Saturday, March 1, 2014

Coupons Make MY World Go 'Round

Solo adventure time again for me on Thursday! It was a little less daunting because there was no need to stop by the mall and my grocery lists were shorter than last time. The lineup was Michaels and Stop & Shop because they're right next to each other and then Pathmark and Target because they're also right next to each other. I really like hitting the stores like that because I only have to park twice. Whether it's cold or hot out, I'd much rather walk to each store and then back to the car if I have to put anything in the trunk, so it helps save gas. I usually also plan out the order of the stores depending on what food I'm getting, but because of these freezing temperatures, I don't have to worry about refrigerated or frozen items getting too warm!

The first store was Michaels. Once I walked through the door, I saw this small display for Cricut items. I glanced briefly in the bin to see if there were any $19.99 cartridges worth getting, but even then, I feel that it's only worth getting a cartridge for $9.99 these days. I thought it was interesting to see Design Studio being sold for $59.99 when you can just download Cricut Craftroom for free as long as you have an internet connection.

I wanted to see how much their candle warmer was even though I had looked for it in the past. It was only $4.99 if I'm remembering correctly, but I don't need it at this exact time, so I waited on using my 50% coupon on it. I will get it eventually so that when the wicks on my candles extinguish the flame on their own OR I'm halfway done with my newer candles, I'll use the warmer. I've read that it makes the candles last even longer than burning them, which is comforting because the burn time on the newer Bath & Body Works candles has decreased. 

I continued to browse the store looking for the clearance aisle. It wasn't there anymore! I was a little taken aback because it's usually such a mess, and instead it was changed to scrapbook storage and organization. I did find another aisle farther back that was labeled for clearance, but there was nothing in there at this point. I wonder how they'll organize items in the future because it's usually difficult to look because things are hastily tossed onto piles. 

The aisle of the inexpensive goodies (these things used to always be just a dollar in the past) was fun to examine though because there was a whole section of Minnie Mouse goodies! When we have our own kiddies, I'm going to buy a few of these things for our road trips to Disney World. I'd like to encourage them to write down some memories while we're traveling. I'll also be buying these types of goodies to spoil our nieces and nephews just because I can, haha. Plus, those things will definitely be Disney-related so as to begin the indoctrination at a young age just in case my brother and Howard's sister don't do it themselves. No apologies will be made. 

They had a section of My Little Pony stuff. I immediately saw Rainbow Dash. For some odd reason, Howard designed his emblem on Battlefield 4 to be Rainbow Dash. I have a strange husband. If the socks were bigger, I would have gotten a pair as a gag gift and then worn them myself after the fact.

The last section I looked through was for Star Wars merchandise. Clearly, Howard's interest in Star Wars has gotten me to notice these things too. This Darth Vader notebook caught my eye, and the notebook itself was so well-made. Plus, I'm so drawn to journals that have the little elastic around them because hubs bought me my Secret Santa gift years ago at church that was a small journal with a band around it.

I didn't purchase any of the above things because they just weren't necessary, but I did pick up some Zig 2 way glue. They didn't have the smaller one with the chisel tip, so I actually purchased that chubby one for $7.49. Of course, I used the 50% off coupon because you just NEVER buy anything from Michaels or any other craft store without a coupon! I'm so happy that I can just get the coupon on the app on my phone too because I don't have to waste paper, and I always have them on me whenever I do end up at the store.

Stop & Shop was my next stop. I just popped the glue pen in my bag so I could walk over and spend less time in the cold. The main reason for going was to get Eggo waffles ($0.99), a 5-lb bag of potatoes ($0.99), and butter ($1.88) using the coupons in the circular with a $25 purchase. I also bought meat because we were running low. One of the guys in the meat department was restocking the ground beef, and he struck up a conversation with me about the freezing cold temperatures that night. He pointed out which package to get too because he said they make it on premises, so I appreciated that. I'll have to keep it in mind for the future. I'm guessing they package some S&S stuff off premises and then deliver it to each store because the one I had picked up was also their brand. I only used 3 manufacturer's coupons along with those 3 store coupons. It seems so strange that I only had a stack of 6, but I didn't buy that much and there are very rarely coupons to be used on meat and fresh veggies.

I drove over to the next area and went to Pathmark. I took a picture of the lactose free milk on the bottom shelf ($3.58) that we normally get so I can keep track of prices. Getting it from Target makes more sense now because even at $3.59, it ends up being $3.41 with Cartwheel. Even though $0.17 doesn't seem like much, it will add up! I usually buy two at a time because we don't do grocery shopping every week, so even if we only go through 24 cartons a year, we'd still save an extra $4.08. Why not, right?

The few things on my list weren't available. I was hoping they would have the Dawn Hand Renewal, Power Clean, Bleach Alternative, or Oxi because the $0.50 coupon would double to cover the full $0.98 price. Alas, they only had three other alternatives. I know that sometimes it's so tempting to just attempt to get it anyway, but that would be fraud. And even if the store doesn't catch you, GOD KNOWS! I know it sounds so silly, but that was a temptation I faced when I first started couponing. I never dealt with the temptation to drink, haha, but misusing coupons did cross my mind! God helps me stay on the straight and narrow. 

There are so many opportunities to get good deals. The only thing I ended up getting was shredded cheese because $1.50 or less is definitely a stock up price for me. It's so easy to just toss these bags in the freezer to help them last longer. Then I don't have to watch for prices in a while. I ended up getting 3 bags of sharp cheddar and 3 bags of Mexican blend. Although cheese can be fattening, I like that it's also a good source of calcium.

There were no baskets when I first walked in and none when I looked at self-checkout, but it ended up being okay since I only had to carry bags of cheese! I wonder what people thought I was doing with them all as I walked to the front with everything so close to overflowing from my arms.

Target was the next and final stop. I thought it was interesting to see that a 4-pack of these Scotch-Brite Greener Clean sponges was $4.99, but on one of the endcaps, there was a 9-pack on clearance for $4.88. Haha, sure, I'd love to pay $0.11 more and get 5 fewer sponges! It pays to check @targetclearance and #targetclearance on Instagram and then take your time looking for those red stickers and browsing the endcaps!

I Shopkicked for a bit in the store too because I'm starting to get the know the layout fairly well. I'm all for walking around a little more to eventually get free money! Before I went to check out, I had to go through my list to make sure I had all my Target printable coupons, the mobile coupon, and Cartwheel. I was thrilled when I paid though because 3 of my free item manufacturer's coupons autodeducted! Yay! The total was just $13.02, but I still had some money on a gift card, so I only paid $4.09 out of pocket for all of this! 

I picked up two half gallons of milk. We normally only drink 1%, but two of the three that were left seemed as if someone took them out and put them back in, so I just grabbed the one in the back and then a 2% as well. Looking at my receipt now, I see that there's actually a price difference of $0.30. I used the 5% Market Pantry milk Cartwheel on them. The bag of peas necessary for a random night of "I'm-too-tired-to-make-a-big-dinner-so-I'm-making-fried-rice" was just $0.22. They were $0.99 but there was a $0.75 Market Pantry frozen vegetables mobile coupon and a 5% Cartwheel as well. 

This was the rest of the haul that didn't need to go in the fridge/freezer right away so I set it up for a quick picture.

The bags of cotton balls were $0.97, but I only paid $0.42 after $0.50 printable coupons and 10% Cartwheel. The pasta was $1.59, but I only paid $0.45 per box because they were on sale for $1 and then there was a $1 off 2 Target printable and 5% Cartwheel. Clearly, I just love Cartwheel! I mean, you just choose your offers and only need one scan for all the products you picked. The Kotex was just $0.34 each after a $1.50 Target printable. My bathroom cabinet is stocked, but if you buy things when they're super cheap or get them when they're free, you save money in the long run!

As for the clearance items, I did get the pack of 9 sponges for $4.88, which is kind of awesome considering the amount I paid out of pocket was less than that. I also picked up the envelope opener so I can avoid potential paper cuts when I open the mail. It was on clearance for $0.94. The Up & Up 10% Cartwheel and then the $1 school supplies coupon I had meant that it was free with overage. 

The next section of the haul was with free item coupons from the manufacturers. This is why I absolutely love Freeflys and other coupons/freebies sites like FreeStuffFinder, FreebieShark, and CouponProBlog. I got a coupon to try Aquafina Splash. They were only $0.79 each at Target, so I decided to get two so we could have a special drink with dinner one night since we typically only have water. The coupon ended up autodeducting the full $1.49 so the extra one was only $0.09. The almonds were the GREATEST freebie! Blue Diamond had a promotion on their Facebook page during the Olympics. Whenever the US won in skiing or snowboarding, you could claim a coupon for a free can of almonds that would be sent to you. I don't know how both Howard and I got them the first time they came out. I guess most people didn't know about it at first because thereafter, the coupons were only available for like, a minute or two once they were released, so I always ended up missing the other ones. But we each got a can so it was fantastic! What was even better was that they were on sale for $3.12 and each coupon autodeducted $5.29.

The last part of my haul came from searching the women's clearance section. I found a long-sleeved white tee and a t-shirt for $3.88 and $2.70. The 15% off mobile coupon saved me a bit, but I also had a $3 off 2 women's apparel coupon, which also works on clearance, which means I only had to pay $2.99 for both. I see it as buying the white shirt (I wanted an extra because I wear them in the fall with a Disney t-shirt on top) that I wanted and getting the t-shirt for free. You know I love my v-necks, haha.

Ahh, another successful day of couponing! These hauls are so different than my CVS hauls because I am more focused on couponing for groceries. Those CVS hauls were so worth it at the time though because for the past few months, I no longer get the emailed coupons on Thursdays for $ off $$ or a percent off. I'm glad I was able to stock up on non-perishables when I did because now we just pull what we need from the closet. I haven't had to even think of shampoo or toothpaste or toilet paper in months! I'm glad I can focus on Target instead especially since right now it's the most difficult one to plan for what with manufacturer's coupons, Target printable coupons, Target mobile coupons, and Cartwheel. But in the end, if it means we get to save money just by spending time online planning out the deals instead of spending time online watching Netflix, it's just plain ol' worth it. 

Are YOU couponing yet???

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