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Archive for March, 2006

Spring blooms in-store coupons

March 29th, 2006 at 10:58 pm

It's the end of the winter quarter, and the new Spring coupons are blooming in stores now!

I had a chance to do a walk-through today (okay, so I'm avoiding thinking about my father's health), and here are a few things you can be looking for in stores now:

8th Continent Soymilk, $1 coupons around the necks, exp. 12/14/06

Science Diet free can of cat food with 3.5 pound or larger bag; coupon is on bag

PetSmart is loaded with Kong Stuff'n Hounds gourmet sauce 50 cents off and loads of recipes.

Ragu has been having recipes, but the new pullout brochure includes a 75 cent coupon on Organic pasta sauce.

Check the milk and dairy aisle - 2424milk.com has coupons for free weeks at Curves.

Kraft is offering $1 on produce with purchase of their parmesan.

Keebler Right Bites, loose coupons, $1 on two (7/15/06)

Lysol has two separate rebates; look for long almost unnoticable cardboard tear pad holders in the cleaning aisle. Buy 2 Lysol wipes, get any one product free ($4.19 limit), and BOGO by mail ($2.99 limit) for Lysol products. Through 6/7/06.

Ascenia still has the $50 coupon booklets, including $1 on Bayer, $3 on Dermal Care, and lots of Ascensia savings, all good through 12/31/06.

Advil has a new $1 loose coupon; look for in it the pharmacy area.

Vault tear pads remain: buy 2 get 1 (5/31/06)

Smartsource in store is restocking their monthlys and has some nice new quarterly coupons as well. Double check the expiration dates, because March's coupons may look just like April's coupons for the monthlys! The latest:

$1 on two Birds Eye Farm Fresh (5/21/06)
$0.50 Texas Toast (6/30/06)
$1 on 3 Healthy Choice (4/29/06)
$1 on two Vlassic (5/5/06)
$0.35 one Hungry Jack (6/30/06)
$1 on 3 Pillsbury dough products (5/20/06) (replacing Perfect Portion exp 4/24, 0.75 on 3 exp. 4/24)
0.35 on Friendship cottage cheese 96/30/06)
$0.50 Land of Lakes butter (6/15/06)
$0.35 Land of Lakes spreadables (6/15/06)
$0.55 Land of Lakes half and half (5/31/06)
$1 Yoplait Go-Gurt 4 pack
0.50 on two Yoplait yogurt cups (5/22/06)
$1 on two Cheerios (5/22/06)
$1 on two General Mills cereals (5/22/06)
$0.50 two Chex Mix (4/24/06)
$1 on three Chex mix, bugles, pop secret, etc.(5/20/06)
0.35 Smucker's toppings (6/30/06)
$0.50 Mamma Pella (7/31/06)
$1 one Pam (4/30/06 but a new date should be coming)
$1 on Carapelli olive oil (4/16, but a new date is reported)
$1.50 on two Boost (5/31/06)
$1 Speed Stick (5/30/06)
$1 on Febreeze (5/31/06)
$0.75 Cottonelle wipes (6/18/06)
$0.50 Chinet(4/30/06) (replaces the Dixie coupon expiring 4/9)
$1 Scott TP (6/18/06)
$0.50 Dawn (5/31/06, and should continue monthly)

Popsecret (4/24/06), Benadryl (4/30/06), Fruit Gushers (4/24/06), Land of Lakes 50 cent, 75 cent, and others (5/15/06), and Tetley canisters (4/30/06) are still around, but will be replaced by other offers.

Hope this helps, and happy shopping!

That stubborn grocery budget followup

March 28th, 2006 at 08:37 pm

Okay, for those of you who thought the budget-by-gift-card was enough to send you back under the covers…you’re not alone. I read recently that only 1 out of 9 people can stick to their grocery budget.

So on to the tough questions: if the ball in the pit of your stomach is growing and turning, why? Is your budget unrealistic, or are you not just quite as committed to it as you thought you were?

Me…well, no, I hate sticking to a budget LIMIT. After three or four weeks of what feels like denying, disciplining, or just plain punishing myself with a chore that goes on forever, I usually splurge. I hate being told what I can’t do, even if it’s my own idea! What I AM is GOAL-ORIENTED. So for me, what usually works is the CHALLENGE: how low can I go? If I did $130 last week, can I do $120 this week? If I saved 30% off the bill with sales and coupons, can I get to 50% this week? I’m at the point where anything less than 50% feels like failure!

And, I don’t resist all the temptations. Yesterday, I had a very short grocery list, but passed by the Ghiradelli caramel chocolate squares. Unadvertised special. NOT a good sale, but YUM!

Now, I have two pounds of See’s chocolates my sister brought on her visit. A large box of Godiva from Valentine’s day we’ve never even opened. I threw out several boxes after the holidays, and still have a few tins of favorites we whittle away on. But I saw the Ghiradelli’s, and I had to have them! So, I balanced the budget by putting back a box of Slim-fast bars J. Still came in at 72% off the total price, and well under $100.

There are quite a few other tricks to get the grocery bill down…and I will follow up later.

Right now (warning, gross to some readers!) I’ve got to unwad my receipts for taxes. DH walked by (his) pile on the kitchen table, they soared – floated – drifted down to puppy territory. He thought they were VERY tasty and made for a great new game of CHEW UP THE RECEIPTS. I don’t think I can explain to the IRS that the dog ate them…so we are drying out the slobbery spit enough to smooth them out and tape them back together. Good thing I love the dog and hate taxes!

Costco/BJ coupons

March 28th, 2006 at 08:17 pm

The following coupons came out for BJs and Costco (April). With apologies, typing is a low priority Smile

BJs warehouse coupons 3/23 – 4/22:
$1 bounty glass and surface
$1 off bounty paper towels
$1 any Swiffer products
$1 off any Mr. Clean product
$2 Berkley & Jensen Disinfecting Wipes
$1 off Tide 200 oz.
$1 off Downy whitening
$3 off Kleenex


Costco coupons April 7 – 23:
BOGO Scotch Tape
$2.50 Pilot G2 Gel Pens
$50 off Viewsonic 2” wide LCD monitor
$100 off JVC 30GB hard drive camcorder
$3 Huggies
$1.50 Folgers
$1.50 Bounty
$2 off diet Pepsi
$25 off Braun rechargeable toothbrush
$2 Q-tips
$4 Pull-Ups
$160 off Compaq notebook
$6 Depend or Poise
$2 Dove body wash
$5 Olay
$7 Olay Regenerist system
$1 Kirkland water
$2 Crest
$2.50 Glide
$4 MCI prepaid phone card
$3 Nivea
$2 irish Spring
$2 Dove, Degree, and/or Axe deodorants
$20 JBL Speaker System
$3.50 Lysol spray
$2 Dove shampoo/conditioner
$3 Gatorade
$3.50 Huggies wipes
$10 Nicroette
$5 Nature Made Triple Flex or Cholestoff plus $3 rebate
$2 kirkland vitamins
$3.50 Tylenol/Viactive/Pepcid
$4 Cetaphil cleanser
$4 Joint movement
$3 Caltrate or Centrum
$4 Schiff Glusoamine
$2.50 Aleve or Bayer
$3.50 Citrucel/Tums/OsCal
$3.50 Metamucil
$3 Jergens Natural Glow
$2 Scope
$2.50 Reynolds Wrap foil
$3 Dove soap
$1.50 Cascade
$1.50 Dawn
$4 Nestle variety pack
$3 Cheer liquid/powder
$1.50 Kirkland fabric softener or sheets
$3 Airwick
$1.75 Always
$100 off plus $30 rebate Microsoft Office SBA 2006
$2.50 off Scotch-Brite sponges
$3 JetDry
$3 Woolite
$2 DelMonte tomatoes
$3.50 Electrasol
$4 Jellybelly
$1.50 Mayo
$2 BirdsEye Garlic Chicken Meal
$2 Softscrub
other offers online, including a $150 g/c for purchasing Gamin GPS

Katwoman, here's your Ionic Breeze deal!

March 26th, 2006 at 11:06 pm

Katwoman, you inspired me to find a deal on the Quadra...

so, a few choices:

First, if you don't mind reconditioned (30 return and 5 year warranty in place), the sharper image outlet:

http://ionicoutlet.com/

Professional Series Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier
Regular Price: $449.95
Special Price: $149.95



Series Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier - Black with Burltech/Factory Reconditioned
Regular Price: $449.95
Special Price: $149.95


Professional Series Ionic Breeze GP Silent Air Purifier with Ultraviolet Germicidal Protection - Gray/Factory Reconditioned
Regular Price: $549.95
Special Price: $199.95


Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier - Gray
Regular Price: $349.95
Special Price: $139.98


Professional Series Ionic Breeze GP with Ultraviolet Germicidal Protection - Burltech/Factory Reconditioned
Regular Price: $549.95
Special Price: $199.95


Professional Series Ionic Breeze GP Silent Air Purifier with Ultraviolet Germicidal Protection - Burltech
Regular Price: $549.95
Special Price: $219.98


Professional Series Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier
Regular Price: $449.95
Special Price: $179.98


Ionic Breeze GP Desktop with Ultraviolet Germicidal Protection - Burltech
Original Price: $199.95
Now Only: $49.98

They accept all the usual sharper image gift cards, etc., coupon codes...


My Points has a $50 gift card for Sharper Image...

Oh, if you want BRAND NEW, there is currently a special offer for the ionic breeze from sharper image,
http://www.sharperimage.com/offers/marquad/

$50 off, free shipping, and free gift; also 50% off your second one. You could sell one on eBay and keep the other...

Or,

http://www.sharperimage.com/google_0306_100offIB/

This offer is good for up to $100 off your first purchase of an Ionic Breeze® Silent Air Purifier. $50 off your first purchase of the Ionic Breeze® Quadra® Silent Air Purifier (regularly $349.95) includes FREE Standard Shipping and a FREE Ionic Breeze® Air Freshener for Bathrooms & Small Spaces (regularly $69.95) while supplies last. In addition, the new exclusive OzoneGuard™ front grill is included FREE with the original Ionic Breeze Quadra (regularly $39.95). You will receive $100 off your first purchase of the Professional Series Ionic Breeze ® Quadra® Silent Air Purifier (regularly $449.95) or the Professional Series™ Ionic Breeze GP® Silent Air Purifier (regularly $549.95) with FREE Standard Shipping and a FREE new and improved Ionic Breeze® Air Freshener 2.0 for Bathrooms & Small Spaces (regularly $79.95) while supplies last. In addition, the new exclusive OzoneGuard™ front grill is also included FREE with the Professional Series Quadra (regularly $39.95) or the Professional Series GP (regularly $39.95).

decisions, decisions...
I'm still looking for a better deal!

Desperate Measures for Grocery Budgeting

March 24th, 2006 at 11:36 pm

Quite a few people set a budget for groceries they believe is totally reasonable, and yet they cannot manage against it. There is ALWAYS SOMETHING that prevents it.

If you are truly desperate to keep yourself inline, here is a surefire tip:

DISCLAIMER: I'M NOT A FAN OF G/Cs, but in this CASE THEY ARE A MUST.

First, determine what your budget is for the week. Say it's $100 a week, $400 a month.

Go to the one store with the best sales and deals, and coupons, whatever you have to work with. Or a few select stores. Purchase gift cards for the budget. You can get one $100 card each week, or 4 $100 cards each month. And you don't have to do it ahead of time; you can walk up to the counter, purchase the card, walk back out to your car and lock up your wallet.

Very seriously here. Do not enter back into the store with any form of payment other than the prepaid card. No cash, no credit cards.

Bring a cell phone if you like, most have calculators, or you can call your SO to help choose priorities. But as you fill the cart, remember that you cannot go over, and you have no means to pay more than your budget.

If you KNOW that you ALWAYS forget something, and must go back to pick up items later, save $10 or whatever ON THE CARD (i.e., you can only spend $90, to keep $10 on the card for emergencies in the week).

Now the good news is, if you are under budget, you can apply that money to the next week. If you go over, force yourself to put something back.

For those who keep a stockpile, and a separate budget for that, again, keep a prepaid card and only charge against that for the stockpile. It will keep your weekly budget separate and manageable, and also help you see how you are managing the stockpile budget.

The cards don't have to be store specific, they can be any kind of pre-paid debit card. But they have to be cut off limit, no exceeding, and the store cards tend to force you to stay focused on that one bill. Running around to more stores, shopping lots of different ads and sales, can be highly effective for stockpiling, but can kill a weekly budget by not recognizing all the little things that are adding up. If you want to shop for a FEW things at a second store, again, give yourself a specific budget on the card, or a separate card, and DO NOT EXCEED.

It's difficult. It may seem cruel. It may seem impossible. But when you force yourself to make choices, you start managing your budget.

After a few weeks, decide if your budget is realistic. If it is, are you able to start managing it without restraints? Keep going until you find the right budget or the right shopping habits.

ABOVE ALL ELSE, do NOT treat the cards as gift cards, fake money that doesn't count and you can add to. They are the ONLY money you get. No loose change, no cards, no wallet!

Good luck!

$23 in Pfizer coupons!

March 24th, 2006 at 10:46 pm

Divine intervention; if I don't have coupons, they find me!

I received yet another eversave.com offer. I've been ignoring them for a few month, but I finally signed up as a Pfizer advisor. I'd signed up before, but never saw the stage where they invite you to print coupons. I thought COOL, 8 $1 coupons on their products. Listerine, Purell, Zantac, Lubriderm, Neosporin, Sudafed...I lost track. PRINT ALL.

Well, they wouldn't print. The cheap ink cartridge from 123inkjets will only print lime green (first experience with a recycled, and I'm going back to the real thing). Seriously. They printed, but I don't believe any store would take them!

Then a new page opened asking if the coupons printed correctly. I said No.

Received another screen inviting me to call them to receive the coupons by mail.

1-800-223-0182

So I called, and asked for Promotions. The woman had no idea what I was talking about, and connected me to the nicest person who I think I've ever received support from. She asked which products the coupons were for, and after I named off 3, she said, you know, we have a coupon package for $23 off our OTC products, would you like that?

SURE

Oh, and can I sign you up for our email program to receive our coupons? It's not part of the standard programs offered on the site, but thank you so much for calling us and pursuing this and your obvious loyalty to our products.

Wow. Sure.

So, more coupons are coming. And, it's their standard number, anyone can call.

Of course, this is how I get overrun with coupons, but if I need them, they will be there, and if not, I will pass them on!

Karma.

A day herding elephants

March 24th, 2006 at 10:36 pm

Well, that's what DH calls a day spent trying to move others into action. Nothing major, just trying to get the coupon trains together. It's very exciting, but I'm frustrated, as are other members, with one member who is always on top of others to keep the train running quickly, but has sat on the current packet for two weeks. Since I've poured more than $30 into this particular train, constant mail outs, and priority mails and trying to sort out the mail problems, and have not received back a train in 4 weeks, I'm a bit bummed.

This week our supermarket has TRIPLE coupons, and I don't have any coupons left. Well, not for anything I need.

But, it happens. And, we've got 4 new trains going, with fabulous members. It's very exciting. So I'm working on wish lists. Dropped by a new store today, but all their in-store coupons expire 3/31, so doesn't pay to try to send them on.

I love coordinating these trains and trying to help people cut down on their bills. I do try to find as many wish list items as I can.

So, anyway, maybe this is providence. I'm trying not to spend any money, and triple coupons definitely inspire me to shop! I'll take whatever good I can find. It's not like I actually need to buy any more food at this point, and I did start up the trains to get rid of my unusued coupons -- and the temptations!

Plus, the coupons and trains are a way to deal with my stress without spending money. It's too easy to hang out looking for deals when I'm avoiding something stressful, and thinking of the upcoming visit with my family is pretty stressful!

I did receive 5 free Lean Cuisine product coupons by calling them up and complaining about the quality of 2 of them. They also sent a letter that they would refund if I sent the UPCs, so DH is handling that.

God has a sense of humor?

March 23rd, 2006 at 09:44 pm

My niece sent this to me. It's going IN to the stockpile of humor. For all you moms:

To those of us who have children in our lives,
whether they are our own,
grandchildren,
nieces,
nephews,
or students...
here is something to make you chuckle.
Whenever your children are out of control,
you can take comfort from the thought that
even God's omnipotence did not extend
to His own children.


After creating heaven and earth,
God created Adam and Eve.

And the first thing he said was
"DON'T ! "

"Don't what? "
Adam replied.


"Don't eat the forbidden fruit."
God said.

"Forbidden fruit?
We have forbidden fruit! ?
Hey Eve..we have forbidden fruit! "


"No Way! "

"Yes way! "


"Do NOT eat the fruit! "
said God.

"Why ? "

"Because I am your Father and I said so! "
God replied,
wondering why He hadn't stopped
creation after making the elephants.

A few minutes later,
God saw His children having an apple break
and He was ticked!

"Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit? "
God asked.


"Uh huh,"
Adam replied.


"Then why did you? "
said the Father.

"I don't know,"
said Eve.


"She started it! "
Adam said.

"Did not! "

"Did too! "

"DID NOT! "


Having had it with the two of them,
God's punishment was that Adam and Eve
should have children of their own.

Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed.

BUT THERE IS REASSURANCE IN THE STORY!

If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give children wisdom and they haven't taken it, don't be hard on yourself.

If God had trouble raising children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT!

1. You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up.


2. Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your own children.


3. Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young.


4. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.


5. The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own.

6. We childproofed our homes, but they are still getting in.


ADVICE FOR THE DAY:

Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home one day.

AND FINALLY:


IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF TENSION AND YOU GET A HEADACHE,
DO WHAT IT SAYS ON THE ASPIRIN BOTTLE:


"TAKE TWO ASPIRIN"
AND
"KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN"!!!!!

All good things must come to an end

March 23rd, 2006 at 07:25 pm

All good things must come to an end...so that new and better things may take their place.

Sigh.

DH just informed me, after putting sister on a plane, that after doing taxes he has realized our burn rate (spending) is too high to sustain our retirement. Meaning time to go back to work. Or something.

Not unexpected. I mean, when he decided to retire at 40, I was completely taken by surprise. I'm afraid I came along kicking and screaming. I LOVED my job, I had worked hard to have a great position in a great company with a great salary. Leaving two six figure incomes behind was not my idea of security. Living on NO INCOME except investments, not my idea of a good time.

But it's been several years, and DH is my best friend, and we've gotten used to it. Love spending time volunteering with troubled and abused children, counseling, working at the woman's shelter. Love spending time with DH, gardening, all that.

So, a new plan. A new challenge! It's time to see if I can make this a year without spending. Well, DH just about fainted at that. But I mean, stick to the basics, don't buy nonessentials, cut our discretionary spending (DH said I can't say remove, just limit, or I will not make it...hmmm...a gaunlet?)

So, HOW LOW CAN WE GO?

HOW LONG CAN WE LAST?

I'll keep you posted.

My Points and other rebate sites

March 23rd, 2006 at 07:15 pm

There are quite a few rebate and reward sites out there. I wish I had realized it before last October, while I was still spending!

On rebate/rewards shopping sites, you go to their website, log in, and then go through their link to whatever store you want to shop at (amazon.com, EddieBauer.com, etc.). Some sites, like eBates, give cash back (my favorite!), a % of your purchase price. So, for drugstore.com, they may give 5% back, for Yves Rocher, 8%, etc. Every three months they send a check of the total. Very nice after the holidays!

Other sites, like Club Mom, My Points, etc., give points per dollar. Very much like the rewards credit cards do. You then redeem the points for g/cs or items.

The trick is to figure out which site gives you the most on any given purchase. It's not easy: a $25 g/c from Club Mom takes about 5000 points, while a $25 g/c from My Points takes about 3200. But each site gives a different number of points per dollar!

A few tricks before spending:

first, go to a coupon code site, like www.247malls.com, find the store, see what codes and discounts are available. (If it opens the store site window, just close it, and remember to write down the coupon codes the 247malls window displays).

Then go to the different reward/rebate sites and determine which gives you the best return on your purchase. You can use the codes when you check out.

Now, MyPoints has links for shopping, such as Barnes and Noble, Eddie Bauer, etc. But, if you go to "easy points", you will also find memberships, free trials, and other offers. You earn additional points by signing up for these offers. My Points also sends emails, you receive 5 points for reading the emails, but extra points for taking advantage of the offers.

An example. I get an email, join a book club, get 4 free books, only buy one more instead of the normal amount, get 1000 points. Join two clubs, get 4000 points. If I go through the links to sign up for the offers, I receive the offer, and the points add up towards the gift cards or other rewards.

Now, MyPoints has a new membership, my points insider-club. For a $1 trial (month), you receive a $10 rebate check, and they pay ALL S&H, return shipping, etc., for any purchases made through their site. While this is great for Eddie Bauer, or other shopping, it's fantastic for the clubs and deals.

An example of the insider-club:

Sign up for BMG music, 12 CDs for free with membership. You receive 250 points for signing up through MyPoints. BUT, there is a $3 S&H fee on EACH CD. Not so free. Now, go to insider-club, and submit the S&H for full rebate. You receive a check for the $36 (or whatever it comes out to), plus if you don't like them and return them, insiders-club pays for that.

Same for book clubs, etc. The S&H really adds up, but if you do the free for a month, free but just pay S&H, and other offers, collect the points, earn a gift card (I just received a $50 to Home Depot), and have all these freebies.

Sell the freebies? I'm using mine as gifts. Who knows what you can do.

There are many other clubs. I do prefer the cash back sites, like eBates. Club Mom I've tried, but they lost my purchase record TWICE, and hence all the points I earned.

Most sites also offer referral bonuses, where if someone signs up from your link or email, you each receive a bonus, points, cash (ebates is $5 CASH).

So, that's how it works. Any more questions? I've only been using these sites for a few months, but I'm happy to explain what I can.