Sunday, March 8, 2009

More RA deals

I went back to get some more SCR items for the week at Rite Aid. The Always was on sale, but I'd already gotten the rebate for the product, so I was just trying to get things to work out so these pantiliners were cheaper to free.
Several years ago, I found these pantiliners for $2.50 per box at Big Lots. Now the cheapest non-sale price I find these days is $3.25 at Dollar General. RA had them for $2.99. There's a $1/2 Q in 3/1 P&G, but I already got two boxes, so I just got one so I could get the $25 so I could use the $5/25.
The Organix shampoo has a try me free rebate, so I'll be mailing that in once the SCR online system reads my receipt.
So ...
1 Always pantiliners $2.99
1 Organix shampoo $6.99
1 Snore Stop tabs $8.99
1 Novitra $7.99
= $26.96
- $3 Novitra IP
- $5/25
- $8.99 Snore Stop SCR
- $7.99 Novitra SCR
- $6.99 Organix MIR
= $5.01 MM!

CVS the Skincare Edition

It didn't work out exactly as I intended, but it's OK. My local flyer didn't include the Crest ProHealth deal. In hindsight, I should have scanned a tube to see if it was at $2.99 to attemp to do the deal anyway.

The upside to that is because of that, I was having some difficulty coming up with the $25 I needed in order to use the $5/25. In the end, I decided to get a fifth Vaseline, even though I only had four $1.50/1 Qs.

Also, there is a Calamine Aveeno cream for $4.49. There's a $2 Internet Printable and the monthly deal gives you 2 ECBs, so it's 49 cents OOP!

I have discovered that the $2 on any 2 Gold Emblem nuts does work on the 99-cent nuts at CVS. I think that impressed the cashier, even. He didn't say anything about that, but he did say I had done a good job when he saw my OOP.

I also got all my Vaselines with the 30% extra free. Yippee!

So ...

5 Vaseline "10" oz = $18.45
2 Gold Emblem nuts $1.98
1 Aveeno Itch cream $4.49
2 ACT trial size (I thought this was a monthly deal. It wasn't so I didn't get my ECBs. It's OK, though.

- 4 $1.50 Vaseline Qs $6
- 2/2 Gold Emblem nuts
- $5/25
- $2 Aveeno Internet printable
- $10.99 ECBs

= $0.91 OOP + $12 ECBs ($10 Vaseline, $2 from Aveeno)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Financial Goal Update February 2009

Below is a list of my financial goals for 2009 and how I've done so far:
1. Finish sinking fund for replacement computer. DONE Jan 09
2. Dive into sinking fund for replacement car DONE, bought car Feb 09
3. Getting through Mom's final illness and death without incurring debt. DONE Mom died in January. And I'm not going to list this goal again. I don't think it's a good idea for me.
4. Read one investing book per quarter. GOING TO LIBRARY TONIGHT.
5. Get more acclimated with CVS' ECB program (which has totally intimidated me up to this point). Have started, ongoing.
6. Keep track of how much money I save via couponing, rebates, sales, ECB/RRs, etc. I set this up and have put on Google docs for personal ease in updating. So far this year, I've saved a little over $900.
7. Enjoy living my first full calendar year debt free since 1994, and having a 3-month emegerency fund for the first time. EVER. AHHH!
8. As funds allow, boosting EF to 6 months. DONE 02/09.
9. Once EF is 6 months (currently 3), restart putting money in IRA. LATER THIS YEAR.

ETA: While it looks like I'm kicking butt on my financial goals, there is one thing to consider which is unusual -- I recently received an inheritance. I don't recommend trying this at home. Trust me, it wasn't fun to get it (because of what happened in order to get it).

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cheap L'Oreal Hair Color

This weekend was spent at a conference. When I left late afternoon, I stopped off at a CVS in the town I was in ... a college town. They were wiped out already of most of the good stuff I wanted. I had a $5/25 expiring today, so I checked a store closer to home. They at least carried the ACT trial size, but were out. They still had everything else, though.

I had gotten a calculator last weekend to help with these scenarios. I used it today and it helped greatly!

I needed a filler and there was still some Valentine's Day stuff posted at 75% off. The college store had it marked off at 90% off, so I decided to scan the lone candy-related thing left. Do you believe that little bit of candy and that stuffed bear was retailing for $5.99? Well, I got it for 59 cents.

I'm particular about my hair color and it's only L'Oreal Preference. It's currently 40% off. There's a $3/1 in RP 2/1 that makes this stuff $3 a bottle! I have a CVS Q for $2 cosmetics, so I'll be checking out what I can combine for L'Oreal makeup over $8.02 so I can get $5 more ECB.

ETA: This is a month-long deal (buy $20 of L'Oreal and get 5 ECB). It looks like the 3/15 - 3/21 flyer will have HIP eyeshadow for $5 each. There's a $2/1 HIP Eye or Lip product in 2/1 RP, which will make these $3 each.

2 L'Oreal Preference HairColor $11.98
1 SlimQuick Energy Pack $4.99
1 Carnation Instant Breakfast Chocolate (the last one, but they still had vanilla) $4.99
1 CVS Vitamin D $2.99
1 Candy Heart with Bear $.59

= $25.54

- $0.75 Carnation Q in All You January
- $6 L'Oreal Hair Color (2 $3 Qs, RP 2/1)
- $5/25
- $11.98 ECB
= $1.81 OOP + $2.99 ECB Vit D + $4.99 ECB Carnation + $4.99 ECB SlimQuick = $12.97 ECB

New Rebate Month at Rite Aid

The trip to Rite Aid was early this morning. While it took a bit longer than I anticipated, it was worth it. I found a great deal on something I always use that I hadn't anticipated.

1 Soothe Eye Drops $7.49
1 Sinus Buster Nasal Spray $8.99
2 Always pantiliners $5.98

= $22.46

- $3 Bausch and Lomb SS 2/8
- $1/2 Always pantiliners P&G 3/1
- $1 SCR Always
- $8.99 Sinus Buster SCR
- $7.49 Soothe SCR

= $1.98 OOP

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rite Aid 3/1 - 3/7

There are a bunch of free after rebate deals at Rite Aid this week. If you're got a problem with sinuses or snoring, this is your week ... LOL! Thanks Frugal 4 A Busy Life!

Novitra Cold Sore Medication $7.99

Print coupon for $3/1 here *note Rite Aid only accepts internet printable coupons with their logo on it ... this one has their logo so it should work!

$7.99 SCR

$3 MM

Snore Stop Fast tabs 60ct or Nasal Spray 40 ct 8.99

$8.99 SCR

Note you can only get one rebate from this deal, so choose one product only

Total OOP: Free

Snore Stop Extinguisher 12.99

$12.99 rebate SCR

OOP: Free

Soothe Eyedrops 15ml $7.49

$7.49 SCR

$3/1 SS 2/8

OOP = $3 MM

Sinus Buster 20ml $8.99

$8.99 SCR


Ocean Complete Nasal Rinse $8.99

$8.99 SCR


Zone Perfect Bars 5/$5 *you do not need to buy 5 for this deal*

$1 each.

$1/1 March 1 SS

OOP = Free

I'm counting $55.44 retail and $6 MM for just this week! Wow!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Kroger Run 2/27

Besides my list for this weekend, I also was able to pick up some Manager's Specials, including a couple of packages of Creme Savers, a package of mushrooms and a tub of rice pudding. I also picked up a half-gallon of pulpy Kroger OJ (and I'm impressed with the taste) and cottage cheese.

Besides that, I got:

Two Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers
3 Betty Crocker Potatoes (I love these)
2 Green Giant frozen veggies
1 Kroger frozen veggies (I had a catalina)
1 COS tuna (cheaper than the Kroger tuna)
2 Kroger yogurt (for this weekend)
1 Grape leather (on sale, but even not on sale, cheaper than at the local produce store)
1 Kroger cottage cheese

Including the full price before Manager's Special markdowns (which doesn't reflect on the receipt), retail for this stuff was $32.24
OOP $14.72

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Grocery Gift Card Giveway

Jenny at Southern Savers is giving away $50 gift cards to the Southern Savers grocery store of their choice. Since Kroger is both in the south and up here in the Motor City, and Kroger is my favorite grocery store, I'm in! The deadline is Friday at noon, so hurry!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Joys of Soy

On Sunday night, after my trip to BigLots, I went to four Rite Aids to try to find SoyJoys for their deal. My car was about ready to die, so I didn't feel comfortable going out at a separate time from going to Big Lots. I was disgruntled when I went to the first Rite Aid and found these. But when I went to the other three Rite Aids in the area, the nutritional bar area was completely emptied of SoyJoys.

Instead of just trying to go to Rite Aids locally, I decided on a different tact -- I was scheduled to get my new car from my hometown (very rural Michigan) later in the week, so I decided to check out a Rite Aid there.


So, I used five BOGO coupons from 2/22 and 1/4 SS. Rite Aid's SCR this week is $5, so it'll be a $2.50 MM.

So OOP -- $2.50. SCR -- $5.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Walgreens Run

I'm a little skittish about doing RRs at Walgreens because I'm afraid they won't print for whatever reason. However, since I had two Internet printable Qs for Theraflu, making it a moneymaker, I decided to use my extra Gillette Gamer Q to do this:

Transaction #1
1 Gillette Gamer $8.99

- $4 Gillette Q

= $4.99 OOP + $6 Gillette RR

Transaction #2
2 Theraflu $10
1 carmel .35 (as filler)

- $6 Gillette RR
- 2 $2/1 Theraflu Internet Printable

= .35 OOP + $4.99 OOP Transaction 1 - $6 ESR = $0.66 MM!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Whipps and Chicken

I went to Rite Aid Sunday and got the following:

Garnier Waves conditioner $2.99
6 Reese's Whipps @ 2/$1 = $3.00
1 can Sweet Sue's Chicken .99

- $1 Garnier Q (there was a tearpad by the display)
- 3 $2/1 Q 1/4
- .75 Sweet Sue's Q SS 1/18

= $2.23 - $2.99 SCR on Garnier = $0.76 MM

Now, if I can only find Soyjoys at my Rite Aids ...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Getting a Love Drawer!

One of the financial goals I had intended on making for 2009, but didn't was to set up what Dave Ramsey calls a "love drawer." This is where you set up your important papers in one place so when you die or are incapacitated, someone can easily figure out what's going on with your life. Of course, if your up to your neck in debt, you might not want anyone to know that. The thing is, the designated person will figure it out, anyway.

I had decided late last year on a Honeywell safe with the ability to have hanging folders. I even went to Walmart shortly before Mom died with a Christmas gift card to see if I could snag one. Well, no, I couldn't. I spent the gift card on other stuff.

I went in to Big Lots this evening after reading this blogpost of the 20% off printable coupon for "Friends and Family" from 5-9 Sunday, Feb. 22. I came in with my coupon and started to look for 11 x 14 frames, but didn't find any that appealed to me. Then, as I walked toward the grocery area, I saw it -- a display of Honeywell safes. I went back, got a cart and put it in.

This safe at is $50.00. It was listed at Big Lots for $40. With 20% off, it was $32! Yippee!

I also got a calculator, a large bag if Bear Naked Granola for $6 (if you go on the website, they no longer carry the 32 oz bag, but their 12 oz bag is $4. Hmmm

I also got some Zatarain's Ready to Serve rice. I'm single, and I don't see these around anywhere at grocery stores. In any case,they were $1.04 after discount. They didn't have any more of my favorite Caribbean Rice, but these will do.

Just to keep things simple, I also picked up some cans of canned chicken to mix in with the rice. Rite Aid has a sale this week on Sue's, which I like better, but I only had one coupon, so I got the rest here.

In all, I spent $46.98. My 20% discount was $11.24.

Free Valentine's Candy and Other Goodies

I had seen a post on a coupon forum about getting the Renuzit Triscents Starter Kit free, so I was hoping to score at CVS with that. Those weren't included in the inserts (and only the refills in the stores), so I moped around seeing if I could salvage a good $5/25 coupon.

I perked up when I found the Valentine's candy for 75 percent off. Yippee! Then I was able to salvage the trip.

1 Gamer razor $7.99
2 25-count CVS cotton rounds 1.98
5 Snickers Hearts .65
2 Hersheys Kisses $1.50
2 Triscuit (BOGO free) $3.99
2 Johnson and Johnson Ultra bandage $10.98
2 Detroit Free Press $2.00

- $5/25
- $3 J&J Internet Printable Q
- $4 Gillette Gamer (P&G 2/8)
- $3.09 free Triscuit Q from Kraft Superbowl Sweepstakes
- $14 ECBs

= $0.00 OOP ($0.12 sales tax) + $12 ECB

Friday, February 20, 2009

Your Chance to Win a $25 GC from Amazon

$avings Makes Cents has a giveway going on at her blog. If you get a chance, hop on over there before Feb. 27 at 9 am EST. Good luck!

Suave ECBs print now!

I got my free Suave coupon that was offered online on Jan. 14 in the mail earlier this week and I printed Internet Printable $1/1 coupons, so I went back to CVS to do the Suave deal again (well, the card didn't catch it the first time, so according to them it's the first time).

Some interesting things about this trip:

1) The cashier took $3 off the order
2) Since that happened, I didn't use the $2 ECB from the last transaction
3) I ended up with more OOP, but also more ECB
4) The store I went to earlier this week had them priced at $2. Today they were $1.99.

so for three Suave bodywashes (2 18 oz, 1 12 oz), I spent 1.99 * 3 = $5.97
- $3 Suave free coupon
- $2 2 $1/1 Internet coupons

= $0.97 OOP + $2 ECB that printed out on their own without cajoling the manager ...

Next week, the plan is to just get the razor and I found some 25-count cotton rounds at the store downtown. Yippee!

Also, last night I stopped by Meijer to get 10 Dannon yogurts on sale for $4.00. I had a $1/10 coupon from 1/4 SS left (expires 2/28), so I took advantage. This time, I even got vanilla yogurt (which I like) instead of coffee (I thought the picture of the bean on the carton was vanilla, not coffee), which I don't like so much. I'm having car trouble and Walmart is further away, so I didn't drive there.

Monday, February 16, 2009

CVS Deals

I went looking for a place to use my $5/25, but no dice. However, I did do this.

Transaction 1 (store 1)

2 Neutrogena facial bars $2.99 each
1 Snickers candy hearts .25

- $6 ECB
= .23 OOP

Actually, I could have used the $5.98 ECB I used last night for the Colgate and ended up with 0 OOP. So, if you're a newbie and have no ECBs, you could do just the Colgate deal (with Q, but without the candy in my post ...), get $5.98 ECB, then buy the Neutrogena bars, have 0 OOP and $10 ECB!

So you would have two tubes of toothpaste and two Neutrogena bars for $3.98 OOP and $10 ECB!

BTW, at the store, the Ultimate Strength Mint Mylantas are still $7.49 ...

Transaction 2 (store 2)

They had the Neutrogena bars at this store, too. If I hadn't gotten it at the other store, I could have gotten used the $5/25 CRT. C'est la vie.

They had no Ultimate Strength Mylanta, or 25-count cotton rounds, or J&J bandages. They did have Gillette razors, though, so I did this ...

3 Suave Body Wash 18 oz (50 percent free, makes up for not having the 75 cent coupon)$6
1 Gillette Fusion Gamer $7.99
1 4-pack AAA batteries (for the camera) $2.99 (no Q, I know ... left at home)

- $4 Gillette 2/8 Q
- $12 ECB

= $0.98 OOP + 6 ECBS

The Suave ECBs didn't print out. Evidently there is a problem with them printing out on the Body Washes. If you're intending on doing this, make sure you have the flyer with you when you check out so you can show them. Then they can push through the ECBs manually.

When I said this to the cashier (older lady), she almost acted she didn't know what an ECB was. When I pointed it out to her, she said, "Oh, you got $4 ECBs here."

That was for the razor, I said. She left for a minute, came back and asked, "Where does it show in the ad for the razors?" I showed her.

At this point, I was really glad I did the Neutrogena deal at the other store. Finally she called the Assistant Manager. After a few minutes, he came out, then pushed through the ECBs.

Before this transaction, I had $30 ECBs. $30! I'm single with no kids or SO (my manly stuff is getting donated). I'm not going to die for burning a few ECBs. Plus, I got some stuff I wanted/needed (I like Suave body wash ... so sue me).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

CVS Colgate

I was bummed at CVS tonight. I was able to find the toothpaste fine, but no Dental Rinse, no Gillette Fusion Gamers, no J&J with Neosporin, no Mylanta, and one 25-count round.

So I decided to get the toothpaste and picked up some Valetine's candy for what I thought was filler. No, it wasn't necessary for filler.

2 Colgate $2.99
1 Snickers Heart .25

-2 Colgate Total Qs $1 each
-3 ECB
= $1.23 OOP plus $5.98 ECBs

I'm coming down with a cold and didn't feel like traveling all over town to try to find a CVS so I could do a $30 deal.

On the upside, I got a $5/30 and two $5/25. I have a total of four $5/25s. Not sure how I'm going to use them all.

I could feel it ... CVS wanted me to spend money. I mostly resisted, however ...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sally Hansen Hair Remover

I was able to pick up two more Mylanta Ultimate Strength at $3.75. On Sunday while at Rite Aid, I picked up some $2 off Sally Hansen hair remover tearpad Q. I had seen some lotion hair remover on clearance at CVS.

2 Ultimate Strength Mylanta $3.75
1 Sally Hansen Lotion Hair Remover $2.25
1 CVS Cotton Rounds $0.99

- $4/2 Mylanta Man Q
- $2 Sally Hansen Q
- $4 ECBs

= $0.34 OOP + $6 ECB

ETA: There is a $3/1 man Q in 12/14 RP. I only get two papers a week since I'm single, but if you have a plethora of papers, it can be a even better moneymaker!

Free Cards

On my way home from work today, I stopped off to get more free cards after ECBs. Yesterday I did a scenario that included a package of makeup circles.
3 .99 cent American Greetings cards = $2.97
1 25-count makeup circles = $0.99
1 package of pencils on clearance = $0.25
- $4 ECBs
= 0.21 OOP + 3 ECBs for the cards and $2 ECBs for the CVS cosmetic monthly deal.
I love helping the store get rid of their clearance items!

Body Wash, Chocolate at WAGs

I was able to find six bottles (two were discussed in a previous post) of Olay Botanical Body Washes at WAGs. The ones in my area that were marked $1.39 were all gone. However, I found a WAGs that had them tagged at $3.59, but scanned at $1.39. I didn't take them all, but I ran out of Olay Q!

Two were from the 1/18 P&G inserts and two were from the 2/8 inserts I bought with my regular Sunday paper purchase. However, I went for a walk Sunday and found a couple of places with newspapers piled up in the driveway, so I was able to grab a couple more.

The chocolate, I got by combining the ESC in WAGs this month ($6 off two) with the $1 "gift" (Man Q) that are in blinkies everywhere. In order to avoid beeps, I grabbed a carmel near checkout.

$10/2 Starbucks Truffles (yes, I checked expiration date)
.33 carmel

- $6/2 ESC Q
- $2 (2 $1 Man Q)

= $2.35 OOP

Body washes

$5.39 retail
$1.39 on clearance
- $1 Man Q
= $0.39 * 4 = $1.56 OOP

Free Stuff at CVS

I went to CVS and got my free snacks the other night. According to the receipt, I saved $14.51.

$4 for 4 Wheat Thins
$3.50 for Planters nut snack

- $4 (2 $2/1 Nabisco products)
- Free up to $5 for Planters Nut snack (up to $5)

= $0.00 OOP

The cashier was impressed and said, "That's the way to shop!"

Sunday, February 8, 2009

CVS Fun in the Sun, in Michigan!

Today was a great day at CVS. I'm not sure how the rest of the month will work out, but today was wonderful.

Transaction #1:

2 BodiHeat 3.99 x 2 = $7.98
2 Natural Dentist Oral Rinse $9.99 x 2 = $19.98
1 Detroit Free Press $1.00

- $2 (2 $1 peelies on BodiHeat packages)
- $4 (2 $2 Internet Printable available here)
- $5 / $25 CVS Q
- $15.98 ECB

= $2.40 OOP + $8 ECB from Natural Dentist and $6 ECB from BodiHeat (both monthly deals)

I felt bad about this, thinking I messed up. I had a $3 ECB that I wasn't able to use in this scenario.

But, Natural Dentist has a $10 rebate here when you buy two Natural Dentist products. So I suppose ...

$2.40 - $10 = $7.60 Moneymaker + $14 ECBs!

Transaction #2

2 Mylanta Cherry Ultra Strength $3.75 x 2 = $7.50

- $4/2 from 1/4 inserts (I forget whether RP or SS)
- $3 ECBs (that I wasn't able to use in Transaction #1 and I was kicking myself for ... LOL!

= $0.50 OOP - $7.60 MM from Transaction #1 = $7.10 MM + $6 ECB

Transaction #3

1 Natural Dentist $9.99
2 Bodi Heats $3.99 * 2 = $7.98 (and I've reached the limit for this deal)
1 Gillette Fusion Gamer $7.99
1 Chips Ahoy $1
1 Snickers Hearts $0.50 (these are fillers)

- $14 ECBs
- $5 /25 CVS CRT
- $4 Fusion Q P&G 2/8
- $2 (2 $1 peelies from BodiHeat)
- $2 Natural Dentist Internet Printable

= $0.46 OOP ($7.10 - $0.46 = $6.64 MoneyMaker for the day) + $4 ECB Fusion + $4 ECB Natural Dentist + $6 ECB BodiHeat = $14 ECBs

I can't wait to take pictures of this tomorrow. It looks like fun! I still want to do the $1 Wheat Thins deal.

Rite Aid Moneymaker

3 Bayer Aspirin $1.99 x 3 = $5.97
2 Nature Made Super B Complex $10.99 x 2 = $21.98
1 Nivea A Kiss of Moisture = $2.99

- $10.99 Nature Made B1G1
- $7 Nature Made Q from loyalty program
- $3 Bayer Q 1/4 RP
- $1 Nivea 2/8 SS

I was too chicken to try to my $1 Q from inserts with the "free" vitamins

$30.94 - $21.99 = $8.95 OOP

But ... $8.95 - $2.99 Nivea SCR -$10 SCR Rite Aid GC = $4.04 Money Maker

Plus, I still have a couple of Reese Whipps Q since they're evidently 2/$1 this week, so it looks like I need to go back.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Too lazy for pics ... Saturday roundup

I did some CVS scoping this week to see who had what in stock. In my area, the CVSes and WAGs are about two miles apart (literally, you just drive down the road), is it's not incredibly time consuming.

CVS #2 - Found a peelie for BodiHeat
1 BodiHeat $3.97
- $1 peelie
- $1.99 ECB

= $1.12 including tax plus $3 ECB

I now have $19.98 ECBs and three $5/$25 CRTs. I'm planning on doing a monthly deal either tonight or tomorrow (I live in TestAdLand).

WAGs #1
Revlon Creme Lip Gloss $9.99
Revlon Age-Defying Foundation $9.99
Garnier Boost $3.99

- $1 Man Q Revlon
- $1 Man Q Revlon
- $1 Man Q Garnier

= 23.97 - $3 = $20.97 - 23.97 ESR = $3.00 overage

WAGs #2
1 Zucol $7.99
- $2 Man Q 2/1

= $5.99 - $7.99 ESR = $2.00 overage

WAGs #3
2 Olay Body Wash Botanical Fusion on clearance for 1.39
- 2 $1 Man Q Olay 1/18
= $0.78 OOP

Glad to see this. We've had the test ad for weeks and it isn't worth it to drive out of the test area. Online, it showed that we were to get full ad, but another crappy test ad. Stop it!

I went on the last day of the Mega Event.

1 Kleenex
6 Yoplait
2 Green Giant Steamers (free after doubled Q!)
2 Tropicana OJ
5 Betty Crocker pouch potatoes (Qs were expiring and I love these!)
6 Kraft Cheese (used $0.75 Blinkies for these)
1 Kroger Tuna (had a Cellfire e-coupon for this, but it didn't work)

Retail $51.03
- Man Q $15.40
- Bonus Q $2.15 (doubling)
- Store Q and Krog Plus Savings $18.08

Total Savings $35.63 (70%)
OOP $14.78

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Financial Goal Update January 2009

Below is a list of my financial goals for 2009 and how I've done so far:

1. Finish sinking fund for replacement computer. DONE Jan 09

2. Dive into sinking fund for replacement car (Goal is $6,000). Next step -- I'm depositing $32 from rebate money into the bank tonight.

3. Getting through Mom's final illness and death without incurring debt. DONE Mom died in January. There are a few things that I'm cashflowing, but that will work out by mid-February.

4. Read one investing book per quarter. For January, as you can imagine, not possible. But this is a great reminder for next weekend to go to the library.

5. Get more acclimated with CVS' ECB program (which has totally intimidated me up to this point). Have started, ongoing.

6. Keep track of how much money I save via couponing, rebates, sales, ECB/RRs, etc. I set this up and have put on Google docs for personal ease in updating. Info on how I did in January here.

7. Enjoy living my first full calendar year debt free since 1994, and having a 3-month emegerency fund for the first time. EVER. AHHH!

8. As funds allow, boosting EF to 6 months. Not yet.

9. Once EF is 6 months (currently 3), restart putting money in IRA. Not yet.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

CVS Test Ad - Making Lemonade

I live in Michigan, so I'm one of the "lucky" to have the test ad this week. My intention going into CVS this morning was to check out the CRT machine to see if it would give me any goodies. Yes! A $5/$25. I already had one, but it expires 2/8 ... not much time use it for great dealies before it expires.

But since it gave me a $5/$25 and $1 CVS lotion, I decided to give it the old college try. In my arsenal was the Try Me Free MIR for Vitamin Shampoo. It prices at $6.99 and I didn't have a coupon for it, so I decided to just see what I could do ...

I found the two Earinses and the chewable aspirins that are part of the monthly ECB promotion. In test ad land, that's a girl's only option. I grabbed another 3 oz CVS lotion (the trial ones are for 99 cents in the trial area) and I was good to go.

2 Earinses $7.99
1 CVS chewable aspirin $1.99
1 CVS lotion $1.49
1 Vitamin Shampoo $6.99

-$5 $5/$25 CRT
-$1 CVS Lotion CRT
-$13.98 ECB

= $6.86 + $17.97 ECB

-$6.99 = $0.13 + $0.42 postage = $0.29 OOP

Picture tomorrow

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Couponing Jan 2009: Was it Worth it?

One of my goals for 2009 was to learn more about couponing to get the best deals, particularly via CVS.

Base Price of Items Bought (before sale price): $577.63
I didn't start calculating sale discounts until the last third of the month. Even so, what I tracked was $111.41. Going forward, I'll keep better track of this.
Man Q $83.65
ECB (redeemed): $42.80
Store Coupons: $166.80
Ecoupons: 1.70
Rebates $63.95
Total Savings $460.28
OOP $95.89

Percent saved: 83.17%

Amount spent on newspaper inserts $9. I've been getting two papers most weeks since June 2008. Since 1/4 promised to be loaded with coupons, I got three that week.

I'm stocked up on hair color for four months, on the calcium I take for two months, on fish oil I take for four months. I'm stocked up on chicken breasts and South Beach cereal bars for quite awhile. I also got a new cosmetic bag, which was a long time coming.

These figures don't include my trips to the produce store, where produce tends to be better quality and cheaper than other stores, but their grocery items are higher (Laughing Cow there is $4.99, compared to $3.39 full price at Kroger).

Is it worth it? So far, I would say yes. Experiment continues in February.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Big Lots with 20% coupon

I've never used a coupon at Big Lots in my life. Since I had one in hand, I decided to take advantage.

Pringles Select
2 Wasa Crackers (my favorite, priced at $1.70, priced at $2.39 at Kroger)
Bear Naked Apple Cinnamon Granola ($6, but would more a lot more expensive ordinarily)
2 Canned chicken (I do this. What can I say)?
3 Smoked oysters (I like these, but I'm trying to find a brand that doesn't have the smell of mercury. These weren't bad. $1 each
2 Zatarains Caribbean Rice warm up in microwave. (I love this flavor. $1.30. I can't find this ordinarily in the store. I might never again)
Dove Blueberry Almond Milk Chocolate
Apple Chips

Total $19.70
-20% discount

I didn't take a picture of this either. I was tired.

Kroger or, I'm spoiled by CVS

Last night after an afternoon with friends, I made trips to CVS (spending $6 or so on $30 worth of items (I sent for a rebate already), Rite Aid (Fructis deal) and Kroger.

I had a bunch of coupons that are going to expire. There was also that B1G1 Tyson frozen chicken tenderloins that I had coupons for that was expiring that day. Plus there was the mega sale and I didn't know it was extending to this week.

So I got
2 boxes Kleenex (left coupons in car)
1 Worchestshire sauce (a try me coupon)
1 Betty Crocker potatoes (yum), had coupon that doubled
2 Bumble Bee Salmon Steaks (with a slight sale, plus $1 coupons)
2 Veggie Steams (but they weren't the price I thought they would be (left coupons at work, but had shortcuts Q
2 Tyson Tenderloins (2 55 cent coupons and B1G1)
5 Kraft Cheeses (with 4 coupons -- I gave her five, but she scanned four, but she said she shouldn't have let me have second Tyson coupon )
1 Laughing Cow cheese (slight sale, and I had coupon)
6 Yogurts (3 Whips and had ShortCuts coupon)
1 Tropicana OJ
1 bag organic raisins clearance at $1.25

Price retail $81.62
Sales and Qs: $48.03
OOP: $33.59
Savings 58 percent

I was kicking myself for days. I didn't do as well as I should have. I was tired. I didn't take a picture.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My CVS Score

I started the New Year with a resolution to learn more about CVSing and the enigmatic ECB phenom. I'll review the results a little later. Short version is I made some mistakes (like newbies do) and spent too much money. Also, my Mom died in the middle of the month, so I'm sure that affected things as well. For now, though, I love this deal. I'll take the picture tomorrow am.

Meanwhile, I've discovered that this works (I guess) for the Alyssa's Keeping the Kingdom First's CVS $5 Challenge.

ETA: Here it is:

The goal for tonight was just to see if the local CVS had gotten the famed Gillette Fusion Gamer razors in. Yes. Then, I've been looking for a new cosmetic bag because I've used my current one that I inherited from my grandmother since 1985. I am dead serious. Well, I'm only serious ...

Anywho, I found one not made out of cheap, shiny vinyl that will crack in two years. Yea, the inside of my current bag is all cracked in the middle, but the outside is cloth. This one is black satin. Very nice.

Modella train case 3 piece set $9.99
2 Throat Coolers (they were in this store! Finally!) $4.99 x 2
1 Gillette Gamer Razor $7.99
1 CVS Advanced Healing Lotion (filler) $1.49

-$5 $5/25
-$4 Gillette Q 12/28 P&G
-$1 CVS Lotion CRT
-$4.99 B1G1 Cooler Q 12/7 SS
-$13.99 ECBs


= $0.47 OOP + $13.98 ECB ($4 from Gillette razor and $9.98 from the Throat Coolers)

Trip Summary: Today You Saved $30.98.

Yea, I got my freebie at Rite Aid

As any self-respecting couponer knows, you can get a $2.99 rebate on Power Boost (or whatever it's called) variety of Garnier Fructis. But pair it with a $1 coupon, and you've got a $1 moneymaker.

I did that. It's the only thing I bought there (the camera last week was enough TYVM). Everyone knows what the green Garnier Fructis bottle looks like. I ain't wasting time to take a picture.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Getting More Bang for the Buck at Work

Part of my duties at work are making sure we have small gifts ready for benefactors. They give out 5 x 7 framed pictures and they love the polished cherry frames at CVS. I got a bunch the week before Mom died, but needed to finish up that task.

I went to a particular store that I knew tended to stock more (6, instead of up to 4 at other stores). I also had the $10/$50 coupon that was going to expire soon, but I didn't have time to think of another scenario.

The frames are normally $7.99. Most of CVS's sales on these frames are B1G1 50%. This week's is just a flat 25% off, which works better if you're seeking an odd # of frames.

I found 6 in various places in the frames section of the store. That would bring it up to $35.94. Since we're non-profit, we're also tax-exempt.

But that coupon was burning, YKWIM?

I had the $5/2 Duracell tearpad coupon, so got 2, 2-pack of C batteries. I had a $1 coupon for Divine cookies, so got a box. Then I got the 2/$5 Kellogg cereal deal (I left my other coupons back in the office, drat!). Live and learn.

So ...

6 5x7 frames $35.94
2 Kellogg cereal $5
2 Duracell batteries $5.98
1 Divine cookies $3.49

$50.41 :-)

-$10/$50 coupon
-$5 Duracell coupon (cashier wouldn't let me double up with a $1 P&G coupon I had)
-$1 Divine cookie CRT

= $34.41 OOP

The food went to the non-profit. I explained it to the house manager when I gave him the food. He was happy.

So, couponing is not only helping me, it is helping my non-profit to "buy" free stuff creatively.

CVS Cards

A few months ago, I thought I was being frugal by buying greeting cards at the dollar store for 50 cents each. Now that I'm starting to roll ECBs at CVS and couponing, that isn't the case anymore.

I took advantage of CVS's American Greetings buy 3 get $3 ECB deal this week. There's a 99-cent section in the card area. That's where you get your best selection of your el-cheapo cards.

3 Cards @ .99 = $2.97
1 CVS Loratadin $3.79
2 Hershey Special Dark bars 2/$1.00

-$6 ECB
-$.89 B1G1 Hershey Coupon (the coupon said limit .79, and I was only charged .50 a bar, so not sure how that will work with CVS in the end. I wasn't paying that close attention)

= .87 OOP plus $6.79 ECB

This is the first picture taken with my new camera. I can see that it'll never take pristine pictures, but I should be able to take pretty good ones in time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Using Rite Aid's Gift of Savings

I've never had a digital camera. I had a film camera back when I was a journalist, but it got so I hardly ever used it. Finally, when I moved, I gave it to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. I didn't have enough energy to sell it.

I started looking at cameras at Rite Aid to see what could be matched up with my $20 Gift of Savings.

I found a 4.1 mp Sakar camera on sale for $39.99 regularly $59.99. In the meantime, I learned at Hot Coupon World how to get the $5/$25 coupon, so I printed that out as well.

When I went back to the store, I discovered on the box that it required a SD card. Bummer. I looked for one, and found a 2 GB card for sale for $12.99, regularly $69.99. Plus there's a $5 rebate on it this month.

So, my new digital camera so I can take future pics of deals (the camera used for this pic is borrowed from work, but a lot of times it's not available):

1 Sakar Digital Camera $39.99
1 SD Card 2GB $12.99
- $20 Gift of Savings
- $5 /$25 coupon
- $5 SCR
OOP $25.96

Full retail: $129.98 +$7.80 MI sales tax

I think ... not bad. Not bad at all.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Financial Goals for 2009

I'm actually excited about my financial goals this year. Well, I did have a goal in 2008 for the first time -- get out of debt. Period. I did that in April. I had to cash flow some car repairs and in the meantime found Dave Ramsey's radio show, which led me to frugal blogs like Get Rich Slowly and Money Saving Mom.

So this is the first full year of being debt free. Here are my goals:

1. Finish sinking fund for replacement computer (By March 09 -- $700)-- well it's starting to look like by February 09.
2. Dive into sinking fund for replacement car (Goal is $6,000).
3. Mom is in the final stages of ovarian cancer. I started putting some money aside for any related expenses in August (when gas was $4/gallon. Now that it's half that, I'm putting the overage in that account, which if anything else left (probably will because I've cashflowed all but the month when Mom was in the hospital for two weeks an hour away and gas was $4 a gallon. So this goal is getting through Mom's final illness and death without incurring debt. Anything left over will go into the replacement car sinking fund.
4. Read one investing book per quarter (can be adjusted per where my life is, see #3).
5. Get more acclimated with CVS' ECB program (which has totally intimidated me up to this point).
6. Keep track of how much money I save via couponing, rebates, sales, ECB/RRs, etc.
7. Enjoy living my first full calendar year debt free since 1994, and having a 3-month emegerency fund for the first time. EVER.
8. As funds allow, boosting EF to 6 months.
9. Once EF is 6 months (currently 3), restart putting money in IRA.