Coupons, BOGO, and 10 for $10

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     It is not uncommon in the grocery isle to find someone with a notebook full of coupons. Men, women and grannies are all trying to save a few dollars. The rampant craze of extreme couponing has taken to new heights and everyone wants to get in the game. Beware bargain shoppers, the supermarkets are four steps ahead of you. The blinkies in the aisles, the double coupons, the buy one get one deals and course the infamous ten for ten dollars are all designed to suck you in. The grocery retailers are counting on you and your impulses. They are also counting on your inability to see through the muck. You also fail to realize you have been had until you get to the register and realized you have spent too much. Allow me to help you circumnavigate the grocery store maze.

    When you head to the store, make sure you bring along a pocket calculator and a shopping list. Your smart phone has the ability to be your best friend, but you must make it work for you. Instead of buying the biggest package on the shelf that is on sale, look at the medium size, divide the cost per unit and here is where you apply the coupon. It is just like shopping at a wholesale club, bigger does not equal better, especially if it will go to waste before it is all used in a household of two.

    Hot food bars and salad bars are very tempting especially if you are buying for a household of two. However, the snafu comes in these items are sold per pound. You can buy boxed mac & cheese then and add cottage & cheddar cheeses to make it taste gourmet. An item on a hot bar that requires eight or more ingredients to make like chicken parmesan is a good buy whereas buying ham from a hot bar is not. Equally a bad idea is buying packaged deli meat. It is far more cost efficient to buy a small turkey breast, cook it and slice the meat off for your sandwiches and salad for the week. The same can be done with ham and chicken. One meat, several meals is really the way to save money.

    Another item that people are usually wasting money on is bottled water. Invest in a water filter. You are paying your local government to pipe relatively clean water into your living space, it is drinkable as is, and you just need to get an inexpensive filter from Wal-Mart and you can refill your own water container. If you put it on your sink, it will also filter through to the fridge for your icemaker. You can almost calculate your savings.

    Finally, my favorite is the three for five and ten for ten sales. These sale items can be tricky. Ten apples for $10 sounds great until you realize you are paying a dollar for each apple. Just buy a bag for $3 and be done with it. Add the apples to salads, desserts and other meals to ensure they do not turn or go bad. You can find a really good deal is the bags of frozen vegetables at $1 each. Spending ten or twenty dollars for frozen veggies can stock you up for a month.

    I have found that the best ways to really save is to have a coupon on the items that you are buying one and getting one free. This is doubly valuable it you have double coupons. It also works well to have a game plan and review the weekly circulars to match your coupons with the best deals. Look for coupons that save you $1.50 when you buy two and if it a buy one get one, you have just racked up. Shop smart and make these sales work for you.

Ho, Ho, Hold on There!

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For some stupid reason, I waited until the last minute to do some of the needed shopping. Small items like the ham for Christmas dinner and all the fixings, another item or two for my son, and presents for my husband. One, my husband is very difficult to shop for and secondly, well to be honest, I needed one more pay day. It appears that everyone also got paid today as well and the stores, mall and everywhere else was packed.
    The day started on a good note. I ran a few errands, got a call from my doctor who wanted to move my appointment up. I was free so I was excited. Doctor’s appointment went well, scored some good drugs and headed over to the soldiers Mecca, the Post Exchange. Found a few good deals, picked up some items for hubby and son and was feeling rather good about myself. I remember the free coffee coupon in my couponizer for Cinnabon but I had to buy a roll to get the coffee. Fine, twist my arm, I will buy the Cinnabon cinnamon roll too. That was when I saw the beautiful, magical table of ooohhhh! It as free gift wrapping and these kids were working for tips. Saying hello, I get in line. A rough around the edges fella spotted me and commenced to bragging about what he had spent on his kids and wife. Ho, Ho, Hold on there fella, if you have bought all of that, I want to follow you home all right but not for what you may think, I am thinking I want to rob you.
    Now along comes Granny and she gets in line beside me. Yes, that is right, beside me not behind me, ho, ho, hold on Granny, it’s not your turn. The same thing happens on the other side. These people are trying to cut in the line. I am patient, the gift wrap is free and I only have three small gifts.

    I leave here and head over to Wal-Mart. Dear Jesus what was I thinking? Every aisle, crook and cranny was filled with people snatching up last minute cheap ass gifts. I was tempted to tell one little man, your Mama don’t want that stinky perfume, but I stopped myself, because it could indeed be his Mama’s favorite. I watched for a minute and the sister confirmed, it was their Mama’s favorite. Oof! Then there were more kids, who were breaking in line, cutting you off, snatching things off the shelves before you can even get to it. Ho, Ho, hold on there! My pimp hand is strong and I will slap a body. Yet, I persevere.
    Last on my stop is Bi-Lo to check out the weekly meal deal. It is the same meal deal they had last week along with a new deal on a no name pie, and get another pie and whipped cream for free. Ho, ho, hold on there Bi-Lo, you seem to be coming up short this holiday season. I am still furious at having to pay seven dollars for some cinnamon sticks.
    Now I am home, and preparing to make Wassail and wrap a few other presents to add under the tree. My beautiful neighbor has shown up with the annual can of Christmas cookies. I am putting away my laptop and keying into my family. I will check back in with you guys after Christmas. In the meantime, and in between time, please be safe, and enjoy your ho, ho, holiday!

Merry Christmas

Tis the Season To Save Big!

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          It is that time of year again. It is the season of giving. It is the time of year when we sing Joy to the World, wish peace on earth and show good will towards men. It is also that time of the year to buy new small appliances and stock up the pantry and linen closet! Yes, that’s right, it’s the time of the year to buy some of the stuff you really want and need to make your life easier!
    I’m not different than my fellow man with the exception that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the major shopping days for me! Yes, I will pick up a little something for Nana, big sisters, my favorite cousin as well, but right now, I am stocking up for me. This is the time of year when stores begin to overstock for the holiday season, but the beauty is they start to slash prices on December 26th as well. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, all the way through the New Year, you can really stock up and save. But before we get to the after Christmas deals, let’s get smart about the items for the holidays.

For example, these cups from QVC.com, you can get the set of six for a mere $25. Think about it, this makes six gifts for your co-workers or team mates. These are also great “extras” for those neighbors or people who drop by with a little something for you, now you have something for them. Now that is music to my ears.
    Speaking of music, this is also the time of year for great deals on DVD’s and CD’s, you can also buy now for birthdays and Easter baskets. Many of your favorite artist realease “Best Of” or live performances this time of year. Great stuffers for stockings, gift bags and baskets are picture frames, tools and bath products. It is also a great time of year to buy storage bins; they may all be in red and green, but what the heck, they are dirt cheap. This handy tub is $2.74 at Lowes and you can buy one and get one free. While in Lowes, every girl should have her own set of tools and for around $10, you can get the lady started.
    Last but not least, one of my favorite ideas, is to stock up the pantry with buy one get one deals. There are great deals on flour, sugar, cooking oils, broths and spices. The http://www.thecoupongodess.com also suggests that if you have room in the freezer, go ahead and buy that turkey or extra ham. I was also reading on mommysavers.com you can buy a set of eight dessert plates with mugs and separate these into sets of fours. Add in some small stocking stuffers like hot cocoa, or Bath and Body Works (5 for $5) products, you are good to go! Also, if you are a Foursquare user, look for the hidden deals and specials when you check in, it can save you a few bucks and often will give you a certain percentage off your purchases.

    Shopping for the holidays are great, but smart and savvy shoppers have loaded up all year and this is season to replenish the coiffures. I even scored a new food chopper and waffle iron for $2.84 on Black Friday at Wal-Mart. Forget the perfect card, here ya go neighbor, for your birthday, a new waffle iron! Now, I always have on hand a cute card or item for a birthday gift and you can too. After all, tis the season!