Monday, October 31, 2011

Freebie Find - 40 4x6 Prints at Walgreens



I've been a great picture taker since Nolan was born, but I've realized that most of these pictures only exist in digital form, like six different digital forms, but only digital form. I've been terrible about printing and putting out photos for display. If it wasn't for the baby swing, bouncy seat, bumbo, high chair, car seat, and dozens of toys scattered across my floor, you wouldn't even know a child lived with us.

I've been trying to make a better effort to get photos of Nolan in print form. If I get myself past this first step, then I just have to get around to frame shopping, which means baby pictures might be up by the time he's five.

All of the free print codes and coupons I've been finding have certainly been helping move me in the right direction, though.

Here is a code, DRUGSTORE40, that is valid at Walgreens for 40 FREE 4x6 prints (not sure when this one expires). If you choose in store pick-up, you will avoid a delivery charge.

I'm going to heed my own advice, get off of Blogger, and go order my own prints now! :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Take a Hike, Time Warner!



A few days ago, I briefly mentioned that Alex and I don't have cable. I thought I could take a minute and share a bit more about how we've managed to survive without.

I know, for many, the idea of living without cable or dish is unimaginable. For the past six+ years, Alex and I have been living off of the most inexpensive cable option, a deal for under $15 a month that allows us to view all basic network stations, as well as a few random channels, like USA and TNT. If we really wanted to save more money, we could switch to antenna and receive most of the same channels for the one time cost of a TV antenna. I've seen indoor antenna boxes, which look like a smaller version of a cable box, selling for less than $20.

Now, we're by no means anti-TV. Alex loves his Comedy Central shows and sports, and I love me some TLC and HGTV. We've simply found other ways to access some of our favorite shows.

For about five years, we've been subscribers to Netflix (~ $8 a month). We use instant view to watch movies and shows on our TV, streaming through an X Box. Netflix has seasons of many cable shows, from many different networks, including Comedy Central, AMC, HGTV, and TLC. This is perfect if there are old series you're wanting to try out, as Netflix is usually at least one season behind live TV. Unfortunately, the future of the company seems a bit uncertain. If you hadn't heard, they've made a few questionable business moves as of late, and their stock price is plummeting.

Netflix has a decent selection of instant view movies and old TV shows, but Hulu Plus is a better option if you're looking to replace cable and still get your fix of current shows. For $7.99 a month, you can stream shows to your TV through a video game system. Hulu Plus allows you access to shows the day after they air. You are able to view most series from the big networks, like ABC, NBC, and CBS, as well as many from cable networks. Some people use Hulu Plus as a replacement for having any form of TV, cable or antenna. I would have a hard time giving up access to live news, though. Alex and I just began a Hulu Plus trial subscription. We're trying to decide if we prefer it to Netflix.

Being sports fans, and moving to a state where our teams aren't regularly shown on TV has been tough. Without dish or cable, we've had to look for other options if we want to watch games that don't involve the ACC or Panthers (ugh). One option, that was a lot more enticing pre-baby, was watching games at sports bars. Since little one's bedtime is before most game times, we've tried a few other options. Alex subscribed to a season of MLB.com, which allowed him to view any MLB baseball game on our computers. This was a one time fee and much less expensive than subscribing to cable for the duration of the season. Unfortunately, we're still looking for a good way to view Badger games. The Packers...well, we've been able to see most of their games. Being Super Bowl champs doesn't hurt your TV schedule.

Giving up cable is not without its tradeoffs, but if you're looking to save a significant amount of money each year, it might be time to consider this change.

Reader Response: Have you given up cable? What replacements have you found to fill the viewing void?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Coupon Rumor - Harris Teeter Super Doubles

There's a little rumor floatin' that Harris Teeter will be running a Super Doubles coupon promotion beginning next Wednesday, November 2nd. What does that mean? Harris Teeter will double coupons with a value of $1.99 or less, when on a normal day, they would double coupons up to $0.99. The last time this promo ran, in August, I was able to score great items for free - Wholly Guacamole, McCain Potatoes, granola bars.

You could begin some prep work by looking through your coupons and finding those with a value between $1.00 and $1.99. Look through newspaper insert coupons, and check online coupon sources for high value printable coupons.These are best to use during such a promotion because a value any smaller would double anytime, and a larger value won't double.

When next week's store ad is released, I will post what I think are the best deals. Until then, happy clipping!

Get Out and About - Weekend Edition (10/28-10/30)



Here are my top picks (with a focus on Halloween) for free or inexpensive Durham area activities to get you out and about this weekend.

Friday, October 28


OctoberFest - FREE - RTP Community Church, 1727 E. Cook Rd. - 6:00-10:00 p.m.

A description from the event website: "Trunk or Treat. Mega jumping towers. Hay rides. Free pumpkin patch. Pumpkin carving. Make-your-own candy apples. Bon fire & smores. Carnival games. Fashion show. Face Painting. Bratwursts with sauerkraut. Root beer. Barbecue pork ribs. German potato salad. Grilled corn on the cob. Funnel cake. Cotton candy. Snow cones. Pretzels. Bake sale."


I have no idea if it would be awkward to show up at a church event if you aren't a member of the congregation, but this sounds like a fun family night out, and I'm sure they would welcome visitors, or they wouldn't be advertising on the city events calendar.

Saturday, October 29

Dracula Film Screening - FREE - The Roxy, 802 W. Main St., Durham - 9:00 p.m.

Durham Zombie Lurch - Begins 5:00 p.m. in parking lot across from Piedmont, Foster St., Durham
- After watching the first season of The Walking Dead, I may be a little terrified of zombies, but this unique Durham event still intrigues me. On Halloween weekend, hundreds of local "zombies" converge on downtown. Put on your Zombie best to join them, or head down to Durham Central Park to watch. Don't worry, you should be safer than Rick Grimes and his crew.

Post-lurch, head to Motorco, where there will be free music, pumpkin carving, and food trucks (not free).

NC Food at Wine Festival at Southern Season - Chapel Hill - 11:00-4:00 p.m.
Join vendors, chefs, and authors for free tastings, demonstrations, and book signings.


Southern Village Halloween Costume Party - FREE - Village Green Southern Village (Market St.), Chapel Hill - 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Dress up the kids and head to Southern Village in Chapel Hill for music, dancing, games, a bounce house, and trick or treating sponsored by businesses around the village square.

Sunday, October 30th

Food Truck Rodeo - Durham Central Park, 4:00-8:00 p.m.
Until reading the website description, I actually would have warned against this event. Durham food truck rodeos have become so popular, that at the most recent one, people stood in line for hours to get food, and many trucks ran out of a food well before the event ended.

It seems organizers have re-organized, though. Foster Street will be closed to traffic, so the trucks will be able to spread out, which should help crowding and line confusion. All food trucks have also agreed to be bring enough food to actually last the duration of the event. Twenty seven area trucks will be present, so this could be a great opportunity to find a new favorite!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Freebie Find - Bare Escentuals Eye Liner



I'm lucky enough to have a fantastic sister-in-law who works for a cosmetics store. Because she's fantastic, I've been the happy recipient of many a sample product, including Bare Minerals cosmetics. I've loved each product I've tried, so I was pretty excited to see this great FREEBIE deal, happening at Bare Escentuals stores today-November 1st. Print and bring along this coupon, and you'll receive a FREE full size Big & Bright Eyeliner, as well as other FREE sample items. Free makeovers will also be available. I'm sure they'll be trying to persuade you to buy the products used...but if they're successful, you'll also receive a free eye color for making a purchase.

Some Bare Escentuals Store Locations

Durham Area - SouthPoint Mall, Crabtree Valley Mall

Milwaukee Area - Bayshore Mall, Mayfair Mall

Madison Area - West Towne Mall

I'm a Krazy Coupon Lady x2

Another one of my articles has been posted on The Krazy Coupon Lady. Some of you who have been reading this blog since the beginning might recognize it as a slightly altered version of a previous blog post (which has since been taken down). A side note - they rewrote the article title. I can't exactly remember what it was when I submitted, but I wouldn't want you to think that I came up with a title that included a misspelling for the word crazy! PET PEEVE - using the letter K in words that should be spelled with a C, like Korner Kitchen, Kid's Kloset...UGH! That drives me "Krazy!"

*We're Not Having Hot Mush Today



My little man is venturing into the world of "solid" foods. (It hardly seems appropriate, though, to call his meals of pureed mush solid.)

After about a month of trying out wall paper paste...I mean rice cereal...he's ready to move on to bigger and better foods.

Honestly, I feel a bit lost with this new food venture. I get the general idea - introduce a new food every 3-4 days, start with single foods, not combo. BUT, I'd love some advice from experienced parents. Nolan is 6 months old. At that age, how many times a day did you feed your baby solids?? Did you have a good experience beginning with certain foods vs. others? Internet advice seems all over the place, and my doctor actually told me to throw away the info sheet his practice gave me, claiming it was garbage.

Now, here are a few questions that make this post a bit more appropriate for my deal seeking blog. I'm weighing the pros and cons of making my own baby food. I've only been at this a for about a week, but so far, I've been making my own food, using my trusty food processor. I've pureed and frozen sweet potatoes and mango. Today, I'll be giving carrots and green beans a try. As with my own food, I really like knowing what has gone into it. I also like being able to control the consistency and texture. For now, I have the time to make Nolan's food, and it seems to be a bit cheaper than buying jars.

I'm curious, though, if anyone has looked into this more thoroughly. Does anyone know if making your own baby food is actually a better deal than buying it? Do you feel that the time and effort put into making the food is worth it?

Discuss.

*Name the movie!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sunday Coupon Preview - 10/30

I just posted about the lack of available food coupons. After previewing the coupon inserts that will be found in Sunday's paper, it seems the trend continues. There will be three inserts on Sunday - Smart Source, Red Plum, and Procter & Gamble. Out of these three inserts, I counted about 15 food related coupons. Those 15 coupons included three for evaporated milk, three for tofu, three for Pringles, two for coffee creamer, and one for pumpkin bread mix. Most of those items get you absolutely nowhere when meal planning. Hmm...Pringles crusted tofu, in a French Vanilla cream sauce, served with a tall glass of evaporated milk. Delish. :) (Ok, I know that each of those items has their place...but it would be nice to see coupons for some REAL food!)

So, if you are already up to your eyeballs in personal care and cleaning items, as I am, you might consider skipping or buying just one copy of the 10/30 paper. In my opinion, it's not worth picking up for the food savings.

On the other hand, if you're looking to build up your supply of items like toothpaste, laundry detergent, etc., buying multiple copies of the paper would be a wise idea. The P&G insert comes around just once a month, and many of the drug stores run deals at the beginning of the month, specifically targeting Procter & Gamble products. Unless you plan to go total extreme couponer, I would suggest a max of four newspapers.

Get Out and About - Local Wineries and Wine Shops

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about visiting local breweries. At the risk of coming across as a lush, this post is going to focus on more ways to get cheap booze.

Now, the explosion of wineries across the county is somewhat interesting to me, and in some ways, a bit sad, knowing that one reason for their appearance is the failure of farms. In states like North Carolina, wineries are popping up where tobacco fields once thrived (ok, not too sad about the fail of big tobacco). You'll find wineries in the most unlikely of places, and based on the brief "research" I've done, in every single state, including Alaska and Hawaii (wasn't a huge fan of their pineapple wine).

North Carolina has, I am told, a pretty impressive wine country, west of Greensboro, toward the mountains. Head to the Visit NC site to view an interactive map of NC wineries.

While you could make the drive west to get your wine fix, there are a few wineries and wine shops closer to home, which offer free or inexpensive tastings and tours.

Vineyards At Southpoint -  8913 N.C. Highway 751, Durham
Located beyond Durham city limits, a few miles south of Southpoint Mall
Tours and Tastings - Friday-Sunday noon-5:00 p.m.
$5, includes souvenir wine glass

Visit this weekend, October 28th and 29th, for the vineyard's grand opening party. Enjoy FREE wine tastings, food samples, and live music.

Chatham Hill Winery - 3800 Gateway Centre Blvd., Morrisville
Billed as an urban winery, near the airport, located just off I-40
Tours and Tastings - see schedule
$8 tasting, $10 includes tour (not cheap, but think of it as a few hours of entertainment)

Wine Authorities - 2501 University Drive, Durham
A unique wine shop owned by one of the men who also gave us the downtown gem, Bull City Burger and Brewery.
A quote from their mission statement:
"Focus on bringing user-friendly technology to the world of wine, and fun creativity to displays and merchandising. Customers can view, rate and leave notes on all of their purchases using our website, wineauthorities.com. All of this including color label shots and our colorful descriptions are found under the tab "My Cellar". Our Enomatics allow customers to sample or drink a wide selection of wine anytime the store is open. WATV, from our website, allows our farmer/winemakers to tell you their story in the form of short, stream-able videos."
FREE tastings every Sunday from 12:00-3:00 p.m.

Hope Valley Bottle Shop - 4711 Hope Valley Road Suite 4E, Durham
FREE tastings every Saturday from 4:30-7:00 p.m.

3 Cups - 227 S. Elliot Rd., Chapel Hill (near Southern Season)
FREE tastings every Saturday from 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Keep an eye on their events calendar for other FREE tasting events, which are often accompanied by local food trucks.

Chapel Hill Wine Company - 2809 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill
FREE tastings every Thursday from 5:00-7:00 p.m., also first Fridays of each month

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Best Things in Life

Alright, I don't want to sign off tonight after a negative post, so here is something that put a smile on my face today, my favorite "freebie" moment.


Uninspired

It's been two days since I last wrote a blog post. I've been feeling uninspired this week. The drug store deals are pretty awful, unless you're in need of over priced air fresheners. There's nothing crazy going on at the grocery stores.

At one point, I had written down a list of post ideas for times like this. The list is nowhere to be found.  Guess I should stop making my lists on sticky notes.

Uninspired. Blah.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

If Only We Could Eat Soap - Tips for Saving Money on Food

A trip back to Wisconsin isn't just a chance to spend time with family.. It's also an opportunity to catch up on months of missed cable TV. When Alex and I got married, we made the decision to forgo cable. We subscribe to Netflix, use Hulu, watch Wisconsin basketball and football games on ESPN3, and Brewers games on MLB.com. Really, most of the time, I don't miss cable. Every once in a while, though, I love to sit down for a marathon session of on demand TLC and HGTV shows. (This visit was mixed with sessions of Walking Dead. What can I say, I'm a girl with varied tastes.)

The premiere of TLC's Extreme Couponing ran earlier this fall. I'd read about it, but until this past week, hadn't seen it. As expected, it was more of the same. Shopping carts loaded down with hundreds of bottles of Lipton Tea and hot sauce. Moments of fake tension as a store manager tries to fix the register that has "broken" from all the coupons. I zoned out through most of the episode, but one small comment during the narration caught my attention.

A statistic was mentioned about the percentage of coupons distributed that are for food products. OK, I don't remember the percentage. I could take the time to try and look it up, but suffice it to say, it was extremely small.

Considering that the majority of coupons are for household and personal care items, how is a family supposed to save on weekly grocery bills? With coupons, you can walk out of a store on any given day with bags full of free soap and toothpaste. While this sure helps you stay fresh and clean (so fresh and so clean, clean - a little OutKast anyone?), it does little to fill the belly.

I don't claim to be an expert in the area of food savings, but here are some ideas to help you save money at the grocery store.

  1. Shop Store Sales - Check weekly ads found online or in newspapers. Shop around the sales. Use your store card to access sale prices.
  2. Use Coupons When Available- While a coupon for an item will save you money any day, save them to use when they can be combined with a store sale. Store sale + coupon = bigger savings. Check newspaper inserts, as well as online. See this previous post for online coupon sources. Shop at stores that double coupons, and keep an eye out for promotions for triple coupons (Harris Teeter).
  3. Know Your Prices - It can sometimes be difficult to know a good deal when you see one. I use a spreadsheet from The Krazy Coupon Lady, which lists good deal prices for frequently purchased items. I keep a copy of this spreadsheet in my coupon binder. If I don't immediately need an item, I'll wait until I see better price. 
  4. Stock Pile (in moderation) - Buy multiple packages of the same item when prices are low (see spreadsheet). This way, you have the product on hand when prices rise.
  5. Buy produce in season - This time of year, look for items like pears, apples, root vegetables, etc.
  6. Cut Down on Meat - Meat is expensive. Try other, less expensive sources of protein, such as eggs, beans, or lentils. If you buy meat, purchase when the price is right (see spreadsheet) and freeze it for later use. Keep an eye out for meat coupons. They are sometimes found in unexpected places - necks of wine bottles (in NC you don't have to purchase the alcohol to use the coupon), attached to coupons for charcoal (ex.- buy charcoal, get $2 off meat), etc.
  7. Menu Plan - At the beginning of the week, I like to plan out a week of meals. I take inventory of what is already in the house and try to plan meals around those items. A menu plan also helps minimize impulse purchases as well as the number of trips made to the grocery store each week.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Freebie Find - 20 4x6 prints



'Like' Kodak on Facebook, and receive a coupon for 20 FREE 4x6 prints, redeemable at CVS. Use the Kodak Facebook application to select photos for in store pick up at a store near you.

I signed up and just picked my photos. I sometimes feel that my Facebook images look a bit blurry, though, so I'm curious to see how these turn out. The nice thing is, it won't cost me anything to find out!

If you'd like to snag this deal, don't wait. The Facebook promo is only good through tomorrow, 10/23. You will have a few more days to use the coupon, though. The one I printed today is valid through 10/26.

Rebate Update

Below is an updated list of product rebates. New additions are listed in RED.

Rebate Deals (listed in order of submission deadline)

Prevacid 24 Hour (up to $22, link includes a $4 coupon, in case your store sells for more than $22)
  • Purchase between 9/18/11 and 11/18/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 4/15/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code
Lysol Dual Action Wipes Try Me Free Rebate (35 ct. or 80 ct., up to $5.00)
  • Purchase between 9/1/11 and 11/30/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 12/31/11
  • Will need original cash register receipt
Carmex Moisture Plus (up to $2.99, MUST PURCHASE AT CVS)
  • Purchase between 9/1/11 and 12/15/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 1/15/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code
  • Purchase by 12/15/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 1/15/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code
La Creme Coffee Creamer (up to $2.99, available at Walmart)
  • Purchase between 10/1/11 and 12/31/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 12/31/11
  • Will need original cash register receipt
  • Purchase by 1/15/12
  • Submit by mail no later than 1/31/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code 
  • Purchase by 12/31/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 1/31/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt and UPC code
Science Diet Ideal Balance Dog Food - 4 pound bag (up to $12.99)
  • Purchase by 12/31/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 1/31/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt and UPC code
  • Purchase between 9/1/11 and 1/31/12
  • Submit by mail no later than 2/17/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code
  • Purchase between 9/1/11 and 4/1/12
  • Submit by mail no later than 4/15/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code

Reader Response: Have you found any great rebate deals not listed here? Please share!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Freebie Find - Blockbuster Express Codes

Here's the latest set of codes for FREE $1 rentals at any Blockbuster Express kiosk (nationwide). These are good through 10/24. Be sure to take the list with you when you rent. Not all codes will work.

For those in Durham, I know of kiosks outside of Rite Aid on Fayettville, outside Food Lion on Hope Valley, and outside Sheetz on Miami

72MAYB3
27ABDP7
72KRFT8
73WHZS7
82KJRD3
49BPSP4
77JRTW4
27JBHG5
48SGLM2
28KWMR9
82CDJS9

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Best Things in Life

Nolan and I have been in Wisconsin for the past few days, visiting family. I've been taking a bit of a break from deal finding...even left my coupon binder behind in NC!
So, instead of coupon deals, here's a look at some of the best freebie moments from our trip.


Trying out the Halloween costume a few weeks early. Cooper has some competition for the cutest puppy in the house.

First taste of applesauce :)

Kisses from Grandpa
Hanging with Uncle Michael and his fu manchu


I'm a Krazy Coupon Lady

Well, it looks like one of my articles was published on The Krazy Coupon Lady website yesterday. To be completely honest, I only wrote this one because I had a feeling that the topic would be accepted by the site. I can't say that I was over the top excited to write about video game trade in, but hey, a stay at home mom can use a little extra spending money. It also seems, from the comments I've received, that I could have made even more money by trading my video games in through Amazon, instead of Swagbucks, as I had already done. OOPS! I guess the publishing pay makes up for it. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rite Aid Deals - 10/16-10/22

This week is looking like another great one for stocking up on free cold/flu products at Rite Aid. Each of the items below (some are not cold products), are free after coupons and +UP Rewards (Rite Aid reward currency that prints on your receipt). Some products are even money makers!

If you shopped at Rite Aid last week and earned +UP Rewards, you can use them as payment and pay very little out of pocket. Below, I will show you a shopping scenario for those who do not have previous +UP Rewards to use.

FREE PRODUCTS AT RITE AID - 10/16-10/22

Crest Toothpaste, 3D White Mouth Rinse, Oral-D Cross Action Toothbrush, Floss, or Floss Picks - $2.99 (limit 2)
- $2 off Crest Complete Toothpaste, Scope, or Oral-B Complete Floss or Toothbrush MQ (9/11 Smart Source insert)
Earn $1.50 +UP Reward when you buy One
= FREE  + $0.59 profit

Blistex Cold and Allergy Lip Balm - $1.49 (limit 1)
Earn $1.49 +UP Reward
= FREE

Organix Cough Drops - $1.50 (limit 1)
Earn $1.50 +UP Reward
= FREE

St. Joseph Aspirin, 120 ct. - $4.99 (limit 1)
- $1 off St. Joseph's Aspirin MQ (8/07 or 9/11 Smart Souce insert)
Earn $4 +UP Reward
= FREE

Boiron Arnicare Gel, 2.6 oz - $6.99 (limit 1)
- $2 off Arnicare Gel printable
Earn $6 +UP Reward
= FREE + $1.01 profit

Duract Cold Relief Tablets, 12 ct. - $6.00 (limit 1)
Earn $6 +UP Reward
= FREE

Cold Buster Warming Syrup, Sinus Buster, Allergy Buster - $8.00 (limit 1)
- $2 off Sinus Buster product printable
Earn $8 +UP Reward
= FREE + $2.00 profit

Neilmed NasaDrops Saline on the Go - $7.00 (limit 1)
Earn $7 + UP Reward
= FREE

Conair Color Vibes Hairbrush - $2.99
Earn $2.00 +UP Reward
= FREE + $0.01 profit

Shopping Scenario for those without +UP Rewards from previous weeks:

Transaction 1:
2 Crest Toothpastes - use 2/$2 off coupons = $1.98 for 2
1 Blistex = $1.49
1 Organix Cough Drops = $1.50
Total = $4.97 + tax
Earn $5.99 +UP Rewards

Transaction 2:
1 Cold Buster Syrup - $2 printable = $6.00
Pay with $5.99 +UP rewards from transaction 1
Total OOP = $0.01 + tax
earn $8.00 +UP Rewards

After transaction 2, you could save your +UP Rewards for another week. You would pay $4.97 OOP (for ~$20 worth of products) and still have $8 +UP, for a profit of $3.03!!

Some people choose to buy all of the products that are free after +UP Rewards in a single transaction. This would increase your out of pocket expense, but you would have a significant amount of +UP Rewards to use another time.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

One Kings Lane Update

A few days ago, I posted about One Kings Lane, an online daily deal site, specializing in home decor. As I mentioned, the site is offering FREE $15 CREDIT to new members. New deals are added daily, and today, a number of deals were listed that are under $15. For the cost of shipping, you could score items including glassware and cooking gadgets (measuring cups, mixing bowls, etc.)

Check it out!

Friday, October 14, 2011

$15 Credit - One Kings Lane


One King's Lane is an online daily deal site, specializing in home decor. For a limited time, they are offering new members a FREE $15 CREDIT just for joining. Deals are added daily, and they often include deals for less than $15, which would mean you would only pay shipping for your order! This would be a great way to begin your Christmas shopping!

It seems that most of today's deals below $15 have sold out, but the credit is good through 4/14/2012, so you'd have plenty of time to find a freebie!

Check it out!

Halloween Costume Discounts


Still looking for the perfect Halloween costume for yourself or one of the kids?

*'Like' Buycostumes.com on Facebook, and click to play their Zombie slots game (look at the left side of the screen, it's a red and black Z). You are able to play once a day and can win prizes of a percent of dollar amount off of an order. Some wins earn small rewards, like 10% off, but today, I was awarded $50 off my order. If you check it out soon, you should still be able to get your costume in time for Halloween parties or trick or treating!


*Thanks to B.H. for sharing this deal!

$10 Haircut at Ulta Benefiting Breast Cancer Research



Are you in desperate need of a haircut? That was me last week, and I wish I could have held off a little longer to take advantage of this great deal.

Head to Ulta on Sunday, October 16th, between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm. For a minimum suggested donation of $10, you'll receive a shampoo, cut, and style, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This promotion is only available to walk-ins and is on a first come first served basis.

The great thing about this promotion, is that you could choose to give a larger donation and still spend less than you regularly would at the salon!

For local readers, there is an Ulta located across the street from Southpoint Mall.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Freebie Find - Kodak Photo Book



The photo book deals just keep on coming...right in time to start getting Christmas gifts together!

Head to the Kodak website and click on the offer on the top of the screen that reads, "FREE Small Photo Book." These books are regularly priced at $11.99. You will pay just $2.99 for shipping! Offer expires 10/17.

Get together pictures of the kids, and this would be a great, and inexpensive, gift for family!

See Ya Later, Target



As I've mentioned in previous posts, my husband and I keep a spreadsheet, on which we track our monthly spending. Comparing recent months to months before I began to actively attempt to save money, one thing, other than the amount of money spent, is very different - the number of monthly transactions made at Target.


Target has long been our go to store, the place to which we turned for day to day needs, where we often did our grocery shopping. By minimizing, though not totally eliminating, our Target runs, we have drastically cut our spending. I decided to think about specific things we used to spend a significant amount of money on when shopping at Target. Below, I've broken our spending into categories and for each explained money saving alternatives to shopping at Target.


Food
As of July, I have done most of my weekly grocery shopping at Kroger. There are a few advantages to shopping there vs. Target or other area grocery stores. First, Kroger's prices tend to be lower. They also double coupons up to $0.50. Target does not. By shopping Kroger, you also earn quarterly rewards gift cards ($1 for each 100 points accumulated), as well as credits toward money off gas (100 points = - $0.10 per gallon). These are small benefits, but really, more than you'll find elsewhere.

Personal Care Items (shampoo, razors, etc.) and Household Supplies (cleaning products, tissues)
This category was always a Target downfall. I would walk into the store with an idea of an item or two we needed, but somehow walk out with a cart full of extra "stuff." I've reversed my thinking about shopping for personal care items and household items, and now, instead of shopping for them when I'm about to run out, I look for deals ahead of time. I have been slowly building a supply, and have items ready to go when a need arises. I now purchase most of these items from drugstores, like CVS and Rite Aid, using store rewards for payment. Doing this, I only pay sales tax on products like shampoo, body wash, toilet paper, and toothpaste. Read this previous post to learn more about saving at CVS.

Clothes
Ok, I still have a little problem spending money on clothes at Target. It seems to be the one store to have fit my body and tastes post baby. I HAVE made some changes to my clothes shopping habits, though. When shopping at Target for clothes, I check online for coupons. The Target website will often post coupons for a percent or a dollar amount off of certain brands, like Merona or Mossimo. I have actually gotten some FREE clothes from Target using these coupons.

I have also signed up for other stores' e-mail lists. By doing so, you'll be alerted to sale events and will likely receive coupons. Loft and Old Navy seem to send out coupons weekly. If you're free, I also suggest shopping mid-week. I've walked into to Loft a number of times, on a Tuesday or Wednesday, to find a sale event for 40% off the entire store, which had not been advertised by e-mail or website.

i-tunes Gift Cards
My husband used to grab an i-tunes card from the impulse rack next to the cash register on nearly every trip we made to Target. Fifteen dollars at a time, this adds up. I didn't want him to give up an interest of his, though, so we've come up with a few alternatives. One, we listen to Pandora, which is a free, customizable online radio station. You can search by artist and genre, and Pandora will create playlists of similar music. You can rate songs with a thumbs up or down, to help the program learn your tastes.

We haven't given i-tunes up completely, though. We've just found a way to get gift cards for FREE. Using Swag Bucks, a search engine that rewards you for internet activity, I have accumulated points, which I have redeemed for an i-tunes card. See this previous post for more info, or head straight to Swag Bucks to check it out!

Baby Care
There are a number of places I now turn to when searching for baby deals...and Target is rarely one of them. When looking for diapers, I head one of two places, a drugstore, like CVS (where you earn a free pack for every 6 you purchase), to use my coupons along with rewards dollars, or Amazon.com.

Parents can sign up for an Amazon Mom account, which offers free two day shipping on baby products, like diapers, wipes, etc. To save extra money on Amazon, sign up for Subscribe and Save options, which offer a percentage off sale prices. You can subscribe to have the same item shipped to you at specified intervals, say every three or six months. An option I use more often, though, is signing up for Subscribe and Save, then unsubscribing after I make my purchase. There's no way I will be needing the same size diapers three months later! It's best to unsubscribe right after making your purchase, or you might forgot to take care of it. I a few months pack, I had a unexpected charge for a case of diapers because I had forgotten to unsubscribe. OOPS!

Miscellaneous Purchases/Non-Urgent Needs
Random trips to Target used to result in unplanned purchases and big bills. How have we been able to cut these out? Amazon.

Now, products on Amazon obviously cost money, so how is this saving us money? Well, we make our Amazon purchases using gift cards earned through Swag Bucks. If there's a non-urgent purchase to be made, one that can wait at least the time of two day shipping, we'll turn to Amazon and use our gift card money, rather than make a Target run. This takes some will power, but has decreased the impulse shopping that would accompany a trip to Target for the one needed item.


Reader Response: Can you pinpoint a store or spending category that consistently busts your budget? 

Rebate Update

Below is an updated list of product rebates. New additions are listed in RED.

Rebate Deals (listed in order of submission deadline)

Prevacid 24 Hour (up to $22, link includes a $4 coupon, in case your store sells for more than $22)
  • Purchase between 9/18/11 and 11/18/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 4/15/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code
Lysol Dual Action Wipes Try Me Free Rebate (35 ct. or 80 ct., up to $5.00)
  • Purchase between 9/1/11 and 11/30/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 12/31/11
  • Will need original cash register receipt
Carmex Moisture Plus (up to $2.99, MUST PURCHASE AT CVS)
  • Purchase between 9/1/11 and 12/15/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 1/15/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code

  • Purchase by 12/15/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 1/15/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code 
La Creme Coffee Creamer (up to $2.99, available at Walmart)
  • Purchase between 10/1/11 and 12/31/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 12/31/11
  • Will need original cash register receipt
Renuzit Holiday Fresh Accents Air Freshener (up to $2.29)
  • Purchase by 12/31/11
  • Submit by mail no later than 1/31/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt and UPC code

Progress Soup (up to $2.68)
  • Purchase between 9/1/11 and 1/31/12
  • Submit by mail no later than 2/17/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code
Brita Pitcher or Faucet Mount (up to $10)     No Longer Available!
The pitcher is on sale at many stores for less than $10. Here is a $5 coupon, that will help lower the price if you find an item selling for more than $10.  
  • Purchase before 3/31/12
  • Submit by mail no later than 3/31/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code
  • Purchase between 9/1/11 and 4/1/12
  • Submit by mail no later than 4/15/12
  • Will need original cash register receipt AND UPC code

Reader Response: Have you found any great rebate deals not listed here? Please share!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Get Out and About - Local Breweries



When beginning to coupon and purposefully save money, it’s easy to feel as though social activities should be curbed. We all know that a night out can be REALLY expensive. Drinks can often cost more than dinner, and your total bill can be more expensive than a trip to the grocery store.

So what is a thrifty, but social (and thirsty), gal (or guy) to do?? Find money saving alternatives, of course!

For the remainder of this post, let’s focus on a FREE or inexpensive alternative to a drinks a bar, a way to get out with your friends or significant other, and enjoy conversation and a drink or two, while keeping the cash and cards inside your wallet.

Visit a Local Microbrewery!

Buying local is in vogue.  As consumers showed increased interest in purchasing locally produced products, microbreweries took full advantage and began popping up in cities across the United States. Microbrews can be much more expensive, though WAY more tasty, than beverages from mass production companies...lookin' at you Budweiser and Miller. As a thrifty, and fun, alternative to buying bottles at the store or bar, consider visiting a microbrewery near your home for a tasting and tour!

Microbreweries are looking to grow their business and establish a loyal customer base, so they will often offer FREE or inexpensive tastings, sometimes offering multiple pints per person. The tastings are usually accompanied by guided tours of the facilities. Triangle Brewery in Durham offers food for sale, tables for sitting and enjoying a drink, and lawn games, like bean bags and washers.

Here's a listing of some area breweries offering tours/tastings.

Triangle Brewery - Durham - Saturdays - Doors open at 1:00 pm - FREE tour and samples 

Big Boss Brewing - Raleigh - Second Saturdays - 2:00 pm - $1.00 samples

Fullsteam Brewery - Durham - no tours, but generally have FREE music or movies on weekends

Lonerider Brewing Company - Raleigh - website doesn't give prices - tasting room open Th-Sat

Mystery Brewing (new brewery - haven't tried them yet) - Hillsborough - tours and tasting by appointment

Aviator Brewing Company - Fuquay Varina - tours Thursdays and Fridays 6:00 pm, Saturdays 4:00 pm, free tour with purchase of beer

Carolina Brewing Company - Holly Springs - Saturdays 1:00 pm

Reader Response: Did I miss a local brewery offering tours and tastings? Let me know!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Freebie Find - My Publisher Mini Photo Book



Photo books make great gifts for family members! "Like" My Publisher's facebook page, and you will given a code for a FREE mini photo book, including free shipping!

Create an account, design your book, and redeem your code by visiting My Publisher


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rite Aid Trip - 10/9

Today was my first attempt at rolling +UP Rewards at Rite Aid. I walked in with $10 +UP Rewards, earned from a purchase made last week.

The basic rules for using +UP Rewards - Your purchase amount must equal or exceed the value of the +UP Reward (can't use a $5 +UP to pay for a purchase totaling $4.99). They can be used on any item, excluding tobacco, stamps, gift cards, lottery tickets, or alcohol.

With those basics in mind, I set out with a pretty straight forward, two-transaction plan that not even my surly, "I ain't gonna put no coupons in manually," cashier could screw up...though, boy, did she ever try.

Here is what I landed for $1.17 out of pocket (pre-tax), thanks to the saving of a much friendlier, and tech savvy, 18 year old store manager.



Transaction 1:


2 Sauve Professionals Conditioners (included travel size hairspray bonus) - $2.69 each
BOGO Manufacturer Coupon (10/2 Smart Source Insert)
- $2/2 Ad Perk Video Values Coupon (Click on Hair Care, watch the brief Sauve video, print coupon)
= two for $0.69

Blistex Lip Ointment - $1.49 (limit 1)
Earn $1.49 +UP Reward

Burt's Bees Throat Drops - $1.49 (limit 1)
Earn $1.49 +UP Reward 

Cepacol Sore Throat Lozenges - $2.50 (limit 1)
Earn $2.50 +UP Reward  

NeilMed Nasal Mist - $5.00 (limit 1)
Earn $5.00 +UP Reward 

Total = $11.17
Pay with $10 +UP Reward 
Remaining Out of Pocket= $1.17 (pre-tax), $2.24 (with tax)
Earn $10.48 in +UP rewards ($1.49, $1.49, $2.50, $5.00)

Transaction 2:

Chloraseptic Sore Throat Spray (6 oz) or Lozenges (15-18 ct.) - $3.99 (limit 1) - $1 off Chloraseptic product printable  = $2.99
earn $3 +UP Reward


PreparationH Hemorrhoid Wipes - $3.00 - $2 printable = $1.00
Earn $3 +UP Reward

2 Carefree Liners (20 count) - $1.00 each - 2/$0.50 manufacturer coupons - $1/2 Ad Perk Coupon = $0.00

Total = $3.99 
Pay with $1.49 +UP Reward and $2.50 +UP Reward from transaction 1 (totals $3.99)
Remaining Out of Pocket = $0.00 (pre-tax), $0.61 (with tax)
Earn $6.00 in +UP rewards

Total Value of Products = $37.60 (regular prices)
Total Out of Pocket for Both Transactions = $1.17 (pre-tax), $2.85 (with tax)
$12.49 +UP Rewards Remaining ($5.00, $3.00, $3.00, $1.49)




Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stack 'em Up - Target Mobile Coupons



A while back, I posted about stacking coupons as a way to increase your savings. One way of doing this, is using Target Mobile Coupons, which are different from those you are able to print directly from the Target website.

Visit the Target Mobile Coupon website (scroll down to coupon alert). Enter your cell number, and you will be sent special coupon offers twice a month, via text. It took a few days for my first set of coupons to show up. The message from Target will include a list of all available coupon offers. It will also include a barcode, which the cashier will scan when you wish to apply a coupon. These mobile coupons are considered Target store coupons, and so can be stacked with manufacturer coupons. You are able to use one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon per item. Each mobile coupon may only be used one time per phone, though you could have them sent to multiple phones within your household.

No smart phone? No problem. I don't have one either. You can still receive the coupon texts from Target. You will be sent a URL, which you can type into your computer. Either print the page and bring it to the store, or pull the web page up on an i-pod and bring the i-pod with you. This is what I did today.

Here is a look at the coupon stacking I did today, using Target Mobile coupons.



Olay Regenerist Fash Wash - on sale for $5.99 (could also get cleansing wipes)
- $3 manufacturer coupon (10/2 P&G insert)
- $3 Target Mobile Store Coupon
= FREE

Transformers Dark of the Moon Toy (starting on a Christmas Giving Tree donation) - on sale for $9.99
- $5 Printable Coupon (from Target website, but is a manufacturer coupon)
- $5 Target Mobile Coupon
= FREE

Drugstore Deals - Rite Aid - Week of 10/9



Cold season is just around the corner...or maybe it's already rounded that corner and barreled right into your house. Next week is your chance to stock up on cold fighting supplies at Rite Aid, for little money out of pocket.

Each item listed below is free after +UP Rewards, Rite Aid currency given on your receipt (DON'T THROW IT AWAY), which can be used on a future purchase. You will also find a shopping scenario, showing you how to reduce your out of pocket spending and increase your rewards earning. You will need a Rite Aid Wellness card to be given sale prices and rewards.

Free Cold and Flu Items - Rite Aid - Beginning 10/9

Rite Aid Hand Sanitizer - $1.00 (limit 4)
earn $1 +UP Reward
= FREE

Chloraseptic Sore Throat Spray (6 oz) or Lozenges (15-18 ct.) - $3.99 (limit 1)
- $1 off Chloraseptic product printable
earn $3 +UP Reward
= FREE

Blistex Lip Ointment - $1.49 (limit 1)
Earn $1.49 +UP Reward
= FREE

Burt's Bees Throat Drops - $1.49 (limit 1)
Earn $1.49 +UP Reward 
= FREE

Cepacol Sore Throat Lozenges - $2.50 (limit 1)
Earn $2.50 +UP Reward  
= FREE

NeilMed Nasal Mist - $5.00 (limit 1)
Earn $5.00 +UP Reward 
= FREE

Not Cold/Flu Items, but FREE or Money Maker


PreparationH Hemorrhoid Wipes - $3.00
- $2 printable
Earn $3 +UP Reward
= $2.00 money maker

Sauve Shampoo and Conditioner - 2/$3
BOGO Manufacturer Coupon (10/2 Smart Source Insert)
- $2/2 Ad Perk Video Values Coupon (Click on Hair Care, watch the brief Sauve video, print coupon)
= Two FREE

Trip Idea for New Rite Aid Shoppers

Transaction 1: Buy NeilMed Nasal Mist and and *2 Sauve Products (-BOGO Q and $2/2 printable) = $5.00 + tax, earn $5 +UP reward
*If you did not get last Sunday's paper, skip the Sauve products, or pay $1/2)

Transaction 2: Buy Cepacol, Burt's Bees, and Blistex = $5.48
Pay with $5 UP reward from Transaction 1
total due = $0.48 + tax, earn $5.48 +UP Reward ($2.50, $1.49, $1.49)

Transaction 3: Buy Chloraseptic Spray (-$1 printable), 1 Rite Aid hand sanitizer = $3.99
Pay with $2.50 +UP reward and $1.49 +UP reward from Transaction 2
total due = $0.00 + tax, earn $4.00 +UP Reward ($3.00, $1.00)

Transaction 4 (you might not need hemorrhoid cream, but it would make you $2): Buy PreparationH Wipes (-$2 printable) = $1.00
Pay with $1.00 + UP Reward from Transaction 3
total due = $0.00 + tax, earn $3.00 +UP Reward

Total Out of Pocket = $5.48 + tax (for over $20 of products)
$7.49 +UP Rewards Remaining
Net Profit = $2.01

Friday, October 7, 2011

Freebie Find - Blockbuster Express

The gift that keeps on giving.

Here is another set of codes for FREE $1 rentals at any Blockbuster Express kiosk. Unless otherwise noted, these are valid through 10/10.



DAMON (Good on any Matt Damon movie, valid through 10/31 - all I keep hearing in my mind is the clip from Team America - HAHA)
6550BW7
54DWTM6
63MAYB7
36ABDP4
63KRFT4
59SLRH4
46WHZS2
46NCCC9


Get Out and About - Family Edition (10/7-10/9)



As I was checking out weekend happenings in and around Durham, I noticed that family friendly events abound. This could have a little something to do with the World Beer Festival happening on Saturday. I have a feeling that event planners don't want to compete with one of Durham's biggest adult only events.

Tickets for beer fest have sold out, but you could do as some of my friends have planned (hope you don't mind me sharing your great idea), and hold your own harvest beer party. Invite friends to come over and bring along their favorite autumn/harvest beer. Think pumpkin, oktoberfest, etc. Provide or ask guests to bring sampling glasses and try out the best fall has to offer.

Thinking beyond beer, though, here are some ideas for getting and about this weekend, family style.

Friday, October 7th


Nature Ranger Cart at Sarah P. Duke Gardens

You might be a little late for this one, unless you read this post almost immediately after it's published...I apologize. If you are able to hop in the car and quickly drive to campus, check out the ranger cart at the Duke Gardens, where your toddler or preschooler can participate in nature themed craft activities, FREE of charge!

Before or after, wind your way through the garden's trails, and enjoy the fall weather. For those of you who have not visited the garden, with or without kids, I suggest taking a few hours to do so. This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful spot in Durham.

10:00 am - noon
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St.
Durham

Sunday, October 9th

Bull City Open Streets


This festival, taking place between the farmers market and old Durham Bulls park, is aimed at encouraging residents to get moving and minimize their reliance on vehicles. Attendees are encouraged to walk, bike, or skate down...which might be difficult if you don't live downtown or close to a bike path. Not sure a bike ride down 147 or 15-501 would be a wise decision...though I HAVE seen it done.

Once there, check out food vendors, music, and kid zone activities.

1:00-4:00 pm
Foster and Corporation Streets
Durham

Fall Family Fun at Duke Gardens

Couldn't get to the gardens on Friday, try this FREE event on Sunday afternoon. Each week, the garden will host craft and science activities for kids. Your child must have an adult chaperone, though you do not need to pre-register.

See below for a list of activities happening this week.

Slime
Build a Grape Catapult
Color Dance (watch milk and soap interact)
Climbing Colors and Create a Print water experiments
Seed Bombs
Hoopster: amazing paper airplane
Flying Seeds: build a wind-dispersed seed model



12:00 - 3:00 pm
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St. 
Durham

Fall Festival at Northgate Mall

This Sunday event seems like it will have something for the entire family. Music fans, check out blues and jazz musicians. Missed Beer Fest? Went to Beer Fest but want an afternoon buzz twice in one weekend? Visit the Full Steam Brewery Beer Garden. Check out food vendors, roast chestnuts on an open fire (seriously), or find a pumpkin to bring home for decorating. 

1:00-6:00 pm
Northgate Mall
1058 W Club Blvd.
Durham




Thursday, October 6, 2011

Couponing Tip - The Fine Print

I've quickly come to understand that the couponing world is full of rules, both written and unwritten. As the coupon gurus have taught me, one of the most important rules is carefully reading and adhering to the fine print on coupons.

So, what might you be looking for?

Words and phrases like...
  • Do Not Double or Triple - Some coupons specifically state that the store should not double the coupon. If you have a coupon for $0.40 that states, "Do Not Double," and you bring it to a store like Kroger where they double up to $0.50, it WILL NOT double, so do not expect the extra savings.
  • Limit of ____ Like Coupons Per Shopping Trip - Read this number carefully. Procter and Gamble coupons almost always state a limit of 4 like coupons per trip. This rule is in place to limit hoarders, who would come with dozens of like coupons in hand, ready to clear a shelf of sale items. If you want to use more than four of the same exact coupon, you'll have to go to another store or come back another time.
  • Limit One Coupon Per Purchase - This DOES NOT mean that you can only use one coupon for your entire cart or basket. This wording means that you may have one coupon per item (purchase). If I am buying two bottles of the same shampoo (two purchases), I am allowed one coupon for each bottle. If I am only buying one bottle, I may not use two manufacturer coupons.
  • Limit Open Coupon Per Transction - This statement means that you may only use ONE of the coupon each time you pay. If you want to use more, you will have to pay and ring up a separate transaction. I have seen limits like this when using Target store coupons.
  • Words indicating the number and type of product that must be purchased - Some coupons will, for example, specify that the coupon is for $1.00 off two or three of the same product. When using such a coupon, be sure to buy the stated number of products. The coupon might also state a certain type of the product. For example, a coupon in this week's paper was for $8 off 2 CoverGirl face products. This means that you need to purchase two CG products that are for the face. Buying lipstick or eyeshadow would be a misuse of the coupon.
  • Exclusions - The coupon might state specific items that cannot be discounted using the coupon. A common exclusion is trial sized items. It seems that many companies have become privy to the fact that shoppers were scoring tons of free items by using $1 off coupons on trial sized items, like toothpaste, shampoo, and laundry detergent. If a coupon does not state a size restriction, you can technically use the discount on any size product. 
To familiarize yourself with the fine print, take a closer look at the coupon pictured below (click to enlarge). Some of these rules might seem a bit ridiculous, but misuse of coupons is the top reason many stores are cracking down and limiting coupon use. If you want to continue (or start) saving, it would be best to be a rule follower! :)