Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Clearance Deals – CVS & Walgreens!

All of this – both stores – for $2.98 total!

I first visited CVS to take advantage of this week's ECBs deals (the non-Christmasy stuff in the picture – see here for details.) Since I was trying to use a $5 off $25 purchase ECBs coupon (expiring 12/30), I browsed the Christmas Clearance section. Everything was 50% off. I paid $0.21 out of pocket, after ECBs!

Since there's a Walgreens almost next door, I stopped in for the January EasySaver catalog – and to browse their Christmas Clearance section, too. Everything was 75% off. I paid $2.77 out of pocket, after $4 RR! Can you believe that the envelopes, notepads, and little notebooks were only $0.37 each?

We still haven't had our gift exchange with over half of the family, and I haven't yet written our "yearly" letter. So some of these goodies will come in handy this year – and the rest will be put away for next year...

CVS deals – 12/28 thru 01/03

Don't miss these deals at CVS this week!

Colgate Total Advanced Whitening Toothpaste (4 oz) – $2.99
(Limit 2)
Use $1.50/1 printable coupon here
Get $2 ECBs
Free plus $0.51 overage after coupon and ECBs

Schick Quattro or Intuition Razor for Women – $8.99
(Limit 1)
Use $2 coupon from recent newspaper insert
Get $5 ECBs
$1.99 after coupon and ECBs

ProMax Energy Bars – 3 for $5.00
(Limit 5)
Get $5 ECBs
According to the December ECBs Catalog, this deal is good through tomorrow – if you can still find these!

Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna (5 oz, in water) – $0.88 each
(Limit 4)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Friendship Bread & "misartos"

(I'm trying to coin a term for "hater of bread" in Greek!) After mixing up eight batches of Friendship Bread – five in the evening and three more late at night – I'm ready to wait a whole year before seeing another bag of starter! (I did put two starters in the freezer...)

Actually, it was rewarding to look at the results this morning as I wrapped the loaves – some for now, some to share, some for the fridge, and some to freeze for later. Eight batches of dough made six large loaves and twelve small ones – and that's because I was making it fit into the loaf pans I own!

A yummy variation I tried for the second batch was substituting instant chocolate pudding for the vanilla – and adding chocolate chips, too. (Go here for the original recipe.)

By the way, Walgreens consistently has instant pudding (vanilla and chocolate) for a good price – 3 for $1 – even without coupons!

Three cheers for Walgreens!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CVS debriefing – mega deals on 12/21 & 12/22

It rarely goes exactly as planned out on paper... Something just has to be out of stock to add to the excitement of the whole couponing adventure! (Sigh...)

After some quick refiguring, however, I was still able to use my $5 off $25 purchase coupon to bring home the following – with nothing out of pocket this time – and come out with $7 ECBs more than I had when I entered the store!

Hurrah for CVS – and the ECBs program!

Walgreens debriefing – for Monday 12/22

Here's how it went at Walgreens... Of course, it rarely goes exactly as planned – that might get boring! (For my original plan, click here.)

Both the FREE hair dryer and almost free razor were in stock at my neighborhood Walgreens – and I'm thankful! However, the two RR wouldn't scan together – I now suspect it had to do with the following fact (stated on the RR): "Total number of manufacturer coupons/register rewards cannot exceed the number of items in the transaction." So, I ended up keeping $2 RR and taking $15.19 from my gift card on the first trip...

The hairdryer will assist (and eventually replace) the current "old faithful" which is showing its age. And a nice razor (practically free!) is always a good addition!

The second trip almost didn't happen... Yesterday was an extra-busy day – and if it hadn't been for a friend's posts showing up in Google Reader, I would've totally forgotten the following (yummy!) deals:

I again had trouble with RR not scanning (and that's when we figured out the statement above); however, a kind assistant manager voided the transaction, rescanned my loot, then the $10 RR, and finally the manufacturer coupons.

In the end, I took more from my gift card than I had planned on each trip – but I ended up with $6 in RR for future purchases. So, I guess it all balanced out...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

CVS deals – 12/21 thru 12/27

For details on CVS deals this week – and especially on the great deals on 12/21 and 12/22 – click here.

And don't forget the Crest deal (not included in the link above):

Crest Pro-Health toothpaste (4.2 oz) or rinse (8.45 oz) – on sale for $2.99
Get $2 ECBs
Use $1/1 coupon from recent newspaper insert
Free after coupon and ECBs
(Limit 2)

Walgreens deals – Monday 12/22

I’m planning to make two trips to Walgreens tomorrow. On my first trip, I plan to get the following:

Deal for Monday, December 22, 2008 ONLY
1 Conair Gel Grips Hair Dryer – $10
(The $10 price is half off the normal price of $19.99!)
Get $10 Register Rewards
FREE after Register Rewards!

1 Gillette Fusion Phenom Power Razor – $9.99
Use $4/1 coupon (from 11/30 Procter & Gamble insert)
Get $4 Register Rewards
$1.99 after coupon and Register Rewards

I’ll pay with $4 RR from last week – $2 RR from Zoothbrushes and $2 RR from Coke products. (We’ve been taking turns fighting a gastrointestinal bug at our house these past few days, so the Coke deal – Sprite for us! – was a timely blessing!) Then I’ll take the remaining $11.99 (plus tax) from my WG gift card.

On my second trip, I’ll use the new RR toward the following:

2 Russel Stover Tins – on sale for $9.99 each
(6.7 oz. Oval Tin, Music Ornament Box, or Lighted Tree Box)
Use two $1/1 coupons from 12/14 newspaper insert
Submit for rebate #53 – $10 back on selected Russell Stover
(Plus $1 more when you figure in a 10% bonus for getting the rebate on a WG gift card!)
2 for $6.98 after coupons, rebate, and 10% bonus

2 Chex Mix (8.75 oz.) – on sale for $0.99 each
Use two $0.60/1 printable coupons
$0.39 each after coupons

I’ll pay with $14 RR and take the remaining $4.76 (plus tax) from my WG gift card. If I’m figuring correctly, I’ll be spending about $17 from my gift card but adding $11 back in rebates (with 10% bonus).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Recipe for Friendship Bread

A favorite of my husband's family, the recipe and "starter dough" for this "Amish Friendship Bread" were recently passed along to me by a friend at church. Since I have to type up the recipe for my sisters-in-law (who kindly took some "starter" from me), I decided to post it here...
For those unfamiliar with this type of sweet "sourdough" bread – the process usually begins when you inherit a bag of "starter" from a friend. (Perhaps the origin of the name?) I don't know how to make my own starter (I'm planning to follow the example of my mother-in-law and freeze a bag of starter for next Christmas), but I suppose you could try mixing 1 cup each of flour, sugar, and milk in a gallon-size reclosable bag and leave it out a few days longer than the recipe calls for below...
It all starts in a gallon-size reclosable bag...

Directions/Recipe for Amish Friendship Bread

[Do not use any type of metal spoon or bowl for mixing. Do not refrigerate the starter – unless you want to slow down the process like I did two weeks ago while away from home for a week.]

When the starter mix starts to ferment, air pressure will begin to build in the bag. Just let it out periodically and reseal the bag. The batter will rise, bubble, and ferment.

Day 1: This is the day you receive your batter. Make sure the date is written on the bag.

Day 2: Mush the bag. (I love that expression – mush!)

Day 3: Mush the bag.

Day 4: Mush the bag.

Day 5: Mush the bag.

Day 6: Add to the bag: 1 cup each of flour, sugar, and milk, and mush the bag! The batter will be slightly lumpy.

Day 7: Mush the bag.

Day 8: Mush the bag.

Day 9: Mush the bag.

Day 10: Pour the contents of the bag into a non-metal mixing bowl. Add 1½ cups each of flour, sugar, and milk. (I add only ½ cup of sugar – it's better for you and your budget!) Tip: I find that if you add the dry ingredients and mix well before adding the milk, the dough is far less likely to be lumpy.

Label 4 gallon-size reclosable bags with the date, and measure 1 cup of the mix into each bag. Those bags are now on Day 1. Give a bag to three friends along with a copy of the recipe. (Keep a bag of starter for yourself – you can also freeze it for later use.)

Add the following ingredients to the remaining batter:

2 or 3 eggs
1 cup oil (or ½ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce)
½ cup milk
1 cup sugar (I use only ½ cup sugar.)
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla (I use 1 tsp. vanilla.)
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1 large box instant (vanilla) pudding (I found that the small box works fine, too.)

Options: Add 1 cup (either or all) of chopped nuts, raisins, (mini) chocolate chips, etc.

Generously grease two 1.5 quart-size loaf pans (or 6 mini-size pans). Mix an additional ½ cup sugar and 1½ tsp. cinnamon, and dust the greased pans with half of the mixture. Pour batter evenly into pans and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees F. Let set 10 minutes to cool and then loosen sides and turn onto plate or cooling rack. Once cooled, store in the refrigerator. You can also freeze them for later use.

If you run out of "friends" who want a bag of "starter" – don't throw it out! Simply make up the above recipe 5 times – i.e. make one huge batch. (Yes, I measured what was left after removing the 4 cups of starter and found that it was almost exactly 1 cup! And I "quintupled" (is that a word?!) the recipe just last weekend, and it worked fine!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

CVS deals – 12/14 thru 12/20

After coupons, Extra Care Bucks, and a $5 off a $25 purchase coupon (printed with earlier ECBs), I carried all of this out of the store for only $0.50 out of pocket! (Actually, one of the ProMax energy bars is missing... Ahem!)

For details on these deals (and others!), click here.

Although I don't wear soft contact lenses, I know "missionary kids" who do. And being an MK myself, I'm excited that CVS paid me $2.00 to help MKs still in college. I remember those days...

I'm also happy that I paid $20.46 in ECBs (not counting the $5 off $25 coupon) but left with $25.99 more in ECBs – plus another $5 off $25 coupon!

CVS scores again!

Friday, December 12, 2008

update on Walgreens deals – 12/10 thru 12/13

I realized in the WG parking lot that some of the items on my original list had a “Limit 1” stipulation. And once in the store, I realized that not all Kellogg’s cereals were on sale. (I had a Wheaties coupon.) So, I adjusted as follows…

2 Scotch Magic or Gift Wrap Tape
See details in original post.

2 Reynold's Wrap Aluminum Foil (20 sq. ft)
See details in original post.

I bought only 1 Schick Quattro Titanium Razor – $6.99
Use $3/1 from December ES catalog
(The catch is that the ES coupon states “Limit 1”)
Use $2/1 coupon from recent newspaper insert
$2.00 after coupon

I added Mead envelopes – $.59 each (Limit 3)
(These are on a family member’s Christmas wish list!)
Use in-ad coupon to get the $.59 price
$1.77 for three

I also forgot to add the deodorant deal to my original list:

Sure deodorant – $5/2 or $2.99 each
Use $1/1 printable coupon
Use $1.50/1 coupon from Dec. ES catalog
(The catch is that the ES coupon states “Limit 1”)
Therefore: $.49 after coupon

I ended up making my gift card $1.87 lighter, but I’ll be putting $2.20 back on it with the Scotch Tape deal!

deals at Walgreens – 12/10 thru 12/13

Thanks, Andrea! I wouldn’t have come up with those deals on my own – especially since I’m still in recovery mode! (JM and I joke that we need a week off after vacation to recover from vacation – but maybe it’s not really a joke!) At any rate, I’m thankful for the A&H detergent deal – especially because Elizabeth has sensitive skin and there was plenty of that variety on the shelf at my neighborhood Walgreens.

Here’s how it worked for me…

I bought 4 Arm & Hammer Detergents – $6.99 each = $27.96
$1/1 printable coupon (I could get only one to print!)
WG in-ad coupon – took off $20, making them $1.99 each
(I picked up my copy of the ad in the store.)
$3.50 in RR (from a Colgate toothpaste deal two weeks ago) which were otherwise expiring today!
I spent $3.46 plus tax (from my gift card) but got $5 in RR back!

By the way, the manager who rang up my purchases was impressed! He said he wasn’t even aware of the deal!

My plan for the $5 in RR (this afternoon on my lunch break):

2 Scotch Magic or Gift Wrap Tape – $2/2
Submit for $2 December EasySaver rebate (#35)
Free after rebate (plus $.20 overage after 10% bonus on gift card next month!)

2 Reynold's Wrap Aluminum Foil (20 sq. ft)
$0.99 after WG in-ad coupon
Use two $1/1 from recent newspaper insert
Free after coupons

2 Schick Quattro Titanium Razor – $6.99
Use $3/1 from December EasySaver Catalogs
Use two $2/1 coupons from recent newspaper insert
$2.00 each after coupons

Kelloggs Cereals – $1.99
Use $1/1 printable (I forget when I printed this one!)
$0.99 after coupon

I’ll pay with the $5 RR and spend $1.99 plus tax (from gift card!)
I’ll be putting $2.20 back on the gift card with the Scotch Tape deal!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Deals at CVS – 11/27 thru 29

This was my best CVS experience ever!

The short story is that I started with $21.59 in ECBs, spent only $.68 out of pocket, and ended up with almost $44 in ECBs. That's a gain of about $22 (ECBs)! And everything was in stock, too! I did go to two different stores and also had the assistance of two $5 off $25 purchase coupons that printed with my ECBs – one two weeks ago and the other on Friday.

If you're like I used to be and are not yet convinced about the benefits of the CVS ExtraCare Bucks program, click here for tips on how to make CVS work for you. (Thanks to Crystal's CVS 101 tutorial, I became convinced!) And take a look at the loot you can bring home with ECBs!

The deals pictured are still available tomorrow! Click here for details...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Walgreens Summary – Nov '08

First of all, a big “thank-you” to Crystal (here) for her Walgreens 101 online tutorial and to Andrea (here) for challenging me by her example (and for pointing me to Crystal's blog in the first place). After reading Andrea's post on Nov 3, my goal this past month became to try to end up with as much back on my gift card as I was spending from it, with a minimum (if any) real out of pocket spending.

So, here’s how things went during the November EasySaver period. Of course, it’s admittedly an advantage that I was able to build up the amount on my WG gift card during October and that I did spend some real out of pocket cash at the beginning of this month...

I started with “double dipping deals” on Oct 24. (If you’re new to Walgreens rebates, coupons, etc., you’ll want to take some lessons like I did by clicking here.) On that first “double dipping” experience for me, I did spend $29.65 out of pocket in order to get (what I thought would be) $34.98 put back on the gift card (plus $3.50 more with the 10% bonus). However, the “double dipping” M&Ms deal didn’t go through – apparently, we really DID have to buy the holiday packs (which were not yet on the shelves) – so I ended up getting only $29.98 (plus $3.00 more with the 10% bonus) back on the gift card out of that trip. That's still a profit of $3.33! At any rate, that visit took place before I read Andrea’s blog (here) and decided to take up the challenge of minimum out of pocket for the rest of the month…

Since I had another $5 off $20 purchase coupon, I went back to WG on Oct 25 and ended up getting some grocery items (including mushrooms, mandarin oranges, cashew nuts, mixed nuts, and Brita filters).

According to my receipt that day:
My total out of pocket: $17.57 (really "out of pocket")
WG Q savings: $1.48
WG ad savings: $6.00
(Plus the $5 off $20 purchase WG Q)

By my next visit on Nov 3, my Oct rebates had posted to my gift card (with the 10% bonus!), so I was all set for the real challenge and some real bargains!

According to my receipt that day:
(I was able to go to a new store and use a $3 off $10 purchase coupon in honor of its grand opening!)
My total out of pocket: $7.87 (from the gift card)
WG ad savings: $10.60
Mf Q savings: $18.00
Rebates for Nov ES: $7.00 (plus $.70 10% bonus) to be added to the gift card for Dec

According to the receipt for the next visit on Nov 6:
My total out of pocket: $7.45 (from the gift card)
WG Q savings: $2.00
WG ad savings: $2.30
Mf Q savings: $11.00
Rebates for Nov ES: $5.00 (plus $.50 10% bonus) to be added to the gift card for Dec

According to the receipt for the next visit on Nov 14:
My total out of pocket: $15.90 (from the gift card)
WG ad savings: $3.97
Also used a $5 off 20 purchase WG Q
Rebates for Nov ES: $10.00 (plus $1.00 10% bonus) to be added to the gift card for Dec

The next two visits on Nov 15 were primarily “grocery trips” – for details see my post here – and those deals were what finally persuaded me to start blogging to share tips with others. (By the way, I forgot to include in my post that the first WG trip that day also involved a $5 off $20 purchase coupon.)

I returned to WG on Nov 17. According to the receipt for that visit:
My total out of pocket: $11.31 (from the gift card)
WG ad savings: $2.51
Mf Q savings: $4.00
Register Rewards toward next purchases: $7.00 and $3.00

The next trip on Nov 19 was another “grocery trip” – taking advantage of the great milk and cheese deals! (By the way, I either live or work close to several WG or they’re on the way to other errands.)
According to the receipt for that visit:
My total out of pocket: $6.29 – $5.24 from the gift card & $1.05 literally out of pocket
WG ad savings: $2.68

And the last visit on Nov 21 was another “double dipping” experience – for details see my post here.
My total literally out of pocket: $.93
(I used the $7 RR to pay for most of the loot.)

I still have the $3 in RR from the Nov 17 trip (and my ES rebates should be posting to my gift card any day now), so I'm hoping to take advantage of some good deals (posted here) this week!

By the way, we have more candy in our house than we’ve ever had at any one time before – but it was all FREE (or almost free)! There’ll be no excuse – unless it’s lack of time – for lots of holiday baking this year!

Have I mentioned that I like Publix?

I made my Publix run yesterday. I try to go on Mondays in order to take advantage of the weekly 1 cent item – if I'm going to be spending at least the required $10 to qualify. (This week's item was a 96 fl. oz. bottle of Publix bleach – not bad for 1 cent.)

According to the receipt, I spent $12.63, but I saved $36.30!

My total savings:
Manufacturers' coupons: $5.95
Publix coupons: $5.03
(These were the doubled Qs and the discount on the 1 cent item.)
Advertised Special Savings: $14.34
In-store special savings: $10.98
(These were the two clearance items!)

My favorite deals this trip were:

Betty Crocker Potatoes
B1G1 for $1.75
Use (2) $.40/1 printable mf Q (See details here.)
If your Publix doubles Qs, you pay $.15 for 2!
(These make great donations for food pantries – and that's why several boxes are missing from my snapshot...)

Mt. Olive Pickles
(I bought the 46 fl. oz. jar of Kosher Dills.)
B1G1 for $2.79 – $1.40 each
Use $.50 mf Q (from a recent Sunday paper)
If your Publix doubles Qs, you pay $.40 each!

Domino's Sugar – 1 lb
(I bought the confectioner's sugar.)
On sale for $.69
Use $.25 mf Q (from a recent Sunday paper)
If your Publix doubles Qs, you pay $.19 each!

I also try to check the clearance section each time I go; yesterday I found a plaid cotton tablecloth (60" x 90") for $3.25 and a box of Gerber's mixed grain cereal for $.75 – it's a cheap way to ensure that Elizabeth is getting vitamins.

By the way, these deals are still good today and tomorrow!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"double dipping" at Walgreens – 11/21 & 22

Yesterday and today!

The December EasySaver catalogs are out, and these are the days when some offers and rebates and/or coupons from the current weekly flier and ES catalog are likely to combine with some in the next ES catalog.

I made a quick run last night and came home with the following:

Here's how it all turned out:

Hershey's DARK Chocolate Kisses – on sale 2/$5
Buy 4/$10
Use (2) $1/1 mf Q (from last Sunday's paper)
Use $1/3 printable Q (click here)
Use $1/2 Q from Nov ES catalog
Submit for $5 rebate in Dec ES catalog
FREE after coupons and rebate!
(Actually, I'll earn $.50 with the 10% bonus, by getting the rebate put on my WG gift card.)

Crest Spinbrush – on sale $4.99
Use $2/1 printable Q (click here for details)
Use $3/1 Q from Dec ES catalog
FREE after coupons!

(4) Chex Mix (8.75 oz.) – on sale $.99
Use (2) $1/1 printable Q (click here for details)
Use (2) $.50 mf Q
$.98 for four

I had to get a "raincheck" for the French's French Fried Onions I was planning to buy. So, in order to use $7 Register Rewards (details on that deal here) to pay for everything, I also bought some hairspray on clearance for $1.59.

Total out of pocket for this trip: $.93

This is so exciting! Unbelievable really!

For more details and tips on saving at Walgreens, click here. (Thanks again to the ladies at my favorite savings sites!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I like Publix!

And so does my daughter ~ she loves the Cookie Club!

I like the fact that they offer B1G1 deals every week, they double manufacturers' coupons (up to 50 cents), and they offer a 1 cent item every week (with a $10 minimum purchase). The personnel also go out of their way to be helpful, and they're always courteous. I think they must like Publix, too!

Here's a snapshot of my latest deals at Publix:

According to my receipt, I spent $9.43, but I saved $20.14!

My total savings:
Manufacturers' coupons: $9.35
Publix coupons: 50 cents
Advertised Special Savings: $10.29

My favorite deals this trip were:

Just Bunches cereal:
Usual price: $4.09 each
B1G1 offer: $2.05 each
Mf Q: $2/1
Total for me: 5 cents!

Ziploc containers:
Usual price: $2.99 each
On sale: $2.50 each
Mf Qs: $1.50/2 and $.75/1
Publix Q: $2/3
Total for me: $3.25 for all three
(I'll be using these to freeze homemade applesauce!)

Juicy Juice:
Usual price: $3.49
B1G1 offer: $1.75 and $1.74 each
Mf Qs: two $1/1
Total for me: $1.49 for two

Last night was also the Holiday Open House, and I talked my dearest into making it a family outing. We sampled lots of goodies – shrimp, sushi, eggnog, and Publix's wonderful peppermint ice-cream (only available during the holidays, if I remember correctly)!

SO thankful!

I recently became an avid couponing fan. Previously, I didn't see why anyone would try to save 35 cents on a brand name item when store brands were almost always cheaper and equally good in taste and/or quality. But that was before I understood buy-one-get-one-free deals combined with double coupons, or coupon stacking, or rebates.

Click here to see what I mean!