Saturday, August 27, 2011

Extreme Couponing Reality from Jill Cataldo

If you haven't heard of Jill Cataldo, I urge you to take a few minutes to check out her site. Jill runs one of the best coupon sites I have seen, plus teaches couponing workshops, has a great couponing how-to DVD, plus has regularly appeared on TV shows and radio shows about couponing.  I love her insight on couponing and how she stresses using coupons ethically.

I read a post on her site today, Why your shopping trips aren't quite like the ones on "Extreme Couponing..." and I think it is great reading for anyone starting out in couponing.  I have been couponing as long as I can remember, but with TLC's "Extreme Couponing" and frugality being in the center of the minds of many people these days, there are many misconceptions about couponing that the show is spreading. 

I have been able to pull of some pretty serious savings at the grocery store checkout, but nothing like what is seen on this show.  This article explains some of the misconceptions, such as stores that allowed double couponing and overages that typically don't offer this benefit to all shoppers, or limit the amount of coupons doubled. 

Most of you have probably noticed that a lot of companies are imposing limits of how many identical coupons are allowed per transaction right on the coupon. One that I remember seeing recently, and saw used on the show, was $5 off any Similac.  I personally used this coupon, because initially I was stocking up on the formula for a friend (the ready made formula is usually $5 or less) and eventually, myself, since I found out I am pregnant.  On the show, I saw this coupon used as a money-making opportunity for the shopper, and I noticed she had many bottles of the formula, resulting in a small overage for each one she was purchasing.  This coupon clearly said "One coupon per transaction" on it, so I was wondering how TLC allowed this purchase to be done on their show.  Jill's article points out this situation and others that I had not even noticed.

So... long story short, do NOT become discouraged over shows like Extreme Couponing.  You do not need to save 100% every time, and eating like a normal person, it is just not possible.  My opinion is any amount saved is a great thing, buy what you will use and try to save on those things.

Happy Shopping to you all!

Coupon News: Kroger refuses coupons from a shopper

I read this article today about a Kroger shopper that had her coupons refused because she was a "Habitual coupon user". Kroger responded to the incident saying that there is not a specific number of coupons allowed in a transaction, but that they "reserve the right to limit quantities".  

The shopper's response is that she will continue to coupon and shop at a different Kroger.

I think that shoppers should be allowed to use as many coupons as they want, as long as what they are doing follows the store's coupon policy and they are using proper coupon ethics, which means not clearing the shelves, etc.  This shopper in the story was buying 20 body washes, but she has a family of 10, so I don't think her purchase was unreasonable.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The 320 square foot home...

I just watched this video about a family that sold their 2,000 square foot home and moved into a 320-square foot home.  Our house is slightly over 1,000 square feet and there are three of us living here, and I think we are cramped sometimes.  I could not imagine living in a house like that, however, the family is being very smart about their finances in doing that.  It's pretty amazing to see, and the woman in the video made very inventive use of space.  It's interesting to watch if you have the time, check it out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why I am NOT an Extreme Couponer...

A few weeks ago, TLC started airing "Extreme Couponing". Since then... I have heard from several people... "I watched this show about Extreme Couponers, and I thought of you!"

I have been frustrated with this show for several reasons - yet, I continue to watch, because I love coupons and I am still intrigued.

1.  The show frustrates beginning couponers and people that don't use coupons.

People that don't use coupons at all have told me that it is ridiculous to spend hours looking for coupons, shopping in the store, etc.  People I know who have just started couponing are frustrated because their savings don't compare to those on the show.  My opinion is, any amount of savings is good, as long as you are buying things that you need or will use.  If you are just starting out with coupons, start by looking for some products you already use - or start looking for a product that doesn't spoil, such as body wash, or laundry detergent, and stock pile a few items at the lowest price possible.  You will save money with coupons, but you will probably NOT save 99% like the people on the show.

It is easy to go to your favorite store and use a shopping list from the internet to get some great deals.  There are multiple bloggers with deal matchups for each store, so it would be easy to find deals already matched up for you.

2.  The savings for these couponers is not representative of the savings of an average couponer.

As mentioned before - the people on the show prepared 'sensational' shopping trips that would work out to them paying extremely little for their food.  Who goes into a store and buys 60 bottles of mustard, or 100 of one product?  Only a few of them showed their trips including meat, milk, or other staple items.  Remember - their trips were for the benefit of television, so they planned ahead of time for weeks - most of them were doing their "biggest haul ever". Just like reality TV sensationalizes everything else.

3.  Controversy around coupon fraud

One particular episode sparked a lot of discussion about whether the purchases made were using coupons legally.  I don't have the right to judge - BUT - couponing is a privilege, not a right.  Manufacturers put these coupons out to convince consumers to try their product and they are assuming a certain percentage will be redeemed.  Using these coupons illegally could cause couponing to stop for everyone.  By using coupons illegally, I am referring to using coupons on incorrect items that they are not intended. 

I have used coupons on the smallest size allowed - my last trip, I used Degree coupons on the trial size, because there were no size restrictions on the coupon.  Often on the coupons it will specify sizes, such as 8 oz or greater, or a specific size, 24 oz only. 

The controversy surrounding the show looks at coupon decoding. What they are referring to is that a family of products (such as Proctor and Gamble) can belong to the same UPC code family.  Someone that decodes the coupons may use a high value coupon intended for a high value item (such as Crest Whitestrips) on a high value item (like Tide).   This is illegal.  Counterfeit coupons are also illegal.  The CIC (Coupon Information Center) investigates illegal coupon use.  Illegal coupon use causes the store not to be paid for coupons used fraudulently. 

Just because the cash register accepts the coupons, whether they were for the wrong product, expired, etc, does not make it right to do.  Being a programmer, I know that the computers are only programmed to do what you tell it to.  If the store wants to go back and find out why an order was so low, or why there were so many coupons of a sort redeemed in a transaction, it is easy to find out who made the purchase due to store shopper cards, debit cards, etc.   Best bet is to stick to legal couponing.

4.  Bad coupon ethics and expectations.

Each couponer will develop their own "coupon ethics"... if you're not sure what I mean, there are many blog posts about this subject, but The Coupon Project has a good post about this, and also Coupon Gal.  Most coupon bloggers have great coupon ethics, and I'm only saying most because there could be some out there - I just have not found them yet.

Most couponers hesitate to clear a shelf.  This is shown multiple times in the shows. 

Also - I can't think of one store that I have been to that would allow 16 separate transactions, or checkouts to span hour(s).  Not saying it can't ever happen, it just is not normal. 

5.  Who needs 60 bottles of mustard, anyway?  This looks like an organized form of hoarding.

Products spoil. Everything has a shelf life, for a reason.  Once you start couponing, you will learn how often things truly go on sale. Most items have a 3-6 month sales cycle, meaning if you have a sale today, you will probably see that price again in 3-6 months. Chances are, the same coupons will come around again as well.

The exception to that rule, for me, are high value coupons.  For example, a few weeks ago, there were coupons for $3 off Nivea body wash.  $3 is the average price at Walmart, and close to that for other stores, so this resulted in a FREE product.  I bought three of these... not extreme in any sense, but a normal amount for what my family will use.  I can't lie and say I haven't bought more than we would use, but not much.  I limit myself to the space I have in the pantry and cupboards in my kitchen - I would not hide toilet paper or barbecue sauce under my kids beds.

The exception to this is if you are donating products.  Not saying the food bank needs 60 mustards, but it is nice to donate a reasonable amount of products if you are able to.

I don't believe I fall into any of these categories.  Yes, today I bought 7 - 4 packs of yogurts, and 7 boxes of pasta, but I will use these in a reasonable time. I eat 2 yogurts a day - so this is really only a two-week's supply. I am frustrated with the show because it only shows the extreme. I do understand that no one would watch a show where I am getting three free bodywashes, but still.

To learn how to shop with your version of "extreme couponing" - stay tuned for future posts!

Shopping Trip Brags!

I went shopping last week on Friday and finally got to hit up the stores... stopped at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Target.  Most of the stuff I got is for our stockpile... but picked up a few things for a friend as well - for free! And today I hit up Giant Eagle with some of my coupons...


Aquafresh Kids Toothpaste  - 1.00 – 1.00 coupon = FREE   (Got raincheck for two more, since I have two more coupons)
Aquafresh Kids Toothbrush – 3 @ 1.00 – 3 @ 1.00 coupons = FREE
Stove Top Stuffing – 2 @ .88 – 2 @ .50 coupons = .76
- Plus - earned $1 ECB for using my green bag tag!


UP Ibuprofen 24 ct – .99 - .50 Target Coupon = .49
Zantac 30 ct – 7.59 – 2.00 Target Coupon – 5.00 Mfr Coupon = .59
UP Pantiliners - .87 - .50 Target Coupon = .37
A&D Diaper Cream – 3.94 – 2.00 Target Coupon – 1.00 Mfr Coupon = .94
Aquafresh Trial Size – 3@ .97 – (3) 1.00 Printable Coupon = .09 profit
Nature Made Fish Oil – 2 @ 5.84 – 4.00 Coupon + 3.00 Coupon = 4.68 for two
Visine Trial Size – 3 @ 1.97 – (3) 2.00 Coupons = .09 Profit


M&Ms Bags 2/2.00 – 1.00 Walgreens Coupon – 1.00 Mfr coupon = 1.00 Each
Silly Bands – 4 @ .25 – For easter baskets
Used 2.00 Register Reward from Last Time
= 1.07 for all


Similac Formula – 3.84 – 5.00 coupon = 1.16 profit   (giving to a friend)
Candyland – 5.00 – 3.00 coupon = 2.00
Toy Story Operation – 5.00 – 2.00 coupon = 3.00
Floss – 7 @ .88 – 7 @ 1.00 coupons = .84 profit
Nivea Men’s Body Wash – 3 @ 3.00 – 3 @ 3.00 coupons = FREE
Dial Nutri Skin Lotion – 1.97 – 1.00 coupon = .97
Tide – 2 single load packets @ .97 – 2 @ 1.00 coupons (no size restriction) = .06 profit
Degree trial size deodorant – 3 @ .97 – 3 @ 1.00 coupons (no size restriction) = .09 profit
Carefree pantiliners - .94 – 1.00 coupon = .06 profit


Giant Eagle
Allegra 5 ct - 5.99 - 5.00 coupons = .99
Jif - 2.00 - .35 cent coupon from commenting to the company (doubled) = 1.30
Fiber One Yogurt - 2.00 - .50 coupon (doubled) - 1.00 e-Offer - FREE
Trix Yogurt - 2.00 - .75 cents off two (doubled) - .75 e-Offer = 1.75 for two
Wolfgang Puck Soup - 2.50 - $1 coupon from writing to the company - $1 e-Offer = .50
Breakstone Sour Cream - 1.50 - .50 (doubled) = .50
Skintimate Shave Gel - 2.00 - .55 (doubled) = .90
San Giorgio Quick Cook Pasta - 1.39 - .55 (doubled) = .29 each box
Smuckers Jam  - 2.00 - .75 coupon (doubled) = .50
Steamfresh Vegetables - 3 @ 1.00 - 1.00 coupon/3 = 3 / 2.00
Ortega Taco Seasoning - 2 @ .78 - .50 coupon/2 (doubled) = .58 / 2
And I received 2 - $2 off your next shopping order!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Freebies and Deals of the Day

Living Social - Sign up to receive daily deals for your city! I have ordered a few deals from Living Social so far, it's a great way to buy things that you can't normally afford to try!

Vistaprint - 6 Free Goodies for Easter from Vistaprint! The Products are FREE, Just Pay Shipping and Processing!  I used Vistaprint to order my business cards, and I got a great tote bag for free that we use for Trick or Treating!  Love Vistaprint!

Sign up for Coolsavings!  FREE Grocery Coupons, Product Samples and more!

Groupon is a great daily deal site! They have great daily deals for most cities, I have found some great deals in Pittsburgh!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What's Been Going On...

I'm sorry I haven't updated this blog lately - there has been a lot going on at our house! Those of you who know me personally already know this story...

The past few months have been a lot of craziness with my son in daycare.  My son B is 4, going to be 5 this summer, and he has been at the same daycare center for years, since he was a baby. Since he moved up to the Pre-K class he is clashing with another child in the class.  Instead of watching closely to see what was going on between the two kids, the school is claiming he has behavior problems. This resulted in countless complaints from the school, calls to me, tears from my son, etc. It has been a rough road.

Through the suggestion of the school and a friend, we contacted early intervention to do an evaluation for him.  I figured if he truly was having behavior problems like the school was claiming, he would get help, and if not, then we would know for sure. After two evaluations, and a few months of waiting, he has an IEP for behavior and emotional delays.  However, the therapist told us that she did not see anything during either evaluation - that everything that they based it on was the written evaluation from the teacher. It is frustrating because I don't see the same behavior problems, and certainly not a lack of emotions and compassion like the school is claiming.

The school did not seem willing to work with us and they seemed to be losing their patience with B. He started crying every morning, and going so far as to make himself so sick that he couldn't go to school. Every day I would wait for the awful reports from the teacher and feel incredibly guilty that I had to leave him with someone that clearly did not like him or want to help.

Last Friday, B cried all morning that he did not want to go to school.  I told him to hang in there and go for one more week and then he will be able to start his new school. He started yelling at me that he wanted to go for "no more days!" I made a decision to switch him to a new center, and called last Friday to set the date for him to start this coming Monday. Less than an hour after calling the new center, his old school called and said that he was out of control, hitting kids and teachers. I made the decision then that I was going to pull him out of the school.

I went to pick him up that day and was disappointed that we were not able to leave on our own terms. He wanted me to leave notes for his friends with his phone number so they would come over and play, and I wanted him to say goodbye. Instead, it ended much more messy... although I talked to the director and found out that he can still do his pre-k graduation with his friends, which is the main reason we held out to begin with.

He started at his new center this Monday and he is doing great! He is already making friends, and both teachers that he has during the day say that he is wonderful. He has yet to start his services with early intervention, so hopefully once they come we will find that he is alright.

Long story short, I have not been able to focus on this blog or my personal goal of paying off any of our bills or saving. I am the type of person that needs to focus on one problem or issue at a time, and this one with B's school really threw me. It consumed all of my thoughts, effort and emotions.  Each night I was coming home from work and collapsing once B went to bed because I was so emotionally drained.

Hopefully now that this school situation is resolved I can have a new beginning and start working toward my goals!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Couponizer

A bunch of my friends recently got The Couponizer and they all seem to love it! If you are looking for a great coupon solution to get you organized, try this!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

All About Giant Eagle!

Some of you are experienced coupon shoppers and some of you are just getting started! This post will explain all of the deals and programs that Giant Eagle offers.

For me, Giant Eagle is just this grocery store that I have been shopping at for as early as I can remember.  I remember as a child sitting underneath the cart (these were the higher up shopping carts that the cashier would open the end of the cart and pull things out right to the counter) and going through my mom's coupons trying to help her get the best deal!According to their website, they are one of the largest, privately owned and family-operated companies in the nation.  They serve 5 million unique customers a year.  That's huge.

I live in Pittsburgh, PA, so any prices I use on Giant Eagle posts may be regional.

Advantage Card

First thing when you start shopping at Giant Eagle, you will need an Advantage Card.  The Advantage Card will give you the weekly special prices. You can sign up for an Advantage Card at the store.

Weekly Specials / Manufacturer Coupons

Giant Eagle's sales start Thursday and end Wednesday.  They do double coupons up to 99 cents, which means if you have a 75 cent coupon, it will double to 1.50!  (Most coupons that say "DO NOT DOUBLE" usually double, but you can't guarantee it.  Buy one get one free (BOGO) deals allow you to only buy 1 at half of the price. If they are out of a sale item, ask Customer Service for a rain check, so you can buy it next week for the same price.

Giant Eagle does not accept internet printable coupons for FREE items, Buy One Get One Free, or for values over $3 .  They only allow 12 of the same coupon in an order. They also can refuse to accept an internet coupon if they believe it is "counterfeit". These rules are in the coupon policy, so it is best to read over their policy so you know the rules.


Using your Advantage Card at every trip is important, not only for the sale prices, but to accumulate FuelPerks. For every $50 in purchases, you will earn 10 cents in FuelPerks, which gives you 10 cents off of a gallon of gas at the GetGo  gas stations.  (Purchases at the store at the GetGo station also accumulate fuelperks.)  From time to time, Giant Eagle also offers promotions that help you earn more fuelperks, like buying retailer gift cards, or in March during frozen food month, there were additional promotions.


Getting your gas at GetGo will accumulate FoodPerks. For every 10 dollars of gas you purchase at a GetGo station, you will receive 1% off of your shopping order.  This is one of my favorite deals.  You can use up to (and including) 20% of FoodPerks, and the order total can be up to $300.  This means on a $300 order, if you have 20% FoodPerks, you can save $60!  FoodPerks come off on your bottom line order total, so this is after coupons.


EOffers are like digital coupons that you load onto your Advantage Card on the Giant Eagle website.  You don't have to do anything extra to redeem them, except for buy the correct product / size listed on the site.  You "clip" the coupon and then load it to your card.  You can have up to 45 eOffers on your card, but any more than that and none of them will work.  You also need to load them to your card 3 hours before you shop, so it is best to try to do it at least the day before.

You can redeem a eOffer and a manufacturer coupon for the same item. If you know that you loaded your eOffer in time but it still didn't come off, visit Customer Service and they should be able to help you.

Other Offers

As mentioned before, Giant Eagle sells retailer gift cards, so you can purchase these with your Advantage Card and you will accumulate FuelPerks on this purchase.

Giant Eagle Pharmacies offer a limited number of FREE medication, including some antibiotics and diabetes medication.  They also have a $4/$10 program, check the lists of medications on their site to see if you are eligible.

I think their policy is if something rings up incorrectly then you get it for free! So watch your prices at the register!

"Catalinas" are the register coupons that print out after you made your purchase.  There are certain purchases that they advertise that will print a dollar off coupon for your next shopping order.  The Catalinas make me laugh because a friend was learning about Giant Eagle deals and she said she ignored the Catalinas because she didn't like the dressing... that makes me smile!

Hopefully these tips will help you get the most for your money at Giant Eagle!

Is there any tips that I missed?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Freebies & Deal Roundup - 3/28

31 Cupcake Inspired Creations E-Book 

Alaska Travel Guide - this is such a nice book! I received mine already.

Deals: - $25 dining certificates are up to 80% off! We have used these several times for discounted meals.

Vistaprint - They are offering 6 free products! (Just pay shipping) - I ordered my business cards here, a mug, a bag, and labels! Everything has been great so far... I will definitely be ordering some more this time!

Dial for Men - Facebook Sweepstakes - 30 Days of Dirt Grimy Giveaway - Enter to win an ATV or 400+ other prizes
Farmer's Insurance Smack Attack Sweepstakes - Like the page on Facebook and be eligible to win $100/day and grand prize to see NCAA finals in Vegas in 2012
Dot's always Summer Sweepstakes - Enter online and get a $5 off your $25 purchase coupon

** This post may contain affiliate links. I do not promote offers that I don't do myself! **

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Free Samples and Deals - 3/27

Free Seeds from Tomato Heirlooms
Sign up for Vocalpoint     If you are a member, from time to time they offer free samples
Free Sample of Miracle Whip

Arby's Free Snack with Sandwich Purchase (good until 3/31)
Kirkland's 20% off single item   (good until 4/14)

Pampers Gifts to Grow - with Extra Point Codes!

Do you belong to the Pampers Gifts to Grow program?  It's a great program, you collect points from Pampers products and redeem them for rewards!

Sign up now and get 100 points to start!

Don't have a child in diapers? It's ok! Sign up anyway! There are some sweepstakes entries for 10-20 points, and for 30 points you can redeem to donate to the P&G Children's Safe Drinking Water program.

Here are a bunch of promotional codes to use...



** Disclosure - This post contains affiliate links **

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Freebies & Deals of the Day - 3/27

U By Kotex from Sam's Club  (Member # is required)
Free Subscription to Runway Magazine   (Beauty & Fashion Magazine)

Free Music Download from Elizabeth & The Catapult (in exchange for promoting on Twitter or Facebook!)

Reward Calendars from Chuck E Cheese
Use these to motivate your kids to do something you're asking.  When it is completed, they will get 10 tokens if they bring it to Chuck E Cheese!

New coupons on

There are a lot of coupons available on!

Some of the ones I saw were below... they may have changed since I got this list.

$1.00 off Glade Premium Room Spray (9.7 oz.)
$1.00 off any (1) Vaseline 24.5 oz. product
$1.00 off Any Sally Hansen Beauty Tool
$0.50 off KRAFT HOMESTYLE Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
$1.00 off On Your Purchase of HEALTH Magazine
$2.00 off Any Aleve 40ct or larger
$0.50 off one (1) can of Diamond Crystal Sea Salt
$0.30 off (1) can Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
$2.00 off 2 bags Diamond Crystal Water Cdtng Salt
$3.00 off (1) package of HUGGIES Diapers
$3.00 off on any MONISTAT Product
$1.00 off Broadway Nails Artificial Nail Product
$1.00 off Kiss Artificial Nail Product
$2.00 off (1) package of HUGGIES Diapers

** Disclaimer - There are affiliate links in this post. All opinions are my own. **

Cheap Entertainment - Redbox!

I love watching movies! Although about 95% of the movies I watch are kids movies. When I don't feel like watching another kids movie, or I want a different kid's movie, I like Redbox!  They are everywhere, there are no late fees, and you can return them at any location!

I just got an email from them that said that you can earn a free rental the first time you use their online reservation. I have used it before, but I plan to try again and see if it works!

Here are some codes for free movies! Remember, you can use the codes once per credit/debit card!

DVDATWAG  -  Walgreens only
DVDKROG - Krogers Only (We don't have Krogers in PA, but someone might have one!) 

Also, sign up on their website for texts and you will receive a text for a free movie the first Monday of each month.  That's free movie night in my house!

Also - keep your eyes open for Groupons for Redbox - last time they offered it, it was 3 Redbox movies for only $1! 

How to make Money Online - Synovate

Synovate is a survey company I have belonged to for a few years now. I don't do many surveys anymore, but I am on my way to another $5 check with them.  I received $15 from them last year.

My favorite part of their surveys is that they are short and fun to do. I was just accepted to do a product test for them, I am waiting to receive the material.

Sign up here!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Save $5 on Advil & Thermacare!

I love high value coupons!  Sign up to receive a coupon for $5 off when you buy Advil and Thermacare together.

5 off $25 from Dollar General - 3/26 ONLY!

This Saturday, 3/26, use this coupon at Dollar General to get $5 off a $25 purchase.

There are also other printable coupons on this site.

Happy Shopping!

HURRY! Free Uncle Ben's Ready Rice

Quick!  Free Uncle Ben's Ready Rice from SmartSource!  Get yours before it is gone!

Free Samples of the Day - 3/24/2011

Get a free Womens Day® Magazine

Free PowerBar® ProteinPlus bites

Free sample of Dove® Men+Care body and face wash and deodorant

3 free issues of Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade® magazine

Free sample of SOYJOY®

Free sample of Eucerin®

Free Sample of Nicorette Mini's Lozenge (Sam's Club) Member # required

Free Glad Force Flex Trash Bag Sample (Sam's Club) Member # required

Free John Frieda Precision Foam Color (Facebook)
Log in, like them, take the survey. If you "qualify" you will receive a coupon in the mail

** Disclosure - This post contains affiliate links **

Pampers Gifts to Grow

Do you belong to the Pampers Gifts to Grow program?  It's a great program, you collect points from Pampers products and redeem them for rewards!

Sign up now and get 100 points to start!

Don't have a child in diapers? It's ok! Sign up anyway! There are some sweepstakes entries for 10-20 points, and for 30 points you can redeem to donate to the P&G Children's Safe Drinking Water program.

What are you waiting for? 

** Disclosure - This post contains affiliate links **

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Freebies & Deals today - 3/22/2011

Retail Coupons:
Use this printable coupon good for $10 off $25 at JCPenney stores this weekend, March 25-26, 2011.

Grocery Coupons:
Coupon for Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn Pop Up Bowl
Glade Coupons
$1 off Purex Softener

Free Sample of Dove Men Care from Walmart
Free Digital Subscription to Women's Day (If you "qualify")
Plackers Grind-no-more (First 10,000)    Add to cart, proceed to checkout

Check out Saving with Lori!

My friend's sister, Lori, has a great site Saving with Lori!

Apparently she and I are on the same wavelength because we both did posts this past week about Clutter, not knowing that the other was doing one!  Her post, The Cost of Clutter, really made me think about how bad clutter really is!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Freebies for 3/21/2011

2011 Wildflower Reference Guide

2 Free Issues of Wood Magaizine (for Woodworking)

12 Free Issues of Ski Magazine

Free Issue of Bridal Guide Magazine

Free Carefresh Lesson in a Box Small Animal Pet Care Classroom Kit (For TEACHERS only!)

$5 Tool Cash Coupon from Craftsman

Miralax Sample

Taster's Choice Coffee

Fanah Face Wash

Shout Color Catcher

Free Red Gold Apron  KS, MN, MO, OK, TN, or TX  ONLY

Target Shopping Brag!

I stopped at Target on Saturday afternoon to use some of my Target Coupons... For those of you who don't know, Target has a ton of printable coupons on their site.  If they print with "Target Coupon" at the top, you can use it PLUS a manufacturer coupon!!!

I spent more than I wanted to, but here are some of the deals I got!

Sprayway Glass Cleaner (The only kind I like!)  2.39 - 1.00 mfr coupon = 1.39

Up Dishwasher Detergent - 2@ 2.74 = 5.48 - 2 x 1.00 target coupons for Up cleaning supplies = 3.48

Dentyne 3 pack - 1.66 - .75 Target coupon - .35 manufacturer coupon = .56

Garnier Skin Care Wipes - 4.99 - 2.00 Target Coupon - 2.00 Mfr Coupon = .99

Nivea Body Wash - 3.04 - 2.00 mfr coupon = 1.04

Dove Men's Deodorant - 3.99 - 1.00 Target Coupon - 2.00 mfr coupon = .99

Aquafresh Trial Size - .97 - 1.00 coupon (no size restriction) = FREE

Secret Clinical Trial Size = 2.49 - 2.00 coupon = .49

Suave Deodorant (in Trial Size section, but larger) - .97 - .50 mfr coupon = .47

Up & Up Floss = .89 - 1.00 Target Oral Care coupon = FREE  (bought 2)

Physician's Formula Concealer = 4.94 - 3.00 Target coupon (from a magazine) - 1.00 mfr coupon = .94

Pantene Trial Size = .97 - 1.00 mfr coupon (no size restriction) = FREE

Up & Up Ibuprofen = .99 - 1.00 Up & Up Pain reliever = FREE (bought 2)

Halls Cough Drops = 1.19 - .50 Target coupon - .50 mfr coupon = .19

Always Pantiliners, double pack - 6.99 (bought 2).  With purchase of 2, get $5 Target Gift Card back. Used 2 mfr coupons = 6.99 for 2 double packs!

As usual with Target, I spent more than I planned but I got some good deals for stock up. The best time to use the Target coupons is when you have a manufacturer coupon to pair it with!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Giant Eagle Deals this Week - 3/17-3/23

What a beautiful morning today! I have a baby shower to attend and a party tonight, so in between those two events I think I'll stop and get my Giant Eagle deals!

Cherry Picker has the Giant Eagle deals this week.

The best deals that I am going to use are below, but you can visit her site to see all the deals.

I can't find the pillsbury eOffers but if some of you have them it makes for a great deal!

Franks Red Hot $1.00
Use $.50 from 3/13/S

Blue Diamond Almonds $1.75
Use $.75/2 from 12/5/S or 1/23/S
= $2.00/2

Muir Glen organic tomatoes $1.50 
Use $.75 printable no longer avail  (bummer! But I printed it beforehand)

Duncan Hines brownie mix $1.25
Use $.50 printable

Wisk 2x  Laundry Detergent $4.99
Use $2.00 from 3/6/R

Best Life Butter $1.00
Use $1.00 from 2/27/S

Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls $1.00
Use $.40/2 from 1/2/S and 2/13
40¢/2 EOffer
= $1.20/2 after coupon – $.80¢/2 with loaded EOffer

Pillsbury Crescent Roll 4ct $1.00
Use $.40/2 from 1/30/S – 1/2/S – 3/13/S
50¢ EOffer
= $1.20/2 after coupon – 70¢/2 with loaded EOffer

Crest toothpaste $1.50
Use $.75 from2/27/PG

Old spice High Endurance $2.33
Use Buy deo Get body wash from 2/27/PG
$1.00 Deodorant EOffer
$1.00 Body Wash EOffer
= $2.33 for both  – 33¢ with loaded EOffer

Happy Shopping!



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Decluttering - Toss, Sell, Donate

Welcome to all of my new readers! I hit 59 Facebook followers today, and 11 on Networked Blogs, and if I knew more about blogging I would know how many are following me in Google Reader...  I am so excited that you all are reading the blog!

Most of you know me... and you know that I love to organize things! My dream job is to be a professional organizer, but since I have a decently "lucrative" full-time day job, there's not much time for organizing other people's stuff. Which leads me to my own!

This year my family has been trying to reduce our debt and improve our financial situation.  What does this have to do with clutter, you may ask. Well, my opinion is, that the more stuff you have, and the less organized you are, the more time you spend maintaining your items.  The more stuff you have, it is harder to find the things you really need, and you spend time and effort managing these things.  If you can't find something, you may buy something you already have! (This is why I need to organize my grocery stockpile!)  And long term, when you run out of space in your house, you upgrade to a larger house to hold more things! (This is the most expensive of them all!)

So I have been on a mission... to declutter our things, and organize what we have.  I have been going room by room, and finding things we really don't need.

Once you do this, what do you do with it all?

Toss - Face it - some of what you have needs to be tossed. Food past its expiration date, broken toys, some things are way past their usefulness. Toss it.  (Excluding anything made of paper! We'll get to this in a second)

Sell - Try to make some money off of what you are getting rid of. Although don't fool yourself by trying to get a ton of money for your stuff. Remember - you are trying to get rid of it.
There are lots of ways to sell your stuff!
Yard Sale
Half Price Books or Record Exchange for Books / CD's/Media
Consignment stores or sales

Swap - Your trash could be another's treasure!  Organize a clothing swap - for children's clothes or yours! Trade with a friend. Sign up for Paperback Swap and trade books you've read before for new ones. The possibilities are endless.

Donate - For the lazy, like myself, donate. Donate to Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc.  I just scheduled a pickup for the Vets to come to my house to get our donations. Woo! No wasted gas or time taking it to the donation place.  You also get a tax form or your donation, so you can use it for your taxes.

Recycle - Yep, recycle glass bottles, plastic containers, and paper. My favorite thing to do with newspaper, flyers, old magazines, etc, is to take it to the Paper Retriever Bin! You know, those green and yellow bins that a lot of churches and schools have?  The organization actually gets money for the paper, so we recycle every shred of paper in this house.

What are you waiting for? Get to decluttering!  

Do you have any ideas that I didn't mention?

Bath & Body Works - Free Travel Sized Item with Any Purchase

If you are planning a trip to the mall, stop by Bath & Body Works with this coupon for a FREE $5 Travel Item with ANY Purchase!

I usually buy something I need anyway - like a $1 emery board, or a tiny antibacterial. 

P&G Coupon Books

Proctor & Gamble offers free coupon books occasionally. These books have $35+ worth of coupons for their various brands and they usually have decent expiration dates.  I have even received coupons for free products in mine before.

Rumor has it that you can sign up for books under all of the links below.  I'm not 100% sure if it will work since the page looks the same - but the links are a little different.

Buy 2 Johnson's Bedtime Baby Products, get $2 off

There is a new coupon on the Johnson's baby website, save $2 on the purchase of 2 Johnson's Bedtime baby products!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lowe's Creative Ideas Magazine

My mailbox was full of goodies today. One of my favorite things that I get in the mail came today! The "Creative Ideas" magazine, free from Lowe's, is one of my favorites.

You can sign up here to receive Lowe's free publications:

Lowe's Creative Ideas for Home and Garden (bi-monthly)
Lowe's Creative Ideas for Outdoor Living (semi-annually)
Creative Ideas for Woodworkers (three times annually)

I'm not sure my hubby likes these magazines as much as I do, because usually there is a project in it for him to do!

Free Samples of the Day - 3/9/2011

I don't know about you - but I love to come home to a mailbox full of Freebies! Anything is better than bills!

Sample of Miracle Whip

Free "For the Love of Lasagna" Cookbook

Free Pledge Soft Microfiber Dust Cloth by Libman (First 3,000)
This is a "Right at Home" Gift pack.  If you are one of the first 3,000 to respond you will receive it.

Free Sample Sachet of Shona Shampoo & Conditioner

Pork Recipe Booklets

Shopping Tip - Watch out for Peelies!

Peelies are the little coupons that are ON your packaging when you go to buy a product.  Recently I was at my parents house and noticed that they bought something from the store and the Peelie coupon was still attached!

Cashiers usually don't notice these peelie coupons, but to maximize your savings, make sure you point out any product that has peelie coupons!  Also, if the cashier forgets, but you remember before you leave the store, make sure you stop by customer service with your receipt and the product!

Couponing Tip - Be Careful Opening Packages!

Be careful opening packages? What?

Tonight I bought several packs of Minute Rice microwaveable brown rice.  After coupons they were $1 each... still expensive for a convenience food but they are great to go with lunches!

I tore open the package, forgetting that the last few times I bought these there were coupons on the inside! And... I ripped the coupon!!!!! (OH NO! lol!)

So here I am, taping the coupon back together, and now warning all of you to look inside your boxes and packages before you tear into them like I did!

Free Hardcover Photo Book from Picaboo

The code is FREECC and the offer ends 3/22/11.

Shipping for the book is around $8... but the book value is around $40, so this is an amazing deal!
This would be a great mother's or father's day present!

I ordered one of these books the last time they had a promotion and it turned out really nice, I was impressed with the quality of the book. You have to download their software to your PC to create the book, but I found the software so easy to use.

I liked Picaboo's books so much that I ordered the Groupon when it was for sale, $35 for $100 credit.  Now, if only I had the time to make the books!

What are you waiting for!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Grocery Store Tip - Bigger is not always better!

Shopping at the grocery store, if you had the choice between a small sized item and the same item in a larger size, you would automatically assume that the larger size should be a better value, correct?

I assumed that, until the other day I saw an example that proved that wrong!

I was at the Giant Eagle Market District and remembered that I needed to buy Peanut Butter.  Peanut butter is the only thing as a family, besides Heinz Ketchup, that we are brand picky about. So I headed towards the Jif.  There were two options - Large 40 oz for 5.79, and smaller 28 oz for 3.39.  I almost grabbed the larger size automatically until I looked again at the shelf.

If you look closely at the shelf tag, at most stores, it will actually tell you how much per unit (ounce, etc) that the product is.  The 40 oz size said 14.4c and the smaller size said 12c.  So ... which one to choose? Of course the one with the smaller per unit cost! And to add to it, the smaller size was on sale! 2/3! 

So the lesson is, check the shelf tag!  To get an accurate savings - factor in any store deals and coupons that you may have as well to get the true per unit price.  Using per unit price will help you to get a better deal!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

How to Get Started with the Savings...

So you've decided to start saving money?  Yay, you!!  Yes, I know it seems overwhelming, but, fortunately with the internet there are tons of resources out there for you!

You may be asking yourself - how can I get started with couponing and see the savings?

My first suggestion is to start collecting coupons! They come from many sources...
1.  The Sunday newspaper (I almost always buy 2!)
2.  Online sites - the main ones are, Redplum, and Smart Source.  I look here about once a week for any new coupons.
3.  Manufacturer's websites - look on any sites for products that you frequently purchase. Many companies have printable coupons right on their site!
4.  Writing to companies.  Saving Toward a Better Life has a feature called "Contact Us" where you contact companies with compliments/comments, and usually you are rewarded with a coupon! I got a free coupon for Domino's sugar this way...
5.  Coupon clipping services - a good way to get specific high-value coupons.  Recently the newspaper had a coupon for $3 off of Gain softener, which resulted in free deals for a lot of people. This was a coupon in high demand for the clippers, I'm sure!
6.  Coupon trains - This is where you swap coupons from around the country.  I used to do this a few years ago, but stopped now that our local stores take online coupons. For a long time it was in their store policy not to accept them.  If you want to try this, just Google "Coupon train" and you will be sure to find one!

My personal rule on collecting a coupon is - if I use it regularly, of course keep it, if not, would I use it if it was free? or give it away? Then I keep it.

I started "hard core" couponing about 6 months ago. I've always used coupons but lately have been crazier about it.

One tip I did not know is that you can combine store coupons with manufacturer coupons for bigger savings!  CVS/Rite Aid/Walgreens, Target, etc. Target even has a site with their own store coupons!
Stacking coupons together gives you great savings!

In the coming weeks I hope to share more tips with you!

Discount on Memberships to the Carnegie Museum

One way that I love to save money is to get a membership to the museum, zoo, etc.  You get to visit the attraction an unlimited number of times in the year.  I love to go to these places, but it is hard to get your money's worth out of the admission when you are paying full price!

For a limited time, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh are offering a discount on their memberships.

A family membership (regularly $130) is $115!

A Premium membership (regularly $200) is $175!

Also you will receive a $10 gift card good at the museum store!

Use promotion code WINTER11.

*Must join at the Family or Premium levels to qualify for the gift card offer. Discount offer expires May 15, 2011. New membership purchases only.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

All You's Sample of the Day!

Sign up for All You's Free Sample of the day! Each day you will get an email about a free sample that is offered on the web!

Today's sample is a free coupon book from Home Made Simple. I've gotten these books in the past and they are packed full of coupons.

And if you're not familiar with All You magazine, I suggest you check it out! It is packed full of coupons in each issue!  I have a subscription, but if you want to buy it in the store, it's sold at Wal-Mart!

Groupon Deal - 3 Redbox rentals for $1

One of my favorite deals from Groupon was 3 Redbox rentals for $1. The deal is back!

  • Expires Jun 1, 2011

  • Limit 1 per person, may buy 2 additional as gifts. May redeem across visits. Tax included.
  • Saturday, February 26, 2011

    Daily Deals Sites - Mamapedia

    Have you used any daily deal sites? I personally love them because it offers me a way to buy things I can't normally afford or won't fit in my budget!

    Today's deal is $39 for One 16x20 Photo-to-Canvas Print from Image Canvas ($89 Value).  We just got a canvas print of our wedding photo this year and I love it!

    The thing I love about Mamapedia is that they donate 5% of your purchase to the school or preschool of your choice! 

    Make sure any time you are purchasing a deal that you read the fine print. Sometimes shipping is included in the deal, sometimes not. Sometimes there is a minimum purchase amount.

    Use the code FRIENDS20 through 2/28/11 (Monday!) to save an extra 20% off of any deal!

    Make Money! Survey Sites

    If you are looking to make a few extra dollars here and there, surveys are a good way to do that.  I belong to quite a few survey companies, and when I have a little bit of extra time I will do some of the surveys in my inbox. I usually do these while I am watching TV so it is time that I would not have used wisely anyway.

    Here are a few of the survey companies I belong to:

    Surveyspot - I have belonged to Surveyspot for several years now.  I have been paid by them several times.  However they do send a lot of invitations, several a day.  Check the invitations to see if the survey they are sending you have a points value, because I do get a lot that just say that the incentive is a sweepstakes entry.  Surveys are usually 50-200 points, 1 point = 1 cent.  I think you can cash out at $10. - This has been one of my favorites, although right now they are not taking new sign ups or referrals according to their site. If I see it open up, I'll let you all know! They seem to pay fairly, and I have had opportunities to try some new products using this site!

    InboxDollars - This one has some surveys but I usually don't do them because I hadn't qualified.  I usually do the pay-per-click email offers that I receive.  The cash out threshold is $30, so it takes a while to accumulate this much, but it is nice to get the $30 check when it comes!  The good part about this site is that you receive $5 in your account just for signing up! SendEarnings is basically the same type of site as InboxDollars, with the same cash out and $5 sign up bonus.

    Surveyhead - I just joined this survey company recently. So far I have not qualified for any surveys I tried to take.  They give you $5 to sign up and a few dollars extra if you complete all of the profiles.  You only need $10 to cash out and I think you can only cash out for magazine subscriptions (It's ok for me, I love magazines!). I'm not sure how this one will go yet.

    There are many more, but these are just a few I belong to.  I will be posting more in the future! If you have a question about any survey sites, please let me know, because I have tried many of them!

    Progress... and my favorite blogs!

    Hello everyone!  I apologize for not posting much in the past month.  We have had a lot going on here!

    Financially we are not getting that far ahead yet.  In January my husband was driving down to South Carolina with my brother-in-law to pick up my niece and they had an accident due to the weather.  So, there was an expense we did not plan for.  Then, we needed new tires for that truck and also transmission work.  But, the good news is this month we paid it off, and actually now have the title in our hands.  That is a first for our family, ever since we had newer vehicles we have never paid one off. I guess our lesson learned is to keep money in our emergency fund!

    This month was busy for our family because my niece just came for a visit last week.  We had my husband's firefighter installation dinner - he is captain with the volunteer fire department so that is a big deal for us.  My work has become pretty demanding in the last few weeks, and starting next week I have two people from Europe coming for a three-week visit where I have to prepare training.  Whew! So... I probably will not be posting many deals for the next few weeks.

    The good news is that I have been sticking to my allowance and I have been able to save some money! In addition to that we have reduced our monthly spending so I have more to apply to our credit cards.  We are looking into refinancing our credit card bills with my work's credit union which I think will save us some money in the long run.

    In that case - I thought I would post some of my favorite blogs that I use to find deals!

    Coupon Teacher - This site is one of my favorites! She seems very realistic in her posts, and I know she works as a teacher, so for me, as a working mom, it's easy to follow her blog posts! She usually has the deals for the national stores such as Rite Aid, CVS, etc, but she is not local to me so some of her posts don't apply for me.  Please check her site out!

    Cherry Picker - My favorite thing about Cherry Picker is that she is a Giant Eagle shopper! I think she is from Ohio so sometimes her local coupons are different from ours but each week she has a great Giant Eagle post! I'll try to link to it weekly when I am reading it to pass it on to all of you! In addition to the Giant Eagle posts she has some great deals!

    Couponing to Disney - I love this site because it has so many fun offers.  Kristin, who runs the site, loves Disney and her goal on her savings is to save for Disney. I like her thought that you can use couponing and savings to reach your goal, whether it is a trip to Disney, like hers, or getting out of debt, like mine.

    Saving Toward a Better Life - This is one of the newer blogs I started following.  I really like this one because she offers a wide variety of savings, freebies, etc.  She has a feature on her site called "Contact Us" where she picks a company to contact on their website, and usually with feedback a company will send you coupons! This is a great way to get hard to find coupons (like Jif) or coupons for things you buy all the time.  She has a young son so she has a lot of deals that would interest parents.

    Hope you enjoy these sites as much as I do! I will post more later!

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Homeschool Freebies

    Here is a list of Freebies for Homeschoolers that was in my last Old Schoolhouse magazine!

    Activity Bags
    Check out website for free gift
    All About Reading
    Free e-book teaches critical pre-reading skills
    All About Spelling
    Free activity book teaches the five jobs of Silent E
    American Heritage Education Foundation
    Free K-12 Social Studies / History Lesson Plans - America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty
    Apologia Press
    Dozens of free book samples and more
    Barker Creek Publishing
    Free 49-page e-book with sample lessons from Barker Creek's Award Winning books. Email at to receive instructions on how to download your FREE e-book sampler
    Bonnie Terry Learning
    Free pre-screening tool
    Christian Keyboarding
    free lessons and other resources
    College Prep Genius
    "FREE College" & "Ace the SAT" video seminars
    Critical Thinking Company
    Free Word Benders and Preschool Academics eBooks
    Deeper Roots
    Download Encouragement for Home School Moms devotional book (Free pdf)
    Ecclesia College
    Enjoy Free Access to our growing collection of library resources
    Econo Busters
    Sign up for free newsletter, A Minute with Molly, and get a free menu-planning e-book!
    Educational Fontware
    Free specialty fonts, used by many teachers to augment handwriting lessons. There is a freebie for immediate download after you scroll down the samples on the homepage: our Specialty Fonts, normally selling for 49.95
    Fire Station Buddies, Inc
    Free download of The Pact, Chapter 1
    First Class Homeschool
    Free information pack
    Fortunately for You Books
    Freebies on this site each month:
    Getting Started with Spansh
    Free Pronunciation Recordings
    http://www.gettingstarted/ with
    Go Phonics
    Free Go Phonics Overview
    Great Commission Languages
    Tons of free samples and videos
    Greek N Stuff
    Free Sample lessons
    Hand of a Child
    Get a free lapbook unit study and click on Freebie
    Heart of Dakota
    Download a free week of lesson plans
    Hello World
    Free talking picture dictionary, printable flash cards, songs, games, etc
    HomeSchool Blogger
    Several Free Classes
    Home School in the Woods
    Free Authors Mini Project-Pak
    Home Science Tools
    Free Catalog
    Homeschool Science Academy
    Top 10 Homeschooling Mistakes and other free online seminars
    I See Sam
    Free Sample Book
    Janome Sewing Machine Company
    Learn to sew with Janome's free Beginning Sewing e-book
    free teaching resources
    Math Galaxy
    Free award-winning math puzzles, worksheets, and more
    Math Mammoth
    Download 300 sample pages and worksheets
    Montessori Preschool Homeschool Program
    Download your free hands-on learning activity
    Motherboard Books
    Free e-lesson for kids on how to do Internet research - the Internet Scavenger Hunt (a $10 value)
    Access $70 of educational videos online for free
    New Beginnings
    Visit Website for Free Lapbook
    Nordskog Publishing
    Free eook Scavenger hunt - God's Ten Commandments: Yesterday, Today, Forever
    Olivita Oink, LLC
    Free downloadable workbook
    Free digital magazine
    Perfect Praise Publishing
    Knights of Arrethrae Audio Book Sample - unabridged, 76 minutes
    Peterson Directed Handwriting
    Free PDF of movement exercises for handwriting (Movement_Exercises_2011)
    Proverbs 22:6 Academy
    Quality Copybooks and More
    Visit for samples and other freebies
    Rain Before the Reign
    Christian Short Stories of Faith - audio or video - Free or
    Sarah Books
    Email for a copy of Sarah's Christmas Story sent in PDF
    Schola Publications - Latin Road
    E-Booklet - History of English Spelling
    Sound Bytes
    Free Lessons online
    State History from a Christian Perspective aka Helming Hand
    FREE SAMPLE! Hawaii pages from Fifty States Under God
    Super Star Speech
    Download Super Star Speech Sampler e-book
    Tiny Planets
    Free Sweet Temptation eBook teaches kids about good nutrition
    US Mint Education Initiative
    Free America the Beautiful Quarters Lesson Plans.
    VideoText Interactive
    Free Sampler DVD and online trial
    Samples from WriteShop I and WriteShop Primary, plus bonus gift
    Zeezok Publishing
    Presidential Penmanship Sampler

    Coupon codes TOSM - 10% off any order plus free shipping TFOL-TOS20-0210 20% off online editions 10TOS - 10% off purchase 30FREE free shipping on orders $30 or more PMEDISCOUNT for 20% OFF TOS0910 Save $10 TOS5 $5 off $30 or more TOS1012 25% off

    Special Offer on the My Coupon Keeper!

    Did you read my post about Organizing your Coupons?

    If not, take a minute and read it, hopefully you can get some ideas!

    If so, I have a special deal for you!  If you order the MyCouponKeeper, if you enter code JOURNEYTODEBTREE, you will receive an additional purse sized folder FREE!

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011


    I'm so excited!  I just read my e-mail and I will be getting a $79 check from Ebates!!

    If you haven't heard of Ebates or are not using it, check out my post to see what it's all about.

    I started using Ebates about 6 months ago.  When you sign up, you receive $5 in your account to start!  In my first 3 months I only got a check for about $8.50.

    I started using Ebates heavily in October, and I used it for my husband's laptop purchase, all of my Christmas shopping, etc.  It accumulated quickly!

    Tanger Outlet Tips & Tricks

    One of my favorite places to shop is the Tanger Outlet.  We have one about 20 minutes from home, in Washington PA. I love to shop their clearance section! I don't shop a lot, but when I have gone I have found some great deals!  One of my favorite shopping trips ever was at the Old Navy at the outlets, the ladies clearance was 50 cents a piece!

    The e-mail I just received from them suggests using the Tanger Outlet app for your phone.  If you use the app you can get a $10 gift card.  I haven't tried this yet, but I definitely plan on trying it out!

    If you are a AAA member, you can get a free coupon book at the Shopper Services desk!

    Also, before going to the outlet, check out for coupons here.  Also make sure you bring any retail store coupons you may have!!

    Happy shopping!

    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    Free Sample of Origins Anti-Wrinkle Serum

    I love Origins products but they are so expensive!  Try the Origins Anti-Wrinkle Serum for free.  Sign up for your free sample on the Origins Facebook Page!

    Click on "like" then fill out the form!

    Cheaply Made Toy...

    Today we took a trip to the Carnegie Science Center. A generous friend of mine in my playgroup, Burgh Families & Friends, planned a trip today and we got in free because of her membership.  It was a nice time and we were able to stay for only a few hours and I didn't feel guilty because we didn't pay for admission.

    On the way out, B begged me for a toy from the science center store, as usual.  Today I told him he had $6 to spend if he chose, since he had this week's allowance and last week's too.  He chose a cheaply made toy, which I tried to talk him out of; however, since it was his money that he had earned, I thought if he chose this toy maybe it would show him how fast you could spend your money and end up with nothing to show for it.

    He played with this toy in the car, and when he got home he played for a little bit longer. Next thing I knew, it was broken.  He was very upset.  I knew when he bought this toy that is was cheaply made, but I thought maybe the company should hear what I thought about it.  I looked up the website on the packaging and the company looks like a legitimate one with a lot of interesting and what looks to be quality products.  So, I decided to write them a short note about how this product broke very quickly, and it was poor quality.  Who knows if anything will come out of it, but a short, very professional comment made me feel a little bit better. 

    From my experience lately in writing short compliments to companies about their products I use and like, I found that they have responded kindly and send product coupons, sometimes free coupons, for me to use.  I usually don't complain about a product unless I have something legitimate to say... so hopefully something comes out of this.

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Freebies & Deals in my Inbox Today


    Free Maggi Soup Sample

    Sample of Dentek Floss Picks

    Free Subscription to Mighty Book Jr
    This is FREE
    BE Sure to follow the instructions below
    Interactive Books that inspire early childhood literacy. For Grades K-6.
    Enter coupon code: learntoread
    Then select the $99 Single Household Subscription
    (These are online books kids can read)
    **They send out a confirmation email,**

    Free Pet Safety Pack from ASPCA (includes window decals)


    Fill out email addresses for up to 10 friends and they get an email to sign up for a sample!
    Never heard of House Party?  You sign up to "host" an event with friends/family, and they provide you with a kit of free stuff for the party!

    Online Shopping - Save 20% with code 20WINTER, ends 1/26/11

    Aveda - 1/24/11 only - free shipping with any order plus 2 free samples at checkout

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Buy any Johnson's Natural Product and Get a Free Gift!

    Saw this in my Parents Magazine this month...

    Teach your child a lesson about paying it forward to the earth by texting TREE to 467467 to receive a free* Tree in a Box gift (a $6 value). Be ready with the UPC code of the Johnson's Natural product you purchased. Visit for more information!

    In the fine print it says while supply of 250 lasts... so this may be gone already, but thought I would pass it on!

    Kmart Assist Program for Unemployed Customers

    If you are unemployed you can get an additional 20% off over 1,500 regular-priced grocery and drugstore items for up to six months
    Eligibility:Kmart customers who present state-issued identification (driver’s license or identification card) and a state-issued unemployment benefits enrollment confirmation are eligible to participate in the program (“Eligible Participants”). At checkout, cardholders will be required to show their valid discount card, their state-issued identification card for signature verification and their state-issued unemployment benefits enrollment verification. Valid signature verification is required to use the card.
    More details here.

    Free Subscription to Newsweek

    Those of you who know me personally know I love magazines!  Most of them I get for free!

    Sign up to receive Newsweek for Free from RewardsGold!  I know that the sign up looks a little shady, however, I have signed up for their offers in the past, and they do come! And... you don't get a bill! Only those reminder to subscribe bills, but you can just ignore them.

    Yes, I'm Cheap... Have you heard?

    Today I caught myself doing something and I realized, boy am I cheap.  Chris was taking a shower and I was doing my makeup, and he handed me an empty tube of toothpaste to throw away.  I took it, and then flattened it out as much as possible, and handed it back to him. I said, "You can use this once or twice more.  If you could only get a few more toothbrushings out of each tube... you could save... well, one or two tubes over a lifetime. Which I get for free anyway. Oh." 

    He thinks I'm cheap... however, when the cheap-ness pays off, he's not complaining.

    A few other examples of things I do that are pretty cheap.

    I have a collection of paper that I use to print on mostly - for coupons, recipes, etc. Currently it's old letterhead from Chris's company they were going to throw away, printouts from my work, etc.  I have another folder with "good" (aka new) paper.  When we go to print something "good" (a letter, etc) we have to swap out good paper for the regular (aka old) paper.

    While doing laundry, I realized that using half a dryer sheet is as effective as a whole one. So I cut all of the dryer sheets in the box in half... I figure, if you need more, just use two halves.

    We hardly ever use paper towels. Almost two years ago, I bought a 12 or 18 pack from Sam's Club... we still have about 6.  Anything fabric-y we throw away in this house (old dishtowels, ripped flannel sheets, etc) get turned into rags.

    What cheap things have you caught yourself doing lately?

    Free Sample of Breathe Right Strips!

    Sign up for a free sample of Breathe Right strips!  Your sample will include two strips. I've received this in the past and I have to say they come in handy when you have a cold!

    Rite Aid Deals ... and Free Light Bulbs

    Below is the link for Rite Aid deals this week, but this one caught my eye on the deal blogs.

    GE Extra Soft White Light Bulbs $1.99 (limit of 6)
    Buy 1, Receive $1.99 +Up Reward
    Pay $1.99, Receive $1.99 +Up Reward
    Final Price:  FREE

    The Krazy Coupon Lady has all of this week's Rite Aid deals here.

    5 A Day from Couponing to Disney

    If you haven't been to the Couponing to Disney site, you're missing out!  Her site is wonderful for many reasons, but one of my favorite features on her site is the 5-a-day.

    The 5-a-day is a campaign to write to companies to get coupons.  This site lists 5 companies each day, and the links to their contact page.  You can fill out your information, and I always include a compliment on their products.  In the past few weeks I have done a few of these and I actually received some coupons this week.  I wrote to Smart Ones that I like their meals, especially the Orange Chicken Meal (it tastes like chinese food to me!) and they sent me four coupons for 75 cents off a meal.  If you have a complaint about a product, go ahead and write that if you feel like it, but I almost always choose a specific product that I like and write about that.  Be sincere...

    This is a good way to get special coupons that you can use for what you buy specifically, or receive coupons for products that aren't usually in the papers.

    Organizing your Coupons

    I've had several questions lately on how I keep my coupons organized.  Michele even requested that I blog about it.

    My first advice to someone who has started couponing is to find a system that works for you. I started with a small accordion file, which is good for a beginning couponer or someone who only collects specific coupons.  When I realized that the 13 pockets weren't enough for me to a.) hold all the coupons I was collecting, and b:) find what I needed quickly in the store, I switched to my own system of a plastic basket filled with envelopes, and the envelopes had all the categories I needed.  This system worked a while for me, but the envelopes did not hold up for long, and the basket was open, which meant I had to be very careful with it when I left the house.

    Finally while reading one of the many couponing blogs I like, I found out about My Coupon Keeper.  This has been my favorite system so far, and it is the one I use now.

    The idea of it is pretty simple actually, it is a very sturdy plastic box, with tabbed dividers that come with labels that you can affix yourself.  When I got mine in the mail, I didn't see the labels in the box, so I made my own and that is mostly what I use now for my categories.

    Here are two pictures of my personal coupon organizer.  I have the categories set up specifically in the categories that I like to search for the coupons, and then in alphabetical order.

    Here's my list of categories. As you will notice, most are pretty general, except the health and beauty items are broken out in more categories... the main reason is that a lot of these items are cheap or free at the drugstores, so using my system this way will help me get the maximum amount of free stuff!
    BOGO/Free - This is used for the BOGO coupons, free coupons, and high value coupons.  This way I'm less likely to miss one I really wanted to use.
    Beauty - skin care, misc Health & Beauty
    Body Wash/Lotion
    Drug Items
    Eye Care
    Feminine Products
    First Aid
    Organic - This is broken out separately because the store I primarily shop at has a specific section for organic products.
    Giant Eagle
    Rite Aid

    I chose the stores at the end specifically because they are the stores that I receive the most store specific coupons.

    The coupon system also comes with these small plastic holders, which I use for the following: one for unsorted coupons (for this box) and one for unsorted coupons for restaurants, stores, etc.  I'll show that section in a bit.

    So this is how I store the coupons.  Once a month, usually in the last week of the month, I spend a little time and go through what I have.  My main coupon box is mostly full by the end of the month, so I purge the coupons that are expiring that month. Doing this in the last week means that I have time to go through the ones that will expire and go to the store if there are any HOT coupons to be used!  (Most of the time I will make a run to the store to purchase whatever is in my BOGO/Free section!)

    Each week, I look at the savings/deals blogs and find out what I'm going to buy. I write down a shopping list for each store with what I am planning to purchase that week.  Then I either match the coupons from my organizer or print whatever I need to from the Internet.  I store each store's list and coupons in a separate accordion file.

    My categories for this file are the stores that I will shop at or do deals for.

    Rite Aid
    Giant Eagle
    Shop N Save
    Office Supplies
    Online (for online coupon codes, etc)

    Now don't think that since I have a category for the store that I shop at each store each week. Oh no.  I keep this file separate for several reasons, but the main one is that I like to do the drugstore shopping (CVS and Rite Aid) on my lunch hour since I work downtown. This saves me a lot of time and most of the time I buy what's on my list.  This way I can keep my Register Rewards (Walgreens), Extra Care Bucks (CVS), and UP Rewards (Rite Aid) with my weekly list.  Also if I find that I am stopping at Giant Eagle for one thing, I will have my file with the hot deals that I don't want to miss.

    Last week I did all of my lists for the week over the weekend.  Then I found that I didn't make it to any of the stores at all. Some weeks are like that, and I don't feel like I missed anything because even though there were things I could have gotten for free, it was nothing I needed desperately.

    Lastly, I'll show you the file I use to organize restaurant and store coupons.  I have changed this system several times as well... they used to be by category but some categories, such as restaurants and stores, had a lot of coupons, where other categories were empty, or there was not a category where a coupon fit well.  Now I organize them alphabetically and this saves me a lot of time.

    Like I said - you need to find the system that works for you!! 

    Other systems I didn't mention, that I have not tried are the binder system, and organizing coupon inserts by week.

    The binder system was demonstrated on the Extreme Couponing show on TLC by Joanie the Krazy Coupon Lady.  I found this one to be time consuming for me, and I'd rather have a smaller box of coupons to stick in my tote bag that I take to the store. 

    Organizing the coupon inserts by week has several advantages.  First, if you buy multiple papers to collect the coupons (I usually purchase at least three) then you don't have to cut them all.  Second, the deals/coupons blogs usually feature the deals and list the coupons by week that they were released (i.e. Smart Source, 1/23 or Redplum 1/23, etc).  I don't like to use this method because I collect coupons from many sources... and I like to have them all with me when I make a trip.
    Do you have a method or system that you like? Please comment on it if you have anything to add!

    Update: I have a special deal for my readers.  If you enter code JOURNEYTODEBTREE, you will receive an additional purse sized folder FREE!