Sunday, September 25, 2011

Coke Zero Point Special

Coke Rewards point collectors:. on Coke Zero® and POWERADE®

7 days only, 9/20 – 9/26. Dbl. pts. on all Coke Zero® and POWERADE® “black caps.”

Please remember that UT Knoxville football tickets have have free Coke Zero coupons on the back.

Thinking about all the can collectors who come in after the games and glean the tailgait areas, I have thought that in the same spirit, one could wait until after the game and collect ticket stubs discarded throughout the stadium, get the free Cokes, enter the points which can be turned in for more Coke, as I'll explain later.

A bottle of Coke gets you 3 points, a 12 pack gets you 10 points, a 20 pack gets your 20 points.

Where to find codes:

  • Under caps
  • Inside tear-off on 12-pks.
  • On multi-pack wraps

There are a lot of Coke branded stuff, food coupons and magazines that you can redeem points for, but the only thing that I redeem the points for are coupons for free 12 packs of cokes, which cost 240 points.

I get ribbed a lot for collecting and redeeming these points, but I have gotten a lot of free Coke in the past few years. A lot of my friends give me their points because they don't want to go through the process. I'm all about process, slow and steady. Remember, the Grand Canyon wasn't built in a day!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Great Weekend--Festivals AND Fairs

Yesterday I wrote about two great fairs in Knoxville--We have two wonderful cultural festivals as well.

The Hola Festival is celebrating its 11th year. It is ALL THINGS LATINO! It has been great to see this event mature into a wonderful presentation of cultures. I believe I was at a pre-Hola Festival at Pellissippi State where it was basically national displays. I have to admit that my husband and I slip over right as the evening activities get going. You can anticipate the fun as you read the website description: "The Passport activity, Heritage Tables and Children’s Section will be closing at 6:00 p.m. From 6:00 to 8:00 we will be gathering around the main stage at the Viaduct to dance to fun, live music! Come to either learn or show off your salsa moves! A fun way for the whole family to celebrate." But I am intrigued by the "after party" noted on the map in the Old City. I wonder what that is about.

Check it out:

And then there is venerable Greek Fest in its 32nd year of celebrating. I love the Greeks, and it is a must see and do for everyone.

But even before our Knoxville Greek Fest had gotten started, I already knew how much fun Greeks can have. My junior/senior high school boy friend is Greek.

The first date he asked me out was for a church fundraiser. hmm, didn't sound like what I would consider an appropriate first date. It was the most unique first date that I have ever had, for sure. He picked me up and we went over to the church hall before the event really got started. It turned out that he had an assignment, and he picked up a couple of his buddies to go along. It seems that we were responsible for picking up the entertainment for the evening--a belly dancer. (Note: this was not in Knoxville.) She was exotic, all right--all the way from Philadelphia. I doubt that in 1970 there were many belly dancers in the South.

During the performance all of the females had to sit in the back along the wall. This was not how I would have anticipated meeting my date's mother, aunts, girl cousin, etc., etc., etc. All the men sat around the perimeter of her dance area. I recall that a lot of money was raised.

Afterwards there was dancing and more dancing. Great food, great fun! I recalled these fond memories when we got to visit Greece a few years ago.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The fairest of the Fairs? Food or Emergency?

I L-O-V-E going to health fairs, women's events -- you name it!

We are fortunate to have two this weekend in Knoxville--and they could not be more different.

Per the posting, "The Food City Food Show will be held Sept. 23-24 at the Knoxville Convention Center, 701 Henley Street. Hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Advance tickets available at Food City stores for $8 with ValuCard. They will be $10 at the door. Children 12 and under are free. Chef Hector Santiago, contestant of Bravo Network's Top Chef, season 6, will be featured entertainment on Saturday and Chefs Paul and Patrick Albrecht, co-owners of Atlanta's Great Food Group Inc., will be featured performers on Sunday. A variety of local culinary demonstrators will also be on hand, including Knoxville News Sentinel food writer Mary Constantine.

Here is the cooking school schedule:

Friday, September 23

10:30-11:15 Mary Constantine, News Sentinel food writer and host of "Stirring the Pot" on

12:00-12:45 Missy Kane "Fit and Fun with Missy Kane" Covenant Health's health promotion coordinator

1:30-2:15 Hector Santiago, Atlanta restaurateur/chef -competed in the sixth season of "Top Chefs" on the Bravo Network

3:00-3:45 Katie Cureton, Culinary College Trainer for the J.M. Smucker Co.

Saturday, September 24

10:30-11:15 Jimmie Jones, Food City Culinary Trainer- Cake Decorating 101

12:00-12:45 Mark McKinney -senior executive chef of the UT Healthy Living Kitchen WITH Lori Hamilton director of Healthy Initiatives for Food City

1:30-2:15 Chef Walter of WVLT TV

3:00-3:45 Chefs Paul and Patrick Albrecht, co-owners of Atlanta's Great Food Inc. Their Restaurants include Pauls, Social Vinings and Vinings Fish Company of Atlanta, GA."

I have been to this event many times. You'll learn a lot and you'll take away a lot of goodies. I am still using some terrific cleaner from Kelsan that I got there. The good folks at Food City give the proceeds to United Way of Greater Knoxville, for which I am very grateful as (here is the disclosure) I work for United Way of Greater Knoxville. We're working hard to support self-sustainability for our fellow Knox Countians. Thank you, Food City for supporting us!

Fair Number Two (I didn't go last year). It's the second annual EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FAIR, which will be held this coming Saturday, September 24th, 2011 at Bearden High School. It will be from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Admission is FREE to the public.

According to their promotion, "There will be more than 40 booths, demonstrations and classes. Over 26 organizations will be represented. There will be Child ID kits, Ready Kit Bags, Door prize, Giveaways and Emergency and Disaster Services Vehicles on site. Some of the valuable information will include senior citizen care, financial preparedness, severe weather, emergency essentials for pets, short term food storage, family emergency communication plans and more."

For more information visit the web site at:

I really want to go to this because emergency preparedness NEEDS to be part of everyone's agenda. I have had a close call to danger only once, but that was enough! We had to evacuate for the warehouse fire downtown in February of 2007. Living in a newly retrofitted historical building, we were BLASTED out when the alarm went off--pulsating lights, screaming alarms--and only seconds to put on some "street clothes" and grab our essentials. Fortunately I had been to an emergency preparedness presentation by some of this weekend's fair participants. I knew what to have close on hand. My husband and I were out of our condo building in no time, only to see a frightening fire just a block away that could possibly migrate to where we were with some terrific wind that evening. Yep, it was scary.

It was 2 a.m. After watching the fire from another angle (away from the wind), we went and joined numerous neighbors at the Walmart. Others hung out at the Waffle House.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On Drugs? Save Money!

There is a lot of re-posting in the blog world. At least 1/3 of the information I find on coupon blogs I have already seen, such as the best deals at Kroger's, Walgreens or CVS. Most times they are cut-and-pasted word-for-word. Frequently the original information was for a market outside our area and the bargains are simply not available here. However, the ones that I follow are careful about reposting reliable information.

So I am very surprised that I have noted something that I have not seen on anyone's blogs:
saving big money on drugs at Kroger's!!!

Yes, I was thrilled when I opened the Kroger flyer this week. The feature took my breath away:
Transfer a prescription and get $25 in free groceries!! "Transfers are easy . . . ask your Pharmacist for details." (This plan is not available for government funded prescriptions or transfers from other Kroger's).

Kroger runs this offer from time to time, so I had anticipated it. However, it had been a
long time since I had seen this offer.

I was ready.

Medical experts highly recommend that a consumer get all his medications (over-the-counter and prescriptions) from the same pharmacy, to minimize negative drug interaction. What I do is totally counter to this advice.

I get my medications from all over the place. Between my husband and me, we have five prescriptions to take advantage of discount plans and fuel programs; but also importantly to anticipate a credit for transfer.

IF YOU HAVE PRESCRIPTIONS, here are the offers:
(official from the websites)

Kroger: "We're making it easier for you to save on two necessities: health care and fuel. For the first time ever, our pharmacy customers can now earn fuel discounts on eligible prescriptions. Save more when you choose from our wide selection of generic drugs. Not valid in Arkansas.

Please select the Kroger pharmacy nearest you for details."

Food City: Get 50 bonus points with qualifying prescriptions. (150 points earns you 15¢ off per gallon on a single fill-up (Up to a maximum of 20 gallons per fill-up).)

CVS: Earn 2% back with every purchase in-store and online at CVS/pharmacy.

Walgreens: For someone like me with prescriptions covered under my health insurance, I seen no advantage in getting my prescriptions there. If I am wrong, I would like to be corrected.

Target: cannot see any advantage. In the past, they have had $10 in-store credit for new and transferred prescriptions, but I haven't seen one of these offers in a long time.

Walmart: too far away from where I live, so I didn't check it out.

Just about every pharmacy offers $4 for a limited number of generics.

I know that a lot of people state that they get all their meds from one grocery store to stock up on fuel points. I maintain points at Food City and Kroger's--I never know which one I'll be near when I need gasoline.

But back to the $25 at Kroger's. I have a prescription that I originally filled at Food City (for which I got the 50 bonus points). I will transfer it to Kroger's. My cost (remember, I have insurance) is $8, so my net gain is $17!!!!! (By the way, I have a flex fund account through my employer, so I'll be paying that $8 with full-value, pre-tax dollars.) Additionally, I'll get the credit for the fuel program.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Couponing the Time-Saving Way!

On Sundays I look forward to getting the coupons in Sunday’s newspaper, but I dread the extensive clipping and filing. On a good day it would take an hour, more if I had been given more coupons from my neighbors. With the subsequent pulling of the expired coupons, it frequently felt like a fruitless exercise.

So I am trying something different.

I continue to read multiple coupon blogs (see my previous blogs for their addresses), peruse the Sunday newspaper inserts and determine what we need. But instead of clipping ALL the coupons and filing them in the big book, I am now filing the coupon packets by date, which can be found in VERY small writing on the fold of the coupon packet. I write the date on the front. Instead of locating them filed in my big book, I look them up using the coupon data base at

I tried it at Kroger last night. They are having a "Mega Event-- Save $5 WYB (when you buy)10 participating items."

Step 1. Review the items available through the Mega Event by looking through the Kroger flyer and checking the list at

Step 2. Come up with 10 things that I want and for which I have coupons. (You can have multiples of 10.)

(While I am not going to file the Sunday coupons anymore, I still will file many coupons. These include the ones that Kroger mails me. Also, coupon bloggers post alerts on popular internet coupons. I print the ones I think I will use, because there are only so many printed copies allowed. I also have a section in my big book for Procter & Gamble's periodic flyers.)

Step 3. I look on's coupon data base for others. I found a Birdseye coupon that I didn't know about. I went to the coupon site for which she had a link and printed the coupon. She also had listed a General Mills cereal coupon from the SS -- Smart Source -- insert of August 28.

Result of my 10 items (these are all products/brands that I would have bought even if I didn't coupon):

6 boxes of General Mills cereal (one e-coupon from Kroger's website for one box, $.50, one Kroger printed coupon that was mailed to me at home, $2 for four, $.50 for one (doubled) from the newspaper

2 boxes of Birdseye frozen vegetables. ($1 off if I bought Mrs. Paul's frozen fish. I'm a cradle Catholic--I crave fish sticks!)

1 Maxwell House Coffee ($1.25 coupon from the packet Kroger sent to my home)

1 Simply Orange juice. ($1 off that I had printed last month because someone posted a notice. I noticed that Southern Savers posted that this coupon was no longer available to be printed from its on-line source. Glad that I printed it when it was available! Timing is everything!)

1. I believe that ALL these items were specially priced. If I had bought any of these items individually this week instead of other weeks, I still saved money.

2. I combined 10 items, so I got $5 off.

3. I had $6.75 worth of coupons on these items.

A triple play! Now that is when I like to play the game of couponing! Sure, with some additional items that I bought without coupons, my Kroger receipt states that I only saved 39 percent. That's not going to get me on Extreme Couponers, but it is still REAL MONEY SAVED!

Additionally, it was much quicker to pull out the August 28 insert for that one coupon that I used instead of clipping, clipping, clipping, filing, filing, filing. I love saving time, too!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

False Optimism?

--Last evening, there would have been only one word throughout the entire evening to describe Gay Street: PACKED. Evidence that there is, indeed, disposable income. A friend had invited us after work to Nama's, and we positioned ourselves in the enviable position outside at the corner of Gay and Union, watching the world go by. (It was a great time to apply the credit that I had purchased at discount online some months ago!)

---Even though it's a Saturday, I woke up early as usual. I went to get the newspaper at about 5:30. I rode the elevator down with my neighbor on the way to the airport for a business trip. As I looked over to what he was carrying, I laughed to myself. His golf clubs, not to mention a compact laptop, had much greater volume than his piece of luggage. Real evidence of a seasoned traveler. But most importantly he was on his way to work, supporting the economy.

---On page 7a of the News Sentinel this morning, there is a very small squib about state revenue collections above expectations: $18 million more in August, 13th consecutive month that collections have exceeded budgeted expectations. (ok, the overall budget is around the $30 billion mark.) I'm thinking that this should have been on the front page of the business section. This is very good news! But the editors of the News Sentinel had even better news to celebrate on Page 1B! Dealership expansions for a local luxury boatmaker, a new aerospace and automotive manufacturing plant in Kingston--even a celebratory nod to the Krispy Kreme expansion on Kingston Pike.

I was feeling pretty good until I noticed that the stock market fell 303 points yesterday.

Oh well.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Mechanics of Couponing

Actually having the coupons in my pocket often has not meant that I use them the way I anticipate. I get distracted, I misread the sizes, I stick coupons in my pockets, I miscount items, and sometimes I just flat out panic at the checkout. Try as I can, I attempt to execute The Plan, but it doesn't always happen. However, The Plan gets me closer to my anticipated goal.

Here's The Plan:

I review the list that I have been developing throughout the week, cutting and pasting into a Word document notices from the super coupon bloggers that I follow. I develop my own shopping list of everything else that I need. I create one list. If the individual store lists are long, I create a page for each.

When the list is on Word, the internet coupons are hyperlinked. I print them off. I gather the other coupons I need. They are filed in a big binder, recycled from some training program long ago. I will review my filing system in a future blog.

I rearrange the list as best as I remember according to the stores' layouts. I print them out.

I have a plastic envelope system (photo) that my daughter gave me a long time ago. This was my couponing system until I got intense. Now it serves me well to hold the individual stores' coupons and store credits (such as ExtraCare bucks from CVS).

I take the big binder with me and into the store, because you never know what deals you may run across. Wouldn't it be horrible if you knew that you left THE coupon at home that would make a great deal a super deal? However, I only occasionally pull it out for these incidents.

I put my shopping list in the envelope system. I put the coupons for the respective stores in their envelopes. If I end up not using the coupons, I put them in the very back of the envelope system for re-filing in the big binder. This happens with some frequency because the information that I get off the blogs does not apply to our region or I just decide the deal is not good for me when I actually "confront it" in the store.

I stick the receipt and any credit slips in the respective envelope. The receipts get pulled out at home. The credit slips are there for use on a future shopping trip.

I try to have everything in order. It is amazing how off-task I get. Couponing takes concentration. I am not surprised that the Extreme Couponers are often in the stores for seven hours or more.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sampling of Couponing

While the media has brought emphasis on EXTREME couponing, with the negative perception of hoarding all that "free" stuff, I believe that many couponers are like me and have much simpler agendas with much more flexible rules.

Rule #1 Try to incorporate a shopping trip with other errands. The cost of transportation plus the cost of TIME have to be factored in.

Rule #2 If I get some things for free that I won't use, that's a plus but not an aim--stuff like free or nearly free toiletries seem to accumulate throughout the year--enough for me to contribute to shut-ins Christmas baskets. Again, I work full time and have other interests. I am not willing to put a considerable amount of time into the process.

Rule #3 If I get a few things free or cheap through combining deals/coupons, I remind myself that I am far better off than if I didn't do it at all. The whole process has made me aware of pricing overall, thus helping with expenses. But I have never, never, scored the $100 worth of good for free. However, today's visit to CVS is typical:

My trip planning started with reading the CVS flyer that is on line and in the Sunday paper. I consult a number coupon blogs who post deals. My number one is I follow at least six. Others I consult include. and FrugalissaFinds. After a while you will notice that there is a lot of reposting of other blogs. That is perfectly acceptable in the blog world, as long as it is acknowledged.

I start a shopping list: I cut and paste in a Word document bloggers' listings that interest me. As the week progresses, more deals are discovered and the serious shopper bloggers post them. I additionally list things that I have noted are good deals. If I don't have paper coupons, I check the coupon database on I may add a few more deals to my shopping list that I have actually found on my own.

Today: Here's what I got
Pantene, price $3.49 ($1.50 off), but I had a free coupon from Pantene for my recent birthday.
Special K, four boxes, at $2.50 each, had two $1/2 coupons.

CVS has certain items that if you spend $30 for, you will get a $10 gas card. Among the eligible items I picked some from the Proctor and Gamble family (P&G's monthy individual coupon insert came out last week), which were Tide, Charmin, Covergirl make-up. I had coupons for all the items.

I bought just 11 items. I used 12 coupons, including Extracare bucks and a $3 coupon from CVS for my birthday. My receipt states that I saved $52.40. I had to pay $20.49, but while I did not get any Extracare bucks for future shops, I did get a $10 off for gasoline.

Additionally, the makeup went to Beauty Club credit (for every $50 spent, I get $5 ExtraBucks), I'll get some ExtraBucks seasonally just for spending money at CVS, and I get a little bit toward ExtraBucks since I used my own bags.