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 ♥