over $400 for the month alone!  These amounts were including the times I gassed up the car, purchasing newspapers, and dining out.  Really, it's not so bad at all!  I'm pleased with these results and hope the numbers get bigger, which I think they will.

Feb. 11th, 2010

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Family Events This Weekend

Here it is, Thursday again.  Time to update on what's free/cheap to do this weekend with the family!  Always check the website and/or contact your chosen location to see if they are participating. 

Saturday 2/13/2009
LocationEventEvent TimeWebsite
LowesMake a Jewelry Organizer10:00am-11:00am
Wal-MartLittlest Pet Shop Parade11:00am-2:00pm
Lakeshore Learning Center
Make a Future President's Tie
Barnes & NobleStory TimeDepends on location
Go midway down the page to the store locator
and enter your zip code.
 Lego Stores Build a Heart 1:00pm-3:00pm

It's rumored that the Lego stores are very
specific that the child MUST be aged 6-14

Monday 2/15/2009
LocationEventEvent TimeWebsite
Houston Zoo  Free Zoo Day9:00am-6:00pmhttp://www.houstonzoo.org/


ETA: There's more local Houston stuff to do this weekend over at Houston on the Cheap.
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Are Clipping Coupons Worth It?

Well, according to the Wall Street Journal, it is!  You can read how they rationalize that you'd be making $86.40 an hour just by clipping coupons here

As the old song says, "nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you try."  :)

Feb. 10th, 2010

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Couponing bundle

In case anyone is interested, I created a Google Reader bundle of all the couponing blogs I read.  It might be an easier way to just subscribe to the feeds I have listed in my previous posts.  Go here to check it out!

Feb. 9th, 2010

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Kroger shopping trip 2/9/2010 - Saved 54% - $224.49 before Q's & discounts, $88.61 after

Kroger trip 2/9/2010 - $224.49 before Q's, $88.61 after

Ok, well for now, at least, I've abandoned setting out the food on our tiny dining room table because I'm just too exhausted!  With only 1 vehicle in the house right now and me being the stay-home parent, I can only grocery shop in the evening.  I don't mind, though, because with our interest-free loan to the government (A.K.A tax return) we're getting another pre-Dave Ramsey vehicle!  Woo hoo!  I'll have my car back to take our son to playdates and meet other moms again!

As for the deals, today was what I suspect will be the last day of the Mega Sale at Kroger.  I figured it was a good time to stock up on some stuff.  That's exactly what I did.  That dang cart was so difficult to push by this point!  You can see that on the bottom I have a bunch of drinks... and even my trusty backpack!  In the 'baby' seat I have my reusable shopping bags (all gotten free, of course), my coupon binder, and my list.  I do have WIC stuff in this total as I didn't need to separate some items out this time.  I should've gotten some milk, though.  Oh well.  Maybe tomorrow.  Apparently I had 38 Mega Event items.  I thought I had 31.  I need to start having them print out these receipts before I conclude the sale.  I would've bought 2 more items.  Grrrr.

Mega Event Items (prices are before $5 for buying 10 items discount):
8 Sobe Lifewaters $1.00 each (had B1G1 free coupons that took of $1.79 so paid $0.84 total or less than $0.11 each!)
6 Kraft cheeses $1.99 ea (had buy 2 get $1.00 off coupons, so paid $1.49 each)
Coffee Mate Sugar Free Hazelnut creamer $2.99 (had $1 off coupon so paid $1.99)
Tostitos $2.88 (had a $0.55 off coupon when you buy tostitos and a dip coupon, so paid $2.38 for this one for simplicity sake)
Tostitos queso $ 2.88
3 French's Mustard $1.69 each (had 2 $0.50 off coupons that doubled to $1.00 off, so paid $0.69 each)
3 Hunt's Diced Tomatoes $0.95 each (had $1.00 off coupon so paid $1.85 for all 3)
1 Purina Cat Chow $4.49 (had a $1.00 off coupon and didn't realize I had a $1.00 off cellfire coupon too, so paid $2.49)
4 Velveeta shells and cheese dinners $1.79 each (had $1.00 off when you buy 2 coupons, so paid $5.16)
3 Rotel tomatoes $0.90 each (had $1.00 off when you buy 3 coupons, so paid $1.70)
4 Capri Sun $1.99 each (had $1.00 off when you buy 2 coupons, so paid $5.96)
Daisy sour cream $1.99
Dryer's ice cream $3.27 (had $1.00 off coupon, so paid $2.27)

the italicized items didn't get the additional $5.00 discount due to me miscounting - AGAIN!!!

Non Mega-Event Items:
Kroger butter $1.99
Barq's Diet Root Beer $4.00
Diet Cherry Coke $4.00
Diet Coke $4.00
Fresca black cherry $4.00 (the 4 sodas were buy 3 get 1 free and I had a $2.00 off when you buy 4 coke items coupon expiring today, so paid $10.00 for 4 twelve packs)
Gogurt $2.50 (had a $0.40 off coupon that doubled to $0.80 off - paid $1.70)
6 Pillsbury pizza crusts $2.59 each (had 3 save $0.40 when you buy 2 coupons that doubled to $0.80 off and 1 cellfire loadable coupon that I didn't realize I had, so paid $12.14 for all)
6 Bic razors $3.89 each (on a buy 1 get 1 free sale, had 3 buy 1 get 1 free coupons, got these for free)
Kroger markdown bakery rolls $1.69
Boneless pork loin chops $1.79/lb - $4.61
8 O'Clock Coffee $4.69
2 Carl Budding Honey Ham $4.39 each (on a buy 1 get 1 free sale, used 2 $1.00 off coupons, paid $2.39)
Kroger bleach $1.52
Kroger vinegar $2.39
Franzia wine $11.99
Kroger hot dog buns $1.00
Kroger hamburger buns $1.00
2 Tyson bacon $4.99 (on a buy 1 get 1 free sale, no coupons, paid $4.99 for both)

WIC items (total $10.53):
Grapes $1.99/lb paid $2.43
Bananas $0.49/lb paid $1.03
Frosted Mini Spooners $2.39
Honey Bunches of Oats $3.37 (also a mega event item I didn't realize)

I got 3 mega deals with $5.00 off and earned a $4.00 off your next order Catalina for buying the Pillsbury pizza crusts.  

$224.49 total
Manufacturer coupon savings: $41.08
Bonus coupon savings $3.10
Kroger plus savings $75.31
Total savings (54%) $119.49

So, I pretty much spent this weeks grocery budget on one trip.  I still have a little left over, though.  I'll need to use that to get my son some pull-ups (gak - yeah, he's still in them - ugh!) and newspapers next Saturday.  I also have a little something planned for Valentine's Day.  I got a $25 gift certificate from Restaurant.com for FREE by using my MyCokeRewards to pay for it.  I have to have a total purchase of $35 or more at the restaurant, but for 3 people that's no problem at all!  At least the majority of the dinner will be free!

Feb. 7th, 2010

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Great Kroger GC Giveaway!

Hey, everyone!  Head on over to That's Just Nifty Thrifty to enter her contest to win a $25 Kroger gift card!!!!!  She's giving away 2 of them, so hurry!

Feb. 5th, 2010

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One more free kids activity this weekend

Sorry I forgot to add this one.  Lakeshore Learning Centers has a free kids craft every Saturday from 11am-1pm.  This week they're making a Be My Valentine Magnetic Note Holder.  You can view details and future projects here.  You can also locate a nearby store on that page.

ETA: If you're in the Houston area, there's another list of family activities by Vicki at Houston on the Cheap here.

Feb. 4th, 2010

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Family Activities for This Weekend

I thought I'd share some events this weekend that are coming up and are free or close to free for the family.  I don't do all of these with my son, but I always try to get to any of the hardware stores building events.  I do keep track of other events just in case we're looking for something else fun to do.  

Here's what's going on this weekend.

Saturday 2/6/2010
TimeActivityLocationSpecial Notes
9:00am-12:00pmMake a #20 Car DisplayHome DepotEvent Site
10:00am-2:00pmValentine's Day Workshop for KidsPottery Barn KidsEvent Site
11:00AM-3:00PMMake a Be My Valentine magnetic note holderLakeshore Learning CenterEvent Site
2:00pmPercy Jackson Movie PartyBorders BookstoresEvent Site Click on "Store Events" for a .pdf monthly calendar.
 Various Times depending on location Story Time Barnes & Noble Bookstores Look on the Kid's page, in the column on the right there is an event locater by zip code.
Sunday 2/7/2010
TimeActivityLocationSpecial Notes
10:00am-2:00pmValentine's Day Workshop for KidsPottery Barn KidsEvent Site

This should make for some fun stuff this weekend and great memories too!  Having fun on a budget is the best, isn't it!

ETA: If you're in the Houston area, there's another list of family activities by Vicki at Houston on the Cheap here.

Feb. 2nd, 2010

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More blogs I'm reading.

I have added a LOT to the list of blogs I've been reading.  Well, I do have a few more minutes than I used to... not much, mind you, but I do have more.  Keep in mind that the more blogs you add, the more repetitive some become.  On the other hand, the repeats of local sales sometimes catch deals that another didn't or that someone didn't think was a deal.  I get hundreds of posts in my Google Reader every day, so keep that in mind when you add these.  Also, you can always check The Frugal Map to see if there's any blogs locally that will help you save money right where you are! 
  1. $30 Weekly Grocery Challenge
  2. A Few Short Cuts
  3. A Lot of Savings
  4. Attention Target Shoppers
  5. Attention WalMart Shoppers
  6. Be Frugal, Be Happy, Save a Bundle
  7. Centsible Savings
  8. Cha Ching Queen
  9. Cha-Ching on a Shoestring
  10. Common Sense With Money
  11. Coupon Dad
  12. Coupon Mommie
  13. Coupon Saving Game
  14. Couponing for 4
  15. Daily Essentials and Deals
  16. Fabule$$ly Frugal Mom
  17. Freebies 4 Mom
  18. Frugal Coupon Living
  19. Frugal Fun and Fortune
  20. Frugal in Houston
  21. Frugal Living and Having Fun
  22. Happy Couponing
  23. This blog (yeah, I'll shamelessly plug it here ;)   )
  24. Houston Blogs:  SuperSaver
  25. Houston on the Cheap (the woman who writes this blog is an AWESOME lady!  She couldn't go to the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover Live Event, when it came to Houston last weekend so she sold me her (transferable) tickets.  She bought hers when they were $10 each and I missed out on them - but she came to my rescue!  Thank you so much, Vicki!)
  26. I Heart Saving Money
  27. I Heart Wags
  28. It's Hip to Save!
  29. Madame Deals
  30. Maven of Savin'
  31. Moms Need to Know
  32. Money Saving Mom
  33. My Penny Pile closed as of 2/6/2010
  34. Nicole's Nickels
  35. Pays to be Frugal
  36. Pocket Your Dollars
  37. Puget Sound Prudence
  38. Saving Your Cents
  39. Southern Savers
  40. STL Mommy
  41. That's Just Nifty Thrifty
  42. The Coupon "High"
  43. The Coupon Project
  44. The Good Deal Gal
  45. The Krazy Coupon Lady
  46. To Save A Penny
  47. Totally Target
Now, remember that each one of these blogs has a RSS feed that can easily be added to Google Reader.  This makes a total of 62 money saving blogs I read regularly.  The hardest part was when I didn't have internet.  I tried to read them all through the WAP reader on my cell phone.  Whew, was that hard and totally a chore that took all day every day!  It's NOT recommended you do this.  It IS recommended that you find ones in your area that will help you save locally.  Good luck!
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Kroger trip 2/2/2010 - saved 75%

All right, I know I haven't been here in a while.  That's life, right?  Sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug, but bugs like me learn to scrape themselves off the windshield and keep flying.  Long story short, I'm a stay-at-home mom now and that means we're down to 1 income and I've become a home economist.  Don't get me wrong - I've slipped in the past few months, but now I'm back and working my butt off to save my family money again.  To celebrate, I thought I'd post my Kroger trip for today.  Kroger was running the Mega Event where when you buy 10 items you get an automatic $5 off your grocery order.  This made a lot of my stuff free to close to free after coupons.  I didn't take a picture in my home.  I'm too tired for that... but I did take a picture of what a full cart looks like in the parking lot.

Kroger trip 2/2/2010.  $108 worth of groceries for under $25.00!

Since it's 10pm here and I'm dealing with a 3-year-old that refuses to go to bed or sit still watching Monsters, Inc., I'll be brief.

In my haste, I realize I was 3 items short of getting another $5 off.  Man, I hate it when that happens especially since I used tick marks on my shopping list to be sure I had enough for the event.  I would've gotten 3 more sodas for $.79 each.  I still would've saved about $2.50 more.  :(

Before I go on, notice the front seat of the cart.  In it I have my backpack and my new coupon binder.  Filled as it is now, I can't even zip it up!  It takes forever to organize, but I can find my coupons super easily, which is just the opposite of where I was before.  At least with it all being easier to find, it'll be much easier when I come across a good clearance deal!  


My Coupon Binder as of Mid January

This is how my binder looked as of mid January.  I could still close it then.  I certainly can't now!  I used the dividers I downloaded from The Krazy Coupon Lady.  The coupons are stored in baseball card holders.  I needed 3 packages for mine and now I need one more!  I definitely need a bigger binder.

On to my shopping trip!!!

Mega Event Items (prices reflect cost each after mega event deducted):
  • 2 Coffee Mate Coffee Creamers, $2.50 each, used $1 off when you buy 2 coupon, paid $4.00 for 2
  • 3 Ro-Tel Tomatoes, $0.40 each, used buy 2 get 1 free coupon which took $.090 off, paid $0.40 for 3
  • 3 Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers, $.88 each, used 3-$0.75 off coupons, paid $0.39 for 3
  • 2 Capri Suns, $1.49 each, used $1.00 off when you buy 2 coupon, paid $2.98 for 2
  • 3 Craft Cheese shreds or chunks, $1.49 each, used 2-$1.00 off when you buy 2 coupons, paid $??? for 4 (see below in the non mega sale list)
  • 4 So Be Life Waters $.50 each, used 2 buy-1-get-1-free coupons which took off $1.79 each, got $1.50 toward the rest of my purchase (a money maker!)
  • 2 Kraft Velveeta Shells and Cheese Dinners, $1.29 each, used $1.00 off when you buy 2 coupons, paid $1.58 for 3
  • 11 I Can't Believe It's Not Butter tubs at $0.99 each, used 11 $1.00 off coupons, $0 out of pocket!
  • 2 Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers $1.49 each, used 2 $0.40 off coupons that doubled to $0.80 off, paid $2.18 for 2
  • 4 Tidy Cats Cat Litter 10 pound bags, $1.49 each, used 4 $1.00 off coupons and 1 $1 off cellfire coupon, paid $0.96 for 40 pounds of cat litter.
  • 1 Quilted Northern 12 count bath tissue $5.99, used $1 off coupon, paid $4.99

Not on mega sale:
  • 1 Diet Orange Crush 2 Liter (I thought this was a mega sale item) $1.29
  • 1 Kraft cheese $4.49 (again, thought this was a mega sale item or else I would've gotten something different)
  • 1 Cat Litter Liners $1.89
  • 1 bag of sliced portabella mushrooms $2.39
  • 1 bag discounted navel oranges $1.80
  • 2 Kroger Frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu $2.00
  • 1 Beef Steak (reduced for quick sale) $4.99

Purchased with WIC and not in my "before" total:
  • 1 Gallon Milk
  • 1 Dozen Eggs
  • 1 Bunch Bananas

Well, that's my trip back.  Made a couple of mistakes, but not too bad nonetheless.  I'm happy!  I only have $80 total for groceries and fun for the week, so I'm doing well stretching it the best I can so far.  Had I not used the coupons and sales I would've been over already.

$103.94 before coupons and sales
Manufacturer coupon savings $40.48
Bonus coupon savings $1.50
Kroger plus savings $37.11
Total coupons $79.09

Jun. 30th, 2009

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Target trip 6/30/09 - 67% savings

This is my last post for today, I promise!!!!  I'm finally caught up after this one.

I really wish I had a deep freeze.  I'd totally buy more brisket at $0.99 a pound and cut it into steak size pieces to freeze.  I'd do the same thing with the corn since it's $0.10 an ear.  Alas, I have a tinier freezer than most apartment freezers are (seriously - it's smaller than any one I've ever had before), so I can't.  Anyone wanna donate a working deep freeze?  LOL

I was sorta confused on what the checkout girl did.  She took the WIC off first then said I had to pay the full price for everything and she'd give me cash back as a refund for my coupons.  I guess it's because they did the WIC tender before the coupons.  I have to remember that next time for my Target purchase.  At least I have a little cash in my pocket that I won't have to stop at the ATM to get!

Dawn dishwashing soap 2 at $2.49 each = $4.98, had a $1.50 off manufacturer coupon and a $0.50 off Target coupon for each, so paid $0.49 each ($0.98 total)
Raid $2.54, had a $2.00 off coupon, so paid $.54
Crystal Light packets - 6 for $0.99 each, had either $1 off coupons or buy 2 get $2 off coupons, so FREE
A1 steak sauce 2 at $2.09 each, had $2.00 off coupons so paid $0.09 each, or $0.18 total
Sweet corn - 4 ears at $0.10 each, normally would've been $2.00 instead of $0.40
Jiffy peanut butter $2.09 purchased with WIC
Einstein bagles $2.97 (my diet didn't last long - thanks STRESS!)
Brisket $9.53
Honey Bunches of Oats Vanilla Clusters $5.98 purchased with WIC
Welches juice - 4 at 6.28  purchased with WIC
Milk 2.04 purchased with WIC
Bounty basic $0.99, had a $0.50 off Target coupon and a $0.25 off manufacturer coupon so paid $0.24
Cottonelle travel wipes $0.99, had a $1.00 off Cottonelle Target coupon
Omeprazole $7.49 (again, thanks STRESS)
Pictureka card game $6.64, had a $5.00 off coupon, so paid $1.64 for a whole new game!

Total $63.64
WIC paid $16.39
Coupons totalling $21.00
Paid out of pocket 48.47 and got $21.00 back from the cashier totalling 26.25 actually paid! 

$42.64 saved = 67% savings!
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Kroger trip 6/26/09 - 24% savings!

Springdale milk - 2 gallons at $1.99 each, purchased through WIC
Cheese - 2 pounds at $3.59 each, purchased through WIC
Pure & Clean laundry soap still on sale for $4.99 each, had $1.00 off coupons, paid $7.98 for both
Jalapeno garlic bread, Pepperoni garlic bread, and Cheese garlic bread on clearance for $1.69 each, $5.07 for all 3
Chex Mix on sale for $1.50, regularly $1.49, $0.50 cellfire coupon, $0.50 manufacturer coupon doubled to $1.00, so FREE
Fresh Express Salad blends on sale for $2.50 each, had a Shortcuts coupon for $1.00 off and a manufacturer coupon for $1.00 off so paid $3.00 for the two bags.
Red onion $1.14
Big K rootbeer $0.79
Big K soda $0.50
Bacon $4.99 (regularly $5.99)
Greated Cheese $2.99

Balance was $40.45
WIC paid $13.60
Manufacturer coupons were $5.50
Kroger card savings was $13.29
Paid out of pocket $26.85 = 24% Savings!!!!
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HEB trip 6/25/09

I was really wanting some Chicken Kiev the other day and I knew I could get Barber Chicken brands at HEB.  They were ON SALE!!!! I also had a COUPON (at least for 1 of them).  What they don't know is that I would've paid full price for this "treat."

Asparagus on sale for $2.99/lb, paid $2.96
Nectarines on sale for $1.00 per pound.  Paid $1.28
International Delight Sugar Free Hazelnut creamer (cost the same as the other creamer with a coupon and was in the flavor I wanted) $2.29
Barber Kiev Chicken Breasts $3.99 each, regularly $4.99 each, had a $1.00 coupon off so paid $6.98 for both boxes.

Total out before coupons $14.51
Total after $13.51

Not a big savings, but a savings is a savings.
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Kroger trip 6/21/09 61% savings!

I went on this trip with my in-laws.  My dad-in-law couldn't believe how much I saved!  He was skeptical at first thinking I would have to buy a bunch of things I wouldn't normally buy in order to "save" money and how is that money saved if I won't use those products anyway?  Well, here's what I got:

Purex laundry soap (these'll be perfect for my fiance since he's a trucker now) regularly $6.99, on sale for $4.99, had a $1 off coupon.
Teddy Grahams (to keep 2 kidlets quiet) $1.00 each on sale.  Regularly $1.50 each.
Angel Soft TP on sale for $1.00 regularly $1.28, had a $0.50 coupon that doubled to $1.00 so got this for FREE
M&M's, Snickers, and Dove candy all gotten with FREE coupons or buy 1 get 1 free coupons, out of pocket $0.00
Asparagus on sale for $1.87/lb normally over $4 a pound - cost $1.94
Paper Towels $0.63 because I desperately needed some
Strawberries $2.00
Raspberries $2.50 (I didn't realize I got the organic or else it would've been $2.00)
Blackberries $2.00
Kraft Easy Mac all purchased with $1 off or buy 1 get 1 free and Cellfire coupons so FREE
Chicken Seasoning on sale for $1.00, regularly $1.99, had a $0.50 off coupon that doubled so FREE
Suave deodorant on sale for $1.00, regularly $1.19, had $0.50 off coupons that doubled, so FREE
Cucumber $0.79
Softsoap on sale for $1.00, regularly $1.09 had a $0.50 off coupon that doubled, so FREE
Lettuce  $0.87
Bleach $1.36

Manufacturer coupons $12.93
Doubled coupons $2.90
Kroger card savings $8.22

Would've cost me $39.25
Total savings $24.05
Paid 15.20 out of pocket.

61% savings!!!

And, yes, we have or do use all those items.
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CVS trip 6/21/09

Sorry for the blurry pic.  It looked OK on the small screen of my phone, but guess it wasn't.

For this trip, I did 2 transactions.

2 Tresseme deep cleanse at $5.19 each.  Earned $5 in Extra Care Bucks.  Paid $11.24 out of pocket.

3-2 liters of Diet Pepsi at 3 for $4, regularly would've been $5.52 for the three of them.
1-All Bran Fiber Drink Mix on sale for $4.99 (regularly $5.99) and a $2 off coupon making it $2.99.
Rolled the $5 Extra Care Bucks and paid $1.99 out of pocket for the second transaction and earned another $1 Extra Care Buck.

Would've been a total of $19.91 out of pocket, but paid a total of $13.23. 
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Behind on the posts

I'm a couple of weeks behind on my posts, but I'm working to get caught up soon.  Between a demanding day job and a demanding Coupon Boy, it's all I can do to be sure to keep looking at the sales in the first place, but I do want to chronicle my progress.  Bear with me, it'll be soon.

Jun. 20th, 2009

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Busy week!

I've been really busy all week because, well it was just one of those weeks.  I have been shopping but I haven't taken pictures of anything so bear with me.

-Saturday 6/13-
Ran to Kroger because I needed some ground beef to go with my Hamburger Helper meals that I fed to my in-laws.  Yes, that's not the first time I mentioned them because I love them so much!

Ground Beef on sale - got 2 pounds for $3.90 (saved $2.47)
Pork Chops on clearance for $3.22
Beef round steak on clearance for $3.30
Oscar Mayer lunch meat buy 1 get 1 free.  $5.29 for 2, had a $1 off when you buy 2 coupon, paid $4.29 for 2 pounds of lunch meat!
Coffeemate $3.49, had a $1 off coupon, paid $2.49
Huggies Little Swimmers sprayable sunblock on sale for $6.99, had a $2.00 off coupon, paid $4.99.  It cost less than the creamy goop that was Kroger brand!
Pineapple on clearance for $0.99
Mini watermelon on sale for $1.97

Cost before discounts & coupons = $40.32
Saved $14.78
Paid out of pocket  $25.54
37% savings!

-Sunday 5/14-

Axe shower gels and shampoos were on sale at Walgreens buy 1 get 1 1/2 off.  I had 10 coupons for the shampoos.  My fiance LOVES the Axe products, so I figure that for a little while he can use the sampoos as body wash too.  I know I do that when I find a scent I like in shampoo that I can't find in body wash.

10 Axe body washes: before the sales and coupons, $55.99, after the sales $44.93, after the coupons $24.93
Something I got for Dale for Father's day on clearance for $1.29 (it's totally his style and not the only thing he's gonna get)
Vaper bath on clearance for $0.82
Gerber first foods on clearance for $0.35 (as I said before, I throw a jar of this in with stuff like the aforementioned Hamburger Helper to add some veggies to it)

Cost before Axe discounts (because I'm not sure of the regular prices on the clearance items) $47.39
Paid out of pocket $28.85
61% savings!

-Monday 5/15-
Needed something for lunch, so I headed to Randall's since that's the closest grocery store to my workplace.

Newman's Own Salad Dressing - $3.39 regular price, on sale for $2.19, $1.00 off coupon, paid $1.19
Sweet Butter Blend lettuce - $3.49 regular price, on sale for $2.99
Budding beef - $0.89

Cost before discounts = $7.77
Paid $5.07 for 2 days worth of lunches.  You sure can't do that at McDonalds!
35% savings!

$59.46 spent for the ENTIRE week.  Without the coupons and savings it would've been $95.48.  Talk about slashing the budget!
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FREE coupon E-Course

I just found out about this and was so excited that I had to share it right away!  I know there's no couponing classes in my area (Clear Lake, TX) because I've looked.  Now I can do a course online for FREE!  Sounds worth it to me..

Now to just find the time to do it between work and caring for Coupon Boy.

Choyster Cash Coupon Ecourse

Jun. 13th, 2009

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Target trip 6/12/2009

For some reason I thought I wasn't going to do well.  I was wrong!  Just takes a little planning!  :D

Chex Mix - 6 bags at $2.24 each, had $0.50 off manufacturer coupons for each and $1.00 off Target coupons for each making them $0.74 each.
Market Pantry "goldfish" type crackers - to appease the boy $1.32
"Helper" meals - bought 6.  They were supposed to be on sale for $1.25 each, but most rang up at $1.52 each.  Used 2- buy 3 get $0.75 off manufacturer coupons and 3- buy 2 get $1.00 off Target coupons.
Einstein bagels - 2 for $1.98.  I have a weakness for sesame seeded bagels and since I've decided that on Monday I'm going back to my low-carb diet, I wanted one last Hurrah! with my bagels.
Strawberries $2.99, had a $1.00 off Target coupon so paid $1.99 for the pound.
Kashi waffles 2-boxes on sale for $1.77 each, had a $1.50 off coupon, paid $0.27 each.
Morningstar meatless "meats" - bought 4 at $3.39 each, had $2.00 off each manufacturer coupons & $1.00 when you buy 2 Target coupons making them $0.89 each.
Degree deodorant $2.29.  Had a $1.50 off Target coupon and a $1.00 off manufacturer coupon making them pay me $0.21 to take it off their hands (love it when that works out)
Tweezers $2.89
Ziploc containers & bags.  I got 15 at various prices, had lots of manufacturer and Target coupons for them plus some of them were on sale.  Would've paid $36.47 before all sales and coupons (more than I paid out of pocket for all this stuff!), the sales made them $35.62, the coupons made them all $17.47
Hefty trash bags $5.89, had a $0.55 manufacturer coupon and a $1.00 Target coupon making it $4.34
Cottonnelle TP $6.49, manufacturer coupon for $1.00 off and Target coupon for $1.00 off making it $4.49.

Total before coupons & discounts - $116.50
Total paid out of pocket - $34.78
Saved $81.72
70% savings!

Woo hoo!!!!!!!

Jun. 9th, 2009

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Helping others

Recently, I had been bragging to my wonderful Nana Coupon (HI DENISE!!!!!) about how well I've scored at grocery stores.  She was intrigued.  I would be too, honestly.  Money is a tight commodity for all of us right now.  I gave her all my resources and told her what has helped me so far.  She's a great student (and a great mom for having raised such a wonderful son - no I'm not buttering her up for anything ;).  She bragged on her experiences to me recently.  I'm so proud of my Padwan!

I thought I had written down what she saved on these items, but I guess I didn't.  :(  I remember this was from CVS, she had a $4 off coupon for the haircolor, the powder was $0.99, and the body wash was on the 90% off rack.  I may just have to take a shower at her place to try it out ;)     Well, yeah we are close like that  LOL

A few days later she sent me this:

Here's my haul from Target. Total before coupons $93.72, after coupons $62.53 for a total savings of $24.43

How awesome is that!  I mean, look at all that stuff right there.  Believe me, their table is huge and this fills about half of it.  Way to go Mom! 

She did the same thing I did... she read the blogs, printed the coupons she needed while others did the price matching and searching, and bought herself a Sunday paper to make sure she got at least 1 copy of the most recent manufacturer coupons.  It really doesn't take a lot to do this and you save so much that it's so worth it!
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Kroger trip 6/8/09

Did pretty well at Kroger yesterday.  Coupon Papa watched Coupon Boy so that allowed me to have some time to myself and just lumber through the store.  Ah, the simple things in life!  If I hadn't, I wouldn't have known that the AXE body wash was on sale (something my fiance LOVES) or that True Orange is being discontinued at that store.  The one I went to also triples coupons up to $0.35 and doubles ones up to $0.50.  I only had one that got doubled, but still saved some money along the way!

Carl Budding lunch meats, buy 1 get 1 free = $3.69 total
Bratwurst & Italian sausage (had to buy 2 for meal deal) $3.49 each
Beef steak on clearance for $2.34
Marinade $1.50
4 2-liters of pop $0.85 each
Cherries - I somehow got exactly 1 pound $1.98
Hamburger helper - 6 boxes with $0.75 off 3 coupons & a Cellfire coupon = paid $3.75 for all of them
2 Knorr rice sides - on sale with the 10 for 10 deal, had a $0.75 off 2 coupon and another $0.75 Cellfire coupon = $0.50 for 2
Shake-n-bake type thing $1.79 (love the stuff - had to get something because I was jonesin' for it)
Diced onions - FREE with the sausages
Sour Kraut - FREE with the sausages
AXE - sale for $3.89, $1 off coupon - paid $2.89
Milk - purchased via WIC
Bananas $1.25
Mustard - FREE with the sausages
Chicken seasoning - 10 for 10, $.75 off coupon = paid $0.25
True Orange on clearance for $1.49, $.50 coupon doubled, paid $0.49
Baby food veggies (I mix these in with regular foods because my fiance and son HATE veggies - gotta get them in somehow) $0.50 each, had a $0.50 Kroger Catalina, paid $1.00 for all 3

Total before coupons & discount = $$62.40
Manufacturer savings = $7.10
Kroger plus savings = $16.47
Total savings = $23.57
Paid out of pocket = $38.83

Looks like I had a total savings of 38%.  Not too shabby!

May. 30th, 2009

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Kroger trip 5/29/09

Don't have a picture of this one because last night I was frankly too tired... but here's the deal.

Bananas $0.64
Edy's Ice Cream on sale for $2.37
Pork Chops on clearance for $5.80
2 Tombstone pizzas at $3.99 each = 7.98 / $1 off coupon when you buy 2 = $6.98
Quarter of a watermelon $1.79
Peanut butter $2.39 (this was supposed to have been paid for by WIC, but it didn't come off, so I'll probably be returning this item)

Total before coupons = 24.09, paid out of pocket $19.97 (4.12 saved) = 9% savings. 

Well, a savings is a savings, even when it's not great, right?
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HEB Trip 5/30 - not too bad, not too great.

I recently headed to HEB because I've been dying to make my famous spaghetti.  Fortunately, it was on their meal deal this week.  I also love chicken kiev and had printables for the Barber Farms brand.  This was the only place I've found that carries the Carpi Sun Sunrise and I had a coupon for that too.  OK... here we go...

Squash $0.35
Onion $0.48
Corn 2/$1 (not a great price right now, but it sounded good with the crab)
Bell pepper $0.50
Veggie Chips $2.09 with a $1.00 in-store coupon so paid $1.09
HEB cheese $1.67 (part of the meal deal, so FREE)
Ground Chuck $2.39 each = $4.78 for both (had to buy 2 for the meal deal)
Crab legs $3.99 with a $1.00 off printable so paid $2.99
Pasta sauce $1.89 (part of the meal deal so FREE)
Spaghetti $1.06 (part of the meal deal so FREE)
Bread (not pictured) $1.09 (part of the meal deal so FREE)
Barber Kiev chicken 2 for $9.98 with 2-$1.00 off coupons, so $7.98
Capri sun berry tangerine $1.92 with a $1.00 off coupon so $0.92
HEB diet pop $1.00

Total cost before coupons = $31.95
After coupons $21.24
Total savings = $10.71 / 34% savings!
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Making out like a bandit at Walgreens!

I'm so extremely grateful I have info from other peoples' blogs to keep me up to date.  I might have missed this GREAT deal on Pull-Ups.  They're so expensive to begin with.  A few mentioned that they were on clearance at Walgreens.  I stopped at about 4 so I could get so many.  The last 2 were the only ones that had any left.  At the next-to-last one all I could get was 3 packs.  They were $3.19 a pack and I had $2.00 off coupons and a $2.00 register reward that had to be used by that day anyway.  I had too much overage (somehow) so I also got some chocolates (not pictured) $0.75.  The second trip is the one where I did so great!  This picture's not so accurate because it happened last Sunday and I wasn't at home.  Here's the details. 

9 packs of Huggies Cool Alert Pull-Ups on clearance for $3.19 each.  $2.00 off coupon for all of them.
Crystal lite on clearance for $1.09 each.  Bought 2 because I had a $1 off coupon when you buy 2 and another coupon for the Crystal Lite Pomegranate tea for free when you buy 2 Crystal Lites.  So, for 3 packages of Crystal lites, I paid $1.18
Dr. Pepper freezer pops for $2.00 (my wonderful in-laws LOVE Dr. Pepper and I wanted to try them so I figured what they hey)
Pretzel & Cheese pack $1.00 (kept my son and my neice quiet for a little while so it was worth it).

Total paid OOP for all this stuff????


I only have my receipt from the second trip, so I can't figure out the exact savings... but from the big receipt I got 71.59 in savings with coupons and discounts.  84% is the estimated savings!  Woo hoo!  (and I got the girley pull ups because boys poo just as well in them ;) )

Found the other receipt.  It was $118.33 before coupons & discounts, paid out of pocket $13.70 = 88% savings!

May. 23rd, 2009

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Wal-Mart trip 5/22/09

This was my first trip to Wal-Mart.  Always the lowest prices, eh?  Not so much.  Did my worst EVER here.  Guess Wal-Mart is now relegated to emergency shopping only.  I will say that I did make a few "errors" on this trip.  First of all, my cat NEEDED some food ASAP and I didn't have any coupons so I had to just go with the lowest store price.  Also, the flea outbreak this year is HUGE.  I even have them in my car and the only 'animals' that have been in my car have been me & my son.  Had no choice but to get something that was a spray so I could spray my car.  No coupon for that either.  None for the Sweet "n" low and I was out, the Benadryl wasn't on sale and I only had a $1 off coupon, but my legs have been eaten up so bad by... you guessed it, fleas, that I had to do something.  No coupon for the Parmesian cheese or the Bird's Eye either.  The vegetables was my own fault.  My son was acting up and I forgot to give tham to the checkout.  That would've been an addional $5 in savings.  I also got the envelopes in an attempt to organize my coupons better, but it's not working out.  Not that we didn't need some envelopes, but it could've waited or I could've gotten something more practical for my purposes.  Also not pictured was a 20-oz Diet Dr. Pepper and some Flamin' Hot Cheetos to appease the boy.  That was $1.25-ish well spent as he was quiet for most of my trip.

Dr. Pepper $1.38
Cheetos $0.88
Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn $2.73/$0.40 off coupon = $2.33
Lunchables $1.94 each/$1.00 off WYB 2 coupon = $2.88
Sweet N Low $1.74
Envelopes $0.94
Cottonelle tubs $5.38
Steamfresh veggies $3.22 (would've had $1.00 off had I remembered the coupons in my pocket)
Benadryl $4.28/$1.00 off coupon = $3.28
Parmesan cheese $2.78
A-1 Steak sauce $2.08/$1.00 off coupon = $1.08
Tabasco sauce $0.98/$1.00 off coupon = $0.02 overage (does Wal-Mart do overage or do they adjust down?)
9 Lives $3.58
Prescription $4.00 (yes, even my 'scripts are thrifty - or else on my insurance co-pay I'd have to pay $20/$40/$60)
Glade lasting impressions $5.00 each/$4.00 off coupons for both=$1.00 each
Coffee Mate Hazelnut $2.96/$1.00 off coupon = $1.96
Angel soft bath tissue $1.24/$.75 off coupon = $0.49
Cottonnelle bath tissue $1.00 each/$0.50 off coupon = $3.00
Steamfresh meals for 2 $10.36 (would've had $4.00 off had I remembered the coupons in my pocket)
Cat spray $6.67 (just noticed it was on my receipt twice and only bought 1 - makes me wonder how many other things I got double charged on in the past)

May. 21st, 2009

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The blogs I read.

Recently, I've been asked which blogs I use to help me with coupon matchups.  I'm happy to post them!  See, I use the blogs for two reasons - I'm new at this and my toddler rarely gives me a few minutes to myself to really think & matchup coupons.  What I've done is start a Google Reader account where I loaded all the links.  I keep the reader open so that it will tell me when there's a new post.  It's a lot easier than going page by page to see who has updated or not and it takes a lot less email inbox room too.
  1. Bargain Brianna
  2. Be CentsAble
  3. Couponing 101
  4. Couponing Addict
  5. Dave Ramsey
  6. Deal Seeking Mom
  7. Engineer a Debt Free Life
  8. Houston Blogs: Super Saver
  9. Jane4Girls $800 Annual Budget for a Family of 4
  10. Katy Couponers
  11. KHOU Coupon Contessa
  12. Mommy Snacks
  13. Pamela Sykes-Barry
  14. Saving with Shellie
  15. Stretching a Buck
  16. Surviving The Stores
As you can see, I try to do my research before going out, but what better way to do my research than to have someone else do it for me?  ;)

There's also some online sources for coupons.  My main one is Coupons.com.  You can also sign up for e-coupons from sources such as Cellfire, UPromise (which also helps save a little bit for college), and Shortcuts.  Oh, and how I save a lot at Target is to combine the paper coupons with their store coupons.  You can print the store coupons (as well as other coupons) from A Full Cup

So that's where I get my ideas from.  I have over $2k in coupons saved right now (I keep an excel database which helps me weed out the expired ones easily - also the printed database helps me to see if I have a coupon in my stash that I need but didn't know I needed).  I hope this canhelp you save money like it helped me.  

Got any others?  Let me know!
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Kroger trip 5/21/2009

I'll be honest - the only reason I did this trip was because I didn't feel like cooking tonight and I knew that the ribs were on a "meal deal" type deal.  Basically, buy the ribs, get the potato salad, beans, plates, pop & napkins free.  Only got the potatoes because they were on the clearance produce for $.99 and the kaiser rolls were on the clearance bakery for $1.29.  I like something like the kaiser rolls for breakfast.  I pop one into the toaster oven, slather with butter, and away we go!  Not the most healthy breakfast, but still yummy and enough to get me through to lunch (breakfast at 7am, lunch at 1pm basically).  Oh, and these are whole wheat rolls too.  Num num num num num.

Ribs $12.99
Napkins $0.99 FREE
Pullups on sale for $10.99
Plates $1.29 FREE
Rolls $1.29
Corn $.80
Potatoes $0.99
Pop $0.79 FREE 
Potato Salad $1.24 FREE 
Beans $0.60 FREE
Steak Seasonings $1.00 on sale

Saved an additional $2.00 off the Pullups due to the Shortcuts e-coupon and another $3.00 from a coupon someone left in the store.  I had a $2.00 one, but the one someone left was better, so I used that one.  Was supposed to save another $1.00 from the shortcuts e-coupon on the ribs, but I didn't see that taken off and having a kid that wouldn't stay in his cart didn't help.  Oh well.  Wasted $1.00 on worse items.  Had a $0.50 off coupon for the steak seasoning.   There's another coupon on my receipt for $.50 but I can't remember what it was for.

Price before coupons.... $36.27
After coupons.................. $20.37

According to my receipt, it's a 44% savings.  Sounds good to me.  I also only need another 40 fuel saver points to save $.10 a gallon on 1 gas fill up.  That's good seeing that in the matter of 4 weeks, gas has gone up from about $1.80 a gallon to $2.25 a gallon.

I just love seeing the price whittle down.  It's such a good feeling!

May. 16th, 2009

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Target trip 5/16/2009

As you can see, my son was none too happy with taking this trip.  I had to take him away from his favorite past time - the playground - to do this trip.  I only cut his playing short because it looked like it was about to rain.  Poor kiddo.  Didn't rain afterall.

I also had to take a picture of this cart because it's been so long since I've had such a full cart.  Mostly, I've had to buy the bare minimum for about the last 3 years.  I thought I did OK with coupons and discounts back then, but those trips were NOTHING compared to this one.

Cost before coupons (& WIC because I did get some milk) = 167.92
Paid out of pocket after coupons & WIC = 56.77

Holy mostacholi!  I NEVER thought I could do something like this.  I did have to spend all morning getting all my coupons together, but it was definitely worth it!  I'm hoping next time it won't take me so long to get the matchups done.  

Here's everything laid out:

There was only 3 things on this table that I didn't have some sort of coupon for - the pop, tissue, and paper towels.  Out of those items, only the paper towels weren't on some sort of sale or clearance.  My freezer is totally FULL from the meat from the last Kroger trip and these waffles, but man.. it's a nice feeling to know I didn't even spend $100 on both trips combined!

Not wanting to go into detail about how much the original price and savings were because it's 10pm here and I'm tired, but here's what I bought:

Starbucks Chocolate
5 Bliss candy bars (FREE after coupon)
4 different 100 calorie packs
10 Quaker bites (FREE after coupon)
8 Crystal Light
Joint Juice (FREE after coupon)
4 Kraft BBQ sauces
4 Kraft dressings
6 Kraft EZ Macs
2 pounds of apples (total of .07 for both pounds)
6 Kashi waffles(would've bought only 2, but they're on sale this week making them even lower than the regular cost)
Pepsi 2-liter
Sprite Zero (not pictured, but needed the 20 ounce to help appease the boy)
Whole Milk (on WIC)
Banana boat sunscreen (FREE after coupon)
Colgate Wisp
Colgate Max toothpaste
Colgate Max toothbrush
Reynolds Wrap foil
Bounty Basic
Puffs Plus
2 Kool Aid
20 Yoplait yogurts

Wow.  That's quite a haul!  I'm sure some of the experienced couponers could've done better than I did, but I feel it's not bad at all for my 2nd extreme couponing shopping trip ever!

66% savings - if I've calculated right.

One more picture of the full cart, for good measure.  LOL

May. 12th, 2009

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Kroger trip 5/12/2009

Here's my first attempt at really chronicling my purchases.  I've done a few shopping trips with coupons and matching and have been successful at some, but not at others.  This one is right in the middle - not great but not awful either

Beef Brisket - Originally 22.23, paid $11.06
Taquitos - originally $7.99 each, on sale B1G1 free, had a $1 off coupon, paid $6.99
Knorr rice - 1.39 each, $.75 WYB2 cellfire coupon, paid $2.07
Corn - 2/$1
Coffee filters - on sale for $.99 (yeah, much cheaper than Starbucks every day)
Meal deal - buy eggs & bacon, get english muffins, juice, fruit cup, salt & pepper shaker - paid $5.80
Cantaloupe - paid $1.96
Pop - .75
Bratwurst - originally $3.99 marked down to $1.99

According to Kroger, I have a 47% savings.  That sounds close enough to right. 

Original price = $63.46
Out of pocket = $ 32.72
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Hi there!

Hi!  My name is Dawn.  I'm a newbie to couponing.  I've dabbled in it once in a while and saved a dollar or two here and there, but never did anything serious.  I thought about starting about a year ago when I heard Erin on the Rula and Ryan show on KRBE here in Houston.  She was on a bit they called "Does that make me crazy?"  Her whole thing was that she had an annual food budget of $800 for her and her family.  I thought she was crazy if for nothing else than taking so much time to search through ads to see how much things were.  I dabbled but never got serious. 

Fast forward nearly 1 1/2 years later and Erin and her situation is still something I think about occasionally.  January 2009 I had decided that one of my resolutions was going to be start to get out of debt.  I started to listen to Dave Ramsey every day at work.  I realized that not only did I have an income crisis (the biggest part of my problem), but I was also over spending on things that I could do much better on.   I started to read up on blogs and seeing that people were doing things like spending $6 on what would've cost anyone else $65.  That's when I realized that I absolutely had to do something.  Why should I pay full price for things when I could get them so cheap with a little research?  So, here's where I am now.

I started stockpiling coupons in the middle of April.  I've gotten about a month of stockpiled coupons right now.  If I used them all, I'd save over $15,000.00!  Of course, that's not taking into account that I'd be spending a lot of money on things because they wouldn't be matched up with other things like savings.  I want to get to the range of the girl I mentioned before.  That would be so awesome!

I started this blog to chronicle my progress in couponing.  I get really busy, but I'll try to do my best to update it regularly.  I won't be posting things like coupon matchups as they can be gotten from a ton of other blogs.  For right now, this one is personally for me.