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Cheap, Healthy and on the way Home!

Posted by Brooke on August 9, 2011 in Shopping trips

Originally this blog was called “Couponing is making me fat” because I definitely am more likely to buy things such as chips and cookies when they are free/cheap and then eat them all! But it is possible to get good deals on so-called healthy food too, which is what I did on my way home from the office.

Admitedly, this took two stops, but neither is out of the way, so therefore, not totally insane, right? A little insane, but not TOTALLY.

At Fred Meyer:

2 packages of Tillamook Sliced Cheese (On sale $3, 3/$7 with “extra savings” coupon – $1 MFG coupon = $1.34 each)

At Safeway:

2 bottles V8 V fusion (Buy one, get one free – $1 MFG coupon – $.50 Safeway double = $2.49 for both)

Now this would have seemed even healthier if I included the Fresh Express Salad I bought, but the cashier didn’t think either the $2 or $.75 off coupon I had applied, so I’m not including it. Note to self: do not get in Christine’s line ever again.

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Walgreens 8/7/2011

Posted by Brooke on August 8, 2011 in Shopping trips

One of the many things I’ve learned is that if you want the “money maker” items, you can’t slack. And this week Keri lotion (regularly $8.29) at Walgreens was one of those coveted items so I got my ass over there Sunday morning. Allow me to explain:

The lotion was on sale for $5.99, and I had a few $2 off any Keri coupons from the past week’s newspapers. For buying one you received a $5 register reward, which earns you $1.01 for each one you purchase. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) you can’t just clear the shelves and get a bunch of free money, but actually the reward is limited to one per transaction and you can’t use the reward on your purchase and get another one. Let’s just say it’s complicated.

But I’ve been wanting to get some make up (I’m all grown up!) and I figured this would be a good use of the money, (plus I had coupons!) so here’s what I did:

Transaction 1:

Keri Lotion (8.29, on sale 5.99 – $2 coupon +$5 back = $1.01 Moneymaker)

Campbells Tomato Soup (Reg .99, on sale .69, filler item to allow use of another $2 Register reward I already had)

Paid: $2.69, saved $6.60, got back $5.

Transaction 2:

Loreal Mascara ($8.99-$2 coupon)

Loreal Concealer ($9.49- $2 coupon)

Rimmel eye shadow ($4.99- $2 coupon – $2.50 (buy one get one 50%))

Rimmel Eye Liner ($6.49- $2 coupon)

Mini Memo book (On sale $.20 and purchased so I could cash in the $5 reward)

Paid $14.66, saved $16.29

Transaction 3:

Another Keri Lotion (8.29, on sale 5.99 – $2 coupon +$5 back = $1.01 Moneymaker)

Purex Laundry Detergent 50oz (Regular $5.99, on sale $1.99- $.50 coupon = Paid $1.49)

2 Ban Deodorants (Regular $3.99, on sale $1.49 – $1 coupon = paid $.49 each)

Paid $6.46, Saved $15.80, got back $5

I’m still working on mastering Walgreens and in hindsight, I should have done transaction three second and put both $5 RRs towards the make up, but oh well. Now who wants to come over and show me how to use this damn make up?

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Ten Dollars at Target

Posted by Brooke on August 7, 2011 in Random Thoughts, Shopping trips

There is some concern at that I am just “hoarding” at this point, but you say hoarding, I say stocking up. The truth is, I am buying things for the game of couponing, but I make it a point to ask myself with every purchase: is this something I will actually use. One thing I’ve noticed through my increased consumerism is that there are a lot of products out there that you don’t really need and can easily live without, but they sure are nice to have. My latest Target trip last week included some of them, such as the bathroom wipes, which make it 100x easier to keep the bathroom clean. So there.

I paid $10, used $10 in coupons  and got:

Ortega Taco Shells (On sale $1.50- $1 mfg coupon = Paid $.50)

Old El Paso Taco Seasoning (Reg price $.69- $.50 coupon = Paid $.19)

Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom wipes (On sale $2.50 – $.55 coupon = Paid $1.95)

Bengay (Reg price $4.89 – $5 coupon = MADE $.11)

Presidente Feta (On sale $3.50 – $1.25 coupon = Paid $2.25)

Cascade dishwasher detergent sample pack (Reg price $1.09 – $1 coupon = paid $.09)

2 Temptations cat treats (On sale $1.50 – $1/2 coupon = Paid $1 each)

5 Campbells Soups (On sale $1 – $1/5 coupon = Paid $.80 each)

The internets are telling me those Cascade sample packs are under $1 each at Walmart, and it’s possible I bought some more coupons off ebay and will go let Walmart pay me to buy them soon.

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Coupon Cook Off!

Posted by Brooke on August 4, 2011 in Random Thoughts

This is the third cook off we’ve done for Yobeat and the 5th one ever, and this time, I was able to take advantage of my couponing to pull it off cheap! I dipped into my mini stockpile and here’s the break down on the ingredient cost:

Two boxes of Kellogs Cornflakes $3.98 total (plus 2/5′s of a free movie ticket!)

Two cans of green chili peppers $.98 total (2.98, on sale for 2.48- $1/2 coupon -.50 doubler)

Two jars of Classico Pasta sauce $.74 each (Regular price $3.59, On sale $2.49- $1 off in ad coupon – $1/2 mfg coupon – .50 safeway doubler)

Two packages of Tilapia $3.98 (on clearance, 68% savings!)

Total for both meals (not counting ingredients they brought) $9.68!

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$100 Worth of Groceries for $45 at Safeway

Posted by Brooke on August 4, 2011 in Shopping trips

While there are no incredibly amazing individual deals at Safeway this week, there are a couple store coupons for $10 off a $50 purchase and $5 off $15 worth of frozen items, which means it’s a good chance to get stuff that never really goes on sale, or you know, you actually need. But I always fall victim to spending WAY more than the necessary amount to use these minimum purchase coupons, so this trip, I was determined to keep myself in line. There may have been excel sheets involved, but I don’t think anyone really needs to know about that…

I ended up spending $45.77 out of pocket for a total savings of $55.42 or 55%, and picked up some staples such as balsamic vinegar, flour, sugar, cling wrap and even some fruit. As for my best deals, I got:

Mozzarella cheese (Regular price $5.99, on sale $4.99 – $1 Store coupon – $1 manufacturer peely -Safeway double (.50)= Paid $2.49)

4 various Morning Star Farms fake meat products ($3.99 each – 4 $1 off coupons – $5/15 store promo = Paid: $1.74 each)

Pork Ribs (Regular price $14.97, on sale $8.97 – $2 coupon = Paid $6.97)

Pepperidge Farm Sausalito cookies (Regular $3.99, On sale $2.50 – $.55 coupon -Safeway double (.50) = paid $1.54)

Organic Rasberries (regular price $3.99, on sale $2.50 – $.50 coupon = paid $2.00)

4 Totinos Party Pizzas (regular price $1.50 – $1/4 coupon – $1/4 Just4u savings = Paid $1 each)

I actually used a calculator while I was shopping, and it was amazing how fast everything added up to $50. Over all though, a successful trip that avoided buying too many things Jared will complain I “made him eat” later.

 

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Thai Kitchen Bowls $.89 Each

Posted by Brooke on August 3, 2011 in Shopping trips

Albertson’s put out some twice the value coupons last week, which is generally a pretty good reason for me to drive to Milwaukee. Unfortunately, there were only two (usually it’s three) and the match ups were not that exciting, so it actually took me needing to make a trip to get some stuff for dinner to go. And when I got there, a few of the deals I’d found were already wiped out.

All was not lost however, as I found these Thai Kitchen noodle bowls on sale for $1.89 (usually $2.29) and I had a couple $1 off any two Thai Kitchen items. I was able to grab four, use two coupons and two $1 doublers to get them for $.89 each. Not my most exciting deal, but I’ll take it. Also, look how cute Tyra is.

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I Hate Most Banks, Cellphone and Cable companies.

Posted by Rachel on August 2, 2011 in Lessons, Random Thoughts, Scores!

I’ve severed almost all ties to bloodsucking corporations over the past year. My top three categories of “predatory corporate evils one inevitably has to deal with as an on-the-grid adult” are banks, cable companies  and cellphone providers in that order.

1. Banks. A few months back, I abandoned Bank of America in favor of a local credit union that I’d say is about, oh, 1000000000000000x better. Haven’t looked back. I only wish I made the jump sooner.  I’ll be doing a more in depth blog post about how to save and even earn a lot of money by changing banks soon.

2. Cable Companies. I decided I didn’t need cable and got DSL for $25 a month through Qwest when I moved to Portland a year ago. Not for everybody—especially those who want to watch TV without downloading or streaming  it—but that transition was easy enough. The rate bumped to $50/month after 6 months, but I have had decent service the entire time and have no complaints. Even at the $50 rate, I’m saving about $65 a month ($780/year) over what I used to pay for cable, DVR and internet with Comcast. Also, I have been reading a lot more.

3. CELLPHONES, probably the biggest scam—apart from bi-partisan politics— going in America these days. I have been waiting very impatiently for my cellphone contract with T-Mobile to expire so I could switch providers. In my case, it would have paid for itself to make the switch six months ago, but my cellphone happened to die RIGHT at the cutoff point (why does that always happen???), and I became shackled to the duration of my contract after redeeming my handset insurance. Long story short, they accidentally gave me a $500 credit when they replaced my broken phone, which they somehow only discovered and rectified 3 months later. Maybe that was all part of the evil plan to keep me in their clutches (same with offering me a better rate when I called to cancel my account. Forget it!), but I had to ride it out just in case I got away with it.

Anyway, when all was said and done, my monthly cellphone bill with T-Mobile was around $90.00 every month after fees, taxes and with insurance. This was for an android plan on a network that most often presented as one tiny non 3G bar in my apartment (which is in a major metropolitan area), and constantly dropped my calls to my mom! Not cool.

Over the past few years, a bunch of contract-free “budget” cell providers have popped up all over the place. More recently, they’ve started to get not totally shitty phones, and most now offer unlimited data plans for smartphones. The company in Portland that does this is called Cricket. I just got a phone that runs Android Gingerbread (2.3) on a 600MHz processor and includes a  5.0 MP camera.  I was able to get it this month through a web only special for $129.99 shipped free overnight.  Here it is:

The Huawei Ascend II, made with pride in China.

This is definitely not a top of the line phone, but it’s totally adequate for my needs and your standard smartphone in 2011. I’m not a person who needs to shoot HD video and stream 2 movies at once while also posting on facebook on my phone. And this phone is actually a lot more impressive and zippy than my last phone, so I’m happy with it. The fact that this and similarly available models are leaps and bounds better than what was offered by these pay as you go providers even  a year ago gives me a lot of hope for the future. I think the playing field will eventually become completely leveled, and the big guns may even have to lower their exorbitant prices to keep up with the burner slingers.

If I ever leave my water bottle open in my bag and kill my phone (this has happened), I can replace it for $100—the price should come down in a few months. If a better phone comes out in a year, I can upgrade to that for around the same price. If I decide I hate Cricket and want to switch providers, I can do that any time at no charge. There’s no contract. I love it!

The switch, per month, in summary:

Before
$90.00

Shitty HTC 1st gen android phone on a shitty T-Mobile network that often had no signal in my house with 300 any time mins., unlimited texting and data, handset insurance (I once paid $400 to replace my phone in contract and learned my lesson), misc. taxes, fees and a two year contract.

After
$55.00

Decent android phone on what so far seems to be a way better 3G network at least in the house and city where i spend 95% of my time, unlimited talk, text and data, minor misc. fees and taxes. No contract.

So that’s $35 more a month to spend at the new vegan bar that just opened in the neighborhood or $420/year to blow on organic produce.

I know many could not stand the thought, but losing the iPhone for one of these would yield even more impressive savings as far as I can tell.

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Lunch Deal — $9.99 For 2 at Quiznos

Posted by Brooke on August 2, 2011 in Good Eats

I feel like I should preface this with the fact that Jared and I are terrible at choosing a lunch destination. So bad, in fact, there was another blog about that. So when a Quiznos coupon arrived in my inbox, the same day I managed to spill coffee on my wireless keyboard, it was sort of like the stars aligned and I was supposed to head over to the Llyod center and take advantage of this deal. (Quiznos and the Macstore are blocks apart.)

Aside from the fact the oven was broken, they were out of iced tea, and I had to ask for them to put out more pickles, we managed to score a pretty good deal on lunch. For $9.99 we got two small subs, two bags of chips and two fountain drinks. The Regular price $14.20, in other words, we saved over $4 on lunch with coupon, and it was actually stuff we would have ordered anyway. Now just imagine if Quizno’s #4488 hadn’t been having the worst day in history!

The coupon is good through August 8th, so don’t hesitate to print it out and get this deal yourself.

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Defeated at Walgreens

Posted by Brooke on July 31, 2011 in Lessons, Shopping trips

Sometimes the coupons win, and on my trip to Walgreens, I’d say that happened. Planning is key with this stuff, and I tend to just sort of wing it. I check the blogs, see what the good deals are, check for what coupons I have and then head out. I don’t estimate what I’m going to spend or make a list, I more just cross my fingers and hope for the best.

My main motivation for even going to Walgreens was to use my $3/2 Pantene coupon that expired today (I had two of them.) Wags was having a $2/7 sale on Pantene, plus you got a $2 register reward for buying two. So shampoo and conditioner that were regularly $4.99 would cost $2 each OOP or $1 each if you factor in the Register Rewards.

If I had left it at that, I would have done ok, but I felt the need to buy a few other things that I had coupons for and also had register rewards and that’s where it all came undone. She rang up my purchase and it came to $15.03. Now this seemed high, but obviously I didn’t do the math until I got home. So I got:

2 Oral B Toothbrushes (Regular price $3.29, son sale 2/$6 – $.75 coupon = should have cost $5.25 total– receive $2 Register Reward. Actually Paid $2.91 each – not a good deal)

2 Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner* (Regular price $4.99, On sale 2/$7 – $3/2 coupon = should have cost $4 total– receive $2 Register Reward. Actually Paid $3.39 each – not a terrible deal, but geez.)

2 Bags M&Ms (Regular price $3.79, on sale 2/$5 – $1/2 coupon = $4 — receive $1 Register Reward. Paid $2.00 each )

On other words, I should have paid $13, not $15 and gotten $6 back. I called and they said if I bring back the items and my receipt they would refund the difference, but I think I might just write this one off as a loss.

*the good news is I did a separate transaction, used my other coupon, was able to use one of the $2 RR and paid $2 out of pocket for two more bottles of Pantene. And I also have $6 to spend next time.

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