Monday, November 30, 2009

Store Secrets: Cyber Monday, Coupon Code, & Ebates

Today is Cyber Monday, the internets version of Black Friday. I must admit the deals look better to me and best of all, no crowds. The deals are popping up fast. hip 2 save, maven of savin, my frugal adventures and the coupon project all have several great posts of Cyber Monday deals.

Here are the secrets for shopping online:
1) You must sign up for ebates. This is an online rebate system that send you cash back on percentages of your total purchase price, anywhere from 3 to 20%. Almost every online store in on their site. You must go through their page first, but other than that it is super easy. Simply log on to ebates, then find the store you want on their list, click on it, and shop as usual. Ebates will credit your account for your rebate amount. Today is a great time to sign up, because they are offering additional promotions to new members and lots of stores have double ebate rewards today (like 10% instead of 5%).

2) Always look for a coupon code for your store. You might get free shipping, an extra percentage off, or a free gift. You can google it, but my favorite is retail me not because it wades through the spam for you and just gives you legitimate codes.

Check out this deal to practice these two secrets. (Yes, you can practice, just don't fill in your credit card!)
1) Go to ebates and find Victoria's Secret (VS purchase earn you 6% back).
2) Choose 3 of the 3/$30 sweaters.
3) Add one "free" scarf
4) Go to checkout
and enter codes:
vssave20 (20% off single clothing item)
scarf09 (free scarf)
3for30 (3 sweaters for $30)
5) Your total should drop to $30.99, great deal!

Now you have one more secret in your arsenal. Please don't ever pay full price online again.

Black Friday Winner

Nicole won the Black Friday contest for sharing her deal of $3 Walmart PJs. Thanks Nicole! Next week, I will send you a set of coupon inserts!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rite Aid 11/29-12/5

It is the start of a new month of SCRs. Don't forget to request your check from November. Also Gift of Savings is in full swing, get a $20 gift card back for spending $100 (before coupons and rebates). and both have $5/$25 coupons, so check there first.

Freebies & Cheapies:

*Gillette Fusion Power Razor $9, $5 SCR, Use $4/1 coupon 11/29PG to score another free razor.
*Oral-B Stages toothbrush $2.49 , $1.50 SCR, Use the $1/1 coupon 11/1PG for a free toothbrush.

*AMO Complete Multi Purpose Solution $7.99, $7.99 SCR, Use the $1/1 coupon 10/25RP
Final cost FREE + a $1 moneymaker!

* Pampers Jumbo Pack Diapers/Training Pants $8.99, Use the $1.50 or $2 coupon 11/29PG. Did anyone else get their free sample of the Extra Protection Diapers, they are wonderful!

*Duracell SCR, spend $15 get $5 SCR, Duracell is on sale 40% off this week. There is also an in ad coupons for $2 off a AA or AAA 12 pack, making the price $7.49 each (tricky, two equals, $14.98). There is also a 0.75/1 coupon in the 11/22 SS for 4 pack or larger. Plus there is another in ad coupon for buy a AAA 20 + 5 pack, get 10 photo greeting cards free. Lots of different opportunities to get to your $15. A great rebate for this time of year. Remember, you don't have to buy all $15 in one transaction either. Your total just has to be $15 before the end of the rebate period 12/26.

**Another great coupon I liked in the paper, Take an extra 10% off toys and bikes with in-ad coupon(no limits) at Fred Meyer.
I am also anxiously awaiting the new Albertsons' ad. I am curious, since their old ad expired on Thursday, so they have no specials right now? I might have to go see for myself tomorrow.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday: Rite Aid Edition

I am a little late posting this, sorry busy Thanksgiving. Please check out
hip 2 save and the coupon project for some very comprehensive deal matchups and lists for Black Friday

I am probably only going to make it to Macy's tomorrow as that is all the time I have. I was very excited to see they had a $10/25 coupon and 15% of entire purchase coupon. Hopefully I will find some good ways to use them.

I did go to Rite Aid today! It was so good! Here is the breakdown:

* 4 Ziploc bags, on sale for $1.88 each, used 2 $1/2 from 11/15 SS, $5.52, plus will send off for S C Johnson rebate, total 0.52 for four boxes!

*2 Wet Ones Wipes, on sale for $1.88 each, used 2 $1.50/1 coupons, 0.76 for two containers.

*Schick Quatro Titanuim Razor, priced at $1.99 (usually $10.99), used $2 coupon from 11/22 SS, overage of a penny.

*Schick Intuition Razor, priced at $1.99 (normally $9.99), used $2 from 11/22 SS, overage of a penny. Note my Rite Aid said only one razor (of each) per family, I have originally planned for two.

*Gillette Shave Gel, on sale for $1.99, SCR for $1, used .55 from 11/1 PG, total: 0.44.

*Bic Soleil Razor, on sale for $5.99, used in ad coupon for $4 off stacked with $2 coupon from 11/22 SS for a penny overage.

*Herbal Essences Shampoo, on sale for $2.99, SCR for $2, used free product coupon from facebook promo, $2.99 overage.

*Huggies Overnight, $11.99 (no sale just needed them) used $2 printable from, on pack 3 of 5 for free pack SCR.

*Oral B Cross Action Toothbrush, $2.99, SCR $2.00, used 0.75 coupon from 11/1 PG, total: 0.25.

*Scope Outlast Mouthwash, $3.99, SCR $3, used $1 coupon from 11/1 P&G for penny overage.

*Tampax Pearl, $3.99, SCR $3, used $2 coupon from previous Walmart sample (sign up for those at for $1.01 overage!

*6 Huggies Wipes on sale $2/4 (my store was really well stocked) used various $.50 and $1.00 coupons in my collection for inserts, mailings, etc... Total $8.50.

I also used a $5/25 purchase, found on right now. My total out of pocket was $28.40 (which of course was money I earned on previous months' SCRs) and I will get back $11 in SCR and $5 back from SC Johnson, so really $12.40 for all of this, barely enough to cover the diapers. Plus all of the prices before coupons and rebates ($61.19) goes towards my Gift of Savings Gift Card. Now is a great time to give Rite Aid a try if you are still haven't. It is so much fun to bring home great products for pennies on the dollar.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Store Secrets: Black Friday

It is almost here: Black Friday! I love this day, not because I love pushing people, crowds, and getting up at 4:00 am. It is more about a tradition of shopping and starting the holiday season. I am not a camp outer, I usually will make it to the stores about 8:00 am. I like to just spend the day with my girlfriends and sisters/mom (if I am that lucky) out shopping. I am only going to go to the stores in my town, which aren't many. Look tomorrow for the deals and some links to help you get started. Make sure you get a paper EARLY tomorrow so you can scan the ads during the football games. If you want a sneak peak, here are the scans of the ads for most stores.

*A little caution though, Black Friday is the KING of loss leaders. Cheap TVs, computers, get you in the door and spend more. There are usually limited amounts of these products, so don't be tempted to buy something (you don't need) just because you are there. It is always good to have a plan and a list! :)

So now I am thinking of a little contest. Leave a comment about one Black Friday deal you found or did find. I will randomly draw a winner and that winner will receive one set of coupon inserts. The contest is open until Sunday at midnight.

Happy Shopping and Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Q & A

Q & A: question from a reader:

I have heard and seen expressed by many couponers that it is usually the best deal to use your coupons to buy the smallest size items you can (trial or travel sizes.) I am having a hard time understanding this concept - sure you get lots of free stuff by doing it that way, but what if you really need and use that item, a travel size really isn't going to last very long. So maybe that's the key, those coupons you have that aren't your regular items, you can use for small sizes but ones for things you would use regularly use for a more normal size product. I don't know - what is your take?

Good question, I have been going to address coupon/product size for awhile now. First of all I am not a huge fan or the travel section, simply because most of that stuff, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, I can get free or very cheap by doing other deals, especially at drugstores. A lot of couponers on other blogs might get 10-12 copies of the Sunday paper, so they have 10-12 copies of every coupon. Buying ten travel size bottles of mouthwash for free, easily equals a larger bottle, even though it is less convenient to use. The reason most couponers say to buy the smallest size, is because it drives your out of pocket expense lower. For instance if the 24 oz size is $1.99 and the 36 oz size is $3.19 and you have a $1 coupon, it is the better deal to use it on the smaller size. Ounce per ounce, it is usually cheaper to do it this way. I usually buy the smaller size (not trial) because of this. Three more things to consider when using coupons:

1)How often you use this item? Many jumbo size items, might go bad before you use it all anyway, so the smaller size is better. If you use it everyday, the large size might be better.

2)Try not to be brand loyal. There are some things I have to have a certain brand of and so I watch for sales on these, but for the most part for me, juice is juice, cereal is cereal, shampoo is shampoo, cleaner is cleaner, etc, etc... Some brands that have been around for years have few coupons, whereas newer brands have lots of coupons. When a product is released, it usually is quickly followed by coupons, sales and rebates. This is a great time to try new products. You might find one you love better than your old standby.

3) How often do you see coupons for this product? I will use Huggies Diapers for an example. About once a month Huggies has coupons in the paper, often they are on the internet, and I can request to get them from the website. Since I usually have a coupon for Huggies, I will buy the smaller size because I know I can get another one soon. Some products like Dreyers Fruit Juice Bars (one of my favorites) only come around about twice a year. I might consider buying a larger size on this because a coupon is so rare for this item.

I hope that helps. It is really up to personal discretion. Remember your primary goal is drive down your out of pocket expense, so look for the best deal for you. Have a question, let me know because someone probably has the same one. Email me at dealsbydawn at yahoo dot com.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Step #11: Making it a habit

People always say to me, "Coupons take up too much time and I never save that much." This statement is true if you haphazardly coupon now and then, but if you are couponing a lot, it becomes a habit. A habit that changes your way of thinking about shopping. Now, rather than get what I need right now, I buy what we use(with coupons) when it goes on sale. That way I am ahead of the game when I go to make my favorite recipes. Case in point, Albertsons today, spent $59.06 for 64 items or just 92 cents an item! I saved $111.83, wow!
Some of this stuff is for this week and Thanksgiving, but a lot of it isn't. Cranberry sauce, canned fruit and veggies (kids stacked them for the pic :)...), Rhodes rolls, stuffing, butter, and Miracle Whip were just on good sales and stuff we use for our meals, so I stocked up. Also the turkey was only $2.68 for an almost 12 pound turkey. Our Albertsons ran out of the 16-22 lbs turkeys that were part of the buy $25 worth of groceries get a Village Market Turkey for 23 cents per pound. They substituted smaller turkeys, which was fine by me, because this was just for my family of five for a special dinner. I went with my Kindergarten daughter, so I also ended up with straw, Cheese-its and Lunchables (and said "no" to probably 100 other things) that weren't at the best price ever, but fun for my kiddies. All in all a great shopping trip. Couponing has become a habit for me and that way I am able to save and still buy the things I want and need.
When you take a little time each day (1/2 hour of less to review blogs for me) and a little time to plan trips (about 1 hour for Albertsons trip and 15-30 minutes for Rite Aid for me) you can save 50% or more. Which if you think about it is a pretty good habit to have. It is also a habit that gets easier with time. Don't give up, I can't believe all that I have learned in a year and am still learning.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rite Aid 11/22-11/28

Good news: Rite Aid is staring their Gift of Savings promotion. It is just like the one they did a couple of months ago. Every purchase is counted toward the earning of a gift card, up to $20. You have to purchase $100, but this is before all coupons and rebates, so it is easy to get there. Plus, this time of year, if you need anything, buy it at Rite Aid. If you are signed up for Single Check Rebate, you are already registered.

Bad News: The only things free things are Benevia Enhanced Fruit Drink, Dulcolax, and Day/Night Colon Cleanse...will be passing on those thanks. Is Rite Aid trying to tell us something?

Good News: Black Friday (Thursday-Saturday) is looking great! Lots of SCRs those three days.
i heart rite aid has the ad, if you want to check it out. Lots of cheapies and freebies (will have matchups soon) Including cheap baby wipes, hurrah!

Bad News: Where does Rite Aid fit in my Black Friday schedule?

Good News: Albertsons doubles good through Thursday!!

Bad News: Decisions on how to use them wisely...check out the coupon project for some great ideas.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Food for thought Friday

My husband is always laughing at me for going through boxes and packaging before it gets thrown out. Packages are a great source for coupons, so always check the inside of a box. You might also have sweepstakes codes inside. But the best part is Box Tops! Do you Box Top? It is a program for schools. Each box top is worth 10 cents for you child's school. Most schools are on this program now and offer neat incentives for the students that bring them in. Keep your eyes open and don't let them go to waste. They are on a huge variety of products including, General Mills, Betty Crocker, and Kimberly Clark just to name a few. A lot of the products that go on promotions are on them too. Even if your child is not in school yet, donate them to someone who is or save them for when your child is. I love helping schools with products I buy everyday. So next time don't through that box away, check for coupons, sweeps, and box tops!! Also check out as a great resources list of coupons on these products.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Confession: Team Edward

Okay, true confession time, I am going to the midnight showing of New Moon. Yes, I know, please don't judge, you know we all love a little Edward (or Jacob) :)

BUT did you know you can win Edward's Car? Volvo is giving away a car like Edwards. It is a tricky contest, that runs in six phases. The phases are games/questions that increase in difficulty. (It takes awhile to play, but it is fun!) The first five are out and you can complete them now(google for help if you need it). The sixth phase is released at 12:59 pm EST on Sunday. I am figuring it is something totally obscure from the movie, since the first person to complete it wins the car! Go to this link for all the details, have fun, and good luck!

Q & A

I got a question from a reader:

How do I know how long a catalina lasts?

Tricky question because the answer is, it depends. If a catalina is in an ad, it runs the length of the sale (like Sun-Sat or Wed-Tues). It might go over a few days, but don't count on it. The ad won't back you up if you don't get it either. However, there are unadvertised catalinas, as in they aren't in the ad, they are by word of mouth or those catalina printouts that tell you about them. The krazy coupon lady has compiled a good list of Albertson's current cat deals. Also, there is one for free butter here. In addition, I have gotten (for Albertson's):

*Solo, plates, cups, or bowls, purchase 2 get $1, 3 get $3, 4 or more get $4 (11/12-12/5)
*Free diaper clutch (via mail) when you buy Pampers Big Pack (11/4-12/8)
*Buy $10 in participating Duncan Hines/Vlasic/Log Cabin get $2 cat (11/1-11/30)

The problem with these unadvertised catalinas is that you don't have an ad to back you up if it doesn't work. There might be signs by the product, but usually not. These promos also have varying dates, so it makes it difficult to keep track. One more thing to remember, catalina is a company and not an extended feature of the store. The cashier have little to no control over what is prints out. Sometimes on big promos they might have an override code, but probably only towards the end of the sale. To learn more about the catalina company check out their website:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Store Secrets: letter/emails

Have you ever tried writing letters or these days emails to companies? I recently wrote to Kimberly Clark (Huggies) because my big box of diapers didn't have the advertised $25 coupon book in it and guess what a week later I got lots and lots of coupons in the mail. Also, my kids recently got a Lincoln Logs set with a broken piece. I emailed the company and a couple of weeks later got the replacement right in my mailbox. It works!

I have read a couple of posts recently about writing emails to companies that have products you love to get coupons. I really haven't tried this, but after this list I might. Read the post here and tell me what you think.

coupon email list

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Deals of the week!

Lots of good buys on Turkey day dinner stuff, including:
*turkey, (23 cents/lb when you have an additional $25 purchase)
*potatoes (88 cent/bag, first 2)
*butter ($1.69)
*Kraft cheese ($1.88), use with $1/2 RP 11/15
* Minute Maid orange juice ($1.99)
Thanksgiving basics: Albertsons broth, Jiffy corn muffin mix, Campbell's Gravy (here), Del Monte Vegetables (use 11/15 RP, $1.00/8), all 47 cents each.

57 cents each:Albertsons Cream of Chicken or Cream of Mushroom Soup, Albertsons Cranberry Sauce

87 cents each: Bird's Eye Steamfresh Vegetables or Rice (.35 from 10/18 SS), Stove Top Stuffing ($2/5 on, Albertsons Whipped Topping, Albertsons Olives.

97 cents each: Albertsons sour cream, Albertsons Graham Cracker Crust, Libby's Pumpkin, Princella Sweet Potatoes, Cool Whip, and Carnation Evaporated Milk (.50/2 from 9/27 SS).

Store coupons:
*Kraft Cream Cheese 88 cents, stack with manu in 11/15 RP
*Kraft Mayo or Miracle Whip, $1.99, Limit 1, stack with coupon from Kraft Food and Family mag if you have it.
*Gillettte Foamy Shave Gel, 79 cents

Promo: Buy 4 Kellogg's cereals (Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies, Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Cocoa Krispies, or Jumbo Krispies) and get free milk instantly and two free cereal bowls. Coupon link here. More matchups at a thrifty mom.

So Utah readers, I am curious, how is Fresh Market? Did you keep your card to hit the few remaining Albertsons?

Also the spend $150 get a free turkey is still valid at Fred Meyer, if you need to plan a whole dinner. Anything in the store pretty much counts, including clothing and Christmas presents and decorations etc...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Step #10: share

Now you have learned how to coupon, what should you do now? Share with others. There are several ways to share. Tell your friends and neighbors about a hot promo, share your purchases with others, and share your expertise. I wish someone who knew had told me about Rite Aid like 5 years ago. I also wish someone had explain catalinas to me. Let others know, no one should have to pay retail :)

So in the spirit of sharing...Spend $25 on Proctor and Gamble products get a free cookware set via mail. Here is the rebate form and the PYP forum discussing it is here. You only have until Saturday to make your purchases. Don't run out to buy stuff just to get this, but if you need stuff anyway (like Pampers diapers) it's an extra bonus. (Thanks Ami)

Some freebies: Go over to being girl for a generous sampling of Tampax/Always products. Plus get a coupon for a free pack of Always Infinity. I got this last week.

Go to beechnut, fill out the form and get a free cereal coupon and free 2 jars of baby food coupon via mail. I just got mine today.

And Tomorrow and Wednesday is a MACY'S ONE DAY SALE and it is advertised as the biggest one day sale of the year! Best of all there is a coupon for $10 off a $25 purchase. Almost everything is included, even the clearance rack. The coupon is good from store opening until 1 PM each day. Go to and click on the stores link, enter your zip code, and then check out the catalog for your area. Mine was over 60 pages! I am thinking Christmas dresses and coats for my kids. Oh, how I heart Macys!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rite Aid 11/15-11/21

Rite Aid has some freebies this week. has the $5/25 or $3/15 depending on your zip code. You can also check out the video values ads to earn a $5/20 coupon and others. My fav five star Rite Aid cashier also told me that sometimes surveys pop up on that only take a few minutes to fill out and then you can earn a $5 gift card. Be on the lookout for those!

*Crest Extra White Plus Scope Toothpaste $2.69, SCR for $2.69, Use the $0.75/1 from PG 11/1, money maker of $.75

*GE Energy Smart Light Bulbs $2.00 each, $2 SCR when you buy 2, Use the $1/1 from SS 10/4

*Renuzit Adjustable Air Freshener $0.99, $1 SCR when you buy 2, Use B1G1 coupon on

*Kotex $2.99, $2 SCR, use $1 coupon from Oct. All You

*Tic Tac Chill $1.00, Use the $1/1 from RP 9/20

*Robitussin To Go 10 ct. $6.99, $4 SCR, $2.00 coupon available here

Check out all the matchups at my frugal adventures.

The Red Plum today also had some Ragu and Skippy coupons that can be stacked with the store Albertsons coupouns (also in the paper) to get really cheap Ragu and Skippy. Don't forget to get your pie and ice cream through Tuesday, unfortunately the catalina deal is dead, but you can still score 2 pies and 2 ice creams for $6.39 (or less is you have coupons). Get a rain check if your store is out and they will honor the deal for up to a month.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Food for Thought

Here is my take on what managers really think of couponers. Of course, just like cashiers there are several levels of couponers. I certainly hope you are a 5 star couponer by now. 5 star couponers are polite, friendly, informed, and stand up for themselves. They don't try to get away with anything though and they don't go ballistic over the refusal of a .50 coupon. So I think if you are a five star couponer...the managers actually like you. Why? Because you come in to the store regularly, so you spend money. They also know that you talk out in the community, whether it is via conversation, blogs, or emails, good deals are shared. So is bad (or good) customer service. Coupons are very "trendy" right now, mostly because of the economy. Good managers know that lots of their customers are going to coupon, so if they don't choose to coupon in their store, they will probably go somewhere else to shop.

I actually dated a grocery manager in a previous life...(he wasn't a manager then) and now through the magic of Facebook, we still chat occasionally. I asked him about this and he said, that yes coupons are a pain, (to redeem) but he also said that he is impressed when a shopper takes time to plan out a shopping trip. I am sure this is how most managers feel. Do you agree with me? Are you a 5 star couponer?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reader's Deals

I got some great deals from readers. Audrey said, "If you buy 3 "sets" of the pie and ice cream the catalina will give you $15. The Albertson's checker and manager went over my receipt this morning to find out what triggered it." The Breyer's ice cream is part of the buy $30 get $15 catalina promotion running through today. I tried this today and it did not work for me. I am emailing catalina to see why, but you might have better luck.

Heidi sent a link to a $10 coupon for the UP DVD here. Several stores have this priced around $19.99. I saw one today that also had a rebate sticker for a free plush toy (via mail) with purchase. There are also two rebates out ronzoni pasta for $4 with purchase of pasta and DVD or bird's eye $5 rebate with two Viola meals and DVD purchase. If you want an even more advanced and cheaper deal, check out cheaper by the dozen. There is also a Target coupon you can stack with the $10 coupon. Keep your eyes peeled this time of year there will be rebates on movies with products. Last year I got one for Shrek the Halls and the Tinkerbell movie.

Thanks, Audrey and Heidi. If you find a good deal you would like to share, please email me at dealsbydawn at yahoo dot com.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Store Secrets: Walmart (dot com)

Anybody that knows me well, knows I do not shop at WalMart very often. I don't like how crowded the store is and it is a huge spending trap. Yes, a bunch of "cheap" stuff still equals a lot! I do however love One of the best features is their FREE SAMPLES. They always have several different ones available. They also rotate them frequently and often the samples come with high value coupons. Right now in fact, there are samples of both Huggies and Pampers available, also Garnier and Prilosec. Click here now to check them out. Be sure to check back often for new freebies too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Deals of the week!!

Just picked up my Tuesday paper and besides some great deals at Albertsons next week, there are tons of great deals tomorrow, Veterans Day!! Some Fred Meyer coupons caught my eye,
*Save $5 on any pair of shoes $14.99 and up
*Save $5 on any apparel $14.99 and up
*Take an Extra 15% off apparel, shoes & accessories, no limit and may be combined with above two coupons. These are good only from 7 AM-1PM. You should be able to get these coupons in store at customer service.
*Also at Fred Meyer spend $150 (on most anything, some exclusions) get a free turkey with coupon. This coupon is actually in the paper, not an insert. $150 is a lot to spend, especially now that you are a coupon diva, but if you are hosting Thanksgiving or needing to really stock up, there is an extra incentive for you. Offer good through Saturday.

*Macys also has a 15% off coupon here to go with their sale through tomorrow.

*JC Penney-pick up an extra savings card at any register to reveal your discount, either an extra 15, 20, or 30% off. Offer good through Saturday.

*Albertsons, good until next Tuesday. The loss leader of the year...Buy one Sara Lee Pie ($6.39) and get another Sara Lee Pie AND 2 Breyers Ice Creams FREE!! But, it gets better...there are coupons for both items and since you are "buying" four items, you can use four manufacturers coupons. (sidebar) has the Sara Lee coupon, and 10/18 RP has the 0.75 off Breyers. Go early to get the good kinds of pie and ice cream. They will go of all there is NO LIMIT! (Don't go crazy though...) I am assuming that means they are well stocked, but you never know. Last year I ended up with pumpkin and vanilla, good but not my first choice of flavors. :)
Please check out a thrifty mom and the krazy coupon lady for all the coupon links. There are some good Albertsons coupons to stack with manufacturers coupons.

No, I am not hitting all these deals and no I am not shopping all day tomorrow. :) I plan on going to the parade and honoring our veterans. Happy Veteran's Day!

Rolling the cat

I wanted to try at least one more time to see if I could get my cat to roll, and it worked! The breakdown: 4 cookie mixes, 4 potatoes, 1 soap, 2 yogurts, 2 soup mixes, 6 pasta/rice mixes, and two cake mixes. The total was $30.89 I had 7.20 in coupons, then used my $15 in catalinas, so my total was $8.69, but I used my $15 cash from my "faux" catalina. All three transactions spent $52.14, but I still have $15 in catalinas and $6.31 left over in cash from the promotion. All in all, pretty great for all the stuff we got.

A few things to remember with catalina deals or promotions:
1)Make sure you have the right product! There are usually several sizes, but only one is the correct one. Also other brands, especially store brands are made to look like name brands and placed right next to each other, so make sure you have the right brand. There should (but not always) be tags advertising the promotion by the participating products so look for these.
2) Double, triple check before you get to the register that you have all the products and that your total adds up to the right amount.
3) Make sure you get the desired results, after your receipt prints, the catalina will print, watch for the flashing green light and the beep. Cashier tend to hurry through this, so make sure you get them. If not, let someone know. You can also call catalina at 1-888-8COUPON if your transaction didn't go right.
4)Keep trying, these promotions can be lots of fun and great ways to stock your pantry.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Step # 9: Rebates

I love earning rebates, especially high value ones and those at Rite Aid. Rite Aid rebates are all done online, so it makes it easy. Read here for more info Most other rebates however, have to be done through the mail. It is a good idea to do these as soon as you get home from the store. That way it is fresh on your mind and you have the receipt and UPC codes in front of you. Most rebates require the original receipt. If you have two products that have mail in rebates, ask the cashier to print out a duplicate receipt for you. If you are doing a mail in rebate from a product bought at Rite Aid, make sure you enter you info in the computer before you send off the receipt. It is also a good idea to make copies, keep a contact number/email, and keep a record when you sent it off, in case you have a problem. Most of these totals are before coupons, so it you combine them with sales, promos, and coupons, they become money makers!

Some rebates to look out for right now:

SC Johnson Buy 3 products get $5 back.
Real Simple Buy $15 worth of participating products get $5 back
Johnsons Rubber Ducky water tester with $7 product purchase
Try me free peelie offer on Gerber Yogurt Blend
Pampers diaper clutch, free with Pampers Big Box purchase at Albertsons(catalina rebate form will print)

Any other you are working on? I will post any new rebates I find.

Catalina Success!

This is how it is supposed to work, just like I had planned in my last post. The catalinas printed with no problem. My out of pocket was $23.11 and I got $15 back. Tomorrow I am going to "roll" the cat. I am going to do the deal again, use my $15 cats to pay half and then get $15 more back!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cat, round #2

Okay, got some more coupons and my list...we are going to try this again. Here is what I am going to get: 1 mayo (2.99), 2 Caress soap (4.98), 2 toaster strudels (5.98), 2 Kleenex (1.98), 2 yogurt delights (4.98), 1 broth (1.49), and 4 Cottonelle wipes (7.96). Total of 30.36 I am using 2 $1 toaster strudels, 2 $1 yogurt, 2 0.50 Kleenex, $1 broth, and .50/2 and .75/2 wipes. So my after coupon total is $23.11 and I should get back $15 in cat coupons. I am also going to buy a few more things and use my double coupons.

Rite Aid Deals 11/8-11/14

New $5/25 coupon at

*Herbal Essences Hair Care buy one get one free. Use buy one shampoo, get one styler free 10/11 P&G. Also did you get your free Herbal Essences coupon by mail, now would be a good time to use that. Both scenarios get you two free products, do both to get four free products.

*Oral B Crossaction Toothbrush $2.99, SCR for $2.99, use with .75 from 10/11 P&G to make this a money maker.

Good deals:
*GE Reveal Lightbulbs 2/$4, $2 SCR when you buy two, also a $1/1 coupon in 11/1 SS.

*Also Lysol Steam mop on sale for $34.99 with a $5 SCR. Has anyone used this? Is it any good? I am thinking about one, but don't want to waste money if it is not great.

Check out hip 2 save for all the matchups. Not a great week, I am hoping for some deals on baby wipes, trash bags, and dish soap soon.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Food for Thought

This is a question I have been pondering since the beginning of my coupon existence. Do managers like or hate couponers? How do you think they really feel? Please leave a comment and then I will tell you what I think!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Catalina, working out the bugs

So today, I had only one child with me so I decided to do some shopping! I gathered my supplies
Yes, I took all this and my toddler in the store, thankfully she doesn't request car carts yet!

Here is what I got, but...the catalina didn't print :( I asked the cashier, one of my favs, right after I paid and the catalina didn't print anything. She added it up (had to use a calculator because of the prices!) and confirmed I should have got one. So she called the manager over, another one of my favs. She said "the coupons probably mess it up, but they shouldn't have". They didn't have the override code to print out the coupons, (they have to call corporate), so they just gave me $15 cash, which is great....but

I was trying to teach you how to roll a cat. This is why I usually wait until the sale has been going a few day, so all the bugs are worked out and they have the override code. (I live in a "small" town and have only one Albertsons.) However, I did get my "rewards". It is important that you bring it up if your cat doesn't print, because they need to know of problems. One of the managers that came over, is in charge of making sure items are entered right so they trigger the catalina. When you let her know of a problem, she can fix it for the rest of us. I hope it works for you. I am probably going to give it another try on Monday, hopefully there will be doubles this weekend. Has anyone tried the deal? Did it work for you?

*Ironically, I did get two Cottonelle wipe coupons, and two future promo coupons out of the catalina machine. 1) Buy $10 in participating items, get $2 cat (picture shows Duncan Hines, Vlasic, Log Cabin, and Mrs. Butterworth) Runs from 11/1/09-11/30/09 and 2) Free diaper clutch (via mail) with any Pampers Big Pack purchase valid from 11/4/09-12/8/09. Look for $20 in coupon savings in specially marked packages too. Thanks for the info catalina, next time though, I will be expecting my $15 coups!

Safeway/Kohls deal

I don't usually blog about Safeway deals, because I don't usually go there. (It is the most expensive and farthest away for me.) However, frugal living NW has a great post about several overlapping catalinas for this weekend, including earning Kohls cash. I don't have a Kohls near me, but it sounds like a good deal if you do. It is complicated and definitely advanced, but check it out if you are interested.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Catalina round #1

I am going to run down a catalina deal for you, so you can see how it is supposed to work. Even if you aren't in Albies land anymore, follow me on these string of posts, because catalina promos work the same at many stores.

Round #1: Look through ads, your pantry, and coupons to see what you want/need. I looked through my coupon stash and the ad and saw what I had coupons for (or could print easily) and came up with: cookie mix, frosting, potatoes, flushable wipes, toaster strudels, paper towels, Kleenex, salad dressing, soup, brownie mix, yogurt, Chex mix, and pasta sides. I also wanted to get some soup mix, cake mix, bar soap, mayonnaise, and veggies at these prices, even without coupons. I added up what coupons I had and I had enough to do three transactions. This step took longer than I thought because of those crazy uneven prices.
Next I divided them up into three separate transactions. I made a list (you couldn't see anything in the picture I took so I didn't post it, sorry) of each transaction. I wrote the quantity of each item, the amount, and then the total amount. Remember you total is $30 before tax and coupons. Use the prices directly from the ad, don't try to calculate in coupons and the catalina discount. So tomorrow, I am going to do one transaction and buy:

2 Wishbone Dressings (2@1.99) 3.98

2 Progresso Soups (2@1.69) 3.38

2 Viva Paper Towels (2@1.99) 3.98

3 Betty Crocker Frostings (3@1.69) 5.07

7 Cottonelle Tubs or Refills (not sure which size is included by the ad, but we LOVE these. If you have small children learning to potty train, they are a must!!) (7@1.99) 13.93

Total $30.34

Now I will use 2 $.75 dressing, 2 $1.00 soup, 2 $.50 paper towels, 3 $.50 frosting, 2 $1/2 wipes, 1 $.50 wipes, and 1 $.50/2 wipes (again not sure on the sizes, so I might not need to use all these wipe coupons). For a total of $10 in coupons so my new total is $20.34 and I should get back $15 (usually in the form of 3 $5 catalina coupons, which will print out AFTER I pay). So I will need to pay $20.34 for this transaction. I leave the store with the above items and my $15 cat coupons. I am going to do this Thursday AM, so I will post my results and see how it turned out.

Store Secrets: Staples Ink

I love Staples! They often have free or cheap after rebate items. Plus their rewards card, which sends you a rebate coupon on your total purchase amount every quarter. The best part of all though, is their ink cartridge recycling program. Just bring in any empty (I mean any...even that old one from the mid 1990s...) and they will credit your account for $3 each. Sometimes they even run promotions where they credit you for $5 each. My Staples usually lets me turn in 3 cartridges at a time. Then at the end of each quarter, they mail you a coupon check for the amount. I usually use mine to buy what else, more ink! This is a great program, especially since you are using lots of ink to print coupons, right? Now you know another store secret: that was easy :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Deals of the week

First off, some news about Fresh Market/Albertsons for Utah readers. Pinching your pennies has the details about what stores are actually staying Albertsons and what you can score with your Albertsons card.

Second, there are some good produce coupons on the back, so check those out. There are also lots of deals on baking supplies, mostly Albertsons brand. I suspect these will go lower or similar sales will last on these throughout the month. A couple of quick mini promos too. Buy a Whole Cure 81 ham, get a free Honeysuckle white turkey breast. Also, Idaho potatoes 5 lbs bags are .75, with a .75 coupon available on Gourmet Crispy Onions (not exactly sure what that is, but possibly free potatoes).

Last, there is a catalina promo this week! (If you are confused already, please read this.) Yeah, I am very excited, since these deals have become my favorites. We are going to walk through this one together, to learn a little bit more about catalinas. So first off, it is mainly General Mills products and for some reason they are priced weird, so it makes the math a little complicated. You are not going to hit $30 exactly, but try to get as close as possible to make the best deal. This is how it works, spend $30 get $15 catalina coupon for your next trip. This total is before tax and before coupons. Then you can roll the $15 catalina on another transaction to earn another $15 catalina, repeat, repeat, etc...etc... You do have to divide these up though. You can't spend $60 at once and get $30 back, it will only give you $15. Let's look at matchups first the krazy coupon lady and a thrifty mom. (I am not just going to cut and paste these bloggers click on over to check out there great lists!)
Look through your stash and head over to and print out Betty Crocker frosting, potatoes, Pillsbury crescents, Kleenex tissues, Progresso soup,Chex mix, Cheerios, Betty Crocker Cookie Mix, Progresso Broth, and Yoplait Delights. Remember these coupons have a set number of prints before they are gone, so print early. There are lots of printables available at the links above too.

**Homework: go through your pantry and your coupons and decide what you need or want. On Thursday, we will work through some possible scenarios. It should be fun to figure this out together!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Step #8: Balancing the Stockpile

If you have been doing this awhile you have seen those videos/pictures with huge stockpiles that make most KMarts jealous. Which brings up the whole ethical issue with me, how much is too much? (On my soapbox now...)

Several wise men in my church and our FEMA program have stated that we need a "years supply" of food and personal items. That is my guideline. I try to have what I think we could and would use within a year. More than that is extravagant and wasteful for me. I mean are 87 toothbrushes really going to come in handy if there is a catastrophe? Would it be more helpful to have say 25 cans of tuna? Am I really going to eat 10 cans of vegetables before they expire(yes), but 100 probably not. Is this instant food healthy or just cheap and convenient, would it make more sense to buy fresh ingredients and make a casserole? Once you really get started into couponing, the deals are aplenty. What separates a good couponer from an excellent one (in my opinion) is learning when to say when. This has been a huge challenge for me, but I am getting better. I think I have found my own personal balance.

So here is my stockpile, I don't think it is huge, but manageable. I also recently had my "cupboard month", which I will talk about later. Basically we mostly make meals out of the cupboard to try and use up some food so it doesn't expire.

My kitchen pantry. The soup is from case lots sale last winter. The bottom boxes are tuna that my husband caught and had canned. I also have baking supplies on the other side, but it is mostly in bulk and not that exciting. Most everything else was bought here and there in reasonable quantities.
My bathroom stockpile. I am good with shampoo/conditioner/lotion/etc... we have a large supply. A lot of this I bought when I first started, before I realized how quick cheap shampoo multiplies. :)

Diapers. These are mostly in the next two sizes up, but I am mostly stocked up on these too. I think after I earn my free coupon from Rite Aid, I am good for about a year. By the way, these were all bought a pack at a time.

One of my favorite quotes is "Happiness is a place between too little and too much" (Finnish proverb). This is how I try to live my life, but also how I try to coupon. You know those "hoarding" shows, look in the background and you will see lots of full "deal" bags and coupons waiting to be clipped on the counter. Sad, but true most of these so called hoarders are "excellent" deal finders, but not so much "excellent coupon balancers." Okay, sorry for the tirade just sharing what I think. I hope it will give you some inspiration to find your balance: :)

Want to read more the coupon project has a great post on this subject.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November deals

What can you get cheap in November?
*For starters, Halloween candy and decorations should go on sale soon and continue until about mid month. It is also a great time to buy costume to use as dress-up. Last year I bought my son a knight and firefighter costume for $3 each and they have been favorites. You might have a wait a couple weeks to get rock bottom prices, but patience will pay off.

*Wedding dresses are cheap now. This is the time stores clear out their inventory and the boutiques are less busy, so maybe you will score an additional discount.

*Let's not forget BLACK FRIDAY! This is an ideal time to buy stereos, TVs, and clothing. This is one of my favorite shopping days of the year! I am thinking this year the stores will have some pretty great deals to try and get you in the door. Do you brave the crowds to get outrageous deals? When it gets closer, I will ask for your deals and stories, so be thinking!

Deals, deals, deals

Rite Aid is not the greatest this week, but the $3/15 coupons help. Head on over to, while you are there print the new $2 Huggies coupon as well.

*Huggies diapers Mega are $14.99, plus $2 SCR, plus on more towards your free pack. Use coupon above.
* Oral B Crossaction Toothbrush $5, get $2 SCR, use $3 coupon from 11/1 P&G to get it for free.
my frugal adventures has the matchups, if you are looking for more deals.

Albertsons had a $10 off $50 good through Tuesday in the paper. There are also rumors of a good promo starting on Wednesday, so stay tuned.

Fred Meyer had Del Monte canned vegetables on sale for $2/1 (limit 10) Use with 9/20 SS for cheap veggies.

And the Winner is...

Yankee Wife was chosen by random draw. If you could please email me at dealsbydawn at yahoo dot com, with your name, address, and what store you would like your gift card from. Thanks for all who entered and all who read.

I wanted to apologize for the lack of posts this weekend. My computer/blogger have been having issues. I think I finally have it all figured out, but if the posts are a little crazy these next few days, please understand.