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93 Cents

May 27th, 2010 at 06:50 pm

After twice through the line at Food Lion I ended up with:

15 Kraft Salad Dressings
9 Jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter (I debated with
myself whether or not I should get All Natural)
6 Benedryl

The cost of each deal was 31 cents. I saved over $60 off the full retail value. Some would not pay full retail, so I saved about $45 off the sale price.

Structure of a deal is important. It allows you to get the maximum for your money. Although doing it on the grocery level gives small returns each time, adding up to alot over time, it is definitely a lesson for bigger life decisions and choices.

Kraft Deal at Food Lion

May 26th, 2010 at 06:39 pm

The deal is actually better than I thought it would be. The Kraft Dressing is listed in the sales ad as 2 for $4. At the store the MVP price is 3 for $5 or $1.67 each. So my initial purchase cost me $.78, not the $2.50+ I thought it would. And, add to that on the display was another coupon for $2 off produce with the purchase of 2. So, I got 5 bottles of Kraft dressing for $.78oop and got back a $3 catalina. I used that to purchase 5 more bottles and some bananas, crown broccoli and a 16.5oz jar of Peter Pan Peanut Butter for ta-dah drum role please...$.23 cents plus I got another $3 catalina.

I now have 10 bottles of dressing and I will continue to use the overage to build my pantry and accummulate Kraft dressing. Foodlion doesn't have there computers quite right yet so I will only do 2 deals a day. Anything over my needs will go to the food pantry.

Having the goal of purchases for free or pennies has really helped me focus. There are lots of good deals out there, but having this criteria keeps me focused and creative.

Starting Sunday, Walgreens had a great deal. Ecotrin is $2 with a $2MFQ and then a 2RR. Assuming there is any on the shelf, I already know how I want to spend my freebies. Barilla pasta 2/$2. Imperial Sugar $2.19. Peanut butter $2. Smuckers Strawberry $2. A Foodlion is just across the street so 2 deals in one trip. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Dollar a Day Challenge

May 25th, 2010 at 03:28 pm

I've wondered if I could eat for a $1 a day. I admit to not liking the restrictions. But, as I watch J.Strain do it I think maybe I could. That is after I have built up my 1yr supply and all I have to do is replace it. Is that cheating? By the rules he has it would be but these will be my rules.

What makes me think I could do it. Today I shopped at Giant. I got:

5 jars of F.Rinaldi pasta sauce
5 packages of Ronzoni pasta
14 packages of Zatarain's rice
6 12oz bottles of Guldens spicy brown mustard
2 bottles of vlasic relish (one dill/one sweet)
= $1.83 after sales/coupons

I made a mistake on one of the 4 orders so I had to return two of the Zatarain's to take the order down to .42 (making total oop 1.83) and the total down to 14 packages. You have to do what you have to do to meet your goals and budget.

If someone had asked me, I would have said I couldn't do it. But when this sales ends on Thursday, I think I will be moving on to a sale at Food Lion to stock up on Kraft dressings. I like it for marinades, pasta salads and if I can find it made with olive oil then salads also. It might even be a small mm with the catalina and coupons, we'll see. So, after 4 deals it would be free for 20 bottles of dressings, a true moneymaker after that. I will keep my fingers crossed.

Learning Curve

May 23rd, 2010 at 07:25 pm

I've done alot of deals at CVS, Riteaid, Target and Walmart (not a food store Walmart/Target). With my new goal to stock up on 1 yrs worth of food I have to get good at grocery stores. I do alright, I shop the sales, use coupons, etc. But I don't take it to the heights others do. Some have it down to a fine art. To meet my new goal I have been "lurking" on the grocery threads at slickdeals.net.

I've been able to stock up on a years worth of cereal and Zatarain's rice. By paying attention to several posts I put together my first deal, not just a copycat.

Giant Food:
(4) boxes Zat's Rice
(2) Bumble Bee Tuna 2.5oz
(2) Gulden Brown Spicy Mustard
(1) jar Francesco Rinaldi Sauce
(1) lb Ronzoni Smart taste Spaghetti
(1) lb Salt
= $19.49 - 18.74 sales/mfq = .75 oop

Being pleased I thought I'll do it again but not get the salt and my oop will be .06. Nope:

=18.80 - 18.19 sales/mfq = .65 oop

Might as well as bought the salt. I used the exact same coupons. The only change was I did not buy the salt. I know what happened, just not why. One of the coupons that doubled at .55 did not double in the next two rinse and repeats without the salt.

What will tomorrow bring with the same items and coupons? The couponing adventure will continue... I plan to do the same deal several more times. Instead of salt I will get bananas or apples.

My Riteaid deals went off without a problem, I now have:

(2) 14 pill packs of Cetirizine
(2) 20 pill packs of Loratadine
(1) Squeeze Container of Hellmann's
(3) 4 packs of Noxzema razors
(1) lb of Morton's salt
(4) Visine
(1) Cascade Dishwasher Detergent

My total oop $1.69 after sales/discounts/store&mfq. I used a gc to pay the $1.69 and I should get a $2 scr for the Cascade. So a .31 mm.

Why I bought so much salt is beyond me. One I prefer Sea Salt and two I don't use salt except in cooking with a recipe calling for it.

CVS was successful also. I did 3 deals.

deal #1
(2) Gillette Bodywash $4 ea
$8 - $4/2MFQ - 4ecbs = .48 oop tax got back 8ecb

deal #2
(3) jars Ragu Spaghetti sauce
(2) jars 30 oz Hellmann's Mayonnaise
(2) cans of Lindsay Olives
= $12.98 - $3.75MFQ - 8ecbs = $1.23 oop got back 3ecb

deal #3
(4) 16.9oz Nivea for Men @$3.99ea
$15.96 + 1.02tax = 16.98 - $3/$15 - $12mfq = $1.98 oop
got back $5ecbs

Condensed:
Started with 4ecbs, Spent 11ecbs, ended with 8ecbs
Oop costs: .48+1.23+1.98= $3.69
8ecb(ending) - 4ecbs(starting) - $3.69 = .31 profit and lots of things

Nivea for Men/Gillette Bodywash -Food Bank or Homeless Shelter
Zat's Rice - Food Bank

Planned vs Unplanned Purchases

May 22nd, 2010 at 06:46 pm

Most of my purchases are planned. I work out the deal ahead of time using sales, coupons (store & manufacturer), rebates (store & manufacturer) and discounts offered. Ex. of discount vs sale is Riteaid's Wellness Card gives a 10% discount on nonsale items purchased.

I even purchases items I hope I will not use. Why? Because, if I get the flu/food poisoning and need Immodium (generic) I will probably have to ask someone to get it for me and they will not get generic and I will pay full price on a name brand. Ouch! So I now try to weave items like this into my deals to get them for free or pennies. This week it is Visine and generic Claritin for the fall allergy season. In September, the sales for cold and flu season will start and it will be stock up time. I noticed I'm getting low on tylenol so I will be keeping my eye out for deals. There are some sales but the cost is not low enough yet.

I'm careful to look at expiration dates. Its easier to do this when you feel well and are not rushed. Some expirations can extend out for 2 years or more. Those dates will be my first pick. I look to the back of the shelf for the longer expiration dates since stores put closer exp. dates to the front (unless the stocker is lazy or rushed or customers pawing thru the stock, lol Wink. I always fix any mess I cause looking thru stock.

If I constantly pay full price for things it is hard for me to save money and do the things I want to do without going into debt. Living on debt, to me, is like living on the edge, if I want to live on the edge it will not be because of debt. I would choose traveling, a great book or movie, etc. not debt.

Although this is serious, I took learning about the sale/couponing/rebate process like a game. Learning the rules like you do to Bridge, Monopoly or Texas Hold'em. There are rules and strategies. It can be fun. It can be serious. For some it is intense. But in the end it is up to you what level you take it to, and how successfully it works for you. Will you win and to what degree?

Another Free Deal for the Project

May 19th, 2010 at 07:18 pm

I admit to Grocery Store envy at times. I will read on blogs about this store or that store having items free with coupon and live no where near those stores. I mean way far away. The grass is always greener as they say.

These last ten days I've had 2 really good deals in my stores. The first was the cereal deal at Safeway. The second is the Zatarain's deal at Giant Food. I have it down to an art now. I'm in and out with 16-32 boxes in about 15 minutes at zero dollars out of pocket.

I love their Dirty Rice. Sooo good! I am now the proud owner of 56 boxes in different flavors for my one year food project and with one more day to go for the sale I plan to get 32+/-. Some will go to the food pantry, and some will stay here. The coupon in my area is $1/4 boxes. Other areas got a $1/3 boxes which would have meant I could use the overage to buy other items. But, hey, I'm grateful to have the opportunity to get a rice I love for free.

I stopped at Safeway. They have a new catalina deal. Buy 2 ziploc containers and get a $2 cat. I understand its not in all parts of the country yet so YMMV.

Safeway Deal:

Buy 4 get them for $1.99 each

$7.96 =4 x 1.99
+ .35 =tax
- 4.40 4 x .55doubled
- 4.00 $4 in oyno cats
= -.09 Got back $4 oyno cats

I bought a gallon of milk to soak up the overage. Its on sale for $1.99 a gallon. Safeway has given me the overage in cash before but I try not to do that. I have enough coupons to do this 4 more times.

And, I clipped the Box Tops off for my school. So, that is another .40 savings. With budget cut backs every little bit helps. Believe me when I say it adds up and makes a difference. If you don't have children in school, the schools would still love to have you donate them.

Eggshells

May 19th, 2010 at 03:20 am

I like to recycle. I like to help the birds, plus I get to see them up close.

While reading 101 ways to help bird by Laura Erickson I found that birds are in great need of usable calcium. She suggested keeping your eggshells and the next time you have your oven on, turn it to 250 degrees, at the end of your regular cooking and bake the eggshells for 20 minutes. Crush them to smaller than a dime, put them someplace the birds will find them but not in a birdfeeder with seed and watch it disappear.

It works and mine went quickly. So that is what I will be doing with my eggshells.

Lessons Learned...

May 18th, 2010 at 06:25 pm

I learned two couponing lessons today and one reminder. One, keep the order small when attempting free food, that way it is easy to correct and you will not spend as much money on mistakes. Two, keep up with store policy as regards coupons. Number two is more difficult at Giant Food as it changes weekly it seems. Reminder lesson, double check your coupon value before leaving home. I thought I clipped the $1/3 and it was the $1/4. Darn!

Giant Food

8 boxes of Zatarain's Rice
1 27oz can Seasoned Mixed Greens
2 bananas
8 2.5oz pouches of Bumble Bee Tuna
1 15oz can black beans, Giant brand
=25.75
-21.67 store & manf. coupons
= 3.91 out of pocket

Had I done as planned I would have had .50 or less oop. I am still pleased with what I got for the money.

Tomorrow, when I go back I will do better.

Trip to Riteaid

May 16th, 2010 at 07:05 pm

I had to improvise. Some things were out of stock or sold out. They only carry a few of each item, so my guess is sold out due to the sale.

My Allergy Gift of Savings has a short expirations date. The Fall GOS was for several months. Hence the rush to spend. Not many deals this week of next. Since I am starting my new project I looked on iheartriteaid.com to see the flyers for this week and next. The Allergy GOS has to be spent all at once so this is what I chose:

4 Hormel Compleats (actually very good)
2 24oz cans of Planters cocktail peanuts
(I have a blender that can turn it into peanut
butter, cool)
1 17oz Olive oil extra virgin
1 32oz Heinz white vinegar
1 18oz Sunmaid raisins
1 milky way miniatures (ok, not part of project)

Total 29.46
MfQ 3.00
Wellnes1.05
5off25 5.00
GOS 20.00
= Total oop .41

I needed vinegar and wanted the chocolate. I had planned to get an additional raisin and some craisins. But, they were out.

I also stopped at Walmart and will tell about that tommorrow.

Lunch with Mom & Sis

May 15th, 2010 at 04:21 pm

I had lunch with my mom and sister today. I had a Chilis $25 gc I got from points earned on my credit card. Normally I would not get a Chilis gc. I like Chilis, but they are 40 mins drive away. However, marketing got me. The hunger for a better deal. LOL. I spent the same points I would for a gc but if I got a Chilis they would throw in an extra $5 gc for movie tickets, a dinner and movies promo. I've had the gc for months, gave my niece the movie gc.

Finally mom was well enough to travel to Annapolis to go to Chilis. Yea! At the last minute my sis said she could go also. Another Yea! We had alot of fun. A girls day out. We had hoped they would have a promo running but it ended last week, boo. The service was incredibly good and the food very good.

When we got back my son was there waiting for us. I'm not sure how my day could get better.

After dropping mom off and visiting with DS, my sis and I headed to Safeway and Giantfood for mom. I have been giving away $10 off $50 purchase coupons to Safeway because I never spend $50 after all coupons and deductions. Today, shopping for mom I could finally use it. She can't shop for herself anymore. Dad doesn't like the grocery store and procrastinates something fierce when asked to go. However, Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowe's don't seem to be a problem, lol.

Perhaps the best way to save is to take pleasure in the company of others, its free.

I didn't do any shopping for myself. Guess I'll do it tomorrow.

1 Year Supply of Food

May 14th, 2010 at 05:51 pm

I have a 6mo-1yr(ok multiyear) supply of household and personal care goods. My next project is going to be acquiring a 1 year supply of food.

Most grocery stores keep a 3 day supply of food on their shelves.

Although not a Mormon, I've read that they are encouraged by their church to keep a one year supply of food. I forget the water amount but I think that is a year also. This food is for emergencies. That would include: weather, terror issues, layoffs, illness, disruption in services and any number of other personal and not personal emergencies. Seems smart to me.

To be honest, this recovery isn't much of a recovery and the chances of a double dip far out weigh the chances of a continued recovery in my opinion. Am I sounding paranoid, maybe, but my job depends on people on the Hill giving my State money to keep teacher jobs. So, better safe than sorry.

The food pantry will continue to receive donations and the troops will be an ongoing project. This is an add-on project. My goal is to acquire as much as I can for free using overage from coupons, sales and rebates.

I have 74 boxes of cereal. Overkill, I know. I got 70 this week for free using the Safeway sale, coupons and oyno coupons. At least 22 will go to the food pantry. As I get other boxes for free I will donate to increase my variety.

I got 7 cans(5oz) of tuna and 1 can(12.5oz) of chicken breast. I did pay .40 for the $2.12 can because cashiers at Walmart get antsy if you don't pay anything on a $20 order(I suppose you could divide the .40 by the 8 items I got). Safeway clerks seem immune.

Tomorrow I plan to get 2 scrubbing bubbles to spend the overage. For me, after tax that will be $1.12. I might do 2 orders. Yes, for a grand total of $2.24. There are 11 $5 off coupons left.

Looking at my Riteaid Allergy Gift Certificate, there is only 2 weeks left to use it. Grrr. Sunmaid raisins are on sale next week plus some other food items so maybe I'll work on the dried fruit end of my one year supply. This will take 3-6 mos as soups and oatmeal will not be on sale until fall. Just another project to teach me patience.

Savings Totals for CVS/Safeway Deal

May 13th, 2010 at 05:34 pm

I don't keep track of my deals on excel or anything like that. I am careful and plan each deal. I stopped at CVS today since I was driving by. I scan my card at the coupon center everytime I go in.

This week, I keep getting $1 off CVS haircare. So, I buy the CVS shampoo or conditioner for $1 ea, use the coupon and pay tax. It will go to the food pantry.

My receipt showed my Extracare Card balance as of 5/10/10. Year to date savings $626.20 and spending $37.44 I believe some of that is a $25 gift card for a prescription transfer. My savings is 94.7%. Since I am not sure how tax fits into the spending part of CVS recordkeeping, it could be tax, but I don't think so.

Today my out of pocket was $.19 and .06 was tax.

$.49 5 cans of Bumble Bee Tuna
$3.69 1 Stayfree Max
$.99 1 CVS hair conditioner (kiwi, smells good)
Total $7.19

I decided to burn 2 ecb. My total ecbs right are to high. I don't shop at CVS the way I used to so 5-10 ecb are more than enough to rollover each month. I was at 22+. Next week canned chicken and salmon are on sale so I will probably buy some to further reduce my numbers.

Then I went to Safeway. I bought my allowed 20 boxes.

$1ea 2 boxes Kelloggs Cornflakes
$1.50ea 2 boxes Kelloggs Raisin Bran
$5 total
-$2 MQ (2 $1/2 boxes)
-$3 OYNO I keep rolling from different deals
= 0 out of pocket
plus I get a $3 OYNO

Did this 5 times for 20 boxes of free cereal. Rinse and repeat.

Two Raisin Bran went to Mom and I'll keep some Raisin Bran for me. The rest will go to the food pantry.

I considered getting 4 boxes of Cornflakes giving myself $1 to spend with each order for a total of $5. Maybe tomorrow. I have the coupons and I need some bananas, apples and broccoli. And, the food pantry is always in need.

Project Renamed

May 10th, 2010 at 07:05 pm

The Soldier Project is officially renamed the Marine Project. I have been informed by my son that he is not a soldier, he is a Marine. To all Marines out there, no insult was intended. I plead ignorance and ask forgiveness!

We assembled 26 of the 38 personal care bags. Once we got started it was hard to stop. Each student was going to do one bag and that turned into 6 bags each very quickly. America used to have work parties. Kind of like the Amish do now with barn raising canning parties, and quilting bees. Working together made the whole thing fun and time just flew by.

I stopped at CVS tonight:
5 always pantiliners, 2 stayfree pads, 2 reach floss, 1 CVS shampoo, 2 30ct cotton swabs after coupons and 4 ecbs I paid .68 (everything gets donated)

Next stop Walmart:
2 visine, 4 benedryl topical sticks, can of 12.5oz white breast chicken after coupons = .76 (all but the chicken will be donated)

Last stop Safeway:
1 dozen eggs, 1 eating right dinner, 2 boxes cereal, 2 boxes BC cake mix, 2 cans BC frosting, 1 box BC brownies, 2 gal milk after coupons and $4oyno = .74

The clerk was using the automatic change machine so I grabbed my change and left. Out of habit, I checked my change and realized other folks must have left their change, because I had $1.07 in my hand. So technically after coupons I made 33cents.

I think I'll offer to bring a cake and ice cream to this weekends triple birthday celebration.

Two Grandnieces

May 9th, 2010 at 04:49 pm

My grand-nieces came down for a visit. They are 5mos and 17mos. Two the cutest little sweethearts to hit this earth. Perhaps I am a little prejudiced, but then I am allowed.

My mom who is in ill-health was so excited they came down. She loves being a great grandmother. There is just something about little tiny ones that makes everything fresh and new even when you don't think life is stale.

We were told not to buy any clothes for them since they were given oodles of clothes from their mommas sister. The good news is the order is rescinded, size 24mos and up is a go. Store sales and yard sales here I come.

I put together a gift bag of J&J baby bodywash and lotion, kleenex tissues, J&J bath buddy soap, benedryl itch stick, aveeno hand lotion (for mom), and sunblock spf 30.

I seem to have about 2-3 baby gift baskets to put together every year so I've decided to stock things so I don't have to do any last minute shopping. This has paid off handsomely twice now. By planning ahead I have $0-2 out of pocket. I would guess the retail value at $30-35. I only buy if it is on sale with coupons and/or rebates to make it free. Then it sits in the cupboard awaiting its chance to go into a basket and bring joy to a new addition and their family.

Lots of Free Sunday Coupon Inserts

May 6th, 2010 at 07:06 pm

I get the Sunday Paper. I can get all the Red Plum inserts I want for free. The Smart Source and Procter & Gamble are another story. Lately a family member who had been giving my alot of inserts said it was not longer possible. I was very sad, but understood Frown Well, today that person dropped a box at my feet (literally) with 22 each of last weekends inserts. I looked at that person in shock and said "Thank you, but how?" The reply was "oh we asked the person in charge and they said no problem, go ahead."

It won't be every Sunday, but it could be twice a month. Yahoo!

With so many inserts, I will have to use a different method of organizing them. If I don't my place will soon look like a hoarders holiday home. To each his/her own but that would drive me nuts.

Riteaid Wellness + Card

May 4th, 2010 at 07:54 pm

I've heard other express exasperation with the wellness card. They say it makes it hard to plan purchases. Since I try to get as close to zero out of pocket as I can I understand. It seems random. I've had my card for 2 weeks. Not enough for a discount and yet I seem to be getting one. Today it worked in my favor. Yea! My out of pocket should have been $2.50+tax with a rebate of $10. Instead my out of pocket was $1.06 including tax. I used my Riteaid gift card from the allergy rebate. I'm not complaining just confused.

My wellness+ savings is 18.50, my coupon savings is 26.50. I guess if I paid full retail (not in this life) it would have cost $45. I guess I will now have to develop a list of filler items of different prices 1,2,3 in case of overage.

Soldier Project Update

I have all I need for my soldier project. 38 Marines will have razors, shaving gel, deodorant, q-tips, wipes, body wash, tooth brushes, toothpaste and dental floss to take with them to Afghanistan. There are also misc things like Visine, sunblock, lotion, topical benedryl for bites, and other things. Not enough for all but the list will grow as August approaches. Now I can have my students assemble the bags. They are excited about the project. We'll put on music and have a lot of fun.

Saving on Silk Prom Dresses

May 3rd, 2010 at 07:22 pm

Two years ago, my son went to his senior prom and did it up. Tux, haircut, limo, new shoes, dinner out, prom tickets, corsage and I know there was more I just can't remember it all. His girlfriend, same person today, shelled out even more. Okay, her parents did.

This year is his girlfriend's senior prom. She is an incredibly beautiful person inside and out. The expenses were considerably less this time around. Experience can really shave the price off things.

Son's Expenses:
Tux- Pebbles, $117 (2010) vs $185 (2008)
Shoes - Military shoes, not free but not new for the prom
Haircut - same price
Dinner Out - Prom provides excellent heavy appetitizers, dinner wasn't necessary as proved 2 yrs earlier and reconfirmed last Saturday night.
Limo - Chose to take nice car
Corsage - no change

Girlfriend's Expenses:
Borrowed Silk Prom Dress: beautiful, red carpet dress in silk, the real deal, her cousin dress last year
Tickets - ? not sure but similar in cost
Hair - same
Jewelry - new, Kohl's lots of tasteful bling
Shoes - lots of tasteful bling
Tanning Salon - new this prom, unsure of cost but common to paid $50 for a few sessions

They saved at least $600. Very smart of them. I wore my prom dress once, my sister borrowed it for her junior prom and bought her senior prom dress.

Since I'm no longer married and I have no daughters, I've often thought of giving my dress to someone to dress up as Glenda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz (lol). Yes, ballgowns were popular at the time. I paid thousands for my dress and it sits in a box in storage. Oh well, I probably won't because I remember asking my grandmother to see her dress and finding she had gotten rid of it made me sad. Someday I might have a granddaughter and she might ask to look at and try on my dress. So, I suppose I will wait and see.

Overwhelming Pride

May 1st, 2010 at 04:22 pm

My son came home this weekend after 10 days of field training. I have watched him mature so much in this last year. He rarely makes excuses, follows thru on committments, does very good to excellent work, no longer a slob, and expects the same from others. The last part is important. Why? At his age many to most are still immature, they lack focus, they are irresponsible. Its as though the pin feathers have fallen off and left a man. He makes mistakes, we all do. But, he is working hard to be his own man while still including, loving and respecting his family and friends. What more can a parent ask for?

I am so proud of him and the man he is becoming.

He's going to a training that should lead to a promotion to corporal. I admit I don't know all the ins and outs but he wants to advance in his career and do well. I am especially proud of this because he did not get any of the 3 jobs he was supposed to get. And, he wasn't very please with what he got. He could have been like so many people and been angry, resentful, disruptive, etc. but he has been making the best of it and that is leading to jobs he does want.

The only bad news for me, though not to him, is that his unit is deploying in August instead of July. Sounds good until you find out this is because the area he will be going to his much more dangerous. He has promised me he is taking his training seriously and absorbing as much as he can to be ready. I will be doing alot of praying.

Deals and Rebates...

April 26th, 2010 at 02:33 pm

Other people knit, show dogs, garden, watch tv/movies, gossip, and the list goes on for a hobby. Me, I love to find sales, coupons, rebates that allow me to walk out making money or paying pennies to the dollar.

I love to read, spend time with family, go walking, but I admit to being addicted to free/almost free shopping. If I go to long without, I get irritable and shaky (LOL).

There was a time I was restricted in what I could buy. No dog, why get free dog food. No cat, why get free cat food. No baby, why get diapers. Don't eat Coco Puff, why get it even for free. This is no longer an issue. Well I still refuse Coco Puffs due to it being a dessert not a meal, while people treat it as breakfast.

I now have a list of groups who want my free items. Thank you all for allowing me to feed my habit/ addiction. Local middle school, food pantry, homeless shelter, animal rescue, coo-workers, family and friends. Even my expired excess coupons now have a home overseas in Japan on a Marine Corps Base (Yea!).

Riteaid will pay me $4.71 to take ownership of (3) 2.5 oz aveeno lotions, milky way miniatures, (2) dove haircare, (2) stayfree pads. (Riteaid rebate checks)

CVS will pay me up to a $1 to recieve (2) 2oz of Suncare.

Safeway paid me $6.46 to purchase (4) bottles of Extend a Clean Scrubbing Bubbles. I had to do that deal 4 times for $25.84 in catalinas plus more cleaning products than I can use(on your next order).
I had coupons for 2 more deals ($13 more for me)but I don't take the last of a product off the shelves (unless I am buying 1 or 2 only), so I gave the coupons to an interested cashier.

There were other deals this last week at Foodlion, Safeway, and Target.

I got a $15 (3x$5) from SC Johnson today. Yeah. I paid $2 to get $5 (x3), so a profit of $9 plus lots of ziploc containers. P.S. Quick turn around on the rebates.

Too much fun.

Carefirst Insurance Woes...

April 21st, 2010 at 07:21 pm

Carefirst paid the consult fee for the dentist who pulled my tooth. Now they are refusing to pay the same dentist that pulled my tooth (not the practice) saying she is not a participator in Carefirst. They confirmed she was 24hrs earlier. According to the practice they have written confirmation that she has been during the whole time period (24hrs).

I've heard of the racket of insurance companies saying stuff like that to hold onto the money longer and make the dr. wait and wait and wait, just so they can collect interest on the money a few months longer. This is my first experience with Carefirst doing this. Perhaps it is just a clerical error. Seems a little fishy when one day they are okay and the next (literally) all of the sudden they aren't. Luckily the dr office has said their insurance specialist will contact the insurance co and straighten it out.

Who needs this stress? It just confirms what I was saying about insurance customers costing the dr. more money than cash paying customers.



Thinking Outside the Box

April 18th, 2010 at 01:09 pm

I was in CVS and they had run out of skin wipes. I had been using the kids section to pick up travel size wipes a few at a time. I refuse to clear out a shelf (especially when using coupons)as I think it is rude. A few at a time gives the store time to restock if they want.

So, I was wandering around the store waiting for a prescription to be filled. What did I see in the adult section? Next to the Poise and Depends were adult wipes. Not only that, but they were 75% off making them $.49 each. After reading the package I decided they are the same as childrens in adult packaging. Plus, they are half the price.

Slowly over the past 3/4 days I have been buying 4 at a time. They are perfect for the Soldier Project and because I use a CVS coupon, I don't even pay tax.

Getting excited about not having to pay sales tax probably sounds really cheap. Hey, its just .06 per dollar spent. But look at the numbers.

38 soldiers X 10 products each X $3 avg price X 6% sales tax = $68.40

That's right I can save $68.40 by not being required to pay tax or getting a rebate to cover the tax. A rebate covers tax if I pay the tax but get back more than I paid for the product plus tax. Ex. store A sell product b for $5+tax= $5.30 - $1MQ = $4.30 and the store is giving a rebate of $5. Not only a MM but the sales tax is paid by the store. Anyway, I suppose not technically but thats how I look at it.

I tend to get more for the dollar in value than any government I've seen. But then I get line item veto in my budget and the President doesn't.

Insured/Uninsured Dental Care Costs

April 14th, 2010 at 05:37 pm

To take care of my tooth/nerve infection, I saw 3 Dentists. First was my general practitioner who referred me to an endodontist. The endodontist ended as a consult referring me back to my general Dr for referral to an oral surgeon. Twenty years ago your general was general and did it all. Not so now. Now I run all over to see Specialists racking up fee after fee and putting mileage on my car and losing time from work.

Everyone gets a consult fee. The part that is grossly unfair is how it increases the costs for people without insurance. If my insurance pays for the consult the Dr get $35 and if insurance says they won't pay then I pay $75. I had to pay the $75 up front so it will be returned to me. But, I think of the uninsured. They should pay $35 up front. They actually cost the Dr less because there are no forms to fill out, no waiting even a day for the money, no extra storage for the forms in paper or computer space, no extra employee to deal with insurance companies. If anyone should pay more it is the insured. We are the expensive ones. This is just common sense.

I really like my Dr. I've been with him for almost 20yrs. However, I may consider looking for a dentist or group of dentists where I won't have to travel so much and take off work. Consult fees of $225 when one dentist should be able to numb the area and pull it out in one visit is too much for my frugal soul. Oh, and that $225 doesn't touch the actual tooth being pulled. That is an additional cost.

Free Free Free

April 13th, 2010 at 07:58 pm

I took Mom to the Doctors so I drove her in her car. We stopped a few places for me and a few for her.

CVS
Scanned my ExtraCare Card and got coupons for $1 off CVS brand paper product and $1 off CVS brand skin care item.

Travel pack of Cotton Swabs .99
Travel pack of Skin Wipes .99
Both CVS Brand
Total after CVS coupons FREE, not even tax

Riteaid
Schick Razor 8.99
Crest 3D Toothpaste 2.99
(4) Compleats Meals
Hormel @1.99 ea 7.96

Minus (4)MQ Compleats 4.00
MQ 3D TP 1.00
MQ Schick 3.00
$5/20 5.00

= $7.36 (inc.tax)
Riteaid Rebates are $8 (2TP+6Razor)
Or .64 moneymaker Free Free

CVS has toilet paper 2/$1 this week or 2 for Free.
I am still working on the Soldier Project so I chose not to purchase the toilet paper. For free I would try a roll and donate the other. Some other time I guess.

Walmart has travel packs of Huggie Wipes 16ct for .97 and I have a $1 MQ they can adjust down to .97. I have enough MQs to finish the wipes for the project.

To Date the Project Has:
38 Body Washes
38 Pkg of Razors
38 Dental Floss
38 Toothpaste
38 Toothbrushes

Will Have:
38 Wipes

Still Need:
16 Deodorants
18+/- Cotton Swabs

There are also assorted female products for 2 females.

Recipe for Dishwasher Machine Detergent

April 11th, 2010 at 01:09 pm

Credit goes to momisbroke.com. I wanted a place to keep this that I won't lose it. I tend to put things in a safe easy to find place and then its lost. LOL. I also like that she tells you where to find the ingredients. So many recipes like this don't.


Dishwasher Detergent

This is the easiest one, which is why I started here. My 9 year old son is now in charge of making our dishwasher detergent when we run out.


What you need:

box of borax (laundry soap isle)

big box of baking soda (Wal-mart laundry isle)

container of table salt

Rubbermaid 32oz or larger drinking bottle

funnel


Here is all you have to do to make it:


Pour 1 1/2 cup Borax into bottle using the funnel,

add 1 1/2 cup baking soda,

add 1 cup of salt.

Cap the bottle and shake well.


That's it. I just fill the regular wash and the extra clean wash bins on the dishwasher door, and turn it on. It washes just as good as the expensive stuff, plus it even scrubs off the gunk that the kids don't scrap off. I have a well and septic system at my home, and it is totally safe for septic systems too.

I have not done the math on how much it costs per batch to make, but I know it has to be tons cheaper than the store bought stuff. We have been using ours for three months now. I would not tell you how to make something if I have not been using it myself. So be assured, it is safe and works great. I would however keep it out of reach of little ones due to the borax!

Cheap Natural Easy Mosquito Repellent

April 9th, 2010 at 09:20 pm

I hate mosquito repellents that are sprayed or rubbed on. And, citronella just doesn't work for me. I decided to find a natural way to repel bugs, including the mosquito. I am the mosquitos favorite blood draw. They pass up perfectly good meals to attack me en masse.

Sprays give me headaches and I don't like the sticky feeling they leave on me. I don't care what the manufacturers say its poison and your skin absorbs it into your body.

So after a long night of search I found something that has been 100% effective when used correctly. Vitamin B1 is a natural bug repellent. Oh, one might still land on you though I find even that rare, but they fly off in a huff, noses turned up. That is perfectly okay with me. I don't want to donate anyway.

So here is what you do. Take your normal daily vitamin in the morning. Then, 20 mins minimum before you want to go out, take a B vitamin complex. I suggest the B complex because people get to the store and see lots of different B vitamins and can't remember which. Just get the B complex, it works fine. After 20 min. although I like 30 mins. personally go out and have fun.

The only down side is that your urine will be a bright yellow (your body excreting the excess). But, that is a small price to pay to no longer be the feast of the party.

$1 = 4 boxes cereal + milk

April 7th, 2010 at 03:57 pm

Food Lion has a special this week on Special K (haha). Buy 4 boxes at $2.50 ea = $10. I have 4 ($1) manf. coupons $10-4=6. Buy 4 and FL will take $5 of your order. $6-5=$1.

That was the deal I went in to get. I did not realize that the buy 4 Kellogg cereals get 1 gallon of milk free would overlap (until 4/10).

So, to my surprise and pleasure, for $1 I got 4 boxes of Special K and a certificate for a gallon of milk. Milk to go with my cereal, what will they think of next?

Cutting the Cost of Laundry Detergent

April 6th, 2010 at 06:35 pm

A web site recently asked readers what they pay for laundry detergent. Some make their own. Some buy on sale. I don't make it but I keep the recipes in case I ever have to.

Me, I combine 2 strategies.

Rarely do I pay more than tax for laundry detergent. I prefer Tide or Wisk but I am flexible. I combine sales, coupons, and rebates. This week K-Mart has coupon doubles to $2 and I got (5) 32oz bottles of All for the cost of tax. Sale price $4 - 2MQ doubled or $4 - $4 = $0+tax. Since I am stocked up on Tide and Wisk right now, the All Detergent was donated to the food pantry.

Even thought I pay little to nothing out of pocket, I buy the regular type of detergent for my HE front loader. Ten years ago, when I got my front loader it was hard to find HE detergent. I called Proctor and Gamble and told them that I had a front loader and still wanted to use Tide but there wasn't any HE Tide available at that time. They told me to just use half the recommended amount of regular Tide and it should be fine. So that is what I did and they were right. So my 32 load bottle is a 64 load bottle and I get the same cleaning action and results.

So my 2 main strategies are to:

1. Combine sales, coupons and rebates (goal is
$0+Tax or even less)
2. Use regular detergent for my front loader and
just cut the amount in half. (If the clothes are
especially dirty, add a little more, but not
much.)

Such a Good Day!

April 1st, 2010 at 05:11 pm

I not only don't owe taxes, I'm getting $2,283 back Federal and State. In years past, I would get so close that I would owe or get back $50. Since my separation/divorce and this is my first year without DS I had no idea how it would work out. I will definitely have to change my tax forms at work. Alot of states are not sending owed money on returns. Maryland is okay this year but who knows with next years returns.

I found out that I have a cousin I didn't know about. Seems my aunt and uncle decided to give her up for adoption. I am so excited for my cousin who is an only child and unmarried (no children, either). She seems to be a lovely person. She has 5 children (1 adopted). When she adopted her child she did not know she herself was adopted. Now my cousin will have a sister, a BIL, and 5 nieces and nephews. Wow! I love family. Although, I must say we certainly have our share of eccentrics!

And, my brother walked in and said "here I brought you a bunch of Sunday inserts." Yahoo! There must be 15. Lots more free dog food and Snuggle!

Animal Shelter

March 31st, 2010 at 05:07 pm

One of my goals is to donate to the animal shelter. I just about never go in that aisle as I no longer have any pets. In fact, now that I think of it this is the longest I've gone without having a pet(21mos). I want to give food items.

Thanks to savingaddiction.com I found out about a mighty dog deal. The coupon is in this weeks SS.

Walmart 58 cents a can (ymmv, savingaddiction .57)
x 5 = 2.90- $3 off 5 cans MQ = -.10(toward tax)
and
.58 - .58 (1 free can MQ)= 0 + tax

did this deal 2x for a total donation of 12 cans.

It had me singing and dancing in the aisle, discreetly of course. LOL

Damaged Nerve

March 30th, 2010 at 02:56 pm

I saw the Dental Surgeon yesterday. It is unusual/rare to have the kind of nerve involvement my infection has caused. Only time will tell if all of the feeling will return and the tingling, cold sensation will go away. I had the tooth pulled today. The sooner it was pulled the better according to the Dr.(and me). I can decide on an implant later as it has to heal for 6mo or more first.

Lucky for me, so far, no pain. Not even much discomfort. I am a wimp as far as pain goes. The Dr. office called to check on me and they thought it was strange also. I comforted her by saying maybe it will hurt later this evening. I hope not for my sake. However, part of my lower face is still numb due to the infection, so maybe that is why there isn't any pain. The only thing that hurts is the injection site (novacaine) and one side of my throat.
I hate pain meds beyond tylenol. I really hate hydrocodone. Nasty stuff. If I don't take it by Thursday night I'm taking it back to the pharmacy.

My cost so far is $142. My insurance will cover $235 and if I get lucky and they cover the consult fee I will get back $75 from the Dental Surgeon. I knew I should have contributed more to my health savings account.

Good news! Safeway is having a sale on Aquafresh toothpaste. Buy 3 or more and its $1.50. I have MQ for .75 that Safeway will double. Do the math and yes, you are right it is free, free, free, well except for Maryland sales tax. I got 20 tubes this morning for .90 And, since I am still feeling okay I am considering going out this evening to pick up more. 10 for the soldier project and the rest for the food pantry. I have enough coupons for 23 tubes. I won't feel guilty clearing any shelves as the sale ends tonight and everyone else had all weeks to get theirs. Another item struck from the list as completed.


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