moneymaking deals Archives

This Week's Shopping: Catalina Fun and a Wedding



This week there wasn't much time to shop on account of my brother getting married. OK, I made multiple trips to all kinds of stores, but those were errands that I ran for the wedding and don't count.

Here's what I did for our family:

Spent 35 cents at Dominick's getting Barilla pasta, sauce and cheese. How so cheap? I used a $10 Catalina I had in my wallet -- without that my total would have been $10.35 for four jars sauce, four boxes of spaghetti, two blocks cheese and one jar O Organics baby food. The deal was "buy 2 pasta, get 2 sauce free," and the $1/1 coupons didn't work because they were for the wrong variety of pasta, but not a bad deal anyway. Oh! Also I forgot to report that I got a $1 Catalina coupon for buying Barilla products -- not sure how many I would have had to buy to trigger that, but if you count that and the $1.25/2 sauce coupon I used, I paid $5.75 for 4 sauce and 4 pasta -- not bad!

At Dominick's I also found more "Save $70" coupon booklets, with that $.50/1 any Healthy Choice coupon so useful in the Catalina deal at Jewel-Osco.

At Jewel I have done 2 rounds of the current Catalina deal. The first time I spent $5.92 on 9 cans of Healthy Choice soup ($.88/can x 9 = $7.92 - $2 in coupons = $5.92). The second time I got 9 cans soup with no coupons and some grapes. I paid with the $10 Cat from before, and I only owed the tax -- 23 cents. (And of course I received a $10 Catalina coupon for each of those transactions.)

At CVS, I spent 35 cents after Extra Bucks on some milk and a can of cream of mushroom soup.

So, my grocery spending for this week was $6.85, plus my normal $32 for the organic produce box. I donated 9 cans of soup to the Girl Scouts food drive and shared some of our produce with the babysitter, since we were going out of town and couldn't eat it all. $38.65 out of a possible $100. No wonder we hardly have anything to eat around here!

I won't detail our meals, since we ate most of them out of town, at parties and restaurants. But I am happy to report that I can add $60 to the "buy a cow 2010" fund, bringing my savings up to $95.

Sunday Tribunbe Ads and Coupons 9/26 -- Free Shampoo at Menards, Money Making Natural Cough Stuff at Walgreen's, Hasbro Coupons

This has to be quick this a.m. because I am off to my first Wrigley rooftops experience. On a Groupon, of course. Between the chilly weather and the crappy team, we may have the place to ourselves. Here are the best deals and coupon matchups I see in the Sunday paper for Walgreens, CVS, Target, Toys R Us, Jewel-Osco, Dominick's and more, plus the four coupon inserts -- a SmartSource, a RedPlum, a P&G Saver and a special Hasbro insert.

RedPlum Coupon Insert: $1/3 bags various candy which matches up with the CVS ExtraBucks deal (see below), BOGO full-sized candy bars, Einsteins's Bagels Qs including one for a 50-cent pumpkin bagel.

P&G Brand Saver Coupon Insert: The usual, + Buy a Swiffer Starter Kit, get a refill free and Buy a can of Swiffer Dust and Shine, get one free; BOGO Old Spice products, and of course plenty of coupons that match up with Jewel-Osco's P&G Catalina deal (see below).

SmartSource Coupon Insert: $2/1 Huggies or $3/1 Huggies Pure & Natural, $.55/1 Hershey's Bliss Bar, $.55/1 TomCat mousetrap, $.75/1 Reynold's Wrap, $1/3 Reese's, Hershey or Kit Kat bags which also matches up with the CVS candy deal (see below), $1/1 Krunchers Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, two $1/1 Mountain High 32 oz. yogurt.

Hasbro PlaySaver Coupon Insert: (If you don't get the paper you can get the same coupons online, plus a bunch more like $2/1 Mr. Potato Head.)


Free Fullbar Fit appetite control bar after $1.99 Register Rewards

Free Emergen-C after $3.49 RR

Free Hyland's Cold n Cough 4 Kids after $4.99 RR -- moneymaker if you use the $1.50/1 printable coupon (thanks Common Sense With Money!)

Vaseline Sheer Infusion Lotion 99 cents after $5.99 RR

Pampers jumbo packs are $6.99 after RR, and you might have gotten a $3/1 coupon in a mailer If not, use the $1/1 from today's P&G Saver.

For the full Walgreen's deals, see Common Sense With Money.


Welch's grape juice is 2/$5 after $1 ECB. Use two $1/1 from the 9/12 Smart Source to get them for $1.30 each.

I have a $3/$15 coupon from the in-store coupon printer, and I think I'll use it to get my Halloween candy early and stash it in the basement freezer:

Buy 4 bags Reese's or Kit Kat for $10. Buy 5 bottles Dawn dish soap for 96 cents each. Use one $1/3 from SmartSource. Use five $1/1 Dawn (I got these in a special booklet at BlogHer.) Total should be $15 before coupons, $9 plus tax after coupons. Use the $3/$15 store coupon, and I'll pay $6 plus tax, and get back $3 for a final cost to me of $3 for a big bowl of Halloween candy and a year's worth of dish soap.

For a full list of CVS deals, including a free Oral-B rechargeable toothbrush, see Money Saving Mom.


I actually don't see any deals worth reporting in the Target ad. Am I missing something?

Menards -- mail in rebates require a $10 non-rebate purchase

free Physique shampoo or conditioner after $6 mail-in rebate

Super Hook 20-piece set 29 cents after $3 MIR

Eyewear repair kit 19 cents after $3 MIR

folding utility knife 99 cents after $3 MIR

Toys R Us

They put Hasbro stuff on sale to coordinate with the PlaySaver Hasbro insert. Cheapest thing I see is the Strawberry Shortcake Berry Cruiser RC, $4.99 after the $10/1 coupon.

Lots of gift card deals:

$25 gift card with any Mario purchase of $100 or more

$10 GC with Star Wars purchase of $50 or more

$5 GC with SW purchase of $30 or more

$15 GC when you buy 2 Pampers value boxes (see coupons above)

and then, if I'm reading this right, if you buy any of these things in addition ot the Pampers, you can get more $5 GCs: Tide detergent 150 oz. or larger, Dreft 100 oz. or larger, Pampers value box wipes, Pampers Extra Protection diapers mega pack, Pampers Easy Ups 60-68-ct., Charmin toilet paper 30-ct., Bounty giant paper towels 12 ct. With no prices listed it's hard to see how this compares to Jewel-Osco's P&G Catalina deal.

Speaking of which ...


The Proctor and Gamble Catalina deal is this: Spend $30 on select products in a single transaction, get a $10 coupon to spend on your next order. See my intro to Catalina deals to learn how these special deals work, but keep in mind that if you are calculating the amount you spent on pre-Preferred price, Osco items don't have Preferred prices so they don't work that way.

Promising-looking items in this deal are the 100 oz. Tide liquid at $9.99 (use $2/1 coupons from various magazines), 12-ct. Charmin for $6.99, 3-pack Puffs for $4.99, and Big Pack Pampers for $19.99. A good filler to make sure you spend $30 is the $1.50 can of Pringles. Match with coupons from today's P&G Brand Saver.

Please let me know if you try this deal. I do notice that the Tide, Bounty paper towels ($9.99 for 8 giant rolls), Charmin and Puffs have little badges saying "Preferred Price," so you might be able to get a spread on those.

The Sunday Jewel ad also has that $2/1 Bacardi coupon -- but not the $3/1 Sauza tequila. 

Dominick's weekend update has Super Coupons for Huggies jumbo packs diapers at $7.99 -- so break out your expired $3/1 coupons. There's also a SC for Tide 50 oz. @ $5.99 -- but the P&G deal should get you a better price even before you get your $10 coupon back; at Jewel it's $10 for 100 oz., so even before the deal that's $5 per 50 oz.

JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores has a coupon for 50% off any regular price item, good all week.

Michael's has the usual 40% off one item coupon, and they're having a "Duk Tape Costume Demo" on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Intriguing. 

Carson Pirie Scott has a coupon for 20% off sale price shoes and bags.

Office Max has two-day deals good Sunday and Monday only, including $50 off a cross-cut shredder, making it $49.99. I need that. Too bad I don't have those MaxPerks available yet.

CVS Family Shop - Made Money, Should Have Made More

This morning my parents were at my house and so my mother, 3-year-old Pebbles and I joined hands and skipped over to CVS together. I had a $5/$30 coupon for my mom's card from this morning's email.

Here's what we bought:


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Sunday Tribune Ads and Coupons - Make Money Buying Deodorant

Parade has a coupon for $2/2 Glade 9.7 oz. Premium Room Sprays

Sears has a coupon for an extra 15% off regular and sale priced apparel, footwear and accessories, good 9/10-9/26. According to the ad, you could also get the same 15% off coupon by texting "fall" (3255) to 50101.

Jewel-Osco's weekend update has buy one, get one free Jenni-O turkey breast. Also a $2/1 manufacturer's coupon for Bacardi rum, which expires 9/26. I love turkey and rum, don't you?

The Dominick's update has new Super Price Coupons (require $10 purchase, can be stacked with manufacturer's coupons): Smuckers Preserves or Jam 18 oz. for $1.99, Jif peanut butter 18 oz. $1.49. Happily, there's a coupon in the 8/8 Redplum for $1 off if you buy 1 Smuckers and 1 Jif, so for $2.50 you're in happy school lunch land. Just add bread.

CVS has a moneymaker this week, and may I say it's about time? Make $1 buying Right Guard deodorant thusly: Buy 2 @ $2.99 each, use the $3/2 coupon from, and get $2 ExtraBucks back per stick. So after the coupon you're paying $3, then getting $4 back. CVS also has Revlon lipstick for $1: Buy one for $6, use $1/1 from the 8/15 or 9/12 SmartSource, pay $5 and get $5 Extra Bucks back. (Ooh, Mashup Mom just reminded me that there's a $2/1 Facebook coupon that makes the lipstick free.)

 Aaand, pretty good deal on Huggies diapers: 2/$14.98 after $3 ECB. If you get home mailers, you may have two $1.50/1 coupons on hand, whcih would bring them down to $6 a jumbo pack.

For a full list of this week's CVS deals, see Money Saving Mom.

Walgreens has Quaker Oats for 50 cents after coupon -- it's $1.50 for the 18 oz. cannister of quick oats; use the $1/1 from the 9/12 SmartSource to get it for 50 cents. Reach floss or toothbrushes are 99 cents with in-ad coupon. Have you ever looked for coupons for Reach at your dentist? I got a bunch for $2/1 coupons there, lucky me.

Target has an adorable owl shirt for infant and toddlers for just $5. And KitchenAid appliances and cookware are all 20% off, included -- you know it -- the stand mixer. Other than that, I don't see any deals of note.

Coupon matchups from Hot Coupon World's database.

Mad Crazy Shopping: Never, Ever Pay $3 for a Tiny Box of Cereal

My cereal stock in the pantry was actually getting down to only one shelf. Which meant it was time for another free-cereal extravaganza, which Dominick's stepped right up to provide. Here's the crazy trip I did this morning:

2 Golden Grahams, 12 oz. $1.99 each

1 Cheerios 8.9 oz. 99 cents

1 Nature Valley Cashew Nut Clusters, FREE (why??)

1 Nature Valley bars Sweet & Salty, FREE

This is the "buy 4, save $4 plus free box of granola bars" deal at Dominick's this week. First of all, there's some crazy business with how the prices are ringing up. The cereals should all be $1.99, but as you can see the Cheerios rang up for only 99 cents. I've seen reports of this happening to lots of other people too.

The granola bars came up free as they were supposed to, but somehow the NV clusters came up free too. Huh??

So without any coupons, I'd have paid $5 for these five items. Not good enough, right?

Hence, I used paper coupons: $.75/2 Golden Grahams from a blinkie in the store, $.55/1 Cheerios printable that was probably expired, $.50/1 Nature Valley Sweet & Salty printable, and $1/1 NV Nut Clusters printable.

After the paper coupons, my cost is down $2.80 to $2.20.

Not good enough!

Bring on the e-coupons. I have been sporadically adding e-coupons on ShortCuts, Cellfire and the Dominick's site as they appear, and at Mashup Mom's prompting I went online last night and added new ones. Here's what came off:

$.75 for Golden Grahams

two $.55 for Cheerios

three $.50 for NV granola bars

three $1 for NV nut clusters

So that's $6.30 in e-coupons.

Final cost: NEGATIVE $4.10!

Yes, according to my receipt, buying these five items led to four bucks in overage to apply to the rest of my order. Pretty great considering that the regular price (pronounced in a derisive tone with raised eyebrows) for one box of these little cereals was $2.99.

Oh! More news flashes!

  • Huggies wipes are $1.99, and I had a $2/1 e-coupon loaded. Also used an expired $.50/1 coupon, so that generated overage too.
  • Mom 2 Mom diapers jumbo packs on clearance for $6, and there are small booklets with $1/1 coupons by the pharmacy. Last time I bought a Mom 2 Mom product, a $2/1 printed out. When I used that and bought a pack today, another $2/1 printed.
  • I got 3 Fage (pronounced fah-yay, according to their Facebook page) yogurt cups for 25 cents each after the Facebook coupon
  • And I splurged on  an 8-pack of Starbucks Via on sale for $6.99, used $1/1 printable coupon and two $1/1 e-coupons came off, for a final price of $4 or 50 cents per cup of instant coffee. Sounds crazy, but this stuff is actually good, especially when you pour it in hot milk. I'm going to be spending the weekend with people who brew bad coffee, so I thought it would be a prudent buy.

I also stopped by Jewel-Osco and got a free loaf of bakery bread with the no-longer-available coupon and two packs of blueberries with the $2 produce coupon. So the berries cost me all of 50 cents. Also, Tribe hummus is BOGO @ $3 something and I had two $.75/1 coupons.

People, I'm going offline for the weekend for some family time. Please forgive me for not posting Sunday deals! Have a good one!


Sunday Ads: Here Come the School Supplies Deals

On the second Sunday in July 2009, I wrote up the Sunday ads from the alternative birthing center at the hospital, the morning after our little boy joined the family. Today I'm going to dash this out because friends and family are descending on the house and yard at 3 p.m. for a first birthday barbecue.

But guess what? Fourth of July is in the rearview mirror, which means It's time for back-to-school deals. (Insert lament here about how the retailers rush everything these days.) Actually, the fact that they start early is a good thing for bargain hunters, because it gives us six weeks to stalk the loss-leader offers to fill out our kids' supply lists.

The School Supply Deals

Walgreens: 10 Crayola markers 99 cents, Fiskars kids scissors 99 cents, and with in-ad coupon, erasers and novelty pencils 9 cents, legal pads 29 cents, Mead envelopes 69 cents, pocket folders 8/$1.

CVS: Sun-Tues only, get free Paper Mate pens and kids scissors after 99 cents ExtraBucks. Limit 1 each.

Staples: Thru Wed only: 1 cent each with $5 purchase: folders (limit 10) and 8-pack pencils (limit 2). a ream of mulitpurpose white paper is 1 cent after $4.98 easy rebate, limit 2. There's a coupon in the ad for $5 off a $30 purchase, good all week.

Office Depot: Buy Mr. Sketch Markers at $7.99, get a $7.99 prepaid Visa card by mail. Buy a Singline stapler for $15.99, free after $2 instant rebate and $13.99 mail-in rebate. $1 each after sending away for Visa cards: ream of multipurpose paper, 25-pack sheet protectors, Pentel mechanical pencils.

Toys R Us: Free lunch kit up to $9.99 when you buy any backpack at $12.99 or more. Buy one, get one free Crayola crayons and markers

Kmart has a free lunch kit with backpack purchase.

World Market has a cute little food thermos there for $5.99 this week.

Other Deals

Parade has a coupon for $.75/1 pound cake or cream pie

For the rest of the Walgreen's deals, see Money Saving Mom.

CVS: Complete multipurpose contact solution is free after $7.99 ECBs, and a moneymaker if you use the $2/1 from the 5/16 RedPlum. has Campbell's tomato or chicken noodle soup for 50 cents, milk is still $1.69 after ExtraBuck (limit 2, and don't forget you get a free gallon for every five you buy). For the full CVS deals, see Mashup Mom.

World Market will give you a free tote bag with purchase of $10 or more.

Jo-Ann has a coupon for 50% off one regular priced item. And their patriotic stuff is down to 70% off. 

Michael's has the usual 40% off one regular priced item coupon.

Toys R Us/Babies R Us has a coupon for 20% off any regular priced baby item. And a free gift card offer when you buy 3 Enfamil Premium 6-can cases of formula. (Use formula checks plus any coupons you might have.) Plum Organics baby food pouches are on sale 10/$10, use the printable coupon for $.50/2.

At Jewel-Osco the only new thing I see is watermelons for $3.99, limit 2, which is awesome because I'm about to run over there to get balloons and asparagus for the party. And, now, watermelon.

Target gift card offers: Buy 3 Starbucks coffee @ $6.99, get a $5 GC.

Coupons: The SmartSource insert has a BOGO coupon for Earth Options Raid bug spray, a BOGO for Olay cleansers, BOGO for Head and Shoulders shampoo or conditioner, $3/1 Bic Disposable shavers. Redplum has $1/2 Pop-Tarts in case you need coupons for the Jewel-Osco deal this week.

CVS Trip: Body Wash Limit Is Really Two

Tonight I walked over to CVS after getting a hot tip on Mashup Mom that the Old Spice body wash limit is really 2, even though the ad says one. That is, you can buy two bottles and get $4 Extra Bucks for each for a total of $8 ECBs.

That is a big deal because there was a buy one, get one free coupon in the 5/3 P&G insert, along with a $1/2 coupon as well. Those coupons make this a pretty nice moneymaker. Not to mention that now your man won't have to use lady-scented body wash.

Also, I had a $15 ECB that was expiring tomorrow. I wasn't feeling well, but I thought a walk down the street might make me feel better. (It didn't, therefore, no picture for you because I am about to fall into bed.)


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Sunday Ads and Coupons: Cheap Diapers, Cheap Thermacare, Moneymaking Contact Solution

Here are the best deals and coupons I see in this week's Sunday newspaper inserts. Let's make this quick and dirty so I can go outside and enjoy the weather! This week I'm interested in Huggies and moneymaking Complete contact solution at Walgreens, ThermaCare wraps for 50 cents a box at CVS, and the ConAgra deal at Jewel-Osco.


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ConAgra and a Helpful Site for Catalinas

The latest ConAgra deal is already active at Jewel-Osco, and you can see it advertised in tomorrow's Sunday newspaper ad. From what I am seeing other people buy, the best deals are on Wesson oil, Pam grilling spray and Orville Redenbacher popcorn.

Personally, I will probably get some Pam, some Hunt's tomatoes and/or sauce and a can of Reddi-Wip. I'll post my transaction when I do it.

But I wanted to tell you about a Web site that offers a lot more help with these Catalina deals than I do: Calculate Your Shopping. This site provides unbelievably organized spreadsheets showing all the information you need to work Catalina deals as well as some suggested transactions.

The site author, Mary, says she has verifed every price in the ConAgra Catalina offer, and the spreadsheet for the current ConAgra deal is here. It tells you the item's Preferred Price, pre-card price, where to find the coupons, and the percentage you will save item-by-item or transaction-by-transaction. So at a glance you can look at her "shopping lists" and see that you can save "104%" (i.e. make money) right now if you buy seven popcorns with seven coupons, or that you can save 77% on Hunt's spaghetti sauce with no coupons.

I hope she keeps this site up -- it seems like a lot of work -- and I will definitely be looking here for Catalina help in the future.

$80 Grocery Budget: Stayed Under Budget

This week I spent:

$30 at Jewel-Osco on the fruit bars Catalina, two 32 oz. cartons of Mountain High yogurt at $1.20 after coupon, and a bunch of whatnot including organic potatoes and organic romaine lettuce (not the recalled kind). The highlight was getting five boxes of Progresso Beef Broth marked down to 69 cents each in the clearance cart. Oh, and my Jewel total would have been four bucks lower if I hadn't forgotten to bring my $4 Catalina from the first trip along on my second trip. I'll get 'em next time!

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CVS: More $2/1 Huggies From the Coupon Printer, and I'm on a Roll!

I just got back from a stroller walk to CVS and everything went great -- until I parked the double stroller in front of my house and a neighbor walked by and grabbed the sleeping baby's hand until he woke up. Realllly, neighbor who has six kids of her own? Have you learned NOTHING so far? The worst part was having to smile and say, "Oh, it's OK" when I really wanted to have her put in jail for contempt of the Parents Code.

Anyway, great news: The coupon printer/price scanner at CVS is spitting out store coupons for $2/1 "any Huggies Supreme diaper." Remember that Huggies jumbo packs are an ExtraBucks offer this week at $8.49, get back $2 ExtraBucks.

If you pair the $2 store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon of $1 or more, you're looking at paying $5.50 OR LESS for your pack of diapers -- meaning your cost after getting the $2 ExtraBucks is just $3.50. Or less.

I have a bunch of $3/1 expired printables left, and have found that CVS is usually not too strict about expireds. Which makes Huggies $1 after coupons and ExtraBucks. Yahoo!

Also, my transaction over there was another moneymaker. See the numbers below this shot of my loot and my slightly-under-the-weather helper: 





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Update on Moneymaking Razor Deals This Week

At Walgreens, I had the Schick Hydro razor deal wrong in my Sunday update: You get the $5 Register Rewards just for buying the razor at $7.99 (you don't have to also buy a cartridge), so it is a $2 moneymaker with the $5 coupon from today's 5/9 SmartSource.

At Target, there is a $1/1 store printable coupon. So if you buy 2 razors $7.99 each and use two prints of the store coupon plus two $5/1 from today's paper, you pay $4 and get the $5 gift card back, for a profit of $1. (Thanks for pointing out the Target printabler, Mashup Mom.)

Proof That CVS Loves Us: $2/2 Body Wash Coupons from the Coupon Printer

This morning I headed over to my neighborhood CVS with much excitement to do the Nivea deal and restock my dwindling ExtraBucks wallet. I was helped by the manager of the whole store, and I told him about this blog, so Hi Nader or Nader's wife! If you are reading this.

Now that the meet and greet is over, the big news from my trip: The CVS coupon printer is spitting out $2/2 body wash store coupons! I scanned three different cards and each one got the coupon. That cuts the out of pocket for this deal to about $1.60 if you don't have the coupons from All You magazine, or 87 cents if you have them!

(UPDATED TO ADD: If you get a different coupon from the printer, try scanning your card again. The generic CVS coupons like this generally come out last, sometimes after scanning your card several times.)

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Terrible, Wonderful, Crazy Dominick's

Don't EVEN ask me why I have no photo of my groceries tongiht. You're lucky I made it home alive to tell the tale.

After the kids were in bed tonight I thought I'd slip out for a little shoppy shop. I gathered my coupons, looked around for my cell phone, didn't find it, thought, Oh, what the hell, and left.

First stop: Jewel-Osco, where I needed to hit the service desk to take off a few coupons I'd forgotten on my last trip and pick up an extra flyer for $2/2 CheezIt coupons. Also grabbed free 7Up with coupon, three bunches of cheap bananas and a pot of mums on clearance for $2.50. Spent a Catalina and about $5, went swimmingly.

Second Stop: Walgreens, where I spent the $3 RR I'd gotten yesterday plus a buck and change for the razor on a pack of Stayfree (99 cents after $2 coupon) and Plackers ($2). I also got three rolls of Scotch packing tape with the $1/1 coupons and a caramel as a filler. The cashier was a young dude who was having a serious conversation with a friend about needing to intercept the mail before his parents got to it and needing to hire an attorney. They conversation went on even as the cashier had trouble scanning my Scotch coupons and punched in the number. This was delightful to me not only because their conversation was intriguing -- was someone mailing him drugs, or what? -- but because far from scrutinizing me and my coupon use, the cashier seemed barely aware I was there. So I felt not at all self conscious about taking the $3 RRs from the Stayfree and immediately buying a 3-pack of Schick razors ($2.99 after $3/1 coupon) and another caramel. (Also paid 97 cents cash.) If I had not by then figured out what they were talking about -- drunk driving arrest -- I probably would have gone back for more transactions.

Instead, I took my $6 in RR (plus the $1 still unspent from yesterday -- not bad for my cash investment of about $4) over to Dominick's, where I started off at the service desk getting $4.49 taken off a past receipt because I had failed to use my free item raincheck. That should have gone smoothly because a great service desk guy was there, but instead it went slowly because he was trying to get one of the cashiers to do it since his drawer was apparently already closed out, and the cashier was not too into learning how to do the refund.

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Walgreens Shop: Moneymaking Razor, Free Tape



This afternoon I found out three things about Walgreens:

1) You can make a $2 profit this week buying the Schick Quattro Titanium 3-pack of disposable razors. After reading the instructions on Money Saving Mom, I tried it today and indeed, paid $2 and got back a $3 Register Reward and a $1 Register Reward. The package also comes with "10 free songs," if you care about that.

2) Although the first Wag's I tried was not able to process the $1/1 Scotch Packaging Tape coupon with the 99 cents store coupon, it really can work because it did today. I thought you had to have them scan the manufacturer's coupon first and then the store coupon, but this guy ended up doing it in the opposite order and it worked.

3) You can fit a double jogging stroller in through the automatic door, but just barely.

Happy shopping! I am really busy this week but would love to get time to roll my $3 RR into one pack of Stayfree ($1 after $2/1 coupon from 3/28 RedPlum) and one pack Plackers flossers (there is supposed to be a $.50/1 coupon in 3/28 RedPlum but I can't find it). And then roll that back into more disposable razors!

Sunday Ads: Free Stuff at Walgreens, Menards and CVS

I picked up a Sunday Tribune at Jewel-Osco today and all it had was the CVS ad, Menards and Carson Pirie Scott, Jewel and Dominick's, plus the two coupon books. Thank goodness those were in there or I might have had to drive back to that Jewel-Osco and had an on-the-floor tantrum right there. I don't know why I even buy advance copies of the Sunday paper, because they are always missing something.

SmartSource has $.70/1 Palmolive dish soap to take to CVS this week, $.75/2 Dole fruit bowls, parfaits and another for gel fruit bowls, $1/1 Stayfree to take to Walgreens this week, $1/1 Johnson's baby product which is always good for a tiny bottle of baby shampoo at CVS (if you need a filler). RedPlum has $1/1 any Dove deodorant which could probably get you a travel size one free.

CVS has that Schick Hydro razor free after ECBs and coupon (3/21 SS, any disposable) AGAIN, and Softsoap Nutri Serum body wash is free if you have the $1/1 coupon from the current Reinventing Beauty magazine. (Which by the way has pretty crappy coupons this time around, mostly manufacturers'.) If you're almost out of dish soap like I am, you'll be happy to see Palmolive on sale for 88 cents, since there is a $.70/1 in the 4/25 SmartSource that takes the price down to a quite manageable 18 cents. Oh, and if you got a $2/1 store coupon for Huggies wipes like I did, combine it with the $.50/1 from the 4/18 SmartSource and get them free this week. Finally, Mashup Mom has a hot tip on how to get Fig Newtons or Wheat Thins free.

So, I don't have a Walgreens ad yet but I know there are moneymakers with coupons -- Stayfree and Plackers flossers -- becaues I read about them on Money Saving Mom.

Carson Pirie Scott has a coupon for an extra 20% off sale price apparel and fine jewelry, or lesser discounts off other stuff.

Menards has free deck wash after rebate. 

So, when I get a real Sunday paper tomorrow, maybe I'll update more. I say maybe because tomorrow is Nutmeg's 6th birthday, I've got family coming over, and it will probably be pretty crazy all day. But yay Epu and me for successfully raising a child through the end of "early chidlhood" into well, regular childhood.

Sunday Ads and Coupons: CVS Freebies, Toys R Us Gift Card Offers

Last night I only managed to write about the Target deals before crashing, which turned out to be a good thing since the baby had me up from 3:30 to 4:30 in the morning. This week I'm kind of excited about CVS for the first time in a few weeks; at the end of the week I'll be over there looking for Easter stuff at 90% off as well.

Coupon Inserts: RedPlum has two coupons for $1/1 32-oz. Mountain High yogurt, which I love. Also $3.75 off Vaseline Sheer Infusion lotion. Buy one, get one Cover Girl face product, which often combines real nice with a CVS or Walgreens deal. SmartSource has $1/2 Scotch-Brite Greener Clean products, $.75/1 Tribe Hummus, buy one, get one free Ziploc, $2/1 Boudreaux's Butt Paste or other product

CVS Free After ExtraBucks: Dove shampoo or conditioner at $4.49, a moneymaker with the $1.50/1 in the 3/28 RedPlum. Free after ECBs and coupon: Dial bodywash @ $5.49 with the $1/1 printable coupon, Schick Hydro razor with the $3/1 from the 3/21 SmartSource. Free after coupon: CVS Earth Essentials single roll toilet paper is 50 cents, so if you printed any $1/1 CVS paper product from the machine in the past week, you can get two rolls free. Cheap after coupon: Fillippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil 17 oz. is just $2.99 after the $1/1 printable coupon, Simply Asia bowl or entree buy one, get one free @ $1.99, use two $.50/1 from the 2/7 RedPlum to get them for 50 cents each. For the full CVS deals, see Money Saving Mom.

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Jewel-Osco General Mills Catalina Deal - Possible Moneymakers or at Least a Freebie or Two


Here are the details from today's Jewel-Osco ad about the new General Mills "spend $20, get $5" Catalina deal, which is already active:


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Our $80 Spending for This Week: Moneymaking SoyJoy Bars, Free Electrasol, Free Cookies



I didn't write about grocery shopping over the holidays, and to tell you the truth I didn't do much. I'll jump right to the first shopping trip of the new year, and then sum up what I did with the last few after that.

This week, we came back from our Christmas visit to our parents' houses on Tuesday night, and although there wasn't much fresh in the house, I didn't grocery shop until today. It was so frigid out, and we were busy dealing with our end-of-the-year flexible spending account issues and searching for lost keys and whatnot, so I let it slide and we ate from the pantry and freezer. Epu stopped at Dominick's for me one day picked up a take-and-bake pizza and celery, onions and carrots so I could make our Christmas hambone into split pea soup. That was $15.

Tonight, tempted by Walgreen's and CVS deals, I finally broke down and ventured out into the cold night. I hit one Wag's, one CVS and Jewel, and got everything in the photo above for $74 out of pocket. I received a $10 Catalina at Jewel (the "spend $25, get $20" P&G Catalina deal -- I realized just before going to the store that we were almost out of Size 4 diapers), earned $7 Extra Bucks more than I used at CVS, and $15 in Register Rewards at Walgreens, for a whopping total of $32 back at all three stores.

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CVS Freebie Report


Today I took Nutmeg on a walk to CVS and Jewel to get her wiggles out, and because I had a beef stew simmering on the stove that lacked nearly-free frozen vegetables.

My CVS was well stocked with the three free-after-Extra-Bucks Christmas items, probably because only one of them was marked as a freebie. I was pretty happy with these items -- a lot of times the seasonal freebies are useless tchotchkes, but this is obviousy the most useful stuff possible if you celebrate Christmas. I especially liked the tissue paper and hope to get some more on my parents' card and my husband's tomorrow. I'm thinking that with some paper and gift bags I got on clearance after Christmas last year, plus this tissue paper, I won't have to buy an paper this holiday season.

Pretty basic transaction:

2 tissue paper $3.98

2 bows             5.98

2 rolls gift tags  3.98

Total: $13.34, minus $2/$10 CVS brand purchase = $11.34 + tax. Paid $10 in ECBs and the rest off a gift card from a prescription, received $13.34 ECBs. Moneymaker!

At Jewel, we did two quick transactions of the "spend $15, get $5" General Mills Catalina deal, with Nutmeg working the self-checkout like a pro.

(If you're wondering what a Catalina deal is, it's only the most awesome way to get free groceries in the world. Get up to speed on Catalina deals by reading this.

First 7 boxes Green Giant vegetables for $16.10 before card, $7 after scanning my card, minus $1.50 from three $.50/2 printables, and I paid $5.50 and got a $5 Catalina coupon back. I also bought a bag each of grapefruit and oranges, so I had no problem using my $5 Cat from a previous transaction to pay.

Then we worked the Progresso trick that I learned about from Mashup Mom, because Nutmeg wants to be a big shot and bring in 25 cans of soup for the school food drive tomorrow. Guess we'll be bringing the wagon.

Got 12 cans of Progresso soup for $1 each, which was $12 minus the two $2.49 "broth" credits, or $7.02. Minus $3.25 in coupons, so I paid $3.77 and got $5 back. Moneymaker! This time I bought two bags of split peas, on sale for 79 cents each, as a filler to boost my total above $5 to use the $5 coupon I'd earned a few minutes earlier.


Friday Night Shopping Binge: Free Soup, Walgreens Moneymakers

All week I've been writing up all the good grocery and drugstore deals out there, and not being able to get away from the house due to bad weather, other engagements and a late-working husband. So tonight while Epu put the kids to bed I gathered my coupons, and at 8:30 I zipped up my parka and ventured out into the night. I spent more money than I expected at Old Navy, made money at Walgreens, got free food drive soup at Jewel-Osco as well as cheap pop. All around, three successful missions!

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Transaction Ideas for Freebie-ful Walgreens Midweek Ad


Crystal Paine just posted a couple of scenarios that could earn you $15 (not to mention net 9 free products) at Walgreens this week, based on the mid-week ad they released. They'll be doing that every week until Christmas, by the way.

Here are my own deal ideas. Each transaction will be $25 before coupons, because Walgreens will give you a $5 Register Reward if you spend $25. (A tip: wait until the cashier tells you the total before you hand out the coupons; according to Mashup Mom they may have to press the Total button before entering coupons to make it register that you actually spent $25.) The items I chose will mostly be going into stockings, except the Coke, of course, which is for holiday entertaining.

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Deals and Coupon Matchups from the Sunday Ad Inserts - Nov. 28

OK, after Thanksgiving and Black Friday you've given up shopping AND eating for the rest of the year, right? So I'll just drop these ad flyers in the recycling bin without giving you a preview, right?

Oh, calm down. You and my 2-year-old -- neither of you can take teasing.

This week I'm excited about the Jewel flyer because the the Xtreme Value is 10 oz. bags of Wonderful Pistachios are buy one, get one free at $4.99. With two $1/1 coupons from the 11/15 SmartSource or if you have any of the previously available printables, these will be just $1.50 a bag! I don't know about your house, but Chez Frugalista pistachios are a sought-after stocking stuffer. I'm just kind of bummed that I used two coupons buying two bags of this at Dominick's when it was on sale at $4.99.

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Yes, You Can Make Money Buying Blood Sugar Meters. Should You?

This week Bayer meters used by diabetics to measure blood sugar are a $5 moneymaker at Walgreens. Reader Tracy asked me to explain how this works, and I will. I'll follow the walk-through with a little discussion about whether it's ethical to make money buying this kind of item.

Here's how it works:

1. The meter is on sale for $14.99, so if you use the $30 off coupon from the 10/25 RedPlum, they'll adjust the coupon downward and you'll get the item for free.

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Jewel General Mills Catalina Deal: New Sale Prices, Scenarios and Coupons

Thanks to the folks on Couponers Wanted, you can read the whole list of every single item included in the "buy $30, get $15 coupons" Catalina deal at Jewel-Osco right now. However, that list doesn't tell you the sale and Preferred Card prices for those items, which you need to put together transaction scenarios.

Lucky for you, I did a little research today. First, I got the Jewel Wednesday insert, which has a full page of new Preferred prices for this deal on the back (which are supposed to start tomorrow but my Jewel had a lot of these sales already running today). Then, I stopped into my local store to look for some of the pre-card prices.

Here are the ad items, with preferred prices, with pre-card price and coupon match if I have it. Note that some of the pre-card prices I saw on the tag myself, some are from the ad and some gathered elsewhere online; none are guaranteed so watch how they ring up.

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What We Spent Our $80 Grocery Budget on This Week: Organics at Trader Joe's

I went $15 over budget this week, but that's not too bad considering I hadn't spent any money at all the week before. I'll have no problem making it up in the current week since there is plenty of fresh food in the fridge.

After not grocery shopping at all last week, I needed fruit and vegetables, so I headed to my favorite local place for organic produce: Trader Joe's. Although there are plenty of goodies at TJ's I hold back on for both budgetary and diet reasons (my husband would become my slave if I came home with a cart of chocolate-covered peanut butter pretzels, but I resisted), I don't exactly skimp there either because I don't have time to make a TJ's run more than about once a month.

I spent $80 there on my usual TJs staples, like organic peanut butter, organic potatoes, carrots and celery, organic fruit (apples and pears this time), hummus, whole-wheat cous cous, wild salmon (I usually buy the cheaper silverbrite and cook it in a curry dish to compensate for the blander taste) and wine. I also got two organic chickens at $2.79 a pound, some nitrate-free ham for Nutmeg's lunches, and one jar of simmer sauce for an easy dinner (probably with that silverbrite salmon).


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Grocery Spending 10/21-10/27: Came Out AHEAD By Shopping Moneymaking Catalina Deal

When I was done with the crazy Pillsbury/General Mills overlapping Catalina deals this week, I had a net profit of $6.50 (on top of a $3 profit last week). I didn't grocery shop at all on non-Catalina deals; I only bought a gallon of milk and two bottles of Izze soda (buy one, get one) at CVS for a grand total of $3.50.

That means ... I didn't spend my $80 grocery budget! Finally, a contribution toward the $400 we spent on half a side of beef. We now owe $320 to the beef fund.

Obviously, we mainly ate from the pantry and freezer this week since I didn't buy any fresh food:

WEDNESDAY: macaroni and cheese and carrot sticks (standard Dad's working late meal)

THURSDAY: Trader Joe's korma simmer sauce over rice w/ celery and potatoes, + carrot pancakes

FRIDAY: breakfast = bacon, eggs & whole wheat toast; lunch and dinner = out.

SATURDAY: breakfast = Grands cinnamon rolls, lunch and dinner out

SUNDAY: out of town, at at mom's

MONDAY: breakfast = cereal, lunch = canned soup, dinner = free KFC chicken plus purchased biscuits (I know, with all those Grands, I went and BOUGHT KFC biscuits. But I love those things and almost never go to KFC so I had to have them.)

Sunday Ad Flyers: Make Money Stocking Your Medicine Cabinet

The highlights of this weeks ads are definitely Walgreens and CVS: At Wag's you can make $5 buying Theraflu with the right coupons, and at CVS you can stock up on Advil and Chapstick for a very low price.

CVS: the "spend $20, get $5 ECBs" candy deal is in its last week, and one of the included items is the Reese's peanut butter pumpkin for 50 cents. If you still have any of those buy one, get one free Reece's coupons, you could use them on this. Trident Layers gum is also included @ 99 cents and there is a bogo coupon for that in this week's SmartSource.

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Transaction With Walgreens $5/$25, Today Only

I had grand plans of getting to Walgreens today with my toddler and baby to do this transaction. It MIGHT still happen after dinner; depends on whether I can friggin' LET IT GO and stay home and clean my house like I should be doing.*

But here's my idea for a deal using the $5/$25 Walgreens coupon, which is only good through today:

(Unlike CVS, Walgreens requires you to spend the $25 out of pocket, after coupons, to use the coupon.)

3 Theraflu @ $4 = $12.00 ($8 Register Rewards)

1 Vaseline Infusion   6.99 ($7 RR)

1 Gilette Fusion       8.99 ($6 RR)

1 Oral-B Advantage  3.00 ($3 RR)

1 Chapstick Fresh    2.99 ($3 RR)

1 Halls Refresh        1.00 ($1 RR)

1 Emergen-C            3.49 ($3.49 RR)

1 Herbal Essences   2.99 ($2 RR)


                             $41.50 ($33.50)

MINUS COUPONS     6.00 Theraflu ($2/1 Wags coupon x 3)

                                 1.50 Vaseline manufacturer's coupon from 8/2 RedPlum or                                      CVS Reinventing Beauty magazine

                                  4.00 Gilette $4/1 from 9/27 P&G insert

                                    .75 Oral-B from 9/27 P&G

                                    .75 Halls from 9/27 P&G

                                   1.00 Herbal Essences from 8/23 RedPlum



                                 -  5.00 Wags Q


                      SPEND 22.50, GET $33.50 RR.


Walgreens $5/$25 and More Deals From Around the Web

In addition to a buncha freebies this week, there's a $5/$25 coupon available for Walgreens, good Tuesday and Wednesday only. And a Theraflu moneymaker!

Thanks Money Saving Mom!

Now that the Cubs have no chance, rooftop tickets are down to $65 on Groupon, still all you can eat and drink. So you won't mind if your beer gets watered down from all those tears.

25% off entire purchase at the Gap, on DealNews (via Wise Bread)

All This for Free at Kmart Super Doubles

I topped off an exhausting weekend of shopping with ... more shopping. Why yes, I am starting to figure out why I never have time for anything.

But still. When I did a quick perusal of the possible deals at Kmart to write it up for you this morning, I saw that not only could I actually make money buying Special K, I could also get free Ziploc bags (which we were getting low on) and the free Reece's peanut butter cups I missed out on getting last time around. The clincher was that when 5-year-old Nutmeg found out I was going to get Halloween candy, she actually wanted to come with. I also kinda sorta told her we could maybe get some Halloween decorations, too. The kid is obsessed with this holiday.

Here's what I got for free:



(That Cariboo game you see in the background is just clutter in our house, not part of the purchase.)


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Joint Juice Moneymaker and Other Ways to Save This Weekend

Money Saving Mom says there's a moneymaking Catalina deal on Joint Juice at BOTH Jewel AND Dominick's. Sweet.!

Groupon has a pretty amazing offer going on this weekend, if you live anywhere near 901 N. Larrabee Street. It's $10 for a 2-pound bag of some more-than-fair-trade coffee, PLUS a free coffee or espresso drink in the @Spot Cafe every single day for a month. Lattes included! The cafe people say it's worth up to $115. You can buy this one through Sunday at midngiht.

I think I have to move.

Finally, I just returned from shopping and volunteering at the Parenthesis consignment sale here in Oak Park, and I just want to let you know that the tables are piled HIGH with clothes. Girls 4T and size 6, I noticed, were practically breaking the table with the weight of all the nice clothes piled on there. I saw an adorable Ralph Lauren blouse for girls in size 6 that was marked $1.50.

And I left it there for you!

Jewel 9/17-9/23: Make Money Buying Campbell's Soup


I'll post the rest of the Jewel deals later, but first here's a word about this week's Campbell's Catalina deal. (If you don't know what a Catalina is, read this post.) Have you noticed that Campbell's has been discounting its products all over the place lately? This $1/2 cooking soups printable coupon will really come in handy at Jewel this week, especially if you have access to multiple computers and can print a lot of copies, because there's a Campbell's Catalina deal going:

Spend $15, get $5. Products include Cambell's tomato or chicken noodle @ 50 cents (w/out card 20/$15), Goldfish crackers 6.8-8 oz. @ $1.25, 2 oz. Goldfish or Campbell's Canned Pasta (Spaghetti-os) @ $1, V8 Splash juice 64 oz., Milano cookies or Swanson chicken breast 4.5 oz. @ $2, Cambell's Select Harvest or Chunky @ $1.25, Prego pasta sauce @ $2.

Here's the moneymaking deal: Buy 20 cans Cambpell's tomato soup for $10 with card, $15 pre-card price. Use 10 $1/2 printables to get them free. Collect $5 Catalina coupon. Or if you only have a few $1/2s, also clip the the Cambell's coupons from the 9/13 SmartSource: $1/2 V8 Splash, $.40/2 any condensed soups, $.40/4 chicken noodle or tomato, $.50/2 Select Harvest.

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Great Deals for Tuesday

I just flew back from San Francisco, and boy are my arms tired! Actually, they are from hauling around a baby with his car seat. But they're not too tired to type up some deals!

60% off Uggs Boots on DealNews. (Thanks, Wise Bread!) (And possibly even better: 79% off kids' shoes from LL Bean + free shipping, also on DealNews. Hey, this DealNews site is addictive!)

Today's Groupon: Ticket to Millennium Park Gourmet Food Event for 47% off. (That makes it $89 instead of $169. The deal is already "on" meaning that if you sign up you definitley get it. Tickets available for 9/26 or 9/27 only. You have until midnight to buy.)

Walgreens coupon-free moneymaker: Buy vitamin drink packets for a $2 profit after Register Rewards. (Thanks For the Mommas!)

Printable coupons:

Sign up for the Luvs network for a $5/1 coupon. (Thanks, Money Saving Mom!)

$2/1 Healthy Choice coupon

$2/1 off Advil




The Frugalista Is Out of the Office, But ...

I'm in San Francisco for a long weekend. Work and pleasure. But while I'm here, I'll try to pop in with a few moneysaving tips. Such as:

  • There's a 16-family rummage sale to benefit a local girl scout troop in my home village of Oak Park this weekend. Saturday, Sept. 12, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., 608 S. Gunderson Ave. As much as I love being in SF, I hate missing a big sale like that!
  • You can get a coupon for a free box of "your favorite" Barilla pasta if you try their whole grain stuff and don't love it. (You do have a favorite pasta, don't you?) These "if you're not completely satisfied" offers are always confusing to me. If I thought it was just ok, would it be wrong to send in my proof of purchase and receipt? I like whole grain pasta, but I don't know if I've ever sat down to a plate of spaghetti and said "I just love these whole grain noodles. I just LOVE them!"
  • I missed a great Kashi deal when I typed up the Jewel sales this week: "Buy 4 select products, get $4 instant savings." Thanks to reader resweater for pointing it out, and here are details on how to make it a moneymaker or at least get some cereal or granola bars for very cheap from Mashup Mom.

Today ONLY: Frozen Vegetables for a Profit

Readers of this blog are a smart bunch, I tell ya. Yesterday I got two extra dollars from the Catalina machine at Jewel, and I didn't know what they were from. Well, reporter20 knows:

"(...) The overlap is on the G(reen) G(iant) veggies. You get one $1 OYNO with every 3 veggies you purchase."

Wow! That means that, through the end of today, you can buy 10 boxes of Green Giant frozen vegetables for $10, and receive $8 in coupons good on anything you care to purchase on your next trip to the register. Ten boxes of vegetables for two dollars.

But it gets better. Go to and print two coupons for $.50/2 Green Giant frozen vegetables. Then use the back button on your browser to go back and print it again. You should be able to print two more if you sign up at Repeat this on any other computers you have access to.

Once you have five $.50/2 coupons, you can buy 10 boxes for $10 with Preferred Card, use five coupons to knock your out-of-pocket total down to $7.50, and collect $8 in Catalina coupons -- $5 for buying $20 worth (pre-card price) of products from the General Mills Catalina, and three $1 coupons for buying three sets of three vegetables. (Unless there is a limit of two of these $1 coupons -- I haven't tested this.)

That would be a 50 cent profit for stocking up on vegetables. I especially love this because it's rare to be able to buy healthy stuff in Catalina deals.

I also suspect that other, better Green Giant coupons such as the $.50/1 Frozen Bagged Vegetables might also work on the boxed products. It's my experience that most coupons aren't as limited as the text on them says.

You can only do this once per transaction, but you can ask the cashier to do multiple transactions or go through the line as many times as you'd like.

The Sunday Flyers -- Free Ice Cream, Kmart Super Doubles

Oh MAN I am tired what a weekend. My father and brother came to see us yesterday to help watch the kids so Epu and I could spend some time cleaning out all the half-unpacked boxes and piles of junk in our basement. So now it's 7 p.m. Sunday and I'm just now sitting down to tell you about the deals in the Sunday newspaper. I can already tell you the highlights, though: Free ice cream at Target and another week of double coupons at Kmart.

Before we begin, help for the newbies: Glossary of terms; How to CVS; What's a Catalina; Overview of the Frugalista's Methods.

Coupon Inserts

It's a good week to pick up extra papers (or do a little Dumpster diving) if you are doing CVS deals, because there are lots of coupons tying into ExtraBucks deals this week.

First of all, the September P&G Brand Saver is in today's paper. There's a $1/1 Bounce dryer bar Q and a $.75/1 Tide Stain Release Q that work w/ an ExtraBucks deal at CVS to get you the dryer bar for $2 or the Tide for $2.25, and Duracell Qs that work with an ECB deal too. (CVS's rewards are called either Extra Bucks or Extra Care Bucks. For some reason the deal-hunters online have chosen to call them ECBs, not EBs. Fascinating, the etymology of the deal-hunter tribe.)

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CVS Transaction: Made $4 Thanks to Crap I Didn't Need


Note: The deals in this post are good through store closing tonight.

Recently I was showing a friend how to make money and get free stuff at CVS. During that week, I got a couple packs of highlighters for free after a coupon, in order to boost my total up to $20 so I could use a $4/$20.

"Don't you end up getting a bunch of crap you don't need?" she asked.

Well, yes. But the crap always seems to find people who do need it. In that case, highlighters turned out to be on Nutmeg's new teacher's supply list, so I was able to score brownie points by sending in two packs.

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Final Kraft Transaction


The Kraft deal ends today. Note that this deal is one per customer, but a couple of relatives were kind enough to let me do it for them. We have kind of a symbiotic relationship, where they give me all their coupons and let me use their store cards, and I provide them with free stuff that they need, from toiletries to medicines and food. This time I bought 13 7-8 ounce cheese chunks and one 10 oz. bottle of A1 sauce for a total of $25.47, minus a $2/1 A1 coupon from last week's insert. The $5 coupon that printed at the register brought my expenditure down to $18.47 + tax, so when I get the $20 check it will be $1.50 profit.

This is my favorite version of the Kraft deal because most Catalina deals don't allow you to get fresh food such as cheese. And we use a lot of it.

Two Moneymaking Transactions: Kraft and CVS

Quiet around here today, I know. I took the kids to the Shedd Aquarium thanks to a friend with a membership, and it was exhausting. Although it was great to get in free (I get to reciprocate by taking the same friend and her daughter as our guests to the Brookfield Zoo), in two other aspects the outing was a frugal fail:

1. We didn't get there early enough to have a good chance at metered parking, and rather than pay double digits to park, I took 3 kids and a stroller on the El. It actually went very smoothly, but the travel time from door to door was 90 minutes each way, making for a pretty exhausting day.

2. I brought Easy Mac from the Kraft deal for lunch, because for some reason I though the Shedd had a lunch room with a microwave. Maybe it did before the remodel. At any rate, we couldn't get a micro or even any hot water, and my friend ended up spending $10 on a hot dog and a small cup of macaroni and cheese for my kids. Urg. 

And all that is not at all related to the main topic of this post, my two moneymaking transactions in the last few days:

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My Grocery Spending August 12-18

  • This was one of those weeks where I hit a number of stores and did a lot of shopping. This is what makes people say, Oh, I would never have time to run to all those different stores for deals! But this week is not normal for me. There were several can't-miss deals going on at Jewel and Dominick's and indeed I made several trips to scoop them up. Also, we went to Target for something else and since I was there I stocked up on hormone-free chicken (and some regular chicken I had a coupon for) and some other deals.
  • I also spent $104, well over my $80 budget, but I had $55 carried over from previous weeks so that's ok. So I have $30 in the grocery bank right now, but I'm planning to not spend it next week. I'm still saving to cover the $75 I spent on a Groupon for ready-made meals.
  • At Target I spent about $70 on groceries (pictured above). I actually got four bananas for just a few cents with the .50/1 lb. Target coupon, but we ate 3 on the way home. As you can see from the little red stickers, I got a lot of clearance items, and I was particularly pleased that they were DOUBLE red stickered, meaning I got the second price reduction. The hummus was down to $2 per 14 ounce carton, the turtle brownie kits were $2.18, the green chiles were 50 cents a can, and the organic salsa was $1.54 after clearance price and coupon.


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Welcome WGN Listeners!


I had the privilege of sitting in the WGN radio fishbowl studio this morning with John Williams for a few minutes. Baby James came along of course and their wonderful producer Beth Swierk held him in the sound-proof control room while I talked with John.

We talked about CVS deals, combining coupons with sales, whether rebate deals take too much time (my answer: usually), buying kids' clothes ahead during the end-of-season clearance sales, and how setting a weekly budget -- not coupons or any other tactic -- was the most important step for me in becoming a frugalista.

For those of you who are new to bargain-hunting and couponing, these posts will help: My glossary of couponing lingo and my overview of a workshop I gave on bargain grocery shopping. Yes, a lot of my posts are about grocery shopping, although you will also find great ideas here on entertainment, clothing and living the frugal lifestyle.

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Sunday Flyers 8/16

The guests have gone home after yet another indoor barbecue -- we're 0 and 3 this summer for trying to use our backyard when we have company. The kids have dropped after the exhaustion of wreaking havoc in the house with their friends all afternoon. And I've finally got peace and quiet to look through these Sunday deals.

New feature this week: I linked each store's name to the online version of the weekly ad where available.

  • The coupon inserts: SmartSource has some coupons that would help you turn the Kraft rebate deal into a moneymaker: .75/1 DiGiorno Flatbread Melts, $1/1 DiGiorno Ultimate Toppings pizza (this should work on the personal pizzas, $2.50 at Jewel this week), $2/1 A1 Steak Sauce (that one would also get you free steak sauce at Kmart this week due to Super Doubles).
  • Target has a coupon for a free $10 gift card with transferred prescription. You should also be able to use this at CVS if your local takes "compeditors" coupons (as the electronic sign in front of my CVS says). Target also has the following $5 gift card offers: reserve and buy selected video games, or buy 2 Gillette razors or cartridges including Venus Embrace, Fusion, Breeze, at $7.99. For the best deal on that last, buy a Fusion razor and a cartridge pack, and use the $2/1 razor from the 8/16 (today's) RedPlum along with $4/1 cartridge pack from the 8/2 RedPlum. Then you'll get both for $5 after the gift card. Or if you already have a Fusion, two cartridge packs with two $4/1 Qs would be $3 after the gift card. You could also use the Qs from today's RedPlum for a free Gillette deodorant w/ purchase of a Fusion cartridge or a free Fusion shave gel with same. Finally, Market Pantry cheese is on sale for $1.79 per 8 oz. block.
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Wednesday Flyers -- Jewel Overlapping Cats Actually Through Sunday

Yesterday after my Long March through Jewel-Osco, I happened to look at one of the Unilver coupons I got from the two overlapping Catalina deals. The ad said that one of the promos, the one that says "buy $30, get $12," ended today, but according to the coupon, it actually runs through Sunday, August 9. The other one, "buy $30, get $15," with all the food products, runs through Wednesday, August 12, and is advertised in today's flyer.

That means you have four extra days to work moneymaking double-dip deals on Dove and Degree deodorant, Vaseline lotion, and Suave products. What I'm not sure about is if all the sale prices advertised in Sunday's flyer for the toiletries in the deal will still be good this week. The deodorant and the small bottles of lotion are still on sale for $2.50, though, so that's good.

Pleae keep sharing your stories of hot deals achieved with the combination of these two promotions.

If you don't know what Catalina deals are, see my primer on Wise Bread.

Jewel Overlapping Catalinas: A Story of Catalina Shopping Gone Bad

Sigh, sometimes it's so worth it to walk into a store and buy a few things and walk out with a profit. Usually it's so worth it.

Today was not one of those days for me.

I stopped at Jewel-Osco in the middle of some errands to try the double-dipping, money-making Unilever Catalina deal again. I got my three kids out of the car and into shopping position -- Baby Bjorn for the newborn, shopping cart seat for the 2-year-old, walking by my side and making it impossible for us to get through the door for the 5-year-old. We had not yet reached the Osco aisle with the deodorants when the 2-year-old began wining and shreiking about her desire to go home. I bribed them all with the promise of ice cream when we got home, but the 2-year-old informed me she did not WANT ice cream. Great.

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I Just Made $7 Buying Shampoo at Jewel-Osco

So, it worked! I went to Jewel-Osco today and combined the two Catalina deals currently running. I spent $20 on Dove shampoo and conditioner, and the coupon machine printed out a total of $27 in coupons good on ANYTHING I purchase next time I shop at Jewel. Which will likely be VERY soon, like as soon as my kids are in bed tonight, cause I wanna make more money!

Here's how I did it:

1. Purchased five bottles Dove shampoo or conditioner, Preferred Card price $4.99, regular price $6.99.

2. Used five $1/1 coupons from the following inserts: 5/17 Redplum and this weekend's 8/2 Redplum.

3. Pre-card total was $35, meeting the requirements of both deals to spend $30 or more. After card, total was $24.95 plus tax. After coupons, total was $19.95 plus tax.

4. After I paid, the coupon machine next to the register spit out ALL these coupons: one $10 and one $2 for the "buy $30, save $12" deal, and three $5 coupons for the "buy $30, save $15" deal. Phenomenal!

Also, I think I figured out why the shampoo deal works on the pre-card price when Osco items usually require you to spend the deal threshhold (in this case, the $30) on the sale price. When I found the shampoo in the store, although they were in the Osco section, they had a "Preferred Card price" sale tag on them. So they must really be Jewel items. The other items in the promo that I noticed, like the Dove deodorent and the Vaseline lotion, were marked with Osco sale tags, which say "Bonus Buy" instead of "Preferred Card Price." So when I buy those items, I'm going to calculate the $30 required purchase based on the sale price.

If all this is greek to you, read my primer on getting unbelievable deals and making money on Catalina deals.

And by the way, while I was there I made note of the pre-card prices for a couple of items in the "buy $30, get $15" promo that I plan to buy before it ends a week from Wednesday: The pre-card price for Klondike Bars 6-packs is $5.50, and the pre-card price for Breyer's ice cream cartons is $6.50. So my ice cream deal will go like this:

5 cartons ice cream: $3 card price x 5 = $15 (pre-card $32.50)



                                                            -      4 (2 x $2/2 ice cream coupons that printed @ register)


                                                       I pay $11 and get $15 back in Catalina coupons

I just love getting paid to eat ice cream!

Sunday Sales Flyers, August 2: Double Dip on Jewel Catalinas!

Today is an EXCELLENT day to pick up extra Sunday papers if you ever do that, because there are FIVE coupon inserts: a special Kellogg's insert, a Procter & Gamble insert, the Redplum (aka Valassis) and two SmartSource inserts. I usually have my husband pick up extra Sunday papers for me if he goes to Menard's, where they sell them for $1 apiece. Street vendors also sell them for less than in stores, but I think they charge $1.25 now or something like that.

Also, there are coupons in today's inserts that play into deals running at stores this week. I'm especially pleased to get my hands on that Kellogg's insert, even though the coupons inside are all for $1/2 which isn't that exciting. The reason is that Pop-Tarts are on sale 5/$5 through Wednesday, and there are two $1/2 Pop-Tarts coupons in the flyer.Once I get my mother's and grandmother's inserts, I'll have enough coupons to buy 10 boxes, pay $5 out of pocket, and send in for the $10 Fuel for School rebate. Moneymaker! The RedPlum has a whole bunch of Unilever coupons, and guess what? There's another Unilever Catalina deal running at Jewel through Wednesday. (If you're not familiar with thia kind of deal, check out this introduction to Catalina deals.)

Earlier this week I posted about making $36 buying 6-packs of pop. I knew it was for two overlapping Catalina promotions, one advertised in the flyer and one not. What with the new baby in our house, I didn't have time to really look into what the other deal was.

Well, it turns out the other deal was this, advertised in today's flyer: Buy $30 worth of included products (looks like Unilever and General Mills) and get $15 in coupons toward your next order. This runs through August 12, a week from Wednesday. I would expect this to work, as Jewel Catalina deals usually do, off the pre-card price, meaning that you only have to spend $30 worth of stuff based on the price it rings up as BEFORE you scan your Preferred card. Looking over the sale prices in the flyer, I'm guessing there are multiple transactions you could do where you spend $15 or less out of pocket, and get the $15 in coupons back, making your groceries FREE. 

Just like I did last week with the pop, it looks like there's an opportunity to double dip with this deal and another Catalina deal also running and make lots of money in coupons. On p. 4 of the Jewel-Osco flyer, there's a promo on personal care products offering $12 in coupons if you spend $30. (Or $7 if you spend $20, or $3 if you spend $10.) There are products listed in both promos, like Vaseline Intensive Care lotion (10 oz. $2.50, 6.8-24.5 oz. $5), Dove products, Q-Tips and Suave products. This one runs through August 5, this Wednesday.

So between now and Wednesday, If you buy $30 of the overlapping products, you should easily make money even without coupons. And the coupons in this week's Redplum/Unilver insert will be gravy. Now, usually Osco products are counted for these deals differently than grocery products -- they're counted based on the Preferred card price while the groceries are counted based on the pre-card price. So my deal suggestions for these Osco products are based on the card price. However, some people on Hot Coupon World are reporting that this particular deal actually works on the pre-card price, which would mean you could make EVEN MORE money. I will try that and report back for you.

  • Buy 12 Vaseline Intensive Care 10-oz. lotions for $30

Use as many $1.50/1 coupons as you can get from today's Redplum. Also use as many $1/1 coupons as you can print -- usually the limit is 2 per computer.

Receive $12 in coupons good for your next order, AND $15 in coupons good on your next order -- $27 total which means you just paid $3 for 12 bottles of lotion. Use just two $1.50/1 coupons and it's free. Use more 12 $1.50/1 coupons if you have them and you just made $15!!

  • Buy 12 Dove antiperspirants for $30, same as above. I am pretty sure I have coupons in my file for these, but I'm not sure from which insert.
  • Buy 6 Dove shampoos for $29.94 + 1 Suave deodorant for $1.67, spending a total of $31.61 + tax. Receive $15 in coupons + $12 in coupons = $27, meaning you paid $4.61. Use the .50/1 Suave deo Q and as many $1/1 Dove hair care product Qs from today's Redplum as you can get. If you use 5 or 6 Dove coupons, it's a moneymaker. (Note: someone on the Hot Coupon World Jewel forum says this deal worked for them by buying only 5 Doves and no filler. I'm going to try that and let you know!)

Besides all these great double-dipping deals, there are also food deals to be had in the Catalina announced today. I just bought ice cream last night in the "buy 4, save 4 promo" running on Edy's products, but I have lots of coupons for Breyer's, which is part of the Unilever deal. No pre-card prices are listed in the flyer, so I'm gonna have to guess at them till I hit the store. Here's a rough idea:

4 Breyer's ice creams (usually around $6) $24 (card price $3 each x2 = $6

2 Klondike bar 6-packs ($4 each?)             $ 8 (card price $3 eacg x2 = $6)


                                            precard price: $32, card price $12, get $15 coupons

This may be a moneymaker even before coupons! To sweeten it even more, use the $1/1 Breyer's coupon from the 7/12 flyer, or $1/2 printables. I personally have both $2/2 and $1/2 coupons that printed at the Jewel register to use.

I feel a little dumb for buying ice cream that I actually paid money for yesterday. Oh well.

I also hope to do a deal with Cascadian Farms cereals, since I love granola and most cereal deals don't include that. I'll use this $1/1 printable, but I'm not sure how many boxes I'll need to buy till I see the price in the store.

There is also a promo going on where you get a free gallon of milk for buying 4 boxes of General Mills cereal, which are also part of the Catalina deal.

I might as well just set up a cot over at Jewel this week. Since the flyer says that you can only earn the $15 in coupons once per transaction, I'll have to do a lot of transactions to get all the free and moneymaking stuff I'd like to get this week.

As far as the other sales flyers go, Dominick's has a TON of store coupons good through next Sunday, 8/9, including 4-packs of Dole fruit bowls for $1.49, Pop-Tarts for 99 cents, 6-packs of 24-oz. Coke bottles for $1.99, Chef Boyardee cans 4/$3, and 3 lbs. of Safeway bacon for $5.99. (All require a $20 purchase and are limited to 1 or the number mentioned on the coupon.) But it's hard for me to get excited about "regular" good deals when I think about all the free food I'm gonna get at Jewel this week.

There are also a ton more school supplies deals in the CVS and other flyers this week, but I will do a separate post about those later today.





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