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.


It’s time for triples again

27 04 2009

My favorite grocery store, Harris Teeter, is at it again with another round of triples. It has only been one month since the last triples promotion, and according to folks with inside sources, it is another week-long event. Triples will begin Wednesday, April 29, and run through Tuesday, May 5.

This lends credibility to the rumors that Harris Teeter will be doing triples on a monthly basis. We coupon crazies can only hope.

And for those of you in the lands of no triples, such as Florida, my pantry runneth over in sorrow for you.

For those of you on the East Coast within driving distance of a Harris Teeter, click here  for a wonderful list of triples deals posted on the North Carolina-based deals forum, SavvyDollar.org. Many thanks to Faye Prosser, a North Carolina coupon guru and the author of the book, The Smart Spending Guide, for compiling the list, which also includes deals listed on HotCouponWorld.com, a national deals forum.

Looks like there are many free and nearly free items available to savvy shopper with the right coupons. During the first two days of the sale, we’ll be able to take advantage of those coupons with April 30th expiration dates. And Sunday will bring another new round of deals with the new coupon inserts in Sunday’s newspaper.

In these recessionary times, I can’t think of a better way to stretch that grocery budget.

Clipping coupons assembly-line style

31 03 2009

img_1626As I mentioned in a post last week, I will sometimes buy extra Sunday newspapers when the coupon inserts are especially good. Last Sunday was one of those times.

Although there were only two coupon books, they were good-sized and full of coupons for items I regularly purchase. The coupons also opened up new opportunities for bargains at  Harris Teeter, which is running an unprecedented weeklong triples promotion. (Don’t forget: today is the last day of triples!)

I made a drug store run to buy five copies of the News & Observer to add to the one I have delivered to our home. The cheapest places to buy extra papers around here are Walgreens and the Dollar Tree at $1. But since I was getting a late start, and both those places often sell out, I bought mine at CVS. I paid with Extra Care Bucks and a gift card so it was still a bargain at $1.50 per paper. For no money out of pocket, I had a goldmine of coupons to triple.

I brought a scissors with me and immediately cut three each of several products and went to my closest Harris Teeter, which happened to be in the same shopping center. I walked out with free pasta, free Steamfresh veggies, and extraordinarily cheap Nestle’s Morsels (54 cents), Breakstone sour cream (34 cents) and Dole fruit (17 cents).

img_1628Then I came home and set up shop to cut the rest of my coupons assembly-line style. (I’m all about saving time as well as money!)

On my cleared kitchen table, I took one of the inserts and spread it sheet by sheet on the table. I then layered the matching sheets of the five remaining inserts on top.

Next, I stapled each set of six coupons together, being carefully to avoid stapling the barcode. Then I cut the six-deep stack of coupons.

In the end, I cut six sets of coupons in about the same amount of time it would take me to cut one. The stapled coupons are also easier to sort and file into my binder.img_1630img_1631img_1632

Triple coupon “hidden deals”

26 03 2009

If you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance of a Harris Teeter grocery store, you’ve probably been triple couponing at least once since the promotion began Wednesday. I was there bright and early to get my bargains before the shelves were bare.  (Just a reminder that there are no rain checks for triple coupons.)

I returned to Harris Teeter today to take a more leisurely stroll up and down the aisles looking for what I call the “hidden deals.”  The forums on SavvyDollar.org and Hot Coupon World do a great job of posting all the triples bargains, combining sales with coupons from the Sunday newspaper inserts. Those lists also include many of the deals using the so-called “peelie” coupons found on products and “blinkie” coupons from the little red machines attached to the store shelves.

But, often times, I’ll have coupons from other sources that turn out to be a great deal. I’m talking about coupons from magazines, free samples, product demonstrators, etc. See my post here about my top 15 sources for finding coupons.

A prime example of this was my purchase of  Uncrustables frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Using the 55-cent coupons available from the Sunday inserts, a $2.79 box would end up costing you $1.14. Not a bad deal if your family eats these all the time but more than I would spend for an item you can make yourself in seconds for a fraction of the cost.

But, I had coupons valued at 75 cents off from a word-of-mouth marketing campaign I took part in months ago that I was saving for just such an occasion. That made each box just 54 cents. As a treat for my daughter, I stocked up.

Another example is the Spot Shot carpet cleaner I purchased yesterday. Using the newspaper insert coupon and taking advantage of the BOGO deal, these cans would be 85 cents. A great bargain considering this product normally sells for $5. But with a $2 coupon I clipped from the All You magazine, I paid just 50 cents.

So today, with my coupon binder open and my more relaxed pace, I looked to see if I could snag an extra deal or two. I recognize this sort of thing isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re holding down a job or have a toddler hanging on to your legs. But since I’m the stay-at-home parent in our household and my youngest is in school, I  try to squeeze in the time to do this sort of deal reconnaissance mission every so often.

My “hidden deal” of the day? A half-gallon of Mayfield ice cream. Since we’re chocolate fanatics, I chose Extreme Moose Tracks. It is regularly priced at $5.65 but was on a BOGO special for $2.88. Tucked into a page pocket in the freezer section of my binder was a lone coupon for 55 cents off any Mayfield ice cream. I vaguely remembered getting it from a demonstrator a few weeks ago who was handing out small dishes of ice cream.

SCORE! I brought home a half-gallon of  ice cream for just $1.23

What hidden deals have you found lately?

Triple the fun at Harris Teeter

25 03 2009

img_1618I was at Harris Teeter bright and early this morning to take advantage of its incredibly generous weeklong triple-coupon promotion. After my No-Spend Challenge in February, I had fun restocking the pantry and freezer.

The stores in my area encourage multiple shops so I did three, one at each of three different stores so I wouldn’t make a dent in any one store’s stock.

In total, I saved 77 percent on my groceries, paying just $27.47 for $119.53 worth of products. I purchased a couple items with coupons that didn’t triple, such as the Spot Shot cleaner. Instead of the 55-cent coupon, I used a $2 coupon, which worked out to be a better deal.

With my receipts, I will get $3.50 back on a Try-Me-Free rebate offer from Sargento. Click here to read a previous post on rebates. And with my 15 proofs of purchase for JollyTime popcorn, I will receive five reusable grocery bags. That deal is listed on the back of the box.

Not bad for a morning’s work by a stay-at-home parent.

A triple coupon marathon

22 03 2009

Word on the Web has it that Harris Teeter, my favorite grocery store chain here in North Carolina, is going to be offering triple coupons again this week —  but with a twist.

This time, the triple-coupon event will begin on Wednesday, the first day of the new sales week, and last for a full week. This is pretty much unheard of in the couponing world. Triple coupon events typically last three days — or at the most four. Talk about a couponing marathon.

With just 2 1/2 days to go until triples begin, I’ll be spending a lot of time matching coupons in my binder with items that will be on sale. Many thanks to the folks at Hot Coupon World and SavvyDollar.org, two sites that have posted the contents of the weekly sale paper and a list of grocery items that will end up being free or a few cents each.

This is extremely valuable information because more casual shoppers won’t see the sales circular until they open their Wednesday morning newspaper. The early shopper gets the deals.

If you’re new to couponing, a triples event is a great opportunity to stock your pantry. Concentrate on buying the free and nearly free items, and any items that are an exceptionally good deal that your family eats or uses all the time. But don’t be fooled into thinking all triples deals are the best deal you will find. Many times, a double coupon offer — when combines with a “buy-one-get-one-free” sale — will end up being cheaper. So know your sales.

The three main coupon policies to remember when shopping a triples event at Harris Teeter:  The store will triple up to 20 coupons per day per customer. No more than three like coupons will be tripled. Coupons will triple up to 99 cents in value. I’ve never seen a coupon valued at 99 cents, but if there were such a thing, it would be valued at $2.97 during triples. To read the store’s full coupon policy, click here.

Now it’s back to work on my coupon binder. See you in the aisles.

Triple-coupon shopping without spending a dime, or a nickel, or a penny

5 02 2009

Just after I decided to go the entire month of February without spending a dime, word leaked out that Harris Teeter would be tripling manufacturer’s coupons for four days, today through Sunday. My friends thought I was crazy to go through with it.

I hadn’t yet posted my no-spend challenge so, honestly, I did consider quitting before I even started. After all, triple couponing promotions are a major part of my success in keeping my weekly spending to $50. It’s during triples that I’m able to stockpile items for free or a few cents each so I don’t have to purchase them during my regular shopping trips at higher prices.

Ultimately, though, I decided to go through with the no-spend challenge. My stockpile is so large now and encompasses so many products that I figured I wouldn’t miss out on all that much. There’s always another great deal waiting around the corner.

My game plan: I would only go after a select few products that I really needed, spend as little as possible and pay with an American Express gift card I got in the mail unexpectedly last week.

(This gift card is a story unto itself. Home Depot sent it to me as an apology when its promotion for free tickets to the movie Bedtime Stories ran into troubles with faulty redemption codes.)

But in the end, I decided using the gift card would be taking the easy way out. I wanted to stay as true to the spirit of the challenge as possible and only call on my gift card stash for necessities. Besides, I also wanted to experience a more simple lifestyle during this hiatus from spending and trolling the aisles of Harris Teeter for deals doesn’t qualify!

So I went to triples with nothing more than my regular coupons and two $1-off-your-next-order coupons that I got last week at Kroger after buying  a bunch of mustard. These Catalina coupons, or spitties as some folks call them, are as good as cash.

I initially intended to purchase three bags of 2% Kraft shredded cheese and a box of  Hungry Jack pancake mix. My total would have been 98 cents plus tax so I planned to give the cashier one of  the $1 Catalina coupons and pay a couple pennies in tax. I then planned on doing the deal again tomorrow.

But when I got to the register, the cashier told me she couldn’t triple the cheese coupons because they said DO NOT DOUBLE on the top. While Harris Teeter has always taken these sort of coupons in the past, it’s not my style to argue with employees of a store that has been so generous in its coupon policies so I politely thanked her for letting me know before she checked me out.

Back in the grocery aisles, I selected two Hungry Jack pancake mixes (we used our last box last night) and threw in a Colgate toothpaste. We didn’t need the toothpaste but I needed a quick filler so I figured I could donate it. After store sales and coupons plus tax, the store owed me $0.01. I asked if we could just call it even, but the cashier insisted on giving me the penny so her drawer would be even at the end of the night.

So, in the end, Harris Teeter paid me $0.01 to shop.

I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with the other $1 Catalina coupon….any suggestions?