Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NC State Fair - Deep Fried Savings 2010

As I started this post, I realized that I am coming up on my first "Blogiversary" on October 2nd. One whole year of blogging about savings! Maybe I should add up all my "I saved" posts to see where I'm at! What tipped me off to this momentous occasion, though, was that I posted last October about saving at the state fair with the same title - "Deep Fried Savings". I can't wait to try the latest creations. Maybe a deep fried Klondike bar?? And then there's the life size butter sculpture, the pig races (complete with Texas Pete's hot sauce hats), slightly famous country singers and former American Idol contestants, corn on the cob dipped in a trash can full of butter, and, of course, the demolition derby.

So, how do you save at the state fair? Well, last year I went on "canned food day" using Food Lion cans of beans that were 55 cents each. Essentially got me in for about half price. This year there is an early bird special in which you can get free tickets if you spend a certain amount of money on tickets. Early Bird Special only lasts until Sept 29th though so hurry up if you're buying a large number of tickets.

Of course, advance sale tickets are $6 instead of $8 at the gate for adults, and $2 instead of $3 for children 6 to 12. Advance sale ride tickets are $10 for a sheet of 18 instead of $1 per ticket. Advanced prices are good until Oct 14th.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New way to get a free PSL - Pumpkin Spice Latte

One word - Swagbucks. Can't believe I didn't think of this before, but I checked the Swag store and a $10 Starbucks Gift Card is 1,300 Swagbucks. I am not a huge swagbucks user since I find that their search engine is not that great, but even so I have almost 1200 in my account right now! I'm about to get motivated to search more so I can get myself the equivalent of 2 free Pumpkin Spice Lattes :-)

great Smuckers cpn for super doubles!

Check out today's Coupon Month coupon from Red Plum - $1.50 off 1 Smuckers - that could be $3 off if doubled at HT!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

HT Super Doubles #1

Spent $26, saved $47 during super doubles - all coupons below were doubled. Remember you get 20 cpns per day. I bought some things other than coupon deals today, but this will get ya started.

FREE Stuff:

Oikos Greek Yogurt - orig. 1.89 - $1 off 1 peelie cpns from the Penguin

Quaker Oats - orig. 2.65, sale 1.50 - $1 off 1 newspaper cpn

Gain Dish Liquid (30oz) - orig. 2.39, sale 1.99 - $1 off 1 newspaper cpn (P&G saver - save this for the P&G rebate)

Bestlife Buttery Spray - orig. 2.35, sale 1.17 - $1 off 1 newspaper cpn

Danimals Coolisons yogurt - orig. 2.75, sale 2.00 - $1 off 1 newspaper cpn

Wholly Guacamole - orig. 1.99 - $1 off 1 printable cpn

Barilla Whole Grain spaghetti or linguini - 1.00 - newspaper cpn, $1 off 2

Colgate toothpaste - orig. 2.29, clearance sale 1.99 - $1 off 1 newspaper cpn, $1 off 1

Cheap stuff:

Progresso Panko Bread crumbs - 2.99 - printable cpn, $1 off 1 = 99 cents

Barilla Piccolini Pasta - 1.50 - printable cpn, $1 off 2 = 50 cents each box

Polly O string cheese - orig. 4.39, sale 3.99 - $1 off 1 = 1.99

Hillshire Farms lunch meat tubs - orig. 3.99, sale 3.50, printable cpn $1 off 1 = 1.50

Nature's Pride Bread - orig. 3.49, sale BOGO ($1.75) - ACME cpn for $1 off 2 = about 75 cents per loaf

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Super Doubles starts Wednesday 9/15!

Here it comes folks! See the links to the left, especially Taking Stock, Savvy Dollar, and Hot Coupon World, for deals lists. Super doubles means that coupons up to $1.99 will double (for up to $3.98 off your item)!

Remember, super doubles is only a good deal if the item you are using the coupon for is on sale or you know the usual sale on that item is typically less than $1 off the original price. If you know that item goes on sale for BOGO relatively frequently, you can probably get a better deal by using your coupon during that sale, rather than off the original price during super doubles. Good luck!

Friday, September 10, 2010

That's much better...HT this week

Spent $116.69, saved $114.47 and got some Healthy Smile and Fresh Food Points. Much better than last week!

The Meal Deal this week is: buy a Contessa family size frozen dinner pouch, and get all of this free: Egg rolls, shrimp wonton soup, a box of Success Rice and a pepsi product 2 liter soda. Plus there is a coupon for Contessa in the newspaper 6/20 Red Plum for $1.50 off - orig. price for everything 7.95, final price = 6.45

Some great coupon deals:

Arm & Hammer Toothpaste - orig. 3.55, BOGO so about $1.77 each - plus 75 cent cpn on 6/20 and 8/22 Smart Source x2 = 17 cents per tube (what did I say about ultra cheap/free toothpaste?)

Wisk laundry detergent - orig. 7.25, sale 4.99, $3 off cpn in 8/29 Red Plum= $1.99 (love this deal - I had 2 cpns)

Keebler is doing a nice deal where if you buy 4 cookies or crackers you get $5 off at the register. Some things are on sale like Keebler Graham crackers are $2.50 each - plus there's a blinkie in the aisle for $1 off 2 Keebler crackers and two of my graham crackers had peelie cpns on them for $1 off one box. So here's how I did the deal: Two boxes graham crackers at $2.50 each, 2 boxes Wheatables at 3.69 each. - two $1 off cpns for graham crackers, - $1 off 2 wheatables blinkie, -5 at the register I got all four boxes for $1.09 per box - nice! There are a whole bunch of ways you can do this deal.

Campbell's Select Harvest soup - orig. $2.29 - sale $1.25 each - cpn for $1 off two in 8/15 smart source = 75 cents per can

Quaker Instant Oatmeal - orig. 3.79, sale 2.50 - cpn for $1 off (can't remember where this came from)= $1.50

Post Cereal on sale for $2 (orig. 3.79 - 3.95) - cpn for $1.50 off 2 boxes if you also buy 1 gallon of milk. I was buying milk anyway and I got Shredded Wheat and Grape Nuts for $1.25 per box

Born Free Eggs Omega 3 - orig. 2.99, sale 2.50 - cpn for 35 cents off 6/13 RP x 2 = 1.80

Danimals Crush Cups yogurt - orig. 2.75, sale 2.50 - cpn for $1 off in an Acme booklet or 8/15 smart source = $1.50

Fage greek yogurt - orig. 1.67 per cup - sale 1. 34 - printable cpn (seeing for 50 cents off x2 or $1 off one = 34 cents each

Some other good deals:

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast buy 1 get 2 free
Center Cut Pork Chops and Whole Pork Tenderloin are about half off
HT Canned Veggies are buy 2 get 3 free
Stoneyfield Yogurt is 10 for $6 - you can get printable coupons for these on the Stoneyfield website
Yellow Peaches are 69 cents per lb (Eastern Grown) (compare to 2.49 per lb is a good deal)
Orville Redenbacher Popcorn is BOGO plus a 40 cent cpn in doubles (I've already used the cpn unfortunately)
HT Cereals are 97 cents eVIC (limit 2)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

eating on a budget

My husband sent me this blog and I thought it would make a good post:

There are a ton of recipes that make for cheap and tasty eats.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sad savings...

We just got back from a long few weeks away, I had zero time to prep my grocery shopping so I only saved $47 on my $167 bill :-( However, at least $45 of that was batteries and beer (9-volt batteries for all of our smoke detectors and beer for a last minute Labor Day get together). I also discovered that I am no longer in the running for HT's Holiday Giveaway (spend at least $70 at HT 16 out of 18 weeks and get two $25 gift cards of your choice). This is sad, but the stack of newpapers on my doorstep full of coupons (plus coupons I took from the NJ papers) will serve as motivation to get back on the coupon horse.

I did get a couple of decent deals - There are peelie's by the chips for $1 off two bags of Lays/Tostitos/Rold Gold products, plus the tostitos and lays were BOGO, so that was a good deal on chips. HT salsa is also BOGO and I LOVE the Peach variety. Also, I got Danimals Coolisions yogurt for K for $1.50 after sale and coupon. Back to the real savings next week! Don't forget about the holiday giveaway if you're still in the running - it should say how many weeks you have qualified on your receipt.

Free Boba Fett

This one is for all my Star Wars loving nerd friends (Marathon is on today on Spike, btw)

Free Boba Fett with purchase of 5 other Star Wars Figurines

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Pumpkin Spice Latte - Can you get the high without paying the same price as a pie?

With much anticipation, the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) is out at Starbucks! This is cause for much joy and much sorrow, since they are so delicious and yet so expensive. My grande cost me just over $5 today (whoa!). So, I tried looking around to see how you can get a discount at Starbucks. Unfortunately, there aren't too many ways to do this. I have yet to see a coupon for $ off of a Starbucks specialty drinks just floating around out there. Last year, I did get one when I made a purchase at Target; it was a BOGO half off coupon for any specialty coffee at the in-store Starbucks that printed out at the register. I shared it with my mother-in-law since my husband is a "black coffee that puts hair on your chest" kind of guy. I have seen coupons for their grocery store products, but those don't get you any closer to the coveted PSL. If you're a Starbucks regular, getting a Starbucks Rewards card might be worth it, but since I have become focused on savings, I pretty much avoid the place at all costs unless they're doing a free coffee giveaway (which is usually just regular coffee when it happens).

Long sentences aside, I started to think about alternatives. So here are some options for all you rebels out there fighting against the Starbucks Juggernaut.

1. Mom & Pop Shops - ok, so maybe these are more like "Mike & Steve" shops nowadays, but you get the idea. Local shops tend to charge less and have "buy 8 and get your 9th cup free" punch cards. In Durham, you can try Joe Van Gogh on Broad St. or Bean Traders on 9th. In Raleigh, I always liked Global Village Organic Coffee on Hillsborough right near NC State - though parking there lately is a B. In Cary, Crema Coffee (shout out to Kevin & Regina, proprietors) on the corner of High House and Davis has always been a favorite of mine. These shops usually do some seasonal drinks that can be pretty close to the precious Starbucks PSL and maybe save you a few cents. Plus, they tend to roast their own coffee so the quality of their beans is incredible if you're into the "hair on your chest" variety or just want to brew some high quality coffee at home. We do this instead of spending $ picking up a cup every day. A final perk - if you stick around you might get to see some local musicians. This, to me, is better than sitting in Starbucks in the uncomfortable chairs listening to the latest John Mayer Album that they just-so-happen to be selling at the counter, but it's a personal choice. Just like being a DJ-person instead of a Live Band-person or a Cat-person instead of a Dog-person. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just not how I roll ;-)

2. Other Chains - One of Starbucks' major competitors, Caribou Coffee, also does wonderful seasonal lattes and specialty drinks. Depending on where you are located, these can be cheaper, and they also put out more coupons than SBs - I have found several $1 off a large drink coupons from the newspaper this year, and there were coupons in my Entertainment book. Some locations even have a drive-thru like the one in Cary off of Maynard. Dunkin' Donuts can definitely be cheaper, but if you're a coffee snob you probably don't think of their lattes as "real" lattes. However, I find that their "Vanilla Spice" coffee they have during the Fall and Winter months to be quite tasty, especially "Light and Sweet" - and it's much, much cheaper than the PSL. They put out a lot of coupons and special deals, as well. For a while, my receipt at HT had some coupons for 99 cent lattes printed on the back! I saved a bunch of them since they didn't expire.

3. Non-coffee places - Other places not necessarily known for their coffee but who can do a good job with this type of latte are Panera Bread (whose house latte has always tasted like a PSL to me) and Cosi (don't think we have a Cosi in the triangle area yet). Have lunch, then a latte to go. My latte at Cosi in NJ a few days ago was cheaper than SB, and I used my Cosi card so if I buy 10 I think I get one free. That would probably take me all year to get to 10 even if I lived near a Cosi, but it's the principle of the thing.

4. Beg - If you're really hard up and very picky about the PSL, remind people that your birthday/Bat Mitzvah/engagement/retirement/baby shower/house warming/(insert religious holiday here) is coming up, and that Starbucks gift cards are your preferred method of currency. Wear an "I heart my Pumpkin Spice Latte" sticker on your person at all times and get a bumper sticker to drive home the point. No judgment; there's an SB on literally every corner in most US cities so trying to avoid your addiction may be futile until they build some PSL rehab clinics.

5. Make Your Own - What really makes a pumpkin spice latte different than any other sweet latte at Starbucks is, well, pumpkin spice. You can literally buy it at the grocery store (maybe with a coupon??) and sprinkle it on your homemade latte or coffee. You can even make your own pumpkin spice out of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ground ginger (same stuff they put in pumpkin pie). Here is a recipe if you really want to try to make a pumpkin spice latte yourself - don't know how good it is, but if you try it, let me know!

Many thanks to my friend Emily to inspired this post and from whom I stole the picture... :-)

More Coupon Month news...

I love Coupon Month! Coupon Sherpa is doing 30 days of tips - I highly recommend the first three!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September is National Coupon Month - who knew?

I know a lot of people with September birthdays, but those have all been eclipsed by my new favorite September celebration: National Coupon Month (who knew?)

To celebrate, Red Plum is doing September Dash 4 Deals this month. There will be special printable coupons and deals each day of the month this month. Today's was a 20% off coupon at Kmart when I checked. Check it out:

Do you know of any other celebrations for National Coupon Month?