Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quick Update

Well, I made another trip to Albies after the T-ball game, trying to use up some doublers...but they were wiped out of everything. Lol. Oh well...I guess I saved even MORE money by not shopping at all, eh? :)

So, just a few things to point out...the list is up HERE at GrocerySmarts. One of the coupons they left off of it, as of now (this might be updated at some point) is the $1/1 WishBone Bountifuls from the RP 6/28, which would make them $.67 instead of $.92.

Also, the dairy coupons have RESET! Well, the milk and cheese have...not the yogurt, yet (if it will at all). So go HERE to print them before they're gone! They do expire June 14th, though (or at least mine do...maybe if you print them later, they expire later? not sure) so be sure to use them before then...hopefully we'll get some doublers before then...so I'm hanging onto them for now....

The rest of the coupons have reset also! So be sure to go to Coupons.com and print off the ones you want (remember to go to Group A, Group B, and Group C and remember you can print each coupon TWICE!). Once they reach their print limit, they yank them! You wouldn't want to miss out! Don't forget to make sure your printer settings are set to the lowest quality and you use your cheap paper! That way you're not spending a ton of money on ink and paper to print those coupons!

Using up some doublers...

I made it out to Albies again today, since I was headed to Walmart any way. Still had a bunch of doublers I needed to use up...some of these items were not on sale, so the deal wasn't as great as it could have been, but, again, wanted to use up those doublers, so I used them on things I had coupons for that were expiring soon and things I needed any way. Here's my loot...

9 (more) - Hamburger Helper (used 3-$.75/3 + 3 doublers, making them $.50/ea)
4 - Darigold Flavored Milk Singles (used 2-$1/2 +2 doublers, making them FREE)
6 - Nesquik Flavored Milk Singles (used 3-$1/2 + 3 doublers, making them FREE)
2 - Velveeta Shells singles (used $1/2 + 1 doubler, making them $.29/ea)
1 - Taco Bell Dinner Kit (used $1/1 + 1 doubler, making it $.69)
2 - Trident Gum (used $1/2 + 1 doubler, making them $.04/ea)
4 - Oscar Meyer Weiners (not pictured) (used 2-$1/2 + 2 doublers, making them FREE)

I even scored some make-up that I was going to buy at Walmart any way, except that I found it was a much better deal at Albies using doublers!

Cover Girl Loose Powder (was going to buy this at Walmart, like usual, for $5.82. Albies had it for $5.99, used $1/1 + 1 doubler, making it $3.99)
Cover Girl Eye Make-up remover (was going to buy this at Walmart for $3.98. Albies had it for $3.34, used $1/1 + 1 doubler, making it $1.34)
Cover Girl Perfect Point Eyeliner pencil (I didn't price check this at Walmart, but Albies had it for $3.67, used $1/1 + 1 doubler, making it $1.67)

Total for all items should have been $66.72. I paid only $12.85. That's a savings of $53.87 or 81%! And that was getting items that weren't even on sale! Just taking advantage of double coupons!

While I was at Walmart today, I took advantage of a Fred Meyer deal they have going on. Fred Meyer has Bush's Best Baked Beans or Grillin Beans on sale for 4/$5. Remember, Walmart will price-match competitor prices (just bring in the ad from the paper if you can, otherwise you will have to wait for them to call the other store to verify prices). These beans are usually $1.66 at Walmart, with Fred Meyer's deal, they are $1.25. I then used 2-$1/2 printable from HERE. So, I paid $.75/ea for these. Gotta love these for BBQ season! :)

I will probably hit Albies one more time tonight on the way back from Weston's tball game. I need to use up the last of my doublers. :)

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Monday, June 29, 2009

"Vegas" weeks...

A friend of mine was feeling a little discouraged, this being her first week trying the system, because there wasn't much on the Albies list that really appealed to her. She was wondering if maybe it was going to be worth it after all. Well, as I explained to her...not every weeks' sale is going to appeal to everyone and some weeks the deals, in general, just aren't as good as others. This upcoming week, for example, looks VERY similar to last week. They are still doing the "Epic Mix & Match" sale, for which most of the items appear to be the same. There are a few new sale items on the list that aren't part of the promo, but all-in-all it's just not going to be a very big shopping week (for me any way). Some weeks are like that. You look at the list and there's just really only a few things you want/need and, yes, it's very disappointing, but it's just the way it is.

However, there are also what we call "Vegas" weeks! These are weeks where the list comes out and you can hardly BELIEVE how many things there are on there that you want! The deals are just so great or the promo is fantastic and you can hardly wait to get to the store to get shopping and by the time you're done you looked like you robbed the joint! This will also happen more frequently as you build up your coupon stash. The first couple of weeks I was doing this I wanted SOOO many of the things on the lists and I probably could have gone hog-wild, but just didn't have all of the coupons called for, as some were from months ago. That was a bummer. But as my coupon stash grew bigger, I was able to get more and more of the items on the lists and my shopping trips really started getting bigger and bigger and also more exciting! :)

So, don't get discouraged. Hang in there, and, believe me, after you have your first Vegas week, you will understand what I'm talking about! :)

How stores get paid for coupons...

Have you ever wondered how the reimbursement process works when it comes to dealing with coupons? I have always been super curious! I posted this a while back, but thought it was worth posting again for any newbies...click HERE to learn how it works.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gotta love doublers!

As all of you who have gotten your newspapers today already know, there are THREE MORE DOUBLERS! These are only good through Wednesday, so get in there and use them up! There are a lot of great deals to be found...:)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Yes there ARE other places to shop besides Albies...

Though I absolutely love Albies and it has now become my absolute all-time number 1 preferred place to shop...there are GREAT deals to be found elsewhere also, such as Walmart, Walgreens, and Target. Unfortunately, GrocerySmarts doesn't seem to have anyone to keep up these other lists, but there are plenty of places to find these deals online. Walgreens deals are posted weekly on just about any coupon-mom type blog out there. I usually use a combination of FabulesslyFrugal.com and athriftymom.com to find my deals. However, when the ad comes out in the Sunday paper, I am always sure to look at it myself, also, and see if there are any matchups that haven't been posted or that someone may have missed.

As for Walmart, I usually use moneysavingmom.com to find these deals, but just today my very dear friend Mandy just led me to a new blog site that has even more Walmart deals listed. It seems to be kept very up-to-date as well. It's called hip2save and you can click HERE to check out the current Walmart match-ups. A lot of times Walmart is great for getting travel size items FREE! Keep in mind that you should always double-check the coupon to make sure it doesn't say "excludes trial size." As long as it doesn't say that, you can use it on any travel size item! Just yesterday I scored some Walmart deals...I will update with a picture soon, as I left the ice cream at my dad's house. :)

6 - Starbucks Ice Cream ($2.50 ea, used $2/1 from SS 6/21, making them $.50 ea)
2 - Snuggle Dryer Sheets 40ct (1.87ea, used 2-$1/1 from Group C, making them $.87ea)
2 - NexCare Bandages ($1.50ea, used $1/1 HERE, making them $.50ea)
2 - Vaseline Aloe Fresh Lotion, travel size ($.97ea, used 2 $1/1 HERE, making them FREE**)

In total for this $23.68 worth of items, I paid $5.74 +tax!

**Note: with the $1/1 on the Vaseline lotion, it actually creates a $.03 overage...make sure you have something else in your transaction to "absorb" it, like a pack of gum or something small. They will not pay you to shop there. Lol)

I have to use this opportunity to stress to you once again to double check your receipts and not be afraid to go back to customer service! When I went to Walmart for these items, I also bought a bunch of other things, so I wasn't really paying attention to the total amount when she rang it up. I just paid and left. Upon leaving, however, the wheels started turning in my head and the amount I paid just didn't seem right. I knew it should have been less. So I got out my receipt and, sure enough, four of my $1 off coupons had not scanned and been taken off the amount! I had overpaid by $4.00! Luckily I realized this within an hour of having shopped, so my coupons were still in the drawer at the cash register. If I had noticed it the following day, the drawer would have been cleared out and there would have been no way to prove that I had used the coupons. Any way, so when I went to customer service and explained my issue, they went to the register, pulled the coupons, and saw that I had indeed overpaid. They refunded me the $4 and I was on my way. :) Coupon shopping is definitely fun, but it also comes with it's complications at times! Lol.

Besides Walmart, Target also has some great deals! This week for example, I went to Target and got all this:

2 - Gillette Fusion Razor
1 - Gillette Bodywash
1 - Gillette Deodorant
5 - Bounty Single Roll Paper towels
4 - Eggo Bakeshop products

Should have cost me $33.91, but I only paid $7.86 ($.08 less than the price of one Gillette Fusion razor, mind you) +tax ( and still have $1.29 left on a Target gift card!

Here's how I did it...

Target Promo=Buy one Gillette Fusion Manual Razor and another participating Gillette item, get a $5 Target gift card.

Transaction #1
Gillette Fusion razor (7.94)
Gillette Deodorant (3.49)
Total: $11.43
I then used 1-$4/1 Gillette Fusion (PG 6/7) and 1-$1/1 Gillette Deodorant (PG 5/17) making my OOP $6.43+tax, plus received a $5 gift card.

Transaction #2
Gillette Fusion razor (7.94)
Gillette Body Wash (3.49)
Total: $11.43
I then used 1-$4/1 Gillette Fusion (PG 6/7) and $1/1 Gillette Body Wash (PG 6/7), plus the $5 gift card from the previous transaction, bringing my OOP to $1.43 +tax, plus received another $5 gift card.

Transaction #3
5 - Bounty single rolls
4 - Eggo Bakeshop products
I then used 5-$.50/1 Bounty (target store coupon from SS 6/21), 5-$.25/1 Bounty (PG 6/7) (remember, you can combine store coupons with manufacturer coupons!), 4-$1/1 Eggo Bakeshop from HERE and HERE, and my $5 from the previous transaction. All of this was FREE (except the $.51 in tax), plus I still have $1.29 left on my gift card!

Thank you Tori at sheshopssmart for this wonderful match-up! This sale ends tomorrow, so if you want to take advantage, hurry to Target!

I will be doing a post all about Walgreens soon, so keep an eye out. But, just remember, different blog sites post different match-ups and different stores' weekly deals, so be sure to find a few of your favorites and subscribe to their RSS feed, so that you'll never miss ANYthing! There are so many great deals to find out there, but they don't find themselves!

Follow me!

Just wanted to tell everyone how much fun I am having doing this blog. I go through my day thinking of all of the things I want to blog about and wish I had more hours in the day to do it! :) However, we all know how hard it is to find time to sit down with three kids in the house! Any way, I am totally excited that so many of you have been posting your comments and really helping to get this blog going.

If you're new to my blog, be sure to go back to the very beginning (Click HERE to go to my very first post) to find out how you can save over 60% on your grocery bill each week! After each post you can then scroll to the bottom, under any comments, and click "newer post" to see the following post and so on.

And to everyone, don't forget to become a "follower" by clicking the little "follow" tab in the right-hand side column (you might have to scroll down a little bit) so that you never miss a new post! I try to update daily with new tips, tricks, deals, or just sharing my latest savings while showing you how to do it too. Or, if you prefer, you can just "subscribe" to my blog by scrolling to the VERY bottom of my page where it says "Subscribe to my page."

Thanks again to everyone for helping me get this blog started and don't forget to share it with your friends and family and let them know that they, too, can save a ton of money by clipping coupons!

Snail Mail

I know I've mentioned before about signing up and registering with websites that send you freebies and coupons in the mail. Just thought I'd share a few of the things I've received in the mail in the last week...

I received a free sample of and coupon for Aveeno lotion and two different coupon books, one from HomeMadeSimple and one from Kraft. Both had promos running recently where if you signed up, you got a coupon book. In both of the coupon books there were GREAT coupons, including one for a free 24oz bottle of Hunt's ketchup and one for a free bottle of Cascade rinse agent.

Pretty nifty if you ask me. :) This is just stuff that I received this week. I have many more things expected to arrive in the next few weeks, and I'll be sure to share those as well. Just remember to always use your special coupon email address so as not to fill your regular inbox with spam!

Shop for groceries....help pay for college....

Alright, so...yet ANOTHER reason to shop at Albies. :) I'm sure you've heard of upromise, but if you're like me, you just kind of brushed it off or didn't pay too much attention. Well, I finally DID pay attention to what it was all about and am SOOOO happy that I did. I signed up, linked my Albertson's preferred card number to my account, and now, every time I shop at Albies, a small percentage of what I spend goes into my upromise account. As I start to accumulate money in this account, I can then use it to pay my school loans!!! Pretty awesome, huh? Don't need to pay for school or loans? You can use it to start putting that money into a savings account for your children's college education!

What's more is that I can also attach as many Albies preferred cards to my account as I want, such as those of my family and friends, so now every time THEY shop at Albies, I get portions of that too! And it's not just Albies, there are other stores that participate including some online stores! Also, you can attach credit cards to the account also, so that a small percentage of purchases you make using those credit cards gets put into the account also. There's so much I could tell you, but I'll let you check it out for yourself. If this sounds like something you're interested in, click HERE to find out more information. I hope you'll check it out and start paying for your education TODAY!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shopping Trip 6/25

Wow...what a great morning. For the first time ever on my Wednesday morning shopping trip, I didn't have to bring the kids! Well, I did bring Kennedy, but she doesn't count because she sleeps the whole time. :) The boys stayed at home with my mom, who offered to start watching them on Wednesdays she's available and not working, which is TOTALLY awesome. I'd been trying to set up a sitter for Wed. mornings, but have had no luck so far. So that works out great. (except that she'll be gone camping next week. Lol)

Alright, so any way, had a great shopping trip today and had my highest percentage of savings so far! And that was including a couple of items that weren't even on sale, but that my husband just had to have. :) I also didn't make any mistakes for the first time ever! Lol.

Here is what I bought and how much I paid per item:

15 - Assorted Hamburger, Chicken, and Tuna Helper ($.73-.75 ea)
4 - Bagel Bites ($.50 ea)
5 - Airwick i-Motion Starter Kit ($1.49 ea)
1 - Airwick Freshmatic Mini Starter Kit ($1.49)
2 - Kraft Easy Macs (FREE)
8 - Dannon Yogurt ($.13 ea)
5 - Pepsi/Mt. Dew 12pks ($2.60 ea)
4 - Airwick Aerosols (FREE)
1 - Ken's Lite Accent Spray ( FREE)
4 - Taco Bell Taco Shells ($.50 ea)
1 - Resolve Carpet Cleaner ($1.99)
1 - Spray n Wash Bright n White ($1.99)
2 - Heinz 57 Sauce (10oz) ($.79 ea)
3 - Quaker Tru Delight bars ($1.79 ea) (these were not on sale, but my hubby is in love with them, so I had to take advantage of the doublers! I'll probably buy more later in the week.)

The total amount this should have cost is $228.73. I got it all for $45.23+ tax! I saved $183.50, which comes to about 80% savings! I purchased 67 items, so that's an average of about $.68/item. :)

Now I will do the breakdown of exactly what I did...

I did two transactions for the buy 10, save $5 instantly promo. You do not need to do separate transactions to get the instant $5 off, but you do have to do them separately if you want to maximize your savings using doublers.

Transaction #1

2 - Kraft Easy Mac
4 - Airwick i-Motion Starter Kits
4 - Bagel Bites
I got my instant $5 off for having 10 items, plus used $1/2 Easy Mac, 4-$4/1 Airwick, 2-$1/2 Bagel Bites, and 2 doublers.

Transaction #2

4 - Taco Bell taco shells
2 - Heinz 57
1 - Resolve carpet cleaner
1 - Spray n Wash
1 - AirWick Freshmatic Mini
1 - AirWick i-Motion
I got my instant $5 off, plus used $1/1 Heinz, $1.50/1 Resolve, $1.50/1 Spray n Wash, 2-$4/1 Airwick, plus two doublers.

Transaction #3

2 - Gallon Shopper's Value Milk
5 - Pepsi 12pk (they were buy 4, get 1 free which made them $2.60ea)
I used 2-$.75/1 any milk and two doublers (which meant I got milk for $.19/gallon!!! Isn't that crazy!?) I also used a $10 catalina from last week's promo.

Transaction #4

2 Quaker True Delight bars
I used 2-$1/1 and two doublers
OOP=3.58 (again, these weren't on sale, just had to take advantage of doublers!)

Transaction #5

12 - Hamburger Helper
I used 2-$.80/3, 2-$.75/3, and two doublers

Transaction #6

4 - Airwick Aerosols
6 - Hamburger Helper
I used 2-$1/2 AirWick, 2-$.80/3, and two doublers

Transaction #7

1 - Quaker True Delights
1 - Ken's Lite Accents Spray
I used $1/1 Quaker, $1/1 Ken's and two doublers

Transaction #8
8 - Dannon Yogurt
I used 2-$.75/4 any yogurt and two doublers

There ya go! I know it seems crazy to do so many transactions, and you really don't have to...I just choose to because every time I break it down, I can use two more doublers and that's $2 extra saved! I usually bring the items for two transactions with me each time I go to the register, pay for both, then unload them in my car. Then I go back for the next set of two, and repeat. However, again, if you go at a time when it's really busy, you should really only do one transaction at a time as a general courtesy to others.

I'm sure I'll get back to the store sometime this week and use some more doublers. I have my sights set on a few things. Hope your guys' trips go well this week...let me know what great savings you accomplish!


My friend Martha wrote:

"My mother-in-law called me to tell me that Albertson's mailed her a set of coupons a couple of days ago. She got 4 $6 off coupons with a purchase of $80 or more in July. I have a savings PC and I didn't get anything. Have you heard of people or Albertson's sending this out?"

You know...I WISH I had the answer to this question. My dad sometimes gets these things in the mail too, but I have yet to receive any ever. I am not sure how they determine who to send them to and when. :( I just don't know. I guess just keep your eyes peeled for stuff like that and if anyone gets any of these kinds of coupons in the mail, let us know...maybe we can figure it out. :)

Just a head's up!

So...from all of the blogs I'd been reading, they all said that the Albies store would give one ad per person if you went to the customer service desk and requested one and recommended places to go buy extra papers to get a bunch of the doublers. Well, at the Albies on 12th ave, they are awesome...I actually had bought my 6 papers for the doublers, and then on my next time through the line the lady in front of me was asking for more doublers and they just gave her as many as she wanted! So needless to say, I got 2 more sets of doublers without having to buy the paper. So just ASK! They'll give you some. Even if they only give you one set, that's one less paper you have to buy! :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Extra Coupons...

So, as I'm making my list, I realize that I have a few coupons for items on sale this week, that I'm just not going to use...so I thought I would list them on here and if there are any you want, just email me and I'll let you have them on a first come, first serve basis. :) For example...I have a total of 12 coupons for the hamburger helper...well, each one is off of THREE, so...if I were to use all of them I would be buying 36 boxes of Hamburger Helper. Lol. I think that would be a bit excessive. :) There are also just coupons I have for products I'm not going to buy or don't need before the coupons will expire. I also thought maybe it would help out anyone who doesn't have the particular past inserts.

7 - Hamburger Helper $.75/3
8 - General Mills Cereal, any $1/3
5 - Zone Perfect Bars, any $.55/1
8 - AirWick Aerosols, any B2G2 (the grocerysmarts list does not list this coupon, but it comes out to be the same price as the printable for $1/2. It is from SS 6/14 and there are two in each insert.)
5 - Spray n Wash Bright n White $1.50/1

Also, just so everyone knows...I do not own any pets, so if there are ever pet product coupons that you want me to save for you or to watch out for, let me know! Otherwise they are just goign to get tossed out...

Monday, June 22, 2009


Albies doublers are CONFIRMED in tomorrow's paper in Idaho and Utah! Get ready for some GREAT deals this week! However, it looks like there's only 2/ad and they're only letting you use 2 per shopping trip this time...so that makes it a little difficult since you have to buy 10 participating items (for the Epic promo) to get the $5 instant off. You will only be able to use 2 doublers per set of 10. So my advice would be to group your items as best you can so that you can double two of the coupons and the rest of the items be items that match up with coupons you can't double, or items that have no coupons attached. So, I would get items with 2 coupons I could double (for example, Bagel Bites...I could buy 4 and use two $1/2 and two doublers) then I would still have 6 items to buy to reach the promo requirement. So I would buy things with coupons that I couldn't double (such as those with a higher than $1 value or those that say DND) like the AirWick products that have $4/1 coupons to match-up with, or I would get items with no coupons attached to them, like the Kraft Pasta Salad or Taco Bell products.

Then on my next transaction I would do the same...get items with two coupons I want to double, for example, Heinz 57 using two $1/1 plus two doublers, then I would still have 8 products to fill to reach the 10 items requirement. I could still get more Heinz 57 with just the $1/1 coupon, or I could get other items like the Jolly Time popcorn, using the $1.50/1 coupons that I couldn't double or the Resolve Carpet Cleaner using the $1.50/1 coupons that I couldn't double and so on.

Just do your best in making your sets of 10 with the goal of maximizing your use of doublers, in turn maximizing your savings! However, if you choose not to mess with all the doublers, then you do not have to do separate transactions for each set of 10 items. It will give you an instant off for every 10 you purchase. You only have to break them down to separate transactions of 10 items if you want to use doublers with each set (which you should!) :)

Albertson's Ad Preview...

HERE is the link to see the ad preview for this week's (6/24-6/30) Albertson's ad.

HERE is the link to the preview shopping list! (Keep in mind this is the Utah list, so it might not be completely compatible with Idaho. I will get the Idaho preview list up as soon as it's available.) Thanks PYP!

The "shrink" function does not work on the preview list, so wait until Wednesday to print your list out, or you will wind up printing EVERY item which comes to like 5 or 6 pages+!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Emailing me...

I generally get on my blog a couple of times throughout the day, sometimes more if I'm doing posting, but if there's ever a time-sensitive question you need answered right away, feel free to EMAIL ME. There is a link on the right side bar you can click on to do so. It goes straight to my blackberry and I can usually respond within a few minutes. If it's not time-sensitive, however, please post a comment so that everyone else can see your question also, that way I might answer a question other people are having also. Just wanted to let you guys know...thanks!

Ending TODAY!

When I posted this the other day, I saw the postmark date potion at the top that said postmark by July 3rd...I didn't even notice until just now as I was filling out my rebate form (I got mine today at Wags) that the receipt you send in must have a purchase date between 5/10 and 6/21 (TODAY), so if you are going to use this, you must make your purchase TODAY! Remember, this is from the SS 5/10 and I still have four more, so if you want one, let me know...you can swing by today and pick it up on your way...:)

Just so you know, I got mine today at Walgreens, for FREE (using a RR I received last week for a promo. Their price was $4.29, so that's what will get back. I just made $4.29 by buying this! :)


Blogger murphyslaw said...

"Awesome thanks for posting this!! Now is there a limit for the toothpastes? I guess I'm a little confused on the fine print.
Also, I think this is walgreens... but where do you find their deals? I never see it on grocery smarts, do you just always check the ad?"

Alright, so to answer these questions, as far as limits go, it's like this. The Wags ad will sometimes say right on it that there is a limit. You can buy more than the limit, but you will have to do it in separate shopping trips. As for the items with no limit listed in the ad, that is what corporate has decided, but the managers at individual stores have the descretion to put a limit on any item they so choose. I've had this happen to me a couple of times...I went in with five coupons to purchase five of a particular item, and upon checking out the checker/manager said that there was a limit of 2. This wasn't advertised in the ad, but they had chosen to make this the rule and there's nothing we can do about it. He said they usually choose to do that when it's a hot item that they can't keep on the shelf.

As for the deals at Walgreen's, their new ad comes out every Sunday in the paper, but usually by Friday or Saturday you can find ad previews and match-ups on various coupon blog sites. I usually find mine at both www.athriftymom.com or www.fabulesslyfrugal.com but you can find them at many different ones. I usually look at more than one because SOMETIMES one will list something the other won't. I also usually look at the ad preview (they will have a link to it on those posts) myself just to double check and look over it to make sure there's nothing I missed. If you need any other help, let me know! :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Speaking of money makers....

Wags' new sales ad starts tomorrow (runs 6/21-6/27) and look what we have here...

So, if you just went in there and bought the Aquafresh Advanced Toothpaste, you would pay $3 and get a $3 RR back...however, there are some printables HERE that are for $1/1. Use one of those, and so you would pay $2 and get $3 back...you just MADE MONEY buying a product! SWEET!

Also for the rest of the month of June they have Oreo Cakesters on sale 2/$5, plus receive a $3 RR when you buy 2. If you use 2 $1/1 from SS 6/14, that brings them down to 2/$3, plus get a $3 RR, so they're FREE!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Freebies Email

When it comes to freebies....who doesn't like to get free stuff?! However, nobody likes to get all of the spam that comes in their email inbox after signing up for all that free stuff, right? That is why I recommend creating a second separate email account, which is the address you give when you are signing up for freebies, samples, contests, giveaways, or online coupons. You can create another email account free at any number of places, such as hotmail, gmail, or yahoo. This isn't just an email that you set up and forget about, though! You still want to check it regularly, or at least periodically, because many of these companies you register with will send coupons, offers, and links to freebies to your email, and if you don't ever check it, you will miss out on a ton of valuable offers!

Sarah, over at athriftymom.com has some GREAT tips on signing up for offers online:

Here are a few tips when signing up for freebies, Samples, Entering contests or Downloads.
  • Don’t give out too much personal info- You will need to give them your name, address, and email. Many companies want a lot more info too, they want to know birth dates, how many kids you have, and much more. They want this info to find out more about the people that are using their product. So if they ask how many kids I have I tell them, BUT if they ask their names, will use a different name. I don’t think anyone needs to know what my kids names are, just for a free bar of soap. When they ask for my birthday I always give them the the correct month and year but I change the “real” day. This helps protect my personal info. NEVER give out your credit card or SS# for a giveaway, unless you have done a lot of homework and know its legitimate. If they ask for your phone number, unless you actually want telemarketers calling, don’t give the correct number.
  • Free Trials - Many offers will get you hooked by giving you a free month supply, or free product. Then what they may or may not say is that you are also signing up for a subscription to their product on a continuing basis. If you are not watching carefully, in a short while you get a whole new box of that product and you may not even notice the charge on your credit card bill. Now we don’t want to talk you out of the free products, but you need to make sure you ask questions, or be prepared to cancel the subscriptions. Watch your credit cards that you use. It’s sujested to use one card that you monitor closely, that way you know what you are, and are not getting into.
Thanks, Sarah, for the tips!

Freebies and money-makers...

I wanted to let you guys know that a lot of times there are beyond great deals out there...deals where you get stuff FREE or even MAKE MONEY by buying a certain product!

Here are a few examples of the kind of free stuff and money-makers out there...

A lot of times, the coupon mom blog sites will post links to various freebies, such as company websites where you can sign up to receive free samples or coupons for free items. I have already received tons of free samples in the mail, including diapers, wipes, cereal, bodywash, shampoo, lip balm, suncare products, etc...just by signing up for these websites. Now, I mentioned in one of my earlier ads that it's a GOOD idea to set up an alternate email account just for such offers, because we all know how much spam can be associated with offers like this. You register with one site, and mysteriously start getting about 10 spam emails a day...no fun. So far, the companies I've been signing up with have been great. I have yet to receive a single spam mail. BUT, I wouldn't take any chances if I were you. Head HERE to read my post about signing up for online offers.

There are also sites with contests where if you're one of the first 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 (whatever the number is) people to register, you will get something for free. One such contest that is going on through September is Free Chocolate Friday, where the first 250,000 people to register each Friday get a free Mars candy bar (they send a coupon in the mail). I have already received 8 of these! You can register up to 4 times per Friday per household (for each different email address), so make sure you go there NOW and register! Remember, it's only the first 250,000 people!

There are plenty of these such sweepstakes and contests...I usually find them just by posts on athriftymom.com, fabulesslyfrugal.com, or a number of other coupon-mom blog sites.

There are also freebies you can get by buying a certain product and sending in a mail-in rebate (MIR) where they will reimburse you the full price of the product. There are two of these in the last couple of months' inserts that I've found (there might be more that I didn't notice because they weren't for products I would use).

The Swiss Tea was from SS 5/17 and expires 6/30. The Windex Wipes I THINK is from the SS 5/10, but I can't be sure on that. Sorry! You can only do one per household, so share the extras with friends or family! Speaking of which...if anyone wants one of these let me know...I have four more of each. :) Take advantage of these offers...sure you pay for it out of pocket, but you get reimbursed the full amount. You just send the form in along with the UPC code from the product and your receipt, and they'll send you a refund check. (I recommend making copies of everything for your own records, so that if you have any issues, you have the information needed to provide the company if need be.)

Yet another way to get free stuff is by using Walgreens' register rewards (RR) program. Every week (and in some cases some items will have a register reward valid for the whole month) Wags will have different items for which you will receive RR's upon purchase. Now, remember, RR's are catalina coupons that print AFTER you purchase qualifying items. They are considered a manufacturer coupon, and can be used on a future purchase at Wags. So, for example, recently they had Tresseme hair products which had a RR attached to them for "Buy 3/$12 and get a $5 RR." So...I bought three, but then used three $1/1 coupons, bringing it down to 3/$9, and a $3 off your purchase (which was a coupon they had out for a while at the new store on the Blvd due to it's grand opening) which brought it down to 3/$6 but then I got a RR back for $5.00. Essentially that made them $.33 a piece. In that instance, they aren't exactly free (but still a great price!) but there are times when Wags does deals where if you buy a certain product, you get back that exact amount in RR's! This week, for example, they had St. Ives body wash for $2.99, but you got a $2.99 RR back! So it was essentially free!

They do deals like this quite often, so make sure to check their weekly ads that come in the paper. Or, you can check them out HERE online. The only catch to these is you cannot use a RR from a particular purchased product to buy another of the same and receive another RR. So I couldn't then use that $3 RR I got back after purchasing the St. Ives to buy another and get another RR. I could still BUY the St. Ives with the RR, but I wouldn't receive another RR following it. Get it? Also, another note to mention here is that when I purchased my St. Ives, I tried to use an RR that I received a couple weeks ago from a different promo/product, and I did not receive an RR. I asked the manager about it and he said that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, and he wishes there was more he could tell me. I explained that I have used RR's from previous promos to buy future RR promo products and it's worked just fine, and again, the answer was, it's a lottery. He did refund my RR and let me repurchase the product without it, and I got my RR.

Well, after that, I did a little experiment and found out that if you purchase another item in the transaction (even if it's just a $.25 candy) it will accept the RR and still give you your RR. When I tried to purchase only the St. Ives with a RR it didn't spit another one out (even though it was from a different promo/product), but when I purchased a St. Ives AND a $.35 candy...it worked! So, I could be wrong, but I think as long as you have another item in your transaction, it will let you use the RR. Let me know if you have an experience to the contrary. Maybe we can figure it out.

RiteAid also does a great rebate program called Single Check Rebates (SCR). Go HERE to read my post about shopping at RiteAid and using their SCR program. You can MANY times score free stuff there or even make money!

Ok, so those are some of the ways to get freebies. Now, would you believe that sometimes you can actually get PAID to purchase an item? Yup. You better believe it. :) Here's an example...for that same St. Ives that I bought as part of the Wags RR promo, there was a $2/1 St. Ives coupon in a previous months insert. Unfortunately, Idaho did not get this coupon (grr), but many other areas did. Now, if you were lucky enough to get one of these, you could go to Wags, buy that $2.99 body wash, use your $2/1 coupon, which would bring it down to $.99. Then, you get a $3 RR, and voila! You just got paid $2 to buy that product! Crazy, huh? I do not know how often deals like that happen, but when they do, take advantage of it!

Alright, another way that I have gotten paid to buy a product was when I recently bought a DiGiorno Flatbread Melt that was marked down to $2.50 on sale at Albies. Well, I went to the store with a $2.50/1 coupon that I had gotten off of the interenet, making it FREE. When I went to pull it out of the freezer at Albies, I noticed a tearpad with coupons for a mail-in rebate! What luck! So, I purchased the item, used my $2.50/1 coupon to make it free, then upon returning home, filled out the form and sent it, with all of the other necessary info in, and Wednesday, I received my check in the mail for $2.50!

Pretty awesome huh? So keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of possibilities out there. If I ever come across great freebies or money makers, I will try to post them on my site and spread the word. If you guys come across any, be sure to leave a comment letting us know! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How I organize my coupons for a shopping trip...

The first time I went shopping with coupons, I only had a few items and they were all in one transaction, so it was really easy to keep my coupons organized. All I had to do was gather them and stick them in my purse. When it was time to pay, I handed them over. Piece of cake.

The next time it was a little bit more complicated. I had to do a couple different transactions, as it was a doubler week and I had a few sets to use. I came to the store with a pile of coupons and after gathering my stuff, just started putting the coupons on top of each set of items, which took a little while because I had to go through the whole stack and sort them out.

The third time I went was even more difficult. I had a lot more items because I was shopping a really great promo, but also had doublers, so had to break the transactions down even further. Once again I had come to the store with my stack of coupons, but had written on my shopping list which items had to be with which set to reach the $10 mark (which is what I needed for this particular promo) SO I kind of had the coupons sorted into groups. I just put them in order by which coupons went with each other for which promo, but I still had to put each set of coupons with the right set of items and since there were so many in the cart, it just became pretty difficult to keep them from flying off, getting mixed up, etc. It just became a pain in my neck.

Finally, I came up with a way to keep them organized for my shopping trip. It's nothing glamorous and I'm sure there are probably better ways that I'll figure out at some point down the line. But for now, this seems to work great for me and is so simple and quick. This system is primarily for when you have to do multiple transactions due to certain promos and when you have doublers. If you are able to do all of your items in one transaction, there is no need to sort out your coupons. You can just hand the whole stack over to the cashier when it's time to pay. However, for times when you do need to do multiple transactions, the process is easy.

All I do is after I do my breakdown of transactions on paper, I gather any coupons I need for each particular transaction from my binder. Then I stick a post-it note to the top of the stack and write the basic information on it. I write how many of which items I need for that set and if I'm doing a promo where I have to hit a certain dollar amount, I also write the amount of each item or group of items and then the total for ALL of the items at the bottom. Then I check and double check that they reach that certain dollar amount. (this is how I can be certain, at check-out, that I have hit the mark to receive my discount should anything go wrong) After I am done writing the info on the post-it, I simply add a paper clip. There is my set of coupons for a transaction! I can then stack all of my coupons together (then I keep them all in a my Albies sheet protector) and not worry about having to flip through the stack at the store and try to figure out what goes with what. I can tell with a simple glance what I need for that stack of coupons, then when I check out, I just use the post-it again to put the right group of items on the belt, take off the paper clip and post-it, and hand the coupons to the cashier. It just really is super-simple and seems to do the job quite well.

Just thought this might help some of you out, if you hadn't come up with a way, yet, to organize them for your trips.

There are times, however, where it doesn't go quite so smoothly, such as when items you need for a particular transaction is out of stock! This is where you have to learn to be flexible and have back-up plans. I always pull out a few coupons for other things within the promo that I can get if certain other things are gone (I pull out all of my coupons so that I don't have to bring my coupon binder in the store, unless I don't have all of the kids). It helps to have your calculator with you (or use the calculator on your cell phone if you have one) so you can double check your totals.

Having your transactions mapped out will really help you save time at the store. Having the price of each item next to it on the Post-It note, helps you to easily swap out other items of the same price, so that you don't go over your dollar mark.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another promo shopping trip...

I made it back to Albies to finish my shopping and it went MUCH smoother this time around and it was a really quick, short trip, so that is always a plus. Alright, so I am going to do another breakdown of my shopping trip, so you can get more ideas of how a promo shopping trip goes. I really only got a bunch of a few different items, so it was super-easy, oh wait...if you read my previous blog, you'll know that you should never assume it will be EASY! Something can always go wrong! Lol. Any way...here ya go...here is my picture and list, then I will break down the transactions following. I only shopped the ConAgra promo, which was spend $25, receive a $10 OYNSO (catalina coupon to use on your next store order)

Transaction #1
24 - Chef Boyardee bowls = $24.00
(don't worry, there were tons left on the shelves still!)
1 - Hunt's Diced Tomatoes = $1.00
Total $25.00

I then used 8-$.35/3 Chef Boyardee, which would bring my OOP to $22.09, plus I received a $10 OYNSO, but this did not include one of my Chef Boyardee bowls (see notes below) so my OOP was actually $21.20.

10 - Kids Cuisine = $18
2 - Healthy Choice All Natural Entrees = $4
1 - Healthy Choice Complete Meal = $2
1 - Hunt's Tomatoes = $1
Total $25.00

I then used 3-$50/2 Kid Cuisine (that I got out of a blinkie a few weeks ago), 1-$1/2 Kid Cuisine (that was a peelie from a previous Kid Cuisine box that Grandpa bought Weston and gave to me), 1-$1/1 Healthy Choice Complete Meal, and 1-$1/2 Healthy Choice All Natural Entrees. This would bring my total down to 22.28. My total was actually $23.28 because he added the Chef Boyardee bowl ($1) that I didn't pay for last time onto this transaction (see notes below)

**Notes: Again, if you read my previous blog, you will know that things didn't go very smoothly for my first two transactions. The transactions I listed are what I MEANT to do, to give you an idea, but now I will tell you what I ACTUALLY did, on accident (so you can maybe learn from MY mistake). For the first transaction, I put 23 of the CB bowls on the belt, but one was hiding under Kennedy's blanket, so it didn't get rung up. Therefore, after I paid, since my total only came to $24, my $10 cat didn't print. :( I couldn't figure out why at first, since I knew I had added to $25 when I planned my list, not realizing that that one was hiding. When I found it, he was very nice and did a "fake" transaction of a bunch of Chef Boyardee's so the coupon would come out, then he "refunded" me the money for all of those (but I never actually had to pay for it) So that got fixed. HOWEVER, he was already part way through ringing up my next transaction when I realized that no coupon had come out from the first one. So he couldn't do the fake transaction until after that one, therefore, I didn't get to use the $10 cat from my first transaction on my second transaction like I had planned. That's why my second transaction's total is so high...it should have had a $10 cat applied to it if I hadn't messed up. No matter though, now I just have $20 OYNSO to use next time instead of only $10. Either way, I still get the money savings, I just didn't get it applied to this trip like I should have. Oh well...that's what happens when you go shopping with your kids who were up before 6am! Lol.

16 - Hunt's Manwich = $16.00
4 - Crunch 'n Munch = $4.00
2 - Marie Callenders Pasta Al Dente = $5.00
Total: $25.00

I then used 8-$.40/2 Manwich, 2-$1/2 Crunch 'n Munch, and used one of my $10 cats, bringing my OOP down to $8.05.
10 - Healthy Choice All Natural Entrees =$20.00
2 - Healthy Choice Complete Meals = $4.00
1 - Hunt's Diced Tomatoes = $1.00
Total: $25.00
I then used 5-$1/2 HC All Natural Entrees, 1-$1/2 HC Complete Meals, and used one of my $10 cats, bringing my OOP down to $9.00

So..the total amount that my groceries should have cost is $170.88. I got them for $61.53, but also still have TWO $10 OYNSO left.

That's a savings of $109.35, which is 63%. If I hadn't messed up on the first transaction, I could have used one of my $10 cats on my second transaction, which would have made my total savings $119.35 and my total spend $51.53, which would be a savings of 73% and I still would have had a $10 cat left for a future purchase. However, of course I did mess up, so my savings doesn't seem as big, but I still have $20 in cats left to use on my next purchase, so that will be a few free items! Gotta love Albies! How did everyone's shopping trips go last week? Anyone score some great savings? I'd love to hear about them in a comment!

Worst morning EVER!

I don't even know where to begin telling you about the worst morning ever...(or at least in a really long time and as long as I can remember. Lol) It started with Ashton waking up screaming at about 2:30 am and refusing to go back to sleep on his own, so I went and got him and he slept with me. Well, then he decided to wake up at 5:45 and be up for good. I put a movie on in the bedroom while we laid in bed and I tried to fall back asleep, but of course, then Kennedy decided it was time for her to get up also at about 5:55. Then, low and behold, at about 6:05 Weston pops into my room. All three of my kids up by 6:05AM! What's wrong with this picture?! Lol. Usually I get up about 6 so that I can sneak in a shower and get ready for the day before the kids ever stir...well, no shower was in my immediate future. It will have to wait until nap time. Bleh.

So, any way, all the kids are up and at 'em, so I figure I might as well get us all dressed and out the door. We would just do a really early morning shopping trip this morning. We have our breakfast to take with us (cereal in a bag, milk, and a banana) and off we go. We're walking through Albies gathering stuff for my first half of the trip, and we hear Kennedy just totally throwing up. I look under her blanket and she has literally COVERED herself. Very disgusting. I am almost done gathering things so I decide to just finish up and pay and then we'll go home and take care of her and come back for the rest.

I have gathered stuff to do two separate transactions for the ConAgra promo (that started today) and I'm trying to hurry, as poor Kennedy is just covered in yuckiness and Ashton and Weston are not being their usual happy, helpful selves (could it have anything to do with being up so early?) and I'm just all flustered. I get all of my chef boyardee's and whatever else was with it up there, pay...and...no $10 catalina spits out. UGH. He says I only had $24 worth. Sure enough one of my Chef Boyardee's had rolled under Kennedy's car seat and was covered by her blanket. LUCKILY, the checker was great and said he would remedy the problem by scanning that Chef Boyardee a bunch of times and forcing out a coupon, without me having to pay. Unfortunately, he was already halfway through scanning my second transaction's items, and he wouldn't be able to get the $10 cat until after, so I wouldn't have it to apply to this second transaction like I had planned. BUMMER. But oh well, I figure it's just not that big of a deal. I'll save the money either way.

BUT, of course the problem doesn't end there. He says I'm short $3.75 on the second transaction of meeting the $25. Wha??? I KNOW I did the math right at home. I always check and double and triple check. I am just too flustered to have the time to figure it out...I assume that I must have just done SOMEthing wrong...after the morning I'm having, I wouldn't put it past me. Well, I tell him to just scan the kids cuisine two more times and I'll go pick up two more after I pay (there was a lady behind me now at this point and I didn't want to hold up the line). He says that's fine and does it. When I get to the car and unload, I take a quick look at my receipt and realize that two of the Kids Cuisines didn't ring up at the advertised $2.00. They rang up as $3 something. UGH AGAIN! I just didn't have time to deal with it right then, so I came home to get Kennedy bathed and her carseat cover washed. But I mean, even little things kept going wrong this morning...I dropped Kennedy's blanket on the wet, muddy ground as we were getting out of the car at Albies, as I'm pushing the cart to the car after I've paid, the Chef Boyardees are rolling out of the bag onto the ground (I had them in the underpart of the cart, as that's the only place they would fit), when I get home I realize I left clothes in the washer over night, so now they need to be rewashed...oh and not to mention that I never did go grab the other two Kids Cuisines I paid for...you name it. It was just ONE OF THOSE MORNINGS. :(

Needless to say, I got Kennedy cleaned up, Ashton is napping on the couch, Weston is quietly engaged in his new lego set he got yesterday, and I had a few minutes to breathe and recompose myself for the day. I'm feeling much better. :) But could definitely use a nap. Too bad that will probably never happen. Lol.

Alright, so now I have to make another trip to Albies and when I go I will just ask the guy if I can get my two Kids Cuisines and I'll just return the two that didn't ring up right. Then with the refund, that will make my total correct. I can then finish with my other two transactions. I just wanted to share this with everyone so that they can see that saving money and doing this whole coupon thing ISN'T ALWAYS EASY! I still make a mistake of some sort on pretty much every trip. Luckily, Albies is great and is (at least in my experience) willing to help you out. You just have to hang in there and learn from those mistakes. And, of course, the other thing to take away from this, is to leave the kids at home whenever possible! Lol. I wish that were an option for me. Maybe I'll have to look into getting a Wednesday morning sitter...hm...

Again...if something doesn't go right with your transaction, don't just shrug it off and say "oh well." check your receipts and if you figure out what went wrong, talk to the cashier or go to customer service and see if they can help you. When I go back today and return those two meals, I will get a refund of over $6.00! Definitely worth getting corrected. Also, if you check out and something goes wrong, such as the coupon doesn't print after a promo purchase, but you are sure that you added up to the right amount and you know all of the items you got were qualifying items, don't just throw in the towel, even if the cashier can't seem to figure out what happened either. Just ask for the manager and they'll be happy to help.

An example of when to stand your ground is an experience I had last week when shopping the promo. I did one of my transactions and afterwards, no coupon printed. The cashier said that I didn't reach the $25 I had to hit and that I was $4 short! Wha?! I said that that's not possible...I added everything up and these are all the right items. She had a gentleman waiting so I said I would just step to the side and wait so she could ring them up. She called the manager over and when the cashier was done ringing the man up, both she and the manager went over my items and confirmed that the receipt was right. She had added up the amounts in her head and said I was only at $21.25. I insisted that I added them up by the ad and that they did, indeed equal $25. She went and got a calculator and added them again...and again insisted that they only equaled $21.25. SO...we proceeded to take every item out and compare it to the ad and price and see what was going wrong. Low and behold, the way the Albies receipts work, they group things on the receipt by department (ie. frozen food, produce, dairy, etc) and two of the Orange Juices I had gotten (that were part of the promo) were WAY down at the bottom of the receipt and she hadn't been calculating that in. Sure enough, my total was $25.25, just like I knew it was. She couldn't figure out why my $10 catalina hadn't printed, as I had followed the promo exactly. She did an override and gave me a coupon. She apologized and asked if she could write down what items I had so that she could make a note for future reference and to try to figure out why that particular group of items hadn't triggered the catalina.

See...I could have just accepted that I must have done something wrong, especially when the cashier and then the manager insisted multiple times that I had made a mistake, but I didn't. I stood my ground and got the $10 I would have missed out on otherwise! No need to get nasty or rude with the cashiers and managers though. We're all human and make mistakes. (then again, computers aren't human and they make mistakes too. :) Just be persistent and do it in a respectful manner. :) Alright...Ashton and Kennedy are awake so we're off to finish what we started this morning...hopefully it goes MUCH better this time!

Do you want to win $242.00 worth of coupons!?

FabulesslyFrugal.com is giving away $242.00 worth of coupons! Click HERE to read the contest details. Each person has 5 chances to win, by completing various tasks and the contest ends June 20th. This would be especially great for someone who is new to the coupon world and doesn't have a huge coupon collection yet. But, of course, it would be great for anyone really...even ME! ;) So go check it out and enter!

Missing Coupon Link

***Update***Sierra pointed out to me that this coupon is for the 12oz or larger size, which at Albies it's the 4oz size that is part of the promo. Sorry guys! I didn't catch that!

One of the items on the Albies list this week is the Crunch 'n Munch as part of the ConAgra promo...
HERE is a link to a coupon that is not listed for that item. It's for $1/2, so that would make it only $.10 a box! Don't forget you can print it TWICE. You do have to register to get the coupon, so make sure to give them your special coupon email address! Just thought I'd share. :)

Dairy Coupons!

These were just posted to Coupons.com (Group A). They are coupons for ANY BRAND milk, cheese and yogurt. Hurry and go print them before they're GONE! Coupons like THIS don't come around very often! Click HERE and don't forget you can print each coupon TWICE! Pair these up with doublers and this makes for a GREAT DEAL!!

.75 off any Brand Milk 1 gal or 2 half gal White or Choc. Milk (excluding soy milk bev.) (valid in UT and ID)
$1 off any Brand Cheese, any 2 lbs or more (Made in USA) as brick, cube or shred. (valid in UT and ID)
.75 off any brand Yogurt (1) 32oz. or (4) any size. (valid in UT and ID)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Doublers 101

I figured I should go ahead and do a post all about doublers. As far as I am aware of, the only store around here that offers doublers is Albies. I could be wrong, but I have never read or heard anything to make me believe otherwise. Occasionally Kmart has double days where for a week they will double up to 10 coupons per person per day (up to $2), but so far our area seems to never participate.

So, Albies occasionally (or lately, very often) puts out what are called "Twice the Value" coupons. We coupon moms call them "doublers." They come in sets of two or three either in the newspaper on Sunday or sometimes in their weekly store ad that comes out on Wednesdays. (Since they have had issues with people taking more than just a couple of the ads for these coupons, you can still get the ad at the front door but you now have to go to the customer service desk and ask for the doublers before you shop) These coupons are GOLD! Basically Albies will double the amount of any manufacturer coupon (MC) up to $1.00. For example, say Ritz crackers are on sale for $2.00, I have a $1/1 coupon and a doubler. I can use my $1/1 coupon bringing it down to $1.00 for the Ritz crackers, then I can ALSO use the doubler to take off another $1.00, bringing it down to....FREE! Doublers are so awesome I can't even begin to tell you. I have gotten SOOO many FREE items with doublers.

There is one little catch about these doublers...you can only use as many as in one set per transaction (so if it's a set of two, you can use two per transaction, if it's a set of three, you can use three). Believe me...it either makes for a LONG trip to Albies (paying, then getting back in line for each transaction you want to do with doublers) or a few different shopping trips. I generally get it all done at once, as I don't like to make any more trips to Albies then I have to, as we don't really live very close. So, for me, that means getting the items I want, getting in line and paying, then circling right back around and getting my next set of items, getting in line and paying again, and so on and so on until I've used all of my doublers. If they come in the newspaper, being that I get five newspapers, that means 5 sets of three doublers. If they come in the store ad for the week, well...that could take me forever! Sometimes I do make multiple trips in the week if I want to use a lot of doublers.

**Update!** Now that Albies has been sending out doublers so much more often (sometimes twice a week, once on Sunday, once with the ad on Wednesday, and sometimes even three times a week because the ones from a previous Sunday will be valid for 10 days!) they have come out with a new policy on doublers. From Sunday-Tues, you can use the doublers from that Sunday's paper in a single transaction. From Wed-Sun, you can use the doublers from the previous Sunday, plus the coupons from the Wednesday ad (usually a total of FIVE!). AND, if there's a week where they send out doublers two Sunday papers in a row and the ones from the first Sunday don't expire for 10 days, then after the second Sunday you can use the ones from the previous Sunday, the ones from the Wed ad, AND the ones from the second Sunday! Usually for a total of SEVEN doublers in ONE transaction! Talk about a jackpot!

One little note about doublers, when you cut them off of the ad, leave them in their set of two or three. You don't need to cut them all to be separate (unless you don't plan on using them all in one trip). When I first started this I thought you had to cut them all to be individual coupons and match them with the coupons you wanted to double. Example, say I have 10 coupons to use...and three of them are for $1/1, but the rest are $.75/1 and lower. I didn't want them to scan a double coupon after one of those $.75/1 coupons and only get $.75 matched! I wanted to make sure I kept my $1/1 coupons for last and THEN had them scan my doublers after each of those so I got the max $1. Well....turns out it doesn't work that way and that was a waste of my time and energy. I've learned since then that the cashier will just do the doublers at the end (no need to scan them immediately after the coupon you want doubled) and will match it to your three highest value coupons. They just type in the register what that amount is, so it's not automatic. Hopefully that makes sense. Lol.

Also, by leaving the three doublers in tact and not cutting them apart, you won't have to worry about mixing them up with other sets. See...on the bottom center of each doubler there is a number, generally a set of three will have either the numbers 1-3 or the numbers 4-6. You cannot use more than one of each number in a single transaction. I learned this the hard way. I cut all of my doublers to be individual coupons and didn't know any better, so I had just stuck a doubler here and a doubler there, organizing my coupons by transactions. Well, then when I got to the register and handed the cashier my three doublers for that transaction, I had one doubler with a 1 on it and two doublers with a 2 on it (instead of a 1, 2, and a 3) and she said they couldn't take them. I couldn't have more than one of each number as the register just wouldn't accept them. So, luckily I was able to dig into my other coupons and find a 3 to switch out for the 2, and all was well. Just wanted to give you a heads up so you don't make the same mistake. It's one of my "not-to-do"s. Again, it's just easier to leave them in their original set of three and just not cut them apart. The cashier will just take them like that and, again, will match your three highest coupon amounts. But just in case they don't...don't hesitate to point it out! You want the right amount taken off.

You can only use a doubler with a coupon that is $1.00 or less. You cannot use it with a $1.25, $1.50, $2.00, etc coupon. If the coupon amount is $1.01 or more...they will NOT double it.

Also, make sure your manufacturer coupon does not have the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" or "DND" anywhere on the coupon. This means that they cannot be used with a doubler. Definitely check your printables, as a lot of them will have the "DO NOT DOUBLE OR TRIPLE" written on them. There is a great article about the "DND" stuff that I found quite interesting, just thought I'd pass it along...click HERE to read it.

One little tip I would give are just to try to use them matched with the highest coupon values you have (obviously) and don't hesitate to make more than one transaction so that you can use more than two or three! It's a little more work, but that's $2.00-$3.00 you're saving on EACH transaction! It's worth it! Also, doublers tend to expire within 3-5 days, so make sure you look at your expiration dates! I made that mistake one week...I had my trip all planned out using doublers from the paper, then a friend pointed out that they expired the day before the sale started...I TOTALLY hadn't even realized it! So I had to make an impromptu visit to Albies so as not to let all those 15 doublers go to waste!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Just in case...

...you need yet another reason to shop at Albies...one thing I forgot to mention, for those of you who don't know...is that for every $50 you spend, you earn $.05/gallon off of your gas when you purchase at Albertson's Express! Pretty great, right? But wanna know what's even greater? That $50 is calculated BEFORE any coupons or discounts! That's right...it adds to $50 on the full value of the item. So just to give you an example of how great this is...here is a copy of my receipt showing what my total gas rewards earned was:

Notice where it says my current total gas rewards balance is $.80 off per gallon!? So then, the next time I went to fill up my tank, I had the option of using this reward, which of course I did...and now you can see on my gas receipt that I got my gas for $1.759/gallon! Pretty neat huh?

Just another reason to shop at Albies! Don't forget that even if you go in and just buy a newspaper or a pack of gum...swipe your card! It won't take anything off of your total necessarily, but that amount will go towards your rewards!

Am I REALLY saving money?

The first few weeks and even months, it will be difficult to see the savings like you will after the beginning period. For one, you'll gain much more experience and confidence in what you're doing over time. For two, you will have more and more of the coupons you need to be able to buy more items over time. For three, there will be less and less that you NEED to buy...over time.

In my previous post, I told how I stocked up on a few things...laundry detergent, spaghetti sauce, yogurt, and desserts, to name a few. So even though I'm spending more right NOW for those items then I normally would in a regular trip to the supermarket, I will be spending less in the long-run both because I'm buying it at a GREAT discount price, but also because now I've stocked up on those items and won't have to buy them for my next 10, 15, 20+ shopping trips! So you're spending more (upfront) to save more (later on). It's definitely worth the investment! You will see the savings increase over time. Just think how much you'll be saving in six months when you have every coupon they call for and your food storage is in great shape!

At first, however, it won't seem like you're saving very much, because you're spending money on things you don't necessarily NEED right at that moment, but that you WILL need and are buying now because that's what's on sale, and all the while STILL having to buy your regular weekly stuff that you need in the mean time that ISN'T on sale. But, just hang in there. As you start stocking up on everything from laundry detergent to brownie mix, shampoo to cereal...it will start paying off more and more!

What if I don't have all of the coupons called for?

I know that when you first get started out with this, it's frustrating, because GrocerySmarts frequently calls for coupons dating back to way before you started. That was my biggest complaint and frustration when I first started out. There would be so many things on that list that I wanted, but I just didn't have the coupons, because they dated back 2, 3, 4 months! And the first week I bought papers, I only bought three thinking I would start there and see if I really needed more. Well, now I'm wishing I had bought five the very first time, because there's some things I have coupons for but only have 3 instead of 5! Lol. However, slowly but surely, each week I've had more and more of the coupons they call for. My insert crate is filling up more and more and it's getting more and more fun to look forward to the list each week to see what great things I'm going to get. Not to mention that I'm saving more and more money each week!

Another thing to point out...don't forget about the internet printables (IP's)! I've been doing this for a month, and I would say the majority of the coupons I've used have been IP's. They are WONDERFUL! Even this last trip...probably about 75% of my coupons were IP's. So don't forget about those and USE THEM! At least until your coupon stash is bigger. :)

Wouldn't it be cheaper to shop at Walmart?

Anonymous Sierra said...

I have another question, with this promo I think it was good to shop at albertsons but do you think we could save more shopping at like walmart or winco when albertsons isn't have a promo. I was looking today at some of walmart's prices and it was still cheaper then the sale price at albertsons, for example the cereal and fiber one bars. I also got bar s hotdogs from walmart with the printable coupons and got them for 17 cents each. When albertsons isn't have a promo I think I'm going to use one set of coupons at albertsons and one at walmart or winco too see what one is better. Have you learn anything about the prices on things at different stores? Oh by the way your blog is amazing, I look at it everyday!!

Alrighty...so...we all know that overall Walmart has the best prices. If you were to go in there with your stack of coupons and buy everything on your list, it would come out to be a lot less than if you went to Albies and used your coupons on the same items. But that's if you go into Albies when things are not on sale. But that is basically the whole point of what makes this system work! You don't just use your coupons because you have them! You wait until that item is on SALE, and in general, Walmart doesn't really have sales. It does rollback pricing sometimes, but really the only way to know when it does is to go into the store and find it. I have noticed that the GrocerySmarts list for Walmart isn't kept up-to-date like the Albies list. So yeah...some of your weekly shopping, in order to get the best prices, is going to be done at Walmart. Most of the time it's going to be cheaper to go there and get your perishables like cheese, milk, eggs, bread. (But keep in mind, even Albies has great prices for these sometimes too, or promos where if you buy certain things you get FREE milk or FREE eggs or FREE bread)

As you start to build up your food storage, though, you will start to need less and less each week or each time you go shopping. Before this last Wednesday, something on my shopping list at least every other week for Walmart was spaghetti sauce. Spaghetti is something my family eats frequently, so I'm always buying sauce. If I were to buy it at Albies just because I was there, even with my coupon, it would still be cheaper at Walmart if I used the same coupon. However, if I were to use that $.50/1 Ragu coupon in one of my previous weeks when I was at Walmart just because I had it, I wouldn't have had it to use THIS week when I got spaghetti sauce dirt cheap at Albies because of the promo (for $.30 to be exact)! Even though I could have used a coupon any time during the last few weeks when I've bought spaghetti sauce at Walmart, I didn't. I saved it until grocerysmarts told me that Albies had it this week for a FIVE STAR price! See, when GrocerySmarts tells you that it's a 3, 4, 5 star price, they are comparing this to the area prices at all stores, not just for Albies. Now I have TEN jars of spaghetti sauce that I got for $.30 and won't have to buy it again for a couple of months. Hopefully by then there will be a great deal on it again. Maybe not the same brand, but that's ok. I just want spaghetti sauce at a great price!

Another example I will give is the Breyers ice cream that was part of the promo this week. So Walmarts regular price for Breyers is $2.57. Albies' regular price for the 1.5qt is $6.39. BIG DIFFERENCE! On a regular day, YEAH, I would want to buy it at walmart and get it for $1.57 with my coupon, because if I were to use my $1/1 coupon at Albies, that would still only bring it down to $5.39. Not a great price. This week it was on sale at Albies for $3.00. If I were to use my $1/1 coupon, that would bring it down to $2.00. That's a pretty good price, but still not cheaper than Walmart, right? But wait a minute. If i do it as part of the promo...and factor in the $10 off $25 savings...by using my coupon I am getting that same ice cream for $.80! That's $.77 cheaper than the everyday "low" price at Walmart.

One more example would be the All Small & Mighty detergent I bought this week. The coupons I used for it came out way back on May 10th. I have bought some in the time since that coupon came out, as that is what we use, and with a family of 5 we go through it pretty quickly. So when I went to Walmart, say...May 15th, yeah, I could think to myself...well, I'm going to go buy it today even though it's not on sale, because we need it any way so I might as well use one of those coupons and save myself $1.00. Walmart's regular price is $4.97, so that would be $3.97. But I didn't. I held on to my coupon knowing that someday it would be at an even better price at Albies. So I paid the $4.97. Then, sure enough, June 10th, All Small & Mighty is on sale for $4.50 (reg price at Albies is $5.99), with my coupon that would make it $3.50, $.47 cheaper than Walmart! That's great, right? BUT (I know you know what's coming :) if you buy it at Albies as part of their promo and with your coupons...I got 11 bottles for $23.80! Even WITH all of the same coupons at Walmart, it still would have come to $43.67 for the same 11 bottles. I saved $19.80 by waiting for it to come on sale. And now I have 11 bottles and won't have to buy it again at a "not-so-great" price for a LONG time, and if I'm lucky sometime soon after that it will come on sale again and I can get it for another great price. :)

So yeah...when things aren't part of a promo, or aren't on a great sale at Albies, then yes, those things will be cheaper at Walmart. But if you use your coupons at Walmart just because you have them...then you won't have the coupons to get the GREAT price at Albies when those things ARE on sale. And since the first shopping trip I went on, there has never been a week without some kind of special promo going on in addition to the stuff that's just on sale for the week.

And if you still need more reason to shop at Albies..."DOUBLERS!" (actually called "Twice the Value" coupons, but we call them doublers) Walmart definitely doesn't use that! You asked about the BarS hotdogs...well, just a couple of weeks ago, I can't remember which exactly, but they were on sale at Albies for $.99. Well, you take that same $.50 off coupon that made them $.17 at Walmart, throw in a doubler with it and now you've just gotten it for +$.01! That's $.18 cheaper than Walmart. Doublers are amazing. You can often get things for close to nothing or absolutely free. Try doing THAT at Walmart!

Another reason to love Albies...they truly do cater to we coupon moms. Most of the time their sale items will go hand-in-hand with our coupons for the week. Coincidence? I think not! They know we shop there, and they try to help us out as much as possible. Their cashiers are experienced with working with all of the coupons, they're very helpful and you'll always find someone roaming the store that you can ask for help. Not to mention their stores are nice and clean. I understand that some things aren't cheaper at Albies and, for now, there are some things that I still get at Walmart every week because they haven't had a great sale on those items yet. But eventually they will and when they do I'll stock up on that item so that I don't have to buy it again until I can get it for the same great price.

Eventually, once my food storage is built up to where I want it to be, and I'm only really having to buy my perishables and produce each week, I won't MIND paying Albies' higher prices, because I will be saving enough on the other things all the time that it will be a small price to pay to pay a bit more to give Albies my business over Walmart, because let's face it...Albies makes this possible! They're wonderful and they DESERVE our money! At least in my opinion.

Maybe seeing those prices actually written down in front of you, you will realize what you're really saving by shopping at Albies. Hopefully this answers your question. :)