A place for Maine's Frugalistas to Share Information on Matching Coupons with Upcoming Sales to Maximize Savings to Your Budget. Welcome, Friends ♥

Friday, December 23, 2011

Despite Hoards of Last Minute Shoppers, Target, Walmart. & Rite Aid Today

I didn't relish the prospect of the inevitable crowds completing their last minute shopping sure to crowd the stores, but I had prepared this week's grocery coupons, matched carefully to the store's sales. My trusted and valiant chauffeur at my side, I ventured forth to see what deals I could find~ both to replenish my sad stockpile and also in anticipation for the coming wedding of my eldest daughter to her wonderful fiance scheduled for March.

Our first stop was the Rite Aid in Hampden. The crew there is awesome. Always knowledgeable, always ready to share a tip on upcoming sales or news. They understand coupons and how to use them to the best advantage. It is for these reasons that I gladly drive 15 minutes farther than the Belfast Rite Aid located closer to my home. I did not have many things to get this week. I needed to get some Chex Mix, though; our youngest daughter being near to mutiny if we did not get some soon. And, I have not been wearing nylons since my fall. If you think they are troublesome putting on with two working hands, try getting your bottom in them with only one. I have needed to replace the ones with runs, but I had been waiting for a good sale before doing so. Rite Aid had these on sale for $4.49 with a Buy one, Get one 50% off AND a $3 RR when you buy 2. It cost me $7.07 out of pocket and I earned $3 RR. I misunderstood the sale for the Chex Mix and now can't think what I was trying to do. I bought them for $1.60 each- much more than I would normally pay. I thought there was an RR for these, but none printed, so I must have mixed up something. I would have returned them, but was in fear of returning home without them.

She knows where I sleep.

At Walmart, I had a larger list. Armed with coupons and new binder in hand, I shopped. I purchased: (6) boxes Chex cereal on sale for $2.28/box. I used (3) $1/2 coupon to make them $1.78/box. (4) Whisker's cat treat bags at $1.07. I used $1.50/2 coupon to make these .32¢ each. (1) Idahoan Instant Potatoes were .98¢ each, but I had a coupon which was for one FREE bag, so it cost me nothing. (6) Clif Bar for my future son in law at .98¢ each. I used (3) B1G1 Free coupons to make these .49¢ each. (4) cans Dole Pineapple on sale for .88¢ each. I used (2) .50/2 coupons to bring the price down to .63¢ each. (2) Betty Crocker cake mixes were on sale for $1.25 each and (2) Betty Crocker frosting were priced at $1.64 each. I used a two $1/1 when
you buy both to make them $1.89 for both or .95¢ each. My husband spotted the Olivari olive oil on sale for $4.88 with a $1/1 peelie on the neck to make it $3.88. (2) Johnson & Johnson brand butterfly band aid boxes were priced at $1.52 each and J&J 10 ct gauze pads were $1.56/box. I used three $1/1 coupons to buy these for .52¢ each and .56¢ respectively. (In this house, I always keep a stock of first aid supplies handy! Besides my broken arm, my daughter Kristen sliced open her elbow to the bone and my husband punctured his nose with a screwdriver at work fighting with a hostile kitchen sink. We resorted to "bubble wrapping" my youngest as a preemptive measure. Back to shopping...) I purchased (4) Pillsbury Grands! biscuits on sale for $1.50 and used a $1/2 coupon to make these $1 each. (1) Hood sour cream priced at $1.66 with a $1/1 coupon became .66¢. Fleishmann's Pizza Yeast was marked to $1.06 and I used a .40/1 coupon for a price of .66¢ each. Celeste Tea was on sale for $2.18/box. I bought four and used (4) $1/1 coupons to cost me $1.18/box. I was running low on Excedrin and purchased (4) boxes for $3.24 each. I used (2) $4/2 coupons to bring the price to $1.24/box. My husband could not resist the "Oops! We Over Baked Rack" and snagged himself a cake for $3.74, which was my only unplanned purchase. The total came to $78.04. When my coupons were scanned through, my total came to $54.72. This was higher than I thought it should be; I expected it to be around $45, but with long lines behind me, I was not going to hold up the Customers behind me to dissect it there in line, item by item. When we returned home, my husband and I went item by item through our receipt and realized what happened. My (2) $4/2 Excedrin coupons were not scanned. That was $8.00 I was missing! I called the store and talked with Alison who took down my receipt information to forward to the accounting department. I will update you with what happens, once this is resolved.

Finally, at Target, we wrapped up our shopping for the night. I found some great coupons for Keebler and Nabisco crackers, which will come in handy for use in Bridal parties and gatherings in the coming months. We purchased (2) Keebler Townhouse crackers on sale for $2.50. I used (1) $1/2 Target coupon stacked with (1) $1/2 manufacturer's coupon to make them $1.50/box. Nabisco crackers were on sale for $2/box. I used (3) $1/2 coupons to make the six boxes of Nabisco crackers $1.50/box, also. (2) Boxes of Lipton Tea, on sale for $1.19 became .69¢ each using a $1/2 coupon. Pillsbury all natural chocolate chips cookies were marked at 2.50 each. I stacked a $1/2 Target coupon with a $1/2 manufacturer's coupon to make the price $1.50 each. Lastly, I bought (3) Swiss Miss hot chocolate boxes on sale for $1.19 each. I stacked a .50/2 Target coupon with a $1/3 manufacturer's coupon to make them .70¢. The total retail for my Target purchases was $34.86, but I paid $21.82 out of pocket. I saved $13.04 with coupons.

Clearly, this was by no means the MOST EXTREME COUPONING trip I have taken, but after being out of the saddle for awhile (catch the pun?), I was happy with my modest results. I should have saved a total of $60.85 and I didn't do anything really exciting to get there; no series of multiple transactions to make, no complicated mathematics to figure. So, ponder this. Take this average trip's savings and multiply it by 4.5 weeks in a month. Could you find other things to do with an extra $273 in your budget each month? Or consider it in a years time of modest couponing, could you think of anything to use $3,000 on instead of groceries? I get asked often if clipping coupons is worth my time. My answer is always, "Yes."

Goodnight, Friends,
Sonja ♥

Shaw's at 9:00 PM

I am not one to venture to the stores late in the evening, even with the stores remaining open well into the night as people prepare to celebrate holidays. It is not that I do not appreciate the savvy business sense of proprietors to take full advantage of people's desire to "shop 'til they drop." I simply prefer to be at home snuggled up with my family after a long day of doing just about anything else.

Tonight, I had a tough choice to make. You see, I had spent some time the past few days reassembling a coupon binder. I sorted through the coupons, organized smartly into their respective categories, to pull the ones I would need. I scanned the weekly sales flyers, and printed my shopping lists. I thought I was all ready for my husband to chauffeur me to the stores I would visit for this week's shopping trip. As silly as it seems, I will admit to being just a little giddy at the thought of actually getting out of this house for a while and was happily anticipating the sales I was going to utilize to start refilling my newly depleted stores. And, then, I realized that my shopping plan for Shaw's was going to be for naught. I had forgotten that unlike the other stores, Shaw's changes their sales on FRIDAY. As in, tomorrow. As in, if I did not venture out immediately into the cold night air, I would miss out on some sales, I was looking forward to using. After discussing the situation with my partner in crime, aka my husband, Sean, we decided to drive the 30 minutes to Bangor and shop.

Was it worth it? We thought so.

One of the sales, we wanted to use was the GM Cereal/Free Milk Deal:
It worked like this: You earn a catalina for free milk (up to a $4.50 value) when you buy 4 participating GM cereals or Nature Valley granola bars at 2/$6.

We had an internet coupon from: www.coupons.com for $1/2 Cookie Crisp to use and another one for $1/3 Cookie Crisp cereals. We used them in two separate transactions.

The math looks like this: 4 boxes of cereal for $11.00+ $3.94 for milk= $14.94, less $1 coupon, less $4.50 coupon= $10.44 out of pocket for 4 boxes of cereal and the milk. I did this one twice, so I still have one $4.50 voucher for milk.

The other sales (taking into account our coupons) I used were; (2) Sargento shredded cheese $1.50/bag, (4) Philadelphia cream cheese $1.00/box, (8) Campbell's "cooking" condensed soups* $ .61¢/ea., (4) Nestle Carnation condensed milk .89¢/can, (6) Pillsbury cinnamon rolls $1.52/ea., (1) Cain's pickles $1.25, (8) GM Cookie Crisp cereal $1.63/box, and (1) FREE gallon milk. Out of pocket, we spent a total of $47.88 and we earned a catalina coupon for $4.50 for milk on our next visit. This certainly was not the best shopping trip I have ever had, but spending less than $50.00 for over $96.00 in groceries makes me very satisfied with our savings of 49.5%.

(I didn't post which coupons I used because this sale was over tonight, so it didn't really matter.)

Tomorrow, it is Walmart, Walgreen's, Rite Aid and Target. Sean will be back on chauffeur duty and cart pusher extraordinaire. I will take photos and post my results. I am attempting to post regularly once again and as I do, I will post the sales and matching coupons.

The last thing I wanted to write about this evening, was about ecoupons from SavingStar. I registered my store loyalty cards earlier this week. You can register for yours HERE. I was able to register my Shaw's, Rite Aid, and Hannaford cards. Once, I registered for free, I looked through the ecoupons listed and "clipped" the ones I wanted to load to my store loyalty cards. (These coupons can only be used once and must be used before their expiration dates.) I shopped as I normally would. I scanned my Shaw's card and paid for my groceries at the register. The ecoupon does not come off the total bill at the register, but rather, once the ecoupon is redeemed by buying the qualifying item, the ecoupon amount accumulates. When the total amount reaches at least $5, I can request it to be paid to my paypal account or I can choose to have it sent to me in the form one of several gift cards. Today, the purchase for Campbell's "cooking" condensed soups qualified for an additional savings of .40¢/3 cans. It is an intriguing program. I am interested to see how this actually works. I'll be sure to let you know!

Goodnight, Friends.
Sonja ♥

Monday, December 19, 2011

All the News That's FIt to Print

I am still alive... mostly. THAT is a huge overly dramatic remark, but an honest one, nonetheless. I really thought when this whole arm thing happened that I would have a week or two of down time and then be on the mend and back in business, so to speak. Reality check. I am mending- this my husband and doctors have assured me. Repeatedly. I am also frustrated beyond all words. It has been nearly 8 weeks now and I am still only able to move my left arm at the shoulder joint about 3 or 4 inches from my body before I wish I hadn't. And this, I can only do a couple of times before the nerves rebel and my arm hangs limp and useless at my side. I am allowed to work- from home- in 15 minute increments- with thirty minutes rest between. I dare you to try that one. Did I mention how frustrating this is?

I have not been shopping. I have not even looked to see what sales might have come and gone. And, I have not found my neon green coupon binder. I have felt sorry for myself. I have become annoyed at myself when my building frustration veers into the waters of deep sadness. I have sat here, looking at cleaning tasks, farming tasks, and various general maintenance tasks going either undone, done haphazardly (by me), or stuffed into the "do later" column. My husband and family are a great help, but there is only so much more they can take on to do and fulfill the responsibilities of their jobs and schooling. See? Self pity leaking out, gumming up the works. Then, I think about all the ones out there dealing with REAL hardship, trials, and loss and I am ashamed of my bouts of self pity and morose countenance. I fractured my arm, not lost it for good.

I am getting better. This will end at some point and I will be back to normal; driving myself where I want to go, interacting with other humans when I get there, working, shopping, hanging with my friends... you get the picture. For now, I am finding solace in venturing out once a week with my husband on short errands. I worked for 3 hours today and actually accomplished something. I have a plan for working tomorrow, too. These small successes make me feel Good. Satisfied. And, Hopeful.

As for shopping, I am very grateful that I had a stockpile of grocery things from which to feed my family these past weeks. The supplies may be running thin, but I still have enough staples to last us a while. And, my sweet, helpful husband assisted me in cutting and sorting my stack of coupons, getting them ready for when I do feel able to hunt down those sales. My daughters bring me "gifts" of freebies from my mailbox most days, which brighten my days just that little bit more. And, I was able to sit here and type this: two handed, without my arm aching and my fingers going to pins and needles. It may not be much, but I will smile and be satisfied with that.

I will get back into the swing of things. I will count all my blessings and I will look forward to 2012 and all the adventure it will contain.

I hope this blog post finds you and yours in good health and calm spirits.
Talk with you all soon!
Sonja ♥

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ooops, I did it (again)...

...but I am determined to be back in the saddle soon!

Farm life is wonderful, to me. Really, Really. Even taking into account the daily rituals of cleaning several feeding and watering dishes and buckets, mucking various stalls, cleaning critters who often much prefer their originally dirty & stinky state. Even in the rain. Even with the worries of the impending snows of winter. Even with goats who possess a wondrous Houdini-esque ability to defy metal "cow" fencing supplemented with electrified taped ribbons. Even with the Fractured Neck of my Left Humerus bone I managed to sustain corralling my daughter's Quarter Horse, Jasmine, about 10 days ago. Thankfully, I broke my fall with the left side of my face (mostly my forehead and left eye area) and, obviously, my left shoulder and upper arm.

My youngest on Jasmine 2010

This latest injury- remember the torn right Anterior Talofibular Ligament in March sustained in an unprovoked attack from my dear Brother and Sister-In-Law's newly purchased home that I was assisting to paint, followed by totalling my pretty little brand new 2010 Nissan Versa in April which left me with a pinched nerve from a compressed C4/C5 disk in my neck?- has left me with very little ability to type with any amount of comfort physically, and mentally, in no condition to search for sales and compare coupons. In addition, being couch bound, drugged (legally, obviously), vision blurred, dazed and confused creates less than ideal circumstances for any planned shopping for Sonja. I am right handed, but having my left arm strapped across my torso, completely immobilized has been... let's say, inconvenient and uncomfortable (read that: experiencing bouts of extreme pain if I dared to move, followed by periods of dazed stupor). I am not the best patient. And, I cannot give enough thanks to my friends Cherie C. and my sweet niece, Micayla B. for sitting with me for hours, Kami H. for providing my family with a delicious meal, Helen H. for providing food stuffs for our family, and the act of kindness which touched my heart the most was that of Richard B, who taped the part my daughter had at a Christian meeting, which I was physically unable to attend. I am so blessed to have each of you and the many, many others like you in my life.

To add insult to injury... I can't find my coupon binder. I will admit, on days one through seven, I did not care- at all. Day eight? I started to completely freak out! I can deal with being out of work for a couple of weeks, doubling (at least) the time it takes to accomplish any household task, the forced inability to drive myself anywhere (still) or dress myself unaided, or the uselessness of attempting to put a ponytail in my hair one handed... but, this just will not do! I called out the troops, also known as my family to hunt high and low for it. It is nearly neon green; how hard can it be to spot? No success. I try to always look to the good in any situation, but I was hard pressed to find it here! Eventually, (and this is a work in progress) I am attempting to convince myself that most of those coupons probably expired at the end of October. And, that this is an opportunity to revamp my coupon binding sorting system. I still had 4 sets of inserts from the last weekend in October because I had not gotten the time to cut and file them, so they were still living in my desk. And, my kind and understanding friends come to my rescue in this, too. Mrs. Nancy R. brought me at least 6 insert sets from the November 5th paper. And, my most wondrous husband, Sean brought me 5 sets of this weekend's paper. These are all living in a plastic bag on my kitchen table at the time of this posting, but I have hope that more troops will rally to help me to get these sorted and filed properly.

My husband has done some shopping for our family this week. He shopped Rite Aid. All in all, he spent $8.72 to buy one package of Stayfree for free and 6 packs of Trident gum for .31¢ each. He made .50¢ on each of the eight tubes of Colgate toothpaste he purchased. He even found some with bonus packs of Colgate Dry Mouth Solution attached to four boxes of the Colgate. He purchased 2 bags of Candy Corn for .38¢ each and 1 bag of Cotton Candy for .25¢ on the clearance table. Lastly, he found five- 1 gallon buckets (new feed buckets for the goats), a dog brush, a dog travel water dish, and a bag of dog treats in the $1 section aisle, which became .90¢ each because of the 10% off level on our Wellness Card. Today, at Rite Aid, he picked up 6 packages of Orbits gum for free.

Ellie & Pepper in back. Leah & Rachel in front. Jedi on the right.
There are more sales on the horizon and though I may be slower these days, I will start posting again regularly. I have missed blogging and talking with all of you. In closing, I just have to include a picture of my completed goat herd. Miss Ellie (the black LaMancha doe) is pregnant already. We are anticipating the possibility of twins in the Spring and with them, milk for soaps, lotions, and homemade Cheeses! Twin does, Miss Rachel and Miss Leah (both white/tawny in color) and Miss Pepper (the brown doe) will all be attempted to be bred to Master Jedidiah next season. He is a good lad and we are sure he will throw handsome kids for us to sell next year after they are weaned.

Jedi ♥s cardboard boxes.
What has been going on with you all?
Sonja ♥

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Free Samples: John Frieda Full Repair, GoodNites Under Pants,

Get a Free Sample of John Frieda Full Repair HERE.

Sample offer valid through 12/26/11 11:59 PM EST or while supplies last. One sample per person while supplies last. We reserve the right to invalidate multiple entries, substitute items and change and/or cancel promotions at any time. Samples will be fulfiled after 12/26/11 and should take 6-8 weeks to arrive.

Get your Free Sample of GoodNites Underpants from Sam's Club HERE.

I do not have children in pull ups at this stage in my life, but some of my friends do and it comes in handy to have one or two in the cupboard, just in case of an emergency.

I did not see any fine print with this offer, except to expect delivery in 4-6 weeks.

Moderation in all Things

I have been thinking about the changes I have made to my life this year; some of them are more personal than others, of course. But, among them are the writing of this blog, the choice to save money using coupons, and the decision to be proactive and creative about helping my husband to provide for our family's needs without me working full time. As I sit here this morning, waiting for the sun to come up to signal its time for me to trek out into the cold to care for my livestock, I have been comparing how much has changed from when I first began couponing for my family in March (of this year) and now. I actually laughed aloud and shook my head at myself, remembering the drive to get to the stores first on Sunday morning, just when they opened their doors, for fear that the stock on the shelves would be gone were I to wait. Sitting up with my husband late into the night; clipping coupons, comparing multiple couponing sites for deals, cross referencing sales, and cursing the corporate gods who dropped regional coupons that I didn't get! Oh, the sales others were having! The slightly lower prices at Targets, Walmarts, Harris Teeters, and Piggly Wigglys in the South, or the Midwest or wherever they were, tortured me. And, those people had stores that doubled coupons, matched sale prices, and had Customer loyalty card which could be loaded with online coupons at the click of a button. I considered moving. There was clearly nothing else to do.  "Why????" I cried out! Okay, I am possibly exaggerating my response just a little, but perhaps you have been there: watching those perfectly coiffed wives and mothers (men, of course, too), marching into their stores with binder in hand and walk out with 4-8 shopping carts worth of food for less than $20. I wanted to be one of them, didn't I?

Here's the thing: I am thankful that I came across Extreme Couponing on TLC. Without that, I would be shopping the old way, spending way too much and getting way to little. But, in my zeal to stop paying with my money, I started to pay with my time. Then, I had a bad fall and injured my ankle...totalled my car in a dispute with a highway guard rail (It had the stronger argument.)... and needed to take some time to heal mentally and physically. I felt horribly guilty the two months I stopped writing and chasing sales. I was convinced that I was letting down the few readers I had and that my family was quite possibly going to starve if I didn't run to the store and purchase 20 jars of Ragu at 7 am. Reality check needed! I reevaluated my goals and the guilt stopped.

Fast forward to today. Literally, it is Wednesday morning, I have not shopped any store sale yet. I have spent about 2 hours last week planning and deciding which sale items I wanted to purchase and collecting the necessary coupons. I do have my list printed. But, since I now order my stock ahead when I anticipate needing more than I am sure the store will have in stock, I no longer scramble. I know the truck will come in Thursday for Rite Aid, Shaws and Walgreens and any items I ordered will be on it and waiting for me. This week, I did not need to preorder any stock, since I am only planning on buying a couple of each item. If the items are gone when it is convenient in my schedule to shop, then I will get a rain check. No more racing other shoppers. No longer at the mercy of someone else's schedule to shop or scrambling on Saturday mornings to collect as many coupon inserts as I can get my hands on. I have reached my Balance Point.

I do have a small 3 tiered shelving unit in the basement which holds toiletry stock and some dry food stock, but I do not intend to line my basement walls with shelving units, buy under bed totes to store excess inventory, or have enough stock to open my own grocery store. I am not going to have a maze of products stacked floor to ceiling in my office space, living room, children's bed rooms, or garage. That is fine for those who do. Their choice, their way of living. I have a good supply, what I consider a reasonable supply for me. Others may feel I should stock pile more. But, saving my family money at the expense of my living space, time, or sanity is not healthy or productive for me. And, I think I may get some raised eyebrows at this, but I am meaning no disrespect or offense to anyone who chooses to stock more than I choose to. I am simply saying that for me, couponing has been a way to lower my family's expenses. I do not need to stock 20 tubes of toothpaste, even if I plan to give away some of them to others. I do not need to take advantage of every sale item that comes along. That balance is needed. Too much of anything can be detrimental.

That completes this mornings thoughts. I am sure more will follow...

Warm Regards,
Sonja ♥

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rainy Day Give Away Contest Winner ♥

An email has been sent to notify the winner! Congratulations, Shari!!!
Thanks for playing and keep watch for other give aways and contests in the coming months.

Sonja  ♥

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hannaford Catalina Happiness

I was so excited about this deal that I almost forgot the bag of yogurts I purchased when I walked out of the store. Thankfully, my husband was less distracted than I and caught my error. My sale purchases would have been less exciting had I forgotten a bag at the register and then, had to turn around to retrieve them. Crisis averted, this is what happened.

I cashed my check at Hannaford last Friday because I needed to be at a friend's house early in the morning and was in town before the bank was to be open. I hate doing that, but it was a necessary evil for the day. This being so, I had a $2 rebate coming, if I spent $15 in groceries. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make this work for myself. I did not intend to spend this much money. I also had (2) $2 and (1) $1 catalinas in my wallet, and I had a catalina for $2 off Rachel Ray's Nutrish Dog Food. Keep in mind that for every 4 Hannaford My Essentials items I purchased, I would earn another $1 catalina.

I started by purchasing:
3- cans My Essentials Chicken Soups 2/$1
2- cans My Essentials Evaporated Milk (Sean wanted to make "snow cream" after the storm with the kids today) .99¢
2- cans My Essentials Green Beans 2/$1
2- cans My Essentials Peas 2/$1
2- cans My Essentials Corn 2/$1
1- 5 lb bag My Essentials Sugar $3.39 (needed it for the table wine Sean and I racked today)
13- My Essential Yogurts .45¢
Total Cost: $15.85 less $5 Catalinas= $10.85 out of pocket and I earned (1) $6 Catalina.
Net total spent $4.85

Then, I purchased 1 bag of Rachel Ray's Nutrish Dog Food for $8.49. Less $2/1 catalina which printed when I bought my last bag and $6 catalina equalled .92 cents out of pocket and I earned another $2/1 Catalina for Rachel Ray's Nutrish Dog Food.

I was very happy with this result.
How have you used the Hannaford Catalina Event?
Sonja ♥

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Learning Each Day: Creating a Button for Your Blog

While I was searching around the internet for freebies and deals from other blog sites and webpages, I noticed that so many blogs had "buttons" which other bloggers could grab and post to their sites. Great idea, right? Obviously, I wanted one, too! But, how? I am pretty computer savvy. I know a little about HTML codes, uploading pictures, and the like, but I had never written code on my own. Where to start?
Where other than on the internet? I typed in " how to create blogger button" and was directed to a couple of related articles. I selected this one- Oikology 101 (Read article HERE) initially because it was written by someone who writes on the Blogger site. I chose wisely. The article was clearly written to be easily understood. I followed the directions and within minutes had my button posted to my blog.

There was one small glitch, which was my doing. I created my button using a print artist program and made a jpeg picture to upload to Photobucket. Oikology did tell me to make sure that I sized my project to 150x150, but I forgot to resize my jpeg before I uploaded it. Once, I checked my blog, I realized my error and simply resized my photo and uploaded it in the correct size.

Thanks, Oikology 101 for your help!

 Need a button for your blog? Now you know where to go for detailed instructions! Hope it helps, blogger friends!

Sonja ♥

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hannaford... More Catalina Purchases

Since I needed to bring my eldest son and eldest daughter into town to work today, I decided to go next door and attempt to roll the catalinas I earned a couple of days ago at the Hannaford in Hampden. I had (1) $2 and (1) $1 catalinas to start today.

I decided to buy (8) cans of My Essentials canned vegetables. The total came to $4. I paid with a $2 catalina, $2 cash, and I earned a $2 Catalina. 8 cans of vegetables for $2 equals .25¢ each can. Then, I purchased (2) cans of My Essentials chicken soup and (2) packages of My Essentials biscuits. The total came to $1.90. I paid with $1 catalina, .90¢ cash, and earned a $1 catalina. The soup cost .25¢ each and the biscuits cost .20¢ each.

I have to drive passed a Hannaford's tomorrow and I think I will purchase My Essentials Yogurt on sale for .45¢ each. I'm going to buy (8) yogurts for $3.60 and use (1) $2 catalina, $1.60 in cash, and earn a $2 catalina. Yogurt cups for .20¢? I can soooo live with that. Which makes me wonder....

According to Dannon Yogurt (and I assume if you can freeze Dannon's yogurt, you can freeze other brands, too.) Read the article yourself HERE.

Can DANNON yogurt be frozen?
It's okay to freeze yogurt, especially if you're packing yogurt for lunch the next day. However, when refrigerated cup yogurt is frozen it may not retain all of its live culture activity and the product may undergo some changes. These changes could include texture and/or taste changes. Because some individuals do not find these changes to their liking, it is recommended that you "test freeze" one cup or just a small sample from a 32 oz. container first, before freezing a large quantity...

Here is  fun snack idea- push a wooden stick into the center before freezing the cup.

I think there may be lots of yogurts moving in to live in my freezer, while this promotion is underway. My kids love yogurt. And, I love the idea a frozen yogurt as a treat.

Have any of you frozen yogurt before? What were the results?
Sonja ♥ 

I need 20 friends to help ME with this!

I want to get this FREE Smart Scrunch Bag and I can, if I refer only 20 friends.

You or your friends do not need to buy anything or do anything special.

1. Log in here: http://www.nomorerack.com/?cr=1150567 and I will get credit for you signing up. It costs you nothing. I need 20 friends to sign up to get one of these

2. Also, when you sign up, you’ll get a FREE $10 off $20 purchase credit when you use the code: P1070, if you decide to purchase something, but you do not need to.

Thanks for your help! I really appreciate it!
Sonja ♥

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Restaurant Deal $100 in gift cards for $8.

So, as I was checking my facebook account, I noticed a post from a friend of mine about www.restaurants.com. While supplies last, they have a GREAT deal! Normally, you can purchase $25 gift certificates for $10, which is a pretty good deal. When you use the code PUMPKIN at the check out, you can get $25 gift certificates for only $2. SERIOUSLY!!!

I ordered a $25 gift certificate from Miguel's in Bangor for $2.
I ordered a $25 gift certificate from China King Chinese Restaurant in Augusta for $2.
I ordered a $25 gift certificate from Black Sheep Tavern in Bucksport for $2.
And, I ordered a $25 gift certificate from Twenty Milk Street at the Portland Regency Hotel and Spa in Portland for (you guessed it) $2.
Total spent (no tax) $8. And, there were many other offers available.

A couple of notes: signing up is FREE. You can either print your certificates when you have finished paying (either with your credit card or with your paypal account) or, you can log in to print them at your convenience later. There are minimum purchase limits on these coupons, so you will end up paying more than the gift certificate amount. And, the restaurants almost universally add a "gratuity" % to your order before the gift certificate amount is credited to the bill. I found them to be between 18%-20%.

Using Miguel's Restaurant as an example (It has a minimum purchase of $35 and a 20% gratuity added before the gift certificate is applied.) this is the scenerio I am hoping for:

NACHOS - Our homemade chips covered with sizzling hot cheese & salsa 7.99

THE "PHILLY" - Fajita steak, cheese and poblano peppers 8.99 for me and
CHIMICHANGA - A crispy fried burrito with ranchero salsa 10.99 for Sean.

Our Meal Total is $30.97, add 20% gratuity= $37.16, less $25 gift certificate= $12.16 out of pocket. We could substitute desserts instead of the appetizer for the same price. And, I did not include an amount for beverages. Usually, my family orders water with lemon to drink with our meals. We might order a beverage, but probably not.

The final analysis is this, including the cost of the gift certificate ($2) and the cost out of pocket ($12.16), the meal total cost is $14.16, still 1/2 price of what the meal would cost without the gift certificate. I will update you after I attempt to use the gift certificates with reviews on the restaurants and my experience using the gift cards, but color this girl E-X-C-I-T-E-D! I smell some food adventures coming my way!

Thanks, Courtney M. for the tip!


Freebie: Gooseberry Patch Cookie Swap Cookbook

Get a free Kindle download of the Gooseberry Patch Cookie Swap Cookbook for free on Amazon.com. You can get yours at this link:
If you don't have a Kindle, you can click this link to download free Kindle Reading Apps.
Looks interesting! I don't have a Kindle, but I think I will download the Reading App. I love cookies. And, I am always interested in new recipes to try out on my willing family!
Sonja ♥

Hannafords My Essentials Catalina

With Hannaford's change in coupon policies, I honestly doubted my continued shopping there. I still look through the flyer that comes in the mail each week, because I don't want to miss a good sale, if one comes up- just in case. This week's flyer piqued my interest.

Hannaford's is offering catalinas based on purchasing their store brand, labeled "my essentials". For every four My Essential products you purchase, you earn a $1 catalina for use on your next order. You can earn up to a $10 catalina. As I mentioned, interesting. So, I looked at what was on sale that might make this deal worth my shopping at Hannaford's this week.

My Essentials canned vegetables are on sale for 2/$1. As are My Essentials chicken noodle and tomato soups. My Essentials refrigerated biscuits and yogurt are on sale for .45¢ each. You can mix and match My Essential items. Hmmmm....

The Scenerio:

Purchase 4 Biscuits= $1.80. Pay $1.80 cash and receive $1 Catalina back.
Purchase 4 Yogurts= $1.80. Pay .80¢ cash and $1 catalina, and receive $1 Catalina back.
Purchase 4 cans Vegetables= $2.00. Pay $1 cash and $1 Catalina, and receive $1 Catalina back.
Purchase 4 cans Soup= $2.00. Pay $1 cash and $1 Catalina and receive $1 Catalina back.

I like to use the catalinas to purchase low cost items that my family would use and that are on sale. Taking into consideration the catalinas earned, yogurt and biscuits on sale for .45¢ get marked down to merely .20¢. And, the price of canned vegetables and soup reduce from .50¢/can to .25¢/can.

You can do a total of 10 different transactions of four items (since the limit on this offer is $10). In the end, the net cost of the items are the same, but the amount you pay out of your pocket is significantly less. In this scenerio, purchasing all the items at once would cost $7.60 in cash and earn you a $4 catalina. This makes your net transaction $3.60. Using multiple transactions, the cost out of pocket would be reduced to $4.60 and you would still have $1 catalina to use another day for a net transaction of $3.60. I choose to use multiple transactions. It takes more time, but in the end, I spend nearly half as much cash from my wallet.

I have earned $3 in catalinas so far, but I plan to stop in when I go passed a Hannaford, again, this week. How about you?

Sonja ♥

Monday, October 24, 2011

Free Hugo Boss Frangrances & Philips Avent Bottle

I got a lead today about a free sample of Tom's of Maine. I followed a couple of links, only to discover that the samples were gone. Sorry, Miss Cherie, I thought of you and was so looking forward to posting that link, but alas! it was not to be.

On my travels, I did discover a few other freebies along the way. These were a few of my favorites.

Hugo Boss has free samples of your choice of three delightful frangrances. I chose Boss Orange. You can get your sample HERE. Which sample will you choose?

I also found a place HERE for a free Sample of your choice of one of three Hugo Boss Men's Fragrances.

You can get a Free 4oz Philips Avent Baby Bottle when you "like" their facebook page, while supplies last. You can get yours HERE.

My littlest baby is already 11 years old and in Middle School, but I have friends having babies and family having babies. This can be added to a gift bag with some other goodies for any expectant mother in my life.

Have you found any interesting Freebies this week???

Sonja ♥

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Today's Freebie: Fiber Choice

Today's free sample is Fiber Choice.

I have never tried taking fiber, so I have not had the opportunity to try this. I have a good friend who usually uses Benefiber, but I thought that she might like Fiber Choice.

Click HERE for your Free Sample.

Did you come across any interesting freebies this week?


Friday, October 21, 2011

Free Sample Aveeno Shampoo and Conditioner

Today's Free Sample comes from the Walmart site.

Get a Free Sample of Aveeno Living Color Shampoo and Conditioner.

Get your Free Sample Here.

I can't wait to try this one out!

Has anyone already tried it? What did you think?

Sonja ♥

Freebies in my Mailbox

I love getting free samples in my mailbox! I mean, what's not to love about trying a new product before buying it? Or, having single size packets of products to leave out for visiting guests? Or, to pack in your carry on bag when you travel? Or, to use in hundreds of other useful ways? 

Today in my mailbox I received a lovely, little, feminine bag of goodies. Among these were samples for Ponds facial cleansing cloths, Tresemme Shampoo & Conditioner, Garnier Fructis Shampoo & Conditioner, John Freida Full Repair Shampoo, Conditioner, & Repair, L'Oreal Youth Code lotion, Burt's Bees facial cream and a coupon book with $20 in money saving coupons exclusive to Target.

In another packet, I received 2 pair of disposable underwear for women from TENA Women. It included a booket with helpful hints on dealing with adult incontinence. My Nana was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease many years ago. As her health deteriorates, sadly, this kind of product becomes more and more necessary. And, these products can be very expensive! I intend to keep this packet in my first aid/emergency bag in my vehicle. If I need them on an outing with Nana, they will be waiting, just in case.

A friend of mine gave me a tip about using baby diapers for absorbing domestic animal household "accidents". Perhaps, these would suit that purpose, too?

The last item in my mailbox was a sample of Biore facial cleanser. I have not actually used this product before, but I wanted to try it out. I love that now I can... for FREE!
I do not pay anything for samples. I find them very frequently available on facebook, couponing webpages, and blogs. Proctor & Gamble's program will send you free samples and coupons each quarter when you sign up. This quarter I am expecting to receive free samples of Crest 3D White Toothpaste, Crest 3D 2 Hour Whitening Strips, and Herbal Essense Shampoo and Conditioner. I was pleased to see some high value coupons for Tampax Pearl, CoverGirl NatureLuxe Foundation or Lip Balm, and Venus Pro Skin Moisure Rich system. Sign up Here. You can Sign up for Target Samples Here and Sign up for Walmart Samples Here.

What freebies came in your mailbox today?

Sonja ♥

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Shaw's: $10 Catalina WYB $25, again

Retail Value: $39.38. Cost Out of Pocket $10. Catalina Earned $10.
Net Cost= FREE           100% Savings
Today was the last day for the $10 catalina when you buy (wyb) $25 in participating GM products. I already had a $10 catalina to use on this deal from my shopping trip last Friday and coupons to match this sale, so I wanted to try my hand at doing this deal another time. With coupons and catalina in hand, off to Shaw's I went.

In my first transaction, I decided to purchase 6 bags of Chex Mix. These were on sale for 2/$4. I had a coupon for $1/2 from a Sunday insert. This made them 2/$3. I purchased 4 bags of Betty Crocker Cookie mix on sale for 2/$4. I had (4) .40¢/1 manufacturer coupons (which doubled to .80¢/1) to bring these to $1.20/bag. Totino's Pizza Rolls were on my list and I used an online printable coupon of .40¢/2 (doubled to .80¢/2) to bring them to .60¢/box. And, I purchased (10) Yoplait yogurts on sale for 10/$6. I used a $1/10 coupon with these to being the total to 10/$5. Clearly, none of these prices were so AMAZING as to be MUST HAVES... until you consider the $10 catalina offer. My total before coupons/savings came to $28.00. After coupons and discounts, the total was $10. I paid $10 in cash and received a $10 On Your Next Order (OYNO) Catalina. Basically, everything I bought, was FREE.

Retail Value $31.18. Cost out of Pocket .62¢.
Net Cost .62¢           98% Savings
For my last transaction today, I flipped the $10 to purchase the Kibbles 'n Bits that I had gotten a rain check for on Tuesday. Kibbles 'n Bits were priced at $5.99 (which was even less expensive than was advertised previously. I don't know why, but I am not complaining!) and had a buy one, get one sale on them. This made them 2 bags for $5.99. I used (2) $1.50/1 manufacturer coupon from the Sunday insert to bring them down to $2.99 for 2 bags or $1.50 each (for the 3.6 pound bags). I did not want to use cash, so I needed to bring my balance to over the $10 mark. I added 2 bags of Chex Mix with the same coupons as above... and a twix candy bar at the register. My total came to $10.62. I paid with my $10 Catalina and .62¢ cash.

I really am very impressed with the Shaw's crew. Today, my cashier was Ethan and my bagger was Jill. She was so friendly and I appreciated that on a dreary, rainy day. There was a small snaffoo buying the Kibbles 'n Bits when the computer failed to register the buy one, get one sale. Ethan was great. I knew the amount on the register was too much, so I inquired about the price of the dog food and showed Ethan the sales flyer. He was so polite and professional. He called over his shift supervisor, Joyce who took one look and fixed the problem. Easy, easy. Problems will occasionally arise, but when they do, it is comforting to know that the cashiers are on your side, ready to help. Joyce even handed me a copy of next week's sales flyers early. I highly recommend the Bangor Shaw's store.

Starting tomorrow, there are going to be some good buy 3, get 3 sales. I am looking into taking advantage of the Classico pasta sauce. www.classico.com has a $1/1 printable coupon. You can print this twice. Quakes Rice Cakes are going to be on sale for $1 and they had some $1/3 peelies that will make these a fairly decent treat. Vitamin Water Zero is on sale for $1 with a bonus of (4) bottles when you buy (10), this makes them .71¢ each. I am going to look for a coupon for the Pillsbury Cake mix on sale for $1. I am also interested in the FREE MILK offer when you buy (4) participating GM cereals at 4/$10. There are several $1/2 coupons available for this offer, which would bring the cost to $8/4 boxes of cereal. When you consider that milk costs about $4/gallon, if you were going to need the milk anyway, it is like paying $1 for each box of cereal. Not too bad!

What sales caught your eye for next week?

Sonja ♥

20 Free Prints from Kodak


Today's Freebie is 20 Free Kodak Prints from Facebook. This offer is good until 10/23/11. Just "like" Kodak on facebook HERE to print the coupon.

For our area, we have a choice of printing them at CVS or Target. The Target offer is buy 5 prints, get 20 prints FREE. I did not see any limitations on the CVS site. If you do, please, let us know!

Sonja ♥

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Walgreens: Inexpensive Razors and Cottonelle

I started my morning by visiting the Walgreen's in Belfast. I hoped to buy a couple of Schick Hydro Razor systems and a couple 12 packs of Cottonelle. Unfortunately, they were all out of the Cottonelle, so my plan needed some modification. I bought one Schick Razor System. This was on sale for $8.49. I used a coupon for $2/1, which brought my total to $6.49. I earned one $4.50 RR. Net cost on this transaction was $1.99.

Later in the afternoon, I stopped by the Walgreen's on Oak St. in Bangor. The crew there know their stuff about coupons! Abby helped me today and I couldn't have had a better experience! I was not sure that a coupon I intended to use would work for the sale I wanted to use, but it all worked out perfectly! And, she was able to confirm that when you use a Walgreen's coupon from any of their booklets, it is unnecessary to clip more than one of them. The register is programmed to take off the coupon amount from each item purchased, as it does with coupons in the flyers. The coupons read: "Limit one coupon per customer per offer", so that can be a little confusing. But, when I purchased (2) Cottonelle 12 packs today, a total of $2 was removed from my total; (1) $1/1 for each item.

With Abby's assistance, I started my transactions by purchasing (1) Gillette Venus Razor system for $9.99. I used a $2/1 coupon (10/11 PG insert) and the $4.5RR from Schick Razor (earlier). My total amounted to $4.40 and I earned $4RR. Net transaction= .40¢.

Next, I bought a Schick Hydro 4 pack cartridge on sale for $8.49. I used a $2/1 manufacturer coupon and the $4RR. My total came to $3.33 and I received a $4.50RR. Net transaction= $1.17 profit.

I repeated these two transactions another time, with the same results. Then, I purchased (1) Gillette Fusion ProGlide Razor system for $9.99. I used a $5/1 manufacturer coupon and a $4.50RR. My total came to $1.40 and I earned a $4RR. Net transaction= $2.60 profit.

Finally, I bought (2) Cottonelle (12 large roll packs). These were on sale for $5.00 each, which made them about .42¢ per roll. I used (2) .75/1 manufacturer coupons and (1) $1/1 coupon from Walgreen's October Savings Book (this doubled as I explained above) and the $4RR I earned on the ProGlide System. My total came to $3.43 (.27¢/roll) and I earned a $3RR. My net transaction totalled .43¢.

Total Retail Value $72.71.
Total Cost Out of Pocket $19.61.
Savings of 77%.

*Note: In each of the above transactions, it was necessary to buy a "filler" item because I was using more manufacturer's coupons than the total of the items I was purchasing. Today, to my husband's delight, I used .39¢ vanilla caramels.


Free Nescafe Sample... while supplies last!

Imagine a soft, snowy afternoon. Snuggled in with your family, a warm fire toasting your tootsies, and a steaming cup of cocoa in your hands. It almost makes me wish for Winter...almost.

Click Here for Your Sample on Facebook, While Supplies Last.

Sonja ♥

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rain Checks

Today, I was in Bangor, so I ventured into Shaw's hoping to purchase 4 bags of Kibbles and Bits Dog food for my pooches. Shaw's has the 3.6-4.0 pound bags on sale for $6.43 each. This doesn't sound great, but they were included in this week's buy one, get one sale. So, two bags for $6.43. Still not a great price, but getting better. Here's the kicker, you can use (2) $1.50/1 Sunday paper inserts on the deal to bring the price of two bags down to $3.43. Put another way, 4 lbs of dog food for $1.71/bag. I can definitely live with that price.

My intention remained alive for all of the time it took me to get the the back of the store and see that the shelves were completely bare. *Gasp!* Color me disappointed. Shocked. Morose. But, wait! My coupons do not expire until 10/22. Hope abounds!

With a spring in my step and a pleasant determination in my belly, I walked to the Customer Service desk and politely requested a rain check for 4 bags. The friendly cashier was happy to help me and even let me know that their truck comes in by 2pm on Thursday and that the shelves are usually restocked within an hour or two of its arrival. Nice information to have.

I put my rain check with my coupons and made a mental note to return on Thursday afternoon. I do not anticipate a problem with this transaction and when all is done, I should have been able to buy 16 pounds of dog food for $6.86.

Rain Checks are a GREAT way to get the sale price on items when they are out of stock at the store. I can't stress enough how important it is to be organized keeping them. I slip mine into my coupon binder with the coupon that matches it. While, I have not found any stores willing to consider coupons that will expire before an item is back into stock, my Rite Aid has given me rain checks with an additional price modification for any Ups+ RRs I would lose out on. Handy, that. If your coupon is going to expire before the item comes in, you may want to consider that in deciding if it is worth getting the rain check. The other side of that coin is that other coupons may come out that work just as well for your rain checked item. It is my preference to get the rain check, hope the item comes in, and if not, look for other coupons to use with it.

What about you? Have you used rain checks? With what results?


Monday, October 17, 2011

Contest Update ♥

First of all, I am sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.... well, you get the point. It seems that some of you (read that all of you) that have tried to comment on the contest posting were unable to do so. There were some technical difficulties with the posting (which is what happens when I try to engage my brain at 6am) that made it impossible to post comments.

I will admit, I have been watching patiently, (read that: anxiously pacing, wringing my hands, and murmuring worried thoughts under my breath to the general dismay of my husband, children and closest friends for DAYS) waiting for the comments to start pouring in on my Rainy Day Give Away contest. I was a little confused about the lack of comments. I mean, who wouldn't want a FREE chance at winning a $20 gift card, right??? It wasn't until today when I attempted to post a comment on the posting myself, that I realized *whispers* I accidentally disabled comments.

So, to repeat my opening... Sorry to all you who attempted to comment already and the frustration you may have felt. On the bright side? The problem has been remedied. Please to commence the posting at your leisure... but before October 31st, when the contest closes.

Sonja ♥

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Free Organic Cold Medicines at Rite Aid this week

(3) Duract Cough Quick Melt Tabs, (3) Organix Defense Cough Drops, (3) Blistex Cold & Flu Lip Balm, (3) Sucrets, (1) Similasan Kids Cold & Mucus Relief, (3) St. Joseph's 81mg aspirin, (1) Saline Soothers, (3) Fun Size Candies (These were "fillers" and sadly, they suffered some casualties on the drive home.) ALL for a total cost of $6.06.
So many people I know are interested in using all natural, organic foods and medicines for their families. The complaint I hear often, though, is that these items are more expensive, there are not coupons for them, and they rarely go on sale. These things are not true. At least, not entirely. I will admit that coupons for organic foods and medicines are more rare to come across than their counterparts, they are not entirely lacking. I was pleased to see that Rite Aid is carrying a larger selection of these items AND are offering them on sale, with RRs, and with Single Check Rebates (SCR). Because of the limits imposed on this sale, I called in some family and friends and with 3 wellness cards in hand, consider me ready.
My shopping trip today, as usual, took many transactions to complete. I was glad to be in Bucksport. The crew there is just wonderful. I hate to inconvenience other shoppers, so I try to give some advance notice to the store about my check out needs. When I let the manager know that I was going to check out in nine multiple transactions, she opened a register herself to assist me. This is the way they do at Bucksport's Rite Aid, every time.

I began with $2.50 on RRs from last week. In order to use as little of my out of pocket money, I started with purchasing (1) Organix Defense Cough Drop and (1) Blistex Cold & Flu Lip Balm for $2.99. I paid with $2.50rr and .64¢ cash. I received $1.49rr and $1.50rr. Next, I bought (1) Sucrets for $2.99. I paid with $1.49rr and $1.50rr and .15¢ cash (for the tax) and I earned $2rr. Then, I purchased (1) St. Joseph's 81mg aspirin for $4.99. I used $1/1 coupon from Sunday insert, $2rr and $2.24 cash and I received $4rr. Finally, I purchased (1) Duract Cough Quick Melt Tabs for $6.00. I paid with $4rr and $2.30 cash and I received $6rr. Total out of Pocket equalled $5.33 and I ended with $6rr, which gave me a net profit of .67¢. So far, so good.

At this point, I switched to a second card. Because I now had $6rr to work with, I did not need to make as many small transactions. For my first exchange, I purchased (1) Sucrets for $2.99, (1) Blistex Cold & Flu Lip Balm for $1.49 and (1) St. Joseph's Aspirin for $4.99. I used a $1/1 coupon for the aspirin, the $6rr, and $2.95 in cash. And, I received back $4rr, $2rr, and $1.49rr. Lastly, I used those RRs to purchase (1) Organix Cough Drops and (1) Duract Cough Quick Melt Tabs. I paid .39¢ cash and I received $1.49rr and $6rr. Total out of Pocket for this set of transactions totaled $3.34 and I now had $7.49rr. One last card to use to complete my shopping.

On the third card, I began with purchasing Sucrets, St. Joseph's Aspirin, and Organix Cough Drops. I flipped the $6rr and $1.49rr from my last purchase, a $1/1 coupon for the St. Joe's and added $1.46 cash from my wallet. I received $2rr, $4rr, and $1.50rr. This is where I needed a filler item. The last two items I planned on purchasing were going to cost me $7.49, so I would either use more money out of pocket and keep some RRs, or bring my total .01¢ over the RRs I had available to spend. The Twix were on sale for $1. This was not the cheapest option available, but Twix are absolutely, addictively, delicious, and that is what I opted to buy. I purchased (1) Duract and (1) Blistex Cold & Flu Lip Balm and (1) Twix "fun size" candy for $1.52 cash and my earned RRs. I received $6rr and $1.49rr back. The net total for this set of transactions was $2.98 cash and I finished with $7.49rr.

My RR shopping complete, all I had left to buy were items that would be free after the Single Check Rebate. In planning my shopping trip today, I had intended to buy (1) Zarbee's Natraflu Nighttime Cough & Sleep Drink ($6.99), but the store was out of stock on them. I was offered a rain check, which normally, I would accept, but I did not need this medicine immediately and I will be near another Rite Aid tomorrow, so I will check there first. I did buy the $1 Saline Soothers Moisturizing Nose Wipes and Similisan Cold Relief for Children for $3.99. The Saline Soothers was a complete freebie and I had a $1.75/1 Similisan coupon which made this item a .76¢ money maker.

I love SCR. It is a great way to turn coupons and RRs back into cash. Rite aid mails me a check each month for my rebates. I only use the single check rebate program on items I am getting free. Additionally, I use any left over RRs to pay for the cost to purchase the items and because I have also used a coupon when making the original purchase, most of the time, these become better than FREE. I just happily deposit the money into my checking account each month. Gotta love that!

I am waiting for the first sign of scratchy throat complaints to use the Organix Defense Cough Drops. They are sugar fee, gluten free and all organic. I am tempted to try the New Mint Chocolate flavored ones now- cold or no cold. Maybe, I better just have a mini Twix and call it a night instead.

Good night, all.
Sonja ♥

Friday, October 14, 2011

Shaw's + General Mills Products= HUGE SAVINGS

Shopping at Shaw's today was AWESOME. I will admit, there is a little bit of an adrenaline rush when I am in line, waiting to see if everything is going to work out the way I planned it. I needed to make some minor alterations at the store to compensate for some coupon match ups and that only added to my state of excited nervousness. I came within $5 of what I intended to spend. Success!!!Total Retail for my purchases $139.05. My out of pocket expense was $ 38.03 AND I earned a $10 On Your Next Order (oyno) coupon, which made my net transaction $28.03. Total Savings 79%.
The sale Shaw's advertised was save $10 On Your Next Order when you buy $25 in participating General Mills products. The $25 mark is triggered before you apply coupons, so you don't actually spend $25 in cash monies to qualify for the $10 catalina. As usual, I wanted to spend as little out of my pocket as possible, so I broke up my purchases into 3 transactions.
Transaction #1:
The differences in the amount I paid and the sale amount reflect the additional savings I enjoyed from the coupons I used. Shaw's only allows "4 like" coupons for each transaction, so that was another factor in my transaction groupings. I used both online coupons and Sunday paper insert coupons in various amounts, which is why on one graph, it will show more money for the same product than on another graph.
Transaction #2:
The out of pocket amount is the cost after all my coupons were applied and before the additional $10 OYNO catalina. After earning the first $10 OYNO in transaction #1, I used it to pay down my out of pocket balance in transaction #2. And, since it only matters that the total before coupons reached $25, I earned another $10 OYNO catalina. In all, I earned three of them, but rolled them on each subsequent transaction. If I had purchased everything in one transaction, I would have paid $58.03 out of pocket and earned (3) $10 catalinas. The final net amount of $28.03 would be the same, but by employing multiple transactions, I used catalina money to pay and kept my money in the bank where it does my family greater good.

Transaction #3:
I am quite pleased with my results, but I have more coupons which correspond to this sale, so I will probably plan to revisit Shaw's when I am in Bangor again later this week. I am very visual, so I brought home the flyer to look through, mark up, and devise possibly a better deal than today's. The internet is full of sites that give you sneak peaks at ad scans for upcoming sale weeks. For this week's sale the most helpful one for me was from Money Saving Maine-iac's blog which You Can Read Here. Oh! And, purchasing 5 GM Cereals together in my final transaction (not 4) triggered a $2/5 any GM cereal catalina.

The other cool things about this sale is that all the items I purchased had a General Mills "box top for education" label, which are worth .10 cents each (today's total was $5.30) AND because I purchased more than ten qualifying items in each transaction, it triggered (3) 10 Bonus box tops codes worth an additional $3.00 That means, Searsport Middle School's parent/teacher group just got $8.30 richer just by my buying my family's groceries today.

At the end of today's trip, I had purchased: 15 boxes Totino's Pizza Rolls, 6 bags Betty Crocker Cookie Mixes, 6 boxes GM Cereals, 16 boxes Betty Crocker Potatoes, 8 bags Chex Mix, and 4 bags of Bugles... all for less than $30.00.

Sonja ♥


Rainy Day $20 Gift Card Give Away

Good Morning, Friends!

I woke this morning at 6am to find it still raining. It looks to clear tomorrow, but for now, it does not make the body feel much like being up and about, ready to take on the new day. I don't care for dreary days. So, I said to myself, "Self, we are going to need to do something special today."

I got a little excited about the Shaw's possibilities starting today, and organizing my sale strategy for that helped brighten my mood a bit, but then I thought... how about a contest???? There truly is more happiness in giving than receiving. I would love to give every reader an extra $20 to use for their shopping needs, but that would not be realistic. So, the next best thing is this:

I am entering every "follower" (aka Member) of this blog into a contest to win your choice of one $20 gift card to either Shaw's, Hannaford, Rite Aid, or Walgreen's.
To enter the contest, all you must do is this:

1. Simply scroll down and watch the right hand side to find the "Members" list. Click the "sign in" link and complete the easy sign in instructions. If you are already a member, no worries: no need to sign up, go on to step 2.

2. Once you are a "member", comment your choice of which gift card you would prefer to win in the comments section of this blog.

3. To gain a second chance to win, comment your gift card choice on our facebook post, also.

For complete contest rules, Please visit HERE.

Have a Happy Day, Everyone!
Sonja ♥

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rite Aid: Free Cold and Flu Medicines

Rite Aid has been very kind to me lately. Last week, it was the awesome deal on Dove line hair care products. Read about that HERE. This week it is the place to go for cold and flu medicine, sore throat spray, cough drops, chapstick and hand sanitizer. And, most of it is FREE.

My husband, Sean and I, are a team when it comes to couponing, finding sales and saving money. When it comes to the actual shopping, though, it is usually me at the register figuring out in what order to buy things and how to group my transactions to use the least amount of cash possible. I don't mind that because it can get confusing when more than one mind is trying to put things on the counter and keeping track of RRs. But, yesterday, I challenged Sean to go to the Bucksport Rite Aid solo and come home with the best deal he could find. He did GREAT! With no coupons to use and no RRs to start with, he brought home this: (4) bottles of Hand Sanitizer, (1) Burt's Bees Cough Drops, and (1) box Cepacol Sore Throat Drops. He spent $2.85 and brought home $3.50 in RRs for a PROFIT of .65¢. I'd say he successfully completed that challenge!

Transaction #1:
He bought (2) Hand Sanitizers for $1.00 each, with tax, cost out of pocket= $2.10. He paid with cash and earned (2) $1 RRs. Total cost .10¢.

Transaction #2:
He repeated this purchase exactly, except he paid with $2 RRs. Cost out of pocket= .10¢ and he earned (2) $1 RRs. Net cost. $1.90 money maker.

Transaction #3:
He purchased the Burt's Bees Cough Drops for $1.49, with tax= $1.56. He paid with $1RR and .56¢ out of pocket and earned $1.49 RR. Net cost= .93¢ money maker.

Transaction #4:
Sean bought the Cepacol Sore Throat Drops for $2.50. He paid with $1 RR, $1.49 RR, and .09¢ out of pocket and earned a $2.50 RR. Net cost= $2.41 money maker.

He paid a total of $2.85 out of pocket and left with $2.50 RR and $1.00 RR, so he made a profit of  .65¢ buying his items. I will gladly admit it: he did better than me! I spent money on my shopping trip, but I am still pleased with the overall results.

I purchased (6) bottles of Hand Sanitizer, (2) Chloraseptic Sore Throat Spray, (2) Defend (liquid) Cold & Cough Relief, (3) Comtrex: Cold & Cough, Severe Cold & Sinus, and Cold & Sinus, (3) Burt's Bees Cough Drops, (3) Cepacol Sore Throat Drops, (3) Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment, and (1) Zarbees all-natural Children's Cough Syrup.

When I reviewed the flyer online, I knew that I was going to want to stock up and that my friends and family may need some of these products in preparation for winter's cold season. Most of these items had a limit of one, except the Hand Sanitizer (which had a limit of 4 per reward card) This meant that I needed to call on my friends and family to see if I could use their reward cards. This saved them from having to shop and allowed me to stock up on more than the limit allowed. With four reward cards in hand, I was ready to visit the Broadway, Bangor Right Aid. I was going to have to be very careful to keep track of which cards and items I used together.

I started with a $5 RR (from Dove last week). My shopping was broken into seven transactions that went like this:

Transaction #1
I purchased one Defend Cold & Cough Relief for $5.99. I paid using my $5RR and $1.30 in cash. I earned a $5 RR. Total cost out of pocket $1.30.

Transaction #2
I purchased one Chloraseptic Throat Spray for $3.99 and one box Comtrex Severe Cold/Sinus  for $3.99. I paid with $5RR and $3.38 out of pocket and I earned (2) $3 RRs.

Transaction #3
I bought three Hand Sanitizers at $1 each, one Blistex Lip Ointment for $1.49, one box Cepacol Sore Throat Drops for $2.50, and one bag Burt's Bees Cough Drops for $1.49. I paid with (2) $3RRs and $2.91 out of pocket and I earned: (3) $1RR, (2) $1.49 RR, $2.50RR. (Total RRs $8.49.)

Transaction #4
I bought one Chloraseptic Throat Spray for $3.99 and one Defend Cold & Cough Relief for $5.99. I paid with the $8.49 RRs from the previous sale and $1.98 cash out of pocket. I received $5 RR and $3RR.

Transaction #5
I purchased one Comtrex Cold & Cough for $3.99, one Blistex Lip Ointment for $1.49, one Cepacol Sore Throat Drops for $2.50, and one Burt's Bees Cough Drops for $1.49. I paid with $5RR and $3RR and $1.95 out of pocket. I received $3RR, (2) $1.49RR, $2.50RR.

Transaction #6
I repeated transaction 5 for items purchased. I paid with $3RR, (2) $1.49RR, $2.50RR and $1.47 in cash and I earned $3RR, (2) $1.49RR, $2.50RR again.

Transaction #7
I purchased three Hand Sanitizers for $1 each. I paid with $3RR and .15¢ out of pocket. I earned (3) $1RR.

When I had completed my purchases, I had spent a total of  $12.68 out of pocket. I left the store with (3) $1RRs, (2) $1.49RRs, & $2.50RR =$8.48 RRs total. My net cost was $4.20 for everything I purchased.

These are the items which cost me NOTHING to purchase, I only had to pay the tax on them.

I also bought a Zarbees all-natural Children's Cough Syrup for $5.99. This item has a Single Check Rebate of $5.99, so it was free, too.

We are all stocked and ready to go for cold season. I sincerely hope that we avoid the flu again this year, but if we become ill with a sore throat or a cold/cold & sinus thing, we will have the medicine on hand to combat it.

One additional thought that I wanted to share. I had seven transactions to complete. I was not the only Customer in Rite Aid shopping. When another Customer was ready to check out their selections, I paused and moved aside and waited for them to complete their purchase. Did I have to do that? Wasn't I a Customer, too, and in line first? Well, yes, you could reason that way. But, I consider this to be in a similar vein to NEVER clearing a shelf at the store. Read more about it HERE.  It is just good manners and it is the right things to do. Most Customers are coming in for a couple of items and need to get on their way. I, too, don't want to be in the store longer than necessary, but I also choose to save money by breaking things into smaller transactions, so I can roll my RRs and use them to the best advantage. Please, readers, be considerate to others.

One additional perk to kind behavior: in my experience, the cashiers really appreciate it and I cannot repeat this enough, you WANT them on your TEAM.

Sonja ♥

Monday, October 10, 2011

Coupons and Codes Galore!

I was contacted recently with an invitation to check out the site www.couponchief.com. They promised I would find the latest up-to-date coupon codes for online and in store purchases. I, personally, have had very limited experience with shopping online and using codes, but I was definitely interested in checking it out. I am always interested in adding a new way to save money to my living frugal arsenal.

My first step was to simply log into their site and browse a bit. It looked interesting enough that I decided to sign up and begin my first foray. I scrolled through ten pages of coupon codes for everything from Walgreen's to Old Navy, PhotoWorks to Express. Some of the coupons were for up to 55% off- even on clearance items! Others were for free shipping if you ordered a certain dollar amount.

Interest piqued further, I was ready to delve in and see just what kind of deal I could find. My attention was first caught by an offer for a FREE 8x10 collage picture from Walgreen's. I thought that this seemed promising. I created a Walgreen's account and uploaded a couple of pictures. At the checkout screen I was prompted to enter my code [COLLAGE], but sadly, this code had just expired. Strike One. Hmmm... I was starting to get a little concerned.

I browsed a little longer and found another offer that I wanted to check out. Bath and Body Works was offering two coupon codes; one for free shipping on orders more than $25.00 and the other offered 20% off my order. And, their online store had tons of choices. At the check out, the coupon [F114778] worked without any problems at all. I did not reach the $25.00 limit, so shipping was an additional $5.99. Visit Bath and Body Works Here.

Also, Coupon Chief has an interesting premise. You can actually earn money yourself by posting valid codes. It is super easy. Just create a free account at the www.couponchief.com website. Upload coupons using their upload tool. Every time someone uses a coupon you uploaded, you will earn 2% of the sales. (For complete details visit the site.) You can track your earnings on your "my account" page. What a great idea, right? I have not yet tried this option out for myself, yet, but I will be doing so.

All in all, I was very impressed with the ease of the site, the variety of the offers and stores represented. I love the idea of making money uploading coupon codes I come across in my everyday web travels. I was a little disappointed that the first coupons was already expired, but that can happen anywhere, really.

Check them out and let me know what coupon codes you find!

Sonja ♥

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I have been compensated to provide my honest opinion regarding this website. Regardless of compensation, I will always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.