Monday, June 30, 2008

Free sample of Ponds Wet Towellettes and Celine Dion perfume

From the website: These soft, textured cloths offer the convenience of cleansing and makeup removal anytime, anywhere. Try all three varieties here.

From the website: Introducing the fragrance that invites every woman to shine in her own spotlight — Celine Dion Sensational. It is the ultimate expression of inspiration, strength and confidence. The fragrance opens with a bright burst of icy pear, stirs the senses with intoxicating notes of mimosa and jasmine, and warms the heart with deep amber and musk. It's a moving and magnetic fragrance that celebrates every woman's passion and power to captivate. Order your sample here.

CVS shopping, week of 6/29-7/05

I'll post the picture of all the goodies later tonight. This is what I got at CVS yesterday:

  • Cottonelle toilet paper big rolls (12-pk) - on sale for $4.99 (ends today, tomorrow - $5.99)
  • CVS/Gold emblem drinking water (24-pk) - on sale for $2.99 (ends today, tomorrow - $3.99)
  • Accu-Check blood monitoring kit - on sale - FREE after ECB (limit 1)
  • Crest toothpaste Baking soda & peroxide 6.4 oz - on sale for $1.99 + earns $1ECB (limit 1)
  • Stayfree ultra thin pads 32 ct x 2 - on sale for $4.49, earns $1.50ECB (limit 1)
  • Lady SpeedStick orchard blossom 3.2 oz - on sale for $1.99
  • Bic Soleil razor - $6.99
  • Bic Soleil cartridges - $6.99 (if purchased with razors, earns $5ECB) - this is a July monthly deal, limit 5 per card/household

Coupons used:
- $1 off Cottonelle TP (from the paper, but there's also a printable here)
- $1 off Crest (from the paper a few weeks back)
- Stayfree - buy one get one free (from yesterday's paper)
- $2 off Stayfree (home mailer); there's also a $1 printable coupon here
- $1.50 CVS coupon for Lady SpeedStick (printed on receipt)
- Buy Soleil razor, get 4 pk. cartridges free
- $4 off Soleil razor or cartridges (from yesterday's paper) ; there's also a $2 printable coupon here.

Paid with ECBs (+ less than $3 out of pocket), ECBs earned: $9.99 (for Accu-Check) + $5 (for Soleil) + $1.50 (for Stayfree) + $1 (for Crest toothpaste) = $17.49 ECBs :)

There's also a Physician's formula mascara that's free after ECBs this week, but our store didn't have any in stock :( I'll check back later to see if I can get it. I may also get Gold Emblem Premium Nuts that are on 2-day sale for $2.99 - their dark chocolate covered almonds are the best I've tried lately.

Friday, June 27, 2008

CVS ad 6/29-7/05 preview + July monthly deals

Here is next week's CVS ad (note that your actual ad may vary slightly depending on what part of the country you live in).

July monthly deals booklet is here.

Sunday paper (6/29) coupons preview is here.

Free hearing aid batteries

Get free sample pack of hearing aid batteries from Energizer and Duracell (upper right corner).

Free sample of Purex

Order your free sample of Purex laundry detergent here.

*While supplies last. Please allow up to 6 weeks for the sample to arrive.
U.S. Only-one sample per household.

Free samples from Staples

From the website: Want to see Staples Copy & Print Online high quality printing for yourself? Request your free samples today! We'll send you a package consisting of many of our sample products. Please fill in the form below for your samples. If you are already a customer please login to place your samples request.

4 days left to get $10 in your college savings account ++

Remember my post about Upromise? Well, guess what? Not only they give you $10 for signing up before June 30th, but for a limited time they also give you $5 for each friend you refer. If you are already a member, check your email (or their website) and invite your friends. Saving for college could not be easier! :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CVS shopping 6/22-6/28 - continued

I've been to CVS twice since the last update. To my surprise both girls liked the SoyJoy bars, so I was glad to find some more while they are free after ECBs (limit for this deal is 5, so you can get 20 bars free). I also bought Colgate toothpaste (which is a money maker this week with coupon), some more Charmin and also Bounty and Duracell - to finish off the weekly deal (spend $20 get 10ECBs) and also CVS cotton swabs which are a monthly deal (buy 1 get 2ECBs, and to make the deal sweeter, I could also use $.50 coupons that were in the packages with cotton balls purchased earlier this week). Huggies baby wash is another monthly deal (get 2ECBs and there was a coupon in last week's paper), I had coupons for free Barilla (from a survey several months ago) that were about to expire, and Johnson's buddies soap was free with this coupon (and I had 3 more clipped from parenting magazines).

Transaction# 1:

- Charmin UltraSoft toilet paper 12 big rolls
- Johnson's Buddies soap x 4
- CVS tissues - family size
- Duracell coppertop AA batteries - 8 pk
- Bounty Basic paper towels 8 rolls
- Barilla elbow macaroni 1 lb box x 2
- Huggies baby wash 15 fl oz
- Colgate Total Advanced 4 oz
- Colgate Total Whitening 4.2 oz
- CVS cotton swabs 500 ct x 2
- SoyJoy bars berry x 4
- SoyJoy bars raisin & almond x 4

Used coupons for free Barilla, 4 x $1 off Johnson's buddies, $.50 off Duracell (peelie on the package), 2 x $1.50 off Colgate, 2 x $.50 off CVS cotton swabs, $1 off Huggies baby wash, $.25 off Bounty (found on the shelf); paid with existing ECBs (and under $3 out of pocket).

ECBs earned: $10 for Charmin/Bounty/Duracell + $8 for SoyJoy bars + $4 for Colgate + $4 for CVS cotton swabs + $2 for Huggies = $28 ECBs to spend :)

Transaction# 2:

- All small & mighty 3x concentrated, 32 loads x 2 (BOGO sale)
- SoyJoy bars (assorted flavors) x 8
Coupons used: 2 x $1 off All small & mighty (one from last weeks paper, one printable); paid with existing ECBs (and under $1 out of pocket).

ECBs earned: $8 for SoyJoy bars.

Baby freebies - diapers, baby food / coupons

As promised to my brother-in-law, a proud papa of an adorable 1-month old, I'm posting some more sign up links for baby freebies and coupons that we have personally used when our daughters were younger. I'm actually happy to see that these companies are still around and are still offering savings and freebies for new parents.
  • Luvs Welcome kit: Be one of the first moms to take a stand against pricey diapers by signing up below to receive our exclusive Luvs Welcome Kit. This free package (available while supplies last) includes: an exclusive $5-off Luvs coupon, a fun coloring page for your kiddo, a refrigerator door-worthy copy of the Luvs Moms Mantra.
  • Pampers Gifts to Grow: Join today and you'll be automatically entered into one monthly draw to win a year's supply of Pampers diapers and pants! They also put you on their coupon mailing list.
  • Huggies special offers mailing list: they have been really good sending their coupons monthly, and occasionally we received samples of diapers and bath and body products when our DD was younger. I think they keep you on the mailing list until the baby turns two.
  • Huggies PullUps: printable coupon for $2 off.
  • Huggies Little Swimmers: printable coupon for $1 off.
  • Baby Basic diapers: print a coupon for $2 off instantly (upper right corner). In our area these diapers are available at Shoppers; check the store list on the right, at the bottom.
  • Good Start formula: Save $3 on your next purchase of Good Start2 Natural Cultures.
  • Gerber Childrenswear: print coupons for layette instantly, also participate in surveys to have your voice heard by the manufacturer (and get extra special savings coupons as their token of appreciation ;))
  • Growing Up Gerber: there's actually a number of things you can sign up for, including postal mailings, including coupons, special offers and samples. We have found this very helpful, the coupons and information was timely and their samples ranged from cereal to tooth cleansers.
  • Gerber printable coupons: look for instant savings on baby and toddler food here.
  • Earths best organic baby food: Click on "Free coupons" on the right, or join their mailing list.
  • Beechnut: Sign up for our free e-newsletters, and we’ll send you information customized to your baby’s age, plus helpful tips and money-saving coupons. They don't mention it, but they also send a very nice welcome package with lots of coupons to get your baby started on baby food for free. Their monthly newsletter comes with the printable coupons as well. They also contribute to your Upromise account every time you purchase their baby food.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

FREE from Kroger: Warm Delights minis and NicoDerm CQ

Get a free sample of Betty Crocker's Delights Minis here (exp. 9/30/2008 or while supplies last)

and / or

Sample and $7 coupon for NicoDerm CQ here here

Limit 1 per household.

5 Tips for Making Your Car More Fuel Efficient

Stumbled upon a short article - 5 Tips for Making Your Car More Fuel Efficient, and even though all five tips sound like a no-brainer and I have heard them before, I just realized that I was guilty of three out of five unnecessary fuel burning behaviors. Ouch! Will try to keep them in mind.

Today only: Free shipping on any order + 4 free gifts at

You get 3 FREE samples + FREE shipping on any order (added automatically at checkout), plus you get a FREE FULL size Incredible Spreadable Scrub™ if you enter code 06081bzz at checkout.

NEW Toys'R'Us coupon for a FREE wooden Thomas engine (6/24-6/28)

Make sure you are ready to print the coupon as it may only be printed once, and if you close the browser window it won't let you see/print the coupon again.

The new coupon is good on: Thomas the Tank Engine, Harold the Helicopter, Rheneas Engine & Musical Caboose Engine.
Expires 6/28

$10 off $10 at - through 6/30!

Get $10 Free when you use Google Checkout!

If you haven't used Google Checkout at - now is your chance to get some stuff totally free. The promotion ends in just 5 days - on June 30th.

Read below for suggestions and instructions.

1. Click on the link to be taken to the promo page -- Get $10 off $10 at when you use Google Checkout. Offer ends 6/30/08
2.) Click the Weekly Advertised Deals tab at the top of the page
3.) Click on the
  • $10 Bellsouth Two-Way Talk Radio image to display the product details -OR-
  • $10 Guard ID Vault USB Password Security Dongle (Two-Pack) image to display the product details -OR-
  • $10 MoGo Bluetooth Adapter image to display the product details -OR-
  • $10 Philips In-Ear Headphones image to display the product details (you get 2 packs!) -OR- you can select anything you want or need and receive $10 off your order.
4.) Add the item to your cart
5.) Select Google checkout to receive the $10 discount
6.) Select free shipping. (If your total isn’t $0, you’ve missed a step (unless you live in the sales tax states of California, Massachusetts, or Tennessee.)
7.) Receive your free item(s) within a few days (usually much faster than their website indicates). allows one free Google checkout item per email address and credit card. (You’ll have to enter your credit card information to check out, but once the Google Checkout discount is applied, your item will be free.)

(seen at iMommies)

Free samples of True Lemon, True Lime and True Orange

Order yours here.

From the website: We're so confident you'll love True Lemon, True Lime and True Orange, we're giving away free samples!

People love using True products for flavoring water (as alternatives to sweetened water enhancers, flavored waters, diet sodas or sweetened drinks) as well as for adding to their hot/iced teas, beverages or drinks. They're also great to season food with (especially for those following low-carb, low-fat and low-sodium diets), and for any recipe that calls for lemon or lime juice. Made with 100% all-natural ingredients, each packet has:

  • Fresh-squeezed taste
  • 0 calories, 0g carbs
  • 0g sugars, no artificial or natural sweeteners
  • No preservatives or sodium
  • 100% guarantee of satisfaction

FREE New York Brand Pizzeria Dip'N Sticks

Get a coupon for a FREE box of Dip'N Sticks for completing a brief survey.

From the website: Tell us your thoughts. Get FREE Dip'N Sticks!

Your opinion counts and we are excited to hear from you. For your time, you will receive a coupon for a FREE box of Dip'N Sticks.

Begin the survey

Monday, June 23, 2008

NewEgg - good deals and freebies w/purchase

One of our home computers died last night, and we need to get a new hard drive ASAP. That's one of the unplanned expenses this month :(

DH found that NewEgg has the best deals on what we need (he has ordered from them before and knows that they are quick and reliable). I dug a little further and found that you can also get a Free Gift with purchase at NewEgg. Not as good as a complete freebie, but a bonus if you're going to buy something anyway.

Freebies - WalMart USA, LLC has been one of the greatest sources of free samples. Check their Free Samples page often as they add new stuff all the time.

Free samples available today:

Limit 1 of each per household, allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

CVS: lots of goodies for $.27 out of pocket

Below is the summary of my two transactions at CVS today.


- All Free clear laundry detergent x 2 (Buy One Get One free sale)
- Colgate Total Advanced 4 oz
- Soy Joy bars x 4 (yeah, I caved in... couldn't walk past the money maker)
- CVS cotton balls 300 ct x 2 (Buy One Get One 50% off sale; in each package I also found a coupon for $.50 off CVS brand cotton swabs -- perfect for this month's cotton swab deal)

Before sale and coupons: $25.01
Sale: -$8.73
Coupons used:
- $1 off All detergent (from this week's paper)
- $1 off All free clear (printable)
- Buy 2 get 1 free SoyJoy bars /$1 (from a paper 2? weeks ago)
- $1.50 off Colgate toothpaste (printable)
- $2 off CVS brand beauty product (printable)
- $.50 CVS cotton product (on the package)
ECBs used:
- $5.97
- $3
Out of pocket: $0.08
ECBs earned:
+ $4 (for SoyJoy)
+ $2 (for Colgate)


- Charmin UltraSoft toilet paper 12 big rolls
- Colgate Total Advanced 4 oz
- Heinz EZ Squeeze ketchup 32 oz
- CVS brand tissues
Before sale and coupons: $21.31
Sale: -$6.19
Coupons used:
- $1.50 off Colgate (x2)
- $2 CVS brand
ECBs used:
- $2 (x3)
- $1
Out of pocket: $.19
ECBs earned:
+ $4 (for 2 Colgate)
+ some $$ towards Charmin/Bounty/Duracell deal

Baby freebies - formula

I promised my brother-in-law to look for some deals on formula so that their little guy doesn't eat a big hole in their budget.
Here's what I've found so far: Clearance + $10 off $25 + free shipping

June Clearance and $10 off

For a limited time, save an extra $10 after an instant rebate when you spend $25 or more on any combination of items eligible for our current Clearance Event. Use the following code when you check out: GROCJUNE. Please note that some clearance items may have a short shelf life and are not refundable. Quantities available for this instant rebate are limited, so act quickly to get the best deal. Offer valid while supplies last. (This offer cannot be combined with Subscribe & Save or other code-based offers; read the fine print below.)

Plus, orders over $25 are eligible for FREE Super Saver shipping.

Click herefor details and participating products.

CVS plan for week 6/22-6/28

I have no $/$$ CVS coupons, so don't have to work out precise scenarios this week. I know I will be doing the following deals:

  • Charmin/Bounty/Duracell deal: spend $20, get $10 ECB - I missed it last time around (our store didn't stock enough TP and PT, and we're running low... Charmin&Bounty are our preferred brands)
  • Colgate toothpaste moneymaker deal: buy one for $2.99, get $2 ECB + there are printable coupons for $1.50 and $1 at, making it better than free. *Limit is 5 per household/card
  • All laundry detergent - Buy One Get One Free: we need some detergent, and All free clear is the one we use most of the time (our little one is allergic to dyes and perfumes of other detergents). You can use two manufacturer's coupons per transaction (there was $1 coupon in this Sunday's paper and a $1 printable here, so two bottles would come down to ~$4 (around $2 per bottle)
  • Life water is Buy One Get One Free, and there's a Buy One Get One Free coupon, so you buy two, get both free

I will also try to finish the free monthly deals: Listerine Smart Rinse (need 2), CVS bandages (need 1), Huggies bath and body (can do 2 more - there's a $1 manufacturer's coupon in this Sunday's paper), Brut (can do 3 more, but only have one coupon left, and the cheapest Brut is $3.39 here)

Other free (or better) deals this week:

  • Buy 4 SoyJoy Bars at $1 each, Get $4 ECBs (Limit 5), with coupon from the paper, or printable here - better than free! (I just don't know anyone who'd want these bars - even for free, so I'm not buying any)
  • Nature's Bounty is on sale Buy One Get One Free; with $2/1 coupons from here you can get 2 bottles priced under $4 each for free or better. (We are stocked on the vitamins, so will pass on this deal this time)

Free pack of Stride gum

Three flavors to choose from:
Sweet Berry
Sweet Cinnamon
Always Mandarin

Get your FREE pack here!
* Offer valid while supplies last. Please allow 4 - 6 weeks for delivery. Available to U.S. residents only. Limit one full pack of gum per household. P.O boxes not accepted. You must be 13 or older to receive this free pack of gum. Cadbury Adams reserves the right to terminate this offer for any reason at any time.

Free Pledge® Multi Surface Wipe & Coupon for Starter Kit

Free Pledge® Multi Surface Wipe & Coupon for Starter Kit

Safely clean and dust wood, glass & more in 1 easy step! It's NOT just for wood anymore! Today's combination furniture is complex, made of surfaces like wood, glass, stainless steel and electronics. Pledge® Multi Surface products safely remove dust, fingerprints, smudges and smears from these surfaces with a wax-free formula that leaves no residue buildup behind. Pledge® Multi Surface products are available in a wipe or trigger bottle–look for both versions wherever your favorite Pledge® products are sold.

Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Available to U.S. Residents only. Limit one sample per household. You must be 18 or older to receive this sample

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Toys'R'Us - get a free train and save $5 off $25

Toys R Us
Today is the last day to save $5 off any purchase of $25+ at Toys'R'Us (both in store or online) with this coupon (expires today).

If you are going to the store, you might want to print and use this coupon for a FREE Thomas train (up to $12.99 value, expires 7/5/08)

Friday, June 20, 2008

10 ways to entertain kids (without TV or $$)

DH has sent me a link to an article: 10 ways to entertain young children for $1 or less which has reminded me how easy it is to make our kids happy - all we need is a few minutes of our time and a little bit of creativity... or just remember boredom busters from our own childhood :)

CVS ad 6/22-6/28 and coupon preview

Just found a link to next week's CVS ad - a lot of items are Buy One Get One Free, some ECB deals. The actual ad may be slightly different (I have no idea which region this one came from, but know that West coast seems to have different items/prices than East cost sometimes), but it gives a general idea of what will be on sale.

Here is the coupon preview for this weeks Sunday coupons.

FREE travel bag with samples and coupons

Go to HealthZone365, click on "Get a Free travel bag", enter code: 2MCNMB5 and your information.

Each travel bag includes coupons for the following digestive-care products:
  • MYLANTA® Ultimate Strength - for relief of heartburn even when it breaks through
  • IMODIUM® A-D EZ Chews - quick dissolving chews for fast relief from diarrhea
  • ROLAIDS® Multi-Symptom Berry - for relief of heartburn, indigestion, and bloating and pressure from gas
  • LACTAID® Fast Act Dietary Supplements - for the prevention of gas, diarrhea, and bloating associated with digesting dairy.
Offer is limited to the first 15,000 participants; one per household.

CVS @lunchtime - 7 items under $1

I went over to CVS to buy some ink for my printer and look out for other deals that I could use my coupons and ECBs for.

First, I noticed that the cartridge I need costs $38! I somehow pictured it being around $25, so i called my hubby to find out if that's an ok price (it's been a while since I bought myself a new cartridge, and the prices likely went up - he's a tech guy, he would know). He said I could probably get it $10 cheaper online or in an office supply store, but since I could pay with ExtraBucks vs real money at CVS it may still be worth it... I decided to pass on it [for now] and do a little more research on prices.

Then I talked to the store manager and found out that they do NOT stock the DVD-Rs and CD-RWs that are on sale this week. At all. So I was out of luck there. But nevertheless, I gathered some stuff and was almost ready to check out, when I realized that I didn't have my ExtraCare card with me. I had all of my ECBs, but couldn't use them without my card.

I freaked.
Then remembered that DH was the last person to use my card, and called him to check if he still had it. He was driving at the time (his wallet in his back pocket), and was very unhappy that I needed to know if he had it. ASAP. He did find the card - pheeeew! But the thought of losing my 'money making' card was sure scary for a moment.

I still decided to check out (I didn't walk 9 blocks each way for nothing!) but knew I shouldn't do any ECB-earning deals. I was lucky to find some Aquafresh toothpaste that's on sale for $.99 each, and had a $1 off coupon on the package. I also got CVS brand baby wipes (we use the unscented kind to wipe our hands and I like to keep a tub in the car) - they are on sale for $1.99 this week and I had a $1 off coupon.

The cashier scanned the courtesy card and all of my items, but the toothpaste coupons beeped as they were $.01 over the purchase amount. I asked if she could adjust their value (folks at our local CVS do this), but she didn't know how and called the manager. The manager read the fine print ('save $1 ... on your next purchase') and tried to reason that I couldn't use these coupons for this transaction... but after some discussion took them anyway. So, even without my ExtraCare card and ECBs I still got six 6-oz tubes of toothpaste and a tub of 80 baby wipes (nice quality too!) for less than $1.

Save for college - easy!

Even though our oldest daughter is just in elementary school, we can't help thinking that we should be saving towards our girls' education. It may be hard to set aside some money that you could have used otherwise right here right now, but there's one program that puts a little something into your college savings account every time you shop - for FREE. I'm talking about Upromise.

You can register online, link your grocery store cards (there's a huge list of participating supermarkets!) and/or a credit card, and each time you buy something you'll get 1%-8% deposited in your Upromise account which you can use to pay for school-related expenses. A lot of brands and products that you probably buy regularly anyway - like Tylenol, or Ziploc, or Kraft foods (and 100s more!) are participating, so while you don't do anything extra you're saving for your kid's (or your own) education. You can also shop online and get credit for those purchases as well - how sweet is that?
If you are not a member already, now is a good time to join
as they are giving $10 sign up bonus right now! (I signed up with only $3 a couple of years ago and thought I was lucky! :)) I've been a member for about two years, and even though I only have CVS card linked to my account (and shop online through them occasionally), I have already saved a substantial amount - and it didn't cost me a dime! It's an added bonus on top of all my savings: Upromise gives you a %% of the product's full price (before coupons and other discounts).

CVS shopping this week

To my disappointment, our local CVS pharmacy hardly ever gets enough of the advertised deals in stock, so my options are limited to three: 1) go on Sunday when the sale starts, 2) go on Thursday - after the Wednesday night's truck is unloaded or 3) find a different store that has the deals I want.

I managed to get some stuff on Sunday, but was too tired last night to go check it out again. I have also discovered a CVS store nine blocks away from my work, and to my surprise they have almost everything I was planning to get. It's a win-win for me: not only getting the deals I want, but also getting some exercise (yep, I am walking 9 blocks each way!) at lunchtime and saving a little on gas. [Gas prices are outrageous: the cheapest around here is $4/gal, making it over $60 per tank :(]

I have already mentioned the Oral B battery-powered toothbrushes that are on sale for $5.99 and generate $3 ECBs (ExtraCare Bucks), there are also coupons for Buy One Get One Free, making both toothbrushes free after ECBs and coupon. The limit on this deal is 5, so I got two adult brushes and two Princess brushes for the girls. The replacement heads are also said to work for this deal, but I wasn't able to find any.

Another great deal is Energizer batteries. Four-packs are on sale for $4.49 and are Buy One Get One Free (BOGO), and there are also manufacturer's coupons for $1 off (both in the paper and printable), and you can use a coupon for each of the packs you buy. Our store also had 'peelies' - stickers with 'save $1 instantly' on the packages, and since these were CVS store coupons, they can be used along with the manufacturer's. So, two 4-packs of batteries after BOGO sale and coupons comes down to $.49! Better yet, if you spend $20 on Energizer batteries this week, you'll get a $7 coupon (but if you are doing the BOGO deal, only one pack / $4.49 will count towards this). I could only find 4 packages with the peelies, but will check if they have restoked - we can always use batteries :)

There's also a BOGO sale for Evian drinking water (1L). The regular price for them at my store was $1.89, and there's also a printable $1 off/2 coupon here (it prints fine from my Firefox browser, but needs to be scaled to 50% if printed from IE). Buy two 1L bottles, use the coupon and get both for $.89. Limit is 4.

Here's another great coupon - $2 off CVS brand skincare purchase - I have used it for the monthly deal: Buy 500-625 ct CVS brand cotton swabs, get $2 ECBs (Limit 5). I got 500 ct (+ there was a bonus travel pack attached to it) for $3.19 - $2 coupon = $1.19 and got $2 ECBs back. I actually made $.81 on this deal (plus, we needed some q-tips). This coupon doesn't expire until the end of August and could be used on a variety of products.

I also bought some manual Oral B toothbrushes (2 pks, also the monthly deal: buy Oral-B CrossAction manual toothbrush 2pk for $6.99, get $6.99 ECBs) - to 'roll' my existing ExtraBucks before they expire. The stated limit for this deal is 2 per card, but it has been reported that the actual limit is 4. I have bought 3 so far, and got the ECBs for all three, and the receipt doesn't say 'Offer limit reached'.

My home printer is out if ink, so I'm planning to walk over to CVS to get some at lunch today and see if there are any other deals to be had.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Things I NEVER pay for - magazines

One thing that I haven't paid for in years is magazine subscriptions. We get a number of magazines monthly (more than two dozen, including - off the top of my head - American Baby, Architectural Digest, Automotive, AutoWeek, Car and Driver, CosmoGirl, Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Digital Photography, Elle, Family Circle, Family Fun, Good Housekeeping, Home and Design, InStyle, Lucky, Maxim, Parent and Child, Parenting, Parents, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Redbook, Seventeen, Southern Living, Vogue, Woman's Day... I may be forgetting some DH's mags here). We enjoy reading/flipping through most of them, some do have coupons and some could be given to the girls to destroy... I mean to 'make pretty collages' of course :) We also donate our family/parenting magazines to our daughter's elementary school - they appreciate having something to let kids cut pictures from.

I'm going to post links to some of the current free magazines offers (these are completely free with no strings attached) :
  • free 1-year subscription to Watch! magazine
  • free 1-year subscription to AutoWeek
  • free 1-year subscription to Woman's Day (must qualify; I got offered three more free subscriptions there based on my occupation)
  • free 2-year subscription to Bassmaster (this is the current offer, it might change - I got FamilyFun through this link not so long ago)
  • free 2-year subscription to American Baby
  • free 3-year subscription to Remedy Life
  • free subscription to Bridal Guide magazine

Research panels - get paid for surveys

I have started participating in surveys a long time ago - seven or eight years I think. I've seen a lot of panels disappear into thin air, some - merged with others over time, and some continue to live and pay you for your opinions or testing of new products.

My long-term favorite is PineCone Research, but unfortunately they are not currently accepting new applications (keep your eyes open for their banners - that's the only way to sign up!).
I have received a word that Synovate, another large and reputable research panel, on the other hand, is currently expanding and is looking for new members. Participation is totally FREE for you; they send you quick and easy surveys based on your preference (from 1 to over 10 per week) with each completed survey giving you the opportunity to earn cash and points, participate in sweepstakes and test new products. Occasionally, they send you samples, coupons and little souvenirs (like notebooks, playing cards, pens, calendars with their logo) - absolutely free.

I'll keep you posted about other places that pay for your opinions and- I am a member of quite a few - just need to check which ones are recruiting new panelists at this time :) deal: Spend $25, get $19.80 back.

Right now* is running a promo: spend $25+ on beauty products from one seller (read the 'terms & conditions' here) and receive a free US weekly subscription. You may opt to receive a cash rebate instead of the US weekly sub, which would be $19.80.
Some of the amazon sellers have free shipping on $25+ orders and have sales and clearances, so you can get a lot of bang for your buck!

*Offer expires July 8, 2008.

How my first Sunday paper 'paid' for my sub

Well, not exactly 'paid', but from one paper alone I have already redeemed coupons that saved me more money than this trial 26-week subscription cost us (26 weeks x $.75 = $19.50)

This past Sunday I happily discovered two SmartSource inserts in my paper with two $5 coupons to Target (need to buy 3 of participating products: any Johnson's baby, Band-Aid, Carefree, Stayfree, Neosporin, or Tylenol) that can be combined with manufacturer's coupons to get some stuff really cheap, free or even better that free (the best deal so far: get 3 Johnson's buddies soaps at $.94 each, use $1 manufacturer's coupons, use $5 off Target coupon = gain $5.18; also Bandaids are on sale this week and there are $1 and $.75 coupons in the paper and online, so you'd get overage on those as well).

Among other good coupons already redeemed were 4 'Buy One Get One Free' (BOGO) coupons for Oral B battery powered toothbrushes. Fellow CVS shoppers know that this week these toothbrushes (both adult and kid kinds) are on sale for $5.99 and generate $3 ExtraCare Bucks each, so if you buy two with the BOGO coupon, you are getting both free. CVS limit on this deal is 5 per ExtraCare card.

So, with just two $5 Target coupons and two BOGO Oral B coupons (valued at $5.99 this week) I already saved more than my Sunday paper subscription cost us! I'm excited! :)

Will post about my CVS transactions in more details later.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shopping with coupons: FoodLion - $33.xx for $6.xx

So I got my first Sunday paper with ads and coupons and got all excited! I'm mainly shopping CVS, but also have a bunch of 'try me free' and high value coupons around from rewards programs and surveys I participated in, so I decided to flip through the grocery store ads.

I noticed a few things on sale at FoodLion, and, thinking that new sales are starting on Tuesdays, gathered my coupons and went. I grabbed a sales paper at the entrance and to my surprise it was totally different from what I was studying at home! Duh! Their sales start on Wednesday! Figures...

Well, the girls were already in beds, and DH was home, so I could have this luxury of browsing the store all by myself, making observations and paying attention to new products, clearance items and regular prices. I still had my 'try me free' coupons with me and was going to use them as well as pick up some stuff that would look good do me. I could always come back when the new sale prices are in effect... if I choose to.

I noticed that FoodLion prices for stuff we buy regularly is higher than @Shoppers which is much closer to us [ex. Barilla pasta is $1 at Shoppers and $1.65 @FoodLion], so it would only make sense to go for a really good sale (which, unfortunately, wasn't the case this week ending last night... well, at least not to me as I didn't have the right coupons with me). This also brings up another issue: organizing all my coupons in a way that they could be easily carried around and found in the store. It's a big thing, so I'll devote a separate post to that in the future, meanwhile let me finish with what I got and how much I saved.

  • 1 Bag Fresh Express salad (Field Greens, I had a 'try me free' coupon for it) reg. $3.79, on sale $2.99
  • 1 box (10 ct) Eggo Buttermilk waffles (DH and DD1 LOVE them and we're almost out) reg. $2.39, on sale 3/$5
  • 1 64 oz Simply Apple juice (not from concentrate - that was an impulse purchase: wanted to 'taste the difference') reg. $4.29, on sale $2.99
  • 1 64 oz Tropicana Pure Valencia juice (had a 'try me free' coupon) reg. $4.29, on sale $3.99
  • 1 dozen large FoodLion eggs (advertized as $1 off regular price, but didn't ring up on sale :() $2.19
  • 1 16 oz Kraft 3 Cheese Ranch dressing (had a 'try me free' coupon) reg. $2.82, on sale 8/$8.75
  • 1 can FoodLion sweetened condensed milk (we ran out last week, and although it was not on sale, it was cheaper than any of the brand names, so I decided to get it) $1.87
  • 1 Hilshire Farms Deli Wraps (complete kit to make 2 wraps with meat, cheese and everything - I had a 'try me free' coupon for this as well) $3.99
  • 1 1L Jumex Peach nectar (another impulse purchase) reg. $1.39, on sale $.99
  • 1 6 oz(?) Land o'Frost deli meat (had a 'try me free' coupon) reg. $2.99, on sale 2/$5
  • 1 1lb Land o'Lakes butter half sticks (didn't have a coupon, but there's a 'try me free' rebate offer for it) reg. $3.09, on sale $3 (funny that 1/2 lb - same brand butter half sticks is $2.99)
As you know, for each of the free coupons cashier has to punch in the purchase price so the coupon would take off the right amount, but for whatever reason my cashier took off the regular prices (I'm surprised, but not complaining :)), so the summary looks as follows:

Total before coupons: $33.10
FoodLion sale: -$5.25
Manufacturer's coupons: -$23.13
Total after sale and coupons: $9.97
+ Mail-in rebate* for the butter: -$3 (so that would bring the total down to $6.97)

I know I could've done better if I pointed out that the eggs didn't get the advertised discount, or used the coupon (I'm sure I have those at home!) for Eggo waffles or waited to get the sweetened condensed milk on sale and didn't buy the juices... Or maybe not - if the cashier deducted the right amounts my total would be higher.

* LAND O LAKES® Butter in Half Sticks is only available in select retailers in the states of ME, VT, NH, MA, NY, CT, RI, PA, NJ, DE, MD, VA, WV,KY, TN, NC, SC, GA, AL, MS and FL

Baltimore Sun: Sunday paper $.75 special

I have found a deal on a new Baltimore Sun subscription: - code 0360 (introductory 26-week offer for new subscribers or those who didn't have the paper delivered for the past 30 days) gets you Sunday paper for $.75 per week - that's at least 50% off newsstand price, and is worth it if you clip and redeem even just one coupon per week.

It gets even better if you choose 'EZ Pay' option: they have a special 'members only' area that has more coupons, contests, sweepstakes and other reader rewards and is open only to subscribers with 'EZ Pay'. I can't tell you if the coupons are the same or different from those found elsewhere or if the contests are worth getting into - DH prefers 'bill me' option as he likes to review things before actually paying for them.

Anyhow, if you live in the delivery area of Baltimore Sun and are currently not getting your Sunday paper with coupons, you might want to check it out. I've only gotten it for 1 week and it already paid for itself. I'll tell you how in my next post.


I've been reading a number of blogs on shopping and saving money lately, and decided to jump in.

I'm a mom of two wonderful girls ages 3 and 7, originally from Russia, currently living in Maryland. As far as grocery shopping goes, we shop Trader Joe's and local produce market for fruits, veggies and bread (they do not take coupons, but have reasonable prices and better quality produce... we think), Shoppers and Sam's club for meat/chicken/fish (Shoppers is the closest supermarket to us, and they seem to have sales just when we need them; Sam's has very nice quality pork and if we're lucky we can get it on Manager's specials (2 days before 'sell by' date), the regular price per lb is decent too). Other than that we shop Target - for all sort of things, Kohls (occasionally, as the closest one is 30 minutes away), TJMaxx and Ross - for clothes, and CVS pharmacy with their ExtraCare program is our favorite store these days. When the sales are good we can also stop by at Mars, Giant, Aldi (their milk is the cheapest around - $1.99/gallon for all varieties, but my DH is picky - he doesn't like the taste :() and WalMart (although ours never seems to have anything - except lines at the checkout lanes, so it's more of a frustration than a shopping really). We also have Safeway and FoodLion within reasonable driving distance, but they seem to be more expensive than Shoppers. Once in a while we treat ourselves to shopping at an international food market - mostly for delicacies from Russia and Western Europe - these help satisfy nostalgic cravings, but usually cost an arm and a leg.

So, that's pretty much where we are right now. I keep reading deals people find at Kroger, Mejer, Wallgreens and KMart in other states and envy them a little, but I'm sure that deals are to be found everywhere - we just need to keep our eyes open out for them ;)

With gas prices going up, we are not really willing to drive extra miles to save a few cents, so (unless the savings are substantial) we are pretty much staying within our area and only patron the stores above. And yeah, we shop online too :)

While staying home when our youngest was a baby, I discovered the 'art of couponing', but didn't master it, as it suddenly became too time-consuming when I returned back to work. That being said, I absolutely hate paying full price for anything, and try to shop sales and use coupons. The latter has become easier with a growing number of coupons that one can instantly print off the internet, so DH has canceled our paper subscription last year - 'to save some trees'. He didn't take into account that the printable coupons may actually cost us more in the end as we need to buy ink and paper for the printer, plus not all of the coupons are available on the internet and not all of the stores take printables, so I was able to convince him to get our subscription to the Sunday paper back.

That was the first step on the way to saving more and making the best of the deals that are out there. Stay tuned to see how far we can go!