Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Want To Grow Old Downtown

I'm 60 years old.  I remember downtown Knoxville in the "good old days," but I definitely was a suburbanite and the trips felt more like pilgrimages as we dutifully prescribed to our mother's sequence of shopping -- walking through the (smelly, yucky) Market House but rarely buying anything, checking some of the other stores along Union before working our way over to Gay Street and Penney's, Hall's, and The Knox (It is the building in which I now live--we are in former storage space on the top floor.)  We rounded up the shopping at Miller's, which would deliver our purchases to our home the next day, and then on to the S&W, where I ALWAYS ordered fried fish and cherry pie. 

Yet as I consider the possibilities of living downtown beyond my automobile-driving days, I seem to be recalling more of the downtown stores we rarely went into--the grocery stores . . . the drugstores . . . we had our own White Stores and Long's Drugs in West Knoxville, thank you very much.

When I can't drive anymore, I'll need a well-stocked grocery store. I'll need a pharmacy that'll keep my dozen or so prescriptions straight.  

We don't have those yet downtown.  There are a few smaller food stores, but they cannot compete with what we continue to access as we did before we moved downtown (and for a thrifty person like me, I have to take advantage of the specials made even sweeter with aggressive couponing). How can you appease a West Knoxville gal with an intimate grocery store after she has seen the lights of a Super Target?  

The panel addressed multiple aspects of a healthy downtown.
I'm thinking, though, that when I and my baby-boomer-buddies give up the cars, the vendors will discover us, and then we will get a better selection of stores.  Check back with me in 2033.  But in the meanwhile read Urban Guy's account of last week's address on walkability and aging in place:  Getting Nerdy in Knoxville--Symposiums, Keynotes and Panel Discussions  Events such as this and the concept of aging in place make me optimistic. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Are There Any Other Baby-Boomer/Couponers Out There?

This image is from "The Coupon Project."  Please do not think I look like this.

Most successful couponing bloggers are young, stay-at-home moms, very attentive to their looks.  I get that.  However, as a woman looking straight at her 60th birthday, I have nobody to whom I can relate. Most of my close friends have done well with their finances and long left their minding of nickels and dimes behind them.

I just googled baby boomer coupon bloggers and came up with very little.

TO ME -- The greatest thrill is combining great deals, coupons --with a senior discount on top, like I am going to get at Walgreens tomorrow.  They have periodic senior discount days.  Watch for the notice on their Sunday insert.

Couponing Tips:
Find reliable couponing sites.  I like Southern Savers, Common Sense with Money and for local--Coupon Katie.

Cut and paste their directions into a list.
Along with your coupons, TAKE THAT LIST WITH YOU TO THE STORE.  I frequently cannot remember the steps of getting "the deal," and mess it up when I get to the store. E-coupons have added another layer of management.

So the following is a cut-and-paste of my shopping this week. They are both deals and things that I really need, like bottled water (for which Walgreens had the best deal this week):


Reach Floss 55 yd $0.92 (PC thru 8/24)
Use $1/1 Reach Floss Product
Use $1/2 Reach Floss 07/28/2013 SS Insert (exp 08/25/2013)
Use $1/2 Reach Floss Products
As low as FREE after coupons


Colgate Total Advanced, Zx, or Sensitive Whitening Toothpaste, or 360 Toothbrush $3.49, Get $2.50 RR when you buy one
Use $1/1 Colgate Total, Optic White, Max Fresh, or Sensitive Toothpaste, 4 oz+ 07/28/2013 SS Insert (exp 08/10/2013)
Use $1/1 Colgate 360 Manual Toothbrush, excluding Plus, Triple Action, Extra Clean or Classic 07/28/2013 SS Insert (exp 08/16/2013)
FREE after coupon and RR

1,000 BR WYB Aleve Pain Reliever, 50 ct., $5.99 -$2 off Aleve product, 80 ct. +, excl Aleve-D printable



Fiber One, Nature Valley Bars


Hunt’s Ketchup, 24 oz, $1

Composition Book, 50¢ (good through 9/07)

The rest of these are Mix-Match (or what the bloggers call Mega Deals. I will have to do multiples of five to get the $5 off, which is reflected in the prices below.) -$1.50 off Tyson IF bonless skinless chicken breasts, 3 lb bag, (zip 27511) printable (use $1.50 off, makes it $5.49)

Hillshire Farm Lunchmeat, 16 oz, $3.99 -.55/1 Hillshire Farm lunchmeat, 8 oz+ printable

Cheez-It Crackers, 10.5-13.7 oz, $1.99 -$1.50 off Keebler crackers or Cheez-its, 8 oz +, 1,000 points printable
Chock Full O’ Nuts Coffee, 11.3 oz, $2.99 -$1 off Chock full o’Nuts package, SS 7/14 (makes it $1.99)

Triscuit or Wheat Thin Crackers, 12-14.5 oz, $2.99 -.50/1 Triscuit crackers, 8.5 oz+ printable (use .50/1 off, makes it $2.49)(if doubles – use .50/1 off, makes it $1.99)

Soft Scrub Cleaner, 24 oz, $1.99

-$1 off Soft Scrub product, RP 8/04

Neutrogena or Clean & Clear Skin Cleaning Products, $1 off -$1 off Neutrogena Men item printable


Crest Toothpaste, 4.6 oz, $1
Use the $1/1 from the 4/28 PG
or the
 $0.50/1 printable
Final Price = FREE!

Oral-B Toothbrush, 1 ct., $1
Use the 
$1/1 Oral-B Pulsar, 3D White, Pro-Health, or Complete manual toothbrush, Kroger eCoupon
Final Price = FREE!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Couponing IS a great hobby--try it.

Recently our new web overseer at work decided to make our website a little more personal.  We were instructed to write a little bit about ourselves, including listing our hobbies. It made me realize how boring my life must seem to others.  I play no sports anymore. I do no handwork anymore. We used to collect art but don't anymore.  I read a little, thanks to my belonging to a book club. What I spend most of my non-work, non-social time is doing money-saving stuff.  THAT is my hobby, so I listed it on my personal description page on my work website.

Some years back I thought a good gift to my niece/bride would be to have all her bridesmaids and close friends share bits of wisdom. Included in the invitation to a pre-nuptual luncheon was a card to write the advice.  I intended to have these cards intermixed with photos in a scrapbook and present it to the bride. I had a good connection for scrapbooking with an acquaintance near my home.

After the wedding I went over to my scrapbooking friend's house, unloaded all the cards and photos and asked her when she would have the book ready.

She did not speak.

She then slowly explained to me that I was supposed to put the book together.  Oh, no, no, no--you don't understand, I tried to explain to her. I do not have the time nor talent to make this the masterpiece that it needs to be. 

She slowly explained that it was not her responsibility to put the book together.  period.

She sold me a book and the related materials.

I actually did put the book together.  But I didn't want to.  It was not in my skill set, so it was not fun. 

Fast forward to couponing.  For me, couponing IS fun.  I love it as a hobby.  It requires no artistic talent, no sense of good layout.  It just requires diligence and time.  It fits me because I am too cheap at this point to invest in whatever might be needed for a real hobby such as a sport.
Ironic that THIS is my coupon book.

For me, a coupon success -- such as using a coupon on a sale item and paying for it with an earned gift card -- gives me the same high as I used to get on the tennis court when I hit a good shot.   

Except I am not sweating.   And I didn't have to buy the tennis clothes.  And I didn't have to buy a racquet.  And I didn't have to have the racquet strung.  And I didn't have to pay the club dues. Yes, at this stage of my life I just don't like spending money if I don't have to.   I did not even spend money on a notebook--I used one I found in some closet.  The notebook is from a bank that went under here in our area, and I often chuckle when I think about this book's final use.


Monday, May 20, 2013

How To Help Oklahoma

(Disclosure:  I work for my local United Way.  While each United Way is an independent affiliate, we do have relationships with many of the agencies listed.)

The disaster in Oklahoma is motivating many of us to DO SOMETHING!!  

I have copied an article below (and used the accompanying photo) that I believe provides the best advice at this point.  Remember that the fraud artists are already busy on social media, so be sure you are sending your support to a reliable agency.

How To Help Oklahoma Victims

By Suzanne Choney, Contributing Writer, NBC News
The loss of life and stunning devastation in Oklahoma City suburbs after a monster tornado ripped through the area are heart-wrenching. But within hours, relief organizations were getting out the message on how to help.
American Red Cross
The Red Cross has set up shelters in various communities. You can donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund here, and the organization also suggests giving blood at your local hospital or blood bank.
Phone: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767); for Spanish speakers, 1-800-257-7575; for TDD, 1-800-220-4095.If you want to send a $10 donation to the Disaster Relief fund via text message, you can do so by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999. As in the case with other donations via mobile, the donation will show up on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your balance if you have a prepaid phone. You need to be 18 or older, or have parental permission, to donate this way. (If you change your mind, text the word STOP to 90999.)
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief
This organization says donations will "go straight to help those in need providing tree removal services, laundry services and meals to victims of disasters." 
It is requesting monetary donations (It says clothing is NOT needed). For more information, and to donate, visit Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief's website.
You can send checks to: BGCO, Attn: Disaster Relief, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK., 73112.
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is organizing disaster response units to serve hard-hit areas in central Oklahoma, including Moore, where it is sending mobile kitchens that can serve meals to 2,500 people a day, and to South Oklahoma City.
Supporters can donate online via the organization's website, SalvationArmyUSA.org. You can also text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation via cellphone.
If you want to send a check, the Salvation Army asks that you put the words "Oklahoma Tornado Relief" on the check, and mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK., 73157.
Phone:  1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
United Way of Central Oklahoma
A disaster relief fund is being activated as of May 21 so that individuals can specifically donated to tornado relief-and-recovery efforts, the organization says on its site.
"Financial contributions are the best way to help unless otherwise requested." Donations can be made online at
United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund is open.  Donations may be made online here. Checks, with a notation of "May Tornado Relief" can also be sent to the United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK , 73101.
Feeding America
Through its network of more than 200 food banks, Feeding America, whose mission is to "feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks," says it will deliver truckloads of food, water and supplies to communities in need, in Oklahoma, and will also "set up additional emergency food and supply distribution sites as they are needed." You can donate onlinehere.
Phone: 1-800-910-5524.
Operation USA 
The international relief group, based in Los Angeles, says it is "readying essential material aid — emergency, shelter and cleaning supplies" to help Oklahoma's community health organizations and schools recover.
You can donate online here. You can also give a $10 donation by texting the word AID to 50555. Checks should be sent to: Operation USA, 7421 Beverly Blvd., PH, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: 1-800-678-7255.
Devin Coldewey also contributed to this report.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Savings Events I Only Saw in the Paper News Sentinel

Three cost-savings events that I saw in the Sunday Knoxville News Sentinel that I have not seen in any other local blogs:

Page 12a:  
Free Baking Demos -- Holiday Inn West, February 27.  
Noon -- Perfect pies & savory scones
7 pm -- Baking with yeast & whole grains

Page 16a:
O'Connor Pancake Fest is Tuesday, February 19, from 7 am to 1 pm.  I cannot believe that the tickets are still $5.  If you need to invest in networking, this will be a thrifty and effective use of your time.  Lots of local office holders and media celebrities will be there.

Page 18a:
Tennova's Health Extra for Women Kickoff Celebration, Thursday, February 28 at the Foundry @ World's Fair Site (free parking)
FREE LUNCH, along with complimentary health screenings, "unique shopping and gourmet treats." Register by February 21, 1-855-Tennova (836-6682).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Couponing Is a Lot Like Golf

Couponing is a lot like golf.  You aim for a certain place to land, but sometimes it takes you longer to get there. 

I have not gotten efficient in my couponing.  I have a pocket system where I put a coupon in my right pocket if I use it as I place the item in the cart, the left if the coupon is not the right one to make a deal. Occasionally the coupon goes into the wrong pocket.  I put my keys in my pocket once -- bad mistake, because I must have pulled them out in the middle of a visit to CVS.  Thank goodness CVS is not a big store. I found them in the middle of a paper towel display. I routinely get so exhausted after shopping that I stuff all the unused coupons in a wad in my purse, not refiling them in my coupon notebook--and remember only before I prepare for another shopping trip that they are there.  I routinely cross and recross the same aisles.  Unfortunately because I had extra time this past Monday, I just went ahead and filled it all up with bumbling around the stores.

At Walgreens, I had in my notes, as noted in a blog I follow, that if I bought five boxes of Nature Valley breakfast bars, I would get $3 coupon for anything on my next trip from Walgreens and an additional $3 one from the manufacturer.  This $6 is on top of the bars being two for $4 (regularly $4.29).  I had the proper coupons to maximize the savings. 
Here is the deal from Common Sense with Money

I got to the store.  The ad showed the two for $4, but no mention of $3 plus $3.  I froze.  I doubted my notes (maybe my blogger is in a different Walgreens marketing region, I thought) and did not do the deal.  I went home, pulled up the blog -- and there it was, with that critical word unadvertised.  I took another trip to Walgreens and got it -- yahoo -- but it was in the second trip.  

At CVS, I wanted to use some of my accumulated free Coke Products 12-pack coupons (gotten with Coke reward points) in the four-for $10 deal.  I was really looking forward to four free 12 packs. But as the clerk scanned my coupons, she said that they were coming up at $4.99.  I froze.  I did not comprehend what she was saying.  I mumbled to give the coupons back to me.  I should have told her to manually run them through as $2.50 each.  I had to get the Cokes because they were part of a buy-$30-of-certain-product,-get-$10-back deal.  But I left the store feeling deflated.

I realized what I did and went to Kroger, where the clerk knew how to run the coupons.  After I paid a little more sales tax than I would have at CVS, I walked out with my Coke products. 

I went to Food City to buy two Lean Cuisine salad makings and I would get a free bag of lettuce.  I had coupons.  I swiped my debit card, put in my security code--it did not go through.  I tried again, and again, and a few more times.  The clerk apologized, saying that probably their system was down.  Aha, they are wrong; and I am the harmed party!  I said thank you and went to another store.  Same thing -- process credit denied.

I went and sat at the far end of the parking lot in my car and called my debit card company.  Sounding very solicitous, but feeling very smug, I explained my situation and waited for an apology.  But it was I who made the mistake -- I had attempted to put in the wrong debit card code at the grocery stores.  And then it hit me -- There is a security cover over the keypad at the grocery store.  I had not bent down to see and use the highest row of the numbers.  When I meant to hit a 2, I hit a 5.  After three times of entering the wrong number, the card gets frozen.

Never mind, my inner voice said to my self -- in my best Gilda voice. (here is a clip of Gilda as Emily Litella)

Yes, couponing is a lot like golf.  When I went back to Food City, the clerk on my first trip was not at the check-out line.  I wanted to show her that I was not a deadbeat.  I felt let down, like I had gotten a birdie while playing by myself.  

Here are some good coupons:


$0.75 off one Welch's Light Grape Juice Beverage
$1.00 off two Johnsonville Sausage products
$1.00 off on any TWO Keebler Crackers
$0.75 off any ONE (1) Wrigley's Gum Car Cup
$3.00 off two JOSE OLE products, 16oz or larger
$5.00 off any Weight Watchers Scale by Conair


99¢ off when you buy any SIX (6) Gerber® 2nd Foods® Organic Pouches
75¢ off when you buy any ONE (1) Pure Via® any size
$2.00 off when you buy any ONE (1) NECTRESSE™ Natural No Calorie Sweetener 5.9oz Canister
$3.25 off when you buy any ONE (1) Osteo Bi-Flex® Supplement or Powder (Excludes Liquid)
$1.10 off when you buy any SIX (6) single cans of Mighty Dog® dog food 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

We Dangle Our Toes over the Fiscal Cliff

Whew!  We Americans did not get pushed over the Fiscal Cliff, but it looks like a lot of us are going to get hit with some level of increased tax, with the 2-percent-point temporary reduction in the Social Security payroll tax expiring. I am writing this blog before I see my first paycheck of 2013, so I blissfully am unencumbered with knowing the literal change in what I will take home. 

I am going to aim at $1,000 to be the decrease in our household take-home pay for 2013.  So the need to save a little more gets notched up.

Yesterday my transactions were simple but significant.

I bought five items that qualifed for $5 back in their mega savings event, which is going on this week as well.  I had coupons for four items of Kellogg and Kashi cereal, and Kellogg crackers.  THIS SAVINGS EVENT IS GOING ON THIS WEEK, TOO.

from the Kroger ad: 

P&G, Pepsi & Kellogg’s items

When You Buy 5 participating P&G, Pepsi & Kellogg’s items with card. Mix & match any 5 participating items in a single transaction and SAVE $5 instantly at checkout with card. Limit 5 rewards per transaction. Look for this tag on participating items.



If you have not signed up for this program and eat a lot of cereal and crackers, you are missing out!

I bought six Lean Cuisines at six for $12.  I had coupons resulting in $2 total off this $12, which got me a FREE carton of the Skinny Cow version of Brown Cows.  Also, I will clip the codes out of the Lean Cuisines.  Each one is worth 20 points (although a new line of meals is worth 40 points each).  I will save for a free Lean Cuisine, which is 500 points. 

I bought a couple of apples -- Ambrosia apples -- that were in a display right in the front of the produce section.  They were $1/pound, a good price--others are at least 30 percent more.  We do not go through apples fast enough to buy them by the bag.

I used a coupon for a FREE dozen eggs that was included in a mailing that Kroger sent to me.  I believe these coupons are tailored to what I buy.   

The Kroger receipt states that I had 64 percent in savings.  Not bad, and true to my New Year resolution, all that I bought will be consumed within a month or so.


Here is the comparison I made for Cokes this week (please remember that many stores such as Publix are not near me.):

Walgreens -- three for $10
Kroger -- buy two, get third free for $11
CVS -- three for $10, but it can be part of a $30 purchase to get $10 worth of extra care bucks, so I am going to buy my Cokes at CVS this week.

Please note-- a couple of weeks ago I tried to apply a coupon for a free 12 pack of Cokes at Kroger in the buy two, get the third free. (I get free Cokes from the Coke reward points on every Coke product.) The free pack had to be processed at the full value of what Kroger was charging, $5.50.  The Coke coupon was only good for $4.99.  I had to pay the difference between the two, $.51.  ugh.  I learn so much from my mistakes.