Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recon Mission 6/30/10

OMG. It is so hot outside! I almost melted when I headed out on my recon mission this afternoon. I was after the best milk, eggs, and bread prices and found some coupons along my way...
I found the coupon booklets with CVS and MQs in them. I scanned my card and got a 3.00 off 2 CVS brand disposable razors coupon.

Good news & bad news on the Buy 2, Get 4 free Coke & Pepsi 12 pack sale...

Good news: I found 2.00/2 peelie MQs on the Fanta for Barqs, Pibb, Nestea, Vault, Fresca, & Mello Yello. This should pair up well with the soda sale.

Bad news: The 12 packs are priced at 6.59 each!!! Gah! What a ridiculously high price. Way to jack up the prices for a sale Safeway. Val Vista and Southern in Mesa has the cheaper prices and their 12 packs are priced at 5.99. If you use one of those 2.00/2 peelie MQs, you can get the 6 12 packs for 9.98 or 1.66 each. Not bad, but not as exciting as we'd hoped either.

I also found tearpad MQs for 1.00 off any Frito Lay dip wyb Frito Lay chips (9.5 oz +).

I found great milk and egg prices at Albie's today - 1.67 per gallon (limit 3) and .89 per dozen AA eggs. They definitely have the best price on milk & eggs this week. I also found a couple of tearpads - 1.00 off any store brand popcorn wyb 2 bags of Reese's Pieces stand up bags & Buy 10 Unsweetened Kool-Aid packets, Get 2 Free.

I found milk at 2.08 per gallon and eggs at 1.09 per dozen, not cheaper than Albie's. However, the bread prices are the best at Fry's. Oroweat Dutch Country and Bimbo bread are each priced at 1.50. Use the .50/1 Fry's store Q from the Diamondbacks flyer to get each loaf for $1. Same goes for the Oroweat English Muffins priced at 1.50 each. Use the .50/1 Fry's store Q in the Dbacks flyer and get them for $1. Stock up this week because those Fry's store coupons expire Tuesday, July 6th!

I'll update "My Favorite Deals" list to include all my findings. Stay cool out there!

My Favorite Deals - 6/30/10 edition


CHEAPEST GALLON OF MILK: 1.67 at Albie's (limit 3)
CHEAPEST EGGS: .89 AA dozen at Albie's
CHEAPEST BREAD: 1.00 Oroweat Dutch Country or Bimbo at Fry's
UPDATE: I scouted out these prices in Mesa, AZ. Hopefully, they are the same at your stores! 

CHIPS: 1.77 Lays at Fry's
SODA: 2.19 Coke & Pepsi products 12 pk. wyb 6 at Safeway - thru July 4th only
MUSTARD: FREE French's at Albie's
RELISH: FREE Vlasic at Bashas
BUNS: .88 Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns at Bashas
HOT DOGS: FREE Bar S at Bashas
BBQ SAUCE: FREE KC Masterpiece at Safeway
BAKED BEANS: .50 Van Camp's Pork & Beans at Albie's & Bashas
SEEDLESS WATERMELON: .10/lb. at Bashas
CORN ON THE COB: 20 cents each California White Corn at Bashas
For complete coupon match-ups, click here to view Pinching Your Pennies.
Albie's is doubling, tripling, & quadrupling coupons up to $1.00 this week!
10% military discount through July 4th!

.99 American Beauty Pasta
-.50/1 IPQ - print here

1.00 French's Mustard
-.30/1 MQ 6/20 SS
-.50/1 IPQ - print here

1.00 Daisy Sour Cream
-.50/1 MQ 6/6 RP
or -.50/1 IPQ - print here

1.00 Marcal Paper Towels - price is valid into September
-1.00/1 MQ 6/13 SS

1.47 Wheat Thins
-1.00/1 IPQ - print here

1.00 Hefty Plates
-1.00/2 MQ 5/16 RP
.50 each wyb 2

1.67 Albie's milk (limit 3)
.89 dozen AA eggs
.67/lb. red & seedless grapes
2.49 Pepsi products 12 pks. wyb 4
1.47 Triscuits, Lay's Potato Chips
.50 Van Camp's Pork & Beans
1.27 Capri Sun & Kool-Aid Jammers
1.19 Sara Lee Hamburger & Hot Dog Buns
1.00 7-Up, Cool Whip Topping
B1G2 Free Ball Park Hot Dogs (with in-ad Q)

Bashas doubles coupons up to $1.00.

.47 Bar S Hot Dogs (limit 2 with in-ad Q)
-1.00/2 MQ 5/16 RP
.06 overage wyb 2

.99 Vlasic Relish
-.50/1 IPQ - print here

.10/lb. whole seedless watermelon - cheaper than Farmer's Market's price of .12/lb!
.20 California White Corn ears
.88 Bashas Hot Dog & Hamburger Buns
1.67 Dreyer's Ice Cream (with in-ad Q)
1.00 Dole canned fruit
.48/lb. Dole bananas
.99 Kraft BBQ Sauce
.50 Van Camp's Pork & Beans

All coupons under $1 equal $1 again this week!
Bring your reusable bags for a 5 cent discount per bag!

The "Daytona Buy 10, Save $3" Event is continuing for another week, but it looks like a lot of the prices are going up. Here are some differences I've noticed (there may be more):

Totino's Pizza Rolls .69 last week increases to .97 this week
Coke 2 Liter .69 last week increases to .99 this week
GM Cereals 1.99 last week increases to 2.19 this week
Capri Sun & Kool Aid Jammers 1.47 last week increases to 1.87 this week

DAYTONA DEALS - Must buy 10 to get listed prices!

.97 Totino's Pizza Rolls
-.40/2 MQ 4/18 SS
.47 each
*If you still have .35/1 MQs left from the 5/30 GM, you can get these for free!

1.69 Betty Crocker Cookie Mix
-.50/1 MQ 5/30 GM

2.19 Cinnamon Toast Crunch
-.55/1 IPQ - print here
-.55/1 Shortcuts EQ - load here


1.50 Ball Park Hot Dogs
-.75/1 Angus or Jumbo varieties IPQ - print here and here
or -.75/1 Jumbo Ball Park MQ 6/27 RP
*if these varieties are included

.88 Popsicle & Cool Classics Novelties
-1.00/2 MQ from Safeway Dairy Coupon Booklet
.38 each

1.50 Oroweat Dutch Country or Bimbo Bread
-.50/1 Fry's store Q from DBacks flyer - details here

1.50 Oroweat English Muffins
-.50/1 Fry's store Q from DBacks flyer - details here

.99 Cool Whip Topping
There is a OYNO deal running now through July 11th.
Buy Frozen cool whip between 5/21 – 7/11

Buy (3) & Get $1.00
Buy (4) & Get $2.00
Buy (5) & Get $3.00-.20/2 MQ 6/27 SS

BEST SCENARIO - Get 4 Cool Whips FREE!
Buy 4 Cool Whips at .99 each
Use (2) .20/2 MQs from 6/27 SS
Pay 1.96 OOP, earn $2 OYNO
4 Cool Whips + a .04 profit!

2.08 Fry's milk
1.09 dozen AA eggs
1.77 Lay's Potato Chips
2.25 Coke or Pepsi products 12 pks. wyb 4 + $15 purchase
1.77/lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

All coupons under $1 equal $1 again this week!

.99 KC Masterpiece or Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce
-1.00/1 KC Masterpiece MQ 5/9 SS
-.55/1 Jack Daniels MQ 5/16 SS
-.75/1 Jack Daniels IPQ - print here

.99 Lucerne String Cheese (12 ct.) - Keep an eye out for this overstock clearance price!
-.55/1 Real CA Dairy IPQ - print here
or -.55/1 MQ 5/23 SS
Thanks Sheryl!

1.49 Lucerne Shredded or Block Cheese
-.55/1 Real CA Dairy IPQ - print here
-.55/1 MQ 5/23 SS

1.69 Wheat Thins (with in-ad Q, requires $10 min. purchase)
-1.00/1 IPQ - print here

1.99 Best Foods Mayo (with in-ad Q)
-.75/1 IPQ - print here out of prints! Thanks for the heads up Bree!
-.75/1 MQ 6/27 RP

1.99 Ball Park Hot Dogs (with in-ad Q, requires $10 min. purchase)
-.75/1 Angus or Jumbo varieties IPQ - print here and here
or -.75/1 Jumbo Ball Park MQ 6/27 RP
*if these varieties are included

2.49 Reynolds Wrap Foil, 35-80 sq. ft. (with in-ad Q, requires $10 min. purchase)
-1.00/1 5/16 & 6/20 SS
-1.25/1 IPQ - print here (if non-stick is included)

.99 Wish Bone Salad Dressing (with in-ad Q), limit 3
- 1.50/2 MQ 6/27 RP
-.50/1 IPQ - print here
B2G4F Coke & Pepsi products 12 pks. thru 7/4 only
$6.59 per 12 pk, 5.99 per 12 pk. at the cheaper stores (Val Vista & Southern)
6.59 price = Pay 13.18 for 6 12 packs = 2.19 each
5.99 price = Pay 11.98 for 6 12 packs = 1.99 each

2.08 Dairy Glen milk
1.29 dozen AA eggs
1.69 Ritz Toasted Chips (with in-ad Q)
1.49 Heinz Ketchup (with in-ad Q)


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Zero OOP at Albie's!

 I ventured back into the coupon world after vacation last week, with an easy zero out of pocket transaction! I always love that! The Simply Potatoes Hash Browns $1 price ends tonight, so get out there and get your free hash browns - or get as many as you can and get a raincheck like I did!

1.00 Simply Potatoes Hash Browns (3)
-.55/1 MQ from Safeway Dairy Coupon Booklet (3)

1.00 Marcal Paper Towels (4) - price is valid into September
-1.00/1 MQ 6/13 SS (4)

1.50 Albie's French Bread
-Free Coupon from bottom of previous Albie's receipt

Total = ZERO!

I made french bread pizza for dinner tonight with that loaf of bread and it was delicious! Remember to always check your receipts for those survey coupons.

Check back first thing tomorrow morning for "My Favorite Deals" list highlighting all the awesome July 4th deals starting tomorrow!

Thrifty Tidbits - 6/29/10 edition

Are you going at midnight tonight? I will be there with all the teenage girls!
I got my free movie ticket (courtesy of an Axe promotion from Wags a few months ago) and cannot wait! I have many beefs with the Twilight movies, but I am a loyal fan of the book series and haven't missed a midnight showing yet. If my posts tomorrow are a little jarbled, you'll know why.

I am slowly emerging from my vacation brain. I felt hazy for the first few days and was not very productive in the couponing world. I just finished up "My Favorite Deals" list for the upcoming sales week, so I am back in the game! I will post that list tomorrow morning at 6am!

I've also been working on organizing my coupon mess. It is a disaster and is in no form to go to the grocery store. I'm such a procrastinator.

I've entered a few giveaways today, including this fun one from KC over at Desert Deals Diva! She is giving away an 18x24 sticky wall print - how fun. Think of all the things you could get - a family portrait, a piece of artwork from your child, a favorite phrase or saying. It ends tonight at 8pm AZ time, so hurry over so you can enter and hopefully win!

Also, since I've been back from vacation, I heard some sad news. Safeway has revised their coupon policy and now they will only accept competitor's coupons on specific items. No more Register Rewards or OYNOs from other grocery stores. Well, I can't say I'm surprised. It was fun while it lasted!

Oh, if you are planning a Fry's trip next week, make sure to grab some rainchecks for the following items. Some prices in the Daytona Mix & Match Event are going up! Here are the ones I've noticed...

Totino's Pizza Rolls .69 this week increases to .97
Coke 2 Liter .69 this week increases to .99
GM Cereals 1.99 this week increases to 2.19
Capri Sun & Kool Aid Jammers 1.47 this week increases to 1.87

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mail Call Monday 6/28/10

I am alive! I had a relaxing vacation with family and I am back, ready for some awesome deals! I hope you all enjoyed the 7 day series on becoming a coupon shopper. And I also hosted a "Guess My Vacation Destination" contest while I was away on Facebook. Beth guessed my vacation destination correctly - Lake Havasu - she will receive an envelope full of coupons. The contest was suuposed to be held on Twitter, but Twitter wouldn't upload my photos. Sorry for the confusion!

Here's what I got in the mail today...

  • Bloomberg Businessweek
  • OK
  • Bashas Home Mailer for Mom's Club
  • Aveeno home mailer coupons - $3.00/2
  • Smart Ones Free Breakfast Meal + .50/1 MQs
  • Crystal Light samples with coupons from Vocal Point
  • Pampers Thin Diapers sample with coupons from Vocal Point
  • PG Brand Sampler with coupons
GROCERY ADS - Great July 4th deals coming up!
ALBIE'S - Quadrupling coupons!
  • .67/lb. red & seedless grapes
  • 2.49 Pepsi products 12 pks. wyb 4
  • 1.47 Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Lay's Potato Chips
  • .50 Van Camp's Pork & Beans
  • 1.27 Capri Sun & Kool-Aid Jammers
  • 1.19 Sara Lee Hamburger & Hot Dog Buns
  • 1.00 7-Up, Daisy Sour Cream, Hefty Plates, French's Mustard, Cool Whip Topping
  • B1G2 Free Ball Park Hot Dogs (with in-ad Q)
  • .10/lb. whole seedless watermelon
  • .20 California White Corn ears
  • .88 Bashas Hot Dog & Hamburger Buns
  • .47 Bar S Hot Dogs (with in-ad Q)
  • 1.67 Dreyer's Ice Cream (with in-ad Q)
  • 1.00 Dole canned fruit
  • .48/lb. Dole bananas
  • .99 Kraft BBQ Sauce, American Beauty Pasta, Vlasic Relish
FRY'S - Continuing $1 coupon event & Mix & Match Sale Continues for another week!
  • .88 Popsicle & Cool Classics Novelties
  • 1.77 Lay's Potato Chips
  • 2.25 Coke or Pepsi products 12 pks. wyb 4 + $15 purchase
  • 1.77/lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1.50 Ball Park hot dogs
  • MIX & MATCH EVENT - Looks liek more of the same from last week
    • .88 Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs
    • .69 Banquet Frozen Dinners, Kraft BBQ Sauce
    • 1.69 Hot or Lean Pockets
    • 1.77 Breyers or Klondike Ice Cream
SAFEWAY - Continuing $1 coupon event!
  • B2G4F Coke & Pepsi products 12 pks. thru 7/4 only
  • 1.99 Best Foods Mayo (with in-ad Q)
  • 1.69 Ritz Toasted Chips or Wheat Thins (with in-ad Q)
  • .99 Wish Bone Salad Dressing (with in-ad Q)
  • 1.49 Heinz Ketchup (with in-ad Q)
  • 1.49 Lucerne Block or Shredded Cheese, 8 oz. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Change The Way You Shop In One Week! - Day Seven

We are at the finish line! After today, you are an official coupon shopper! You have all the tools you need to get free groceries every week! As you jump into this coupon world, you will quickly see how often things are free and you'll get very excited. So, my last post in this series will be about Stockpiling vs. Hoarding.

What is the difference between stockpiling and hoarding?
Stockpiling is seeing a great deal, evaluating what your needs are, the expiration dates of the product, the frequency of similar great deals and buying the appropriate amount to hold you through to the next great sale or enough to allow you to skip a few sales.

Hoarding is clearing a shelf just because you have enough coupons to do a deal. It is buying things that you don’t need just because you “can”. It is buying products that will eventually go to waste, just because of the temporary thrill that you get when walking out with so much for so little.

How do I know if I'm stockpiling or hoarding?
This question has to be answered by you. The size of your stockpile depends on a lot of things - the size of your family, their eating habits, the amount of storage space you have, etc. Here are some stockpile pictures I've found online. Some may consider some of these hoarding, but other families may plow through that food in a few months. It all depends on the specific needs of your own family. I try to keep a 1-2 year stockpile.
I'm sure you've all seen this photo. 1142 boxes of Jell-O is hoarding, in my opinion. Unless they'll be donated and used by someone, what is the point?

Stockpiling is an ingoing process because as soon as you get a full supply of one item, you will run low on another.

Some things are just never free...
For some reason it seems there are always some items you can never find a good enough deal on to stockpile. For me, that item is garbage bags. I have never been able to get them free or even close to free, so I never have more thanone box of them in the house.

Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty is another reason that the stockpiling process may be off kilter. Although brand loyalty is a rare thing among couponers, for some things you just won't compromise! For my husband, this is the Axe line of men's shampoo, body wash, & deodorant. That line of products is never free, so when I can buy them for close to a dollar, I buy 10. It isn't free, but it sure beats the regular price which runs from three to five dollars!You may overbuy by normal standards if you know it's the only brand that you will use, and it doesn't often go on sale.

Know the Seasonal Sales Cycles
Certain items are very cheap or even free during certain times of the year. This is when you want to stockpile a good supply - at least a year to get you through until the next year's sales cycles return.

Here are some examples:
May, June, July - ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, marinades
November & December - flour, sugar, baking ingredients

Basically, the idea is to buy before you need while it’s cheap or free, and avoid having to buy it at full price when you absolutely need it!!

Now, that you've gone through this seven day series, we are all on our way to creating a stockpile that will support our families should we ever need to cut back on our spending. Implement the things you have learned during this weeklong series and you will soon see you are spending LESS at the grocery store and accumulating MORE!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Change The Way You Shop In One Week! - Day Six

It's Game Time! We are at the store, ready to score on some serious deals!
In The Aisles
I like to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible, so I always make the same loop. I start over near the produce and make my way over to the frozen food section, so my refrigerated and frozen foods are kept cold as long as possible. Always check your clearance sections - usually in the back corners of the store for surprise deals. I have found some serious money makers just by sifting through a clearance rack.

As I add items to my cart, I mark them off my list and move the coupons for those items into a seperate slot in my coupon envelope. That way, I am not forgetting any coupons and I am also not handing the cashier any coupons I didn't purchase items for.

As you are grabbing your items off the shelf, keep your eyes open for peelie coupons, tearpad coupons, and blinkie machines. They are everywhere! Just take a few, you are not going to use an entire tearpad of coupons.

If a store is out of a certain item, don't get upset - get a raincheck! I LOVE rainchecks! Just ask at customer service or ask your cashier and they'll fill one out for you. This way, you can make your own sale later after the store has restocked it's shelves.

At The Register

This can make or break your grocery trip. Although all of your coupons may be legitimate, some cashiers are just incessantly grumpy about coupons. I've had cashiers slam coupons around, reject them because they appear fraudulent, and make up excuses why they can't take them. I scan the registers and try to choose someone who appears happy with life. It makes the transaction run a lot more smoothly if the cashiers aren't angry.

Everything runs more smoothly if you are organized at the register. I try to make it as easy for the cashier as possible to ring me up. If I have raincheck items, I keep those to the back of the belt and then alert the cashier before they ring them up.

The order in which you hand your coupons over is important. If you are using a x/xx coupon, you want to hand that over first, while your total is still at the level required by the coupon. Then hand over manufactuer's coupons. And finally hand over any store coupons. I have found this order leads to less beeping and less confusion. I never hand my coupons over in one big stack. Inevitably, coupons will stick together and one will get missed.

If you are going to do multiple transactions, be curteous to the other customers. If it's a busy time, I finish up one order and then loop back around in line to do my second transaction. If it's not busy, I just line up my transactions on the belt, seperating them with the little rubber bars.

If something goes awry, don't panic. If a Catalina coupon doesn't print, it is best to call the Catalina company directly. I have a detailed post here on this very situation. If your total seems way higher than it should be, I always cash out so I can review the receipt and then go to customer service to sort it out.

Now, you celebrate in all of your awesome savings!

One more day in this series ... you are just about done. Check back tomorrow for the last post of this series where we will discuss "Stockpiling vs. Hoarding".

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's Mega Swagbucks Friday!

It's Mega Swagbucks Friday! You can earn a ton more Swagbucks today, 30 to 1000 Swagbucks in a single search! Simply by searching the internet on a Friday! Did you know 400,000 Swagbucks are given out on Fridays? Wowza.

For you non-Swaggers out there, you have no doubt seen Swagbucks discussed in the blogosphere - but what is it? Swagbucks is an online search engine (like Google or Yahoo) that rewards you with Swagbucks when you search on their site. Swagbucks can be redeemed for all kinds of awesome things like books, magazines, & gift cards! If you're like me, you are probably skeptical and think it's a scam. It's not! It only takes 450 Swagbucks to earn a $5 Amazon gift card. Sounds like a lot, but you will be amazed how quickly those Swagbucks rack up.
If you're on the fence, today is a great time to sign up. Each Friday, Swagbucks are multiplied, so instead of earning 5 or 10, you can earn 50, 100, or even 1000 Swagbucks on a single search! All you have to do is click here to get started!.

Change The Way You Shop In One Week! - Day Five

Preparation is Key!

Ok, we are getting ready to shop! Are you excited? Are you ready for some serious savings?

Step #1: Make your shopping list!
When I make my list for the week, I write down the things I need like milk, eggs, produce. Then, I add the freebies (see the upper left side of my blog for the freebies each week). Then, I sort through the cheap deals to see if there are any good stock up prices.

Step #2: Coupon Match-Ups
I match my list up against my favorite coupon match-up sites so I can find good sales and/or coupons for the items I need. All of my favorite match-up sites are posted on both sides of my blog. You can also use "My Favorite Deals" list that I post every Wednesday morning to catch all the available freebies and cheap deals for the week.

If you consistently stock up on the freebies, eventually you will not have to purchase shelf stable products at full price anymore. You'll have a stockpile & you can just go shopping in your pantry. It takes about 6 months of consistent couponing to build up a good supply, so keep at it!

If you need to buy a specific product, Hot Coupon World has a great coupon database you can search in to see if there is a coupon out there for that specific product. Hopefully, there will be some money makers on your list to help pay for your produce and dairy products.

Step #3: Clip your coupons!
I like to clip my coupons before I leave so I'm not standing in an aisle doing it. Sometimes, the store will be out of a product and I have already clipped the coupons. That's okay, they just get filed in my smaller accordian file. Always double check your list and your coupons before you leave the house. There is nothing worse than being at the register with all your items and realizing you forgot a coupon at home.

Also, I always like to keep a running total as I'm adding items to my cart so I know about how much my total should be at the register. That way, I'll be alerted if my total is way higher than expected. I can check to see if a coupon was missed or if an item rang up at a higher price. I have created a form to capture all the information I need to keep my transactions straight as you are shopping. You are more than welcome to use it too. Click here to download it completely free from Google Docs.

Ok, we're ready to head to the store! Check back tomorrow morning for the 6th installment of this series ....
"Game Time - At The Store!"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Change The Way You Shop In One Week! - Day Four

Ok, how are you feeling? Overwhelmed, stressed, excited! Only a few more days and you will have officially transformed yourself into a hardcore couponer!

Today, let's discuss education. You have to build up your knowledge base in order to be the most effective couponer possible. You need to know your stuff, so you are prepared when you hit the stores!

First, let's review the stores you'll be spending so much time at! I have compiled store guides for you based on my experiences...

That's a lot of reading, so I'll let you digest all that information.

Check back tomorrow for day #5 in this series ...
"Preparation is Key!"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Change The Way You Shop In One Week! - Day Three

Ok, we have thrown everything we know about grocery shopping out the window. We have researched coupon resources. Now that we have a massive stack of coupon, we need to organize!
The only way to take advantage of the smoking deals out there is to be organized.

Do your coupons look like this?
It is time to get organized! There are a few different ways you can do this. There is no right way - it all depends on what works for you.

Here are the main ways I've seen coupons organized...

The Super Organized, Time Consuming Way
This method is where you sit down each week with your inserts and clip and file each one.


  • It takes you 10 seconds to find a coupon.

  • You can walk to the clearance section and flip right to the coupon you need.

  • I just LOVE the feeling of a fully organized coupon binder.

  • This method will take you HOURS, depending on how many inserts you have.

  • On average, a couponer only uses about 50% of their coupons, so you clip coupons you won't use

  • Binders only get so big ... and do you want to haul in a 5 inch binder?
When I started couponing, this was my organization method. I clipped every single coupon and filed it away under it's appropriate category. As you can imagine, this literally took hours. It started causing tension in my home because my life was being taken over with clipping coupons. I was spending ALL DAY Saturday clipping coupons. Loose coupons were stacked everywhere! And I couldn't go grocery shopping until the coupons were organized. It was a problem. It may work for you, but it didn't work for me.

Let's look at some more options...

The Less Involved Binder Way
This method is where you seperate your coupon inserts by page and put each stack of pages in sheet protectors, organized by date. While shopping, you reference a master coupon list (my favorite one is here at Pinching Your Pennies) to match up deals.


  • This is much less time consuming than Binder Method #2.

  • You still have the security of taking all your coupons into the store with you.

  • Depending on how many inserts you have, this is still time consuming.

  • You have to print a new master coupon list each week, which is usually around 20 pages long.

  • Again, binders only get so big ... and do you want to haul in a 5 inch binder?

The No Prep Time Way
This method requires about one minute of organization each week. Each insert is filed into a file folder by date and type of insert (Smart Source, Red Plum, P&G, etc.). I cannpt take credit for this method ... I stumbled upon it on Saving With Shellie's blog - click here for the entire description. I don't follow it exactly. For example, I don't highlight and attach the master coupon list to each folder. But this works for me!


  • This takes literally NO TIME each week.

  • You aren't wasting time clipping coupons you won't use.

  • You don't have the coupons in the store with you, unless you drag your file box along with you. (I leave all my coupons in my car, so if there is something I absolutely HAVE to have, I can run out to my car and grab the coupon.)

  • You have to print a new master coupon list each week, which is usually around 20 pages long.
You still have to have a seperate accordian file for your loose coupons like internet printables, tearpads, blinkies, etc. I absolutely recommend this coupon organization method. I have tried them all and this way works for me. But, as I said before, everyone has their own preferences and that is perfectly okay!

So, which method is for you?

Check back tomorrow for day #4 in this series … “Learn About Your Stores!"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Change The Way You Shop In One Week! - Day Two

Now that you have completely changed the way you think about grocery shopping overnight...

The second step to changing the way you shop is to stock up with all the coupons you need to cash in on all the crazy deals out there.

There are LOTS of coupon resources; let's review a few of them...


A good portion of the coupons I use when I shop come from the Sunday newspaper. If you want to get a newspaper subscription, there are deals to get multiple copies. If you want to do this correctly, you really have to get more than one copy of the coupon inserts so you can stockpile free items. Pinching Your Pennies has a special subscription deal with the Arizona Republic to get multiple papers for cheap:

Wed., Sat., Sun.: $9.75 per month

Wed., Sat., Sun. + 1 Extra Sunday: $14.08 per month
Wed., Sat., Sun. + 2 Extra Sundays: $18.41 per month
Wed., Sat., Sun. + 3 Extra Sundays: $22.74 per month
Wed., Sat., Sun. + 4 Extra Sundays: $27.07 per month
Wed., Sat., Sun. + 5 Extra Sundays: $31.40 per month

Call the Arizona Republic at 602-444-4444 or click here to sign up online for this promotion.

I used to pay for a newspaper subscription, but quickly realized I could get a lot of the same coupons free. I don't subscribe to any newspapers at all. I gather coupon inserts from people who don't want them. I also grab about 10 free coupon inserts from the La Voz or Prensa Hispana hispanic newspapers. See more details here about those papers. 

If you are brave, there is one other place you can go for free coupon inserts ... The Recycling Center! I have never been there myself, but I have heard tales of couponers donned with rubber gloves walking away with 50-100 coupon inserts. Wow! That is dedication!

Internet printable coupons will quickly become one of your favorite types of coupons. They are generally more generous in value than the Sunday paper coupons and are available for a greater variety of products.

I have links on the right side of my blog for all my favorite internet printable coupon sites, but here is a recap:

Generally speaking, you can print two of each type of coupon per computer. Once you are printing the coupon and you see the printer icon on your screen, hit the back button and refresh your screen to start the second print. Occasionally, a coupon may have more than 2 limits, but that is the exception to the rule.

Internet printable coupon limits reset usually the first of the month. This means, if you printed a coupon in last month, you can probably print it again this month. Sometimes, the manufacturer will just randomly allow more prints and reset it. So, if you find a coupon you like, check back often. You can also print more coupons at friends' & family's homes, the library, or work.


Retailers want you to use manufacturer's coupons to buy their products. If you ever doubted that, take a walk around your grocery store and see how many coupons are just displayed waiting for a customer to take it.

PEELIE COUPONS - These are coupons stuck to the front of products.
BLINKIE COUPONS - These are coupons in litle machines hanging on the shelves with a red blinking light (hence, the nickname blinkie).
TEARPAD COUPONS - These are coupons in tearpad format hanging on shelves or on free standing displays.

Keep an eye out for these while you're at the grocery store. I always take a couple of each one. You never know when you might need that coupon for a sale. These coupons are rotated based on marketing schedules, so grab a couple when you see them. And when I say a couple, I mean DO NOT TAKE THE ENTIRE TEARPAD. That's just rude and bad coupon karma. And are you really going to use 100 coupons? Be considerate.

E-Coupons are coupons loaded to your actual store card before you shop. When you purchase the correct item, the E-Coupon automatically deducts at the register. Load them all to your card and if you use them, great! If not, they'll just drop off after they expire. And sometimes, if you're lucky, at Safeway, multiple EQs will come off for the same item! This isn't a guaranteed thing and is somewhat of a glitch, so enjoy it while it lasts. Oh, and don't rely on the EQs coming off either. Sometimes, they don't deduct for no reason at all. When I shop, I don't assume they'll come off, so when they do, it's a nice surprise!

Here are my favorite E-Coupon sites:
Cellfire - New coupons are added every other Tuesday. Coupons can be added to only one store card per account, so I recommend creating a new account for each store card you have for maximum savings.
Fry's E-Coupons - These are specific to Fry's stores (Kroger affiliates). Along with Fry's store coupons, manufacturers coupons are also listed on this site.
P&G E-Saver - These EQs are recycled quarterly.
Safeway E-Coupons - Safeway seems to release new store coupons every day. Check back daily.
Shortcuts - Similar to Cellfire, Shortcuts releases new coupons every other week. But, check back often because they often release a few here and there.
Soft Coin - I haven't had too much luck with this site, but its newer, so I'm hoping the bugs get worked out.

There is always a question in new couponers minds if it is ethical to stack manufacturer's coupons (inserts, IPQs, etc.) with E-Coupons. Click here to read a post I wrote about this. If you are still hesistant, click here - Safeway included this very thing in their coupon policy and they allow it.

Check back tomorrow for day #3 in this series … “Organization = Savings!”

Monday, June 21, 2010

Change The Way You Shop In One Week! - Day One

Change The Way You Shop In One Week!
I get a lot of emails and comments from new people who are feeling very overwhelmed with all of this coupon nonsense. You coupon experts remember how you felt... it's a lot to understand. So, I am creating a one week guide to transform the way you think about grocery shopping.

All you fence-sitters, it is time to commit! It may not be today, but I’m going to have all of you - nervous, overwhelmed and skeptics converted in a week (or less)…

Throw everything you know about grocery shopping out the window...
-No more having your husband stop on the way home to pick up that missing ingredient for dinner.

-No more buying only store brand/generic items because it's cheaper - because it's really not!

-No more RIDICULOUS monthly shopping trip where you leave with buyer's remorse…

-Never pay for cereal or toothpaste again!

Say Goodbye to those days!

And say hello to the Arizona Savings Way!

Here’s what you need to know…

- You will be going to the store a lot, and you will most likely have a very intimate relationship with certain stores and the checkers who are employed there.

- You will have a year supply of toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, razors, and cleaners (among other things) before you can blink!!

- Before you know it, you will be saving between 50-90% at the grocery store!

- It’s all about shopping with coupons while a product is on sale- and STOCKING UP so you don’t have to buy something when it’s not cheap or free.

Are you getting excited? Are you ready to commit?

Check back tomorrow for the second day in this series … “Start Building Your Coupon Stash!”

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Fun!

Dads, I hope you are enjoying your special day! Everyone else, I hope you are all are having a wonderful day honoring your dads, grandpas, uncles, and whoever else has been a father to you.

Here is a poem I found for my sweet husband who is the best dad to our baby girl:

Those little girl eyes,
Are so full of hope in you,
Every dream she has,
She knows will come true.

Your love as her father,
And Your integrity as a man,
Protect her from the world,
Like nothing else can.

Her Daddy is her hero,
As he rightfully should be,
She cherishes every cuddle,
And every bounce on the knee.

And here is some Father's Day fun for you...

One of my readers, Matt, is a tie lover and he has collected a fun assortment of tie cake pictures on his blog. Some of these cake decorators are SO talented! Click here to see some fun pictures of tie cakes!

Thanks for sharing Matt!

Enjoy your Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Shopping Safeway - The Arizona Savings Way

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you already know Safeway is my favorite place to coupon shop. If I wasn't using coupons, their ridiculous, regular prices would keep me out of their store. But, good for us, Safeway always has lots of sales and promos running. When you time your shopping trip correctly with sales and promos and then stack coupons on top of that, you are in for major savings at Safeway and any of the Safeway affiliate stores (Carrs, Dominick's, Genuardi’s, Pavilions, Randalls, & Tom Thumb).

Step #1: You need a Safeway Club Card.

Download a copy of the club card application here, fill it out and return it to your store. As soon as you have your card in hand, make a small purchase (candy bar, etc.) to activate your card. If you don't do this, it will take 6 weeks for the EQ sites to recognize your card as valid. This is a short-cut to start saving money immediately.

Step #2: Learn the kinds of coupons accepted by Safeway.

Manufacturer Coupons (from Sunday newspaper)
These coupons are found in the free standing inserts in your Sunday paper: Smart Source, Red Plum and Proctor & Gamble.

Internet Printable Coupons
Safeway "gladly" accepts internet printable coupons- it says so right here in their coupon policy! The coupons have to scan at the register in order for the cashier to accept them. They also must follow the same format as a manufacturer's coupon - redemption address, expiration date, and state "Maufacturer Coupon" somewhere on the coupon. Safeway will not accept internet printable coupons for free products. This is not a new rule, but it is in place to protect Safeway from fraudulent coupons. Most of the fraudulent IPQs floating around are for free products or for very high values.
E-Coupons equal tons of savings and money makers at Safeway. Load these coupons directly onto your club card. When you swipe your card or enter your phone number, the coupons automatically deduct when the cashier hits total & you can see them on your receipt. The cash register will still accept a manufacturer coupon in addition to an e-coupon, but they both are manufacturer coupons.

Safeway has endorsed this practice via email: "Thank you for your reply regarding the coupon policy. We appreciate the time you have taken to provide additional feedback on this issue and we can certainly understand your concern. You have requested clarification regarding the combination of coupons that may be used to purchase an item. The coupon policy is as follows: You may use 1 manufacture coupon, 1 store coupon and your digital coupon(s) or any combination there of, for 1 item. You may not use 2 manufacture or 2 store coupons for one item. If the amounts of your single or combined coupons exceed the amount of the product we will not give you funds back and the store is permitted to decline to accept the coupon." 

This was in response to an email from March 2010. This can change at any time, but for now Safeway allows the stacking of coupons. There are links to the major E-Coupon sites on the right side of my blog. Make sure you laod these every 2 weeks as soon as the coupons are released. Sometimes, you end up with duplicate EQs on your card for the same item. When you purchase that item at Safeway, all of your duplicate coupons will deduct for the one item. This a glitch and should not be relied on. If you've ever used EQs, you know they are unpredictable and sometimes don't deduct as they should. If you have multiple EQs come off for the same item, count yourself lucky. 

Catalina Coupons
At Safeway, you’ll find the gray Catalina machines sitting at the registers. These machines dispense long, receipt-like coupons. Don’t let your cashier forget to hand them to you! Catalina coupons may be store or manufacturer coupons. You may receive a catalina worth $2 off your next purchase of $10 from the produce section. Or you may get a catalina for $1.00 off planters nuts, it just depends on the coupon. The catalinas at Safeway must always be redeemed at Safeway (unless you have a local store who accepts competitor coupons).

Other Retailer's Coupons
As of 6/7/10, Safeway began accepting other retailer's coupons as payment. This is included in their Safeway Coupon Policy, which you should always have with you when you shop at Safeway. The definition of a retailer's coupon is a manufacturer's coupon that has another store's logo or name on it. In order for a retailer's coupon to be accepted, it must scan and it must state that it is a manufacturer's coupon. Examples include Walgreen's Register Rewards and Catalina Coupons printed from other retailers.

Store Coupons
Safeway calls them ‘Super Coupons’. You can find them in the weekly store ad from your newspaper or located in the front of the store. Safeway allows using one store, one E-Coupon, and one manufacturer coupon per item. This means you can stack a Safeway store coupon with a manufacturer coupon and E-Coupons on one product. Super Coupons usually require a minimum purchase. The minimum purchase is your sub-total before using any coupons - more info from Safeway on that policy here. Super coupons often have limits. These limits are per transaction.

Printable Store Coupons
Safeway has some great printable and loadable store coupons here. Note: only the first few coupons are Safeway store coupons. The rest are standard manufacturer coupons, the same that you’ll find on any other printable coupon database.

Step #3: Now, we wait for the perfect sale.
If you head to the store with a handful of coupons and no plan, you'll spend more money than necessary. Wait until the sale price or promotion matches your coupons, so you can save big!

Safeway runs Catalina promos like: Spend $25, save $10 on your next shopping order. When you combine a deal like this with coupons, you can get those really high savings of over 70%. Whenever you see a minimum purchase like “spend $25", remember that total is the subtotal you must reach before redeeming any coupons. If you can spend $25 and redeem $12 worth of coupons, you’ll still receive a $10 catalina good on your next shopping order.

You will also see promos like this: Buy 5 select products, receive $5 on your next shopping order. The best couponers will separate their transactions, buying 5 products at a time, and then roll the “$5 on your next shopping order” catalina from one transaction to the next. This minimizes or completely eliminates your out of pocket spending. It's always better to spend Safeway's money than actual cash.

What is Safeway’s sale cycle?
Safeway sales and weekly ads begin Wednesday and end Tuesday. The new ad and "My Favorite Deals" for the week are posted each Wednesday morning.

Does Safeway offer a senior discount program?If you're 55+, you can save an additional 10% on your food bill the first Wednesday of every month. A minimum purchase amount may be required.
Doubling Coupons
Most Safeway stores double coupons, usually 50 cents and under. This is subject to regional competition & you’ll need to watch your weekly ads or inquire at your store as to whether your store doubles. Here in Arizona, we are lucky to live in one of the most competetive grocery markets in the country. This makes for awesome sales and fantastic coupon policies. Since December 2009, Safeway has been holding a $1 coupon event. Any coupon under $1 equals $1. A 10 cent coupon equals $1. We don't know how long this will last, but soak it up while it's here!

If the coupon states "Do Not Double", the cashier is supposed to suppress the double. If the coupon coding begins with a 5, it will double automatically. If it starts with a 9, it will not double. Cashiers ignoring the "Do Not Double" restriction is a complete "Your Mileage May Vary" situation. I've had cashiers suppress the doubles, while others at the exact same location let them all double.

Alright all you educated Safeway shoppers! Click here for the latest Safeway deals and jump in head first!
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