Life as a military wife and mother

Quick Coupon Trip September 30, 2011

Filed under: Couponing,Extreme couponing,Frugal living,Price Chopper,produce,shopping cheaply — holdingdownthehome @ 15:02

Hi everyone! Yes, I have been neglectful of this blog lately! But, I will tell you that I am working on some great stuff for it, and hoping to expand to a networked blog soon. Hang tight with me!

So, I am going to leave you with my quick run into Wal-Mart today for a few items.

Please excuse the quality I used my phone to make it faster.

My total for this trip was $25.94.

I had $14.00 in coupons (made $1 on each of the razor packages). = $11.94

Plus there is a full product rebate for the puppy pads so that is minus $6.94

So at the end, this cost me $5! That is a savings of about 81%!!!

I also ran to Price Chopper quickly, did 2 transactions totaling $41.51. Ended up paying $19.62. Savings of  about 50%.  How would you like to save 50% or more every time you hit the grocery store. Subscribe to my blog and I’ll be showing you how!


Price Chopper this week April 1, 2011

Filed under: Couponing,Frugal living,Price Chopper,produce,shopping cheaply — holdingdownthehome @ 15:51

Hi all! Just wanted to post really fast about my shopping week. There were some awesome deals at Price Chopper this week and I managed to go a couple transactions each time I was in town. So here’s what I got!

And there was so much… I had to do it in TWO PICTURES!

The only things not shown are 6lbs of chicken thighs and legs, a bottle of Axe I already gave away and 5 boxes of cat food that I already gave away. So, all this stuff (plus what I mentioned that I didn’t take pics of) I could have spent $122.04 – which is the total AFTER sale prices. But using coupons??? My total was $23.11!!!!! That is a savings of 81% Was it worth a couple trips on my way by and a little bit of time thinking ahead of time? YOU BET!


This is why I use coupons! March 17, 2011

Filed under: Couponing,Frugal living,Price Chopper — holdingdownthehome @ 13:46

So many people ask if it’s worth the bother and time of couponing. Well let’s see!

Price Chopper had some great deals this week that I took advantage of. Here is what I got:

Yes that  is TWENTY sugar free Jell-O cups and pudding 6 packs. 6 bricks of delicious cracker barrel cheese. 3 bags of apples. A bag of grapefruit. And of course our favorite fat free half and half for our coffee. I made 2 trips (as I passed by doing other things) and Matt made one for me, for a total of 5 transactions. **NOTE: I didn’t go out of my way to shop, I had to be in town for many other reasons and just ran by.

Without coupons this would have cost me $71.14 ON SALE! Using coupons I spent $14.89. That is a savings of $56.25 or 79%!!!!!!!!!!! Imagine saving that much on your groceries every week! That’s $225 a month! Now I have healthy snacks for my Weight Watchers plan and to send to pre-school with my son.

Another thing I’m going to mention, is ask store managers when they typically mark food down. Price Chopper marks produce down Wed or Thursday. So today, knowing the cash register was going to give me $8.00 to spend when I did my Jello/Cheese deal, I went in search of the marked down produce (after I grabbed my half and half). They put it on a table off to the side and it’s usually bruised fruit, over-ripe bananas, that sort of thing. I LOVE THIS STUFF! As you can see I bought 3 bags of apples and a bag of grapefruit this week. Here was what I paid per for them:

$.20 per pound!! Yes, they might have a couple bruises but they are going to make delicious apple sauce this weekend! Last week I grabbed a 5 lb bag of sweet onions for the same price, I cut them up later that day and froze them. You can use just about any produce like this. If you like to bake, look for bananas. Celery, carrots, or squash?? Blanch them and freeze them for soup and casseroles. Seriously, do NOT walk by a table like this in your store thinking you are too good for the “elderly produce”! This can save you TONS of money.


Stockpiling Vs. Hoarding March 10, 2011

What is the difference between stockpiling and hoarding?

This is something that’s been on my mind since I started getting into couponing. Remember the A&E show “Hoarders”? As I look as some of the new shows like “Extreme Couponing” on TLC I can’t help but compare the two shows. Some of them are so similar it’s a bit worrisome!  Now this is going to be just MY OPINION but it is something I have seen and I have seen what it’s like to dig yourself out of it. I could even see myself going overboard with stockpiling.

Now we all know that high that comes with getting an amazing deal with coupons! Cutting your $50.00 shopping trip down to just a few dollars or even a few cents is awesome…. but did you buy the items because you needed, or will need them in the near future? Or did you buy them because you liked the feeling you got when you bought them? Here are some questions to ask yourself before you buy something… or even before you make out your shopping list:

1. Will we use the item before it’s expiration date?

2. Is this nutritionally beneficial to my family? — This is one of my favorite questions because many coupons are for boxed or pre-packaged foods that are not always very good for your health.

3. Will I use this item within the next couple years (if no exp. date).

4. Do I have ROOM to put these items without making my house into a stockpile garage?

5. Am I buying this because I NEED it or am I buying it because it’s a good deal. –And just so we are clear…. being a good deal is NOT enough reason to buy something!

Watch this video taken from the TLC show “Extreme Couponing”. In my opinion this goes beyond even extreme couponing. I consider this hoarding. This is absolutely over the top insane. If he were donating all these things, or running a store out of his house then maybe. But it is just sitting in his garage. CRAZY!

I have learned in a very short time to ask myself those few questions for a shopping trip. Let me give you an example. I have limited storage space so I have a cupboard designated to cereal. I can fit about 10-12 boxes in it… last week it was full, so even though there were other cereal deals… I passed them up. I also have about 12 tubes of toothpaste in my cupboard (I only pay tax for toothpaste never anymore than that) and even though this week I could have gotten free toothpaste at the local drugstore, I passed on it. I am also good on pasta, shampoo, and butter for a least 4-6 months… so I won’t be using any deals for these products even if they are free. I WON’T clutter my house and my life. There will be a good deal again when I need it. The only exception to this is if I get something to donate to charity.

Now couponing DOES provide you with a great opportunity to give to charity for just pennies! There are tons of couponers out there that give hundreds of pounds of food to charity every month! My favorite coupon lady, Melanie, from The Coupon Goddess is always showing us her trips to her local food bank. This is a great this to do and only adds a few minutes onto your couponing every month.

Remember, saving your family money does not need to come at the expense of your comfort at home. You can save just as much without buying EVERY good deal you come across… and in fact will probably save more.

If you feel that you have been hoarding and need help to stop the cycle please visit FLYLADY and ask a professional counselor for help. You CAN dig yourself out!


Stockpiling is not just for food! February 24, 2011

Filed under: Couponing,Frugal living,Organization — holdingdownthehome @ 10:33
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Did you know that stock piling doesn’t have to just be for food or toothpaste? Did you know you can stockpile clothes too?! This is especially useful when buying for kids. Last year, just as my son was going into 2T clothes we found these adorable Curious George jogging suits at Wal-mart. He is a George FREAK so I knew he would LOVE it! Did I just buy one? NO! I bought one in 2T and one in 3T. Did I stop there? NOPE! I also got the same outfit in a Disney Cars theme! In 2T and 3T. It was full price which I usually don’t do but he wore them ALL THE TIME, as I knew he would!

More recently I was at Target, last week. I was checking out their clearance shoes when I saw some boys sneakers. I was looking for a 9… which they didn’t have… BUT I did find these cute blue ones in a 10,11, and 12. So I BOUGHT THEM ALL! They were $4.25!!! I usually pay close to that much for second hand shoes for him that are in good condition at a local consignment shop. I don’t ever buy him new shoes unless they are on clearance, just can’t justify it when he’s in them for about two days! LOL So anyway, I got 3 pairs of BRAND NEW SNEAKERS for $12.75!


Does a 3 year old care if his shoes are PUMA? NOPE! (and I hope he never does since I won’t pay that much for shoes LOL) I do the same thing for myself. If I find a shirt I just love the fit of I’ll buy in a few colors or I might even buy the same exact shirt for a super low price, then I have one when the other gets a stain or is in the wash when I want to wear it! Or, think about sneakers for yourself. If you buy a new pair of sneakers every six months… and you find a GREAT deal… buy 2 pairs! Saves time and money in the long run. Just think ahead a bit and you’ll be able to do this!


02/05 Coupon Savings February 5, 2011

Filed under: Couponing,Frugal living — holdingdownthehome @ 17:15
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Today ended up being a family shopping day. Hubby and I both had errands to run so we all went together for a nice day out. And let me tell you, I SCORED SOME TERRIFIC DEALS! We did grocery shopping (Price Chopper), Ollie’s, Sam’s Club, Salvation Army, and JoAnn Fabrics. Are you on the mailing lists for stores you frequent… or even stores you don’t? WELL YOU SHOULD BE! Seriously if you are not cashing in on the deals you can get through the mail just by being on the mailing list I think you are CRAZY! Yeah, you will probably get junk mail but it’s so worth it to get those nice % off coupons!

Anyway, I wanted to show  you how much I saved today with coupons and stuff. And show you a couple of the AWESOME finds I snagged. I’ll start with the boring grocery store and move on to the more exciting stuff and show you pictures! So, Price Chopper was a pretty big list, we were running out of lots of things and they had some great sales this week. I love when they put coupons in their sales flyer that will TRIPLE your manufacturer coupons, so today we had 2 of those… that’s $6.00 right there! Then off course I had lots of other coupons. One of the best deals today was the big 100 oz bottle of Tide Free (no dyes or perfumes) for $10.88 (that’s $4.11 off normal price) and I paired that with a $1.00 coupon that I tripled so I got it for $7.88!!!! So my total was $137.37, I paid $114.98 after coupons for a total savings of 22.39! (Imagine saving that EVERY WEEK just at the grocery store!) I don’t count store card savings when figuring this total… but I did get $.20 off per gallon of gas, which is great!

Next was Salvation Army, figured we would check it out since I had a couple things to donate. A lot of times I find kids shoes here. But not today. However, we did find Disney, and Veggie Tales VHS movies for $1.99. So much cheaper than DVD’s and what the heck does a 3 year old care if it’s not a Blu-Ray! LOL Besides with my terror VHS movies hold up better than those finicky DVD’s. And for me, here is what I found to use for an upcoming project that I’ll post about:

This was just $2.99.

And I got these jars and lids for $.59 a piece:

Do you have an Ollie’s where you are? Ours is fairly new but I was SO EXCITED when we got one! I have been shopping at Ollie’s for years every time I visit my in-laws. I loved it. Now we finally have our own! It’s kind of like Big Lots.  Lots of miscellaneous stuff but you can find GREAT deals if you are willing to look. Plus they have a mailing list and send you coupons a few times a year. I was armed with my %15 off your total purchase coupon! I won’t bore you with everything we got (like the hatchet hubby just HAD to have!) but the best deal I got was Cascade Action Pacs 90ct $9.99- 15% =8.49! These retail for $12.95 on amazon.com and almost $17.00 in the store.

Now, we do some shopping at Sam’s Club though not a ton.  Many times we find great deals on clothes, and today was no exception! For me I found very thin white mock-turtlenecks for $2.37! I bought two.. I mean… they’re WHITE! We saw these great water-proof jackets (like for Spring and summer) for just $5.13! HELLO FATHER’S DAY! It’s not a great picture, but a really NICE jacket!

Then hubby found these Reebok jogging suits for the little man! Since he already has enough 4T clothes, we bought them in 5T. They were just $6.81 for each set! Check ’em out!

Now, for the best part of the trip! Jo-Ann Fabrics! And of course I had my coupons from being on their mailing list! I had a 40% off one item coupon and a 50% off one item. I went there in search of a hot glue gun; Can you believe I didn’t have one!? So I found my glue gun and used my 50% off coupon and it came to $5.50, and even had the glue sticks with it!

Then I wanted some of the Tulip Slick fabric paint, for a project I’ll show you in a couple weeks hopefully! These were already on sale from $9.99 to $7.99! And then I found THIS:

This massive storage bin (Supporting the Cure) was retailing for $25!!! They had it clearanced to $8.97!!!! But wait… it gets better!!! They let me use my 40% off coupon!!! So I snagged this awesome craft bin for $5.38!!!! HELLO! Is that crazy for what?! This is going to be perfect for my upcoming craft room organization project I’m going to be sharing with you soon. Stay tuned because it’s going to be a great post with TONS of ideas for organizing in it!

So that was my day of savings… with coupons I saved $36.95 today just with coupons. That’s not including the great savings I shopped around for like the jacket and jogging suits. It pays to take your time! And don’t forget to go online and sign up for the mailers! Usually you can sign up for one through email AND one through your snail mail. Don’t want all that stuff cluttering your inbox? Open a free account with yahoo or gmail just for coupons and keeping up with blogs.

Hope you enjoyed today’s post! I would LOVE to hear about YOUR savings! 🙂 HIT ME!


Couponing January 23, 2011

Filed under: Couponing — holdingdownthehome @ 11:30
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Ok, so maybe you’ve heard about these crazy couponers and wonder what is wrong with them? Seriously, spending all that time cutting coupons and checking out sales, just to save a few cents? Totally not worth your time, right? Well, I’m here to tell you, if you learn how to do it right, you would be amazed at the money you save!

It can seriously be over-whelming when you start browsing all the information out there. And I’ll admit in the beginning it took some time to get myself set up and into the groove. Now I spend about an hour a week clipping, organizing, and making my lists. Usually this is Sunday night when we’re just relaxing. I go through and clip ALL the coupons even if I might not use them (I’ll tell you the why of this later). I put the ones I’m pretty sure I’ll use in a  separate pile then grab my 3 ring binder. In the binder I have various sheet protectors, like the ones for baseball cards and bigger ones for photos. I got them at Staples but they are much cheaper on amazon.com. In the binder they are organized by category. Fresh Produce and meat, then dairy, then cereal and crackers, etc.

After I’m done with that, I have a pretty good idea what coupons I have, so I check out the sale flyers. My usual stores are Price Chopper, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Target. Then I make a list of what I want at each store. I shop either Mondays or Thursdays depending on my schedule for the week. I also try to make a meal plan for the week at the same time. Now, there are a lot of different parts to couponing but I won’t overwhelm you with them just yet. Getting your binder set up takes some time so focusing on that is the easiest way to start. I recommend the binder be the kind with a zipper close. Trust me, the first time you pick up one of the hard binders upside down and your coupons slide out, you’ll wish you had one. I actually just got one yesterday at Big Lots for $7.  There is definitely a fine line between smart couponing and crazy couponing! After all it’s hard to pass up a good deal, sometimes a FREE deal! But first rule of smart couponing? If you won’t use it or don’t have a place for it, DON’T BUY IT! I mean, do you really need 47 Glade Candles? Not unless you live next to the village landfill! I never buy something that I won’t use or that I don’t have a spot for. Though, there is something to be said for stockpiling things you are going to use up and use up at a decent pace. Things I stockpile include, shampoo/conditioner, dove soap, toothpaste, razors, shaving cream, rice, meat, cereal, etc. Only when the price is right though! Things I buy with coupons but only a couple at a time are lotions, nail polish, perishable food, etc. So right now I have about 6 tubes of toothpaste (all of which i got for free with coupons) and I won’t buy anymore until I’m down to 1 or 2 tubes. You can stockpile but I really don’t want to be watching you on the show Hoarders, ok?

I’ve decided to keep track of my spending and coupon savings this year and found a great excel spreadsheet at Saving the Family Money. This is simple and perfect. You can use a different one for each store or put it all on one if you don’t shop much. And as our first bit of shopping this year was done yesterday I entered all my totals to see how much I was saving.  We went for groceries at Price Chopper, Big Lots for Storage Containers, and Gap (just because I had a 40% off coupon!). Here is what we spend and saved.

Total: $166.64

$ Saved with Coupons: $32.89

Out of Pocket (OOP) Total: $133.75

And from what I remember since I’ve been couponing this is about an average savings for me for the week (and remember I DO NOT buy things we don’t use or need). But from now on I will share my ACTUAL numbers with you and we’ll see just how much I can save this year! Plus I, of course, I got another $.10 of a gallon gas for my Price Chopper purchases which is another $2.00 savings for 20 gallons. Oh, and here is the Big Lots 20% off coupon good until the end of the week!

So that is why I personally love couponing. But I will be writing MUCH more on this subject as we move on. And please feel free to ask any questions you need me to address. A great place for getting started is at The Coupon Goddess.