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!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bzzzz - L’Oréal® Paris Collagen Micro-Pulse™ Eye

A year or so ago, my sister suggested I become a "Bzz Agent." After learning what a "Bzz Agent" is, I signed up and have had the opportunity to sample many cool products for free. By being a Bzz Agent, I am occasionally offered the opportunity to try new products for free. Why? The manufacturers want people to buy their products and there's nothing better than free advertising. So, Bzz Agents serve as that free advertising. After trying the product, it's hoped that the agent will tell everyone they know how cool/innovative/effective/etc the product is. I think it's a really great way to try stuff for free. So, here is my report for a brand new product.

Have you seen the new L’Oréal® Paris Collagen Micro-Pulse™ Eye cream? It's brand new on the market, released the beginning of July. Here is what it claims to do:
1. Immediately reduces the appearance of crow’s feet and eye bags
2. Minimizes the appearance of eye bags, dark circles and crow’s feet in just four weeks
3. Features a a ground-breaking micro-pulse massager to minimize eye puffiness
Basically, there are two components to this product. 1. A cream that works "immediately" and 2. the micro-pulse vibrator that massages the skin after the cream is applied. The cream contains something they've termed "Erasyl" which "minimizes dark circles for brighter eyes." It also contains collagen which "smoothes away any appearance of under-eye wrinkles and crow's feet." The micro-pulse massager stimulates "circulation with gentle micro-pulsations" which reduces "puffiness and bags for rejuvenated eyes." This came from the flier I received from the company along with my sample.
I've been using the L’Oréal® Paris Collagen Micro-Pulse™ Eye cream for about two weeks now. I really like the way the cream feels. It is not greasy at all but very moisturizing. I do not have eye bags or dark circles so I cannot evaluate it's effectiveness for these conditions. However, I do have crow's feet and am always looking for a way to get rid of them. This, like every other product on the market, does not remove those tiny wrinkles. It does minimize them a little. And, to be honest, I fell the micro-pulse massager is just another gimmick. I cannot say that I have seen any improvement from using that than from using the cream alone. That being said, this product is very reasonably priced at under $20. I saw it on sale for $17.99 at Rite Aid a few weeks ago. Compared to all the other beauty/anti-aging creams around it is better priced and probably just as effective. Pair a sale price with a coupon and you've got a great product for a great price. If you'd like a coupon, please let me know and I'll try to get one to you. Unfortunately, I don't know the value of the coupon but once you get it, you can let me know! Also, if you try the L’Oréal® Paris Collagen Micro-Pulse™ Eye cream, let me know what you think of it.

If you're interested in becoming a BzzzAgent to try new products for free and create Bzzz by talking about them, go here and sign up. It's free and with no obligation.
BzzAgent Badge

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bubble Pizza, Yum!!

I will be the first to admit that I am not a very good cook. I struggle everyday to come up with a somewhat nutritious meal to feed my family for dinner. Over the years, I've invested in many cookbooks. The problem is that most of the recipes take a long time to prepare and require many obscure ingredients that I never have on hand. I'm always on the lookout for recipes that are quick and easy. And, as a bonus, hopefully easy to remember so I don't always have to pull out the recipe to prepare it. I came across this recipe from fabulesslyfrugal. It was nice and easy to prepare, the girls like it, and it was cheap (when you factor in the cost of each ingredient). Here it is:

Bubble Pizza


2 cups pizza cheese (or whatever cheese you have on hand)
Browned sausage (you can also use hamburger, pepperoni, or bacon)
1 jar of pizza sauce I just use pasta sauce
2 tubes buttermilk biscuits.
*Note: I don’t put veggies in this b/c my family doesn’t like the veggies, but feel free to add whatever you would order on your own pizza.


Step #1: Brown and drain the meat.
Step #2: Cut the 2 tubes of biscuits into quarters. I like to use my kitchen scissors for this
Step #3: Put the biscuits into a bowl along with the jar of pizza sauce.
Step #4: Add the meat and any other toppings you may have.
Step #6: Mix it all together. I just throw it all in a glass pan and mix it right in there. I try to dirty up as few dishes as possible!:)
Step #7: Pour into a baking dish (ungreased).
Step #8: Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Step #9: No, I didn’t forget the cheese! After baking for 20 minutes, take it out and add your cheese. Now pop it back in the over for 10 more minutes.

I used ground turkey and I made my own biscuit dough from a box of Bisquick I purchased for next to nothing with coupons.
Here's my breakdown of cost per item:
1 1/4 pound ground turkey - about $2 (I bought this during a buy 1 get 1 free sale)
pasta sauce - free (my mom made this and canned it for me but I also recently bought a few jars of pasta sauce for free too)
olives - maybe $0.25 (I bought the cans a long time ago, before I was using coupons so I can't remember exactly but they were probably less than $1 per can and I only used about 1/3)
Bisquick mix - maybe $0.10 (I bought a big box for probably less than $0.50 and I used 2/3 cups from the box so $0.10 is an overestimate)
4 tbsp egg white mix to make the biscuits - maybe $0.25
2 cups cheese - $0.37 (I bought this during a BIG sale. I got 10 bags of shredded cheese for $0.37 each!)
We also warmed up some Rhodes rolls which were $0.50 and some frozen corn which was $1.50.
So total for an entire meal was about $5! I think that's a great price for a good meal.
When you have a chance, try this recipe and let me know what you think.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Coupon success at Target

Last week I read that Target had their Play-Doh magic swirl ice cream shoppe on sale for $8 plus you could get a free pack of Play-Doh with purchase. There is also a $5 off coupon available on line. So, I printed off my coupons and made a morning trip to Target. But... when I got there, they were clean out and I missed this special deal. I was super bummed because I know Sirena would LOVE this and it was an awesome price since it normally sells for $14. Well, tonight when I was swinging through the toy section, I found tons of magic swirl ice cream shoppes priced at $9. I was still carrying my coupons and decided to jump on the deal now instead of waiting for it to go back to full price. I got each one for $4 and I didn't get the extra pack of Play-Doh but it's still a good price so I'm happy.

I got everything above for under $9. Considering the cost of the ice cream shoppes were each $4, that makes the rest pretty cheap. I got four packs of Bic pens (9 pens in each bag) and 6 packs of post-it sticky notes, all for free!! The Sobe's were $0.25 each.

I couldn't find the $1 Rayovac batteries. I guess I'll just have to wait for them to show up again. I was also looking for a Shout deal. In order to do it right, I would need to buy 6 bottles. When I got there, there were only two left. Not enough for my special deal. I guess there are other couponers in the area after the same products I want. Now I have to decide if I want to make another trip later in the week to try again or just scrap it. Who knows. But I'm happy to report that all of my coupons were accepted without a problem. There were none of the bad coupon beeps, only good coupon beeps which meant that they were all accepted! I love it when they scan without problem.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I'm giong to try Target

When starting out with coupons, one of the best pieces of advice I read was to start with one store. Learn that store, their policies, how to shop there and get comfortable there. For me, that store has been Rite Aid. I LOVE RITE AID!!! This week, there are going to be a few really good deals at Target so tomorrow I'm going to try to get in on them. I have had a few problems in the past with my coupons not being accepted and so have not made Target a regular shopping place. But I think the deals I'm going to try to get there make it worth a stop. Target has some of their own coupons which can be "stacked" with manufacturers coupons. You can use a Target coupon PLUS a manufacturers coupon making for some really good deals. Here's what I plan to get.

Bic pens $1 per pack.
Use $1 off 2 packs Target coupon + $1 off 2 packs manufacturers coupon
Two packs should be free

Rayovac batteries $1 per pack
Use $1 off 1 pack coupon
Each pack should be free

Post It Sticky notes $1
Use $1 off 1 pack coupon
Each pack should be free

SoBe 20oz bottles $1
Use $0.50 off 1 bottle Target coupon + Buy 1 Get 1 free manufacturers coupon
Each bottle should be $0.25
This is one where it might be possible to get both for free by using 2 $0.50 off Target coupons. I have read that this is possible in some stores. However, since I haven't had good coupon luck at my store, I'm not going to press my luck.

I've also read that there are many clearanced items in the cleaning section. I plan to take my coupon binder just in case. I never know when I might find something on clearance that would be free with a coupon. I'm not very good at finding those deals yet but I try to keep my eyes open. When I become a coupon genius I hope to be able to spot those deals from a mile away!

I must be getting greedy

How much do you pay for cereal? What would you consider a good price? Just two months ago, I would have considered a box of cereal for under $2.50 a good deal. Have you looked at the price of those boxes lately? It's outrageous how much cereal is these days. I was clued into a great deal on Kellogg's products this week at Safeway. The ad stated that if I bought 10 boxes of various Kellogg's products, I would get a $10 Catalina coupon good on my next purchase at Safeway. This is like getting $10 back! The items that I purchased were all priced at $1.99 each. That's a great deal, right? Anyway, I bought 6 boxes of Pop Tarts at $1.99 each. I then used three $1 off two boxes coupons which made each box $1.49. I also bought 4 boxes of the new Cinnabon cereal at $1.99 per box. I had 4 $1 off 1 box coupons for these. So $8.49 for Pop Tarts and $3.96 for cereal. Total was $12.45. Kellogg's is also offering a $10 rebate when you buy 10 products. So the deal was supposed to go like this. Pay $12.45. Get back a $10 Catalina coupon and then submit for a $10 rebate thus ending up with $7.55 more than I started with. How sweet is that!! However, my Catalina didn't print, boo. I wasn't paying attention at the time so didn't notice. Now I'm bummed because I'll only get back the rebate and had to pay $2.45 for 6 boxes of Pop Tarts and 4 boxes of cereal. How greedy is that!? I have to keep reminding myself that I'm paying less than I used to pay, even if there are gliches with the deals. But there is always a learning point to be made. Currently, when I go shopping, I have my shopping list, the prices I expect each item to be, how many of each I will buy, which coupons I plan to used and what the approximate total I expect to pay is. From now on, I will include any Catalinas I expect to get back. Then, if one doesn't print, I can try to find out why while I'm still at the store where they can help me. It doesn't work if I get home and then realize I didn't get my Catalina. By then it's too late. And I will continue to try to be grateful for any deals I get, even if they aren't the ones I had been expecting. Any saving is better than no saving!

Monday, August 2, 2010

This should be illegal!

I just had to go try to get some deals tonight. I wasn't really prepared for all scenarios so I didn't make out as well as I had planned. My first trip was to Rite Aid. I got everything below for $20.53 (including tax). That alone is pretty impressive in my book. What makes the whole thing crazy is that I will get back $22.49 as a Single Check Rebate. Essentially, I end up with $2 more than I starter PLUS everything in the picture. Crazy!!

After Rite Aid, I stopped quickly at Albertsons. They have "doubler" coupons valid until Tuesday. So I was able to double three coupons in one transaction. After all sales and coupons and doublers, I got the four items below for $0.96. Plus, I was given the opportunity to call in on a phone survey to get a code for $2 off my next purchase. Again, counting the coupon code I was given, I basically made $1 and got the rest for free!!

Something about the whole thing seems wrong. I keep thinking it should be illegal to end up with more money than you start with. However, it's all legit so I get to be super excited about getting stuff for free!

I was thinking about going back to Albertsons in the morning to finish up my doubler coupons but I feel pretty tired right now and not at all interested. However, the pasta sauce was free and I may just head back and pick up some more. I have a hard time passing up free.

How did I get pasta sauce for free? It's currently priced at $0.99. There is a printable coupon that is $1 off 2 jars of Prego. When combined with a doubler coupon, it becomes $2 off 2 jars. When each jar is priced at less than $1, they're free after coupons. There is a Pepperidge Farms Milano cookies coupon available. I may have to print that one and double it and get a bag of Milano cookies. I can't pass those up very easily! Who knows what will happen tomorrow!?