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...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Disappointing morning

When Lance got up at 6:30 am (why??), I went ahead and got up, too. I was excited to get to Walgreens and see if they restocked the free-after-rebate items. Before rushing out the door, I pulled the banana bread pan out of the fridge, and found that it had risen some overnight (yay!)

I got to Walgreens around 7 am. I went immediately to the aisle with the L'Oreal and Nivea products that were free-after-rebate. Out. Not restocked. I then took my basket back to the front of the store and left. I was SO disappointed, but I knew there was a good possibility that could happen. So I didn't get the great deals I thought I was getting today.

From there, I went to Walmart Neighborhood Market (in the same parking lot), and got the Suddenly Salad I needed to bring to the barbeque in Spring Hill today. Before leaving the house, I had snipped a coupon for 50 cents off two, so I went ahead and got two, along with a couple of things I knew we'd need this week. I was disappointed to find, after checking out, that Walmart does not double their food coupons. Bummer. If I had thought ahead, I could have caught a sale at Kroger or Publix and used that coupon to get $1 off two. Oh, well.

Got home, put the banana bread in the oven, and kept an eye on it. It smelled wonderful, and looked pretty good, too. When it was done and steaming on the counter, I cut us off some slices, and we sat down to eat together. Hm. Not a lot of banana taste. Surprising, because I used DOUBLE the amount of banana the recipe called for! I'm going to blame the wheat flour, since it was probably overpowering the taste of banana. I've decided that the next loaf: a) will not be made in the bread maker, b) will have the correct amounts of each ingredient, and c) will be made with unbleached white flour instead of wheat. What can I say, I just don't like wheat that much.

So, in all it's been a slightly disappointing morning. But I am looking forward to spending time with the Hatchett clan today and hugging my sweet Granddaddy. It will be nice to be able to spend some time with Rob and Rachel (the soon-to-be cousin-in-law), who we haven't seen in a while.

Thank goodness disappointing mornings can change into satisfying afternoons!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Yeast roll success

Thank you, Auntie N, for the link to the bread machine recipes!


I tried the yeast rolls today. Or, I guess you could say, yesterday and today. I made the dough up in the bread maker last night, shaped the rolls in a baking pan, and put it in the fridge overnight. Today after work, I put them in the oven. They took a little more time than expected, probably because they were still cold. But they turned out nice and buttery!

Right now I've got some banana nut bread going. I'm just putting it through the dough cycle, so that I can put it in a pan and store it in the fridge until tomorrow. I'll bake it up for breakfast. I hope the plan works. It didn't seem to be rising very well. Guess we'll see!

I am going to bed early so that I can be up early and head to Walgreens! How crazy is that? But I have a plan, and want to get there before they sell out of certain products. Their $10 off $40 coupon is only good for today and tomorrow, so I have to jump on it! I'll report later tomorrow. I may be ecstatic, I may be disappointed. I just never know!

So, goodnight!

It's a hard life

What is a pup to do when both Mama and Daddy are on their computers? Sleep on two comfy couch pillows with the ball close at hand, of course.

Poor thing. So neglected.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Can you tell what time of the month it is?

Mmmm, chocolate...

It's so wonderful to have a CVS on the corner where I turn to go home every day. I have every opportunity to stop without having to waste a dime of gas. And it's right across from church, so tonight's was a post-church run!

I heard that the Purex was an unadvertised sale, ringing up $2.99 instead of $5.99 AND giving 1 ECB. So I clipped and printed coupons this morning, and ended up with this transaction:

*Purex, $2.99, used 50 coupon, got 1 ECB

*2 Chex Chocolate Turtle mix, $1 each, used two $1 off printable coupons

*2 Right Guard deodorants, $2.99 each, used two $1 off coupons, got 2 ECBs for each (total of 4 ECBs)

*1 Cadbury bar (my special treat), 99 cents

I used a $2 off $10 coupon, then paid with 5 ECBs and 89 cents. I laughed with the cashier about how I was too young to be counting out pennies and using coupons! But she seemed impressed at how well I did. Since I got back 5 ECBs to replace the 5 I used, I only paid 89 cents for all that.

Oh, and the scanner gave me a $4 off $20 coupon, good for another couple of weeks!

This run wasn't a money-maker, but hey, they can't all be. I'm happy. I have chocolate. : )

Why work when you can BLOG!

I'm shocked! I just discovered that the server here at work doesn't block access to blogger! So, as I sit here chomping down a quick lunch, I figured I'd share how I got this lunch for free...

On Monday night, I grabbed a few coupons from my All You magazine (free trial) and headed to Walmart Neighborhood Market. I knew we needed a few lunch items to tide us over this week. The coupons were: Buy 3 Nabisco/Kraft/Oscar Meyer products, get a free pack of hotdogs, and then another for buy 3, get a free box of Wheat Thins. I got a tip from Money Saving Mom that a pack of Kool-aid counts as one Kraft product, so I bought six at 20 cents a piece in order to use both coupons. Free hot dogs and Wheat Thins, sweet!

I grilled up the dogs last night for dinner, and then brought a couple for lunch today. The buns are "free", too, because they were left over from the beach trip. The chips I'm eating are Pringles, which were on sale at CVS a few weeks ago and which I ended up getting for free. (Using overage from other items.)

The person who said, "There's no such thing as a free lunch" obviously didn't use coupons.

: )

Monday, September 8, 2008

Aw, only 8 cents profit??

Well, it happens every time. I have a plan all worked out on paper when I go in, and I end up coming out with something completely different!

Today was a CVS run. I planned on several more items than shown, and DIDN'T plan on the Carefree, but some items were not available and some were more expensive than MoneySavingMom said they'd be. Oh, well. Here's how things went:

  • 1 Right Guard deodorant, $2.99, get 2 ECB

  • 2 Chex Mix, on sale for $1 each

  • 2 Trident Xtra Care gum, on sale for $1 each

  • 1 75-count pack of Flossers, on sale for $1.25

  • 1 38-count Carefree pantiliners, $3.89, get 2 ECB (sign said I'd get 3 ECB, which would have been a money-maker...Alas, the signs are often wrong.)

I used these coupons:

  • $1 off Right Guard

  • 2 $1 off Chex mix

  • BOGO free Trident

  • 75 cents off Trident (Yes, they let me use both!)

  • $2 off Carefree product (printed from CVS coupon machine today, that was lucky)

  • $2 off $10 purchase

I paid using 2 ECB and $1.92 in cash (used that 20 cents Daddy gave me!), and then got back 2 ECBs for the Right Guard and 2 for the Carefree. So, I made a whopping 8 cents. : )

Hey, I won't complain too much. I got all this stuff for free.*

*When I say "free," I'm referring to the fact that the cash I did pay (mostly for tax) ended up being paid back to me in Extra Care Bucks. I can thus "roll" the tax that I always have to pay on my free items into ECBs to spend again later. Hopefully on something else that will make money! Then, once my stash of ECBs gets too big, I find something that we need on sale that might not be a money-maker, and spend them all to stock up on that item. I did that to get a good stock of the expensive contact solution we like.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Daddy's 20 cents

Today after lunch, as we were settling up with Daddy for our portion of the cost, he ended up giving us 20 cents back. We laughed about how that 20 cents could buy a LOT at CVS. And tomorrow I will show you exactly how much that 20 cents buys me...with 5 cents leftover. :)

Did you hear that? That was my bubble popping.

I should know better than to get too excited about potential deals. They never quite work out the way you expect. I've been lucky in the past, and the unexpected turns have worked out to my benefit in most cases. But this was a different story.

I headed to the Walgreens down the street with my list ready and my coupons neatly organized. I walked in the door, picked up the new September Easy Saver Booklet, and that's about the time things started going wrong.
I was confused about which products would qualify for the Shout/Scrubbing Bubbles/Windex deal, and I realized that one of the products I thought I was getting was not going to work for the deal. AND I had accidentally left my "back up" coupons at home, rats! So, I was forced to redo the deals in my head, which tripped me up, and I wasn't sure I had the right coupons. Eek!
Got to the register, a bit flustered and just hoping that everything would work right. Well, the cashier said that I couldn't use multiple coupons of the same kind, even though I was buying multiple ITEMS of the same kind. One coupon per item, right? Nope. He wouldn't let me use the 3 Scrubbing Bubbles coupons, only 1. Then we got to the Robitussin, and he said the same thing. I told him to just void those off my order, and suddenly he changed his tune! It was comical, really. He decided to accept the three identical Robitussin coupons, I think because he didn't want the hassle of voiding the items! So that worked out okay.
I purchased the shower kit separately, so that I could use some Register Rewards earned from the first transaction, along with a $5 coupon I had. BEEP, said the register! No good. I was about at the end of my rope, and was going to just forget the shower kit altogether (although I've been wanting one for a long time, and this was a great deal!), but the kind cashier made it go through somehow, even though the policy (which I only now know) is that you have to have as many items as coupons. Register Rewards count as a coupon, so I had two coupons and one item. Oops! God bless that cashier for making it go through, though. : )
I'm too tired to do a run-down of the two transactions, so suffice it to say that I used the $17.35 on my Walgreens gift card (which was my rebate money from last month), paid exactly $9 in cash, and walked out with $15 in Register Rewards to use later. I should have had $20 in RR, but something went wrong with one of the deals. I have contacted corporate to try to fix it.
I'm happy to have only paid in cash less than half of what the shower kit alone would normally cost. And we really needed stain treatment, so things worked out well.
(Notice who was inspecting the purchases? He likes to lick things when I bring them home and display them. "Mmmm, tastes like Walgreens.")

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Watch out, Walgreens! Here I come!

I'm so excited, I want to jump out of my skin! I just used www.moneysavingmom.com to come up with my own Walgreens shopping list, and here's what I think I can get this week:
  • Visine
  • Chex mix
  • Crest Pro-Health Rinse
  • 2 Shout stain remover sprays
  • 3 Windex sprays
  • 2 Scrubbing Bubble Action Scrubbers
  • 3 Robitussin
  • Revlon nail polish
  • Acid controller
  • Nivea Men's body wash
  • Crest Pro-Health toothpaste
  • Lypsyl lip moisturizer
  • Excedrin gel packs
  • a filler item for 70 cents (candy bar?)

And for buying all that, I will make a profit of $15.61 on my Walgreens gift card! (That total doesn't include tax paid, but I will make up for that in the 10% Walgreens gives me for putting my rebates on a gift card instead of getting a check back.)

I may be too excited to wait until Monday...Since the sales start tomorrow, I may go ahead and make my super-duper run after church!

Now I'm off to gather up the coupons I need. Joy!!!

Thank you, God, for giving me an income, for giving me a talent for numbers, for giving me opportunities to use my talent, and for giving me peace and happiness in doing so. I am blessed beyond deserving, and humbled by your grace.

A few notes of explanation...

1) Lance calls me Katy Coupons, so I thought it would be a good title for the blog. After all, my life DOES revolve around coupons as of the last three months.

2) I took that picture of coupons at the top of the page this morning. I took out a stack of them from my organizer, spread them all out, and snapped a picture. Then I groaned, because I realized I had to organize them all over again. : )

Who says I don't have a cat?

Nana says, "What could you possibly have to write about -- you don't have a CAT! Ha!" Oh, I have a creature that is more CAT than yours, that's for sure! Cocoa Bunny acts like the Fat Cat around here. (Look at her, all stretched out on the floor like she owns the place.) She's independant, ornery, and stubborn. She only wants lovin' on HER terms. And if you don't give her attention when SHE wants it, she'll nip your ankles. She'll probably live as long as a cat, too, being almost 8 years old and still going strong. So you just tell me I don't have a stubborn ole cat! : )

Another Adventure in the life of Katy Coupons!

Here I am, officially a part of the blogosphere. Just like with Facebook, I never EVER thought I'd do this sort of thing! But sending all my pictures of CVS goodies through email was getting tedious, and I'm sure I'm overestimating the number of people who are actually INTERESTED in such. Now I won't have to clutter their in-boxes...If they want to know what's happening in my life, they know where to go to find out! I do realize that this blog will get very little traffic, and I'm okay with that. I don't need to sell advertising, I just want a space to share my pictures and perhaps some funny Baxter stories. Don't we all want to hear Baxter stories??

So, to you who may be reading this, thank you for your support! I love you all, and couldn't make it through this life without you! God has been good to bless me with such a wonderful family and network of friends.

With all my love,

Katy (AKA Katy Coupons)