Thursday, January 31, 2008

Teaching Children, Part 3: Saving

Part three in our series on teaching children about money...

One of the things my parents taught me very early is to make saving money a way of life. How did they do this? As I mentioned yesterday, I had a designated "Save" category in my envelope when I was still quite young.

Around the same time I started my first envelope-system budget (was I five?), my parents took me to the bank to open a savings account. I have no idea how much I deposited the first time, but I'm thinking it was around ten dollars. Honestly, what I remember more clearly than the amount is the fact that I did it... and the stuffed-animal bank mascot I was given. (It might seem silly, but I had that little brown dog for years, and it really was a reminder of the bank and my account there.)

Opening my own account at the bank made a huge impression on me--I still remember sitting on the counter at the bank--and I continued to make deposits when my "Save" envelope would grow to a decent size.

If you can let your children do things with their money themselves it tends to make a much bigger impact and make them feel more responsible and thus motivate them to take initiative themselves. Not, "Oh, Mom took my money off to some building somewhere," but "I opened my own account at my bank."

As I grew older, I took responsibility for my own savings account--which I was prepared for through my parents' early influence.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Economic Stimulus Rebate Calculator

Five Cent Nickel shared a neat little gadget that lets you calculate your check should the Economic Stimulus Package pass--or if you're getting one at all.

What would you do with a check like that? Build your emergency fund? Throw it into long-term savings? Spend it?

Walgreens: $5/20 January 31 only & photo discount

A great month at Walgreens just got even better... Crystal at Money Saving Mom posted about tomorrow's coupon: $5 off a $20 purchase. This would be a great time to nab some RR and FAR items, in addition to some of the deals we've highlighted this week: Revlon makeup, Kleenex, and L'Oreal StudioLine and Citrucel Soft Chews (be sure to ask for rebate receipts for any non-ESR rebates you're buying).

And if you're in the market for photos, check out the Walgreens photo site. Use the code WPHOTOSTUDIO for $5 off a $10 order.

Teaching Children, Part 2: Budgeting

Part two in our series on teaching children how to handle money...

From a very young age, my parents taught me to live on budget. I was about five when they first set me up with an "envelope system." (For those who don't know, an "envelope system" is a cash-based budget where money is divided between a series of envelopes, each for different categories.)

My budget was very simple--three envelopes: one for giving, one for saving, one for spending--yet it began to teach me how a budget works and how to discipline myself within its boundaries.

As I grew older, I eased into a slightly more complex envelope system (it had a few more than three envelopes :-) ), but I was prepared for it. My early experience had given me the basic knowledge of how to manage a budget.

Target: Free string cheese

Thanks to Crystal for a heads-up on this deal:

There is a current SuperTarget coupon for .50/2 Market Pantry cheeses. Individual string cheeses are usually around .25 each. Buy two and use the coupon. For a more detailed explanation, read Crystal's post.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A couple more Walgreens deals

Thanks to Tracy for this Valentines' heads-up:

I wanted to pass around that Walgreen's has their Valentine stuff 75% off already. I went to two different stores in the Dayton, OH area.

If the Jane deal didn't satisfy your need for makeup, check your Walgreens for clearanced Revlon ColorStay foundation. It's reportedly clearanced to 3.29, and there's an EasySaver coupon for $3 off any ColorStay product (page 14).

There is also a $1 manufacturer's coupon for any Revlon face product from the 1/13 paper insert. Revlon products are buy one, get one 50% this week. Your total will depend on exactly how they ring up. Worst case scenario, $1.07 overage for two (without the manufacturer's coupon). Best case? More overage. :-)

I'll add that the ColorStay qualifies for the Walgreens Vacation Cash promotion, but read the details (in the February EasySaver catalog) before you buy any extra products for the promo. It sounds to me like you have to spend an insane amount to even use the "rewards."

Edit: It appears my math skills went out the window when I wrote this (I was thinking BOGO, not BOG1/2). Numbers are now corrected. :-)

Teaching Children, Part 1: If you can't afford it, don't buy it

As promised, here's the first installment in a series of things my parents taught me about money...

Today's concept is if you can't afford it, don't buy it.

This is incredibly simple, but it's a point many of us as adults forget. If we don't have the money for something, we must chose to live without it--or come up with a creative way to get it for less or earn the difference.

I've found for myself, if I take some time to consider how badly I truly "need" the latest invention and what it will cost me, I discover I really don't need it that desperately.

As for teaching children, a lot of it is our example--not buying a couch or eating out if we don't have the money. However, the other side is not always stepping in and providing the extra when children want to buy something that costs more than they can afford. To be honest, I never remember a time when I wanted something and couldn't afford it, so my parents just gave me the difference. And I'm not scarred for life. Rather, I learned that if I didn't have the money, I could earn the difference or live without.

What are you doing to teach your children about handling money? What has worked best for you?

Watch tomorrow for the next installment in this series...

Walgreens: Kleenex deal

There's a February EasySaver Rebate for $1 on three boxes Kleenex and the 120-count boxes are on sale this week for .89 with the 7-day coupon. There is also a recent coupon for .50/3. Here's the math:

.89 (7-day cpn price)
x 3
-.50 (manufacturer's coupon)
-1.00 (ESR)

Total per box: .39

Edit: The 120-count is not listed in the EasySaver booklet as applicable for the rebate, but it is listed on the Walgreens website. YMMV, but they should honor what their site says.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Money: What I learned from my parents

Last night was the second FPU class and one of the topics discussed was teaching children about money.

I grew up in a large family that didn't have an excess of money. Though I didn't know it at the time, apparently a lot of people considered us poor. However, we had what we needed and learned to live without a lot of junk. My family rarely ate out. We wore hand-me-downs. When we traveled, we stayed with friends instead of a hotel. Most of my growing-up years, we only had one vehicle. We didn't have many toys. (Feel free to pity me... :-p)

That may all sound very dour, but it wasn't. Rather, I gained a perspective on life and money that I'm beginning to realize is rather abnormal--in a good way. :-) I learned more from my parents than I think they ever realized, and I hope to pass a similar perspective on to my own children.

Beginning tomorrow, I plan to share a series detailing what I learned from my parents and some ideas on teaching your children to be financially responsible.

Walgreens: Two good deals

Some L'Oreal Studio Line products are reported to be clearanced to .50-.99 at Walgreens. There is a coupon in the February EasySaver catalog (page 22) for $1 off the Studio Line hair stylers, making them free. However, there was also a manufacturer's coupon for $1/1 Studio Line product in the 1/6 paper insert. Use them together (scan the ES coupon first) for overage.

There is also a ES coupon for $5 off Citrucel chocolate and caramel soft chews (page 26). Shelf price is reportedly $10.99. The 1/6 paper inserts had a manufacturer's coupon for $2.50 or you can print a coupon for $2 by registering here. For some overage, combine the coupons, then send in for the $10 rebate. (While sign-up is free, it is required to get the rebate and you must fill out an IBS survey. The rebate is on the lower left side of the page after you complete the survey.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Walgreens: January 27-February 2

I am really happy with Walgreens at the moment, and looking forward to all the deals ahead! :-) As I mentioned before, there are some fun deals this coming week. Here's the best of what I found:

Envelopes or writing tablet: 7-day cpn, 2/$1

Dawn Dish soap: 7-day cpn, .99; use with P&G Saver $1/2 cpn; total: .49

Schick Disposables: 6.99; use with $2 ES cpn and recent insert cpn $4 off any Women's Schick Quattro; total: .99

Gillette Fusion Phenom: 9.99, produces $6 RR; use with P&G Saver $2/1 Gillette Fusion; total 1.99 after RR

Soft & Beautiful Relaxer Kit: $5, produces $5 RR; free after RR (Edit: My thanks to the reader who explained that this is a hair care item. I thought maybe it was a massage kit... :-) )

Chapstick Naturals: $2, produces $2 RR; free after RR (Some have reported finding .50 peelies for these--if you've got them, use 'em!)

Maybelline Volume XL Lip Plumper: 5.99, FAR this week; use with $1/1 tearpad cpn (I believe I found this one at Kmart)

Kleenex 120-count: 7-day cpn; .89 each; this post explains how to get them for .39

While they're not weekly sales, you might also be interested in these deals:

Some L'Oreal Studio Line products are reported to be clearanced to .50-.99 at Walgreens. There is a coupon in the February EasySaver catalog (page 22) for $1 off the Studio Line hair stylers, making them free. However, there was also a manufacturer's coupon for $1/1 Studio Line product in the 1/6 paper insert. Use them together (scan the ES coupon first) for overage.

There is also a ES coupon for $5 off Citrucel chocolate and caramel soft chews (page 26). Shelf price is reportedly $10.99. The 1/6 paper inserts had a manufacturer's coupon for $2.50 or you can print a coupon for $2 by registering here. For some overage, combine the coupons, then send in for the $10 rebate. (While sign-up is free, it is required to get the rebate and you must fill out an IBS survey. The rebate is on the lower left side of the page after you complete the survey.)

Revlon ColorStay Foundation: up to .29/2 (possible overage); details here

Edit: Crystal highlights a few more deals here.

I *love* Walgreens!

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Walgreens? For a couple of months the deals weren't the greatest and I was wondering if Walgreens was setting a trend, but they've already redeemed themselves... and the getting still looks good! :-) Here what I picked up today:

Thanks to the Jane deal, I got about $140 worth of merchandise at Walgreens today, using overage to buy the shampoo, body wash, and deodorant that are FAR this month, a Naturals Chapstick (free after RR), and a small lotion. I spent a grand total of $3.51, received a $2 RR, and will have almost $14 in Walgreens rebates coming. And if I have enough products, I'll submit the body wash and deodorant rebate receipt for the Colgate-Palmolive bag.

I was a little unsure of how smoothly things would go with my coupons, as the beauty consultant was one who's been a bit cool in the past. She was amazing. :-) And the second time I was in the store (dragging my sister along to find a few deals of her own), she was even more helpful. Yea for Walgreens!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Kmart: Blue Light Specials

For a variety of reasons, I don't particularly like Kmart. Or more accurately, I particularly don't like Kmart. But that's probably the wrong way to start a post telling you how to get a good deal there. :-)

There are two things that I love about Kmart, and that's what keeps me making an occasional trip there.

First, I like that they post coupon tearpads with products. I am sometimes able to find coupons there that I'll later use at Walgreens or another store for a good deal.

Second, sometimes they have steals in their blue-light specials. A while back I found a 6-pack of Ensure for $.86. It was an item I shop for anyway, so I picked it up. When I checked out, the machine printed a Catalina for $1 off any Kmart purchase. I wasn't expecting it to be a money-maker!

Kmart doesn't offer the nicest presentation I've ever seen, but the flipside is that the older merchandise looks, the cheaper it seems to be. Last night I came upon a blue light stand in a corner of the store that appeared it had been deserted. A long time ago. There were several bruised-looking packages of ladies' underwear, marked down to $3.50. I put one in my cart, and when I passed the price checker, I scanned it. $.90 for a six-pack. Score! All told I paid $.18 a pair for the package.

It pays to look for abused merchandise--and to see out those weird blue-highlighted display tables. :-)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Walgreens: Updates

I have updated the Jane post and the February EasySaver deals with several coupon ideas.

You might also note that HiP cosmetics are BOGO this week, and the February ES catalog has a $2 coupon for HiP lip products. Combine that with a manufacturer's coupon or two, and you could be looking at overage.

If your store doesn't have the catalog out on Friday or Saturday and you need it, you might ask them about it, since the catalog period begins Friday.

Colgate-Palmolive Goodie Bag

I've seen this deal mentioned on numerous blogs, but didn't look at it closely until last night. If you buy $15 worth of selected Colgate-Palmolive products during the month of January, you're eligible to receive a bag of samples and coupons valued at $25. Granted, the value is probably blown way out of proportion, but it still might be a good deal. You can find the form here.

Walgreens: February

As I mentioned before, February is a pretty sweet month for rebate deals. There are a number of deals advertised as FAR, and I suspect that several other items will have sales that make them FAR during the month. Here's what's FAR all month:

Clear Care 2-pack Travel Pack or 4-pack Convenience Pack, up to $5.99: some reportedly have $1 peelies

Gillette Venus Embrace Razor System, up to $9.99 (these will apparently not be in stores until February 7)

5-Hour Energy Drink, 2-pack, up to $4.49

Softsoap Spa Radiant Body Wash, 18 oz, up to $4.49:*** Some have reported hangtags and home mailers ranging from .75 to 4.49. If you have one of those, cheers to you. :-)

***This body wash can count toward the Colgate-Palmolive goodie bag deal if you get a rebate receipt.

Mennen Speed Stick 24/7 Antiperspirant/Deodorant, up to $3.99:*** use recent BOGO insert coupon for two free deodorants or use $1/1

***This deodorant should count toward the Colgate-Palmolive goodie bag deal if you get a rebate receipt (count both if you do the BOGO deal).

Garnier Fructis Shampoo (13 oz.), Conditioner (13 oz.), Leave-in Conditioner (10.2 oz.), or Masque (6.8 oz), up to $4.29***

***The Fructis will be a moneymaker if you buy it on January 25 or 26. The February EasySaver period begins on January 25, so there are two days of overlap between the January and February EasySaver periods. You can use the IVC coupon on page 12 of the January catalog for $1.50 off the Fructis, combining with the $1.00 manufacturer's coupon for $2.50 in overage. You can only do this deal this Friday or Saturday--after that the January EasySaver coupon is no good.

And a couple other rebate items that may be FAR during the February period:

Maybelline Volume XL Lip Plumper, $5.99 (this will be FAR next week): Use with $1 off any lip product (I think I found this in a tearpad at Kmart)

Buckley's Mixture, 4 oz, $4.00

For all of the February deals, browse the EasySaver catalog.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Walgreens: EasySaver period ending

Saturday is the last day to make January EasySaver Rebate purchases, so get your final items and get your rebate in the mail ASAP. The mailing deadline is not until February 2, but the sooner you get your form in the mail, the sooner you'll get your rebate.

Check back tomorrow for some February Walgreens deals!

Walgreens: Jane makeup moneymaker

Jane cosmetics are on sale BOGO at Walgreens this week. Much of the Jane makeup is clearanced right now, making for some pretty sweet deals. However, if you have the $2/1 coupon (or several of them), you may also be able to get overage on these. The clearanced makeup is reportedly $2.19-$2.59. If you have two $2/1 coupons, you could potentially get $1.81 in overage. (As always with overage, YMMV. Be sure you have enough other items to absorb your overage.)

Here's the math on this deal:

2.19 (for example)
+ 2.19
- 2.19 (BOGO)
- 4.00 (2 $2/1 coupons)

Edit: The February EasySaver catalog, which begins on January 25, has a coupon for $2 off several varieties of Jane mascara. As this is a store coupon, it may be combined with the $2 manufacturer's coupon for an even sweeter deal!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

ING Direct: My favorite bank

I opened my first ING Direct account about six years ago, motivated by the sign-up bonus. Years later, I'm still using ING Direct--more than ever, in fact--and I'm still quite happy with them. Why? Several reasons:

1. ING Direct's interest rates. I'm earning 4.025% on my savings accounts and 3.11% on my no-minimum-balance checking account. I don't know of any way I could beat either of those rates at a brick-and-mortar bank.

2. ING Direct's website is thrillingly simple and common-sense.

3. ING Direct's sign-up incentives. I got $25 when I initially signed up, and I am paid $10 for each referral who opens an account with a minimum of $250.

4. ING Direct's emphasis on customer security. ING Direct has taken several measures above and beyond standard online banking websites to secure customers' privacy.

5. ING Direct's multiple account savings setup. I started with one basic savings account, and have gradually added more for various projects. For instance, I have one for an expensive test I will be needing to take, one for some monetary birthday and Christmas gifts I received, one for money waiting to be put into my Roth IRA. Rather than trying to keep track of each of these categories on paper, I simply open a new savings account when I need to save toward a specific project. I can open as many accounts as I need to for various savings projects. When one project is completed, I can change the account nickname and use it for a different project.

6. ING Direct's integrated checking and savings acounts. When I log into my account, I can see my checking account and all of my savings accounts on the home page, and can move money very simply between them.

7. ING Direct's free checking supplies. I don't ever have to shell out money for checks on my account. Further, I don't have to pay postage on checks I mail. (For the downside of this, see #3 below.)

8. ING Direct's free debit card with the online checking account.

9. ING Direct's more-than-helpful customer service. I've rarely had to call customer service, but when I have, they have been incredibly corteous while maintaining high security standards.

Is there anything I don't like about ING Direct? Yep, a couple of things:

1. The automatic overdraft line of credit on my checking account. While this hasn't ever actually effected me, the idea of it irritates me. :-)

2. I don't have my checks in hand. I do have a free debit card, but I have to plan ahead if I want to write a check. (ING Direct mails the completed check themselves, first-class mail. It's free to me, but takes a couple days to arrive.)

3. The hold on external funds transfers. It's a bit long (a week?) on transfers to savings accounts, but I've learned to get around it by transferring my money into my checking account (much shorter hold on funds), then on to whereever I need it.

If you want to open an account with ING Direct, drop me a note and I'll send you an invitation. You'll get $25 if you open your account with a minimum of $250 and I'll get $10 for referring you. (If you are going to open your account with less than $250, let me know so I can send you a different invitation. I have a limited number of paid referrals.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Just ask...

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my just-applied November Walgreens EasySaver rebate was several dollars less than I thought it was going to be. Having documented my paperwork before I mailed it, I checked my rebate photo. Sure enough, they were off several dollars.

I called the rebate inquiry number and asked why they didn't credit the full amount to my gift card. The associate had me hold for a bit, then came back to inform me that it was all fixed and the amount in question would be applied to my account.

I kept waiting for it to show up, but it didn't. I checked the status online, only to discover that they'd mailed me a check. Not the end of the world, but rather inconvenient and I miss out on the 10% bonus.

The check came, and I assumed all was well and good. Until my December ESR showed up on the website as being another check when I'd requested a gift card reload. It hadn't mailed yet, so I called them to ask about getting it on my card instead.

The associate that I spoke with wasn't able to change the check to a gift card credit, but she did, at my request, apply the forfeited 10% of both rebates to my gift card. It can't hurt to ask!

Walgreens Memos

For this weeks Walgreens deals, check out Crystal's writeup at Money Saving Mom.

I've been a bit disappointed with the deals at Walgreens recently, but it looks like we're in for a treat. The February EasySaver catalog has quite a few FAR deals, and there are also a number of free after RR deals in next week's ad. Check back at the end of the week for more specifics.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I will be gone...

I am going to be out of town over the weekend and don't know if I'll be able to post. I'll plan to see you Monday, if not before!

P&G eSaver

Speaking of Kroger, if you haven't checked out the P&G eSaver, you should. It's basically paperless coupons that you load onto your shopping card and automatically deduct at the register. Pros? You can combine them with paper coupons to double your savings (many of the coupons are the same as the monthly P&G insert). Cons? I don't like having to keep a list of which coupons are on my card.

I don't see much that's worthwhile on their site at the moment, but I try to keep an eye on the coupons when they post new ones.

Excedrin coupon

If you haven't yet done the January FAR Excedrin deal at Walgreens and you don't have a coupon, stop by or for a $2 coupon. (Makes $2 overage after rebate.)

Kroger deals

In glancing over the Kroger flier this week, it looks like a decent sale week. Here are several items I noted, all 10/$10 unless otherwise noted:

Chex mix--use .50/1 insert coupon (doubled) or $1/2 from *some bags of Chex mix are reported to have peelies for free Yoplait yogurt WYB two bags mix

Fast Fixin chicken--use $1/1 coupons from,, and

Totinos pizza bites--use .40 insert coupon (doubled) or 1.10/2 from or

Old El Paso tortillas--use .55/1 any Old El Paso product from and

Daisy sour cream--use .50/1 from 12/9 insert

Starkist tuna--use .50/1 blinkie coupon or some Kroger stores are reported to have 1.50/3 tearpads

Possibly Land o' Lakes spreadable butter--I couldn't see the ounces on this one

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bath & Body Works semi-annual sale

I generally avoid the mall (mainly due to the tendency to waste my time/money), but stopped by with my sister this afternoon. Bath & Body Works is at the tail end of their semi-annual sale, and there are some bargains to be had--if you find the items worth your money. I had a gift card from Christmas, and didn't think I'd find much better deals than I was able to come by today. I paid about $10 for over $66 of products.

If you decide the sale is worth it for you, a couple of tips:

1. Do it now

It's toward the end of the sale and they seem more eager to get rid of things=better clearance.

2. Think ahead

What are you going to need gifts for in the next few months? Birthdays? Graduations?

3. Go for the deepest discounts

I found some on the $2 shelves, some on the 75% off tables.

4. Get another discount

I had recently been in this very store and made a purchase. My receipt printed a feedback poll number, with an offer of $10 off a $30 purchase. I filled out the phone survey and got my code. I wasn't sure if they'd let me combine it with the sale, but the cashier never batted an eyelash. (In case you're wondering about the math here, my sister and I checked out together, with a combined total of about $30 pre-discount.)

I don't know if the feedback forms are a local thing or a nationwide promo. You could always buy one cheap item to get the feedback form, then complete it (if it printed) and make your larger purchase.

5. And add a freebie

Sign up for Bath & Body Works email list and they'll send you a coupon for a 2 oz. lotion--free with any purchase.

6. Only buy what you can really afford

If it's not in your budget, it really won't hurt you to pass up the sale this time around. :-) It comes around again every January and June.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rebates: When they don't

Most the the time, my rebate checks arrive without a hitch. Sometimes, however, companies don't pay out as promised, and it takes a bit more effort. As previously promised, here are some tips on how to avoid non-paying rebates.

1. Avoid rebates with a bad reputation

It takes mere seconds to pull up company information (including complaints) with a google search. For instance, if you google "american telecom rebate," you immediately find numerous complaints of unfulfilled rebates. It's cheaper to learn from others' mistakes!

2. Keep accurate records, as explained here

If you don't document your rebate, you leave it up to a company's discretion as to whether or not they will be honest.

3. Is it worth your time?

Before chasing down rebate money, you have to decide if it's worth the time and effort. For $2, it may not worth your time. $75 could be a different issue.

4. Call the company

If it's past the time frame provided in the rebate terms, call company. (If there was a number provided in the rebate terms, use it. Otherwise, try googling the company name to find their phone number.)

Always be polite. Not only will you get farther, it's just right to treat them with the same decency you'd appreciate. You may need to be very firm, but polite and firm aren't mutually exclusive.

5. If you're not satisfied, talk to a manager

If customer service does not provide a satisfactory answer, ask to speak to a manager, and explain your situation to them.

6. Inform them that you'll take legal action

If a manager also refuses to help, let them know you will be taking legal action.

7. Do it

There are several ways you can go about reporting unfulfilled rebates. The Better Business Bureau has a simple form to file a complaint. You may also wish to contact the state Attorney General in the state the company resides in.

8. If all else fails...

Take your documentation to the store where you originally bought the item, and explain what you've done to resolve the situation. They may or may not be able to help you, but if they originally advertised a rebate, they're more likely to feel obligated.

Happy saving!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Cosmetics: Inexpensive and good quality?

I love finding inexpensive makeup and skin care products, but I hesitate to spend any money on a product I'm unsure of. I've come to value Paula Begoun's cosmetics evaluations for her honesty and straightforwardness--and for her attention to great, low-cost products. She reviews cosmetics in all price ranges and lists approximate prices in her reviews. She just came out with her Best of 2007, which has a few rather inexpensive items--I paid particular attention to the e.l.f., Jane, and Rimmel reviews (remember the $2 Jane coupon here).

Paula also offers a searchable archive of product reviews that I check when I'm looking for a new, low-cost makeup item.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Walgreens: Glade money-maker

I have not yet done this myself, but the Glade scented oil candles that are on sale BOGO the week of January 13 will reportedly produce Register Rewards. Since the candles may be bought free using the coupons mentioned in this post, you could make some money on it. It's not a huge amount, but the reported Register Rewards are as follows:

Buy 3, get $2 RR
Buy 4, get $3 RR
Buy 5+, get $4 RR

Note: While you may not technically be paying for any of the Glade, it still counts as a "purchase" toward the RR.

Edit: My information about this deal was incomplete. It's the Glade scented oil plug-ins that are producing the RR, not the candles. No free RRs this time around...

Walgreens deals: January 13-19

I heard talk of Walgreens clearancing a lot of items in the next couple days. YMMV, but keep your eyes open!

Revlon cosmetics and implements: BOGO. Use with two of the following coupons: Revlon beauty tool, $1/1 (exp. 1-31-08 or 4-30-08), Revlon face product, $2/1 (exp. 2-21-08), Revlon lip product, $1/1 (exp. 2-21-08), Revlon color cosmetic product, any $1 (exp. 4-30-08). Several of these coupons are to be in this Sunday's paper.

$5 Register Reward WYB $15 select products. The products pictured include Ragu spaghetti sauce, Skippy peanut butter, Hellman's mayonnaise, Lipton tea, and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. There should be coupons for all except the ice cream in the 1/13 paper.

Nestle Nips: 7-day cpn 2/1.29. Use with 2 $.55/1 printables. (YMMV on using this coupon, as it's only for the sugar-free Nips.)

Mars Minis: 4/$10. Use with 2 $1/2 printable coupons. Send in EasySaver rebate for $5. (End total of 4/$3.)

Twizzlers: 7-day cpn 10-16 oz 2/2.29. Use with $1/2 EasySaver coupon (pg 2).

Scott paper towels: 7-day cpn, 6-pack for 3.99. Anyone know of coupons to use with this?

Lysol disinfecting wipes: 2/3.49. Use with recent insert coupon $1/2.

Lysol toilet bowl cleaner: 2/2.59. Use with 2 recent insert coupons for .50/1.

Glade Scented Oil Candle: 2/6.99. Use with printable BOGO and mail in the rebate from 1/13 paper insert for 6.99 overage. Remember to buy these on a separate receipt from any EasySaver rebate items.

Glade spray air freshener: 7-day cpn 2/1.79. Use with Glade Spray BOGO up to $1.75 from 1/13 paper insert.

Mead index cards: 2/.99

Unilever products (selected): BOG1/2; $4 Register Reward WYB 4 products, $8 Register Reward WYB 8 products. The items included in the ad are Sunsilk hair care, Dove skin care, Dove and Caress bar soap and body wash, and Dove and Degree deodorant. I'd check for clearanced items that could be combined with coupons for this one. There are supposed to be coupons for most of these items in the 1/13 paper inserts.

Almay Cosmetics: BOGO. Use with 2 $1/1 any Almay cosmetics from 1/13 paper insert.

Purell hand sanitizer foam: $3.49. Use super cpn for $1/1. There are also supposed to be $1/1 coupons in the 1/13 paper or many of the hand sanitizers have $1 peelies. You can also send in for this rebate, netting $2 overage from the coupons.

Walgreens facial tissue or hand sanitizer: 2/3.00. Use toward EasySaver Rebate #13 for $2.50 overage (the hand sanitizer deal is good all month).

Bayer Aspirin 24-36 ct: 2/3.00. Use with 2 coupons from 1/6 paper for $1/1.

Post Cereals: $1.99. If your store carries chocolate Honey Bunches of Oats, get it free with the printable here (lower right side of page).

Maybelline cosmetics: BOGO.

Blistex: 7-day cpn for $.99. Use with .35/1 from 1/13 paper insert.

Sometimes in the past, Unilever Catalinas haven't printed as promised. If you have trouble and can't get it resolved at Walgreens, check this post for resolution with Catalina Marketing themselves.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Organizing rebates

Rebates can be a great way to save or even make money... if you keep track of them! :-)

Following are a few tricks I've used to track my rebates, both before and after I mail them.

1. Have a place for rebates in process.

I have a part of my desk drawer for rebates, close to stamps, envelopes, and return address labels.

2. Promptly store the required paperwork in an envelope.

Even if you can't do the legwork right away, you'll save time searching for missing receipts, forms, and UPCs if you put it away immediately. I put whatever is required for a certain rebate into one envelope, so that it's all there when I have the time to prep it for mailing.

3. Make time to do the paperwork.

There's no point in saving rebates unless you actually mail them--don't let them sit in the drawer while deadlines pass! Read the instructions carefully--rebate requirements vary. (Walgreens, for instance
, doesn't want you to send UPCs with the EasySaver rebate form.) If your paperwork isn't done right, a company may reject your rebate.

4. Snap a picture.

This is for your own records as well as to have proof of your submission, should there be any problems. Enlarge the photo and make sure you're able to read the prices and rebate terms.

5. Name your picture.

After transferring my rebate photos to my computer, I rename them with the rebate name and date mailed and put them into my Rebates folder. For instance, the recent Rx Essentials rebate would be titled Rx Essentials 01122008. This way it's easy to quickly locate a rebate if I need to grab some information.

6. Mail your rebate before the deadline.

The sooner the better, as companies are likely to get an avalanche of requests right at the deadline. If you can beat the rush, you're likely to multiply your time savings with an early return on your rebate.

7. Keep an eye on the mail.

Most of the time rebate checks will show up without any issues. However, it doesn't always work that way. Watch for a post on what to do when your rebate doesn't show up as promised.

Couple more freebies

Clorox Clean-Up

Houseplant at Lowe's (up to $10)--sign up, then print your coupon

Coffee sample from Hy-Vee

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Free cooking inspiration

I love cooking and being inspired by seeing pictures of new recipes--but I don't like the price tag usually attached to magazine subscriptions. Several years ago, I subscribed to Kraft Food & Family (free), and enjoy finding it in the mail every few months. Just recently I subscribed to the Wal-Mart Homemade magazine, and look forward to perusing it, too.

Recipe websites are another great resource. I haven't frequented it recently, but I used to love browsing Top Secret Recipes (creative imitations of famous restaurant dishes). They offer cookbooks for sale, but also provide numerous recipes online. and offer tens of thousands of recipes, and have some very helpful search tools. Recipes may be searched by name or by ingredients (a helpful tool in being frugal--search for a way to use up the bits and pieces sitting in your fridge). I also appreciate the capability to make my own online "recipe file," where I save my own favorite recipes. also has huge number of recipes, but the design of the website makes it a bit more difficult to navigate.

Of course, there's always friends and family resource, which is one of the best! :-)

What are your favorite places to find recipes, particularly ones with a frugal bent?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A few freebies

Free bottle of Coffemate creamer

Quaker Simple Harvest treats sample

Hamburger Helper Singles sample

Dove hair care sample

Saving on Shaving

I ran across an interesting article this afternoon on how to get the most out of a razor. To sum it up, razors last longer if you dry them after each use. It's not primarily use that wears them out, but corrosion. While I try to pay little or nothing for razors anyway, I'm always happy to make them last longer.

Target: Luvs Coupon

If you're looking for diaper deals, check out this coupon: $1.50 off Luvs diapers at Target. (And unlike the recently-offered Huggies coupon, there is no limit of one coupon per transaction.) The coupon can be printed as many times as you'd like, and is good through 2/8/08.

For a more convenient way of printing the coupon, use this coupon generator. The Luvs coupon is at the bottom of the page--just enter the number you'd like it to print. (You have to sign up before using the generator, but it's free.) While you're there, you might want to check out the Huggies coupon (top of the list)--it can still be used through tomorrow.

Keep in mind that these are store coupons, so they may be stacked with manufacturer's coupons.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

31 Prints for 11¢ shipped

Check out Nichole's instructions for how to get 31 4x6 photo prints for a grand total of 11¢.

Edit to clarify: Follow this link, then click on the Clark Color Lab sponsored link (usually at the top of the search results). Upload and add 31 prints to your cart, using the code
SHIPITFREE for free shipping. It should take off the price of 30 prints at the checkout, leaving you with a total OOP of 11¢.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Walgreens: $20 moneymaker

Thanks to Suzanne for pointing out the following deal:

Walgreens has OneTouch glucometers on sale this week--the UltraMini is $14.99 and the Ultra2 is $19.99. Yesterday's paper had coupons for $20 off one of these monitors, which would make them free. However, the Ultra2 also has a manufacturer's rebate (good for purchase price, up to $70) in the box, giving you $19.99 free, minus tax and stamp.

If you don't need the monitor yourself, you might consider donating it to a pregnancy care center or freecycling it.

York Photos: 3¢ Prints

York is doing another cheap photo promo, good through January 22. (Only good on first-time orders of up to 150 4x6 prints.) Use the coupon code YK3PRTS to receive this discount.

They're also offering $12 off a calendar order of $25 or more with the code NYCALYK (also good through 1/22).

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Walgreens deals this week

I was planning to post this evening to highlight Walgreens' deals for next week, but Crystal beat me to it--check out her post for some pretty good deals.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Liz Claiborne: $25 off purchase

Another thanks to Thrifty Floriday Mama for a helpful heads-up: Use the coupon code LCMAIL9 for $25 off your online Liz Claiborne order. There doesn't seem to be a minimum purchase, so if your order total is under $25, you just pay shipping. I think I'll be checking out their clearance section.

Edit: Seems the discount came and went very quickly. Feel free to try it, but it doesn't seem to be working anymore.

Frugality glossary of terms

I remember well my frustration when, as a beginning bargain-shopper, I would see a frugality-related term and have absolutely no clue what it meant. "What's a Catalina?" "What do they mean by FAR?" In an effort to help clear up such terminology confusion, below are a number of terms often by couponers, along with their definitions. If you think of other terms (either that you know the meaning of or that you don't), please leave a comment so I may add it to the list.

blinkies: coupons found in the store isle in blinking coupon dispensers (usually from SmartSource)

BOGO or B1G1: buy one, get one free

Catalina: a coupon that prints at the cash register from a separate machine. It has a red stripe along the top and bottom and is frequently good for $x off your next order.

CRT: cash register tape

CVS: a chain pharmacy which tends to have really great deals. There are CVS pharmacies in most states and is one of the largest pharmacies in the United States.

double coupon: when a store gives double credit for a coupon, usually up to a certain limit, such as $1.00. For instance, if you buy an item with a $.75 coupon and the store doubles up to $1.00, you would get $1.00 off your total. If in the same store you had a $.45 coupon, you would get $.90 off your order.

ECB: easy care bucks (CVS), may be earned by purchasing specific advertised products and can be used as "CVS cash"

ESC: easy saver coupon (Walgreens), part of the monthly savings booklet; these are store coupons and may therefore be used with manufacturer's coupons

ESR: easy saver rebate (Walgreens), part of the monthly savings booklet

EXP: expires on or expiration date

FAC: free after coupon

FAR: free after rebate

GC: gift card

hangtag: an extra tag attached to an item (for instance, hanging around the neck of a hand soap), often a coupon for a discount on that item

IVC: instant value coupon (Walgreens), see ESC

man q: manufacturer's coupon

MC: manufacturer's coupon

MIR: mail-in rebate

OOP: out of pocket (amount paid after all discounts)

OOS: out of stock

overage: the amount of credit left when buying an item for which you have coupons that exceed the price of the item. For instance, if you buy a bottle of shampoo at $2.50 and have a manufacturer's coupon for $2.00 and a store coupon for $1.00, you would have $.50 of overage. Overage is also sometimes used in reference to rebates. In the example provided, if you additionally had a $2.50 mail-in rebate, it would make for a total of $3.00 overage.

P&G: Procter and Gamble, a major manufacturer of many different types of household goods. Procter and Gamble puts out coupon inserts in newspapers on a regular basis, so someone may use this acronym to indicate where they found a particular coupon.

peelies: peel-off coupons or rebates found on an item

roll: when you use discounts earned on one purchase toward your another purchase. For instance, if you earn a $5 Catalina with a makeup purchase, then roll that Catalina to buy cereal which produces a $4 Catalina.

RR: Register Rewards (Walgreens Catalina), may be earned by purchasing specific advertised items and can be used as "Walgreens cash" (may not be applied toward sales tax)

S or SS: SmartSource. This is one of the three main newspaper coupon insert companies, the others being Valassis and RedPlum.

seven-day coupon: store coupons in Walgreens weekly flier

SCR: single check rebate. Refers to RiteAid's rebate program.

stack: when you use a variety of discounts (store sale, store coupon, rebate, and/or manufacturer's coupon) on a single item.

superdouble coupon: generally this is when a store has a certain day where they raise the limit of doubled coupons. For instance, if they normally double up to $1.00, they may double up to $2.00 on their superdouble day.

tearpad: a pad of coupons or rebates usually placed next to the item on the store shelf

TMF: try me free, usually a manufacturer's mail-in rebate

V: Valassis. One of three main newspaper coupon insert companies, the others being RedPlum and SmartSource.

WYB: when you buy

YMMV: your mileage may vary (the details of your deal may work differently)

Special thanks to Mary for her help.

As I mentioned above, please leave a comment if you're puzzled by a term and I'll do my best to help you.

Walgreens: free Dove chocolate?

Some have reported that the Dove Limited Edition Chocolate Pecan Pie aren't marked on the shelves, but ring up for $.87 at their store (part of the Christmas mark-downs). There is a coupon for $2/2 in the January EasySaver catalog. Use the coupon for some amazing free chocolate.

You might want to price-check the chocolate before you load up on it--the price may vary from store to store. I wish I could have tested the deal for y'all (just because I'm thoughtful like that :-P ), but my Walgreens was cleaned out. My guess is that someone else discovered the deal.

Dimetapp heads-up

This was not an "official" update, but the assistant manager at my Walgreens told me last night that the Dimetapp RR should keep printing through the end of the month. And don't forget the rebate!

Edit: I just discovered that there is to be a $1/1 coupon in the January 6 paper, so if you run out of printables, check that out.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Next Sunday's paper

Thanks to Thrifty Florida Mama for the heads up on next week's paper--it's supposed to have five coupon inserts. Sounds like it's time to restock my coupon box!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

More Post-It Rebates

If you took advantage of the Post-It coupons and still have your receipts, you may be interested in the following offers:

$5 McDonald's gift certificates (previously mentioned here)

$5 gift card for Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, On The Border, or Maggiano’s Little Italy

Post-It portable flags and notes

Post-It note dispenser

Free surprise gift from Post-It

Post-Its for the rebates must have been purchased by December 31, 2007, but the postmark deadline is not until January 31.

Purell moneymaker

Purell is offering a rebate of up to $4.00 on their Gentle Foam hand sanitizer. Many of the bottles have $1 peelie coupons on them, which will give a bit of overage.

Edit: If you wait until the week of January 13 to buy the Purell, Walgreens will have a $1 coupon of their own, making for another dollar of overage.

Free Arby's Food

In case the Chick-fil-A deal doesn't sate your appetite, Sara pointed out an Arby's deal: register your email address and they'll give you a free welcome gift and birthday gift.

Free Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit

If you're interested in a free Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit (and the possibility of even more goodies), check this out. The first 150,000 to register before January 2 (that means it's only good today) will get a coupon for a free sandwich, along with a calendar and gift card--and 2000 of the gift cards will be pre-loaded with $100. Yum!

Dimetapp Rebate

If you're taking advantage of the free+overage Dimetapp deal at Walgreens this week, you might also want to do the Wyeth MIR. It was in the September 23 insert, and offers $5 back on 3 products purchased. Just remember to separate your transactions for Wyeth rebate receipts from your Walgreens EasySaver Rebate receipts.