Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Couple of Resources

Here are a couple great resources for beginning couponers.

Queen Bee Coupons has a database that lists the prices at Costco for over 400 items. She has each item broken down into unit price and also lists the Amazon price for several items. I have been working on my own list like this of the items my family buys, but in the mean time I refer to this one all the time.

This Beautiful Frugal Life recently posted her stock up price spreadsheet. This is extremely helpful for a new couponer. There are many items that I haven't figured out the best price for so I appreciate having this list as a reference point. I also really like her disclaimer that her stock up price may not be your stock up price. You have to decide based on your family and your budget how much you are willing to pay for a particular product.

Thanks to these two bloggers for taking the time to put together such great resources.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What is a Catalina?

When I first started reading couponing blogs, I was very confused by the number of coupons people were writing about for a salad dressing that no one has bought since 1986. Turns out a "catalina coupon" is not a coupon for salad dressing (yes, I literally thought that's what they were).

Catalina coupons are those coupons that print out at the register that cashier usually hands you with your reciept.

These coupons are triggered by the items that you purchase. Sometimes they are for competing products, sometimes they are for your next purchase of the same product, and sometimes they are money to use on your next purchase of anything in that store.

Catalina coupons can generally only be used at the store that generates them (this information prints on the coupon). However, some stores in the same "family" will take catalina coupons from one another. In the Northwest, QFC and Fred Meyer catalinas can be used at either store because they are in the Kroger "family".

Most catalinas are manufacturer's coupons so they cannot be combined with another manufacturer's coupon. However, Target has their own catalinas which print as Target coupons and can be stacked with a manufacturer's coupon.

Sometimes I know about a catalina deal ahead of time from a fellow blogger. Sometimes you will see a tag near the product that indicates a catalina promotion. And sometimes, it is a total surprise what you get back.

What other questions do you have about catalina coupons?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Recent Trip: Target

I headed to Target with a bunch of the match-up coupons that I posted about earlier this week. I spent about a half hour putting together my list and clipping the coupons. I didn't have time to wander around Target, so I was in and out in 20 minutes. Not bad for less than an hour of my time.

Regular Price
Sale Price
I Paid
Finish Dishwasher Tabs X 2

(2) $1.50/1 Target coupon
(2) $2.25/1
Healthy Choice Frozen Meals X 12
$1.69 + B4G1
(2) B3G1 Target coupon
(2) B5G1
GE Light bulbs X 2
(2) $1/1 Target coupon
(2) $1.50/1
FREE + $1 overage
Up&Up Apricot Scrub X 2

(2) $0.50/1 Target coupon
Rimmel Mascara

$2/1 Target coupon
FREE + $0.86 overage

Total Regular Price = $42.06
I Paid = $11.90 + tax = $12.69

Total savings was 70%! Not quite as good as my recent 80% savings, but still pretty darn good.

I had a really hard time wrapping my head around combining all the B1G1 deals on the Healthy Choice meals. Basically, it worked out to getting 6 for the price of 3. Luckily, the register at Target didn't have as hard a time with it as I did because I don't think I could have explained to the cashier how it was suppose to work.

Sometimes Target won't let you receive an overage on a coupon. You can still get the item for free, but you won't get the balance applied to your order. This varies from store to store. I have never had a problem at my Target, but just wanted to give you a heads up.

Anybody find any good deals at Target this week? Or stack any of the coupons I posted about?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recent Trip: Fred Meyer

I know what you are thinking....1) "Didn't she just buy Coffee-Mate?" and 2) "I thought she said she wasn't one of those crazy couponing hoarders."

To which I will reply....1) I drink A LOT of coffee, 2) These don't expire until May, and 3) I got them all for $1.25.

Here's how it worked out:

Transaction #1
(4) 16 oz Coffee-Mate creamers (on sale 2/$3)
-(3) $1/1 Coffee-Mate coupons
-(1) $.75/1 Coffee-Mate coupon

OOP = $2.25
Receieved catalina for $3 off any Fred Meyer purchase

Transaction #2
(4) 16 oz Coffee-Mate creamers (on sale 2/$3)
-(1) $1/4 Coffee-Mate coupon (from the Coupon Exchange)
-(1) $3 off catalina

OOP = $2.00
Receieved catalina for $3 off any Fred Meyer purchase

I ended up paying $4.25 and still have a $3 catalina. So my total price works out to $1.25 or $0.16 each. I also got two $1/4 Coffee-Mate coupons back but I put them in the Coupon Exchange since I figured I won't need Coffee-Mate for a while.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shopping Tip: Unit Price

Every good grocery shopper knows the importance of paying attention to unit prices. This is the small (sometimes teeny tiny) price listed on a price tag that tells you the price per ounce/pound/can or some other increment. Paying attention to this price is key to making sure you are getting the most for your money.

I went to Albertson's this weekend to pickup some Coffeemate liquid creamer that was on sale (not a great sale, but I was out and consider this to be an absolutely life necessity). The 32oz containers were on sale for $3.99 and the 16oz containers were on sale for $1.99. A quick glance at the unit price on the price tag showed me that the price per ounce was essential the same ($0.12/oz).

I had two $.75/1 coupons that could be used on any container larger than 15oz. If I had bought the bigger container, I would have only been able to use one coupon. But by buying two smaller containers, I was able to use both coupons and save myself an extra $0.75. Not huge, but every little bit helps.

When comparing unit prices, make sure the tags are using the same increment. For example, some soda tags list the unit price per ounce while others list it per can. Also, sometimes a sale price tag won't list the unit price. Take the time to pull out your calculator and do the math to make sure you are getting the best deal.

Monday, January 24, 2011

*HOT* $5 for a $10 Starbucks Card

It seems like a new daily deal site pops up every day. But when they offer deals like this, it's hard not to sign up.

Friends and Family Circle is offering a $10 Starbucks card for $5. Sign up now because deals like this never last.

And don't forget about the $10 Papa Murphy's card for $5 being offered by Plum District.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My $25 Challenge

For my recent graduate school graduation, my uber-talented cousin, Jerome and his equally fabulous girlfriend, Mia gave me a $25 VISA gift card. Jerome joked that he wanted to see if I could turn the $25 gift card into $500 worth of merchandise. Well, I'm not sure I can do that....but I'm going to try.

I am going to use the VISA card each week for my Rite-Aid shopping trips and see how far I can make it go. Obviously, I'll post the details here for you to follow along.

This was a pretty light week for Rite-Aid deals, but I wanted to check the prices on a couple items and I had a +UP reward that was expiring this week, so I decided to run in for some FREE lightbulbs they were offering.

(3) 4-pack of GE Light bulbs (Regular Price $3.99. Sale Price $1.99 + $1.99 +UP reward)
(1) Christmas bag (Regular Price $2.99. Sale Price $0.29)

Used $6 +UP rewards
Received $5.97 in +UP rewards

OOP = $0.26 + $0.59 tax = $0.85

The Christmas bag was just a filler because the light bulbs were going to equal less than the $6 I needed to use my +UP rewards.

$25 Challenge

Total Spent This Trip
Remaining on Gift Card
Overall Total Spent
Value of Items Purchased

I have purchased:

(3) 4-pack of GE Light bulbs
(1) Christmas bag

Stacking Coupons: Part 2

Earlier this week, I did a post on stacking coupons. Target just released a bunch of new web coupons that can be stacked with manufacturers' coupon for bigger savings. This would be a great place to start your coupon stash and practice stacking coupons.

Here are some coupon match-ups using the new Target web coupons and manufacturers' coupons that are either available as printable coupons or in todays' paper. Target web coupons links are in red, printable coupons links are in blue, and coupons from the paper are in black.

Kraft Fat Free or Lite Salad Dressing 16 oz Bottle
$1/2 Kraft Select Products
$1/2 Kraft Dressing (1/23 SmartSource Insert)

Jello Gelatin or Pudding
$.50/2 Jello Gelatin or Pudding
$.55/3 Jello Gelatin or Pudding

Kraft Shredded Cheese
$1.25/ Kraft Shredded Cheese
$1/2 Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese (1/23 SmartSource Insert)

Keebler Cookies
$1/2 Keebler Cookies
$1/2 Keebler Cookies

Similac Powder Formula
$2/1 Similac Powder Formula
$3/1 Similac Powder Formula

Rimmel Cosmetics
$2/1 Rimmel Cosmetics Item
$1/1 Rimmel Cosmetics Item

Opti-Free Replenish
$1/1 Opti-Free Replenish
$1/1 Opti-Free Replenish

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Heads Up on a Daily Deal

On Monday January 24th, Plum District is going to be offering a $10 gift card to Papa Murphy's Pizza for $5. There is a limit of 1 per person and there will only be 10,000 available. We love Papa Murphy's so I'm definitely planning on jumping on this deal.

Head over to Plum District and sign up today to make sure you are ready for Monday.

Prepping for my Rite-Aid Trip

A lot of people have asked me how much time I spend cutting coupons and finding deals. If you ask my husband, he would say TOO LONG! But in my opinion, it doesn't take up that much of my time. Mainly, I let other people do all the work and just reap the benenfits.

Here is how I get prepared for my weekly trip to Rite-Aid.

There are some amazing bloggers out there who put together coupon match-up lists every week based on the Sunday ad paper. My favorite is This Beautiful Frugal Life. Each Friday, she posts the highlights from the upcoming Rite-Aid along with relevant coupon information. I start making my list here. I look for items that we need, free items for my donate bin, or items that will be moneymakers.

Next, I grab my coupons and clip the ones I might need. I'll do an upcoming post on how I organize my coupons, but basically I don't clip them until I need them.

Next stop is the coupon database at Coupon Mom. Using the database, I type in anything on my list that I don't have a coupon for yet just to make sure their isn't one out there.

Last step before heading out on Sunday morning (my usual Rite-Aid shopping day) is to comb through the ad paper myself. This Beautiful Frugal Life and other bloggers do a great job of posting the highlights, but I always want to make sure their isn't a specific item that we use or need on sale.

Check back tomorrow for the highlights from my Rite-Aid trip.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Amazon Mom

I hope many of you took advantage of the great deal this week on Living Social for the gift cards. I figured now would be a good time to tell you about the benefits of joining Amazon Mom.

"Amazon Mom is a free membership program aimed at helping parents and caregivers, from the prenatal days through the toddler years, use Amazon to find all the products their family needs."

Some of the benefits of Amazon Mom include:

1) FREE Two-Day shipping through Amazom Prime. You will receive free shipping for the first 3 months of your Amazon Mom membership. Then the benefit is extended by one month every time you spend $25 (before discounts!) on Amazon Mom products. I love Amazon Prime. I order a lot of things from Amazon and love having it delivered to my door in 2 days for FREE.

2) 30% off selected diapers and wipes with Subscribe & Save. You get 15% of selected diapers and wipes by being an Amazon Mom member. And an additional 15% off when you sign up for Subscribe & Save. You can cancel or change your subscription anytime after your first order as shipped. I always set my delivers for every 6 months, so I have plenty of time to adjust or cancel as needed. In my recent diaper comparison, I found that Amazon Mom was the cheapest place to buy diapers.

The program is totally free and open to anyone who is the caregiver of a baby or toddler. Go here to sign up today.

One of the other benefits of Amazon Mom membership is that they often send out special offers via e-mail. A couple months ago, I received a promo code for $100 off $100 order from Amazon Fresh. This was a special offer because they were targetting moms in my zip code. I got $100 in groceries delivered to my door for FREE. Okay, actually I got $60 worth of groceries and spent the other $40 on a Sonicare toothbrush that I really wanted but could never justify the cost. I LOVE Amazon Mom (and my toothbrush!).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stacking Coupons

My friend, Carmen, recently asked me how stacking coupons works. I thought I would write up the answer in a blog post in case anyone else had the same question.

You can only use one manufacturer coupon per item. But most stores will let you stack a manufacturer's coupon with a store coupon.

The trifecta is stacking a store sale with a store coupon and a manufacturers coupon. Here's an example from my recent trip to Target.

Garnier Cleansing Towels
Regular price $4.74
Sale price $4.24

I bought 2 and used the following coupons:

(2) $2/1 Target web coupon (store coupon)
(1) $2/1 manufacturers coupon
(1) $1/1 manufacturers coupon

Final price = $1.48

Some stores will allow you to use a BOGO manufacturer's coupon on a BOGO store sale in order to get both items for free. I did this on a recent trip to Rite-Aid.

Special K Cereal
Regular price $4.99
Sale price BOGO

+ BOGO manufacturer's coupon

Final price = $0 for 2 boxes

Frugal Living NW recently did a post on coupon stacking that has a great list of where to find store coupons.

What other questions or topics would you like me to cover?

Recent Trip: Target

Thanks to some great matchups I found on Totally Target and Coupon Connection NW, I headed to Target with a detailed list and a stack of coupons.

Regular Price
Sale Price
I Paid
Glade Holiday Candles X 2
Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel
Scrubbing Bubbles Fresh Brush Refill

FREE with Toileting Cleaning Gel
Tide Ultra Travel Size

Garnier Cleansing Wipes X 2
(2) $2/1 Target coupons
Reach Floss X 3

(3) $1/1
Maalox X 2

(2) $5/1
Wilton Cookie Pan


Total Regular Price = $47.79
I Paid = $7.47 + tax = $10.12

That is a savings of 80%!

The Tide, Reach floss, and Maalox went into my donate bin. The Scrubbing Bubbles and Garnier Cleansing Cloths are things I will definitely use. The candles weren't on my list, but I remembered the coupon I found in the Fred Meyer Coupon Exchange and they were too good a deal to pass up. The cookie pan (also not on the list) is adorable and will make perfect muffin tops (the edible kind, not the fashion faux pas).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today would be a GREAT day to sign up for Ebates

Today (1/19) only, Ebates is offering 51% back on orders with Plus you will get a free $5 in your Ebates account if you sign up today. Some deal ideas:

Good Housekeeping    $3.91/year
Parents     $4.89/year
Marie Claire    $4.90/year
Sports Illustrated     $19.57/year
US Weekly    $33.86/year

To take advantage of these deals, follow this link to Ebates. Sign up and then click the Daily Double deal on the right hand side of the page (or search for You will be directed to That's it. Now do your shopping and within 48 hours, 51% of your total will be credited to your Ebates account.

SwagBucks = More Free Money

Search & Win

Last week, I told you about earning free money by using Ebates (you signed up, right? If not, do it now because they will give you $5 free when you sign up). Today, I'll tell you about earning free money using SwagBucks. I resisted signing up for SwagBucks for a while because it just seemed too good to be true. I figured there had to be a catch.

I promise you there is NO CATCH. SwagBucks is a simple (and legit) way to earn free money.

" is an online portal dedicated to helping you earn digital dollars called "Swag Bucks", which can be redeemed for exclusive merchandise."

You can earn SwagBucks a variety of ways (my top 5 ways listed below) and redeem them for all kinds of different gift cards or products. I use my SwagBucks to "buy" $5 Amazon gift cards. Once I earn 450 SwagBucks, I cash them in for a $5 Amazon gift card. I have earned $40 in free Amazon gifts cards in 2 months! I have redeemed these gift cards with no problems. FREE MONEY!

My Top 5 ways to earn SwagBucks:

1) Install the search toolbar. SwagBucks offers a search engine (similiar to google or bing) and you are randomly rewarded with SwagBucks for searching. I have the toolbar installed on my computer and use it to access all my favorite websites. Headed to Facebook? Type Facebook into the search engine and with one extra click you might earn some SwagBucks.

2) Answer the Daily Poll. Earn 1 SwagBuck each day by answering a daily poll question. Quick and easy.

3) Purchase Groupon or Tippr deals through the SwagBucks link and earn 280 SwagBucks.

4) Take the Trusted Surveys. Check daily to see if you qualify for any of the surveys. You probably won't qualify for that many, but when you do it can be worth big SwagBucks.

5) Enter Swag Codes. On the top right hand side of my blog, you will see the Swidget (if you are reading through Google Reader, you will need to open my blog). Click on the Swag Codes button on the Swidget to see if there is a current Swag Code. These are limited time codes worth differing amounts of SwagBucks so check back often.

Sign up today and start earning FREE money!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

HOT $10 for a $20 Amazon Gift Card


Living Social Seattle is offering a $20 Amazon Gift Card for $10. This deal will not last.

Make sure you search for deals in Seattle.

Requesting Samples

Often times I see blog posts about samples of products that are available. Chances are I don't need a sample size lotion or shampoo, but I'll request the sample because they often come with valuable coupons for the product.

I requested a sample of Vaseline Intensive Care Total Moisture. The sample size was pretty small (and honestly a little worthless), but it came with a $1.50/1 coupon. Combined with a sale at Target and a $1/1 Target web coupon, I was able to get a 10oz bottle for FREE.

I also got a couple samples of Starbucks Natural Fusions coffee, plus a $1.50/1 coupon. The coffee was delicious and I plan on using my coupon when the right sale comes along.

Some current samples you might want to request:

John Frieda Hair Product

Nexxus Shampoo

Crest Advanced Seal Whitestrips

Stevia Cane Natural Sweetener

Valspar Paint

Purina Dog Food

Monday, January 17, 2011

Local Produce Stand vs. Grocery Store

We have a local fruit and vegetable stand close to our house that I love to go to. The produce is always fresh and a great value. I headed there today while I was out running my errands and decided to do a comparison between the produce stand and the grocery store (Fred Meyer, in this case). Here's what I got:

I Bought
Price at Produce Stand
Price at Fred Meyer
Bananas (organic)
3.05 lbs
Baby Carrots (organic)
2 bags
2.52 lbs
1.37 lbs
Green Onions
Romaine lettuce
Yellow Onions
3.46 lbs
Green Leaf Lettuce
Roma Tomatoes
1.39 lbs
Yukon Potatoes
2.14 lbs
Red Peppers
0.77 lbs (2)
2.07 lbs

Total at Produce Stand = $20.59
Total at Fred Meyer = $29.76

By shopping at the produce stand, I saved 30% over grocery store prices!!!

I did buy Fuji apples at Fred Meyer because I had seen in the ad paper they were on sale for $0.68 a pound versus $1.29 at the produce stand.

So there is two tips for you. 1) Check out a local produce stand for great prices on fruits and vegetables, but (2) don't assume they have the lowest price. Always check your ad papers before your shopping trip.