Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Swagbucks

Today is Swagbucks 3rd birthday and they are celebrating with Swagcodes all day.

If you are new to Swagbucks, read my post about why I think it is awesome and then go here to sign up. You will get 30 Swagbucks just for signing up.

Plus, you can get 80 Swagbucks if you purchase today's Groupon, which is 3 Redbox codes for $1. Click on the link on the Swagbucks home page to purchase the Groupon and get your Swagbucks.

Use the Swidget on the right-hand side of my blog to check and see if there is a current SwagCode.

I joined Swagbucks in November and just won my 14th (!!!!!) $5 Amazon gift card.

Target Deals

There are a couple great deals at Target this week that might motivate you to go out and buy an extra newspaper or two to get some extra coupons. You can find the Sunday paper at the grocery store all week (or until they sell out). I noticed that at my Safeway in Seattle the Seattle Times for $2 and the Tacoma News Tribune for $1. Same coupons in both papers! You can also check the Dollar Store for discounted Sunday papers, your local library may have free copies, or ask family and friends.

For me, there are gift cards deals on two products I use, Pantene and Tampax. Here's what my shopping trip will look like.

Transaction #1

(2) Pantene 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner (25.4 oz) $5.99/each
- (2) $1/1 Pantene Product (2/27 SmartSource insert)
= $9.98 for 2
Receive $5 Gift Card

Transaction #2

(2) Tampax Pearl (52-52 ct)  $8.99 (you may be able to find cheaper boxes)
-(2) $2/1 Tampax Pearl
- $5 Gift Card from Transaction #1
= $8.98 for 2
Receive $5 gift card

Transaction #3 (You may or may not have a third transaction. Check out more Target deals this week on Totally Target. I was able to print another 4 coupons for La Croix water on my husbands computer so I'm going to get more of those)

(4) La Croix (8-packs) $2.50
- (4) $1.25/1 La Croix coupons (go to and you should find 2 coupons under zip code 90210 and 2 more under 11561)
- $5 Gift Card from Transaction #2
= $0.00

Grand Total = $13.96 for (2) Pantene 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner, (2) Tampax Pearl and (4) La Croix water. 66% savings!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy Frozen Foods Month

March is Frozen Foods Month so we are going to see a lot of great deals on frozen items. Safeway kicked things off today with a great coupon in the Sunday paper ($5 off instantly when you spend $15 on frozen items) and a awesome new coupon book.

I saw this coupon book all over my Safeway store. Check the customer service desk, the end of the checkstand and the frozen food aisles.

Here's how I maximized my $5 off $15 coupon.

(5) Lean Cuisine ($10 for 5)
(3) Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries ($3.49)
(2) Dreyer's Shakes ($3 for 2)

- $1.10/2 Lean Cuisine Coupon
- $1/3 Lean Cuisine Coupon
- (3) $1/1 Ore-Idea Sweet Potato Fries (from Safeway coupon book)
- $3 instant savings when you buy 3 Ore-Ida products
- $3 because the Dreyer's shakes were free when you bought 5 Lean Cuisine
- $5 instant savings for spending $15 on frozen foods

= $7.37 for all 10 items!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Welcome Coupon Newbies

I had a chance this weekend to teach my first couponing class. Even though I am still a newbie at this myself, I have learned a lot over the past several months and loved the opportunity to share this information with others. If you are interested in hosting a couponing class for a group of friends, church group, mom's group, etc, please send me an e-mail at erink0712 (at) gmail (dot) com.

I shared a lot of information in my class, but so many of the resources I use are online. I figured it would be easiest to have a post with all my favorite links to help people locate the sites we talked about. If I missed anything or you have questions, please leave a comment.

Lesson #1: Getting Started

There are several great tutorials for getting started in the world of couponing. Two of my favorites are The Coupon Project and Krazy Coupon Lady. Both of these sites offer a series of lessons on the basics of couponing.

Lesson #2: Where to Find Coupons
Smartsource Coupons
RedPlum Coupons
Target Coupons

Coupon Mom Coupon Database

What is a Catalina?

Lesson #3: Organizing Your Coupons

Here is a link to my post on this topic.

Lesson #4: Making Your Shopping List

The key to successful couponing for me is letting someone else do most of the work for me. There are awesome blogs out there that post weekly coupon match-ups for grocery and drug stores. I use these blogs to help make my shopping lists and pull the right coupons. Here are some of the ones I like.

Rite-Aid: This Beautiful Frugal Life
Walgreens: Because More is More
Target: Totally Target
Fred Meyer: Frugal Chic Living
Safeway: Coupon Connections
Albertsons: The Coupon Project
QFC: Queen Bee Coupons
Top Foods: Coupon Connections

Lesson #5: At the Store

Stacking Coupons
     Part 1
     Part 2
Multiple Transactions

Lesson #6: Other Resources

Amazon Mom: Sign up to get the best deals on diapers
Ebates: Earn cash back on online purchases. (Link to my post on Ebates)
Swagbucks: Earn points to turn into Amazon gift cards (or other prizes) just by using the search engine. (Link to my post on Swagbucks).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Product Rave: Loreal Magic Perfecting Base

UPDATE: I ran to Rite-Aid to grab these today and ran into a little snag. My recollection was that the $15 you needed to earn the $5 +UP Reward was calculated before manufacturer's coupons. However, either my brain failed me or RA has changed their policy (anyone know if this is a change?). My +UP Reward did not print. I spoke to a manager who told me it was because my manufacturers coupons had brought my total below $15. You can still get a great deal on these if you use (2) $2/1, which will keep your total over $15. I have updated the deal below using those coupons.

A couple months ago, some of my friends were raving about the Loreal Magic Perfecting Base so I decided to give it a try. I LOVE this product. It makes my skin feel so soft and makes my makeup go on great. The only downside is the price. Regular price is $12.95 (at Rite-Aid). I love this product so much, I would pay full price for it. But lucky for me (and you), I don't have to. Here's how to get 2 jars of this product at Rite-Aid for $5.21 each!

Rite-Aid has two promotions this week for Loreal products. First, buy 1, get 1 for 50% off. Second, get a $5 +UP Reward when you spend $15 on Loreal products.

(1) Loreal Magic Perfecting Base (reg. price $12.95)
(1) Loreal Magic Perfecting Base (50% off $6.48)

= 19.42
- (2) $2/1 off any Loreal Face Cosmetic Product (2/20 RedPlum insert)

= $15.42
Receive $5 +UP Reward

Total = $10.42 for 2!!!!

I highly recommend giving this product a try. I'd love to look for deals for your favorite products. If you have a suggestion or are looking for a particular product, leave me a comment and I'll see what I can come up with.

Groupon-$89 for a night at Olympic National Park & Forest Lodging

I love today's deal for Seattle on Groupon.

$89 for a night at one of two locations in the Olympic National Park. You can choose either Lake Quinault Lodge or Kalaloch Lodge. The Groupon also includes buy one, get one admission to the rain forest tour and 15% off retail and dining at the lodge of your choice. You can also choose to book additional nights for $119.

My husband and I went to Kalaloch Lodge a couple years ago (where I took the above picture) and loved our stay in one of the cabins. If you are a fan of Twilight, both lodges are located near Forks (setting of the books). I hope some of you can take advantage of this deal for a fun weekend away.

Head to Groupon for more information.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Target Trip - Saved 73%

Target had some great match-ups this week, so I went to snag a couple freebies/cheapies. I LOVE this Seventh Generation Cleaner. It smells so good. The La Croix sparkling water was a treat for myself. But for $5 for 4 8-packs I didn't feel too guilty. And the Puppy Love and Kitty Love Valentine's books were too cute to pass up ($0.10/each).

Regular Price
Sale Price
I Paid
(2) Finish Tablets 10 ct.
(2) $1/1 coupon
(2) $1.50/1 Target coupon
(2) Seventh Generation Multi-Purpose Cleaner

(2) $1/1 coupon
(2) $1/1 Target coupon
(2) Dentyne 3 pack Gum
(2) $1/1 coupon
(2) $.75/1 Target coupon
(4) LaCroix Sparkling Water 8pks
(4) $1.25/1 coupon
(2) Up&Up Floss

(2) $1/1 Target coupon
(2) Up&Up Ibuprofen

(2) $1/1 Target coupon
(2) Valentine’s books
90% off Valentine’s sale

(2) Valentine’s cards
90% off Valentine’s sale


Total = $8.84 + tax = $9.53
Saved 73%

Target has a great coupon for $5 off women's denim that can be used on clearance denim. My Target had a whole wall of 75% off clearance jeans for $4.98. Print the coupon here and you might be able to score free jeans. And don't forget you can print each coupon twice.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How to Get over $100 in baby products for FREE

I posted the other day about my awesome trip to Rite-Aid, where I scored a ton of free baby products. Now you can get the same deal!

Johnson & Johnson just reset all of their printable coupons. All of the coupons are for a $1 off a particular product and all of them match-up with the great sale at Rite-Aid this week. All J&J products are on sale for $2.99. Use your $1 off coupons and your out-of-pocket price will be $1.99. For each item you will receive $2 +UP Reward. Which means you can score 24 J&J items for FREE!

Here are step by step instructions on how to get this deal.

Step #1: Print two of each of these coupons.

$1/1 J&J Baby Lotion or Oil
$1/1 J&J Baby Shampoo
$1/1 J&J Baby Lotion
$1/1 J&J Baby Shampoo or No More Tangles
$2/2 J&J Newborn Skincare
$2/2 J&J Bedtime Products
$3/3 J&J Newborn Skincare
$1/1 Desitin

Step #2: I am going to assume that you are starting with no +UP Rewards. I have divided this up into three transactions, so your out-of-pocket cost will be $16 + tax, but you will end up with $16 in +UP Rewards. Anyway you do this deal, all your products will end up being FREE. It just depends on whether or not you want to end up with a bunch of +UP Rewards at the end.

Transaction #1

(2) J&J Baby Lotion or Oil
(6) J&J Newborn Skincare (includes Head-to-Toe body wash, Shampoo, Lotion or Desitin)

(2) $1/1 J&J Baby Lotion or Oil coupons
(2) $3/3 J&J Newborn Skincare coupons

Pay $15.92 + tax
Receive $16 in +UP Rewards

Transaction #2

(2) J&J Shampoo or No More Tangles
(2) Desitin
(4) J&J Newborn Skincare (includes Head-to-Toe body wash, Shampoo, Lotion or Desitin)
+ small filler item over $0.08

(2) $1/1 J&J Shampoo or No More Tangles coupons
(2) $1/1 Desitin coupons
(2) $2/2 J&J Newborn Skincare coupons
$16 in +UP Rewards from Transaction #1

Pay tax
Receive $16 in +UP Rewards

Transaction #3

(2) J&J Baby Lotion
(2) J&J Shampoo
(4) J&J Bedtime Products
+ small filler item over $0.08

(2) $1/1 J&J Baby Lotion coupons
(2) $1/1 J&J Shampoo coupons
(2) $2/2 J&J Bedtime Products coupons
$16 in +UP Rewards from Transaction #2

Pay tax
Receive $16 in +UP Rewards

Total OOP = $15.92 + tax
$16 +UP Rewards left

Why do you need a filler item?

+UP Rewards cannot be applied towards tax. Because your OOP price for each product will be $1.99 and your +UP Rewards are for $2, you will end up $0.08 short. To make sure you can use all your +UP Rewards, grab a small filler item. I usually choose the cheapest thing I can find (generally a piece of candy or clearance item).

What if they are out of the products you want to buy?

Over the weekend, I had the chance to attend a coupon class given by Amber from Coupon Connections. I learned a lot of great information, but one of the biggest things I learned was about the Rite-Aid rain check policy. If your store is out of the products you need/want to complete this deal, ASK FOR A RAIN CHECK. They will write your rain check for the price AFTER the +UP Reward. Your rain check will state that you are entitled to buy the J&J products for $0.99 each ($2.99 sale price - $2 +UP Reward). You can still use your $1 off coupons to get this items for FREE when they come back in stock. The J&J printable coupons are good until 3/24/2011 so your store has plenty of time to get restocked.

Final $25 Challenge Update

I used the last of my $25 gift card this weekend at Rite-Aid, so here is the final tally.

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

I purchased:

(3) 4-pack of GE Light bulbs
(1) Christmas bag
(2) Colgate Advanced Toothpaste
(2) Viactiv Calcium Chews
(2) Coricidin Flu Tablets
(2) 4 pack Gillette Venus razors
(1) Colgate Total Toothpaste
(1) Colgate Sensitive Toothpaste
(3) Excedrin
(4) Ziploc Sandwich bags
(1) Opti Free Replenish twin pack
(9) Johnson & Johnson baby products

I started this challenge with $6 +UP Rewards and ended with $20 +UP Rewards. So I turned my $25 gift card into $172.88 worth of products and $14 +UP Rewards. Not too bad! Thanks again to Jerome and Mia for the inspiration.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Rite-Aid = FREE baby products

I have a confession to make........

I bought coupons off ebay in preparation for this week's sales at Rite-Aid.

So now you are either thinking "She has lost it" or "Who knew you could buy coupons on ebay".

This is not something I would normally do (this was my first time). But after seeing the preview of this week's Rite-Aid ad, I realized I could get a ton of FREE baby products for an event I am attending next week. At that event, they will be taking a collection for a pregnancy aid organization and I scored a huge donation!

Transaction #1

(7) Johnson and Johnson baby products (reg. price $4.49-$5.59. Sale price $2.99)
(1) Filler Candy ($.33)

- (7) $1/1 coupons
- $14 +UP Rewards
= $.26 + tax
Total = $2.25

Received $14 +UP Rewards

Transaction #2

(7) Desitin (reg. price $4.99. Sale price $2.99)
(1) Filler Candy ($.33)

- (7) $1/1 coupons
- $14 +UP Rewards
= $.26 + tax
Total = $2.25

Received $14 +UP Rewards

Transaction #3

(2) Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers (reg price $11.99. Sale price $8.99)
(2) Johnson and Johnson baby products (reg price $4.49. Sale price $2.99)
(1) Filler Candy ($.33)

- $4 off Video Values coupon
- $2 off Video Values coupon
- $10 Gift of Savings reward (I completely forgot I had earned this at Christmas time)
- (2) $2/1 Huggies coupon
- (2) $1/1 J&J coupon
- $2 +UP Rewards
= $.29 + tax
Total = $1.63

Received $8 +UP Rewards

So to review.....

OOP = $6.13 (mostly tax)
Coupons off ebay = $2.94 (14 $1/1 coupons)

Used $14 in +UP Rewards
Received $20 in +UP Rewards

Grand Total = $3.07 for $102.71 worth of baby products.

I love that my couponing can benefit a great organization and help some new moms!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Amazon Subscribe & Save

The Amazon Subscribe & Save program is quickly become one of my favorite shopping tools. I have mentioned this program before, but thought I would give you a more in depth description. I have used this program to save on diapers, wipes, coffee, and other grocery items.

Subscribe & Save is available on grocery and household items that you frequently use. The program gives you an additional 15% off the purchase price when you opt to receive a scheduled delivery of the same product either 1, 2, 3 or 6 months down the road. But, Amazon allows you to cancel or change your subscription anytime after your first delivery has shipped. They also so send e-mail reminders prior to your next scheduled delivery so you can make any changes.

If an item is eligible for Subscribe & Save, you will see the following box.

Don't click "Add to Cart". Instead select how often  you want your item delivered and click "Subscribe Now". Your 15% discount will be reflected once you get to your cart to check out.

I always select "Delivery every 6 months", so I have plenty of time to change or cancel my next shipment.

To change or cancel a subscription, go into My Account and click on Manage My Subscription.

So far I have only found one drawback to Subscribe & Save. If you have a gift card balance in your Amazon account (as I usually do thanks to Swagbucks), your gift card is automatically applied to your order. You cannot opt out of use the gift card and pay with another method. Sometimes I am saving my gift cards for a particular purchase and it annoys me that I have to use them. I am hoping Amazon will change this policy in the future.

If Subscribe & Save is available on a product you are ordering, USE IT. It is an easy, no hassle way to save 15%. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Couponing 101: Multi Transactions

You have probably noticed that I often do multi transactions during many of my shopping trips in order to maximize my savings. QFC (and other Kroger stores) are having an awesome promotion this week that offer a great opportunity to practice multi transactions.

Buy 10 participating items, get $3 instantly at checkout, plus get a $3 catalina that you can use off your next purchase.

Step 1:

Head to the Campbell's website and print the following coupons. You can print 2 of each coupon.

$2/5 Campbell's Chunky Soups
$1.50/4 Campbell's Chunky Soups
$1/3 Campbell's Chunky Soups
$.50/2 Campbell's Chunky Soups

Step 2:

Head to your local QFC.

Transaction #1

(10) Campbell's Chunky Soups (regular price $2.49, sale price $1.29)
- $3 Instant Savings
- (2) $2/5 Campbell's Chunky Soup coupons
= $5.90

Receive $3 catalina

Transaction #2

(10) Campbell's Chunky Soups (regular price $2.49, sale price $1.29)
- $3 Instant Savings
- (2) $1.50/4 Campbell's Chunky Soup coupons
- (1) $0.50/2 Campbell's Chunky Soup coupon
- $3 Catalina
= $3.40

Receive $3 catalina

Now if you are feeling really bold, you can do one more transaction.

Transaction #3

(10) Campbell's Chunky Soups (regular price $2.49, sale price $1.29)
- $3 Instant Savings
- (2) $1/3 Campbell's Chunky Soup coupons
- (1) $0.50/2 Campbell's Chunky Soup coupon
- $3 Catalina
= $4.40

Receive $3 catalina

Grand Total = $13.70
    - $3 Catalina remaining

= $10.70 for 30 cans of soup

I realize that 30 cans of soup might seem a little excessive for most people, but at $0.36 per can this would make an awesome donation to your local food bank.

The Winner Is.....

Congratulations to Mo! You won the $20 voucher to Barnes & Noble. I'm sending you an e-mail now.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Here's to many more months (years) of blogging!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Big Target Trip

Update on my post last night: After going over my receipts again, I realized that I had been charged the correct amount at Target. The error was in my calculations as I was putting this post together. Hey...I never claimed to be a math whiz. I stand by my assertions about double checking your receipts, but also recommend investing in a decent calculator.

Luckily, I had the above realization before I went back to Target. That would have been embarassing. When I was shopping I found my favorite Olay body wash on 50% off. I didn't have any coupons with me for it, but it was still a good deal. But I just knew there had to be a coupon out there. Sure enough, I got home and found 3 high value coupons for a FREE Olay Complete Moisturizer when you purchased an Olay Body Wash. That was worth a trip back to Target to return the 2 bottles I had bought and purchase 3 more, plus 3 moisturizers.

I hadn't been to Target in a couple weeks (shocking!), so this was a pretty big trip. I think I did pretty good considering over half of what I spent was on toilet paper and paper towels.

Transaction #1
Regular Price
Sale Price
I Paid
(2) Bounty Paper Towels Mega Packs
(2) $0.25/1 coupon
(2) $1/1 Target coupon

Total = $23.48 + tax = $25.23

Received $5 gift card back

Transaction #2
Regular Price
Sale Price
I Paid
(2) Finish Gel Packs 20 ct
(2) $0.75/1 coupon
(2) $0.50/1 Target coupon
(4) Pop Chips
(2) BOGO
(1) Crunchy Nut Cereal

$1/1 coupon
$1/1 Target coupon
(2) Quaker Oatmeal Squares Cereal
(2) $1/1 coupon
$1/2 Target coupon
(3) Olay Body Wash

(3) Olay Complete Lotion

(3) B1G1 Free with Olay Body Wash (up to $6)
(2) Aquafresh Travel Toothpaste

(2) $1/1 coupon
FREE +$.06
(1) Cottonelle 30 Rolls Toilet Paper
$1.50/1 Target Catalina
(2) Quaker Oatmeal Variety Pack
22 ct
(2) $1/1 coupon
$1/2 Target coupon
(2) Lipton To Go Tea Packets 14 ct
$1/2 coupon
$1/2 Target coupon
(2) Wishbone Salad Dressing
(2) $0.75/1 coupon
$1.50/2 Target coupon

Total = $38.41 + tax = $42.66
    - $5 gift card from Transaction #1
   - $10 gift card received when I signed up for Ebates (no longer available, but they are offering a $5 credit)

OOP = $27.66

Grand Total = $52.89

And the value of everything I purchased......$117.66! I saved 55%! Not my best trip, but I'm happy with it.

The Value of Magazine Subscriptions

I have quite a few magazine subscriptions (cough::ten::cough). In general, I don't pay over $10 for a year subscription and often times I can find magazines I like for much less.

I recently got a deal on a subscription to Parents magazine. I paid $5.99 for a 3 year subscription! That works out to $0.17 an issue. I was flipping through the most recent issue and found the following coupons:

$10 off Amazon Mom purchase (the main reason I subscribe to this magazine is for this coupon!)
$1/1 Ziploc Toddler Feeding Item
$5/1 Mederma Stretch Mark Lotion
$2/1 Cetaphil Lotion
$1/1 V-8 Soup

$19 in coupons in a $0.17 magazine! Not too shabby!

*HOT* Deal

Mamapedia is offering a 2-year subscription to Parenting: Early Years or Parenting: School Years for $8. If you are have never purchased through Mamapedia before you can use the following codes to get an additional $3 off! This magazine often has the coveted Amazon coupons so it is well worth the cost.

PMAG3A to take an extra $3 off Parenting School Years
EARLYPMAG to take an extra $3 off Parenting Early Years

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Importance of Checking Your Receipt

I know I just did a post on this topic, but I cannot stress enough the importance of checking your receipts.

I was working on getting a post up about a recent trip to Target. As I was looking at my receipt, I realized that I was overcharged by over $5. There are 5 coupons that show up on my receipt as scanned but were not deducted from my total and 2 products that I was charged from than the price on the shelf.

I had actually asked the checker about some of the coupons that were scanning as $0. She told me it was because they were store coupons and would be taken off automatically. Of course, these were the coupons that didn't deduct.

This is third time this has happened to me in the past couple weeks (twice at Safeway and once at Target). It is so frustrating, especially when I don't realize it until after I get home. $5 is a good chunk of change and represents over 10% of my total. So back to Target I go tomorrow.

It makes me sick to think about how much I overpaid in the past before I was so diligent about checking my receipts and coupons.