Friday, January 21, 2011

My Savvy Life This Week - Cheap Date Night

I had to laugh last weekend when my husband and I were doing some grocery shopping and deal finding on our weekly date night.  Why, was it so funny?  Because we met two other couples at the store doing the same thing and it's not the first time we've seen them in the grocery aisle on a Friday night!  We've even joked that we're dating them too, since we meet up almost every weekend at the store.  I've decided that makes me a pretty cheap date - in a good way... mostly ;-)  To me, saving money together with my hubby is a great time spent together.  He pretends to enjoy it too, since it makes me so happy.  Honestly, we've done "date night dealing" so much that I think he's actually used to it and has fun too.

I think it's really just about spending time together, regardless of the location, without the children, and talking about our random life stories.  I love walking down the aisle pushing the cart together, his hand on mine, watching for clearance stickers in the Dairy aisle (his favorite grocery past time!).  He helps me find products, carefully guards my coupons in his shirt pocket, and loads the cart - we work as a team.  In our own savvy way, it brings us closer together and is our own version of romantic!  That's not to say we don't sprinkle in dinner and a Redbox too, but I do love the time we spend together in the store.  It's the perfect time to talk.  No loud movie to whisper over, no play to remain silent for, just a great time to be in the moment.

Some of you may think it's your version of a pathetic date night, but to me it's a great ending to a long week.  And guess where we're going tonight? Yep! (I'll post some of my favorite fun/free date night ideas on Monday!)

ROLL CALL Are a Date Night Dealer?  If you've ever done date night at the store let me know by leaving a comment below!  We'll start a date night support group ;p

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Savvy Tip - FREE Mcdonald's Oatmeal

Well, Macgyver has the day off for Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday.  (I think I'm one of the few in America who rarely get a day off, sometimes it feels like 24/7, non-stop, deal-seeking action supermom mode.)

Since I stayed up until 3 am ranking local grocery and national retail ads, I snookered the hubby into running to Rite Aid in Payson this morning to try and snag some free Simplify Toilet Paper & TGI Friday Snacks, along with a couple other things.  Well, of course they were out - but he did get a raincheck for me.  If you didn't know, you can get a rain check from most Rite Aid stores for any product with an Up Reward when the shelves are empty. 

With nothing left to do he headed next door to Mcdonald's, of course.  I'd heard rumors of free oatmeal coupons in the silverware packets across America and so I had him ask for some.  (Insert angelic singing here.)  Voila - FREE OATMEAL!!  Macgyver's such a clever little cuss that he got the silverware packet, jumped in the car, went through the drive-thru, ordered free oatmeal and of course asked, "Could I get a fork please?" for another free oatmeal coupon. (The oatmeal comes with an orange spoon, but the coupons come in the fork/knife combo.) The coupon doesn't expire until 3/27/11.

I tasted the oatmeal and can say it was truly yummy!  Apples, Raisins & Maple flavor!

I'm sure while you're out and about today you'll be in desperate need of a fork right?!? (Technically, you're not supposed to use the coupon until 2 hours after you get it, but the hubby didn't read the coupon.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Savvy Tip - Shopko 90% off Christmas Clearance

As you may well know I am a Christmas Clearanceaholic (I make up way too many words on this blog!)  Thanks to Jessica from Savvy Facebook, I just got back from Shopko where Christmas clearance is now 90% off!  I got some really cute things for next year, but my favorite was this hidden little number:

I found these in the baby section on an end cap.  There were several different varieties, but I bought these because they aren't really Christmas and I thought I could give them as baby gifts (I bought 5 packs)!  They were regularly $9.99 and now $0.99 - soooooooooooo cute!

The best place for hidden clearance at Shopko is in Jewelry, Baby and the end caps is housewares. 

Plus, on my way out of the store I checked the clearance in housewares and found shopping cart & savings pushpins for 75% off that I'll be converting into magnets for my work cubicle decor - Score, since I collect anything with shopping carts on it!

My Savvy Life This Week - Getting The Best Deal

I was so excited earlier this week when I took my sister shopping at the grocery store.  We found several unadvertised deals and clearance items, which when paired with coupons = awesome deals!  I should say I was sooooo excited until... one of those deals turned up even cheaper yesterday at another grocery store - UGH!!!!

I bought Malt O Meal 50 oz bagged cereal for $1.50 after coupons on Monday which works out to be about $0.50 per regular size box of Kelloggs Frosted Shredded Wheat.  (Honestly, there's not a big taste difference between Malt O Meal and Kelloggs in my opinion, and we love the Mini Spooners!) I bought 10 bags because after doing the price per ounce calculations I KNEW it was a hot deal.

But, low and behold, Reams in Springville is offering the identical cereal for $1.99 - $2.00/2 (Smartsource 1/2) coupon, or  $0.75/1 Malt o Meal Coupon or $1.00/2 malt O Meal coupon.  This works out to be as low as $0.99 for 50 oz or like $0.33 per regular size box!  Oh My Word!  I've spent $0.51 too much per bag for a total of $5.10.  Truthfully, I've been a bit annoyed by this all day because I always want to get the very best deal possible and Reams Springville is a store I frequent often.  Had I just waited 3 measly days longer....  And then I remembered what I tell shoppers all the time - "Was it a good deal when you bought it?"  Well, of course it was!  I mean $0.50 per box of cereal is a SCORE!  "Then it WAS and still IS a deal!"

Guess I should take my own advice huh?  Just because you don't get the very lowest price on products every time you shop doesn't mean you didn't score too!  I suppose I could have used only part of my initial $2.00/2 coupons and hoped for a better deal but A DEAL IS A DEAL, no matter how much you could have purchased it for later. And, waiting too long for the rock bottomest (totally not a word) price can also mean your coupons could expire before that elusive "better" deal comes around!  Plus, I can still use the printable coupons to buy up to 8 more bags at Reams and still stock up for my family at a great price!  (I'll try not to break down and let you see me cry in the middle of their cereal aisle as you snatch up the $0.99 Malt O Meal.)  So, I'll be happy with my $1.50 a bag cereal and move on to the next deal, because there's always another deal lurking around the corner!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Savvy Tip - Facebook Freebies & Twitter Freebies

Savvy Facebook & Savvy Twitter = FREEBIE CENTRAL!

As many of you know, part of why I started this blog was to have a place to help deal seekers get back to the basics of saving money with tips and savings ideas.  I don't really post many freebie deals here, but that's not to say I don't love a good freebie or two, or three or twenty!  I actually post tons of freebies and deals on the Savvy Facebook and Savvy Twitter pages every day (and often in the middle of the night too ;-)  These deals are posted before the daily emails go out.  If they are limited giveaways, you'll have a better chance of getting them if you check my Facebook or Twitter pages 1st!

If you want to get in on all the Freebie Action make sure you:


Savvy Savings - Be Ready

As I shopped with my sister yesterday at Smith's in Payson I was reminded how important it is to be organized and up to date in cutting out my manufacturer coupons.  I'm teaching a coupon class for my sisters church group and she wanted some examples of hot deals you can get with coupons so off we went to Smiths. I showed her how Mega Event, Case Lot sales, online printable coupons and loadable coupons work and then I thought I'd point out the clearance deals (since Dec/Jan are hot personal hygiene clearance months) and how much money you can save by watching clearance and manager's specials shelf tags.

I found Loreal Excellence To Go on clearance for $3.82!   My sister was thrilled!  She uses this hair product and at over $5 in savings she planned to stock up.  But wait!  I had my coupon portfolio with me, of course, and in it some $2.00/1 manufacturer coupons.  Hair color for $1.82 - WOW!!!!

Couponers ask me all the time if they should could their coupons out or just save them, uncut, by the insert.  My answer has always been the same - you save more money by having your coupons cut out and with you at the store.  While not cutting coupons may save some time up front, they have to be cut out eventually and with over 1,000 unadvertised and clearance deals at most stores weekly, you'll simply miss out if you don't cut them out!

I prefer the binder/portfolio (it is a portfolio of savings you know) method of coupon organization.  By using clear 9-pocket photo holders to store and organize coupons shopping becomes a breeze.  You can see the product, value and even expiration date on coupons because the sheets are clear.  You'll even develop a bit of a photographic memory as you see your coupons on a frequent basis and are reminded which coupons you've got sorted in your binder.  You'll see and unadvertised deal, like the L'Oreal, and remember you have a coupon for that!  Savings made simple!

Of course you can save money not using the cut and store method, but you can save a whole lot more if you have your coupons with you at all times!  What coupons should you cut out?  Any coupon for a product or brand that your family would use if it were cheap, free or a family favorite.  If you wouldn't use it, why cut it?  Get your coupons cut out and keep them up to date for the most savings possible!  And if you get behind and overwhelmed, cut out the highest value coupons and save the insert booklets until you can catch up.  Couponing is soooooooo worth it - so don't give up, just do your best until your life is a little less hectic!

If you live in Utah and are interested in getting the BEST DEAL on a multiple Sunday newspaper subscription - check out these deals:  Newspaper Deals

Check out my coupon portfolio page description HERE!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Savvy Life This Week - In Stitches & Chocolate

This, the first week of the new year, was bound for greatness!  Having not eaten chocolate for an entire year, as last years New Year's Resolution, was a feat in and of itself and my pre-planned chocolate orgy was to be spectacular! Decadent Chocolate Cake was scheduled to be the centerpiece of this cocoa fete, served hot with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup, supplemented by Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Oreos, M&Ms, Stephens Mint Truffle Hot Chocolate, Chocolate Milk and anything else I could find! At exactly 12:00 am and 1 second I planned to dive into my feast and make myself sick if possible.

The Carrot Top eating MY M&Ms 
on the way to the doctor

I was getting things ready when my two year old began to cry out from his bedroom.  Low and behold he had fallen on a toy, rounded none-the-less, and cut his eyelid open.  AHHH!  We rushed him to the Pediatrician who confirmed my little carrot top needed stitches.  Stitches on a 2 year old - not super  fun!  We opted for the numbing gel instead of a shot to avoid as much pain and screaming as possible. After papoosing my baby, he was stitched up and we went back home to get ready for the New Years fun.  We got home, loaded up the rest of the kids and headed off to Provo (via more Walmart 75% off Christmas clearance hunting) when my husband noticed the Houdini had actually pulled out his stitches.

Macgyver & The Carrot Top
Seriously?  You picked out those baby stitches without making a sound - how did you do that?  Another call to the Pediatrician.  Another office visit, after hours this time.  Would he keep the stitches in the doctor asked?  I hope so, I said.  This time we opted for the shot to make things go faster and numb the area better.  You may be thinking - How much fun was stitches the second time around on a 2 year old less than 2 hours after the first go round?  Priceless!  Interestingly enough, 2 year-olds have the memory of an elephant when it comes to doctors and needles - super awesome!  After some more, breaking my heart, pleading momma for help from the carrot top we finished with stitches round two.

Needless to say the cake ingredients remain in my fridge even now.  The moment had passed and then life continued.  In mourning, after having licked a melting Wendy's chocolate Frosty as my first chocolate of the new year, my sweet Macgyver offered to do anything that would make me happy so he dropped me off at good ol' Wallyworld a little after midnight.  Blue Bunny Peanut Butter Attack Icecream in hand (and a few more 75% off clearance items) I tried to find some chocolate joy still left in my heart and headed home.  I must say that even though the night approached and crossed over into dismal at many points...

Chocolate Heaven!
it did have one heavenly moment! And I'm calling a do-over on the chocolate cake this weekend!

FYI - the carrot top pulled out his stitches a second time the next morning.  It had glued itself shut enough to hold so we left it as it (besides the doctor said he had never had to stitch a child up 3 times before and I didn't want to be the first pathetic mom to have to do so).  By Friday the doctor said the stitches could come out so I thought we were home free... that is until he fell tonight and popped it partially back open again! Hope the Band-aid holds long enough.  C'mon, give me a little help here son!

My New Years Resolution this year - nothing fried! And you can bet I ate a super-sized Mcdonalds French Fry with some Hot Mustard dipping sauce Dec. 31st!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Savvy Tip: Warner Brothers Movie Rewards

I blogged recently about my love of Disney Movie Rewards points and how easy it is to earn FREE DVDS, Artwork and more by simply entering codes printed inside DVD packages, watching movies and buying CDs.  I thought I should also mention that Warner Bros. also has an Insider Movie Rewards program as well.  It's very similar to Disney's Rewards, though the prizes take more codes to earn.  But, if you love Warner Brothers movies, like the recent Inception (AWESOME) or Harry Potter, then make sure you enter your DVD codes online!

Like, Disney Rewards, Warner Brothers Rewards get you free DVDs and more.  However, they do run their program with an additional feature - Online Freebies.

How Warner Brothers Insider Rewards works:

1.  Points

2.  Credits

FREE Warner Brother Insider Codes:

New Members = 100 Points for signing up
WB23 = 200 Points

A 75% off Clearance Christmas

My Nieces and Nephews on Christmas Eve
For the last 10 years our family's goal has been to have a 75% off Clearance Christmas (90% off and FREE items many years as well!)  I'm not talking about just my family, I'm talking about all my nieces, nephews, brother, sisters, sister-in-law and brother-in-law - IT'S AWESOME! My mom and dad are very generous with us kids and give us a monetary gift to purchase a needed item for our family each year.  But, when it comes to Christmas morning, mom thinks the tree skirt should also be fully stocked, so I've been put in charge of Christmas Under The Tree for the whole family.  The goal is to only spend $15 per person and amazingly we come close to that every year and many times we are under that cost!

After Christmas clearance sales, from Target to Rite Aid, are amazing places to stock up for next years gift giving extravaganza at 25% the normal cost.  My favorite part of year round clearance sales are the "hidden" deals I find.  There are troves of clearance goodies shoppers never find at every store!  So, while these sales are definitely worth your time and effort in attending, there are a few things that will make your sales shopping even more successful!

1.  Check the Housewares Aisle!  Many times Christmas clearance items never make their way out of the pots and pans aisle!  Anything Christmas related could potentially be a hot markdown!  This also includes dish towels and even holiday bedding.

Walmart Housewares Hidden Deals

2.  Check the Toy Aisle!  From Holiday Hot Wheels to My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop or Thomas the Tank, toy manufacturers release holiday collection toys for every season and these toys go on clearance as well!

3.  Check the Grocery Aisle!  Any holiday packaged food item can also be included in clearance sales!  Check cookies, cake mix, chocolate chips, Goldfish crackers, cereal, hot cocoa - anything with holiday images on the packaging!

4.  Watch for Paper Goods!  Bounty Paper Towels, Ziploc Bags and even Saran Wrap go on holiday clearance too!  Watch for Holiday logo paper goods and even cleaning items like Cascade dish tabs, Palmolive dish liquid and Glade holiday scented items.  Don't forget, you can use coupons on clearance items to save even more money!!

 5.  Don't miss Health & Beauty!  Burts Bees' issues Christmas beauty kits every year and every year I snatch them up days after clearance shopping has begun!  This year Crest Pro Health got in on the action as well, with whitening holiday kits and toothpaste kits at Walmart!  The toothpaste kits, with a full tube of toothpaste and a bottle of mouthwash ended up costing me $0.67 after coupons and the whitening kits only $2.00!  The Target Mouthwash was only $0.34 because of the small holiday twig on the label! Old Spice kits were marked down to $1.25 at Walmart minus a $2.00 coupon from my Sunday paper = a MONEY MAKER - WOW (I bought 6)!  I also found Scunci brand head bands with a holiday tag (not Christmasy at all) at Walmart for only $0.25.  Frequently personal hygiene and fragrance kits don't get moved to the regular clearance aisle, so make sure you scan the normal store aisle as well.

5.  Scan, Scan, Scan!  If you find an item that could potentially be a Christmas or other holiday clearance item don't walk away - SCAN IT!  I can't tell you how many times I was surprised that totally obscure items, like remote controlled mini robots, were clearance deals.  I load my cart up, find the closest scanner and start saving!

If you've never shopped a holiday clearance sale, now is the time.  Clearance deals are everywhere, just waiting to be scooped up!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Savvy Tip: Disney Movie Rewards = Cool Stuff!

If you've never participated in Disney Movie Rewards, you are missing out!  Honestly, I haven't really been consistent with this promotional free goody program until recently.  I mean, I participate in so many other savings avenues that sometimes adding one more on top of what I'm already doing seems truly overwhelming.  Thus, my previous aversion to Disney Rewards.  But, after getting my feet wet and finding all the Movie Rewards codes in about 20 different Disney DVDs that I've purchased over the last few years, as well as all the free codes available online, I found out how easy it is to get rewarded!  It takes very little time to enter codes and the rewards available are easier to reach than even Pampers Codes, especially if you buy Disney DVDs regularly like me!

1.  Every time you buy a qualifying Disney DVD/Blue Ray you will find a special code inside worth 100-250 points! Enter these codes at Disney Rewards to be eligible for awesome freebies!

2.  Every time you watch a Disney Movie at the theater you can upload a photo of your ticket stub for up to 200 points!

3.  Every time you buy qualified Disney CDs you simply insert them into your computer, after logging in to Disney Rewards and you'll be credited for additional points!

PLUS - Get an additional 100 points on your birthday each year and bonus points throughout the year like 50 points as a New Year's Bonus!  And don't forget to take the VERY short Disney Reward Survey for an instant 100 bonus points!

Disney also releases FREE codes online for free points and even doubles rewards points from time to time!  Now is a great time to join this FREE program and start getting rewarded for loving everything Disney!

Here's some codes to get you started:

D11M20R01NY = 50 points
COOL = 50 pts

9FTMRYWEK = 50 pts
9EKSMN38SH = 50 pts

FPSNN83JX9 = 25 pts 


CHIHUAHUA = 25 pts (Thanks Thrifty101)

FM39V03SSW = 5 pts (Thanks Thrifty101)

REX = 25 pts - new members only (Thanks Thrifty101)

Once you've accumulated enough points you can earn awesome rewards for kids and adults, like FREE DVDS, limited edition artwork & more!

Whether you're new to the savings market or kickin' it into high savings gear, Disney Rewards are a simple, yet worthwhile way to be a savvy shopper!

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