Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kyrie Eleison: Have Mercy on Me, Please

Y'all, I have had a tough week here; won't go into details but suffice it to say we are focusing on the basics right now. Please bear with me as I get back into the swing of things.

Tightwad Tip Tuesday: What Would Granny Do?

Before you buy something, count to ten and ask yourself "what would my grandmother have done in this situation?" If you are standing in a grocery store, nine times out of ten you will answer with "she'd make it herself," from salad dressing to ketchup to laundry detergent to paper towels and napkins. If you're standing in a discount store like Tar-jay, nine times out of ten you will answer with "she'd do without or make what she had last," whether that's clothing or a new cd (that's what radio's for, child). It's always a good idea to ask yourself whether the need you are meeting is a real need (clean clothing, healthy food) or a created one (laundry detergent with fabric softener added, Yogos).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Winner of the BlueQ and Caribou Contest!

And the winner is . . .

#7 Laura said...
Unleaded...I'm nursing.

Laura, please email me at alittleloosechange@gmail.com with your mailing info! Congrats.

What's the Deal: Pick and Save Doubles Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Eggo Waffles 1.28/box
-1.00/2 coupon from insert
Final Price: .28 each when you buy two

Tide laundry detergent 4.99
-1/1 coupon in insert
Final Price: 2.99

Ball Park Franks 2/5.00
-1.00/2 insert coupon
Final Price: 1.50 each when you buy two

Tyson Chicken Nuggets, Tenders, Patties 4.99
-1/1 insert coupon
Final Price: 2.99

Yoplait Fiber One or Yo Plus Yogurt 2.00
-1/1 coupon insert
Final Price: FREE

Aunt Jemima French Toast and Pancakes 2/3.00
-1.00/2 coupon from insert
Final Price: .50 per box when you buy 2

Haagen Daz Ice Cream 3.00
-1/1 coupon here
Final Price: 1.00 per pint

Kelloggs Cereal/Pop-Tarts
-1.00/1 or 1.00/2 coupon inserts
Final Price: .75 or 1.75 each, PLUS a coupon for a free Pop-Tarts or Fruit Snacks when you buy four

Keebler Fudge Shoppe Cookies 2.29
-1/1 or .55/1 coupon here
Final Price: .29 or 1.19

Aunt Jemima Syrup or Pancake Mix 2.00
-1.00/2 insert coupon
-3.00 when you buy five coupon in ad
Final Price: .60 each when you buy five

Quaker Chewy Granola Bars or Bites 2.00
-1/2 coupon here
-3.00 when you buy five coupon in ad
Final Price: .60 each when you buy five

Campbell's Chicken Noodle or Tomato Soup .60
-.40/4 insert coupon
Final Price: .40 each when you buy four

Campbell's Chunky Soup Buy One Get One Free (2.69 each)
-.75/4 coupon insert
Final Price: .97 each when you buy four

Healthy Harvest Pasta Buy One Get One Free (1.89 each)
-1.00/2 coupon here
Final Price: free plus .11 overage when you buy two!

Dawn Detergent .88 with in-ad coupon
-.25/1 coupon insert
Final Price: .38 each

Also good non-coupon deals:

.98 4 lb sugar (this is a stock up price) limit one
.98 Oscar Meyer Lunchables
.99 California strawberries 1 lb.

happy shopping, folks!

What's the Deal Wednesday: I'm Still Alive Edition

Please forgive my absence for the last few days: life happened. I'm happy to report that I will have new posts up over the course of the morning, including the winner of the BlueQ purse and the Caribou Coffee gift card!! Stay tuned . . . .

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bath and Body Works: Free Travel Size With Any Purchase

Go here to print a coupon for a free travel size Bath and Body Works product with any purchase from Bath and Body Works. I love these coupons because you can buy any item (including items on clearance) to use the coupons!

This Week's Haul: Pick and Save

See all that? It took

four transactions at
one store in
one hour for a total of
60 dollars, saving
120 dollars and giving me
250 bonus box tops (worth $25.00 for my kids' school) AND
one coupon for a free gallon of milk on my next grocery order.

A quick rundown:
10 boxes Ziploc bags
2 boxes sausage patties
one donut (ahem)
6 boxes Betty Crocker potatoes
10 tubes Grands biscuits
4 boxes Chex Mix bars
2 boxes Cocoa Puffs
2 gallons milk
6 bags Nature Valley granola bites
2 cantaloupes
1 package cookie dough
4 4-paks diced pears and peaches
2 12 oz. bags chem free decaf coffee bseans
2 Betty Crocker frosting
2 Ritz crackerful snack boxes
5 Scotties tissues
1 6 lb. turkey breast
5 lunchables
1 quart half and half
1 4 pack yogurt

I love coupons. :D

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gettin' On My Soap Box: The Laundry Detergent Debacle

Over at Trent Hamm's excellent blog The Simple Dollar, Trent deals with a recurring, ongoing matter of great fiscal importance; it's the cause of many highly emotionally charged posts and comments, dividing good, kind, tax-paying, God-fearing people into snarling mobs.

No, it isn't health care reform. It's laundry detergent. Like many serious frugalistas, Trent home-brews his own laundry detergent. The recipe is here. It's very simple, and very cheap to make. Trent calculates his cost at about .0225 per load (that's two and a quarter cents per load). This is very inexpensive compared to, say, Tide with Bleach at regular price at the grocery store, which runs about .20 per load (twenty cents per load). With this one decision, Trent calculates that he saves about sixty five bucks a year (or six hundred fifty bucks over ten years, or . . . well, you do the math).

It is amazing to me -- simply amazing -- how much flack Trent gets for this one particular decision from his readers. And I think it is symptomatic of a couple of things that are currently plaguing American society.

For one thing it's interesting that for most people, laundry detergent is consistently on the "to buy" list. This is curious to me, as I don't buy it very often at all, and a 300 ounce jug (which is supposed to last 100 loads) lasts my family a good 4 to 5 months. Second, it's interesting how much brand loyalty is out there. Otherwise rational people appear to get totally incensed when someone insinuates Tide is overpriced and overmarketed -- you'll pry their Tide from their cold, dead hands, thanks very much. And it's wild to note how many people don't think they have the time or the energy to take the five minutes making a batch of laundry soap requires out of a 24 hour day, but seem to have lots of time to devote to snarking about other people's decisions on a personal finance blog.

All that said, I'm most bewildered by the people who seem . . . well, flabbergasted that someone knew how to do such a thing. It's as if they believed laundry detergent has just always existed and someone came along and tried to replace The Real Thing with a sad imitation.

Reality check, people: laundry detergent, like 98 percent of everything else at the grocery store and the drug store and the Wal-Marts (I know it's Wal-Mart, but that's what we called it down south, "the Wal-Marts"), is an artificially created need. Yep, that's right, you don't really NEED laundry detergent, at least not in the form it is presented at the store. Trent's stuff is the real deal -- actually, Trent's stuff is a little bit gussied up; all our forefathers used for "warsching" was boiling water, soap (usually lye soap they made themselves), and a rock to beat it on. All other manner of washing paraphernalia are just variations on a theme.

Y'all, there is a happy medium. We can all just get along on this issue of grave importance to the American people.
  • If you want to make your own laundry detergent, knock yourself out. Keep a couple of things in mind, though. One, it does tend to gel up pretty well, so you won't be able to decant it into smaller jugs -- the big honking bucket is what you'll need to keep it in, and that may be risky if you have pets or toddlers. Also, I don't think it is approved for high efficiency washers, and I frankly ain't risking voiding the warranty on mine. Finally, I used to make this homebrew myself (GASP!! THE HORROR!!) and over time I noticed a soap buildup that made my clothes a little dingy and faded. I didn't like that. Your mileage may vary. God speed to ya.
  • If you love that clean linen scent, I am not going to fault you one bit for loving your Tide. Hey, we all have our simple pleasures. If you are brand loyal, you can still work to get your cost per usage down to the lowest it can be and still have your Tide Simple Pleasures Lavendar and Lily Pad Scent With Bleach For Cold Water Machines. I explain how to do that here. Also, consider using less. Bump your usage down to the place where it's painful or doesn't work, then bump it back up a notch.
  • If, like me, you prefer the convenience of premade laundry detergent but wish to minimize your cost per usage to very very low or none at all (!!) yes, it can be done, and yes, I do that on a regular basis. If you aren't brand loyal, laundry detergent can be had for cheap or free after coupons, sales, and rebates. I have at least 150 loads worth of laundry detergent down in my basement that cost me nothing. Nada. And in fact, I made a little money on some of it. If this kind of frugality rings your chimes, stick around. I can help.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be stepping off my soap box and rinsing out the inside to get the last bits out before I recycle the box.

Tightwad Tip Tuesday: Scrape your Jars with a Spatula

Another classic tightwad trick: last night I was making peanut butter sandwiches for school lunches and we were down to the dregs in the jar. I didn't want to haul my sick self down to the basement to get another jar, so I grabbed my narrow silicone spatula and scraped the inside of the jar. That rescued enough out of the jar for the two sandwiches I needed to make. It's not much, but it will add up over time.

Menu Plan Monday

Hey y'all. . . . I had a bit of a stomach bug yesterday and so last night was chicken noodle soup!

Tuesday: Whole wheat pizza with basil, spinach, pesto, and feta.
Wednesday: Turkey tacos, fruit, crudite'
Thursday: Beef tenderloin, baked potatoes, grilled zucchini
Friday: Ham and cheese stromboli, salad
Saturday: block party cookout, brownies for dessert.
Sunday: Grilled chicken, pasta salad, sauteed zucchini

What's the Deal: Pick and Save Matchups September 10-16, 2009

Lotsa Box Top for Education stuff! You must, of course, have a $25 minimum purchase to double coupons. Remember when you buy 10 Box Top products in one order, you get 50 bonus Box Tops, and when you buy 15 Box Top products in one order, you get 100 bonus Box Tops!! Happy shopping, y'all.

Grands Biscuits 1.00 each
-1.00/2 coupon here and here
Final Price: FREE when you buy two

Cocoa Puffs 2.00
- 1.00/1 coupon here and here
Final Price: FREE

Yoplait Delights Yogurt Multipack 2.00
-1.00/1 coupon here
Final Price: FREE

Fiber One, Kix, Cheerios Cereal 2.00
-.75/1 coupons here and here
Final Price: .50 per box

Trix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereals
-.55/1 coupons here and here
Final Price: 1.10 per box

Betty Crocker potatoes 1.00 each
-.40/1 coupon here and here
Final Price: .20 each

General Mills snack bars (Fiber One, Chex Mix, Nature Valley) 4/11.00 each and get a FREE gallon of milk coupon on your next order
-.60/1 and 1.00/2 coupons here and here
Final Price: 1.75 each when you buy four PLUS a coupon for a free gallon of milk on your next order .

Hamburger Helper 1.00 each
-.75/3 coupon here and here
Final Price: .50 per box when you buy 3

Betty Crocker Frosting 1.66 each
-1.00/2 coupon here and here
Final Price: .66 each when you buy two

Jones Sausage Patties 1.00 each
-1.00/1 coupon here
Final Price: FREE

Betty Crocker Cookie pouches 1.66
-Betty Crocker Cookie Mix .40 (11/7/09)
Final Price: .86 each

Betty Crocker Warm Delights 1.66
-.50/1Betty Crocker Warm Delights Bowls or Minis (11/7/09)
Final Price: .66 each

Chex Mix Bars 2.75 each
-.50/1 Chex Mix Bars $.50 (11/7/09)
Final Price: 1.75 each, PLUS a coupon for a free gallon of milk when you buy four

Chex Mix 1.66 each
-.50/2 Chex Mix 4.5 oz or larger, includes 100 Calorie Snack (11/7/09)
Final Price: 1.06 each when you buy two

Fiber One Chewy Bars 2.75
-.40/1Fiber One Chewy Bars (11/7/09)
Final Price: 1.95 each, PLUS a coupon for a free gallon of milk when you buy four

General Mills Cereals 2.00
-$1/3General Mills cereals (10/24/09)
Final Price: 1.33 each when you buy three

Hamburger Helpers 1.00
-.75/3 Hamburger Helper, Chicken Helper Home Cooked Skillet Meals (11/7/09)
Final Price: .50 each when you buy three

Nature Valley Grain Snacks 2.75
-1/1 Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters (11/7/09)
Final Price: .75 PLUS a free gallon of milk when you buy four

Nature Valley Granola Bars 2.75
-.40/1 Nature Valley Granola Bars (11/7/09)
Final Price: 1.95 each, PLUS a free gallon of milk when you buy four

Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough 2.50
-1/1 Pillsbury Simply Refrigerated Cookie Dough (12/5/09)
Final Price: .50 each

Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough 2.50
-1/2 Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough (12/5/09)
Final Price: 1.50 each when you buy two

Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough
-.55/1 Pillsbury Special Edition Cinnabon Cookie (12/5/09)
Final Price: 1.40 each

Progresso Soups 1.00 each
-.50/2 Progresso Soups (11/7/09)
Final Price: .50 each

Wanchai Ferry Dinner Kit 3.50 each
-1/1 Wanchai Ferry Dinner Kit (11/7/09)
Final Price: 1.50 each

Yoplait Delights 2.00 each
-Yoplait Delights $1 (11/7/09)
Final Price: FREE

Huggies Diapers 8.99 jumbo package
-2.00/1 and 1.50/1 coupon here
Final Price: 6.99 or 7.49 each
(sweeten this deal by signing up at http://www.upromise.com/ and adding your Pick and Save card and the Upromise coupon for 1.50 added to your account for a jumbo pack when you buy in September!!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Luvs $5/1 Coupon Today and Tomorrow

Go here to sign up for the Luvs Network and get the Luvs welcome kit, which includes a coupon for FIVE DOLLARS off ONE package of Luvs diapers. I have it from a reliable source that tomorrow, September 15, 2009, there will be a link to another Luvs $5.00/1 coupon. Even if you don't have babies, it's a good way to score some diapers for women's shelters.

What's the Deal: CVS September 14-20, 2009

This week's CVS deals are courtesy of Crystal Paine at www.moneysavingmom.com. The deals are listed for you here. If you are new to all this coupon stuff, go to her excellent post CVS 101 here and read her very comprehensive and accessible guide to getting started at CVS.
The highlights this week: FREE Colgate Toothpaste, Reach Toothbrushes, Listerine mouthwash, and Purex laundry detergent for 1.29 a bottle.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What's the Deal: Walgreens September 13-19, 2009

Murine Ear Drop Kit .5 oz $6.00
-$6.00 Register Reward given after payment
Final Price: FREE

True North Nut Crisps or Clusters 4.5 or 5.5 oz $3.00
-$3.00 Register Reward given after payment
Final Price: FREE

Kleenex Facial Tissue
.89 with in-ad coupon
-.50/3 coupon printable
Final Price: .72 each when you buy three

Walgreens Aluminum Foil
.59 with in-ad coupon

Band Aids 2.49 each
-$3.00 register reward given when you buy two
Final Price: .99 when you buy two after register rewards

What's The Deal: Sentry, September 14-20. 2009

Colgate Toothpaste 1.99 each -1.00 Colgate toothpaste (10/3/09) Final Price: FREE

Dean's Over the Moon Milk 1/2 gallon -1.00/1 coupon here Final Price: .29 per half gallon

Wonder Classic White Bread 1.39 20 oz loaf
-.55/1 Wonder Bread or printable coupon here
Final Price: .29 per loaf

Quaker Assorted Bites and Bars 1.99 each
-.75/2 Granola Bars or Bites (10/10/09)
-3.00 in store coupon when you buy five Quaker products
Final Price: .79 per box when you buy five

Quaker Oats 18 ounces 1.49 each
-1.25/2 Quaker Oats (11/30/09)
-3.00 in store coupon when you buy five Quaker products
Final Price: .39 each when you buy five

Quaker Instant Oatmeal 10 ct. box
-1.25/2 Quaker Oats (11/30/09)
-3.00 in store coupon when you buy five Quaker products
Final Price: 1.39 each when you buy five

Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix 1.49 each
-1.00/2 Aunt Jemima products 24 oz. or larger
-3.00 in store coupon when you buy five Quaker products
Final Price: .09 per box when you buy five

Aunt Jemima Syrup 2.49 each
-1.00/2 Aunt Jemima products 24 oz. or larger
-3.00 in store coupon when you buy five Quaker products
Final Price: 1.09 each when you buy five

Gold N Plump Chicken Drumsticks or Thighs 3.5 lb
3.99 with in ad coupon
-1.00/1 coupon here
Final Price: 1.99 each

Birdseye Steamfresh Veggies or Rice 1.25 each
-.35/1 Birdseye Steamfresh (10/24/09)
Final Price: .55 each

Scott Bath Tissue 8 roll pack 5.50
-1.00/1 Scott bath tissue
Final Price: 3.50 each, or .43 per roll.

Ortega Salsa or Taco Shells 1.49 each
-.75/2 Ortega Products (11/30/09)
Final Price: .74 each when you buy two

And Still More Betty Crocker Coupons!

Go HERE for even MORE high value General Mills and Betty Crocker coupons to pair up with this week's Pick and Save Box Tops for Education promotion.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What's the Deal: Office Depot September 13-19, 2009

  1. Ativa 4G USB drive $7.99 each
  2. HP Office Paper 500 sheet ream 1.00 each after $5.29 mail in rebate (limit 2)

And Even More Matchups: General Mills Insert Coupons In September 13 Newspaper

Tomorrow's Sunday paper should have the following coupons, which you can also pair up with this week's Pick and Save sales on Wednesday's Double Daze for the following deals to maximize the Box Top for Education bonus promotion:

Betty Crocker Cookie pouches 1.66
-Betty Crocker Cookie Mix .40 (11/7/09)
Final Price: .86 each

Betty Crocker Warm Delights 1.66
-Betty Crocker Warm Delights Bowls or Minis $.50 (11/7/09)
Final Price: .66 each

Chex Mix Bars 2.75 each
-Chex Mix Bars $.50 (11/7/09)
Final Price: 1.75 each, PLUS a coupon for a free gallon of milk when you buy four

Chex Mix 1.66 each
-Chex Mix 4.5 oz or larger, includes 100 Calorie Snack $.50/2 (11/7/09)
Final Price: 1.06 each when you buy two

Fiber One Chewy Bars 2.75
-Fiber One Chewy Bars .40 (11/7/09)
Final Price: 1.95 each, PLUS a coupon for a free gallon of milk when you buy four

General Mills Cereals 2.00
-General Mills cereals $1/3 (10/24/09)
Final Price: 1.33 each when you buy three

Hamburfer Helpers 1.00
-Hamburger Helper, Chicken Helper Home Cooked Skillet Meals .75/3 (11/7/09)
Final Price: .50 each when you buy three

Nature Valley Grain Snacks 2.75
-Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters $1 (11/7/09)
Final Price: .75 PLUS a free gallon of milk when you buy four

Nature Valley Granola Bars 2.75
-Nature Valley Granola Bars .40 (11/7/09)
Final Price: 1.95 each, PLUS a free gallon of milk when you buy four

Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough 2.50
-Pillsbury Simply Refrigerated Cookie Dough $1 (12/5/09)
Final Price: .50 each

Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough 2.50
-Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough $1/2 (12/5/09)
Final Price: 1.50 each when you buy two

Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough
-Pillsbury Special Edition Cinnabon Cookie $.55 (12/5/09)
Final Price: 1.40 each

Progresso Soups 1.00 each
-Progresso Soups .50/2 (11/7/09)
Final Price: .50 each

Wanchai Ferry Dinner Kit 3.50 each
-Wanchai Ferry Dinner Kit $1 (11/7/09)
Final Price: 1.50 each

Yoplait Delights 2.00 each
-Yoplait Delights $1 (11/7/09)
Final Price: FREE

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dave Ramsey Baby Emergency Fund Giveaway!

Hi, I'm Donna, and Dave Ramsey is my hero.

Don't you know Dave? He is a spectacular motivational speaker and author and his passion is helping people to reach financial freedom. His personal finance advice is sound; if you're a Christian, it's also Biblically based. It's Dave's system that got the ground under our feet financially when Baboo and I joined forces. And he has the heart of a teacher.

Dave is giving away a whole lot of money, in $999 dollar increments, here. Check back every day for the new code word. Enter once a day, every day, as long as the giveaway is running. You can also register to get Dave's updates and tips via e-mail or mobile phone. Also, Dave is running a special on his entire inventory of personal finance books, workbooks, and tools; each is only $9.99, with free shipping for orders over $65. His books are inspirational, full of good advice, and are quick and easy reads. Go and win your baby emergency fund, courtesy of Dave!!!

BlueQ and Caribou Coffee Gift Card Giveaway!!!!

It's tiiiime for another giveaway!! This month's spectacular giveaway is your very own "Coffee -- The Last Cheap Drug" coin purse and "Boss Lady" bandana, also from BlueQ, and to sweeten the deal, a $10.00 gift card to Caribou Coffee. I like Caribou Coffee because their decaf coffee is made using a water process, not a chemical process, and is fairly traded. It also tastes awesome.

Incidentally, if you like Caribou Coffee, there were coupons for $1 off a large coffee drink at their retail store, and $2 off bagged coffee at the grocery store, and this week at Pick and Save Caribou Coffee is 6.99. Use that coupon to get 12 ounces of fair trade non-chem decaf Caribou coffee for $4.99. Sweet!

To enter the giveaway, post a comment letting me know if you prefer your java leaded, unleaded, or high-test in the comments. Entries must be posted by midnight Central time on Friday, September 18, 2009; the winner will be randomly generated and posted on Monday, September 21, 2009.

Good luck!!

Link Luv: Twelve Money Saving Hacks from Trent at the Simple Dollar

Trent at www.thesimpledollar.com is one of my favorite personal finance writers, and he posted a great list of twelve money saving hacks for substituting cheaper and more environmentally friendly products in place of disposable or commercially created products. Go check it out here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Cheap, No Coupon Box Top Deal At Pick and Save

There are three Box Top for Education products that are one dollar each: Hamburger Helpers, Betty Crocker Potatoes, and Grands Biscuits. If you HATE HATE HATE to think about coupons, you could go to Pick and Save any time this week, buy any combination of 15 of these products, pay $15, and get the products, 100 bonus box tops, and the 15 box tops that come on the products. 115 box tops equals $11.50 for your school.

Of course, if you, like me, LOVE coupons, then you can print coupons for .40/1 potatoes, 1.00/2 Grands, and .75/3 Hamburger Helpers. Go on any old day of the week. Buy your products, present your coupons, and get 15.00 worth of stuff for 9.50, and get 115 box tops -- or $11.50 --for your school.

You Sweet Talker: Spectacular Deals on Box Top For Education Products at Pick N Save This Week

Ladies and gentlemen: start your printers.

This week at Pick and Save, beginning today, Thursday, September 10 through Wednesday, September 16, there are SPECTACULAR sales
on Box Top for Education products, as well as a Bonus Box Top promotion. When you buy 10 Box Top for Education products in one order, you receive 50 bonus box tops (a $5 value for your school) and when you buy 15 products in one order, you recieve 100 bonus box tops (a $10 value for your school).

There are also SPECTACULAR coupons in the coupons.com blue bar on the left side of this blog, for very high value coupons for Box Top for Education products, including General Mills and Cascadian Farms cereals, snacks, and granola bars, Pillsbury biscuits and doughs, Betty Crocker products, Huggies diapers and wipes, Kotex pads and liners, Scott and Cottonelle paper products, and Ziploc products. You can also get high value coupons at http://www.bettycrocker.com/

If you wait until Wednesday and take these coupons with you, the first five you hand to the cashier will double in value. This will make some of these products FREE.

Also, if you buy FOUR General Mills granola bar snack boxes (including Chex Mix, Fiber One, and Nature Valley) you will get a FREE coupon for a gallon of milk.

If you're from my kids' school, or you have kids at any school, here's a quick and dirty deal that will get you 6 boxes of cereal, 4 boxes of granola bars, 2 tubes of biscuits, 3 boxes of Hamburger Helper, a coupon for a gallon of free milk, and 100 bonus box tops for education (a $10 value for your school) for about eighteen bucks.

Step one: Go to the blue bar and print out 6 coupons for your choice of General Mills cereals your family enjoys. There are coupons for .55 off one, .75 off one, and 1.00 off one selected cereals. While you're there, print off 2 coupons for 1.00 off 2 Grands biscuits, one coupon for .75/3 boxes of Hamburger Helper, and coupons for your choice of four boxes General Mills granola bars, which are anywhere from .50-.60/1 (you'll need four) to 1.00/2 (you'll need two).

Step two: Go to Pick and Save on Wednesday; pick out the six cereals, four granola bars, two tubes biscuits, and 3 boxes Hamburger Helper that match the coupons you have.

Step three: Go to the register. Hand the lady your Pick and Save Card, and five coupons that have the highest value (Ideally, you want to hand the lady 5 coupons for 1.00 off, but make sure you hand the lady the five highest value coupons you have). Let her ring them up. If you have 5 1.00 off coupons, it will take 10.00 off your total.

Step four: hand the lady the rest of the coupons. These will not double, but will still take the face value of the coupons off your bill.

Step five: pay the lady. Wait for her to give you change and your receipts. Check the receipts in your hand. You should have the register tape, one coupon for one gallon of milk, and one coupon for 100 bonus box tops in your hand.

Step six: Eat the food (or donate it if it's non-perishable), send the box tops to school with your kid, and put the coupon for the gallon of milk in your wallet for next week's grocery run.

If you so desire, rinse, repeat. If you don't go on Wednesday, no sweat: your total will be five dollars higher or so, but that is still a screaming deal for all that stuff; about 1.45 per item, including the milk, and you got ten bucks to donate to your kids' school. It's all good and for a great cause. Also, remember to trim the Box Tops off the boxes you got!! And for an even sweeter deal for the PTA, buy Scrip for Pick and Save for a little extra oomph. Your twenty bucks can go a long, long way for Roosevelt or Immanuel this week.

If you'd like to see the other deals you can get matching printable coupons with sale prices at Pick and Save and Sentry, check back often!

I Learned From The Master

I'm so excited to announce that I am affiliated with RefundCents!! RefundCents, led by the coupon diva Michele Easter, is a fabulous online and print refund/rebate clearinghouse and newsletter. I've been a fan of Michele and her site for a long time, and Refund Cents is one of perhaps three online sites that really has a finger on the pulse of couponing, rebating, and refunding.

I am a big big fan of her online service, which gives her personal updates daily, as well as providing a message board for subscribers. It is worth every single penny, and I highly recommend it. If you'd like a taste of her site and what it can provide to you, please visit her via the button on the top left corner of the blog.

Why I Love My Husband: Reasons #19,236-37

#19236) This morning, I asked the Leg Puller if he brushed his teeth. After some hesitation, he admitted he'd only used "the swishy stuff." (mouthwash) Baboo, who was washing a banana bread pan from yesterday (which, come to think of it, is another reason I love him, but I digress), showed him how swishing the pan with water left stuff on the pan, but using the scrub brush got all the gunk off the pan. "It's the same with your teeth, buddy." Score one for the daddy.

#19237) My laundry was in a basket on the bed for me to fold. I HATE carrying laundry up from the basement.

Yesterday's Red Plum = Free Aussie Hair Products at Walgreens starting September 20

Yesterday, you should have gotten a Red Plum insert with your weekly grocery flyers which contains a coupon for two dollars off two Aussie hair products. Clip and save it for September 20, when Walgreens will have Aussie hair products for 2.99 each with a $2.00 register reward for each one. Buy two, give the nice cashier your coupon, spend 3.98, and get back $4.00 in Register Rewards. You can also print more coupons for these products at www.aussie.com. I recommend stocking up -- who can't use free shampoo, conditioner, and hair styling products? And even if you don't prefer this brand, consider "buying" and donating to a women's shelter.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Seasonal Bargains: Fall Savings

Fall's here, and that means it is time to start stocking up on seasonal bargains. Basically, certain items go on sale seasonally, and during that time you should match up sales with coupons to stock up on those items at rock bottom prices. Fall means the holidays, which means items for holiday dinners and baking will be on sale. Thus, be on the lookout for coupons and spectacular sales on these items:

Baking products (chocolate chips, sugar, baking soda and powder, flour) (the goal is less than a buck a bag for these items, and less than .50 for baking soda and powder)
Soups (for both cooking and eating) (goal is less than .33 per can)
Jams and Jellies (I make these, but if you get them for less than 1.00 per jar, you're doing well)
Turkey (.88/lb for breast only, .39/lb whole turkey)
Ham (we don't eat much of it, but usually .99/lb is a good price)
Pumpkin (fresh and canned) (fresh is usually free after Halloween, canned is .59-.79 per can)
Onions (.33/lb)
Apples (.69/lb)
Pears (.49/lb)
Potatoes (.18/lb)

Also, flu and cold season will be upon us shortly, as well as the dry season for skin and hair due to forced air heating, so look for deals on:

Cold and Flu Products (free)
Tissues (.66/box)
Chap stick and lip balm (free)
Hand and body lotions (free)

Clip coupons for these items; you'll be able to match them with a sale and a double coupon day to get prices at or lower than those I've given here.

Here's What Forty-Five Bucks Will Buy With Coupons

This is the result of four transactions, two at Pick and Save and two at Sentry. I'll list what's in the picture, and there's more that isn't shown because it's in the fridge, freezer, or storage area already. The grand total for all this, out of pocket, was $43.45. I had just enough to get myself a tall Starbucks iced coffee for my hard work -- but because I'm on lockdown, I din't. *pout.

Two 10 lb. bags kitty litter
One half gallon chocolate milk
Two gallons one percent milk
Four packages Keebler cookies
Three packages Pringles minis
Six lb. apples
One jar kosher dill pickles
Two bottles Pert Plus
One bottle Cascade rinse
One bag spinach
Two four packs Danimal yogurts
One four pack Activia yogurt
Two four pack Yoplait Delights yogurt
Two boxes Hefty storage bags
Two four pound bags C&H sugar
One package Chinet plates
One package Marcal Small Steps paper napkins (note: do not buy the toilet paper. UGH).
One bottle Clorox greenworks laundry detergent
Two Digiorno for One pizzas
Two Jacks frozen pizzas (for emergent dinner situations -- hey, they happen)
Two pounds lean ground turkey
One bottle Dawn dish soap
Two boxes Pop-Tarts (yes, we eat them)
Three boxes Kellogg's cereal
Two pounds bananas
One bag egg noodles

I spent about 30 minutes at each store, and saved 81.44. I also have two coupons for a free gallon of milk to use next week; I also will be able to send for a rebate of $7.99 for the Greenworks laundry detergent, as I posted earlier today.

I'll note a couple of things; first, I always use my "free" coupons to get my total up so I can double coupons at Pick and Save, and I also try to find good deals with coupons over a dollar at Pick and Save as well -- though they don't double, they don't count toward your five double coupons either, so if you have a coupon for $2.00/1 item and that item is close to free or you need it, use that coupon at Pick and Save on Wednesdays.

Second, it's unlikely I would be able to create balanced meals for an entire week out of what I bought today -- but because I have been shopping this way for some time now I can buy only what is on a spectacular sale and perishables and leave the rest on the shelf.

Third, in terms of perishables, we eat very seasonally, so now you will start to see lots of apples, potatoes, and other fall veggies in our menus. If it is on spectacular sale, I will buy it. Otherwise, I freeze and preserve for the off season.

Finally, if I didn't have access to a store that doubled coupons or I didn't have the time or energy to coupon as strategically as I do, my grocery buying strategy would be very different. I will highlight what strategies I think work best for certain types of people in future posts, but suffice it to say that if you are reasonably well organized, have some time to devote to filing, clipping, and sorting, and have an infant or older, school aged children this strategy will likely work well for you.

What's the Deal: Pick and Save Clearance and Unadvertised Specials

For those of you who will be heading out to Pick and Save for doubles, here are a few unadvertised and clearance deals.

First, some stores seem to be clearancing Luvs Mega Pack diapers. They are half off, so about 6 bucks for a mega pack. Not bad if you need them.

Also, go to www.greenworkscleaners.com to get a coupon for $3 off green works natural laundry detergent, and a money back guarantee (the pdf takes for-freakin'-ever to load). The lavendar scent is on sale for $5.99, after the coupon it's $2.99, but you can get your money back up to the purchase price (pre-card, that happens to be $7.99. Spend three bucks, get laundry detergent and a check for $7.99 in a few weeks. Can't beat that with a stick.

Also, Arm and Hammer Essentials laundry detergent is clearancing at some stores for $3.87; there are coupons at www.armandhammer.com for 1.00 off 2 bottles, making each bottle $2.87 after double coupons. I also seem to recall getting $1.00 off 1 bottle coupons at this site as well. The Java applet will pop up any coupons you are eligible for (in other words, the ones you haven't printed the limit on). If you can get $1/1 coupons, the detergent will be $1.87 each.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gold'n Plump Chicken Coupon Is Back!

Remember that 1/1 Gold'n Plump chicken coupon in the blue bar on the right side of the blog?

It's baaaaack, along with 158 other great coupons. Print early and often; keep in mind there will be sales to match those coupons in the next few weeks, and you want to be ready -- there are a limited number of prints.

Also, we are swinging into coupon season, and there will be five, yes five inserts on Wednesday/Sunday. If you're a newbie, I will be walking you through how to organize and use your coupons in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, go print those coupons!!!

Lockdown Budget Update: Almost Halfway There

If you're wondering how we're doing on the lockdown budget, the answer is: spectacular. Fabulous. Wonderful.

We had the opportunity to take a short vacation to a touristy town in northern Wisconsin (I had a business matter that I sandwiched in, which made it deductible and partially reimbursable. Love that multitasking). We left Friday morning, got there in the afternoon and basically spent 36 hours walking around, eating, shopping, and soaking up the last of the summery atmosphere. We took snackies and drinkies from home. Though we are on lockdown, because the trip itself and many of the expenses were reimbursable, we felt it was right to seize the day and go. We also happened to have some vacation money from pre-lockdown budget contributions -- and I am happy to report we still have lots left in that category. We will be looking at about $100 out of pocket for that little jaunt, and it was well worth it.

We did spend a little unnecessary money (gifties for the kids, a pair of winter shoes for me), but that's all right -- because in 48 short hours or so we will be a little less than five hundred dollars short of HALFWAY TO OUR GOAL for the three month lockdown period. Amazingly, very very shortly after we decided to lock down the budget, a couple of large matters closed and that got us a long way very fast. For that, I am very thankful. I anticipate, based on my accounts, that we will be halfway there by the end of September. God is really, really good.

In terms of spending, we've got a couple of expenses coming up; dance class and new tap shoes for The Girl, and possibly karate or basketball for Animal. Otherwise, I'm stocked on every other possible thing except perishables, and it seems I may not have to pay for milk this month, given all the good cereal and milk deals happening in September. And the garden is finally producing, and I have some zucchini to saute and shred for zucchini bread. Yum, life's good.

Since we made such quick progress so fast and were able to knock out the credit card giving us grief, I'm contemplating our next move. Our saving account is precipitously low; I don't like seeing it that empty, and neither does Baboo. I also don't like giving Chase any more of my money than I have to. We do have a balance transfer deal available to us that would lock in a very low interest rate for a long time, and we may do that and opt to shovel all my income into savings for the next two months instead, paying off debt in smaller "chunks" instead. Whatever we decide, I anticipate staying on "lockdown." It is eye-opening to see that we really can live on one income (tight though it may be), and to know how significantly my income can impact our debt when we choose to lockdown.

So I'll throw it out there: what would you guys do? Assuming lock down until December 1, would you throw all additional income in your savings account, or at your debt? Discuss. In the comments, if you please.

What's the Deal: Sentry September 8-13, 2009

Meats are at a good stock up price this week at the State Street Sentry in Tosa. The State Street Sentry does not double coupons, but from time to time has good deals by using their in-store coupons.
It's also potato and apple season!!!
80/20 ground beef is $1.59/lb at State; everywhere else, $1.89.
Rump roast is $1.99/lb
Russet potatoes are $1.89 for a 10 lb. bag
Dean's cottage cheese is $1.79 for a 24 ounce container
$1.99/3 lb bag on Ginger Gold apples. These are nice for making apple butter or apple sauce.
Not much to be had with coupons this week; if you need shampoo, you can get Pert Plus for FREE after you double a $1/1 coupon from the newspaper inserts; Tidy Cat litter is $1.99 after you double a $1/1 coupon from the newspaper inserts.

What's the Deal: Pick and Save, Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Another good week at Pick and Save!

This week, buy five Kellogg's cereals or Pop Tarts at full price, get $5.00 off your order plus a coupon for a gallon of milk off your next order. There are coupons for $2.00/2 boxes of "New! With Fiber!" cereals from a couple of weeks ago, so you really don't even have to go on a double day if you like those cereals (they include Little Bites Mini Wheats, a BIG hit at my house). Also, there are $1/2 coupons for Kellogg's cereals from the newspaper inserts a couple weeks back, as well as $1/1 Kellogg's cereals from an in-store coupon brochure I picked up a few weeks back at Pick and Save. If you use the $2/2, it goes a little something like this:

Buy 6 boxes Mini-Bites at 3.79 each (your store's pricing may vary) = $22.74

minus an immediate $5.00 off = $17.74

minus $6.00 for 3 $2/2 coupons = $11.74

you end up with 6 boxes of cereal and a coupon for a gallon of milk for $11.74.

If you decide to double a $1/1 coupon, the deal is even better -- it works out to $5.74 for 6 boxes of cereal and a gallon of milk. If you are doubling, make sure to use your FREE milk coupons from the General Mills deal 2 weeks ago with this deal to get your pre-coupon total above $25.00.

Jack's and Tombstone pizzas are 4/$10, and if you buy four, you get a coupon for one free gallon of milk on your next order. There are .40/1 coupons from the paper inserts, doubling them make the pizzas $1.30 each; there are also $1/2 coupons from coupons.com a while back; doubling them gives you four pizzas and a gallon of milk for a total of $6.00.

Jennie-O fresh turkey products are 2/$7, there are $1/1 coupons from the paper inserts making these $1.50 each after doubles.

Roundy's hot dog and hamburger buns are buy one get one free; pair these with the turkey hot dogs and brats from last week.

Colgate toothbrushes are 1.00. If you have a .40/1 coupon from the newspaper inserts and you need toothbrushes, these are .20 each after a doubled coupon. If you can wait, there will be better toothbrush deals coming.

This is not a spectacular deal, but if you have a preference for Tropicana juice, buy 2 half gallons and get a dozen eggs free.

What's the Deal: Office Max September 8-13, 2009

The deals just keep coming on school supplies! It has to stop sometime, right?
.01 for flexible rulers, limit 3.
.25 for filler paper, limit 3.
.25 for Schoolio Von Hoolio colored pencils, fine and broad tip markers, limit 3.
.30 for poly binders, 1 or 1 1/2 inch, limit 5.
.75 for comp books if you still need them -- next year, wait until they are .50 or lower.
please remember to buy low and give often. your local elementary school will love you for it.

What's the Deal: CVS and Walgreens September 8-13, 2009

There isn't that much going on this week at Walgreens and CVS.

At Walgreens this week, the best deals I see are the Starbucks deals. Buy $15 worth of Starbucks ground coffee, coffee drinks, or ice cream, get $5 in register rewards. There are coupons for $1/1 Starbucks ice cream here; you can print up to four. Also, small Glade soy candles are 2 for $4, with a $1 register reward if you buy two. There was a free coupon for one of these candles in the newspaper a couple of weeks back, as well as a $3/2 coupon, which makes them free. There is also a $3/1 Glade candle coupon here. Aquafresh and Sensodyne are $1.99 after register rewards, and there are still $1/1 printables at smartsource.com. This is only a good deal if you need toothpaste or prefer these brands; if you can wait, there will be other free deals out there.

At CVS, the best deal is Dove chocolate, buy $10, get $5 in Extra Care Bucks. There are $1/1 coupons from the newspaper a few weeks back. Also, Aussie stylers are .99 after ECBs, limit 3, through today. Gold Emblem spices are .88 each, which is not bad if you need spices of any kind.

Tightwad Tip Tuesday: Lazy Girl Granola

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT spend money on granola cereal at the grocery store. Instead, use this spectacularly easy recipe.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup oil (we use canola)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
7 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups total of any of the following goodies:
nuts (slivered work best)
coconut (sweetened)
sunflower seeds or pepitas
raisins or craisins or other dried fruit

combine brown sugar, honey, oil, cinnamon and vanilla in saucepot. heat until boiling. combine oatmeal and other goodies except for raisins/craisins/fruit. pour sauce mixture over oatmeal mixture and stir to coat well. place on a jelly roll pan or two cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. when the ten minutes is up, stir the granola, turn off the oven, and go to bed.

remember to take the granola out of the oven the next morning before preheating the oven for cinnamon toast (IMPORTANT!!!) store granola in an airtight jar or a Ziploc bag. enjoy!!!!

Menu Plan Monday: One Day Late (Again) Edition

Hey, I'm back!! It's Tuesday, soooo we're a day late around here, but here goes:

Monday: rice lasagna
Tuesday: brats, turkey hot dogs, fresh fruit
Wednesday: penne pasta with chicken, zucchini, and mushrooms in garlic butter sauce, homemade bread
Thursday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade bread
Friday: chicken lo mein
Saturday: pulled pork sandwiches, baked potatoes, salad
Sunday: Pizza!

Friday, September 4, 2009

But Before I Go . .

You simply must go look at this blog. Hilarious.


No Coupon Inserts This Week: I'm Taking a Wee Break

On holiday weekends, there are no coupon inserts in the Sunday paper. Therefore, it's a good week to take a tiny break from clipping and sorting. I'll be off for a mini-vacation with the hubs, but back again on Sunday. I'll update you then on how we're doing on Lockdown and the Grocery Challenge. Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Gosselin Finally Tells The Truth

In an exclusive interview set to air on ABC on September 8, Jon Gosselin admits he "took a lot of abuse from Kate."

YA THINK??????????

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Owlhaven's September Grocery Challenge

In keeping with our Budget Lockdown theme, Mary Ostyn and her husband and ten (yes, ten) children engage in an annual Month of Nothing wherein they challenge themselves to spend no more than necessary. In addition to homeschooling that big brood and writing not one, but two books, which I've linked to on the sidebar to the right, Mary blogs at www.owlhaven.net -- please follow her this month as she endeavors to spend no more than three hundred dollars total to feed her family (yes, of twelve) in September. Mary was living the low impact large family lifestyle before I even had a family and she is truly inspirational. Check her out.

Coupons Restocked

It's the first of the month, which means the coupons in the blue bar on the side of the blog have been restocked and updated. Go there, peruse, and print off as many as you have time and paper for; if you've been following for a while, the sales at the grocery store generally follow the coupons that are posted there two to three weeks after posting of the coupons. There are a limited number of those coupons, so print early and often.

Also, check these coupon printable sites:



for more printables.