Getting Our House In Order

My name is Meg and I live in Buffalo NY with my husband Andrew and our cat Jake.
We are working on getting our house in order by saving money, getting organized, and simplifying things.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Walgreens Challenge week 5-$$ Profit today!

OK. This week is a great week at Walgreens. Here's what I got for a $5.20 profit. That's right. I got paid to take this stuff out of the store!!
Here's the breakdown:
1 Betty Crocker Super Moist Cake Mix $1 on sale
1 Betty Crocker Frosting $1 on sale
Used $1 off cake and frosting coupon from todays paper
2 Betty Crocker warm delights $1 ea on sale
Used $1 off 2 coupon from todays paper
1 Dulcolax $10 on sale get $10 in register rewards
Used $4 printable from
1 Dove hairspray $4 get $4 in register rewards
Used $2 off 1 printable coupon from Dove Website
1 Simply Saline allergy and sinus $7 get $7 in reg rewards
used $1 off 1 from a previous sunday paper
bottled water $2.99 wih Walgreens coupon in the weekly ad
used $2 off water hang tag from the dulcolax
1 Betty crocker brownie mix $1
This was my "filler item" so I could used $4 register reward from last week.
I paid $15.80 on my giftcard (this includes tax and bottle deposit)
I received $21 in register rewards
$5.20 in profit
I have $42 left on my gift card plus $21 in register rewards.
Challenge totals are as follows:
$63 remaining (started with $100 gift card)
$37 spent
$175 in merchandise purchased so far.
I will probably go in again later this week to get the Dove Money Maker as I have more coupons.
The more profit weeks I have the longer the challenge will go on!

Long time no post

I knew it had been a while since I last posted, but I had no idea it was 3 weeks! Yikes.  Time gets away.  I had 2 business trips and a weekend of babysitting which kept me busy, plus not much going on at the stores, so I guess I can justify it!  I did actually go to Walgreens last week to use up expiring register rewards.  I had my nieces with me, so in addition to my "deals" I bought a few "non-challenge worthy" items such as a Web-Kinz, a squirmy blue worm thing, and a peace sign bracelet.  I'll include that all in my totals when I update later today. LUCKILY there are a few money makers at Walgreens this week to make up for the extras last week! :)
I'm planning my trip, so I'll post with a picture and new totals later today.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Walgreens Challenge Week 3

This was a good week for deals at Walgreens.  Good thing, since I had $10 in Register Rewards getting ready to expire!
Challenge Totals are as Follows:
Merchandise Total: $119.30
Dollars Spent:$25.57
Remaining balance: $74.43
This was a big shop versus my previous 2 on the challenge. You can see my overall savings ratio took a hit, since it was about 90% and now more like 75% (no, these are not exact figures...not a math girl here!!)
But, these are all things we need, and we'll give a few things to my father in law, so we are all good.
Here's what I got:

3 Kraft singles on sale 2/$5
3 Deli Fresh lunch meats on sale 2/$5
I used 2 $1 off coupons (printed from a few weeks ago)
1 Oreo Cakester $2.50
used $1 off cakester from facebook
1 Chips Ahoy $2.50
These qualifed me for the buy $20 get a $5 register reward deal
2 Oral B toothbrushes
Used Buy One Get one free coupon from todays paper
1 crest toothpaste
Used $1 off 1 crest
These were on sale 3/$9 and I got $3 in register rewards for them.
1 box splenda on sale $2.99
used $1.00 off Splenda from last weeks paper
1 Grape Nuts on sale $1.75
Used $2.00 off 1 printable coupon.  .25 cent moneymaker here!!
1 Gallon Milk $2.99 (ouch! I totally paid the lazy tax on ths one, becasue I didn't feel like making another stop at Aldi and we were out of milk!)
So Grand total on this trip
Total before sales and coupons: $60.72
Total savings $42.75
Spent on Gift card $17.52
Received $8 in register rewards.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Walgreens Challenge! 2nd trip

I am working on my Walgreens Challenge.  I have a $100 gift card and I am challenging myself to see how long it will last, and how much merchandise I can get for it.
After week 2 here are my totals (combined)
Merchandise total $59.03
Dollars spent: $5.07
Remaining balance $94.93

It was pretty slim pickings for deals at Walgreens this week.  Remember, I only buy things I have a use for. I also don't buy anything I already have more than a 12 week supply on hand, unless it has a long shelf life and the deal is great.

Here is what I got:

2 Purex 3-1 complete laundry sheets on sale 2/$9 and get a $1.00 RR
I used the Buy One Get one Coupon from the paper last week (It expired today!)
1 box of raisins $1 (this was a filler)
Total before coupons and sales would have been $17.77 (includes tax)
I used a $5 Register Reward from last week in addition to the coupon.
I paid $1.29 on the gift card and received $1.00 in Register Rewards.

A few things about Walgreens for those who are not familiar with their register reward program...

Walgreens register rewards typically expire in 2 weeks.  You need to keep track of them so you don't let them expires without being used.  The main reason I did this deal at Walgreens today (I don't really need the purex sheets per my 12 week rule, but I really like them (no waste! I actually get 20 loads from the 20 load package becasue there is no overpouring!) and the BOGO coupon was expiring.  If you recall, I received $14 in register rewards from my deal last week.  They will expire on the 10th.  I didn't want to have to spend them all next week. If the deals are similiarly light next week, I'd have to spend them on "non-deal" things so as not to waste them. Not a great situation for the challenge, since I am trying to maximize my gift card!
The other difficulty with Walgreens is that they count register rewards as a manufactuers coupon, and you can't have more items than coupons.Also,you can't use them cover tax, or get change back. These are the reasons for "fillers".  I bought the raisins today (I got oatmeal for .50cents a few weeks back.  Can you say cookies??!!) so that my total would be high enough to use my $5 register reward.  It can be a bit of a pain sometimes, but if you plan ahead clearly the savings are worth it!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Long Week

Sorry I haven't been keeping up with my posts this week.  I have been atttending my companies national sales meeting, and it make for some long days! Today is the final day, so I will get back to it tomorrow!  I need to come up with a plan to get items posted daily, but I don't have it yet.
How do you make something happen when you are pressed for time? I'd like to hear fom you all!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

In my mailbox this week

Lot's of goodies for Meg this week!
I got:
1 $5 rebate check from SC Johnson
1 $15 rebate check from P and G
1 coupon book from betty crocker with $10 in coupons
1 free sample of Kashi warm cinnamon heart to heart cereal. This had 3 $1.50 off on box of kashi cereal PLUS a coupon for a free box of cereal.  Yay Kashi!

Mail in rebates are new for me, but so far so good.  I have a few more checks on the way, and then these are getting deposited into a special "rebates" savings account.  I want to see how much I earn this year on rebates (not including my rite aid rebate checks...those are reserverd to play at rite aid!). so far I have $20 bucks! I still need to figure out any tricks of the trade on these.  So far I have learned to read the fine print, but many of these rebates can be combined with coupons or deals in the store, so these can make for real money makers. Both the checks I got this week are purely profit as I  did deals on the products that were free after coupons and sales.

I also sign up for free samples and coupon books when I see an offer online.  Free samples almost always come with coupons, although these Kashi coupons are really good ones!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Crown Molding in the living room!

I'm so mad I didn't take a "before" picture so you could see the difference!  My very talented husband and my dear brother in law hung the crown molding in the living room today. That along with the new paint makes such a difference.  It came out beautifully.  It just needs the finishing touches of filling in the nail holes and the final paint, and we can put the furniture in place and enjoy our new room. :)

Look what I got at target for $3.89!!

I got:
4 Special K fruit crisps @ 2.50 each (looks like 3 in the picture, but one is photography skills need a bit of help!)
- 2x1.00 off special k crisp internet printable manufacturer coupon (special K web site)
-1 $1.00 off 2 special k product from sunday paper
-2 $1.00 off 2 special K target web coupon (

2 Reduced Fat Triscuit@ $1.93 each
- $2 off 2 nabisco crackers (, but they are gone now)
-$1 off 2 target coupon

1 Nabisco Right Bites 100 calorie  pack @ $2.69
- 1 $1.00 off 1 from sunday paper

1 Kraft Shredded Mozzarella @$2.34
-1 $1.00 off 1 Kraft cheese target coupon

Total after coupons was $8.89 minus $5 target card from last week
net $3.89 out of pocket

I goofed on this one.  I thought I would also get a $5 gift card for the Nabisco and Special K, but the register didn't pick it up.  There was a sign with the rite bites that said select nabisco and kellogs snacks. So either there are 2 different promotions, or one of the special k flavors was not included.  I was in a hurry, so I didn't have time to check at customer service. Oh well.  Still a sweet deal.  The special K gift card deal runs for a few more weeks, so I'll check it out the next time I'm in target.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Walgreens Challenge officially begins!

It was a strong start. I purchased $41.26 in products and spent .76 for it!

I have $85.24 left on my gift card plus $14 in register rewards for a total of $99.24 in challenge dollars remaining.

Here is what I did (it worked so well, I did it twice! I needed separate transactions to get all my register rewards)

4 bags Hershey’s “Pieces” Candy on sale 2.50 each

-4 $1 off coupons from the paper a few weeks ago (I had 1 from the paper and got the remaining from the coupon master-a clipping service)

Buy $10 in Hershey’s receive $5 in Register Rewards

1 20ct Excedrin Menstrual formula on sale for 2.50 each (I know! This deal is the ultimate PMS survival kit!)

-1 $2 off Excedrin printable (I got the link from the Iheartwags website)

Buy 1 get $2 in register rewards (only works for the menstrual formula, which is why I got that one)

Each separate transaction was $7.38 and gave me $7 in register rewards

I did this twice, so my entire haul was 8 bags of candy and 2 Excedrin. I only have a picture from 1 transaction. The other candy and Excedrin are at my office.

PLUS I got 2 coupons for $1 off 1 bag of M and M’s(1 printed after each of my transactions). They are good until 4/21 so I’m thinking I’ll get a pretty sweet deal on holiday clearance after Easter if I don’t use them before. Nice!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The $100 Walgreens Gift Card Challenge

I received a $100 Walgreens gift card in the mail yesterday.  I got it by cashing in some air miles that were going to expire. I didn't have enough miles for a free flight, and they were on an airline I rarely fly (American Airlines and I had a falling out last year, but that is a story for another day!) so I did a bit of research and discovered I could convert the miles to a gift card through  When I saw that Walgreens was a choice I decided to get the card and see just how long I could go at Walgreens without paying anything out of pocket. I also want to see how much merchandise I can get for the $100 by using coupons and hitting the sales.
I am not really going to set any "rules" for the challenge, but I am going to try to keep to my normal shopping habits.  When it comes to coupon shopping I try to:
1. Only buy items we have personal use for, or have a plan for (maybe a gift or donation for example)
2. If I already have enough of an item to last 6-12 weeks , I leave it on the shelf, unless it is a money maker with a long shelf life. I won't buy things I will never use (ie blood sugar monitors) just to get register rewards. I don't have a problem with those who choose to do that, it just isn't right for me, so I leave those for the people who need them!
3.I won't waste my time or gas running all over town trying to get an item if it is out of stock at a store I normally shop at. I'll ask for a raincheck if it makes sense, but if I miss something with register rewards, I don't stress about it. Most deals come around again!!

For the purpose of this challenge, I will count register rewards when I earn them. They will go to the declining balance of the gift card. Usually I count them when I spend them, so this will be a slight departure from my normal "accounting system". :) Same goes for mail in rebates. If I submit for one, I will add the amount I'll get back to the card balance. I just started to dip my toe in the rebate pond, so we'll see how that goes.  Since I'm really spending no money (the card was free, unless you want to count my blood sweat and tears as a road warrior!) I need to just add them to the balance.  I also don't typically break my orders into multiple transactions, but I may consider it if it makes sense to stretch my card further.

I don't really have any idea how this is going to go, but I am setting a goal of  making the card last 3 months and getting $500 worth of products.  If it goes longer, or I get more stuff, great! I'll keep a running tally of both what is left on the card, and value of products with each shop.

Wish me luck!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Doing a little design on a dime

Our project this weekend it to paint the living room. It definitely needs some freshening up, and paint is an inexpensive way to get a big change.
The plan started as a simple paint job in the living room, but has now evolved.  The living room is getting new paint, crown moldings, and furniture is being rearranged (really pretty colors, nutmeg and spiced cider!!). We will also paint and do molding in the dining room. The plan is to go for a green shade, but we're still tossing that around.  That painting won't happen until next weekend at the earliest, so we have some time to deliberate.  Andrew also painted the bathroom ceiling and put up 2 new light fixtures, which are a nice change from the old "very brady" fixtures we have wanted to switch out since we moved here 11 years ago! :P It is amazing how small things like that get away from you...
Andrew starts his new job on March 15, so he has a few weeks to spend on this project.  I'm helping on the weekends! There is a lot of prep work, and he got a lot done during the week, so we're in good shape to have phase one done by tomorrow!
I'll post pictures when its done!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Expiration Dates

One of the things you need to figure out to coupon effectively is how much of a product to buy when you hit a deal at a rockbottom price.  The idea is you buy enough to last until the next sale cycle. It's called stockpiling, which always brings the show "Hoarders" to my mind, but if you do it right you will have enough to last until it goes on sale again, but not TOO much.
As you shop the sales you will start to notice a pattern. Most items go on sale at least once in a 6-12 week period, and as you tune into that, you'll be able to make better choices about how much to buy.  Some items hit thier best price seasonally (think chocolate chips and other baking items during the holidays, or barbecue sauce and ketchup in the summer).If you know you'll use these things and you have the space to store them properly you can stock up more than you might use in 12 weeks for these types of items.
Which brings me to my point about expiration dates.  I read this article in Slate which confirms what I already believe.  Expiration Dates, Sell by dates, best by dates, etc. are pretty conservative.  I'm not suggesting you ignore them completely, just that you use your best judgement before throwing things out based on a date on a package.  Obviously the more perishable an item the more careful you should be, but if it has been stored properly, it looks and smells fine, it's probably ok even if it is past the date.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Less Choice?

I read this article about stores offering fewer "brand name" products in order to focus on house brands.  This article talks specifically about Wal-Mart but this could become a trend that may be bad for shoppers.  Less competition could mean higher prices and possibly fewer coupons! Boo!  In a way it reminds me of Wegmans. I love Wegmans, but they focus heavily on their own brand, and its not a great place to coupon as a result!
Read the article and let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Here's what's on my list at Walgreens this week

Skippy Peanut Butter
Use $1 off 2 coupon from previous sunday paper
net $1 each

Quaker oatmeal
2/$3  (I'm only getting 1)
Use $1 off one from quakers site
net .50
Someone's making oatmeal cookies sometime soon!!

If I can get my hands on any oscar meyer coupons I may get the BOGO bacon deal.
There is also  a good BOGO dela for lysol products.  If you need cleaning supplies you can match these with the coupons in last Sundays paper and get them cheap!!

Happy Valentines Day! CVS this week!

And Happy Sunday.  I've been browsing the paper and here's what's on my list for CVS this week:

Crest Toothpaste  Free after ECB limit 2
I know there are coupons out there for this from the paper in the past few weeks

Glade Soy Candles
$6 ea
Buy 2 Get $4 ECB
Coupon $3 off 2 from

Sobe Water
Buy one get one free
use 2 Buy one get free from Sobe's web site.
Get 4 Free!!

Think Coupons aren't worth it? Check this out!

An article in the Wall Street Journal equates couponing to a part time job  Coupons win!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walgreens Tomorrow-Friends and Family Discount!!

Tomorrow Walgreens is having a friends and family day. Go To Walgreens Website to print out a coupon that will give you 20% off all Walgreens brand items and 15% off all other eligible items (generally it’s all but prescriptions, stamps and stuff like that).

I thought I was done with Walgreens this week, but I think I’m going to go tomorrow and get the following

Rembrandt teeth whitening system

$9.99 with wags coupon from their Ad. Regularly $21.99 Yikes!

-$5 printable coupon from Rembrandt’s web site

Dove Men’s body wash (I tried to get this at rite aid but they were out)

$5.99 (get $5.99 register reward)

-1.25 coupon from the Sunday paper

I wasn’t sure if Andrew would use this…generally he’s a bar soap kinda guy, but I asked him and he said he would give it a shot because of the register rewards (my sweetie is very supportive of my hobby!) so we’ll give it a shot.

Three Musketeers Bars

.49 with Wags Coupon

Buy 4 get $1.50 register reward.

These can go in the treat basket on my desk at work!

CVS and the danger of impulse purchases

I went to CVS today. I had $13 in Extra Care Bucks expiring tomorrow, so I needed to use them. I put together a plan for very little out of pocket (oop) expense. I went in knowing that typically at CVS I need to be flexible, since they are often out of sale items. Not the case today. However…I got caught in the IMPULSE PURCHASE TRAP!!! Boo! One of the potential hazards of this “hobby”

Here’s how it went.

I stopped first at the coupon machine and scanned my card. (most CVS’s have these. It is the price scanner that now gives you CVS coupons…before you shop…excellent!)

I got $1.00 off any CVS skin care item (excludes trial sizes) and $1.00 off CVS facial tissues. Big fat stink... But then I decided to go see if they had a good price on facial wipes (as I stated in a previous post, I love these things! They are great to travel with because they can go in a carry-on bag and are neither a liquid nor a gel. They are also great for those nights when you are just too tired to wash your face. Sleeping in makeup is BAD. With these it’s just swipe/swipe sleep. They were on sale buy 1 get 1 half off. OK, I figure, I’ll grab these in case they don’t have the things on my list cause I need at least $13 pre tax at the end to use up my ecb’s. The 2nd thing I decided to get was the Venus razor. I had a P&G coupon for a free Olay body wash (which I DO NOT NEED!!) with purchase, plus a $2 coupon off the razor. OK good deal. Into the cart. THEN I attacked my list…

4 boxes of Cheerios (BOGO)

4 boxes of Kleenex (BOGO) (2 are not pictured. They went to the office!)

1 Gillette Razor ($4 ECB with purchase

I used these coupons:

2 x$1.25 off chocolate cheerios (yes. I know…but Andrew likes both chocolate and cheerios, so I am taking a chance!)

2x .75 off any cheerios

$1 off 4 Kleenex

The aforementioned impulse purchases

1 Venus Razor

1 Olay Ribbons

2 CVS Anti-aging face wipes (not just wipes..ANTI-AGING wipes! I need all the help I can get!!)

I used these coupons :

Free Olay Ribbons w/purchase of Venus razor (7.49)

$2 off Venus razor

$1 off CVS skin care

Then I used $13.00 in ECB for a grand total of $17.13 Boo!!

I mean according to my receipt I saved $50.65 and it is a lot of stuff, but pretty much what I paid was the total of my impulse purchases and I really didn’t need any of it. My stockpile on these items is pretty good.

Ah Well…Live and Learn.

From now on it needs to be list first, then other stuff if list stuff isn’t available. Yes. I will do that. I promise!! I’ll try anyway.

As a side note…between this purchase and my rite aid yesterday, I already have enough P&G purchases to send in for the $100 in coupons. This deal will be in the paper on 2/21 (you’re gonna start getting the Sunday paper…right??) but you can send in receipts dated after 2/1. Awesome.

Details about this, as well as some good scenarios for the P and G $35 gift card at Rite Aid can be found at I recently discovered this site and so far I am very impressed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Great Deals this week!

This is a great week for deals.  I am pretty behind in posting, and I haven't shopped at all yet (except for a quick trip to Walgreens to use a register reward that was expiring on Monday)
Here is an overview of my favorite deals at the various stores in our area.

Gather up your Healthy Choice and Quaker coupons and get to target!!!  They have 2 gift card promotions going.  Buy 10 healthy choice meals get $5 target card.   These are lunch for me pretty much eveyday at work and I have a ton of coupons from various sources so this is going to be great.  I am limited only by what my freezer can hold!  Although, the fresh mixers are included, so I'll get some of those as well.  If you don't have any coupons, go to Healthy Choice's website and you can print $1 off 2 (you can print it twice) and get started!  Quaker is select products, buy 5 get a $5 gift card.  if you like oatmeal and granola bars, go for it.

My goal for rite aid this week is to finish the Proctor and Gamble gift card deal that has been going on this month.  There was a P&G coupon insert in the Sunday paper (you got the paper right?  You've go to get the paper on Sunday!! well, you can  do ok with printable coupons, but the ones from the paper are really good. Seriously, get the Sunday paper delivered.  8 weeks is like $10 and you'll make that back many times over!)
But I digress.
Use the P and G insert to get yourself a visa gift card though single check rebates this week.  I've been working the deal all month so I need $15 to earn the top gift card.
I'm going to get Tide $10.99 and Tide Stain Release5.99 (free with coupon) to put this thing to bed.
There are a lot of BOGO Coupons in this insert, so even if you are just starting this week, you can get a bunch of things, use the coupons to reduce your out of pocket, and get started at rite aid.Don't forget to get your $5 off a $25 purchase coupon at Other printable there as well.  You can print each twice.
I'll post what I get later today

I needed to use up a $2 register reward so I bought 2 hefty ziplock bags and 2 extra gum.  Both were Buy One Get One (need walgreens in ad coupon for the bags.  they have the ads in the store) and I had a $1 manufacturer coupono my total out of pocket was $1.98 for all/

I have $13 in Extra Bucks that are going expire this week!  I have to go spend them.  The best things I'm seeing are Cheerios BOGO, Kleenex BOGO and some razor deals.  I'll post my deal after I go.  This one is going to be put together on the fly.

Dollar Doublers this week.  This should be interesting.  I need to figure my strategy out for this.  Stay Tuned!!

OK thats the round up.  Stay tuned for what I end up with!!    

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Waiting for the paper

My Sunday paper is SUPPOSED to be hear by 8 am on Sunday.  It's 9 and so far, nada!!
I am going to post my deals when I get a chance to look at the ads, but with Super Bowl prep today, It would have been nice to get a jump on it.   Sigh!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cleaned out the linen closet

That's where I keep a lot of my loot!  It is official.  We do not need any more of the following for quite some time!!
Soap (bar, hand or bodywash!!)
lightbulbs!! (I have soo many...want some?)
cleanser and moisturizer
feminine supplies.
Contact lens solution

I'm not going to buy anyof this stuff until I get down to 1 left for any of them.  At this rate, we could potentially go a year without buying some of this stuff! (maybe I exagerate...who knows? 6 months at least!!)
At least now I know what we have!  I need to do the same in my kitchen and freezer...

Gettin' my house in order!! God knows how much it needs it!! 

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I don't think I am going to shop at all this week.

Really?  Yup.  I'm going to try and stay out of the stores.  There are actually a few good deals this week (Free Contact Solution at rite aid, free chapstick at walgreens) but truthfully, I don't really need anything.  I am going to use this week to get organized and do that inventory I talked about yesterday.  I will need to pop into the grocery store, so I will post if I get any deals there. I am trying to learn the system at Tops.  It seems to be the best place for couponing.  I LOVE Wegmans, but they don't really do great sales, and focus a lot on their own brands.  It's interesting.  They do have Wegmans lists on the grocery game, but the deals are really just so so for the most part.
I'll update you on my progress as I do my inventory, and let you know of any great deals if I break! :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fun and relaxing today!

Today is one of those rare Saturdays. I've got nothing major planned, and we are just going to have fun and relax.  We have tickets to go see Avatar at the Imax this afternoon.  I picked them up yesterday to make sure we would get in, since its been sold out the last few weeks.  I can't wait! 
I've been reading some of my favorite blogs this morning, and I'm trying to figure out how to make this blog better.  I have a lot to learn about blogging!
I am trying to come up with a list of things I want to blog about, so I can make sure I write everyday. If anyone ever starts reading, I want to give them a reason to come back! 
There are posts with previews for next weeks deals out there.  I am taking the day off from deal planning.  I really need to get a bit more organized and inventory what I have.  Even though I have gotten great deals on free and cheap HBA's and groceries, I am starting to get overwhelmed by STUFF!!  I need to take an inventory and decide what things I absolutely do not need to bring into this house until we go through our stockpile! The stuff is no good to anyone if it goes to waste becasue I didn't know we had it and keep buying more. 
If you haven't guessed by now...Organizing is a skill I need to work on.  Oh how I wish I were one of those natural organizers!  But Alas, I am not.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Walgreens trip yesterday

OK Here's what I got at Walgreens yesterday:
Olay Quench Lotion $7.99 (I used $2 off olay lotion coupon)
Olay in shower lotion FREE with purchase above
8 valentines gift bags $1.00 with Wags coupon in the circular
2 Ponds face cloths $6.29 Buy One Get One Free
No coupon for these, but I love them! Especially when I travel since they can go in my carry on!
2 Pert Plus  2/$5  I used $1.50 off and $1 off from this weeks sunday paper
Reynolds Foil .89 with Wags Coupon
4 ZipLoc bags 2/$5 with Wags Coupon plus I used 2 $1.50 off 2 printables
 I also used $14 in register rewards from last week.
Total out of pocket including tax was$12.40
I got $2 in register reward
Plus I'll get $6.99 from the Olay Mail in Rebate.
I could have also sent in for $5 SC Johnson rebate for the ziploc bags, but I forgot to have them rung up separately so I could have a receipt to mail in. Rats!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Whats on my list this week?

I got home from Austin yesterday afternoon.  I reviewed the ads and honestly, I was underwhelmed at the deals this week.  That is fine with me.  I don't need much and its good to have a break.
It's looking like a Walgreens week.

Here's my list
Ponds facial cloths BOGO (I need to find a coupon or 2 for this!)
Pert (coupon in the paper plus RRs)
Ziploc bags (sale plus coupons plus MIR)
Quench Lotion (get a free shower gel plus coupon plus MIR)
Cottonelle (Wags coupon plus man coupon plus we NEED TP)
Reynolds Wrap (wags coupon)
9V batteries (Wags are BOGO)
This is my plan.  I'll post results after I actually shop.


For the past few days, I have been thinking about gratitude.  Probably because it seems the universe wants it on my mind. I heard it on the radio, read it in books and magazines while I was traveling.  Sometimes the signs are all there, you just need to notice them.  This time its pretty obvious.   I need to take a step back and appreciate all that I have.  Be grateful.
I have a lot to be grateful for in my life.  If I really think about it, I have an embarassment of riches.  I have a wonderful husband, a loving and supportive family, friends.  I have a good job, the opportunity to see the country through my business travel, an income that pays our bills and helps us prepare for the future.  I have a great place home and I live in a great city.  I am truly blessed.
This project...getting my figurative house in really a lesson in gratitude.  It is one thing to acknowledge all the good in ones life.  It is another thing to honor it all by taking better care of it.  I want to be a good steward of all I have received.
Think about your life today.  Everyone had problems, sure.  Some are so overwhelming, they seem to take  over your entire life.  Believe me , I've been there. But today I challenge you.  Take a step back and look at the good.  There is ALWAYS something, no matter how small.  Focus there.  Watch what happens.  And keep an eye out for signs.  The universe talks to everyone.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Let's Talk about Budgeting

No!! Please!!  When I think about budgeting, I get all childish and rebellious.  I'm sure a lot of people are like that.  But over the past few years, I slowly came to realize that flying by the seat of our pants was not serving us well, and we would have to do something if we ever wanted to get ahead.
I am a firm believer in small steps.  If you find something to be huge and overwhelming, break it down and just do one tiny thing!
For me the one tiny thing was to get organized.  When I sat down and actually looked at what I had I realized that my biggest problem wasn't a lack of money. It was that I didn't know what bills were due when. My system was that I had no system, and things were all hapharzard.  I was paying late fees I didn't need to be paying, and I was sick of it.
So I got a calendar.  I marked all my paydays on it, and I wrote down what bills I would pay on those days. And it worked. That onw tiny little thing got me started.  I was paying attention.  It was good.
At this point, I have quite a few of my bills set up to pay automatically.  But I still cross them off my calendar when they hit.
At some point in the future, I want to take things the next step and actually name every dollar before it goes out. Create a real grown up budget that tells where everything goes, including the variable monthly expenses and savings, both for retirement and our goals, like buying a house. But for now, things work.  The bills are getting paid, and a little is going into savings every pay period.  I invest in my companies 401k plan and I am saving money on our groceries. That is good.
As a next step I am going to refine our savings plan. 
Stay tuned as I figure that out.  It should be interesting!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Walgreens Today

 I have the day off of work today, becasue I have to travel to Austin TX and work this weekend.  I took the time to go to Walgreens to use up some register rewards that would have expired before I got back.
Here's what I got:
3 12 packs of Pepsi  3/$12
2 Tostitos Scoops 2/$5
2 Tostitos Salsa 2/$5
1 Lipton Green Tea $2.99
1 Theraflu $3.99
1 Welches Grape Jelly 2/$5  (I only bought 1, so $1.50)
I used the following coupons
.75 of any welches
$2 off Theraflu (from
$13 in register rewards
Total spent $17.58
Not bad.
I got back $14 in register rewards ($10 from the pepsi/tostitos deal, $4 from the lipton/theraflu deal)
I will also get $7.50 from a mail in rebate for the pepsi/tostitos.
I only count register rewards against my total when I use them to make a purchase. Some count them when they earn them.  I try to count my true Out of Pocket expense.  I am new to doing mail in rebates (more about that another time) and my plan is to take any checks I get from them and put them in the savings account.  I will keep a tally and decide if it is worth it!

Why Coupons?

Why do I use coupons? Simple...I like to pay less for things.  Honestly, who doesn't?  I've used coupons for years, but only in the last year or so have I discovered how to do it really effectively.
For years, I used coupons like many people do.  If I had a Sunday paper, or saw some in a magazine, I might cut them out.  Then if I'd remembered to put them in my purse, and had some things in my cart that matched up, and then remembered to actually use them, I might save a few bucks on my grocery bill. I was perfectly content with that.  I was happy to be paying less, even if it was only a few bucks here and there.
Then one day my husband and I were watching the Food Network. If we saw a recipe we'd like to try, I would run out and buy all the ingredients on the fly to make it right then.  A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon (though not so great for the grocery budget!), and something we enjoy doing together.  More on that another time...
Anyway...We saw a story about something called "The Grocery Game". There was a woman who had a system.She would go to the store and get carts full of groceries for practically nothing.  It got my attention. Mostly becasue I didn't believe it was possible, and secondly I thought even if it was, it couldn't work for me, since I don't have a big family to shop for.
At some point,(I couldn't get this thing out of my mind!) I decided to look up the grocery game online.  Sure enough, I found I could buy a subscription and get lists of deals from local stores.  I was a bit disapointed to find that the only stores in my area to get lists for were CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid.  I didn't do any shopping there.  Those stores were too expensive! Or so I thought!  But they had a trial offer. $1 for a month of lists.  I signed up, deciding this was probably not going to work, but I'd give it a try.  That was the beginning.  One of the best decisions I ever made.
I read all the rules, and scoured the site and the forums for tips and tricks.  I discovered that there were coupons you could print right off the internet! I learned that there were a lot of things that I had no clue about when it came to getting great deals. For example, I never knew you could combine a store coupon with a manufacturers coupon on the same item. That one piece of information has saved me a lot more than  the few dollars I spent on the subscription! (I decided to continue past the trial. It was really a great tool while I was learning the ropes!!)
From the first week I was hooked.  The lists from the local drug stores really did have great deals. There were always a couple of freebies to be had. Plus I learned about the drugstore programs that really let you save money! CVS Extra Care Bucks, Walgreens Register Rewards, and Rite Aid's Single Check Rebate program.  If you learn to use these effectively, you will really save big bucks!  Don't believe me?  See my Rite aid trip from yesterday! :)  If you develop a system that works for you not only will you save money, but you'll actually have a lot of fun doing it!!
I'll break my system down by store in the next few days.
Stay Tuned!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Rite Aid Trip Today

I was able to get to Rite Aid today on my lunch hour and I did great.
Here's what I bought:
Transaction 1
2 Bounty paper towels  12.99 each
I used these coupons:
1 $5 off  $25 rite aid coupon
2 $1 bounty coupons (from January PandG) I had 2 becasue there were 2 in my paper that week!
Total with tax $20.82
Transaction 2
Duracell Batteries 20 plus 5 free pack $16.99
3 Nissan Lo Mein noodles .88 each
2 Clorox wipes $1.99 each
2 Palmolive dish soap .89 each
1 Valentines Tootsie pops $1.77
3 Kraft Mac and Cheese (they were buy one get one. Since they only had three I got a raincheck to pick up the last free one next time!)
 I used these coupons
$5 off a $20 order from Rite Aid video values
$3 off Duracell Rite Aid coupon from this weeks circular
$1.00 off seasonal item (I forgot to use this...Darn!!)
$1.00 off 2 Palmolive
$1.00 off 2 clorox wipes
Buy 3 Get one free Mac and Cheese (this made it buy 1 get 3 free with the BOGO sale!)
total with tax
I paid with my rebate check from last month ($37.xx)
So my total out of pocket for all this was (Drumroll please.....)
61 cents!!!
Not bad if I do say so myself!!
I will also get in $3 Single check from the Duracell and have about $50 towards the P and G visa gift card rebate (spend $100 get at $35 gift card).


Let's Get Started

You've got to start somewhere, right? 
My husband and I have set a goal to buy a single family house next year.  We already own an investment property that we have lived in for the last 11 years.  When we bought the place after we got married, our plan was to live in one apartment for 3 years, and then buy a single family house.  Then life happened. Long story short, we're still here, and we have some finacial work to do before we make this goal a reality.

I have been an avid couponer for about a year now.  I do it to save money, sure, but for me mostly its a hobby.  I get a real thrill out of the deals I get. I've noticed that a side benefit of this hobby is that I've become more concious of my spending, and I've really improved my budgeting skills. By improved, I mean I actually think about the money before I spend it, instead of wondering where it all went after it is gone!! I'm sure you can relate to that.  Good money management is so important, and just being organized makes all the difference!

So in order to keep myself accountable in this journey, I've decided to blog about it.  I will share my coupon strategies, and  periodically let you know how we are doing as we progress towards our goals.  I'll keep track of the money I save, the ways I come up with to build our savings, and of course the details of the house hunt when we get there.

I'm excited about the Journey!!