Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coupons 1/31

There are two inserts in the paper this Sunday.

Some great money maker deals at Walgreens too. So be sure to grab a few papers. Although I'm not sure that it's possible to beat the great deals at Kroger from the past week. I've got enough canned chili and tomato sauce to last the whole year!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Small Business Update

I've still been working very hard on getting my website together. I think the backbone is finally together. Pictures and all. I'm no good at taking pictures of my products.

Marketing is the big thing I've been working on now. I know very little about it, so I promoted my hubby to vice president of sales and marketing and try to flatter him into helping me out. As luck would have it, he had a chamber event this week where the topic was website marketing. So I'm working on implementing many of the concepts he learned about. I will be detailing some of these things this week.

Stock Up Deal of the Week

Well, it's a bit more complicated this week. Kroger has a big sale on lots of stuff. I bought $80 worth of groceries for only $26 today. But it took some planning, and then two hours in the store to pull it off without getting confused. It was totally worth it for me. I had 39 coupons!

But if I have to pick just one thing that I recommend stockpiling it would be the cans of Hormel Chili. They end up being free after coupons. Now I actually don't care for the chili straight out of the can. But let me tell you a secret. Add some salsa to it, and it's wonderful. I threw some on a tortilla with cheese yesterday for dinner and called it Tex Mex.

If you want to see the full list, and believe me, it's substantial, go to www.thegrocerygame.com. This is a wonderful time to sign up for your 1 month free trial to try it out.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Where Have I Been?


I have spent the last several weeks working hard on getting my candle website up and running. Check it out! www.lmfcandles.com. I still have a lot to do. I'm still working on adding pictures and other items. But it's running, and everything works. I even had a good friend from Oklahoma who was nice enough to place an order to help me test it! Thank you Lisa!

If you are in the market for a website with a shopping cart, I'm using www.volusion.com for my hosting. Most of what you see is built in with templates and I could just customize different aspects. If you're trying to do it on the cheap though, it is not easy. I'm so glad I took some computer programming classes in high school. There are many changes I'm wanting to make for it to be prettier, but I just don't know how. I'll learn over time, and you'll see those changes if you frequent my site, but even something seemingly minor like changing the font, is something that I need to look up and figure out, then go in and alter the html code. So if you decide to open up an internet shop too, be forewarned!

Coupons 1/24

There are two inserts in the paper today. Sorry for the late notice. I'll be buying five papers. At Walgreens where I can use my register rewards from the Pepsi deal to pay for my papers!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Stock Up Deal of the Week

12 packs of Pepsi products at Walgreens. There is a super amazing deal at Walgreens that runs this week and next week. If your family goes through a lot of soda, then seriously, it doesn't get any better than this. Here's the scoop.

Spend $20 in participating products. I get 5 12 packs for $15, and 2 bags of Tostitos for $5. Then you'll get a $10 Register Reward back for use on your next purchase. That makes it $10. And $10 for just the soda is a great deal. But with this, you also get the two bags of chips!!! Today I used my register rewards to purchase 4 Sunday papers. I'll be doing this deal many times over the next two weeks, and other things I like to use my register rewards on are diapers, cleaning supplies, and other sale items. In particular, Raisin Bran is a good price this week when you combine it with the $1 off 2 boxes coupon from the 1/3 paper. I also found some discounted Bonne Belle lip gloss products that I grabbed today to stick in my box of items to use as gifts throughout the year. I have to admit, they're meant for kids, but I love their things too! It took a bit of will power to tell myself that I already have thirty different flavors of gloss that I'm keeping for myself. I really don't need anymore. LOL.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Working with Baby

Ok, this is a different sort of post. I have no idea how to get any work done with my 1 year old running around wreaking havoc. Does anyone have any ideas? During the course of looking up bags and boxes at Uline and writing the prior post about it, he has been all over the house, typed random nonsense to a customer service person in live chat, and pushed a button that shut down my computer. Can't do baby gates currently because I'm too pregnant to step over them now. He won't tolerate a play pen anymore. And I use his naps to clean up the mess he just made, so no progress there. HELP! It's helpful when Dave gets home from work because he gets to chase him around. But most of the time, Dawson still prefers to "help" me. I'm thinking maybe I need to be the one in the play pen. He can have the whole house, just give me a 3X3 square that's protected from little fingers. And why does he have to be so cute when he's causing trouble? I need to work harder on my mommy poker face.

ULINE

I've been working hard on getting my new website together for my candle shop. I'll post info here once it's up and running, and I will also be posting some details about the company I'm using to get it published. So we'll see how it goes.

In the meantime, I happened upon an awesome deal by accident. This is more of a small business post, but if you send a lot of packages to relatives or an out of town college student or something, it could benefit you too. And it might be a little boring, but I'll tell you the whole story.

While working on my new website, I'm also trying to get my inventory organized. I'm starting to run low on bags to package my incense in, so I hopped online to double check the price. Well, the place I bought them at doesn't carry them anymore. So I've been working most of today trying to figure out who does. I ended up at www.uline.com. They sell all sorts of packaging and mailing materials. I was able to find the bags I needed cheaper than the other place anyway. Yay! They're even sending me a sample so I can make sure it's the right kind of thickness that I need.

So I was looking around at some of the other things on their site. I haven't had to do much shipping yet since most of my sales have been at craft shows, but I had to ship a box of things last week. The UPS Store charged me $6 for a box. OMG. I'm not certain of the exact dimensions it was. But the kinds of sizes I would need are less than a dollar each at Uline. I have to buy them in bundles. I can't just buy "a box." But when I can get 25 boxes for $15.25 (plus whatever it will be to ship them to me) it's going to be a huge cost savings.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Meijer Matchups

It looks like Meijer is the place to be this week. Check out the post at Nickels N Dimes for the coupon matchups. Works for me. I have a Costco trip planned for this coming week and I was planning to get some salad fixins. Free at Meijer is better!

House Party!!!!

I've been working hard on implementing a new website for my candle business. It's a lot of work. But I think my brain is fried for now, so thinking about this awesome site I've been using is a nice change of pace.

Check out www.houseparty.com. This is a site where different companies give you freebies to have parties for them. I've hosted three parties so far and have gotten some pretty valuable stuff. Basically, a company wants to introduce a new product, and they want to give out some freebies in a more interesting way.

You have to go to the house party website and set up an account. Then fill out an application for anything that you're interested in. The first one I did was for Healthy Choice. They sent me coupons to get a bunch of their new meals for free to feed my guests. Then I was selected for a Windows 7 Launch Party. I got a free copy of the operating system, and some neat favors for my guests. This last one was my favorite though. I received two games for my Nintendo Wii system, and a bunch of coupons for free packs of Jello Mousse. Wonderful! The Wii games were worth over a hundred bucks!!! And what a fun way to spend an evening with family and friends!You get to keep the merchandise they send you, all they ask is that you share it with your guests.

So check out the site and sign up. I don't know if I've been super lucky or what. But it amounts to some pretty nice freebies.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Coupon Sunday 1/10/10

There will be two inserts in the paper this Sunday. Check out the link on the sidebar for Taylortown Coupon Preview to see what will be included. I plan to get two papers. Mostly for the scrubbing bubble coupons.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sidetracked


I don't have a post for you today because I've been chasing my son around the house all day. He's been trying to sneak and eat the dog food. I thought I had the problem cured earlier with a time out. But instead of sitting down next to the dog dish to eat, he has been grabbing handfuls now and hiding to eat it. Yuck!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Stock Up Items of the Week


This is a new feature that I'm adding to my blog based on my year of experience. Between having an idea of the sales cycles of the stores, and knowing what I've found useful to have stockpiled, there are certain things that I'm excited about when I see them at low prices. So here's the first installment.


At Kroger this week, there are two items that are super stockup worthy.

Betty Crocker Pouch Potatoes - On sale for .91, use the .35 manufacturer coupon from the paper on 12/13, doubles to .70 off, final price, .21 a box! I got a gazillion of these last year at this price. There are usually a bunch of internet printables around too. I thought I was over doing it because I literally had like thirty boxes of them in my pantry. But they don't go bad, and I used every last box over the course of the year. I even ran out a couple months ago and had to pay more than 21 cents a box, which was a bummer. So I'm using every single coupon I come across this time!


At Walgreens I already mentioned the free Electrosol. I have a couple more coupons to get them free and need to head back to use up all of my coupons. I hope they aren't all out.
NOTE: The deal I had in this post about Softsoap at Kroger was not accurate. It happens since coupons and deals can be regional, so be sure to look closely at any sale you are following online. The coupons that I had were for a different size than what was on sale at Kroger.

Mr. Rebates

I received a check in the mail today for $32.06! This was completely free money!!! How did I do it you ask? Internet shopping through Mr. Rebates. These were all purchases that I was going to make anyway. Instead of going straight to the website I was going to purchase from, I went to Mr. Rebates first. By following a link to the store from their site, you get a percentage of your purchase back. This is wonderful because not only does it include specialty internet shopping, there are also necessity type sites available. 1800petmeds has a 10% rebate. Walmart has a 3% rebate. 1800contacts has a 7% rebate. Even ebay has a 3% rebate. So if you're going to buy something online anyway, go to Mr. Rebates first and you'll get an even better deal.

Target Prescription Coupon and Others

It's hard to find prescription coupons anymore. Target is the only that I've been able to consistantly find these days. Others are few and far between. It's a bummer because that's a huge way that I saved money on my groceries last year. This year it's probably going to be better for me to use a mail order pharmacy, but I will be detailing that more in a few days.

For now . . . go to Target's site. There are a bunch of printable coupons. You have to install a small program (I've not had any problems with it) and you can print each coupon twice. Right now, the aforementioned prescription coupon which gives you a $10 gift card with any new or transferred prescription. But there are some other good coupons there too. I was happy to see a Pepsi coupon. Good for a dollar off a 12 pack. And the 12 packs are on sale this week for 2.75. Makes for a great price. So scroll through all the coupons and print off any that sound good to you. Also a note, they will say at the top of the coupon once you print it if it is a Target store coupon or a manufacturer coupon. For the ones that are Target coupons, you can combine them with a manufacturer coupon.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Groceries 1/3/10

Ok, a couple things I want to point out first. Yes, I'm doing a lot of trips. I don't usually shop everyday. But there have been a few things I let run out, and I'm not completely organized yet, so multiple trips. Usually, I think two trips a week is probably what I do. On top of that, my habits seem to be such that I'm able to focus on the stockpiling and deal shopping better at this time of year. Once the nicer weather hits, I'm just not as into it. So for those reasons, my budget will probably appear to be out of whack. There will also be entire weeks, and sometimes months, where I don't have to go grocery shopping at all other than for milk and eggs.

Did you get your papers this morning? Wow! Lots of coupons. I sat in my car pulling out the Electrosol and Carefree pads ones for my Walgreens trip. Super deals and I didn't want to chance that they would be out of them if I waited until later. I had to do three separate transactions, but the total of all three was 7.02. One of the things I got was an after Christmas gift thingy with meat and cheese and a cute little cutting board and cleaver. Hubby likes to eat the snacks, and I like the cute little accessories. It was marked down to $5. I counted it in my grocery budget because it does qualify as a snack, and the only real reason I bought it was because I had some extra register rewards that I needed to use up. So here's the run down:

Total $7.02
meat and cheese
4 packages of carefree pads
3 boxes of electrosol dishwasher soap
and $3 in register rewards to use next time

Kroger $21.08
5 newspapers (Enquirer's marked down to $1.25 each!)
2 gallons of milk (need)
2 cartons of eggs (need)
1 laundry detergent (1.50)
2 chip dips (1.06)
1 pudding cups (free)
1 corn starch (1.08)
1 yogurt (.19)
2 cans water chestnuts (1.36)
2 cans bamboo shoots (.30)
2 bottles of creamer (1.98)

Everything at Kroger except for the papers, milk and eggs had coupons. And I found out just a few minutes ago that the creamer is on sale for free at Meijer this week. However, hubby is going to start eating breakfast at home instead of at McDonalds, so it's still going to be a cost savings.

You may be noticing that there is no real food on my list. LOL. That's because none of those things were on sale at prices I liked, and I have enough on hand in my stockpile. Also, Kroger's new week doesn't start until tomorrow. And I won't have my updated list of sales from The Grocery Game until Tuesday morning.

And just because I have to add it to my list because it's part of the budget . . . hubby went to a drive thru for beer. Spent 12.08. More expensive because it was a drive thru, that's why I'm bummed about it. But he wanted beer with football today, and our car's battery is suddenly having problems, so he didn't want to have to turn off the car. Good enough reason. Just a huge bummer to have a disruption to the budget like that on the third day of the year. But I'm looking forward to all of the beer rebates that should be starting to come out before long.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Grocery Budget

Ok, I worked pretty hard on this yesterday and I finally have it together. My grocery budget for the entire year of 2010 is $3000. This amount will include everything I spend on cat and dog food, cat litter, diapers, formula, alcohol, health and beauty items, Sunday papers, and my subscription to The Grocery Game. It will be a challenging goal, but I should be able to do it. After a year of practice, I have a much better understanding of the kinds of things my family does well with stocking up on, and the kinds of things that goes to waste if I stock up.

Another thing that is going to help me stay within this budget is the fact that I'm already stocked up on many things. I will only get toothpaste if it's completely free and in the brand that I like. Otherwise, I have it, so even if it's super cheap, I just don't need it. I have enough shampoo to last me the whole year. I will still get more if I come across deals that are great and in brands that I prefer or that I want to try. And it had better be super cheap even for that. I also need more man shampoo. You know how guys don't like to smell flowery, fruity or pretty. There are quite a few other things that we have plenty of too. Toothbrushes, shaving cream, some cleaners, hamburger helper, kool aid, coffee, and other odds and ends. Really, my biggest expenses are dog food, diapers and beer. Everything else, I can find really good sales to keep me well on track.

So follow along with me! I'll be offering tips and showing you how I'm finding the information, and how I'm implementing the plan. I recommend using a speadsheet if you're tracking your own budget. And to get started, be sure to pick up several copies of the Sunday paper tomorrow. It is supposed to be loaded with coupons!

Groceries 1/2/10

Due to poor planning in the recent past, the cats informed me this morning that they were out of food. I couldn't find any cat food coupons, so I had to actually pay full retail. Not happy about that. However, I still turned it into a good trip.

Total $15.68

14 pound bag of Meow Mix $10.00 (need)
soda and juice $2.98 (need)
pudding (free)
beef filets .68 (after coupon)
tax .94

So this was just a small trip. I usually only pay a dollar for a small bag of cat food. That way it's cheaper to buy the small bags. But since I had no coupons, the large bag was the better deal. And it covers me for a couple weeks while I lay in wait for coupons and sales.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Groceries 1/1/10

I still need to finish up my grocery budget planning, but I am going to do a post on each transaction as a way to keep myself on my budget, and also to show you how I'm going about staying in my budget. I will do a separate post on the specifics of my budget, and attempt to keep a running total as soon as I have all of that figured out.

Walgreens Transaction 1/1/10 $5.35
2 refill bottles of shower cleaner (need)
2 neosporin chapsticks (moneymaker)
3 packs of mechanical pencils (.19 filler)

I had a coupon for buy one get one on the shower cleaner. I needed it and had the good coupon. The chapsticks were 2 for $8, I had 2 coupons for $3 off, and it got me a $3 register reward to use next time. So they netted a dollar profit. I had a few register rewards to use from last time, and according to Walgreens rules, since I had seven coupons, I needed at least seven items in my transaction. I don't really need the pencils, but I needed something cheap to increase my item number without adding much to my total. So the pencils were what I picked this time.

So I spent only $5.35 for $28.73 worth of products, AND I have $3 worth of register rewards to use the next time I go.