Coupon Inserts

Grocery Coupons - Tearpad shelf display of cou...

Well, I took a little stroll down to the neighborhood store to pick up today’s newspaper.  I had read some previews about what coupons would be in the inserts and knew my savings would more (much more) than pay for the cost of the paper.  I ended up buying two papers…after checking to make sure all the inserts were in both papers.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought a newspaper, come home with it and found no inserts in it at all.  Do people steal them?  Do they not manage to get them in every newspaper?  I don’t know.  I just knew I wasn’t going to miss out on these today.  I bought the papers and a small bottle of chocolate milk. That was my treat to myself for getting outside and walking this morning even though it was still pretty darn cold.

I’ll be visiting CVS a couple times this week for sure…well…for sure, unless we get the big ice storm they’re talking about (no… no more ice, no more snow, no more winter…I’m beyond ready for spring).  I use Natural Instincts hair color and it’s on sale at CVS this week and there was a $2 coupon in the paper…bonus!!  I need some foundation and the Physicians Formula has a great ECB associated with it this week.  And the Skippy peanut butter, Lipton tea and Ragu pasta sauce are all on sale.  I have coupons for each and there is a nice ECB with that purchase too.  That’ll be tomorrow’s visit.  I’m hoping to come up with additional coupons for the Natural Instincts.  If I do, I’ll definitely go back for more…can’t beat $3.99 on that brand of hair color.

My second visit’s purchases will depend on how many additional coupons I can come up with (some people I work with give me the coupons they don’t use, so we’ll see).  I do want to buy a couple bottles of the Arm & Hammer laundry detergent (BOGO..and I have coupons…you just gotta love CVS’ coupon policy…can save some serious money). 

 I’m slowly getting my little stockpile built up.  I would really like to eventually have enough cleaning and health and beauty supplies to last me a year.  Then I could just replenish what I use when there’s a great sale that I can combine with coupons.  I guess I feel “safer” knowing that I have enough to get by if something unexpected should happen.  I’ve always done this with cat food, had enough for at least a month on hand.  I guess now it’s time to take care of myself at least as well as I take care of that crazy little cat!

Kroger mega sale with coupons

A box of Irish Breakfast tea sold by Twinings

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My first trip to Kroger using coupons and really trying to get some good deals.  I had my list, a plan for what to buy to fulfill the requirements for the sale and a few alternates just in case.  I did okay, but definitely didn’t win any extreme couponing awards.  I spent $113 but saved $66…decent…better than I’ve ever done before, for sure.

I did buy 10 cans of DelMonte vegetables to get my pantry refilled (I use a lot of canned veggies when I make soup) and 5 cans of Hunt’s tomatoes, 2 cans of Hunt’s tomato sauce and 3 cans of Ro-Tel tomatoes (had a coupon for $1 off 3 Ro-Tel products)…so that’s two mega deals for a total of  $8.80.  My next deal (I actually did all of these in one transaction) consisted of 6 Balance Bars (had two coupons for $1 off 3) for a total of $1, 3 Honest Teas (had three 50 cent coupons that doubled so this was actually a money maker) that I actually ended up being 63 cents to the good and 1 box of Keenex for $1.19.  So the third deal came to $1.56.   My fourth deal was 2 packs of Kraft cheese slices (had two $1 off coupons) for 98 cents, 1 Ghiradelli brownie mix for $1.99, 2 cans of Progresso soup (had 50 cent coupon off two) for $1.38, 2 boxes of Ritz crackers (had $1 coupon off 2) for 2.47, 1 Silk Almond Milk (had a coupon for 75 cents) for $1.24, 1 Edy’s ice cream for $2.79, and 1 Digiorno pizza for $4.49…total on that deal came to 15.34.  That was the end of my mega sale savings.  I thought I came out of that in pretty good shape.

I also purchased five 6-packs of the bottles of diet Pepsi…thought I’d given it up, but I found myself buying a diet soda from the vending machine at work every day and decided  I might as well not spend so much money and actually get the product that I like (quitting is another story for another blog).

I bought fresh fruits and veggies, milk, bread, the natural peanut butter I like, string cheese (I had a coupon for string cheese by Kraft, but it still came to more than the CowPals so I just bought the one I always buy), pasta sauce, Kroger brand of  lunch meat (for lunch for work next week), Charmin (had a $3 coupon loaded on my Kroger card) that was less than any of the other brands even with coupons, 2 tubes of Pillsbury crescent rolls, 2 boxes of Twinings Irish Breakfast tea (my favorite tea), 2 cartons of Minute Maid oj (had a B1G1 coupon), Back To Nature flaxseed crackers, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, 2 packages of Dove candy for Valentine’s Day, and a box of Crispix (can’t believe I didn’t have a coupon for that).

So I came home with a lot of food and beverages as well as some household supplies…got a few more things for my stockpile…just building it up slowly.  I know I’ll get better at this as I go on, but I’m encouraged by how much I was able to save today.  And there are four coupon inserts in the newspaper on Sunday..have already seen a sneak preview of the CVS ad and the mega deals at Kroger next week and it looks like there will be some good deals there as well!  I’m going to stick to my budget on groceries next week though…I won’t spend more than $50!  I’ll buy the fresh produce, milk, bread and peanut butter that I have to have and then go from there…I know I can do this!

Trying to plan a Kroger shopping trip…and getting stressed about it

Kroger logo

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This is my first time attempting to plan my Kroger shopping trip around what’s on sale and what I have coupons for…and it’s really stressing me out!  Now I’ve shopped at Kroger for many years. I’m familiar with the layout of my store and the coupon policy, so what’s the big deal, right?  I think I must be putting pressure on myself to get the best deals possible. The crazy thing is, I never worried about that  before so I’m not really sure why I’m letting it get to me now.

I’ve gone through the ad, my paper coupons and the coupons that are loaded on my Kroger card.  I’ve reviewed the deals and matchups that several other bloggers have written about.  I’ve been writing everything down in a little journal…how much of what to buy, what coupons I have, the price before and after coupons.  Am I making this more difficult than it actually is? 

I want to buy things that are really good deals and that are good items for me to stockpile (the Hunt’s tomatoes and Ro-Tel tomatoes are two items that I use a lot, so I want to  buy several cans of each).  I’ve gone through my coupons and have pulled together all the coupons I have on hand for the items I intend to buy.  I’ve also pulled out coupons for things I might buy depending on how well I stay within my budget.  I’m keeping those coupons separate.  I know Kroger sometimes has unadvertised specials and I want to be prepared if I come across a good deal. 

I also started sorting out my coupons today.  I’ve seen some really great ideas about organizing coupons.  I’m afraid my organizational method doesn’t even come close to some of the others, but I decided I had to start somewhere.  I started with what I had on hand (without spending any additional money…isn’t that a big part of why I’m doing this?).  I had a nice large clear plastic file storage box that I got at Michaels for next to nothing a while back.  I started filing my clipped coupons in these really pretty files (I’m pretty sure I bought those at Michaels as well, on clearance).  One good thing about this box is I have plenty of room to grow my coupon collection.  When I went to take a picture of the box and files, the battery on my camera was dead.  It’s recharging right now, so hopefully I’ll have some pictures later.

I’ve read several blogs today previewing the coupon inserts that will be in this Sunday’s newspaper…up to 4 inserts with lots of coupons for items I regularly purchase.  Very cool!  Now, do I really need to buy more than one newspaper as many bloggers suggest?  I’m debating with myself over that one.  A couple women I work with give me their inserts (after they take the coupons they want), but the problem with that  this week is that I’m pretty sure we’ll all be wanting the same coupons.  What to do, what to do?!

I’m definitely heading out to Kroger in the morning.   I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll come away with some bargains without adding any additional stress to my already stressed life.  I need to remember that I’m doing this as a challenge to myself to spend less and live life more fully.  I don’t have to be perfect (thank goodness).  I just have to make the attempt…and I’m doing it!

Fun evening with friend

Torino 2 settembre 2008 Teatro Regio The Cleve...

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My friend called me Monday night and wanted to know if I’d go to see the Cleveland Orchestra with her (she won the tickets).  I wasn’t wild about the idea, but I told her I’d go with her anyhow.  We went out to dinner and did a little shopping before we headed to the auditorium.   On the shopping front, we stopped in at CVS again…this time I bought another bottle of the Xtra detergent and 3 packages of the Extra dessert gum (I’d really been wanting to try the chocolate mint).  I had a coupon for the gum (and was wishing I’d printed 2 coupons for the detergent when I had the chance…live and learn, right?) and $2 ECB..so I ended up spending 99 cents for my purchase, saving $6.16…now I’m thinking that’s pretty cool!  And I did remember to get a raincheck for the Crest rinse…I’m bad about forgetting to get a raincheck until after I’ve left the store…but my good friend was there to remind me…isn’t it great to have friends?!

On to the orchestra…I couldn’t believe how great our seats were…face value of the tickets was $59 each (not a bad freebie value, right?)  But the orchestra…not exactly my style.  Of course, they were extremely talented (I can’t begin to imagine the hours and hours of rehearsal), but the music just didn’t really appeal to me.  I honestly tried to go into the evening with an open mind, but wow…I just couldn’t get into it.  There was one bit where the lead violin guy (see how much I know about this?!) played beautifully…I did enjoy that.  But that was about it.  Yep, I’m definitely not a classical kind of gal..give me some old time rock any day.

My friend didn’t enjoy the music either, but hey, it was free and it was something neither of us had done before…and it’s also something that neither of us is likely to do again in the future.  I told her if she won tickets to the opera to call someone else, but if she scored some tickets to River Dance or any kind of Celtic music, count me in!!  And it’s always good to get together with friends, even if we do something that turns out to be a bit of a disappointment…you never know until you try!

From QVC queen to couponing

Oh my, amazing how much money I’ve spent shopping at QVC over the past few years.  I never gave it a thought.  I would see something that I thought looked good, fun, interesting…whatever…and I’d order it.  I can’t tell you how many times I ended up with something that I didn’t really have a lot of use for.  To give them credit, I very rarely had an issue with the quality of their products, but QVC shopping sure does lend itself to a lot of impulse shopping.  And, since I put it on a credit card, it didn’t really seem like spending money.  Whoa…is that some kind of messed of thinking, or what?

At the end of 2010, when I was assessing my life and trying to decide what I could do to find more balance, I seriously looked at my spending habits for the first time.  What an eye opener!  I’m a long way from perfection right now (and really, do any of us ever attain perfection?  probably not), but I’ve been keeping meticulous records of my spending (where, when, what and why) and I’ve been using coupons.  I haven’t totally started keeping track of my savings with coupons (any suggestions for how to implement that?), but I intend to.

My first step to end my QVC habit was to cancel all of my auto deliveries.  That was difficult with some of the items that I love (Philosophy’s Amazing Grace), but I decided I do have enough on hand right now.  I’m going to give myself permission to order more of something I particularly love every once in a while, just not every month.  When I looked at how much I was spending with all  of these plans, I realized I was often spending close to $200 a month…are you kidding me?  $200 a month?  Holy moly, what could I have done with that money over the past several years? 

I guess becoming aware of our habits truly is the first step in making change.  And I am looking to make some major changes in my life…one step at a time!

CVSing

Today was my second CVS shopping excursion.  I have to say, I wasn’t overly enthused about what was in the ad this week.  I did buy a Garnier mousse that was on sale for $2.97 and I had a $1 coupon, so that made it $1.97.  I also bought the Xtra laundry detergent which was on sale for $1.49 and I had a $1 coupon on that as well..unbelieveable to get a bottle of detergent for just 49 cents!  I also bought a bottle of the CVS brand of headache relief (I had a coupon for Excedrin, but even with the buy one get one half off sale and coupon, it wasn’t much different…and I usually buy the WalMart brand double pack, just knew I probably wasn’t going to have time to make it to WalMart this week and I needed the pain reliever NOW…this definitely shows me why I need to stockpile…I’m learning).  I also bought the green bag  tag.  I’m a big believer in bringing my own bags, how nice to get rewarded for doing so.

Funny, I just noticed everything I bought today was green…goes along with bringing my own bags, huh?!  Anyhow, I ended up spending $6.17 and saved $8.82 (would have been a lot less if I didn’t have to buy the pain reliever today).  I feel pretty good about that.  I did look at the clearanced makeup, but I honestly have so much makeup on hand now that I don’t really need anything (I probably have more than enough to make it through the end of the year without having to buy anything), and part of what I’m trying to do is live more frugally so I don’t want to spend money on things I don’t really need.

A friend called me tonight.   She won tickets to see the Cleveland Orchestra and wanted to know if I wanted to go with her..now, I’ve never been to see an orchestra but I told her I’d go..got to be open to new experiences, right?  Anyhow, she wants to go out to eat and do a little shopping beforehand…now I may look through some of the ads of stores I don’t usually make it to and see if I can score some good deals…We’ll see what bargains tomorrow holds!

Searching for balance

This morning I woke up about 10 minutes before the alarm went off.  I actually had a decent night’s sleep, for a change.  I got up, fed the cats and hopped on the exercise bike for a bit of cardio.  Then I did my daily bootcamp video from SparkPeople.com.  I ended up not doing my strength training this morning (so had to do that after I got home from work).  I then prepared my breakfast…my usual..a Thomas’ 110 calorie whole wheat bagel, Smuckers natural peanut butter, 6 oz oj, 8 oz skim milk and a cup of Irish Breakfast tea…what can I say?  I really like this and it’s relatively healthy and keeps me from being ravenous before lunch. 

I decided to see what was happening in the world (or at least my little corner of it) while eating my breakfast.  Checked out facebook to see what my friends were up to…facebook may have some issues, but it sure is a handy way to keep in touch with several friends and family members.  I stayed on the computer just a little too long and ended up having to rush to get ready for work.

Work was okay, not great but not terrible either.  I managed to get a lot done, enjoyed working with the people who were scheduled today, did some kidding around and managed not to let one of my coworkers irritate me.  Got out of there about an hour early, nice treat!  

 I spent the last three and a half months of 2010 working way too many hours, not keeping in contact with friends and family,  not getting enough sleep or exercise and eating junk. Today I was able to find a way  to balance work and home…it felt good and allowed me  to enjoy my day.  I know I can’t always leave work early, that there will still be days when I don’t eat well or get enough exercise…but the joy is in the journey and I’m planning to find something joyous in every step!

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