Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is Costco really a deal?

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity of having my husband home so I took advantage of him! He stayed with the girls while I went shopping. It really made everything easier for me. Albertsons had "Twice the Value" coupons this week and I really wanted to score some sweet deals. There were also four coupon inserts in the Sunday paper so I bought extra of those (6 copies total). I've noticed that, to get some REALLY good deals, you need to buy many items at a time. Having more copies of a particular coupon helps you get better prices. Anyway, that's a side note. The point is, after getting a total of 6 papers, I had 6 sets of doubler coupons. This gave me a lot of opportunity to get good deals. I just had to do everything in 6 transactions. There was also a Pillsbury catalina and General Mills promotion going on at the same time. The General Mills promotion offered $5 off for every 10 participating General Mills products purchased. For one transaction, I bought 6 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, 6 Pillsbury Grands! rolls, and 8 Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers. This was 20 items so I got $10 off my purchase. I also doubled 3 $1 coupons and got a $3 Catalina back for buying 6 Pillsbury products. In the end, each item cost $0.50 and I got a $3 Catalina back! The next day I got 6 Freschetta pizzas (these are our favorites) for $2.50 each and free Mission Tortillas.
Here is the heart of this post. After doing all my Albertsons shopping, I went to Costco to buy some things that I haven't found cheaper. Yet. I bought paper plates, bread, peanut butter, Frosted Flakes cereal and some Kashi bars. In the end, I spent over $100!! As I was walking out, I looked at the few items in my cart and knew that I could get almost everything much cheaper. We get a good deal on gas and we buy some high price items there so I don't think we'll ever get rid of our membership. However, I see a day when we won't be buying groceries or household products there. I just don't think Costco is such a deal anymore.
Now, after that insight, I'm going to go cut out my coupons from my six papers! It's all worth the effort :-)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Free cheese!!

I know! I know! I said I wasn't going to shop at Albertson's unless I had their doubler coupons. But, this was too good of a deal to pass up. I paid $5 for all the items below. At the end, I received a $5 catalina. So, everything was free!!
I had to do everything in four transactions which helped me get a little bit of exercise. Since I have to leave the store between each transaction, I had many trips out to my car. How this all worked was as follows. I had a coupon for $5 off 5 Kraft items. The Kraft cheese is on sale for $2 a bag or block. For the first transaction, the cost of 5 bags of cheese was $10, minus the $5 off 5 bags coupon made the total $5 up front. I then received a $5 catalina to use on my next transaction. I went back and bought 5 more bags of cheese, again for $10. With a $5 off 5 bags coupon and a $5 catalina made the total $0 with a $5 catalina received for my next transaction. I did the same for the bags only bought 5 blocks of cheese. Again, received a $5 catalina which I used to buy the Cool Whip. The Cool Whip was $1 a tub. Five tubs then cost $5 which I used my $5 catalina to purchase. I then received a $5 catalina from this transaction to use the next time I shop at Albertson's.
A few months ago, I had no idea what a catalina was or that you could use them this way to keep getting free food! If you are reading this and wondering what a catalina is and how you can use it, please leave a comment and I'll try to explain it in another post.

My Bath and Body Works Order

Here is my order from Bath and Body Works with my five bottles of Dark Kiss lotion!

The full price cost of this purchase would have been $70.20. With my super duper deal, I got these for $32.00 shipped. Maybe those who are great bargain finders would wait until the lotion was on clearance and get it all for like $10. However, I wanted the lotion now. Did I mention how much I love it!! My favorite scent right now.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Today we had a birthday party. I plan to upload pictures to my other blog sometime soon. Needless to say, I've been busy trying to pull things together. There is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into a simple 3 hour party for little kids! I was almost cringing at the store when I bought a lot of party favors that were not on sale and for which I didn't have any coupons for. I was definitely starting to think of the next party and how I was going to do things a little differently, and cheaper. I was really thankful for some of the stockpile I've been trying to build. It was easy to just grab a few bags of hot dog buns out of the freezer, ketchup, plates and cups off the shelf and just put them all together and go. I also saw the need to have a few things on hand that we don't normally eat but that other people like. For example, I don't eat chips but I bought a few bags just because that's something people like to eat at picnics and other get togethers. Hopefully the next party will be done more frugally.
Anyway, since I was planning and preparing for this party today, I didn't have a chance to get to Rite Aid last week. There were some good deals on things that I could use but I just couldn't find the time to get there. I told myself it was all okay because I don't really need to go shopping every week. Right now I'm building up my stockpile of toiletries and other household items you can buy at Rite Aid. So I feel more of a need or desire to get all the deals every week. But I've read that the deals will come around again and it's not the end of the world to miss a few here and there. But, when we got done with the party today, I couldn't wait to get my coupons together and get to Rite Aid before it closed. There weren't any super great deals this week but I just needed to go. It's my favorite store and I was starting to miss it! I'm feeling pretty good about my trip(s), however. I actually went to Rite Aid this morning before the party to get four 2-Liter bottles of 7-UP. They were 4 for $5 with a $2 +UP reward which is like getting $2 back. This afternoon, I took those $2 and, with coupons, bought $24 worth of stuff for $2.50 and received $8 in +UP rewards. Again, the +UP rewards are like getting cash back. In total today, I spend about $7.50 and got back $8 so essentially broke even. I feel good about it.
I had wanted to go to Albertsons and get some free cheese but I forgot my coupon for that. All of the activities of the day have finally caught up to me and I'm feeling a little tired. So I've decided I'll wait until tomorrow to get my free cheese. It will still be there, I hope!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bath and Body Works Promotion

A few weeks ago, I found a coupon for a free 2oz bottle of a new Signature Collection scent at Bath and Body Works. It's called Dark Kiss. Have you heard of it? Since we were at the mall, I picked one up. I'll admit that I don't really care for many of the Signature Collection scents. My favorite is Vanilla Bean Noel but I can only get it at Christmas time. I usually buy a few bottles after Christmas when they are 1/2 price. Last year, I didn't get to the mall in time and they were all sold out. So, currently, I'm out of my favorite scent. However, I instantly fell in love with the new Dark Kiss! It is now my favorite scent. I received an email announcing a buy 3 get 2 free sale on select scents. One of them is my Dark Kiss! This weekend, they are also offering free shipping on orders over $40. I just placed my order and was super surprised because it only charged me for 2 bottles and gave me 3 for free!!!! I picked up two other items that were on clearance to get my order over $40 for the free shipping. I found some body scrub for $6 and a buff sponge for $3. My total for 5 bottles of Dark Kiss, a bottle of body scrub, and a sponge was $32.00. That includes tax. Each bottle of a Signature Collection lotion is $10.50 so you can see that I got a great deal here. Oh man. I just realized that I could have gone through ebates to get 3% back. Bummer. I totally forgot about that. Ok, if you want to try to get in on this deal, go through ebates and use the promo code SC4FREE to get free shipping on orders over $40. I highly recommend the new Dark Kiss!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Office Depot Worklife Rewards

I just received my first Worklife Reward from Office Depot. In June, I bought several items that were advertised as 100% back in worklife rewards. I bought the things I needed and used a $5 off coupon. For several stores I've gotten to know so far, the rewards value would be the cost of the item before coupons. Not so with Office Depot. My worklife reward was for the amount I actually paid. So, unfortunately, it doesn't seem possible to come out ahead at Office Depot.
Conversely, Staples easy rebates are predetermined. So, if you spend $3 after coupons on an item but the easy rebate amount is for $4, you will end up $1 ahead in the end. Plus, my Staples accepts competitors coupons. So, I can take my $5 off Office Depot coupon and use it at Staples. Also, the Staples rebates come as checks so you can cash them and use the money anywhere. The Office Depot Worklife reward is an Office Depot card and expires in a few months.
I guess that's what this process is all about. Live and Learn. After I spend my rewards money, I don't think I'll go out of my way to shop at Office Depot. Unless there's a SUPER awesome deal that I just can't pass up!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I LOVE Milano cookies!

Especially when they're FREE!!!!

I can't help but be excited about this. I just bought six bags of Pepperidge Farm cookies today and didn't pay a cent for any of them!
Remember that I said I didn't think I would go to Albertsons even when they released their "Double Value" coupons? Well, I had every intention of ignoring those doubles coupons because of all the run around they asked me to do. However, as we've all discovered, I can't pass up a good deal. And THIS was a GOOD deal! These cookies were on sale for $1.99 per bag. The Pepperidge Farm website happens to have a $1 off coupon. Unfortunately they will only let you print 2 copies per email. Usually you can only print 2 copies per computer but this was set up a little different. Two copies per computer and per email. So, I had to do some printer juggling and register three of my email accounts but I was able to print 6 coupons. Since I can only use three doubles coupons per transaction, I bought the Milano cookies first, just to make sure it worked the way it was supposed to. Then, because I have to physically leave the store (per their oh-so-friendly manager), I put those in the car and went back in for round two. Since I knew exactly where the cookies were and I wasn't getting anything else, it made each trip nice and speedy and I didn't mind having to leave.
I think I will continue to do most of my shopping at Safeway because they are much more coupon friendly but I may have to make an exception to shopping at Albertsons. I may shop there when I can get free cookies!