Target Practice!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Well! My first experience with shopping/saving & couponing at Target. I've learned a few things as well. After reading various blogs and posts about Target finds and troubles, I did the following when I went there last night:

1. I printed our Target's Coupon Policy in case I had to duke it out with a cashier. hehe
2. When I couldn't find something, I headed to the customer service where they have more doohickeys, scanners and phones to help you find things and will give you a list of other stores that carry that item if they don't have it in stock. They will also call the stores to confirm for you, if you're nice!
3. When the beeper scanner thingie goes off and the cashier looks confused, just smile. If she tries again and can't get it, kindly suggest maybe typing in the coupon number or maybe a manager could help make it work. Smile some more while the manager scrutenizes the 8 identical coupons you have for free items and skeptically signs off on all of them.
4. Above all, thank everyone multiple times and BE NICE!

I had the best time Target shopping & saving money! (Apparently my cat loves me saving money too since she couldn't get enough of my purchases...)

Target Treasures:
2 bottles Sobe Lifewater (Orig $1.50, on sale for $1.00 ea)
2 bottles BBQ sauce (Orig $1.75, on sale for $1.25 ea)
9 Axe trial size deodorants (Orig $0.97 ea)
6 Ziploc Steam In bag sets (Orig $2.49 ea)
8 Flamedisk Charcoal Alternative (Orig $4.99 ea)

Retail Cost: $70.09
Final Cost: $4.51
Savings: $65.58
94% Savings!

Sunday June 20th Deals

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

(I just realized this post didn't post when it was supposed to, so I'm sharing it now.)

I spent more last Sunday at Walgreens than I wanted to but... besides the deals I was getting, I had to buy milk, trash bags, etc... (Forgot to take a pic before all the items disbursed through the house.)

June 20th's Payload:
(4) Old Spice Body Washes (reg: 4.49 ea)
(2) Gilette Body Washes (reg 4.49 ea)
(4) Gillette Fusion Proglide Shavers (reg 12.99 ea)
(1) Glad Trash Bags 45 bags (reg 7.99 ea)
(2) packs of Gum (reg 1.49 ea)
(2) boxes Cracker Jacks (reg .89 ea)
(1) 2 pack Cold/Flue Liquid Relief (reg 8.99 both/clearance 2.24)
(1) Gallon Milk (reg 3.49)

Spent: $27.13
Original Cost of Items: $112.81
Savings: $85.68
76% of Savings
$5 RR leftover for next time

Couponing Partner

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This is my coupon buddy, Pennington. He just LOVES to lay all over the newspaper while I'm trying to cut coupons. But seeing as he is the ONLY one who is 'helping' me cut coupons, he deserves a treat. Wonder if I have a coupon for that???

Late Night Finds!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Remember this post where I was off and running to Wally World at midnight?! (no, I didn't turn into a pumpkin.) The coupon I was desperate to use was for a birthday present. $10 off Alice in Wonderland Blu-Ray & DVD combo pack. The combo can run as high as $34.95 but Walmart had it for $29.95. See details below.

Alice in Wonderland OP: $34.95, SP: $29.95. C: $10. (
Littlest Pet Shop Toys (bought 4) OP: $6.94 ea, SP: $5, C: B1G1 free (
Retail Cost: $62.71
Final Cost: $29.95
Savings: $32.76
52% Savings!

I'm loving this saving for a birthday gift! I can spoil my child and still save money! I would have bought the items anyway but would have probably only gotten the DVD because the Blu-Ray is so expensive. 

Another late night find was last night online. Remember this post, I purchased the Schick Hydro Razer on sale with coupons. I ended up spending $0 (that's counting the $4 of ECB). I'm glad I saved my receipt. (Okay, to be honest, I had not. But I was able to retrieve it from the trash bag outside. NOTE TO SELF: Save all receipts! lol) You can get a full refund by sending in for a rebate, found HERE.

You can only do the rebate once but you can do the deal again since there is a new coupon:
Buy 1 Schick Hydro 3 or Hydro 5 Razor at $8.97, Get $4 ECBs
Use $5/1 coupon from the 6/13 SmartSource insert
Plus a possibility of earning $20 if your shaver has a survey inside to take!  
(info from MoneySavingMom)

Because of the rebate notion, I've added 2 extra sections in my inset notebook. One section for receipts, one for rebate forms showing the date I mailed it off.

Oh, last post I forgot to tell the best part of when I first started my couponing. I had no coupons, no nothing. Then I saw someone's post about how they 'dumpster dive' into the local paper recycling bin. Well, I threw on my shoes, grabbed the teen and went up the street to mine. Being the short (and roundish) person I am, I'm glad I brought the teen. There is no way I would have gotten inside. I threw her in there and she sifted for a 1/2 hour. I came away with I think 6 weeks of different coupon inserts. I'm all set now! Yay! She was happy to grab all the crossword puzzles to do. That was her payment. That and a hot fudge sundae. :)

Orderliness Reduces Insanity

Thursday, June 17, 2010

All last weekend I researched couponing again. I found The Grocery Game and joined for their free trial. So far I like it but I also like CouponMom. Easier to understand so far. I really like the idea of combining coupons with sales and store coupons. This can really save us some money!

The fun part of using the above sites? You can print coupons online! I started printing right away. I'm probably going to need a coupon for ink soon! lol

Yet as soon as I started accumulating coupons, I panicked. They were all over the place, in piles. I tried using some envelopes. No dice. Too complicated.

Being the artist (aka: packrat) that I am, I dug through all my supplies and pulled out this little metal lunchbox. It is perfect for holding all the already cut coupons (plus I will look totally rockin' carrying my lunchbox thru the store!) I organized with the following topics (I think I got the list with my additions, from Money Saving Mom) :

Baking (oil, sugar, flour, dry mixes)
Bread (loaves, rolls, crackers)
Canned (meat, soup, veggies, fruit)
Cleaners (bathroom, kitchen, detergent, laundry, floor, glass)
Condiments (ketchup, mayo, mustard, dressings, jelly, PB, spag sauce, syrup)
Frozen (drinks, ice cream, meat, veggies, snacks)
Hygiene (bandaids, deodorant, face, feminine, hair, lotion, shaving, soap)
Mexican (salsa, chiles, sauce, shells)
Office Supplies
Paper Products (tissue, cups/plates, TP, ziplocs, foil/plastic)
Pet Products
Snacks (fruit snacks, granola bars, candy, gum)
Teeth Care
Vegetarian Foods
Dining Out
Misc (oil changes, toys, store coupons like JCP, clothing, etc...)

I read up on how people sort there coupons and some people have a good idea. Insert organizing. Inside each newspaper comes a couple coupon inserts. The Smart Source, the Red Plum and once a month, the Procto r& Gamble insert. Instead of cutting out every coupon, I filed them under tabs by date (using clear page protectors found in the office supply section of the store.)

There are places online (ie: like Grocery Game and Coupon Mom) where you can get lists of sales and they reference the exact insert the coupon came out of (like I've done in my previous couponing posts.)

I also found this unique website that made my life a heck of a lot easier for when I just want to know what coupons are inside the inserts with out looking through them page by page. This website also shows you the upcoming Sunday's coupons list before Sunday is here. That way you can start preparing... I love that! It also has a 'Coupon Schedule' so you know what insert comes in each newspaper. I guess some weeks there is no Red Plum or one of the other inserts.

I think this couponing is going to be a fun experience. It's going to be harder than I thought because we don't eat a lot of processed foods (and that is what a lot of the coupons are for), we have 2 people who try to low carb and 1 vegetarian. Difficulties in the making. Plus, the Sunday paper did not have the store ads in it. When and how am I supposed to get those? I have no idea... I guess I'll look around in the internet to see what people say about that.

Now, just waiting on my newspaper subscription to start today.  Can't wait to receive it at home. Ohh!  I'll have to tell you about how I got coupons for free. Another post...

Next post: Late night finds!

Final Confession

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm here for the second part of my confession; the whole fiasco that led to me being serious about couponing again. Okay, many things led to me wanting to coupon but this was the last straw.

I do online banking and every month I look over our statement, making sure bills come in, things get paid, etc... I'm always shocked to see how many card purchases are for food, fast food, Quik Trip, Walgreens, etc... Last week I decided to add up the last 2 months and see just how much we're spending on food and eating out.  Brace yourself...

April 23 - May 24
Groceries (in this I included the trips to grocery store, Walgreens and Quik Trip for snacks. I'm sure a few prescriptions are in there so there is a margin of error but not by much.) $924.76
Eating Out (times eaten out - 21): $465.94
Total:  $1285.70

May 25 - June 14 (2 weeks time only)
Groceries: $534.20
Eat out (times eaten out - 20): $421.52
Total:  $955.72

Note: Times eaten out include lunches or dinners out, DH eating lunch at work sometimes and visits to the local fast food place for hot fudge sundaes. 

I showed this to my husband and I think he was as shocked as I at the amount we eat out and how many times we much run to the store for 'incidentals'. If you knew how much we get paid (only DH works), you'd see that this is too too much on our small budget. And that's just the problem. No budget. Sure, the bills are getting paid but really! No wonder we have no savings and no regular vacations. Amazing. I'm still shocked just looking at it.

That's $306.14 per WEEK
$614.28 per PAYCHECK

I decided this can't continue. Not sure how I'm going to convince everyone in the house of this fact other than just cutting off the money flow! lol I would love to cut this amount in half. Yes, HALF I SAY!

Next post: How I organized it all...

Danger Zone!!

This is how bad the couponing obsession has become... I was sitting at the computer writing a post for this blog which reminded me I had an important coupon expiring in 35 minutes. What did I do???

Threw on my trusty flipflops and hopped in the car, off to Walmart. Appropriately playing in my CD player was 80's hits, and I belted out the whole way there 'Highway To The Danger Zone!'

I think I've created a couponing monster! ME!

June 13th Deals

Monday, June 14, 2010

I just love the internet and all the helpful souls out on the internet. 1 am in the morning on Saturday night I was able to see what the deals would be for Sunday before the paper even came! I sat down right then and there and planned my drugstore assault! Do you know about drugstore deals? I tried them  a year or so ago but didn't do them correctly. I didn't pile coupons with the store sales so I didn't save as much as I could. Then I forgot to use the 'free money' they give you, before it all expired. So, needless to say, my first drugstore saving plan was flawed. I did much better yesterday.

Sunday afternoon I went to CVS and Walgreens. I happened to find two helpful ladies who didn't mind doing separate transactions for me, so I could use the 'free money' I earned, to put towards the next transactions. My suggestion, check out at the makeup counter in Walgreens. In CVS, maybe try going when its not that busy?

Note: Always sign up for their card. When you walk in the door, scan it to see if there are coupons that will print for you right then and there. On specific items, CVS gives you ECB's: ExtraCare Bucks. You can use them on future purchases. I do separate transactions right in a row, thus not spending much out of pocket but paying for things with the ECBs I've earned.

1st Transaction:
Buy Old Spice Body Wash - Buy 2 OP= 5.98 SP= 4.00 C= B1G1 Free (PG 6/6)
ECB earned: $8 (used on next purchase)
Total Cost: $4

2nd Transaction:
Buy 3 GM Cereals OP= 4.28 ea SP= 3/$10 C= 0.75 ea (used 3 coupons SS 6/6)
ECB earned: $5 (used on next purchase)
Cost: $7.75
Buy 4 Right Guard Deodorants OP= 4.49 SC=B1G1 free C= $3/2 (had 2 coupons printed online)
Cost: $2.98
Used $8 ECB
Total Cost: $2.73

3rd Transaction:
Buy Gilette Fusion Proglide Razor OP= 10.99 , SP= 9.97 C= $4 (PG 6/6)
ECB earned: $5 (used on next purchase)
Used $5 ECB
Total Cost: $0.97

4th Transaction:
Buy Schick Hydro Razor OP= 9.99, SP= 8.97, C= $5 (SS 5/9)
ECB earned: $4 (save for future purchase)
Bought a couple incidentals (totaling about $1) to use up the $5 ECBs
Used $5 ECB
Total Cost: $0

Final Price: $7.70
(Retail Total: $64.74)
Savings: $57.04
88% savings!

The lady at the makeup counter was so helpful and super impressed with the little amount I was spending. She knew all about how to use the coupons, suggested I do a certain item first to get the bigger rewards coupons back. That way I could use it on the next transaction and pay very little. One thing. I wish I had my coupon box with me.I saw several sales I didn't know about that I might have taken advantage of if I had had my coupons. I can always go back this week though.

 (Note: Nivea not shown, DH ran off with it.)

1st Transaction:
Buy 3 Neutrogena Products (I bought the cheapest soap) OP= 2.99 SP= 2.09 SC= Buy 3 Get $10 RR
RR earned: $10 (used on next purchase)
Total Cost: $6.27

2nd Transaction:
Buy 4 Reach Toothbrushes OP= 1.79 ea, SP= 0.99 ea, C= $2/2 (had 2 coupons printed online ) = +$0.04
Buy 2 Colgate Toothpastes OP= 3.49/2.99 SP= 2/$5, C=$1 & $0.75 off (can't remember which ad from) = $3.25
Buy 2 Colgate Pro-Clinical Toothpastes OP= 4.99, SC= B1G1 free, C= $1 (had 2 C instore by makeup) = $2.99
Buy Nivea Men Active 3 Body Wash OP= 5.99, C= $3 (RP 5/2) = $2.99
RR earned: $6 (save for future purchase)
Cost: $9.23
Added in $2 chips to be able to use the whole $10 RR from last transaction
Total Cost: $1.19

Final Price: $7.46
(Retail Total: $40.58)
Savings: $33.12
81.6% savings!

Paid: $15.16
Saved $90.16
85.6% savings!
Plus I have $4 ECBs and $6 ECBs left to use 
After subtracting the ECBs and RRs from what I spent, my final total is: $5.16. Not bad for all that I brought home!

** Next post: My couponing organization methods, or how I keep it all together without going insane.

June 12th Deals

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This weekend was my first experience with couponing in a long time. It's kind of like planning a battle. You have to have a strategy (buying what you need), armed with the proper tools (paper/ads) and secret weapons (coupons). Once you get the hang of it, its like a fun game to play!

Saturday 6/12/10
I went to two stores: Hyvee and Walmart.

I took advantage of several sales in the ads but didn't use coupons on those so I won't note those here. But just to mention, the sale on chicken was fabulous! $0.88 per lb for chicken breasts w/rib bone. I just made the most delicious chicken tortilla soup in the crockpot from it! Makes me want to run back and buy more! Original price of chicken: $2.29 a lb. Good deal I'd say. So always check the ads for the meat deals.

OP= Original Price
SP= Sale Price
C= Coupon
SC= Store Coupon (usually found in their ad paper or website)

Specific Coupons: In the paper there are 3 different coupon sets.
P&G - Proctor & Gamble booklet comes in the paper the beginning of each month.
SS - Smart Source
RP - Red Plum
If I write something like (SS 5/16) it means I got the coupon from the May 16th Smart Source.

(note: not all deals shown in pic)

Marcal Bath Tissue (4 pk) OP=2.99, SP=2/$4. (I bought 1) C=$1 off (SS 5/16)
Final Cost: $1.

Post Honey Bunches of Oats (buy 2) OP= 3.88 ea, SP= 2/$4, C=$1/2 bxs (SS 5/16)
Final Cost: $3 ($1.50 ea)

Pepsi Products (buy 4) OP= $4.88 ea, SC= 4/$10
Final Cost: $10 (this is a good deal for us since we drink a lot of soda

Bic Comfort 3 Advance Razors 4 ct (bought 5) OP= 5.98 ea, SP= 3.99, C= $3. ea (S 5/2)
Final Cost: $4.95 ($0.99 ea)

Hillshire Farm Deli Select Hearty Slices Lunchmeat (bought 6) OP= 4.28 ea, SP= 2/$5, C= $0.55 ea (RP 6/6)
Final Cost: $11.70 ($1.95 ea)

Final Price: $30.65
(Retail Total: $85.85)
Savings: $55.20
64% savings!
On things I would have needed anyway and now we have extras.

This was the fun one. I barely paid a thing and got lots for free!

Carefree Pantyliners (22 ct) OP= $1.79, SP= $0.99, C= $1 (SS 4/25)
Final Cost: They paid ME $0.01 to buy them

Purina Kitten Chow (16 oz) OP= $2.29 C= 1 free bag (SS 5/2)
Final Cost: FREE

Xtra Laundry Detergent (45 oz) OP= $2.50 SP= $1.98 C= $1 (SS 6/6)
Final Cost: $2.94 (I bought 3, $0.98 ea)

Pampers Wipes (72 ct) OP= $4.29 ea (bought 6), SP= $1.97, C= $2 (PG 6/6)
Final Cost: They paid ME $0.03 ea box to buy them

Final Price: $2.75
(Retail Total: $37.32)
Savings: $34.57
92.6% savings!
Now that's what I call FUN FUN FUN!

Paid: $33.40
Saved: 89.77
74% savings!!

Spending Confession...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Confession... gosh. I can't believe I'm even going to put this in writing. 

We're willy-nilly spenders. (That's not the whole confession. More to come later in a different post, stay tuned...)

We're willy-nillyers. Yes, I said it. We don't have a savings plan. At ages 42 and 40 (me) respectively, my DH and I are living paycheck to paycheck. I'm sure many Americans are doing the same. I wonder if there is a statistic for that? Hmmm... information to find out I'm sure. But with one child graduated this year and going to college while living at home (another child still in school), our budget is being stretched. We're paying for her college as much as we can. We also had to buy a newer car this year after our van choked on its own smoke. So you can imagine the loan amount and insurance I'm paying for that purchase. DH also started a different job last fall that is paid considerably less that he was paid before (but infinitely more enjoyable) so we're still adjusting to having less. We're living like we have more.

I don't know what set me off this week but I started thinking about coupon shopping again. I tried it a couple years ago but was doing it all wrong, wasn't getting the deals I could have, and was buying things we didn't necessarily need. This time, with the World Wide Web at my fingertips I'm learning so much. I'm learning the right way and the wrong way to do things. 

Today was my first attempt at couponing. Yesterday I set myself all up. I'll share about that in the next post. This is enough for an introduction.

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