Tuesday, May 31, 2011

brand loyal

(image found on Amazon.com)

(image found through internet search)

(image found on Tide website)

I have talked about this before but I think that as I have a lot of new readers, it is important to talk about again!! Everything I say is important right?! lol

As a couponer, you learn very fast that being brand loyal costs money. Manufacturers count on it.

For example, lets say you only use Tide laundry detergent. (This is the most expensive brand I have ever seen!!)

So you have run out of laundry soap, and you head to the store to get some more. Tide is on sale for $10. Normally the P&G insert has Tide coupons good for .35-$1.00 It is rare to find one higher. But for arguments sake, you have a $1 off. Bringing your total down to $9. You used your coupon so you must have gotten a good deal right? Eh...not so much.

Down the aisle a little way is All detergent. It is on sale for $3.99 and is offering a $1 off. Now you have moved your price down to $2.99

Even further down the aisle is Purex. On sale for $1.99. They put out coupons for $3/1 down to $1/1. Obviously if you had a $3 one that would be a money maker. If you had a $1 that would bring it down to .99! How is that Tide looking to you now?

Now lets say that you buy laundry soap every 2 weeks. 52 weeks in a year divided by 2 equals 26 weeks.

26 weeks x$9.00= about $234 a year for that laundry soap. And that is assuming that Tide would ever get that low in price and that you would always have a $1 off coupon.

26 weeks x 2.99 (for All)= about  $77 a year (which subtracting $234 from $77 would make it so that you are saving $157 a year on laundry soap)

26 weeks x.99= a grand total of $25.74 ( Tide's cost of $234- Purex's cost is $208.26) that is a big difference!! Purex's price minus the price of the All would be around $52

Now obviously this is oversimplified and completely made up. (: It just goes to show you that being brand loyal CAN cost you.

 If you have a product that you refuse to give up and won't try another one? Well my best advice would be to stock up a 3 month supply of that item, to get you through to the next sale.

Don't be afraid to try new things! You might find a product you like better than the one you are currently using. I would rather pay .25 or less for a tube of tooth paste than to pay 3.99 for a tube just because that is what I have always done!

It is all about matching a sale with a coupon, no matter what the brand!

What is that saying? "If you always do, what you have always done, you are going to get, what you've always got"!

********FYI: I chose laundry soap as an example. I am not getting any sort of benefit from any of these companies. You can do similar calculations with many,many products. ******

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

I hope we all can take a chance today to remember those who have served, and those who continue to serve today.

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Memorial Day!


Sorry I have absolutely no pictures that "match" this post. So you are stuck with a picture of my little stinker two year old (:

I get a lot of questions about buy one get one free offers. So while this post will be educational for some, it could possibly put others to sleep. But you know what, we can all use a refresher course right?

BTW:if you didn't know BOGO stands for buy one get one free. There are also offers that are B2GOF...or other variations.

There are two types of BOGO deals. One offered by a manufacturer and one by a store.

**If you have a BOGO coupon, it is what it is. For example, lets say you have a BOGO coupon for a bottle of orange juice. Using that you would pay full price for one and get the other for free. Let's say that the oj was $3.50. Your total would be $1.75 each. Or $3.50 for two.

**2nd Scenario: Your STORE is having a sale if you buy one box of crackers at regular price (say $2.50) and get one free. You can use 2 coupons on the crackers. Right now Vons has Ritz crackers on sale as a BOGO deal. (In my humble opinion, I believe they have marked the price up on the regular box but...maybe not) So one box is $4. Buying 2 would bring them down to $2 each. However, I can use coupons on those products. For example, I have $1/1 when you buy a box of Ritz Munchables. I will use 2 of these combined with the sale. So here is how it it would work...
Buy one box at $4.00.
Get one free
Use 2 coupons for $1/1 (basically $2 off)
So $4.00-2.00= 2.00 or $1 per box which is much better than $4.00 a box!!

*3rd Scenario: Lets say that the stars have aligned and your store is having a BOGO sale and you have a BOGO coupon. I will use my cracker example. So the store is offering a BOGO free on the crackers...
at this point, without coupons, basically you are paying $4 for that one box. This is a STORE promotion. Remember that for later. (: Now you have a coupon that is buy one box of crackers get one free.
This is what it would look like:
By using your store card, you buy one you get one free. By using your bogo coupon, that entitles you to another free box of crackers. So...
If you buy 2 boxes of crackers, 1 is FREE through the STORE promotion and 1 box is FREE through the MANUFACTURER. Presto chango...you just scored 2 boxes of free crackers.

For those of you who have cashiers who rumble and grumble over your coupons, run your store card LAST. Use all your coupons and then hand over your card. Some like to insist on it at the beginning but you have every right to say, "no thanks I want to run it at the end". Remember that they basically "work for you". You are the customer, if they aren't being nice or have a problem, ask for a manager. As long as you are keeping it legal...they can rumble and grumble all they want. And if you keep running into the same problem, with the same cashier, bring the stores coupon policy with you. They are on their website and if you can't find it, email them and get one!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Shock & Awe

While I began couponing lllllong before TLC's Extreme Couponing came on the air, I know a lot of people have been inspired after watching the show.

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I love to watch. It inspires me to work hard, grab those deals and feed my family on less. I like to see people workin' the deals. I like seeing their totals drop. However, there are a few things that I am not a fan of... lets use a bullet list shall we?

**Shock & Awe: every week you see totals go from hundreds down to pennies. So if you are not doing that well, you must be doing it wrong, right? WRONG. Not every trip is like that. And if you believe that, you are going to get bummed out by your savings and give up. Remember that this is a REALITY tv show. They are going for the "WOW" factor. Are you more likely to watch someone who gets 74 bottles of mustard for free...or one? Remember, shock and awe baby.

** While some have had it happen, and others haven't, many of the people featured...have had their stores "help" them get those totals. A couple of times you see people just grab armfuls or dump things in. Because the store gets publicity, they are not going to stop them. So they are willing to "over look" a few things. Some people have said out right that the store let them do something that they normally wouldn't. It all goes back to ratings!

** Once again, seeing as this is reality tv, people aren't shown in the best light. For example, TLC had another show where a woman was frequently featured yelling at her husband. (That show rhymes with Mon and Late plus bate) I cringe when I see the one lady yelling at her husband. I am sure it is humiliating to him. ):

**And last but not least, remember this is tv. They can show us what they want. They film for hours (days?) and then that person's segment is 12 minutes long. That is a LOT of editing!!

(My biggest fans!!)
Why am I talking about this? Well I have 3 gorgeous kiddos who want Mom to be featured on the show. They are so sweet and tell me, "you are as good as they are!!" or " you're an extreme couponer". In their eyes I already am royalty. So, they helped me clip, sort, and file. They looked in the ads to help me find what they wanted. They matched sales and coupons. When we got to the store, and filled our cart, they waited anxiously at the check out. As the total was working it's way down, my 9 yr old was very worried...when it went from $208 down to $108.

You could just see their faces fall. I tried to warn them, but I guess they have watched too many episodes with me. They were dissapointed and I felt bad. Connor had hoped it would get down low enough that he could pay with his pocket change. I tried to explain and convince them on the way home that they did a good job.

So, take it frome me...and my kids. You are not going to get every order down to pennies. Some you will and some you won't. But just keep doin' what you're doin' and you will do GREAT!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

budgets & my challenge

It's been six months.

Six lonely months :(

Six long months since my husband deployed to Afghanistan.

When a family member deploys, you get this wonderful little bonus in your check called "family seperation pay" and if you are lucky (?) you also get hazard duty pay. While I am not a fan of my husband being  in an area defined as "hazard duty" the bonus is nice.

So while I would rather have my husband than money...well it helps.

In about a month he will be returning home. I am so excited I could just cry...and believe me I have. But every time I talk to that cute Seabee of mine, he likes to remind me that that money won't be there anymore.

Now please don't get me wrong. It's not like we are going to be living off of $5 a month or something BUT it will be different.

And so the challenge begins...using coupons I can get a lot of things for free. I have a big stockpile. And so I really want to challenge myself. Really, really challenge.

I have a pretty good sized grocery budget. OK a big one. What can I say, I'm spoiled. Just don't tell my hubby I said that!!

Anyway....here it is....$60 a week. I was going to do $50 but most atm's only give 20's. I'm nothing if not practical. (:

So every Saturday I will be showing you what I got for the $60 AND what we ate and cooked etc. I will also let you know if I go over or under!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


helping Mom stack groceries at a young age!!

What can $100 get YOU?

My answer? A lot!!

"I'm just so excited about coupons!"

Coupons are seasonal.

Starting in January, you will see coupons for "diet" foods. Like Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisines. You know for all those resolutions you just made!

February will bring plenty of candy coupons & deals.

March is frozen food month. I STOCK UP big time on pizzas, frozen dinners, french fries...

April is once again a good month for candy!

May- Aug you are looking at good deals on hot dogs, buns, condiments, everything you need for those summer bbq's!

Sept- you are looking at deals on "back to school" foods...things to throw in lunch boxes!

Oct-Dec are the months where you can find great deals on baking items, things like gravy, boxed mashed potatoes...all those kinds of holiday meal items.

I know I am a dork but I have been RRRRRReally looking forward to the sales this week. When I got my ads yesterday, I was not dissapointed! I know I am going to be doing a lot of shopping this week.

Fire up those grills, summer is right around the corner!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Oh my!!

Wishing for a break from the madness!!

One of my sons favorite books is "Are You My Mother?" . For those of you who haven't read the book every night for the past few months...while the birds mother is out finding food, the baby bird is looking for his mother. After awhile he gets frusrated and says, " do I have a Mother? I know I did!!"

Well that has been my kids question this week! "Do we have a mother?"

For some reason the end of the school year brings tons of activities that leave me running around like a crazy lady. I knew it was going to be, but wasn't exactly prepared. We ate out almost every single night. No one got to bed on time, including me!! It has been exaughsting to say the least.

But now...things are slowing down. 3 activities are over for the summer, school is almost out and suddenly my schedule has cleared up. 1 activity on this weeks calender. Just one (:

I have a basket full of coupons that need to be filed, dinner in the crockpot, a menu plan prepared for the upcoming week. Ahhh

Look for more posts coming soon!

Friday, May 20, 2011

One more reason...

Couponers stockpile. And we have very good reasons for it...

1) Not having to go to the grocery store at 5pm with tired, hungry kids when we forget an item.

2) In case of a financial crisis ( job loss, injured...)

4) A natural disaster

5) So we don't have to pay full price for items. Ever.

These are all wonderful reasons to create a stockpile. However I have one more. This my friends is just one more reason....

Because of him!

(And might I just add, that of course that is my favorite cereal?!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

C is for...

Connor, the commissary, cocoa puffs, crackers and corn dogs.

What? Yep, you read it right.

Today I attended a baby shower for a friend of mine. I had planned to go to Sam's Club afterwards but decided instead to just go to the commissary on base.

Here are the facts:
1. I hadn't planned on going to the commissary so I had no coupons with me. Dumb move I know.

2. I really didn't need very much. I never do.

So right now it is the commissary case lot sale. And can I just tell you, the prices are...AWESOME (: Sometimes being in the military has it's privilages! So I see a case of Cocoa Puffs. Which just happen to be my son Ethan's favorite cereal. Well it was originally, a case of 12 boxes for $20. Doing very quick math, I was just going to pass it up. I can usually get cereal for .50-$1. But then...what do my eyes behold? A coupon for SIX dollars off the case. Boo to the yah! $14 for 12 boxes of cereal makes for one happy Ethan!

Mason also noticed "Liberty" goldfish, that were red, white and blue. The nice big box was $3.55! Yay, we can never have to many goldfish around here!

We were just about to leave when I made a quick run down the frozen food aisle. Connor has been begging me for corn dogs. When I was at Vons the other day, I noticed that a 16 ct box of corn dogs was over $6! Cough, cough choke. It did have a refund for $3 back when you buy the Yogi Bear movie but there was no way I was paying that kind of $$ for corndogs!

At the commissary they were a measley $3.00 and they had the same refund. Now I just need to find a really good price on the movie! My kids loved it so I am envisioning a family movie night with Yogi and corn dogs (:

Even though the commissary is not as close as my regular stores, I may have to venture down there more often...only this time with my binder!
This was his "no one can have my cocoa puffs!!" look

Monday, May 16, 2011

do you FLY?

(image borrowed from Flylady's official site)

Waaaay back when I lived in Norfolk, I was introduced to FlyLady. I had heard plenty of good and bad about the "program" but decided to give it a try for myself.

I have to say that I did fairly well. I was happy with my progress. Somewhere, sometime, I fell off of  the "bandwagon". I don' tknow why.

The fact is, I am not a good housekeeper (ok I can be, I am just lazy) and I am not very organized. It seriously is my dream...that and to get one of these bad boys. Look at the price and you will know why it is just a dream. (:

Anyway, I am going to start following Flylady's beginner babysteps. One thing a day and just keep building on it. I also downloaded a free e-book (it's no longer free, sorry) called 31 days to a clean home. So I am also going to be following that. I will let you know how it goes from time to time.

So do you FLY? How do you stay organized? Clean the house when you don't want too? Stay away from the computer when you should be doing something more constructive? Inquiring minds want to know...

Deep thoughts

It's Monday morning. My 4 older kids are off at school. My youngest is sitting at my feet playing "vroom, vrooms". It is quiet (relatively...) and I am thinking some deep rambling thoughts. So bear with me...

I used to belong to the YMCA and Weight Watchers while living in VA. Every January all of us "regulars" would complain about the lack of parking spots, more kids in the day care, lines, crowds...etc.

But around February things would go back to normal. There were a few who stil llingered but the big groups of people, slowly dissipated.

With the popularity of TLC's Extreme Couponing, I kind of feel like it is "January" in the couponing world. The economy has given everyone a wake up call, and people are doing what they can to save money. You see more people gardening, taking fewer vacations, not driving as much, re-using items, shopping yard sales and thrift stores....I could go on and on about the variety of changes.

However, there are some of us "regulars" who have always lived like this. I have been couponing for almost 12 years now. If it weren't for my black thumb, I would have a much better garden. Luckily Ben grows me tomatoes & cucumbers (:. I have always avoided school fundraisers, shopped yard sales, tried to combine trips to save gas, re use items that might otherwise get thrown out....

When the economy improves, you won't see as many news articles, tv shows, blogs about saving money. Some newbies will stay and some won't.

So I try not to get frustrated when I see shelf clearers, or I am limited to how many coupons I can use. I just hold on and wait until "March" when some go back to how they were.

DISCLAIMER: I don't want anyone to be in debt or to spend more on their groceries than needed. I want everyone to save money so that they can enjoy the benefits. I teach couponing classes to those who want to learn. If I can't get as many of something, because other people have got their first, than that is MY problem, not theirs. This is just to remind myself to keep on truckin'

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Menu Plan Monday (5/16)

This week is going to be BuSy. I know I say that a lot but it is very true.

So in an attempt to avoid to many mcDinners this week, we are going to be doing quick and easy meals. Here we go:

Breakfast- cinnamon swirl bread toast, bananas & yogurt
Dinner- mini meatloaves, potatoes, green beans and rolls

Breakfast: oatmeal, strawberries
Dinner: ham, brocoli and cheese casserole, leftover rolls

Breakfast: waffles, sausage
Dinner: cresant dogs or leftovers (this is one of my busiest days this week!)

Breakfast- cold cereal, muffins
Dinner: soup & sandwiches

Breakfast- kids choice
Dinner- we are going to be gone this night from 3-8 so this will probably be a McDinner

Breakfast-cinnamon rolls, fruit
Dinner: taco cups, rice and corn

To be honest, I am going to be really impressed if I get anything done this week. So wish me lots of luck. Something about the end of the school year brings a ton of activities, doesn't it?!

If you are interested in looking at tons of menu's and getting inspiration on starting your own menu plan, go here

Saturday, May 14, 2011


This past week, was teacher appreciation week. Every day we were given ideas of what we could do or bring into our childs teacher.

This also happened to be a CrAzY week for me, and the idea of getting 3 different teacher gifts together every day was just not going to happen.

I was at Target one morning. I am there a lot. However, our store is converting into a Super Target (: So because of all the construction going on, there is a ton of stuff on clearance. I *heart* clearance.

When I spotted these huge tote bags on clearance for $5 I knew they were a must have. (*Side note, I almost bought one of these when they were just 30% off. So glad I waited!!) I grabbed 3 for myself and happily went on my way. But then I had that nagging thought in my head..."you need to do something for teacher appreciation week". So I went back and grabbed 3 more!

Later, I filled each bag with different items out of my STOCKPILES!! Each bag had lotions, hand soap, paper towels, kleenex, hand sanitizer, a few school supplies, chocolates...All stuff that a teacher needs! I was going to throw in a bottle of Advil ( I mean who wouldn't have a headache after dealing with my kids all day?!) but in the end I didn't (:

When it comes to gifts, think out of the box and into your stockpiles! BTW: the teachers LOVED them (:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Let me off!!

Let me off this cRaZy ride!! Life has been so busy at my house you wouldn't believe it!!

This past week, just had me running around like a chicken with it's head cut off! My son's 10th birthday and his party, Mothers Day, Teacher Appreciation week, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, kids' testing, early morning band practices, appts, Lego League....Yeah. Doesn't that list make you want to cringe a little? Or a lot!! You know what the scary part is? This is not even all of it! Just makes me want to head back to my bed and go back to sleep!

The next few weeks are going to be busy for sure. What is it about the end of the school year, that every day has to be packed?!

I have a dry erase board on my fridge. Every day I write what we ate for dinner. Not what I PLANNED but what we ACTUALLY ate. (BTW: this is a really good way to start menu planning) Let me tell you, it was not an impressive list. *sigh*

Right now, when life is at it's craziest, I think it is more important to carve out that time for family dinners. Whether it is mac and cheese or beef wellington. (Why no, no we don't serve beef wellington in this house!)

Tonight our family is going to be sitting down for honey mustard chicken, rice, bisquits and strawberries.

For the rest of my weekly plan:
Tuesday: ham (cooked in the crock pot), jello salad, rolls,

Wednesday: beef enchiladas, corn bread,

Thursday: quick fix night because of Scouts, leftovers or pigs in a blanket & french fries, and fruit

Friday:pizza night

Saturday: spaghetti w/meatballs, french bread, salad

Sunday: soup & sandwiches

If you are interested in starting a menu plan or just want some more ideas, check out Org Junkie!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I have been in CA for almost a year now. Hard to believe, this year has just flown by!

When I got here, I spent a lot of time building up my stockpile. Alot. So much so that it annoyed my husband just a touch (:

My husband left on his deployment in November. To keep myself from going insane, I kept busy. And I mean busy.

I jumped at every deal and seriously spent a lot of time at the store.

Now...life is crazy and so I am looking at a way to simplify.

I love my 6th child, I mean my binder. But all of the clipping, sorting, and filing is a lot of work. And so because I am TIRED, I am going with a simpler method.

There are basically three methods of coupon clipping.
1.) an accordian file
2)the binder method
 and then there is the NO CLIP METHOD

Basically, you file your inserts by date and type. For example, SS 5/1 (Smart Source May 1st)

You don't cut them out. At least not until they are needed.

Another way to simplify, is by having someone else do the work for you! Coupon Mom, Money Saving Mom, Krazy Coupon Lady and The Grocery Game are all great sites that offer a list of good deals by store. So I will look at one of those sites, match up with coupons. Well, all of these sites put THE DATE & INSERT next to the coupon so you know where to find it.

So I go to one of those sites, match items and then CLIP JUST WHAT I NEED for each store. It makes it a lot faster and easier to get just what you want.

The downside with this is when , you go to the store and buy unplanned purchases, or come across an unadvertised sale. Now of course you can always go back for those items, but we don't always have the time.

I will never stop using coupons. EVER. But right now, I just need to go with a little simpler way of doing it. Of course I could change my mind tomorrow but...

Want to contact me?

Feel free to contact me at hecimommy@gmail.com