Friday, December 31, 2010

Spending Goals For the New Year

As I head into my first full year of doing this Money Saving Mode thing, shopping sales and using coupons, I've decided to set a few goals for myself on spending. I would call them New Years Resolutions, but we all know what happens to those.
  • Cut Grocery/Drugstore spending to $50/wk - this is an average amount. We use the envelope system so what remains from a previous budgeting period (2 weeks, for us) rolls over to the next period.  I'd like to see this get cut even further as the year progresses (but for the start of the year, we'll be going down to $50/wk).
  • Reduce OOP spending at drugstores to no more than $5/wk.  This one is going to be tricky, but I know it's something I need to do and it will keep me from stockpiling too much of some things that we will probably never get around to using (like the never-ending supply of shampoo and conditioner we already have).  I'll be recording these purchases here so you can help keep me honest.

4 Coupon Inserts This Sunday

The start of the new year and Sunday should be a very good day to pick up a newspaper.  There are expected to be 4 coupon inserts this week.  For details on which ones to expect, check out the Sunday Coupon Preview here

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Water Water Everywhere.... and plenty to drink (with coupons)

There are several great bottled water coupons out right now.... just like these companies on Facebook and they will each give you a $1/1 multi-pack of bottled water coupon

Rite AId Trip 12/30/10

I'm not usually one to be proud of a drugstore trip that costs me $30 OOP, but in this case I'm gonna be, because I got close to $90 worth of stuff for that $30.

I ended up doing transactions because I wanted to make sure the Gillette deodorant deal worked like I thought it would (and it did = $1 money maker)

Transaction 1
  • Gillette Fusion ProGlide Razor on sale for 9.89
  • 2 Gillette deodorants on sale for 2/$8
  • Ferro Sequels Iron supplement $18.89 (after 10% shopping pass discount)
  • Daquil Liquicaps on sale for $5
  • Mucinex Max 28 ct on sale for $19.99
  • 2 Rite Aid eye drops on sale for $3.49 BOGO
  • 2 Natural Bounty supplements on sale for $7.69 BOGO
Total:  $72.95
$20 Gift of Savings Certificate
$1 Video Value coupon
$1 Video Value coupon
$4 Gillette Fusion coupon
BOGO Gillette deodorant
$2/1 Gillette deodorant
$1.50/1 Mucinex VV coupon
$1.50/1 Dayquil coupon
$10 +UPs rewards

Total OOP = $27.95 +tax   Got back $12 +UPs

Transaction 2
2 Gillette deodorants on sale 2/$8
used BOGO Gillette deodorant
used $2/1 Gillette deodorant
=$2 OOP, Got back $3 +UP

So total $27.95 OOP, got back $15 in +UPs

Gillette Deodarant Money Maker @ Rite Aid

If you still have your Gillette coupons from the 11/28 Proctor & Gamble insert, you can make some money this week at Rite Aid (through Saturday).

Buy - 2 Gillette deodorants @ 2/$8
Use - BOGO Gillette deodorant coupon
Use - $2/1 Gillette deodorant coupon

= 2/$2 OOP

Get back $3 +UP

I had two sets of these coupons I was about to leave as a random act of kindness (since they expire on Saturday) before I realized the money making ability of this deal.

Publix Preview Week of 1/1

Passionate Penny Pincher has the Publix preview posted for the week starting Sunday 1/1 - 1/5. There are a few good deals but not too many great ones.

My favorite is the Al Fresco Chicken Sausage BOGO at $5.49, with 2 of the $2/1 printable coupons, you can grab two packs for $.74 each!

Check out the preview here.

Book Review: Extraordinary, Ordinary People

Often, I pick up auto-biographical books only to put them down after a few chapters, or I find that I read them but slowly, trudging through them. That was not the case with "Extraordinary, Ordinary People" by Condoleezza Rice.

I have found Condoleezza Rice to be a very interesting person, while knowing little about her. Reading her book, I learned that we have a bit in common: she's from Alabama and she graduated from high school at a young age. I expected a book about someone who is known politically to be more about her political life. I think it was largely because this book was not about her as a political figure that I found it so interesting.

"Extraordinary, Ordinary People" is really about her family (which, of course, includes her). It begins with her parents stories, their parents, how they were raised and how they came to be married to each other. She details her childhood, growing up in segregated Birmingham, living through the race riots, bombings and generally what it felt like to her during this time. As well as, how it felt when things finally started changing. She shares her experiences both there and in Colorado where her parents moved when she was in high school.

As a child, Condeleezza planned to become a concert pianist, and it wasn't until her Junior year of college that she discovered foreign affairs and decided to pursue that route of study, leading her to become the figure we know her to be. Along the way, she wore many hats and accomplished many firsts. It would seem that she could accomplish anything she set out to do and often found doors opening that she never considered.

The book starts and ends with her parents lives. As a testmament to the fact that this book is not about politics, or Condoleezza has a political figure, the book ends with the death of her father, just weeks before she begins her job as National Security Adviser. I had hoped that it would go further, and share more of her story, not just during her time in the White House, but also what she has been doing since then.

*I received a free review copy of this book from

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Extreme Couponing on TLC Tonight

Don't forget to watch (or record) Extreme Couponing on TLC tonight. It showcases 4 Extreme Couponers and their crazy methods of saving MAJOR bucks by using coupons. I'm already kinda hoping this becomes a series as I can see this being some major fun (as well as a learning experience for those of us who aren't quite Extreme yet).

Dec. 29 at 8pm EST
Dec. 30 at 1am EST

You may also want to check out the preview that GMA did on the show, you can watch it and read my comments by clicking here.

Also, has several videos on FrugalTV featuring interviews with both Nathan Engels and Amanda (two of the couponers featured), Nathan is Mr.Coupon on WeUseCoupons and leads by example in donating $6-7000 worth of groceries (that he purchased for just a few hundred) to local food pantries.

Keep in mind when watching these shows that...
1. editors edit. It's all about making good tv, so they have to make some people look bad.
2. the producers encouraged the couponers to do the most extreme shopping trip they could do in one day, for the purposes of the show. The idea was to show just how extreme they could get.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Extreme Couponing on Good Morning America

The blogosphere is all atwitter with many people unhappy about the bit that GMA did this morning on Exteme Couponing, equating it to hoarding and possibly crossing the line into OCD. If you haven't seen it yet, watch the video below:

Sadly, my views don't change much watching this from the post I made a few weeks ago when I first heard about the TLC show... my comment then was that There is a fine line between Saving Money and Hoarding. Unfortunately, many people do cross that line.

Whatever the activity (whether it's playing an online game, shopping, clipping coupons, or anything else) it becomes a problem when it interferes in your day to day life. When you cancel other plans repeatedly to do that activity and you don't see where it's an issue, it's a problem. When you endanger your family or even your relationship, because of that activity, it's a problem.

Overall, I felt like the GMA bit was rather well-balanced. Matt commented that you couldn't argue with the good that people do when they get all these great deals and then pass them on to others. At the same time, you who is helping to have enough toilet paper to last you 40 years? And to still be buying more? Who cares if it was free, or how cheap it was? You don't need it.

I think that everyone has a little OCD in them. We all have some little OCD, and it's up to each of us to keep that in check. Couponing is fun! Saving money is FUN! So, I can understand how someone could get carried away and continue to buy more and more of something even when they have well more than they could possible use. In just a few months of stockpiling in our own house I've had to cut myself off on certain items, realizing that I can pretty much ALWAYS get those items extremely cheap, so there's no need to do it every week. Some items (like toilet paper and pasta) can always be found super cheap. There's just no reason to buy it every week. Those pennies do add up over time. Sure, it's only 10cents, but I have a years supply and it will still be only 10 cents in six months when I've used up some of what I have.

Extreme Couponers will debut on TLC tomorrow (Dec. 29) at 8pm EST, and feature 4 "Extreme" Couponers.

Cascade Complete Gel, part of P&G Mega Event at Kroger This Week

I was able to get by Kroger today and I am very happy to report that not only are the Cascade Action packs on sale with the Mega Sale but so is the 72oz Cascade Complete gel.  The gel is on sale for $5.99, and there was a Cascade coupon in Sunday's paper for .25 (which will double to .50), then when you buy 4 participating P&G products, an additional $1/item will be deducted ($4 per 4 items), bringing the Price Per Item on the Cascade Complete down to $4.49/bottle!

And Passionate Penny Pincher has a great scenario that will get you 12 P&G products for less than $4

Last Chance to Print These Coupons!

It's the end of the month, which means that many of the current coupons on will be going away, and many new ones will be available soon.  Here are the ones that are likely going to be gone after this week:

****** Don't forget that this Tone coupon combined with the ECB you'll get back at CVS means free body wash
****** This coast coupon equals free soap at Publix this week!

Lots of New Coupons on Cellfire!

Be sure to log into Cellfire and link your Kroger card for more great coupons. They just launched a bunch of new ones including:

  • .75 on Colgate Wisp
  • .50 on Betty Crocker cake mix & frosting
  • .50 on Betty Crocker potatoes
  • BOGO Budweiser bbq sauce
  • BOGO Biltmore marinades
  • $1 on Pillsbury holiday cookies
  • .50 on Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • .40 on Pillsbury Sweet Rolls
  • .50 on Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers
  • .... many more....
While you are at it, be sure to log into Shortcuts as well, it looks like they have some new digital Qs too

Does Your Attic Need Insulation?

We got hit with snow here this weekend and driving around my neighborhood (of older homes) I had a thought. The thought was that I remembered there being some connection between the way snow accumulates on your roof and the need for insulation; I just couldn't remember what the connection was. So, when I got home I looked it up and here's what I found on
After the first snowfall, compare the snow on your roof with the snow on your neighbor's roof. If the roofs are similar in slope and direction of wind impact, the snow accumulation should be similar to your neighbor's. If you have considerably less accumulation as compared to a similar roof, it could indicate heat loss due to inadequate insulation in the attic. Also, check the snow around the basement wall. Snow around the basement that has melted more than the snow on the lawn indicates heat loss. Seal it and install insulation accordingly.

The good news, for me, is that the snow seems to accumulate on our roof (and doesn't melt away very fast), so our attic is evidently well-insulated and holding heat (rather than losing it). The other good news is that this was exactly the opposite of the way I was thinking the correlation works.

So, go outside and look at your roof and determine if you need insulation. If you don't AWESOME! If you do, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the upside is that this investment now will save you a ton down the line.

Monday, December 27, 2010

5 Swagbucks on the Toolbar

Check your messages on the toolbar for a code worth 5 swagbucks

FREE Excedrin Coupons

I just got my FREE Excedrin coupons in the mail today and if you haven't already signed up for yours, you totally should. I got two (one for regular Excedrin and one for Extra Strength), each worth up to $5.99 value.

You can sign up for yours on - and you should see the Excedrin ad on the right side of your screen.

Gevalia Coffee Deal - Buy 4 boxes / $19.95 and get a Coffeemaker & Stainless Travel Mug FREE


These deals don't come around too often... right now Gevalia is offering a free Coffee Maker & Stainless travel mug when you purchase 4 boxes of coffee for just $19.95

Win A Free Colorado Vacation

Hubby and I had the opportunity to visit Colorado last spring (for my nephew's graduation) and it's a beautiful place, so when I saw this I had to pass it on. Click the image below and enter your info for a chance to win a a FREE Colorado vacation from Colorado Tourism

Free All You Holiday Pie Guide

All You is all about saving money, and now they are offering a free Pie Guide. With great recipes and money saving tips, this is one free download you'll want to make sure to get. Click here to get your guide.

How to Search & Win with Swagbucks

Swagbucks is a great service that allows you to earn points for doing basic things online (like searching the web) and then trade those points for real items (including gift certificates on  It takes just 450 swagbucks to earn a $5 Amazon gc (which if you search regularly you should be able to earn in 3-4 wks or less).  I average 20 swagbucks a day by just doing regular searches.

The key to earning Swagbucks by doing searches is this...
  • Do the searches you'd normally do on Google or another search engine via the Swagbucks search engine.
  • If you don't earn swagbucks on your first search, do a few more changing up your search text until you do earn swagbucks.
  • I've found that the more natural your search is the more swagbucks you are likely to earn.
  • You can earn Swagbucks by searching twice a day (so, do a few searches early in the day until you win swagbucks, then come back late in the day and do some more searches.
There are many other great ways to earn Swagbucks, but doing searches is by the far the easiest and best return for your time.  Be sure to search daily and earn make sure you get your Swagbucks twice in a day and you'll be on your way to free stuff fast!

Search & Win

Free Shipping at Swirl today

Haven't used your $20 credit at Swirl yet? Haven't signed up yet to get your $20 free credit? Well, now is the time to do it. All orders today get FREE SHIPPING! Now there's a deal you can't beat! Free Stuff with FREE SHIPPING!

You may recall that I used Swirl to fill my hubby's Christmas stocking for under $25 - buying him (2) Eco Cups (those plastic re-usable cold cups with straws, like Starbucks sells for around $15) and only paying shipping (around $10 for both items). Had I waited I could have gotten both of those and paid nothing out of pocket - but you rarely know in advance about deals like this.

So, now you know! Click here take advantage of this deal! And get some cool stuff for FREE!

Missing Your Sunday Coupons?

If yesterday's snow kept you from getting out to grab the Sunday paper, do not despair! You may still be able to get it and other missed papers (and coupons) by visiting your local newspaper office.

Here in Huntsville, just go by the Huntsville Times and you can grab your missed Sunday papers for up to 9 weeks back for just $1.50/paper.

Thanks Rocket City Savings for the tip

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cheap Salsa at Publix This Week

Pace Salsa (16oz jar) is on sale this week BOGO for $2.79 and Target has a new coupon on their website for .50/2 jars. There was also a .60/2 coupon in the Sunday 12/5 Smart Source insert.

So 2 jars of Pace for just $1.69 with both coupons

Amazon Year End Deals

Amazon has some great Year End deals you may want to check out, especially if you received a Target gift card for Christmas and are looking for a good way to spend it :)

Drugstore Plan of Attack Week of 12/26

  • Colgate Total $2.99 - $2 ECB - $1 coupon = FREE
  • Tone Body Wash $3.88 - $3 ECB - $1 coupon = FREE
  • Dawn .94 - .50 coupon (11/26 p&g insert)
  • Fuze 3/$3 - $1ECB wyb 3 = 3/$2
  • Listerine 50% 1L = $2.75-$1/1 coupon = $1.75

= $10.06 -$6 ECBs = $4.06 OOP, Get $6 ECB

Rite Aid
Gilette Fusion Pro Glide $9.97 -$4 Coupon (12/26 P&G insert) $5.97 - $5+UP
Mucinex $19.99 - $1.50VV Coupon - $1.50 MQ = $16.99
Dayquil $5 - $1.50 coupon (11/29 P&G insert) = $1.50 - $2+UP = $1.50

= 26.46 - $20 Gift of Savings Reward = $6.46 OOP, Get $7+UP

DirectBuy Review

I had a spam in my email today about getting a free pass to check out the local DirectBuy showroom.  It reminded me that I should write a blog about our experience with DirectBuy.

A few years ago, just after we bought our house and had put a LOT of money into remodeling parts of it, we got some info on DirectBuy and decided to check it out.  The Free pass basically is an invitation to come and sit through their sales speel (a really long infomercial) and then you sit down with one of their sales people who attempt to convince you to join DirectBuy.  The showroom is really just a catalog warehouse (and by that I mean a warehouse of catalogs) with a few products scattered around with signs to show you the MSRP on the item and then the price if you buy through DirectBuy.

I won't say exactly how much the membership is but let's just say it's 4 digits (before the decimal).  It's been a few years so it may have gone up or down now.  The idea is that you save money by cutting out the "middle man" and ordering directly from the manufacturer, via a catalog. 

The upside is that yes you can save a TON of money. 

The downsides are plentiful (imo)
  • It's a lot of work - you will basically have to know the exact model # of the item you want and then find it in a catalog in order to place your order.
  • It can take up to 8 weeks or more to get your items.
  • You will pay shipping.
  • The biggest discounts are on higher end items.
  • You will have to spend a lot to recoup your initial investment.
IMO, Directbuy can be a good thing if you plan ahead and IF you are doing some major remodeling.  If you are doing a kitchen or bath project and using some higher end items in said kitchen or bath you may be able to recoup your investment (and then some).  However, you will be putting a lot of work into finding your products.  On lower to mid price items you will do as well (or better) to shop sales at stores like Lowes and Home Depot.  You also have to remember that you can't compare those stores to the items in the catalogs at DirectBuy because both stores change the item/serial #'s on products (or have specific models made just for them).  So an item may look like the same exact thing but the model #'s won't match (this is also how these stores can get away with having price match guarantees - it's hard to price match when the model #'s are different).  So you will end up going to the other stores to find the items you want, write them down then go back to DirectBuy and dig through catalogs in an attempt to find a matching item so that you can order it. If you are lucky that item will still be available for you.

We did join but we ended up losing a good bit of money.  We only ordered 3 things through DirectBuy that I can remember.

Flooring - we got a great deal on flooring, getting close to 50% off some Bruce hardwood.
Refrigerator - we tried to order a refrigerator, only to be told 2 weeks later that it was no loner available.  We ended up going to Lowes (in the same time-frame we also replaced pretty much every other major appliance in our house (none of which did we get through DirectBuy - we just weren't buying high end enough to make it worthwhile).
A Bosu Ball - I saved about $20 on this item from the best price I found locally.  I ended up waiting about 3-4 weeks for it arrive.

Had we joined a few months earlier, I know we would have made better use of the membership.  When we joined we were not allowed to look through the catalogs before joining, all we could do was let them look up a specific item.  As it happened, we'd just purchased the faucet sets for our bathroom and I still had the item # on my phone.  When they looked up this particular item the cost through them would have been a fraction of what we paid (and I got it through my uncle who passed on his employee discount at a local plumbing supply).

Saving money often means spending time (and vice-versa), the case of DirectBuy is no different.  You can save some money if you are willing to put out a lot of time and energy.... and if you are doing some MAJOR projects.  But, if you aren't doing major projects and you aren't willing to put in a major time investment, then I wouldn't suggest joining.

Our membership expired over a year ago and I doubt we'd rejoin, even though we do plan to remodel our kitchen at some point in the future.  We'll find other ways to save money on the project, but we don't think that the monetary investment to join DirectBuy and the time we'd have to invest would be worthwhile (for us).

Coupons Make it Easy & Cheap to Try New Products

My last poll was asking if you'd ever tried a new item just because you had a coupon. 100% of those who responded said that yes they had!

  Last week I picked up two bags of Ore-Ida hashbrowns just because they were free at Publix (with sale and coupons).  You gotta love it when things work out like that.  I love it all the more when the item turns out to be good.  Actually, we enjoyed the O'brian style potatoes so much I had to go back and buy two more bags even though I didn't have any coupons for them (they were on still on sale BOGO).

The other side of that coin was some sort of BBQ pork that I picked up a few weeks ago at Publix. I don't even remember the brand (but I'd know it if I saw it).  It sounded good and I'd had a similar product in the past that I loved.  Unfortunately, this one I did not love.  I popped the bowl in the microwave according to directions, took one bite and threw the rest out.  My husband had turned down an earlier offer to have this for dinner; I let him know he was lucky.  I'm just glad it was cheap... then again I wouldn't have bought it otherwise.

Lowes Has Stuff to Put Your Stuff In!

I didn't say it! They did! LOL. But, I love the line. Anyway, if you are needing storage stuff you might want to check out Lowes. They have free standing shelves on sale for up to 30% off and Christmas storage (for all the wrapping paper and decorations you are buying on clearance) at 50% off.

PLUS... If you go through Ebates to buy it, you'll get an additional 6% back on your purchase! (heck that's enough to cover sales tax in some states).

We've been converting our 4th bedroom into a storage closet/pantry, and hubby has been saying he wanted another shelving unit for in there, so we will most likely be ordering one online and picking it up later in the week (since we are snowed in again today). These are the units we've been buying and they work really well for storing things of all sizes (from small boxed/canned food items to large things like Costco sized paper towel packages and clothes baskets). We have two out in our garage (one for just general organization and one for laundry organization) and 3 in our bedroom pantry (2 are just organizing stuff like holiday decorations and extra pillows, boxes,etc that we don't have anywhere else to store).

If you aren't familiar with Ebates, it's a website that basically pays you back a % of the affiliate fee that online retailers pay them for sending them buyers. Today they are offering double cash back to many retailers (6% for Lowes) PLUS if you are a new user they will give you a $5 gift card after you make your first purchase through them.

Post Holiday Clearance vs Pre-Holiday Sales

So I just got an email from Rite Aid announcing that they have their Christmas on clearance starting at 50% off.

I'm not so sure this is great. A month or so ago I was talking to a young lady in my FPU class about chocolate! We are both chocolate lovers and she mentioned how after Halloween she'd passed up on some chocolate that was on sale because they were trying to be frugal. She went home and thought about and went back the next day but by then it was gone! :( My response to her was that she'd probably find better deals shortly than she saw after Halloween anyway as many stores were having great sales on chocolate leading into Christmas.

Since I was trying to learn more about what works and what doesn't I have been paying more attention this year than ever before. In the past, I would shop the after holiday sales to buy certain holiday themed things; Shopping after Halloween to buy Halloween decorations and chocolate and shopping after Christmas for wrapping paper, cards, etc. Ok, I would shop after any holiday for chocolate - Hello, my name is Julie and I have a chocolate problem! So I told her about the great deals I'd seen at Rite Aid and CVS on chocolates already, getting them for .50/bag.

It was at that point that I realized that perhaps it's not worth waiting till after the holiday to stock up on things, but that you might actually get better deals BEFORE the holiday. .50/bag for candy is way better than 50% off. A couple of weeks ago I got tape for better than free on multiple occasions. I didn't buy any wrapping paper because I knew we'd bought enough after Christmas last year to last us a few years (same on bows).

Decorations may still have the best deals after the holiday. You rarely see the nicer decorations, dishes, serving items, etc marked down very much (or even on sale for more than a little off) before the holiday. Of course, waiting till after the holiday means you may not have much of a selection BUT if you are frugal and only buy a few items that you really like each year when they are on sale you can build a really nice collection of items.

We Use Coupons

I've been having a ball on We Use Coupons today. I signed up a few weeks ago and have been getting their daily email regarding new threads but it was only today (after being snowed in) that I really had a chance to check out the many topics available. I've wondered for quite a while how so many bloggers get such a head start on what deals are coming up at what stores and now I know. I still don't know how the folks at We Use Coupons find out all the info they know, but I'll be adding them to my daily to do list.

Click here to check out

Rite Aid Resolution Rewards

After paying us back for shopping over Christmas, Rite Aid is paying us to shop again. This time they are calling it "Resolution Rewards" and when you spend $100 on select products.

From the Rite Aid website:
Get a $20 +UP Reward when you spend $100 or more on specially marked items now through January 22. Just look for this symbol on hundreds of specially marked products throughout the store. Your $20 +UP Reward will print on your receipt when the qualifying threshold is met. You can use this +UP on your next purchase.

To view the list of qualifying items, click here

Unlike the program at Christmas, your purchases are tracked and reported on your receipt letting you know how close you are to reaching the threshold.

There are a ton of major brands and items listed, so in theory this shouldn't be hard to hit...however, if they are subtracting coupons used it may be difficult.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Looks like a change to the Rite Aid Video Values?

Previously, the Video Values bonus coupon was based off of watching any video values ads (you had to watch x# of ads within the system to get a bonus $3 or $4 off $20 coupon). It looks like for the January Video Values to get the bonus coupon you have to watch 14 Beauty ads, under the tab "It's New: Beauty". There are quite a few videos in that section, which means some great coupons. The downside to this change is that if you normally pick and choose to watch ads that you are interested in, you now may have to watch ads for products you don't care about to get your bonus coupon.

If you aren't familiar with the Video Values program, it's a great way to get some extra coupons for your Rite Aid purchases (and this month you can earn a $4/$20 coupon by watching 14 coupons from the beauty section). Click here to check it out.

Amazon Rewards Procrastinating Fans of Christmas Music

If you've been procrastinating checking out the 25 Free Christmas songs on Amazon until they actually had them all posted, you are now being rewarded. Not only are all 25 songs posted, but you can download them all with one click.

Grab em at 25 Days of Christmas

Sears After Christmas Sale

If Santa didn't bring you all your heart desired you might want to check out Sears After-Christmas sale and see if they can finish off your list...

50% off Christmas Trees & Holiday Decor

FREE Shipping on all TVs $799 and above + ALL Samsung TVs & Toshiba Computers

Up to 30% off Appliances + EXTRA 10% or Free Delivery or Special Financing w/ Sears Card

EXTRA 10% off ALL Closeout & Clearance Lawn & Garden items (12/26-12/30)

20% Off ALL Athletic Shoes + EXTRA 15% off Shoes for the Family with code NEWYEAR15 12/26-1/15

EXTRA 15% off ALL Fine Jewelry with JEWELRY15 + FREE Shipping on orders of $125 or more 12/26-1/1

Be sure to enter Code: SEARS2011 for an additional $5/$50 (12/26-12/31)

Aeropostale - 15% Off Online Today Only

A few more hours for this deal - Aeropostale is offering 15% off your purchase on orders today only, by entering code: MERRY15

While you are there be sure to check out:
Aeropostale Girl's Sleepwear $7.00 (selects styles) (until 12/29)
Aeropostale Girl's Hoodies $12.00 (select styles) (until 12/29)
Aeropostale T-Shirt Riot $5 Tees (until 12/29)
Aeropostale Guy's Hoodies starting at $20.00 (until 12/29)

Aeropostale Merry Christmas: 12/25 Only Take 15% off your order with code MERRY15

P&G Deals at Kroger This Week (12/26-1/1)

Kroger has a nice P&G promo going this week. Buy 4 of the participating products and you instantly get $4 off your purchase total. This is on top of many of the items already being on sale, e-coupons available on the Kroger website and the new P&G Savings booklet in Sunday's paper will get you some really good deals on P&G products.
The below prices are after the $4 instant savings but before any additional coupons:

  • Charmin 12 Double Rolls - $5.99 ($3 e-coupon available on Kroger website)
  • Bounty 8 regular or 6 Big Rolls - $5.99 ($1 e-coupon available on Kroger website)
  • Dawn 10-24oz $1.59 (.50 e-coupon available)
  • Secret & Old Spice deodorants $1.29
  • Febreeze candles $3.99
  • Bounce 100-120ct sheets $3.99

Coupon Site List

Most everyone knows about the big 3 sites for getting printable coupons;, SmartSource & Redplum

And, of course, you want to stop by Cellfire and Shortcuts for coupons you can load directly to your shopper card.

Also be sure to check your store website. Target offers a large number of printable coupons (many that are manufacturer coupons which can be used anywhere) and Kroger has their own e-coupons that can be downloaded directly to your Kroger card for additional savings.  Remember that you can usually stack store coupons with  manufacturer Qs for additional (sometimes double) savings.

But, quite often the best coupons come directly from the companies. Here are a list of the ones that I've used to get some great coupons. Sometimes you need to sign up to their email list (which is worthwhile, for the coupons you get), other times the coupons are just there waiting for you.

Get New Tires While You Shop 12/26

Sears has two great promos going for tires on 12/26, so if you are needing new tires you might want to kill two birds with one stone while you do your post-Christmas returns and sale shopping.

* 1-Day Only! Receive $25 Sears Gift Card Instantly with purchase of 4 Tires 12/26

* Save on ALL Tires + up to $70 Cash Back via rebate when you buy 4 Michelin Tires 12/26-1/1

Holdman Christmas 2010 - Complete Show

This is just amazing!

Merry Christmas

Code Worth 9 Swagbucks on the Blog

Check out the Swagbucks Blog for a code worth 9 SwagBucks

Merry Christmas

Not on Swagbucks Yet? Sign up here and get started with 60 Swagbucks (be sure to use CODE: JoinIn2010 when you join).  Normally you only get 30 when you sign up, but enter that code and get an additional 30 when you join today!

Search & Win

Saving Money: Making Your Own Scented Bath Salts

If you enjoy a hot bath like I do, then you'll like this little frugal tip.
After spending way too much on scented bath salts, I decided to give making my own a try, and found that it's much much cheaper (and you get exactly the scents you want). Here's what it takes:

  • Epsom Salt (I usually buy the bags of Walgreens brand - with a sale it's the cheapest of any source I've found, however I've been stocking up when they do go on sale).
  • Baking Soda - you can pick up the small boxes for just .75 and can pretty much always find coupons online to save .50 when you buy 2 (any size). If your grocery store doubles this means you can get 2 small boxes for just .50
  • Scented Essential Oils - You can probably find these online cheaper but I pick them up at Hobby Lobby for around $6/bottle.
  • Sea Salt - I buy this by the bucket at Hobby Lobby as well. It runs around $8/bucket but I usually buy it when I have a 40% off coupon.
Find a large container (any large container with a lid will work) and add the following amounts:
  • 2 cups Epsom salts
  • 1 cup Sea salt
  • 1 Tbs baking soda
Once you add all the above, shake the container to get all the ingredients well blended. Once they are well blended, add 10-12 drops of essential oils (you can combine scents as you like) and shake the mixture again to get the oils well distributed.  I like to leave my salts to sit and absorb the scent(s) for a couple of days before using them.

My favorite scent combination is Eucalyptus Spearmint, to do this I use about 6-8 drops of each Essential Oil.  If you have a larger container you can double the recipe above or increase it as your container allows.  The above amounts will make enough for about 4 baths.

You can also turn these into a great gift for any purpose by packing them in pretty bottles or jars.

Bath & Body Works $3 Classics

For the next 3 days only, Bath & Body Works has their Signature Classic Collection lotions on sale for just $3.  If you combine this with the $10/$30 coupon code: PERFECTGIFT10, you can get 10 lotions for just $20 - that's a deal!

The Results of the $25 Stockings

I can't say for sure if he got everything within the $25 budget. He says he went over, he wouldn't have if he'd remembered my tip about Swirl.

So here's how our stockings turned out. Paul's stocking

  • Spooning Leads to Forking tshirt - $6.99 at - $10.98 shipped
  • 2 Eco-Friendly Eco on Ice cups from Swirl (used $20 free credit) - $9.49 shipped
  • 3 packages of Mounds fun size candies ($1.99 B2G1) - $3.98
  • 4 Blistex chapsticks $1 each (used Rite Aid +UP bucks) = FREE
  • 2 Walgreens brand lotions .79 each, used RR to pay = FREE
Total =  $24.45

My stocking:
I'm estimating this one based on Amazon prices (since I know that's where he did most of his buying).
  • Bath & Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint Foam bath - $16.50
  • Dr Teals Relax bath salts - $4.99
  • Micheal Buble "Let it Snow" - about $7
  • Wine Monkey - $10 
  • 2 Burts Bees lip balms, $2.99 each = $5.98
  • Candy (not gonna count this since it's likely it came from our stash)
Total:  $44.97 (estimated)
Be sure to check out this morning, as they have a huge collection of Over 100 Free MP3's this morning, ranging from Christmas singles to full albums by Sister Hazel and others.

Closed: Christmas GiveAway: $10 Toy from Amazon

Merry Christmas - my present to you....

I traded in my coins at Coinstar a couple of weeks ago and received the bonus $10 certificate for Toys & Games.... since I don't need any Toys or Games, I'm passing it on to you. I will choose a winner at random from those who comment to this post, then you can choose the Toys and/or Games you'd like - up to a $10 value - and I'll order it and have it shipped directly to you.

How to Enter:

1. Required - Like Money Saving Mode on Facebook or follow publicly via Google Friend Connect (I must be able to confirm you are a follower on one of these two for you to win). Comment on this post to let me know which one you're doing and be sure to leave your email address I can contact you. Tell me which Toys &/or Games $10 or less you'd like to have.

2. Optional - for up to 3 extra entries, share this giveaway on your blog, twitter or Facebook. Up to 2 extra entries (one for each). Post a separate entry below for each one you did.

Giveaway will close and I will choose a winner on Monday January 3, 2011

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope that all are having a wonderful Money Saving Holiday! I can't wait to take a picture of what I managed to pack into my hubby's stocking for under $25 (I had a hard time fitting it all in there, even).

So what did you do this year to save money on your holiday shopping?

Merry Christmas!!!

Don't Forget Your Sunday Paper

There is a coupon insert in Sunday's paper. This week it is just one, but it's a good one - the Proctor & Gamble insert. For a good idea of what coupons to expect in this insert, click here (or click the image below).

Smart Cookies

While setting up my Tivo to record the upcoming "Extreme Couponing" show, I stumbled across this series - Smart Cookies, on IONLife network.

I wasn't really sure what this show was about the synopsis of the episode that tagged it as something interesting to me including coupon use. I decided to record it and give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised by the first episode that I saw. Smart Cookies follows the 5 hosts as they give money advice, track down the answers to money tips, find ways to save money and more. The episode that I caught had the hosts finding the answer to whether or not retailers really are allowed to put a minimum on how much you have to spend in order to use a credit card. They also taught two ladies the basics of "playing" the stock market, gave the basics on tipping and had a contest amongst the hosts to see which lady could get the most for free.

If you are reading this blog, this is a show you may want to check out. You may be surprised at what you'll learn in one half hour episode of this show.

The Smart Cookies website

Frugal Fridays

Check out these great links for stories of frugality and ideas to help you save money.


10 Top CDs only $3.99 on Amazon (Today Only)

Download ten of the year's biggest albums for just $3.99 each.

10 Top Album Downloads Just $3.99

Need more bargains? Starting today and running through January, they will have Over 1000 MP3 Albums Just $5 each. View more deals on the Gold Box Page

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Zazzle's After Christmas Sale

A little early, but hey everyone's calendar is different right?

That said, it's never too early to pick up some cool stuff on sale, or better yet with Zazzle make your own cool stuff. How about a mug with a picture of your favorite kid? Or how about picking up a tshirt for Grandma. Heck, Valentine's Day & Mother's Day are just around the corner and what better way to say "I love you" than to put your face on a mug or a tshirt!

Get 15% off mugs now through 1/31 with code SAVE15ALLMUG

And starting 12/26, Zazzle's After Christmas Sale - Top Products on Sale w/code ZAZZLEACSALE

I knew that Twitter Account Would Come in Handy Eventually

I still don't get Twitter, but I did just get a $5 Amazon Video on Demand credit for having a Twitter account!

Just Click Here then Click Tweet and Get $5, enter your Twitter info and you'll get hooked up. You'll also be following Amazon MP3 on Twitter (just so you know).

Free MP3s Today on Amazon

There is a code that is good for $2 worth of MP3 downloads on Amazon.  It's only good today (12/23) through Sunday (12/26).  Just Enter Code: GIVEMP3S here

Free Movie Rentals at Blockbuster Kiosks

I think they have these inside of Kroger stores around here, I know I've seen a few (they just aren't as common as the Redbox).  That said, if you use the Blockbuster kiosks to rent a movie today or tomorrow (12/23/12/24) you can get a free rental by entering code thanku

***Just keep in mind that if you rent it tomorrow night you may have to pay for 1 day since chances are the store the kiosk is in may not be open on Christmas Day for you to return it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Code for 9 Swagbucks

The Swidget says (and I've confirmed) that there is a Code hidden on the Special Offers page worth 9 Swagbucks.

Here's exactly what the Swidget says (confirm for yourself by scrolling to the bottom of the page and looking at the SwagBucks widget and clicking on "Swag Codes", then head over to the Special Offers page on Swag Bucks and find the code -it's not as hard as it seems, but you better do it quick).

Nab 9 before 3pm PST

Search & Win

CVS Plan of Attack

Here is my current plan of attack for next weeks CVS sale:

  • Colgate Total $2.99 - $2 ECB - $1 coupon = FREE
  • Tone Body Wash $3.88 - $3 ECB - $1 coupon = FREE
  • Dawn .94 - .50 coupon (P&G insert)
  • Gilette Fusion Pro Glide $9.99 - $4ECB -$4Coupon (P&G insert) = $1.99
  • Fuze 3/$3 - $1ECB wyb 3 = 3/$2
  • Listerine 50% 1L = $2.75-$1/1 coupon = $1.75
OOP = $16.05, and will get back $10 = Total Spent $6.05

Walgreens 3 Day Sale (12/22-12/24)

This should be the last of the holiday 3 Day sales at Walgreens.  Here are a few deals that may be worth picking up.

  • Kodak C180 10MP digital camera - just $59.99
  • Walgreens Brand lotion 2.5oz - .79 with in-ad Q -pg 6
  • Reach Floss or Toothbrush .99 with in-ad Q (use with $1/1 printable Q)
  • Walgreens Cough drops 2/$1
  • Palmolive dish soap 10oz - .99 with in-ad Q - pg 8
This may seem odd but at least 3 of the above 5 things would make really great stocking stuffers in my house.

Sign up for JC Penney Offers

JCPenneyNow you can Sign up for JCPenney emails to receive special offers and coupons.

The $25 Stocking pt 2

Another blog asked how to keep costs down on filling a stocking, and as I started replying I realized that I hadn't shared these ideas here. It's not too late to start planning for next year!

- Swagbucks - Trade in your points for gift cards or other items your kids might like (or your wife or hubby)

- Free Credits to Daily Deal sites - most daily deal sites offer free credits when you sign up. Swirl by Daily Candy, One Kings Lane & Modnique are all sites that I've used the free credits on to garner some pretty cool stuff, some of which became gifts. You may have to pay shipping, but you'll make up for it on the great deal you'll get on the item(s).

- Drugstore deals - every week I post about great deals at the various drug stores on anything from candy to cologne. These items are great stocking stuffers if you can hang onto them long enough to get them in the stocking.

- More Daily Deals - Tanga has some awesome cheap prices on items like t-shirts and other fun items that would be great as stocking stuffers.

- Groupon - I can't wrap my head around the idea of giving a Groupon as a gift on its own, but as part of a larger gift (like a stuffed stocking, or a gift basket) I think it's a great idea and there have been some great ones in our area that would make awesome gifts.  Ok, the more I think about it, there have been some awesome ones that would make great gifts on their own (like flying lessons and skydiving), but for stocking stuffers I'm thinking the smaller ones like 3 Redbox rentals for $1 or 50% a gift certificate to one of their favorite online stores.  And for those types of deals you don't even have to be in the city where they were listed.

The real is key is not waiting till the last minute on stocking stuffers (or any gifts for that matter). Waiting just makes it cost more. Plan ahead and put things away for gifts later.

P&G Insert This Sunday

We've believed there would be no coupon inserts this Sunday due to the holidays, but the rumor now is that there will, in fact, be a P&G insert with some pretty awesome coupons, including

$4/1 Gilette Fusion ProGlide razor
$1/2 Old Spice
$2/2 Head & Shoulders

and many others. For a full list of the coupons we are expecting to see on Sunday, click here

And a note from P&G regarding the coupons in this Sunday's paper:
For every coupon redeemed from the Sunday, December 26, issue of P&GbrandSAVER®, a three-cent donation will be made to the Special Olympics.

Last Day to Order with 2Day Shipping on Amazon

Today is the last day you can order with 2 day shipping from and still get your gifts by Dec. 24. They will have 1 Day shipping available tomorrow, but you'll have to pay for it, so why not just get off your duff and click in those last few Christmas gifts, procrastination just costs more.

P&G E-Savings

Ok, I just stumbled across something sweet! Proctor & Gamble now has an online store and they have all the great coupons that we love from P&G built into the store; not only that but their prices are really good to start with!

Plus as a "Welcome to the Store" you get %15 off your purchase!

Take this for example:
Get $4 OFF on any (1) Manual or Power Fusion ProGlide Razor! Until 12/25/10 only. We are used to this razor being around $10 in the store. After the $4 coupon and the 15% comes off, it's just $1.69

Or how about:
Buy any (1) Febreeze Flameless Luminary Starter Kit & Get (1) Refill FREE! Until 12/25/10 only.

Buy any (1) Olay Body Wash, Get any (1) Olay Hand & Body Lotion FREE! Until 12/25/10 only.

Get a FREE Pantene Shampoo when you buy any Pantene products! Until 12/25/10 only.

Save $1 On any ONE Pampers Diapers or Pants

Save $4 On any ONE PUR or PUR Flavor Options System (Pitcher or Faucet Mount)

Did I mention they take Paypal? And they have $5 Flat Rate Shipping.

Pretty Sweet!

Nikon Coolpix 12MP w 3.6 Optical Zoom Only $89 @ Target

Target's daily deals today are Electronics and they have some nice buys, including the above mentioned Nikon Coolpix for just $89.  It amazes me to think how cheap digital cameras have gotten over the last few years.

You may also want to take a look at the portable DVD player for just $49.99!

View the Daily Deals

Oh and don't forget you can go through Ebates and get 3% Cash Back on your purchase. And if you are new to Ebates, sign up and get a $10 gift card following your first order.

Money Saving Mode - Now on Facebook

I finally set up a Facebook page for Money Saving Mode.  So if you'd like to follow MSM on Facebook for quick and easy updates to the blog, please click here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wednesday Window & Blog Hop Skip & a Jump


Why I love Rite Aid

Rite Aid is quickly becoming my favorite drug store (again).  A few years ago it was my primary drug store and then I moved and it wasn't the most convenient choice anymore so I switched (strictly for convenience sake).  Sometimes convenience is over-rated.  Since I've been shopping sales and going for deals, I've found myself back at Rite Aid again (even though it can be out of my way).

Why do I love Rite Aid?  It might have something to do with the amount of FREE stuff I've gotten there, and the Rite Aid Video Values are to some degree responsible for this.

What are Rite Aid Video Values?  Basically, it's a program that Rite offers, where in exchange for watching short (usually 30 second) commercials online you get a coupon (usually for the item that was featured in the ad).  Once you watch 20 commercials you get a coupon for $3 or $4 off of a $20 purchase.  The VV coupons can be stacked with regular manufacturer coupons and sales, as well as Rite Aid +UP deals, quite often netting you free items.

To register for Video Values and watch the ads, click here.

Right now is a good time to sign up for the VV program as you still have enough time to watch the Dec ads and earn the $3/20 coupon (as well as 2 $1/$1 purchase coupons), which will be good through the end of January, and then you can start over again at the beginning of January and earn another one.

Get Paid to Transfer Prescriptions! The next reason I've gotten so much stuff for free is because quite often in their local ad, Rite Aid will offer a $25 gift card when you transfer a prescription.  I have a LOT of prescriptions and I've transferred pretty much all of them to Rite Aid now.  I've debated transferring them out again just so I can transfer them back to get another gift card, but I'm leaning towards that being unethical (even if it's ok to do it, it just feels wrong).

+UP is Rite Aid's reward program.  If you don't already have a Rite Aid reward card, get one.  You can sign up in the store the next time you are there.  Then when you purchase certain items you will find a coupon at the bottom of your receipt for $$ off your next purchase.  I try to roll these (using the ones I earned on my last purchase to buy the current purchase and at the same time earning more to use next week = more free stuff).  When you sign up for the reward card you will also want to log into your account online and check for coupons as they often make special ones available in your account online to print and use.

In addition to the +UP coupons that print at the bottom of your receipt, you earn points for each purchase you make in the store.  1 point for each $1 you spend, and 25 points for each prescription you fill.  As your points build you earn additional rewards, like 10% off shopping passes and eventually 10% off all purchases.

5 Swag Bucks on the Blog

Check the Swag Bucks blog entry "Kevin!!" for a clue to a code worth 5SBs until 5pm CST.

And if you don't know what Swag Bucks is by now, it's an easy way to earn yourself some free stuff including Amazon Gift Cards. Click here to sign up.

New Coupons on

There are some more new coupons on today:

$0.70 off Kellogg's Raisin Bran Cereal
$7.00 off any (1) NicoDerm CQ
$7.00 off NicoDerm CQ with SmartControl™
$0.70 off Kellogg's Special K Cinnamon Pecan
$0.70 off Kellogg's Corn Flakes Simply Cinnamon
$1.50 off POND'S cream, towelette, or cleanser
$1.50 off TWO packages Kellogg's Cereals
$0.50 off Kellogg's Cinnabon™ Cereal
$0.70 off Kellogg's FiberPlus™ Cereal
$1.00 off WONKA Candy Canes
$3.00 off any Similac Infant Formula
$2.00 off TWO packages Kellogg's Crispix Cereals
$2.00 off TWO Kellogg's Krispies Cereals
Buy One get One Free bag of BUTTERFINGER Snackerz
$1.00 off California Pizza Kitchen
Get one cesar bistro™ FREE when you buy two cesar

if you are like me, your coupon binder is getting kind of thin right about now, as many are expiring this week.  So it's time to start looking for new ones to replenish stock and ensure good savings into the new year.