Thursday, December 15, 2011

Housewife on a Diet: HCG Progress

Ok....so I know I told y'all about experimenting with HCG a few weeks ago.  Well I have been on the protocol for over a month and I LOVE IT!!!!

I started the HCG drops portion, or "Phase 2" (P2) on November 11, 2011.  Yep...11/11/11 was my lucky day.  For two days you are to eat till you can not eat anymore.  These are called "loading days".

After the two loading days I went into the Very Low Calorie Days (VLCD).  I was to eat 500 calories of a specific food list.  I have to admit this was a bit hard....but only for the first few days.  I had a headache, I was very hungry...then the HCG kicked into high gear.  I had a burst of energy and was able to pretty much live on a little over 500 calories a day (I seemed to always go a bit over...).  Let me correct myself...I was NOT living on 500 cals a day as my body knew to get the rest of the calories from my stored abnormal fat.



I did this phase (P2) for 25 days.  I released 23 pounds.  I also released 38.25 inches , combined.  VINTAGE DRESSE HERE I COME!!!  WHOO HOO.



I am now on Phase 3 (P3) and have been for 5 days.  In this phase you are not to lose more weight, you are to use this time to reset your metabolism (I will believe that when it happens) and maintain what you have lost.  This is supposed to help you learn how to eat without gaining everything back.  Also, you can not stay on P2 with the HCG because you can become immune to it.

In the 5 days I have been on P3, I have maintained in the 2 pound window that is recommended.  Actually, the most I have been "up" is .4 lbs.  Yes, POINT FOUR.  Not even an entire pound.  This round is much harder, as maintaining always is.  It is stated in Dr. Simeons Pounds and Inches, that you can eat whatever you like but NO starches or sugar.  Well that is easier said than done...everyone is sensitive to one thing or another....and I am working to find what triggers my gains.



When I would do any other diet, in the last 10 PLUS years, I would start to gain if I ate a carb.  Well I am hopeful that this will help with that.

If you would like to read more please see Pounds and Inches by Dr. Simeons or The Weight Loss Cure by Kevin Trudeau.  The HCG Protocol has been around since the late 1950's / early 1960's (can't remember right off hand) but has never taken off in the US...until recently.  You can actually Google "Pounds and Inches" and read the book in PDF format for free.

I am doing VLOGS on YouTube as HCGHousewife to document my journey.  There are alot of people who do the same.  I found out about the great success others were having by finding this on YouTube and have found so much info, support, and friendship there.

I do plan to update here as well.  I wanted to make sure this was something I could do before blabbing about yet another weight loss plan.

I have learned alot over the past month....I can not wait to tell y'all ALL about it.

Tiffany

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Diet ....Again. But I think I found something good here in HCG

Ok...so the last time we "talked" I said I had started South Beach.  And I did...but as I was trying to stick to that plan I found something that caught my attention.... let me back up a bit.  I went on Youtube.com searching for some motivation of before and after photos of people doing the South Beach Plan.  I came across a young lady who was doing pretty good and watched a few of her vlogs.  As I watched she changed plans and started talking about HCG.  Her results were amazing so I searched for more...and everyone I saw had the same amazing results.  There were a few who did not do well but they all admitted to not following the protocol, so you can not really use that to judge the plan, right? 

So after lots more research and lots and lots more youtubing....I went looking for a source online to order.  I did not...and do not...want to spend a lot of money going to clinics and getting injections but that is ok because I found out that you can get homeopathic drops, that you put under your tounge, online and they work just as well.  So I ordered some and have been following Dr. Simeons protocol for the last 4 days (6 days counting the "loading" days).  I am not going to link to the info as most of the links I have are to sites where you can buy the drops and I do not want to suggest companies that I am not familiar with (other than reading some things / info).  I encourage you to search on your own to find the information.  I just wanted to post a quick update as I will be posting about this as the weeks go by, I am sure. 

So this is what I have been up to and because of spending my "online" time researching and getting my youtube chanel going for my vlogs (to document my progress) I have, yet again, neglected my blog.

Like I said, I am on day 4 (what we in the HCG community call VLCD, for very low calorie day) and have released 7.4 pounds.  That is amazing to me. 

Although I felt hungry and wanted all of my favorite foods the first for VLCDs, I am now getting to the point where I am no longer hungry and do not feel deprived.  I am also feeling a bit more energetic...and I hope this continues to improve because I was so ..... blaaaa feeling for so long.

I will continue to update and share some of my menu as I go along.

Oh...just one more thing.  This protocol TOTALLY goes with a midcentury lifestyle....Dr. Simeons came up with the plan in the 1950s!!!!  How cool is that?

Tiffany 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A little of this and that.....

So...I have been neglecting my blog, AGAIN.  I used the excuse of "it being summer" but now I really have no excuse other than I have been lazy and really have not had anything to post.  We have had things going on...family events, family visiting from out of town, birthdays, football games....oh and the little thing called THE WORLD SERIES...but we really should not talk much abou that other than to say that I am still proud that the Rangers were there and they gave us a few entertaining nights of baseball fun.

So much of that I could have blogged about but, again...I was lazy.

I am getting eBay back on track, not that I really ever let it slide...the sales were just down for awhile but things are back on track.

Also....I am, yet again, on a diet....I am doing South Beach this time.  I am only on day two so I will post more about that as it goes.  The one thing I am finding is I can eat from my well stocked pantry (thanks to coupons) and still follow this plan.  I can not have everything from my pantry but those things can just sit on the shelf for a bit.  Most of the things I can not have are very shelf stable.  I can have almost everything from my freezer except for the chicken nuggets.  They will not go to waste, David can have them for lunches on the weekends.  This will be a challenge, however, because finding coupons on meats and fresh veggies are few and far between....but with an OPEN EYE, you do see them every now and then.  If not, I think I am saving enough from things like health andf beauty aids, household goods, etc to off set the cost.  My health is worth it and what I will spend on fresh veggies and meats, I will save on a new wardrobe that I would most certainly have to buy if I continues on the path I was going...LOL.  Besides I love the clothes I have and was looking forward to wearin some of my cooler weather vintage dresses and sweaters.  I have a few cashmeir twin sets that I am really looking forward to unpacking.

I went on South Beach a few years ago....back before the Kimkins days.  I did well with it;.....not as well as with Kimkins but I am a bit scared of Kimkins and the fact once I go off of that I gain so fast.  I still am thankful for finding it because it got me away from a VERY large number on the scale....but for now I need something a little more liveable.  I think things that motivated me to stick to kimkins, back in the day, are THANKFULLY out of my life....I have new motivations and am tring something new to reach my goals.  My goal is NOT a number or a size...well except to be able to wear my clothes...  I just want to feel good again.

So that is what I have been up to....

Tiffany

Monday, October 10, 2011

6 myths about freezing food.

We are hoping to get an extra freezer in the future, my mom said we could have hers because she hardly ever uses it.  We just have to figure out WHERE we will put it and HOW we will get it here.  It just pains me to miss out on all the great meat sales and frozen veggie deals I see.  I have a few Green Giant Frozen Veggie coupons that are just wasting away in my binder.

When I powered up Yahoo! this morning, this helpful article caught my eye....  It is from the editors of Eating Well Magazine.

Myth: You can freeze all foods.
While it’s true most edibles freeze under the right conditions, there are some that should never see the inside of your freezer. Delicate vegetables like lettuce practically disintegrate when they’re frozen then thawed. Creamy sauces that are frozen separate and “break” or curdle when thawed. Even coffee shouldn’t be stored in the freezer—especially dark roasts. The oils that make them so special break down in freezing temperatures, allowing the coffee to readily absorb off- flavors. The USDA also advises not to freeze canned goods or eggs in their shell. (But you can freeze canned goods if they are removed from their original packaging, as well as eggs as long as they are removed from their shell.)

Myth: You can freeze food indefinitely.
This is true at least from a food-safety standpoint, but quality suffers the longer food is frozen. Here are some guidelines from the USDA as to how long to keep food in your freezer (at 0 degrees F) for optimal freshness:
  • Soups, stews and casseroles: 2-3 months
  • Cooked meat 2-3 months
  • Uncooked steaks, roasts or chops: 4-12 months
  • Cooked poultry: 4 months
  • Uncooked poultry: 9-12 months
Of course how you store the item will lengthen or shorten its freezer life. Air coupled with moisture is the enemy of frozen food (think freezer burn), so if you can keep those two elements out you’ll give your frozen foods a longer life. That’s why I love the vacuum sealer. It sucks air out of the packaging so foods last longer than if they’re just stored in plastic bags or their original packaging.

Myth: Freezing kills bacteria.
Freezing foods renders bacteria inactive but doesn’t actually kill anything. That means if your food went into the freezer contaminated, once thawed it will still harbor the same harmful bacteria. Cooking it to the recommended temperature is the only way to ensure that your food is safe.

Myth: Frozen food has fewer nutrients than fresh.
Actually, the opposite can be true. Frozen fruits and vegetables may be even more healthful than some of the fresh produce sold in supermarkets because they tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when, as a general rule, they are most nutrient-packed. If you’re worried about nutrient loss, eat your frozen fruits and veggies soon after purchase: over many months, nutrients in frozen vegetables do inevitably degrade. Finally, steam or microwave rather than boil your produce to minimize the loss of water-soluble vitamins.

Myth: Once thawed, food cannot be refrozen without cooking it first.
You can freeze and refreeze to your heart’s content as long as the food has not been left outside the fridge for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour in 90-degree heat). One point to be aware of is that refreezing anything uncooked, especially meat, will degrade the quality due to the loss of moisture in the thawing process. So although it is technically safe to eat, from a culinary standpoint, it’s best to avoid refreezing if at all possible.

Myth: You can store frozen food long-term anywhere in your freezer or anywhere that’s cold.
The door of the freezer is a handy place to store frozen items, but not necessarily the best place for long-term storage. The temperature near and on the door fluctuates every time the door is opened. Although the food may remain frozen, the freezing process could be slowed, opening up the possibility for larger ice crystals to form inside the food and destroy its integrity. To prevent this, store frozen foods toward the back of the freezer where a constant 0 degrees F is more likely to be achieved and use goods stored near the front or on the door sooner. And if the power goes out? Don’t open the freezer door! According to the USDA, a full freezer should remain frozen for 2 days. And if you’re tempted to store your freezer overflow in a snowbank—don’t. Even if the temperature is very cold, the sun can still heat up your frozen foods to dangerously warm temperatures. This is still an excellent way to store beer, though. So keep doing that.

Happy Homemaking,

Tiffany

Friday, October 7, 2011

Speed Demon Cleaning with Right@Home

Speed-demon cleaning

I found this helpful article at S.E. Johnson's website mailto:http://www.rightathome.com/Cleaning/Articles/Pages/Speeddemoncleaning.aspx.  This is a great site for tips and tricks around the home such as cleaning, decorating, and money saving tips....and let's not forget COUPONS!!!!  Lots of great cleaning product coupons, Glade, Scrubbing Bubbles, Drano, etc.  I hope you check it out!!!!

The following are tips to help you get thru some tough cleaning chores in record time....

Get your groove on.
 
Gear up music that feels good to you and work to a rhythm—you'll clean faster and stay more focused. Before you start, program your MP3 player or stack up your favorite energizing CDs. And don't hesitate to take a dance break and let loose. You're sure to keep your energy high!

Find Your Cleaning Groove

Here are my favorite songs for various household tasks.

"Light My Fire" (kitchen)
"It's My Life" (living room)
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (bathroom)
"Don't Leave Me This Way" (decluttering)
"Rich Girl" "(closets)
"Dancing on the Ceiling" (dusting)
"Get On Up, Get On Down" (mopping)
"I Walk the Line" (laundry)
"Little Red Corvette" (car)
"You Are My Sunshine" (windows)
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (any hard task)
"It's Raining Men" (rainy days)

Arm yourself in advance.

 Precollect your arsenal of cleaning products, paper towels, gloves, and, if you suffer from dust allergies, a face mask.

Dust first, vacuum last.

 Otherwise, you'll have to vacuum all over again when the dust from your dusting falls to the floor.

Clean from top to bottom.

 It's an old-school rule but it works. This technique forces you to look at your ceilings, door and window frames, and high corners—areas often overlooked in cleaning. Simply put, dirt does not fall up, it falls down as you clean. So, for example, start at the top of your refrigerator door and clean down.

Schedule an hour and stick to it.

Get as much done in that hour as you can. Then take a break (my favorite treat here) and start again.
 

 
 
Use multitasking products.
 
You won't believe the time you will save with products that tackle multiple surfaces. Pledge® Multi Surface Spray or Wipes can be used on wood, glass, stainless steel, granite and electronic appliances. Windex® Multi-Surface Antibacterial easily cleans many rooms—from kitchen to bathroom—including windows, mirrors, exterior surfaces of appliances, countertops and more.

 

Clean all bathrooms at the same time.

 You'll save time and effort! Scrubbing Bubbles® Fresh Brush® 2-in-1 Toilet Cleaning System is so easy to use and even has a disposable pad you toss in the trash. Be sure to use a new one for each toliet.

Use the strongest product for the hardest jobs.

 For instance, I use Antibacterial fantastik® All Purpose Heavy Duty Cleaner whenever I cook—to wipe the tough grease and grime from my stove top, kitchen counters, microwave, and refrigerator. It kills 99.9 percent of bacteria as it cleans and even leaves a fresh scent!

Don't clean what's not dirty.

 Some of us (you, too?) obsess over the same clean counter while the rest of the house is just begging for help. So stay awake to your unconscious habits! For instance, don't clean the oven racks if they aren't soiled.

Leave the sink for (almost) last.

 Ever notice how everything gets dumped into the sink while you're cleaning the rest of the room? So why clean it first? Whether you're in the kitchen or bathroom, wait until you're finished mopping the floor to give your sinks a deep clean. And remember to leave yourself a little path to the door. Mop that final swath of floor last!
 
Happy Homemaking,
 
Tiffany

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tailgating Fun: Yummie Recipes From Martha Stewart

When I think of football...I certainly do NOT think of Martha Stewart....but she does have some yummie recipes on her site that sound great for tailgating.

The Perfect Burger

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (80 percent lean)
  • Vegetable oil, for grates
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns, split and lightly grilled, or toasted
  • Lettuce, tomato, or other toppings, as desired

Directions

  1. Evenly divide meat into 4 portions. With a light touch, gently form each one into a ball, then shape into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. With thumb, make a 1/4-inch-deep indentation in the center of each (this prevents burgers from getting rounded tops during grilling). Transfer to a plate; cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 1 day.
  2. Heat grill to high (it should be difficult to hold your hand above the grates). Moisten a folded paper towel with vegetable oil; grasp with tongs, and quickly wipe over the grates.
  3. Generously season patties on both sides with salt and pepper. Place patties on grill; cover, and cook to desired doneness, 2 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Serve burgers on buns with desired toppings.

Texas Red Chili

I do not know if I, personally, would want to sit thru an entire football game, in the stands, after eating this spicy chili.  I guess I would have to take plenty of Zantac for the heart burn.  It does sound very yummie for when the weather gets chilly....maybe around late DECEMBER for a Cowboys home game.  LOL.  This would also be a great dish to serve durring half time for a football watching party at home. I think I would need to cut out a few of the spicy ingredience, I wonder if that would hurt the outcome?  Maybe my delicate system (I used to could take the heat .... man, I am getting old!!!!) would be better off opeing a can of Wolf Brand...LOL.

Ingredients

  • 8 whole dried chiles (5 ancho and 3 guajillo or all ancho; about 3 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil, plus more as needed
  • 3 pounds trimmed beef chuck, cut into small pieces (1/2 inch or smaller)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped (4 cups)
  • 7 to 8 garlic cloves, minced (5 tablespoons)
  • 2 jalapeno or serrano chiles, seeded if desired, minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes, pureed with their juice (3 1/2 cups)
  • 4 cups water, plus more if needed and for soaking
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons white vinegar, to taste

Directions

  1. Toast dried chiles in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and blistered, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove stem and seeds; discard. Transfer chiles to a large measuring cup or bowl, and cover with hot water. Keep chiles submerged with a small bowl, and let soak for 30 minutes. Remove from water, and puree in a blender with 1/2 cup soaking liquid.
  2. Heat a large heavy pot over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Season beef with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brown beef in batches, adding more oil as needed, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add remaining tablespoon oil, the onions, garlic, and minced chiles to pot, and cook over medium-high heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. (If the pan gets too dark, add a little water, and scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon to deglaze.) Add cumin and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Stir in browned beef and chile puree. Add tomato puree, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently, partially covered, until meat is very tender and juices are thick, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (Check pot once an hour for excessive evaporation; if chili seems dry, add a little water.) Season chili with salt, and stir in vinegar. Serve immediately (or refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months; reheat in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally).
There are many more great recipes on Martha Stewarts website.  Hop on over there to find one that will please your Super Fans.

GO COWBOYS!!!!!

Tiffany

Friday, September 16, 2011

Couponing for Two: Healthy Couponing


You hear comments over and over about how it is hard to eat healthy when shopping with coupons...or how the Extreme Couponing people on TLC are only buying junk.  It is true that there are ALOT of coupons out there for junk food but there are also coupons for good nutritional products, too.

I tried my hand at a video, using my phone (my actual camera took forEVER to upload). The quality is not all that great but I am including it anyway...





In the video I show that I used a coupon to get BANANAS on the cheap with a Market Street in-store coupon..  When you find coupons for fruit, it is usually in the form of a "combined" offer.  For example, I saw a peelie on a box of cereal a few weeks ago that offered a combined deal on the cereal AND fruit.  Another example, on a combined offer is how I used the coupon from Market Street for Fuze water and Bananas. You may also get a Catalina for fruit, I got one at Tom Thumb a few weeks back for 3.00 off the purchase of any fruit.  So if you keep your eyes out and use your creativity, you can find coupons on fruit.

There are also coupons out right now on veggies.  I found one to clip in a recent insert (RP 08/28/11) on canned Libby's veggies (there was one on fruit , as well).  And Dole puts out coupons quiet often.  I am not the biggest fan of canned veggies but I will pick them up to keep in my pantry for those times when I need them for home made soups and stews.

I am not going to list all of the current offers for fruit and veggies right now, you can go to coupons.com and see what you find.  Or you can go to the Hip2save Coupon Database to find links and info on just about every current coupon out RIGHT NOW!!!!

Other healthier items to keep your eye out for include vitamins.  I was able to snag a few bottles of a vitamin product I needed for under 3.00.  This was during CVS's BOGO sale on Sundown Vitamins.  I combined a CVS coupon and a Manufacture coupon on each of the bottles and after all was said and done, I got out of there with my vitamins and gum for under 3.00.  That was a major score for me.

Also, you can usually find coupons for high fiber snacks from Fiber One (cereal, too), Special K, and a few others.  The Who Knew Cookies had a couple of coupons out all summer.  I can not wait to try them and I will let you know what I think.  Just like the Fiber One commercials say...high fiber does not mean it tastes like cardboard anymore (I paraphrased).

Whole Foods have coupons, too...but I do not shop there.  They are too expensive and just because something comes from there does not mean it is better for you, in my opinion.

If you have any suggestions on using coupons to buy healthier foods, please tell us about it in the comments.

Happy Savings,

Tiffany

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Couponing for Two: RIP Kroger Double and Triple Coupons

It is a sad day in DFW Couponing world...Kroger is putting an end to their Double and Triple Coupon program.  While this might not have a huge affect on MY grocery shopping, I have only just started this adventure and did not even know Kroger was STILL doing this until sometime in July...and then I was still not "on the ball" enough to take advantage of it fully.  It is however hurting a few pocket books...the social media, blogs, forums, etc are all a buzz at how this will hurt their budgets.  I personally will miss the free soap, pantyliners, and popsicles....as that is all I got for free.  I did, however, get some very good prices on lunch meat and ravioli with the doubles.

Here is a snip-it from the Fort Worth Star Telegram, "Kroger says it will stop doubling and tripling certain coupons at North Texas stores, effective Wednesday.
 
The grocery stores will continue to accept manufacturer coupons at face value, but the company wants to re-channel the expense into lowering prices, said Gary Huddleston, director of consumer affairs for Kroger's Southwest division.
 
"We have lowered a number of prices over the last six months," Huddleston said.

Kroger eliminated the practice in Houston this year. For example, a customer using a 40-cents-off coupon on a bottle of orange juice might have received 80 cents off with double coupons. Now she receives just the 40-cent discount.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/09/08/3348708/kroger-to-stop-doubling-tripling.html#ixzz1XqqNv1jb "
 
I have not noticed the lower prices...but then I really have not looked.  I have shopped at Wal Mart for my groceries and then Market Street (United) for a few certain items...that I would not know if Kroger has started lowering pries.  I do know, however, that Kroger is way over priced with or without their "lowered" pricing.  While using coupons, I enjoyed the savings...and will not shop there without the savings.  If the higher value coupons I have bring their prices low enough, I will shop there...if not...no biggie.  I will price match the few good deals at Walmart.  I need to think of my gas tank, too, afterall.
 
Here's the thing....I have not found all that many coupons that double or triple, for things I need.  Proctor and Gamble have VERY low value coupons and without doubling or tripling them...I will not buy them.  There are too many other options to waste money on a company that will not put out a decent coupon.  Gain has a 2.00 coupon out right now...Tide?  .25 cents!!!!  I mean, COME ON!!!! Gain is a better smelling product so I would rather have that, anyway.  .25 Cents is not enough of a savings to matter to me.  I am not extreme enough, I guess.
 
I am irritated that Kroger discontinued this program in our rotten economy and high rate of unemployment.  That shows a lack of compassion.  They are reimbursed for the coupons face value...and I SERIOUSLY do not think they were loosing money while doubling and tripling all these years.  If they were loosing money, they would have stopped this long ago.  This is corporate greed. 
 
Albertson's, Tom Thumb (with strict limits), and Brookshires still Double and Triple... I will keep this in my mind as I plan my shopping trips.
 
You can voice your opinion on BringBackDoubles.com
 
And for sure call Mr Gary Huddleston, director of consumer affairs for Kroger's Southwest division.
"If everyone wants to voice their opinion to Kroger, contact Gary Huddleston directly. He is the Director of Consumer Affairs and is quoted in the story. His direct line is 972-785-6004 and his cell number is 972-670-6814. His email address is gary.huddleston@kroger.com. This is all public information that I got off a PR news release website. Everyone call him today!" Read more: http://blogs.star-telegram.com/dfwjobs/2011/09/kroger-ending-double-and-triple-coupons-in-north-texas.html#ixzz1XqvRc7HG
 
"Let's go Krogering"  NOT SO MUCH.
 
Tiffany
 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Couponing for Two: Videos for the Beginner

I love watching short videos to help me learn.  I have a rather short attention span so these little 5 to 10 minute videos are just perfect.  I mention "Collin" from Hip2Save a lot and she has some of the best videos to help you learn the ins and outs of couponing.  She, recently, put out a series for the beginning couponer.  It is a 3 part series and is very informative. 



Please go to her site for part 2 and part 3.

Krazy Coupon Lady has quiet a few, as well. They also have a radio show that goes over various couponing topics.

To get really inspired about what you can get cheap and possibly FREE with coupons, go watch ShadyLane2121 on Youtube. Her website is Cut, Clip, Save, you can also access her videos from there.  I mentioned on another post that I really enjoy watching her videos showing her grocery shopping "hauls".  She is very down to earth and her husband, Clay, is a trip.  She was on Extreme Couponers last Spring and her episode re-runs often during TLC's Extreme Couponing Marathons.

Coupon Divas has a great video series on finding non-food items on the cheap.  She has some great videos on back to school shopping and shopping for the holidays.  Not just food and groceries with this Diva.

There are so many out there, just about every person featured on Extreme Coupining has a website and tutorial videos.  I am sure you will find one you "click" with and enjoy.  If you know of a good one, please share with us in the comments.

Happy Savings,

Tiffany

Happy Birthday to my Darling Hubbie David!!!!

Now doesn't he LOOK like he is having a great Brithday?

We went to his favorite place for lunch, Bone Daddy's.  he got lots of attention, but then we always do because the waitresses are really sweet there.  I think you have to have a pretty good personality and not take yourself too seriously working at a place like that.  We know the manager since we go pretty often and she comped us on just about everything...but not the Shiner.

David, I love you more than words can say and hope you have a WONDERFUL Birthday and year to come.  I will do my best to make sure you are happy, relaxed, and having fun!!!!

Tiffany

Monday, September 5, 2011

Couponing for Two: Online Resources and Couponing

Personally, I would be hard pressed to save even a penny if it were not for all of the online resources about couponing.  I watched TLC's Extreme Couponing, like most people, thinking "I could never do THAT!!!!"  But I decided to try.  I failed.  What happened was I got my Sunday paper, clipped a few coupons that I found interesting and went shopping.  That is NOT how to win at the couponing game.  I just did not know what I was doing wrong....but I am NOT one to lose.  I decided to do a bit of research, the only way I really know how these days...I went surfing online.

This is where I hit PAY DIRT!!!!  There are so many FREE tutorial and helpful sites online...there are even FREE COUPONS that you can print.  If you learn better by watching, there are even videos on YouTube.  Whatever your way of learning, I am sure you will find it with a quick Google or Yahoo! search.

Here are some of my favorites to get you started.

Hip2Save (my absolute favorite couponing site.  She gives you GREAT deals but also shows you how to get the deals without being too extreme)
We Use Coupons (A great site with lots of "forums")
A Full Cup  (This site is great because there are "forums" that are very active.  I am in Texas, and they even have a "Texas" forum so when talking about deals...they are in your own back yard)
Krazy Coupon Lady (a great site for up to the minute deals. I think, however, that some of the deals are reposted from other sites, so make sure you are using the correct coupons and they are not expired)
Couponing Divas (my most favorite site for making easy shopping lists.  She has every coupon that you can use with each item, too.  Her videos are also very helpful.  Some of the stores featured are regional, however.  The Albertson's in AZ, for example, has different sales than the Alberston's in Texas)
Cut Clip Save (You HAVE to watch their videos, too.  I get such a kick out of "Clay" and how excited he is over couponing.  Their youtube name is shadylane2121)

and to find free coupons that you print at home...

Coupons.com
Red Plum
Smart Source
Betty Crocker (you will need to create an acct but there are so many coupons, so worth it!!!!)
Proctor and Gamble (you can not print coupons from P&G but they will send you several via snail mail)

Also, most "brands" have coupons on their sites or facebook pages...just search around for them or follow the blogs like Hip2Save or Coupon Divas where they alert you when there is a coupon available.  Some of my favorite "brand" websites that ALWAYS have coupons are Uncle Ben's, Colgate, Michaelina's and Marie Calendar. 

All of these are a great way to find coupons but remember to always get a few Sunday papers because that is the BEST way to grow your coupon stash.

I hope these resources help you get started.

Happy Savings,

Tiffany

Friday, September 2, 2011

Vocal Point Product Review: Fresh Express Salad in a Bag

OMG I would have never bought this stuff if I did not have a coupon for a free bag.  Vocalpoint sent me a coupon so I could try and review this product.  IDK why they are doing this, this stuff is not new.  From experience, I knew what would happen...I open it, use a little out of the bag...close it up WITH the little clip they sent me...and by this afternoon it was brown.  Happens everytime I buy this stuff.  I was in a hurry and picked it up at Albertsons last night.  I knew I would only need a small amount for tacos and we would not be eating at home the rest of the weekend. 

I strongly do not recommend...not even if it is free, unless of course you do not plan to use much...but do not waste your time, money or energy opening the bag on this mess.  Unchopped lettuce is cheaper, fresher, and lasts a lot longer....and really?  How hard is it to chop some lettuce?

Oh...and it stinks when you open the bag. 

Tiffany

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Couponing for Two: Money Makers? Shake 'em like Somebody's Gonna Pay Ya

So this post will talk about "Money Makers" and what that entails.  You see that on all of the couponing blogs and wonder...."How can that be a "money maker"?  Why would they PAY me to take that home? 

A "money maker" is simply something that ends in the cost being less than the value of coupons...so you are not paying anything but the tax and sometimes have "overage" or even money in hand. 

Most stores will not actually PAY you to take an item home.  What happens is you will use the "overage" towards other items.  Another way to see it as being "paid" to take it home, is when your Extra Care Bucks or Register Rewards come to be more than what you paid out of pocket (oop). " Let’s say Walgreens has a promotion in which you earn a $5 Register Reward on your next purchase if you buy 10 Gillette shaving products. The least expensive Gillette product is shaving gel at $2 which you can buy for free by stacking a Walgreens $1/1 coupon with a Gillette manufacturer $1/1 coupon. With 10 Walgreens coupons and 10 Gillette coupons, you get 10 shaving gels for free plus a $5 Register Reward to use like cash on your next purchase! So you end up getting products for free and making $5" (from hip2save).

For example , this week at Walgreens, Estroven is on sale for 10.00 a box.  With the purchase of this you get a 10.00 Register Reward....so you see, it is even steven right there so the item is FREE....BUT there is a 3.00 coupon that you can print and hand over when you purchase a box and that just made this a "money maker".  You are still paying for the item, which was 10.00 minus the 3.00 coupons...so you are handing over 7.00 in cash (credit card, debit...whatever).  You get a 10.00 Register Reward back (that you have to use at Walgreens....but you know you are going to be buying something else at Walgreens anyway, right?).  The Register Reward is 3.00 greater than the cash you handed over...so you made money on this transaction. (I have no real need for Estroven, just yet, so this will be donated, of course.)



If you are buying something at Walmart, on the other hand, your "money makers" are seen as "overage" that you use for other items.  There is a video on youtube.com where a lady had so much overage, after coupons, that she was able to buy quiet a bit of items and did not pay anything but tax.  How this happened was she had 3.00 coupons for an item that was priced at 1.87 (or around that).  Since there was not a limit on size for the coupon, this was allowed.  The store will not be handing her the difference in cash but since she had other items to purchase this worked out because they will allow the overage to go towards other items.  So for each coupon she had 2.13 in "overage".  since she had several of these coupons and the item was something she could stockpile. the "overage" really added up.  For the average couponer, this will probably not happen too often....but even if you bought one of these items, you would have 2.13 to spend on something like produce, which rarely has a coupon. I usually only have a nickel or so in overage, so I do not get too excited about this.

I hope this helped clear the air about "money makers and "overage".

Happy Savings,

Tiffany

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Couponing for Two: Shopping at Target

I love shopping at Target but never really thought to buy groceries there unless I was there anyway and did not want to stop again.  But then, I would only pick up something for dinner and still have to get out another day to buy groceries at Walmart (Walmart used to be my "go to" place for all groceries before couponing).  Well since learning all about how to use coupons, sales, etc to maximise my savings while staying in budget, Target has become a weekly stop. (I am speaking of Super Target, the regular Targets do not always have grocery depts.)

I try to get to Target early in the week and in the morning hours.  I know, if you are working a 9 to 5, this might not work out...but do not write Target off, just go when you can.  I try to get there in the morning, because it is less crowded.  I am a leisurely shopping and take FOREVER to get down all the lanes...and yes, I go down most every lane in the joint...sometimes more than once.  I have always been like that so it has NOTHING to do with coupons.  And yes, I most always have a list but I still like to "piddle" (another one of Mawma's words).  And I try to go on Mondays or Tuesdays just because it fits in my schedule as the big grocery stores have new sales come out on Wednesday...and well, it just fits.  However...there is one more reason....CLEARANCE DEALS!!!!

Target seems to have the BEST deals on close out and clearance items.  You can not always find something, this week was a bust....but when you do?  WOW!!!!

Remember the post I did a few weeks ago?  It was titled "Who's that lady who went to her cupboard and her cupboard was bare?"  That post was not part of this series, but it was all about a recent Target shopping trip I made where I brought home a TON of things from their clearance shelves.  I bought things like Pasta Sauce, name brand...not generic (not that generics are bad, in fact some are the EXACT same thing as the name brand) that retails for around 2.99 / 3.99 for under .30 cents a jar.  Also, Uncle Ben's Rice (boxes, not pouches) for .75 cents minus the coupon (I do not remember what I used for that).  These items have a long shelf life and will be eaten long before they expire (some not until 2013).



This is what the Target clearance sticker looks like.  Very easy to spot, even when on the shelf with regular priced items.

You can go to "Who's that lady that went to her cupboards and her cupboards were bare?" to read a rundown of that shopping trip at Target.

A word on clearance and expiration dates:  You have to be careful with the expiration dates because right next to a pack of coffee that expired in March of 2012 was the exact same brand, size, look, etc of coffee that expired a few months ago.  I do not think they are supposed to have these things on the shelf after expiration but you have to do your part and double check.  I would not buy something like eggs, milk or cheese that was about to expire unless it could be put in the freezer or eaten right away.  I will, however, but something that might be about to expire if, for example,  it has a "sell by" date of 9/5/11 and it is 9/1/11 if I can take it home and put it in the freezer right away.  If you look close you will see it usually says "sell or freeze" by a certain date.  I have been doing this for awhile and nothing has happened to me yet.  If this makes you squeemish, just forget about it and save on something else so you can ignore this part of saving.

Oh, one more little reminder...you CAN use coupons on clearance deals...that just makes it sweeter!!!!

Another way to save big on items at Target is to look for things that are "bundled" together.  For example, on a recent trip I found Secret Deodorants bundled with a trial size of the Secret Body splash.  I paid regular price, minus a coupon, for the deodorant and got the Body Splash for free.  Target has a lot of deals like this, esp in the HBA area (HBA = Health and Beauty Aides).

 
A "peelie" is a coupon STUCK to a product,
that you "peel" off

 Also, remember to keep your eyes out for "peelies" while walking up and down the ailes.  These are little coupons that are stuck to the product (sometimes there are hangtags).  You do not have to use that coupon on the product, if you have a higher value coupon or one that is about to expire, just put the peelie in your coupon organiser and save it for another day.  Target seems to have more of these than other stores where I have been shopping recently.  Oh...and also special packaging where there might be coupons inside.  I bought some Crest toothpaste a few weeks ago that came with about 15.00 worth of coupons inside for other Proctor and Gamble products.


This is an example of a "hang tag"
(although this tag does NOT go with this product, I am just using it as an example...I sure hope the Coppertone goes on clearance before this Q expires so we can stock up for next Summer.)


This is an example of "stacking" a Target Q with a manufacture Q

Target has there own coupons, as well.  You can find them in special inserts in your Sunday paper or sometimes you might be lucky enough to get some mailed to you, like the highly sought after College Savings Booklet that came out.  I did not get one but I hear there were some fabulous coupons.  With Target coupons, you can get great deals when paired with a sale...but even better....you can STACK THESE WITH MANUFACTURE coupons and get an even better deal.

These are examples of Target Coupons you can clip for the Sunday Paper.

An example of Target Coupons that you can print out from Target.com

Finally, do not forget to stop by Targets travel section.   Make sure that your coupon will allow usage on the smaller size, if it says "ANY" or does not have a size limit, that means it is usually ok to use on a smaller size.  Also, remember to know your stores policy. The travel section can make for some awesome savings. Sometimes, you can even score a FREEBIE.  For example, I recently bought some Eucerine lotion that was marked .97 cents.  I paired that with a coupon for 1.00 off.  Now I could have went over to the HBA dept and bought a big ole bottle of Eucerine for about 7 bucks with the coupon...but instead I bought 4 of the little travel sizes...and did not pay a penny.  AND, I had .03 cents in overage from each tube to use on other items.  I know .12 cents does not sound like a lot but if you buy enough things with overages, you might easily pay for that candy bar you want.  Shopping in the travel section is also a way to "try out" a new product before you commit to a larger purchase.  And really?  Those 4 tubes of lotion that I got for FREE will last me until there is another coupons to get more...  You can also get things like Tide detergent, Cascade dishwasher tabs, Nutrigena make-up remover clothes, first aid kits, etc for free in the travel section.  If you have enough coupons and time on your hand, you could get enough Tide FREE to equal a larger container.  Tide is not cheap when bought the conventional way.

OMG, I almost forgot...there are usually coupons on clothing at Target, too.  Match these up with some of the sales or clearance clothing and you just might score a free t-shirt or 3.00 pair of summer capris, like I did last week.  I found some cute capri jeans on clearance for 5.99 and had a 3.00 off any plus size clothing coupon...and score!!!!  Since you can print out two of every coupon from each of your computers, I had two of these and used the other to score the free t-shirt, it was on clearance for 2.25 (around that).  If I had looked closer, I would have seen a coupon for 5.00 off any lady's denim, which would have made the jeans .99 cents...oh well, can't save all your pennies, I guess.  LOL.  if you do not find anything you like, maybe you can find an inexpensive item to donate?  They have lots of baby clothings coupons, too...so check out all the coupons on Target.com.

Please check out some of the other more experienced couponing blogs for a better tutorial on Target shopping.  I am sure they can explain and help you better understand.  Coupon Divas even has a guide where she tells you what coupons to use and what Target coupons to stack to get the best deals.  You can click on the deals you like and print out a customised shopping list.  I love that site.  Also, my other "go to" site, Hip2Save has videos where Collin walks you thru by letting you go on a shopping trip with her.

Happy savings,

Tiffany 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Couponing for Two: Coupons = Money and THAT Keeps the Joint Runnin'


Couponers get a bad rap....and THAT is just not fair.  I do not care if you are using cash, coupons, or food stamps...YOU are the CUSTOMER and with out CUSTOMERS the store will not stay open.  It is as simple as that.  (Let's back up a minute....I am speaking about customers who follow the rules.  Customers who do not abuse the system, but work it to save as much as possible.  I know there is a fine line there and different people have different definitions of "crossing it" and we could go back and forth all day long...so we will not go there.  We will just agree that you should not abuse the system.  Also, just like we will not approve of stealing, counterfeit money, etc etc...we will not approve of counterfeit coupons or the misuse of coupons...because that, too, is stealing.)....ok back to my rant....


When a customer buys a product with cash, the store will profit.  When a customer buys a product with cash and coupons, the store will profit.  When the customer gets an item for free because of couponing, the store will still profit.  These joints do not stay in business by giving things away for cheap or free...they are getting their money....believe you me (that is what my Mawma used to say..."believe you me" LOL). 

When you use a coupon the store is reimbursed from the manufacture and also paid .08 cents per coupon for a handling fee.  So really, they are making money on each coupon.  If you use an "in store" coupon, the store is still turning a profit because they work that into their marketing strategy.  It is a way to get you into the store to buy more items....just like the company pays to advertise...the "in store" coupons and promotions are in someway an advertisement.  Think about it this way....Walgreens is a HUGE company...they know what they are doing or they would not be as big as they are and staying in business for this long.  Your savvy couponing, no matter how clever you think you are, is not hurting them...they are smarter than you, most of the time.

Keep your cool and do not let the cashier bully you or make you feel less worthy as a CUSTOMER because you are using coupons.  Coupons are currency just as if you are using cash, credit, or whatever you use to trade. 

One way to make sure you know the rules of each store is to KNOW their coupon policy (and Price Matching Policy, if you are shopping at Wal Mart or Target).  You can find a nice long list of store policies at Coupon Diva's web site.  Print these policies out and keep them with your coupons (I keep a coupon binder and just stashed the policies in there).  I make sure I know the  policy before I challenge the cashiers, etc.  I would hate to end up with those cheap eggs I just bought all over my face.  Most of the time, believe it or not, the cashiers do not know the policy....I am still new to all of this and actually had to show a manager at Tom Thumb the policy.  She was extremely rude and informed me that she would "let this slide THIS time"...WTHeck?  THIS TIME?  Whatever.  (I just choose not to shop there now...their "deals" are not all that great and that store (Campbell and Coit) has more problems of their own to worry about...that has to be the WORST store in my area for not having their check-out lanes open...oh but that is yet another rant I have!!!!)

So what about other CUSTOMERS giving you "looks" and complaining about you using coupons.  Well, frankly, they can just go jump in the lake because it is really not anyone else's business how you spend your time or money.  And if they are so concerned about you taking too long in line, so what...they should have got their first and in the words of Krazy Coupon Lady, "Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey!"  You are paying the same as they are, you are just not spending as much.  Does that make sense now that I explained how the store gets reimbursed?  And if you have to "call the cashier out" about not taking a coupon or not doubling it, or whatever...it is the same as letting her know that she over charged your Visa or did not give you back the right change in cash.  I am sure the lady behind you, "rolling her eyes" would not be "ok" with getting the wrong change back.  Just because she is paying CASH where you are using COUPONS, does not make her more worthy of a customer than you...it just means you are much much smarter with your money.  Now did your confidence in being a "Crazy Coupon Lady" just go up a notch? 

Just stick to your guns, know your policies and store rules, and keep your head up knowing that the 50% (and more) you are saving will look just fabulous on your feet in the form of a new pair of shoes.

Now get to clipping....and start saving lots of money.

Tiffany

Friday, August 26, 2011

Couponing for Two: Shopping at Walgreens

Walgreens is a national drug store chain, like CVS, that you find on most any corner in a major US city.  Other drug stores, like Walgreens and CVS include Rite Aid and Duane Reed, however we do not have either of these in Dallas, Texas so I am focusing on Walgreens and CVS.  This post will be about shopping and saving at Walgreens.


Before becoming focused on saving money, I thought of Walgreens as the place to get my photos developed, for cheap with their weekly photo deals.  However, that is where the savings would end because when I went into Walgreens to pick my photos up...I would buy a bunch of stuff I did not need, without coupons, without sales, and IF I got a Register Reward back, I did not know what to do with it so it so it sat in the bottom of my purse expiring.

I will admit, I am still learning but I have saved a lot in the process and look forward to saving more as I get more Walgreens experience.  One thing I am learning is how to READ their sales.  For example this week Walgreens had the Keebler brand of SOME cookies and SOME crackers on sale for 4/10.00.  Now that, right there, is a better price than the Walmart down the street where the Keebler Fudge Stripes, for example, are 2.68.  However, we are not stopping the savings with the sale price.  This week along with the sale price, you get 5.00 in Register Rewards back to use on a future transaction.  This has now dropped the price down to 4/5.00.  If you have coupons to pair up with this "deal" it will get even lower.  I got it down to 4/3.00 (with 1.00/2 Rice Krispies Treats and 1.00/2 Keebler Cookies coupons minus the 5.00 in Register Rewards Makes these 4/3.00 or .75 cents a box!!!!)  Now that beats Walmarts 2.18 a box (wyb 2 and after the 1.00 off coupons).  Please note that you must read the sales ad and buy the number it states to get these prices and the Register Rewards as Walgreens can be a bit pricey when you buy just one (on a 2 for $.$$ or 4 for $.$$ sale, the sale price is not divided by 2 if you just by one...and you will not get the Register Rewards unless you buy the number the ad states to buy).

Ok...now what about these Register Rewards?  Well, I think Collin from Hip 2 Save can explain it best, "Register Rewards (a.k.a. Catalina coupons) are manufacturer coupons that print out from a Catalina machine at the register after you have completed your transaction. The Register Rewards print out after you buy a participating product, which may be advertised in Walgreens weekly ad. There are also Register Reward deals that are not advertised in the weekly ads but are posted inside the store.

Register Rewards are manufacturer coupons. When you have a RR in hand to use, you can only use ONE RR per item purchased. For example: If you are purchasing three items, you can use up to a combination of three manufacturer coupons and/or RRs. If you attempt to use more than three, the register will beep. If you run into a situation where you have more manufacturer coupons/RRs to use than products, look for “filler” items to add to your purchase. Fillers are inexpensive items, and they allow you to apply more coupons at checkout. Great options for filler items include clearance merchandise, small candies, and pencils. Note: Walgreens store coupons do NOT count towards your coupon-to-item ratio. In other words, the register will not beep if you are using more Walgreens coupons than items.

If you purchase more than one of the same Register Reward participating item per transaction, you will only receive one Register Reward–NOT two! In order to get more than one RR coupon when purchasing more than one of the same qualifying items, request that each item be rung up on a separate transaction. However, you can purchase different Register Reward qualifying items in the same transaction, and you will receive one RR for each DIFFERENT qualifying Register Reward item purchased.

Another important thing to note is that Register Reward deals do NOT roll! This means that if your receive a $2RR for purchasing Huggies diapers, you cannot use this same RR to purchase another package of Huggies diapers and expect another $2RR to be generated.

You CAN use Register Rewards from a different deal to pay for another Register Reward deal–which means you can roll Register Rewards from different deals to help lower your out-of-pocket expense.
If a RR does not print, make sure that the Catalina machine is on (Note: You should see a blinking green light.) and that you bought EXACTLY the right variety of product that was supposed to generate the RR. If you still feel that you should have received a RR, you can have the cashier delete the transaction and ring your items up again OR you can leave the store and call the Catalina company directly. You can reach Catalina at 1-888-8coupon: Have your receipt in hand and state which items in your purchase should have triggered a RR. Catalina will review your transaction and will mail you a RR, within two to three weeks, if you should have received one."(from Hip2Save)

The hardest part to remember, but you must not forget, is to NOT use a Register Reward from Proctor and Gamble, for example, on another Proctor and Gamble "deal"...or a Colgate RR on another Colgate "deal".  You can use them...but you will NOT get another RR back...and well...then their goes the savings.  You have to have time to shop in Walgreens and lots and lots of patients.

Another thing to "get the hang of" at Walgreens is their STORE COUPONS.  These are either found in the weekly ads, in their monthly coupons books (both can be found at the front of the store), special "helpful" pamphlets, etc.  Keep your eyes peeled and do not be afraid to ask the pharmacy, beauty counter, or even the manager if they have any special coupons out.  They are there to help you and SHOULD be happy you are doing business in their store.  You are the customer, do not let them treat you any different just because you are using coupons (more on that in another post).

The STORE COUPONS can be "stacked" with your manufacture coupons.  This really helps the savings add up.  Just imagine if you can stack a store and a manufacture coupon on a sale item that also gives you back Register Rewards...oh goodness, I think I just got a hot flash.  For more info on this please see HIp2Save's Walgreens Store Guide (by the way, this is one of my MOST FAVORITE websites for couponing).

Now...would you like to see this in action?

Transaction one:
This was from last weeks sales cycle but when I went into Walgreens to get a Dallas Morning News Early Sunday Edition for some coupons, I saw they had restocked the Scope Mouthwash and wanted to pick some up.  (This is an example of when you must buy 2.  The Scope was 2/6.00 then you got back some Register Rewards.  I think it was 3.00 in Register Rewards.  I had a coupons for the Scope (.75/1, I had 2  which brought them down to 2/4.50, then I got back the RR)

Transaction 1
2 Scope Mouthwash (2/6.00 - 2  .75Qs and 3.00 RR)
1 DMN Sunday Paper 3.00
This transaction came to 7.50 but I had 5.00 in Register Rewards from earlier in the week, so it was 2.50 oop (out of pocket).

Transaction 2
2 Sugar Free Nips (2.19 BOGO sale, no coupon)
3 Mentos (clearance .75 a piece - 1.00/3 Coupon)
Gummie Bears (.70 on clearance)
2 Walgreens Brand Cold Med (1.29 on clearance but these do not expire until 2012 sometime)
Sandals (clearance 3.24 down from 12.99)
All of this came to 34.05 before the savings. After all the WAGS (Walgreens) savings, Coupons (but I only had 1 regular coupon) and Register Rewards (I used the one I got from the 3 - 3.00 RRs I got from a previous transaction that were about to expire) So this transaction came to 1.30 oop (out of pocket).

That entire trip was 3.80 oop....and I got a really comfy pair of Sandals and my DMN with lots of Coupons in it.  I also still have 3.00 in RR from the Scope "deal" not to mention I did not use all of the RR I had from the previous week.

Now on to the current week's sales cycle:


The above photo shows FOUR different Transactions that I did on Monday of this sale cycle.  I had to wait for Ms Dixie Lee to get done with her Spa Day so I needed to kill some time.  We will call them Transactions 3, 4, 5, and 6. Transaction 3 (at Beltline WAGS)
1 pack of Viva Paper Towels (5.99 on sale minus 1.00 WAGS Q and 1.00 Internet Printed Q = 3.99)
2 Crest Toothpaste (2/5.00 on sale minus 2 .75Qs and 3 RR = .50 cents for two tubes *great stock-up price if you can not find it free)
1 Colgate Sensitive Whitening (4.99 on sale minus 1.50Q and 4.00 RR = -.51 cents *here is your FREE toothpaste and even better it is a money maker...I do not use this toothpaste but I can easily donate...I can, however, use a .51 cents MM**)
Cold and Sinus Meds (2.29 on clearance...this is something I defiantly use and I needed a "filler"***)
The total oop for all of this was 3.37 cents because I had a 10.00 RR from last week.  I could have used a 3.00 RR to get my oop lower but I simply forgot. (remember I got 4 RR from Colgate and 3 RR from Proctor and Gamble - Crest so I am really UP 3.73)

Transaction 4 (still at Beltline WAGS)
I repeated Transaction 3 with the exception of adding the following:
2 Reese's PNB Cups (2/1.79)
1 Coke Zero (1.59 minus a .75 Q wyb 1 Coke and 1 Reese's product...I needed a "filler" item so I went ahead and bought 2 Reese's)
I used another 10.00 RR from last week and the 3.00 RR from my Scope "deal" from Transaction 1.  My oop on this transaction was .87 cents.  Even though I bought more, my oop was lower because I had more RR.  I did not use any of the RR I got from Transaction 3 because I was repeating the Colgate and the Crest deal in this transaction.  If I had used wither of those RR, another one would not have printed out...making the deal not so great on these products.  So in this transaction I got all of this and lunch (the coke and candy...LOL)

Not wanting to be a "shelf clearer" on some of these items, I headed over to a Walgreens closer to home.  The one I was at for the above Transaction was near Dixie Lee's groomer.

Transaction 5
Colgate Sensitive (4.99 minus 1.50 Q minus 4 RR = .51 cents MM)
Tape (.39 cents with WAGS in-store Q..a "filler" and something we needed)
Total oop .91 cents because I used a 3.00 RR from the Crest "deal". (but I got a 4.00 RR from the Colgate "deal", this is what we call "rolling" so I basically traded in the Proctor and Gamble / Crest RR of 3.00 for a 4.00 RR from Colgate PLUS got more toothpaste and tape.  Personally, I would rather have the Colgate RR to use later on than a Proctor and Gamble RR, the Colgate will be much easier to use since "Proctor and Gamble" has so many products and are harder to "roll".)

Transaction 6
Colgate Sensitive (yep more...we are "set" for toothpaste and I am donating what we do not need.  Remember, this is FREE and a money maker after all is said and done)
Skippy Peanut Butter (2.00 on sale with WAGS in store Q stacked with a manufacture q of 1.00 = 1.00, not a bad stock-up price)
Tape (again, we needed it and I think I needed a "filler" again)
This transaction came to .88 cents oop, that is less than the sale price of the peanut butter.  I used the other Crest / Proctor and Gamble 3.00 RR from the earlier transaction and a 1.00 RR from another product last week.  And remember I got back another 4.00 in RR from the Colgate "deal", yet again.

So for those 4 transaction, that took less than an hour (with travel time and another stop) I picked up a few things for my stockpile. some items to donate, and lunch (remember the coke and candy?) for only 6.03 oop (and could have been as low as 3.03, if I had remembered to use a 3.00 RR in Transaction 3).  I have 20.00 RR left from this days transaction and even some left from the previous week (the previous week's RRs were in larger denominations so they are a bit trickier to use).  One way I like to look at this is I would have paid almost 6.00 just for 1 of the Viva Paper Towels without coupons at Wal-Mart so all the other stuff is bonus.

And believe it or not...I was not done with Walgreens this week.

I had some time to kill before seeing my niece Cheer at her first football game so I stopped in at Walgreens to pick up some drinks and ice for the game.  Since I was there ...

I picked up:
More Colgate Sensitive (I have quiet a few coupons for this stuff)
Total oop .49 cents because I used a RR from last week.

Instead of pocketing that Colgate RR, I "rolled" it onto the following transaction:
1 AMP Energy Drink (on sale .99)
3 Vitamin Waters (3/4.00 with WAGS in ad coupon)
Sucker (.59 "filler")
oop.....   .58 cents because I used the 4.00 Colgate RR.  I did not expect anything to crank out of the catalina (where the register rewards come from) machine but I got a coupon for a free Gatoraid bar and a free Gatoraid drink.  The store was out so I will have to save that one for another time.

This last trip was unexpected but only took me all of 5 minutes run in / run out.  This is what I am working towards with Walgreens...a fast run in and get what I need and "roll" my RR so I am out of pocket very little.

After all of that, looking back at the pics, it does not seem like I got all that much.  LOL.  And really?  I didn't.  It just took a bit to explain it and not everything is pictured.  Once you get the hang of it, it will not take long at all to do your shopping.  And considering I was oop so little compared to the RR I got back and the products I got, I am ok with that.  Use the websites to help you pick your deals, organise your coupons and get to saving. (websites like A Full Cup, Cut Clip Save, Krazy Coupon Lady, and Hip2Save)

(notes:  **Money Maker or MM= when you buy an item that, after coupons, sales, and Register Rewards you are coming out ahead or making money.  You will not get CASH back but your RR will be more than the item cost you oop.  This is when you will pick something up you do not usually use and either give it a try or donate it to someone who can use it.  I will be giving lots of stuff to the Assisted Livings around here.  ***Fillers are very inexpensive items you add to a transaction to make it possible to use your manufacture coupons.  A Register Reward is considered a manufacture coupon.  You have to have more items than manufacture coupons in a transaction.  If you were to purchase 2 Scopes and 2 Skippy Peanut Butter in one transaction and then use a clipped coupon for each item then use a Register Reward you got from another transaction, you would need ONE filler item to make the items equal the number of coupons.  WAGS in-store coupons do not count toward this total.)

I hope all of this makes sense to you.  There are many videos and tutorials on the web.  Look at Hip2Save's videos, she has them for most every store.  The Walgreens info can be found here. 

Walgreens is very confusing but if you have the patients to learn the system you will save a lot of money.  You, most likely, will not use Walgreens to stock up on anything very fast...look at how many transactions it took for me to get all that toothpaste.  This week, I had plenty of down time where I was waiting for something...times where I had to fill up my time out of the house. Most weeks, I will go in on Sunday and maybe once more through out the week.  We have several Walgreens around here and running to Walgreens is like running to the corner store.  If there is a great deal on something and I have the time and coupons to make it work...I will go a few times and take advantage of it.  I do not like buying a lot of something at one time because I do not want to take up all of the stock or cashiers time.  Every time I think the store is not crowded and start my transactions, as soon as I am done with one there is a line behind me...and I am not THAT lady, ya know...that makes everyone wait and wait while I run through 5 transactions.  Plus, I keep thinking if I do that Walgreens will get tired of it and change their rules...and then it will be ALL my fault.. (this is just in my mind..I know it would not be ONLY because of me, right?)

I just counted up all of my Register Rewards that I can use next week...I have about 44.00 in Register Rewards.  I should not be oop ANYTHING.  I think I might get some photos developed, too.  Walgreens has a great sale coming up so I am sure I can find lots that I need...or maybe just a bunch of candy?  ha ha.

I hope this series is inspiring you to start clipping, rolling, and saving!!!!

Tiffany  


Ok...here is another Walgreen's trip...you know I had one more in me...LOL







This was actually the Keebler "deal" I talked about at the first of this post.  I did NOT buy more Colgate, it is just in the photo because it was "there"...





Here is the transaction:
6 Dawns (.99 with in-ad coupon stacked with a manufacture coupon .50 = .49 cents each)
2 Keri lotions(5.99 on sale minus 2.00 manufacture coupon and then you get 5.00 in Register Rewards back = 2.00 Money Maker.  All of the Wags have been out of this and I had several coupons just wasteing away)
2 boxes Rice Krispie Treats(not shown) and 2 Keebler Cookies (see deal at top of post)
Sucker (.59 cents "filler")
I used a 10.00 RR (about to expire), a 5.00 RR, and a 3.00 RR (about to expire) and was oop 1.48 plus I got back 15 Register Rewards.  What...What???!!!???  LOL

Now I need to cool it with the toothpaste, dish soap, and junk food.  Well, maybe not the toothpaste as it is donatable and FREE but the junk food would not make it to the donation site....