Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I Heart Rain Checks

A few weeks ago, Price Chopper was running a great sale on Gillette Fusion Pro Glide razors.  Normally between $12 and $14, they were on sale for just $5.  With the $4/1 manufacturer coupons, they would have been only $1 for me.  But by the time I got to the store that week, they were of course sold out.  Even without using the coupon, that was a great deal.  But I was savvy enough by then to pick up a Rain Check.  Which allows me to buy up to three of the item at the sale price for up to 30 days later.  However those $4/1 coupons were expiring today and I really wanted to take advantage of that great deal.  For the record, I plan to use them for myself.  I know they are men's razors but I figure a razor is a razor and my legs will never be the wiser.  Right?  I thought so too!

So the one in the middle is battery operated?  I didn't realize that until I brought it home and have no idea why one would need a battery in a razor.  Seems like a terrible idea to me.  It was priced at $13.49.  I didn't mean to grab it but it rang up fine so it's all peachy.


(1)  Gillette Fusion Pro Glide Power Razor - $13.49
(2)  Gillette Fusion Pro Glide Razor - $11.99

- Rain check making all (3) ring up at $5/each
- (3) $4/1 manufacturer coupons

= Paid out of pocket a total of $3 (plus tax) instead of the regular price of $37.47.  That's a savings of 92%!!  I promise my legs will never know the difference.

More Wags Goodies

I am still sick but going stir crazy so I took advantage of the 15% off Friends and Family Walgreens coupon (good today only).  But let me first tell you that I must be the only person who regularly shops with coupons at my Wags.  Every time I use them, it's a bloody mystery.  I had to discuss the 15% off coupon with two employees and also two managers before they could figure it out.  Always such a headache.  But the deals were so great that it was worth it in the end.  I will have to come back and give credit to the proper bloggers who gave me the heads up on these two toothpaste deals.

Transaction #1:

(4) Instant Coffee
(2) Colgate Toothpaste
(1) Luster White Toothpaste

- 15%
- (2) $1.50/1 Colgate coupons from 3/27 newspaper
- (1) $1.50/1 Luster print coupon
- (1) $0.50/1 Coffee newspaper coupon
- (1) $1.50/3 Coffee catalina coupon from yesterday
- (1) $5 Walgreens Register Reward

After sales and coupons and Register Rewards I paid $2.91!!  And earned $1.50/3 catalina coupon for more coffee (my store only has a few left and I didn't want to clear the shelves so I will not likely use this coupon), $4 Register Reward from the Colgate, a $4 Register Reward from the Luster and another $4 Register Reward from the Coffee.

Transaction #2:

(2) Colgate Toothpaste
(1) Luster White Toothpaste
(8) Snickers Eggs (seems fitting to buy these and the toothpaste together, no?)

- 15%
- (2) $1.50/1 Colgate coupons
- (1) $1.50/1 print Luster White coupon
- (1) $2/2 Mars candy coupon (out of prints)
- (1) $4 Register Reward earn from the coffee transaction above

After sales and coupons and Register Rewards, I paid $2.67!!  And earned $4 Register Reward from the Colgate and $4 Register Reward from the Luster.

So in review, in total I paid $5.58.  And earned a catalina coupon and a total of $20 in Register Rewards.  Not too shabby, my friends!

Free Purex Crystals?

Blog rumor has it that Purex Crystals are marked down at some Target stores to only $2.99 this week.  I am not sure I am able to get to Target but please let me know if any of our stores have them at this price!  If so, you can get them for FREE.  Simply use the $2/1 manufacturer coupon from a few weeks back AND this $1/1 Target coupon

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Great Deals At Walgreens

Another week of great Walgreens deals!  I might just be coming around to my former drug store enemy.  Though the Jergens didn't create a $5 Register Reward, which I neglected to realize until I got home.  But I am sick so I didn't go back.  I plan on returning the two bottles in a day or two to try again.  They are really only worth it for me if I get the RR because I have a few bottles in stock right now. 

I've also never tried the Nescafe things but they are a Money Maker.  And I think they might be tasty in the summer months (oh summer...please show your sunny face at some point!) as iced coffee.

Oxi Clean Max Force  $2.50
- Buy (2)
- Use (1) $3/2 print coupons
- AND use $1/2 Walgreens April coupon book (in front of store) coupon
= Pay out of pocket $1 for the (2) packs or just $0.50/each

Biore Strips  $7.49
Biore Scrub  $7.99
- Buy (1) of each
- Use Buy One Biore Strips, Get One Biore Cleanser up to $9 FREE manufacturer coupon
= Pay out of pocket $7.49 for both, receive $5 Register Reward

Jergens Ultra Healing Lotion  $4.29
- Buy (2)
- Use (1) $3/2 manufacturer coupon
= Pay out of pocket $5.58, receive $5 Register Reward
* This did not work for me so I will return them and try again.*

Milk on sale for  $1.99

Thermacare Neck Wrap  $2.99
Advil  $3.99
- Buy (1) of each
- Use $5/2 when you buy Thermacare and Advil print coupon
= Pay out of pocket $2, or $1/each

Nescafe Taster's Choice  2/$2
- Buy (4)
- Use (4) $0.50/1 manufacturer coupons
= Pay out of pocket $2, receive $4 Register Reward <MONEY MAKER>
*This also gave me a catalina $1.50/3 coupon.  I have one more manu coupon so I think I will snag four more tomorrow.*

Snickers Eggs  $0.29
- Buy (7)
- Use (1) $2/2 print coupon
= Pay out of pocket $0.03 for all seven!

I'm sick and too lazy to go get my receipt to give you the numbers.  But I believe I paid with $15 Register Rewards so in the end, out of pocket I paid $6.50.  I do not count the RR's that I earned into things until I actually use them.  And even without the Jergens $5 RR, I earned $9 in RR's.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Free Samples

I just signed up with the Sample Showcase to be notified of their free sample boxes.  Today is the first I've heard of it but it seems every other blogger has known about them for quite a while now.  I adore free samples.  They are such a great way to try new products and are perfect for all the super size restrictions airlines have these days. 

So go sign up.  According to many of my favorite bloggers, there will be a new sample box being offered soon! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Service To The Stars

I've blogged a few times about my quest to get all five of my Times Union newspaper subscriptions delivered without issue.  Meaning, each including the proper coupon inserts.  And to date, this has never happened.  Each week though, I send an email to my favorite newspaper fairy who takes care to get my missing inserts to me the next day. 

I feel so guilty each Sunday when I email her.  This Sunday, it was close to being perfect.  I was missing one paper and one was missing an insert.  So in total I was missing two sets of inserts.  I feel like such a complainer.  But I am also buying the papers specifically for the inserts.  So I work up my nerves to send along an email. 

But I have to tell you that even with the missing inserts each week, the customer service at Times Union is spectacular!  They are soooo nice to this crazy coupon lady.  I feel like I should drop by the office with a basket of goodies that I picked up using coupons. 

So Cathy and TU crew...thanks for all of your help!  I know mistakes happen but y'all always go above and beyond to fix them.  And really, that's more than we can ask for in life.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

A few tips to avoid paying for coupon deals that aren't really a deal for you.

I have been guilty of it a few times.  I see an amazing deal using stacked coupons and store sales to get something for free or nearly free.  And you know us crazy extreme coupon ladies, we hear the word free and our heads spin around!  But then you get home and realize that the deal wasn't really as good as it seemed. 

Let me get specific.  The recent Rite Aid deal for Buy One Get One FREE Airwick room sprays.  Using the newspaper Buy One Get One FREE coupon, in theory, made both sprays free.  But always read the small print.  Because the coupon was good up to a certain price.  And the spray ran about $0.25 over that price.  Which in the grand scheme of things is not a big deal.  But I bought four for FREE.  Had to pay overage on two of the four (because the store was giving me one free for every one purchased remember) and then had to pay tax on original price on all four of them. 

Again, not the end of the world.  If I had actually wanted this product. 

I don't use room sprays.  I actually think they are foul.  I have asthma and allergies and the smell plus the spray...yuck.  But I got so caught up in the deal to get stuff for "free" that I put all reason aside and spent money, time and storage space for crap I will never use.  They all went right into my donate box.  Which is fine, I love donating stuff.  But I would rather pay to donate food or feminine hygiene products or diapers, than gross room sprays. 

I know a few of you are thinking, but didn't you just buy two more iMotion room spray things this past week and blog about them?  Yes, I did.  But I have a purpose in mind for those.  Come back in early December to see how those make their way back into my life.  Wink, wink.

So in review, non-food items are never really FREE.  You will still have to pay tax.  And in NY, that applies to soda too.  Soda is a huge hidden charge.  Yesterday I bought three cases of Coca Cola at Walgreens on sale for 3/$10.  I used two of the $5 Register Rewards I posted about earlier in the week.  And still had to pay $2.60 something.  Because we have a can/bottle fee and then tax too.  Free is rarely truly FREE, my friends. 

Not that you shouldn't get free things.  I do it regularly with bliss.  But I also now make sure I am buying things that I actually plan to use. 

To help myself, I just typed out a list of things that I would like to keep in stock at my home.  Based on my needs.  For example, I eat (mostly, when I am being good, but please don't look at my food intake last weekend) Gluten Free.  I pick up a few non GF things for my dad if I know he will like them but I can pretty much avoid the cereal snack aisle (and therefor the matching coupons) for months on end at my stores.  I don't eat a lot of pasta (usually make my own GF) but do use a lot of pasta sauce.  So if I can find it @$0.60/jar, that is a good stock up price for me.  Because I know I will use it.  I buy laundry detergent all the time because it will absolutely get used and has a long shelf life.  Under $0.06/load is my "buy a few" price.  I am particular and brand specific about my shampoo.  We all have a few brand loyalties in life.  This is one of mine.  So seeing that written down is a good reminder to always check for sales.  And clearance.  Half the stuff on clearance is there because the brand is changing a tiny thing on the packaging.  I've scored lots of deals because of packaging changes or dents in the bottom of a bottle of hair spray. 

Like most of us, I have a limited budget and a very very limited amount of storage space.  Like very limited storage.  Did I mention my storage is limited?  It really is!!  So I now keep my list of items I use daily/weekly in the front of my coupon binder.  Just as a reminder that it is good to stock up on Charmin toilet paper and a terrible idea to stock up on not-exactly-free room sprays that I will never ever use.  I am more than willing to spend and make room for deals that I know will be used over the next few months. 

But I am chalking up the room spray incident as a fairly inexpensive way to learn an important lesson.  Only bring home things I intend to use!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Today's Free Sample

I love signing up for free samples.  I've been doing that looooong before I started crazy couponing.  It's a great way to try a new product or just to get a freebie of your favorite products.  They are often individual sizes which are great for grab and go moments.  But now that I am a coupon-aholic, I have wised up to the fact that they often come with high value coupons too.  I don't buy All You magazine.  But I did sign up in January to be on their email list because their website lists one free sample each day.  I bet I sign up for a free sample of something, anything, five or six days each week.  And it makes getting the mail so much fun!

These FLIX Dental Sticks are the sample listed today.  It take under a minute to click the link and fill in your information.  In four to six weeks, your sample should arrive.  You will get to try a new product, store away a good coupon and look forward to something other than bills and junk in your mailbox.

No Plan At Target

I ran to Target to use up those Finish coupons that were about to expire.  I really had no plan other than picking up two more boxes of Finish.  I know, I said I don't pay for dish detergent.  And I have a lifetime supply of it.  But I adore those little tabs and with my coupons, I got each box for $0.54.  It's not like they are going to expire any time soon.

I have more Excedrin that I know what to do with (actually I do, I keep donating it).  But there is more than $0.60 OVERAGE to use on other things.  So more came home with me.  I think I am finally out of those coupons now.

My father decided he likes the granola bars.  Go figure.  So I used up my coupons to get him what seems like a lifetime supply.  I ran out of the $0.50 coupons though so the total for those NINE boxes seen in the photo was and earth shattering $1.  He loves Wheat Thins too.  Those funny, new boxes regularly sell for $2.99.  They are on sale for $2/each.  I had the Target $1/2 coupon and the newspaper manufacturer $1/2 coupon.  I also had THE WORLDS MOST AMAZING cashier today.  OMG I fell in love with her.  I had all three of my transactions separated and she asked if I did that because of coupons.  I confirmed but promised her I was organized.  She then said words I never ever expected to hear.  "No problem.  I'll just do them all in the same transaction."  Then, as soon as the Wheat Thins were scanned, they spit out a $0.50 catalina coupon.  She asked if I wanted to use it.  I explained that I didn't think I could based on my other two coupons but she insisted we try to scan it.  And it worked!  So I took those two boxes home for $0.75/each.  Oh, I also gave away an extra manu coupon to the lady picking up the same crackers.  Sharing is caring, right?

I have no idea if I will even like those drinks but I figure they will probably be tasty and nice to have handy.  There was a hang tag coupon on the ice tea drink stating that if I bought that Fuze drink, the ice tea drink was FREE.  The Sobe are on sale this week for $1 and I used the $0.50/1 Target coupon.  So I think I paid about $2 for all four of those drinks. 

The Visine was my most exciting deal, simply because both my father and I were just saying that we needed it.  He was thrilled when I handed it to him and proclaimed, in my very best Vanna White fashion, that I got it for FREE.  You can too.  Go here to print off this $2/1 coupon.  Hit back page as soon as it starts printing to grab two.  Then head to Target and get the travel size bottles (in the travel section).  In my store they were $1.97/each.  I've read that in other stores they can be found near check out so you might need to check a few locations to find the 2.8oz bottles. 

And the chips are just a guilty pleasure.  They are on sale this week (and pretty much every other week) 2/$5.  Target has a store coupon for $1/2.  Not amazing, but when you are jonsing for crunchy salty goodness...  Honestly I have yet to find potato chips for under $2/bag.  I am guessing I might find better deals in the summer months.  I am also guessing I should lay off the chips.  Ha!

But enough chatter....I know we are all in this for the final numbers.  Ha!

$45.46  : Value of items purchased.
$37.42  : Savings from sales and coupons.
$8.04  : Total paid out of pocket.
78.5%  : Percent saved.

FREE Paper

Hurry, hurry on over to Staples.  This offer is good through Saturday.  I picked two up today (limit is two) and double checked that the sale does in fact run through today.  So you still have time to get yourself two packs of FREE paper!

HP Multipurpose Paper regularly priced:  $7.99
On sale through Saturday:  $5.99
Use this $1/1 coupon$4.99
Then go online for a $4.99 rebate: FREE

Friday, March 25, 2011

FREE Listerine

I did however have GREAT success at CVS yesterday.  I used this $2/2 coupon (you can print two- just hit back space after the first starts printing) to score four bottles of Listerine.  They are sale this week 5/$5 (meaning they are a buck each).  Buy (2), use (1) coupon.  And they all end up FREE (plus tax of course).

Now when I first started couponing, I thought it would be better to get a big bottle and use the coupon.  But now I look at things as price per use/ounce/serving.  So this smaller bottle ends up being $0/serving with this particular sale and coupon.  Clearly the best deal!

While you are there, be sure to do a slow drive by the clearance end cap.  Every store has one somewhere.  In my stores it is always towards the back.  I found three Physician's Formula make-up items, all products I actually LOVE, on clearance.  They ranged from $2.32-$3.24.  In the same big box of random make-up clearance items, I found several $3/1 pink peelie coupons that were not attached to anything.  I assume they were once attached to these three packages though as they were the only Physician's Formula products I could find in the box.  So with the clearance price and the $3/1 coupons, I scored all THREE for FREE!

And one last bit about CVS, I finally got a good coupon from the magic red coupon thingy.  I guess because I don't shop there all that often, I don't qualify for all the best coupons.  But today I received a $1/1 Starbucks coffee coupon.  I love those Starbucks Frappuccinos ($2).  So I snagged one for half price today.  No, not free.  But I pay five times that for a drink when I have a meeting at Starbucks on a regular basis.  And it was just a fun little yummy treat that I rarely buy (because they are not exactly a health food- ha).

Always FREE

This, like much of this blog so far, is more for my own records.  But here is a short list of things I now no longer pay for.  I either get them for free or don't get them.  Period.  The firmness of that statement amazes me.  I started crazy couponing on Jan 01.  And look at me saying that a buck is too much to pay for toothpaste.  But it's true.  It is.  Free or bust, baby!

Body wash  (give or take a few pennies)
Feminine pads  (give or take a few pennies)
Candy (unless I need a rare filler at Walgreens)
Headache medicine  (give or take a few pennies)
Dish detergent
Dish soap
Shave gel
Magazine subscriptions (I refuse to pay a penny for them.  I currently receive at least a dozen subscriptions each month for FREE!)

And the following items, I will only buy for next to nothing.

Cereal  (under $0.50/box)
Yogurt  (under $0.35/cup)
Laundry detergent (under $0.10/load)

Remember that I am pretty new to all of this.  So I am fully aware that more seasoned coupon-aholics get better deals.  But considering where I was four months ago, I am truly amazed at how quickly I have converted.  I open my binders of coupons without a care in the world now!


Right now at Rite Aid, Nutra Nail products are buy one get one FREE.  So buy two.  And use (1) of these Buy One Get One FREE (up to $8!) coupons to score TWO for FREE!!  Just in time for spring pedicures.

Though I will tell you, that while this is absolutely within the coupon policy of Rite Aid, I had trouble today.  The manager had to be called because the cashier said I couldn't get something for free.  I of course didn't bring their policy with me and they do not have one to be found in the store.  He insisted and so did I.  But we were both polite, knowing we would be vindicated when the manager finally showed up.  The manager (who has given me coupon trouble before), said I could use it but should not be able to.  That I should have to buy something.  I said I was.  The coupon was tender to the store as the manufacturer will reimburse them the full amount.  He kept saying that I should not be able to get something for free.  I said I wasn't.  I was paying with a coupon and then still paying tax.  He was accusing me of stealing but also said I was allowed to do it.  All very confusing and frustrating.  Normally I have the best luck at Rite Aid.  It really is just this one manager.  I wanted to cry after this manager humiliated me very loudly, repeatedly and in front of other customers.  But in the end, I did get two products that I wanted for FREE (plus tax of course).

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I have big BIG news for my fellow NY Capital Region pals.  I was picking up a few things in the Latham Target yesterday and noticed that everything in the store seemed more condensed, resulting in large open spaces.  I just knew it was going to be a good thing.  I spied a manager and confirmed.


I am not sure if it qualifies as a full on Super Target.  She said it will have produce and a small selection of meats.  But that's good enough for me.  I have THE BEST luck shopping at my mecca Target.  I could have done cartwheels down the aisles!  And remember that the Colonie Target (next to Joann's) is also getting the same veggie/meat addition.  Upstate NY is on the map, my friends!

I wonder if this will mean that Hanaford and Price Chopper will work harder to get our business.  Should make for some interesting competition as all three are right there in a little clump over in Latham.  Might even nudge our Price Chopper to finally give us double coupons?  Or maybe not and then I will just do most of my shopping at Target.  Regardless, I am elated!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Even Better Almay Deal At Walgreens

Thanks to reading Wild for Wags last night, I realized that my Almay deal could have been so much better yesterday.  $2 better to be exact!

So here is what you need to do....

*  Buy (1) Almay make-up remover product.  Regularly priced $5.35 but on sale for $4.19. 
~ Buy (1), receive $5 Register Reward
~ Use (1) Almay coupon in Beauty Book found on cosmetic counter
~ AND use (1) $2/1 coupon from the newspaper a few weeks back
= Pay out of pocket $0.19 (plus tax).  Receive $5 Register Reward!

I did this times five today.  You need to do separate transactions though in order to keep receiving the Register Rewards.  And because you are buying one item with two coupons, you need to add a filler item (insert why I do not really like going to Walgreens!).  So that explains why I added the toothpicks from clearance and the caramels.  They were the least expensive things I could find that I would actually use at some point.

In total, because I had to add the dumb filler items, here is how my five transactions worked out.

Items valued at (including NY tax):  $30.92
Total spent on five transactions:  $4.67
Total savings.....84.9%
Total earned in Register Rewards:  $25

Of course if they didn't have the worlds most complicated item to coupon ratio system, it would have been more.  But that's still a really great deal on items I actually ran out of a few days ago.  So big win for me today! 

I am not sure yet how I will spend the Register Rewards.  A good couponer would roll them.  Meaning if I was better at shopping at Walgreens, I would use them to buy things that also spit out RR's for similar values.  But that store still leaves a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth.  It's so complicated and frustrating.  So chances are I will use them to buy things that I need but can't find on sale.  Like milk or OJ or toilet paper or something of that nature.  Not to worry though, they will all get used.  It's only Wednesday and so far I have racked up $32 RR at Walgreens this week.  High five to myself!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

GREAT Deals At Walgreens!

I have been so busy lately that I have not done much other than work on my big fundraiser for one of my volunteer gigs.  I bought nearly nothing last week.  But I had a few spare moments today and took advantage of some awesome Walgreens deals.

Before I show you what I bought, let me preface this by saying that I know there are more deals there this week.  But these are the deals I found/wanted to take advantage of.  I also didn't get the Chex or Kettle Chip coupon that so many others got in their paper inserts this week. I will explain...the body wash deal was apparently a fluke.  But I am in general, going to be more timely in showing my coupon deals so that others may take advantage of them too.  I am also going to seriously get my booty in gear to buy a new camera so that I can stop taking crappy blackberry photos.  I's really terrible.  Sorry.

*  Snickers Eggs  2/$1
~ buy (2)
~ use (1) $1/2 Mars Easter candy manu coupon from Sunday paper
= (2) for FREE 

* Air Wick iMotion or Freshmatic  $7.99
~ on sale in store Buy One, Get One FREE
~ Buy (2)
~ use (2) $4/1 manu coupons from Sunday's paper
= (2) for FREE

* Almay Make-up remover Towelettes  $4.19
~ Buy One, Receive $5 Register Reward, Limit 1
~ Buy (1)
~ use $2/1 Almay product in Walgreens Spring Beauty Guide (I found a big stack on the cosmetics counter.  You will NOT need to cut it out.  You can just have them scan it and hand the book back to you to use over and over.)
= Pay out of pocket $2.19, Receive $5 Register Reward

*  Plackers Flossers, 90 pack,  $2
~ Buy One, Receive $2 Register Reward, Limit 1
~ Buy (1)
= Pay out of pocket $2, Receive $2 Register Reward

*  Purex Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent, 32 loads,  $5.99
~ on sale for $2.99
~ $1/1 newspaper (from a week or two ago) coupon
= Pay out of pocket $1.99

*  Right Guard Body Wash  $4.99
~ mistakenly still marked on sale as Buy One Get One FREE
~ Buy (2)
~ use (1) Buy One Get One Free newspaper coupon (from a week or two ago)
~ use (1) $1/1 peelie coupon stuck to the bottles
= (2) for FREE plus $1 overage to use in order.  So I essentially got paid $1 to take home two bottles of body wash.

OK so the body wash deal was a fluke.  Since I didn't shop much last week and these were in a spot that previously held lotion (I am sure of this as I actually bought the lotion from this section) and still had lotion on either side of the small display and there were a total of THREE B1G1 signs up...I had no idea it was old signage.  It was Tuesday evening too.  So when they rang up both at full price, I mentioned that they were on sale.  That is when the cashier told me that it was old signage.  But I truly had no idea.  I said as much, because at that point I really was sure he was mistaken.  Three signs, new spot and Tues PM...  But he gave it to me anyway.  So I think I just got lucky.  But the homeless shelter will be most grateful to be able to give these away to their clients so I don't really feel bad about the whole situation. 

I do not count the Register Rewards into my transaction until I actually use them.  I had a few RR bucks to use today.  But the $7 RR I earned today, for me, will not factor in until I actually use them.

Ready for my grand total?  Are you sure?

Ooooh it's really good!

$64.11... goods that I bought (excludes NY tax).
Minus Walgreens sales, Walgreens coupon and manufacturer coupons...
$6.73... what I paid out of pocket (of which $2.57 was pure tax).
And earned $7 in Register Rewards!!

That's a savings of 89.5%!

Even if you don't have a single coupon in your possession, you can take advantage of the Almay deal because the coupon book is right there in the store.  Use the earned $5 RR to buy something else you need that's not on sale this week.

Some Walgreens notes...
* You cannot rinse, wash and repeat with a single deal.  Meaning that, for example, you cannot buy the Almay towelettes and earn $5 RR and then use that RR to buy the towelettes again AND earn another $5 RR.  You can do all of that but it will not produce a new RR.  You can however use RR's that were earned from different products to buy more towelettes and use the Almay RR's on something else.  Does that make any sense? 
* In the end, you can only average one coupon per item.  So while you can totally use a Walgreens coupon AND a manufacturer coupon AND Walgreens Register Rewards, you cannot have more coupons than total number of items purchased.  So if you buy a total of six items, you can only use a total of six coupon.  And Register Rewards count as coupons.  That's an advantage of the Snickers deal because I only needed one coupon for every two products.  That left openings for other coupons to be used.
* The beauty book did not scan well.  The manager said it was nation-wide and well known.  But I know not all managers will be aware of this and might talk you out of being able to apply this coupon. 

For my pea brain, Walgreens is the most complicated of stores to use coupons.  But I think this proves that even a novice with a pea brain can totally rock the coupon deals at Walgreens!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

You Should Have To Pay Something

I took a deep breath and walked my rear end into Walgreens again today.

I have yet to experience a positive transaction in any Walgreens.  And using coupons has only made matters worse.  Oh that store is so just not for me.  I don't get it and it doesn't get me.  We have agreed to disagree I suppose.

But I had a bunch of Buy One Get One FREE men's Right Guard deodorant coupons.  And they were also on sale in the store for BOGO FREE.  Meaning they were totally free (plus tax).  While I was there, I cruised the aisles a bit to see if I could use a coupon on anything else.  I am so rarely there that I thought I should get my couponing in.  I found the small boxes of Cream of Wheat for $1 and remembered that I had four $1/1 coupons in my binder.  Perfect.  I headed to check out, expecting to only pay tax.

30 minutes later...

You had to see that coming, right?  Oy!  The Cream of Wheat coupons wouldn't ring up so the manager had to over-ride them.  The BOGO FREE coupons are always an ordeal.  And they were having issues there too.  She said my total was a bit more than $3.  I questioned it but as there were now a solid 4000 people behind me in line who were not amused by my coupon adventures and plethora of apologies, I paid and scooted to the side to look at the receipt.  I knew I was right.  One of the deodorants didn't ring up as FREE.  So I got back in line.  She tried to fix it.  Then tried to convince me it was all tax.  I pointed to where tax was specified on the receipt.  I overpaid.  She called the manager over.  Who proceeded to help me.  Honestly both of the cashiers were awesome.  I want to make that clear.  It was mostly computer error and then the cashier taking off the wrong amount one time for the coupon.  I kept asking to just ring each up separately.  But it took me 15 mins to get her to do that. 

But she forgot to include the four boxes of Cream of Wheat in the last transaction so had to also do those separately.  Then announced that she knew why the coupons weren't working.  It was because the boxes were $1 and the coupons were for $1.  Um...yes??  No overage.  Shouldn't be an issue.  Well NY doesn't tax on food so I wasn't going to pay tax either.  I am embarrassed to tell you that I never realized this but OK...I still didn't see the problem.  Well you should have to pay something.  I am, in the form of a $1 coupon.  I am not stealing as you will get your $1 back from the manufacturer.  Well you really should have to pay something.

I took my bags and left.  Exhausted.  Embarrassed.  And rather deflated.

All of the stuff I bought....straight into my donation box.  I'm not even keeping a bit of it.  I just thought that the deals were too good to pass up.  Ugh...but at what price?  Walgreens and I remain on unfriendly terms.

But hopefully the homeless men in my city, of which there are an abundance, will smell nice and have some hot breakfast cereal.  Much to Walgreens' chagrin.

On the other hand, I had the best time at Rite Aid.  Oh Rite Aid, you are such a fun and friendly place to shop!  I'm rather excited to try out this new Purex Crystals Fabric Softener stuff this week.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

TLC's Extreme Couponing Show

I believe this is The Krazy Coupon Lady's garage pantry (aka stockpile).

There is a lot of talk on coupon blogs about how TLC's show is going to ruin their lives.  How folks who have been couponing for a decade or more are the only ones deserving of good deals.  And how this show is going to make their friends think badly of them.

Holy selfishness. 

First, this show is on TLC.  The same network that brought us Jon and Kate Plus 8 and The Duggars.  They have regular specials about people so overweight that walls need to be cut to get them out of their homes.  The feature children with all sorts of unique and extreme health situations.  And then of course my guilty pleasure, Sister Wives.  See the commonality?  They are all about the extreme.  That's their shtick.  It gets attention and viewers and makes them money. 

No one would watch a show about a woman getting pregnant and raising one kid.  No one would watch a show about a family who sends their kids to public school and goes to church for one hour on Sunday.  No one would watch a show about a kid with the flu.  No one would watch a show about a girl in Albany who saves 40-60% on her average grocery bill.

It would be super boring.  A royal snooze fest. 

You know how Bravo TV's Real Housewife series is making gazillions and popping up in ever city in America?  It's because it's extreme.  Those "housewives" are not like any women I have ever met.  My friends would not make for good TV characters.  And I am pretty sure they are all OK with it. 

I have lots of friends from New Jersey and/or an Italian heritage.  Not one of them acts like the fools from MTV's Jersey Shore show.  None of them scream, punch, or look like an Oompa Loompa.  Thankfully!

I am excited about the show.  I get inspired to see others have success- be it with coupons or jobs or families or anything else in life.  Couponing for savings is not the same as folks like Paris Hilton and Sarah Palin becoming famous for doing nothing.  Couponing, whether done on a small scale with one paper or large scale with 500 papers, is hard work.  I spend a LOT of time on this hobby.  I enjoy the process and the savings so I don't mind working at it.  But it is not something that just "happens" out of the blue for anyone. 

I know hoarding exists.  But buying a lot of a product does not make a person a hoarder.  They might be.  But one does not equal the other.  Many extreme couponers who buy cases of a product, have pre-ordered that product.  It never sees a shelf as it was ordered specifically for that customer.  It takes away nothing from other customers.  Many do this to give food away to needy organizations.  Many do this to fill up their basements.  Who am I to judge why someone buys 100 boxes of cereal?  Just because I don't want it, doesn't mean it is wrong for someone else to take advantage of a sale/coupon deal. 

As for the blame game on shelf clearing, I have a few thoughts there too.  I agree it would be rude for someone to walk into a store and take ALL of the 100 units of product off the shelf with others standing there also wanting it.  But I have personally never seen such a thing happen.  And I firmly believe that it should be up to stores to anticipate what stock will be popular.  Not up to a customer to anticipate other unknown people wanting this product three days later.  If I am aware of sales a week or two before they happen, a store is too.  It is the store's job to properly prepare stock for their customers.  My drugstores never carry more than four of an item, outside of candy.  So if just two customers buy two items, they are out of stock by 9AM the first day of a sale.  That is the store's fault.  As someone who rarely shops the first or second day of a sale, I know I miss out on a lot of deals.  If it was of great importance to me, I am fully capable of getting my booty out of bed and into the stores first thing on a Sunday morning.  But the truth is, I am lazy and love sleeping as late as possible.  So I miss out.  Sometimes I get Rain Checks (my new coupon love!) and sometimes I just let it go.  A lot of the time I view it as God telling me I didn't really need a particular item.  Because really, I can live another week without getting a free toothbrush.  And I can afford to buy one full price if I really need it. 

I love all the crazy TLC shows (outside of any show with that super annoying Buddy the ugly cake baker on it) and I am sure I will watch most of this series too.  It's fun TV done in a non-salacious way.  It's entertainment without anyone being nekkid and a side of a education too.

There's Always Room For Jello!

I used to watch Bill Cosby film Jello commercials in my neighborhood as a kid.  And for the record, he was not nearly as nice as his character on TV. 

But I don't hold that against the jiggly good stuff.  And as luck has it, there is a catalina deal running now through the 27th of March at Price Chopper.

Buy any refrigerated Jell-O snacks and save...
* Buy (2) and get $1
* Buy (3) and get $2
* Buy (4) or more and get $3... off your next order.

I have several Jello coupons so I should be able to take advantage of this deal.  There are a lot of deals I ignore as they involve foods I just don't eat.  But what's not to love about Jello?!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Go Ahead And Rain On My Parade

I just had to quickly boast about my run to Price Chopper this evening.  It was my first and only trip there this week, which was unfortunate as there were some really good sales.  BUT I think it ended up working to my advantage. 

First, you get to shop alone if you go after 7PM on a Saturday.  And that makes me a very happy crocodile. 

Second, there is a glass half full view of sale items being sold out.  Especially if they are on your list only because of the sale price.  I am quickly learning to rock the Rain Checks!  I LOVE them!  They allow me to have another 30 days to get that same deal.  As long as they get the item in before my coupon expires, I get to buy said sale items when I feel like it.  Considering Price Chopper is pretty good about stocking things within a few days, I will probably be able to get my items this coming week if I want them. 

I took full advantage of the buy one get one free Classico pasta sauce sale though.  Because I had two hang tag coupons for buy two white sauces, get one red sauce for free.  So I bought six Classico pasta sauces @ $2.99/each.  B1G1 meant three of the six were free.  Two coupons gave me another two for free.  So I bought SIX jars of sauce for the price of ONE!  That's just $0.50/jar!!  I know a lot of coupon bloggers manage to get pasta sauce for free.  And I think that's fantastic.  But as I have only been super couponing since Jan 01 of this year, this is by far my best deal on one of my favorite brands of pasta sauce.  I'm quite proud, y'all!  Six jars is about my max given my tiny pantry (which until a month ago was my coat closet) so I consider myself fully stocked for the next several months.  I actually did quite well at PChop tonight, even with many of my sale/coupon deals out of stock.  I figured out that I saved more than 71% on my total bill which included two packages of meat and fresh produce.  Probably my very best all food shopping experience!

Oh I also popped into CVS for the second time this week hoping to take advantage of the toothbrush deal.  I thought that perhaps they might have re-stocked on a quiet Saturday evening.  Notsomuch.  But I asked for a Rain Check there too and they were so nice about it.  I asked when it expires as I know that Price Chopper's Rain Checks expire a month after issue.  She said they never expire.  Of course, my coupons do expire so I hope they get the toothbrushes in fairly quickly.  But that's nice to know their policy all the same.

I also took advantage of the deal for mascara and yet another pair of cheap jeans at Target thanks to the text coupons.  Which did not scan and required two managers and much chatter over how to figure this all out.  I believe the bottom line is that the store scanners have issues.  But it all worked out in the end.  Always an adventure...right?

I have read a lot of chatter on blogs this week about how unwelcome new couponers are to the club and how we are clearing shelves and taking away items that are rightfully intended for those who have been couponing for more than a decade and are self-taught.  To that I say...ala Stephanie from Full House...How Rude!  There is room for everyone who wants to play the game fairly.  My stores were out of most of the stock I wanted to buy this week but I still got some great deals on necessities.  And I got several fabulous Rain Checks to use at a later date.  No need to be so snippy about the matter.  Just enjoy the great deals you are able to gather and get a Rain Check for those that are already sold out.  Life goes on and another sale is just around the corner.

For me, this was a surprisingly great coupon week.  I got a lot of food and laundry supplies and jeans and make-up for such great prices.  I love that!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dear Times Union,

GREAT news!  All FIVE of my newspapers arrived this morning with all of their coupons included!  Yippee!  I know...I'm nuts.  But we all have our "thing" in life and currently, this seems to be mine.

Thank you to the folks over at the TU who read my random emails and went out of their way to help me today.  Thanks to sweet Cathy, it looks like the issue has been corrected.  Hopefully this helps the TU to make some internal improvements too.

Clearly we are experiencing major difficulties in our relationship.  I have been trying for the better part of THREE WEEKS to order you.  And you are acting like a ditzy school girl or a great-grandmother, I can't decide.  Ignoring my calls and emails.  But also making it flippin' impossible to get in touch with you.  You do allow me to email you online but you require a phone number.  But only allow me to type in seven digits.  I do not have a 518 number.  As is the case with gazillions of people who keep cell phone numbers for decades these days.  To order a paper, you require me to type in a request form but will not let me just pay for my subscription.  You then tell me you will call me back in 48 hours.  Which you are well aware is a big fat lie on your end.  After I call you three times, you finally call me back to take my credit card number over the phone and given to a human being.  Meaning, unsecure and even more unsecure.  I oblige, knowing this is a small area of the country and we are in fact behind the curve.  Or that is how I convince myself to give over my personal information to a stranger on a phone call.  Gulp!

So Sunday rolls around and I am expecting FIVE newspapers.  One that I ordered via Groupoon and four that I ordered over the phone.  I checked my bank account and you gladly took my money so it was only logical to expect their arrival.

ONE arrived.  And did not include coupons.

But of course I cannot send you an email because you are like a little Granny organization when it comes to the modern era. 

I call on Monday morning.  You should note that even though I am ticked off right now, I was incredibly nice and patient over the phone.  I know how to mind my manners.  So it takes 20 minutes and three employees and they decided that for an unknown reason my order was cancelled.  Now I do not believe this because my $$ was not refunded.  But I take the apology and accept that the order will start this coming Sunday.  But yesterday, Thursday, I got a bill in the mail for ONE order of the Sunday paper.  I double checked my back records and I have in fact paid in full for the five papers.  No refund.  But this bill leads me to believe that my order is once again incorrect in your system.

So I call you, knowing I have no way of emailing.  But you are bloody closed at 2PM.  What the heck?  It's not a holiday weekend and you are a newspaper.  The main newspaper for the NY Capital region. 

Not only was I expecting five papers filled with coupons last week, but also complimentary back issues of the week prior as was the offer at time of purchase.  I am trying to be nice.  I am trying to be patient.  But you are making it very very challenging.  It should not take me three weeks to order a Sunday newspaper. 

I do believe I have solved the mystery of why the newspaper industry is dying a slow and painful death.  Help me, help you, Times Union!  I have paid you my pennies.  It's your turn to just deliver my darn papers.  Please!

My patience is wearing thin,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Scored At Target!

Target remains my mecca of all things happy and wonderful.  You can get a giant Diet Coke, the yummiest salad with chicken and cherries and other goodies, Starbucks, clothes, cleaning supplies (one of my favorite things to shop for...I know I am so strange), linens, storage stuff, garden furniture and food.  All under one roof.  If I have a Diet Coke in hand, I can spend all day walking around Tar-jay.  LOVE it!

I had more coupons for Excedrin and wanted to take advantage of that deal.  For the record, I am not keeping a single box.  I don't use aspirin.  So they will all be donated.  I have quite a collection of soon-to-be donated meds this week, actually.  But the great thing about the Excedrin deal is that there is overage.  To be used on things that are not coupon-able this week.  Buying FREE Excedrin has in part paid for milk, eggs and sausage so far this week.  It has covered bits of laundry, hair and cereal products too.  They all need to be paid for in separate transactions and that's a pain.  But I have been able to go to Target twice and do four transactions each day.  Today, no one was near me in line the entire veeeeerrrrry looooooong time I was there.  Thank goodness!

But there is a bonus too!  Not only does the Excedrin deal give you overage (differs depending on what manufacturer coupon you choose to use), but it also produces a $1/1 Excedrin manufacturer catalina coupon for each transaction too!  If I had more printers/friends with printers I could do this all day and walk away with boat loads of much better than FREE Excedrin.  Crazy!  But hey, if Target wants to give me nickles and dimes, who am I to turn that away?

So here are how my four transactions went today

Transaction #1:
1 Tide Stain Release - clearance $3.48 (reg: $6.99)
- $3/1 manu coupon
1 Hormel sausage links - $1.89
1 Excedrin (includes bonus baby bottle too) - $3.34
- $3/1 Target coupon
- $1.50/1 manu coupon
3 Granola bar boxes (4 ct) - $1/each
- $1.50/3 Target coupon
- (3) $0.50/1 manu coupons

Total out of pocket: $1.37
Earned: $1/1 Excedrin manu coupon

Transaction #2:
1 Tide Stain Release - clearance $3.48 (reg $6.99)
- $3/1 manu coupon
3 Granola bar boxes (4 ct) - $1/each
- $1.50/3 Target coupon
- (3) $0.50/1 manu coupons
1 Excedrin (includes bonus baby bottle too) - $3.34
- $3/1 Target coupon
- $1/1 manu coupon
1 dozen fresh eggs - $1.19
- $1/1 manu coupon that I can't figure out but it is listed on my receipt

Total out of pocket: $0.17
Earned: $1/1 Excedrin manu coupon

Transaction #3:
1 Tide Stain Release - clearance $3.48 (reg $6.99)
- $3/1 manu coupon
1 Excedrin (includes bonus baby bottle too) - $3.34
- $3/1 Target coupon
- $0.75/1 manu coupon
1 Dentastix dog treats - sale price $3
- $2/1 manu coupon

Total out of pocket: $1.59
Earned: $1/1 Excedrin manu coupon

Transaction #4:
1 Tide Stain Release - clearance $3.48 (reg $6.99)
- $3/1 manu coupon
1 Excedrin (includes bonus baby bottle too) - $3.34
- $3/1 Target coupon
- $1/1 manu coupon
1 Kelloggs Nut Crunch cereal - $2.50
- $1/1 Target coupon
- $1/1 manu coupon

Total out of pocket: $0.60
Earned: $1/1 Excedrin coupon

Grand total paid at Target today: $3.73
Earned: (4) $1/1 Excedrin coupons and found a $2/1 toy coupon
Saved (figuring in the Tide at regular price): $53.78

It was honestly not a long trip to Target until the second transaction when the Tide coupon (from the 02/27 PG insert) wouldn't scan.  The cashier said it did, but I knew it didn't.  So it required him to call over a manager and then he said I had to go back to customer service.  And they thought I was scamming them.  But they finally paid me back my $3 and I think we were all happy in the end.  I was delighted anyway.  I've found the key to these coupon mishaps, which seem to happen fairly often for me, is to remain very calm (on the outside while sweating like a hog and panicking on the inside) and super polite. 

I've never used Tide Stain Release before am excited to try it.  I ran out of Oxy Clean two weeks ago and have missed having a booster in my light wash cycles.  As I said, the Excedrin is a donation.  As are the granola bars.  The cereal is for my father.  And the eggs and sausage were part of tonight's dinner. 

I really hope the Colonie Target starts selling groceries because I am a rock star couponer at the big red bulls eye!