Blog Archive



CVS 8/31

I'm going to start by saying I really need to double check the CVS coupon policy on competitor coupons. As I mentioned in my previous post it seems a lot of stores that used to accept them do not. I am not sure whether it's regional or not, but this cashier has been at CVS for a long time and knows her stuff, so I know she was telling me the truth!

Here's what I got today:

Transaction #1

Excedrin Extra Strength 124 Ct $9.99
CVS Ibuprofen 100 Ct $4.99

-$1 Excedrin Coupon

Total (On FSA Card): $13.98
Got Back $3 ECBs

(Note: I got the wrong Ibuprofen, and didn't get back my $1 ECB :()

Transaction #2

Campbell's Condensed Soup (2) 2/$1
Dawn Dish Liquid $.97
Downy Softener Sheets $3.99
Gillete Deodorant $5.49
Gillette Body Wash $3.99
Pamper's Cruisers $8.88
Crest Glide Dental Floss $3.97
Pantene Hairspray Trial Size $1.29

- $5 Total ECBs
-$12.94 Mfr. Coupons

Total OOP: $13.37
Got back $3.50 ECBs

This month's P & G insert has a coupon for any Pantene hairspray or styling product that DOES NOT specify size, so that is how I got the trial size for free. I have seen this happen a lot, but I want to say I THINK it is an oversight, as they did this with Tide for a while which allowed you to get the single load packet for free at WalMart and Target. A lot of people must have done this because WalMart pulled them from the shelf and shortly after P&G started putting the specified size on the coupon. I am curious to know why they do this from time to time, though, so if anybody knows I'd be interested to hear about that :)

Weis 8/31

Weis is usually not my primary store, however, when there is a good deal I do my primary weekly shopping there. This store is much different from the one I was used to, and for some reason, it feels like everything was put on a merry-go-round and flung throughout the store! However, this week, I feel like I did pretty well for myself, and learned a few lessons on the way.

Weis used to accept all competitor coupons but I have noticed most stores who used to hold this policy are tightening the reigns. Coupon policies seem to be changing, and not in our favor, so we have to find new ways to adjust.

Here is a recap of my trip today:

Items purchased:

San Gorgio Quick Cook Pasta (2) 10/$10
Ronzoni Garden Delight Pasta (2) 4/$5
Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Pasta (2) 4/$5
Bisquick 20oz $1.85
Weis Quality Raisins $2.50
Marcal Small Steps Single Roll (4) $.89
Gerber Graduates Lil Crunchies (2) $1.99
Weis BBQ Sauce $1.29
Chi Chi's Flour Tortillas (2) $1
Pamper's Easy Ups $9.99
Yoplait Single Cups (8) 20/$10
Breyers Yo Crunch 100 Calorie $2.50
Egg Beaters Egg Whites $2.50
Weis Turkey Franks (5) $.99
Mt Dew 6 Pack (Small Cans) $2.59
Weis Broc/Calif. $1.35
Herb Chicken Bullion $1.24 (Clearance)
Sobe Lifewater (4) 10/$10
Weis Pancake Syrup $2.50
Coke Zero Mini $3.50
Minute Maid Water Falls $2.00
Gain Dish Liquid $1.00

Total Before Savings: $97.01
Total OOP: $52.26
Savings Percentage: 40%

One big downer today was that I NEEDED training pants for my son, and the store brand was $8.99. Using a $1.50 coupon for the Easy Ups would have made them $8.49, but I completely forgot to use the coupon. I was really ticked about this for a while until I checked my receipt and realize that the Ronzoni Garden Delight Pastas were $1.25, but the coupons doubled to $1.50. Plus, for the Sobes, I had two BOGO coupons and the cashier put the free ones in for $1.39 instead of $1.00. Between these two, I gained back $1.38, so I felt a lot better realizing I really only lost 12 cents. I do want to point out that if I had noticed these mistakes, I would have brought it to the cashier's attention. She was very patient with my large stack of coupons and I give her much credit for that!

Some tips I want to bring up from my shopping trip today:

1. Hot dogs freeze very well. We are really picky about hot dogs here, they MUST be turkey and the cheapo ones won't do! I can't usually get them at such a low price, so I cleaned out their stock of turkey dogs and stuck most of them in the freezer.

2. Make sure you check your stack of coupons BEFORE you even get in line. Today, I decided to "pull over" and go through and put the coupons that ought to double at the top, those that wouldn't in the middle, and the "FREE" coupons at the bottom. This way, I can watch to make sure the doubles go through, and the cashier doesn't have to set aside the "FREE" ones for the end. It saves time, and prevents the "oh crap" moment when you're already home and notice a coupon that should've doubled didn't.

3. Warn your cashier that you have a lot of coupons, and thank her for her patience with you. My cashier was minutes from getting off work and had had a long day. She was very appreciative that I was nice to her, since the person right behind me had started badgering her with special requests before I had even paid. It really stinks when people are rude, so try not to be one of them!

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5 Simple Grocery Tips

This week was a low couponing week. Last week, after returning from vacation, I did a big shopping week at WalMart getting baby food, formula, and a ton of things we were out of, and while it was nice to get it all done in one shot, the trip didn't yield any huge savings. I was feeling pretty ashamed of myself for being out of the couponing loop for nearly a month.

Then, after doing a Freezer inventory, I planned our meals for this week using a great menu planning form from Money Saving Mom. So after tons of distracted, broken up planning, I had planned my shopping trips to stay within our current $30 food budget. I was hitting my last stop in the store when something incredibly cool happened. A lady new to couponing approached me with questions!

At first, I was totally embarrassed at my lack of organization and the fact that I wasn't getting the usual 50-60% savings I usually do and mentioned that to her. Well, she was just thrilled with the few tips I had! I don't feel that I'm the biggest couponing pro around, but I guess I just take for granted what little information some people have. So I wanted to throw together a list of my best tips for this week.

1. Do a freezer/pantry inventory! I was so shocked at what I had that I was entirely oblivious to in my freezer, and what I had taking up space that had already gone bad. Yesterday, I just wrote it down on notebook paper, but my goal is to create a binder with a running inventory, along with weekly and even monthly meal plans--so keep checking back as I'll be blogging about this as I go!

2. It's not what you save, it's what you spend!! I won't say I don't get excited to see how much I've saved, but sticking to your budget is the most important thing. Today, I used only 3 coupons but I was also $3 under budget and have everything I need for this week and then some, WITHOUT making a huge dent in my pantry.

3. Combining coupons and sales does not ALWAYS save you the most money. It's one of the couponing myths that skeptics buy into. It's USUALLY not true, but sometimes, it is. Today, I had a coupon for Pillsbury Crescent rolls, and the store brand was still 20 cents cheaper. Instead, I bought a roll of 6 biscuits for 56 cents, which saved me even more, since I just needed rolls for one meal. This is why it is extremely important to compare prices and cost per unit when you're buying something specific for your menu.

4. Leave your coupons behind! If you're not likely to use it before the expiration date, someone else might be able to. I have found coupons left on shelves that I've been very grateful for. At WalMart, someone left a $5 off a Schick Hydro razor, and there was one package left with a coupon for a free Schick Hydro Shave Gel. So I got hubby both for $1.64, that's cheaper than the shave gel by itself! So be sure to leave your soon to expire coupons in plain sight in front of the product.

5. Use your store website's printable grocery lists. My two grocery stores, Weis and Martin's, have this feature on their websites. You can browse the sale ads, click on the items you want to purchase or add your own, and it will print out the list of items, their sale price, and organize the list by aisle. As a bonus, it is also linked to and will print any coupons available for the items you've selected. I can't tell you how much easier this makes my grocery trips.

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Returning After a Long Break

I am almost ashamed to look at the date of my last post (not including the Freebie I just posted today) but I do know it's been a long time since I've posted. Summer has been incredibly busy for me. With two small kids and a part time job, that's definitely a lot, but we've also had family reunions, a bridal shower, various summer get togethers, a birthday party and a week long vacation. Toss in the fact that I was ten days without my usual computer (due to spilling coffee across my laptop) just before leaving and needless to say, there just hasn't been time for blogging.

My father in law actually landed a sweet laptop for me, so now I'm officially back. It was pretty lucky that I ruined my computer before he left his job because this one was completely free. How that works, I'm not really sure, and I'm a little concerned about having a "Property Of" sticker on the top. However, I know that he was allowed to take it, otherwise, my father in law is the complete opposite of the type of person I thought he was!

If anyone (hopefully) is still reading, please stick with me because I'm sure you'll be thrilled about what's coming along!

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Thanks, Money Saving Mom!