Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pinching Pennies

Yes, I’m doing that coupon thing that is all the rage right now.  But, no, I am not being crazy coupon lady. Or at least I’m trying not to be. ::side eye:: It’s hard not to hoard when you can get things for free. But you’ll be glad to know that I’m refraining from getting 72 bottles of mustard. (Although I did snag 6 boxes of FREE tea last week & 4 things of FREE pasta.)

I have to credit my friend & her sister for getting me started on this.

I resisted for awhile because who has the time, right?

But then?

I saw how much MONEY THEY WERE SAVING. And you’ll just have to trust me on this.

It. was. astounding.

So, I decided to give this couponing thing a real shot.

I only started a week ago & have already saved over $200!!!! & all on stuff I’d normally buy anyway.

Several of you have asked me on Twitter how this works, so here is what I have learned so far. Remember I have only been at this for a week, so I am by no means an expert.

1. You will have to invest some time into this up front. Figure out some system to organize yourself. My system is this box. I have the following in it:

    • Envelopes for coupons that are tabbed for categories & stores. (When I make my shopping list for a particular store, I put all of the coupons I will need in that store’s envelope so I only have that one envelope to carry in the store with me.)
    • Scissors
    • Coupons that need clipped & filed
    • Notebook to make shopping lists
    • Pen


2. Create an email address for just for couponing. You’ll need it to sign on on various sites to access their coupons.

3. When you go to print your first coupons, your computer might have you install a program before it can print the coupon. This is okay. The program it wants to install will enable your printer to print the bar codes. You need these.

4. You can usually print 2 of the same coupon from each computer. (Read between the lines there. 2 computers means 4 coupons.)

5. Find out which grocery stores in your area double coupons & when they do. For example, some stores will always double them, but other stores only double them the last week of the month or whatever.


6. Find a local blogger who posts coupon match-ups* for the grocery stores in your area. Here are the ones I have been using. The grocery stores are local to my area, but I believe the Walgreens, CVS, & Target match-ups are national. (Don’t quote me on this. Like I said, I’m new to this, but it’d be worth checking out.)

Coupon Closet

Deal Detecting Diva

Simple Saving Savvy

Consumer Queen

*The match-ups are important because this will save you time. These bloggers have already put the puzzle together for you. (i.e. matched the sales up with the coupons out there.) Some coupons will be from Sunday’s paper; some will be printables. Here are the match-ups I used for the haul pictured below. It’ll give you the idea of how this coupon thing works.

On my first coupon trip to the grocery store this was my bounty. I spent $18.73. I saved $64.88 between sales & coupons. This store doubles coupons. I got several items FREE even.


That whole chicken was around $3. I think I spent $.50 on the A1 steak sauce. The ball Park hot dogs where $ .50. 4 things of pasta, 2 boxes of tea, a tube of toothpaste, Chinet napkins, homestyle Kraft mac & cheese, 2 packages of warm & serve Rhodes dinner rolls, & 3 boxes of Wheat Thins Stix all FREE. 

Now my trip to the grocery store this week didn’t seem like quite as good of a deal to me (I think because I only came away with a few freebies), but I still got this:

Homeland Haul 2

Spent $24.25. Saved $69.68

Here is my first Walgreens haul. Walgreens & CVS (which I haven’t even attempted yet) are a little more complicated than the grocery store because they have RRs & ERBs. Check out those about links to blogs that can explain those way better than I can.

WG 1

I basically got the 3 boxes of Splenda free after the RRs. Turned around & used the RRs on a second transaction for the rest. Got the 4 cleaners for $.50 each. The razor was $1.99 as were the blade refills. The wipes where on sale for 2 for $5. Had two $2 off coupons so I used one on each, which means the wipes where $1 for both boxes.

Oh, one more thing.  This couponing has a language all it’s own. Here is a run down of the lingo.

Phew! I know that’s a lot to digest all at once. Get organized & spend some time checking out those links. I promise it really is pretty easy &, once you figure it out, it isn’t all that time consuming. The hard part is done for you if you find the right sites.


It will be so very worth it when you start saving money!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Painkillers? Yes, Please!

In 12 years of teaching, I never had a truly embarrassing moment in front of my students. Never left my pants unzipped.  Never fell flat on my face. Never walked around with lipstick on my teeth all day. Never accidently tucked my dress into my panties & walked around. Never went into labor in class.

But yesterday?

It happened.

I passed out in front of a class of 8th graders.

I was subbing in the same school I taught at for the past 6 years—thankfully in a place where I knew everyone & they knew me. I was sitting at the desk & bent down to get something out of my purse & TOTALLY threw my back out.

But, of course, that wasn’t enough.

Apparently the pain was too much for my body to bare at that moment. The room started spinning. The noise became muffled. I was having an out-of-body experience. I knew this feeling. I knew I was about to pass out.

I sent a student over to get the teacher across the hall. I know she probably thought I had to go to the bathroom or something. She walked in, and I motioned for her to come over to the desk. I had just enough time to tell her what was up, & I was gone. Out like a light. And apparently I stayed that way for about a minute.

When I came to, I was so disoriented. My friend was standing there & now an assistant principal was too. The kids were all trying to figure out what happened. I had no idea where I was or what had happened.  I was covered in sweat.

I finally started to get my bearings; I realized what had happened. And I was completely mortified. But, hey, what could I do? The assistant principal found a teacher to cover the last hour of the day for me, & I gathered myself & my wits & went home.

And now? Percocet will be my best friend for the next couple of days.