Friday, June 25, 2010

CVS paid me $2 to take this stuff off their shelf!

Like I said, I am not doing a lot of couponing now that the kiddos are out of school.  It's just not worth the time and effort it takes.  I'd rather be doing fun stuff with them while they are home.  I did make it to one store this week, though.  (I went at night after the hubby got home, so I didn't have to hear, "Oh no, Mom has her coupons with her!")   CVS had some pretty good deals this week.  As I stated in my previous post, I would not normally be buying diapers, but since they paid me to take them off their shelf, I couldn't pass them up!  They are always greatly appreciated as baby gifts.  I wanted to make a diaper cake for my sister's baby shower, so now I'll have plenty to do that and she can keep the rest.  I basically made all the purchases I listed in my previous post, with one exception.  Due to the fact that I play the coupon game so often, I do not need any more toothpaste for quite some time.  So, I substituted an Olay product so I would have enough to complete the Olay rebate.  According to my favorite source, Southern Savers, there are some super awesome deals next week at CVS (starting Sunday).  I am bummed I will miss these, as we will be out of town.  Go here to see Jenny's list for CVS and how to get $94.34 worth of stuff for $2.31 and have $10 ECBs left over, including a free Kodak Picture Movie DVD that would make a great grandparent birthday gift: CVS list.  Jenny rocks!  Have fun and happy couponing!

1 Pantene shampoo
1 Pantene conditioner
1 box Huggies diapers
1 Zegerid med
1 Olay facials
2 Power bars
Shelf price: $45
Amount spent: $7.99
Get back: Zegerid rebate $9.99
ECBs left for next week: $6.00
Total out of pocket $2.00 profit!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I am not planning on doing a lot of coupon shopping this week, but I thought I would post the good deals at CVS for this week.  If you follow this plan, you can get all of this for $6, including a huge box of diapers! I wouldn't normally be buying diapers, but my sister is due with her second baby soon, and these are too good to pass up! Ok, so here goes...

$2 ECB Colgate Total Advanced Toothpaste, 4 oz., $2.99 Limit 2

-$1 off Colgate Total Toothpaste SS 6/06 (makes it FREE)

$2 ECB  (2) Pantene Pro-V Shampoo, Conditioner or Styler $3.48 Limit 1
-$1/2 Pantene product PG 6/06

$10 ECB Huggies Snug & Dry or Little Movers Diapers Big Box, 56-96 ct, $19.99 Limit 1
-$3 off Huggies Diapers here

99¢ ECB PowerBar Pure & Simple, 99¢ Limit 2
(makes it FREE)

$1 ECB Zegerid OTC, 14 ct., $9.99 Limit 1
-$12.99 off Zegerid OTC, SS 6/20 (mail in rebate)
-$4 off Zegerid OTC, SS 6/20 (makes it $4.99)
(use $4 off and mail in rebate, you make at least $5)

So buy:

1 toothpaste
2 shampoo, conditioner, or styler
1 big box diapers
2 bars
1 heartburn med

Your total will be about $42. Then use:

toothpaste coupon
shampoo coupon
diaper coupon
med coupon

This brings it down to $33.
You get back about $17 in ECBs.
Do mail in rebate for at least $9.99
Your total spent ends up being about $6
If you have ECBs from a previous trip, then use them and get it all cheaper or free!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cricut cartridges vs. SCAL (Read this if you love your Cricut, but want to save money!)

If you are considering purchasing a Cricut, but hate the high price of all the cartridges, I have good news for you!  Since I spent a small fortune on my Cricut Expression, I decided that I did not want to spend a small fortune purchasing supplies and accessories to use with it. Shortly after purchasing my machine, I learned about a program called Sure Cuts a Lot, or "SCAL."  This software can be downloaded for around $70 (which is what Michael's charges for one cartridge) and can be used to make all sorts of stuff without actually buying more cartridges.  How is this possible? With the use of cut files! To view or purchase SCAL, go here

Okay, don't be intimidated! I am not a tech-person and I figured this out all on my own. So once you download this software, then what? How this is done is to first decide what you want to create. Say I want to make a baby shower card. So I google "baby shower svg file." SVG files are cut files that are available out there on the web. They are oftentimes free, and sometimes only cost a few dollars. There are "techy" people out there who actually design and post their own files, and there is also a great website that sells them: mostly for around 5-6 bucks. When you find a file you like (make sure it is an "SVG" file) when you download it!

I highly recommend making a separate folder for all your SVG files, so they are easier to find. Okay, so now what? Before you can use your new file, make sure it is unzipped! Open the file you created and you will see an option at the top that says "Extract all files".  Click this. It will ask you where to send them. Just send them to the default location.

You are almost done! Next, open SCAL. At the top left hand side of the screen, click "file" and the dropdown box will open. Click "import SVG file." Find your file, and click on it. Voila! It appears on your screen. Once you have done this, you can begin playing with your file and creating your project! There are great tutorials for SCAL on youtube. One I have watched is here.

You will need a short USB cable to connect your Cricut Expression to your computer. Of course, Provocraft will tell you this voids your warranty. Seriously, how would they know? You can worry about this if you want to, but I'm not! I do love some of the cute cartridges they have out there, but I have always been able to find something similar, if not better for SCAL. The possibilities are truly endless! If you decide to take the plunge and buy your Cricut, let me know.  I am thinking about starting a local crafting group to get together once a month or so and share ideas.  Good luck and happy crafting!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cricut Project of the Week: Coach's Gift Mugs

I have been dying to try using my Cricut to etch glass.  If you haven't heard of this, it is really super easy.  Provocraft makes sheets of vinyl that can be used in place of cardstock on your cutting mat. I picked up these mugs and a few bags of candy and trail mix at the dollar store.  The sunflower seeds were a recent coupon deal, so that worked out well. The clear cello bags, ribbon, vinyl, and etching cream all came from Michael's. I make my own shred for baskets and bags out of cardstock. I just choose the colors I want and run a few sheets through my shredder. We are giving these as coach's gifts and cub scout leader gifts this year. They were so fun to make, and each gift ended up only costing around $5.  (I stuck a piece of cardstock down in the mug in the picture above so you could see the etching) Instructions are as follows:

1. Design what you want to etch (using a cartridge or SCAL).
2. Cut it out on vinyl instead of cardstock.
3. Punch out the design.
4. Place the stencil on the object you want to etch. 
5. Brush on some Armour Etch, being careful not to get any of the product on an area you don't want etched. 
6. Allow the Armour Etch to set for about 15 minutes
7. Rinse off thoroughly with water.
8. Remove the stencil, then voila, you are done!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Coupon deals for this week...

Let me begin by providing a little insight into the "world of couponing."  There are trashy couponers, and there are classy couponers.  My belief is that coupons are not just for frumpy housewives.  I have a few tips for people considering starting this.

1.  It has to be fun. I enjoy this. Call it a sickness. Call it whatever you will, but if it was work for me, I would not do it!

2. It can't take up too much time. I have it down to a science, and tend to speed shop, if you will. After all, life is too short!

3. Be a nice shopper. Don't throw a hissy fit at the register if the cashier won't take your coupon. Let it go, seriously! Also, if someone behind you has just a few items and you have a gargantuan stack of coupons, be polite and let them go ahead of you.

4. Don't make the rest of us look bad. If you go to the store looking like a frumpy housewife, you will be treated like a frumpy housewife. Whoever said lookin' cute won't get you far didn't know what they were talking about!

5. I want to caution you that buying only items you find coupons for will provide you with a pantry full of processed foods.  Coupons are great for toiletry items and paper goods, though. Be sure you are still buying plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and high quality meat for your family.  (Remember, this is not my entire list of grocery purchases, just the coupon deals!) We go through a lot of cereal and frozen breakfast foods, so I never pass those up.  I allow the kids to have sodas from time to time, but they are always nice to have around for company too.  Sorry, but I had to add this; guess it's the nurse in me :)

That being said, let me also add that I do not do this all the time.  I have been on a roll the past few weeks, but sometimes I go weeks without using a coupon!  I don't think I used a single one the entire month of April, as I was just too busy!  I am grateful for the good deals I've been finding lately, because my couponing is about to be put on the back burner for the summer.  If you think for one second, I'm dragging the kids around the store while I do this, you must be nuts!  I'll do what the professional couponers call "cherry-picking." That's where you just shop for the "too good to pass up/or totally free" stuff.

There, I've said my peace.  So here is my haul for this week:

4 12-packs coca-cola products
1 Gillette Fusion power razor
4 Windex spray bottles
1 4-pack Scott toilet paper
4 boxes Special K cereal

Shelf price: $55 and some change
Amount spent: $11.70 (and have $5 ECBs for next week)

Rite Aid (You won't believe this!)
1 pack Oral B floss picks
2 bottles Dawn dish detergent
3 8-packs Duracell AA batteries (we all know how fast kids go through these!)
1 Clean & Clear facial cleanser
2 Old Spice deodorant
2 Old Spice body wash
1 Reach dental floss
1 Blink eye drops

Shelf price: $75.50
Amount spent: $3.61 Yes, really! And I have $3 credit to use next time!

5 Edy's ice cream (lots of ice cream cones this summer:)
6 Kellogg's frozen waffles (sadly, these will go fast!)
1 Olay body wash
1 Ivory body wash
2 Benadryl anti-itch sticks

Shelf price: $47.00
Amount paid: $11.55

Total before coupons: $177.50
Total amount spent: $26.86
Total credit left for next trip: $8.00

I hope everyone's having a great week!

Recipe of the Week: Boxtop Cupcakes...

This past year, I volunteered to be one of the boxtop collectors for my kids' school.  For those who don't know, this job involves going around and picking up the boxtops for your assigned grade once a month, clipping, counting, and bagging them in groups of 50.  I was assigned to the first grade, and there are five classrooms, which fortunately for the school means a lot of boxtops!!!  Well...I can assure you of two things.  One, I will not be volunteering for this job again!  And two, I will never, I repeat never send in boxtops with my children that have not been perfectly clipped on the dotted lines!  This is a very tedious job, so say the least! However, once you are done then the fun part comes!  Baking cupcakes!  The class with the most boxtops gets to have cupcakes, and I get to be the one to deliver them to all their cute little smiling faces!  (Believe me, this makes the kids very happy.  The teachers not so much, though ;-)  Coupon nut that I am, I found Pillsbury cake mix for 50 cents a box and stocked up for the school year.  I usually make the icing, though.  Here is a great icing recipe, that is also nut free, and dairy free if you exclude the milk.  Some of the kids have allergies, so you have to be careful!  Hope you enjoy, and remember, PLEASE CLIP YOUR BOXTOPS NEATLY!!! 

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract (can purchase at Michael's)
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (1 lb.)
2 tbsp milk

Using a stand mixer, cream shortening and butter together. Add vanilla. Cover entire mixer and bowl with a dishtowel while adding sugar, as it will make a huge mess if you don't!  Gradually add confectioner's sugar.  Add milk a little at a time and beat at medium speed until you reach the desired consistency.  Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Ice immediately, or keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You will need to re-whip it before using.  If you have a child with a dairy allergy, you can use water instead of milk.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Yay for 25-cent brownie mix!

So I get asked all the time what I do with all the cheap/free stuff I get with coupons.  I always have a houseful of kids to feed, that's what! The way it usually works around here is when it's time to eat, whoever happens to be hanging around gets fed!  It's Friday and what better way to celebrate than by having a sleepover?  So tonight they enjoyed cheese pizza, flavored water, brownies, and a movie all for $1.75! Not too bad!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Coupon deals for this week...

4 boxes Fiber One cereal
1 box Fiber One bars
10 bottles SOBE flavored water
1 Armor All window wipes (qualify for rebate but can use on any glass surface!)
1 Armor All wheel protectant
1 4-pack Danimals yogurt
1 4-pack Dannon Activia yogurt

Shelf price: $29.06
Total after coupons and Armor All rebate: $11.82

3 Lawry's marinades
1 French's mustard
1 French's worcestershire sauce
1 Suddenly Salad pasta kit
1 Luzianne decaf tea bags
2 Bush's Grillin' Beans
2 Betty Crocker Warm Delights
4 boxes Betty Crocker brownie mix
1 Betty Crocker Icing
1 bag Kitten Chow (free, so will give to a neighbor who has kitties)

Shelf price: $37.39
Total after sales and coupons: $9.06

Rite Aid:
2 Olay Regenerist cleansers
1 Olay daily facials
1 Olay Regenerist moisturizer
2 Ziploc sandwich bags
1 Coppertone spray sunscreen
1 Glucose meter (will donate)
2 boxes Carefree
1 box Stayfree
2 packs Stride gum

Shelf price: $101.12
Total after coupons and rebates: $11.20 (PROFIT!!!)

Totals for the week:

Shelf Price: $167.57
Spent: $9.68

Pretty sweet, huh? Too bad there was nothing good at CVS this week or I would've done even better!