Monday, January 30, 2012


It's amazing how quickly the mind and body move on from vacation mode. It's been about 48 hours since we left Sanibel Island, and it already feels a world away.

I told you that I planned to unplug while I was on vacation. No blog posts, no deal finding. I went a week and a half without both....and it felt great. The 85 degree weather and sun on my back as I sat poolside, sipping a drink, undoubtedly played their part, but I know that the feeling of relaxation certainly came from setting aside my coupons (and this blog).

I love writing.

This blog has been an outlet for that, though not exactly the writing content that gets me excited to get back to the keyboard. While on vacation, it was suggested that I pursue my writing, consider penning a book, write articles about topics that light a fire in me, write about things that truly interest me.

The problem is, I have no idea what those things are.

For the past six years or so, school has been my life. At night and on weekends, I spent my free time lesson planning, unit creating, behavior strategizing. School was what I lived and breathed. It was my reality, and honestly, it always felt like there was little time to explore much else.

Now I'm a stay at home mom. Suddenly, I'm not a teacher. That part of my identity has been stripped away. Something that defined me for so long is just gone. I'm a mom...and I love it...but it still feels like I need something more, something that helps round me out, you could say. I'm a mom. I'm not a mom/teacher. I feel a longing for a word to place on the right side of that backslash.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Small but Free at HT

As we ran errands today, I just couldn't resist a trip to Harris Teeter to score a few freebies (hey, those deals will be gone by the time we're back from vaca).

I PROMISE - this will be the last post until next weekend. :)

I didn't get much, but everything pictured was FREE. I actually had a balance of -$0.04 before tax. After tax, I paid $0.14 for a box of cereal, a jar of pasta sauce, two energy bars, and a candy bar. I also walked away with a catalina coupon for $0.75 off my next purchase, from buying Wolfgang Puck...which means I actually came out making money on this transaction.

Kashi - $1.97 (Friday e-vic deal)
- $2.00/1 Kashi Recyclebank printable

Wolfgang Puck Sauce - $2.49
- $0.75 coupon (Sunday's inserts) x 2
- $1.00 e-vic

2 Eat Think Smile bars - $0.99 each
- 2 $1.00 off coupons (Sunday's inserts)

York Peppermint Patty - $0.99
- $1.00 off your next order catalina from buying Lean Cuisines

Share your shopping success stories by leaving a comment or sharing a link so others can view your shopping trip!

To link up, give your post a title, or "name," then insert a url that connects to your blog post or website.

I look forward to reading about and seeing your success stories!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Harris Teeter Shopping Trip - Week of 1/15

I know that I said that I wouldn't be posting again until after vacation, but I found this post, written and ready to go, just unpublished, so here's one for the road.

With vacation around the corner, I didn't want to do pick up a lot of groceries this week. I bought a few things we needed for lunches to get us through the week, and I was able to stock up on inexpensive granola bars and Lean Cuisines (backup lunches for Alex). And yes, that is ANOTHER box of Mac & Cheese. My discriminating palate didn't care for the spiral variety, though, so this time around, I managed to avoid downing the entire box.

I spent $39 and saved $49, a 56% savings - not my best week - BUT - the trip did have one big positive. While checking out, the cashier told me about a pharmacy promo, where new or transferred prescriptions earn $20 grocery coupons. You also earn a $20 coupon each time the prescription is refilled between now and April 3rd. I transferred a prescription yesterday, and the $20 was immediately loaded to my store card. Easy money for something I had to pay for anyway. :)

Share your shopping success stories by leaving a comment or sharing a link so others can view your shopping trip!

To link up, give your post a title, or "name," then insert a url that connects to your blog post or website.

I look forward to reading about and seeing your success stories!

Vacation = Blogcation

As I mentioned in another post, the hubs, Nolan, and I will be heading to Sanibel, Florida in a few days to enjoy a vacation with my mom, dad, and brother. I've decided that it's my goal to unplug during this trip (well, except for some Google searches for restaurants and things to do of course). But that means, no Facebook, no blog, no deal searching (I am going to get to try my hand at shopping Publix for the first time, though). I know, lofty goal.

I'm slowly starting to unplug today.

I'll be back blogging in about a week. Until then, if you really need a deal fix, check out Southern Savers or Homemaking Mom, a blog that follows Harris Teeter deals.

If something amazing comes my way before we leave, I might just have to quickly post about it on Facebook, so if you haven't already, check out the Allison's Durham Deals Facebook page. I'd LOVE it if you LIKED it. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crock Pot Recipe Link Up

While visiting other blogs, I came across a shared crock pot recipe link up. These recipes are not my own, though I might add one or two. They came from bloggers throughout the country. Use the links below to find a new recipe to try, or add a link to your own favorite slow cooker meal!

Harris Teeter Pharmacy - Prescriptions = FREE Groceries

I'm always on the lookout for a good prescription transfer deal. After a long dry spell, I spotted one this morning while shopping at Harris Teeter.

Between now and April 3, 2012, customers will be awarded $20 grocery coupons for each new or transferred prescription, filled at the Harris Teeter pharmacy. The fine print is a tad confusing, but if I'm reading it correctly, it seems that you will also be awarded a $20 coupon for each subsequent refill, with a limit of ten awarded coupons. This means, up to $200 in free groceries!!

The $20 coupons will be linked to your store card and will be automatically deducted when you make a purchase of $20 or more (only one can be used per transaction). The coupons expire April 10, 2012.

I know I'll be bringing our prescriptions to Harris Teeter very soon - too good to pass up!

Couponing Basics Part 7: Stacking Coupons

If you've been using your coupons for a while now, you might be starting to feel pretty comfortable. It could be time to take another money saving step and stack some coupons!

But....what exactly does that mean? 

Well, you already know that stores allow one manufacturer coupon per item. Some retailers, though, also offer their own store coupons, which can be stacked, or combined, with a manufacturer coupon to equal extra savings. At these stores, like Target, you are allowed to combine one manufacturer coupon with one store coupon.

Store coupons come in different forms. At times, you'll find them in paper form in store ads or flyers. You'll also see online printables, e-coupons, which link to your store card, as well as mobile coupons, which are redeemed using a barcode on a smart phone.

When you look for deal matchups on this and other coupon websites, you'll be made aware of any deals that involve coupon stacking. If you want to start looking for stacking opportunities on your own, though, begin by looking through your coupons and then browsing store coupons for matches. 

Target and Harris Teeter would be great places to begin. 

Visit the Target coupon page to look through and print coupons. As I browsed the Target coupons, I noticed many potential stacking opportunities. For example, there was a Target coupon for $5 off a Brita water pitcher. There was a manufacturer coupon for $4 off the same product in this week's Sunday paper. By using both coupons, you can deduct $9 from the price of the Brita!

Coupon stacking is also easy to do at Harris Teeter grocery stores. Look for electronic store coupons by logging into the Harris Teeter website. Visit the e-vic coupons link and load coupons to your store card. Right now, there are a number of opportunities to stack coupons to score great deals. For example, right now, Fiber One bars are on sale for $2.50. You can stack this printable manufacturer for $0.50 off (which will double to take off $1.00), with an e-vic store coupon for an additional $0.40 off. Using both coupons, the register will deduct $1.40 from the price, making the cost of the bars $1.10.

Though it takes just a bit more effort to stack coupons, the pay out can be well worth it! Happy stacking!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

It's looking like a strange dining week at our house. We're taking off on Saturday for a week of fun, sun, and family in Sanibel, Florida. I never like to buy too many groceries before leaving for a trip. Combine that with Alex working a few late shifts, and I think this week will be one of scraped together/fend for yourself meals.

Tonight, we ate left over Maggiano's take out from this weekend, which we bought using a gift card from a former student. I think it had been meant for a pre-baby date night. Oops.

As for the rest of the week, my meal plan looks a little something like this:

Teriyaki Chicken (from Pinterest)
Whatever I can pull together for myself while Alex is on call
Frozen Pizza (Friday night so we can pack and not cook)


I'm trying to think past this week of horrible eating, anticipating meals of fresh seafood and key lime pie!

Reader Response: 
Two questions for ya'll.
1) What's for dinner at your house this week?
2) One of my favorite things about traveling is eating out. No trip to the coast is complete for me without a crab cake sandwich and cup of some local seafood soup. Do you have a favorite culinary travel destination or a dish you can't miss when you travel to a certain area?

Couponing Basics Part 6: Shopping With Coupons

You've got your coupons clipped and organized and a grocery list ready to go. Let's get shopping!

Really, the hard work of couponing is already done. Locating coupons, clipping them, and finding deal match ups takes more effort than the actual shopping, but I do have a tip or two to help make your trips to the grocery store more smooth.
  • Preview Coupon Policies
    • Store coupon policies will tell you information like whether or not the store doubles coupons, which types of coupons are accepted, how many coupons a customer may use, etc. You will find links to the coupon policies of some Durham area grocery stores below.
                   Kroger - check with your local store, policies vary
                   Harris Teeter
                   Food Lion
  • Get a Store Loyalty Card
    • Before you head to the grocery store aisles, be sure you have a store card in hand. If you don't already have a card for the store you plan to shop, stop at the service desk when you arrive and ask for one. A store card will allow you to access sale prices. At some stores, you will also earn rewards (gas points, money back, etc.) for purchases, which are tracked using your card.
  • Match Products to Coupons
    • When picking an item off the shelf, look carefully at the size and variety of the item. Locate the item's coupon and make sure the item and coupon match. On occasion, a coupon might be very specific, for example, stating something like $0.75 off a certain type of Cheerios. You'll only be able to use the coupon at check out if the coupon matches the product you're buying.
  • Keep Track of Items with Coupons
    • I like to keep items with coupons on one side of the cart. When I place the item in the cart, I locate its coupon in my coupon envelope and keep it in my hand. Before checking out, I scan the cart and match the coupons in my hand to my shopping list and cart items. This helps me make sure I've picked up the items I wanted and that I'm handing the correct coupons to the cashier. It can be easy to accidentally hand the cashier extra coupons or to forget to hand over a coupon you meant to use. Find a strategy that works for you that will help prevent this from happening.
  • Keep Your Cool at Check Out
    • Occasionally, you'll hear a beep when the cashier tries to scan one of your coupons. This could mean a number of things - the coupon doesn't match the item, the internet printable is too fuzzy to read, the system doesn't recognize the coupon...who knows. When it happens, though, you have some options. Ask the cashier to try again. Ask them to try using the hand scanner. Ask them if it's possible to enter the coupon in manually. Ask them to void the item from your order (if you don't want it without the coupon savings). Whatever happens, keep your cool. Couponers get a bad name from coupon users who let cashiers have it when things don't go as planned.
Reader Response: Have you tried using your coupons? How did it go? Any successes to share or questions to ask?

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Shopping Trip Successes

    How did your shopping go this week? Did you score some freebies at Harris Teeter during the last few days of Super Doubles? Did you find some great deals at the drug stores?

    I had a pretty good week shopping at Harris Teeter and Kroger. On my last Super Doubles trip, I spent $14.41 on $66 worth of groceries, an 80% savings. I also made a trip on Thursday to shop the new sales,  spending $6.65 on $51 worth of products, an 87% savings. And...I made a small trip to Kroger, spending $1.85 on over $10 worth of goods. I spent a total of $22.91 on groceries this week...WAY under budget! :)

    Share your shopping success stories by leaving a comment or sharing a link so others can view your shopping trip!

    To link up, give your post a title, or "name," then insert a url that connects to your blog post or website.

    I look forward to reading about and seeing your success stories!

    A Little Something for my WI Readers

    Wisconsin readers, this one is just for you!

    I have some info for you that I think is worth passing along. Some of you probably know that a number of Piggly Wiggly stores have recently been doubling coupons up to $1.00 in value. These stores limit customers to 10 doubled coupons per transaction, with a minimum purchase of $25. I believe this amount is before coupons, though. Be sure to check if your store is doubling - it seems to change week to week.

    Well, Pick 'n Save stores are joining in the fun. Every Wednesday and Saturday through the end of April, Pick 'n Save stores will run Double Daze, where you will be able to double five coupons with a value up to $1. The coupons will only double if you purchase $25 worth of goods BEFORE sale prices, store card and coupons. This shouldn't be hard to do.

    I found a blog that does weekly Pick 'n Save and Piggly Wiggly match ups - Save the Coupons. Check it out, and Happy Doubling!

    Couponing Basics - Back Next Week

    Check back next week for more Couponing Basics posts. I figure, five posts are plenty for one week and enough to get some of you started. :)

    If you're thinking about beginning to coupon, take the weekend to clip/search for/print your coupons. Check this blog for some Harris Teeter match ups or Southern Savers for  complete lists of match ups for Harris Teeter, Kroger (new sale ad begins Sunday morning, match ups should be out by tomorrow), as well as other area stores. Start making lists of items you're interested in picking up, and I'll be back by Monday with a sixth post - Couponing Basics: Shopping With Coupons.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Cereal Deals - Kroger and HT

    If you're looking to stock up on cereal, there are a few great deals around town.

    Until Saturday evening, 1/14, you can score four boxes of Kashi Go Lean cereal for just $0.96 total! Here's how:

    Buy 4 Kashi Go Lean (can choose between varieties) - on sale for $2.99 each
    - $3 instant savings when you buy 4 participating items
    - 4 $2/1 Kashi Product printable coupons (* From Recyclebank - see explanation at bottom of post)

    = $0.96 for four

    Until next week Tuesday, 1/17, you can also buy inexpensive General Mills (Big G) cereals by shopping at Harris Teeter. When you buy five participating cereals (see picture below), the price of each will drop to $1.98. Then, use coupons to lower your out of pocket expense even more. Remember, Harris Teeter allows you to double coupons for up to three like items. This means that couldn't use five PB Cheerios Coupons. Also, remember that you are able to print two of the same coupon per computer.

    Possible Coupon Matchups:

    $0.75/1 Dulce de Leche Cheerios printable use zip code 27107 (will double to deduct $1.50 per box = $0.48 per box)

    $0.75/1 Peanut Butter Cheerios printable  use zip code 27107 (will double to deduct $1.50 per box = $0.48 per box)

    $0.85/1 Fiber One Cereal printable (will double to deduct $1.70 = $0.28 per box)

    $1.10/2 boxes Cheerios printable (= $1.44 per box, not quite as good)

    Deal Ideas: Buy 3 Fiber One and 2 Dulce de Leche or PB Cheerios = $1.80 for five boxes, $0.36 per box!
                       Buy 3 Dulce de Leche Cheerios and 2 PB Cheerios = $2.40 for five boxes, $0.48 per box!

    * Getting the Kashi coupons takes a little explaining, but it's not too difficult. If you haven't already done so, you'll need to set up two Recyclebank accounts (two e-mail addresses). You will need to earn points by completing quick tasks like quizzes (takes just a minute). Once you have earned 125 points, redeem them for a $2.00 off Kashi coupon (check the food and beverages tab). You print this coupon from home, and when you do so, hit the back browser arrow, which will allow you to print two coupons for your 125 points. Do the same thing from a second Recyclebank account. This will give you four coupons to use for the Kroger promo.

    Harris Teeter Trip - 1/12/12 (plus a little retail rambling)

    Nolan and I escaped the house this morning for a little retail therapy. I've been feeling really blah about my wardrobe lately. After losing the baby weight, nothing seems to fit quite right. My old problem spots are no longer issues, but new ones have taken their places. I decided it was time to stop complaining about it to Alex and actually do something about it.

    We stopped at Old Navy, where they had a lot of cute new items and some great clearance prices. I picked up two shirts - neither of which looks like an "Allison" shirt, by which I mean, neither one is a solid color. Yes, I went with patterns, not just stripes (which is normally adventurous for me), patterns! If you know me well, you know this is a WOW moment! For spending $30, I also earned $10 in Old Navy Cash, which gives me $10 off a future minimum $20 purchase.

    After Old Navy success, we hopped across the street to the mall, and as we were walking into the fitting room at LOFT, we bumped into (literally) a good friend, who was coming out. She helped me pick out another shirt and a pair of jeans, and we decided to have lunch at Parnera. Yay for unexpected meetings and catching up! By the way, LOFT is offering 40% off all full price items and 50% off all sale items!

    Now, to the point of this post - we made a trip to Harris Teeter on our way home. I wanted to check out the Meal Deal and other freebie items. I was a little hesitant to buy the Perdue Chicken. The Harris Teeter I was shopping didn't carry the unbreaded version, and I tend not to eat breaded chicken. When I do, I make it myself instead of buying it pre-breaded, but I'd read good reviews, and the price was right to try it out, so, with that decision made, I picked up the items pictured for just $6.65 + tax. If you take out the price of the milk, $2.97, I spent just $3.68 on everything else. If you're interested in making some of the same purchases, you can find coupon matchups in here.

    I bought (prices after card and coupons):

    1 Centrum Pro Nutrients Supplement (NOTE - the price is lower than is marked on the shelf) = $0.97 Money Maker ($0.97 applied to other items purchased)
    1 Colgate Toothpaste = FREE
    1 Colgate Toothbrush = FREE
    1 Coffee-mate Creamer = $0.07
    1 Kleenex Cool Touch = $0.29
    1 Black Beans (realized I needed them for chili tonight - oops) = $0.79
    1 Smart Balance Peanut Butter = $1.00
    1 Gallon Milk = $2.79
    1 Meal Deal including:
     Perdue Simply Smart Chicken, Alexia Rolls, Birdseye Veggies, and 2 L Coke = $3.99
    - $1 off your next purchase Catalina from buying Kikkoman products

    Total after card and coupons = $6.65 + tax

    I spent $6.65 on $51 worth of products, an 87 % savings.

    Reader Response: Have you scored any good grocery deals this week?

    Share your shopping successes by linking up!

    Couponing Basics Part 5 - Planning to Use Coupons

    You're stocked up with coupons, have them organized, and feel ready to go. You could jump in the car right now, head to the store, and use those coupons right away to save you money off of full retail prices. Reaping the full savings benefits of coupons, though, takes a little more forethought and planning.

    In my opinion, it's easiest to begin couponing by selecting one store to shop. For this post, let's pick Harris Teeter (grocery store).

    To maximize savings when using coupons, your goal is to pair coupons with a store sale. It's important to recognize when a sale combined with a coupon will create a price low enough that you should buy more than one of that item (stock pile). By doing so, you'll already have the item in your home, bought at a low price, when prices are higher down the road. I keep a copy of The Krazy Coupon Lady stock pile price sheet inside of my coupon binder. I can reference this sheet when I'm at a store and unsure about a price. A number of coupon websites, like Southern Savers, will also tell you when an item is considered to be at a rock bottom price.

    So you've picked a store (Harris Teeter), and you know you're looking for good sale price. Now what?

    Check the weekly store ad for sale items that match your yourself some time and effort by visiting websites like Southern Savers, The Krazy Coupon Lady, or my own little blog, Allison's Durham Deals, which find these deals and their matching coupons for you. You can see my list of Harris Teeter matchups here.

    Below, you'll see an example of a matchup list for this week's Harris Teeter Ad. These matchups usually show you the sale price, using a store card, as well as any coupons needed. They will then show you the final price you would pay after store card and coupons.

    Centrum Pro Nutrients Omega 3 - $9.03
    - $5/1 coupon (1/8 insert) or $5/1 printable (click health care)
    - $5 e-vic coupon  (add to your store card)
    = $0.97 Money Maker

    Nivea Lip Replenishing - $1.50
    - $3/2 Nivea Lip Care (1/1 Red Plum insert)
    = two for FREE

    Starkist Tuna Pouches - $1.00

    Colgate Toothpaste - (BOGO - rings up half price) - $.149
    - $0.75/1 coupon (1/1 Smart Source insert) x 2 = FREE

    General Mills Milk 'n Cereal Bars - $2.00
    - $0.60 printable x 2 = $0.80

    Next, it's time to look at the match ups and think about which items you'd like to buy. When doing this, it's necessary to be open to trying new brands and varieties of products. I take notice of the coupons needed for the deals. I check to see which coupons I have (you won't always have the ones listed), as well as which items I can still get coupons for by printing them, like the Starkist and cereal bars above. I also check if there are any electronic coupons that I will need to add to my store card before I shop, like the e-vic coupon for the Centrum Supplement.

    While I look at the coupon match ups, I make a list of items I'm interested in buying. I record the sale price,  coupon value, and final price for each item (just my preference). After, I look through my coupon binder and pull out the coupons I will need for these items. If there are printable coupons I don't already have, I print them at that time. I also visit the store websites and add any e-coupons I still need.

    When my list is finished, I put all of the coupons I've pulled, along with the list, inside of an envelope, which I place in a pocket inside my coupon binder. The list and envelope help keep me organized later when I'm shopping. I'll know exactly which items I'm looking for, and all of the necessary coupons will be right in front of me.

    Quick Review:
    1. Check coupon matchups
    2. Identify items you'd like to buy
    3. Make list of items and coupons you'll need
    4. Find and pull or print needed coupons, add e-coupons to store card
    5. Put coupons and list in a spot that is separate from the rest of your coupons
    Reader Response: You're almost ready to shop! Do you have any questions about planning for coupon shopping??

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Couponing Basics Part 4: Organizing Your Coupons

    So you've been collecting coupons from newspapers and websites....but now where do you do put them?

    Here are a few different systems to consider.

    File Box
    • One of the easiest coupon organization systems to put into place is a file folder box. Simply take your inserts and a manilla file folder, label by date, and file. When there is a coupon you want to use, locate the insert and clip.
    • Advantages - little time and effort spent on clipping and organizing, little chance of misplacing coupons before using them
    • Disadvantages - too bulky to bring to stores, more difficult to see which specific coupons you have
    Coupon/Accordion Folder
    • I'm sure you've seen people walking around stores with these little plastic folders, which are often held shut with a small bungee cord. This type of folder is either segmented or comes with dividers, which can be labeled. To use this type of system, label your folder sections by shopping category (see suggestions at The Krazy Coupon Lady), clip your coupons, and sort by category. Within a category, to be more organized, you might want to sort coupons in ABC order by product name, or perhaps by expiration date. Think about what will work best for you.
    • Advantages - Easy to carry to stores, all coupons with out in one place
    • Disadvantages - takes time to clip and organize, cannot see each coupon and will need sort through folder sections to find individual coupons
    Coupon Binder
    • This is actually the organization system that I personally use. I started by gathering a large three ring binder, baseball card sleeves, and tabbed pocket dividers. Then, I began to think about how I would like my coupons organized. I decided that I wanted sections for the stores I frequently shop, like CVS. Inside the pocket of the CVS divider, I would keep the current store ad, any rewards money, and store coupons. Following the store pockets, I added labeled pockets for shopping categories (See ideas here - I don't have nearly as many categories in my binder. Pick and choose). Behind each category folder, I added a few baseball card sleeves. After clipping coupons, I sort by category, putting each coupon into a slot in a baseball card sleeve. Some people use a similar system but choose to sort coupons alphabetically instead of by category. Like I would tell my students, every mind thinks differently, and a strategy that works for me might not be the best for you. Find a strategy that makes the most sense to your brain. :)
    • Advantages - all coupons are in one spot, can carry to stores, coupon categories and clear baseball card sleeves make coupons easy to find
    • Disadvantages - very time consuming to clip and sort each coupon, binder can be big and bulky to haul around, especially when shopping with kids
    Reader Response: Do you already have a system for organizing your coupons? If not, is there one that seems like it will work best for you?

    Harris Teeter Deals - Week of 1/11/12

    Super Doubles may be over, but there are still some great deals to be found at Harris Teeter this sale week. Remember, during a regular week, HT will double coupons with a value up to $0.99.

    Here's a round up of some of the best deals, all $1 or less (except meal deal).

    HT Meal Deal - Get everything below (about $18 worth of food) for $6.99 BEFORE Coupons
    Perdue Simply Smart Fully Cooked Chicken, 24 oz-
    $1 off Perdue Simply Smart chicken product PRINTABLE
    -or- $1 off Perdue Simply Smart (1/8 Red Plum insert)

    Birds Eye Steamfresh Vegetables, 10-16 oz
    - $1/3 Birds Eye Steamfresh vegetables PRINTABLE
    -$0.50/1 Birds Eye Steamfresh Chef’s Favorites variety (if included, will double) (1/8 Smart Source insert)

    Alexia Frozen Rolls, 10.5-12 oz
    -$1 off Alexia frozen foods PRINTABLE
    -$1 off Alexia frozen product (Facebook) PRINTABLE

    Coke Product, 2 L
    - $0.99 printable (if you haven't printed it yet, will double to full price of item)

    Total = as low as $2.20 (if you use all available coupons!)

    Other Deals:

    Centrum Pro Nutrients Omega 3 - $9.03
    - $5/1 coupon (1/8 insert) or $5/1 printable (click health care)
    - $5 e-vic coupon  (add to your store card)
    = $0.97 Money Maker

    Nivea Lip Replenishing - $1.50
    - $3/2 Nivea Lip Care (1/1 Red Plum insert)
    = two for FREE

    Starkist Tuna Pouches - $1.00
    - $0.50/1 printable x 2 = FREE

    Colgate Toothpaste - (BOGO - rings up half price) - $.149
    - $0.75/1 coupon (1/1 Smart Source insert) x 2 = FREE

    Colgate Toothbrush - (BOGO - rings up half price) - $.149

    Coffee-mate Creamer 16 oz - $1.67
    - $0.55/1 printable x 2 = $0.57
    - $0.50 e-vic (has reset if you used it during Super Doubles = $0.07 (can only buy one for $0.07, others would be $0.57)

    Betty Crocker Mashed Potatoes - $0.87
    - $0.40/1 printable x 2 = $0.07

    Kashi Crackers and Cookies - $2.50
    - $2.00 printable (125 points on Recyclebank) = $0.50

    Old Orchard Healthy Balance Juice - 64 oz - Buy 2 Get Three Free - $2.99
    - 2 $0.50/1 printables x 2 = $0.79 each when you get 5

    General Mills Milk 'n Cereal Bars - $2.00
    - $0.60 printable x 2 = $0.80

    Smart Balance Peanut Butter - $3.00
    - $0.75/1 coupon (1/8 Smart Source insert) x 2 = $1.00

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    $10 off Enfamil Formula - PRINT NOW!

    If your baby drinks Enfamil, hurry to the 'Printable Coupons' tab and print a coupon for $10 off one 22 oz or larger tub. Enfamil usually puts out $5 coupons, so this one is rare and will probably go quickly. Don't wait!

    Baby Bargains

    Here are some of this week's best baby deals and printable coupons. 


    Printable Coupons

    Online Deals
    FREE Pack of Huggies Little Movers Slip On Diapers - Post a video of your squirmy baby, submit for a pack of free diapers (sizes 3, 4, and 5)

    Amazon - Luvs Ultra Leakguard Big Pack - Size 3 (234 ct.) - pay $30.39 with Amazon Mom and Subscribe and Save discounts - $0.13 per diaper

    Amazon - Huggies Little Snugglers - size 1 (168 ct) - pay $26.13 with Amazon Mom and Subscribe and Save discounts - $0.16 per diaper


    Kroger - Pampers 216 ct. - $4.99 - $0.50 Kroger e-coupon = $4.49 - $0.02 per wipe

    Baby Food (not deal match ups, just printable coupons)

    FREE Beech Nut Starter Kit (one box of cereal and two jars) - must register


    Reader Response: Have you come across a baby deal you'd like to share? Post a comment or e-mail me at I will update the list with any deals I receive.

    Couponing Basics Part 3: Understanding Coupon 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 before we get into coupon planning and shopping trips, let's talk a little about coupon fine print. 

    Things You Might Notice...

    • Expiration Date -  This tells you the last possible date you are able to use this coupon in stores. After that date, it will no longer be accepted by retailers. You'll find the expiration date at the top of the coupon.
    • Do Not Double or Triple - Some grocery stores will "double" a coupon by matching the discount amount. Some coupons, though, 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, don't expect the extra savings, though sometimes, these coupons will automatically double anyway.

    This coupon specifically states that retailers should not double it. It expires on 1/31/2012.

    • Limit of ____ Like Coupons Per Shopping Trip - Read this number carefully. Procter & 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, or the coupon will not go through.
    This coupon indicates that you must buy two boxes to save $0.75.
    • 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 and $2 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. 
    If you look carefully at the bottom right corner , you'll see that this coupon excludes trial size items. Funny thing is, I found this image on a site that was telling readers to use it to score a free trial size lotion. Tisk, tisk. :)

    Some of these rules might seem a bit ridiculous, but misuse of coupons is a major 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! :)

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Meal Plan Monday

    I'm a little late with this Meal Plan Monday post. I've already cooked and eaten Monday's meal (sans Alex, who unexpectedly had a late night at work), but here it is anyway, my meal plan for the coming week.

    Our cabinets, fridge, and freezer were pretty well stocked, so I needed to buy very little during today's grocery shopping trip. The meals included in my plan will be made using ingredients from my small stock pile.

    Meal Plan for the Week of January 9th

    Cilantro Lime Slow Cooker Chicken - Chicken breasts, salsa, lime juice....easy peasy.

    Black Bean Chili and Baked Potatoes- I always keep canned tomatoes and beans in my cabinets. So many easy meals can be made around them. I'll substitute ground beef for the ground turkey because that's what I have.

    Ravioli with Pesto, Salads, and French Bread - Everything is in the house, and this will be a quick dinner for one of Alex's late nights. Put some olive oil and balsamic on the table for dipping, and the meal won't feel so thrown together.

    Asian Chicken Breasts, Rice, and Veggies (we'll see what's left) - I love this recipe from "For the Love of Cooking" because on any given day, I have enough of the ingredients in the house that I can adapt the recipe and throw it together.

    Reader Response: What's on the menu at your house this week??

    Harris Teeter Super Doubles - Trip 3

    This morning, I made what I expect to be my final trip for this round of Super Doubles at Harris Teeter. I went hoping that a few items would be restocked and also to try out a few new deal ideas that I wanted to see for myself before posting.  On the way home, I also stopped at Kroger and used my free $4 credit. These trips included coupon deals, as well as a few items we needed in the house to round out our weekly grocery shopping. Yes, that is KY Jelly in the picture above...not needed to round out our grocery shopping. I'll explain below how that purchase made me almost $2, which was used to pay for my other groceries. And yes, that is a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese. Impulse buy. And yes, I DID eat nearly the entire box by myself for lunch today. Judge away.

    I spent $13.25 + tax at HT on $66.47 worth of items, an 80% savings. I spent $1.85 + tax at Kroger on $11.56 worth of groceries. Which means that I spent a total of $15.10 for $78.03 worth of groceries, an 81% savings.

    I bought:

    Harris Teeter (click items to see coupon matchups)

    1 KY Jelly - $1.81 Money Maker (Use $3 coupon 1/8 inserts + $3 e-vic coupon = $1.81 Money Maker)
    2 Kikkoman Soy Sauces - FREE
    2 Nivea Lip Balms - FREE
    2 1/2 Gallons Smart Balance Milk - FREE
    1 Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Creamer - $0.15
    4 boxes Barilla Whole Grain Spaghetti - $0.50 each x 4 = $2.00
    2 bags Sargento Shredded Cheese - $1.00 each x 2 = $2.00
    1 Digornio Pizza - $3.00
    1 La Brea Baguette - BOGO (rings up half price)
    Russet potatoes
    1 lime
    1 lemon
    1 Newman's Own Salsa

    Total = $14.41
    - $1.81 from KY e-vic coupon = $13.25

    Kroger (prices after store card and coupons)

    1 Dozen Eggs - $2.49
    2 1 Liter Deer Park Sparkling Waters - $1.00 off 2 coupon (1/8 insert) = $0.25 each
    1 bag Kroger mini carrots - FREE product coupon (home mailer) = FREE
    cilantro - $0.69
    1 Athenos Humus - $1.25 (great sale!)
    1 Kraft Mac & Cheese - $0.92

    Total = $5.85
    - $4.00 credit = $1.85

    Share your shopping success by linking up!

    Coupon Basics Part 2: Where Do You Find Coupons?

    What is the most important tool for a couponer to have in hand? Well, coupons.

    Coupons come in many forms and are abundantly available, if you know where to look. Below, I'll list and explain common coupon sources. I'll also include explanations of any associated coupon lingo that you might see on this or other sites.

    When most people think of coupons, I imagine this is what comes to mind. Coupon inserts can be found in most Sunday newspapers. On a typical week, you will find inserts from two companies, Smart Source (SS) and Red Plum (RP). Once a month, usually the last Sunday, you will also find an insert from Procter & Gamble (P&G), filled with coupons specifically for their products (Crest, Tide, etc.). Other inserts from different stores and companies will appear periodically.

    Some people like to pick up multiple newspapers each week. This gives them multiple copies of a coupon, which helps when stockpiling items. Some people follow the rule of buying one newspaper for each member of the household. Some buy four a week because many coupons list a restriction of four like coupons per shopping trip. Personally, I preview the coupons online and pick up papers according to how well the coupons match my needs and food preferences. Sometimes, it just wouldn't be worth it for me to buy any papers. I don't think there is one right answer here.

    When deciding which newspaper to pick up or subscribe to, though, do some research. Some papers carry more inserts than others. In the Durham area, the Raleigh News & Observer carries all available inserts, while apparently, the Durham Herald Sun has stopped carrying any coupons.

    Printable Coupon Websites
    Online printable coupons sites have become my go-to sources for food coupons. Search for coupons on the sites listed below. After selecting coupons you'd like to print, you may be prompted to install a coupon printer. If you're using one of the sites I've listed, this should be safe for your computer.

    You are able to print two of the same coupon per computer. By hitting the back arrow on your browser after printing a coupon, the coupon will be sent to your printer for a second time.

    A Few Online Coupon Sources:
    Smart Source
    Red Plum
    Mambo Sprouts (natural and organic products)

    E-coupons are different from internet printables, in that you will not have a physical/paper copy of the coupon. E-coupons are typically linked to your store card and are deducted automatically when your card is scanned at check out.

    Harris Teeter offers a number of e-coupons on their website. What is great about them, is that the electronic coupons can be combined with paper coupons for extra savings. For example, this past week, I had a $1 paper coupon for Bounty, as well as a $1 electronic Harris Teeter coupon for the same product. A total of $2 was deducted from the price of the paper towels.

    Kroger also offers e-coupons, but be careful in loading them to your store card. They will be automatically deducted, but you CAN NOT combine them with paper coupons as you can at HT. These Kroger coupons  won't double either. Sometimes, this means you could get a better deal by using a paper coupon instead of the e-coupon.

    This is a term I hadn't heard until I started to coupon, but it's one that makes perfect sense. Blinkies are coupons you find in grocery store aisles inside of those little boxes with the blinking lights. These coupons can be used immediately on purchases or taken home for later use. Coupon etiquette would say that you should only take what you will use (keep the number small). Now, there are some people out there who go shopping for 200 boxes of Hamburger Helper in one trip. Not my style, but if you actually have a use for that many products (donating?), then use your own discretion.

    Tear Pads
    Also found in stores, often on cardboard displays, tear pads are just that, pads full of tear off coupons. Like "blinkies," show some reserve when taking them, save some for others.

    Peelies are manufacturer coupons found attached to products.  This is a tactic used by companies to encourage impulse buying, those people who would be lured in by the "$0.50 off? Why not?" mentality.

    While it's not against any written rules to take a coupon off a product you don't plan to buy immediately, many coupon users feel that it's best not to do so. I don't have a strong opinion either way.

    Most companies are aware of Facebook's wide reach and have created company pages to connect with consumers. Check out the pages of your favorite products. They will often offer high value coupons.

    Company Websites
    When couponing and wanting to get the best prices, it's necessary to break away from brand loyalty. That doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite brands completely, though. Check out the websites of brands you like to purchase. Sites will often provide printable coupons. If you want to go one step further, contact the company using the provided contact info (I e-mail). Pass along a compliment, tell them why you enjoy their product. Include your address because companies will often send coupons, sometimes for free products, as a thank you for taking the time to write.

    Wine Tags
    This is a coupon source I never would have thought about until I read about it on another site. As you stroll past the wine and beer aisles, be on the lookout for bottles or boxes with coupons or tags attached. While some tags will be rebate offers for buying liquor, others will be a bit different. Liquor companies occasionally offer money off products like meat or produce for buying their product.

    Here's the interesting thing; in North Carolina and a handful of other states (sorry, Wisconsin, you're not one of them), you DON'T have to buy the liquor to get the discount. In fact, in NC, it would be against the law to require you to do so. This means, that if you find such a coupon, you can take it off of the product and use it immediately. If you find a coupon around a bottle of wine that states $2 off the purchase of meat, you do not have to buy the wine. You can simply use the coupon toward your meat purchase.

    Reader Response: Do you have a question about where to find coupons? Post a comment or write to me at

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Check Me Out on Facebook

    Over the past four months, I've pestered my Facebook friends with status updates, linking my money saving blog posts. I have no idea how many of my friends have been completely annoyed by this and how many actually took notice and appreciated them, but I was starting to feel bad, so I decided to set up a Facebook page for "Allison's Durham Deals."

    I hope to transition to updating blog links on the blog's Facebook page, rather than on my own personal page. This way, my updates will go only to friends and fans who have made the choice to view them. No more pestering news feeds with unwanted updates.

    If you haven't already done so, I invite you to check out the "Allison's Durham Deals" Facebook page. Like it. It doesn't look like much yet, but I'll be starting to update with pictures and links.

    Thanks for your support!

    Coupon Basics Part 1: Intro to Coupons

    I feel like I'm about to revisit September 2011 and eat my blogging words.

    When I started this blog, I was pretty positive that it wasn't going to be a how to coupon tutorial. It was meant to be a place where I would simply share a few good deals that I thought others might like to know about.

    I am so pleased with the positive feedback I've received about the blog from so many of you, through comments, e-mails, and conversations. It seems like the information has helped some of you save money, if even in a small way. I'm realizing, though, that many of you are just starting out with your own money saving adventure, and that at least a basic coupon tutorial might be helpful, so for the new year, I'm beginning a multi-post series about the general ins and outs of couponing.

    Todays topic: Intro to Coupons

    What are coupons??
    • Simply put, coupons are discounts offered by manufacturers and stores, that can be redeemed by consumers for money off products and services. When the coupon, either paper or electronic, is redeemed by a shopper, the company that has offered the coupon discount is responsible for paying the coupon amount. For example, when a customer shops at Kroger and presents a coupon for $0.25 off Kraft Mac & Cheese, it is Kraft that is responsible for paying Kroger the $0.25 difference in price.
    Why do companies offer coupons?
    • By offering coupons, companies are banking on some predictable consumer habits. The typical coupon user receives an insert of coupons and clips just a handful of them, those for products he already buys or for new products he hasn't seen before. This typical shopper will head to the store and redeem the coupon without waiting for a sale, happy with a small discount. He is very likely to keep buying the same product at full price, not using coupons or discounts in the future. The company wins because they have a loyal, full-price paying customer. A savvy coupon user shops differently, though (that's what we're learning about :) ). 
    Are stores getting ripped off when you use coupons?
    • Absolutely not! When coupons are used correctly by shoppers (more on this another time), stores are reimbursed for the full value of a coupon by the product's manufacturer. This is the case even when a shopper gets a product for free using a coupon. If a product costs $1.00, and you correctly use a legitimate coupon for $1.00 off, the store WILL NOT lose money. 
    • But what about doubling coupons?? When a store, like Kroger, offers to double a coupon, the doubled amount is a discount that is covered by the store instead of the manufacturer. This is a marketing idea the store has implemented as a shopper incentive. This is not taking advantage of the store.

    Next Lesson: Where to Find Coupons

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Shopping Trip Successes

    How did your shopping go this week? Did you score some freebies at Harris Teeter during Super Doubles? Did you find some great deals at the drug stores? Share your shopping success stories by leaving a comment or sharing a link so others can view your shopping trip!

    To link up, give your post a title, or "name," then insert a url that connects to your blog post or website.

    I look forward to reading about and seeing your success stories!

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Get Out and About - Free Activities with Kids

    Lately, I've been on the lookout for ways to get myself and Nolan out of the house, exploring and trying new things together, while getting the chance to meet other moms and kids. Thankfully, there are a number of kid friendly ways to get out and about, without touching your pocketbook!

    Check Out Your Public Library
    • Most libraries offer a free story/song time, for babies on up. This is a great opportunity to meet some other parents and let your little one socialize with others his or her age. Before or after story time, take advantage of your library’s collection of books, CDs, and DVDs. Sit down, share a book with your child. Start the love of reading early. Many libraries have very current selections of titles, and you can’t beat FREE rentals!  For Durham readers, the library on South Alston has story/song time for babies and young toddlers every Wednesday at 10:30. You can check out the schedule of events for all Durham County Libraries here (choose a location, then click the events calendar).
    Visit Museums
    • A trip to a museum can be an expensive outing, with many adult tickets priced around $10. BUT - most museums offer at least one day a week where admission is FREE for local residents. The Museum of Life and Science in Durham offers free admission every Wednesday between 1:00 and 5:00 pm. If you want to see the museum outside of those hours, you might consider purchasing a membership. For as little as $90 a year, you will receive unlimited admission for two, in addition to other perks. Two adults or an adult and child over the age of three (under 3 = free) would need to visit the museum just four  times a year to make membership a better deal than paying as you go. The children’s museum in Kidzu Chapel Hill is free on Sunday afternoons. Though these museums are a bit more crowded on these days, saving on admission for the entire family is well worth it! Check the websites of your local museums to research admission breaks.
    Drop in to Barnes & Noble
    • As a former third grade teacher, I seize any opportunity to put a book in front of Nolan! Most Barnes & Noble locations offer a FREE weekly story time, some followed by a craft and treat. The Barnes & Noble at Southpoint Mall in Durham holds story time every Friday at 10:30. Spend some time before or after browsing books and playing with the toys. Nolan LOVES the trains and blocks our Barnes & Noble sets out for play! For older kids, they also runs periodic book clubs. Search for events at your local Barnes & Noble by visiting their website and searching the ‘Find an Event’ tab.
    Head to the Gym
    • Memberships to baby/tot gyms are VERY expensive, but be on the lookout for opportunities to try classes for free. National chains like Gymboree and The Little Gym offer free trial classes to any interested parent. It is also possible to score free classes through product sponsors. Similac Formula recently e-mailed with an offer of four free classes at The Little Gym. New mommas, check your e-mail, you might have received the same one! Nolan and I have attended all of our free classes, and he LOVED every minute of it!
    Look into Social Groups
    • Perhaps you’d like a play date for your kids, or to meet up with another mom for a cup of coffee, but you just don’t know anyone else who stays home during the day. Check out, a site that connects you to others in your area with similar interests. Using Meetup, I was able to find a group called South Durham Moms, which is designed for area parents with young children. Organizers post events, like playgroups, walks, and outings. Members are able to RSVP and attend events of interest. Many of the events posted on by Durham Moms group are absolutely free. Meetup groups exist across the county, and it is likely that one is in your area!
    What inexpensive activities have you found to help you and your little one get out and about?

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    UPDATED - Harris Teeter Super Doubles Matchups

    Harris Teeter's Super Doubles has begun and will run until next week Tuesday, 1/10/ During that time, Harris Teeter stores will double coupons with a value up to $1.98. Customers are allowed to double up to twenty coupons each day. The store also allows customers to double coupons for three like items per day but only two like internet coupons per day.To score the best deals, you'll need to turn to printable coupons. Remember, you can print two of the same coupon per computer.

    Below, I've listed a few of the best available deals. I'll be updating as I find more.

    Super Doubles Deals - 1/4/12-1/10/12

    KY Jelly 2 oz - $4.19
    - $3.00 manufacturer coupon (1/8 inserts)
    - $3.00 e-vic coupon = $1.81 MONEY MAKER

    Muir Glen Tomato Paste (I stock up whenever I see this coupon) - $1.39
    - $0.75 printable x 2 = FREE

    Wholly Guacamole - $2.79
    - $1.50 printable x 2 = FREE (must register)

    Coke Zero 2 liter - $1.79
    - $0.99 printable x 2 = FREE (click Trial on the left side of the screen)

    Oral B Floss - $2.99
    - $1.00 manufacturer coupon (1/1 P&G) x 2
    - $1.00  e-vic coupon (load to store card through HT website) = FREE (can only get 1 free)

    Starkist Chunk Light Tuna Pouch - $1.00 (regularly $1.65)
    - $0.50 printable (click Hungry Girl Loves Pouch, scroll down to print coupon) x 2 = FREE

    V8 Smoothies - $1.94
    - $1.00 printable x 2 = FREE

    Nivea Lip Balm - $1.50
    - $3/2 manufacturer coupon (1/1 Red Plum insert) = two FREE

    Smart Balance Milk - $3.00
    - $1.50 manufacturer coupon (1/8 inserts) = FREE

    Kikkoman Soy Sauce 5 oz - $1.59

    Kikkoman Stir Fry seasoning Mix - $1.19

    Kikkoman Panko Crumbs - $2.19
    - $1.00 printable x 2 = $0.19

    Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Creamer - $2.65
    - $1.00 printable (click Spread Some Holiday Cheer on left side of screen) x 2 = $0.65
    - $0.50 e-vic coupon = $0.15 (for first bottle, additional will be $0.65)

    Gorton's Grilled Fillets - BOGO (rings up at half price - $2.19

    Pom Juice - $2.50
    - $1.00 printable x 2 = $0.50

    Honey Bunches of Oats - $2.50
    - $1.00 printable x 2 = $0.50

    Barilla Whole Grain Pasta - 2 for $3.00
    - $1.00 off 2 manufacturer coupon (1/8 inserts) = $0.50 each

    Kraft Salad Dressing - 8 oz Catalina - $1.14
    BOGO printable (up to $2.00) = $0.57 each when you buy two

    International Delight Creamer 16 oz - $2.15
    - $0.75 coupon (Smart Source 1/8) x 2 = $0.65

    Silk Soy Milk - $2.89
    - $1.00 printable (check second page) x 2 = $0.89
    -or- $1.00 Facebook printable

    International Delight Creamer Singles - $2.99
    - $1.00 coupon (Smart Source 1/8) x 2 = $0.99

    Seeds of Change Quinoa - $2.99 (regularly $4.29)
    - $1.00 printable x 2 = $0.99

    Armour Meatballs - $2.47 (regularly $3.99)
    - $1.00 off 2 printable x 2 = $1.47 each when you buy 2

    Digiorno Frozen Pizza - $5.00 (regularly $6.69)
    - $1.00 printable (click Countdown to Greatness) x 2 = $3.00

    Other Non-Coupon Deals

    Select Seafood and Meat - Buy Two Get Three Free (I think you can mix and match)
    Small pack boneless skinless chicken breasts - Buy One Get Two Free
    La Brea Bread - BOGO (rings up at half price)