Posted in DIY, Freebies, Frugal Living, Life and Money Hacks, Shopping Hauls and Couponing Reports, Uncategorized

Revamping and returning soon! Check out my YouTube channel!

Hi all, I have had some major health problems lately, (which I will get into in a post soon) so I apologize for the long time between posts. I am currently thinking about how to re-design this site to make it more interesting and organized. I had many ideas on what and how often to post and I will be checking out how to do it. Not easy when you have absolutely NO web or design experience. I will be working on it over the next couple of weeks, so please stay tuned and in the meantime, check out my YouTube channel, Coupon Choice Mom. I seem to have been more active on it than here, probably because I love playing with editing equipment. (It’s probably why I went into TV broadcasting in the first place. ) I hope you will stay tuned. If you follow me on the main page, I will make a post announcing that I am back when I’m done, but please check out my older posts in the meantime and subscribe to my channel!

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Posted in Shopping Hauls and Couponing Reports

Shopping Report 11/20/16

I love couponing. And to love couponing, sometimes, you have to love math. Even those complex word algebra problems that were your bane back in school.

And you didn’t think you would ever use it in real life.

Here is the problem: You must buy a combination of 12 of the following items in order to get them for .75 each. Progresso soup, Idahoan potatoes, Campbell’s soup, Lipton Recipe Secrets, Pasta Roni, or Kraft Macaroni and cheese.  Now which coupons do you use in order to maximize your savings?

Sigh. I always was bad at math.

After glaring at both my binder and calculator for a while I eliminated Idahoan, Pasta Roni and the macaroni since I didn’t have any coupons for them anyway.  After a lot of scribbling of bad equations, I was visited by a vision of my middle school pre-algebra teacher and figured out the following: 3 Campbell’s tomato soup. (Because I love tomato soup and a tuna sandwich as a nice comfort lunch. And  you have to admit, Campbell’s tomato soup may be simple, but you know you love it. I had a coupon for the tomato soup for $1.20 off 3. I grabbed 2 Lipton Recipe Secrets seasonings with a $1.00 off 2. I had 3 coupons for .50 off 2 (which doubled) any Progresso product. I was even able to get some pot roast and chicken noodle flavors. Ok, that was the end of the coupons, but that was only 11 so I threw in a coupon-less Idahoan potato pouch to make it to the required dozen.

All that math ended up with me paying an average of .31 for each of the products. Not bad.

I also grabbed 4 Minute Ready to Serve Rice in 2 different flavors. (white and fried if you really want to know. On sale for 2/4, I had a $1 off coupon for each one. Another deal was the Breakstone sour cream. It was 3 for $5, but since the sign didn’t say you had to buy 3 so I didn’t. Take that, sale sign. I only had 1 coupons for .75 off 2 that of course doubled. I also had a load to card special for 1.50 off 2. All in all, I paid 33 cents for each.

Then came the tea. Ahh, the tea. Now, I grew up in the deep south, where a good sweet iced tea is practically the required beverage for life itself. Well, Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, and Tetley all were on sale and I had coupons for all.  Southern house wine, how I love thee.

There was a sale on grapes that if  you spent $25 you got red seedless for 99 cents each. There’s a lot of grapes in Ziplocs in my freezer right now.

There was some other small coupon savings (thankfully, with no major math) with things I needed anyway, including cat food and litter. She’s an expensive little furball.

There was a deal I had to pass up though. The store was offering a free box of store brand dryer sheets if you bought a box of Bounce dryer sheets. I had both a load to card discount and a coupon for Bounce. It would have been a great deal except that I couldn’t find an unscented version of the Bounce sheets. Now I’m so sensitive to smell, that when I was young my parents had me sniff the sodas in restaurants so I could tell which one was diet for my diabetic brother.  ( I was never wrong) My super strength smell sense may seem great, but combined with my asthma, it means I can’t use scented laundry anything. (Or soap, shampoo or anything similar.) Now I am not one of the weird and crazy couponers you see on TV that will buy literally  anything if it’s a great deal, even if you don’t need it and will never use it. I do have standards, and sanity. And limited storage space.  So with a heavy heart (and a pinched nose) I passed it by.

I did have to get a few things at full price because, you know, Thanksgiving approaches.

All in all, this was a great trip. I got around 108 dollars for 41.21 (including tax) . I know normally I say the exact amount, but I seem to have misplaced  the receipt before I typed this up.

“How did I type this up then?” you may ask. Well, obviously it was easy to find out how much I spent, I also remember the approximate pre-coupon total, since I was bragging on it to a friend from work. But for the last couple of hours, I have been going  through the old flyer. (which was still stuck in my binder for some reason) I circled everything I remembered buying and if I didn’t remember exactly what the coupon I used was, I hit the coupon database on MoneySavingMom.com to see what was available, since that is what I would have had.

I have just remembered to check my rebate apps to see what I got when I uploaded my receipt. According to my Saving Star account, I saved another 40 cents off the Lipton tea, 60 cents off the Recipe Secrets and a dollar off 3 Progresso soups. . And Ibotta says I was credited  $1 for the Lipton Recipe Secrets too. This means that actually for the 2 boxes of seasonings, I made, that’s right, made $1.29. So adding all the rebates, that brings  my total from 108 to 38.21.

That’s a pretty good deal, I hope I find the receipt so I have proof.

All of the deals were at Giant stores in Fairfax County, Virginia. The sales I mention here have already ended, but if you know of  a sale for the upcoming Thanksgiving week or know of another great sale in your area, please leave a comment. Happy Couponing!

 

Posted in Freebies, Shopping Hauls and Couponing Reports

Unadvertised Deal Alert!

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UPDATE: This sale is over, sorry!

There wasn’t enough deals to do a real couponing trip this week, but there was a deal  in my area I had to let people know about. (In case anyone in my area is reading this.)   Before I finish planning a couponing trip, I make a run through to check for deals that didn’t make it into the flyer for whatever reason or which varieties are included in “select varieties”. And this is why I do this. This was an UNADVERTISED deal at my local Giant stores in Fairfax County Virginia, and just in time for Thanksgiving planning.  You don’t even need a coupon for it.

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Select varieties of McCormick products have a special going that if you buy 6, you get $3.00 off. One of the varieties is plain old brown gravy packet, perfect for turkey, potatoes, and dressing you might be needing next month. And look at that, the gravy is on additional sale for .49! 6 of those is $2.94, which means you’re already making 6 cents off this deal. If you find a rebate or coupon, that’s even better savings. (Although Giant doesn’t allow coupons on things that are already free.) I went to three local  Giants and saw the same deal at all three. However, I noticed that the word did get out, because the last one had no packets left.  So there you are.   Free gravy, no coupon or minimum purchases needed. Just a great addition for anyone’s stockpile.

Posted in Shopping Hauls and Couponing Reports

Shopping Report- Best Percentage Ever!

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83%. My new record. Down from $49.34 to $8.29. Even I think that’s great, and I’m usually very critical of myself. Now, I just got home from the store, so this is a quick one, but here’s how I did it.

The main deal was soup. I love soup. A nice thick soup is great with some good  bread on a cool night. The Progresso soup was on sale for 1.00 each, but if you bought 10, it dropped to 88 cents each. I had coupons for 50 cents off 2 cans, but Giant doubles. So I needed 5 coupons, enough for 10 cans. Guess how many I had. Well, you’re wrong, I had 7. But that was more than enough. The bad news is that it looked like another couponer got there first and there weren’t that many flavors to choose from. But she (or he, who knows) left the garden vegetable alone, and that happens to be my favorite anyway, so I’m a happy woman.  Ok, so now I have 10 cans. I also had a load to card from the store for 2.00 if I bought 10 cans of soup. Done. So with sales and coupons, they came to 18 cents a can. Not bad for soup that is usually 2.49 a can.

On to the yogurt. I only had 1coupon, so I only could grab 5. On sale for 50 cents each and a coupon for 1.00 off 5 made them 30 cents each. And it looks like the other couponer hit here first too and took all my prized peach yogurts away. They did have a couple of strawberries left, and a lemon burst, so I’ll have those.

Those new Hillshire chicken bites snack packs were on sale for 1.49, and I had a dollar off 1, so I’ll give them a try.

Two packages of Simply Potatoes microwavable mashed potatoes were on sale for 2.50 each, and two 75 centers which double gave me both for a total of 2 bucks.

Well, you can’t have too many potatoes, and the microwavable ones will keep, so I grabbed a 5 pound bag of russets on sale for 1.88 and a 3 pound bag of onions for the same price. See how healthy I’m being? Carbs non-withstanding.

Finally we have this nice frozen cracked peppercorn tilapia fish down from the original price of 6.99 to 3.99. Add my dollar off coupon and its 2 meals of gourmet fish for 3 bucks.

And that’s pretty much it. Not a huge trip (except for the savings). I’m also amazed at how healthy everything I bought is. No chocolate in sight. I’m surprised myself.

These deals were from Giant stores in Fairfax County, Virginia. If you found another good deal where you are, share them in the comments. Happy Couponing!

 

 

Posted in Shopping Hauls and Couponing Reports

Shopping Report 8-23-16

Whew! I just pulled off one of my best couponing trips yet. Well, my pantry is pretty well stocked, so basically everything I walked out with was from a couponing deal. And there were some pretty tasty deals. Ice cream and popsicles, and sugar cereals, oh my!

Well, I had two main deals to get, Kellogg’s cereal and Blue Bunny ice cream. Giant had the cereals on sale for $1.77 each IF YOU BOUGHT THREE. Don’t argue with the cashier like somebody was apparently doing when I got up to the register. It says right on the sign, must buy three of the participating cereals. The cereals that were participating even had small signs next to the price tags saying $1.77 if you buy three. Don’t say the store doesn’t help you save. The main rule of couponing is you must obey the store’s coupon policy. Don’t be a jerk and ruin it for everyone else. All you did was make the cashier defensive so she was already annoyed when I got up there with my coupons. Thanks a lot dude.

Ok, so first deal, cereal. As I said, Kellogg’s had a deal where it was $1.77 if you bought three. And, what do you know; I had three coupons for a cereal each. Two 75 cent ones for Froot Loops and a 50 cent one for Rice Krispies. Ok, so $1.77 times three is $5.31. All three coupons were doubled and the total off was $4.00. That leaves a total of $1.31 for the three boxes. But wait, there’s more. I had a 50 cent ecard coupon from Giant if I bought two boxes of cereal from Kelloggs, and a rebate deal of 50 cents off two boxes from Saving Star. Also a 25 cent rebate for any cereal from Ibotta. So, including rebates, I spent a whopping total of 6 cents. I don’t think 2 cents per box of cereal is that bad. I’m not sure how much sugar I can handle, so I’m giving one of the boxes of Froot Loops to a friend at work. I’ll eat some of the box of Rice Krispies, but most of it will go to make some treats. Froot Loops will just have to be my morning sugar rush.

Now, if I’m buying cereal I will need milk, which I don’t usually do since I’m slightly lactose intolerant. I can have some cheese or cream cheese or ice cream and similar once in a while. (or more with Lactaid), but drinking straight milk or even pouring it over cereal usually makes my tummy unhappy. But, sometimes the coupons smile on you and you get a pretty good substitute. Silk milk was on sale, and I had coupons. (Why did I point out I have coupons? Don’t I always have coupons?) Anyway, Silk makes many alternate milk products. I decided to try the almond milk. Now, I didn’t know if I would like almond milk, but there’s nothing wrong with trying something new. It’s one of the things I love about couponing. You can try new things for cheaper. You never know what may become your new favorite. Two half gallons of almond milk hopped into my cart for 65 cents each. The sale price was $3.00 each. A store coupon of $1.00 off two Silk brand products and an e-coupon on my loyalty card for the same deal came off first. Then add one doubled 55 cent coupon for each carton. Throw in an Ibotta rebate for 50 cents and you’ve got 2 half gallons of great almond milk for $1.30.

Now for the fun stuff. ICE CREAM!!!! My local Giant just started carrying Blue Bunny brand ice cream, so there was a deal that you got a free carton of ice cream if you bought two boxes of any of the novelty items. I had a coupon for $1 off any two Blue Bunny novelty items and it seems that the small “mini-cones” were on sale 2 for 7. So that makes three dollars each plus a free carton of ice cream. I picked the Bunny Tracks flavor because, well, I like caramel. Which is also the flavor of the mini cones I picked out so I’m not complaining. Anyway, so that’s an average of two dollars for every ice cream product. These are normally over five bucks each, so that’s not a bad discount.

While on the yummy icy treats aisle, I stopped for some Luigi’s Italian Ice. It was on sale for 2.50 and I had two coupons for $1 off 1, so I grabbed a couple of boxes. Now, my freezer is probably going to be stuffed full at this point, so I better leave well enough alone and hit the register. Then I turn around and see that Bird’s Eye Viola meals were on sale too. $3.99 isn’t bad, especially since I had a $1.50 coupon off one in my binder that was about to expire anyway. I grabbed some sweet and sour chicken for dinner.

Although not my biggest trip, definitely one of my better ones, percentage wise. Original total: $42.20, after coupons and rebates $11.60! That’s right, you heard me. 73%! That’s pretty good, don’t you think? I only hope I’ve got enough room in my freezer. Now I’ve got to get home and hide all the ice cream treats from myself before my next deal will be only on Lean Cuisines and mineral waters.

These deals were found at the Giant stores in Fairfax County, Virginia. If you know of a deal I missed there, or if you know a good deal in your neighborhood, please let me know in the comments. Happy Couponing!

 

Posted in Shopping Hauls and Couponing Reports

Weekly Shopping Report 5-17-16

Ok, so this week wasn’t my best couponing week. I strayed from the list far more than usual because I saw some good deals. I also had things on my list that I didn’t have coupons for, but I was out of and needed to get anyway. Although this meant my percentage of savings stayed about the same, my actual spending was more than I thought it would be. Also, some of my savings came about by rebates from the grocery apps Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Saving Star. If you don’t have these on your smartphone, I highly recommend them. I will be talking more about them in a future post.
One of my best deal finds this week was Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad mixes. Normally 2.19, they were on sale for a dollar each. I had a discount card deal for 50 cents off two, a coupon for 50 cents off two (which doubled) and a rebate from Saving Star for (can you guess) 50 cents off 2. Which, when you add it up, makes it free. And that ladies and gentlemen is the definition of stacking deals.  *Takes a bow*
There was another deal for yogurt, Dannon Activia this time. You can’t be brand loyal when you coupon, you have to be open to try new brands. They were on sale for 2 dollars and I had 3 one dollar off coupons so a dollar for each 4 pack. Also, Giant had an discount card special that if you bought a name brand, you got a store brand yogurt for free.
I had a store coupon for eggs, so I got them for 1.50 for the dozen. I was also looking at a small rebate from Ibotta for them.  I was out of sour cream, but luckily Breakstone was on sale. There wasn’t much of a sale for spaghetti, but I was out, but a quick search online found a coupon for Kikkoman soy sauce, so at least I saved a little there. There were a few other things which I ended up paying retail for. *shudder*
One of my personal better deals was for feminine supplies. The price was 5.49, but I had a coupon for 2.00 off and a rebate from Checkout 51 for another 2.00 off.
Another good deal that I couldn’t pass up was for Furmano’s canned tomatoes. I still had some left over, but some deals you can’t pass up. Each can was on sale for 69 cents, and I combined it with a dollar off three coupon. Or three of them. So 9 cans cost a total of 3.21.
Another good deal was on All laundry detergent. I like All because they have a no perfume variety, which I need due to hypersensitivity. A 46.5 oz bottle was on sale for 2.99. There was a discount card deal for another dollar off and I added to that a coupon for another dollar. So 99 cents for a 5 dollar bottle of detergent isn’t bad. Then another quick check on Ibotta revealed a small rebate for that too, and 75 cents is even better.
I also grabbed some produce. There was a card discount for 2 dollars off any 5 dollar produce purchase and I got small rebates on bananas, apples, and potatoes from Ibotta.
All in all my total original receipt was $114.28. After savings and rebates, I paid 52.42. So about 54%. At least I got above 50%, which is always my “least acceptable savings amount” goal.
Once again, this was all at my local Giant store. If you live in Fairfax County, your local Giant probably has these same deals. If you find some great deals at another store or in your area, please leave a comment below. Happy Couponing!

Posted in Shopping Hauls and Couponing Reports

Weekly Shopping Report 5-9-16

Wahoo! After a couple of weeks coupon hiatus I am back on the couponing wagon. Or have fallen off again depending on how you look at it.

So, let’s see what trouble I got into this week.

I usually only go to one or two stores, and usually those stores are Giant and Aldi’s. Sometimes the Dollar Tree for good measure. These stores are very near each other (and my home) so I’m not wasting gas money driving all over Virginia. If there is a great deal at Safeway, I’ll stop by the one near my office after work.

I still have some basics such as eggs and juices from my recent restock of the fridge so no need for Aldi’s this week, but I did stop at the Dollar Tree for a special deal. A small jar (8 oz.) of Duke’s mayonnaise (which I LOVE) was there and my dollar tree takes coupons. They don’t double of course, but everything is cheap enough without. My coupon was for 55 cents of any Duke’s item and no size minimum was listed. I had five so five went in the basket. That means I got 40 oz. of mayo for $2.25. The same amount in a large jar would have been about $5.00 at the Giant or another store. And since I only open one small jar at a time, the chance of it going bad before I’ve finished an open large jar is so much less. And yes, I grabbed my mother’s day card there for 50 cents.

This week was I was glad of belonging to Giant’s online account. The additional discounts from the specials loaded straight to card went a long way this week.

The big deal of the week: Yoplait yogurt. The yogurt was on sale for 20 for 8 dollars. I had 2 coupons for 50 cents off of 5 (which doubled) and a personal discount from my Giant account on my card for another 50 cents. Since they are different types of coupons, both can be used at once and I bought 10 yogurts for $1.50 total.

I grabbed a Stouffers Fit Kitchen frozen meal for free. On sale for $2.99, I had a 75 cent coupon which doubled and a card loaded discount for $1.50. I will enjoy my grilled chicken and roast potatoes.

A reason to always carry your binder was the Duncan Hines Perfect Size cake mixes. On sale for $2.29 each and you also saved an extra 2 dollars if you bought any 4 Duncan Hines products. Combined with the coupons in my binder, they were only $1.29 each, compared to their usual price of $3.29. This was an unadvertised sale so it was a happy surprise for this chocolate lover. (I did mix it up a bit and threw in a strawberry cake mix with the 3 chocolate ones.)

Chicken thighs were the meat loss leader for the week, so I got 5.16 pounds for $4.59.

For sandwiches over the week, Hormel Lunch meat was on sale for 3 dollars a package, and I had 2 coupons of 1 dollar off of each, so turkey sandwiches it is!

Vlassic pickles will go well with the sandwiches. They were on sale for 2 for 4 dollars and using a coupon for 1 of 2 jars is a decent deal. I’ve seen better, but I’m in a pickle-y mood.

I noticed Tetley tea has a new flavor of tea bags that is a mix of black and green tea. The new product sale and my coupon meant I could try out 2 boxes for $1.50 each.

I also saved with coupons on Magnum ice cream bars and a couple of large bags of M&M’s, and I also bought a couple of tomatoes for the sandwiches. No coupon for those, but they weren’t that expensive anyway

All in all  at Giant my original total was $63.91 but I only spent $24.05 and I saved $39.86.

Now these deals were all at Giant stores in Fairfax County, Virginia. If you found a great deal at another store or one closer to your area, please leave a comment below and share the information wealth. Happy Couponing!

Posted in Shopping Hauls and Couponing Reports

My Passover Pantry

Mission: Passover Shopping
Status: Complete
Savings: Not so bad

Ok, Passover is less than a week away and my shopping  is done and my food is all organized. I moved all the chametz to my stockpile closet in the hallway, and the kosher for Passover stuff in the small pantry in the kitchen.

Here is some of what I have to work with when making my meal plan:

In the freezer, I already had some things bought at sales over the past couple of months. Strawberries, some plain salmon fillets, and frozen plain broccoli and asparagus.

There were many cans in the pantry, including diced tomatoes, beets, mushrooms, potatoes, canned milk, yams, and various canned fruits. Matzos and macaroons were bought on special a couple of weeks ago. I’m a tea addict (like most southerners) so there is always a wide variety in my apartment.

Of course there’s a variety of spices and flavorings, including some homemade schmaltz. I know that some grocery stores carry it, but not any of the ones near me, and I thought it would be fun to try to make my own. So, yesterday I made my first batch of homemade schmaltz.  Well, it was supposed to be a batch. But I only had a couple of chickens worth of skin and fat, so it probably won’t be more than a few spoonfuls. But I did buy a lot of chicken for Passover, so I will have the skin from those soon and can make some more. Next time I make some, I will take some pics while making it and let ya’ll know how it comes out and how to make some yourself.  schmaltz

And now, on to the shopping!

I picked up some oranges at Aldi’s for 1.79 for a 3 pound bag.  While at Aldi’s (G-d, I love that place) I also grabbed some green peppers (2.49 for 2), zucchini (1.99 for 4), and carrots  (2lbs for .99). I also bought 4 1lb.  packages of frozen ground turkey for 1.89 each, 2 packages of blackberries for .99 each and 3 packages of cream cheese for .99 each. The berries were tossed into a Ziploc and straight into the freezer, but the zucchini and peppers were diced up first.

Now on to my local Giant. I got there at the perfect time of morning. The butcher had just finished marking down some meat on manager’s clearance. I was so giddy, I could have danced. But I chose to be dignified, so I  bought:

a whole chicken fryer for 3.72
1.7 lbs. of cut up beef  for 5.50
3.7 lbs. of boneless chicken breasts for around 6 dollars
4.5 pounds of chicken thighs for around 3 dollars

I do love manager’s specials. I didn’t do the dancing until I got home. Ok, so maybe it was  in the car.

I hit the produce section for some 4.99 buy one, get one free deal on potatoes and onions. I also got some tomatoes and cabbage, but the best deal was grapes. If you had a flyer coupon (and you know I did), red grapes  were .98 a pound with a 5 pound limit. You better believe I pushed all 5 of those pounds quicker  than my last diet. They were immediately divided up into about 4 Ziplocs in the freezer and fridge. All in all, pretty good deals at Giant.

Finally, I stopped at the dollar store for some packages of dried fruits and cashews, pecans and almonds for cooking and snacking.

It looks like I have some stuff to work with. I might be buying a few small things over Passover, mostly perishables like fresh fruit and eggs, but I don’t anticipate spending a whole lot more. Passover pretty much blew my grocery budget for the month. (like I expected it too.)

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My basic Passover Pantry

By the way, during my Passover pantry tidying, a mysterious jar appeared. It’s of Red Cabbage with Apples. I don’t remember buying it. I don’t know if it is a gift from the heavens or if aliens are observing to see if I will eat it.  But it sounds kind of yummy, and it doesn’t have any non Passover ingredients, so in  the good pantry it goes. was thinking of just serving it over roast beef, but any other recipe suggestions?cabbage

Next mission: Passover Menu plan
Mission to be completed: Pretty darn soon, there’s a deadline looming.