Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Awesome Deal on Men's Journal - 1yr for just $1.99

My husband discovered this magazine while sitting in the Drs office waiting room a couple of weeks ago (waiting on me, of course) and spent the drive home telling me about the interesting articles he'd read about how to make your own bacon and how to get a better night's sleep.  The latter even inspired him to consider buying a book that was mentioned (in hopes of helping us both); if you know him then you know him buying a book is a pretty big deal.  A week or so later I somehow ended up on the magazine aisle at the supermarket and found the issue he'd been reading and bought it for him.  It was $5.99!  I must really love him.  Since then I've been looking for a deal on a subscription and now I finally found it.  A full year for just $1.99 and you can get up to 4 years at this price.  I opted for just 2.

To get the deal, go to Tanga and you will find that this is the deal of the day for today/tomorrow (good for about another 24 hours as of this posting - 9:44 on 1/11/11), select it and then enter the Coupon Code: NEWYEAR at checkout.  Don't forget the coupon code as it cuts the price by 90% (otherwise the subscription is $19.99/yr.

*thanks MavenofSavin for the tip on this great deal!

My Savings - Coupons vs Store Sales

Looking back at my savings so far this year the question crossed my mind of which saved me more, shopping the sales or using coupons? I know that in the end the best savings comes from matching sales with coupons (basically giving me double savings).  As I look at my savings so far this year I'm finding that overall I'm saving more with coupons than I have with store sales, I'm definitely saving more with coupons than I am through store sales (even though I'm using them together).

This information is actually a little surprising, since the general rule is that you'll save more from sales than you will from coupons.

My Savings so far this year from Coupons: $102.52
My Savings so far this year from Sales: $61.75

Even if I subtract my store credits (ECBs, +UPs, RRs) from the Coupon Total, it still comes out to $75.02 (which leaves Sales vs Coupons a little closer to even), but I do think those should be included since those are coupons (not cash) and I am using them towards purchases.

I think part of this "disparity" comes from the fact that several major items we buy don't go on sale at any stores (that I've seen so far) - sugar-free peanut butter, Purity Milk & Instant breakfast are all pretty high dollar items that we use a lot of, but that rarely (if ever) go on sale (however, I do regularly find some high dollar coupons for at least 1 of those items).

FREE Savings Tracker from The Coupon Project

I've been using this free download to track my spending and savings (via coupons and sales) since the first of the year. I'm really liking it so far, as it's really easy to not only see just how much I've spent but also to see how much I've saved. Like right now I know that for the year I've saved $109.85 so far this year (this is all my grocery & drugstore shopping), and I've saved $164.27, which is a savings rate of 62%.

If you are looking for an easy way to track your spending & savings on groceries & any items you want to track, you may want to download this spreadsheet for free.  She's also provided an easy to follow manual for how to use it and last night she did a webcast, which is available now as a video, detailing the use of the program.

Download the Savings Tracker from TheCouponProject.com

CostCo Savings vs Coupons Elsewhere

A couple of other blogs are blogging today about the savings benefits of Coupons vs CostCo, and I've found myself posting this same response (to some degree), so I thought I would flesh it out a bit and post it here to share it with my readers.

By now you should know we are CostCo members.  I've been an avid fan of CostCo since my best friend bought me a membership 5 or 6 years ago (after handing over her CostCo card a time or two for me to get gas at their cheap prices).  She bought my first year membership for me and since then I've renewed year after year. When a cashier first told me about the Executive membership it just made sense to upgrade.

A standard membership is $50/year.  The Executive membership is $100/year but you get 2% cash back on all your purposes (there are a few categories that don't apply - alcohol and tobacco I think), and you are guaranteed at last $50 back (if your purchases don't equal enough to get you at least the $50 then they will round it up to $50 (making the upgrade to Executive free). 

Over the years we've bought some big items at CostCo including the double vanity in our master bathroom (about $800 for a very nice real wood vanity with granite countertop) and our bedroom tv, as well as saved some big bucks on purchases like glasses for my husband and his replacement cell phone.  You can always find a good deal on a cell phone unless yours just broke.  In the case of my husband he goes for the cheapest phone available with a full keyboard; last time he broke his phone the cheapest phone available with a keyboard was $99 - $50MIL (or if purchased online and we waited for 3 days, $50), for some reason we decided to go check CostCo and found the same phone for $20 (no rebate needed) and it came with the full accessory package (additional charger, holder, etc).

When we first started couponing, there were a good handful of items that we always bought at CostCo - toothpaste, paper towels, toilet paper, popcorn, plastic spoons & forks, paper plates, generic Splenda and a few other products. 

Toohpaste - Since we've started couponing, I've pulled toothpaste off of that list.  While CostCo's price on Colgate Total (our preferred brand of toothpaste) is cheaper than the sale price at most stores, when you combine sale prices and coupons you can usually find it for free and thanks to that we've built up a nice little stockpile of toothpaste. 

Toilet Paper - The CostCo (Kirkland's) brand of toilet paper is the one and only brand we've been able to compromise on in this house so we will continue to buy it (despite the knowledge that we could probably stock up on some really cheap to free toilet paper if we were a little more flexible). 

Popcorn - My hubby likes the 100 calorie microwave popcorn packs and eats them often as snacks at work.  CostCo often releases their own store coupons for $5 off the 42ct box of Orville Redenbacher popcorn, making it just $5 for 42 bags.  When they do this we stock up.

Plastic Spoons/ Forks - I realize the cheaper answer would be to not use them at all.  But, hubby uses them at work and we end up using them around here so we buy them at CostCo. I've rarely ever seen these types of things on sale for anything remotely resembling a discount.

Mucinex - $25 for a 40ct maximum strength. I did the math on this one and it came out better than the sale prices I've seen elsewhere on the small (14ct) and large (28ct) boxes.  Thanks to living in allergy country we both take this quite a bit, so I'm thinking we will start buying it at CostCo (if they continue to have it - I hadn't seen it before my last visit).

Meat  - I may or may not continue to buy my meat at CostCo but I like their quality and their prices beat the prices at most stores (perhaps not their sale prices).  I've yet to manage to get to the grocery store when there was a better price and attempt to stock up.  I also like that CostCo doesn't charge me any extra to portion out my hamburger for me (which saves me time and aggravation) and that their pork loin (priced about the same as I usually see it at the grocery store) comes portioned into 4 pieces (which are about perfect size for the two of us - although probably more like 3 - 4 actual servings).

The biggest savings for us, however are on 3 categories:
- Glasses - my husband's - he gets his frames with transition lenses and all the other add-ons for roughly half the price of what just the lenses would be at your typical optical store and their frames are designer brands. The last time he bought a pair, he wore them about 4 months before deciding that they just didn't fit him right. We went back to the store and had no trouble at all getting them to replace them.

- Gas - I've been comparing gas prices there to the cheapest places near us (short of driving 20 miles to get gas, which pretty much eats up any cost savings) and have found that at worst CostCo is within a penny or two, but usually beats them by .04 to .05cents/gallon.  Recently, I found out about Kroger's fuel savings reward program (spend $100 there in a month and get .10/gallon off a fill-up). The Kroger is pretty much right next door to CostCo, and CostCo was the same price as Kroger (after the discount).

- Prescriptions - this is a new one for me and I recently posted about this.  I'm still working on getting all my prescriptions switched to CostCo, but we figured out that in the end just the 2% cash back on prescriptions will more than pay for our membership.

Free Ziploc Gift Pack

Be sure to  sign up quick before they are gone.