Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekly Couponing Deals

This week, it's just CVS and Walgreens.  Thankfully, Riteaid did not have anything that I was interested in getting.  I think I am getting a little worn out with running out to shop every week.  It's probably time for a break.

CVS

Transaction 1
2 jumbo packs Pampers $8.97 each w/ $3 ECB back.  I used 2 $1.50 off manf. coupons
1 Colgate tootpaste $ $3.99 w/ $3.99 ECB back.  I used a $1.00 off manf. coupon

Total out of pocket after manf. coupons, $4 off $20 purchase CVS coupon and $6 ECB applied to total: $9.19 and I got back $9.99 in ECB

Transaction 2
2 Olay Body washes 2/$12 with $5 ECB back.  I used 2 $1.00 off manf. coupon
1 Crest Pro Health Rinse $3.99 w/ $2 ECB back.  I used a $2.00 off manf. coupon
1 Listerine Total Care  $3.99 with $1.50 off CVS coupon and $1 manf. coupon. final price $1.49

Total out of pocket after manf. coupons, $3 off $15 purchase CVS coupon and $4 ECB applied to total: $7.67 and I got back $7.00 in ECB.

So this week's CVS trip cost me $0.13 cents!

I still have another $3 off $15 purchase coupon that expires this week but there is honestly nothing else I want and I'm truly a little worn out with buying. 

Walgreen's

I somehow always feel like I pay way too much at Walgreen's.  I did great last week with the flour but this morning, I spent a little over $29 and got a measly $6 back in RR.  I honestly don't go to Walgreen's for the register rewards because they have too many restrictions on them. I earned the coupon and I should be able to use it as I wish but Walgreen's is probably the least coupon friendly store I shop at.  Anyway, here was my list.

3 packs Huggies $8.99 each and $5 RR back.  I used three $3 off manf. coupons
1 Head and Shoulders. $2.99 and $1 RR back.  I also had a $1 manf. coupon
1 jar Miracle Whip $2.99...not the greatest price and I did not have a coupon but we're out and my husband must have his Miracle Whip.
1 3-pack Shick Quattro women's razors $4.99 after $2 "instant" store coupon.  I also had a $4 off manf. coupon.

I went to the store bright and early this morning before work because it's too hard to try to go after work when I have my baby to take care of.  First, I was instantly reminded why I hate to buy diapers at Walgreen's.  Once your baby is in the larger size diapers, there is no pack of Huggies in the store that has over 31 diapers in it. At CVS, I can typically find a pack with 36 diapers in it.  I know 5 diapers is not a big deal but when you're breaking down the cost to the per diaper cost, the more diapers in a pack, the more money you save. 

Second, the "instant" coupon is not so instant.  In my mind, instant means that it's taken off automatically when the item is scanned.  Not at Walgreen's.  The item rang up for $6.99 and when I questioned the cashier about it, he tried to convince me that it was a register reward that would print out after the sale was complete.  I know this is inaccurate but I figured I'd humor him.  So, we complete the sale and no $2 coupon prints for the razors.  Surprise, surprise.  I don't know if he was new or what but he ended up having to call the manager and she couldn't find the coupon that they needed to scan to take off the $2. She ended up just refunding me $2.  I honestly don't get what is so hard about just taking off the amount when the item is scanned.  If you're not going to do that, then don't call it an "instant" coupon. What made it more annoying was that I have the coupon at home in my Walgreen's monthly coupon book.  Had they not used the word "instant", I would have taken the coupon with me. 

At one time, Walgreen's was my favorite pharmacy.  Not anymore. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

CVS Deals

I nixed my plan for the third trip to CVS because I really did not feel good about that shopping list.  However, I was up bright and early this morning and decided to go ahead and get CVS out of the way.  I worked out two purchases that I feel so much better about. Total spent $10.18 with $4 ECB back.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Couponing Workshop

I went to the Southern Savers coupon workshop in Fayetteville two weekends ago. I didn’t learn anything earth shattering but I did learn a few tips and resources that were new to me. Jenny is as adorable as I expected. She struck me as being a really good person and I was so happy that she stressed being ethical when couponing. I’ve read some comments from people on her blog and other blogs that I just found disturbing. They’re all about the deal. They don’t care about the store or other people who may want to get the same deal. As long as they get it, that’s all they’re concerned with. It is never my mission when I go into a store to walk out paying nothing. Paying less, certainly, but not paying nothing. Yes, the stores get reimbursed for the coupons but they don’t get reimbursed for competitor coupons or for doubling. So, as long as I’m in that happy place where I think I’m being ethical and fair with a store’s generosity (because let’s face it, they don’t have to take coupons or double so a little gratitude is in order), I’ll continue to coupon. Here are my takeaways from the workshop.

1. There is a website that tracks fraudulent coupons.

2. There is a magazine that lists rebates. Jenny didn’t think it was worth the cost but for someone like me who wants to know about all that’s out there, this seems like a good investment to me.

3. If you have a CVS store that is not open 24 hours , most of them allow you to shop the Sunday sale starting on Saturday night. The times vary by store but my local one allows it from 6 pm to close on the Saturday before a new ad comes out. This is such a time saver for me and I was so happy to hear it. No more going to the 24 hour CVS at midnight because I want to be sure that I get the items I want.

4. CVS rainchecks don't expire.

5. You can send coupons to the troops since they can use coupons up to 12 months after they expire. I love this because I HATE when my coupons expire.

6. There are security measures in place to keep people from photocopying printable coupons. I've always wondered about this and figured as much.

7. Another workshop participant said that Dollar Tree sells All You magazine for, you guessed it, $1. I'm going to personally check this out this weekend since I don't remember seeing magazines in Dollar Tree the last time I was there.

Weekly Couponing Deals

Walgreen’s
Nothing is tempting me at Walgreen’s this week other than toothpaste and mouthwash which I already have plenty of.

CVS
I planned three trips to CVS this week because I have so many $3 off $15 coupons. And, they just sent me a $4 off $20. Here are my three transactions which I am well aware I could do all these transactions in one trip but I take my time with the CVS flyer. My first $3 off $15 coupon was expiring on Sunday so I had to go in that day to use it. The $4 off $20 coupon just came out of nowhere.

Trip 1
-1 Venus Embrace razor $8.99 ($4 ECB)
-1 Olay Body Wash $8.99
-2 cans Arizona fruit punch $1.98 (we were on the road and wanted something to drink)

I used a $3 off $15 CVS coupon, a $2 manf. coupon for the razor and a buy Venus Embrace razor get Olay body wash free coupon for the body wash. So, $17.98 - $10.99 = 6.99. I used $4 in ECB so paid a little over $3 with tax.

Trip 2
-2 Oral- B Cross Action toothbrushes $4 each ($4 ECB, limit 2) Used 2 $.75 coupons for the toothbrushes
-1 Nivea Lip Balm $2.99($2.99 ECB) no coupon but technically free so I got it.
-2 boxes Wheat Thins 2/$5 used 2 $1 off Nabisco crackers coupons

So, 15.99- $3.00 CVS coupon, minus $3.50 in manf. coupons = $9.49. I used $7 ECB and ended up paying $3.23 with tax

Trip 3
This trip is planned for tomorrow and I am going because I feel compelled to use that $4 off $20 coupon that they just emailed me. I’ve been on the fence about the Easter candy deal since I really try not to buy bags of chocolate to store in my house. I’ve been doing good just buying single bars at the checkout as filler items to help me reach my total. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. There’s no more chocolate in the house to tempt me. But here goes…

-2 bags Dove chocolate eggs $3 each ($3 ECB when you spend $10)
-2 bags Starburst Easter jelly beans $2.50 each
-1 Bounty Basic 6 pack $5.97 ($1 ECB)
-1 Green Bag tag $.99 ( I go there way too often not to have one.)
-1 Nivea product (not sure which one but I need something less than $4 to make my total)

I’ve got a $1 off coupons for the Dove and Starburst. I also have a $1 off coupon for the Bounty and Nivea. So, with my worst case scenario calculations, I’ll be spending around $7 before tax. I’m just not excited about this trip. These just don’t feel like deals to me. Maybe I’ll just go in there and browse around to see if I can’t find better deals that may not be in the sales flyer. Also, I DO NOT want to bring bags of candy into my house. I just know I’ll sit there and eat one after the other. Ugh! I might just wait until Sunday and get more diapers instead.

Riteaid
I didn’t plan on going to Riteaid this week either until I saw the buy $30 in P&G products get $10 Riteaid gift card. I have two friends who are expecting and I always include diapers with my shower gifts so this seems like a good time to buy them. I’m also going to double up and qualify for the gift card and get some SCRs in the same transaction. Of course, I’m going to have to go to the Riteaid on Double Churches because I am certain there is another couponer hitting the one on Wynnton Rd. I went in there last week and the Halls cough drops had been cleaned out. It was utterly ridiculous. Over 10 display hangers for the Halls were completely empty. I know I went on a Saturday but it doesn’t seem to matter what day I go in there. I’ve been in on a Tuesday and Wednesday and the same thing happened. I’ve also been in there on Sunday and the item I wanted was there so it appears I have to go early.

-2 jumbo packs Pampers $9.99 each
-2 Pampers wipes $2.49 each
-Nyquil Children’s liquid $4.99

I've got $1.50 off coupons for the diapers and $.50 coupons for the wipes. I hate to use my .50 cents and less coupons on stores that don't double so I'm going to think through this one some more.

Target
This is probably the only store I go to where I’m not just going for the deals. I love Target. The only deal from the weekly flyer I’m going in for is the All Detergent. I may try to get the Listerine gift card deal again but it was a colossal failure the first time. I unknowingly picked the laziest cashier in the store. You know the one. The one that doesn’t really care why your gift card won’t pop up when the items are rung up and gives you some lame reason why instead of checking. I just got my coupons back and left. I may try it again if they’re still doing it. I also need to get some baby shower gifts and a few things for my baby.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Weekly Couponing Deals

CVS

It was all about the diapers for me at CVS this week. They had boxed diapers priced at $19.99. This is the regular price at Publix and Target BUT, CVS is offering $4 ECB back this week on boxed diapers. They then sweetened the deal by printing out $4 off boxed diapers coupons when you checked out or scanned your card at the red machine. I also have a ton of $3 off $15 purchase coupons, none of which I want to go to waste.

So, I went in on Saturday evening and sure enough, I was able to buy a box of Huggies at the Sunday sale price. For that first purchase, I had my $4 off boxed diapers and $8.50 in ECB that I had to use this week before they expired. Paired with my $3 off coupon, I spent $7.49 before tax on that first box of diapers. I don’t like to count the ECB until I’ve actually used them but with the $4 ECB back that’s $3.49 for a box of diapers before tax. To my surprise, the register printed off another $4 off boxed diapers coupon that I now had to use. So, I went the next day and got two more boxes of diapers paying no more than $5 for either. I think I did pretty good.

Walgreen’s

Once again, not an exciting week for me at Walgreen’s. I haven’t been yet and I’m still debating whether it’s even worth the trip. Here’s what I wrote down.

1 Aquafresh 8.2 oz. toothpaste $1.49
1 Lady Speedstick Stainguard deodorant $1.99
2 Reach Prevent Tootbrushes $1.98 - $.99 manf. coupon

I have a $.75 off coupon for the Aquafresh but it says that it’s for Aquafresh Advanced so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to use it. I have a $.75 coupon for the Speedstick and they’re offering a $1.00 RR on it so final cost is $.24. I also have a Buy One Get One coupon for the Reach Toothbrushes which would make both $.99. So, worst case scenario out of pocket this week at Walgreen’s is $3.72 with $1.00 back in RR. I honestly don’t think it’s worth the trip since I have plenty of these items already. We’re overflowing with toothpaste so I suspect that I only want the Aquafresh because I have a coupon. I really have to get out of that way of thinking.

Riteaid

Although I hate the fact that the Columbus ad is so much smaller than the Atlanta ad, Riteaid is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Here’s my list for this week.

1 Suave kids product (not sure which one yet) $1.99 ($1.00 SCR)
1 Tampax 20 ct. $2.99 - $1.00 manf. Coupon =$1.99 ($1 SCR)
2 Halls drops $1.98 - $1.00 manf. coupon
2 Ricola drops $1.98 - $1.00 manf. coupon
2 Blistex lip balm $1.98 - $.70 manf. coupon
2 Nivea lip balm $1.98 - $.99 manf. coupon
1 Listerine pocket packs $3.99 - $.50 manf. coupon ($3.00 SCR)

I have a $3 off a $15 purchase coupon, so my total OOP at Riteaid will be $8.70 and I get $5 back in rebates.

Target

Nothing exciting for me at Target this week. As much as I love Target, their weekly ads have been really sucking lately for me.

Monday, March 01, 2010

New Orleans. Overrated?

We took a mini vacation to New Orleans back in November. For some reason, that city is not what I thought it would be. I wish we had followed through with going to Williamsburg, VA but the thought of flying with a baby just did not appeal to me. The fact that VA was flooded by rain around the time we were supposed to be there also validated our decision to go somewhere else. I'm just not sure we should have picked New Orleans. We've been planning to go there since before Katrina and finally made it there. I hate to say it but it was a pretty big letdown. It almost felt like when we went to Los Angeles.

I was so psyched to go see the Walk of Fame and then I got there and realized that it was in the hood. There was a woman sitting on someone's star begging. The area was dirty...well, LA was dirty period...and it just did not live up to the hype for me. The infamous Crenshaw Blvd. is only a few streets over from the street the Walk of Fame is on. It was a big letdown. New Orleans felt the same way to me.

We got there on Friday around 5:30 pm and promptly got stuck in traffic. Luckily, we had stopped on Bullard Ave to get something to eat before we headed to the hotel because I just did not want to go out into that traffic again. We walked to the French Quarter on Saturday and decided to head down Decatur St. First, the roads and sidewalks are in horrible shape. Cracks and potholes all over the place. The nicest street we saw was St. Charles Ave. Decatur St. was absolutely packed. I was heading to Central Grocery because I watched a show a few years ago that featured their muffalettas and I just had to have one. I get there and the line is out the door which did not surprise me. I order a whole muffaletta and to take back to the hotel to sit in the fridge overnight. We then, walk a little further down Decatur St. looking for Coop's Place restaurant.

I'd read about the Coop's plate which is a sampler of cajun dishes with fried chicken. First, there is a big sign on the door that no one under 18 is allowed. So, since we have our baby with us, we can't go in. Second, the place is TINY. There are like 3 tables at the front of the restaurant and a small bar behind that. I kept walking back and peering to the back of the restaurant because I just couldn't believe that there was nothing else to this restaurant. The term "hole in the wall" has never seemed more appropriate.

We crossed to the other side of the street to head back toward Canal St. I was thirsty and my baby was hungry so we stopped at the French Market hoping to find a table to sit and get a drink and feed the baby. There was a live band playing and Cayden did not like the noise. Also, it was PACKED. There was not an empty table in sight. We walked a little further and then sat on a bench trying to figure out where to feed the baby and get something to drink that was not alcoholic. I ended up going into the public restroom to change Cayden. Thank God I brought a disposable changing pad because that changing table was dirty as all get out. I went back outside and sat on the bench to feed Cayden. I'm normally shy about breastfeeding in public but I was so disgusted that I just did not care. Is it too much to ask to have a presentable restroom and a nice place to sit and regroup?

We started walking back to Canal Street after I finished feeding the baby. My husband wanted a beer so we stopped at one of the dairiqui stands. I got a margarita and almost fainted when the bartender said $8. That was nothing, however, because the next day my husband paid $10 for a hurricane. Ouch! We were hungry and since it seemed that every restaurant on Decatur Street was packed, we stopped at Huck Finn's for a bite to eat. I got the jambalaya wrap and my husband got the Shrimp po'boy. A po'boy is nothing but a glorified sandwich BTW. I have no idea why people make such a big deal about them. I appreciated that my wrap was toasted and served hot. I enjoyed it....probably because there was cheese on it.

We made our way back to the hotel sidestepping some vomit on the sidewalk. I ate a quarter of the muffaletta for dinner that night and I hated it. The large chunks of olives and the saltiness just overpowered the sandwich for me. I really tried to make it palatable by picking off the olive salad to cut down the salt but the oil had seeped in the bread so that was to no avail. I ended up throwing half the sandwich away because I just couldn't eat it.

The next day, Sunday, was a lot quieter and not as crowded. Surprisingly most of the businesses were closed so there wasn't much to experience on a Sunday. We decided to head over to Bourbon Street. The first thing we see when we enter Bourbon Street are police arresting people for crimes unknown. Bourbon Street is also pretty dirty. There's dirty looking water on the sidewalks and in the street. There's also no appealing place for us to eat. We ended up stopping at La Bayou where my husband indulged in a $10 hurricane. I had the Tabasco wings and red beans and rice. The wings weren't bad but they were breaded so once the sauce was added, the coating got soggy. I was not happy when I had to change the baby and went into their bathroom only to discover that there was no changing table.

I bought some souvenirs at the CVS on Canal Street which seemed to have more reasonable prices than the souvenir shops. Other than Central Grocery, we didn't get to visit any of the other famous New Orleans staples like Cafe du Monde (crowded and no tables) and we did very little shopping. I'm sure we didn't get to experience half of what New Orleans had to offer but I have no desire to go back.