Category Archives: Couponing

Free Money

Free Money? Well not quite! We have the American Express Costco card that brings cash back for Costco each year. My husband used to travel all the time for work and we would book his travels with our AMEX card and take the reimbursement to rack up our cash back. This year we received just over $400 to spend at Costco. Every year we stock up on meat and products that last a long time.

free money

We received our coupon in the mail 6 weeks ago, but little did I know that I tossed the coupon directly into our recycling bin and put it out for garbage day. Blah, I was so annoyed with myself as I was checking the mail daily waiting anxiously for the arrival of this dear coupon. It was as if I was a small child waiting for my pink Barbie to come in the mail.

After tossing it and finally realizing what I had done, I called AMEX and they informed me they would be sending another coupon with the next billing statement. Finally 6 weeks later it arrives in my mailbox putting the biggest smile on my face to now be able to fill our freezer and panty full of goodies again. I had avoided a big grocery trip knowing this was coming and I didn’t want to overflow my freezer and not have room. So I patiently waited….well I tried to be patient at least!

Last night we took the trek to Costco as a family not only purchasing all of the goodies we had hoped for but just as every year prior, we spend more than the allotted amount. I’m not sure how it happens as the hundreds of dollars we are given seems to be an incredible amount, yet we still manage to go above and beyond. My lists are simply tossed out the window once entering Costco. The glorious riches of Costco products take over my mind. :)

After the hours spent shopping, Cooper was beyond tired and needed dinner. I stood in one of the longest lines-to-date for a polish dog for Cooper as Michael and I would be having steak and Caesar salad that he was entirely uninterested in. If his disinterest came solely from steak I would question whose son he is, but considering he is adverse to food entirely, I quickly push these thoughts aside. Unfortunately, after that immensely long line, Cooper refused any form of food the remainder of the evening. I was quite annoyed as his little body hasn’t been interested in food recently concerning his mama as usual. So sweet little man went to bed on a hungry tummy while I spent the remainder of the evening putting items away and reorganizing them while my husband watched Breaking Bad and I took in what I could. (I’ve found myself to become quite the fan of this show!)

Free Monet

Needless to say, I would recommend any of you who utilize Costco to the fullest, such as I to get the American express card to receive your delightful coupons in the mail on an annual basis. It saves a lot of money when you buy in bulk and stock your freezer. I also appreciate the fact that Costco has high standards with their food products allowing me to not be weary of what I am purchasing.

Moment of Truth: Check your mail thoroughly before tossing your “recyclables” into the bin.

Shutterfly

Keep track of time. Shutterfly is a great way to make albums for special occasions or even every years highlights. Here are a couple I’ve created.

All in a year 2012

Our Wedding Album

Honeymoon

I’m a little behind but am just finishing up Cooper’s First Year album as well as All In a Year 2013. You can be as creative as you want or simply let Shutterfly make your album for you. It’s a great way to keep photos as most of us don’t print them out anymore.

The other benefit is Shutterfly offers coupons and deals ALL the time. Groupon has them as well as Shutterfly themselves. You can get up to 50% off albums if you wait for the right coupon. You can also save all your photos online. I do this as I get afraid my computer is going to crash and we don’t currently have an external hard drive. I also have made a couple coffee mugs with photos on them for Fathers Day for my husband and my father. Lots of different projects you can do. :)

This is a fun way to keep family memories entertaining. Hope you all try it out and as we need to remember our families are who we spend the most time with. :)

Deal or No Deal?

Costco is great, but there are some things there that simply aren’t a better deal. I am going to help organize your grocery list. I have three stores that are on my list every other week. Come pay day I head out on my shopping extravaganza with my meal plans prepared for two weeks and my grocery list in hand. I will do my big grocery shopping for two weeks at a time and then here and there step a foot into the store within those two weeks for produce.

Costco Deal:

  • Eggs (5 dozen for $7.88)
  • ½ and ½ (1/2 gallon for $3.29)
  • Milk (2 gallons of homogenized milk; no hormones added) (Whole Milk for $5.09)
  • Frozen Chicken (Foster Farms) ($21 for 15 pounds)
  • Rotisserie Chicken (Largest chicken out there with the most meat; no hormones added $4.99)
  • Bulk Boxed Butter (4 cartons for $7, great for freezing)
  • Salami Slices (2 for $10, more ounces than any other store)
  • Produce (Kale, spinach, cucumbers, grapes, Brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, etc)
  • Carnivore lovers (if you want pure meat with no added hormones, their fresh poultry section is fabulous)
  • Chicken/beef Better Than Bouillon ($3.99)
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes, olives, kidney beans ($5-7)
  • Honey ($12 the best deal by far)
  • Coffee (Kirkland Symmatra Blend 1.5 lbs for $14.99)
  • Chips (Large than family size for $4.99)
  • Snack Nuts
  • Bread
  • Shredded cheese (freeze and use as needed)
  • Sea Salt and Pepper grinder
  • Toilet paper
  • Almond Butter (Best deal by far $7 for 26oz vs $5.99 for 8-12oz)

Costco No Deal:

  • Certain frozen foods; snack foods
  • Cooking Nuts (buy from bins rather than Costco)
  • Unbleached Flour (buy from bins)
  • Adult clothing for the most part
  • Appliances (depending on the product and the sale at the time)

Winco/New Seasons:

Bins:

  • Flour
  • Nuts
  • Spices
  • Pasta
  • Dried fruit
  • Bread Crumbs

Trader Joes

  • Mustard- they have the best mustards for dipping
  • Salsa- they also have really great salsa without preservatives
  • Cheese- Fred Meyer and Trader Joes have the best deals on cheese
  • Healthy Snack food options- as healthy as you can get for snack foods
  • Condiments as you will not necessarily need bulk for these items.

If you have enough room in your freezer it’s great to purchase in bulk, but for perishable items that seem to be a better deal will probably go to waste.  Frozen snack food such as chicken bakes, ravioli, taquitos and so forth end up being the same price, just bulk items. Stay clear of snack items as you will need to watch your waist line because they seem to be a fabulous price. :) Just because the price seems great, don’t always spend the money cause the pressure to eat it before it goes bad will soon catch up to your jean size. Instead, choose the healthier options such as frozen beans and corn as they taste fresh and not frozen.

Costco honestly has really good deals and I have begun to purchase most my produce from Costco as they have organic deals and mixed greens for $4.99 for triple the size than Wal-Mart for $4.88. You will need to evaluate the amount of produce you go through to make the decision of whether Costco has the best deal without it going to waste. I use Costco primarily and then head to Winco or New Seasons for their bins and Trader Joes for items I love but cant find else where.

Making your grocery list for the meal plans becomes the best, honest way to shop for deals and what you know you need rather than want. I’m so big on my ‘lists’ that I don’t purchase much snack foods. My husband kept commenting on the lack of snack food in our house to the point we made a special trip last night to Costco to purchase snacks he would enjoy. :)

Stick to your lists. I shop every 2 weeks with a couple quick runs for produce to the store within those two weeks. I do this for a couple reasons. If you make your meal plans you keep variety within your dinners rather than getting stuck in those ruts. You also are sticking to your grocery budget and avoid spending more time than we prefer at the market.

Try this method and let me know how it works for you. Especially those of you with kids, I believe you will be amazed how much less time you spend driving to the store with your children.

 

Couponing

I clip coupons often as I enjoy seeing the .55 be erased from the register. Something about knowing I am getting the best deal out there is satisfying to my soul. My husband calls me cheap and I would tend to agree. But lets clarify a bit more what “cheap” means. :) I buy quality not pricey. I don’t purchase the cheap end of many things as they will tend to wear out the following day. When it comes to food, I will match ingredients in the cheaper brands and if they are basically the same quality, why not? I don’t understand paying for brand on most food items. It simply doesn’t make sense. Some items such as HFCS can be the difference and in this tragic scenario I will gladly spend more money to avoid this cancerous ingredient. It’s not about the price, it’s about the quality and the deal.

www.coupons.com is a great free site that ships coupons on a daily basis to your email account. Your inbox can tend to be overloaded with emails but if you are willing to take the time to save the money it is worth the flooded inbox.

My advice after watching many coupon shows on TV as they are beyond fascinating that they can purchase $1000 grocery bills and only pay $1.72 for everything. This is beyond me and quite the accomplishment. The problem here is that you are purchasing many boxed goods, there is absolutely no produce to be had. Couponing should be exciting and adventourous but needs to be within limits. DO NOT travel to the store to purchase things you wouldn’t normally buy; don’t let a coupon persuade you into believing you are now in need of this item. You never ate it previously, so why would you now. Or ask yourself, “do I really need 5 boxes of stovetop stuffing?” Probably not, so lets be wise about our purchases. By buying things you typically wouldn’t without the coupon you are actually spending more money. They don’t tell you this tip because they want you to believe that you need 3 24 packs of top roman and 8 hamburger helpers. The key here is to purchase only what you enjoy and would purchase even if you didn’t have the exciting coupon.

The correct answer here is to make your shopping list first, than clip the coupons. The only time I tend to buy outside of my list is when I can stock up on toothpaste, Kleenex, razors and items such as these. Otherwise you will spend money on items you typically don’t need and end up wasting those precious dollar bills.

Grocery Deals

I found this website that allows you to buy groceries that are  delivered to your home within one to two business days. You bargain your prices without having to drive across town for the best deals. It is a huge money saver and I felt the need  to share  it with you.

www.mysupermarket.com compares prices between other retail stores for the best deal. You can swap and save. The first time you sign up you can get free shippint as well. (Even with shipping you still save more money) A couple things I know to be a better deal through Costco such as honey. Costco is one of the stores on the website but Costco has restrictions on what they allow. They won’t ship honey or toilet paper but other things they do ship. So explore the site and see what you find and how much money you can save while shopping at home.

*Note: I bought eyeliner on this site that normally is $10 and I recieved it for $2. I also got a 10lb bag of basmati brown rice for free with a coupon they had online.