Monday, February 28, 2011

Publix Coupon Matchups

Passionate Penny Pincher has the new Publix sale posted, which starts Wed (or Thur depending on your area).

Here's the deals I'll be grabbing:

Aunt Jemima Frozen Waffles BOGO $2.16
- use $1/2 coupon from Facebook
= 2 for $1.16

Chef BoyRDee Pasta BOGO $1.55
- use FREE Chef BoyrDee (if you got it when I posted about it a few weeks ago)
- use $2/5 Chef BoyrDee Publix coupon (printable - if still available)
= 5 for $1.10

Halls Cough Drops BOGO $1.66
- use BOGO Halls
- use .50/1 Halls (from March All You magazine)
- use .50/1 Halls (Target Q)
= FREE (plus overage)

FREE Fries at Chick-fil-A March 4

Click here for details on how to get FREE Fries at Chick-fil-A on March 4.

My Stockpile

I thought I would share my stockpile with you. This is what it's grown to over the last 6 months.

That bag on the bottom shelf is full of cough drops.

The boxes next to the soup... more soup.

We found these shelves at Lowe's, and got them on sale. We also have a pretty good stockpile of detergent and fabric softener, which we store in the garage with the washing machine.

Saving Money at the Grocery Stores

The grocery store is by far the easiest place to get started saving money.  While I've found I save the most money at the drugstores, doing so takes a lot more effort and thought.  So, in my series about the basics of saving money, I'm going to start with the easiest thing.

Saving Money at the Grocery Store
You don't have to clip coupons or have (or start) a huge stockpile to save money at the grocery store, but you do have to put forth a little time and planning.

1. Get the Store Card - most grocery stores have switched to the loyalty card as their means of handing out discounts. Instead of just offering the sale price to everyone who buys a product that's on sale, they require you have a loyalty card and only give the full discount to those that do.

2. Make a List - Don't rely on chance when going to the grocery store.  We were very guilty of this. We'd have a few items on our list that we knew we were out of but then we'd just go up and down the aisles and throw things in our cart with no real thought for what we were spending or whether or not we needed them, or could get them cheaper.  If you only shop from your list you will save a LOT of money.  Going through the weekly ad and buying things that are on sale will allow you room for buying things you may not NEED while not spending the money you would if you just bought them spontaneously.

3. Go through your weekly ad - Most grocery chains put out a sale ad weekly and you can usually find it online at least the day before the sale starts (sometimes earlier).  Go through your weekly ad and circle the items you know you need or want to have on hand.  Just buying items when they are on sale can save you as much as 50% on your grocery spending.

4. Compare Prices -  Before heading to the stores, compare the prices at the different stores in your area and find the best deals.  You may find that by splitting your shopping between 2 or more different stores you can save even more.  Before we started watching the ads I was under the misconception that Kroger and even Target had better prices than Publix, but once I started watching the sale ads and comparing prices I found out I was wrong.

5. Use Coupons - Coupons are by far the most work you will put into saving money on your grocery bill but they are worth if you learn the ins and outs and do it right.  That's a whole separate article.

Video: Couponing at Krogers

cScrapbook over at WeUseCoupons did a cool little interview with some employees at her local Kroger regarding some of the mysteries of couponing at Krogers, including questions of using e-Coupons on your Kroger card with paper coupons.  Check it out!

After you watch the video be sure to go over to WeUseCoupons and look up her great posts.

New Coupons on

Several new coupons available on, here are a few of the new ones you may be interested in.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Journey to Spending Less

My journey to cutting our grocery budget has had a lot of ups and downs but I think that finally, after 6 months, I can say that we've built our stockpile up enough that I can look at the grocery ads and buy only the absolute best deals.... and I actually think I've got a much better handle on what those deals are now.

As we started, it was all about stockpiling, so not only was I having to buy what we needed that week but I was trying to buy (in bulk) the things we would use over time. Maybe we weren't out of that item yet but we'd use it and better to buy it when it's on sale and have it than to need it later and pay full price.  The painful part is that as you go along you think you will never really get to a point where you can stop stocking up.

The Journey
September 2010 - We started off back in September with just setting a grocery budget.  That alone was new for us.  In the months prior we'd spent $5-600/month on groceries.  There was usually 1 or 2 big trips but most of what we spent was on little trips here and there.  It's amazing how much you can spend just running to pick up some milk.  So we started off just putting a budget in place of $400/month.  I know that seems like a lot to most people (and it even does to me now) but for us at the time it was a start.

I remember that first trip when we looked at the sales and saw that our detergent was on BOGO and decided we'd better buy 4 bottles (after all, who knows when it will go on sale again).  We needed butter and there was a blinkie machine with a coupon for the butter we use and we stood there for a good 10 minutes trying to figure out which size would be the best price.  It's definitely a learning curve.

I remember trying to explain to my husband the reasoning behind stockpiling and why I was buying a ton of something that we didn't necessarily need RIGHT NOW.  It took a few trips of him seeing me come home with a massive amount of items for less than half of what we would have normally spent for twice that much before he understood.  It also took my explaining to him that my goal was to cut our grocery budget even further and that by January 2011 I wanted to have our budget down to $50/wk.

November 2010
In November we managed to cut our grocery budget down to $75/week and not even feel it. 

January 2011
I started out trying to cut our grocery budget down to $50/wk right off and soon realized I may have cut it too fast too soon.  It hurt.  We made it through January and only went slightly over (really just using up reserves of what we didn't use from December), however it was tight and I used most of our budgeted funds in the first half of the month.

February 2011
I didn't plan well at all for February, evidently I thought it was further away than it was.  The Kroger Mega sale snuck up and bit me in the butt.  I knew we'd be doing major stocking up on 2 items at that sale but I just didn't plan for it properly.  We ended up spending $350 in February.

I started this week with just $20 that I took out for groceries and so far I've only spent about $2 of it, despite buying well over $30 worth of groceries so far.  Looking forward into this coming week I SHOULD be able to continue spending and saving at that rate.  Hopefully, I don't screw anything up.  What' I'm realizing, though, is that looking at our stockpile and looking at what we need/ what's on sale there are fewer and fewer items we need to stockpile and those that I do see I can get for extremely cheap or practically free.

Thinking about it, I know it seems much simpler than it really is, and I'm going to start sharing more tips on how to get started saving money & stockpiling.  I think it was something that came fairly easily to me, but I don't think it would have without the help of some other amazing blogs who really break down the sales and do the  coupon match-ups week after week.

New Target Coupons

Target has new coupons available for printing on their website.  Keep in mind, if you are in an area where Target is a competitor for Publix, you should be able to use these coupons at Publix, as well.

Some of the coupons I noticed...
  • 1 Off Windex Electronics Wipes
  •  $1.50 Off Wanchai Ferry or Macaroni Grill frozen meals
  • .75/3 select boxed dinner items (picture shows Hamburger Helper & Old El Paso)
  • $3/1 20ct or larger Excedrin
  • $3/1 50ct or larger Excedrin Migraine
  • .50/1 Halls
  • $1/1 Select Dove Men's Care
  • $1.50 Dove Visible Care (18oz)
  • $1/2 select Market Pantry cheese items
  • $1/1 Colgate Total Advanced (4oz or larger)
  • $1.50/2 Kraft shredded cheese
  • $1/1 Oscar Mayer bacon
  • $1/2 Oscar Mayer hot dogs
Click Here for all of Target's Printable Coupons

FREE Electronic Music Sampler from Itunes

Itunes has a new FREE MUSIC Sampler on their Facebook page. Head over to Facebook and like Itunes and they'll give you a code to get the free download

2/27 Coupons In Sunday Paper

This is the list of the coupons that were in my paper this week. There were two inserts; 1 Smart Source and 1 Proctor & Gamble.

Smart Source
  • $1/1 Lysol Clean-Flip Starter Kit or Floor Cloths
  • .50/1 French's French Fried Onions
  • .50/1 RID-X Septic System Treatment Product (exp 4/03/11)
  • .50/1 RID-X Septic System Treatment Product (exp 5/01/11)
  • $2.50/1 3.5oz package of Purina Pro Plan Roasted Slices
  • $1/ 5lb box Cuties
  • .55/ 3.1b bag Cuties
  • $1 Off Glade Plugins Scented Oil twin refill or two single refills
  • $1 Off any Glade Premium Room Spray (9.7oz)
  •  $1/2 Glade 4oz jar candles
  • $1.50/2 Glade Scented Oil Candles products
  • .75/1 Glade Carpet & Room Odor eliminator
  • $1/1 Glade Fabric & Air odor eliminator
  • $3/1 Glade Sense & Spary starter kit
  • $1/2 Glade Sense & Spray refills
  • $2 Off Biotrue multi purpose solution
  • $4 Off 2x10oz pack of Biotrue multipurpose solution
  • .55/1 bag any Tostitos Artisan Recipes tortilla chips
  • .75/1 Colgate toothpaste
  • .75/1 Colgate adult or kids manual toothbrush
  • $1/1 Glade Tough Odor Solutions Air Sanitizer or Surface Disinfectant & Air Sanitizer
  • $3/1 Zegerid OTC
  • $6/1 42ct Zegerid OTC
  • FREE Accucheck Ava meter w/ purchase of any ACCU-CHEK Aviva test strips (any size)
  • .55/1 package festive Chinet Casuals plates
  • .55/1 package of Pepperidge Farm 3-layer cake
  • $1/1 Big Bottle (45pc or larger) Mentos Gum
  • $1/3 (15pc or larger) Mentos Gum
  • $2/1 Benefiber
  • $5/2 Benefiber
  • .75/1 Excedrin 20ct or larger
  • $1.50/1 Excedrin 80ct or larger
  • $1/1 Skim Plus (32oz or 64oz)
  • $2/1 12oz bag Caribou Coffee
  • $5/1 Similac SimplePac large size powder (exp 4/30/11)
  • $3/1 Similac SimplePac large size powder (exp 5/31/11)
  • $5 off any Non-Drowsy Claritin (20ct or larger)
  • $4 off any Non-Drowsy Claritin-D (15ct or larger)
  • $3/1 Ensure 4pk
  • $1/1 EAS Product
  • $2/1 Glucerna product
  • .55/1 ZonePerfect single bar or multi-count box
  • $1 off ANY Sea Best bagged product
Proctor & Gamble
  • .50/2 Puffs products
  • $5/1 Swiffer Wet Jet starter pack
  • .35/1 Tide detergent
  • $1/1 Downy liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets
  • $1/1 Crest Rinse (946ml or larger)
  • $1/1 Oral-B CrossAction manual toothbrush
  • .75/1 Oral-B Satin, Glide Floss (25m or more)
  • .75/1 Crest toothpaste (4oz or larger)
  • $1/1 Covergirl product
  • $1/1 Pantene product
  • $1/1 Always Infinity pads (24-48ct)
  • $2/1 Secret Clinical strength
  • .50/1 Secret
  • $2/1 Pampers Diapers or pants
  • .50/1 Papers Wipes (60ct +)
  • .25/1 Charmin product
  • $3/1 Olay Pro-X (excludes .3oz and 1oz sizes)
  • Buy 1 Olay Facial Cleanser G1 Olay bar soap, body wash or in-shower lotion FREE
  • $4/1 Manual or Power Gillette Fusion ProGlide razor
  • $1/1 Head & Shoulders
  • $1/1 Febreze Set & Refresh
  • Buy 1 Covergirl Natureluxe Foundation Get 1 Natureluxe lip balm FREE
  • $3/1 Nice 'n Easy Color Blend Foam haircolor
  • $1/1 Nice 'n Easy hair color product
  • $10/1 Crest 3D White strips
  • $5/1 Crest 3D Advanced Vivid, Stain Shield or Gentle Routine
  • $1/1 Crest toothpaste (4oz or larger)
  • .75/1 Oral-B Pulsar CrossAction Advantage or any 2 Indicator or Cavity Defense manual brushes
  • $3/1 Oral-B Battery brush
  • .50/1 Oral-B Stages, Zooth or Crest Kids toothpaste
  • .50/1 Oral-B Stages, Zooth or Crest Kids manual or power toothbrush
  • Buy 1 Old Spice Deo, Get 1 Old Spice Body Wash
  • $1/1 Gillette Fusion Shave Prep or ProGlide Shave Prep
  • $2/1 Gillette ProSeries Skin Care product
  • $1/2 Old Spice products
  • $2/1 Gillette Bodywash
  • Buy 1 Gillette deo, get one Gillette bodywash
  • $3/1 Prilosec OTC
  • Buy 1 Vicks product, GET 1 Puffs FREE
  • $4/1 Sinex product
  • $1/1 Metamucil
  • $4/1 PUR or PUR Flavor Options System
  • $2/1 PUR Pitcher or Faucet Mount mult-pack replacement filters
  • .75/1 4-pack Duracell coppertop
  • $1.50/1 Duracell hearing aid batteries with easy tab (6pk or larger)
  • $1/1 Iams ProActive health or Premium Protection dry dog or cat food
  • $1/1 Iams Healthy Naturals dry dog or cat food
  • .50/3 Iams Canned dog or cat food (or one variety pack or multi-pack)
  • Buy 1 Tide detergent 75oz or larger GET ONE Tide Stain Release 10ct duo pack, 20oz liquid, 14oz powder or 21oz pre-treat FREE
  • $3/1 Tide Stain Release 26-50oz powder, 15-34ct Duo Pac OR 36-68oz Liquid
  • .50/1 Bounce product
  • BUY 1 Febreze flameless luminary starter kit or device, GET 1 Febreze flameless luminary refill
  • $1/1 Febreze Home Collection flameless luminary refill
  • BUY 1 Swiffer Sweeper Wet or Dry Cloth Refill, GET ONE FREE
  • BUY 1 Swiffer Starter Kit, GET 1 Swiffer Refill FREE
  • .50/1 Always Pad, Clean or Feminine Cleansing Cloths
  • .50/1 Always Pantiliners
  • $2/1 Tampax Pearl or Compak Pearl
  • $1/1 Tampax (18ct or larger)
To get a headstart and know what's coming in next Sunday's coupons be sure to check out the Sunday Coupon Preview

Friday, February 25, 2011

More Adventures With Kroger

After last week's debacle at Kroger, we decided we weren't going back to that store.  Knowing that the Mega sale ends tomorrow and figuring it would not be as busy tonight we decided we'd go to one of the other stores tonight (the store we had been frequenting until I took over grocery shopping and opted for location over... well, I guess everything else).

I decided I'd check at the Customer Service desk to find out if there was a limit on how many of the $3 Daytona catalina coupons I could redeem at once (before finding out while standing in line) and the girl at the CS desk told me that there wasn't a limit. She even said they'd gotten a letter from corporate telling them they could take more than 1 at a time but that they'd been doing that the whole time and flat out said "there's no limit". I told her about my debacle at the other store and she made the comment that I should have just come there.  I agreed and went off to fill my cart.  We had 8 of the $3 coupons to use and I figured I may as well continue to stock up on the Gatorade as well as pick up a few other items, knowing that the Gatorade would produce more coupons.

We headed to the Gatorade aisle first and found that their selection of G2 was a little on the lacking side, but he managed to grab 25.  We filled in the other 5 slots with Brown & Serve sausages and Tornadoes (we'd been wanting to try this and figured we could take the risk for less than $1).  I also had coupons for .50 off Starkist tuna pouches (which were on sale for $1, making them free) and I wanted to pick up some hot dog buns while they were also on sale for $1.  All in all I figured it should have come out to under $27 (well actually I figured under $24 but it was because I suck at math).

We got the register and unloaded our haul and we were talking to the cashier (who was very nice) when I handed him my coupons.  "You're not going to like me..." he started, "there's a limit of 1 of these per transaction".  I told him that I'd asked at CS and she'd told me that there wasn't a limit.  He didn't argue with me and wasn't at all rude, he had the supervisor come over and she turned the little key and did an override.  They were both adamant that they were told it was limit of 1, but that if the CS girl said otherwise they'd take them and they did.

As we left we could see the floor manager discussing it with the CS girl as she was obviously looking for that letter from corporate.  At least we are down to just 3 of the $3 off coupons now, and it should be easier to spend those between Kroger and Publix over the next 2 weeks before they expire.

So all in all we got....
25 Gatorade (32oz) @ .69/e (after Mega discount)
3 Banquet Brown & Serve @ .58/e (after Mega discount)
2 Tornadoes @ $1.69/e (after Mega discount)
2 packs Hormel pepperoni (on sale $1/e)
3 packs hot dog buns (on sale $1/e)
2 Starkist tuna pouches (on sale $1/e)

Used the following coupons:
(2) .75/1 Tornadoes
$1/2 Hormel Pepperoni
(2) .50/1 Starkist tuna pouch

(8) $3 Daytona Mega coupons

Paid $1.22 OOP (got back $9 in Kroger coupons)

And my husband should now be good on Gatorade at least through the summer (if not longer).

Sometimes Freebies Come in Handy

Back in January I'd done the money-maker Airwick deal at CVS.  I'd put the larger Airwick Freshmatic in the bathroom we use for the cat litter box because none of the plugs in there work, so I couldn't use any plug-ins.  The thing still freaks me out but I'm getting used to the noise (which sounds like a cat sneezing) when it goes off.

Until this past week the smaller Freshmatic had stayed in our stockpile awaiting a need to use it.  Last weekend we had a major need.  I noticed a funky smell coming from the half bath downstairs.  Not only is this the bathroom that probably gets the most use in our house, but it's also right next to our bedroom and we have to walk by it every time we walk in the house or go to our bedroom.  Once I noticed the smell I figured "Hey, I can at least cover it up".  So, I did with my freebie Airwick.  FWIW, the small ones aren't nearly as loud as the large ones, they also spray straight up instead of our, so no worries about getting attacked by the thing.

We called a plumber on Tuesday, but by then the smell was already getting worse to the point that the Airwick wasn't enough and the smell was noticeable on the other side of the wall in our bedroom (ew!).  So I put a Wallflower plugin in the plug right next to the bathroom (for some reason this bathroom has no plugs).  When I talked to the plumber his initial thought was that the wax seal on our toilet needed replacing.  This is something my husband could easily do and would only cost about $10 if he did it himself.  Our fear was that it was more than that (or something else entirely).  We've known since we moved in that the contractor we used to redo that section of the house had cut a lot of corners, and we didn't really know what the plumber might run into.  Also, the more we sniffed around the more we were sure it wasn't the toilet but was coming from the other side of the bathroom (the sink).

We were right.  The plumber came out today and sure enough the first thing he saw when he looked under the sink was that the contractor had used a type of pipe that is illigal and it was causing sewer gas build up, thus the smell.  That wasn't all he found... somehow our sink drain was plugged up with toilet paper?  He had no idea when I asked him how the heck toilet paper got in our sink drain.  I'd known it had always drained slowly, but had no idea - toilet paper?!

Hopefully, we no longer need the Freshmatic in that bathroom and I think that just because it's a lot less noisy I will probably replace the large one upstairs with this smaller one.  Only problem is I still have two refills for the large one, and as much as that one annoys me I don't want to see those go to waste.

Good Week to Get the Paper: Coupons Coming Sunday!

This should be a good week to grab the paper, since there will be at least 2 inserts this week and one of them will be Proctor & Gamble.  The P&G insert is the one I look forward to the most, but there are often some really good Qs in the other inserts as well. 

You can get a full preview of what's coming Sunday at the Sunday Coupon Preview.

Coupon: Nivea Lip Care (free next week)

Nivea has some great coupons on their Facebook page. One of which is a $2/2 Lip care product coupon. It looks like both Rite Aid & Walgreens will have these on sale for $1 next week, so you'll be able to pick them up for free!

They also have coupons for $1/1  Body Lotion and
$1/1 Body Wash for Women.

Go to their Facebook page and like them to get the coupons.

COUPON: Polaner All Fruit w/ Fiber

I personally love Polaner All Fruit. It's just sweet enough and doesn't have any of that after-taste that some sugar-free fruit spreads have (because it's sweetened with juice).  So, I was quite glad to come across this coupon on the frugallivingandhavingfun blog, for $1/1 jar of Polaner All Fruit w/ Fiber.

I haven't decided if I'm thrilled about the way that fiber is being added to everything lately, but I do need to get more, so I guess I'll take it.

Click here for the coupon (look for it on the bottom right of the page).

Spending Goals: February Spending Report

I missed a week on reporting my goals. To be honest, I didn't feel much like doing anything to do with couponing (including blogging) after the debacle last week at Kroger.

The short version is that after they called to tell me the second half of my special order was in, when we tried to ring out with it the cashier told me we could only use (1) of the $3 Daytona coupons per transaction. There's nothing in those coupons that limit them and I'd used 4 at a time without a problem earlier in the week.  After a lot of hassles from the cashier, the CS desk and the floor supervisor and basically being made to feel like we were shoplifting for wanting to do what we knew was allowed, we finally got to the store manager.  He ended up calling corporate and called me back on Tuesday to tell me that yes we could use more than 1 per transaction, that there was no limit placed at corporate and the limits were only placed by the store and as far as he was concerned there was no problem.  The end result is that we decided we wouldn't be back to that store. While the manager was great and we really appreciated the grocery manager's efforts on the special order, we just don't want to deal with those types of attitudes when we are checking out (and it's the cashier's we'd have to deal with every time we go in).  There are several other Kroger's in town so we'll go to a different one.  We still need to go and use the rest of our Daytona coupons (we have 8 left, after using 1 at Publix last weekend).

All in all, we spent too much this month; for several reasons.  We spent more than I'd intended at Kroger (mainly because of not being allowed to use multiple $3 Qs when picking up the second half of our special order).  Somewhere along the last few months (according to my accountant husband) we shorted the grocery fund so that shortage came back to us this month giving us more than we normally schedule for groceries.

In the end, we spent $351.45 this month

Here's the breakdown since my last update:
  • Target - paid $9.13 for $12.16 worth of groceries (2/12)
  • Rite Aid - paid $1.87 for $17.90 worth of items (2/12)
  • Rite Aid - paid $4.50 for $76.49 worth of items (2/13)
  • Kroger - paid $37.13 for $67.45 worth of groceries (2/13) - first Mega trip - got (4) $3 Daytona Qs
  • Kroger - paid $43.26 for $143.46 worth of groceries (2/15) - first 1/2 of special order, used (4) $3 Daytona Qs, got back 5 more.
  • Walgreen - paid $4.10 for $19.96 worth of items (2/17)
  • Publix - paid $22.52 for $85.18 worth of items (2/17)
  • Kroger - paid $40.47 for $129.50 worth of groceries (2/19) -the bad trip, only used (1) $3 Daytona Q, got back 5.
  • Publix - paid $1.04 for $7.98 worth of groceries (2/20) - used 1 of my $3 Kroger Qs
  • Walgreens - paid $13.64 for $32.92 worth of items (2/22) - used personal money
  • Publix - paid .71 for $31.75 worth of groceries (2/24)
  • Rite Aid - paid $1.49 for $18.97 worth of items (2/24) - hit Winter Reward goal and received $20+UP
So for the month, we've spent $351.54 for a total of $1091.12 in grocery & drugstore items.  For a total savings of $786.07, or 72%

Overall a pretty good return.  I only took out $20 for grocery spending for the next 2 weeks and that's really all I want/intend to spend.  Our stockpile is pretty well stocked and we have plenty of the basics, as well as $24 in Kroger coupons to spend (it will be interesting to see how that ends up working out).

Paid .71 for $31.75 Worth of Groceries

I'm not proud of this picture. We really didn't need more pasta, I'm actually trying to cut back on pasta and we have at least 6 boxes on shelves already, but when I realized that it was a money maker and that if I bought 10 boxes the pasta would pay for my milk, I couldn't resist. Especially, after last weeks debacle at Kroger.

So, here's what I got...
(3) Silk Soy Milk @ 2/$5
(1) Mueller's pasta @ $1.49 BOGO
(2) Sargento Extra Sharp Cheddar (rainchecked from last week @ 2/$4)

(10) $1/1 Meuller's pasta
(3) $1/1 Silk Soy Milk
(3) .75/1 Silk Soy Milk (Publix store Q)
(1) .50/2 Sargento chesse (doubled)

(2) $1.50/1 Sargento Extra Sharp Cheddar (Publix store Q).

Paid .71 OOP

The actual tax on this transaction was $1.01, so I paid .30 less than the tax.  This was a great shopping moment, and made me feel a lot better about couponing again.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Redbox: Free Rental Tonight

Head over to Facebook and "Like" Redbox .  Then click on the "FREEBIE" tab to get the code for your free 1 night rental.  Don't forget this is only good for tonight, so don't delay!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tax Tidbit: You Can Write That Off?

In talking with the new accountant yesterday we were discussing various things that could be written off.  We knew that medical bills could be written off if they reach a certain percentage of your income, but what surprised us both was finding out that you can also write off mileage of driving to and from Drs. appointments.  This was a nice surprise for us since I drive 200 miles round trip on a monthly basis for Drs appointments.

FWIW, you can't write off your pets.

Code on the Swagbucks Blog & 50 Extra Swagbucks for New Signups!

Search & Win

There is a code on the Swagbucks blog good for 15 Swagbucks until 4pmEST

If you aren't a member of Swagbucks, right now is a perfect time to join. In celebration of their 3rd birthday they are giving away and additional 50 Swagbucks to any new signups (that's on top of the 30 you normally get on signup). So if you haven't already joined Swagbucks, click here and be sure to enter the code HipBirthday.

Also, on February 28 they will be giving away lots of Swagbucks codes for their birthday, so be sure to friend them on Facebook & Twitter and watch the blog regularly throughout that day for new codes.

Why Swagbucks?
Simple.  Because Swagbucks gives you points for doing stuff online that you'd do anyway (like searches) and even for trading in used video games, cell phones and books.  They give you points for no reason at all (like the 15 Swagbucks they are giving away today).  Then you can take those Swagbucks and trade them in for real stuff like electronics and gift cards.  I like to get the Amazon gift cards (it only takes 450 Swagbucks to earn a $5 Amazon gift card).  If you join today and grab the 2 codes I just told you about, you'll be almost a quarter of the way to your first gift card!

Search & Win

Publix Sale Matchups

Be sure to check Passionate Penny Pincher for details of the new Publix ad (starting today) and coupon matchups!

We are shopping light this week, and buying lots of Silk Soy Milk at .75-$1 per half gallon. We'll probably be using our $3 Kroger coupons to buy it too!

3 Inserts Sunday (including Proctor & Gamble)

Proctor & Gamble is by far my favorite insert as they put out some really good coupons for products I know we'll use, so it makes me happy that this week is a Proctor & Gamble week.  We should also be seeing a Smartsource insert & a Redplum insert this week.

Just a little preview of what to expect in the P&G insert....

  • $4/1 Vicks Sinex product
  • $2/1 Gillette body wash
  • $1/1 Head & Shoulders
  • $1/1 Pantene
  • Buy Vicks product, Get Puffs FREE
  • Buy Old Spice Antiperspirant/ deodorant GET bodywash FREE

For the full preview of what to expect in this insert as well as the others, check out the Sunday Coupon Preview.

2/$20 Candles @ Bath & Body Works

Bath & Body Works has their 4oz candles on sale 2/$20 both online and in the store. Also, when we were in the store I noticed quite a few of these candles had a peelie coupon that allowed you to get $10 off on the large 3-wick candles (up to 3 per coupon).

If you are ordering online, you will want to go through Ebates and get a little cash back (3%) to cover some of the shipping fees.

Cash Back on Travel

Ebates offers cash back on hundreds of websites online, including many travel sites.  Right now they are offering double cash back on travel sites like Travelocity,, car rental companies and more.  I didn't even think to check them for travel sites before I booked our last trip on Travelocity.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Saving Money on Accounting Fees

My husband is a CPA... but no he won't do your taxes, or ours.  He's not that kind of accountant.  Unfortunately, tax fees are one of the many things we found out that we've been over-paying for.  I've had an accountant that's done my business and personal taxes for the last 8 years; when we got married she continued to do our personal returns.  Paul didn't really question the price, as unfortunately neither of us really paid much attention and I didn't realize that I was paying too much.

This year, however, we've really been questioning the price of EVERYTHING, and in questioning the price I was paying for accounting fees I found out I was paying about 3 times the average price for S-Corp and personal returns.  EEK!  Seriously!?

I think in a lot of ways tax accountants can prey on fear. I keep going back to something I read in The Millionaire Next Door: Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy about how even though most millionaires tend to be frugal, accounting & legal services were the two areas where they were willing to pay higher prices.  Evidently, in those two areas there is a bit of "you get what you pay for" mentality, and I can definitely understand why.  It's a scary thought.  In 8 years of having my own business I've not been audited, what if this year (after changing accountants) is the year I get audited?  It's scary.

Despite my trepidation, we decided today (after meeting with the new guy) that we will switch.  For the huge amount of savings we will reap for switching I can afford a little fear I guess.  We did consider saving even more and having my husband do our personal return (even though he's not that kind of accountant, he figured he could handle the personal return) but he decided that it really wasn't worth the additional savings to do so.  After all, he'd still want to purchase the Business & Personal version of Turbo Tax and it will still take him a couple of hours to do it.  I have to say, on that note, I'm kinda glad and it gives me a little better gut feeling than the idea of him doing it himself.  He asked me what my gut said about this new guy; if I thought he might be shady or anything. I told him I didn't think he was shady, but I did get the feeling he'd much rather deal with numbers than talk to his.  His response: "Well, that's what you want in an accountant, it probably means he'll do a better job."  Man, I hope he's right.

FREE SAMPLE: Miracle Whip

Click here to get two sample size packets of Miracle Whip!

I'll be honest we use mayo of any type so rarely in our house that if we could just find a way to buy single / sample size packets at an affordable price, we would do it (same with sour cream).

Couponing Favors the Rich?

I saw this headline and I first thought that this was going to be an article about how often you'll find the best printable coupons under zip codes of the Rich & Famous... that wasn't the case.  This was actually a letter from someone who was upset because a coupon writer's advice seemed to favor using the internet to get deals and coupons.

I thought this was interesting that someone would think this and unfortunately I think it's another case of blaming the wrong person.  Anyone can get great deals, some of us will have to work harder at it than others.  There are definitely some advantages to having the internet when it comes to getting some of the best deals but they all boil down to 1...

It's easier to get multiple coupons when you can buy them off coupon clipping services or print them.  It's easier and cheaper to really stockpile when you can use multiple coupons.  However, if "Extreme Couponing" taught us anything it's that you don't need a computer to save major money.  One of the most featured couponers from that show was Joyce, who got multiple copies of the coupons she needs just by asking her friends, relatives and neighbors for their unused coupon inserts.

The great thing about the internet is that you can get help from others on finding deals and don't have to rely on yourself to do the matchups. However, I kinda think that doing it all yourself may save you some money too as you won't be looking at these deals thinking "oh I got to have that", you'll only be looking for the things you already buy and saving money on them.

Publix Competitor Coupon Policy About to Get Clearer

Laurie over at Passionate Penny Pincher just shared that Publix stores have finally gotten together and come up with a company-wide competitor coupon policy.  For more details on what she found out, check out her post!

Silk Soy Milk - $1 1/2Gallon After Coupons @ Publix

Starting on Wednesday, Silk Soy Milk will be $1 for 1/2 Gallon at Publix after coupons.

Sale Price: $2.50
-use $.75 Printable Q
-use .75 Publix Q (from Yellow Advantage Buy Flyer - usually located at the front of the store)
= $1 per 1/2 Gallon

- You may also have the .75/1 Qs from the paper a few weeks ago OR
you may be able to print off a $1/1 Q from the Silk website, which would make the price only .75 per Half Gallon.

New Coupons on

There are some new coupons over on that you may want to take a look at. The ones that I found worth my time were...
  • .50/1 Halls
  • $1/1 Smart Balance milk

Great Coupons on Coupon Network

The Catalina Company (the coupon company not the salad dressing) has a website for coupons that you may want to check out. Not only do they list the possible Catalinas you may get at your local grocery store (if they use the Catalina system) but they also have many printable coupons available, including these coupons that I just printed....
  • $1/2 Lean Cuisine entrees
  • $1/3 Idahoan potato pouches
  • $1/6 Yo Crunch
  • $1/2 Starbucks Via
  • .50/1 Starkist Tuna pouch
(that last one should come close to equalling free tuna if you use it at a store that doubles coupons).

Amazon Prime Membership Now Includes Unlimited Streaming of Over 5000 Movies & TV Shows

 I just read that Amazon Prime members now also get unlimited streaming for over 5000 movies and tv shows. It's by no means their entire catalog but it's an extra bonus for those of us who have Amazon Prime.

Amazon Prime is 's "prime" membership that provides you with FREE 2-day shipping on all items shipped by Amazon (not including those shipped from third parties). Prime memberships cost $79.99 a year, but you can share them with up to 4 people (so you may want to get some family members involved).

I signed up for a FREE trial of Amazon Prime last fall and forgot about it. We ended up getting billed for it but I haven't regretted it as it's come in very handy,  especially for my husband who decided to wait until the last minute to order Christmas presents. 

The list of movies that is available for FREE streaming appears to be along the lines of those available on Netflix (give or take a few hundred).  If you don't already have an Amazon PRIME membership, you can get a 1 Month FREE Trial and see what you think. 

You may want to take some time and compare it to Netflix offering.  You can get unlimited streaming on Netflix for just $7.99/month (with a 1 month free trial) or pay just $1 more a month and it includes their 1-at-a-time DVD plan, so you can always have a DVD on hand as well as watch streaming.

Since we already use our Amazon PRIME membership to save on Shipping we will be keeping it and will enjoy having the added benefit of an additional choice in streaming movies.  As I posted a week or so ago, we canceled our cable movie channels in favor of Netflix a while back and have found we didn't miss the movie channels at all and really enjoy the ability to watch the movies we want to see when we want to see them.

thanks Frugal Coupon Living

Sunday, February 20, 2011

This Week's Coupons

This week there is only 1 insert in the paper; Redplum.

  • $2 Off any Dial Nutriskin Lotion
  • $3/1 bottle Purex Complete with Zout detergent or Purex 3-n-1 Laundry sheets
  • $1/1 bottle Purex Ultra Concentrate liquid laundry detergent
  • BOGO Whiskas tray
  • $1.50/1 bag Whiskas Dry Food For Cats
  • $2 off L'Oreal Magic Perfecting Base
  • $1 off L'Oreal Studio Line Styling product
  • $1 off L'Oreal Vive Pro Shampoo or Conditioner
  • .75/1 L'Oreal Kids Shampoo
  • $3 off L'Oreal youth Code product
  • $1 off L'Oreal skincare product
  • $2 off L'Oreal haircolor product
  • $5/2 L'Oreal haircolor product
  • $1/1 Emerald Breakfast on the Go
  • $1/1 Sprayway World's Best Glass Cleaner
  • $1/1 Sundown vitamin or supplement product
  • .75/1 Bertoli Pasta sauce
  • $1/2 Uncle Ben's ready rice
  • $2/1 Kibbles n' Bits dry dog food
  • $1/1 Airwick Scented Oil twin refill
  • Get Air Warmer unit FREE wyb Airwick scented oil refill
  • $3/1 AirWick Freshmatic Compact Odor Detect Starter Kit
  • $1/1 Airwick candle
  • $1/2 packages Purina Beggin' Strips
  • $1/1 California Pizza Kitchen product
  • McDonald's FREE Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (no purchase required)
  • McDonald's FREE Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (wyb Medium beverage)
  • McDonald's FREE Medium drink & fries wyb Angus Third Pounder
  • McDonald's BOGO Filet O' Fish
  • McDonald's BOGO Regular Menu Sandwich
  • McDonald's BOGO Breakfast Sandwich
Be sure to check the Sunday Coupon Preview for advance notice of what will be in next week's coupon inserts.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kroger $3 Daytona Mega Coupon Redemption Limit

We had a really bad experience at Kroger today and I won't go into all the details, but I did want to pass on what it boils down to.

While you can earn multiple $3 Catalina coupons in one transaction from the Daytona Mega sale, you can only redeem one of those coupons per transaction.  So if you have say 5 coupons, you'll need to do 5 separate transactions in order to redeem them.  Unless you plan for this from the beginning this could become a very big issue and you may find yourself unable to redeem them at all.

The Catalinas are only good for 2 weeks from the original purchase where they were created.

Some stores are over-riding this and allowing you to use multiple Catalinas in one transaction, however others are only allowing the one.

My suggestion is to plan for this from the beginning (if it's not too late) and do one single transaction of 10 Mega items at a time, earn the Catalina then do a second transaction to use it (and possibly earn a second one) and continue rolling them in this manner until you are done.

I'm now stuck with (9) $3 Catalinas and little likelihood of actually being able to use them all before they expire.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mega Swagbucks Friday

Search & WinIt's Friday again! And you know what that means!  Mega Swagbucks Day!  Last week one of my friends earned 50 Swagbucks from just doing a search!  That's pretty freakin cool, if you ask me.

So what's the deal with Swagbucks?
Basically, they give you points for doing things online that you'd be doing anyway, like searching the internet.  Just use their search engine and you could win points.  They also give you points for other things like surveys or even for buying deals on Groupon or Living Social.  You can even get points for printing and using coupons! How bout that?

Then you can trade in those points for stuff.  Anything from games to electronics or even gift cards.  I always opt for the gift cards as they seem like the best deal to me.  You can get a $5 Amazon card for just 450 Swagbucks (and I usually can earn that just from doing searches in about 3 weeks).

When you join they will start you off with 30 Swagbucks just for joining.  Then just use their search engine when you do searches and you'll be well on your way to snagging some cool stuff.

So far this year I've earned $45 in Amazon gift cards.  I'm planning to pay for Christmas with Swagbucks.  If you start now, you could too!  Click here to get started.

Search & Win

Yogi Tea

Recently, I received a sample of Yogi Tea.  I believe when you ordered the sample you had a choice of different teas to choose from.  I got the Kambuchi and Echinacia and loved them both before I even took the first sip.  They smelled wonderful and then I tasted them and they tasted as good as they smelled.  Better yet, I had a headache when I drank the Kambuchi and it actually eased the ache in my head.  I think it had a lot to do with all the mint in the tea.

The sample came with a $1 off coupon and the only place I'd been able to find it locally was at Target, for $4/box (of 16).  I was really hoping to find it at Publix and then hoping to catch it on BOGO but no luck, my Publix doesn't carry it.

Just now I checked on Amazon and found that they have a really great price.  You can get 6 boxes (of 16 bags each) for just $15.82, then if you select "Subscribe & Save" you'll save an additional 15%, knocking the price down to just $13.45!  Plus if you have a Prime account it qualifies for FREE shipping! 

Prices varied just a little on the different flavors but they were all pretty close.   If you haven't tried Yogi Teas yet you can still get the free sample via their website.  Just fill in the details to send a custom "well wish" card to a friend (you can always be your own friend) and they will send your "friend" instructions on how to get their free sample.  Click here for the Free sample.

COUPON: Pillsbury Sweet Moments

Click here for a coupon worth $1.10 off Pillsbury Sweet Moments ready to eat desert bites

It Never Hurts to Ask - Store Manager Let me Use Expired Register Reward

Going through my coupon box Wednesday night I realized that I had a $6RR that had expired on Monday.  UGH!  I said something to my husband and he insisted on giving me a hard time about how all my hard work had now been wasted.  Whatever.  Yes, I was annoyed, but I was also glad I don't work RR into my savings until I actually use them.

I decided I'd go into Walgreens yesterday and just ask if I could use it. I also had a $3RR which expires next week and figured if nothing else I'd just use it.  I'd been needing to get into the store that's closest to me (although the one I go to least often) because I knew they carry the Genesis Today juice and I still had a coupon for BOGO Acai Berry Boost (which I really like, BTW).

I got in there and realized that juice is $4.49/ bottle (and it's only a 32oz bottle!).  With the BOGO Q it still wasn't bad, but I decided to check and see what else they might have, and I knew there was a RR on Schick razors.  I walked over to the razor aisle and was looking at them and there were two employees stocking the shelves. They asked if they could help me and I said no, initially.  Then I realized that one of them had "store manager" on her tag.  She also shared my first name "Julie". So I knew it must be fate.  I told her that I had a RR that I just realized had expired on Monday and would there be any way I could still use it.  She said YES! They'd honor it.  WOOT!

This changed my shopping plan, so I went back and grabbed the juice.  Of course, that was only $4.49 and the RR was for $6.  Then I saw that Clean & Clear was B1G1 50% and I still had a stack of $2/1 C&C coupons.  Since I go through at least 1 bottle of this stuff a month I try to stay stocked up when I can find a deal.  So, I grabbed two bottles.

2 Bottles Genesis Today Acai Berry Boost @$4.49
2 Clean & Clear cleanser @ $5.49 (B1G1 50%)
- used (1) BOGO Genesis Today Acai
- used (2) $2/1 C&C

All said and done, I spent $4.10 OOP (after tax).

This trip has also changed my tune about a) Walgreens and b) Frequenting this particular Walgreens.  I've been going to a different one because it's just more convenient.  Usually, when I'm out and about I'm going to my chiropractor and there is a Walgreens just around the corner.  While the Walgreens I went to this week is actually much closer to me, it's much more "out of the way" of places I usually go.  I guess sometimes it's worth it to go a little out of your way.

My Publix Trip - I got 20 items for FREE!

I hit up Publix yesterday and came home with one heck of a haul for $20. When I added everything up this morning I realized that my total for everything except the 20 Italian Days items was more than what I payed.

Oddly enough, I think this was my first Publix trip where I didn't use any Target Qs (I usually have almost as much in competitor Qs as I do in Manufacturer Qs, this time I just used a $5/50 and nothing else. Also, I think I got shorted about $1.20 in coupons. For some reason the girl was manually entering a lot of my coupons and I noticed when I looked today that there was a .15 coupon (and I know I didn't have any that low), so I'm thinking it should have been $1.50 (as I did have several of those). Short of going back and counting and matching up every coupon it's hard to know for sure. I'm not going back over $1.20. And in the end, I'm pretty happy with how this trip turned out (ok, I'm very happy with this trip).

I saved more than 75% AND got 20 items for FREE! How could you not be happy with that!?

Here's what I got:
(4) Macaroni Grill/Wanchai Ferry @$7.99 BOGO
- used (4) $1.50/1 Qs
(1) Marie Calendars Bakes @ $3
- used (1) $1/1 Q
(2) Publix Yogurt 32oz @ $1.89
(2) V-8 Fusion @ $3.99 BOGO
- used (2) $1/1 Q
(2) Arm & Hammer baking soda @ .75/each
- used (1) .50/2 Q (doubled)
(1) Smuckers All Natural peanut butter @ $4.09

Total for above, minus coupons = $22.34

Italian Days Items:
(4) Green Giant frozen boxed veggies @ 10/$10
- used (2) .50/2 Green Giant boxed veggies (doubled)
(4) Green Giant canned veggies @ $1.29 BOGO
- used $1/4 Green Giant canned veggies (Publix coupon)
(4) Progresso black beans @ 3/$2
- used $1/4 Progress (Publix coupon)
(2) Muir Glen tomatoes @ 3/$4
- used $1/2 Muir Glen products (Publix coupon)
(6) Hunts tomatoes @ 2/$1.89
- used (2) $1/3 Qs

- used $5/20 participating items Q (Publix)

- used $5/$50 competitor Q

Total Paid for all items (after tax) = $22.52 (.30 more than the pre-tax total for just the non-Italian Days items)

The Publix store coupons are still available, and you can grab them at While you are there be sure to enter the Publix giveaway for $10,000 in groceries (you can enter daily).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sunday's Coupons Preview

It looks like we will have one insert in this Sunday's paper and it will be from Redplum

For McDonald's fans it looks like there will be some McD's Qs along the same lines as those I received in the mail earlier this week (a FREE fruit & maple oatmeal, among others).  Overall, however I'm not seeing much that's making me want to run out grab the paper.  However, if you have pets and are looking for pet food or treat coupons it looks like there will be a few.

For a full preview of what you can expect to find in the coupons section of your paper this week, check out Sunday Coupon Previews.

20% Off at Bed, Bath & Beyond!

Just sign up for Bed, Bath & Beyond's email list and they'll send you a 20% off coupon (I know you were wondering where that one that usually shows up in your regular mail was... or maybe it was just me).

Click here to sign up.

More Publix Cooking With Kraft Coupons

There are a few more new Publix coupons available on Cooking With Kraft.
  • $1 Off Publix produce WYB Kraft cheese
  • $1 Off Publix produce WYB Oscar Mayer sandwich meat
  • $1 Off Publix produce WYB Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh family size meat

Another Bad Couponer

What we need to take away from this story is that if you buy something with a coupon and take it back, don't be surprised if your refund is pro-rated based on the discount you received.

Read the story here.

The short version: A New Jersey woman attempted to sue a dept store for .80cents.  She used a coupon for $5 off when purchasing $100 worth of items, then when she returned one of the items she got upset because they didn't refund her the full price.  She ended up dropping the suit... I'm guessing she was worried about looking bad.  It's too late.

$1/2 Aunt Jemima Coupon

These are on sale BOGO right now at Publix and I was just looking for a coupon for them before heading there earlier today.  Looks like I might be making a second trip before this sale is over.

Go to Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast facebook page and "like" them, then watch the video under "Our Kitchen" (I had to look for it, as the video kinda blends into the rest of the images (just click on the image directly to the right of the text about watching the video).

CVS Customers Check Your Email

If you are a CVS Extra Care Card holder be sure to check your email.  CVS sent out another round of great coupons today.  I got $5/$30.  Coupons are good through 2/20.

If you have an Extra Care Card and haven't ever gotten any emails from them, be sure to log in on CVS and register your card with your email address.

FREE Book From Read It Forward

Read It Forward is giving away another FREE book.  This time it's The Informationist, by Taylor Stevens and it looks like it could be pretty interesting if you like your fiction with some intrigue.

Vanessa "Michael" Munroe deals in information — expensive information — working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe took up with an infamous gunrunner and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen. After almost a decade building a new life and lucrative career from her home base in Dallas, she's never looked back. Until now.
Click here to enter for your chance at a FREE Book! (It's definitely worth entering, I think I've gotten a book about 1 out of every 3 times I've entered.

Price of Gas vs Printer Ink

If you print coupons as much as most of us do, then you already know that the price for ink is outragous!

My husband sent me the following funny this morning.... funny but true....

The price of Gas versus Printer Ink

All these examples do NOT imply that gasoline is cheap; it just illustrates how outrageous some prices are.... You will be really shocked by the last one! -

Compared with Gasoline......
Think a gallon of gas is expensive?
This makes one think, and also puts things in perspective.

Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 ... $10.32 per gallon

Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 ...........$9.52 per gallon

Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 ..... $10.17 per gallon

Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 ......... $10.00 per gallon

Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 ...... $33.60 per gallon

Vick's Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 ... $178.13 per gallon

Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 .. $123.20 per gallon

Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 ....... . $25.42 per gallon

Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 .....$84.48 per gallon

And this is the REAL KICKER...

Evian water 9 oz $1.49..$21.19 per gallon! $21.19 for WATER and the buyers don't even know the source

(Evian spelled backwards is Naive.)

Ever wonder why printers are so cheap?

So they have you hooked for the ink.
Someone calculated the cost of the ink at...............
(you won't believe it....but it is true........) $5,200 a gal. (five thousand two hundred dollars)

So, the next time you're at the pump,be glad your car doesn't run on water, Scope, or Whiteout, Pepto Bismol, Nyquil or Printer Ink!

Just a little humor to help ease the pain of your next trip to the pump...

I've always kinda thought it was often cheaper to buy a new printer (with full slate of ink) than to buy ink to refill your printer.  And even knowing how high ink prices are, when you think of it in terms of gallons... (wow! I wonder how many times you could refill your printer cartridges with a gallon of ink?)

Cellfire Happy Hour Mystery Coupon

Be sure to head over to Cellfire today, they are doing Happy Hour and offering a mystery coupon, good off your next Kroger (or affiliate) store.  I just logged in and got .55 off my next purchase! (Hey, it's not much but it adds up).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Publix Matchups

Today starts Italian Days at Publix.  For full sale details and coupon matchups, be sure to check out Passionate Penny Pincher!

Huntsville Readers - Enter to Win 4 Tickets to the Circus

Go Magazine is giving away 15 Family 4pks of tickets to the circus, coming to town March 2-6!

All you have to do to enter is send an email to:
Put "clown" in the subject line.

We Just Saved 20% On Our Car Insurance

And, no we didn't just switch to Geico.  I did however get an offer in the mail from my credit union regarding Traveller's insurance and a group rate that they were offering members.  Since we are in Money Saving Mode I figured I should at least call and see what they could do.

We hadn't really called around on our insurance in a few years, mainly because most insurance companies want to base your insurance price on your credit score.  It's not that we have bad credit, it's just that we don't have any open accounts besides our mortgage and since your credit score is basically an "I love debt" score based on how many credit accounts you have open and are paying on regularly, the quotes we get tend to be a bit high.

I really didn't figure that Traveller's would beat our current quote since it was already pretty decent from all I'd seen.  However, he ran the numbers and gave me a quote of about $200 less every 6 months than what we were currently paying.  Add to that that I've kinda felt like our current insurance company was a "discount" provider in that they provide very little service with their insurance.  Yes, when we've had claims they've been easy to deal with but I like to know I'm dealing with something a little more than a major call center in India when I have an issue.

I also had them give us a quote for our HomeOwners and he ended up quoting me better coverage than we currently have for about $20 a year more than we currently pay.  Since the two quotes were tied together (with discounts for having both at the same company) we figured it was well worth paying $20/year more on HomeOwners to save almost $400/year on car insurance.

Oh, and yes it was 15 minutes or less (well actually it was 2 phone calls of 15 minutes or less).  After he gave me the initial quote I needed to discuss the option with Paul, so the guy actually offered to call me back today to find out if I wanted to switch.  As opposed to me calling the call center back and getting whichever random person got my call.  The second call was shorter than the first since he already had our basic info and just basically needed to get payment info and verify the rest.  All that... and the guy was in Knoxville... just about 4 hours away from us (rather than on the other side of the world).

I'm not promoting Traveller's here; well I kinda am.  Give them a call and see if they can save you some money.  But, more importantly, take the time to get some quotes on your insurance; you might just find that yes you can save 20% or more on your rates.

How We Save On Our Cable Bill

Netflix Standard Display Offer 728x90A couple of months ago (back when we first got on this track of saving money), I called up our cable company (Comcast) and just asked if there was anything they could do to lower our bill.  First off, we took off the movie channels.  We'd subscribed to them on a special deal for only $5 a month and that deal was about to run out anyway.  But, we realized that since we'd added those channels we didn't really use them.  We watched one show on HBO (True Blood) and that was it.  For the price we were paying each year for the movie channels (even at the discounted rate) we could buy each new season of True Blood on DVD.

We really didn't watch movies on the movie channels because we already had Netflix and we were used to using that as our movie option.  We have it set up to be able to watch streaming movies instantly via our Tivo and our Wii (or on any computer in the house).  So, the movie channels were just overkill.

Talking to the rep from Comcast he did find a current promo that was running that cut our cable bill in half.  What I found out was that any deal they are currently offering for "new subscribers" they will also give to current subscribers - IF YOU ASK for it!  So, I put a reminder in my phone to call back in a few months and ask what new deals are running that we can get in on.

I've been an avid fan of Netflix since the early days, I think I signed up in like 2003, way back before they had any competition and before they offered streaming movies.  I've always loved the conveinence of having the movies come right to my house.  You just set up a "wishlist" of movies and put the movies you most want to see at the top and then each time you send a movie back they send you the next one on the list.  They send the movies to you in the same envelope that you use to return it (you don't pay any extra postage fees on top of your membership fee).  It usually takes about 3 days for them to get the movie you sent back and for you to get the next one on your list.

Back before the days of streaming movies, I had an account that allowed me to have 3 movies at home at one time.  I think it cost about $20/month.  Now that they offer the streaming movies, I just have 1 DVD at home at a time and I can watch unlimited movies via streaming for about $9/month.  You really can't beat that deal; especially when you consider there are no extra costs involved.  I've kept a DVD for four months before and still no extra costs (any other service I'd have ended up buying that movie three times or more).

If you've considered Netflix in the past, or you just think you might want to give it a try, they offer a 1 Month Free Trial, so you have plenty of time to decide if it's for you or not.  I've talked to many people who have completely cancelled cable in favor of Netflix because there is just so much available on their instant streaming.  No, they don't have every single new release on their instant streaming (but that's why you get the DVD option, as well).  There are, however, tons of television series, movies, kids shows/ movies, exercise videos and much more available through streaming.  Heck, there's so much on streaming that I keep my streaming queue full constantly despite watching movies.  If you are interested, you can click here to sign up for your FREE Trial and see what you think.  If you are already a Netflix user, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

FWIW, I've got streaming set up on a Tivo, Wii and a Wifi enabled DVD player. I like the Wii options the best.  It's also available on the other major gaming systems, but I haven't tried it on those.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Appreciate What You Have: Cost Does Not Equal Value

Continuing this journey of "Appreciating What You Have" has been interesting.  It seems that over the last week things keep occurring to make me really appreciate what we have.

Monday was Valentines Day.  We'd made reservations a couple of weeks ago at a nice restaurant in town.  I'd purchased a gift certificate from the restaurant for 1/2 off a few months ago (back before we really got into cutting our budget even) and we decided we'd use it for Valentines Day. 

As I posted over the weekend, we had a really enjoyable cheap date on Friday.  For many, that would have been a perfectly acceptable Valentines celebration.  And to be honest, by the time Monday rolled around I would have been fine with it as well.  While I knew that about half our meal would be covered by the gift certificate that had already been purchased I still had a really hard time with the knowledge that we'd still be spending a good deal on this dinner out.  It really bothered me all day Monday and I had to just keep reminding myself that we had this gift certificate so it wouldn't be as expensive as my brain thought it to be and that we should just go and enjoy it.  "Stop being cheap!" is what I kept telling myself.  So by the time Paul got home from work I'd decided I was just going to go with it and enjoy it.  I got dressed up and we headed out to dinner.

The restaurant we went to (Pauli's Bistro, for those who are local) is a very nice place and the type of place where I would feel very uncomfortable walking in in jeans or simply not dressed up.  They do have an attached bar that I see as more fitting to a more casual type of dress.  I say this because while we were eating our salads a group of 4 young people were seated next to us.  When I say young, I'm guessing that at least half of them were not old enough to drink.  They were all in blue jeans and the girls looked uncomfortable.  They guys looked uncomfortable with the prices on the menu (going straight for the cheapest red meat on the menu).  But, the capper was the cap; a ballcap to be exact, that one of the guys was wearing and did not take off throughout his entire meal.  It annoyed me.

As far as the food went, I should have probably stuck to my original plan (or ordered what my husband ordered), but the Veal special sounded so good.  It was just ok, mainly the meat was tough and it just left me wanting more.  We ended up ordering desert in an attempt to fill a void that we felt our dinner left and it didn't satisfy either. 

All in all, we ended the night talking about how we enjoyed our cheap date at Chili's much more than we enjoyed this "big night out" at a fancy restaurant.

This is a big change of corner for us because it wasn't that long ago that we were discussing how we needed to go out to places like Chili' more often in order to appreciate all the nice places we'd been going.  At one point the conversation actually came up of what are we going to do for a special event do top what we do on a regular date because of the level of the places we would likely go.

I'm learning to appreciate my kitchen.  and I've learned that just because something costs a lot doesn't mean you'll really value it to the level of the cost.

Kroger Mega Sale & Why I did a Special Order

Reader Lisa asked me to explain more about the sale at Kroger and what the deal was that I got.  Kroger does what they refer to as a "MEGA" Sale about every 3 months (at least from what I can tell since I've been paying attention).  Normally, when they do these they just offer $5 off your total for every 10 participating items that you purchase.  However, the current sale is a little different.  They are advertising it as the "Daytona Mega" sale on conjunction with the Daytona 500.

This time around instead of offering $5 off for every 10 items purchased, they are only offering $3.  However, they are also giving out a $3 coupon good off your next Kroger purchase.  Effectively, this gives you $6 for every 10 items purchased.  The coupons are printed at the time of purchase and you do get 1 coupon good for $3 off your next order, for every 10 participating items that you purchase.

When we went in on Sunday we purchased 40 participating items (all Gatorade and Campbell's Chunky soup).  The deals we were getting were:

Gatorade on sale for .99 each
Campbell's Chunky Soup on sale for $1.59
-I'm using the .50/2 Chunky soup coupons (which double at Kroger to $1/2), bringing the price down to $1.09/bowl.

-Then for every 10 items purchased we got $3 off our total). 
So with 40 items, we got $12 off our total purchase.  (bringing the effective price down to .69/bottle on the Gatorade and .79/bowl on the soup.

Then we received (4) $3 coupons good off our next purchase.

Since my husband eats this soup every day for lunch I wanted to seriously stock up.   I had a choice, I could either hit every Kroger in the area and wipe them out of soup multiple times, or I could attempt to do a special order.  I decided to do the latter and am quite happy (so far) with how that's worked out.  I rolled the $12 in coupons we received Sunday into the purchase I made today (50 bowls of soup).  So after the Manufacturer Qs, Mega Sale discount and the $12 in store Qs from Sunday, I paid about $30 for 50 bowls of soup and got back another $15 in coupons to be used on my next order.

When it's all said and done I will have purchased 114 bowls of soup for about $68 (before tax) and still walk away with $15 in store coupons to use on my next purchase.  That (IMO) is a heck of a deal!

For the record, there are hundreds of items included in this sale, but there were really only the two that we really need to stock up on at this time.

Save $3 on Glade Lasting Impressions

Click here to sign up for Right@Home and print a coupon good for $3 off a Glade Lasting Impressions holder.  If you haven't already signed up for Right@Home it's worth doing as they have done some really great offers like full size cleaning wipes (I got a box of 4 different kinds) and Ziploc bags and even a Glade scented oil candle.

Use Your Stockpile to Help the Troops!

I just got an email from Mr. Coupon over at WeUseCoupons about this great program called Operation Troop Aid.  Mr. Coupon and his wife are going to be donating a huge amount of product to this charity and they've asked other couponers to do the same.  We all have stuff in our stockpile that we will probably never use and will end up getting thrown out or donated somewhere.  This is a great excuse to clean out your stockpile and help a great charity in the process.  Mr.Coupon hass posted some great info on the charity and what they (and WUC) hope to accomplish.  Please check it out and help if you can.  You should see the post about this pop up on the front page of WUC, but just in case you don't, here's the direct link.

New Coupons on

There are quite a few great new coupons available on, check out this list....

  • $2.00 OFF 12 cans of Purina Mighty Dog
  • $3.00 OFF 1 bag ProPlan Select Cat Food
  • $3.00 OFF 1 bag ProPlan Select Dog Food
  • $1.00 OFF Purina Cat Chow
  • $1.00 OFF Beneful Snackin' Slices Dog Snacks

  • $1.50 OFF 1 Philadelphia Cooking Creme
    $1.50 OFF 1 Wanchai Ferry Frozen Entrée
    $1.00 OFF 1 Hormel Always Tender Product
    $1.00 OFF 1 Simply Orange Juice 59oz Or Any Variety
    $1.00 OFF 1 Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (5-pack)
    $1.00 OFF 1 Velveeta Product (32oz)
    $1.00 OFF 1 Weight Watchers Sweet Bakery Item
    $1.00 OFF 2 Yogi Granola Snack Crisps
    $1.00 OFF 1 Pemmican Beef Jerky or Beef Brisket
    $1.00 OFF 1 Hidden Valley Salad Kit
    $0.75 OFF 1 Nature's Own Thin Sliced Bagels
    $0.75 OFF 1 Crisco Non-Stick Cooking Spray
    $0.75 OFF 1 Vlasic Pickles, Pepper, or Relish Any Size
    $0.75 OFF 1 Miracle Whip Product (30oz)
    $0.75 OFF 1 Roman Meal Bread
    $0.75 OFF 1 Refrigerated JELL-O Pudding or Mousse 6Pk
    $0.75 OFF 1 Cinnamon Burst Cheerios cereal
    $0.50 OFF 1 Smart Balance Eggs
    $0.50 OFF 1 Fiber One Cereal Bars
    $0.50 OFF 1 Bob Evans Refrigerated Side
    $0.50 OFF 1 any variety Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough

  • $1.00 OFF 1 Glade Fabric & Air Odor Eliminator
  • $3.00 OFF 1 Glade PlugIns Scented Oil Lasting Impressions Holder
  • $0.50 OFF 3 Kleenex or 1 Bundle Pack
  • $0.35 OFF 1 Palmolive Antibacterial Dish Liquid (20 oz or larger)

New Coupons from P&G

There are some new coupons available by mail from Proctor & Gamble.  Just login/signup and request your coupons. 

Picked up My First Special Order

I picked up my first special order today from Kroger.  I think I posted that while we were there on Sunday I found the grocery manager and placed a special order for 100 bowls of Chunky soup.  He called me today to tell me that half of my order came in.  He wasn't sure why the other half didn't come in but he'd re-ordered for me already.

When I went to pick up the order it was very easy.  When I got to the store I actually saw the cart sitting by the service desk with the soup in it in cartons (of 8).  I double checked with the service desk to make sure it was for me and then I grabbed the other items I needed to pick up (some milk) and checked out.

I did run into one small glitch (and learned something big).  I forgot to hand over my Kroger card at the beginning of the transaction and ended up handing it to her at the end of the transaction.  It was kinda cool to watch the total drop so much, but the final total still seemed higher than I had expected.  After getting my receipt I looked it over and found that most of my coupons did not double like they should have.  For some reason 5 rang at $1 and the others just rang at .50 with no doubling.  I took my receipt to the customer service desk and he looked it over than went and looked at my coupons.  When he came back he told me that the issue was that I'd scanned my card at the end and for some reason it hadn't doubled the coupons.  He gave me back the $10 that I'd been over-charged with no issue.

So, now you know. Hand over that shoppers card at the beginning of your transaction if you want to make sure you get all your discounts.  And yes, I did get all 5 of my $3 Catalina coupons at the end of the transaction.

Monday, February 14, 2011

KGB Deals - daily deals

Evidently, I'm old enough to remember why this is a terrible name. But, there is another new "daily deal" site on the block and you may just want to join so you can be notified of what deals they have in your area. They aren't in my city yet, but they do also offer National deals (typically online purchases).

As with any of the daily deals sites you do need to pay attention and check to make sure that what you are purchasing is actually a deal.

Check out KGB Deals by clicking here.

Italian Days at Publix

This week starts Publix Italian Days promotion, and there are some great coupons available to go with it from . You'll need to register then just click on the "promotions" tab to print the Publix coupons. While you are there be sure to also click the "coupons" tab and print off some great General Mills coupons that you'll be able to stack with the Publix coupons.

FREE Rental from Redbox - Today Only

Redbox wants to help you celebrate Valentines Day, and they are offering you a FREE movie rental to get the party started.  Whether you are heading out for a night on the town and just want a movie to help keep the kids happy, or you are staying in with someone you love and want to cozy up with a movie. 

Use coupon code BEMINE to snag your free rental

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday 2/13 Coupons

For a preview of what's to come each week in your Sunday paper, be sure to check out the Sunday Coupon Preview.

Here's what showed up in my paper this week.  There were 3 inserts; General Mills, Redplum & SmartSource.

General Mills
  • $1/3 General Mills cereals listed
  • .75/1 Cinnamon Burst Cheerios
  • .50/1 Multipack Yoplait Delights
  • $1/5 Totino's Crisp Crust Party Pizza
  • .50/2 Yoplait Original or Light 4pks
  • .75/2 Yoplait Gogurt or Trix yogurt
  • .50/1 Yoplait Splitz yogurt
  • .40/6 Yoplait cups
  • .40/6 Yoplait cups
  • .50/1 Yoplait FiberOne multipack
  • .40/1 pouch (17.5 oz or larger) Betty Crocker cookie mix
  • .60/2 Yoplait Greed yogurt cups
  • .50/1 Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie or Dessert Bar mixes
  • .50/1 any variety Green Giant Just For One vegetables
  • .75/3 Hamburger/Tuna/Chicken helper meals
  • .50/1 Yoplait Kids Cup yogurt
  • .50/2 Betty Crocker boxed potatoes
  • $1/1 Wanchai Ferry frozen entree
  • $1/2 Romano's Macaroni Grill/ Wanchai Ferry or Good Earth dinner kit
  • $1/4 cans Progresso soups
  • .55/1 Pillsbury "Simply" refrigerated cookie dough
  • .35/1 can refrigerated Simply buttermilk biscuits
  • .35/1 can refrigerated Pillsbury Simply Rustic French bread
  • $1/1 Pillsbury Refrigerated cookie dough
  • .50/2 Pillsbury Toaster Strudel pastries
  • $1/2 Frozen Pillsbury Grands biscuits
  • .40/3 refrigerated Pillsbury Grands biscuits
  • .40/2 Pillsbury Sweet Rolls or Grands! Sweet Rolls
  • .75/1 Pillsbury Sweet Moments Refrigerated desserts
  • .75/2 boxes Nature Valley Granola bars
  • .50/1 Nature Valley Chewy Trail Mix bars
  • .50/2 Betty Crocker fruit snacks
  • Subway BO 6" sub with drink G1 sub of equal or lesser value
  • (2) B1 drink before 11am, G1 6" breakfast sub or flatbread
  • $2/1 Millstone Coffee (.5lb or larger) prepack or K-cup portion pack
  • $1/1 Uncle Ben's Plain White or Brown Rice product
  • $1/1 Colavita EVOO
  • $1/1 Pedigree Goodbites
  • $2/1 any shade L'Oreal Preference
  • $1/4 Zataran's Rice mixes
  • $1/2 Zataran's frozen entrees
  • .35/1 Hillshire Farm deli select lunchmeat
  • $1/1 40ct, 80ct or 9.8oz spoonable Truvia
  • $1/1 bag 9Lives Dry cat food (3.15lb or larger)
  • .75/1 12can variety pack 9Lives wet cat food (or 12 individual cans or (3) 4packs
  • .50/1 Neosporin product or 1 Band-Aid brand adhesive bandage product
  • $1.50/1 Neosporin product AND Band-Aid Brand Adhesive bandage product
  • $3/1 120ct i-Flex
  • $2/1 i-cool For Menopause
  • $10/1 Crest 3D White 2-Hr Express or Professional Effects Whitestrips
  • $1/1 Covergirl Eyelights product
  • $3/1 Gain fabric softener sheets
  • $1/1 Gain detergent

  • $3/1 Olay Pro-X Facial Moisturizer or Facial Cleanser
  • $1/1 Olay Facial Moisturizer or Facial Cleanser
  • .50/3 (or 1 bundle pack) Kleenex
  • $1/1 Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara or any Revlon Color Cosmetic product
  • .55/1 Hormel Compleats microwave meal
  • $1/3 participating Hormel Foods
  • $1/1 Hormel Refrigerated entree
  • $1/2 Hormel Country Crock side dishes
  • $1/1 Hormel Always Tender flavored meat (any variety)
  • .50/1 Gorton's item
  • $2/1 Nice 'n Easy hair color product
  • $4/1 Luster 1 Hour White
  • $1.50/1 Luster White 7
  • $1/1 Almay cosmetic item
  • .40/4 Campbell's condensed soups
  • $5/1 Osteo Bi-Flex
  • $2.50/2 U by Kotex Pads
  • $2.50/2 U by Kotex tampons
  • .60/1 Pepperidge Farm cookies
  • .50/1 Colgate toothpaste
  • $3/1 Glade Plugins Scented Oil Lasting Impressions holder
  • $1/1 Glade Plugins Scented Oil twin refill or (2) single refills
  • $1/1 Pledge 12.5oz Aerosol product
  • Theraflu Warming Relief Try Me FREE mail in rebate
  • $3/2 Theraflu products
  • $2/1 Triaminic Fever Reducer product
  • $3/2 Triaminic products
  • $1.50/1 Comtrex product
  • $1.50/1 4-Way Nasal Spray product
  • $4/1 Prevacid 24HR product
  • .35/1 any variety 4Grain eggs
  • .75/1 Tornados
  • .75/2 PictSweet deluxe sides frozen vegetables
  • $1/1 4pk or larger Better Than Ears Treats or 8oz Guilt-Free treats
  • $3/1 Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap System
  • $1.25/2 Ziploc brand bags
  • $1.25/2 Ziploc brand slider bags
  • .55/1 Ziploc Zip'n Steam bags
  • $1/1 Ziploc Vacuum Bag Starter Kit or refill
  • $2.50/1 6lb or larger Rachel Ray Nutrish
  • BOGO 10oz package of Rachel Ray Just 6" Dog Treats
  • $1/1 Welch's Grape Juice (64oz or 10oz-6pk)
  • $1/6 Purina Friskies Selects
  • $1/15 5.5oz cans Purina Friskies canned cat food
  • $1/1 3.15lb or larger Purina Friskies dry cat food