Saturday, October 31, 2009

NetworkedBlogs - Interface with loveli-mom on Facebook!

This is a test post to see if it really works - my blog is now networked on Facebook! Follow me to hear about great deals on lots of stuff, to learn how to save at the grocery store, and to read about various "mom" issues :-)

A Matter of Perspective

Washington Post - The Nobel Brisket goes too...

This is an interesting article about a different take on equality between women and men for domestic tasks. Women certainly believe they take on more of the domestic tasks even when both partners are working, but women DO tend to be reluctant to give up those tasks. As Ruth Marcus notes in the article, "We cling to our multitasking as much as we bemoan it."

I have a different take on this because we both work and my husband actually does do a lot of the domestic tasks: he is the one who cooks the most often, and he does the majority of the laundry and vacuuming. He does many of the typically male chores too like mowing the lawn. My domestic jobs tend to be cleaning and dusting things (though I don't do it as often as I probably should), taking care of making lunch for my daughter and packing her things, making appointments for her and others in the family, keeping track of everyone's schedules, birthdays, etc., and, of course, the meal planning and grocery shopping.

Meanwhile, I have intense guilt about the fact that I am not the one who cooks, does laundry, and cleans the kitchen. I also feel bad when I can't be the one to take my daughter to an appointment, pick her up from daycare, or stay home when she's sick. I am sharing the responsibilities, and I feel guilty that I don't do it all myself. I think this stems from my guilt at not being able to be that stay-at-home mom for my child like my mom was for me. That she can't count on Mommy to be there whenever she needs something. And in a lot of ways, I enjoy being able to do those caregiving tasks for her. I feel needed if I do her laundry or make her lunch. I feel I can show my love for her by taking care of her needs. Does my husband enjoy providing that level of caregiving as well? Sure - he feels great that he can be home with his little girl, and see her smile when he picks her up from daycare. He likes to see her happily eating food that he made for her (though I'm not sure he's so thrilled about cleaning up the mess).

I think the urge to be supermom/superwoman and the pressure we put on ourselves to be that is also due to our need for control. With so many things on my plate, I'm constantly feeling like I'm going to drop a ball. What if I forget to make that doctor's appointment? What if we run out of milk? Or I'm feeling like my life is generally out of control, like when the laundry doesn't get done and we have to scramble to find clothes, or when I forget to make Ks lunch and have to rush in the morning to get it done without being late for work. Even my husband feels it when I forget to clean the dishes I said I would do before bed, and he needs to do it at 11:30pm when he is getting ready to go up to bed. We'd love to live in an orderly world where we can do everything and do everything well - just like they do on TV and in those creative magazines. But you know what? Sometimes things just can't be perfect and there's really no need to expect them to be. Store-bought cupcakes can be just as tasty as homemade ones, mismatched clothes won't always been noticed or cared about by other kids at daycare, and my kid won't necessarily realize that I'm 2 minutes late for picking her up from daycare (though my wallet might realize it when I incur that late charge). It's hard to remember to just do the best you can and sit back and enjoy life once in a while. I'm lucky to have my husband, who is my safety net, but most of my stress is really a matter of perspective.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Old Navy and Borders coupon codes

Old Navy is having their Stuff and Save deal until 11/8 - 30% off your purchase if you use your Old Navy card and purchase $75 or more (free shipping online ) coupon code is ONSTUFF30

My friend E shared this Borders coupon code for 40% off one item: BSA6773F

This Week's Food Deals - Harris Teeter

Ok kids, I went shopping late this evening. FYI - They don't like it if you force them to open the non-self-checkout lanes after 10pm. Also, the meat counter guys are no longer there - that's a bummer. I like talking to them.

Anyway, I got some good deals today, but I have to admit, I spent less time preparing and checking out coupon deals than usual. However, there were a few free or near free deals to be had. Keep in mind, MANY coupons are expiring tomorrow and Sunday, especially the online printables.

Meal of the week: Stouffer's Family Size frozen meal + big bag of lettuce + 2liter Pepsi product for $5.99 (save $5.32)

Martha White Muffin Mix packets - BOGO - original price $1.19 - Coupon is from 8/9 smart source for 55 cents. Final price is $0.09 for two. (or FREE for one)

Mueller Spaghetti and Elbow Mac - $1 each - Coupon is from 10/4 smart source and is 55 cents off two. Final price: 45 cents each for 2

Wacky Mac Veggie Spiral pasta $1.55 - there was a printable coupon expiring tomorrow for 75 cents off 1. Final price: 5 cents

Electrasol Geltabs (20) - BOGO - original price is $5.99 so sale price is $2.99. Coupon is from 10-11 smart source for 50 cents off one - final price $1.99

Jolly Time Popcorn - BOGO - orig. 2.69 - sale 1.34 - coupon was in the 9/27 smart source for 50 cents off one. final price = 34cents for one box

Pace specialty salsa - orig. $3.99 - sale $2.50 coupon was in 8/30 smart source for 50 cents off one - final price $1.50

Other non-coupon but good sale deals:

HT 93/7 ground beef, 2.99/lb

Beer - Sam Adams is 6.99 per 6-pack (reg. $8.99) - Heine, Amstel Light, Harp and Yuengling (cans) are also on sale

Eastern apples (like McIntosh) are 99cents per pound (savings of about 80 cents per pound)

Red Grapefruit 99 cents each

Broccoli crowns 1.49/lb

Red and Yellow bell peppers 2 /$5

Banana Baby chocolate covered frozen bananas are BOGO - orig $5.19, sale $2.59

Aquarius Spring water, 24 pack $2.99 (orig. $7.99)

Shame, shame, know your name, to anyone who buys the Breyers Ice Cream on sale this week for $5.39 per package. With all the buy 2 get 3 free deals and BOGOs HT has been doing and the Breyers coupon that was out a while ago, no one should be paying more than $2.50 for ice cream anymore :-)

Boston Market deals - one ends on Halloween!

You snooze, you lose chicken. My mom sent me a coupon for a $1 chicken meal at Boston Market last week. I didn't print it out, and now Boston Market has yanked that promotion due to it's popularity (darn!)

But I did visit the website to check for other promotions and found that there is a "2 Kids Eat Free" promotion that is ending tomorrow (Halloween). You can get up to 4 free kids meals with a family dinner package. But the kids needs to be present to claim their meals. Could be a great option for a pre-trick or treat dinner!

There are several other coupons available on their site ($1 off an indivdual meal, $2 off a $10 purchase, and $4 off a $20 purchase) These are supposedly good until the end of November. Unless they become too popular, I guess!

Hey, who remembers when it was just Boston Chicken? Still tasty after all these years...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Payless Shoes deal - tomorrow Oct. 30th only!

Tomorrow Oct. 30th only, you can get half off of anything in the store at Payless Shoes! Just print out the coupon or text them to get one sent to your mobile phone.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Christmas Savings

I am starting to think about Christmas this year, and I know there must be some GREAT ways to save out there. For example, Playskool has a ton of coupons for their toys out on their website right now. But I am wondering what YOUR strategies are for saving at the holidays?

Comment please on this post - what are the best ways to save on holiday cards, stocking stuffers, holiday gifts, wrapping paper, etc? Best stores to shop? Who has the best sales and when? What about those early bird deals on Black Friday after Thanksgiving? Are they worth it?

Some hard learned coupon lessons...

FYI - I've been not so thrilled with lately. I've found it to be easier and more accurate to just look at the Harris Teeter specials that I get via email (you can click on them and see all of them from your email link), and then find the needed coupons in Sue Stock's coupon database.

I've been checking both just to cover all areas. Keep in mind, the printable coupons aren't noted in these databases, so you may have coupons for things that are on special already printed out. Sometimes these coupons as better than the ones in the paper (55 cents off one package instead of off two, for example), and they have always doubled or tripled for me even if they say "do not double or triple."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This Week's Food Deals - Harris Teeter

Sorry this is late this week for anyone who actually reads this - I know since HT's prices change on Wednesday it's better to let you know these things before the weekend really starts!

Anyway, I saved a bunch this week, considering it wasn't even triple or super double coupons. Those are coming back soon though, I can smell it. The lady at the check out says the pattern is usually crabs on sale, then shrimp on sale, then triple or super double coupons the week after that, though she reiterated "usually" a few times. We'll see - I've got a whole bunch of great coupons to use when those come up either way.

So, the meal of the week is Lasagna! You get HT Brand noodles, sauce, ricotta, shaved parmesean cheese, shredded mozzerella, ground italian sausage, and frozen garlic bread for only $9.99 - good deal!

Meat Deals:

My HT has $1 off fresh pork coupons in the meat section. I got 3 types of pork on sale this week and having the $1 off was great to add to that. They'll let you use however many of those coupons per visit as you want. The pork I got included:

Baby Back Ribs - BOGO

HT "Natural" Italian Sausage (this is near the actual butcher section where they sell the meat by the steak or by the pound - not the HT regular italian sausage). That was a BOGO too - $6.24 orig. price, makes them $3.12 each plus the $1 off coupon for each = $2.12.

HT ground pork from the Meal of the Week - so my meal of the week was only $8.99 with the $1 off pork coupon.

Other pork deals with the coupons:
Whole Pork Sirloin was on sale as well, though I didn't get it, for $1.99 per lb.
Hormel Ham is also a BOGO

Keep the coupons if you get some - they're good until December and you can use them on any fresh pork including bacon.

My other great meat deal was steak - Top Sirloin family pack - got $5 off with eVIC

Best Halloween Candy deal so far: eVIC special on candy - 99cents for 1 bag of fun size mars candy bars (Snickers, 3 Musketeers, etc) - there's a limit of 1 at this price, but the regular VIC sale price is 2 for $4. Plus there was a coupon for $1 off 2 bags of Mars candy bars in the 10/11 Red Plum - total for 2 bags - $1.99.

Best Ice Cream Deal yet! - Breyers Ice Cream is a BOGO (orig. $5.59, price for one $2.79) plus there was a 75cent coupon in the 10/18 Red Plum - doubles to $1.50 off so price you pay for one is $1.29. I got Heath bar flavor because it's D's favorite (I don't hate it either). I can't believe I used to pay full price for ice cream. I haven't spent more than $2.50 on ice cream since I started this whole thing.

Best Yogurt Deal - Yoplait yogurt - 10 for $5 - coupons in the 9/13 and 10/18 Smart Sources for 40cents off of 6 - doubles to 80 cents so final cost is 37 cent each

Other deals:

HT canned green beans, corn, and peas are buy 2 get 3 free - great deal if you go through lots of canned veggies with a baby/toddler like we do. Green beans are K's favorite! It says Limit 10, but I'm not so sure about that. There was a limit on the Progresso soup buy 2 get 3 free deal too, and I exceeded it with no problem!

Heinz Ketchup - the 20oz. bottles are 2 for $4, two coupons in the 10/4 smart source (there were duplicates that week) for 75cents off - doubles to $1.50. So the total price you pay for each of the two is 50 cents.

Herbal Essences shampoo or conditioner - (orig. 3.79 - sale 2.50) - Coupon for $1 off in 9/13 Red Plum - total is $1.50

Celentano Ravioli and Meatballs in the frozen section are a BOGO - good time to stock up! We keep these on hand for easy dinners - K loves the turkey meatballs.

Dole Fruit cups - (orig. 2.65, sale $2 each) - coupon 75cents off 1 in 8/9 smart source, doubles to $1.50 - total is 50 cents for the 4 pack - and/or you can use the 75cents off 2 from the same paper and pay $1.25 each for 2.

Fresh Express salad (orig. 3.29, sale 2 for $5) - coupon is 55 cents off 2 (doubles to $1.10) in the 10/4 Smart Source - final price is 3.90 for 2 or $1.95 each.

Chex Mix (orig. 2.89 each - sale 2 for $5) - coupons printed online at coupon mom are all expiring by halloween - they are for 50cents off - doubles to $1 so they are $1.50 each. I had 4 coupons for this type. Note, this is not the cheapest I've gotten chex mix - I've gotten them at 17 cents a bag before during triples when they were on sale, but since these coupons are expiring, if you like chex mix, now is the time.

Coupon note - I used 22 coupons at HT this week - the limit is supposed to be 20, but it was not a problem. Just FYI. Incidentally, I saved 42% this week - that maybe offsets the amount we spent at the fair!

Drug Store Deal
- keep an eye on your mail and paper for the great $25 gift card coupons you can use for any new or transferred prescriptions at CVS or Rite Aid. They've been coming out once every couple of months, usually 2 at a time. You can use it for any new scripts - antibiotics, dose changes on old scripts, basically any script you fill that's not a refill. Even though it says on the coupons that you can only use one per visit, they let me use two the other day. If your copay on your insurance is less than $25 per script, you can actually make $ on this deal. Don't forget to use your coupons and shop sales at the drug store to make that $25 gift card go as far as possible!

Friday, October 16, 2009

This Week's Food Deals

Some good deals on things we buy a lot of this week at Harris Teeter so I stocked up.

eVIC deal is HT butter - 97cents

Tuttorosso canned tomatoes are buy 2 get 3 free - lemme tell you, that's a lot of gravy! I think there are meatballs in our future.

HT REAL maple syrup (the only kind Dave will eat, not that HFCS stuff) is actually on sale (wow!) this week. It never is. So the small bottles are only $4.99 instead of $6.99. Given that there's no price break for buying the big bottle anyway (it usually costs $14), I bought a bunch of little bottles.

Tyson 100% natural frozen chicken nuggets - these are fantastic for Katie, easy to microwave and come in a resealable bag. I've been waiting for weeks for them to go on sale and finally they did! Normally $7.29 a bag, they are $5.99 on sale, PLUS there were $1 off Tyson frozen breaded chicken coupons in the 8/2 Smart Source and this past weekend's paper.

Stonyfield Farm yogurt is on sale 10 for $5 (or 50 cents each) - you can get some coupons on the Stonyfield website if you haven't already printed them this month. I had a few coupons for buy 4 get one free from the lids of previous yogurts.

Chobani Greek Yogurt is 5 for $5 - it's hard to get greek yogurt for less than $1.50 a cup, but I love that stuff. There was an Oikos coupon a few weeks ago, but I'd save that for when Oikos is on sale again or it's super double coupons.

HT bacon is a BOGO making it $2 a package for the thick sliced kind

At my HT in Durham, there were coupons in the meat area for $1 off any fresh pork product. I got the meal of the week (which is Brats, hot dog buns, chips, and HT soda for $6.99 - save $5.10) - since the Brats are pork I got an extra $1 off the meal. Not the healthiest meal of the week, but a tasty (and cheap) one - I can always add a salad and milk to the Brats and save the chips and soda for an upcoming party.

Purex laundry detergent (96 loads) was on sale for 8.99 (usually 12.99) Add the coupon from the Smart Source on 8/16 (it's only 35 cents, but it double to 70) - the detergent is 8.29. They do make high efficiency detergent btw, and it's included in the sale for those with front load washers.

All laundry detergent 50oz is a BOGO and there were coupons in the 10/4 Red Plum and in the 8/2 Red Plum. They also make high efficiency.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Going out ot eat? Tips for saving

I just found this interesting article about how restaurants use advertising "psychology" to get you to spend more money -

Sneaky ways restaurants use menus to entice you to spend more

Shared via AddThis

Some other tips for saving:

1. (Duh) Use a coupon. There are many coupons available in the Entertainment books for various areas as well as in the newspapers and mailers. You can actually sometimes get a coupon on the restaurant's website, especially if you sign up for their special emails or newsletters. Often there are some restrictions on the coupon like when you can use it (Sunday through Thursday), so pay attention to that before going out to eat. However, I've used Sunday through Thursday coupons on the weekend (specifically at Tyler's Tap Room in Durham) without a problem. If you use Entertainment book coupons, it doesn't hurt to call in advance and ask if they are still taking those coupons.

2. Check the prices from multiple restaurants you're interested in on their websites before going out. Sometimes you can get a fabulous dinner for cheaper at a lesser known place.

3. Get restaurant gift cards at reduced prices. On under Restaurant Coupons, special codes are advertised, for 60 to 90% off restaurant gift cards you can purchase online from You can get $25 gift cards for $1 to $4. These are specific to certain restaurants and are not always in stock depending upon the kind of card and the restaurant.

4. Skip the appetizer/dessert(unless you have a coupon) or share among everyone at the table. Also skip the pricey alcohol. Soda or milk for your kid can also be pricey, especially if there are no free refills. I've paid up to $3 for a glass of milk when I forgot to bring some for my daughter - for that you could get a whole gallon at the store! Some kids meals already come with a drink, which tends to be cheaper - but check the prices to make sure. There are some alcohol specials lately though that can be worth it. For example, Chili's brought their margarita prices down to $4 at a lot of locations. This does not guarantee a large margarita, and many restaurants are skipping the top shelf liquor for cheaper brands, but who can tell in a mixed drink anyway?

5. Go when kids eat free or cheap. If you have multiple kids, this may be especially important. It may be an off night for eating out though, like at Moe's where kids eat free on Tuesdays. Incidentally, if you like Moe's sign up on their website to get a free burrito on your birthday. They also now have junior versions of all the burritos, though I never had a problem ordering a Mini Moo Cow even though I'm over 12. Some restaurants may allow you to let your kids share an adult meal, which may end up being cheaper in the long run. Look out for sharing or extra plate charges though.

6. Don't forget to take home your leftovers. I've had them boxed up and left them sitting on the table before. Not cool - this could be lunch for tomorrow!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pampers Gifts to Grow

We bought two huge boxes of Pampers at Babies R Us this past weekend and got a free $15 gift card to the store. If you do the math, this is a good deal for Pampers, but not an excellent deal for diapers. You can get deals on smaller packs of Luvs or store brands like Target's up and up for cheaper when they have sales and you've got coupons. I've gotten them as low as 15 cents per diaper that way, but the pampers this weekend were 18 cents per diaper. For Pampers, though, that's a deal. Usually you can't get those any cheaper than 20 cents per diaper for the Baby Dry. We also got some needed wipes.

The cool thing is that I can now put the "Gifts to Grow" points from these packages into the website and redeem rewards like toys or a Barnes n Noble gift card, among many other things. Wipes packages are counted as triple G2G points right now, and there is a separate code for each wipes refill in the large box. There's a separate code for each small package of diapers in the big boxes too. I used 4 of my points to enter us in a Sea World/Sesame Place vacation sweepstakes too (hey, you never know).

As parents of babies and toddlers we all buy tons of diapers and wipes anyway - might as well get something out of it! As far as I know, if you buy other Pampers products (like the bibs) you can get points for those too.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Additional Weekend Deals 10/9/09

Didn't realize these deals until I shopped at Harris Teeter today...

eVIC deal - Harris Teeter Cresent Rolls are FREE. This deal was advertised online but not in the store so I just had to trust it at the checkout - and it did ring up as free.

Eggland's Best Eggs - they are BOGO, but one item will ring at half price making them $1.44 each. Add the 35 cent coupon from 9/13 (which doubles to 70 cents) and you get one dozen for 74 cents. I know that regular HT eggs are only 39 cents with eVIC this week, but if you're into specialty eggs (vegetarian fed hens and Omega 3s etc) this deal is for you.

Strawberries are buy 1 get 2 free

Cheerios - usual price $3.69 - on sale for 2 for $5 - printable coupon for $1.00 off two boxes, makes them $2 per box. Incidentally, this is the most I typically pay anymore for cereal. With triple or super double coupons or just with special sales I've often paid less than $1 per box.

Chef Boyardee 7.5 oz microwavable bowls - on sale 5 for $5, 2 coupons on 10/4 for 40cents off two - doubles to 80 cents off two. - that brings them down to 60 cents each.

Nature's Own 100% Whole Grain Bread 2 for $3

Weight Watchers Yogurt on sale for 5 for $3 (60 cents each) - 9/27 coupon for 55 cents off two, you pay 10 cents each.

Dannon yogurt is on sale 10 for $4 - coupons for $1 off 10 can be found in the 8/16 and 9/13 Smart Source circulars.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weekend Deal Alerts

Some deals this weekend:

- if you buy two boxes of Pampers at Babies R Us or Toys R Us, you get a $15 dollar gift card.

- Best Buy sent out a 15% coupon for higher priced items - might be that opportunity to buy an eco-friendly appliance and take advantage of the tax credits.

At Harris Teeter
- eVic special is 39cents for a dozen eggs
- Eggo Waffles are $1.50 and there was a 55cent coupon this past Sunday - that means it doubles to $1.10 off making your waffles 40 cents.
-Harris Teeter ice cream is buy 2 get 3 free :-)

More later!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Deep Fried Deals

The State Fair is back in town with all it's deep fried deliciousness October 15th through the 25th. There are advance sale tickets online for admission and for rides at:

or at a number of retailers in the area

Advanced tix for ages 13 and up are $5 instead of $7 and for kids ages 6-12, they are $1 instead of $2. The rides are really the better advanced sale deal - you can get 18 ride tix for $10 (normally $1 per ticket). If you go on Preview Day (Thurs. Oct 15 from 3:30pm to midnight) you can get a wristband for unlimited rides for $25. Everyone else can enjoy these rides for me, since Dave believes no price is worth risking your life on a ride that needs to be taken down and put back together every couple of weeks.

As usual, the concert tickets for the shows in Dorton Arena are cheap, cheap, cheap ranging from $5 to $15 dollars. I remember the Clay Aiken craze several years ago when people were selling these $15 show tickets on eBay for $80 or more. This year American Idol faves performing include Anoop Desai (aka Anoop-doggie-dog or, as Dave calls him, "that no-talent-ass-clown-tarheel") and Kellie Pickler (bless her simple heart - but I do love that Back of Your Mind song). If you're a country fan, you can see Jason Michael Carroll, Eric Church, Blake Shelton, or Jamey Johnson. Probably most of my friends would rather listen to nails on a chalkboard with me (sigh) but I'm sure they'll be great shows :-)

Don't ask me what the cheapest deep fried dish is yet, but I'll let you know as soon as we get out to the fair - I'm splurging on the fried oreos no matter what.

Of course, you can always go on canned food day (Thursday, Oct. 22nd) to get the best admission deal - 4 cans of food gets you in. Imagine how cheap that could be if you get the cans on sale or using a coupon! :-)

A great blog to find out about fair giveaways is here:

You can follow them on facebook or twitter too. Just a note, the Demolition Derby is pretty good entertainment, but will cost you $7. Meanwhile, the pig races are free! Doesn't get better than that!

Keep in mind, the parking can getcha - consider parking at one of the malls and taking the shuttle bus in.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Updated "Grocery Store Savings" Post

A while ago, I posted a note on facebook in response to the many questions people had about how I save money at the grocery store using coupons. I still do not consider myself as an expert on this topic, since there are many others who are in on this game and even make a living at it, so I invite everyone to comment on this with additional tips.

I started by reading the free e-books at (which is free to become a member of) to understand the strategies behind it all. That site is not for the faint of heart - it's a bit complicated. My approach has been simpler because, frankly, I don't have the time to go from store to store looking documenting prices. I started out that way and discovered that Kroger base prices are cheaper than Harris Teeters, but HT's sale prices are better and they double coupons at a higher rate (more on that later). I have been also told that is also really good, but you only get a free trial after which you have to pay a fee for the site.

The basic tenets of my approach are this:

1. Plan your meals

Do your best to plan your meals, at least in general. Plan two to three dinner menus for the week based on what is on-sale for meat and veggies at the grocery store. Make enough at each meal to have at least one night of leftovers, if not more. If you're making a ton (like soup) consider freezing the leftovers to eat on nights you are pressed for time.

Plan what you are going to take for lunch based on what is on-sale as well as what you have coupons for. We take a lot of PB & J - but also leftovers from dinner, or something we can make sunday night and partition into lunch size leftovers like ziti, for example. HT had a buy two get three free sale on cold cuts last week, so we're having sandwiches this week.

We have the same things for breakfast all the time. For example, I often take a light english muffin with peanut butter or cream cheese, a small bag of fruit like grapes or strawberries, and coffee in the car with me to work. I try to buy multiple packages of all of these things when there is a sale, or when I have a coupon or, preferably both. I freeze my english muffins in freezer bags and they are still good to toast later. The light english muffins don't go on sale all that often, so I tend to buy a lot when they are on sale. Cereal sales are great too - when they do triple or super double coupons you can get some as low as 25 cents per box. I never pay more than $2 for a box of cereal of any type in a few months.

2. Get a newspaper delivered

You can just get the Sunday paper if you're getting the News and Observer. Take the "SmartSource" and the "RedPlum" coupon circulars out and write the date at the top of the circulars. Save them. Also save any special coupon circulars like from General Mills or Proctor and Gamble (P&G) and put the date at the top of those.

3. Take advantage of special loyalty or rewards programs at your store

Everyone should have a discount card on their keychain for these stores. If you don't - do it ASAP! If you forget your card they can look it up by your phone number. Also, Enroll in eVIC at - you will get specials in addition to the typical VIC-card savings that are NOT advertised in the store. You will get an email about these specials each week - print this email so you remember what the specials are! One week it was FREE 64oz orange juice. This past week it was a 97 cent 5lb bag of potatoes. You also may get a special eVIC deal printed at the bottom of your receipt when you check out so you can come back for that deal another time that week. You are also registered to win $100 worth of groceries and a new winner is announced via this email each week. If you don't shop at Harris Teeter, check your local stores and store websites for these types of programs.

4.Print coupons online

Sign up to get emails from – there are printable coupons on this website and links to other websites with printable coupons. Couponmom will email you when the coupons are “restocked” so you can print new ones each week. You can also specify which items you use the most often and couponmom will give you a heads up when coupons for those things are coming out in your area. Many of these coupons will print out saying "Do not Double or Triple" at the top. But they always seem to double and triple at HT for me with no problem. I wish I had realized this sooner! Some of these coupons can be printed more than once so if it's an item you'd like to stock up on, try to get a few.

Also, sign up for Upromise (google this) – you can link coupons directly to your grocery store card online. The amount of the coupon will be kept in an account that you can transfer to your child's 529 account for college. You will not see this amount deducted from your bill at the store though just FYI - it's just a way to help you save. You can use Upromise at multiple online retailers. Just be sure to check which coupons you signed up for before heading out to the store so you don't foregt about them . These are usually restocked each month.

6. Find coupons for your favorite items and brands

If you are loyal to certain brands, check their websites for coupons and ways to get special orders. You can print coupons from the Stonyfield Farm website for example, and Pampers has a special program where you can enter product codes from things you buy and get “points” toward special coupons and deals on diapers. Luvs diapers coupons are hard to find, but if you sign up on the website you will get some mailed to you. We also get $5 coupons for Hills Science Diet dog food on their website.

7.Save your printed coupons you get when you check out at the grocery store.

ALWAYS check these and the bottom of your receipt in case there are deals you didn't know about on your eVIC card. Last week, I had a coupon print that was $1 off my next order. No specific product to buy. Another was for free YoCrunch yogurt (nothing to buy with it).

8.Use a coupon database (or multiple databases)

After you have all your coupons, check the coupon databases on when the new prices come out. For Kroger, it's Sundays. For Harris Teeter, it is Wednesdays. You should log in as a member to do this and find the North Carolina stores on the pull down lists. These databases list what is on sale AND what coupons go with those sale items. It tells you which coupon circulars (by date and by type of circular) the coupons came from. The idea is to buy things when they are on sale AND with a coupon to get the lowest prices. Make your shopping list based on what you need and will use, and based on this information. Write a little “c” on your shopping list next to items you have a coupon for.

FYI - Sue Stock makes a list like this every Wednesday called Wednesday Deals you can check out and she keeps a database of all the coupons that come out in the newspaper. You can look up coupons by brand name, and she lists the date and kind of circular the coupon came in (Smart Source, Red Plum, etc.) She also lists expiration dates and prints the ones about to expire in bold.

Not all of your local specials will be on coupon mom, so it's a good idea to look through the weekly specials on the grocery store website and see if you have coupons for those items. This is especially true for printable coupons. Check out Couponing 101 to find more sale and coupon match ups, especially with printable coupons!. Harris Teeter has a nice function where you can click on the sale items you are interested in and it keeps a list for you that you can print or email to yourself.

9.Get a coupon organizer.

You can get them at office supply stores. Keep your printed coupons in there sorted by type of item. Keep any coupons you clipped from the circular but didn't end up using the previous week in the organizer. Have a section in the front for coupons you plan to use that day. Leave the back section open to use as a place to store the coupons you ACTUALLY use at the store. As you pick up the items and put them in your cart, move the coupon you plan to use to this back pocket. (You will almost always end up not using all of your coupons in one trip that you planned to use, either because the store is out of an item or you found a better deal by buying something on sale or that is the store brand.) This way, when you get to the check out, you have a pile of coupons for things that are actually in your cart ready to go. You can also count your coupons more easily – you may need to do this because many stores have a limit on number of coupons allowed in a visit. HT lets you use as many as you want but will only double up to 20 per day.

10. Save BIG with triple or super double coupons!

Pay attention to your grocery store emails and the coupon mom data base as well as this blog: Sue Stock – to find out when Harris Teeter is doing triple coupons or super double coupons. This is when you want to stock up. Sue Stock's blog is awesome for finding deals in general! I recommend checking her site every day if you live in the Raleigh/Durham area

11. Learn and live the coupon rules

Kroger will double coupons every day that are up to 50 cents off (meaning if you have a 45 cent coupon for Cheezits, you can get 90 cents off at Kroger. If you have a coupon that is for 55 cents though, all you get is the 55 cents off.

Harris Teeter doubles coupons every day up to 99 cents. So that 55 cent Cheezits coupon is worth $1.10 off at Harris teeter. That $1.00 coupon for Cheerios though is only work $1.

When Harris Teeter does triple coupons (usually it's for one week only at a time), it's for up to 99 cents. So if you have a 75 cent coupon for Coffee, you would get $2.25 off of that coffee. But if you have $1 coupon for that same coffee, you would still only get $1 off.

When Harris Teeter does super double coupons, it's for up to $1.98. So that $1 coupon you have for the coffee doubles to $2. The 75 cent coupon only doubles to $1.50 though – basically the usual doubling rules are the same, you just get to double those $1 and $1.50 coupons as well as the ones under $1.

As I've said before, I've found that printable coupons that say Do Not Double or Triple almost always DO double or triple. (Really detailed note, you'll notice that some coupons say, Not to be doubled or tripled, or something similar at the top. I've been told that some of those WILL still double if their serial number starts with a 5. If it starts with a 9 though, you're out of luck.)

There is a difference between a “store coupon” (put out by that store) and a “manufacturer's coupon” (put out by the company that makes the product). You can usually "stack" a manufacturer's coupon on top of a store coupon, meaning you can use both at one time. There aren't many “store coupons” out there - Target does these though and you can stack them. I recently had a coupon for $3 off pampers for a Target “store coupon” plus $1.50 off “manufacturer's coupon” so I got a total of $4.50 off the package.

If you miss a Sunday coupon circular, I've been told you can get them again in either the Wednesday or Thursday papers, but I haven't tried this. When this happened to me, I advertised on Craig's list and picked them up (two copies actually) for $2 (the cost of the sunday paper) from someone locally. Keep in mind that if you see many coupons you would plan to use in the Sunday paper, you can always figure out if it would be worth it to buy two papers to get additional coupons. Subscribing to the newspaper is cheaper though and you CAN only subscribe to the Sunday one (not the whole week ) if you want. The N&O is allowing subscribers to get multiple Sunday papers delivered for only $1 extra per paper now - you can check out their website to sign up if you want this deal.

At the store, pay attention to the type of item that coupon is for – it may be a specific type of a product – like not all Colgate toothpastes but only Colgate Total Advanced Fresh. When you get to the store, you should check to make sure that using that coupon will get you the best deals for what you need. If all you need is plain old toothpaste, not this fancy stuff, the plain toothpaste may be cheaper than the fancy one even if you have a coupon for the fancy one. I've been told by a friend who works at a grocery store that sometimes you can buy the plain old toothpaste with the fancy coupon, but you'll have to roll the dice to find out. You can always put the item back.

12. Live and Learn the SALE rules

If something is 2 for $5 it will ring as $2.50 if you just buy 1. Same for any other such offer (e.g., 10 for $10 – you buy one, it will ring as $1 – don't feel you need to buy 10 of them to save unless it's something you use all the time and you want to stock up!) Occasionally there are 10 for 10 deals that require you to buy all 10 like HT's deal this week on store brand items. You can mix and match but you need to buy all 10 to get the deal. There's also a deal this week that you'll get $4 off General Mills cereals if you buy 4. You can use coupons with these deals for extra savings.

Buy one, get one free (otherwise known as BOGO) – most of the time if you just buy one of these it will ring at half price. If you're unsure you can always ask. When there are buy 2 get 3 free deals at HT, you actually do have to buy all 5 to get the deal.

Just because something is on sale doesn't mean it's on sale for it's lowest price or that another brand or the store brand isn't cheaper. Compare the prices before you buy. Make sure cheaper product is what you want though – for example, some breads are 100% whole wheat and others are just “wheat” - the “wheat” ones are cheaper, but usually aren't 100% whole grain. If you have particular feelings about a type of product, try to find coupons or wait until it is on sale to stock up.

13. Don't Get Carried Away...

DON'T buy things just because you have a coupon unless you REALLY think you will use it and it is REALLY cheap. I usually look over my cart one last time before heading to the check out to make sure I don't need to put anything back. The only other exception to that rule is if the item is FREE because it's on sale and you have a coupon. Then, you might as well get it, even if all you do is donate it to a local food pantry. I get free items kind of frequently because it is on sale and a doubled coupon exceeds the amount it costs during the sale.

14. Double Check Your Savings

When checking out, make sure all the sales you had planned on and coupons ring up correctly. If you notice any problems you can always go to customer service to get it fixed. Sometimes this will get you an item FREE. Keep in mind that you may need to wait until the whole receipt is printed out to be sure this happens. The receipts can be somewhat difficult to read - usually you'll see the VIC savings right underneath the item, then the coupons will show up later. Meal of the week deals usually show up a little strangely, with some items showing up free and other items showing up at a discount.

15. Be aware of special promotions

Harris Teeter is doing a promotion this year that if you spend $75 per week for 16 out of 18 weeks before the holidays you can get two $50 gift cards to almost any store you want. I almost didn't hit my $75 mark during triple coupons, but ended up needing to pick up something extra just before the price week ended. If you think you might not make the $75 in an upcoming week, put off purchasing something you need that you know won't change prices (e.g., I put off buying oatmeal which is cheapest when you buy the HT version, so I could make $75 the next week - I knew it would be the same price whether I bought it this week or next, and it wasn't a desperate need). I'm not saying to buy extra stuff just to make it, and you do get two by weeks. But just be aware of "when" you are spending. You don't need to make the 75 all in one trip either, just within the same week.

15. Don't forget to re-organize when you're done

After shopping, be sure to refile your unused coupons and throw out any expired ones. Then brag about your savings! ;-) Hope this is helpful to people - I know that I have had a blast seeing how much I can save. It does take time, but it has cut down tremendously on our bill. We also stock up on things when they are cheap and have less to buy later.

Some great deals this week + Halloween deals!

So, as many of you know, I've started playing the coupon game. Most of the time I've been saving 40% or more on my bill. I wrote a facebook note about my methods, which I will post here soon. For now, I'm just posting a few great deals I got this week:

At Harris Teeter:

- whole chickens are only 57 cents a pound. I got two of them for just a little more than $2.50 each.
- chuck roast only $2.99 per pound - great for beef stew and freezable
- if you like organic meat but hate paying the high price, organic ground chicken is a BOGO making it $3 a pound.

- General Mills Cereals are $1 off each if you buy 4. If you have the printable coupon for Kix (75 cents, it doubles to $1.50. Since Kix is only $2.99 per box, you can get it for 50 cents. Total Cereal you can get for $1.50 if you have the printable 75cent coupons as well, and Honey Nut Cheerios are $1.65 with the 55cent printable coupon. (Even if the coupons say they won't double, trust me, they will!)

- Betty Crocker Warm Delights are on sale 3 for $5 - with the printable 5ocents off coupons, you can get them for 66 cents each.

-Luvs diapers large box on sale for $15.99 - plus use the $1 off coupon in the P&G Saver from the 9/27 paper.

- Red seedless grapes 99cents per pound (trust me, if you've never paid attention to the price of grapes before, this is a great deal, though they do it with some frequency. Most of the time grapes are only on sale for $2.79 per pound. Big difference. And if no sale, $2.99 per pound)

- Yo Baby yogurt is on sale for 2.99 - this is cheaper than the usual price which is closer to $4 at Harris Teeter and it was a deal with my 50 cents off two coupon that printed out at HT last time I bought some. However, FYI - Target's base price for Yo Baby is $2.49. Plus there's a $1 target coupon out right now that might have come in the mail.

- Harris Teeter 100% whole wheat bread is only 99cents (normally it's still at deal at $1.57, but this is even better!)

At Target:

The Up & Up coupons they sent out a few weeks ago are about to expire, so stock up! This brand seems to have high quality at a cheap price, but just keep in mind that another brand name might still be cheaper IF you have the right coupons and go to the right stores. Paper towels and diapers are good.

Halloween Candy

So I checked it out. Don't buy your candy at Party City or CVS. Target is generally the cheapest, though you can get good deals at Harris Teeter if you use coupons.

*Best Halloween Candy deal - Jumbo Reeses Peanut Butter Cup snack size 29oz package, $5.49 at Harris Teeter, plus use the 55cent coupon from last week's paper and you get it for 4.39. At Target these are selling for $6 each.

Party City/Halloween Costumes

This past week, Halloween Costume coupons came out - $5, $10, and $15 off depending on the price of your costume. I got a toddler Tulip Fairy costume for K which came with all the accessories for only $9.99 on sale (originally $19.99). I was sad I couldn't use my coupons since you needed to at least spend $14.99 on a costume to use the $5 one (though I tried to negotiate with the sales lady to let me use it anyway!). But it was still a great deal. You can also get some great costumes on Craig's List and Ebay right now - most costumes have only been worn once and are selling at less than half the retail price.

More to add later!

- Li