Friday, May 22, 2009

Had an hour to kill

I dropped my son off at preschool and headed over to Albertsons to do a little double couponing. (I know, I'm crazy) Anyhoo, I didn't get the paper the other day and missed out on some doubles, so I was figuring I'd just grab an ad in the store...WRONG they were all out. I happened to see a little booth set up for the newspaper guy to collect subscription orders. He asked if I had all the doubles I needed, I told him I didn't and he gave me a bunch! SWEET! He also hooked me up with a Sunday subscription for only $1/issue...which he said the newstand price is jumping to $2 June 1st I think.

Anyway, I did my shopping as planned--I had to do 2 trips to use the doublers the way I wanted to, but here is what I got:1st transaction:
2-Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce 10/$10 2.00
- MC $1/2 -1.00
doubled -1.00
Marshmallows, Hersheys, Graham Crackers 6.49
Promo -$3 when you buy all 3 -3.00
-MC $1 off crackers -1.00
doubled -1.00
Wheat Thins 1.47
-MC $1/1 -1.00
doubled -1.00
2-Bar S Hot dogs 1.98
MC $1/2 -1.00
Total= $2.30

Transaction #2
Marshmallows, Grahams, & Hershey's -- see above-- $1.49
2-Wheat Thins--see above-- OVERAGE -$1.06
2-Hot Dogs--see above--$0.98
Total= $1.74

Spent $4.04 on $47.64 worth of groceries!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

For good measure...

Okay, here's how the last part of my week went:

Libby had come home from school Tues. and started to not feel well. (She had a cough for about a week) Wed. she had a slight fever and hadn't improved by the next morning so I took her to an Express Care (inside Albertsons--so convenient) on Thurs. and she tested positive for Strep. The NP suggested I may want to get my other kids tested--of course I didn't have them with me though.

Isaac had a cough a week before Libby. He seemed to improve when she and Ethan came down with it. Well, Friday night, his cough really kicked back into gear, kept him (&me) up most of the night, by the toilet in case he gagged it all out. (TMI, I know) We slept in the LaZboy and by Sat. afternoon he wasn't feeling great and had a slight fever (like 99.9) so, we thought we might as well take him in too. The NP (different one, of course) started talking inhalers for his poor lungs and did a swab for strep just because Libby was positive. And guess what--positive! She suggested I bring Ethan back and get him tested (of course, he wasn't with me at the time--you think I'd learn, right?).

Ethan, who has the strongest immune system of all of them, and possibly the highest pain threshold, has been coughing a little bit, like 5-6 times during the whole day. Not enough that I would've taken him in on that alone. But the NP said she wouldn't charge us to get him tested, so Wade took him in to get tested....

POSITIVE! Can you believe it! I figured I should probably have gotten tested too, since I was taking care of the little sickies for 2 weeks, but of course, I wasn't there at this last appointment.

Oh well, at least I don't have to hear any complaining about why the non-sick ones can't have the bubblegum medicine...cause they ALL have it!

FYI--their throats were only barely red and NO watch those coughs and slight fevers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My newest hobby

Buying ALOT for very little... I am way into couponing. I've always been one to enjoy the thrill of Black Friday. I look forward to perusing the ads after a filling Thanksgiving meal and waking at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to get the good deals...and then we always hit the thrift stores ;)

Anyhoo, I stumbled across a few cereal sales at Albertsons in the past, and had NO IDEA that people actually shopped those kinds of sales all the time. I found a few blogs that keep track of things very nicely--inform you of the super deals you just can't miss out on, and I started clipping those coupons. I even made myself a binder. (For someone less OCD than me, I would recommend one of those photo books-2 per page or something, or ya know- an envelope)

So, yesterday was my first big, plan it out, couponing trip and this is what I got:

10 boxes Mac n Cheese
4 boxes Capri Sun SUnrise
3 boxes HOney Bunches of Oats w/ Almonds
3 boxes Velveeta Shells & Cheese
6 bottles of BBQ Sauce
10 Yoplait Yogurts
2 Salad Dressings
6 boxes of Jello
2 dozen eggs
2 strawberry milks
5 Frozen Dinners
and Butter Toffee Peanuts

Spent $21.34

I was pretty excited, but not done yet. Because there were more deals I wanted to get before my dbl coupons expired. So I went out again today:

4 boxes Ritz
4 boxes Honey Bunches of Oats
2 boxes Pops cereal
2 boxes Frosted Flakes cereal
1 box Fruit Loops... Read More
18 boxes Mac n Cheese
4 Easy Mac Cups
1 box Capri Sun Sunrise
2 bottles of salad dressing
1 BBQ sauce
1 Mayo
1 Miracle Whip
1 box Wheat Thins
2 cheetos snack things (filler item)

Spent $20.01

Now, I really try not to hoard. I s'pose I did go a little overboard on Mac N Cheese...but it is like our food storage so, deal with it ;)

So, if you want to embark on a very affordable grocery game journey of your can do it!
This site
has a Grocery Guide tool. Just enter your zip code, select the stores you shop, and it will tell you what is on sale...there is a "find coupon" link, but I haven't gotten it to work for me. I would say, look through to see what products you buy are on sale, then look through your coupons (helps if they are organized into categories or alphabetical).

So that is a site helpful to you no matter where you live (even June Lake or Ridgecrest;) ) Those in Idaho/Utah can check out some of my fave frugal blogs for more specific tips/sales:
FabuLESSly Frugal
A Thrifty Mom
Being Frugal is Fabulous

Coupon Lingo/Abbreviations:
  • MC=manufacturer coupon
  • catalina=coupon printed after a transaction
  • RR=Register Rewards (name of the catalina coupon that prints at Walgreens)
  • SS= Smart Source Coupon (comes in the newspaper or print from your grocery stores website)
  • RP=Red Plum coupon (also comes in the SUnday paper)
  • P&G=Procter & Gamble (comes in the Sunday paper)
  • blinkies=the coupons in the displays at the store that stick out from the shelves
  • peelies=the coupons attached to products

Tips/rules I've learned (mostly the hard way)

  • You can only use one store coupon AND one manufacturer coupon per item.

  • If you use RR or catalina you earned from item "A" to pay for another item "A", you won't get another cataling/RR. For instance:
Yesterday's sale: bought 4 Mac n Cheese (10/$10) $4.00
1 Mayo $3.99
1 Miracle Whip $3.99
Kraft promo $3 off $10 purchase -$3.00
MC buy 3 Mac n cheese get 1 Free -$1.00
MC $1/1 Mayo -$1.00
MC $1/1 Miracle Whip -$1.00
Double Coupon (Albertsons had 3 in their ad)
I used 2 -$2.00
Total paid $3.98 + tax
Mac n Cheese catalina prints for $1.00 off next purchase.

I used a $1 catalina I had from the day before (forgot it was from Mac n Cheese) so the new catalina wouldn't print for me. Make sense? So use the catalina/RR to pay for a different transaction to make the most of your $$.

  • You won't use EVERY coupon you clip...don't bother trying.

  • Expired coupons can be sent to military families and are still usable for up to 6 months after expiration. C'mon, I KNOW you know someone in the military that can stand to save a few bucks.

  • To save the most money, you want to use your coupons when the item is on sale. I started saving my coupons for 2-3 weeks before I did my first shopping trip.
I went to Walmart last night for some VERY last minute items I needed. It was late, and I wasn't thinking right and left my coupon binder at home--I wasn't intending to do a bunch of shopping, just a thing or two (for which I had grabbed the associated coupons). Of course, the brands I wanted were not on sale, and a different brand was cheaper even if I had used a coupon. So that is why you watch for sales...unfortunately I couldn't wait for a sale...but FYI Philly Cream cheese is on Rollback at WalMart for $1.18 and when you use the Kraft coupon $1/2 they are only $0.68 each which is cheaper then the generic.

  • I still make a 1-2/month trip for regular groceries that I don't happen to get on the sales. We have a Winco, so things are pretty well priced, but I'll still use my coupons there. That is the only instance where I will use a coupon with a full price item. If you have to buy it anyway, use the coupon. But if you can wait to get it on sale, that's the best.

Good luck and thanks for letting me share!