Saturday, January 9, 2010

The importance of keeping track

When you first start saving lots of money, it's easy to forget to keep track of your savings and spending.  The adrenaline is rushing and you get focused on the thrill of the deal.  It can be easy to actually overspend when you first start couponing.  Some people rush to build a stockpile, and others go after every deal even if they don't need/want the item. Keeping track of your money helps you avoid the overspending, hopefully before it becomes a major problem.

With the start of a new year, I began keeping track of our spending and saving in a spreadsheet.  There is no need for anything fancy; a simple spreadsheet in Excel (or a free alternative) will do just fine. I'm also keeping all the receipts just in case.

So far, it's going pretty well. A couple of receipts have accidentally gotten thrown away, but I don't expect that to be a common occurrence. Keeping track also helped point out problem areas where we still need to cut back and helped curb some of the impulse shopping. It's also nice to show the naysayers how much you can save with just a few "scraps of paper".

Keeping track is also a great confidence booster; we've already saved over 90% just in the first 9 days of the year.  Without the spreadsheet, I would have guessed it would be more like 60%. I think we're well on our way to saving over 50% on our purchases this year!

If you're not already keeping track, please consider doing so. You never know what you'll find out!

Walgreens ---- saved 67%

Went back to Walgreens today before the new ad begins. A lot of deals were gone; no Chips Ahoy or Neosporin Lip Health. Filler items were scarce too.

As you can see, I'm still working on the stockpile while I have lots of Register Rewards.  Most of it was on sale and had coupons. I was even able to earn an additional $14RR!

I did 5 transactions in order to best use my RR and earn more RR. I didn't do as well as I hoped because so much was out of stock, but still quite good.

*My favorite deal was the Reach toothbrushes; I got them with the folders for just .94! Regular price is $3.99/each.*

Total saved: $81.96
Total RR used: $37
Total out of pocket: $41.26
saved 67% ---- I now have a total of $32RR left to spend

Friday, January 8, 2010

Walgreens ----- saved 92% again!

Earlier this week, I took coupons to multiple Walgreens around town (we have over 20 close by).  I used coupons to get 12 Bayer meters FREE and receive $78 in Register Rewards. I donated all the meters to the Salvation Army. See IHeartWags for more on this deal.

I've been working on a stockpile for awhile now. I used part of the RR to help do this.

I didn't have coupons for everything, but I did my best. I wrote Ban a few months ago and they said a coupon will be available in March. I used the Hunt's to make my RR/coupons equal with my amount of items. It helped that it was also on sale for .39 this week.

RR used: $53
Coupons used: $7.75 (+4.28 from ad)
Total savings: $65.03
Total out of pocket: $5.60
saved 92% ----- most oop was tax, items cost really only came to about $1.30. I also got $2RR from the Head&Shoulders.

Staples -- next week sneak peek

Staples is going to have some awesome deals and savings starting 1/10. The ad can be seen here.

I really like the coupons that make items $1 and the coupon for a FREE PC tuneup.

My faves are:
Bankers Box lettersize boxes 6pack $9.99 100% back in Staples Rewards

Double savings of 20% and $6 for used HP laser toner this week

Magnetic dry erase board for $1 with coupon

BIC Great Erase dry erase markers 4pack $1 with coupon

Staples stapler value pack $1 with coupon

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Great deal on Brita Water Pitchers!

Some Lowes apparently have Brita Water Pitchers for only $8.  Even better, you can get a $5 coupon by making a FilterForGood pledge here. That's a pitcher for just $3! I've never seen one that low even on clearance. 
*Check with your Lowes for availability and coupon policy before going*

(Thanks, Deal Fanatic!)

I've only got two hands!

I like to make my shopping lists and organize my coupons plenty of time before going to the store(s). This preparation cuts down on time wastage and frustration. I try to keep everything organized while shopping, but I'm having some problems.

I don't carry a purse (usually just a softsided reusable bag) and everything I carry, like calculator and coupons, seems to get all jumbled up.  I've also tried just keeping everything in my hands, but then I start dropping stuff. It gets even worse when I have problems finding items or I have to improvise a deal because something is out of stock.

I've been working on a coupon binder I can carry with me. I'm thinking with enough pockets and inserts, I'll be able to keep everything organized and myself sane. Hopefully, I'll have some progress photos up in the next few days.

How do you keep everything together?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Win $25,000 from Lane Bryant!

Just text LBWIN to 50799 to enter. Texting charges may apply, but you can also enter by mail if that is an issue. Go here to see rules/restrictions and how to enter by mail. Ends January 30.

New Free stuff coupon from Earth Fare

Use the coupon here to get a FREE 8oz pack of Natural Supreme Almonds AND 2 FREE grapefruits with ANY purchase at Earth Fare! Coupon expires 1/12.

Free Grapefruit Spoons!

Buy either 1 3lb or larger bag of Florida grapefruit or 1 58oz or larger container of 100% Florida grapefruit juice, then head over here to print out a form for 2 FREE grapefruit spoons! The spoons are durable plastic and dishwasher safe.  Offer ends June 30 or while supplies last.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

$10 off $50 at CafePress!

Use code TEN2010 at checkout to get $10 off your $50 purchase at CafePress. CafePress also offers customized products from t-shirts and buttons to pet gifts and yard signs. Use your own picture/design and get something really special! Offer ends January 7 and restrictions apply.

Lane Bryant ---- Double Rewards Points and Cacique Semi-Annual Sale

From December 26 until January 12, earn Double Rewards Points when you buy Cacique items with your Lane Bryant credit card. Cacique items are on sale now with bras being Buy Two, Get Two Free and panties 5/$25! Deal is valid online and in stores.

Now's a great time to rack up those points!

Savings on new Olay Body Wash

Olay is coming out with a new Total Effects Body Wash.  It's supposed to help your body look younger; sounds good to me! It's coming out January 13 at 12pm EST and will be available online only and for a limited time here.

As a special deal, Olay is offering $3 off and free shipping. Go here to sign up for a reminder email.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rebate for Free Spot Shot when you buy Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Buy any Spot Shot product (except 4oz) and a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs DVD or Blu-ray between 1/5 and 3/31, then submit the rebate found here to get back up to $5.49 back.  Any Spot Shot under $5.49 will be FREE! See rebate form for details.

There are $1 coupons for Spot Shot products in the 1/3 Smartsource insert and at

UPDATE: There is a $3 coupon for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs at The DVD is $15.99 at Target this week.

Free Fresco Taco from Taco Bell

A new coupon for a free Fresco Taco (beef, steak, or chicken) can be found on pg 93 of the new People Magazine Jan. 11 (Jonas Wedding).  Limit one per person and it expires 1/22.

If you don't buy People, you can also get a coupon from  It is limited to one print and will only be redeemable up to 7 days after printout and before 1 million (online and printed) have been redeemed. See the website for other restrictions.

Free Atkins Quick-Start Guide

To help those of us that have resolved to lose weight this year, Atkins is now offering a free Quick-Start Guide. You'll also get a free carb counter and 3 free bars!  Just visit their website here or call 1-800-458-4226. No obligation required, one per household.