Thursday, August 19, 2010

I've moved!

Well, I've moved in the virtual world, anyway.

I'm now blogging at All of the deal/savings/freebie/CVS posts, plus posts about everything from smoothies to music to my life in general.

Come on over. At some point, I'll import all of the posts from this blog to over there (I think I know how), but for now they'll hang out here.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

CVS - Free Dulcolax and semi-free razors

I hit CVS this morning planning to get the free Dulcolax (a $4 MM after coupon) and free Schick razor (coupon + ECBs = free) plus some filler items. But my husband (rightfully) pointed out that he really needs more refills and not more actual razors. This is his favorite brand, too. So I bought the refills instead and used the $2 coupon. Not free, but way cheap, and the moneymaker deal covered it anyway.

I spent about $3 OOP plus $7.99 and $2.99 in ECBs and got back $13.99. Yay.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Round up of deals lately

I took a survey through CVS and got $5 in Extrabucks (on my "other" card but I'll use it on the Schick razors tomorrow). I also got coupons in the mail (not attached to either card) for $5/$30 and $25 with prescription.

I went to a "warehouse" sale that featured indie boutiques around my city. Most things were out of my price range (or too fancy for me) but I scored some small things that were worth about $125 total for $20 total.

I used the printable Gardein coupon to get Gardein at Publix for $1 (I printed two, a friend gave me one, and another friend gave me two more, and then I bought a few for $2 without coupon - a GREAT deal).

Kroger mailed me a pack of personalized coupons that include free baby carrots and free salad dressing, as well as coupons for Morningstar Farms and Laughing Cow. The name-brand coupons are marked "manufacturer" so I'm assuming I can't stack them at Publix, but I still can use them at either store. (I'll use the frees at Kroger, because it's just easier.)

My daughter needed labels for many of the things I send with her to preschool. Mabels Labels are really nice, high quality, and lovely, but they're pricey. Instead I bought similar labels from Gloria on Etsy for about 1/10 of the price. Etsy and Ebay are two places one should always look when hoping for a bargain!

I also bought my daughter a wetbag (yes, her preschool accepts cloth diapers without issue - I send BumGenius pocket diapers that are just as easy to use as disposables, but she goes between two rooms so I needed to send an extra wetbag) from Amazing customer service and free shipping on every order - I love supporting this site!

And finally, I've been using my Vitamix to make smoothies every morning and good, whole foods every day. My favorite thing is to put spinach or kale into my smoothie, and I also grabbed some flax seeds at the market for extra omegas. This purchase was worth every penny for sure.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thrifty and splurgey - CVS free photobooks, Publix cheap Gardein, Vitamix

First, I went to CVS and got the free-after-ECB photobook ($7.99, get $7.99 back, I had a $7.99 ECB ready to go). I wish they still did these as limit 5, but the one I got is perfect. I also got my free Suave shampoo with the coupon Suave sent me a while back.

Sometime this weekend I plan on going to Publix for the Gardein BOGO deal. I prefer this brand of fake meat to almost any other, and the packages are $2 each with the sale - a great price. But there's also a coupon at for $1 off, so I'll get a few packages at a dollar. A friend sent me one extra coupon, and I think a different friend is sending me some extras too. In any case, this deal is as fantastic as the Morningstar Farms deal a few weeks ago (though I have far fewer coupons this time around).

I'm selectively thrifty though. Yesterday I was at Whole Foods and they had a man doing a demo of Vitamix blenders. I have a weakness for this kind of demo - for county fair demos and infomercials and all things like that, especially for food-prep products (the only one I've ever bought was the vacuum sealer though and I use that a lot but I do need a new one soon). Anyway, I got sucked in and...I bought one. And it is WONDERFUL. It does what it promises and I really like it. I made a frozen cappuccino today that tasted so thick and creamy (with skim milk) and I look forward to soups and smoothies. Of course now I have an extra blender and a food processor (both very nice brands, both were wedding gifts) to figure out. I probably will sell them as money toward the Vitamix.

Splurges are important!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CVS - Moneymaker on BioTrue

I plan on making a free photobook later this week (I have a $7.99 ECB), but I saw via Money Saving Mom that there were BioTrue printables and I'd wanted to try this product anyway.

So I bought one at $2.99, used the $2 printable and paid $1.20 OOP. I got back $2.99 and a $1 for my Green Bag Tag.
Then I used another $2 printable and the $1 from the GBT, paid 14 cents OOP (not sure why it wasn't 20 cents, but whatever) and got back another $2.99.

So I spent $1.34 out of pocket and got back $5.98 in ECBs plus 2 bottles of BioTrue. Yay.

Friday, July 2, 2010

One more Publix trip

OK, so we went back to Publix tonight.

I got 12 - TWELVE - different Morningstar Farms things for $1 or 99 cents each (every other one was 99 cents because of the way they do the BOGOs). I used 5 of my $2/2 coupons (BEST TRADE EVER) (I have one left, and our freezer has a bit more room, and tomorrow we're taking some of the burgers to a friend's house...) and two of the $1/1 Entree coupons from the boxes themselves. These new boxes also have those coupons but, well, we're running out of room.

I also was emailed another link for the Breyers $1 coupons, so I got two more boxes of those for $1.15 each. (Yum.)

And I got two more boxes of Cheerios for $1 each.

Plus another free mayo bottle. I still feel like I should only use one Publix coupon per transaction (since they key them in) but if I go back one more time I'll....get another bottle!

So everything was either 75% off or free. Well, everything I got. I mean, the chips we got for tomorrow were BOGO (but no coupon, at least none that I brought), and the buns were on sale...but yeah. Even so, I spent $35 and saved OVER FIFTY DOLLARS. YES.

I noticed in Publix a lot of pricetags with lowered prices that indicated it wasn't a sale price but an everyday ALWAYS low price. I"m not positive that's what it meant, but if it does, my beloved Laughing Cow is $2 now. YAY. And I left a message in the suggestion box for them to continue to carry the new flavors. I hope they do. I HOPE THEY DO.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What I got for free or crazy cheap at Publix July 1, 2010

Publix is amazing this week.

Morningstar Farms items (not JUST the entrees, as the ad/signs indicate) are BOGO at $3.99, making each one $2, which is awesome to start with. But I traded for 10 $2/2 coupons, which makes each one A DOLLAR. I got six today (including two of the entrees, heh). I'm going to go back this weekend for a bit more. We buy these all the time anyway so this is 75% off of what we usually pay.
French's mustard is on sale for 89 cents, and there's a printable for 50 cents off, so it's free plus overage.
Kraft Sandwich Mayo is on sale - it's BOGO at $1.99. EASY to get this one free - just grab a yellow advantage flyer from the front of the store, because there's a $1 coupon right there. Technically this can be stacked with the recent manufacturers $1 coupon or used separately. I had 2 manu coupons and a bunch of advantage coupons, but I'm still unclear on how many Publix coupons I can use in a transaction, so I just used one and I got three bottles free. I plan to go back for more of this too, as it's low fat AND flavored. (The hot and spicy is NOT low fat though! Beware! Or don't...)
Breyers ice cream bars aren't the healthiest thing in the universe, but they're not awful either, and they're $1.19 after coupon.
Kraft salad dressing is on sale for $1.60, and there are $1 coupons, making it 60 cents a bottle. I actually prefer Publix brand, but for this cheap I'll switch.
Gardein is on sale for $3.50 a package, which is cheaper than it usually is (and it's delicious).
Cheeerios are $2 a box and there's a $1 coupon. (It may be a 50-cent-doubled, I can't remember offhand.) $1 a box for Cheerios rules.
Schick shaving gel is still $2 until July 2, and so Publix coupon + manufacturer's coupon = free.
Chinet napkins are $1.08 a pack for 90. There are $1 coupons on their website. 8 cents!

I think that's everything. HUGE thanks to I Heart Publix and CouponMom this week! [And somehow we still spent over $100 at the store - we saved $60 - because we bought disposable diapers since we're going on a trip (usually we use cloth), razor refills for my husband (although I pointed out he still has a bunch unopened, but hey, we had coupons and now he's well stocked), Vitatops (yum), coffee (on sale though!) and...some other randomness.)

Oh and I was VERY SAD to see that my Publix was out of the new Laughing Cow flavors. I hope they restock!!!!! The queso is soooooo goooood!

PS Vocalpoint sent me free samples of disposable diapers this week. However, there are several internet reports of children getting major rashes from this brand, so I'm trashing them. Sorry.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Confusing coupon policy

So I got an email from corporate of the grocery store I had issues with* today and it included the coupon policy for my region. I am not not NOT going to reproduce it here (you can easily get it if you email them) but I found parts of it confusing. My comments are in brackets and again, do note that this is NOT the full policy, I've edited it heavily.

*I also am not going to say the name of the store in this post - I don't want this to be a Google-able resource, just a place where I can vent. But if you read my blog, you'll figure out where this is for.

General coupon policy:
Only two (2) internet coupons per manufacturer, per product, per visit, per day are accepted. [So can I make multiple visits in one day? Not that I'd bother but...] [This does explain the drama I had long, long ago where I tried to use four Internet coupons for four boxes of the same cereal and the register beeped after two. The cashier and manager told me it was the wording on the coupon though - it was NOT - it was the store policy. Ugh.]
The amount refunded cannot exceed the price of the item. [What does "refunded" mean? Does this mean no overage? That's fine - overage is just a nice bonus - but it's so annoying when a coupon is for $1 and the item is on sale for 99 cents and so OMG you can't use it.]

Customers may not use an online coupon and a paper coupon together for the same item.
The online coupon will always take priority over the paper coupon. Stacking is not allowed and will not work
[This seems to mean no stacking with Cellfire and the like - but it DOES work. They need to police this better or figure out a better system.]

We do not accept "free product" printable coupons that have no purchase requirement. [The manager was right about this then.]
Buy-one-get-one-free coupons and other values that have a purchase requirement are acceptable but will be MUCH less common than traditional value-off coupons. [So the store manager was WRONG when she told me they don't take BOGO printables. What are they talking about with "much less common" though? I see BOGOs often. Does this mean if I use a printable BOGO they'll cite this rule and not accept it?]
We do not accept coupons for more than about 75% of a product's value without advance notice. [Huh? Arbitrary rule is arbitrary.]
Legitimate PAH coupons will not be for a high value relative to the cost of the item. For example, a $2.00 off coupon will be acceptable for a product that normally sells for $5.00 or more, but a $2.00 off printable coupon for a product that sells for $2.25 is unlikely to be legitimate. [This is so untrue - I've seen printables ALL THE TIME that are LEGIT that give a huge percentage discount. Usually that's when combined with a sale but still. This is bizarre and confusing and makes me feel like I'll be questioned again and again. Not worth my time.]

PAH coupons can be checked for validity at: [GREAT to know. Although what cashier or manager is going to be able to do this on the fly?]

So there's some of the policy. I'm still confused, but I'm going to print out the full email and bring it with me in my coupon folder. The email said they would send it to the regional manager to "educate his staff" or something. So that's good...ish...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Freebies in the mail today

A coupon for a free bottle of Suave professional shampoo or conditioner (wouldn't it be fabulous if CVS had a sale with ECBs for this? But it expires 7/31 so probably not...)
A free box of DaVinci cheese tortellini (yum)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Free mayo at Publix, spending down the ECBs at CVS

First, I wrote an article for about how to get free Kraft Sandwich Shop mayo at Publix - I'd love it if you'd read it.

Today I went out and bought two Sunday papers for $1 each from the guy who sells them on the street. That's all well and good, but when I got home I found out that both were missing the RedPlum circular. ARGH.

So I drove to CVS and spent my soon-to-expire $5 ECB on a single paper (making sure it had the RP in it before I paid), a roll of paper towels, and a card for someone. I paid 65 cents and I got back $1 for my Green Bag Tag. I always feel kind of funny fully spending my ECBs, but I earned them in order to get more great deals and this year I'm trying to be more relaxed about them. I had an expiring $3 also that I used last week to get the free toothpaste and a $1 box of Wheat Thins (should've gotten a Powerbar instead I guess).

In other deals (is anyone reading this?) I bought myself a GPS for over 60% off its retail price from Amazon (this one: Garmin nĂ¼vi 1350/1350T 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator with Traffic). And thanks to Half Off Depot, I now have half-price tickets to both the children's museum and the zoo. I love all the half-price sites that have popped up SO much. I also have a gift certificate for a local restaurant that I got for almost 60% off (if only we could find time to use it!) and another certificate for a shop that sells dried fruit, nuts, and candy - $25 for $10. Love it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bad experience with printables at Kroger

I just feel the need to blog about this because it's annoying and embarrassing and I'm tired of it happening, but it's an industry problem that needs to be fixed on a larger scale.

Today I went to Kroger with three printable coupons that were, obviously, all legit. Two for Goldfish crackers and one for Almond Breeze. I bought exactly those three things and handed over the coupons. The cashier looked sideways at me and said in a very rude manner "You printed these yourself? We don't take these. We don't take these because you printed them."

I am not good at handling these sorts of situations, but I told her I'd used one the day before (she said "At THIS store?!") and that Kroger corporate policy is to take them (which I admit, I am not positive about - I have emailed Kroger for clarification). I then said "I don't want any of the items if I can't use the coupons" which she sighed heavily at. She finally consented to call a manager, rolling her eyes as she did so and as I said "I want to know for the future, so I know not to bring them again." And a manager strolled over, smiled, and said oh yes, we take them, we just don't take coupons for "free" stuff or buy-one-get-one-free coupons. (Mine were for 50 cents and 55 cents.) So the girl said oh, fine, wouldn't look at me, and scanned my coupons.

COMPANIES! You MUST figure something out so that legitimate users of printable coupons do not get treated like criminals. Ugh. I know it's easy to forge and/or copy a printable coupon, but someone with a color printer at home could rather easily do the same with a newspaper coupon if s/he wanted to.

But it's more about how I've been treated when using these legitimate coupons. There's a way to say "I'm sorry ma'am, I am not sure if we take these, let me ask a manager" instead of being nasty and rude to me. There's a way to say "We've changed our policy" and to apologize for any inconvenience.

I'll still use printables - the deals are just too valuable to me. But I'm not planning on going back to this particular Kroger store again.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thanks for the free tea, Kroger!

I played the Kroger Summer of Savings game and won a free box of Tazo tea! So I went tonight and picked up a box of the "Calm" blend, as well as two bags of Goldfish crackers that were on sale 4/$5 (wish I'd gotten the recent printable to print, but it wouldn't work!). Woohoo! And they say there will be a second chance drawing/contest in a few weeks. You can log in and play once a day and the instant prizes are pretty good and will be loaded directly onto your Kroger card.

CVS - Summary for my other card

So as I've said numerous times, I don't like juggling two CVS cards (I have my own, but when I started the "experiment" two years ago, I started fresh with my husband's card and phased mine out over time). But I got $5 in ECBs for doing a survey, and that's totally free money.

So with that $5 plus less than $3 in cash (most of it covering sales tax) I got (over multiple transactions of course):
1 Cover Girl lip gloss (my preferred brand)
2 bottles of Old Spice body wash
1 Schick razor (my husband's preferred brand)
3 Powerbars (they'll come in handy on an upcoming road trip)
4 boxes of Nescafe single-serving coffee (7 packs per box) (I like these)
1 bag of 20 Cascade Action Pacs (our preferred brand)

I daresay that's not bad at all! And now I have zero on my other card again and can focus on ONE card.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Get Rich Slowly on the Internet - A Guide to My Favorite Sites

I find myself telling my friends the same thing over and over, so I'm going to make this into a post that I can email to them. If it helps you, please leave a comment!

My favorite sites to find out about deals/sales/coupons/savings: - my most-checked site, she breaks down the sales for all major grocery stores plus Target, CVS, Walgreens, and more, and matches up coupons. She sticks to coupons in circulars and the occasional printable from or, but this makes it MUCH easier to handle. - my second-most-checked site. If there's a freebie out there, she probably knows about it. If there's a sale, she'll tell you about it. There's a new feature of the site that breaks down coupon matchups/sales for individual stores around the country, and those DO go further than the circulars and easy printables. - Want to shop CVS? This is the best site for info. - a new discovery - she has matchups for Publix sales, makes separate posts for the best deals of the week, notes new coupons, lists recipes, and more!

My favorite sites to make a bit of money (NOT A LOT) or to earn gift certificates or free stuff: - pays you to click on ads that are targeted to your interests. No minimum payout, pays to PayPal each week. Note that lately I haven't gotten any ads at all, but in the past I've gotten about 50 cents a week. Not bad for just a few seconds of time, and I've really enjoyed the websites I've found through the site. - a search engine that awards "bucks" randomly as you search and also awards them for viewing offers or other things. You can earn between 10 and 30 bucks a day with minor effort, and 450 bucks is a $5 Amazon gift card. I've earned about $400 in gift cards over time, so yes, it's worth it. Just use it for your regular searching! - points for taking surveys, cash rewards. - they'll send you full-sized products to try out and then "Bzz" about (talk about with others on and offline). Usually you get high-value coupons too. - they'll randomly send you samples or even full-sized products to try, plus coupons. - emails with click-throughs that are worth a few points, plus a site through which you can click to get to sites on which you shop. I've earned hundreds of dollars in Amazon gift cards here too. I suggest setting up a folder in your email box and filtering all their emails to it so you can click through at your leisure. If you want to sign up, I'd love it if you'd use me as a referral - just comment with your email address and I'll send you an email through the site. (They don't do referral links.)

I'll add to and update this post periodically. I know I've made posts like this in the past, but I've finally set it up so I can find this one easily and refer back to it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Publix - Free Baileys coffee creamer and Muir Glen tomato sauce, and free isn't always worth it

Yes, I have been going to the grocery store a lot lately. That should slow down enormously soon.

At Publix tonight I spent $33 (before tax) and saved $25.50. Nice.

I got the free Baileys coffee creamer - it was BOGO at $2.09, I used two $1 coupons and one Publix store coupon for 55 cents off. (I'm still not 100% sure about using more than one Publix store coupon at a time, but I only had one with me anyway and figured it was still free+overage - and I don't like to be greedy!)
I also got more free Muir Glen tomato sauce - 89 cents for the can, use the $1 printable. It still stings that I got yelled at for doing this once at a different Publix, but whatever, it's a legitimate purchase and I don't go to that Publix anymore so there.
Plus I got Laughing Cow cheese for $1.50 each (on sale 3/$6, I got 4, used two $1/2 coupons from a tearpad on the display woohoo - this stuff lasts forever and ever so it's worth stocking up), I found the "Eat This" type of tortillas (I got a copy of Eat This Not That for about 15 cents at a yard sale last year), and I decided that since I was getting some nice overage, I'd try Vitalicious Vitatops. They're not terribly priced - I was expecting them to cost more but they're $4.49 for four. If I like them, I'll probably only buy them if I either have a coupon (which apparently is a rare thing) or overage (which I can often get at least a little of with the Muir Glen deal that happens periodically).

Meanwhile, Kraft sent me six try-me-free coupons via their First Taste program - I mentioned this in an earlier post. I gave away the shaved meat coupon, as I'm vegetarian. And then I went tonight to get the rest - well, the Kool Aid fizzies have aspartame (which I refuse to ingest) (I also try to avoid other artificial sweeteners as best as I can) and the Crackerfuls have HFCS (I try very hard to avoid this), so I skipped them both. I forgot to look for the DiGiorno pizza (I hope it doesn't have trans fat or HFCS) and the 100-calorie cheese bites (which are processed cheese but which I will consider getting since, well, I eat tons of Laughing Cow...). I did get the Homestyle mac and cheese - the ingredient list is really long and probably contains some of the above, but it's also mac and cheese - and since it's shelf-stable/nonperishable, I could donate it. Remember, I *try* to avoid these things... ;) I think I will try to trade these high-value coupons though, because I know not everyone cares about food additives in the way I do. But just because it's free doesn't mean I'll automatically grab it.

ETA: I've found a good home for the other free coupons. The breadcrumbs in the Homestyle mac and cheese have partially hydrogenated soybean oil, so we're going to just make it without them. Remember, just because a package says 0% trans fat does NOT mean it doesn't have trans fat. My chewable Rolaids that I got for free at CVS a few weeks ago have hydrogenated oil in them!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More free e-coupon money!

Despite a few glitches/slowness/weirdness on the website, I scored today's Cellfire Cinderella coupon - $5 off my next purchase of $5.01 or more at Kroger! I love e-coupons - no need to bring a thing with me if I don't want to, but I also can combine them with paper coupons if I do want to!

Now...what to get? It expires in 3 days. Hmmmm.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Free stuff in the mail - June 16, 2010

Six coupons for free products from Kraft: shaved meat (which I'm giving away since I'm a vegetarian), pizza, Kool Aid fizzies, Homestyle mac&cheese (second freebie of this one), Crackerfuls, and 100 calorie "cheese" (I shouldn't turn my nose up at it though - I'm the Laughing Cow fan after all!).
One big lovely reusable bag from Earthbound Farms, plus coupons.

I tried the Laughing Cow mozzarella and tomato flavor today. I just ate it by itself - I think it really needs something else to complement it, whether a cracker or melted over pasta/shirataki noodles. The tomato was stronger than I expected, but overall it was good. I'm excited to try the queso one next, and I'm really glad I found those $1/2 coupons on the display...

Kroger - Cheap stuff, plus Shortcuts has great customer service!

I walked over to the small Kroger near my house because I had a coupon and a Shortcuts coupon for both Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and Fiber One. The Almond Breeze is on sale this week for $1.99, so in my head that meant I would get it for 44 cents ($1 paper coupon, 55 cent Shortcuts coupon). I didn't know how much the Fiber One was but I figured I could get a decent deal since the paper coupon was expiring.

I didn't realize that the Annie's mac and cheese was part of the 10/$10 sale too, so I grabbed 4 boxes of that. The Fiber One turned out to be $4.29 - so $2.74 after coupons. I decided that was a reasonable deal - I want to try using it ground up as a coating for onion rings and soy-chicken tenders ala Hungry Girl - but next time around I'm waiting for a good sale.

So. All was well, but the 55 cent Shortcuts coupon for the Almond Breeze didn't come off (though the Fiber One did). I went on, filled out the dispute form, and within about 60 seconds I had a reply that my account had been credited 60 cents! So now I have 60 cents off of...anything. I'm amused that I'm that excited about 60 cents.

So my plan is to go back and get one more box of Annies for 40 cents! Hooray! (A dollar for the Almond Breeze is still an amazing deal - wish I could find my other coupon but it seems I either used it or lost it, boo.)

Also today I signed up on Facebook for a free box of DaVinci pasta - I'm pretty sure the offer has now ended, but I'm really excited to get it! Free pasta yay!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

CVS and Publix - Free stuff and savings!

I went to CVS with $4.99 on "my" card. First, I got another Covergirl Wet Slicks lipgloss and a Powerbar and used $4 and a $2 coupon. The cashier adjusted down my ECB without problems, and I paid about 40 cents OOP. Got back $3 and 99 cents. Then used those plus the other 99 cents and a BOGO coupon to get two bottles of Old Spice bodywash and another Powerbar. Paid about 60 cents OOP, got back $8.99. Not bad at all.

Then Publix. I found two out of the three new Laughing Cow flavors - hooray! They were $2.99 each, the "regular" flavors were $2 each. The display had $1/2 coupons on it, and I got four (two new, two regular). I also got Skinny Cow bars for $1.50 and then a bunch of other deals I won't bore you with. We spent less than $50 and saved around $30.

Does anyone know a) if I can use more than one of one type of Publix coupon in a transaction? I actually have done this once but I'm not sure how legit that was... and b) how long the Laughing Cow is on sale 3/$6? (I forgot to check, it's not listed in the Advantage or regular sale flyers.)

Next week, Publix has Baileys creamers on BOGO so they're $1.05 each. I have $1 printables! And a 55 cent Publix coupon! (Thus the question - could I get two Baileys and use two $1s and two 55 cents Publix coupons for mega overage?) I could go crazy with creamers because I also have a BOGO for International Delight and then a 55 cent Publix coupon for those...I do love flavored coffee!

Monday, June 14, 2010

CVS - More free stuff

I really hate juggling two cards, and I've more or less retired "my" card at this point, though my husband keeps it on his keyring and occasionally gets ECBs (mostly quarterly) that we...forget to use. BLASPHEMY I know.

Anyway, as I think I mentioned already, I did a survey (long ago I signed that card up for surveys) and got $5 in ECBs. Totally free money, so...tonight I got another Schick razor and a Powerbar. I used the $5 Schick coupon and the $5 in ECBs and nothing seemed to beep, my pre-tax total was negative 4 cents, and I got back a $4 and a 99 cent ECB. My plan is to next take the $4 and get another Covergirl lipgloss and another Powerbar. I'll get back $3 and 99 cents from that. And for my grand finale, use both of those to do the BOGO Old Spice/Gillette deal. So I'll wind up with $8.99 from my original $5. Not bad. And then...probably just spend the $8.99 on stuff we need.

Meanwhile, I gave my husband $4.99 from my usual card and he got some children's ibuprofen for $4.99. Only paid sales tax. I still have plenty of ECBs on that card and not enough time to juggle everything so this was a great deal for me.

I'm hoping to also hit Publix for free shaving gel and to look (yes, I have a one-track mind) for those Laughing Cow flavors. And to see how much tofu shiratake is there as well - that stuff is pretty good, low calorie, filling, but also $1.79 at the two places I've found it so far, and that's a bit steep for a little snack....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

CVS - Free Schick Hydro razor, free Covergirl Wetslicks lipgloss, free Powerbar, free Old Spice bodywash

Today was like the old days at CVS! I didn't take a picture but...

First I got the double paper. It's $3. I used the $2 that the scanner spat out at me (so, that one was free money) and the $1 I got from the Green Bag Tag (more free money). The manager was at the register so he zeroed out the tax. Free.

I fished out the $5 Schick coupon from one of the papers.

Then I used that, my $2 Covergirl coupon that I got from being a BzzAgent, and $8 in ECBs (expiring soon, no great deals next week...) and got a Schick razor for my husband (his preferred brand! He also tried the new free-ish Gillette and declared Schick the winner), my favorite shade of Covergirl Wetslicks mint (Un-Wined), and a Powerbar. The Covergirl coupon was PISSY and beeped and said no no no and I argued back and finally the manager/cashier just pushed it through for $1.95. I have no idea why this beeped, but I had asked to put the ECBs first and the coupons second to avoid beeps and I guess that was my mistake. Anyway I paid $1 for all that. Got back $4 for the Schick, $3 for the Covergirl, 99 cents for the Powerbar.

Then I got two Old Spice bodywashes. I used the BOGO coupon from a few weeks ago and a $4 ECB. It was supposed to be pay $4, get $4, limit one. But HAPPY DAY it was limit two, so I got $8 back! I paid 56 cents OOP.

So in the end I came out a dollar ahead ECB-wise and spent $1.56 in cash for the double paper, a Powerbar, two bottles of bodywash, my husband's preferred razor, and my favorite shade of lipgloss. Nice.

I still have my second card kicking around, by the way, and I recently did a survey that scored me $5 ECBs tied to that card. While I hate juggling two cards, I will take advantage of this by using that $5 plus the other $5 Schick coupon I have to get my husband yet another Schick razor (that would be our fourth free one) and another Powerbar. Then I'll have $4.99 on that card to buy...stuff.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Free outfit at Carters!

Carters and OshKosh B'Gosh sent me two coupons - $10 off a $10 purchase at each store. OshKosh is a bit harder to get to, but we went to Carters today and I got my daughter a onesie and matching shorts for ZERO. ZIP. NOTHING. Awesome!

I am on a quest to find the three new Laughing Cow cheese wedge flavors. Target didn't have them. If you see them somewhere, leave a comment and tell me where. Bonus points if you saw them in Georgia.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Free Skinny Cow single-serving cups at CVS, free ECBs too!

Today I used one of my $1-off-any-Skinny-Cow coupons (I have three - two for liking Skinny Cow on Facebook and one from their site - should've been able to print two from the site but couldn't) at CVS and voila, scored a single-serving cup of chocolate brownie for 2 cents. However, the cashier was all concerned about the coupon, gave me the third degree, and called over a manager. They both indicated there had been memos about "Internet coupons" but this one wasn't on the memo (because, you know, it's LEGIT) so they let it go. I only used one because I was at the CVS that I walk to and it's 90 degrees out (I ate the cup when I got home, it was only slightly melty) but I'm glad I didn't use more anyway. I'll try to get to a CVS before Saturday to get two more - if not, no big, these are a nice treat but I don't NEED them. The store also didn't have the Gillette pack that includes a razor AND extra stuff, and my husband says he's a "Schick guy" so I skipped doing that deal a second time. Oh and I got my Green Bag Tag dollar.

Also I scored the much-discussed-elsewhere free $2 ECB from the scanner. Mine's good until Sunday, so I'm going to use that plus the GBT dollar plus my $3 coupon from BzzAgent to get free CoverGirl lip gloss on Sunday. Hooray! (It's on sale for $5.99, get back $3, next week.)

I'm also currently obsessed with Hungry Girl - granted, a lot of her recipes call for name-brand food (and non-food, sorry HG but it's true), and she LOVES Splenda and I will not touch the stuff, but she also has some very cool and cute ideas. I just got one of her cookbooks from the library (her first book). Best tip I've learned so far? That Laughing Cow wedges MELT. They MELT! I've been eating Laughing Cow cheese for years ("the little cheeses in the red knit bag") and I got addicted to the French Onion wedges a while back (they remind me of onion dip). But I never thought to melt one - so I threw some leftover whole wheat pasta and blanched broccoli in the microwave with a Swiss LC wedge and voila - cheesey, low cal snack. YAY. AND they are launching three new flavors and I am dyyyying to try them. Yum.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

CVS - Free Rolaids, free Gillette razor, free Dawn dishwashing liquid plus other freebies!

Today I got the following for free:
Goat cheese (basil and roasted garlic) using coupon from Chevrie
Kraft Mac and Cheese "cheesy explosion" using coupon from Kraft
Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese (which appears to be regular m&c with breadcrumbs, in a fancier bag) using coupon from Kraft

At CVS, I spent less than $2 out of pocket and got 2 bags of Rolaids, a Gillette Fusion razor, and a bottle of Dawn Hand Renewal dishwashing liquid. I handed over $4 in ECBs as well, plus a $5-off-$15 coupon (only available through the register - my new favorite cashier hooked me up with it without my needing to make an initial purchase), $4-off-two Rolaids coupon, $4 off Gillette coupon, and $1 off Dawn coupon (which got adjusted down to 97 cents), and I got back $9 in ECBs. Apparently the Gillette deal is more than one, despite what it says in the flyer (my receipt says I haven't completed it yet), so I'll go do that again - ECBs + coupon = razor for $1, but I will get $1 extra back from my Green Bag Tag so it will come out even.

Also I got Shout stain treater for 42 cents and two t-shirts for $10 ($5 each) at Target.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Freebies galore!

Recent freebies:

Coupon for free goat cheese!
Coupon for free Butterfinger candy bar
Coupon for free half-gallon of Hood Simply Smart milk
Coupon for free bottle of non-alcoholic Baileys coffee creamer
Free Nozema bikini razors plus 50 cents overage from Publix (I may try to do this deal a few more times before it ends on June 11 as I have a few more coupons)

Still can't find the Kraft products for which I have free coupons. Same with the yogurt I was supposed to be a BzzAgent for. Maybe in a few months (the coupons have a while to go).

Monday, May 24, 2010

CVS - Profit-making Gillette bodywash + outlet shopping

First, I went to CVS, where I used $4.99 ECBs + $1 ECBs (my green bag tag ECBs) and a BOGO coupon to get two bottles of Gillette bodywash plus the double Sunday paper ($3). I paid about $1 OOP and got back $8. Nice.

Then yesterday we hit the outlet stores. I had a 25% off any purchase coupon from Carters so I got:
4 pairs of socks
2 pajama onesies
1 pajama shirt/pant set
3 onesies
1 "Birthday Girl" shirt
2 outfits (onesie/top plus pants)
1 pair jean shorts

for $58 plus tax. I also bought a non-stick-pot-usable spatula ($3.99), an electric tart warmer ($14), and two pairs of Stride Rite sneakers for my daughter ($35-ish - one pair lights up!). Oh and one book at the awesome closeout bookstore that always has many things I want.

And my friend who thrifts like nobody's business hooked me up with tons of books including three beautiful giant cookbooks - Babbo, Nigella Eats, and The Naked Chef Takes Off. I suspect she paid around $6 for them, total. They are lovely.

And today's mail brought a coupon for a free carton of Simply Smart milk and a free bottle of non-alcoholic Baileys creamer. Yum yum. I still have two free Kraft coupons for products I cannot find in stores, sadly. At least those expire in October, so there's time...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Free stuff at Publix!

Publix was great for free stuff this week! I got a free Schick razor, free Schick shave gel (and realized after we left the store I had coupons for a second - ah well), free Fisher snack mix, and free Kraft olive oil mayo (that was from a sample box Kraft sent me - I also have two other Kraft freebie coupons but the store didn't carry the products). I also got organic bread for $1.25 thanks to sale + Kroger coupon and inexpensive bagged salad thanks to sale + coupon from Publix Family Style magazine.

PLUS the cashier was awesome. Yay!

Monday, May 17, 2010

CVS - Free Herbal Essences shampoo - plus the mailed freebies I've gotten lately

First, CVS was nice this week. I had a $4 ECB and I used that plus 40 cents (my pre-tax total was negative 2 cents) to get a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of conditioner from Herbal Essences aka the brand I use anyway. Got my $4 back plus $1 for my Green Bag Tag (I LOVE THAT THING). Since I have a $4, $4.99 (or is it $4.50? I forget), and $1, I skipped the razor this week - I would've only gotten it if it were free-with-tax or a brand my husband loves.

Then, in the past few days I've gotten in the mail:
A sample of fancy Suave shampoo
A sample of Pantene shampoo and conditioner
A sample of Philosophy's anti-aging moisturizer
A coupon for a free box of Kraft mac and cheese
A coupon for a free bag of fancy Kraft mac and cheese something or other
A coupon for a free thing of Kraft mayo with olive oil
3 little bags of Wheat Thins (sun-dried tomato I think?)
3 little sample packs of instant coffee with vanilla and stuff - International Cafe or something?
2 Cascade action packs (we use these in the dishwasher)
A sample of Metamucil (I keep getting these and not using them...)

Plus we went to the Alive! Expo in Atlanta thanks to Half Off Green - I got two tickets for $10 (and brought a can of beans as a donation) to this organic/natural expo. It was totally worth it - we got several reusable bags, some samples of Omega-3 supplements, and a bunch of food samples (including Cascadian Farms organic granola and granola bars and some gluten-free chips), and we also snacked our way through. Apparently we should've gotten a free loaf of bread too, but ah well, we missed that. Oh and I got a free 5 minute massage that really helped get the kinks out after I spent almost 11 hours on my feet on Saturday selling my wares at a craft show. Heavenly.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

CVS plan for Mother's Day 2010 - 5-9-10

I have a $2.50 ECB (from quarterly spending) and a $5 (from doing the Nivea deal last week - I used 2x$4, 2x$1, $2-2-body-wash-CRT, and did the deal).

First, I have to buy the paper (not at CVS, at Kroger, where they always have the double paper available). That will be $3 cash.

Then I'll fish out the $5 Schick coupon.

Next: Crest - $3.50 (I actually want/need the mouthwash, so I won't use the coupon that's for the toothpaste) plus Schick - $8.99 minus $5 coupon = $3.99. I'll be a penny short of my ECBs, so I'll see if the cashier will take them first. I'll break even, ECB-wise.

Then a second Crest, because I need it - use $3.50, get back $3.50.

Then 2 Right Guard deodorants - $5.98, minus $3-2 coupon, so $2.98 - and Kotex $4.99 - here's where it gets tricky, as I have the regular printable AND the CVS-only printable. If the cashier will let me use both (and she should), I'll need $1.50 in filler stuff (paper towels or toilet paper, most likely). If not, just 50 cents in filler, which is a travel tissue pack. I'll get back $4 and $4.99 - profit!

We'll see....

Done! Not pictured, 12-pack of Cottonelle toilet paper. Total OOP: about $4. And I now have $9.50 in ECBs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

CVS - Free toilet paper and shampoo

Ah, a good CVS day again!

I had $4.99 in ECBs.

I bought:
Dove shampoo: $4.49
Newspaper: $2 [not the double paper]
2 rolls of CVS-brand toilet paper - 2/$1

I used the $4.99 in ECBs, $1.50 off Dove coupon, and the $1-off-any-CVS-paper-product CRT from the scanner. My cashier made sure I got the full $1 off (she rules, but I don't know what she did/how she did it/if she did anything unusual - she just pointed out she'd make it happen), so the two rolls of TP were free. And the $1.50 overage from the Dove coupon went toward my newspaper. My pre-tax total was zero and so I paid 38 cents in tax OOP (ah, I miss the good old days when the ECBs took care of the tax!) and got back the $4.49 from the Dove. Plus I got $2.50 for quarterly spending (since I stopped doing tons of deals, we've spent a LOT at CVS, eep). I have not been able to print the Dial coupon at all, so I'm skipping that one this week - I have enough body wash to fill a bathtub anyway.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A quick money-saving tip about travel

This may seem obvious, but if you're traveling to another city, even if just for the day, check out its tourism site. There may be valuable money-saving offers, deals, and coupons available! My family likes to go to Chattanooga, TN, for the day, and the Chattanooga Board of Tourism's website ( has coupons for discounts on everything from the children's museum and aquarium to ice cream to books! Even a dollar or two here and there can really add up!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I love tea! (A not-really-thrifty post featuring Teavana)

[Hello to whoever from Teavana seems to have found this post...]

This past weekend I ventured into Teavana in the mall. I'd never really gone in before, just tasted their sample teas in the front and once or twice looked quickly at the teapots. This time I decided I wanted to try their loose teas, mostly because I'd scored a pricey ceramic Rishi teacup/tea steeper for a great deal thanks to one of the half-off local coupon sites.

I will tell you this - I was very surprised at the hard sell I was given. The girl who helped me was very sweet, but she was pushy and definitely into the upsell. She talked fast and she kept it up nonstop. First, I asked for one tea (which cost about $5 for 2 ounces) and she immediately said "You'll like this one better" and brought out a tea that cost almost $11. Her reasoning was that the expensive tea was better and SHE liked it better, but I still felt uncomfortable - why offer the less-expensive tea at all if it's supposedly lower quality? But then she tempted me with the offer of 10% off if I bought a pound of tea...and I caved. I caved! I got the expensive tea AND the less-expensive tea and 6 others! AND I got rather talked into buying tea canisters as well, which are definitely useful, nice, and reusable, but I probably didn't need 8 of them either. They were $6 each, but I found slightly smaller ones on the website (not offered to me) for $4.50. They do make my pantry look really nice...

So this post is going to be a review of these teas - and I am going to update it with how many cups I got out of each as well. I am following the directions given - how much tea to use, how long to steep - and I am on occasion reusing the tea for a second cup.

The eight teas I got:

Youthberry - This flavored white tea is pricey but it is honestly delicious. There are giant pieces of fruit and berries in the blend and they smell fresh and enticing. The tea was a light reddish color and both smelled and tasted fruity and sweet. No sugar needed. I would buy this again as a splurge. I'll let you know if makes me look or feel any younger. ETA: This tea is very hard to scoop in such a way to get a balance of fruit and tea. I seem to wind up with a lot of fruit (which is yum) and not enough tea. I know I know, buy the fancy scoop from Teavana, right? Ha. [Now am wondering if I can eat the fruit bits after I steep the tea. Is that weird?]

Current cup count: 6

Tiramisu Treviso - A flavored rooibos tea (as most of the teas I bought were). Not too expensive. DELICIOUS, especially with a splash of milk and sugar in it, but it would be OK on its own as well. Very sweet and yummy.

Current cup count: 4
[Cup count includes the 1.5 tsp I gave to a friend to try - I'll assume she'll make a single cup with it.]

Thai Tea - A flavored black tea that I'd absolutely get again. Almondy, sugary, and wonderful. Milk and sugar turn this into the Thai tea I have had at restaurants for sure - I can't wait to make this iced. Yum.

Current cup count: 4 [and reusing the tea leaves worked very well for a second cup]

White Ayurvedic Chai - The original upsell. This tea is expensive - and it's not very exciting, flavor wise, or at least not as "wow" as I'd hoped. BUT it did make me feel warm and tingly after I drank a cup, and the flavor did seem more pronounced as I went along. Still, I don't know if I'd go for this again.

Current cup count: 2 [tried reusing the tea and got a much weaker brew, but will always try to stretch this one]

Rooibos Peach Bloom - A nice, basic peachy tea. The peach wasn't as pronounced as I'd hoped it would be, but it made a nice cup. [With second cup, I added a bit of sugar - it brought out the peach nicely!]

Current cup count: 2

Haute Chocolate: Alas, my awesome teacup just isn't dealing well with Rooibos teas - I get mouthfuls of the Rooibos. Bleh. So this tea...not chocolatey enough for me, but then I guess that means I prefer hot chocolate, while this is a tea. With some milk and sugar, it's fine, but I probably should stop chasing chocolate teas (this isn't the first I've tried) and start accepting that they're not my thing. [Note: By the end of the first cup I liked it a bit better - getting a mouthful of the tea put me off, but the flavor did wind up being very nice.]

Current cup count: 5

Rooibos Chai (the tea I originally wanted to buy): So now I know - I should have just pushed back, bought 2 ounces of this, and left happy. While I do like everything I've gotten so far, at least somewhat, this really is just what I wanted and is delicious. Once I fix the tea steeping issue (again, mouthful of tea leaves), I think this will become a favorite. Nice sweet cinnamon/cardamom-y flavor. I added some sugar to it and it brought out the rest of the chai taste. Lovely.

Current cup count: 1

Tahitian Limeade: Absolutely lovely as an iced tea - I made it double strength, poured it over ice, and voila. A light, fruity tea. I want to make tons of this this summer.

Current cup count: 1

PS I really want this:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Combining my hobbies - CVS + etsy?

Well, not EXACTLY, but today I went to CVS with $2.99 in ECBs, and I spent them (plus 21 cents tax - remember the good old days a few months ago when the ECBs took care of the tax? Sigh.) on a pack of black ouchless ponytail holders. Why? Because I'm going to be adding ponytail holders with cute designs to my etsy store in about a week or so (or whenever I get around to ordering the hardware) and I thought this would be a great way to get my supplies inexpensively.

So now I have zero ECBs again - but this weekend is a monitor deal ($5) and when I get one more scan of my Green Bag Tag I'll have another dollar, so then I'll be back up to $6. Which I'll probably turn around on more ponytail holders, or maybe a hairbrush. The deals just haven't been fun in 2010, which is disappointing, so I'm actually using my ECBs for things I...NEED.

PS Next week, would you take five minutes to brighten a little girl's day? Satori is going to be having major MAJOR spinal surgery (she has SMA) and her mom is organizing a postcard drive. All you have to do is send a postcard - details are at the blog Come on, do it! Repost this too - everywhere you can! Brighten this amazing kid's day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Half-price coupons? Sign me up!

I've been enamored lately with all of the half-price-deal sites that have been popping up.

I wrote a roundup of them for - check it out - but I had to rave about my latest scores.

From, I got a half-price family membership to the High Museum of Art. This particular deal is over, but check out Groupon - they have a site for many major cities and each day they offer one really awesome deal.

On top of that, I got a half-price reloadable gift card to a favorite restaurant in Athens, GA. I paid $10 for a $25 gift certificate to a local pizza/pasta place that I like going to with my mom friends. I recently got a coupon for 60% off another favorite pizza place.

Plus I use Scoutmob (which I believe is only in Atlanta) to get FREE discount coupons - again, there's a new deal every day, but with the iPod/iPhone app, you can access the deals for three months. I got 60% off at one awesome sandwich shop/gourmet shop, I got 40% off at a favorite brunch spot, and I'm planning to use another 60% deal at a local smoothie shop.

These sites are a great way to be frugal while still getting to go out, go shopping, and get some culture! LOVE IT.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

CVS - Free Nivea lip balm, Oral-B toothbrush

It was like the good old days at CVS this morning - well, except that the good old days included limits of 5 (or no limits, but I started too late for that!) and slightly better freebies.

I did exactly what I set out to do. I got two Nivea lip products - a cherry-flavored chapstick one and an age-defying one (or something) with SPF 4. With the BOGO coupon, both were $2.99 with $2.99 back. And the toothbrush was $4 minus the 75 cent coupon, get 75 cents back. I put the overage toward a birthday card.

Then I used the $4 from the toothbrush toward teething gel for my eternally teething toddler. CVS brand - so I should hopefully get a nice quarterly ECB bonus thanks to all the money I spent (sigh) and the double-buck promotion.

So I have $2.99 with which to play. That's a double paper for free or...something. No freebies next week (boo) so we'll see.

Also, if you are in the Atlanta area, today's SmartSource insert has a coupon for a free yogurt at Publix (Yoplait Greek yogurt, I believe). Nice!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

CVS plans for 3/7/10

I am planning at the moment to hit CVS tomorrow morning. I have $6.50 in ECBs.

Ideally I'll get:

2 Nivea lip products - $5.98
1 Oral B toothbrush - $4
Use BOGO Nivea (-$2.99), 75 cents off Oral B. I guess I'll need a 26 cent filler - the pocket tissues for 50 cents always work nicely for my needs...
Get back $6.99. ($4, $2.99)

And I need the double paper, which has gone up in price to $3 (used to be $2.50). Probably will do that second and use the $2.99 to get it free.

I also MAY do the Stayfree deal: get 2 Stayfree products (I think they're around $3.80 each? I can use the $4 and throw in a filler), use BOGO, get back $4. Maybe.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How to make a bit of money online - but NOT how to get rich!

I'm currently a stay at home mom, although I'm also a writer (check out to see some of my work that also appears in the print version of Ruckus magazine; also check out my articles I've written as the Atlanta Budget Grocery Examiner) and I make pinback buttons, magnets, bottle openers, pocket mirrors, and jewelry and sell them on etsy and in local stores - and my first craft show is coming up!

I also like to make a bit of extra money with various websites. Again - YOU WILL NOT GET RICH with any of these sites. You'll get a few cents to a few dollars here and there. But it's enough to buy you a lunch out with friends or a new book or a special treat - and sometimes it might be a little bit more.


YouData - This site pays you to look at targeted ads. You fill out a "Me File" with as much or as little information as you like, and the site pairs you with advertisers. You go to the site as often as you want and check the widget for ads. You'll make about 10 cents for each ad delivered to you (clicking through to a website). And I *have* found great websites that I've bookmarked via YouData. The great thing is that there's no minimum payout - if you make 10 cents, you'll get 10 cents that week, deposited directly into your PayPal account (the only way they pay). It takes a minute or two to click the ad. Some weeks you'll get nothing, some weeks you'll get a few dollars. I love it.

Pinecone Research - This site periodically offers signups. They don't do referrals and you MUST find a link or banner ad to sign up. But once you're in, you'll periodically get surveys and be paid $3 for each one you complete. You might make $6-$9 in a good month, but money is money! They'll send you $3 checks or deposit your $3 into your PayPal account.

MySurvey - Another survey site. They give you points for each survey you take, even if you don't wind up qualifying. While there are other prizes available, the simplest and best item I find is 1000 points = $10, sent in the mail as a check. I've earned about $30 from this site. The link to sign up can be found in my previous entry or via the icon in the right-hand column of my blog.

Prizes (or sometimes cash-as-prizes):

MyPoints - I've been using MyPoints for years. The site primarily works by sending you targeted emails with links. Most of the time, clicking on a link in an email will net you 5 or 10 points. If you complete the offer, you'll usually get a much larger number of points. (I recommend setting up a filter for these emails - but continuing to use your main email account - you get credited for purchases you make by connecting you to that email account. I have NOT gotten extra spam from mypoints, ever.) You can also use the site itself by clicking through its links to sites like eBay and Overstock to make purchases and earn points. Plus, you can print manufacturers' coupons through the site and earn points for each one you redeem, and you can earn points by using the site's search engine as well. I've earned hundreds of dollars in Amazon gift cards through them - points add up surprisingly quickly. If you are interested in using me as a referral, leave a comment with your email address - it's not required, but I'd personally appreciate it!

SwagBucks - I feel like everyone knows about SwagBucks at this point, but if you don't, allow me to explain. It's a search engine. And randomly when you search, you'll be awarded "Swagbucks" that you can redeem for prizes (or cash in your PayPal account). Search a few times a day and you'll likely get 10-30 bucks. Have a little more time? Follow Swagbucks on Twitter or Facebook and learn about special codes you can enter to earn more bucks. You can also do "tasks" or click through the site to earn bucks (although I rarely do this). 450 bucks = $5 in Amazon cash. It doesn't sound like much but it adds up quickly - I have earned over $300 in Amazon credit this way.

And there you have it! These are the only five sites I use regularly. I've checked out other sites and found them too time consuming or too shady or both. The above sites have paid me promptly, have not increased my spam, and have caused me no problems.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Freebies galore! Plus cash!

While I haven't really been going to CVS much (I still have $6.50 in ECBs to do...something with), I have been accumulating freebies! This is all within the past 4-6 weeks:

First, I've earned $6 from Pinecone research this year. Not much, but it adds up! (Pinecone often has open registration - I'll post a link the next time it comes around!)
Next, I've earned $10 from - a GREAT survey site that gives points for every survey you take. They add up fast! I'm very close to another $10! Click the image below to sign up!

Third, I've earned $50 in Amazon gift cards since January 1 from Swagbucks! I cannot say enough great things about Swagbucks - I regularly earn at least $5-$10 in Amazon gift cards each month!
Fourth - the food freebies!!!! I just picked up my free bottle of creamer from International Delight. I just ordered a free box of Kashi cereal from Today in the mail I got a box of Kashi Heart to Heart hot cereal AND a coupon for a free box from (plus some bonus coupons).
And finally, I am a BzzAgent, and I got two coupons for free four-packs of Horizon Little Bites yogurt to try (I hope my daughter likes them!).
BzzAgent Badge

I love freebies! Have you scored any great ones lately?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CVS - Free Crest mouthwash, free Aussie conditioner - back in the saddle!

I decided to swing by my local CVS again - I went in a few days ago and they seemed to be out of the Crest, so I figured I'd ask for a raincheck. The lines were long, so I grabbed the circular to look one more time, and I found two bottles on the shelf after all!


1 bottle Crest Enamel-saving Mouthwash - $3.50
- $2 coupon.
$1.75 in cash including tax. Got back $3.50 plus $1 for Green Bag Tag. (I love that thing!)


1 bottle Crest - $3.50
1 bottle Aussie conditioner - $2.99
- $3.50 ECBs, $2/Crest, $1/Aussie. [Handed over in this order. The cashier said "It doesn't matter" but I didn't want the ECBs to beep since my total after coupons would've been $3.49...]
44 cents cash. Got back $3.50, $2.

So I now have $6.50 in ECBs to play with, hooray!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

CVS - The dilemma

I decided that in 2010 I would try not to grab every deal, every freebie, every interesting thing that catches my eye. I have a well-established stockpile now and don't need a ton of stuff - and I just donated a bagful to help Haiti.

This week I know there is free-after-ECB men's bodywash. And with the coupon that is out today, it's a moneymaker. But I had one - ONE! - ECB. And I needed the paper. So...I got the paper for $1.50 (the double paper, remember) instead. Now I have zero.

I could spend about $4 OOP and get back the $5-ish in ECBs. It's not a bad deal at all - in fact, I'm going to be teaching some people how to start CVS-ing and it's one of the deals I'm going to suggest. But for $4 worth getting back in "the game"? Nah.

I probably will do the $1 "free" Valentine photo card in a few weeks though. Maybe I'll go enough in the meantime for necessities that I'll have another dollar from the Green Bag Tag?

I'm no fun this year, I know! ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Facebook account was disabled

UPDATE: On Wednesday I received an email from Facebook saying my account had been compromised. To be perfectly honest, I don't see any evidence of that and I am very careful about links I click and places in which I input my password. But I had just installed an app on my iPod that used Facebook to give me birthday updates - I deleted that immediately, as that could in theory have been the culprit. But in any case my account WAS completely reinstated. It took 4 days and 2 emails (though I don't think the second email made a difference). I'm leaving this post up in case anyone finds it via Google - don't lose hope! Email politely and you may get a reply and get your account back - unless you've misbehaved.... ;)

On Saturday night, I left the computer for a moment, turned back, and found myself locked out of Facebook. No warning, no explanation, just a notice that my account had been disabled and an email address to write to. I did write and plead my case, but I have a feeling that they'll take a while to even get to me and reply, and I am not feeling so good about my chances to have my account reinstated.

It's disappointing - I've spent years on Facebook. I don't have a million friends on there; I've kept my account mostly to people I know or used to know and wanted to reconnect with. Relatives looked there for pictures of my child. Friends made plans with me using the messaging system. I rarely used chat, I joined groups - mostly for freebies! - but didn't post much. I never posted anything offensive.

Yet here I am, locked out. And all traces of me have vanished from the site. They couldn't even put a "This account has been disabled" notice on my account. It's like being tossed out of a party without being able to say goodbye - and then being worried your friends think you're mad at them and stormed out in a huff. And your cell phone and computer are still inside that party with no way to be retrieved.

Mostly, this post is to hopefully connect with others whose Facebook account was disabled. When it happened to me, I emailed - and then went to Google for other stories. I've found many many many. So if this happened to you - particularly if your story has a happy ending - please comment. As always, I won't approve spam comments.

One thing I'll miss is Money Saving Mom's Facebook page - she often posted deals and links there that she didn't post elsewhere. And again, the freebie pages - I just got my coupons for free Stacy's Pita Chips and free International Coffee Creamer, both scored on Facebook.

I'll keep you posted on what happens. I really would at minimum like a chance to say goodbye. Funny enough, I already was thinking what a time waster Facebook was becoming and trying to cut back my usage. If I can't go back at all, it may not be the worst thing that ever happened. But I do hope my friends understand why I've vanished.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CVS - The end of an era, I think

Tonight we went over to CVS to buy something we needed, and I spent my last $4 in ECBs so at the moment I have zero (which means the upcoming Dove-for-Men deal isn't as exciting, though it will be a moneymaker so I *may* go for it to start over again). I saw one of my two favorite cashiers - she hasn't worked on Sundays in a while, so I haven't seen her in a long time. She hugged me and then told me that my other favorite cashier, a man who would always joke with me and also would hook me up with extra coupons and so on, had quit and moved to Florida two weeks ago.


This mean that my Sunday mornings won't be the same, and if I do go, I'll have to start over again building a rapport with new people.

At least 2009 ended nicely.

In other news, I think I'm going to be holding a "coupon course" at my home for some local mom-friends. Still not sure how I'll run it, but I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

CVS - Toilet paper and newspaper, nothing exciting

So I probably am not going to obsessively document my CVS dealings in 2010 because, well, the deals simply haven't been as good. Plus my pantry/stockpile is overflowing (I'm going to be donating a lot to Haiti) so I just don't need as much right now.

I expected to totally spend down my ECBs today, but I forgot that the toilet paper deal gave back $4 (I thought it was $8-ish OOP, not $12-ish with $4 back). So I used my $6 plus my 50 cents for quarterly spending and got the TP, the double paper ($2.50), and then my husband wanted a beard trimmer that was $10. I spent around $18 and got back $4. The cashier couldn't be bothered to put my things in the bag I brought - she stacked them up and kind of shooed me out of the way. Nice.

Also, don't make the mistake I did and try to print the double ECB coupon that's floating around in PDF form. Don't waste your ink! The store had a million of these coupons in every single aisle - and it's also in the flyer.

Oh and I scanned my Green Bag Tag and grabbed a handful of the Everyday Beauty coupons. And I resisted the Soy Joy deal because we still have a ton left from the LAST sale (months and months ago).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Discount on Laptop Lunches Bento-style Lunchboxes with Coupon Code

Looking for a neat way to pack your lunch or your child's lunch? Looking for a deal on a cool lunchbox? I am a huge fan of the Laptop Lunchbox system from - I've been using the product for years and find it to be large enough to pack a filling lunch for just me (I used to take it to work) or for me and my daughter to share. And now I can offer readers of my blog a great deal!


These products are safe, lead-free, and colorful. Kids love them, adults love them, YOU will love them. Check it out!

Here's a sample lunch from me:


It includes onigiri, cherry tomatoes, veggie dumplings, crackers, cheese, Pocky, and more, but I've also packed boxes with something as simple as a sandwich and some chips and salsa!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Free digital subscription to one of a bunch of great magazines!

Go here:

And you can sign up for ONE free digital subscription to one of a bunch of great magazines, including Saveur and Vegetarian Times. You do have to give your email address and agree to get email from the Read Green initiative, but other than that there are no strings attached. I was going to subscribe to Vegetarian Times for $5 from Amazon, but you can't beat free instead!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

An iPod Touch - a Frugal Investment?

I've wanted an iPod for a long, long time. I actually won a first generation Nano from Blingo a long time ago, but it wasn't flashy and it only held (only! ha!) 2 gigs of music (which was, admittedly, plenty). I also bought an Archos mp3 player that was big and clunky but that held many gigs of mp3s, and that served me well for a few years. But I never had a "real" iPod. They were just too expensive to justify.

I also have been lusting after various smartphones including, of course, the iPhone. My husband and I have the most basic cell phones and plan that we could get - no web, no camera, and we pay 20 cents per text message. And I don't see that changing any time soon.

My birthday is in November, and some family members gave me money as a gift. I also had about $120 in Amazon credit from Swagbucks, from MyPoints, and from a few other sources. I was just spending a little bit here and there on little things - books (and have I mentioned lately I have almost 1600 books?), video games, and some gifts. Finally, I decided to splurge and I spent all that credit and bought an iPod Touch - 3rd generation, 32 gigs. It cost me about $140 out of pocket in the end.

So first of all, I wanted to point out that while it can take a while, using programs like SwagBucks and MyPoints really can add up over time. Second, well, I've found that my iPod Touch has satisfied a lot of what I wanted with a smartphone, but without the monthly expense. I installed the following apps (which can be found by searching the app store):

TextFree Lite and TextPlus: Both of these programs allow me to text my friends for free, rather than for 20 cents a pop. Not bad! I love texting, but I was holding back because the money really would add up on my monthly bill. Now I can text as much as I like!
iCall: By choosing the free call option, I can make completely free five-minute calls with my iPod (as long as I'm at a WiFi hotspot). I just have to listen to a short message. I have WiFi at home, so this is a handy option if I want to save minutes! If I really wanted to make my iPod into my only cell phone, I could buy a plan from iCall for $10/month, but for now that's not feasible.
Skype: For longer calls without a monthly plan, I have Skype. I'll need to load my account with money, but after that, calls will be about 2 cents/minute. Again, handy if I want to save my cell phone minutes. Also, with Skype, calls to another Skype user are free.
Fring: I can use Fring to chat with friends who use Gmail or iChat (or basically any other chat program, although I don't use anything else). Handy!
Evernote: With this app, I can capture web pages on my computer and sync them to the iPod. Then I can set it so I can view them when the iPod is offline. My plan is to use grabs from CouponMom so I can have an easy list of what's on sale and what coupons I have (and to save paper by doing so).

As I've touched on above, many of these apps require WiFi, which means that unlike my iPhone-using friends, I can't access everything from, say, the car or the middle of a store. But there are also hundreds of hotspots for free WiFi, and while I'm at home I have it as well. It's a limitation, but it can be managed. And a program like Evernote definitely helps when there is no Internet access around.

Look, an iPod is not cheap, and it's not frugal in general. But if you use it wisely, it can save you money in little ways. Plus, well, it's just a fun toy. And there are TONS of free apps in the app store - from games for my daughter to tools to just plain silliness. And all of the above apps are, as far as I know, available for the iPhone too, so you can save money on your monthly bill if you want to.

Have a suggestion for an app that you love? (Especially a free one?) Let me know!

Read this far? How about checking out my Examiner articles on how to save money on groceries! I think you'll find a lot of valuable information there that can help you in 2010!