I moved 1700 miles by airplane. No truck – van – pod.

My sister once moved from Bellingham, WA to Aspen, CO and the “reputable” moving company she thoroughly checked out called her the day of the move and said “we can’t do it today – we’ll do it tomorrow”. Uh…she had a flight booked that evening. She didn’t even have that much stuff (at least in theory) – I think her only furniture was a queen-size bed w/nice frame and a dresser. Everything else was clothing and personal effects plus some outdoor sports equipment. Hardly a houseload o’ goodies. It cost her $1200. I learned from that lesson…

My New York City furniture

A friend with a pick-up truck is storing my bulkier things (bed, couch, trunk, massage table) and some household goods (dishes, vacuum, etc) in a friend’s garage. When he moves back into his apartment on the upper eastside, he’ll use any of those things he wants to – he threw out all his really crappy stuff and sublet his studio 3 years ago.

Getting to Colorado

I paid an extra $25 for the Classic ticket on Frontier airlines that allows for two 50-lb pieces of luggage (I snuck 5 more lbs in for free). Actually…the ticket was free thanks to a Frontier Airlines gift card from one of my phone fans 🙂

My lease deal

My 8-month Boulder lease at Glen Lake Apartments – which is on the outer edge of central but has everything I need within a 10-min walk (Safeway, Rite Aid, Starbucks, Taco Bell – joke!) – came with $200 off the first month’s rent as a signing bonus. I looked upon that as my craigslist furniture fund. Some of my purchases were awesome and some still SUCK.

My Second-hand Escapades

  • Couch $100 + $20 delivery: Not terribly happy with this. On the mushy-foam side and it’s low – like it should have 4″ feet screwed onto the corners.
  • Queen-size bed $50: I knew when I bought it that it was a mistake but my back and hips hurt so much from one night on the floor, and the friend helping me probably wasn’t good for more than that day. It reeked of curry for weeks and now – 6 weeks after purchase – still has a savory smell. The guy’s ad was a total lie in more ways than I can count. But strangely enough…it’s comfortable.
  • Coffee table $15:  By far my best deal – looks hand-made, inlaid with ceramic and terracotta tiles, very heavy.
  • Canvas chair for my balcony $15: Fantastic bargain! Currently living in the massage room until I get a more suitable one.
  • Two floor lamps $10: They have those CFL bulbs in them (4 total), so the guy was way underpricing. Not crazy about the one in the living room but the one for massage – it’s an “old-fashioned” dimmer one which is sooo perfect.
  • MEXICAN MICROWAVE for $10: My coolest score of the lot! The brand is LG but it was bought while the guy was living in Mexico City. All the pre-sets are for things like frijoles and albondigas. Hey – did you know that salsa verde and salsa roja are SO different that they get their own buttons? I love this thing!
  • 20″ CRT television $30 + $10 bribe to deliver: Only sort-of happy with it. She listed dimensions and I thought it was screensize. No 27-incher for me 😦
  • Green fabric armchair FREE: Thank you neighbor for leaving it in the lobby for whoever wanted it. Soft texture, firm cushion. I like it better than the couch.

Sending out some Dollar Tree love 

Even at Walmart the simple household stuff I bought (like veggie peeler and dishes and shelf liner and bucket) would have cost at least $150 instead of the $42 I laid out. And by the way, I really really like the dishes I got. Only a buck but I’ll miss them!

…and some Rite Aid love!

Sometimes they do deals on household stuff. I desperately needed a box fan and got one for $8….$24.99 minus $3 off $15 purchase coupon, $14 in +Ups and $8 + tax in cash. Got back $5 +Ups. I also wanted a little plastic table for my balcony and got one free – on sale for $7.99 get back $1 +Up and $2 rebate. So I “sacrificed” $4.99 in reward bucks. It’s this sort of thing that makes playing that game so worthwhile 🙂

Great use of returned-gift credit at Amazon

I had $300+ credit built up from returned gifts from my phone customers. So instead of stilettos and miniskirts that I couldn’t dream of fitting into, I have a coffee press, Dirt Devil vacuum, drinking glasses, yoga mat, all-purpose knife, etc. that didn’t cost me a penny.

No love for the US Postal Service

Mom sent me a box of things I forgot and needed but didn’t send it parcel post because she thought it was urgent to send me a shower curtain (I like baths and she knows it!). So it cost twice what it should have – $43 for 16 lbs. I was a little pissed…she won’t take money from me for it but I’m still not happy. Then she put together a flat-rate box of smaller clothes for me…she should have put in something heavy to make it worthwhile.

The Art of the Barter

Me and my bartering…I know. Craigslist for Boulder is pretty sparse but there was a handyman/painter offering his services – just make him an offer. Turns out his wife has scoliosis and could use my services. And so the deal was done – I got my room-separating pole hung(pole was $11.50 from Home Depot plus $4 worth of hanging hardware), and I worked on my first local.

Couponing: I am NOT a hoarder!

Okay first off – the word “hoarder” now seems to mean filthy lazy disturbed people with a house full of animal skeletons thanks to that TV show. I think of a hoarder as more of an extreme pack rat/collector – much clutter but no filth. Like my grandmother and her as-seen-on-TV habit that resulted in more knives and chia pets and cosmetic collections than I could count.

I just watched a few clips of “Extreme Couponing” and – these people are hoarders!! At least the ones I saw in the clips – like the guy with 1000 bottles of shower gel and a garage that looks like a grocery store with aisles and shelves and all that. And the woman buying 200 bottles of gatorade and 150 Butterfingers – she spent $70 on coupons to buy $1000 worth of questionably useful stuff. In the clip it looks like it’s just her and her husband – so $70 is what they’d normally spend on a decent grocery order every week anyway. Essentially no money is saved and while they get $1000 worth of good for that $70, none of it is what they would choose if coupons didn’t exist. Well…except maybe the Butterfingers. Mmm…

If I’m not mistaken, most of these people keep all of their coupon booty, and that’s the part I don’t understand. You all know I love a great deal and will do it in multiples – because it’s kind of a rush walking out with $50 of good-quality goodies for about 50 cents plus sales tax. But even if my apartment wasn’t a studio, I would not accumulate like that.

When I went through that bedbug nightmare about 17 months ago, I was very embarrassed to see how big my drug store stockpiles had gotten. I didn’t want my assorted Broke Folks to ask me for something I didn’t have – but did I really need three big clear plastic garbage bags full of razors, deodorant, shampoo, soap, pads, etc? I gave away 2 bags’ worth within 3 days.

So in a few weeks I’m moving into a real grown-up apartment with three rooms where right now there’s just one – and not a stick of furniture. I’ll be within a 7-minute walk of a Safeway (good coupon supermarket), a Rite Aid and a Walgreens (and a medical marijuana dispensary…just sayin’). And I will NOT be turning my new place into a mini-mart. This I promise. Even though I’m not sure what use I’ll have for that dining room…

Photo by Bidgee via Wiki Commons

A Family-Financed Wedding for Littlest Sister

So my littlest sister, Starfish, is getting married this September on a pretty strict budget. She just got her first ever credit card – at age 30! – with that elusive 0% interest for a year in order to “finance” it. I think she’s capable of adhering to that plan, but those are untested waters with her. She was a teenager under the same roof as my parents and grandmother through the worst of their spending habits, and I’m not sure what she learned.

She’s planning for about 65 guests, outdoor ceremony in a small outdoor amphitheater in the Rockies. The reception will be a few miles away (but definitely taxi distance, so no provision of transportation necessary) and will feature gourmet pizza, wine & beer, karaoke, iPod music, and a cash bar. She’s wonderfully creative and will make things very attractive and unusual, but it sounds kinda cheesy -sensible for her budget, but the prospect of no hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar isn’t sitting too well with us.

I stepped up with a $500 pre-wedding gift immediately – now that I’ve got two jobs on the go and am doing rather well at the new one, I can do that fairly painlessly. My mother said she’s hoping to put in $1000, but I don’t think that’ll happen because she just got a crapload of dental work. I let my brother know what I was doing because he likes to do the right thing, it’s just a matter of knowing what the right thing is.

The part I find awkward is that, with my dad gone, my mom is planning to approach her godfather (his youngest brother) for a contribution to the wedding costs. To be fair, he sort of offered with the other sister last year, but my mom said they were fine and didn’t need it. However, Starfish and her wonderful fiance (really decent, big-hearted guy who loves our entire family) could really use the help. Starfish has no real problem accepting big gifts and is very gracious about it, and I know my future brother-in-law will be floored.

So tell me, what few readers I have left after not blogging for 5 weeks…

Do you have any first- or second-hand experience of a “family financed” wedding? How did you (or the couple) feel about it?

I hate auto-renewals

I got notification a few weeks ago that my Norton Anti-Virus software was being auto-renewed, and a charge for $48 would appear on my card. I’m generally not a fan of auto-renewals and would have considered this an important exception to that rule of thumb, but…$48? I paid $30 the previous year.

I headed over to Amazon.com to check out their price: $23. I contacted Norton’s customer service to ask about the huge discrepancy, and after warning me against the possibility of a disreputable dealer, offered me preferential pricing of $40, a refund, or to make up the difference with an extension of the anti-virus subscription. I asked for the extension, which would amount to an additional 10-11 months, and they declined. I requested the refund and just this morning downloaded via the Amazon software & games downloader the shiny new McAfee Norton Anti-Virus 2010 version –

For $14.49 + tax, making it worth waiting until the last possible moment, though that was not deliberate.

Paid for with my Amazon gift card balance earned through Swagbucks (yes, that’s my referral link – it would make my day for someone to sign up through it!)

Now let’s hope my feeling of financial smugness doesn’t backfire on me with a virus attack!

A Week of Retail Returns

I hate returning things. I always feel bad because it’s rarely the fault of the item – it was some form of mistake on my part (wrong size, wrong color, turns out I didn’t need it, etc), and here I am creating extra work for people. But then I found out about my aunt’s psychotic abuse of return policies and decided that my return needs were perfectly reasonable. I mean, this woman will buy 10 things and return 9 of them. At all stores where she shops, and every time she shops. The back of her SUV is filled with her rejects. I really don’t get it, because returning things is not my idea of a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Well, it started off badly – not Overstock‘s fault, but more my brother’s and mine. I got some curtains for Christmas to replace the ones that I left on the train and never recovered, but by the time Christmas came, I’d changed my color scheme plans. We celebrated the holidays at my brother’s place in Baltimore, and I left him in charge of the return so I wouldn’t have to lug them back to NYC on public transportation (which temporarily lost my luggage too!). I forgot to chase him up, but I don’t think it mattered – those curtains were deeply clearanced so a return wasn’t really an option. I figure he hasn’t decorated a couple of the rooms in his house yet, so they’ll be put to use.

In happier news, I discovered 2 weeks ago that Home Depot changed their return policy so that you can take an item bought online to a retail location and get the refund. I almost failed to return it in time though – I did it on the last possible day (Monday) of their 90-day return window because the city was too slushy for the 5 days before that. So I paid $2.25 for the subway – only one-way because I live just a 15-minute walk away – instead of $20 in return shipping.

This evening, I received an email from Sierra Trading Post informing me that they had received my return item and, since more than 6 months had passed since the purchase, the full $23.50 was issued as store credit/gift card. It took me a moment to figure out what this was…ohmygod, it was a present I had given my post office-averse newlywed sister for Christmas 2008. As in 15 months ago. This sister has randomly finds a sealed, addressed card she meant to send at some point in the past and mails it with a little note on the back of the envelope that she has no idea what’s inside. Usually, it’s a birthday card from 2-5 birthdays ago. With supplemental stamps on it because the rate had changed once or twice since.

Of course, the issue of curtains and rugs has yet to be addressed.  I’m just afraid of making more mistakes. Like that orange paint. That was a $40 mistake. Ouch.

Printable Coupons for my Robin-Hooding

Believe it or not, I’ve actually been doing minimal shopping-for-free in the past few weeks. I’ve had band-aids all over my face since late January, and now I’ve got a livid scar surrounded by adhesive-irritated flakiness. Attractive, I know. Anyway, I’ve been doing just enough couponing to keep my drug store credits (ECBs, RRs) from expiring and that’s about it.

I’m itching to get back in the game though, and these coupons will help me make a lot of people happy (and in the case of the Excedrin, it’s my annual personal stock-up in a way that allows me to “make money” at Walgreens to keep up the good work). Remember, most of these can be printed twice, usually by going back a few pages with the back button:

Betty Crocker – cake mix, brownie mix, cookie mix + frosting (very popular, makes for free birthday treats!)

Colgate – MaxWhite, Total Sensitive, Enamel Strength, & Softsoap bodywash

www.SmartSource.com – $2/2 Right Guard, .50/1 Betty Crocker frosting

www.Coupons.com – $2/2 Right Guard, $1/1 Orbit gum, $2/1 Excedrin (very important for next week!), $1.50/2 Kelloggs Corn Pops/Apple Jacks/Froot Loops, $1/1 Kellogg’s Smart Start, .60/1 Cheerios mix

www.RedPlum.com – $1.50/2 Kelloggs, .50/1 Newman’s Own

$1 Betty Crocker Potatoes
$1/1 & $1/2 Honey Nut Cheerios (automatically prints both)
$1/1 General Mills cereal
$1/1 Cheerios
.75/1 CoffeeMate
.75/1 Nestle Tollhouse Morsels
$1 Degree deodorant
.55/1 International Delight
$1/1 Oreo Cakesters
.75/1 Shake-n-Bake
$1/1 Stayfree
.60/3 Yoplait Whipps
$2/1 Fiber One
(scroll down)
$1/1 & $1.50/2 Kelloggs – unlike all the others, this only gives one print
$2/1 Excedrin – answer Excedrin, print $2 coupon twice; answer other and get a Free Excedrin coupon by mail. No reason you can’t do both – the website doesn’t prevent it.

So if you want to help me by printing these off and mailing them, leave me a comment so I can privately send you my contact info.

Penny Experiment: $262 Toiletries for $7 + tax

Hope y’all don’t mind, but in order to participate in The Penny Experiment, I need to post pictures and details of the deals that I do. I’ve pretty much avoided this because I don’t want to be lumped in with some of those bloggers who empty whole shelves of Crest Pro-Health just because they can.

This photo isn’t complete – it’s just what I got at CVS, not Rite Aid because I gave all that stuff away already. As soon as I found out Single Mom-of-1 was on her way, I ran out and did my Rite Aid deals because she was desperate for hair conditioner (both mom and teenage daughter have dry, frizzy hair) as well as the food I’d already accumulated. I didn’t put together that donation pic because, again, I was in a time crunch.

At CVS, I bought (full shelf/sale price):
$32.94 / $32.94  6 x Dove Men+Care body wash
$23.98 / $20.00  2 x jumbo packs Huggies diapers
$31.96 / $23.96  4 x Pantene (large size)
$  6.38 / $ 5.98  2 x Colgate Max Fresh
$  8.38 / $ 7.98  Oust Air & Surface Sanitizer
$  4.08 / $ 2.60  2 x 2L Coke (inc .05 deposit)
Shelf price total:  $107.72
Sale price total:  $93.46 + tax

– $10 (2 x $5/$30 purchase coupons)
– $6 Pantene (2 x $3/2 mfr)
– $1.50 Huggies mfr
– $1 Huggies mfr
– $7.25  Dove Men+Care mfr
– $3.99  Oust BOGO mfr
-$.50  Coke store coupon
-$1.50 Colgate mfr (IP)
Total owed: $61.70 + $5.84 tax
Paid with $60 ECBs + $7.54 cash

ECBs earned:
$32.94 Dove Men+Care (more than 1 card…long story)
$4 Colgate
$6 Oust
$5 Huggies
$10 Pantene/Coke
$57.94 ECBs earned – almost a wash!

Then at Rite Aid – sorry, no photo – I picked up (shelf price/sale price):
$9.98 / $7.00  Pantene (2 bottles)
$5.99 / $3.99  Nyquil
$4.99 / $1.75  Post GrapeNuts cereal
$5.99 / $2.99  Nivea body wash
$4.49 / $1.99  Carefree Ultra liners
$17.96 / $7.96  Stayfree pads
Shelf total:  $49.40
Sale total:  $25.69

– $5/$25 purchase
– $2/2 Pantene
– $2 Nyquil
– $2 Post cereal
– $2 Nivea body wash
– $2 Carefree Ultra (RA video values)
– $2 ($1 x 2) Stayfree
– $3.98 (2 x BOGO) Stayfree
Total:  $4.70 + $1.33 tax = $6.03
SCRs due:  $3 ($2 Pantene, $1 Nyquil)
Net out-of-pocket cost after rebates:  $3.03

And yesterday, I dashed out to Walgreens to pull of this deal after Mom-of-10 said she bought a bottle of shampoo because they were out. I “yelled” at her for buying something I could get much higher quality for nearly-free. This total is actually 3 orders, with one done on last week’s sale:

$10.99 / $10.00  Zicam cold sore swabs, 10ct
$  1.99 / $ .79  Ajax dishwashing liquid
$33.96 / $20.00  4 x 12oz bonus bottles NyQuil/DayQuil
Full price total:  $46.94
Sale price total:  $30.79

– $8.00 (4 x $2) Vicks NyQuil/DayQuil mfr
= $22.79
Paid with $23 in Register Rewards (had to throw in a candy bar for myself to make this work, not included)
Earned back $20 in Register Rewards

$23.98 / $17.98  2 Huggies jumbo packs
$23.94 / $20.00  6 bottles of Garnier Fructis shampoo & conditioner
$ 7.58 / $ 6.00  2 x 22ct Kotex pads
$ 2.29 / $ .99  Aquafresh, 8.2oz bonus tube
Full shelf price: $57.79
Sale price:  $44.97

– $2 Huggies store coupon (2 x $1)
– $4 Huggies mfr IPs (2 x $2)
– $6 Garnier Fructis mfr (6 x $1)
– $2/2 Kotex mfr
– $.75 Aquafresh mfr
$30.22 + 2.40 sales tax
Paid with $27 RRs and $5.62

Got back $6 Huggies (2 x $3), $3 Kotex, $10 Garnier Fructis


BOUGHT:  $261.85 worth of personal care, baby care, OTC meds and other non-food necessities
PAID:  $16.19 out-of-pocket ($6.62 + 9.57 sales tax)


Single Mom of Teen Daughter and her friend, Single Mom with Tween Daughter, got 6 bottles of Pantene, 1 Oust, 2L bottle of Coke, NyQuil, 4 Stayfree, 1 Carefree, Nivea body wash, 2 Colgate, Post GrapeNuts (plus a few boxes of the free Kelloggs from my previous Penny Experiment purchase) on Sunday. She got tons of other stuff too (2 frozen turkeys, 3 cans of tuna, Ragu, Ronzoni, SoyJoy, Chex Mix, Stove Top, cranberry sauce, gravy, Scrubbing Bubbles, Lysol, Dawn, All), but that pre-dates my participation. Interesting twist: the turkeys and trimming came from Bronx Mom-of-10 – they’re not fans of Thanksgiving foods, so I just redistributed what the church and a very nice local supermarket owner gave her over the holidays.

Semi-Official Shelter Lady, Joanne, will get the 6 bottles of Dove Men+Care body wash with her next delivery.

Bronx Mom-of-10 got 4 packs of Huggies, 6 bottles of Garnier Fructis, Aquafresh, Kotex, 4 bottles of NyQuil and DayQuil, Zicam swabs (one of her kids gets cold sores), Ajax dishwashing liquid, and the other things pictured below:

Supermarket Couponing for Non-Couponers

Okay, okay… a lot of you have been asking me to post more details about how I do this. The thing is, a kazillion other bloggers have outlined this stuff better than I ever could. Heck, I couldn’t pull off these deals without them! So instead, this post is for people who understand the concept of a coupon and use them from time to time, but would like to score some great deals without turning it into a major event. Here’s a quick rundown of how to do it with the minimum of effort for the maximum return.

Familiarize yourself with the coupon policies of your local supermarkets
First, look at the front page of the weekly circular and see if it notes “Double Manufacturers’ Coupons”. You can do this online – pretty much every chain in the country puts their circulars on their website. Then call or stop by their Customer Service desk and ask the following questions:

  • Up to what value to do you double?
  • Is there a maximum number of coupons that will double per transaction?
  • Do you accept coupons printed from the internet? If so, are there special rules for those?

Find a good coupon blogger or forum that covers your store(s)
For forum activity, I use A Full Cup because it’s the only one I’ve found for the supermarket I patronize (ShopRite). Plus, they have a pretty good searchable database for the printable coupons. Other good deal websites if you have access to the more popular coupons supermarkets – Publix, Meijer, Kroger, Harris Teeter, Safeway, Giant Eagle – I highly recommend DealSeekingMom and CouponCravings (who posts her weekly shopping trip every Saturday morning – she’s a stockpiler who feeds her big family on $40 a week). For others, well, google your little fingers off.

Some things go on sale in conjunction with coupons and promos quite regularly, while others are available on super-special just once or twice a year. You’ll figure this out over time, or you can ignore it and just do what you can. Your shopping cart will look strange – 8 lbs of Oscar Mayer bacon might raise an eyebrow, until you coupon it down to $3.04 for the whole lot (yes, this reflects a recent transaction). Then both of those nosy eyebrows will shoot skyward. And for the record, this was an exceptional deal, but plain old decent deals on bacon are fairly easy to find.

Use a coupon service
Don’t have the time or interest in collecting and clipping multiple circulars? No problem. First thing, look at the store circular as soon as you can get your hands on it, be it online or off. I can only get the online version in advance, usually 2 days before the new week begins. Check your handy coupon-crazy websites to see what deals they’ve identified. Now go back to the online circular and click on the products you plan to buy – it creates your shopping list (printable). Then go to a coupon clipping service like Coupons By Dede, The Coupon Master or The Coupon Clippers and get multiples. eBay is also an option, though the seller fixes the quantity, which may or may not suit your purposes. Like, who really needs 20 coupons for mayonnaise? That’s a 5+ year supply for most households! Since you can’t actually sell coupons legally, the coupon is free but you pay a “handling fee” that works out to be roughly 10% of the face value of the coupon. Shipping is about $1. You might spend $5 a week on this, but it will yield about $80 worth of savings.

Anatomy of a simple deal
Ragu tomato sauce is on sale 3/$4 and there’s a .75/2 coupon floating around. Pay attention to limits, eg. “4 per variety” and “must buy 3” and “Limit 4 deals per transaction”. Buy 6 coupons for 12 jars. Only like 2 kinds of sauce? Do two transactions of 6 jars each, just as long as they’re in multiples of 6 (price is based on 3, coupon is based on 2), you’re good. So 12 jars at the sale price is $16. Use 6 x .75/2 coupons, which double because they’re under $1 (that’s a fairly common rule)….so 6 x $1.50 = $9. Pay $7 for 12 jars of tomato sauce. Awesome. And this is the kind of information/organization you can obtain from the supermarket forums and blogs so you don’t have to figure it out yourself.

If couponing is a completely new concept to you, stop reading here. What I’m about to write could fry your brain. I’m great with mental arithmetic and I still found it intimidating at first…

Anatomy of a more complex deal
A lot of big chains have offers like “Buy 6 of XYZ Manufacturer’s Products Pictured, Get $3/$5/$7 register coupon off your next order” from time to time. Back to the Ragu example, let’s say there’s a Unilever offer for “Buy $15 of Listed Products, Get $5 coupon”. Well, your tomato sauce came to $16 before coupons – and for almost all supermarkets, the deal is triggered by the pre-coupon total. So pay your $7 and get $5 back. Turn around and spend it on the rest of your purchases in another transaction – I use it for milk, fruit, meat, etc. Anyway, the net cost for 12 jars of sauce is then brought down to $2 (+ .48 in coupon costs), or 20 cents a jar. I must admit, the downside to doing a deal like this is that you hate spending more than a quarter on a jar of tomato sauce in the future, when in the past you were happy with anything under $2. However, I think it’s worth the high.

The Ragu example is a deal I did a few weeks ago. It was such a rush, especially since I didn’t realize the $5 register coupon was going to happen. I went back on the last day of the sale and did it all over again. I wasn’t a fan of Ragu and just planned to give it all away, but one snowy night, it was the only tomato sauce I had in the house for making ziti, and I was very pleasantly surprised by their reduced sugar variety (I remember their sauce as being overly sweet). I’d been committed to Classico for years, but now I’m not so picky (and yes, I’ve done Classico deals too – not so easy though).

What about real food?
Well, yeah…coupon offeres for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, meat, etc. are not in abundance, but they do happen. Dole occasionally makes a .75 coupon available online for their pineapples – the whole kind, not the can of rings. It doubles and goes nicely with a 2/$5 sale. Right now I’ve got a bunch of coupons for Cutie clementines that I look forward to using! I consider cheese and yogurt “real food”, and coupons are put out constantly by Sargento, Cracker Barrel, Yoplait, Activia, Land O’Lakes, etc. The egg industry occasionally puts out a printable Buy One Get One Free coupon for a dozen eggs, any brand. LOVE that one! And there have been spice coupons recently that give you .50 (double-able, remember) off meat if you purchase their product. Over the holidays, both Shady Brook and Butterball had $2 off a whole turkey coupon available on the major coupon sites. Right now, I’m gunning for an opportunity to use my “Buy One Special K cereal, get .50 off fruit” coupon.

Complex real food deal: I did a deal a few weeks ago that snagged me a coupon for a free gallon of milk for every 3 boxes of Kelloggs cereal that I bought. I bought 10 boxes on sale for $2 each, using $1 coupons. And it gets better – I also used a $1.5o off coffee when you buy 3 boxes of Kelloggs coupon against a can of Maxwell House that was on sale for $1.99. So I paid about $11.50 for 10 boxes of cereal, 3 cans of coffee and 3 gallons of milk. Since I also do rebates, I submitted for $10 back from Kelloggs too, but that’s too fiddly for a non-couponer to get into. “But what do I do with 3 gallons of milk?” you ask. Well, the coupons are good for 2 weeks after the cereal purchase – just turn around and get your gallon for the week, use one for next week’s milk, and then swoop in for the 3rd close to the coupon’s expiration date. No need to get them all at once, on the spot. Or if you’re me, you give them to your collection of Broke Folks.

Hey, that’s what the comments section is for. Happy to answer…but this post is really for those who occasionally use coupons but want to step their game up without having little bits of paper cluttering up their handbag, coffee table, or brain. You can find the basics here.

Printable Coupon Requests for My Robin-Hooding

Okay…here’s the relatively small list of printable coupons I’d like to get my hands on. I’m kind of pulling out all stops with the food things for the next month or so because Maribel (Mom-of-9, but really 10!) had her food stamps cancelled when they found an error in her household documentation – the birth of her toddler wasn’t officially registered at the hospital level apparently, so they though she was lying about the number of children she really had. Anyway, it’s been sorted out but between holidays and red tape, this benefit won’t kick in again until some time in January.

.55/1 Chock full o’ Nuts
$1/1 General Mills kids’ cereals
$1/1 Nestle Tollhouse Morsels

$1/1 Degree Ultra-Clear deodorant
$3/1 Neosporin Lip Health
$1/1 Stayfree

$1/1 Johnson’s Baby Shampoo
$1/1 Betty Crocker pouch potatoes
$1/1 & $1.50/2 CoffeeMate

$1.50/1 Wet Ones (take the pledge)

Snackpicks.com (might have to register if this link doesn’t take you straight to the page of printable coupons):  $1/2 Fudge Shoppe, $1/1 Sandies, .75/1 Toppers

www.coupons.com (enter 90210 to make sure you find these – they vary a little):  .75/1 Kellogg’s Smart Start or Crispix or All-Bran; .50/1 Kellogg’s Raisin Bran; .50/1 Chex Mix

Kraft Foods – .55/2 Philadelphia Cream Cheese; .55/1 Breakstone Sour Cream

Red Plum (90210) – $1.50/2 Kellogg’s Frosted MiniWheats or Raisin Bran

Smartsource (90210) – .50/1 Starkist; .50/1 Chex Mix

Clipped Coupon Requests for my Robin Hooding

Ugh, sorry, I’ve been meaning to do this post for at least a week, and a few of you have been asking for my list. I really should do this post every other week…at this point, I’ve got requests going back 4 weekends’ worth of circulars. Some values may be different depending on where you live, but you’ll get the idea because you’re smart 🙂  Also, the ones in bold are the ones I really, really want, either because I know there’s a “moneymaking” deal coming up, or it’s an item that a lot of my Broke Folks and overseas troops need/want. I will do another post – maybe even today – for printable ones.

Red Plum 11/15
.50/1 Caress soap 6-bar
$1/1 GUM toothbrush
.60/1 Hellmann’s mayonnaise
.60/2 Knorr Rice & Pasta sides
.75/2 Lipton Cup-a-Soup or Soup Secrets
.60/2 Lipton Recipe Secrets
.60/1 Lipton Tea bags
$1/1 Polly-O Ricotta (my fave, and I didn’t get this one!)
.75/2 Skippy Peanut Butter
BOGO Snickers/M&M-Mars candy bar

SmartSource 11/15
.75/1 Orville Redenbacher’s Poppycock
.75/1 Oscar Meyer bacon (I have $1/2, but want this one because it doubles!)
.50/2 Swiss Miss cocoa

SmartSource 11/22
$1/1 Toblerone or Terry’s

P&G Brandsaver 11/29
.75/1 or $1/1 Crest toothpaste
$4/1 Gillette Fusion razor
.50/1 or $1/2 Herbal Essences
$1.50/1 NyQuil or DayQuil
BOGO Olay Body Wash/Lotion
$1/2 Zooth or Stages toothbrushes
$1/2 Zooth or Stages toothpaste

Red Plum 12/6
$2/1 All detergent

$1/1 TARGET ONLY Dove chocolate
$2/1 Garnier Nutrisse hair color
$1/1 Garnier Nutritioniste cleanser/moisturizer
.75/1 or $1/1 GUM toothbrush
$1/1 Listerine/Rembrandt
.55/1 Ocean Spray cranberry drink
BOGO Reach toothbrush
$2/1 Snuggle fabric softener or dryer sheets
$2/1 Sudafed

SmartSource 12/6
.75/1 (or whatever you got) Colgate toothpaste
.25/1, .50/1, $1/2 Folgers
All Glade
.50/1 Halls cough drops
$1/1 Hersheys bags
$1/1 Hormel Compleats
.50/1 Imperial Sugar
.75/1 Lloyd’s BBQ tub (must be .75, not $1 – for doubling)
.50/2 Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn
.75/1 Reynolds Wrap
$1/1 Rayovac, any alkaline
.75/1 Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta
All Schick razor coupons
$2/1 Theraflu, any
$3/1 Theraflu Warming Relief Caplets
$2/1 Triaminic
$3/1 Triaminic strips
$1/1 Trident gum 3-pack

SmartSource 11/8
.75/1 Chock full o’nuts
.50/1 French’s French Fried Onions
.55/1 International Delight creamer, pint
$1/1 Nabisco Crackers or Easy Cheese

Other Random Ones from Earlier Than 11/8:
$30/1 Bayer Contour/Breeze Glucose Meter from 10/25 Red Plum – I help 2 diabetics, and I use them as “moneymakers”
Buy Gillette Deodorant, Get Gillette Body Wash Free – 11/1 P&G Brandsaver
Target-only coupons (except Charmin/Bounty)

Thanks…and a Merry Christmas to my “Merry (Wo)Men” 😀