Bi-Lo and Publix sales!

Bi-Lo has a new coupon policy stating that they will accept competitor’s coupons! I’m sure that, in the weeks to come, they’ll more clearly lay it out, but I’m excited to see how this changes things!! I may have to be going to Bi-Lo a lot more often!

Publix has a new ad out today, and there are a few nice little items. I went this evening and got very few food items, but still had a good trip! It’s nice to stock-up on other items too sometimes!

Book-themed kid activities

Today, we had a Gingerbread Boy day! I read the Gingerbread Boy book to my kids a few days ago and they loved it! They immediately started asking me when they were going to make gingerbread boys, which got me thinking… how about we have a whole Gingerbread Boy day?!

We invited some friends over to multiply the fun (and the chaos) and started with the story. Most of them hadn’t heard the story before, so it was a lot of fun! I tried to really get into it and make it like a real story time! After the book, we sat down to decorate our own gingerbread boy (girl) (which I made this morning and rolled out before the story) to bake in the oven! I laid out M&Ms, marshmallows, star sprinkles, and raisins to decorate with! Everyone had their own, even the baby, and I cut out a cookie in the shape of their first initial to put next to their gingerbread boy/girl so they wouldn’t get mixed up!

While the gingerbread boys and girls were baking, I sent the human boys and girl outside to run laps back and forth between the big tree and the wooden cross, so that they could be sure that they could out-run their gingerbread boy(girl) if he(she) decided to run away when I opened the oven.

After the exercising, we sat down to play a gingerbread dice game, which is very similar to Cootie! For each number on the die, you could draw a different part of your gingerbread boy/girl, until you had a finished person!

When the timer beeped, the kids all ran into the kitchen to watch me open the oven and be ready to chase their gingerbread people, should they hop out of the oven and run away! It was close there for a while, we almost lost a few little ginger-people, but in then end, each was eaten and thoroughly enjoyed!!

It was a really fun and free (except for the $2 that I spent to buy the molasses for the gingerbread recipe) way to occupy seven kids for a couple of hours! I’m already brainstorming more activities to do with other books and the kids all had a blast!

50% off at Malibu Jack’s

Living Social has a great deal available for today! It’s $20 worth of food and drinks at Malibu Jack’s for only $10! The best part is that it doesn’t expire for an entire year, so you have plenty of time to use it! Think: DATE NIGHT!! Go HERE to get it!

Mastercard Monday at Babies R Us and Toys R Us

I got an email from Babies R Us/Toys R Us saying that today (maybe other Mondays?) is Mastercard Monday! For online orders only, you’ll instantly get $25 off of any $125 or larger purchase when you use your Mastercard at check-out!

If anyone’s needing a bigger item (or several items) for a baby or for a gift anyway, this is a great way to save $25!

Michael’s 25% off entire purchase coupon!

Michael’s has published a 25% off entire purchase (excluding sale items) coupon good through July 23rd! This is a great way to make your own sale!!

Go HERE to print yours!

Sunday Sales:

Kroger is having the second week of the mega event sale, so almost all of the sales will be the same as they were last week. This could be good if you missed out on anything you wanted last week, or bad if you (like me) didn’t find much appealing in the sale! Go HERE to check out the full match-ups!

CVS has one great freebie (Crest toothbrushes!) and a few cheapies. One that I wasn’t planning on getting, but was glad to see was a small bottle of Gilette Fusion shave cream for $2.19. You’ll get $2 in ECB back, making it only $.19! Go HERE for the best deals!

Walgreens has one GREAT deal that I was super-pumped to get! My husband is picky about what kind of soap he uses (he’s not a bodywash guy unfortunately because bodywash is easy to get for free!!!), and he was getting low, so I’m excited to get some Dove Men+Care soap for FREE!!!! They also have a pretty nice deal on diapers if you need some, so check that out!

Rite Aid has a few nice money-makers that I’m tempted to jump on! My problem has been keeping up with all of the different stores’ reward papers, but I’ve read that you can turn around and buy a Rite Aid gift card with their UP+ rewards! I may have to try it!

Friday Finals: back into stockpiling!

Fresh off of the $25 Weekly Challenge, I’m glad to be back into the stockpiling stage of shopping because I scored some seriously great stockpile stuff this week!

First, I went to Kroger to get the $1.25 Wisk detergents and free eggs from a home-mailer coupon that was about to expire! I also got a snack for my husband and some frozen pizzas for lunches since we’ve been spending a lot of time at the hospital this week (don’t ask!):

Before coupons/sales = $41.45
Total after = $16.75 or 60% savings

Then, Bi-Lo to get free tea, free hot fudge and hot caramel, cheap paper towels and cheap yogurt and deli meat:

Total before coupons/sales = $38.63
Total after = $7.95 or 80% savings

Then Publix for $.15 Splenda, $.30 snacks, free scissors, almost free cereal, and super-cheap everything else!!!

Before coupons/sales/rebate = $123.68
Total after = $7.11 or 94% savings

And back to Publix because I left some coupons at home to get more stock-up stuff!

Did you know that Publix welcomes special orders if you want a lot of any one item?!

Total before coupons/sales/rebate = $77.29
Total after = $24.71 or 68% savings

Which brings my totals for the week to the following:

TOTAL WEEKLY BEFORE COUPONS/SALES/REBATES = $281.05
TOTAL AFTER = $56.52 or 80% savings!

This week was a little odd again (isn’t every week?) with a ton of cereal, chocolate syrup, snacks, and frozen pizzas, but I also got Splenda, bananas, laundry detergent, paper towels, lunch meat, yogurt, coffee, tea, and cleaner. And we have been eating a lot of zucchini from our garden and cucumbers from a friend’s garden! Also, it’s been a stressful week, so I’ve been needing a lot of my therapy (ie, couponing!) to destress. Couponing really is a way that I release stress, because I really enjoy doing it! It’s fun for me and it’s something that I feel I’m pretty good at!

12 Weeks to Extreme Couponing, Part 6: Learning Sales Cycles

I bought 22 bottles of Hershey’s syrup today (mostly the chocolate kind)! Now, let me be the first to say, “That’s nuts!” It’s absolutely crazy to buy 22 bottles of chocolate syrup at a time. Who in the world would need 22 bottles of chocolate syrup. Well, we do!

I have three little boys who love their chocolate milk and a mommy who doesn’t like to pay full-price.  We’ve tried the store-brand and it doesn’t mix well and just ends up at the bottom of the cup all gross and nasty, so, for this item, we’re pretty brand-loyal! I know that Hershey’s syrup goes on big sale (buy one get one free) only once or twice a year (usually only once!) and during the summer is the ONLY time that Hershey’s publishes coupons for it. The reason that I know this is that I’ve paid attention the past couple of years, especially since it’s something that we use on a daily basis!

The syrup is normally $2.39 at Publix. This week, it’s BOGO, plus there’s a $1/2 coupon that was in the paper a couple of weeks ago. The sale, combined with the coupon, makes the syrup $.70 a bottle (I challenge you to find any store-brand for $.70!), which is a 71% savings. I have a good idea of how much syrup we usually go through, and the expiration date is halfway through 2013, so I estimated, added a couple for good measure, and stocked up for the year. I know from experience that it won’t be this price again for about that amount of time. I saved $37.18 (regular price for all would be $52.58) by buying our year’s worth of chocolate syrup now, when the price is lowest. Now, again, buying 22 bottles of chocolate syrup is nuts, but how nuts is it really?

Today, I’m going to talk about sales cycles. Sales have cycles, like seasons; some are longer and some are shorter, but almost all are very predictable. For most items, sales come around again about every 6-8 weeks, so the need to stock up is minimal. You don’t need to think about much more than what you use in 2 months’ time. For some things, however, the sales cycles are much longer. Every season has its stock-up items. Right now, I’m stocking up on condiments! BBQ sauce, mustard, ketchup, salad dressing, worchester sauce, etc are all free or mere pennies right now, and, while you’ll find sales during the rest of the year, you likely won’t find the best sales AND coupons to make them free anytime except for the summer!

School supplies are another item that are practically free around now. The end of the summer is when I get enough stuff to last all of our artistic and scholastic whims for the entire year. Why would I pay $2 for a box of crayons in December, when they’re $.20 now?! I keep my own little stash and just pull from there all year. Scissors, tape, pens, pencils, erasers, glue, rulers, etc are all, again, free or just pennies! STOCK UP NOW!

You probably haven’t seen me buying much meat in the past few weeks (besides sausage!) because I get most of my meat around the holidays. I get turkeys in November, pork loins in December, brisket in March, ham in April and grilling meats in May. I also pick up the occasional random sale or mark-down here and there and in-between, but I plan my shopping around those sales and in the deep-freezer they go for our year-round enjoyment!

I also buy most of my baking stuff around Thanksgiving and Christmas (flour, sugar, shortening), cleaning supplies in the spring, face products in December/January (doesn’t make sense, but that’s when the best deals seem to be!), sun and first-aid products in April/May, etc. These are all predictable sales cycles that are much longer than 6-8 weeks. I can’t always buy an entire year’s worth of all of these items, but I can recognize the cycles and try to stock-up accordingly.

The grocery stores aren’t the only ones focused on these cycles. Manufacturers use the same cycles when they publish certain coupons. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a BBQ sauce coupon in November, because noone’s thinking about grilling-out then! Spring means cleaning, summer means outdoors, fall means back-to-school and winter means comfort food and the manufacturers know this! They don’t want to waste their money promoting a product that’s out-of-season and not on our minds! It’s throwing money away! You’ll start to notice that coupons will also follow the same, predictable patterns for the most part.

When you’re putting together your list, keep these cycles in mind! I like to think of couponing as a game, and these sales cycles are just patterns on the board. You have to be observant and pay attention to figure out the pattern, and once you do, you’ll be able to maximize your saving by adjusting your purchases for the length of time till the next stock-up price. So, maybe 22 bottles of chocolate syrup isn’t too nuts after all!

Publix penny item 07/13

Today’s penny item is Publix bran cereal! Now, normally I wouldn’t be thrilled with bran cereal, especially since I don’t eat it, but I’m going to use it, along with some of that $.74 breakfast sausage I got a couple of weeks ago, to make THESE!

I made these the first time as a kind of a joke. I thought there was no way that they’d be good, but I was WRONG! They’re wonderful and, better still, my kids love them! I use the bran cereal instead of the cornflakes for a little added fiber and they’re still delicious!

Publix 07/13-07/19

Publix is the store to shop at this week!!!! Here are the best deals:

Nabisco assorted crackers BOGO $3.39
 – $1/2 from 06/19 SS insert
 = $1.20 each

Eight O’Clock coffee BOGO $6.99
 – $2/2 from 06/05 SS insert
 = $2.50 each

Kellogg’s Frosted mini wheats or unfrosted BOGO $3.65
 – $2.25/3 from 07/10 RP insert
 – $1.50/2 from 07/10 RP insert
 – $.70/1 from 07/10 RP insert
 – If they have any Cars 2 labeled boxes (they did at Kroger the last time I checked!) then you can also enter codes online for $5 in free gas (via a pre-paid Visa) with every 4 boxes HERE!
 = as low as free if you find participating boxes after the rebate!

Kraft Barbecue sauce BOGO $1.33
 – $2/Country Time or Kool Aid wyb 2 Kraft barbecue sauces peelie

Hershey’s syrup BOGO $2.19
 – $1/2 from 06/26 SS insert
 = $.60 each

Splenda regular, fiber, or essentials 80-100 ct BOGO $4.59
 – $2/1 printable HERE
 = $.30 each

Smart Balance Buttery spread BOGO $2.59
 – $1/2 from 07/10 or 06/05 SS insert
 = $.80 each

2000 Flushes automatic bowl cleaner BOGO $3.49
 – $1/1 from Publix Smart Savings booklet
 = $.75 each

Noxzema shaver 4 ct BOGO $4.99
 – $2/1 from 07/10 RP insert
 = $.50 each

Scotch 5 scissors BOGO $1.99
 – $1/1 HERE
 = FREE