Monday, December 22, 2008

Caregivers Mail-in Rebate Form

When searching for a coupon the other day, I came across this website:

I immediately thought of Sherry and all the products she buys for Stephen. I sent her the link, and she says she has enough receipts to submit and get $50 back!

As a disclaimer, I don't know much about this rebate system, but I thought I'd post the link in case others (my very welcome visitors) would like to try it out. It appears that anyone with a child under 5 is eligible for rebates on certain Huggies diapers and skin products.

Hope this helps someone!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Today was better than Thanksgiving!

Oh, CVS...You've given me such a wonderful early Christmas present...

I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I hit the CVS 2-Day sale after lunch and made a killing. Well, $26.03 to be exact, and that's not including the $9 in rebates I'll apply for.

I dragged Lance along as an accomplice. We loaded up our baskets with the carefully chosen free-after-rebate items, and used each of our cards to maximize the savings. The only item that was completely missing was the Arm & Hammer Essentials cleaner. And they only had one box of Benefiber, but luckily they had a few bottles of Complete left to fill the void in my transactions.

Everything went off without a hitch! I walked out with $107.71 worth of merchandise, having only paid $2.80 in cash, and ended up with $28.83 MORE in ExtraCare Bucks than I came in with! AAAAAAND I'll be submitting the rebate form for one Excedrin and one Zantac, which is another $8.98 back in my pocket!

Can you tell I'm stoked?

But do you know what REALLY excited me? When the receipts printed out, and they were both over six feet long! I used to joke to Lance that one day my receipt would be longer than me, and today it really happened. Twice. Ha ha!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Back and ready for action

Though it looks like I may have picked up a cold from my niece and nephew this weekend while in Pigeon Forge, I was nonetheless ready to hit CVS as SOON as we got into town. Oh, yes, the deals are good this week, especially for getting one's total up to $50 in order to use a $10/$50 purchase coupon.

I have made not one, but TWO trips to CVS in the 3 hours we've been back. The first trip was not as successful as I hoped. I ended up paying way too much, because I got hurried and a) forgot to give the cashier one of my $2 coupons, and b) bought two unnecessary items, thinking I needed them to get my total over $50. I hate when I mess up! So I'll be taking the two extra items back and then I think I'll be breaking even.

The second trip, however, was more of a success. I decided to try a different CVS to see if they had the money-making contact solution in stock. They did! AND they had the 12-pack of Rolaids softchews I've been searching for. Hooray!

Here's how the second trip went:
  • Complete contact solution, $8.99, get $8.99 ECBs
  • Earinse, $9.99, get $9.99 ECBs
  • SleepMD, $7.99, get $7.99 ECBs
  • Rolaids Softchews 12-pack, $2.89 each, get $2 ECBs for each
  • Colgate Total Advanced, $2.99, get $2 ECBs

Coupons used:

  • $2 Mfr. Q for Complete
  • two $1 Mfr. Q for Rolaids Softchews
  • $1 CVS Q for Colgate Total
  • $0.75 Mfr. Q for any Colgate toothpaste
  • $5 off a $30 CVS purchase (came in an email)

Total before coupons = $35.74. Total after coupons = $24.99. Used $24.76 ECBs from my Thanksgiving stash, and paid cash for the remaining $0.23 plus $0.46 tax. Earned a total of $32.97 ECBs, making a profit of $7.52!

If I had been thinking clearly, I could have easily thrown some other items on and been able to use the $10/$50 coupon. I could have made a few more bucks that way. But I won't worry too much about it, I guess. The fact that I can actually earn money by shopping is so amazing that it's hard to be too upset about not making MORE. I'm happy with what I've got.

And now, the question of the day: Does anyone actually USE saline ear rinse??

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thank you, Walgreens!

I had to go to Walgreens to return something (grrrr), so I figured I'd try to utilize the holiday rewards for this week (get $5 Register Reward for a $25 purchase). I wasn't interested in the deal previously, but then I read on MoneySavingMom about the L'Oreal raincheck. Since buying that would put about $15 towards the $25 total, I knew I could throw some extra things on there as filler and get the Register Reward.

I picked the following fillers: 2 4-packs of Scotch tape, 5-lb. bag of sugar, and a bottle of Arm & Hammer detergent. The tape was free after EasySaver rebate, and I had a $1 coupon off of two (money-maker!). The other two products were on sale with the ad coupon, plus I had Mfr. coupons.

After coupons and tax, my total came to $18.38. I will get a full rebate on the L'Oreal and Scotch tape, plus get the extra 10% for putting the balance on my gift card, so I'll get back a total of $18.69! That's a profit of $0.31 PLUS the $5 Register Reward that printed out!

Yeah, that rocks. I love free stuff.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Silent night

We got a surprising amount of snow this evening. It's so pretty and peaceful. I figured this was a good time to try using my camera for a night shot. I only recently read (on someone's blog, of course!) about how to accomplish this. It takes a very slow shutter speed, a 2 second delay, and a tripod (a tiny one, set on top of the grill). The shot turned out nice. It really captures the way the snow and clouds reflect a pinkish light.

So pretty.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blogosphere + coupons + Kroger = STEALS!

Look what I got for under $6 (including tax) at Kroger today:
The only things I really PAID for were the croutons (our absolute favorite brand) and the cookie dough. And of course I had coupons for both of those. : )

The total came to right around $5.50 for the three transactions, of which $1.50 was tax. I did three transactions, because each of the Fleischmann's yeast packets gave a $0.50 Catalina, which I turned around and used to buy another package and a can of chili (on sale for $1 each). I only had to pay $0.18 for each yeast and chili transaction. If I had known that it would have worked so well, I would have taken more Fleischmann's coupons!

I got a tip from another blog about the freebies to be had. I know that reading other peoples' blogs seems like a waste of time, but it's worth it to find these kinds of deals. If I remembered where I heard about these deals, I would post the link and give that person the credit, but I honestly don't recall! I'll have to pay more attention from now on.

Well, it sounds like the bread machine is done making the dough for my rolls, so I best get to the kitchen.

Ta ta!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The scientist in the kitchen

I must admit to approaching my kitchen counter as I do the lab bench: I have a detailed plan to follow and a hypothesis in mind. And just like in the lab, things don't always turn out how you want them to do.

Saturday's experiment was chicken pot pie. (How can I call myself a Southern woman without knowing how to make this, the very epitome of comfort food?) I had a yummy-sounding recipe (, all the ingredients, but no pie plate. I decided to try breaking the recipe up into individual pies. I scrounged up the best containers I could find: four heart-shaped ramekins from Valentine's Day. I knew they looked kind of small, but I figured it didn't matter, because they were all I had.

With my ramekins ready, I went to work making the crusts. (Wow, what a time-consuming step! Next time I will try using a food processor like others do.) With the crusts finally rolled out and chilling in the fridge, I started chopping vegetables for the filling. When I cut into the onion I had just bought from Kroger that morning, it was completely rotten inside! I was so disgusted and frustrated. There goes one ingredient. (Thank goodness I had minced onion and onion powder to substitute.)

It seemed to take forever, but I finally got the filling ready to go. I got the crusts out, and began laying them in the ramekins...and recognized a rookie mistake: I had made the crusts all the same size instead of making some large enough to cover the bottom AND sides! Rats. I did the best I could to stretch them, but finally had to give up and move along. So I poured in the filling, and noticed that I would have a lot of unused filling if I didn't top them off as high as possible. With the ramekins almost overflowing (and that's with filling left over!), I topped them with more crust, pricked the tops, and put them in the oven on a baking sheet.

Forty minutes later, I pulled out some nicely browned pot pies...which sat in a pool of filling. Oh, well. As messy as they were, they actually tasted pretty good, if I do say so myself. Lance was happy. And the portion was just right. I still think I'll check the thrift stores for some larger (10 ounce) round ramekins for next time I give this a whirl.

That said, I'd say this experiment was successful. I filled our bellies with some good comfort food and learned some lessons. The scientist in me is pleased.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Now THAT'S what I call Customer Service!

I just want to brag on CVS a little bit...

As I explained before, my bottom line on Thanksgiving was affected by the Maybelline Mineral Powder foundation ECB not printing like it should. Well, I went online and left a message for CVS Customer Service, explaining what happened and politely asking for advice on rectifying the situation.

In two days, I received an email from a representative saying that they have now credited my ExtraCare account with $9, which will print out next time I make a purchase! (Since the product was only $8.99, I guess I just made a penny, ha ha!)

I just love CVS. Eight months ago, I didn't even acknowledge its existence, but now I'm a loyal customer. Who needs Wal-mart, anyway?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving at CVS

CVS started their Black Friday deals on Thursday, meaning technically at midnight Wed. night for our 24-hour store. I was so tempted to gather my coupons and head over at midnight (or a little before) to grab all the great deals to be had, but I convinced myself that THAT would push me into the realm of Crazy-Obsessive Coupon Queen. And besides, I thought to myself, I'm sure no one else is going to grab all the freebies before I get there early Thursday morning!

I was so, so wrong.

It was quiet enough when I pulled into the CVS parking lot at around 7:10 am Thursday. I was pleased to see only a couple of cars. This should be a piece of cake! I got inside and grabbed a shopping cart. I started my rounds, knowing exactly which aisles to head for. And a lady with a cart stopped me. "You're here for the deals?" she asked. I smiled and nodded. "Well, just so you know, they're already out of the razors and iPod headphones. People bought them all last night."


I was fuming through the rest of my shopping. Why on earth didn't I come in last night? I could have gotten the items I REALLY wanted! Later, I ran into one of my favorite cashiers, who told me she had been at CVS at midnight and witnessed the frenzy of the coupon queens. They started crowding the aisles at 11 pm, grabbing items off the shelf before others could, and freaking out over coupons they dropped. Then they all flooded the check-out lines once the sale officially started. Maybe I DIDN'T want to be in the middle of all that.

Well, regardless, I still got some great products (most less than free) and walked out with more ECBs than I came in with. Not too bad! Here's how it went...

Transaction #1:
  • Johnson's Soft Lotion, $5.69, get $5.69 ECB, used $1 MQ
  • Colgate Total toothpaste, $2.99, get $2.99 ECB, used $1.50 MQ
  • Garnier 25-ct towelettes, $5.99, get $5.99 ECB, used $1 MQ
  • Covergirl Smoothers makeup, $7.99, get $7.99 ECB, used $1 MQ
  • Covergirl pressed powder, $5.99, get $5.99 ECB, used $1 MQ
  • Gatorade G2, $1.49, get $1.49 ECB
  • Used a CVS coupon for $5 off a $30 purchase (came in an email)

Total before coupons = $30.14, total after coupons = $19.64. Paid with $18.99 in ECBs, and the remaining $0.65 plus $0.55 tax went on my gift card. Got back a total of $30.14 in ECBs, meaning I made $9.95 from this transaction.

Transaction #2:

  • 2 Aussie conditioners, $2.99 each, get $2.99 ECB for each, used (2) $1 MQs
  • Playtex tampons, $3.99, get $3 ECB, used $1 MQ
  • Colgate Total, $2.99, get $2.99 ECB, used $1 MQ and $1 CVS Q (from scanner)
  • L'Oreal lip gloss, $6.99, get $6.99 ECB
  • Retro air popper machine, $19.99, get $10 ECB
  • Maybelline mineral makeup, $8.99, get $8.99 ECB (which didn't print)
  • 2 King sized Hershey bars, $1, get $1 ECB for first one (fillers)
  • Used a CVS coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase (from scanner)

Total before coupons = $50.93, total after coupons = $35.43. Paid with $35.45 in ECBs (adjusted down to $35.43 by the cashier), and the $0.42 in tax went on my gift card. Got back a total of $29.96 in ECBs, meaning I paid $5.89 for this transaction. I will contact customer service about the $8.99 ECB that didn't print, or else return the item. Then I will be making a profit of $3.10 on this transaction.

Transaction #3:

  • Crest Spinbrush, $5.99, get $2 ECB, used $2 MQ
  • L'Oreal lip gloss, $6.99, get $6.99 ECB
  • Sally Hansen nail polish, $3.79, get $3.79 ECB
  • Universal Remote, $6.99, get $6.99
  • 5-hour energy shots 2-pack, $3.99, get $3.99 ECB
  • Breeze II glucose monitor, $30, used $30 MQ
  • Used another CVS Q for $10 off a $50 purchase

Total before coupons = $57.75, total after coupons = $15.75. Paid with $15.69 in ECBs, and the remaining $0.06 plus $2.97 tax went on my gift card. Got back a total of $23.76 in ECBs, meaning I made $5.04 from this transaction.

So right now, while missing the $8.99 ECB for the Maybelline, I've still made a PROFIT of $9.10 by buying all this stuff. I should have ended up with a profit of $18.09. Believe me, I'll get it taken care of. : )

I gave away almost half of these items at Thanksgiving, which was fun. I felt like Santa Claus! As for the rest, I'm happy to have an air popper, which is something I've always wanted, and the Aussie conditioner is one of my favorites. Yes, I have another glucose monitor, but Uncle Steve says that the Cuba missionaries could use them, so I'll hopefully be able to ship those out very soon.

The shopping trip took maybe an hour, so I was home in plenty of time to start making up some waffle batter, real whipped cream, butter-pecan syrup, biscuits, sausage, bacon, and gravy for a family Thanksgiving breakfast. Mom brought some ham and fruit salad, and Claire brought eggs to scramble. We had quite a feast! I ate so much that I wasn't even hungry until we got to Huntsville for the big family dinner gathering at 5 pm.

All in all, the day went very well, from start to finish. A great Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Where there's a will...

It seems that I am slowly becoming one of those crazed coupon queens.

Yes, I made a Sunday afternoon CVS run. I had to! The Complete contact solution was a $2 money-maker, and I KNEW they wouldn't stock the shelf with enough bottles to last until tomorrow morning!

When I arrived, I immediately headed for the eye care aisle. And was disappointed to see that the Complete section was already COMPLETELY EMPTY. There went that $8.99 towards my $50 total.

I briefly considered turning on my heels in a huff and leaving without making a purchase at all. But then I remembered that my sweet husband made the effort to drive me to CVS. (I have a near-migraine, which may otherwise incapacitate me, but it ain't keeping me from some sweet deals.) I knew he wouldn't be happy if we just left with nothing.

So I decided to try to work a new scenario to get my total up to $50 without going too much in the hole. (As in, having to pay money. Ha!) I got some other things I planned on, picked up a pet bed for Baxter (which I DIDN'T plan on, since they have been out of stock for weeks), and was trying to think of something else to get as "filler". It was then that I had an idea, and headed back to the eye care aisle.

I knew that the spot for Complete was empty, but on a hunch I reached my hand back behind some neighboring products. I smiled, and pulled out a lone box of Complete. Lance looked surprised, but I wasn't. Someone had apparently hidden the last box with the intent to return for it later. Won't they be shocked to see that I outsmarted them?

So here's the transaction I ended up with:
  • 3 3-packs of Dial bar soaps, on sale for $1.99 each, get back $1 ECB each
  • 2 CVS tissues, on sale for $0.99 each
  • 1 12 oz. bottle of Complete, on sale for $8.99, get $8.99 ECB
  • 2 4-packs of rechargeable Energizer batteries, on sale for $10 each; buy $20 worth, get $10 ECB
  • 1 Maybelline Mineral liquid makeup, on sale for $8.99, get $8.99 ECB
  • Pet bed, on sale for $5.99

Total before coupons = $51.92

Coupons used:

  • CVS coupon for $10 off $50 purchase
  • 3 Mfr. coupons for $0.30 off Dial soap
  • CVS coupon for $1 off 2 boxes of CVS brand tissues
  • Printable Mfr. coupon for $2 off Complete
  • 2 Mfr. coupons for $1 off any Energizer batteries

Total after coupons = $36.02

Paid with $35.97 ECBs (My entire stash! I was glad to be able to use that large $15.99 one from last week...), and that left only 5 CENTS plus tax! Lance scrounged up the $0.51 cents, and we walked out with $30.98 in ECBs, plus an extra $5 ECB printed on the receipt, because I took a survey earlier this month. That means I spent only $0.50 on this transaction!

I'm having more fun shopping lately, because I have a specific plan for the extra freebies I'm able to pick up. In fact, it's making me try even harder to get more! I can't wait to hand over the big box of stuff I've collected...I dare say that it will mean more to me on that day than to the recipient. : )

And just in case this post wasn't long enough...Here's Baxter already enjoying his new bed under Daddy's desk (one of his favorite places to be):

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Behold, a great wonder!

See this?
This is what we CVSers would call a miracle. It's a free-after-ECB item...which was still available MID-WEEK!

I amuse myself sometimes with images of crazed coupon queens flooding the stores at 12:01 am Sunday morning, elbowing each other out of the way to grab the freebies off the shelf. But whatever the case may be, the reality is that if you wait until Monday to visit CVS, that freebie shelf will be empty. You snooze, you lose.

But not this week.

I ambled into my store after church on Wednesday night, husband in tow (I had to bribe him with promises of pistachios, which I knew to be on sale), prepared with my list and coupons, and just thought I'd swing by the L'Oreal area to see if they had any Age Perfect left. Imagine my shock when I saw TWO (!!!) packages sitting on the shelf. My jaw went slack, and I stood there for several seconds, just staring. How is this possible?

As elated as I was when placing the item in my basket, I knew that this would totally throw off my planned transaction. And it did. I could have worked a MUCH better deal than I did, and I could have actually used one of the eight $10/$50 CVS coupons I have amassed! Oh, well. Can't win 'em every time.

It still worked out to be a fantastic money-maker. It cost $15.99. I used a $1 Manufacturer coupon, a $2 off any L'Oreal product CVS coupon, and a $3 off any $15 face care CVS coupon. (Did I luck out at the coupon scanner or WHAT?) I got an ExtraCare Buck for $15.99 towards my next purchase. That, my friends, is a gain of $6!

Now my only problem is figuring out how to spend that $15.99 ECB. Good grief!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kroger and Publix deals

Hi, all!

I finally went grocery shopping to get real food. As in, things other than evaporated milk and ice cream. We can't really subsist on those, sadly enough.

Believe it or not, at Kroger I used absolutely no paper coupons. *gasp* The only thing I used was a Shortcuts coupon for $0.45 off of Kroger cheese. The bag of shredded pizza cheese I got was on sale for $1.67, so I got it for $1.22. Not bad.

Where I REALLY racked up the savings was on the Manager's Specials in the meat department. I got some nice looking pork chops and an expensive cut of angus steak, both for about $3.40/lb. For less than $10, I have at least four meals-worth of good meat (meals for two). That's about $1.25 per individual meal, so I consider that a good deal. I plan on splitting up the cuts into dinner portions (for two), adding some marinade to the baggies, and popping them into the freezer. That way, when I pull out a dinner portion to thaw in the fridge, the meat will soak up the marinade as it thaws. Saves some time and effort.

I made a run to Publix while I was out (I'm thankful that they are within a few hundred feet of each other), and caught some great deals. Celery for $0.89, Jimmy Dean sausage rolls for $1.50 (sale price $2.50 minus $1 Mfr. coupon from Publix flyer), Uncle Ben's wild rice for $0.46 a box (sale price $0.80 minus $1/3 coupon from insert), and the best deal of all...Green Giant low-salt canned vegetables for -$.15 each (sale price $0.45 minus doubled $0.30 coupon = less than free)!

Since I got a $5/$35 Publix coupon in the mail this week, I tacked on some other things, like Dr. Peppers (on sale for $3 each) and got my total up to just over $35. Why is it that I can easily drop $60 at Publix on any other day, but when I have a $5/$35 coupon I struggle to spend enough?

God bless Publix and their $/$$ coupons! Whoever says Publix is too expensive just isn't paying enough attention. I've found that Publix produce is of much better quality than Kroger, and they always price their lettuce heads at least 20 cents lower than Kroger (today I got Green Leaf lettuce at Publix for $1.99, instead of $2.29 at Kroger). And you can't beat their BOGO deals, coupled with coupons. You can always find something to get for free or almost-free. Why, Publix is where I got Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes for less than free a few months ago!

Anyway, it was a good grocery run. I spent about $58 between both places, but considering that included about 3 or 4 months-worth of sodas and enough meat to last a month, I'm happy.

Now I'm off to portion up the meat! (It's odd that this stuff makes me so happy...)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I love our backyard this time of year...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Warm puppy

Baxter crawled under the heated blanket I keep on my feet:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kroger Mega Event

And what a Mega Event it was!

Have you ever seen a register tape this long with coupons? Yes, that whole section is ONLY coupons! The cashier wasn't thrilled.

The whole lot (at sale prices) came to $63.07 before coupons and taxes. After coupons, the total was $23.22, plus another $4.96 in tax. (Why, oh, why do I get taxed for the pre-coupon total?)

Sure, my bottom line wasn't as amazing as a lot of other folks', but I added in a few impulse buys, like marshmallows. : )

Here's what I got for free:
  • 3 huge bottles of spring water
  • 4 cans Carnation Evaporated milk (holiday baking!)
  • 4 small bottles of Tylenol PM
  • 3 10-packs disposable razors
  • 3 small lint brushes
  • 1 4-pack of Cottonelle

For cheap:

  • 2 cans of Progresso soup, $0.30 each
  • 2 boxes Betty Crocker potatoes, $0.28 each
  • 3 cans Beefaroni, $0.77 each (Yes, I still eat this stuff!)
  • big tub Breyers ice cream, $1.50

I got a lot of things (about $11 worth, to be exact) to make some white chicken chili tomorrow to take to Lance's boss's harvest party. $11 seems like a lot to me, but I guess a big crockpot of soup feeds at least ten, so $1 a meal isn't too bad. These days I think of everything in terms of cost-per-meal. It's a sickness.

*Just a side note: I LOVE! It's a wonderful way to get extra savings. I loaded a $0.50 Cottonelle Q, a $0.35 Betty Crocker potato Q, and a $0.50/2 Progresso soups Q, and THEN used manufacturer's coupons for each! The $0.25 Cottonelle Mfr. coupon (doubled) made the toilet paper free!

*Another side note: With all the free Cottonelle I keep getting at Kroger, it seems I'll never have to dip into that truck load I bought at CVS a few months ago...Ha ha!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Raised bed, Part Two

Hooray, the bed is finished! On Saturday morning, Lance secured the rest of the side braces and put boards across the middle for stability. Cedar is really light and flexible, so we didn't want the heaviness of the dirt to make the sides bow out. It's not going anywhere now!

As you can see, I put down pieces of cardboard along the inside. It's sitting on top of the expensive landscaping fabric. You can never be too careful when it comes to keeping Bermuda grass at bay. Once that stuff gets in, you might as well give up.

With the leftover cardboard (which all came from big boxes during renovation), I folded up pieces and laid them around the perimeter of the bed, even in between the bed and the fence. I then went around and laid a good 4 inch deep layer of mulch on top of that. I'm serious about my grass control!

You may notice a little red bush at the end of the bed on the right. That's my blueberry bush, which has been in a pot for a couple of years now. I'm hoping it will do better in the ground. I'll have to amend the pH of the soil some, but hopefully it'll be happier there.

Well, Dad is going to help us get good compost to fill the bed with in a few weeks, so stay tuned for more!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Diabetes monitor count = 4

Being a non-diabetic, I never thought I'd buy so many diabetes monitors. It's starting to get ridiculous.

Today's CVS Transaction:
  • Bayer Contour monitor, $30
  • Nova Max monitor, $9.99, get $9.99 ECBs
  • 10 Ice Cubes gum; Buy 10 specified items, get $5 ECBs
  • Crest Pro-Health toothpaste, $3.49, get $3.49 ECBs

Coupons used:

  • $30 Bayer Contour Mfr. Q from recent insert
  • 5 $1/2 Ice Cubes gum Mfr. Q from recent insert
  • $1 Crest Mfr. Q from mid-October P&G insert
  • $10/$50 CVS Q

Paid with $3.57 ECBs, put remaining $3.79 on gift card ($3.37 was tax, ugh!), got back a total of $14.99 in ECBs. That's a profit of $7.63 for the night! ($14.99 ECBs earned minus $3.57 ECBs used minus $3.79 on gift card.)

Know what bothers me? When people try to say they earned a lot more than they really did, because they don't "count" the ECBs they used to pay. Grrrr. Yeah, I COULD say that I earned $14.99 tonight, but that would be a little misleading, wouldn't it?

I bet those same people lied about being subscribers in order to get that last $3/$15 CVS coupon. I wasn't willing to stoop that low just to save a few bucks.

Climbing down from my soapbox now. : )

Oh, and PS: Don't worry...I will find a good home for these diabetes monitors!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Howl-oween!

(At least that's what it is over here tonight. Baxter barks at every single kid that DARES to darken our doorstep.)

I stopped in CVS on the way home from work, because last night was "stock night", and I thought I just might be able to find the items I need on the shelves. I was right!

Oh, and "need" is a relative term.

I got:
  • Bayer Contour diabetes monitor, on sale for $30
  • 2 3-pack WellPatch, $5.99 each, get $5.99 ECBs back for each
  • 2 4-packs of Bic Comfort 3 disposable razors, $5.89 each, get $4 ECBs back for each
  • 5 SoyJoy bars, on sale for $1 each, get $4 ECB per 4
  • 2 bags of CVS brand peppermints, $0.99 each


Coupons used:

  • CVS coupon for $10 off $50 purchase
  • $30 off Bayer Contour from Sunday's insert
  • 2 $1 off WellPatch from a past insert
  • 2 $2 off Bic Comfort 3 razors
  • $3 off purchase of 5 SoyJoy bars (printed from SoyJoy website)
  • CVS coupon for $1 off 2 CVS brand candies (from coupon machine)

TOTAL AFTER COUPONS = $10.74, plus tax

Paid with $9.96 ECBs, and put the remaining balance of $4.39 on my gift card. ($3.61 of that was TAX!)

Got back $23.98 in ECBs to spend next time, meaning I just made $9.63 by buying this stuff. ($23.98 ECBs earned minus $9.96 ECBs used minus $4.39 cash paid)

Woohoo! Happy early birthday to me!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Raised bed

Here's a shot of the big L-shaped bed once Lance was almost finished building it out on the driveway. It's made of 1x6 cedar boards, 10 feet long on the outside, 8 feet long on the inside, and 2 feet deep. It will hold up to 18 inches of soil.

We didn't have a formal building plan, just a sketch of what I wanted it to look like. Lance took that and decided what supports to use and such. (That's why I married an engineer!)

Here's the bed once installed in the corner of the corner of the picket fence. It's flipped over, with 6 inches of the galvanized brackets in the ground for support. I started folding up carboard and placing it around the edges to keep the bermuda grass at bay. I'll go back and cover all the carboard layers with mulch on Saturday. More pictures coming!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Job interview went extremely well!

Just wanted folks to know that I had a job interview with Sarah Cannon Research Institute (yes, the "How-DEEEEEEEE!" Sarah Cannon) today. Everything went really extremely well, and I fully expect to get a phone call any day to start salary negotiations! At this point, I'd take the job even if they offer me what I'm making now. I'm ready for a change.

Mom and Dad also had good news today: they closed on the flip house, and the money is in the bank! They didn't make as much as they expected, but they both learned a lot of valuable lessons.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cheap chicken dinner

I just wanted to mention how CHEAP our dinner tonight was! Publix has chicken leg quarters on sale this week for $0.59/pound. I bought ten pounds yesterday, put five in the freezer and five in the crock pot this morning with some onion and about a cup of water. It turned out really good and moist! Total cost = about $0.75 for the portion we ate tonight

As a side, I cooked up some pasta that I found in the pantry and used up the last of some Velveeta I cooked with a few weeks ago to make quick mac-and-cheese. Total cost = about $0.75

As a HEALTHY side, I made up some frozen Green Giant broccoli, which is on sale this week at Publix for $1. I had a Mfr. coupon, so I got it for just $0.50.

Total cost of the dinner for two = $2.00! Oh, and let's not forget the dessert: Free Brach's pumpkin candy. : )

Now, I'm off to debone and shred the leftovers chicken to use in a casserole and white chicken chili. More cheap dinners in my future!

Does toothpaste have an expiration date?

I hope not, because we seem to be amassing more than we can use in YEARS!

(And that's after giving Mom and Dad several tubes. The deal: They supply the Sunday coupons, I supply the toothpaste. Win/win!)

Tonight I HAD to make a CVS run, because I had a very valuable coupon that expired today: $3 off Excedrin Express Gels. Know why it was so valuable? Because the Express Gels are on sale this week for $1.99! To sweeten the deal even more, I had a manufacturer's coupon for another $2 off! So, today only, I could buy some Excedrin and make $3. Too good to pass up.

I had to buy a "filler" item, otherwise my total would have been negative, so I grabbed a bag of pecans, which I can use for holiday baking. The transaction went as follows:
  • Excedrin Express Gels, $1.99, used $3 CVS coupon and $2 Mfr. coupon
  • Colgate Max Fresh toothpaste, $2.99, get $2 ECBs back, used $1 Mfr. coupon
  • Pecan Halves, on sale for $3.50

I paid with $2.29 ECBs, put the remaining $0.46 on my new gift card (thanks, Pharmacy!), and walked out of there with another $2 in ECBs. That means I spent a whopping $0.75 on a bag of pecans. Sweet!

Another successful CVS run.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'll buy anything, take 2

Yes, I bought another bottle of Just for Men hair color. How could I not? It is a money-maker this week! I've already sent in the mail-in-rebate for the other bottle I bought, so I only made $2 by buying it, instead of the possible $9.99. Oh, well!

The other freebies this week are pumpkin pails, Brach's candy, and a few other little things. I didn't take the time to find the others, because they hide the freebies and I just didn't have that time to waste searching for them. I was lucky to find the last pail they had. I wanted to get two, but I'll just be thankful to get the one.

  • 2 Brach's candy, $1.29 each, get $1.29 ECBs back for each (limit 2)

  • Pumpkin pail, $0.99, get $0.99 ECBs back (limit 2)

  • Just for Men Touch of Gray, $7.99, get $7.99 ECBs back (limit 1)

I only used ONE coupon, can you believe it? $2 off Just for Men Touch of Gray. Then I paid with $9.48 in ECBs and 27 cents, and got back $11.56 total in ECBs. That's a profit of $1.81!

And now I think I'll celebrate by munching on free candy corn...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What I've been reading

I fell in love with the Janette Oke series "Love Comes Softly" back in middle school. Aunt Sherry would check out each book for me from her church library, and I mowed through them as quickly as I could. I love period pieces, through which I can learn about past times in American (or world) history. Through this series, I learned the hardships and the joys of early-American prairie life, as well as the developments of the West.

And now I seriously want a chicken coop.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Five years ago

Five years ago next week, I was spending a long weekend in Birmingham, AL with some of my favorite people. They threw me a surprise 24rd birthday party! And if that wasn't enough fun, I also found out that weekend that my offer was accepted on the tiny house I had my heart set on.

What great memories...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Free drugs at Publix, who knew?

While ambling through random blogs today (you know, where you click on someone's blog, and then follow a link from there, and then another link, and suddenly you have no idea where you are), I came across this bit of news:

Publix will give you a 14-day supply of certain oral antibiotics for FREE! That's got to be GREAT news for parents! Check it out here.

I have to give credit to The Spoon and The Shovel for this. It's only fair.

: )

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Free gift card!

Hooray for free CVS gift cards!

At the Magic Coupon Machine the other day, I got a coupon for "$25 gift card with a new or transferred prescription." Well, I just happened to need a new prescription this week anyway, so I had the nurse call it in to my CVS. When I went to pick it up, I paid a measly $5 for the prescription (generic), and walked away with a $25 gift card, woohoo!

Since my CVS transactions usually only call for $1 or so in cash, this card should last me several months, which is really exciting.

CVS makes me happy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Miss Perfect Bakes a Cake

Just in case any of you needs confirmation that I am anything BUT perfect:

This is Lance's strawberry birthday cake.

It is the ugliest cake ever made.

It crumbled as I iced it last night, and it split in half just as I was putting it in the fridge. The right side completely slid off. At that point, I gave up and just had to laugh it off.

It still tasted good.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

20 Days Later

I went a whole 20 days without making a CVS purchase, can you believe it? But now I'm back, and going full-steam ahead.

Yesterday, I made a trip before AND after work to take full advantage of the great deals to be had.
Morning Transaction:
  • Bic Soleil Razor, on sale for $5.99, get 4 ECBs
  • Colgate MaxFresh, $2.99, get 2 ECBs
  • Glaceau vitamin water, $2.29, get 2.29 ECBs (free)
  • 2 packs of Always Infinity pads, $4.98 each, get 4.98 ECBs each (free)
  • CVS Vitamin D, $2.99, get 2.99 ECBs (free)
  • 3 90-count bottles of Maalox chewables, $7.99 each, get 10 ECBs when you buy $20 of specified products
  • 2 bags of Halloween treats, $2.50 and $3.29

Coupons used:

  • $10 off $50 purchase, which printed from the Magic Coupon Machine
  • $2 off Bic Soleil razor or cartridges (printed from site, offer has ended)
  • $1 off Colgate MaxFresh, from the Sept. All You magazine
  • 3 $2 off Maalox mfr. coupons from recent inserts

Paid with 23.99 ECBs and $12.72 in cash. Got back a total of 31.24 ECBs, which means I essentially paid $5.47 (23.99 + 12.72 - 31.24). Not bad, considering that's less than I would have paid for just the Halloween treats!

Evening Transaction:

  • Bic Soleil 4-pack cartridges, on sale for $5.99, get 4 ECBs
  • Glaceau vitamin water, $2.29, get 2.29 ECBs (free)
  • 1 pack of Always Infinity pads, $4.98, get 4.98 ECBs (free)
  • WellPatch arthritis patches, $5.99, get 5.99 ECBs (free)
  • CVS vitamin D, $2.99, get 2.99 ECBs (free)

Coupons used:

  • $2 off Bic Soleil razor or cartridges
  • $1 off WellPatch Mfr. coupon from recent insert

Paid with 16.98 ECBs and $2.71 cash. Got back a total of 20.25 ECBs, which means I made a profit of $0.56. Too bad I didn't have a $3/$15 coupon or something!

That comes to a daily total of less than $5.00 spent on quite a lot of goods. We really needed the Maalox Multi-Symptom, and I'm always excited to try a new razor. Oh, and the Halloween treats were obviously a necessity. In the past, we've spent up to $20 on treats for the trick-or-treaters, but this year we're spending next to nothing!

It's good to be back in the swing of things.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The best "milk-run" ever

Why is it that I only want to use recipes that call for milk when we're OUT of milk?

I really wanted to make broccoli-cheese soup for dinner, but after realizing that it called for milk (big duh), I had to think quick. Either try the recipe WITHOUT the milk (not a good idea), or make a special trip. Hm.

I decided on a special trip. And this trip started with Best Buy. Non sequitur, yes, but we earned some Best Buy gift certificates that expire TOMORROW (why do we cut things so close?), so it was use them today or never. (We'll have no time to use them tomorrow, due to my cousin's out-of-town wedding.)

I was pleased to get the Labyrinth special edition DVD for a pittance after our certificates. Then it was off to get the milk. Sort of. We were too hungry to wait for dinner, so we stopped at Krystal for a sack-full. Yeah, I know.

Finally, with the hot food stinking up the car, we rolled into Kroger. I ran in, grabbed two Glade Plug-in Gel Warmers ($1.89 each), a half gallon of milk ($1.89 on sale), and boogied to the registers. I had a BOGO free coupon for the Plug-ins, so the total after tax was $4.06. I sheepishly asked the cashier if I could use the two $2 catalinas that had just printed (one for each Plug-in) towards my total. She had no problem with that, and I ended up paying her $0.06 cents.

That's a nickel and a penny for milk and two Plug-ins. Unbelievable.

So, as convoluted as the trip ended up being, it turned out to be a pretty great "milk-run", huh? :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rest and peace

I've been quiet for the past few days. Some things have been happening that have caused a lot of unrest in our house, but the worst is now over. I'm glad to be done with one issue in particular, after over 3 years of anxiety and anger. It wasn't a great outcome, but at least I can now have some peace.

I'll probably lay low a couple more days, just to rest. Just wanted you all to know.

Savior, grant me rest and peace...Let my troubled dreaming cease...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kroger therapy

My angry breakup with Walgreens was eased some today by a GREAT Kroger run.

For all the items above, I spent only $26.33, of which $5.75 was tax! I've got enough for dinners and lunches this week, and extras for the coming weeks. Some of the highlights were:
  • Pillsbury brownie mix, on sale for $1, bought four and used four $0.40 coupons (doubled) to make them only 20 cents each
  • Chef Boyardee cans (yes, I still like to eat Beefaroni every now and then!), on sale for $1, bought six and used two $0.35/3 coupons (doubled) to make them 80 cents each
  • Yo-Plus yogurt 4-pack, $2.49, used a Shortcuts coupon for $1 off and a Mfr. coupon for $1 off to make them 49 cents
  • 1 package of Old El Paso taco shells and 1 package of tortillas, $2.19 each, used $1/2 Mfr. coupon, and a peelie from the box to get 1 taco seasoning pack for free
  • Country Bob's sauce, free after coupon on postcard (to get one, go here)
  • Cottonelle single roll 4-pack, $0.99, used $0.50 Mfr. coupon (doubled) to get it free
  • Trident, on sale for $0.50, used a $0.55 coupon (reduced by cashier) to get it free

And the biggest highlight of all, the one that paid part of the bill:

  • Glade Plug-in Gel Warmers, $1.89 each, bought six and used 3 BOGOF coupons for a total of $5.67...and the scanner printed off $12 in Kroger catalinas!

In case you don't know (I didn't know for the longest time), a catalina is like a voucher good for your next purchase at Kroger. Sometimes they are for specific products, but in this case, the catalinas said "$2 off your next purchase," so I could use them for anything.

The Glade Wisp candles are giving a $4 catalina for each one purchased, and I tried to buy two this morning, using a BOGOF printable coupon. Alas, the cashier and manager went back and forth about taking it, then (after making me wait for about ten minutes) they decided that they wouldn't accept it because of the high dollar value. I asked that the cashier just void the two, and he accidentally ADDED two. Then he voided all four, and neither the cashier nor the manager asked for me to give them the four $4 catalinas that printed off. I figured, well, they wasted my time, didn't let me use a perfectly valid coupon, and then didn't ask for the catalinas back, so they're technically mine to spend!

In all honesty, the catalinas I got for the Wisp candles just make up for past instances of scanning mistakes and bad food that I never got around to returning.

Well, I feel much better after my Kroger therapy session. Katy Coupons got her groove back!

I'm making a clean break.

Last night, I broke it off with Walgreens.

Oh, I've been flirting with them for a few months, taking advantage of a few good sales and free-after-rebate items. But they've never been able to do for me what CVS does. Each visit frustrated me more and more, culminating in last night's terrible experience.

I had my list ready to go, fully prepared to play by all the random coupon rules that my local stores keeps throwing at me. I had only one coupon of each type and more items than coupons. Everything hinged on whether or not they had stocked those five items. I was thrilled to see that they had, so I loaded my basket and headed to the cashier.

This little older lady at the register was so kind to me in the past. I would let her ramble on about her family and this and that, because I wanted to build a report with her. Tonight, she seemed completely different. She didn't seem to recognize me, and she was NOT kind at all. She scowled at my coupons, then told me that I couldn't use a manufacturer's coupon with a store coupon (from the Oct. EasySaver Booklet). I gently tried to explain that the two coupons are completely different, and that they are normally allowed.

Then it was, "Well, you can't use them both because your total isn't above $20." That didn't make sense at all, but I gently pointed out that my total was over $38. Obviously she (and the manager she called over at this point) felt like I was running a scam or something. I just kept pointing out the facts. They finally tried scanning the EasySaver coupon, and it beeped. They refused to make it go through, spouting off other ridiculous excuses.

I was finally so frustrated that I quietly asked that they void the transaction and let me have my coupons back. I left cordially, without a big fuss, but I knew that I would never shop in that store again, and possibly not in Walgreens period.

So, no deals. I wash my hands of Walgreens. I will still file for the rebate items I already bought, but I think I'll have them send me the rebate in cash instead of a gift card. I really don't want to have to return there.

CVS and I are exclusive now.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Walgreens is the place to be this weekend!

Thank goodness I didn't declare a Walgreens Hiatus...They just released this $5 off $20 purchase coupon for this Friday and Saturday. Boy, we couponers can do a LOT with this!

I won't give details now (since everything depends on which items are in stock), but suffice it to say that I plan to do two transactions this weekend, spend about $23 in cash, and get back $36 on my gift card. Sweet!

Oh, Walgreens. Are you trying to win me back? I'll lead you on a little longer...

Quarterly Report

Well, I've been playing the Drugstore Game for three whole months now, so I figured it was time for a little reflection, in the form of a Quarterly Report. Here's a list of my accumulation from both CVS and Walgreens...

Stocked for at least 6 months:

Shaving cream
Body wash
Toilet paper
Name-brand cereal
Pasta sauce

Stocked for a year or more:

Deodorant (for both of us)
Feminine products
Hand soap
Dishwasher detergent
Dish liquid
Kitchen trash bags
Contact solution
Headache medicine
Sinus/cold medicine
Household cleaners
Facial tissues
Cotton swabs
Paper towels
Make-up (foundation, concealer, powder, mascara)
Nail polish

I'm sure I've left something off the list, because there's just so much! I really need to take a picture of the bathroom closet. Lance refers to it as our Mini CVS.

So, having spent only about $120 total for all of this, I consider this quarter a great success! The only drawback to having a fully-stocked Mini CVS, though, is that I really don't have a need to shop for a long while. Will that stop me? Not if there are money-makers to be had.

And then there's always the Grocery Game...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

This message is Baxter-approved

And while we're talking about free samples, your four-legged friend would want you to go here and try a sample of Greenies pet snacks! We were sent a dental bone, which Baxter devoured in a span of 90 seconds.
Something tells me he liked it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You have GOT to try this!

I got a free sample of the Fiber-One Oats and Chocolate flavor Chewy Granola Bar by signing up here.

Go right now and sign up for yours, because it's RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS!

I just ate another bar myself (from the box I bought with coupons from Kroger last week), and just HAD to write about it! These bars are gooey, chocolate-y goodness that rival any candy bar. And they are packed with healthy ingredients!

I have found my new favorite mid-afternoon snack.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

CVS Hiatus

Okay, so I have money, I just don't want to spend it.

I'm taking a break from CVS for a week or two. I've looked at the sneak peek ad for next week, and nothing is jumping out at me as a stellar deal. There will be a freebie (after ECBs), but it's not something I care to make a trip for. Can you believe it??

It will be kind of nice to take a break, really. As with anything else, you can have TOO much of a good thing. I've been CVS-ing for a good three months straight, so a short hiatus is well-deserved.

Even though I don't spend much at CVS, I'm trying to limit my spending across the board in order to pay off our debt sooner. Fewer store visits means less unnecessary spending each month. Less spending means extra money in the budget to go towards our school loans. And, in the end, no school loans and other debts will mean we can live off one income come Baby Time! See, there's a long-term plan here.

No money, no problems.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's not a gas shortage. It's a brain shortage.

I'm so sick of this hysteria over the gas shortage in Nashville. Reports say that the concern over the "crisis" is causing Nashvillians to go through FOUR TIMES as much gas in the past week as normal. People are stockpiling and hoarding. People are waiting in line for over an hour (wasting gas) just to "top off" their already-half-full tank, while others (myself included) are on empty and have nowhere to buy just five measly gallons.

I'm not one to buy into rumors and worries about shortages. But apparently I was a little too optimistic last Monday when I bought only five gallons to get me through the week. I figured I'd not fill up all the way, since gas was starting to become scarce, and I knew I could wait it out. WRONG. I overestimated the amount of brain-power in the average Nashvillian. Or maybe I underestimated the power of the rumor mill. In any case, I'm on empty and having to find a back-up plan to my failed back-up plan.

All this has served as a reminder for me: Never take anything for granted! We never know what may be taken from us, whether temporarily or permanently. We should be grateful for every single thing (or available commodity) we have, and thank God every day! Today I have a car, a home, a loving husband, available food, running water...Will I have those tomorrow? I don't know. So I will praise God today for His goodness and mercy!

(And while I'm at it, I'll ask for patience...)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happiness is...

...a clean, organized kitchen.

I've been busy this weekend.

Yesterday Lance and I got a lot done. We went to Lowe's to pick up two more sets of industrial shelving in order to start organizing the eBay room. As he was putting those together, I got the drill out and began installing the 23 knobs and 8 handles in the kitchen. Whew! It took a while, mostly because I'm super-obsessive about centering and leveling everything, but I'm very pleased with the outcome. And now we can open doors and drawers easily!

Having knobs and handles inspired me to move everything out of storage and into the cabinets. Even though I'm feeling terrible today, I managed to get every last dish out of storage and into its new home. Then I cleaned up, and even hung a few decorations. I had Lance help me move the jute rug, which was previously under the dining table, into the kitchen. I like it better here, I think. This way the hardwood will be more protected from things dripping from the sink or stove.

It's odd...I'm often more productive on days I feel bad.

Well, it's almost church time, so I'll sign off. Hope everyone else had a nice weekend!

Five years ago today

Here's a blast from the past. (Somehow 2003 doesn't seem very "past" to me.) In case you haven't guessed, this is Stuart at about 2 months old. Cute little rascal, wasn't he? Poor McKenzie didn't know what to think of the tyke. She eventually learned to ignore him. : )

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'll buy anything to make a buck

Case in point.

Know anyone who wants this box of Just for Men, Touch of Gray?

Grocery goodies

Thursday night, I made a Kroger run after my dinner with Denise. Kroger was running a special: buy 15 of specified products, get $3 back instantly. 15 items is a lot to buy for a special, but I noticed that chicken noodle and tomato soup cans counted. And I had coupons for those, so getting my 15 items was easier than I thought!
Here's the breakdown:
  • 4 cans Campbell's tomato soup, $0.77 each, minus 1 $0.40/4 coupon
  • 4 cans Campbell's chicken noodle soup, $0.77 each, minus 1 $0.40/4 coupon
  • 5 Totino's pizzas, $1.25 each
  • 1 box Fiber One chewy bars, $2.19, minus $0.50 coupon
  • 1 4-pack Yo-Plus yogurts, $2.49, minus $1.00 Mfr. coupon, minus $1.00 coupon linked to my Kroger plus card (Shortcuts)
  • 2 bags of frozen pepper/onion mix, on sale for $1.45 each
  • Organic fresh spinach, on sale for $3.50
  • a bunch of red grapes, on sale for $1.28/lb.
  • 3 cans of Campbell's cream of chicken, $0.99 each, minus 1 $0.40/3 coupon
  • 1 half gallon of milk, on sale for $1.69
  • 1 pack of Land O Lakes butter halves, $3.85

Kroger doubles coupons up to $0.50, which is so wonderful. After coupons and tax, my total came to $24.66, and I will receive a full refund for the butter, bringing my out-of-pocket to $20.81!

We're stocked up on Totino's, which is Lance's favorite "cheap pizza," for another few months. We're definitely stocked up on tomato and chicken soups for a LONG time, probably through winter. The spinach will be used for side salads for dinners this week, and possibly topped with grilled chicken for a big dinner salad one night. I love fresh spinach salads!

You may notice a box of Just for Men haircolor in the picture, and a bottle of Excedrin. Those I got at CVS right before heading to Kroger. The Just for Men was on sale for $7.99, and giving 2 ECBs. I had a $2 Mfr. coupon to use on it, and a mail-in rebate form for the full purchase price. The Excedrin was $3.99, get 3.99 ECBs, and I had a $1 off CVS Excedrin coupon (printed at the scanner one day), and a $2 Mfr. coupon. Since the haircolor and Excedrin totalled just over $10, I was able to use a CVS $2/$10 coupon. I paid with 5 ECBs and about 1.21 cents, got 5.99 ECBs back. I sent off for the $8 rebate yesterday, making that a profit of $7.78!

I was tired by the time I got home Thursday, but it was worth it. Our grocery bills used to be high, because I didn't pay much attention to sale flyers or coupons. I certainly didn't tailor our menus to what I could get cheaply that week. Half the time I didn't even cook! But now I'm seeing what a difference it makes to take a little time to research, plan, and clip. It's fun to try to make our bill less and less each week!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tiny butter!

Look at this tiny stick of butter! It's a "half-stick" that is individually-wrapped. Isn't it cute? It's even cuter when you know it's FREE! Go here to download a rebate for a pack of Land O Lakes half-sticks. I was almost out of butter, so this rebate came at the perfect time. : )

What you've all been waiting for...

A picture of the toilet paper I bought! Riveting, I know.

Transaction 1:

  • L'Oreal Advanced Revitalift, on sale for $11.99, get 11.99 ECBs,
  • Used $3.00 Manufacturer's coupon and a $2 off $10 CVS coupon
  • Paid with 5.99 ECBs and $1.37 in cash

Transaction 2:

  • 4 12-packs of Cottonelle double rolls, $6.49 each, buy $25 of specified products get 10 ECBs
  • 1 Nivea Men's body wash, $4.99, get 4.99 ECBs
  • Used 2 $0.50 Cottonelle coupons, 1 $1 Nivea coupon, and a $5 off $30 coupon I got by email JUST THIS MORNING! (How lucky is that??)
  • Paid with 22.98 ECBs and $1.24 cash
So, I walked away this morning with all those goodies (which took a CVS shopping cart to transport), having spent $2.61 in cash, used 28.97 of my ECB stash, and earned back 26.98 ECBs. That means I "paid" exactly $4.60 for it all. ($2.61 + 28.97 - 26.98)

Knowing that the Revitalift would be GONE in another day's time, I went back after work with Lance's card and got both it and another Nivea body wash. After my coupons, I used 9.99 ECBs and paid $1.45 cash, and earned 16.98 in ECBs. That's a profit of $5.54, which puts me in the black for all of today's purchases!

Today's deals were awesome. Later on (probably Sunday), I'll go take advantage of their good deal on Mt. Dews and use some ECBs. That will stock Lance up for a while, hopefully until the next time they run another Pepsi product deal.

I'm excited about toilet paper and feel no shame

Katy Coupons is a strange creature. I'm just getting to know her, too.

Today's excitement: TOILET PAPER!

Why? Because this morning I got 48 double rolls for $4.60 at CVS! We go through about 1 double roll per week, so that's almost a YEAR'S worth. And the best part is: I won't have to go buy it at Walmart! (I hate Walmart.)

It's truly strange, but having a car full of toilet paper makes me very happy.

: ) ------------------------------>

Silence of the Lambs Bear

Baxter is never easy on his playmates.

At least this bear only cost $0.45 at the local Thrift Store. Small price to pay for his destructive enjoyment.

At the present time, he has managed to remove Bear's nose and some "brain." Mama stitched up the opening and glued the stitches down with E-6000. (A trick I learned over the years...Otherwise, he'll just rip the stitches out.)

And now Bear looks very scary.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What I'm thankful for right this minute

  • a working car that gets good gas mileage
  • fall weather
  • good friends (like Denise), with whom I can share daily frustrations and small victories
  • the fact that the red rose bush is blooming just enough for me to be able to snip a few roses to have here at work (I stop and smell them when I get stressed)
  • my good black skirt (wearing it now)
  • a job, even though it aggravates me most days
  • a home in heaven with my Savior

"Man does not live by bread alone..."

...But GOOD bread makes everything else taste better!

I'm right proud of myself.

Monday night, I came home and got dinner started as usual, then put all the ingredients in the bread machine to make some sandwich bread for this week. I realized that I used the last of the milk that morning in my cereal (DOH!), so I substituted water in the recipe. I had my fingers crossed that it would turn out okay. I set it on dough cycle, and went about the rest of my chores.

My first attempt at bread a few weeks ago produced a HUGE loaf that we didn't even eat half of, so this time I took the finished dough and separated it into two loaves. I let those rise for another hour in the oven (still warm from cooking a yummy chicken casserole, using the leftover shredded chicken from Friday's dinner), and Lance and I ran to Office Max to use some coupons and get printer cartridges. When we got back, they were ready to be baked.

The baked loaves came out just right! Oh, they smelled so good. It took everything I had not to slice into one right away and gobble it down. But I was good, and let them cool on the counter until they were ready to be put away, one in the fridge, one in the freezer for next week.

This morning, I took the one out of the fridge and sliced it up for sandwiches. It sliced so beautifully, that I wanted to run downstairs to get my camera. Had I not been running late, I probably would have. : ) I made us some chicken salad (using the last of the shredded chicken from Friday...whew, that chicken went a long way!), and made us some sandwiches.

Just now, I finished my lunch, and I was just so proud of myself at how delicious the bread was! Now, it didn't have a strong taste, of course, but it was nice and firm (held up well with the chicken salad in it), and was just soft enough to be pleasant. I even ate the crusts, which I usually hate when eating store bread.

Success! My bread machine has earned its spot on the counter, that's for sure. I foresee a long, happy relationship for the two of us. : )

Now, on to the next frontier: cinnamon rolls! (To be continued...possibly this weekend...)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

$0.41 Sauce

CVS Transaction today:
  • 4 jars Ragu sauce at 3/$5
  • 2 jars Hellmann's mayo at $3 each
  • 1 Aleve 10-ct at $3.99, get 3 ECBs
  • 1 Excedrin 20-ct at $3.99, get 3.99 ECBs

SUB-TOTAL = $20.65

Coupons used:

  • CVS $4 off $20 purchase (printed at scanner last week, lucky me!)
  • 2 $.50/2 Ragu coupons
  • 2 $.60/1 Hellmann's coupons
  • $1 off Aleve (printed online)
  • $2 off Excedrin

TOTAL after coupons = $11.45, plus tax

I used a total of 10.99 ECBs, then paid the remaining $1.44 in cash. I received back 3 ECBs for buying over $10 of the food products, 3 ECBs for the Aleve, and 3.99 ECBs for the Excedrin.

I really wanted to use that $4/$20 coupon before it expired tomorrow, so getting some food staples was the perfect plan. We can always use mayo and sauce, and it keeps in the pantry for a LONG time. The food deal was "buy $10 of Ragu/Skippy/Hellmann's/Lipton products, get 3 ECBs back", but I could only do it once, so there was no point in buying $20 worth of just food (to get my total up). Thus I picked out some "fillers", things I could either get for free after ECBs or, in the case of the Excedrin, actually MAKE money on. Hence, the Aleve and Excedrin. Those brought my total up just over $20, so I could use my $4/$20 coupon.

In all, I was only out $2.44 for this transaction (10.99 ECBs used + $1.44 cash - 9.99 ECBs earned), so it's as if I paid $.41 a piece for the jars of sauce and mayo. Good deal! And I'm sure Lance and I will use up the free Aleve Cold and Sinus this winter. In all, I'd call this a successful trip. I didn't end up making money or even breaking even, but I paid less for these staples than I would at the best sale Kroger could come up with!

Now, if only CVS sold gasoline...

Oh, me of little faith

Only a few short hours after writing about how there are no good deals at CVS, I checked out the CVS ad for next week, and was blown away! Deals GALORE! I've already gotten my transactions planned out, and will (most likely) be able to stock up on toilet paper and Diet Mt. Dews for a fraction of the cost at Walmart or Kroger. Hooray!

And, ironically, even though the deals are not great this week, I'm STILL going to make three trips to CVS before the weekend. Maybe four, ha ha! That's because the ad for "next week" begins on Friday. They are conducting a test in our area, trying out a new ad layout and also running the ad from Friday to Thursday instead of Sunday to Saturday. I hate the new ad layout and I hate the new run time! And don't you know I've already contacted Customer Service to say as much. : )

Another irony: The good deals at CVS starting on Friday are some of the very same products that Walgreens is offering free-after-rebate this month...and have been out of stock on for the entire month. On Saturday, I was bemoaning the fact that I wasn't able to get those products with my super-duper coupon, but it actually worked to my advantage that they were out of stock, because now I can get an even better deal at CVS!

Have I mentioned how much I love CVS? Have I?

PS - That picture I posted of CVS was off the internet...I didn't stand out in the parking lot and take it myself. : )

Monday, September 15, 2008

Where are the deals?

It looks like a really boring week.

Neither CVS nor Walgreens have anything spectacular going on in the deals department. And, besides, I'm miffed at Walgreens.

I think I'll stop by CVS today and take advantage of their Ragu/Hellmann's sale, though. I have coupons for Ragu sauce and Hellmann's mayo, so it will probably work out that I get four jars of sauce and 2 jars of mayo for about 65 cents a piece including tax. That's a good deal (though free is better), and we're almost out of mayo.

Yesterday was a lazy day, so that's why I didn't post anything. It was drizzly all day, which was perfect for climbing under the warm covers and reading away the afternoon. In between loads of laundry, of course. : ) I can't just laze about, as you know! I have to be getting something done!

I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend, and is refreshed for the new week! It's looking like it will be a good week here: sunny and cooler, highs in the 70s and low 80s. Ah, fall is finally coming...