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!