Monday, December 30, 2013

Let FREEdom Ring

 I've been a member of Shop Your Way rewards through Kmart - and Sears, although I forget Sears is part of it most of them time - for a few years. But I shop(ped) at Kmart so rarely, I didn't pay much attention to the ads and emails.

Until I realized they were giving me Free "Surprise" Money, and I was just basically throwing it away, letting it expire. After I realized that, I started paying a lot closer attention.
It's easy to go online and place an order, then pick the stuff up when I'm out and about next time.

Anyway, this week I got a "Surprise" 10,000 points, which is the equivalent of $10.00, to be spent at Sears.
(Some of the "Surprise" money has stipulations like 4,000 surprise points off $20 worth of clothing or some such.)
This one, though, the only stipulation was it was to be spent at Sears.

I could have went online and ordered something and picked it up later, but I needed to go up there anyway, so I just went by Sears while I was in town.

Didn't know what I was going to buy, looked around a bit, then came across these boots.
On sale for $9.99.
Are you kidding me?? Boot love.
FREE boot love, even better.
Didn't even have to pay tax. Walked out with an absolutely 100% FREE pair of brand new boots.

Lowe's sent a coupon in the mail for a free 8oz. sample jar of Valspar paint. It's actually larger than it looks.
I got this lovely - blue'ish color...can't remember the exact name of it - with visions of Pinterest Pallet wood projects dancing in my head.

Sam's Club sent a coupon to get a Free $5.00 Gift Card.
I could have gotten some marked down Christmas doo-dads, or a box of cookies or something for Free, but I decided to put it towards something we use the heck out of and I buy a lot of - Sugar.
25 pound bags of sugar cost $10.19 at Sam's (that's like 40¢ a pound, like $2.00 a 5lb bag, cheaper than Walmarts).
After $5.00 Gift Card, I paid $5.19 + 20¢ tax (like 22¢ pound)

We are Sam's Club members only because of a fantastic Groupon deal last March (which was offered again around Thanksgiving) where (if I remember rightly) we paid the $45.00 membership, but then got a $20.00 or $25.00 Gift Card back, plus like $15.00 worth of Free Food coupons - cookies, pizza, rotisserie chicken, can't remember what else.
Anyway it was like $5.00 membership after the Gift Card and Free Food, but they've sent a couple of coupons for a free $5.00 Gift Card so our membership has been better than free.


My CVS totals are kinda skewed this week because I still had some ECBs from back at Black Friday that I had to spend. In fact, they had expired 3 days ago.
Most of my stores will take expired ECBs within the week, but sometimes you run into the odd cashier or manager that is in a bad mood, is just plain hateful, or is absolutely positive that expired means expired.
I should have went last week, for more reasons than just my ECBs expiring. As they say, you snooze you lose, and I lost out on a lot of great Clearance deals.

Even though $50.00 of the ECBs I had was FREE money (Get $50 ECB when you put $150 on Paypal/My Vanilla debit card deal), I still don't like just wasting it paying full price for things, or buying junk.
I like to get more for my money, even if it's Free money.

The items in the picture below were all Clearanced items, and I had coupons for most of them, making them even cheaper.

The Just The Basics hair Conditioner was on clearance for 62¢ each. I didn't have any coupons but that was too good of a price to pass up huge bottles of conditioner.

Also, the Allegra allergy tablets were on sale 50% off, so the box of 12 tablets was $5.74. I had read, though, that someone had found them at their store for 75% off, so I just bought one box today and will check back later to see if they get any cheaper. I hope so, these are the only allergy pills I can take that don't knock me out.

The LA Looks hair gel is clearanced at 99¢, and I had 75¢ coupons from the 10-27 SS and IP, making them 24¢ each.

Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer Radiance clearance price $1.24 and I used a $1.50 IP.

Several of the Clairol hair colors are on clearance as low as $2.62. I found a Dark Auburn color for my Ma and used a $2.00 coupon from the 11-24 RP. I believe there's new (even better) coupons in the 12-29 PG (which I didn't get, boo).

The Neutrogena Wave Sonic...I think it's a face cleaner, I'm not real sure, but the others on the message boards said it was a great deal, and I'm a sucker for a great deal, haha.
The Wave Sonic was clearance priced $4.69, and I had $3.00 IP, and the Wave Refills were clearance priced $1.87 and I had $2.00 IP.
All total I paid $1.56 for the Wave and 30 refill pads.

Some of the Aveeno shampoo was on clearance, but I only found 3 bottles out of 4 stores. The Nourish + Volumize was $1.94, and the Dry Shampoo $2.24 each.  I had (2) coupons for $1.00/1 (11-03 SS), and some coupons for $2/2 (11-03 SS), but since I couldn't find 2 at the same time, I couldn't use those, and I ended up buying one of shampoos not using a coupon at all.
All together I paid $4.42.
Despite being clearance items, they counted towards the Buy 3, get $10 ECB deal this week, so after I bought the 3rd one, I got an ECB for $10.00, which makes this deal a $5.58 money maker.

With  the money maker, all the items pictured above end up costing me $5.34 total.

Regular deals:

This week you get $3.00 ECB for buying Colgate multipack toothpaste or toothbrushes. The 4 pack travel size packs count towards this deal. They were $3.29 at my store (prices vary) so after ECB they only cost 29¢ each.

I looked in my medicene cabinet the other day for a bottle of Robitussin cough syrup (my son has/had a terrible chest cold and cough this week) but it wasn't there. I thought I had some, so I don't know what happened to it.
Oh well, luckily CVS had a sale on it this week.
$4.95, minus $1.00 (12-08 RP or IP)
Pay $7.90 (for 2) and get $3.00 ECB back wyb 2
Makes them $2.45 each

Advil Congestion is the same deal: $4.95 each, get $3.00 wyb 2
- $2.00 IP
Pay $5.90 (for 2) get back $3.00 ECB wyb 2
Makes them $1.45 each

This is a spend $20, get $5 ECB or spend $30, get $10 ECB deal.
(2) Tide $5.94 each - $3/2 (12-01 or 12-29 PG)
(1) Charmin 20 ct. $9.99 - 25¢ (12-01 or 12-29 PG)
(1) Bounty 12 ct. $9.99 - 25¢ (12-01 or 12-29 PG)
(2) Dawn 99¢ each - 50¢ IP
Pay $29.34, get $10.00 ECB
Total cost $19.34 for all

When I scanned my CVS card at the Red Coupon/Price Checker machine, I got a CVS coupon for $3 off $10 (toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash...can't remember the exact wording).
There is also a deal this week where you get $5.00 ECB why $10.00 worth of Listerine, Reach, and/or Rembrandt items.
Listerine at my store was $5.49 each
- $2.00 off Listerine IP
- 3.00 CVS coupon
Pay $3.98, get $5.00 ECB
Makes it Free plus $1.02 money maker.

I also got a $4.00 off $10.00 (razor, shaving cream...I forget the wording) CVS coupon from the red machine.
The deal this week is, buy a Gillette Razor, get $2.00 ECB
There are many different male and female razors, and coupons available to go with them.
I had a $3.00 off Gillette Fusion Proglide from the 12-15 RP. Looks like there's also the same coupon in the 12-29 PG, and one for Venus in the 12-15 RP.
The cheapest Fusion Proglide at my store was $9.99
- $3.00 (12-15 RP)
- $4.00 CVS coupon
Pay $2.99, get $2.00 ECB
Makes it 99¢

A $1.00 off the Extra laundry detergent is printing from the red machine this week. These detergents are $2.49, or $1.49 after CVS coupon.

I had a Raincheck for this deal from some time back...I'm not too good about using rainchecks, I usually forget about them, but happened to see this one in my CVS coupon envelope.
The Raincheck price was $5.99 each, get $3.00 ECB wyb 2.
- $1.00 tearpad coupons x 2
Pay $9.98, get $3.00 ECB
Makes it $6.98, or 29¢ per cup of coffee.

Then there was this. I didn't really need a Lunch Crock pot, but others on the message boards said it was a great deal, and we already know what a sucker I am like that. Le sigh.
Anyway it was $4.99, regular $19.99.

The Christmas Trivia cards were 75¢, I needed to spend 60¢ on something to be able to use (not lose) my ECBs. I'll stick this in someone's stocking next year.

So all the regular deals, raincheck, and the Crock pot and trivia cards come to a final cost of $43.39.

Added to the Clearance item cost of $5.34, the Grand Total cost of everything I bought today is $48.73.

But since I earned $50.00 Free ECBs for doing the debit card deal back at Thanksgiving, this was all actually FREEEEEEE.

Friday, December 13, 2013


The best way to be able to make the most of your money is by "rolling" your drug store Rewards from week to week.

But sometimes you end up in a situation where it's "use or lose" your Rewards. Since Rewards = Money, you don't want to just throw your money in the trashcan, so it's best to spend them on something, anything, but the best thing to do is spend it on items you would otherwise be buying anyway. For instance, toilet paper. When all else fails, I buy toilet paper.

As usual, when looking at the weekly ad, I first look for anything that is going to earn me back more than I spend, no matter what the item is, if I need it or not.

In this case, it was Breathe Right strips. They are on sale for $3.99, get $3.00 ECB (Extra Care Bucks) back.
There was a tearpad of $1.00 off coupons hanging all around this item, which would make them free after ECB, but I had a $1.50 coupon from the 10/13 RP (Red Plum) newspaper insert, so I paid $2.49 and got back $3.00, earning 51¢. (That might not seem like much, but little bits do add up in this game.)

I had a total of $59.93 ECBs to spend.
$9.93 of that was actual cash that I had spent during the Black Friday Freebies day, so I wanted to see if I could at least get that back.

The Breathe Right Strips earned $3.00 back, and also Hershey's Miniatures, and (3) General Mills cereals. So I did earn $9.00 in ECB's back when I was done.

The Hershey's Miniatures are on sale 2/$6.00, with $3.00 back, so that's already down to $1.50 a bag, great price if you're buying candy anyway.
I had IP (internet printable) coupons for $1.10/2, but there was also a Blinkie coupon box with $1.00/2 coupons hanging right there, which made them $1.00 each.
So sad for limit of 1, I would have stocked my freezer with a year's worth of Reese's miniatures. We love those things!

Select General Mills cereals are 3/$9, get $3.00 ECBs, making them $2.00 a box. Meh. I also had IP and newspaper insert coupons for $1/2 and 50¢ off 1 box of Honey Nut Cheerios, which brought them down to $1.50 a box.  These go for over $3.00 to $4.00 each regularly, even at the grocery stores.

The other $50.00 was the free $50.00 ECB for buying a $150.00 Paypal gift card (except by the time I got there they were substituting Paypal with MyVanilla Visa cards).
I paid $4.95 for the MyVanilla activation, and it costs 50¢ per transaction (but I only make 1 transaction, turning $149.50 over onto Walmart and other gift cards) so basically I earned $44.55 free and clear from this deal.

But I didn't want to just blow it all willy-nilly just because it was "free" money, so I looked for sales on other items that I would be buying anyway. Spending this "free" money on items I would be buying anyway saves me from having to spend other money on the things.

Kellogg's cereals are on sale for $1.99, and I had $1/2 coupons, making the large box of Corn Flakes $1.49 each.

Kotex items are on sale Buy 1 Get 1 50% off, so I bought a box for $6.99, got the other for $3.49.

CVS Batteries are on sale Buy 1 Get 1 Free. While I have a ton of AA and AAA batteries (and if I'm not mistaken, Staples and/or Office Depot may be in the process of doing the Christmas time free battery promotion right now. I have so many of those batteries already, I just haven't paid attention), we needed "C" and "D" batteries.
(I bought both, hubby took the "C"s to work with him.)

The small little bag of Lindt truffles are 74¢. There's only 3 in the package, and maybe not the best deal ever, but hubby likes them, doesn't need them, and they'll make a good stocking stuffer.

Dorito chips are 2/$5.00. Still a bit steep for my liking, but I bought these as a treat for the boys because they love them.

Total before coupons/ECBS = $66.44
Total after coupons/ECBS = 41¢ + 82¢ tax = $2.23 (which I paid with an old CVS gift card I have been carry around for.ever and wasn't even sure it had any money on it)

The Math:
$66.44 - $44.55 free money/ECBs - $9.00 ECBs I earned back = $12.89 these items actually cost me.


I've gotten so sorry about blogging even when I do make it shopping, I don't remember what I've been buying at Walgreens the past few times I went.

All I really recall is that I had $21.00 in RRs (Register Rewards) before Black Friday, and $24.00 in RR's after Black Friday.

I didn't go again after Black Friday, and my RRs were set to expire yesterday, 12/12 so it really was a "use it or lose it" situation. (My local) Wags are unforgiving. (Unlike my sister's Wags in Florida, who are nice, and cool, and helpful and friendly.)

Unfortunately I couldn't find anything to "roll" my RR's this week, and anyway with the Holidays and all I'm afraid I'll get busy or out of town and forget and end up letting my RRs expire, so I decided to go on ahead and cash out.
Hopefully I'll pick back up after the first of the year. Or I may be concentrating more on keeping my tail out of stores altogether after all the Christmas spending.

Walgreens has General Mills cereals on sale for $1.88 this week - not a bad price in of itself - I had $1/2 coupons, making them $1.38 each.

Angelsoft and Quilted Northern are on sale for $3.99/9 rolls, minus a 50¢ coupon in the Walgreens December booklet. The picture shows Angelsoft, but the print includes Quilted Northern also.
I had 45¢ off newspaper insert coupons, so these were $3.04 each after coupons.

*Not pictured, I forgot I also bought 2 boxes of Bisquick on sale this week 2/$3.00, and used 60¢ off IP coupons on each, making them 90¢ each. They are smaller boxes, but still worth less than a dollar.

Otherwise I bought several on sale candy items for stocking stuffers. I'm going to be buying them anyway, might as well buy them on sale, using money I need to spend anyhow.

Total before coupons/RRs = $26.34
Total after coupons/RRs = 48¢ + 1.23 = $1.71 cash

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Darth Tater at Amazon

Oh my goodness, how cute is this! And only $5.50 (at the time of this posting) I had to order a couple for my Star Wars fans for Christmas!

Playskool Mr. Potato Head Star Wars: Darth Tater Toy