Wednesday, December 31, 2008

CVS Deals - 12/30

I headed over to CVS to use up some coupons that I had expiring at the end of the year. I wound up doing the one transaction wrong and could have gotten the more expensive foundation for less out of pocket. I might go back today, since I still have the same coupon. I also did them in the wrong sequence, I could have used the ECBs from the second transaction to pay for the first transaction instead of paying so much on a gift card. I guess that is the value of being prepared.

Here is what I got:

Transaction #1
2 - Covergirl Foundation
1 - Essence of Beauty Mesh Sponge

-$6.19 BOGO Covergirl Foundation coupon
-$2 Essence of Beauty CVS coupon
-$3 $3/$15 CVS coupon

Paid $1.56 on gift card.

Transaction #2
1 - Sobe Life Water (filler)
2 - Old Spice High Endurance Deodorant
2 - bags of Christmas candy
1 - 4.0z Colgate Total
1 - Essence of Beauty Mesh Sponge

-$1 $1/2 Old Spice mfg coupon
-$1.50 Colgate mfg coupon
-$1 Colgate CRT
-$2 EoB CVS coupon
-$3 $3/$15 CVS coupon

Paid with $3.99 and $2.59 (adjusted down to $2.27) ECBs. Earned $2 and $1 ECBs.

Not a great week overall. I reduced my ECB position by $3.58 and spent money from my gift card. However, it still cost me nothing OOP and I got things that we use and will need soon (and some things that we didn't need, like more candy).

Check out how others did this week at CVS Superstars on The "Cent"sible Sawyer.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Free Coffee at Sheetz

Tomorrow, starting at 4 pm, running through Thursday at 4 pm, Sheetz will be offering free cups of coffee as a gesture of appreciation at each of their 352 locations. The coffee is 100% Arabica beans, and they brew fresh coffee every 30 minutes. You can see the press release here.

Coldwater Creek Deal

Over at, they have information on how you can take advantage of a deal to get 70% off your order at Coldwater Creek. Even the outlet items are included in this great sale. Head over to to get the coupon code and information.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

New Year's Day has always meant pork and sauerkraut in my family(although this evidently is not a universal tradition - my husband doesn't understand it and never heard of it before he met me). I need to get to the store to pick up saurkraut and some fresh fruit and veggies and dairy products, but otherwise, we will be eating stuff we have in the freezer/pantry.

For us, the focus is dinner. This week, we are all home all week, so that means lunch at home. Likely, we will eat leftovers or sandwiches. We have some free meal coupons that we need to use up, so we will do lunch out at least once.

Homemade Pizza

Chicken Caesar Salad

Cube Steaks

Special New Year's Eve Dessert (Cheesecake most likely)

Pork and Sauerkraut



Check out other menu plans for the week at I'm An Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday.

CVS Scenarios - week of 12/28

There are few things that are of interest to me this week. I have a number of coupons expiring, that I think I can use to take advantage of some of the sales.
After looking at some other posts, I must say that there are some regional differences to the ECB deals that we have in NEO and what I am seeing elsewhere (as well as the prices).

Transaction #1
2 - Colgate Total
-$1.50 Colgate mfg coupon
-$1.50 Colgate mfg coupon

$2.99 total, earn $4 ECBs.

Transaction #2
2 - Pantene Shampoo/Conditioner
-$3 $3/2 Pantene mfg coupon

$4 total, pay with $4 ECBs from Transaction #1. Earn $2 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - Old Spice Deoderant
-$1 $1/2 Old Spice mfg coupon

$4 total, pay with $2 ECBs from Trasnaction #2 and $2 OOP. Earn $1 ECB.

Transaction #4
2 - Dawn Dishsoap
-$.25 mfg coupon
-$.25 mfg coupon

Total $.99. Pay with $1 ECB adjusted down.

For $4.99 OOP, you will have 2 Toothpastes, Shampoo/Conditioner, 2 Deoderants, and 2 Dishsoaps.

Of course, if you plan to use the $3/$15 coupon then, you might want to combine these transactions or take advantage of some of the buy $20 get $10 deals - Excedrin and Benefiber/Maalox.

Check out more $5 CVS Scenarios at the CVS $5 Challenge at Keeping the Kingdom First. Check out even more scenarios at The "Cent"sible Sawyer.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

CVS $3/$15 coupon

Tara over at Deal Seeking Mom, has a link for a $3/$15 coupon that appears in a free online version of a newspaper.

The coupon expires 1/9/09, so you have a couple of weeks to use it to sweeten your deals.

CVS Deals - 12/21

Hard to believe, it's been about a week now, but last Sunday evening, I headed to CVS to try to take advantage of some of their two day free after ECBs deals. No surprise, but by evening, they were out of many of the deals. My scenarios pretty much fell to the wayside and I just picked up those items they still had and was able to get rainchecks for a few of the others.

Here is what I got:

1 Halls Natural 25ct
1 Excedrin Express Gels 20ct
2 Sally Hansen Nail Laquer
1 L'oreal Metallic Eye Shadow Duo

- $1 L'oreal mfg coupon
- $2 Excedrin mfg coupon
- $3 $3/2 Sally Hansen Nail product
- $1 CVS coupon Excedrin

Paid with $17 ECBs and $2.05 on Gift Card. I earned $6.99, $11.98, $2.59 and $3.99 ECBs. I improved my ECB position by $8.55 and it only cost me $2.05 on my free gift card. Not too bad of a day.

I was happy to see that the CVS store I shopped at Sunday now has one of those scanners that everyone talks about. Unfortunately, I didn't have my card with me and you have to have your card to scan to get the coupons. Hopefully, there is something I will head to CVS for next week and I can see what type of coupons it generates for me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Samples and Freebies

With all of the activity around the holidays, I didn't sign up for much, but my mailbox was pretty active.

$5 coupons for Old Orchard


Dr Pepper 20 oz coupons – one each for my husband and me, and a mysterious third one to me.
Orville Redenbacher Salt and Lime popcorn sample with coupon
Coupon for Free 3.5lb bag of 9-Lives
Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter Filling Square from SheSpeaks

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Kroger Deals - 12/21

While at home with my family, I decided to stop by Kroger for some deals. I loaded up my P&G and Shortcuts coupons to my Kroger card and grabbed my coupons.

Here's how I did:

6 - 4ct Cottonelle (not all pictured)
1 - 16 oz Twizzlers
1 - 3# Cuties
2 - 10.5 oz cans Skyline Chili

-$.50 coupon for each Cottonelle
-$.49 doubled coupon for each Cottonelle
-$.55 Cutie coupon
-$.45 doubled Cutie coupon
-$.50 Skyline $.50/2 coupon
-$.50 doubled Skyline coupon

Total - $6.96. I saved 9.64 or 58%. I am pleased to get everything I did for under $7. Of course, the candy was a completely impulse, unnecessary spend, but it's Christmas and I love candy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

CVS Scenarios -week 12/21

These scenarios are to take advantage of the 2 day free after ECB deals in this week's circular, so you will need to go on Sunday/Monday to take advantage of these deals:

Transaction #1
2- Excedrin 20ct Express Gels

-$4 2x$2/1 Excedrin Mfg Coupon

Total $3.98 OOP. Earn $7.98 ECBs.

Transaction #2
2 - Sally Hansen Nail Polish

-$3 $3/2 Sally Hansen from CVS Beauty Handbook

Total $8.98, pay with $7.98 ECBs from Transaction #1 and $1 OOP.

Transaction #3
1 - Loreal Eye Shadow
1 - Listerine
2 - Arm & Hammer Essentials

-$1 Loreal Mfg coupon
-$1 Listerine Coupon from Diabetes Handbook
-$2 2x$! Arm & Hammer Essentials Mfg coupon

Total $11.96, pay with $11.98 ECBs adjusted down to $11.96. Earn $15.96 ECBs.

(Transaction #3A, B, C - optional

1 - Listerine
2 - Arm & Hammer Essentials

Pay with $2.99 & $4.98 ECBs from Transaction #3, earn $2.99 and $4.98 ECBs.

2 - Listerine
1 - Arm & Hammer Essentials

Pay with $2.99 and $4.98 ECBs from Transaction #3A, earn $2.99 and $4.98 ECBs.

1 - Listerine

Pay with $2.99 ECBs, earn $2.99 ECBs)

Transaction #4
1 - Hall's Naturals
1 - Thermacare
1 - Right Guard Professional
1 - Benefiber
1 - Hershey's Stocking Stuffer

-$.50 Hall's mfg coupon
-$.55 Right Guaurd peelie
-$2 Benefiber mfg coupon

Total $15.82, pay with $15.96 ECBs from Transaction #3, adjusted down. Earn $18.37 in ECBs.

(Transaction #4A, B, C, D optional

1 - Thermacare
1 - Right Guard Professional

Pay with $2.49 and $6 ECBs from Transaction #4, earn $2.49 and $6 ECBs.

1 - Thermacare
1 - Right Guard Professional

Pay with $2.49 and $6 ECBs, earn $2.49 and $6 ECBs.

1 - Right Guard Professional

Pay with $6 ECBs, earn $6 ECBs.

1 - Right Guard Professional

Pay with $6 ECBs, earn $6 ECBs.)

You will have spent $4.98 OOP and have $18.37 in ECBs to roll to next week.

OOPS! I used 2 of the Excedrin deals and it was a limit of 1. I have revamped my scenario and here are my new transactions:

Transaction #1
1 - Excedrin
1 - Arm & Hammer Essentials

-$2 Excedrin IP
-$1 Arm & Hammer Mfg coupon

Total $3.98, earn $6.98 ECBs.

Transaction #2

1 - Loreal Eye Shadow
1 - Arm & Hammer

-$1 Loreal Mfg coupon
-$1 Arm & Hammer mfg coupon

Total $7.98, pay with $6.98 ECBs from transaction #1 and $1 OOP. Earn $9.98.

(Transaction #2A, B, C Optional

Repeat 3x
1 - Arm & Hammer

Pay with $2.99 ECB, earn $2.99 ECB)

Transaction #3
1 - Benefiber
1 - Halls Natural
1 - Thermacare

-$2 Benefiber Mfg coupon
-$.50 Halls Mfg coupon

Total $9.87, pay with $9.98 ECBs from transaction #2, adjusted down to $9.87. Earn $12.37 ECBs.

(Transaction #3A optional

1 - Thermacare

Pay with $2.49 ECBs, earn $2.49 ECB)

Transaction #4

1 - Thermacare
1 - Right Guard Professional
2 - Listerine
1 - Hershey Stocking Stuffer

- $.55 Right Guard Peelie
- $2 2x$1 Listerine (CVS Diabetes handbook)

Total $12.42, pay with $12.37 ECBs and $.05 OOP. Earn $14.47 ECBs.

(Transaction #4A

2 - Listerine

Pay with $5.98 ECBs, earn $5.98 ECBs.)

Transaction #5
1 - Right Guard
2 - Sally Hansen Nail Polish

-$.50 Right Guard mfg coupon
-$3 $3/2 Sally Hansen (CVS Beauty Handbook)

Total $14.48, pay with $14.47 ECBs from Transaction #4 and $.01 OOP. Earn $17.98 ECBs.

(Transaction #5A, B, C

1 - Right Guard

Pay with $6 ECBs, earn $6 ECBs)

So, you will have spent $5.04 OOP and will have $17.98 in ECBs to roll to next week, or use them to pick up some necessities.

For more $5 Scenarios, check out the CVS $5 Challenge at Keeping the Kingdom First. See even more CVS Scenarios at Money Saving Mom, the "Cent"sible Sawyer and Deal Seeking Mom.

Friday, December 19, 2008

CVS Deals - 12/14

I headed to CVS early this week, to use a $5 coupon I had received by e-mail late last week. I used all of my ECBs, but earned a number back.

Here is what I got:

4 - 12pk Pepsi product
6 - boxes of GM cereals
1 - 3oz Right Guard
1 - 4oz Colgate Total Advanced
1 - 2pk Dove bar soap
1 - EOB Mesh Sponge

-$5 $5/$30 CVS coupon
-$2 EOB coupon
-$.55 Right Guard "peelie"
-$.75 Cereal mfg coupon
-$.75 Cereal mfg coupon
-$1 $1/2 Cinnamon Toast Crunch coupon
-$1 $1/2 cereal mfg coupon
-$1.50 Colgate Total mfg coupon

Paid with $28.59 in ECBs and $3.35 on free gift card. I earned $10, $3, $2, $2, and $1 ECBs. I paid nothing OOP but between the gift card and ECB reduction, it cost me $13.94 for 6 boxes of cereal and 4 12-pks, along with some other necessary items. I don't think that is too bad.

For other great deals, check out the "Cent"sible Sawyer's CVS Superstars and Money Saving Mom's Super Savings Saturday. Check out other Centsable Savings Stories at BeCentsable.

Free Broadway Tickets for Ohio

So, I don't know the full back story, but evidently Nancy Coyne at an advertising agency that reps 24 current Broadway productions, made some sort of a remark to the effect..."we hate tourists from Cleveland" and it created quite a stir. Now, as a form of apology, Ohioans are going to get free tickets to Broadway. It looks like it is limited to Tuesday - Thursday showings of Chicago in January, but if you are from Ohio (have to show a license) and heading to NYC mid-week, this is still a good deal. In addition, if you happen to live in Cleveland, Coyne is planning to give away Broadway tickets on Cleveland Radio.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Munchie Mug Giveaway

Denise, of the "Cent"sible Sawyer is launching a new blog entitled Baby Buzz, as part of her participation in Walmarts Eleven Moms. In celebration of her new blog, she is hosting a giveaway. There will be two lucky winners of a Munchie Mug.

They look pretty cool and I think they just might help reduce the amount of food on the floor of my car. There is a soft cloth cover that the child can reach in through and get food, and when they pull out their hand, the fabric goes back into place - trapping the food inside. The mug and lid are dishwasher safe.

For a chance to win, head over to her giveaway.

Free Shipping Day - TODAY

Free shipping day is TODAY. Click here for the link to the site that has the merchant list and more information.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Birthday Bear

This is a "re-run" of a previous Works For Me Wednesday. I "borrowed" the re-run idea from Rocks In My Dryer, our gracious host.

Today is a tip that I received from a mom friend of mine. She has since lost the battle with cancer, but I am very appreciative of a tip she shared when she dropped off a dinner for my family in the days following the birth of my son.

She suggested that I select a stuffed toy to be a "Birthday Bear" and that every month during the first year, take a picture of the baby with that bear. It provides a great gauge for how they are growing and changing. She said she started it when her kids were younger and now, they just take annual pictures with the bear on their birthdays.

I loved this tip. I decided on a birthday bear for my son, in his case it was actually a stuffed bear. I took a picture of him and the bear every month for the first year and then every three months the next year and now, every year on his birthday. My husband mocks me, asking if I will still take his picture with that bear when he is a teenager (if he lets me, I just might). When I did his first year scrapbook, I was able to build a two page layout that showed his progress from month one to twelve very clearly.

When my daughter was born, my Mom and son went to the hospital gift shop and bought her a pink fluffy bear. It became her birthday bear and I have carried on the same tradition with her.

Conveniently, though they are different bears, they are both Ty Bears, so they are the same size, so they also can serve as comparison between the two kids.

I always have to remind myself that I need to take the picture. There has been at least one occasion where the kids had had their bath, read their books and were about to be placed in bed when I recalled that I needed to take that picture. In those cases, not considering the next day to be an option, I dragged them downstairs set them in the picture chair with their bear and snapped away. Those pictures show one tired child in their PJs with their birthday bear, but it is still the milestone picture that I will always have.

I love to look back at all of the pictures to see how they have changed and grown.

Do you have a tradition by which you measure how your child has grown and changed?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Home Depot Gift Card Giveaway

Over at Mommies with Cents, they are hosting a $100 Home Depot Card giveaway in honor of their 1000th post. You have until Wednesday at 11:59 pm CST to enter to win.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reminder - Toys'R Us and Free Shipping Day

Toys'R Us is posting new coupons everyday. Be sure to check back daily to see if you can use any of the in store coupons. You can see my original post here with link.

Free shipping day is Wednesday. The merchant list seems to have grown. You can see my original post here for a link to the site that has the merchant list and more information. I will post a reminder on Wednesday.

Menu Plan Monday

This week, I continue to use up some of our stockpile to make sure we are getting good rotation, so this week we are eating what we have on hand. I did make a stop at the grocery for some fresh fruit and a couple of things we needed and a stop at CVS where I got 6 boxes of cereal. Together, the two stops only amounted to about $12.

At our house, we don't eat breakfast or lunch together during the week, so there is minimal planning that goes into those meals. For us, the focus is dinner.

Leftovers/Bagel Bites

Chicken Caesar Salad

Brats and Dogs

Mac'N Cheese


Pork Tenderloin

lunch out

Weekdays breakfast is at daycare for my daughter, the rest of us eat cold cereal, frozen waffles, oatmeal, toast or whatever strikes our fancy. Lunch we pack, usually leftovers for me. My son either packs or buys lunch at school. If he packs, it is generally a lunch meat sandwich or a PB&J with some sides.

Check out other menu plans for the week at I'm An Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

CVS Scenarios - week of 12/14

Last week, of course, I shopped early in the week and then at the end of the week, I received an e-mail coupon for $5 off of $30. It doesn't expire until today, so my hope was that there would be a good deal that I was interested in this week, so I could use my coupon. Here is a transaction I built around that coupon, if you don't have the same coupon, your total could be higher - but you could also split transaction #1 into two to reduce OOP.

Transaction #1
6 boxes of GM Cereals
1 EARinse

-$.55 mfg coupon (assorted GM Cereal coupons available in coupon side bar)
-$.55 mfg coupon
-$.75 mfg coupon
-$.75 mfg coupon
-$1 $1/2 mfg coupon
-$5 $5/30

$21.40 OOP. Earn $10 and $9.99 ECBs. (That's like paying $1.41 for six boxes of cereal - $.23 / ea)

Transaction #2
1 - Dove Bar Soap
1 - Pantene Shampoo
1 - Clairol Haircolor

-$2 Pantene mfg coupon
-$2 Clairol mfg coupon

Total $10.47. Pay with $10 ECB from transaction #1 and $0.47 OOP. Earn $1, $1 and $2 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - St Ives Moisturizer

Total $10. Pay with $9.99 ECBs from transaction #1 and $0.01 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs.

Transaction #4
1 - Crest Spin Brush

-$2 Crest Spin Brush IP

Total $3.99. Pay with $1, $1 and $2 ECBs from Transaction #2 (adjusted down by $0.01). Earn $2 ECBs.

Check out other CVS Scenarios at Deal Seeking Mom, Money Saving Mom and the "Cent"sible Sawyer.

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
1 - Pantene Shampoo

-$2 mfg coupon

Total $3.99. Earn $2 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Dove bar soap

Total $2.49, pay with $2 ECBs and $.49 OOP. Earn $1 ECBs.

Transaction #4
2 - Candy Bars (3/$2)

Total $1.33. Pay with $1. ECB and $.33 OOP.

Total OOP $4.81. Or skip the last one and save your $1 ECB for next week.

Check out more $5 Scenarios at Keeping the Kingdom First, $5 CVS Challenge.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Toys 'R Us Coupons

Toys 'R Us is celebrating the 12 days of Christmas with daily in-store coupons. There are 3 pages worth of coupons today that you can print out and bring to your local store. The deals change daily. Check it out here.

Happy Shopping!

Samples and Freebies

Another slow week on the requesting side.

I have signed up for a number of fun giveaways.
Gain Scent Card

My mailbox was full this week though:

Bear Naked Natural Granola sample and coupon.
Try Me Free Coupon for Horizon Organic Milk.
Earthbound Farm Organic coupons, including a number of coupons for Horizon Organic products (yogurt, milk, and butter)
Saturn Convenience Wallet Cards from VocalPoint - has a tip calculator, stain removal chart, ingredient substitution chart and family clothing size chart.
Pantene (mystery shampoo) sample
$1.99 Chapstick Rebate
$2.50 Arm & Hammer Essentials Rebate

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Free Shipping Day - December 18th

I recently learned that December 18th is Free Shipping Day. There are a number of participating merchants for Free Shipping Day. And the best part, shipments are guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas. It appears that this is the First Annual Free Shipping Day.

For a list of participating merchants and more information, check out Free Shipping Day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CVS Deals - 12/9

I made my trip to CVS yesterday to pick up some of the deals this week and I think I did pretty good. I used the ECBs I had earned at the Black Friday Sale. They were almost 2 weeks old and I was afraid of "losing" them to expiration.

Here's what I got:

Transaction #1
6 - Hershey's Bliss
4 - Hershey's Stocking Stuffers

-$6 6x$1 Bliss Mfg coupon
-$2 Hershey Mfg Coupon

Paid with $5.99 and $5.99 in ECBs and $.02 on Gift Card. Received $10 and $10 ECBs (for prescription)

Transaction #2
2 - Huggies Pull-ups
2 - Huggies Wipes
1 - 32oz Powerade
1 - Theraflu Warming

-$2 Huggies CRT
-$2 Huggies Pull-ups Coupon
-$2 Huggies Pull-ups Coupon
-$1 Huggies Mfg coupon
-$.50 Huggies Wipes coupon
-$2 Theraflu coupon (blinkies)

Paid with $4.47, $5.69, $5.93 and $6.99 ECBs and $.47 on gift card. Earned $5, $2, and $1.59 ECBs.

Transaction #3
1 - 12pk Mtn Dew
1 - 12pk Diet Pepsi
1 - Duracell 9V
1 - Tide 100oz

-$.75 Duracell Mfg Coupon
-$1 Tide Mfg Coupon

Paid with $5, $5.98 and $7.99 ECBs and $.41 on a gift card. Earned $5 ECBs.

I used up all of the ECBs that I had built up on Black Friday ($49.08) and now have $28.59 in ECBs. So, the net cost for everything I got today was $20.49 in ECBs and $.90 on my free gift card. Not too bad for 24 cans of soda, 58 pull-ups, 160 wipes, 52 loads of laundry detergent, 1 battery, 32 oz of Powerade, 8 doses of cold medicine, 216 pieces of Hershey's Bliss, 4 stocking stuffers and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (oh not that last one :-)! ).

For more deals, check out Money Saving Mom's Super Savings Saturday and find more CVS deals at The "Cent"sible Sawyer's CVS Superstars.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Saving Money at the Holidays

There are many ways that you can save money at the holidays and still share the holiday spirit.

Homemade Gifts
When my children started to school, I decided that homemade gifts would be the way to go. How do you buy a gift for someone that you only know in their work environment and who has how many ever children's families purchasing gifts too. There was always the bath products - lotion, bath gel, bubble bath, bath fizzies; the candles; the "teacher" paraphernalia; etc., but how many times can a teacher get the same type of gifts before they are ready to explode. I decided that it would be nice to make them a plate full of the cookies that we bake each year. I pick up a festive plate on sale and fill it with goodies that the kids help me make. That way, they have the treats to enjoy and share with family, and they have a plate they can use in the future.

For the grandparents, we tend to use pictures of the kids for their gifts. We have done photo books, calendars, collages and such in the past. They love pictures of the grandkids and usually, around the holidays the on-line photo shops have excellent coupons - offering 30%, 40% and more off. If we do a collage, we usually place it in a nice frame to complete the gift. If you know what size collage you will do, watching the sales can help you find a nice frame for a reasonable price (or you could find a frame you like and make a picture to fit).

Last year we also tried paint your own pottery. It was a nice opportunity for the kids to paint a personalized mug/plate for the grandparents.

Buying All Year
Now, I don't buy everything ahead of time, but I do start to watch at clearance sales throughout the year for things that I can give as gifts. Especially for clothing. I like to be able to buy nice outfits and if you buy them at the end of season for next year, you can generally get a really great deal. Especially if you can couple it with additional % or $ off coupons. I do watch though for toys that go on sale as we enter the fall. Generally, by then, I have a feel for what other gifts I would like to get for the kids I am buying for.

Additionally, right after Christmas is a great time to stock up on supplies for Christmas - wrapping paper, cards, tape, napkins, plates, etc. Everyone clearances those items out to free up their shelves for the next season. If you have the place to store them, why not buy the supplies for 50% or more off. You can also buy tins, plates and more for sharing your homemade goodies next year.

Coupons can be a great way to save money on the gifts you are buying. For instance, when I hit the Black Friday sales, I was armed with $ off coupons at Toys 'R Us and % off coupons at The Children's Place. Coupled with the already great sale prices that they were offering on Black Friday, I was able to get some awesome deals. Store coupons are found in ad, in the paper, in the mail or on-line.

Coupons can also help when you are stocking up on the ingredients needed for baking. I find that it is best to buy those ingredients in the early fall, when the retailers are starting to put them on some great deals.

Price Match/Adjustments
If you buy something that you plan to give on what you think is a good sale, continue to scan the sale ads. Many stores will adjust your purchase if they offer the same item at a lower cost. Others will even adjust your purchase price by matching a competitor's deal. And, if they don't, return it and rebuy it,if it will save you money. I don't make a special trip to do this unless the savings is significant, but I do check my ads at the beginning of the week and that way, if I know I will be by that store, I can stop in for the savings.

Rewards Programs
There are a number of rewards programs out there that can help you save money during the holidays. My grocery store offers gift cards after you spend so much in the store. By participating in programs like Harris Polls and MyPoints, you can earn points that are redeemable for gift cards that you can use to buy Christmas presents. If you carry a credit card, why not have one that pays you back. We have cashed in our points from these different programs, not only to buy gifts, but also to treat ourselves to a low cost dinner out at favorite restaurants.

Read Blogs
This is a new one for me. I only started reading blogs this summer and let me tell you, I have learned about some great deals from both on-line and brick stores, I have found coupons that I didn't know were available, and you can even enter to win a giveaway, which can help you save money.

Right now, the members of Walmart's ElevenMoms group are hosting giveaways. One example you should check out is Alyssa at Keeping the Kingdom First. She currently has a $500 Walmart gift card up for grabs. To enter, share your most creative way to save money at the holidays.

This approach works for me to save money at the holidays. To learn more tricks and tips check out Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks In My Dryer.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Giveaway: Walmart $500 gift card

Denise over at The "Cent"sible Sawyer has a giveaway for a $500 Walmart Gift Card, sponsored by Nickelodeon and Walmart.

To enter, head over to The "Cent"sible Sawyer and leave a comment with how to make your favorite holiday appetizer. There are 4 other ways to enter to win.

Chocolate Mug Cake

Okay, so as I visited $800 annual budget for 4 girls, Erin mentioned this chocolate mug cake that sounded incredible. I had to go back to As our time gose by to check it out.

It sounds and looks so delicious. I am definitely marking this as a got to try it. Just need to find a time (only takes 5 minutes) to try it.

Menu Plan Monday

This week, I continue to use up some of our stockpile to make sure we are getting good rotation, so this week we are eating what we have on hand (when we aren't out). I need to make a quick stop at the store, but only for a few fresh ingredients for the week.

Our friends are making dinner for us on Saturday so that we can try Venison (and some other game?). It should be an experience. I have had it only once before and it was in a stew.

At our house, we don't eat breakfast or lunch together during the week, so there is minimal planning that goes into those meals. For us, the focus is dinner.

Blueberry Muffins and Cereal
Peanut Butter & Jelly

Pork Chops

Blueberry Bread Pudding

Turkey Pot Pie


Chicken Gravy over Biscuits

Venison and more

Weekdays breakfast is at daycare for my daughter, the rest of us eat cold cereal, frozen waffles, oatmeal, toast or whatever strikes our fancy. Lunch we pack, usually leftovers for me. My son either packs or buys lunch at school. If he packs, it is generally a lunch meat sandwich or a PB&J with some sides.

Check out other menu plans for the week at I'm An Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

CVS Scenarios - week of 12/7

There are a lot of deals that I hope to take advantage of this week at CVS. I have a decent amount in ECBs after building up the day after Thanksgiving.

Transaction #1
4 Hershey Bliss @ $3
2 Miniatures @ $3.50
2 Stocking Stuffers @$.50

-$4 - 4x$1 Hershey Bliss IP (you will need to print these on different computers)
-$2 Hershey Mfg Coupon
-$2 Hershey Mfg Coupon

Total $12, earn $10 ECBs.

Transaction #2
2 - Huggies Pull-ups
1 - Huggies Wipes
1 - Huggies Bath

-$4 2x$2/1 Pull Ups IP
-$1 Huggies Mfg Coupon
-$.50 Huggies Wipes Mfg Coupon

Total $19.50. Pay with $10 ECBs from transaction #1 and $9.50 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs.

Transaction #3
1 - Tide
1 - Duracell

-$1 Tide Mfg Coupon
-$.75 Duracell Mfg Coupon

Total $13.25. Pay with $5 ECBs from transaction #2 and $8.25 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs.

Transaction #4
1 - Theraflu Warming
1 - Powerade 32 oz

-$2 $2/1 Theraflu IP

Total $5.58. Pay with $5 ECBs from transaction #3 and $0.58 OOP. Earn $2 and $1.59 ECBs.

The net cost for the above is $26.74, but you have 6 bags of chocolate, 2 packs of Huggies Pull-ups, Tide, some medicine and diapers to show for it. I will be using ECBs that I built up on the day after Thanksgiving, so the net cost will still be $26.74, but it will come from ECBs. I'll still have $22.34 in ECBs to roll into next week.

See more deals and other scenarios at Money Saving Mom, Deal Seeking Mom and the "Cent"sible Sawyer.

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
1 - Powerade

Total $1.59, earn $1.59 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Theraflu Warming

-$2 $2/1 Theraflu IP

Total $3.99. Pay with $1.59 ECB from Transaction #1 and $2.40 OOP. Earn $2 ECBs.

Transaction #3
1 - 12 pk Mountain Dew (or any other Pepsi product)

Total $3.00. Pay with $2 ECBs and $1 OOP.

Total OOP $4.99 (plus tax).

For more $5 Scenarios, check out the CVS $5 Challenge at Keeping the Kingdom First.

Giveaway Winner!!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2008-12-07 23:12:05 UTC

That makes Ashley (ashlomb@...) the winner. I will send an e-mail to get your information.

Thanks for participating.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

CVS in the News

This news report is a little disheartening - according to the article, CVS has problems with selling expired product and with poor health inspections.

A few weeks ago, I bought two candy bars at CVS that had expired last February. I guess after reading this article, maybe I should be a little more cognizant of the expiration dates on products at CVS, especially since I am generally buying for stockpile. Now I know that stores of all walks run into issue with proper product rotation. One of my local stores has a fresh or free guarantee - if you find an expired item on shelf, they will give you a fresh one of the same item for free. It helps them ensure that they are properly removing expired products from the shelf. I'm sure it has to be tied to some performance measure for the department if consumers find expired product. After all, they aren't in the business of giving product away.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dinner Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Dinner Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Oooh! Now here is a dress that I could win that will fit my little lady come summer/fall. She is a cutie in green. Check it out!

Some Giveaways

I just entered a couple of giveaways that I am excited to share with you...

At Stitches and Roses, she is giving away a very cute, approx 12 mos dress with hearts on it. Alas, my little lady is too big to wear this dress, but I have friends with little baby girls that would be adorable in this dress.

At Deal Seeking Mom, Tara is giving away an awesome lunch bag giveaway by Mario Batali or Elle.

At Mommies with Cents, the ladies are giving away The Snow Queen book.

Samples and Freebies

It's been a quiet week (actually, I've just been extremely busy), so I didn't request anything this week.

However, my mailbox has been busy this week.

I received the Crest Weekly Clean calendar and coupons from Vocal Point.
The Kotex liner samples from Costco.
Two Jello Singles from First Taste. I actually also had just bought some on Sunday, but haven't tried them yet.
The "mystery" shampoo and conditioner from WalMart (Pantene)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

200th post - Avon Giveaway

In honor of my 200th post, I am happy to offer an Avon Giveaway.

I have been a long time user of Avon. One of my favorite products is their Silicone Glove Hand Cream. It works really well to help keep my hands soft in the dry winter months without leaving my hands feeling greasy. I like it so much, that I tend to have many on hand - the small size ones are in my purse and the diaper bag and I have the big ones in my kitchen, my bathroom, the kid's bathroom and my desk drawer at work. I also use their bubble bath and have used their kids bath "paints".

So, when I was offered the opportunity to try some of their facial products, as a participant in Mom Select, I was anxious to give them a try. They sent me four samples from the ANEW REJUVENATE Line:

ANEW REJUVENATE Night Revitalizing Cream
ANEW REJUVENATE 24 Hour Eye Moisturizer SPF 25
ANEW REJUVENATE Dial-A-Glow Anti-aging Moisturizer SPF 15

I have to say, that so far I am pleased with the product. The moisturizers are light, not heavy or greasy feeling, and my skin feels soft and looks smooth and fresh. A little goes a long way, which I like because it means I won't have to purchase it too frequently. It is a few more steps than I used to do. I pretty much had a wash only in the evening and a wash and moisturize in the morning type of routine. It takes a little more time, but I like the results. The Flash Facial is meant to be used as a creamy toner. It’s a great clarifying treatment for the skin. The Dial a Glow can be used alone or underneath foundation. It’s basically a tinted moisturizer designed to give you a natural looking glow.

As a part of my participation, Avon was kind enough to extend the offer of letting me host a giveaway on my site. The prize package will consist of ANEW facial products, tailored to the winner's age range. Besides Rejuvenate, there are 2 other ANEW skin care sets and Avon will send the one that is best suited for the winner's age range.

To enter to win the gift pack, leave a comment telling me your favorite holiday memory or tradition. Make sure to include your contact information if I can't get it through your user name. For an additional entry, blog about my giveaway and come back and leave a comment with a link to your post. Don't have a blog, you can also get an additional entry by Tweeting about the giveaway on Twitter - again, come back and leave a comment with your Twitter user name.

The contest will remain open until Sunday, December 7th at noon EST. I will determine the winner using a random number generator. After being contacted, you will have 24 hours to respond with your mailing address and age range. After 24 hours, if I have not heard from the winner, I will draw for a new winner.

In the meantime, head over to and do your holiday shopping in their Holiday Boutique. By entering the code JINGLE30 you will get free standard shipping with a $30 order when you shop with an eRepresentative. This free shipping offer expires on January 1, 2009.

Giveaway - Walmart $500 Gift Card

Tara over at Deal Seeking Mom has a giveaway for a $500 Walmart Gift Card, sponsored by Nickelodeon and Walmart.

To enter, head over to Deal Seeking Mom and leave a comment with how you can cut back by $1 a day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Time Shifting

One of the things that I really have come to enjoy is my DVR. I know that there are many out there that prefer to stay completely away from the television, but I rather enjoy the opportunity to relax and unwind while watching a little bit of television.

There were many things that used to bother me about using a VCR. First, you could only record one show per VCR. Second, the way ours was wired, you had to be watching the channel that was recording. Third, if you were watching a show on playback, you couldn't be recording. Fourth, if you didn't watch your shows soon enough, your tape was full. Fifth, you either had to watch from the end back or commit to a long period of watching shows, so you could leave the tape where you were able to record. It made it really hard to record and watch shows. When possible, I tried to be home and available when shows were on so that I could watch them live. When I couldn't, we had to plan when we would watch the shows. I felt a little bit like a slave to the TV/VCR.

Now, we have a DVR and I control the TV instead of it controlling me. You can record two shows. Of course, if you have the TV on when you are recording two shows, you either have to watch one of those shows or something that was previously recorded. If your show moves days of the weeks, the DVR knows. You can elect to record all episodes or only new episodes.

Having a DVR allows me to always have a show that is appropriate for my children to watch available. Most of the shows that we record for the kids are on while we are away. Curious George, Little Bear, Backyardigans, Blue's Clues and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are amongst the shows we record. Another benefit is we are able to tape from commercial free networks. We typically only allow 1 or 2 episodes in the evening, generally while I am attempting to make dinner for the family. My son, who has grown up with a DVR learned early on that we could pause shows so that he could run to the bathroom or take a break. So much so that he didn't understand why we couldn't pause TV at Grandma's house or when he would watch a show upstairs from time to time, while I was showering or taking care of chores upstairs. He also didn't understand the first time he watched a show with a commercial, why his show was being interrupted. Oh my!

For me, the nice thing about the DVR is I can watch the shows I want when it is convenient for me and in a fraction of the time, because I can skip commercials. I can start a show one evening and finish it the next. I can start watching a show 10 minutes late and finish at the regular time because I don't spend time watching commercials. It really is a lot more convenient for me.

Now, it may sound like I watch a lot of shows, but really, I only watch about five shows - CSI, Without a Trace, Monk, Lost, How I Met Your Mother and two reality series - Amazing Race and the Biggest Loser. The rest is "filler" - I tape Hidden Potential and House Hunters. I enjoy seeing different houses and what your money can buy across the country.

Check out Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in My Dryer for even more tips and tricks.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Shopping Deals - Kmart and Giant Eagle

As I sorted through my coupons on Sunday, I realized that I had some coupons that would be expiring that I would like to use. As I indicated, my Kmart is not a Super Kmart, so their grocery selections are more limited, so I decided to split my shopping between Kmart and Giant Eagle, which doubles coupons up to 99 cents.

1 - Colgate Kids Toothbrush
-$.75 Colgate Toothbrush
-$.75 doubled coupon
1 - Kotex Lightdays (18ct)
-$1 Kotex coupon
-$.28 doubled coupon (got a penny back, should have been $.29)
1 - 75oz Cascade Dishwashing Gel
-$1 Cascade coupon
-$1 doubled coupon
2 - 64 oz Juicy Juice
-$2 2x$1 Juicy Juice coupon
-$2 2x$1 doubled coupon
3 - Nestle Chocolate Chips
-$1 instant savings
-$1 $1/3 Nestle coupon
-$1 doubled coupon
1 - Bumblebee Tuna 3 oz pouch
-$.55 Bumblbee coupon
-$.55 doubled coupon

$8.41 OOP. Total savings $11.88 in coupons, 14.36 total with sales. Saved 59% with coupons, 63% total.

Giant Eagle (I'll spare you the full details)
Jello Singles
Waxed Paper
4# Iams Cat Food
4pk Angel Soft TP
Nabisco 100 cal granola bars
3 Russell Stover Private Reserve
1 dozen eggs
2 Nabisco Triscuit crackers
28 oz Minute Rice
16oz Daisy Sour Cream
2 8 oz Hunts Tomato Sauce
2 15oz Hunts Diced Tomatoes
5# Pillsbury Flour
French's Fried Onions
2 24oz Sunmaid Raisin cannisters

Paid $30.87, saved $24.08 in coupons and $7.70 in store savings, for a total savings of $31.78. Saved 51%.

So, in total, I got $85.42 worth of groceries for only $39.28 (saved 55%). Not too bad.

Also, there was no CVS for me this week.

Check out other savings at the "Cent"sible Sawyer Drugstore Divas and Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom.