Tag Archives: frugal

Publix is still my favorite place to shop

I made a run on all the stores in my area today… Target, Walmart, CVS, AND Publix. And I can honestly say that I LOVE Publix the most!

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Target and Walmart were okay on deals for me.. mostly just things like meat and toiletpaper.. no real big savings at the end of my reciept.

But, at Publix… I spent $37.12 and SAVED $81.12

I LOVE THAT!!!

Favorite finds:

Starkist Seasations- (freezer aisle) on sale BOGO at 6.99

-3.00 blinkie I found last week

-3.00 blinkie I found last week

=2 for .99!!!

Red potatoes on sale 1.97 – TARGET Q $1= .97 for a 5 lb bag!

Skippy Peanut butter ( I just finished off my last jar yesterday!) BOGO 2.43 – .40 .40= 1.63 for 2 jars= .81 each.

Quaker Oatmeal on sale 1.99 – $1 blinkie – .55 food lion (no longer in database but expired on 4/31)= .44 a box

Scrubbing Bubbles BOGO 3.29 – $1 – $1= 1.29/2 or .64 each. (I got these coupons from a coupon booklet found at the front of my Publix last week FULL of lots of great cleaning coupons by SC Johnson)

Teddy Grahams/Ritz Bits on sale BOGO 2.99 – $1 Target q – $1 target q = .99/2 or .49 a box. UPDATE: Just found a new coupon to stack with this deal… -1/2 Printable would make this 2 FREE boxes for you! (math: 2.99- 1-1-1/2=0 for 2 boxes!)

Pasta Roni BOGO 1.69 Buy 4 and use $1/4 coupon from recent insert= 2.38/4 or .29 a box.

Yoplait Yogurt (gogurt!) BOGO- use with the .75/2 coupon from recent insert

Pop Tarts (FINALLY) BOGO – use with the $1/2 coupon from recent insert

And of course, I always make sure to use a CVS$10/50 coupon to help out a bit. I’m upset though, because I used my last one today and the CVS machine didn’t print me one this time!

Happy Shopping.. hope this helps some of you!

siggy1

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Publix Savings More than Double!

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Have I ever mentioned that I (heart) Publix?????

Please ignore the date in my picture.. this was taken today.. I just didn’t realize this camera had a date on it!

Since this is a whole new year of savings I was curious to see how my “percentages” of savings would look after doing an entire year of couponing, so I started a brand new spreadsheet just for 2009. So far.. I’ve already saved 84%! πŸ™‚

My trip to Publix today was a big help.

Store coupon: 31.50 (this includes competitor coupons)

Vendor coupon: 12.04

Advertised Special Savings 37.22 (mostly BOGO’s)

Total savings: 80.76

Actual Payment Due: 32.97!

That’s over $100 worth of groceries for only $32!

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2nd run on Walgreens

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I decided to swing by Walgreens again this week just because I missed my neighborhood WAGs after my difficulty at a different store earlier this week. πŸ™‚

I managed to snag 2 more clearance Garnier Fructis conditioners. (My daughter’s FAV)

On sale 1.79×2=3.58

– 2.00 (I had 2 q’s from a recent insert)

– 3.58 WAGS q in the montly booklet. (says $2 off , but it adjusts down to the price paid.. however, it doesn’t realize I used coupons from Garnier so this is a $2 money maker for me!)

I also found the elusive Walgreens coloringbook! (It has coupons in it!) .99

Children’s Motrin 5.99 – $1 insert q- $1 from Coloringbook= 3.99 UPDATE: I just realized I made a big mistake here! There is also an in ad q for $2 off in this week’s flyer!!!! argghhh I just gave away 2 whole dollars with this momentary lack of memory!!!

The covergirl bronzer was on clearance for 1.59 – $1 insert q= .59

Paid using 3 RR from earlier this week (I still have 5 left)

Balance due was 1.27… which I put on my gift card from rebates from last month. πŸ™‚

Hooray for Walgreens.. FREE stuff again!

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Everything has it’s place

(Scroll to bottom for updated version!)

One thing I have learned about myself over the years is that I tend to accomplish more when I’m organized. My life can get messy if I don’t take the time in advance to organize things!

So, when I took on the whole idea of couponing… I got set up with a coupon binder right away. There are many different ways of organizing one’s coupons, but for me a zippered binder seems to work the best. I’ve taken pictures of my binder and I will explain how I’ve organized it to work best for me.

The binder I use is an old, ripped binder leftover from my kid’s school work last year. πŸ™‚ I didn’t have to spend any money on it this way…. recycling at its finest.

In this picture, you can tell it’s not even zipped at the moment. The front section has a zippered area where I stash the coupons I wasn’t able to use at the register (sometimes this happens and I don’t like to have loose coupons floating in my purse!)

On the inside of my binder, you will notice that I have a pencil case (another leftover from my son). This case carries my papercutter and/or scissors, pens, postit flags and a highlighter. There is also a bunch of notecards just to the left of that case. I often write my store specific lists on these notecards when I’m planning my trip. I also have a calculator in my binder. I’ve found it very handy while at the store to be able to figure out the price on on the spot deals, as well as keep track of my spending on big grocery trips where I didn’t make a complete list. The highlighter and postit notes get used most frequently while going through the ads and planning my shopping trips.

Also included in this particular binder is a very handy accordian file system. This is where I keep my individual store flyers. I also have a section here for “uncut q’s”. There have been times when I bought multiple papers because of a few particular coupons.

So, for those extra inserts, I write a list of all the q’s inside of it, mark the date of the paper as well as the oldest expiration date, and paperclip all of them together. When a big sale comes up on these items, I can quickly scan through to find the coupons I need to cut.

Now, for most of my coupons I precut them all. Even the ones I’m not sure if I’ll use or not. I’ve discovered many new products in the past few months because of this. You’ll be surprised how fun it is to “buy” an item you’ve never tried before because you have a coupon that makes it free! I do however, make a pile of coupons that I KNOW I won’t use (like baby stuff and cat stuff) and I send those on to my coupon train.

I lay them out on my table, separated out into sections that match my binder’s categories… which makes it easier to put them in when I’m all done. Here’s a picture of 2 newspapers worth of coupons! When I have more than 1 paper, I divide each insert and lay the pages flat on top of each other before cutting.. this saves time and finger power!

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To organize all of these cut q’s, I’ve placed photo pages that hold 2 toploading 5×7’s into the binder. Each pocket holds a category of coupons. The first page has a section for my Check-out q’s and Re-file q’s. (Sometimes if a store is out of a particular item, I will have to refile my q later) When shopping I start with my “planned” coupons in the refile section and as I put the item in my cart, the q gets moved to the checkout section. This helps speed up the checkout process which makes my cashier happy and the guests in line behind me. πŸ™‚

Now, because I am organized, but also cheap… when I bought dividers for my sections of coupons and discovered they were not wide enough to stick out past the other pages, I created makeshift tabs out of colored index cards. I’ve broken my sections into the following categories for easy page flipping:

Toiletries, Cold items, Boxed/Bagged items, Household/Cleaning items, Store specific/entertainment

Once you flip to that “section” you will then find that each pocket is also labeled. The longer I work at my couponing, the more pockets I end up with. For now this is how I break down my sections and pockets:

Toiletries: Makeup/skincare, Medicines, Feminine Products, Soaps/Lotions, Razors/Shaving, Hair, Deodorant, Tooth Health

Cold: Refrigerated Items, Lunch meats/Cheeses, Meats, Frozen Goods

Boxed/Bagged: Cereal/Breakfast, Snacks, Beverages(not cold), Breads/Fruits, Condiments/Dressings/Spices, Boxed/Pastas/Baking/Canned

Household/Pet:School supplies/Pets, paper Products, Kitchen, Bathrooms, General Household cleaning, Laundry, Household goods (like batteries, lightbulbs etc), Airfresheners/Candles.

Store Specific: Each store I use has a separate pocket for store specific coupons and ECB’s or RR’s.

Entertainment: fast food, restaurants, movies clothing stores etc.

As particular pockets end up getting overfilled, I then subdivide them even more specifiably by adding new pockets.

At the end of each month I go through them all and pull any expired coupons. I’ve heard that some overseas military families are allowed to use expired coupons, but I haven’t actually sent mine on to them yet.

Okay… now that you’ve seen a glimpse of how I organize my coupons. Would you like to see the stockpile I’ve been building? I only started in July… andΒ  you need to remember that I’veΒ  spent LESS than I normally spend. And here is my growing stockpile. It’s my very own store of stuff I don’t need to buy anytime soon. πŸ™‚

in the guest bathroom closet, extra toiletries and pantry items

in the guest bathroom closet, extra toiletries and pantry items

in the kitchen, extra frequently used food items

in the kitchen, extra frequently used food items

NEW BINDER PAGES

The longer I coupon, the better organized I become. I found that after awhile the 5×7 pages were getting rather full, and I was often wasting time in the grocery aisle with a handful of coupons looking for one in particular. So, I did some googleing around and found a better format.

I bought a few packages of baseball card holders at Walmart… and now my pages look like this:

cvs-and-wags-008Within each “category” section like Toiletries… I then have a sticky tab labeling each page with it’s smaller category, like Deodarant. Then on that page, each slot holds ONE brand. That way, when I’m looking for a particular coupon, I can simply turn the pages and see each one in an instant without removing a whole “pile”.

cvs-and-wags-009This system takes a little bit longer when I’m filing them, but it makes everything so much faster and easier to flip through while I’m shopping.

I still keep a section in the front just for CVS and another one for Walgreens. I reused one of those old 5×7 pages to hold rebate forms and additional $/$$ coupons.

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Anyway… hopefully this system might be helpful to one of you! It’s paid for itself over and over again… and I love always knowing where my coupons are! You’ll never see me fumbling for that illusive coupon anymore!!!

siggy1

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Coupon Basics

Proverbs 31:13

She shops around for the best yarns and cottons and enjoys knitting and sewing.

I may not be knitting and sewing yet.. but here is how I “shop around”!

I am certainly no expert at couponing yet… but here are a few rules that have helped me get started in the past 2 months.

First- start off by clipping the coupons from your local Sunday paper. You may even want to start doing this for a few weeks prior to actually shopping this way. At Hot Coupon World there is a subheading for “Coupon Discussioin by source” where you can get a preview of the upcoming inserts in your paper. If you see a bunch of coupons of things that you frequently use, it might be worth purchasing a few extra papers. Or, ask you friends and family and neighbors to pass along their inserts instead of throwing them away.

(Hey… to my family and friends…. I’m still looking for extra inserts myself!!!)

Then- organize your coupons to make them easier to find. (Look for my upcoming post on how to do this!!)

Next-when a good sale at the grocery store OR pharmacy store like Walgreens or CVS happens on the same item that you have a coupon for… STOCK UP!! For instance, my family loves Pop-Tarts. My kids absolutely devore them! So, when a recent Sunday insert had coupons for $1 off of 2 boxes AND my local Publix ad showed Pop-Tarts to be Buy One Get One Free… I stocked up! There was also a rebate form from Kellogs that very same week to get $10 back when you buy 10 boxes. So… I ended up with 16 boxes of Poptarts completely free after that rebate!!!

Now, at the Grocery Game, they provide you with a color coded list of when items are at their rock bottom combined sale/coupon price and suggest that you only buy it then. However, if you need an item… try to at least get it on sale and use a coupon.

As the weeks go by, you will begin to build up a “stockpile” of frequently used foods and toiletry and household items. I noticed that the first month of doing this, I spent slightly less money than normal… but had tripled the amount of stuff I brought home. Now, I am at a point where I really only need to buy my “need” items like milk, eggs, bread and meat. (I don’t own a big freezer or else I would also be able to stock up on some of those items as well when they hit really low prices) And my budget for food and household items is half of what it used to be!

I keep my stockpile separate from my regular foods… otherwise my teenage son would eat it all in a week! πŸ™‚

It’s easier for me to plan ahead prior to shopping for the most part. I search around at the forums and blogs online to see what deals others have found, and match up the preview ad’s of my local stores with the coupons in my binder and make a list. I still bring my whole binder with me to the grocery store though, just in case I find an unadvertised deal on something I have a coupon for! Planning in advance also helps the checkout line go smoother. Cashiers usually appreciate it when you have all your coupons organized and handed over to them neatly. πŸ™‚

I also find that sometimes I just can’t pass up offers that make my items FREE even when I already have enough! I can start donating some of these items to shelters and others places without any worry about providing for my own family!

Other rules that you may not be aware of:

Most stores allow you to use a Buy One Get One Free coupon combined with their own Buy One Get One Free Sale which means BOTH items are FREE!!!

Most stores also allow you to use multiple coupons when they have a BOGO sale… like if ketchup is on sale BOGO at Publix… and I have 2 different coupons for $1 off.. I can use one on the one I paid for and another on the one that was Free!!

Some stores also allow you to “stack” a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon. Other stores allow you to use competitors coupons. Some stores even double coupons up to a certain amount! (I’m in Florida though, and haven’t found any that do this yet.) Be sure to check with your local stores to find out what their coupon policies are BEFORE shopping! It’s also helpful for you to know as a consumer that you are not “robbing” the store of anything by using coupons. The store gets reimbursed the exact amount of the coupon PLUS an additional 8 cents for each coupon!!! Your store actually MAKES a profit when we use coupons! Many cashiers do not realize this… so if you find a grumpy cashier… smile and let them know!

You should also be on the lookout for items on clearance racks… often times you will find coupons to combine with these super low prices making the item free or nearly free.

Be aware that some stores offer special store “bucks” back when you purchase certain things. These can come in very handy when combining deals. CVS and Walgreens and Target do this most often.

Well, that’s the basics for now…. I’ll add to this post as I think of more things.

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