Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thankful to be Giving

'Tis the season to be giving. On one level, I find the whole gift decision making and buying process very stressful. Despite my love for couponing, I really don't like to shop. But thanks to couponing, I have been able to give generously to several organizations this year--without the stress and expense.

I haven't been posting regularly about the best Couponing for Charity deals, but like Southern Saver's mascot, I've been a squirrel gathering nuts for months. Three tubes of toothpaste here, one cent crayons there and before I knew it, I had a nice stockpile from which to shop.

Through the Church of the Good Samaritan or MOMS Club, lists of needs were posted and then I pulled what I had on hand. I post these pictures not as a way to say, "Look what I gave" but as an inspiration for what you can give too in the future. It's when we all give a little that we can make a tremendous impact on our community. All of these goods cost me $.25 or less plus the cost of tax and will go to some great organizations.

The pictures at the top are from the church's annual Stuff a Stocking campaign for senior citizens. The whole family got involved in stuffing stockings from the many generous donations from parishioners. We were able to give 48 razors plus several other goodies like tea and hot cocoa.

Another collection through our church was the Shoebox Ministry for the Volunteer Ministry Center. Imagine not having a home and having to keep all of your and your kids' toys or necessities in a shoebox. For them, we had crayons, deodorant, pens, toothpaste, and toothbrushes.

The Hope Buckets were collected to give to patients battling HIV/Aids. Some clients of Hope Center face the additional challenge of being rejected by friends and family and often have no one to care for them physically, emotionally, spiritually or financially. From soap to tissues, toothpaste to lipbalm, I was able to meet their specific requests easily.

Finally Operation Christmas Child was the service project adopted by our MOMS Club. These boxes will be given to children in need all over the world. Each member of our play group came up with creative additions to the box for a girl 2-4 years old. I was able to give pens, crayons, markers, and notebooks I'd gotten for pennies back in August.

And the list doesn't end there. From diapers I'm giving to support a young mom in our church to baked goods I've donated for mission trips, couponing has allowed me to buy what I need for much less. Suddenly all the requests to give are not overwhelming and I am thankful that I'm able to spread "good coupon karma." Happy Holidays!

I'd love to hear what you've been able to give with the help of coupons. Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Black Friday Pharmacy Deals: Money Maker Heaven!

I don't tend to be a Black Friday shopper, but the pharmacy deals are beckoning me. It's the SUPER BOWL of freebie couponing, and I don't want to miss out. Looking at all the deals, it can be enticing and overwhelming. If you're new to couponing at pharmacies, you may want to pick just 2 or 3 items. If you can't get enough of couponing, here's what I see as the best deals and my plan for getting them. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned because some items will be gone when I get there, but you have to start somewhere. MM stands for "money maker" and there are plenty of them:

For a few more deals and all the match-ups, go to Southern Savers.

  • $4RR wyb 2 Bic Flex 4 disposable razors at $3 each. Use 2 $2 printables = $2MM.
  • $2RR wyb Gum Deep Clean toothbrushes 2pk at $2 each. Use $.55 MC (not sure which magazine this came from) = $.55MM.
  • $3RR wyb Colgate Total Advanced toothpaste 4oz at $3. Use $1 MC from SS 11/13 = $1MM.
  • $2.50RR wyb Crest 3D White Vivid toothpaste 3oz at $2.50. Use $1 MC from P&G home mailers. All other coupons are for 4oz or more and can not be used. = $1MM.
  • $2.75RR wyb Preparation H Totables hemorrhoid wipes 10pk at $2.75. Use $2 printable = $2MM.
  • $2RR wyb DenTek Floss Picks 75 or 90 pk at $2 each. Use $.75 MC = $.75MM.
  • $5.50RR wyb 2 Secret 3 oz body splash or spray at $3.75 each. Use 2 $1 MC = FREE.
  • $4RR wyb Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick at $5.99. Use $1 off Revlon Color cosmetic from Walmart insert AND $1 Walgreens coupon=FREE. You’ll need an extra filler for this deal.
  • $1.50RR wyb Oral-B indicator toothbrush at $1.50 = FREE. Don’t bother using $.75/2 coupons with this because then they wouldn’t be free.
  • $3RR wyb 2 Scunci hair elastics 18pk at $1.50 each = FREE.
  • $.99RR wyb Advil PM pain relief 4ct at $.99 = FREE.
  • $2.49RR wyb ThermaCare heat wrap neck, wrist, and shoulder or menstrual at $2.49. If this is a 2ct product, you can use $1 or maybe even $3 printables (not sure how they’ll handle that at the register).

My plan, Amounts are OOP= Out of Pocket after coupons noted above:

Transaction #1:

2 Bic razors: $2

1 Thermacare: $1.49 (if it’s not 2ct, move this to transaction #2)

1 Colgate: $2

1 Crest: $1.50

1 Preparation H: $.75

1 DenTek floss: $1.25

1 Gum toothbrush: $1.45

Total OOP: $10.44, get back $18.75 in RR.

Transaction #2:

1 Oral B toothbrush: $1.50

2 Scunci: $3.00

1 Advil: $.99

2 Secret body splash: $5.50

1 Revlon lipstick: $3.99

3 filler items ($.30 or less each)

Use these RRs from Tr. #1: $2.50, $3, $2.50, $2.75, $2, $2

Total OOP: $.23 plus tax and cost of filler items

Transaction #3:

1 Thermacare: $1.49

1 Colgate: $2

1 Crest: $1.50

1 Preparation H: $.75

1 DenTek floss: $1.25

2 fillers

Use $4 and $3 RRs from Tr. #2.

Total OOP: cost of fillers plus tax

Transaction #4:

1 Oral B toothbrush: $1.50

2 Scunci: $3.00

1 Advil: $.99

1 Revlon lipstick: $3.99

1 DenTek floss: $1.25

1 filler

Use $2.49, $3, $2.50, and $2.75 RRs from Tr. #3.

Total OOP: cost of filler plus tax

I still leave with these RRs: $4, $1.50, $.99, $5.50, $2, $3, $2, $4, $1.50, and $.99 = $25.48 and I should spend less that $15. Of course it never works totally as planned, but we’ll see.

CVS (numbers of products are by limit of deals)

For all the match-ups and a few extra deals, go to Southern Savers.

  • 1 Breathe Rite Strips Bonus Size 10 + 2ct: $5.99, get $5.99. Use $1.50 CVS coupon and $1.50 MC = $3MM. Can’t find MC.
  • 1 Benefiber sticks 3 ct: $1.49, get $1.49ECB, Use $3 printable = $3MM.
  • 1 Finish Quantum 10ct dishwashing detergent: $2.99, get $2.99ECB. Use $1MC = $1MM.
  • 1 L.A. Looks styling gel 20oz: $2.49, get $2.49ECB. Use $1MC = $1MM.
  • 2 Colgate Total Advanced toothpastes, various varieties: $2.87, get $2.87. Use $1MC = $1MM. I'll probably use my coupons here instead of Walgreen's.
  • 1 Theraflu caplets 8ct: $1.87, get $1.87. Use $2 printable = $2MM.
  • 1 Theraflu daytime or multi-symptom travel size: $.99, get $.99ECB. Use $3/2MC = $2MM.
  • 2 Listerine pocketpacks: $2.99 each, get $2.99ECB each. Use 2 $.50 MC = $1MM.
  • 1 Fiber One brownies: $3.99, get $3.99ECB. Use $.40 MC = $.40MM.
  • 1 Carmex lip balm: $1, get $1ECB. Use $.30 printable = $.30MM.
  • 2 GUM Super or Micro-tip toothbrushes: $2.99 each, get $2.99ECB each. Use $.55MC from unknown magazine=$.55MM.
  • 1 Cepacol lozenges 16ct: $4.99, get $4.99ECB. Use $1 printable = $1MM.
  • 1 Balance Bar: $1.69, get $1.69ECB = FREE.
  • 1 Starbucks double shot, 6.5 oz: $1.69, get $1.69ECB = FREE.
  • 2 Hershey’s king size bar: $.99 each, get $.99ECB each = FREE.
  • 4 Mars chocolate singles candy 1.08 – 2.15oz: $.75 each, get $.75ECB each = FREE.
  • 1 Advil Pm 4ct: $.99, get $.99ECB = FREE.
  • 1 Advil 10ct: $2.99, get $2.99ECB = FREE.
  • 1 Be Kool from Fever Discomfort gel sheets: $4.49, get $4.49ECB = FREE.
  • 1 CVS dental flossers 90 ct: $1.99, get $1.99ECB = FREE.
  • 1 Pepto Bismol 4oz: $2.99, get $2.99ECB = FREE.
  • 1 CVS alkaline batteries 4 ct AA or AAA: $3.99, get $3.99ECB = FREE.
  • 6 Revlon nail polish: $4.99, get $4RR. Use $1MC= FREE. I'll probably use my 2 Revlon coupons here instead of Walgreen's.
  • 1 Softlips single pack: $2, get $2ECB = FREE.
  • 1 Kleenex cool touch tissues, 50ct: $1.50, get $1.50ECB = FREE.

I'm starting with $4ECB and will pick the biggest money makers first. I'll keep rolling ECBs into future deals with as few transactions as possible. I don't mind walking out with lots of ECBs because I'm confident I'll use them within four weeks.

So are you ready or is this as clear as Greek? What questions do you have about shopping pharmacies?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Earthfare Deals & what to do with unwanted candy

I confess I haven't made it to Earthfare in awhile, but since I was in the neighborhood today, I stopped in for a few deals. Before I go, I always check the match-ups that Hannah at Frugally Farming Family does. She's a mother of 7 and still finds it in her budget to go to Earthfare. You go, girl!

She notes the best deals at the top of the list if you want to look quickly. However, my favorite deal wasn't advertised:
  • Back to Nature select crackers, including their version of Cheez-its: $2 a box! That's half price for Earthfare and much better than the typical sale at Kroger: $3. I watch this product closely because it's my kids' favorite snack. Once you taste how good these are, you'll never go back to that neon orange excuse for a cracker. Tip: If you don't see them on the shelf near the cheese, check on the end cap, where they put some of their best deals.
I also bought:
  • bulk sliced almonds for $5.99 / lb (savings of $2/lb)--great for holiday cooking / topping casseroles.
  • Glee Gum, 18 ct: $.75, use B1G1 coupon makes them $.38 each. This is a great stocking stuffer or donation to Christmas charities.
  • bag of organic apples: $5.99 (not a great price but this is one of my dirty dozen I only buy organic)
  • bag of organic potatoes: $5.99 (again, not a great price but this is one of my dirty dozen I only buy organic)
  • I contemplated the Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen deals, but I think I can find them cheaper elsewhere.
Finally, they're having a promotion, Trick or Trade In, through Nov. 5 where you can turn in Halloween candy in exchange for healthier goodies. No coupon necessary. I chose the 1-50 piece option that gets you a goody bag. Inside was a huge apple, $1.50 of coupons for Earthbound Farms good for 8 months, and a coupon for one free itty bitty bites meal (value: $3.99). You can get this to-go and feed it to your kids the next day if it's not lunch or dinner time. Offer valid through mid November.

The Take the Boot Challenge is for natural ant-acids. If you have Rolaids in your medicine cabinet, you could trade those in for a better alternative.

Every Thursday night, kids eat free with at least one adult meal worth $5 or more, 4-8pm.

And if you homeschool or are an educator, you could save 5% with ID.

Go green, save green!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Great deal on Blue Diamond almond milk

After learning my oldest was allergic to cows milk and after seeing the health benefits to my youngest with limiting her dairy all together, we've become a family devoted to almond milk. We like the generic brands as well as Blue Diamond or Silk, but when you can get the others cheaper, we go for it.

Here's a way you can really save on Blue Diamond milk this week at Kroger.
  • Buy 4 Blue Diamond half gallon milks. Make sure you have 6 other mega deals (I recommend Annie's mac n cheese for only $.69 or Campbells cream of mushroom soup for $.49 each).
  • The mega deal price will be $2.49 each.
  • If you have the $.55 or $1/2 coupons, use those.
  • At check-out, you'll receive a catalina for $4 off your next shopping trip (valid for two weeks only).
  • That makes them $.94 - $1.49 each, a great deal for sure.
Catalina ends 11/6. If you buy 2, you get $.75; buy 3 you get $1.50 off your next order. It's definitely worth buying 4.

Kroger's new coupon policy is now active in Knoxville

I just returned from Kroger (saving 46% woo hoo) and learned the new Kroger policy that had been put in place in other markets three weeks ago is now in effect in Knoxville. The key differences are:
  1. They will now only take two internet printable coupons per manufacturer per customer per day. It had been per product; now it's by manufacturer.
  2. You can use no more than 5 like paper coupons. This should help with shelf clearing.
My cashier today said they were only taking two internet printable coupons period, and when I said, "Oh, no, no, no" she confirmed with a manager I was right. So if you can find the policy to print out, do so and put it in your binder.