A good weekend for coupons

14 05 2009

Looks like it will be a good Sunday to buy an extra newspaper or two or three.

According to the folks over at thecouponclippers.com, there will be three nice-size inserts in this Sunday’s papers. Click here to check out the list to see what coupons you may be interested in. Then click on each of the inserts listed under May 17: Smart Source, Valassis and Proctor and Gamble.

By buying extra papers, you’ll be able to maximize your savings and add to your pantry stockpile when you  match your coupons to store sales.

 And, with my journalism roots, I can’t resist an opportunity to put in a plug to buy extra papers to boost those ever-shrinking circulation numbers at newspapers across the country. Click here, here and here for past posts on why I think newspapers are still a smart purchase.

A couple coupons that caught my eye for this weekend: 75 cents off 1 package of Breyers Yo Crunch 100-calorie packs of yogurt and 55 cents off 1 package of Nabisco Chips Ahoy cookies.

In double- and triple-coupon land where I live, those two coupons have huge potential.

And don’t forget about my shortcuts for clipping all those coupons from multiple papers. Click here to save yourself all kinds of time and aggravation.

One last remember:  Next Sunday, May 24, there will be no Sunday coupons because of Memorial Day weekend.


An update on our blueberry crop

14 05 2009

IMG_1738The last I reported, our blueberry bushes were looking spindly and rather pitiful as they awaited planting. You can read the full post here and see photos of just how pitiful the three bushes looked. While that original post was generally optimistic, I had huge unspoken reservations. (It was all I could do not to vocally second-guess my husband’s choice of plants.)

IMG_1739Well, what a difference a month makes. Those once sad-looking bushes are now thriving with numerous clusters of berries. Not tons of berries, but enough to top more than a few bowls of Cheerios mixed with Fiber One. (I don’t care what the FDA says, Cheerios are still the best.)

Another month and the first of the three bushes should be ready to pick. After researching what types of blueberry bushes to get, we settled on two Rabbiteye and one Southern Highbush. You need at least two types, we learned, for cross pollination to increase the yield and quality of the fruit.

From these two types, we chose three different varieties, which will bear fruit at varying times in the blueberry growing season. This will spread the wealth, so to speak, and won’t inundate us with fruit once the bushes grow larger.

Now there’s only one thing standing in our way to a successful first-year crop. Birds!

Reminder: Postage goes up May 11

4 05 2009

img_1700Don’t be late mailing your Mother’s Day cards this year. Not only will you lose favor with Mom, but each card will cost you an extra 2 cents — thanks to a postage increase by the United States Postal Service.

Beginning Monday, May 11, the postage for a first-class one-ounce letter will increase to 44 cents.

If you want to save yourself a few cents, save yourself a bunch of hassle with 2-cent stamps and avoid those long lines at the post office, stock up now on a few sheets of Forever stamps.

Forever stamps can be purchased for the current 42-cent price and are good forever — just as their name suggests.

I bought 10 sets of Forever stamps the last time postage went up and still have six left. (Ifyou’re anything like me, you probably keep in touch with friends and family through email and you probably pay most, if not all, your bills online or through auto-draft.)

I will probably buy a couple more today or tomorrow, but I won’t go overboard. And I definitely won’t wait until Friday when the procrastinators will send lines out the door.

If you do slip up and find yourself stampless on Friday, check your local grocery stores to see if they sell stamps. In my area, Food Lion stores sell stamps without a surcharge, saving time and money.

Postage on other mailing services are also going up. For more information, click here.

More Target deals

30 04 2009

img_1699I couldn’t resist going on another shopping expedition to Target today with my Target coupons. I had a couple coupons expiring and I couldn’t stand the thought of them going to waste.

I thought I would share the deals and post a photo to further illustrate the “Target Tutorial” post I wrote earlier this week.

If I had paid full price, which would NEVER happen, my bill would have been $14.40 for the items you see pictured.

Here is what I paid and how I did it:

*Half-gallon Tropicana orange juice, $2.99, minus $1 Target coupon, minus $1 manufacturer’s coupon = 99 cents

*Three apples, regularly $1.89 on sale for $1.27, minus $1 Target coupon = 27 cents

*Promise Activ Supershots, $2.89 (cheapest price I could find), minus $1.50 manufacturer’s coupon= $1.39

*Three Quaker granola bites packages, $1 each, minus three $1 Target coupons = free

*Two GE Energy Smart CFL bulbs, $3.59 each minus two $2 Target coupons minus two $1 manufacturer’s coupons = 59 cents each

My total bill was $4, which includes tax. The cashier was speechless. I was giddy. I carried it all out with my FREE reusable Target shopping bag, which I received on Earth Day.

Lovin’ Target, lovin’ coupons.

Triples update: I saved 87 percent on my grocery bill

29 04 2009

img_1698If you’ve had any lingering doubts about the power of coupons, check out my latest shopping trip to Harris Teeter. I saved 87 percent off my total grocery order. 

In other words, I paid 13 cents on the dollar for all the groceries you see filling my kitchen table. If that isn’t worth a couple hours a week clipping and organizing, I don’t know what is.

After three shops at three different HT stores — all a stone’s throw from my house — I paid $22.01 for $163.23 worth of groceries.

Harris Teeters throughout the Southeast are tripling coupons up to 99 cents today through Tuesday, May 5. Click here to read my original post, which includes a link to a substantial list of great deals for free and unbelievably cheap items.

Items I “bought” that were totally free: Grande tortilla chips, McCormick cinnamon, McCormick chili powder, Clabber Girl baking powder, Bumblebee Tuna, Lava bar soap and Lady Speed Stick.

Items 25 cents or under: Dial soap three-pack, McCormick imitation vanilla, Texas Toast crutons, Planters Big Nut bars, Lipton noodles, Dole peaches, Multi-grain Cheerios and No Yolk noodles.

Items 55 cents or under: Pepto Bismol, Nestles Morsels, Eggo waffles and Breyers ice cream.

Everything else was under $1 except for the package of sirloin fillets, which were $1.76 after a $2 peelie, and Reynolds 100 percent recycled foil, which was $1.45 after triple coupons. But, I will end up getting this free — or possibly make money — after sending in my Earth Day try-me-free mail-in rebate.

After all that shopping, I’ll probably take a breather until early Sunday morning when the new coupons come out in the Sunday newspaper. Check here or here later today to see what coupons we can expect. 

In the mean time, I’d love to hear your best grocery savings stories.

A Target tutorial

29 04 2009

I love Target. I love its clean stores, its wide aisles, its cute and cheap kids clothes, its funky home decor.

And I especially love its coupons.

With just the right combination of  Target coupon and manufacturer’s coupon, you can score some great deals. If the item happens to be on sale — or better yet — on clearance, the deals can be astounding. It is not uncommon to “buy” several items, paying only sales tax.

I do not claim to be a Target expert. There are plenty of writers who blog daily — yes, daily — about the ins and outs of  Target deals, and their love of all things Target.

Two of my favorites are Attention Target Shoppers and Slave to Target. At Attention Target Shoppers, Ginger gives weekly updates on coupon match-ups. She also gives her followers — she calls them Targeteers — the heads up on sales, coupon policies and strategies, clearance deals and the occasional giveaway.

 Target Slave characterizes her relationship with Target as a “Red Cart Romance.” She describes herself  as an “Internet dork and Target lover, endcap whore and $1 section addict.” She offers hilarious reports on the latest Target merchandise.

I’m just a coupon junkie who knows my way around the endcaps of her SuperTarget, which is so close to my home I could walk to it if I had to.

With the tips of fellow bloggers, I have learned the art of the Target deal.

This week’s deals are exceptionally good so I thought it would be a great time to share.

How do free apples, free Quaker snacks, 32-cent Kraft Easy Mac cups, and 50-cent Oscar Mayer hot dogs sound? They sounded pretty good to me.

The apples, Quaker snacks and mac and cheese are all straightforward deals, requiring only a Target coupon. The hot dog deal requires a Target coupon and two manufacturer’s coupons. This coupon combination is called stacking in coupon parlance and is perfectly legit. Think of the Target coupon as a hidden sale, offered only to shoppers in the know. The cost of the store coupon discount is absorbed by Target.  By using a manufacturer’s coupon along with the Target coupon, you further reduce the amount you will pay for an item.

Here are the details of the deals I got yesterday:

*Several varieties of apples are on sale this week for 99 cents per pound. Target issued a coupon for $1 off one pound or more of apples. Select just enough apples to weigh in at one pound and you’ve just bought yourself some free apples.

*One dollar bags of Quaker Granola Bites can be found near the cash registers. Target issued a coupon for $1 off any Quaker snack. The key word here is “any.” Free granola snacks.

*Kraft Easy Mac bowls are 82 cents. Target issued a coupon for $1 off two Kraft Easy Mac meals. Bulls-eye! Dorm dinners for my college boys at 32 cents each.

*Many varieties of Oscar Mayer hot dogs are on sale for $1.99. Target issued a coupon for $1 off of two packages. Lucky for me, I also had manufacturer’s coupons for $1 off one package of OM hot dogs. Using one Target coupon and two manufacturer’s coupons,  my final price for two packages of dogs was $1 or 50 cents each.

Where do you get Target coupons?

Frequently, Target will mail out coupons to shoppers, based on Zip codes and shopping habits. I sometimes receive these mailer coupons but my neighbors, who aren’t big coupon clippers, seem to get them more regularly. I know this, btw, because they sometimes give me their Target coupons.

Most often, I get my Target coupons by printing them off the Target.com website. About every two weeks, the store will issue new coupons and you can pick and choose which ones to print. Click here to check out this week’s coupons. There are 18 coupons, all expiring May 23, worth $17.

Being frugal, however, I detest using paper and ink on coupons I may or may not use. So the most frugal way to get these coupons is to print them at Target using its paper and its ink! I try to make a habit of stopping in at the Customer Service area each time I set foot in Target. Three computers are there for customers to sign in to wedding and baby registries and to print coupons.

If you forget to print coupons off the Target website, the coupons are also available for printing at afullcup.com and hotcouponworld.com, two national bargain shopping forums. These sites have the coupons available for printing until they expire. Target.com generally replaces the coupons every two weeks.

My only other advice on using Target coupons is to use common sense and courtesy. Theoretically, I could have walked out of Target with a dozen or more of each item I purchased but I didn’t. First, I want Target to keep offering these great deals. Greed is bound to spoil it for all of us. Second, I want to give my fellow couponers a chance to find a bargain.

Don’t forget: 31-cent ice cream today

28 04 2009

Here’s your friendly reminder to stop by Baskin Robbins today for a cheap treat.

Scoops of ice cream will cost you just 31 cents today, from 5 to 10 p.m.

Participating stores will sell small scoops for 31 cents in honor of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) National Junior Firefighter Program. The company is donating $100,000 to the program. To find a Baskin Robbins near you, click here.