Monday, March 28, 2011

Swagbucks - A way to earn Amazon $ and prizes!

I have a widget on the side of my blog, but here is another one.

Search & Win

I started using Swagbucks as my browser about 2 months ago. It rewards you points or "swagbucks" for doing internet searches (the ones you do anyway), answering short polls/surveys, using internet printable coupons (that you use anyway in grocery stores and such), and purchasing things via the internet that you were going to purchase anyway.

You can then use these "swagbucks" in the SwagBuck Store. There are a bunch of different prizes, but my favorite is the $5 Amazon gift card. In 2 months I have earned 4 of these!!!!

It is a really fun thing to do. If you click on my widget, I am rewarded with the same amount of bucks you earn..up to 1000 SB. Then when you refer someone, it is the same thing! $20 in Amazon stuff is pretty good for just 2 months of surfing the internet like I normally would!

Walmart Trip 3/28 - They Actually "Paid" Me to Shop!


Okay, so you know how I mentioned that Walmart has changed their policy to let the customer keep the overage from coupons. Well, my trip today is a good example of how that can work out awesomely. This is the best I have ever done on a shopping trip and I expect it will stay that way awhile. (NO, I did not clear any shelves. I left plenty product behind. Yes, I plan on sharing some of least maybe with people who do not make fun of me for this purchase!)

This is what I purchased:

(3) 28 oz cans of Allen's Green Beans @ $2/each

(1) 42 oz bottle of Kraft BBQ sauce @ $2.42

(1) 44 oz bottle of Hunts Ketchup @ 1.72

(1) 8 count package of Glad reusable/disposable snack size containers @ $2.28

(1) KY jelly (S has GI issues and this comes in handy - she can "hate" me later for telling you that) @ $2.74

(1) 3 ct package of Bic Soleil Bella Razors @ $5.77

(3) Revlon Fingernail Clippers @ $1.96 (these are always disappearing around the I like to keep a few put up)

(1) 11 oz bottle Gain Diswahing Liquid @ .97

(4) 64 load bottles of Arm and Hammer OxiClean liquid Laundry Detergent @ $7.97/each

(2) 145 load boxes of Arm and Hammer Alpine Fresh Powder detergent @ 12.47 each

(1) 110 load box of Arm and Hammer Oxi Clean Powder detergent @ 12.47

(10) 40 ct Gain Dryer Sheets Original Scent @ 1.87 each

(10) 40 ct Gain Dryer Sheets Island Fresh Scent @ 1.87 each

Coupons I Used:

(20) $3/1 Gain Coupons (they were in the Sunday paper at some point..but I got the large number from a coupon service on ebay. I paid some - but it was much less than I even made in overage from the coupons)

(7) Free A&H laundry detergent up to $13.99 value. (was a manufacturer coupon but I purchased it again from eBay..for over $100 less than the value of the coupons)

(1) .75/1 Kraft BBQ (Sunday paper a couple of weeks ago)

(1) $2/1 Bic Razors (3/27 Sunday Paper)

(1) $2/1 KY Jelly (3/27 Sunday paper)

(1) $1/1 Gain dish detergent (P&G coupon book - if you go to their website and request one they will mail you one - it has lots of good coupons)

(3) $2/1 Revlon Beauty Tools (Internet printable coupon. I think I got it from Target's website, but it is a manufacturer coupon)

The total price of the products before coupons: $134.81

Total after coupons = $22.57 OVERAGE! I then paid $11.50 in tax out of the overage, so they handed me $10.28 cents back!!!!

My 3/27 CVS trip..Week 1 of Challeging myself

CVS is such a fun place to shop!  I love seeing how far I can make $ stretch there while buying only the things I need.  As you might remember from my previous post, I am challenging myself to see how long it takes to spend $10 (envelope method) at CVS.  I am not counting tax in the $10 spending, because tax could easily be close to 10 if not 10 in one good buy.  I might get everything in my cart for "Free" but still spend $10 on tax.

I start out this week with $38 ECB (see previous post for explanation).

I do not have a picture this week because as soon I got home I had to do something and before I could get it done, J had put up everything.  (I am not complaining, just explaining the lack of a picture of the products.)

Here is what I bought (prices listed are sales prices):

(6) Arm and Hammer Laundry Detergent 32 loads -  Retail $7.69 each
(4) Axe Body Wash - Retail $4.50 each  
(2) Clean and Clear Body Wash - Retail $2.99 each
(1) Skintamite Shaving Gel - Retail $2.39
(1) Physicians Formula Conceler Stick - Retail $6.39 


(3) Free Arm and Hammer Detergent coupons (matched with BOGO sale) - (These were found on ebay..I had to pay a little for them but not near what they were worth - no more really than getting the sunday papers would be) 

(2) BOGO Axe coupons  (These were in the 3/27 Sunday Paper)

(1) BOGO Clean and Clear coupon (3/27 Sunday Paper) Retail $2.99 each

(1) $2/1 Clean and Clear IP (You can print these out from Clean and Clears website)

(1) 0.55 skintamite coupon (Sunday Paper - warning on this one..there seems to be a problem with the bar code and it is not scanning right.  Hopefully you will get a nice cashier like mine who will override it for you)
(1) 10 ecb
(2) 5 ecb

Total oop: 0.00 with 0.23 cents overage.  Tax was $4.92 but they gave me 55 cents because my coupon would not scan so that made it $4. 37 after tax.

I spent $20 in ecb..but got $14.50 back. Putting this with the ecbs I have left from last week that I did not use I currently have $32.50 in ecb!

ECBs on this transaction:  (1) $7 for Physicians formula concealer,  (1) 2.50 for Skintamite gel,  (1) $5 for Axe Body Wash. 

Total savings:  $69.92 (using sale prices other than the BOGO laundry..because I do not remember the before sale price on anything else)

Total spent toward $10 challenge: $0!!!!!

If you are one of the people that must count tax then $4.37 (see I got lots of stuff for "free" but tax put me almost half way to $10).  

Saturday, March 26, 2011

CVS challenge..

I have seen several other people and blog do this, so I thought I would give it a try. I am going to see how many products I can get for $10 out of pocket at CVS (this excludes ECBs. Here is a link to one post about a $10 challenge. Here is another (that is mentioned in the previous link) Frugal Mom..

When doing this search I decided to add Frugality is Free to my favorite coupon blogs!

I will be blogging here to see how far I can make $10 go. I am starting out with the ECBs I collected from last week. There are 38 of them...which is like $38. A second part of the challenge is to see if I can end the $10 with still having a decent amount of ECBs. I don't expect to still have $38 worth..but I would like to still have at least $10 on hand. ECBs are not counted in the $10..just purely $10 cash money. I want to see what the $ amount of the worth of my purchases ends up being. (I will also be using manufacturer coupons as well as the ECBs. I will post when I use a coupon). I will NOT be counting tax in any of this as it could easily eat up $10 quickly seeing that TN has an almost 10% tax rate on EVERYTHING!

My new hobby - COUPONING!

Yes, I am one of those "crazy couponers".  However, I promise if you get behind me in line I will not make you wait for my multiple transactions.. I will step aside in between and let you go.  (However, I save so much $ if you have time you might want to stick around and see how I do it..after all it is pretty cool!)  I did not come up with any of this stuff myself really..I have to credit the sources I am learning it from: sites like the Krazy Coupon Lady , Coupon Divas , Hip2Save, and the ladies on Coupon Newbies over on BabyCenter.

You may have seen the shows on TV where people go grocery shopping and get $600 worth of food for $2.  I have never done that.  In my state it is not even possible.  TN has a nearly 10 percent sales tax on everything including food.  That means that the register would have said at least $60 or matter what.  It is for that reason I count my $ saved in pre-tax.  After all, I would have paid the tax anyway so it does not count in savings.  There is no way around paying sales tax (unless you are a not-for-profit organization which average people are not).

My favorite grocery store is Kroger.  The one here is nice and clean and MOST of the staff is nice.  On a Kroger trip I typically save about 50-60 percent when I am seriously using coupons.  Their mega sales are great..especially when combined with coupons.  An example of this was this past week.  Ronzoni pasta was on sale for .49 if you buy 10.  There were several printable coupons out for $1/2 boxes.  Combining the sale with the coupons made the pasta FREE (excluding tax..if you are on such a tight budget you have to include tax in the amount..then in TN it would be about $1 for 20 boxes of pasta provided you had 10 coupons).  Some Krogers also either double or triple coupons up to .50  which can also increase your savings.  The things that make the Kroger bill go high for me are meat, milk, and produce.  They rarely have coupons and lately most of the "sales" on them have been nothing to blog about!

Target is another store I like to coupon at.  I do not buy a lot there, but I do buy some.  The cool thing about Target is that they have store coupons and allow you to "stack" them with manufacturer coupons.  This is especially cool with high $ coupons.  (They do not double coupons)  An example of this was one of my purchases today.  I got a box of Excedrin for free. I combined a $1/1 Target Q with a $3/1 manufacters Q.  The price of the Excedrin was $3.89 so it was free after the coupons!

Walmart can also be fun to coupon at if you have high $ coupons.  If the value of the coupon is more than the price of the product..they let you keep the overage.  For instance if you have a $3/1 coupon and the item is on sale for $1.50..then you have $1.50 to apply to something else!

Walgreens is fun..but in my experience it is hit or miss on how nice cashiers/managers are.  A couple of Wags near me are AWESOME!  Others...not so much..I'll just bless their hearts and hush now..  Anyways..Wags has really good sales some weeks and will also let you combine your manufacturer coupons with their store coupons (some stores are really strict on the coupon limit and will not let you do another transaction but some are not).  They have what is called Register Rewards (RR).  These are "coupons" that print out after your purchase for $ off your next purchase of anything - that means they act like CASH so do not loose them!  Sometimes they are for less than you paid for the items - but it is still $ back!  Other times it is for the same amount as the purchase, making the item essentially FREE.   If you do multiple transactions you can "roll" the RR through in one day..that is you can start out paying $10 or so and get RR and then use them to get other things that have RR and then use those RR...and so on (and you get the RR even if you used coupons on the product that made it free..however you can not use RR to pay for the same product again and get more RR only different products).  It is possible to pay $10 or less for over $100 worth of stuff some weeks..but not always.  That is on the extreme end of things.

Probably my favorite couponing store right now is CVS.  They have good sales a lot of weeks and they also have a program similar to Wags RR, only they call it Extra Care Rewards (ECB - extra care bucks).  You can do the same thing I mentioned above..only use the ECBs and you have to have a card (like the Kroger card..but for CVS) to get the discount.  The card is free, you just have to apply for it.  Last week I paid $10 for my first transaction and then did 2 more transactions.  I ended up with about $75 worth of stuff for $10...well almost $11. Later on I went back and bought more stuff, but I did not roll my transactions.  I kept my ECBs to use this week (and coming weeks).  I will just buy more stuff that I can use (or donate as I am making a stockpile of donations for something I am planning on doing at Christmas time) that has ECBs and keep them "rolling".  It will be fun to see how much I spend OOP (excluding ECBs as those are rewards and not out of my household budget $).

I get most of my coupons from the Sunday paper and printable sites such as, Smart Source, and Red Plum.  Companies also often give coupons to people who "like" them on facebook.  You can also go to pretty much any major companies websites and sign up for newsletters and coupons.  If you email a company and tell them how much you love their product, they often will send coupons to you as well!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First post - Introduction

After many attempts at blogs and always changing what I wanted the theme to be, I decided to make one blog that encompasses everything.  I entitled it "Learning as I Go" because that is what I feel like I am doing.  There will be all kinds of topics from saving money via sales and coupons to family fun times to my children and how we deal with their unique challenges and diagnoses.

I am Dana and I am 34.  I have my RN, but am currently a SAHM.  My husband is full time Air National Guard.

We have 3 children.

S is the oldest.  She is 6 and has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  She is a smart, highly inquisitive and loving child.

IE is the middle child.  He is also our only boy and is 4.  He has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and is currently being evaluated for other problems.  He is a sweet child and is incredibly, unbelievably smart.

C is the baby.  She is 2 and is a delight!