Thursday, May 3, 2012

Radio Flyer Gold

We are so happy that it is Spring time!  I grew up in rainy Portland where Spring definitely does not necessarily mean sunshine, flowers and fresh air.  It usually just means... (more) rain.

So when I moved to Idaho, I was introduced to gorgeous spring time weather.  It may be my favorite time of year now.  The weather is usually perfect!  Mid 70s, sun, green grass, planting my garden, being outside and thunderstorms.  Heaven.

Caroline and I have been spending our days getting the yard looking pretty.  She loves being outside and is just a perfect little companion.  She will sit in her wagon for a couple hours just looking at the plants, the kitty, the puppies and whatever else happens to catch her fancy. 

You can almost see the little wagon tracks we have around the perimeter of our yard.  Around and around the yard we go.  She just falls into a fit of laughter if her wagon happens to hit a lot of bumps or we pick up speed. 

It is so funny how certain "baby items" are just lifesavers, and as Caroline grows, my "lifesavers" change.  Right now, it is most definitely our Radio Flyer Wagon.  It is worth its weight in solid gold, and it literally goes everywhere with us.

Some days, when we spend dawn until dusk at the new house remodeling, she will literally hang out in that wagon for 8 hours a day.  My mom was joking that we better enjoy this while it lasts because once she is a walker, her utter content with the wagon may expire.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Getting Paid to Buy Groceries!

This evening I stopped in at my favorite local Albertsons and picked up $86.47 worth of groceries and paid just $10.13.  That is a savings of $76.34, or about 89%.  A lot of it was free, some of it I made money buying and the rest I paid pennies on the dollar for.  

This is what I bought:

  • 10 bottles of Kraft Salad Dressing
  • 10 boxes of Nature Valley Granola Bars
  • 2 bags of Lays Kettle Chips
  • 1 box of Equal sweetner
  • 1 box of Beech Nut Baby Oatmeal
  • 1 Barilla Microwave Lunch
  • 2 Starbucks Refreshers
  • 2 Covergirl Eyeshadows
Plus, I still have a $5 Catalina in my wallet (like cash to spend at Albertsons) so really, it is like I spent about $5 bucks on the whole trip.  

I.  Heart.  Coupons. 

Especially when I make money buying groceries for my family.  This week, Albertsons is running a promotion where if you buy 5 participating items in one transaction, you will receive a $5 Catalina at checkout.  

Nature Valley Granola Bars were part of the promo, and as luck would have it... I had (10) $1/1 coupons for them!

The "Perfect Storm" for couponing is when promos (with Catalinas) run at the same time as sale items that have coupons, as well as when Twice the Value Coupons, or "Doublers" are put out by Albertsons.  

This is exactly how the store actually paid me to take home ten boxes of granola bars tonight (um, yes please!)

How it worked:
  • I bought 5 boxes of Nature Valley Granola Bars, on sale for $2.50/box (normally $4.29)
  • I used (5) $1/1 coupons
  • I also used 3 Albertsons doublers (you can only use three per transaction)
  • This brought my total down to $4.50
  • A $5 Catalina printed along with my receipt
The other great thing about Catalina promos, is that you can "roll" your CATS.  So I did this same transaction again, just like above, but I paid with the first CAT I had gotten which brought my total down to $0.00, and then another $5 CAT printed since I had purchased 5 more boxes.  It is pretty much amazing. 

I have been couponing for a long time now, but even I still get excited when I make a little money while buying groceries for my family.  

How I bought the other items:
  • Beech Nut Baby Cereal $1.89  Used a $1/1 coupon printed here, plus a doubler = FREE
  • Equal Sweetner $1.49 Used a $.75/1 coupon from the newspaper, plus a doubler = FREE
  • Starbucks Refresher on sale for $1.00 Used a Get this product FREE coupon from this Sundays Moments to Save insert = FREE (I had five of these coupons, but darn I lost 3 somewhere!)
  • Barilla Microwaveable Meal on sale $1.99, found a $.75/1 coupon taped to the product in the store, plus a doubler = $.50
  • Lays Kettle Chips on sale for $3.00 Used a $1/1 coupon (these are rare for chips!) taped to the product in the store, plus a doubler = $1.00
  • Kraft Salad Dressing on sale for $1.25 Used (5) $1/2 "Peelie" coupons I found on the bottles in the store, plus a doubler = $.25 each
  • Covergirl eyeshadow on sale for $2.44  Used a $1/1 coupon from the P&G insert this Sunday, plus a doubler = $.44
What are "Peelie" Coupons?  

These were the ones attached to bottles of Kraft dressing.  The "Coupon Etiquette" is to simply only take what you will use right then and there.  I used five of these peelies (and a doubler) to get dressing for $.25.

Now, some of you may be asking, "What in the world will this lady do with 10 bottles of salad dressing and 10 boxes of granola bars?"  

Well, think about how quickly you go through certain items and then look at the expiration date.  We have until November to use all of these products when they expire.  So yes, we will use about 2 bottles of dressing and at least 2 boxes of granola bars each month. 

So do coupons really save you money?  I would have to go with a big, huge yes on that one. 

I was so exhausted when I got home from work this afternoon that I almost didn't go.  With all that we have going on... remodeling a new home in the evenings and on the weekend, getting our current house ready to be put on the market, both of us teaching, hosting baby showers and birthday parties, having family visit from out of town, and chasing after our adorable almost 1 year old.... couponing has pretty much taken a back seat.

Faithfully using coupons really is like a part-time job, and usually I am happy to do it because I love tucking away the extra money into our savings account each month.  However, lately, we just have so much going on that I find myself less than thrilled to cut out coupons each week.  

But in the end, I am SO glad I went! All of these things are staples in our pantry, so I love the price of "Free 99" (as Joe says). 

I love seeing my receipts that say "Savings.. 102%"

So who needs sleep anyway?  Rest is so overrated... right?