Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Best Deal Yet!

This was by far my best deal ever since stockpiling a few months ago.... I couldn't have accomplished this without the help of my friends and family. So in no particular order thank you to: Carole, Jeannie, Kris, Susan, Jennifer, Kristina, Karen, my sister Lisa, and my ever supportive Dh!

19 Boxes of Near East Couscous- Regularly $2.19 per box

Total of 19 boxes at Regular Price- $41.61

Publix had the Near East Couscous BOGO free last I gathered 19 coupons with the help of family and friends above. ($0.50 off - Publix doubled to $1.00 off)

Total of 19 boxes of couscous after BOGO and 19 coupons - $1.81

Total Savings- $39.80 or 95%

How is that for a sweet deal???? LOL!!!

Edit to add: Someone asked me why I bought 19 boxes if they were BOGO. Well, I did that because I only had 19 coupons. Publix takes the BOGO price and splits it on each box. So it would be 1.09 and 1.10 for each box. Then when I add a coupon to both, it takes $1.00 off each box...essentially making them .o9 and .10 respectively. Since I only had 19 coupons I only bought 19 boxes.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Menu Plan.....

I love when my menu plan is Done! I used to only plan dinner, but just having 3 meals a day planned has helped me so much. I just look at the fridge to know what is coming up and what to take out to thaw. Plus the kids and dh have become dependent on the menu as well.... now when I get "What's for breakfast mom?" I just say, "look at the menu". :-)

I planned this week's recipes based on the sales flyers at my local grocery stores. Jennifer at All Things Frugal was correct, there was not much out there salewise this week. I found what I could at Bi-Lo, Food Lion and Publix. But it was slim pickin's as they say.... So if your interested here it is: Oh with one caveat..... no new recipe this week. What? Why??? Well we are having company arrive any moment, and that keeps me busy enough without having to try a new recipe as well! But, I plan to make a new recipe next week, maybe even using some ingredients I have on hand!

Breakfast-Eggs/Fruit/English Muffins
Lunch- Chunky Soup/Leftover Tortilla Soup/Fresh Bread

Breakfast- Cereal/Fruit
Lunch- Lunch Out(running today)
Dinner- Spaghetti & Meatballs/Salad/It. Bread

Breakfast- French Toast/Bacon & Sausage/Fruit (company is here)
Lunch- Ravioli/Fruit
Dinner- Hamburgers/Fries/Beans/Salad/Fruit

Breakfast- Muffins/Banana Bread/Fruit
Lunch- Baked Potato/Broccoli
Dinner- Crispy Chicken over Salad Greens

Breakfast- Sweet Rolls
Lunch- Crockpot Chili/Breadsticks
Dinner- Leftovers

Breakfast- Cereal/Toasted pastries/Fruit
Lunch- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup w/ vegetables
Dinner- Taco Salad

Breakfast – Waffles/ Fruit
Lunch – Sandwiches/Fruit/Granola
Dinner- Chinese Chicken Salad

Cash, Debit or Credit??


I am very curious to know how many use cash only for groceries and how many use a debit or a credit card??? I'm not advocating either one, I'm just interested in seeing what everyone else does. I've posted a poll on the top of my blog....take a moment to vote. Thanks!!

In other frugal news:

I came across two very good posts about budgeting that I thought would be a great read!

This one from Merchant Ships is called Cheerful Frugality and the Grocery Budget On a side note....don't you just love that title? Cheerful Frugality! I need to remember that!

The other one is from the website Simple Debt Free Living... it's titled Grocery Saving Tips This post is loaded with information, some that works for me and some that doesn't.

Both provide several tips and suggestions that I could strive toward implementing in my own budget.

Still Mulling It Over....

This is how I look when I think about going to cash only for groceries! LOL! BTW- That's one of my favorite movies!

Thank you all for your responses yesterday. They really helped me to continue thinking through my whole grocery plan. The keys things that I want to change are the frequency of the trips to the store and the day I do my menu planning and head to the store. (IE: planning around the recent store flyers). Read previous post Here.

However, you gave me another thing to consider, and that was using cash only. Yikes! I can't even believe I am actually considering it! It's slightly frightening, because it's such a control issue for me. It's like giving up control, of those "what if I overspend? What if I don't have enough money at the register??" questions. I know that seems completely backwards, and I am trying to figure it out myself. I know if I use a calculator, and I tally everything up, I will actually be the one in total control of the budget. But what if I want to buy something else, and I don't have room in the budget? That's what I'm talking about....I want to buy what I want when I want (within reason, not like a big ticket item or anything, I'm talking about TGIFriday's frozen appetizers on sale 5 for $8)....that's the control I mean.

But then I also thought this: It can actually be fun, if I set the grocery budget on the higher end. Everything I don't spend in that envelope gets rolled over into the next week. When I finally have enough built up after about 4 weeks, I can put it in savings! Now some of you may already be doing this, but for me this was such a novel'll have to bear with my light bulb moment. lol!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Publix BOGO Deals - Feb 27th-March 4th

Here is a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the paper or from recent online coupons. There may be more coupons that you have stockpiled, or that you have found online to add to these BOGO deals. If there is one you found add it to the comment field. Here is the link to the Publix flyer for some other deals: Publix Flyer

Bird’s Eye Voila! Meal – assorted varieties (Save up to $4.69)
Doritos Tortilla Chips – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.49)
Fat Boy or Fat Boy Jr. Ice Cream Sandwich-assorted varieties (Save up to $4.57)
Fresh Express Salad 9 or 12 oz bag (Save up to $2.99)
Glade Scented Oil Candles refills – assorted varieties (Save up to $2.99)
Glass Plus Glass & Multi Surface Cleaner 32 oz bottle (Save up to $2.49)
Green Giant Canned Vegetables – assorted varieties (Save up to $1.09)
John Soules Food Seasoned Beef Fajitas -12 oz bag (Save up to $6.49)
Keebler Chips Deluxe Cookies or Sandies Shortbread (Save up to $3.79)
Kellogg’s Kids Cereal (Save up to $3.99)
Kraft or Seven Seas Dressing 16 oz – assorted varieties (Save up to $2.49)
Kraft South Beach Diet Snack Bars – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.49)
Lender’s Original Recipe Bagels or NY style- assorted varieties (Save up to $1.79)
Nestle Fun Size Bars – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.19)
Ocean Spray Juice Cocktail or Juice 64 oz. – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.29)
Pasta Roni or Rice a Roni – assorted varieties (Save up to $1.39) Online Coupon
Planters Trail Mix – assorted varieties (Save up to $2.99)
Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil 32 oz bottle (Save up to $10.99)
Post Cereal Selects, Grape Nuts, Raisin Bran - (Save up to $3.99)
Publix Nasal Decongestant PE non-drowsy 16ct box (Save up to $3.39)
Quaker Oatmeal To Go Bars – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.19)
Sea Pack Shrimp Co. Shrimp-assorted varieties (Save up to $7.29)
Shedd’s Spread Country Crock – (Save up to $1.75)
Willow Lane Scented Premium Candle 22oz jar – assorted varieties (Save up to $9.99)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Rethinking the Grocery Routine.....

You'll notice that I have no menu planned for the week. Yes, that was done slightly intentionally. Part of it was because we have had a very busy weekend....but I'm really re-thinking the whole grocery trip plan (or lack of it that I have had of late). I live really close to my favorite grocery store, and so I can pop down on any given day. Plus dh drives by it twice a day too, so if I ever need anything he can pick it up. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing and it sure is convenient.... but it has a few drawback as well.

  1. Going to the store so many times, causes me to go over budget.

  2. It's harder to track what I spend with so many receipts for different trips.

  3. It pulls me away from my home and family. I know that sounds a little over the top, but it really does. Each 1/2 hour is one that we could spend together, or I could be working on some task in making my house more like a home.... be it cleaning, organizing, or whatever. Those little grocery trips are a contributing factor to why my housework is falling behind. (It really has little to do with my computer time..... umm right???)

So anyway.... this weekend, I was setting up my coupon binder, and listening to Crystal's Grocery Shopping 101 seminars. One area of my grocery plan that I think needs improvement is the number of times I go to the store. It really needs to be limited..... I used to shop once a week, and that worked out really well for us.

I already plan my weekly menu and recognize the importance of that. But another thing Crystal suggests is to plan your menu around the grocery stores' sales flyers. Well, to do so instead of planning my menu on a Monday, I should really do so on a Wednesday or Thursday. This coincides better with both my local store's flyers which runs Wed. thru Tues. each week. If I plan to shop at the beginning of the sale, I can be sure to get the items I need, because everything is in stock. As I have learned from experience many sale items are just about gone after the weekend, and I would be getting rain check upon rain check and having to make return trips to the store.

The other thing she mentions is to have a grocery envelope and pay only in cash. YIKES!! That one is much more difficult for me! I think I'm going to take baby steps and start with a new shopping routine and a new menu planning day...and see where I go from there. (Wimp! I know it!! But, I'm not ready to go cash only just yet.... lol!)

How do you all plan your meals and your shopping trips?? Any comments would be helpful!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Rude Awakening....

It's been a long day.... very long. You know Sunday's for us are about a day of rest. But today felt like anything but. We awoke to our house alarm going off. LOUD. No, no one was trying to break in, we have a system that detects glass breaking, and can sometimes be set off by loudly clinking glass. My ds was taking the dishes out of the dishwasher this morning and must have clinked the glasses loudly. What followed was a comedy of errors. When we tried to put our code in, it wouldn't turn off. Literally would not turn off! Now you need to know that this was around 7am.... I am SO not a morning person, and both dh and I had been sleeping and awoke to this loud blaring sound. So we were bumbling and stumbling around trying to get our brains to think. I didn't have my glasses on, so trying to see what I was doing was difficult as well! I tried to find the number to the alarm company and dh was trying to punch in the code to the alarm. I finally got the alarm company and was talking to them on the phone while dh was in the garage. I was trying to talk yell over the alarm, and all of a sudden everything goes dead in the house, lights, phone.... everything...... BUT the alarm.

I yell to dh, "WHAT DID YOU DO?"

He yelled back (because we can't talk normally over the alarm), "I SHUT OFF ALL THE ELECTRIC TO THE HOUSE, TO SEE IF IT WOULD TURN OFF!"


So Dh runs back out to turn it on... meanwhile what my kids were witnessing must have been humorous. We get back on with the alarm company and they try to fix it, but it didn't work. And for some reason the phones went out again...I have no idea why. So we phone them a third time, and by this time the alarm has been going off for 15 minutes straight, which feels like at least 30 minutes! (Our poor neighbors!) They finally tell dh how to disconnect it.

Peace...blessed peace and quiet...

Who needs coffee when you can wake up like that???

Publix Mystery Coupon???

Okay, for our area the Publix mystery coupon is .....

A bag of Publix brand tortilla chips. Cool! So for 1 penny get your Publix tortilla chips. (Good only Sunday and Monday)

BTW- Our family LOVED the Chicken Taco Soup recipe that I tried this week! I even had it for lunch is delicious. So here's a suggestion.... try this delicious recipe and as a compliment add the Publix Tortilla Chips for 1 penny. So there you go!

Click here for the Chicken Taco Soup Recipe at All Recipes.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Oust BOGO coupons

Just a quick deal: For those of you with a Publix that has Oust BOGO, here is a coupon you can print twice for Oust Buy one get one free. (Make sure your printer is ready) I know Publix will take one of the coupons, but since they split the price of the BOGO and apply it to each item individually, only $1.69 got taken off my bill. (I didn't check it until I was home, or I would have tried the second coupon or combined with a $1.oo off coupon that I had). Anyway, this coupon might help someone, as that Oust sure is expensive on it's own!


Mission Almost Accomplished!

This was my goal last evening..... to completely clean up the homeschool room/office. This is where I do 90% of my work...other than cleaning the house. It was a very late night.....The coupon binder probably took me the longest, as I had almost 2 months of coupons to refile. I am so glad that goal is done, I won't be switching methods anytime soon! Here's what I accomplished:

  • Year end filing done- filed and new files set up for 2008!

  • New coupon organizer/binder set up, labeled and all coupons transferred (this involved carefully clipping each coupon to fit into the baseball card inserts and lots of slivers of clippings everywhere!)

  • All 2008 bills finally filed in the new file folders.

  • Recently expired coupons ready to be sent overseas to military base.

  • All junk mail since 2008 shredded and discarded.

  • All offers/deals filed for future use.

  • All books on the homeschool bookcase put away properly (not thrown in or laying on top of the rest of the books).

  • Dust and vacuum the entire room!

  • Steam clean the carpets.

Notice the actual cleaning portion wasn't completed!! It will be done today though...I have my list and dh has his. I'll post photos soon of my binder, it looks really good if I do say so myself, all color coded, and labeled with my label maker.... and yes, I am rather anal particular about those things. :-)

In frugal news today, well I don't have a lot to report. I spent $20 oop at CVS (and got 15 ECB's back), and I went to Publix and bought a few stapes spent $33. (Of that $33, 1/2 was stocking up on Starbuck's coffee since it is $1.50 less than normal, and we use it everyday). We really don't need a whole lot, but I will go back and buy a few more BOGOs before there sale is up on Tuesday. I'm stocking up on couscous with a little help from my friends, family and neighbors. (More about that next week.)

Oh and I completed my taxes! They haven't been filed yet, but they are done! Woohoo! (see all that you can accomplish when you stay up until the wee hours of the morning?) LOL!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Am I DONE yet???

Jeanie asked if I was DONE yet with all my stuff I had to do today... I sure wish! I saw that comment pop up when I took a break, and I so wanted to respond back... "I have barely even started!" LOL! My new coupon binder is taking forever to get set up, and so I am swimming in paper worse than ever. This is why I get into trouble, because I do this stuff, before we are having company, and then I get even more behind on stuff.

So I can't type long because I am actually going to do the year end (2 months late) filing that I've procrastinated on! I promised myself that if nothing else got done today, my homeschool room would be cleaned and complete. That means all the coupons, (which I got two more envelopes mailed to me today), and the filing. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. :-)

In my high school yearbook on my page I put this quote, which sum me up well.... "If it weren't for the last minute nothing would ever get done".
I'm hard at work, cleaning up the homeschool room and organizing my coupons once again...(different system). I'll be out shopping a few CVS deals and Walgreens as well today. I WILL break in those cleaning products in some fashion as well....

All this to say, that I'll be scarce on the computer....I hope to post my deals later today...

And on a side note, I already received my coupon for a free bottle of Coffee-Mate Creamer. (That was FAST!) So if you haven't signed up for it.... click Coffee-Mate and get yours!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Company's Coming!

Over the last month I have really stocked up on cleaning supplies.

First I bought this, which was a Tide CVS Deal

Then I bought these at Walgreen's:

Then I bought this in two separate trips to CVS and Publix

So, why is my laundry piled high and my house in need of some serious attention? I guess it's fun to buy them, but I have to actually USE them to make a difference! Thank goodness we are expecting company next weekend..... those new cleaning products are sure to get some action!

So, how many of you are like me and wait until company's coming over to get your house really clean? Fess up....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Publix Deals!

Okay, I just have to say it...I am so excited about the Publix Deals this week...Everytime I found something in the Publix Flyer that we used, I was like a fan at a football arms shot up over my head as I exclaimed "YES!" I feel like they looked into my personal shopping selections and tailor made their sales for me this week. Like Near East Couscous...didn't I just comment that its one thing I splurge on in my kitchen? We are actually running low on boxes, so I'll be there tomorrow stocking up. I actually thought I saw a coupon online for it, but they tricked wasn't there. I would love to add an online coupon to sweeten that deal. Edited to add: I found the Near East Coupons ($0.50 off one item) at Smartsource!

Here are a few more deals that I saw:

Oust Air Sanitizer- You can pick this up for free. There are $2 off coupons out there and $1 off coupons.... so depending on how you combine them you can get it for $0.39 or have overage.

Simply Orange Juice is 2/$6.00 - I have been waiting for this to go on some sort of sale, no matter how small. It's our favorite Orange Juice.

Starbuck's Coffee $6.49. That's the best deal I have seen on that coffee around here, and I have checked everywhere...Foodlion, Publix, Target, Walmart, Bi-Lo.

Select Pepsi Products 2 liter bottles are 4 for $4.00

Maybeline Lip Products are 50% off

Publix BOGO Deals Feb. 20th-26th

Its Publix BOGO time again! Does anyone else look forward to this time of the week??? I know I’m eagerly anticipating what the deals will be for the week at my favorite grocery store…. Last week I have to tell you, I was a little disappointed in the BOGOs, but the Glade Candle deal and the Lysol All PurposeCleaner deal, more than made up for it! So without further ado…..

Here is a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the 1/6, thru 2/17 paper or from recent online coupons. There may be more coupons that you have stockpiled, or that you have found online to add to these BOGO deals. If there is one you found add it to the comment field. Here is the link to the Publix flyer for some other deals: Publix Flyer

Bertolli Pasta Sauce - assorted varieties (Save up to $2.59)
Campbell’s Select Soup –assorted varities (Save up to $2.29)
Del Monte Tomatoes assorted varieties 14.5oz can (Save up to $1.27)
Dole Fruit, Gel or Parfait Bowls –assorted (Save up to $2.43)Online Coupon

Dole Salad Blends – assorted varieties
Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food – 4oz jar assorted varieties (Save up to $0.99)Online Earth's Best Coupon
GE Light Bulbs-assorted varieties (Save up to $1.22)
General Mills Cheerios Cereal –assorted varieties (Save up to $3.99)
Hellman’s Mayonaise assorted varieties (Save up to $3.15)
Hershey’s Syrup excluding sugar free (Save up to $1.85)
Kellogg’s Pop Tarts 8pk-assorted varities (Save up to $1.95)
Keebler Townhouse or Club Crackers (Save up to $3.79)
Ken’s Steakhouse marinade or Buffalo Wing Sauce-16oz (Save up to $2.79)
Kid’s Cuisine Dinner –assorted varieties (Save up to $2.19)
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner- assorted varieties (Save up to $0.69)
Kraft South Beach Living Meal-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.99)
Krusteaz Muffin or Cake Mix-excluding brownie (Save up to $2.49)
Lay’s Potato Chips – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.49)
Mott’s Apple Juice –assorted varieties 9 pk. 6.75 oz box – (Save up to $2.99)
Nabisco Honey Maid Grahams assorted varieties (Save up to $3.59)
Near east Couscous or Rice Pilaf –assorted varieties (Save up to $2.19)
Oust Air Sanitizer –assorted varieties 10 oz. can (Save up to $3.39)
Planters Peanuts assorted varieties (Save up to $2.89)
Publix Microwave Popcorn 6pk. Assorted varieties (Save up to $3.39)
Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Minatures or hershey’s assorted (Save up to $4.99) excluding seasonal
Tam-X-ico’s Tortillas-white corn 30 count (Save up to $2.09)
Thomas’s English Muffins original plain (Save up to $2.99)
Vlasic Sandwich Stackers or Pickles or Spears –assorted (Save up to $2.69)

My Super Productive Day.... or maybe not....

Today was my free's the day my kiddos have Homeschool Co-op, and I have a few hours to run errands. And I had a long list of errands to run too! Lots to get accomplished on our adoption paperwork, photos to be copied, a trip to CVS to get the things I need there, Walgreens for some deals for my mom, Walmart for some bubbles, Sam's Club for just a few items.... I was armed and ready!

But soon after I dropped the kids off, I just didn't feel well. Nauseous, stomachache. Not good. I thought I could stick it out, but I kept feeling worse, so I just decided to head back home. Thank goodness the Lord was gracious as my kids weren't home. I crawled into bed and went back to sleep, hoping I wouldn't get sick. I didn't and so God was gracious once again.

So, that was my well planned day. Nothing to show for it, but an unmade bed! I picked the kiddos up and we grabbed a rotisserie chicken for dinner. Dh will thank me when they get back from's easy and done, and it was less than $5. A good deal when you feel too sick to cook. :)


I have been tagged by Jennifer @ All Things Frugal.

1 ~ What is the one BIG goal you hope to accomplish this week?
Complete the rest of our adoption paperwork and send it to our agency.

2 ~ What is the one household chore you do NOT like to do?
Laundry....I am Queen of Laundry Procrastination.....

3 ~ What would you buy if someone gave you $2,000.00? (all debts and bills paid)
I would use the $2000 to put money down on a used truck for dh.

4 ~ Describe yourself using one word.

5 ~ What is the one saying or theme that you live by?
This is has been my life verse through our recent move and adoption process. For the Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

6 ~ What is the one household item you can NOT live without?
My washer and dryer. Even though I can't stand that chore, can you imagine if I had to wash everything by hand?!?!? Yikes!!

7 ~ If you had one chance to go any where in the world where would you go?
Ireland. It's a beautiful country.....

8 ~ List the one person you admire the most.
That is really tough.... I hate naming one person, as I admire so many people.

9 ~ What is one thing people may not know about you?
My husband and I are remodeling junkies...we LOVE it!

Monday, February 18, 2008

My $0.00 Splurge....

I love when I "find" money! It's like my blog name Coins In The Couch! Only this time it was in my wallet.... not the couch...let me take you there....

The kiddos had basketball practice, and I knew I had about 45 minutes to kill before I had to order the Papa John's $5 pizza for dinner. So, I headed to Target, because their Valentine stuff was on sale 75% off. I walked into the store and first checked the bins in the front, because I thought I saw some clearance merchandise. Nope...but I did find these at $1.00 each. :-) I picked up 12 of them. I know that's alot, but a formal place setting usually includes dinner for 12, so picture 12 popcorn tubs instead.

Now you need to know that I have been searching around for these exact items since December when I went to visit my sister and we had movie night at her house. She used really large styrofoam cups to give each kid some popcorn.... it worked great, and made me think of the movie theater popcorn tubs. So, like her family, I wanted to start a regular movie night at our house.... But, I can't have a movie night without those cool popcorn tubs! Right? (No, I'm kidding I know I can....but these are so cool!) Anyway, I've been looking for them and found some online, but didn't want to pay the shipping on them. How cool is it that I found them tonight? Awesome!

But even better after browsing around Target and getting some "Mom time", I went to check out. I was looking in my purse as I thought I might have a Target gift card leftover from Christmas. Well, I found it and handed it to the cashier saying, "Let's try this card, but it may have nothing left on it..." She grinned after she rang it through and said to me... "You still have $5 left to use on the card!" Woohoo!! She chuckled as I took my receipt and headed out the door. Like a cheshire cat, my smile was so big.... I LOVE it when I "find" money!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Menu Plan

It’s been really good to have a Menu Plan to look back on for the last month. I’ve noticed a couple of things…. One, I have gotten myself into a rut planning my menus, and two I am planning way too much with preprocessed foods.

The preprocessed food is actually hurting my weight loss efforts. It contains a lot of salt, and while easier to prepare, it isn’t as healthy…. So, I am going to try to balance my week out a little more with several natural homecooked meals loaded with veggies, and then a few processed quick meals in there as well.

Now onto the rut I seem to get myself into…. I am so not a chef! Remember I did not get the cooking genes in my family.... cooking if it's complicated just generally stresses me out. So, I tend to go to the things that I know how to cook, and that are easy to pull together. But that gets old really fast, as I am finding when I review my menu plans. So, I am going to try to prepare one new meal a week. Just one meal, (I can DO this!). This week it’s the Chicken Taco Soup recipe that I found on All Recipes. This is made in the slow cooker, so it should be relatively easy and stress free.... It got 845 rave reviews, so I’m really hoping we can make it 846! Anyway, here is the link to the recipe if you care to check it out, Chicken Taco Soup..…and here is my Menu Plan for the week:

Lunch- Chunky Soup/Fresh Bread
Dinner-Papa John’s $5 Pizza/Salad

Breakfast- Eggs/Sausage/Toast
Lunch- Sandwiches, Fruit, Granola
Dinner- Baked Chicken, Couscous, Steamed Broccoli

Breakfast- Muffins/Cereal/Fruit
Lunch- Baked Potato/Broccoli
Dinner- Chinese Chicken Salad (didn’t make last week, so it’s on again for this week)

Breakfast- Waffles/Fruit
Lunch- Vegetable/Deli Wraps
Dinner- Penne Pasta w/ Turkey Sausage Italian Salad

Breakfast- Cereal/Fruit
Lunch- Crispy Chicken over salad greens
Dinner- Chicken Taco Soup

Breakfast- Pancakes/Sausage
Lunch- Soup and Sandwiches w/ Fruit
Dinner- Orange Roughy/Rice/Steamed fresh vegetables

Publix Mystery Coupon....

The mystery 1 penny coupon for the Publix in our area is..........??????

A 2 Liter Bottle of Publix Brand Soda (Sometimes referred to as "pop" or "cola" in other parts of the country.)

Go get the above for 1 penny! Good today and tomorrow, (2-17 and 2-18) at least for our region!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Super Saturday Savings...

I went back out again today to get a few more deals... Total oop for both trips $28.xx!!

The first was at Bi-Lo. They had Chunky Microwave Soups on Sale BOGO and I had a ton of coupons for those. Plus their crescent rolls were on sale, so I used some of those coupons as well. Jeannie at What's a Girl to Do? posted that the 12 pack Coke was on a special sale $1.99 each, so I got a few of those as well.... Before Savings: $59.xx after Savings/Coupons $20.xx! Here's a photo:

On my way home from Bi-Lo I stopped at Publix because dh needed chips for our turkey burger dinner....They were out of the Lysol All Purpose Cleaner the last time I was there. It is on sale BOGO $2.99 each, so that's 2 for $ I had coupons for $.50 doubled to $1.00. That made each Lysol cleaner $0.50!!! I also used my first Coffee-Mate coupon..because I can always use french vanilla creamer! Before Savings: $24.xx After Savings/Coupons $8.xx!!

Coffee-Mate Coupons

I love Coffee-mate French Vanilla Creamer. My sister actually got me hooked on this a year ago, and I am now brand loyal!

I signed up to receive a free bottle of Coffee-mate here. Then because I registered, I received an email letting me know about some Coffee-mate coupons I could print...If you go there you too can register and print coupons for $1.00 off (1) package of Coffee-mate liquid or powder. It will allow you to print two coupons, with two different SKU's. Then they also have $1.50 off of 2 packages of Coffee-mate liquid or powder. This coupon is also allowed to be printed two times. (Just click the back button once it has printed once.) Click here for the coupons....Coffee-mate.

What Do You Splurge On In Your Kitchen??

That's a good question.... what exactly DO I splurge on? Meredith asked me to list 5 things, so here goes.....
  1. Near East Couscous garlic flavor- This is a staple here in my house... I try to find it on sale, but if I don't I still buy it as we eat it a lot.

  2. Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce- I have bought French's but it just doesn't compare. We like to marinate London broil, and steak in this.

  3. Olive Oil- I usually buy Bertolli's and I get it at Sam's in a large bottle that lasts me a l-o-n-g time.

  4. Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream- this is a real splurge, because DH loves Cherry Garcia.... So when the craving hits, we usually buy it...and it's rarely on sale.

  5. Starbuck's Coffee- I know I know, I'll probably get a lot of flack for that. We have a good friend back north who is a BIG fan of Dunkin Donuts Coffee... and we are always ribbing each other on the best coffee. I'm not totally brand loyal that I won't try anything else... If DD's was on sale I would buy it. We just bought the Publix brand, as it was $2 cheaper. It's okay, but I like my Starbuck's better. Although if you are not a morning person like me, any coffee would be a good thing!

So there's my list.... what do you splurge on in your kitchen???

Friday, February 15, 2008

Stockpiling with Publix BOGOS.....

These are the BOGO deals that I got at Publix this week: Total before savings $106.xx.... I paid $44.xx for everything shown. I should have left the Oreo's packs as they weren't the best deal....but I had my kids with me and they reminded me that I need to bring the snack to basketball this week! They were on a BOGO, but I still think I might have done better at Walmart for those things. (I think but...who knows?) We really needed Puffs tissues and although they weren't a BOGO item, I saved $4.00 on ten boxes). We were running low on pasta sauce and I never pass up a mixed nut or cashew deal, it was BOGO and I had coupons for those as well! So there you go! If you want to see a listing of the Publix BOGO deals for this week Click HERE.

Spare Change.....

This is what I did two days ago.... yes instead of organizing my files,I decided counting all the spare change in dh's junk drawer would be a better, more productive use of my time. lol!

I could not believe the spare change I gathered....seriously. And I haven't even looked in the couch or under the car seats yet. $17.00 in the junk drawer!!! Now I know that's not a really big deal to some.... I know that the really savvy money people will say to add some funds to it, and start a high interest savings ... to really get a return on it. I know some will say it's such a small amount, it really won't make a dent in the overall picture.

But I'm thinking living frugally, and really it's all about the little ways that add up to help the overall picture. My husband has a saying when we are overwhelmed with a task. I really think it is an overused saying.... but it applies here. "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time". Now in my mind, who would ever contemplate eating an elephant? I don't know.... just the thought turns me away from that phrase. But I guess it works with debt, finances and the overall picture. Every little bit helps....and each wise decision, each small step is one step closer to financial freedom. much spare change can you gather?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Coupons!!

In the mail today came two envelopes! One contained the coupons I ordered from The Coupon Clippers....and the other contained the coupons that my mom sent me! Yeah!!

I called my mom to thank her for sending me the coupons! She rocks! So, now I have to start organizing a whole slew of new coupons again. I sure hope next weeks deals are good! I've already started planning out my menu using stuff I've got on hand.

In other news: I have not done the year end filing yet... can you say PROCRASTINATION? Kind of like laundry in my house. And I am not even going to talk about taxes.... for those that have filed and already received a tax refund.... picture me with my fingers in my ears....... "LaLaLaLaLa....... I can't hear you....." LOL!

Coupon Cartoons

I was at Pubix last night, and my favorite cashier said to me, "Hi Coupon Lady! I don't know what I'm gonna do if I ever see you in my line without coupons? I think I'll go into shock or something!" lol!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Glade Candles at Publix

Just wanted to quickly post that I went to Publix this evening, as I needed what else??..... a few staples. Hamburger buns for Saturday and I forgot to get potatoes and bananas on my regular shopping run. I picked up a few BOGOs while I was there....hey I was without my I browsed a while!

Anyway the best deal I got was definitely the Glade 4 oz candles. They are regularly $2.99 each. They are BOGO and then I had a coupon for $2.00 off 2 candles. (It was in the 2/3 Sunday coupon inserts) So I paid $0.50 each. I got four of them....but I will definitely be back for some more!

Bullet Point Ramblings...

I have a few thoughts this week about my budget, grocery deals, stock piling etc. Ramblings really...
  • I didn't get as far as I wanted on tackling all the paperwork yesterday. I forgot that I had a hair appointment. And it was needed! I wouldn't want to miss that.... 3 months in between cut and color and I look a bit frumpty. So, I got 1/2 of what I needed to accomplish done, but still have the dreaded bill/year filing to accomplish.

  • Our local paper has a measly coupon section. I hear and see online the great coupon previews... and we don't get them. I was really bummed because of not receiving the coupon for Nonni's biscotti (see here).... and I'm sure there are more I'll miss. Now I could use The Coupon Clippers, and I have ordered from them this week, but the deal for the biscotti is over already, so I wouldn't receive the coupons in time.

  • Stamps are going up again.... Wow! What does everyone do about saving money on mailing stuff? I'm talking bills etc. I may have to start paying online (though I hate that for security reasons). Some I bet I could drop off locally. What do you do?

  • I'm pretty well stocked, so I'm planning on getting a few bogo deals at Publix this week, and a few staples and that's it. (Unless Bi-Lo offers triple coupons again...then I say Bring It On!!)

  • I'm thinking of ways to track my savings/spending. The current way is not working for me...too much paper to keep track of!

  • My friend Jennifer at All Things Frugal just made up her coupon binder . I was checking out my friend Jeannie's the other day too when she gave me some coupons. I am contemplating switching my current system to a binder type system. It just makes it easier to carry around in a store and not have a box of envelopes be so obtrusive. But that will have to be when I have more time....

That's it for now...I do have a Walgreen's trip planned and I'll post after it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Publix BOGO Deals - Feb 13th-19th

Here is a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the 1/6, 1/13, 1/20, 1/27 or 2/3 or 2/10 paper or from recent online coupons. There may be more coupons that you have stockpiled, or that you have found online to add to these BOGO deals. If there is one you found add it to the comment field. Here is the link to the Publix flyer for some other deals: Publix Flyer

Arm and Hammer Peroxicare Toothpaste, Complete Care or Dental Care (Save up to $2.99)
Baby Portobello Mushrooms 8oz. pkg. (save up to $1.99)
Dial Bar Soap assorted varieties (Save up to $1.99)
Emerald of California Nuts assorted varieties (Save up to $5.49)
Glade Candle 4 oz pkg assorted varieties
Green Giant Canned Vegetables (4pk)assorted varieties (Save up to $4.29)
Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing 16 oz bottle assorted varieties (Save up to $3.15)
Jose Ole Taquitos assorted varieties (Save up to $4.99)
Kashi Granola Bars assorted varieties (Save up to $3.79)
KC Masterpiece Barbecue Sauce 18 oz bottle assorted varieties (Save up to $1.99)
Keebler Fudge Shoppe Cookies, Dunkin Delights,or EL Fudge assorted (Save up ot $3.09)
Kellogg’s Cereal –Special K, Smart Start, Raisin Bran,Raisin Bran Crunch, Select All Bran (Save up to $3.99)
Kool Aid Drink Mix or Country Time or Tang assorted varieties (Save up to $3.49)
Lipton Tea Bags 100 ct box (Save up to $3.49)
Lysol Disinfectant All Purpose Cleaner 40oz bottle assorted (Save up to $2.99)
McCormick Grinder assorted varieties (Save up to $1.99)
M&M’s Chocolate Candies assorted varieties (Save up to $2.99)
Nabisco Ritz Bits Sandwiches or Ritz crackers (Save up to $3.29)
Prego Pasta Sauce assorted varieties 48oz jar (Save up to $3.19)
Ray’s New York Bagels 21 or 24 oz package assorted varieties (Save up to $2.99)
Ronzoni Pasta 12 or 16 oz box assorted varieties (Save up to 1.39)
Ruffles Potato Chips 11.5-12oz bag (save up to #3.49)
Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix 8 or 10 ct box assorted varieties (Save up to $1.79)
Swiss Miss Pudding Vanilla, Chocolate, Tapioca, Vanilla/Chocolate Swirl 6pk. (Save up to $2.27)
Taco Bell Home Original Dinners assorted varieties (Save up to $2.69)

Candle-Lite Essential Elements Candle assorted varieties (Save up to $9.99) Good thru 2-14

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday.....

Today, I am tackling the homeschool room/ computer area. I am buried in paper! Schoolwork, newspapers, flyers, note cards, letters, bills, books, junk mail.... it's everywhere! And the coupons....I'm being over run! You wouldn't think so with the measly batch we got in the paper this week, but I am! I even gave a ton away that I knew I wouldn't be using...and I still have a pile that is huge. So my goal today is to sort through the coupons, file all the kid's schoolwork, set up new business files for 2008 and generally declutter this whole room....Sounds like fun huh? Thrilling.

Speaking of that filing I'm going to do... I have to share a tip I learned years ago. When I was first married, I had no idea how to manage our finances. I was lucky if I could keep my checkbook balanced. (This from a business major). Duplicate checks were the answer to that problem, as there was never a check I missed in the ledger. Anyway, I was very new to the world of personal finances, and a good friend told me about a simple filing system she used for all her bills. She has a 5 drawer filing cabinet and she puts one year in each drawer. So, you purge the earliest year and file the just finished year in the empty cabinet drawer. So this year I will purge 2002, and file 2007 in it's place. I'll have 2003-2008 on hand. I still dread doing this, as I have to make new files for all my 2008 bills in my computer desk....always time consuming, but a great feeling when it is done. If you'd like to check out what records you need to keep and how long to keep them click on this Bankrate link for a record keeping chart. (Print it out and keep it in on hand to refer to from year to year).

So, anyway......that's what I'm tackling today. I hope to dig my way to the surface soon!

Mystery Coupon-Publix

For those of you that don't know...Publix offers a mystery coupon. I called our local store and they informed me that the mystery coupon comes out every Sunday, and that it is for all Publix stores. It's good for 2 days (Sunday and Monday) and says "See What 1 cent Gets!" This week you get a 5 lb bag of Publix sugar for 1 penny. So if you need sugar get on down to Publix!

Editing to add: I'm really curious to see if this is at all Publix stores, and if the mystery deal is the same across the board. So post a comment to let me know if your coupon is different or your deal is different. Thanks!

Menu Plan Monday

I've made my menu which is my first step to sticking to my budget. You'll notice that I have sausage on the menu again.... no it's not two weeks in a row....although it could be with all the sausage I have in the freezer! Nope last Saturday I forgot to thaw the sausage, and so when it came time for dinner, and I went to get it, I realized my mistake. No problem though, I had bought Steak-um's on sale very cheap so they were stocked in the freezer as well. Dh loves these, and we never ever have them. So, we had those for dinner. It was actually a big hit with our kids too, so I'll look for more on sale in the future. They make a great back up when my original meal plan backfires!

The second thing is I always leave off Sunday's, because the day has past already, and I run my menu Sunday thru Saturday. We were to have friends come over after church yesterday, so I made a big vat of Chili to serve. We got the call that morning that 3 of their 4 children were sick, so we have a lot of chili leftover. While we would have loved to have fellowshipped with them....I now have some great chili to use as leftovers this week. So I'll stop rambling and post the menu. lol!

Lunch- Pizza/Salad
Dinner-Dinner Out

Breakfast- Eggs/Sausage/Toast
Lunch- Sandwiches, Fruit, Granola
Dinner- Italian Sausage Pepper sandwiches

Breakfast- Cereal/Fruit
Lunch- Leftover Chili baked Potatoes
Dinner- Chinese Chicken Salad

Breakfast- Eggs/muffins/cantaloupe
Lunch- Pasta/Broccoli Salad
Dinner- Chicken Stir Fry

Breakfast- Cereal/Fruit
Lunch- Taco Salad
Dinner- Colorful Chicken Stew

Breakfast- Pancakes/Sausage
Lunch- Crackers/Cheese/fruit/leftover Stew
Dinner- Turkey Burgers on Grill/Salad/Baked Beans

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Nonni's Biscotti- Publix deal

I have to share another Publix Deal. Nonni's Biscotti.... I love it with coffee in the morning or the afternoon, or anytime. LOVE it! Anyway, for two more days (or three if you are in parts of Florida) these are on a BOGO. They normally are $3.00 each but are $1.50 each at the BOGO price. Now to make it an even better deal... there are coupons in the paper this Sunday 2/10 for $1.00 off two boxes. So the biscotti ends up being $1.00 a box! That's a great deal... you save $2.00 off each box! That's just over 66%. Buy 4 boxes and instead of paying $12.00 you pay $4.00! Go snap some up today!

Editing to add: My paper of course did not have the Nonni's coupons...but it didn't even have a Smart Source in it! ugh! But I still wanted to post this deal for those of you in an area with good coupons readily available and a Publix to shop at. Buy some of those biscotti for me.... (sigh)

Saturday CVS Deals....

Okay, I know.... I know..... I'm such a wimp...but I sent DH to CVS with the list of what to get! lol! I could have gone, but I would have had to travel to the CVS located farther away.... and I wasn't in the mood to go out tonight. On his way out the door DH said, "If I see the Asst Mgr. I'll ask her if she has any cereal." I looked at him confused.... like "Cereal? why would you ask her that?" Then he said... "Lucky Charms, behind the counter with milk.... remember?" lol! I told him he better not say that! (Geez, cause more trouble---But he made me laugh.) If you haven't read my nightmare experience last weekend at CVS you can read it HERE.

Okay, so this is what we got at CVS. I had $10 in ECB's to use up before they expired (2/10). We needed Soft Soap, and shower soap, and Murphy's Oil soap. If I bought $10 worth of those items I earned $5 in ECB's. I had coupons for all those things, plus Jennifer at All Things Frugal told me about a BOGO coupon at CVS for Dentyne Gum that expires on 2/10. It's Dh's favorite gum, so he was more than happy to run out for it. Plus he hates wasting money, so if those ECB's expired and we hadn't used them, it would have irked him. Me too...but him more. :-)

Here's a photo of everything we got. Not a big trip, but it didn't cost much Oop.... just $1.39 and don't forget $5 in ECB's back!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cereal Straws, Stockpiling and other Publix Deals...

This week I stocked up on some BOGOs at Publix... I had a few coupons but sure wish I had more. The deal would've been much sweeter with two coupons to add to each BOGO. The best part was this...ds2 has been asking and asking for Kelloggs cereal straws. He must have seen it advertised on a commercial, because he can say the little jingle. Anyway each week we have been in Publix I have had to tell him, "No, not unless they are on sale or I have a coupon." I bet the poor guy thought he'd never get those cereal straws... cause he asked me "Mom how long are you gonna be doing this coupon thing?" lol! So I was thrilled when I was checking the Publix flyer to see a BOGO on what else? Kelloggs cereal straws. It certainly isn't something I would buy regularly....but what a great treat for both of my sons. Their eyes lit up when I asked/told them..."Guess what's on sale at Publix this week, Buy one get one free?" "CEREAL STRAWS!" :-) Yeah Mom!

Except for the 18 ct. eggs, (which I got at Sam's Club) this is what my Publix bill was....
Before savings and coupons.... $64.xx
Final total $28xx
Saved 56% not too bad.

Wanted to show my latest stockpile I've been accumulating over the last two weeks.... with Bi-Lo's triple coupons and Walgreens savings.... I think we are set in the TP department for awhile. lol! I have nowhere else to store it!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What would you do for some coupons??

Last week our local Bi-Lo was offering tripled coupon savings for the third week. I had to take advantage of that, and I'm glad I did as this week they are not... Bummer! But also at my local Publix they had a BOGO deal that was very sweet to our family. I mentioned it in an earlier post... Johnsonville Sausage of my husband's favorites. We like it on pasta, or just in the crockpot and served with peppers and onions on Italian rolls. Dh loves to take the leftovers to work during the week. How could I pass that up? Only I didn't have the coupons for the sausage as I used them up at Bi-Lo the previous week. (But who knew Publix would put them on a BOGO deal???)

My friends to the rescue!! I had posted on one of my homeschool group boards that I was looking for the Johnsonville coupons as those were a hit in my family. I asked if anyone had any they weren't using to email me and I'd arrange to pick them up. 1st email, my friend S., she thinks she has the coupons and will call me if she does so I can meet up with her. She calls me later and we agree to meet at Publix. Yeah! I sat down to dinner that evening and after dinner, I went to logon to my computer. Email from my friend J.- she is at basketball practice and will be there until 7pm.. (12 minutes from now). The subject says I have the coupons you need. Ack! I grab my purse and keys and yell to dh...I'm heading out to meet J.....she has the sausage coupons I need!! I can save $6.00! He chants as I run out the door..."Go Jackie Go, Go Jackie Go!" (I'm serious). I yell "If S. calls tell her to call me on my cell!" It's pouring rain, my windshield wipers are smearing- not wiping, and I'm trying to get there as quickly and safely as I can. I make it to J. and give her a big hug for helping me out! I'm also just glad I made it safely and in time. lol! We talk about the deals we got this week, and I check out her coupon binder...I'm envious.... and then I head home. Get a call from S. about 30 minutes later and meet her at Publix. I had fun hanging out with her and helping her while she finished her shopping...

Now fast forward a few days. It's another rainy/foggy night. I get a call in the evening from another friend K. "Hey Jackie, I was wondering if you wanted the sausage coupons still? Because I'm at Publix and I will not be using them." Me: I'll be right there! So I yell to dh once again....K. has sausage coupons for me....I'm headed out to get them...I'll be back in a bit! He by now is quite familiar with the drill.... and is just pleased as punch that I'm saving money at all. $18.00 on one of his favorite meals is a bonus. LOL! I hung out for a bit talking with K. about making homemade cards. Very, very cool and something she is going to teach me!

So, now my freezer is full of Johnsonville sausage, and that's what I did for some coupons.... lol! What a great bunch of friends!!!

Things I've learned about Publix...

When I asked a few questions to associates in my local Publix store, I received some conflicting answers.... so I emailed our corporate Publix offices to find out the official word on a few of their policies.

In our area, the Atlanta division stores, they will double manufacturer's coupons that are up to 50 cents in value. So, the maximum deal on a coupon would be $1.00. Some exclusions apply such as products in the categories of alcohol, tobacco and lottery.

Rain checks generally don't have an expiration date but if one were very old, a manager might possibly question it. Generally they honor all rainchecks, as the mistake was made by them in not having the product available.

The list of free antibiotics that I posted about HERE are free all the time. Yes, you heard that right..they offer these antibiotics free all the time. I have mentioned it in passing to several people and found out that one family does not have prescription insurance. This program will be a big help for them! Plus for those with a higher copay on prescription drugs, it will help cut your health budget costs considerably too! Pass this word around to those that might benefit from this great program! Click on the above link to see a list of the antibiotics.

This and That....

Check out the following blogs:

Crystal at Money Saving Mom has written a great blog post called Financial Shape 2008- Monthly Checkup. Take a moment to pop over there and see how she is doing on her goals for 2008, and then think about your own goals. I’ll be writing a post about my own in a few days.

Angie at Thrifty Florida Mama- has also written a very transparent post reflecting on her money management over the past year and her goals for the future. She has coined this coming year, The Year of the Gazelle…and I love to read of her Gazelle Intensity reports. For those of you that don’t know about the Gazelle phrase, check out Dave Ramsey’s website.

Karen at Growing in Grace wrote a review on a meal planning service that she uses.... it's called e-mealz and you can read about it here: E-Mealz Review

Finally, Jeannie at What’s a Girl to Do has just sent her expired coupons to the military. My husband is army retired and so this is also near and dear to our hearts as well. As soon as I get some coupons that expire I am sending them out as well! Thanks for the reminder Jeannie.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I've been Tagged:

Here are the rules: Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages). Open the book to page 123. Find the fifth sentence. Post the next three sentences. Tag five people. The book I am currently reading:

The nearest book which is right next to my desk....(the only adult book other than curriculum) is The Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples by Larry Burkett. This is what the section says:

With discipline, any couple can be totally debt-free. It's a
matter of commitment. In order to do long term financial planning,
you must develop a surplus of money.

That is just a snippet of what this great book is about. I have had this book since dh and I were first married, and have referred to it often. When we were younger though I didn't follow much of the advise, had I done so we would be in much better financial shape today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Publix BOGO Deals - Feb.6th-12th

Here is a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the 1/6, 1/13, 1/20, 1/27 or 2/3 paper or from recent online coupons. There may be more coupons that you have stockpiled, or that you have found online to add to these BOGO deals. If there is one you found add it to the comment field. Here is the link to the Publix flyer for some other deals: Publix Flyer

Altoids- assorted varieties (Save up to $1.99)
Bear Naked Cereal 0 12oz bag (Save up to $4.29)
Betty Crocker Super Moist Cake Mix –assorted varieties (Save up to $1.55)
Betty Crocker or Sunkist Fruit Snacks –assorted varieties (Save up to $2.75)
Chef Boy R Dee Assorted Varieties (Save up to $1.33)
Dentyne Ice or Fir Gum 3ct pack –assorted varieties (Save up to $2.19)
Florida Celery
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter – assorted varieties (Save up to $2.09)
Idahoan Mashed Potatoes-assorted varieties (Save up to $1.19)
Kellogg’s Kids Cereal Assorted Varieties (Save up to $3.99)
Kellogg’s Eggo Waffles –9.9-12.6oz box
Ken’s Steak House Dressing assorted varieties (Save up to $2.69)
Kozy Shack Pudding 22oz tub
Lysol Bathroom Cleaner Island Breeze or Mildew Remover w/ Bleach (Save up to $3.49)
Milk Bone Dog Snacks or Biscuits 24 or 26oz pkg (Save up to $3.29)
Motts Apple Juice (Save u to $2.89)
Mrs. Pauls Fish or Clams –assorted varieties (Save u p to $3.99)
Nabisco Chips Ahoy Cookies 14-16 oz pkg (Save up to $3.39)
Nonni’s Biscotti-assorted varieties
Uncle Ben’s Country Inn Rice 6oz. assorted varieties (Save up to $1.29)
Pam Cooking Spray 5 or 6oz can (Save up to $3.39)

Perdue Chicken Chunks –assorted varieties (Save up to $7.99)
Peter Pan Peanut Butter –assorted varieties (Save up to $2.25)
Pop Secret Premium Popcorn-assorted varieties (Save up to $4.59)
Quaker Cereal Captain Crunch, Life 16oz box (Save up to $4.29)
Rosetto Pastas-assorted varieties (Save up to $3.99)
Scotties Facial Tissue –assorted varieties
Simply Potatoes 20 oz bag
Windex Cleaner Refill 67.6 oz bottle (Save up to $5.19)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Review: Coupon Clipping Service

Last week, frustrated with the lack of coupons in our local paper, I decided to go ahead and try a coupon clipping service. You can see that post HERE. Several of my friends were interested in this service and asked me to write a review .…so here it is!

The service that I used is called The Coupons Clippers. Let me give a little background on this small business. It is run by a homeschooling mom of 5 children, who is married to a pastor of a small Baptist church. This business is a way for their family to have an extra income to help augment the small Pastor’s salary. If you would like to read more about her family and the operations Click Here. She has a very interesting “About Us” page.

When you get to the site, everything is arranged and organized very well. You can search aisle by aisle (their way of saying by category), or by the beginning letter of the product you are looking for. So, let’s say you are looking for Morningstar Farms Veggie Foods Products… you can click on the M-O section and if they have the coupons available you will see it. (It is there by the way, I checked). You can also do a search by typing in a specific coupon as well. I was looking for coupons in general, so I browsed by category so I could peruse a wide variety of coupons I might need. The search functions truly help, so I don’t have to look very hard for what coupons I need. The following are the aisle by aisle categories:
Baby/Children, Baked Goods, Beverages, Breakfast Products, Condiment/Baking, Coupon Carriers, Dairy,Deli Meats/Cheese, Energy/Diet, Ethnic Foods, Expireds, Feminine Products, Forms(Rebate Forms), Frozen Foods, Health Foods, Health and Beauty Aids, Household, Insect Control, Laundry, Legwear/Clothing, Meats, Media, Pantry, Paper/Plastic, Pet, Pharmacy, Produce, Refrigerated, Restaurant Coupons, Sauces, Snacks, Store Coupons, Unclassified,

Then let’s say you want to peruse the aisle Health and Beauty Aids. That encompasses a lot! When you click on that aisle, it further breaks down your coupons by category and also lists the number of coupons they have available. Here is what you might find depending on the number of coupons available:

Deoderant 13 coupon
Fragrance 0 coupons
Hair Crae 23 coupons
Hair Coloring 10 coupons
Lotions/Cremes 42 coupons
Make-up 19 coupons
Misc. 0 coupons
Nail Care 0 coupons
Oral Care 39 coupons
Sanitizer 0 coupons
Shaving Products 9 coupons
Shower Products 14 coupons

Then if you click on any one of the above listed categories, you will find the coupons to order. I copied and pasted a piece of the website to give you an idea of what it would look like. As you can see it gives you a blank to enter the quantity of coupons you need. The one thing I wasn’t crazy about is most times you must order a min. quantity of 5. I suppose we would eventually use those coupons, but I watch to check the expiration, and to make sure it’s something we would use a lot of. You can go to the HOT section (see below) as they list coupons in individual quantities in that section.

The order section tells you the quantity they have available, the minimum order quantity, the value of the coupon, the date of coupon expiration, and the handling fee which is the amount they charge you. In the case below it is $0.12 per coupon.

If you didn’t want to search aisle by aisle they have an alphabetical search by product on the top of the main page. Included on this banner is a Hot section, that lists all the coupons that are really good and popular. There are several great value coupons that are almost out of stock, as people snap them up, knowing they will use them later on before they expire. There is also a NEW section, which lists all the most recent coupons. They even have a Gluten Free section which if you click on it, lists all the gluten free products that offer a coupon.

After you have placed all your coupons in your cart you proceed to check out. If you find that you have selected a quantity in error or even a coupon that you decide you don’t need, just go to the “My Shopping Cart” page, and there is an option to delete it or change the quantity. At checkout they take Mastercard/Visa, Paypal and they do take cash, checks or money orders ($25 minimum mailed in advance). You will receive a confirmation email almost immediately after you place your order, letting you know when it will be processed and mailed out. Mine took one day to process and mail, and I was sent another email informing me that my order had indeed been sent. A very nice touch in this day and age of internet business. The Coupon Clippers are located in Dade City Florida, so take that into account for how long it would take to receive your coupons.

The three things I like most about this website….

  1. They are well organized and provide lots of detailed information. The available quantity, value and expiration dates, really help me determine if the coupon is something I will need.

  2. I also really like the selection! Some of these coupons I never get to see….our paper just doesn’t carry the inserts, or they may be older, and I missed them. So, I love to be able to get coupons after the fact, and pick and choose the ones that I would use.

  3. Finally, I like the convenience of this website. It's a great way to stock up on additional coupons that you know you will use! If I need extra coupons, that I know are a really good value, then all I have to do is hop on my computer, and order then from The Coupon Clippers. They’ll be in my mailbox within the week.

For more information about The Coupon Clippers visit their FAQ page.

Better late than is my menu for the week. Tonight's dinner was delicious...if you have never tried Jenni O turkey sausage you really must! I am planning on using it for many more things in the future. Turkey sausage sliced to put in wraps or to top on rice. It is delicious and dh had no idea it was turkey. (grin). He LOVED it as much as his regular sausage...only this is better for you. Anyway...onto the Menu.

Lunch- Chicken Soup/Breadsticks
Dinner-Pasta/Turkey Sausage/Salad

Breakfast- Eggs/Sausage/Toast
Lunch- Sandwiches, Fruit, Granola
Dinner- Pizza/Salad

Breakfast- Cereal/Fruit
Lunch- Leftover Pasta
Dinner- Nacho bake/Salad

Breakfast- Waffles/Fruit
Lunch- Soup/Sandwiches/Veggies
Dinner- Chicken Divan

Breakfast- Cereal/Toaster Strudel/Fruit
Lunch- Baked Potato/Brocolli
Dinner- Orange Roughy/Rice/Peas/Beans

Breakfast- Pancakes/Sausage
Lunch- Soup/Sandwich/Fruit
Dinner- Italian Sausage Pepper Sandwiches

CVS - The Finale.

My final installment in my CVS saga. I had emailed a friend last evening and mentioned I was going to call CVS corporate regardless of my meeting with the store manager today. I just feel that if it's a manager that is involved, someone higher up needs to be aware of the problem.

So after my meeting with the manager, I called the CVS customer service line. Now let me share something funny as I was waiting on hold. Music was playing, sort of mellow (but not musak) and the lyrics to the song were, "Just let it go... let it roll right off your back...." It struck me as funny, considering my situation and made me laugh. Then when the rep came on the phone, I said, "I'm calling to relate an awful experience I had at a CVS store in my area this weekend." She immediately said, "I'm so sorry about that...." That too struck me as humerous, and I answered chuckling, "You haven't even heard about it yet, but thank you." The woman on the other end listened to all that had transpired, and after I finished, I said, "and so that is what happened...thanks for listening". I think I said that mainly because at that point who knows if anyone but my online community cared. lol! I was so surprised to hear an emphathetic voice on the other end, affirming everything I had said.

The CVS customer service rep said that this manager was indeed very disrespectful and obviously does not know the policies of CVS. (Her words not mine). You can indeed get the coupons back, they are my coupons. Especially the manufacturer's coupons. While she said, sometimes the CVS coupons could be tricky, as they will show as already scanned.... there are procedures around that as well. She said the manager was not utilizing the managerial skills she had been taught and eating food on the sales floor was unprofessional. She apologized for my bad experience and said she would be contacting the district manager to inform him as well. She asked me several other questions about my experience, and said "we appreciate your informing us of this situation. It's one of the ways we can be aware of issues going on with our stores, otherwise nothing could change and the same issues would keep happening."

I was so blown away by her response. Really.... I think it's more a feeling of being heard. She listened and heard. I went on the record to say how much we appreciate the Extra Care Rewards program that CVS offers. I told her that this program has really been beneficial in helping our family budget. We at one time never shopped at CVS and now we shop there weekly. I thanked her for her willingness to listen to my experience and for offering her feedback. And that was it.....

I wish I had gotten her name, because CVS deserves another letter stating they have a great customer service rep. who is making a positive impact on their corporation. I may just write a generic letter and send it, I'm sure they could figure out who she was.

CVS-Part Two.....

Many of you have read about my awful experience at CVS this past weekend. For those that did not Click Here. I planned to head to CVS this morning at around 9am, so that I could speak with the head store manager about what happened. I was really dreading this conversation, as I hate confrontation.... I mean I really can't stand it. I get flustered too easily. Anyway I arrived at the store, pulled into the parking lot, turned off the car and prayed. Seriously...I just prayed that my mind would be clear, that I would not get emotional, but instead could present the facts concisely. I prayed that I would remember first and foremost who I was representing.

I walked into the store and noticed that the cashier who waited on me yesterday, spoke to the manager and nodded my way. I'm sure they were expecting me. The manager asked if he could help me, and I asked if he had a minute to talk about a situation that happened in the store the previous day. He acknowledged that he did, and we moved off to the side, so any customers who came into the store, could be waited on. So, I proceeded to tell him everything that happened which I detailed in my blog (click above). I stated the facts, and told him that I felt CVS, and he as the store manager, should know how his store is being represented. After listening to all I had to say, he apologized that I had that experience, and said he would refund me the $10 ECB since I had to go to all the trouble etc. So, that is what he did. I have to tell you that I wasn't really getting a good vibe of "I'm really sorry, and we'll deal with this situation". I actually had to ask if he would be speaking to this employee about this. He did say, "Yes."

So, I left feeling the transaction was corrected, but my faith in the management at that particular store was not restored. I really will not be going back at all. If I have to drive 20 minutes to a CVS friendly store then I will... as I said in my previous post.... "Because Nice Matters".

Part Three of the Sequel Coming Soon- A Call to Corporate

Because Nice Matters....

I found this on one of my photo sharing sights. Now, doesn't that make you want to visit that store? Kind of like my Publix. Goodness if anything can restore my customer service equilibrium these days, it's Publix! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your exceptional CS! I went in today to buy just a few staples for this week's groceries. Total spent between Bi-Lo and Publix $59.00. And aside from some fresh bread to buy on Saturday, that's all I need. However, if Bi-Lo offers triple coupons one last time, I have lots of wiggle room to stock up.

I'll share the sequel to CVS ina separate post, I'm trying to put my thoughts into writing.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Customer Service...It just keeps getting better and better...

Let me preface this post by saying that this rarely ever happens to me. I mean rarely! To have two incidents of poor customer service in one week, really makes me want to shy away from the retail sector. (to see the first click Here) I’ve certainly lost my faith in good CS. Anyway….here is what happened to me today at a local CVS. (I will be going back to speak to the head manager tomorrow).

I went into CVS for a quick trip to buy the Excedrin 100 ct and get the $10.00 in ECB’s. I had some ECB’s that needed to be used before they expired as well as manufacturer’s coupons. Plus the $3 off $15 expired today as well. Well the Excedrin rang up as 8.99 instead of the advertised $6.99 So, the manager had to come and void the transaction. Not helpful at all, she had no idea why it was doing that and didn’t bother to see why either. Then the cashier pulled all my coupons and ECB’s out of the register to try again, this time altering the price to what the CVS flyer says. It came up to the right dollar figure, but only printed $6.00 in ECB’s not the $10.00 (again as advertised.) The manager comes over again, and looks at it shrugs and says “I don’t know, you’ll have to call and find out”. (I’m thinking, “why are you putting the burden on me, to find out and fix the problem, it’s your store and your register.”) Instead I say, “I'd like you to just void the transaction and I’ll take my coupons back” Do you know that she would not give me my coupons back? She said it was company policy. I was incredulous, and said, “But I’m not taking any merchandise. I should be able to leave the store with everything I came in with.” She would not do it at all. I said, “so I am losing my $3 in ECB’s and my two manufacturer’s coupons?” She kept saying, “Well you already used them, you can’t use them again”. But I’m not taking the merchandise with me!! I asked if there was a manager higher up and she informed me that he would not be in until the following day. I will be there first thing in the AM to speak to him. She kept two $3.00 Excedrin Manufacturer’s Coupons, $3 worth of ECB’s and my one $3 off $15 CVS coupon, which was expiring anyway. I ended up taking the merchandise, as I didn’t want to lose out on even more money by leaving it there. I’ll try to sort it out with the head store manager tomorrow. She was only going to refund me $4.00. Unbelievable!

I will be letting the head manager know the following:

  • She was very rude and couldn’t be bothered to go out of her way to help a customer, or figure out a problem. Instead she put the burden on me, the customer, to do that.

  • I don’t like the way she treats those who use any coupons or utilize ECB’s and CVS deals. I am doing nothing wrong; I never stack coupons, and expect nothing more than what they advertise. I know this isn’t the case at all CVS stores, many have very friendly employees, this manager has a history of this behavior.

  • She was eating a big bowl of Lucky Charms behind the register area, with the box and a half gallon of milk there too, as if it were her kitchen counter, instead of a place of business.

I think CVS needs to know how their company is being represented. So, I will be breaking out my pen again, with a letter to corporate. It certainly has been getting a lot of exercise lately. But if I don’t inform someone, how will anything change? How many letters have not been written, as people just shrug their shoulders and chalk it up to rude behavior etc.?

Tell me am I crazy? Do you think this was good CS and management? Maybe my expectations are too high? Do you think I have a big magnet on my forehead, just attracting trouble? (sigh) I’ll let you know the sequel tomorrow……

Friday, February 1, 2008

Stocking the Pantry Again!!

I love my local grocery store when it offers triple coupons. It's just way to good to pass up, so I typically stock up on tons of canned products, toiletries, and prepackaged goods. I went this evening and took my youngest son. He did pretty well, although I felt bad for the poor guy, we were there for over an hour. I guess I just didn't have my mind as focused, and so figuring out if something was a good deal or not, took longer. They were out of quite a few things on my list so I'll be going back tomorrow to see if I can grab those things.....

Anyway, I spent $111.xx before savings, and afterward my bill was $38.88! Dh looked at everything I purchased and guessed the price to be around $54. He was so proud of me when I told him $38. Here is a photo of everything I bought....Yeah me! LOL!