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. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 -- Year of Effective, not Extreme, Couponing

A new year starts today, so it is time for a new set of resolutions. I actually have met a couple of my past resolutions: 

1.  Exercise regularly (done.  for the past five years I have averaged three-four times a week working out)
2.  Lose weight (not finished, but I am 18 pounds lighter than I was this time last year. The weight really did not start coming off until I started using Visalus -- a shake plan, which is very economical, by the way.)

My 2013 resolutions:
1.Talk less, listen more.
2.See friends and family more often.

Yesterday I read a posting of a Facebook friend:  I'm not sure why, but I just reorganized my bathroom cabinet. I have 17 deodorants. My New Year's resolution is to not buy deodorant.

Bingo!  She gave me the starting point for my New Year resolution #3. 

I have a degree in business.   Although I did not major in it, logistics fascinates me.  Wikipedia defines logistics as the management of the flow of resources between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet some requirements. I am going to apply logistics concepts to my purchasing processes.

What that means is I will likely have no more than a month supply of staples, that I will keep my clipping up to date so that I can take advantage of bargains if and when I find them, use everything that I buy, and I will do a better job of tracking savings and keeping a budget--if it is not measured, it does not count.  

I am glad that Extreme Couponing is on its way out. 

  Former ‘Extreme Couponer’ Admits: It’s a Waste of Time

I declare that 2013 is the year of EFFECTIVE, not extreme, COUPONING.

And here are some coupons to start off the new year right:

$1.50 off Triple Paste medicated ointment
$0.50 off ONE Pampers Wipes 60 ct. or larger
$1.50 off ONE Pampers Baby Dry Diapers
$0.55 off Any So Delicious Dairy Free Product
$1.00 off ANY TWO (2) Jamba Frozen Smoothie Kits
$1.25 off one EAS AdvantEDGE Ready-to-Drink
$1.00 off any (2) DOLE Fruit Smoothie Shakers
$1.00 off 1 OSCAR MAYER Carving Board Pulled Pork
Buy 2 Get 1 FREE 3 MUSKETEERS Bars
$1.25 off one (1) EAS Lean 15™ bar Multipack
B2G1 MILKY WAY Brand Bars
$0.75 off 1 pack Yoplait Light yogurt and Granola
$0.50 off any 32 OZ. Mountain High Yoghurt
$0.50 off any (1) Pepperidge Farm frozen bread
$0.60 off 3 Old El Paso products
$0.75 off 3 Pillsbury Toaster Strudel
$0.30 off ONE CUP Yoplait Simplait™ Yogurt
$1.00 off 2 Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough
$0.75 off 2 any flavor Yoplait kid products
$0.40 off 6 cups Yoplait Yogurt
$0.50 off Yoplait Fruplait™ Yogurt Multipacks
$1.00 off 1 Weight Watchers Frozen Novelty Carton
$0.50 off 2 Betty Crocker Fruit Shapes
$0.40 off any TWO Pillsbury Sweet Rolls
$0.50 off 2 boxes Nature Valley Granola Bars
$1.00 off 5 Totino's Crisp Crust Party Pizza
$0.50 off Original Bisquick baking mix
$0.75 off 1 DOLE Frozen Fruit Single-Serve Cup
$0.75 off 3 LARABAR, UBER OR JOCALAT bars
$0.40 off 1 box Fiber One 90 Calorie Chewy Bars
$0.50 off 1 box Fiber One Protein Chewy Bars
$0.50 off ONE any flavor Chex Mix Snack
$0.75 off any ONE BOX Fiber One cereal
$0.50 off TWO CUPS Yoplait Greek yogurt
$1.00 off 1 Weight Watcher cheese or cream cheese
$0.50 off any ONE BOX Cookie Crisp cereal
$1.00 off TWO BOXES General Mills kid cereals
$0.75 off ONE BOX Multi Grain Cheerios cereal
$3.00 off any ONE TruBiotics™ product
$1.00 off any one Phillips' Colon Health Product
$1.00 off any Afrin Nasal Spray
$2.00 off any Coricidin HBP Product
$2.00 off any Slo-Niacin
$1.00 off any Citracal Product
$2.00 off any Aleve 80ct or larger
$2.00 off any Aleve-D product
$1.00 off 1 Flintstones™ Multivitamin Product
$2.00 off ANY NEO-SYNEPHRINE product
$1.00 off any One A Day Multivitamin product
$1.00 off PHILLIPS' Laxative Product
$2.00 off Midol 20 ct. or larger
$1.00 off any one (1) Vanquish Product
$1.00 off any one PediaCare product
$0.50 off any 1 Palmolive Fresh Infusions
$3.00 off any AmLactin product
$1.00 off (1) GARNIER FRUCTIS STYLING Product
$2.00 off 4 Dial liquid hand soaps
$1.00 off TWO Dial Complete foaming hand soaps
$3.00 off any (3) THREE Dial 8-Bar Packs
$5.00 off ONE BENGAY Zero Degrees
$2.00 off any RID product


$1.50 off when you buy any TWO NESCAFÉ® TASTER'S CHOICE® 5ct/6ct/7ct OR 20ct/22ct Stick Packs
$1.50 off when you buy any TWO NESCAFÈ® CLÁSICO Coffee 7oz canisters and larger
$1.50 off when you buy any TWO select 12-count Keurig® K-cup® packs*
$2.00 off when you buy any TWO NESCAFÉ® TASTER'S CHOICE® 7oz canisters and larger

SavingStar Grocery eCoupons

Save 50¢ when you buy ONE (1) PACKAGE any flavor 5 OZ. OR LARGER Green Giant™ Veggie Snack Chips.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.50.
Save 50¢ when you buy TWO CUPS (2) any flavor Yoplait® Greek yogurt. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.50.
Save 40¢ when you buy ONE (1) BOX any flavor Fiber One® 90 Calorie Chewy Bars or Fiber One® 90 Calorie Brownies.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.40.
Save 50¢ when you buy any (1) flavor Yoplait® Fruplait™ Yogurt Multipacks.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.50.
Save 50¢ when you buy any TWO (2) Pillsbury® Crescent Dinner Rolls (excludes Twin Pack).. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.50.
Save 50¢ when you buy ONE (1) Bisquick® Mix listed in the more info button below.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.50.
Save 75¢ when you buy any ONE BOX (1) Fiber One® Cereal listed in the info button below.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.75.
Save 30¢ when you buy ONE (1) CUP any flavor Liberté® Greek or Liberté® Méditerranée® yogurt.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.30.
Save 50¢ when you buy any ONE BOX (1) Cookie Crisp® Cereal. . Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.50.
Save 40¢ when you buy any TWO (2) Pillsbury® Sweet Rolls OR Grands!® Sweet Rolls. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.40.
Save 50¢ when you buy ONE (1) any flavor 4.5 OZ. OR LARGER Chex Mix® OR Chex® 100 Calorie Snack.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.50.
Save 75¢ when you buy ONE BOX (1) Multi Grain Cheerios® OR Multi Grain Cheerios® Peanut Butter cereal.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.75.
Save 50¢ when you buy TWO BOXES (2) any Nature Valley® Granola Bars (5 count or larger) OR Nature Valley® Granola Thins.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.50.
Save $1.00 when you buy TWO PACKAGES (2) any variety Pillsbury® Refrigerated Cookie Dough.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $1.00.
Save 50¢ when you buy TWO (2) BOXES any flavor/variety Betty Crocker® Fruit Snacks listed in the info button below.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.50.
Save 40¢ when you buy SIX CUPS (6) any variety Yoplait® Yogurt listed in the info button below.. Expires 1/31/2013. Save $0.40.