Does Couponing Make You Fat?

As I pull on my pants each morning, lately the button seems a little harder to get closed. My tummy is a little more jiggly, and my boobs are bigger. I hate to step on the scale because I told DH and myself that I'm going to lose some weight as swimming season is here. But it hasn't been happening. I did step on the evil scale earlier this month and weighed about 12 pounds more than I want to be. According to my favorite weight log site, I'm about 15 lbs over the desired weight. Either way, I don't like it.
I usually have no trouble losing weight quickly and maintaining the loss, but this past year has been different. I'm a firm believer in the thought that you can't improve what you don't measure. So I log my weight into  (its free BTW) and I know that I used to weigh my goal weight last year in April 2009. I gained about 20 lbs by Christmas and then lost 15 after New Years, but now its creeping up again. My bike riding has been pretty consistent with about 380 miles ridden each quarter (I ride about 15 of 20 weekdays to work each month.) It did drop off during the winter when we were remodeling the bathrooms and kitchen so I could meet with the contractor each morning, and have the car to pick up supplies. I rode about 150 miles the 4QTR, and 200 miles the 1QTR of 2010. This lack of exercise probably contributed to my weight gain, since my body is pretty responsive to exercise.
However, now I am riding almost every day, and walking an hour a day, and still not losing weight. I eat the same breakfast and lunch I've had for years ( I know boring!) cereal with a banana, and a lettuce salad w/ chicken, plus a yogurt. So dinner is the change. And guess what we now eat for dinner? Yup, you guessed it - all that prepackaged, processed food that we get cheap with coupons. Frozen fish fillets, Curlys BBQ pulled pork, Zatarains Jambalaya with Premio sausage, Steamfresh meals, TGIF appetizers, Contessa frozen pasta meals, etc..
Since I've been couponing over a year now, I have it down to a point where I don't really even have a grocery budget, I spend less on food for the month than we spend on our cheap SERO cell phone bill. But, its taking a toll on my health and beauty. I'm trying not to buy the junk food, but when its free with coupons I can't resist. I tell myself I'll give it away, or serve it when we have company so that we don't eat it. But its just so darn convenient to open a package and have a quick meal.
So, the struggle continues. The evil scale vs the full freezer.

Twitter Hop Thursday

Welcome to Twitter Hop Thursday, hosted by Simply Stacie, The King's Court IV, Little Yaya's and Blessed, Review Retreat and Moms Wear Your Tees!

Would you like more Twitter followers and to be introduced to more cool people to follow? Come and join us!!

You'll have to click on one of the hosts because I'm at work and of course the Linky Tool is blocked here. I'll update tonight and follow you back!

Chobani and A Printable Coupon Tip

Save your Chobani yogurt coupons because they'll be on sale at Publix starting 5/27, if you have the coupons they'll be free.
Chobani Greek Yogurt $10/10
$1.00/1 - Chobani Greek Yogurt, Any Size – Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival Booklet (no longer found, they were on turnstiles a few weeks ago)
B2G1 - Chobani Greek Yogurt PRINT
Here's the tip - The manufacturer site prints e-centives coupons which allow 3 prints (This tip works with Target printables too!). A way to get around this is to switch users on your PC and it will allow you to print 3 more for each user. For Windows XP, Just go to control panel->useraccounts->create a new account->enter a name for the account->then make sure "computer administrator" is checked, and then click "create account". Log onto that account, go print more of the coupons you want. Log off that account back to your original.

Nazi Cashier

So last night we went for a nice motorycle ride to Publix to do a short coupon run. We went to the one in Cross Creek neighborhood in hopes that there would be some Shick Hyrdo Edge 3 razors, Nivea Body Wash, Fisher Fushion Snacks and some Sorrento Cheese Sticksters. You know, all the free, cheap or moneymakers. I was disappointed to see they were out of the usual razors and body wash, but was able to score some Fisher snacks and a few packs of cheese sticks. I had to pull out my reserve Purina Dog snack coupons and get a couple Tbonz (2/$4) snacks as a moneymaker to help pay for the bread and produce. We finally found enough stuff to bring the total over $25 so I could use my $5 off $25 competitor coupon too.
So we have a choice of 2 lines open, the express lane or the Nazi Katherine cashier. Guess who we had to go to? Yup. So, we're checking out and DH gets rid of the bagger so he can bag himself. He likes to use the excuse "I'm on a motorcycle and have to pack it so it fits". It works. Anyway, I'm watching the screen, its all cool and I hand over my Q's and first off she's saying the Save-A-Lot coupon is not a coupon, so I have to point out the bar code. duh. She sets it aside, even though she's verified my order exceeds the minimum needed. Then she gets to the end and has the two store PQ's for $2.50 off Purina snacks and she starts beeping her way back through my screen to look at the price. Then she says, "I can only give you $2 off since that's all you paid". She didn't realize I already used the MQ that stacks with it for $1.50/2, and I'm not about to point that out. I said "Publix gets reimbursed the full amount from the manufacturer so you need to credit me the full value of the coupon". She objected. I said get the manager. We wave one over. She explains her side to him. DH nudges my arm and tells me to cool off. Be nice.
So the manager is getting ready to tell me no, but one look at me and my determination, and he waves it off and tells the nazi to take the coupon. She objects and he tells her "Kathy, stop with the explanations, just take care of the customer". So she enters my coupons and my total is $3.43 which I pay with my free gift card. As she is printing my duplicate receipt for the cheese rebates, I told her she should lighten up, its not like the money is coming out of her pocket. She glared at me and told me to have a nice evening. I did. Saved a total of $43.86 (92%). That brought my savings over $1000 for the last 30 days and it cost me $0 since I've been using gift cards I get from overage.

Donate & Get a $10 Publix Gift Card

Finally a blood drive where I can get a Publix $10 gift card! This weekend 5/22, Monday 5/24 and next holiday Monday 5/31, Florida Blood Services has a promotion where you can donate at Manatee, Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas locations and get either a $10 Publix gift card (at Publix locations), or 10 free Hooters wings (at Hooters locations), or a free footlong sub (at Subway locations).
If you are able and willing, please give the gift of blood.

Twitter Blog Hop

Welcome to Twitter Hop Thursday, hosted by Simply Stacie, The King's Court IV, Little Yaya's and Blessed, Review Retreat and Moms Wear Your Tees! Would you like more Twitter followers and be introduced to more neat blogs and businesses out there?

1. Add your Twitter to the MckLinky (you only have to add it to one and it will appear on all).
2. Click on the Twitter hostesses and follow each of them on Twitter. We will follow you back.
3. Follow as many people on Twitter as you like, but make sure to leave comments with links so they'll know where to follow you!

Spread the word and add this McLinky to your blog! Write your own post or copy and paste this one. Below the MckLinky box, you'll see "Want to be a part of this Blog Hop? Click here for instructions and code...." Have fun Twitter-Hopping along!

The Best Way To Manage Your Money

One of the most helpful tools I've found to track my spending is MINT.  Mint is a free online service that allows you to link up your credit cards, banks, investments and input assets to determine your net worth. It is read only and in the last year I've used it, I've never had any issues.
I love that I can log into ONE account to see an update of my expenditures and I can categorize and analyze them. For example, yesterday I realized that we're on track to spend $1643 this year on beer (we have a kegerator). That's more than we'll spend on groceries, which is on track to be about $1100 for the year. I also can see how much I make from rebates and secret shops by categorizing the payment checks.
So if you don't already use a budget tracker, I would highly recommend MINT.COM. You can sign up by clicking the banner or the link. Its free too.

Frugal Printer Toner Tip

Last night I was printing a few coupons and my low toner pop up came up on my PC. Its the first time I've seen that since I purchased my new Brother MFC7840 wireless laser printer around Valentines day. So I guess I'm close to the 2600 page limit of a toner cartridge. But who plans on replacing toner cartridges? I guess I usually do and have a spare for my other printer, a Samsung ML2010 that works just fine too - but its not wireless. Anyway, I need to start shopping around for a good deal on the toner, and see if I can get a coupon for one. The cartridge on Amazon is about $23 to $45 so I'll keep that in mind. I do have gift certificates I've earned from Swagbucks to cover the cost, so unless I get a really good deal somewhere else, that's where I'll buy.
But here's the frugal tip, actually two tips to make my toner last a little while longer while I shop and wait for a deal.
First, just remove the cartridge from the printer and shake it gently back and forth, side to side to spread the remaining powder ink around the chamber and redistribute it to areas where it can be used. This should give me at least 50 more copies.
The other tip is to fool the toner into thinking its not empty yet. The Toner Life LED light flips on and then the computer gets a pop up too, requesting you to replace the cartridge, even when there's still toner left in the cartridge. The machine detects end of life by shining a light through from one side to the other.

To circumvent the detection mechanism, remove the cartridge and put a piece of masking tape over the clear opening/circle on the right side of the toner cartridge, and then pop the cartridge back in. Eventually, you'll start seeing streaks, and then you'll know that the cartridge is truly empty.

P.S. So I checked my printer page counter and it says I've only printed 540, and I also discovered the first toner cartridge is a starter kit so it is only intended to print 1000 sheets. So, its telling me I'm running low when it should only be 1/2 out. Watch for an update to see when it actually does run out and what my count is. BTW, I covered the sightglass with masking tape so it circumvents the detection - I'll be able to tell by light printing and streaks in the printing when it really is running out.

Opportunities For You

  • The Tampa Bay Rays got 10 strikeouts last night so you have 24 hours to go HERE to print out your FREE 10" PIZZA certificate, and then you have a couple more days until 5/20/10 to bring it to your local KANES furniture store to get your Papa Johns coupon from the customer service desk. The coupon expires 6/30/10. You don't have to attend the baseball game or have any sort of id or ticket to do this. You can do it every home game where the Rays get 10 strikeouts.
  • I have some free Shutterfly 8x8 photobook codes ($29 value), and free codes for a set of 12 5x7 greeting card codes remaining from my houseparty last weekend. If you want them, just make a photobook on shutterfly, and "share" it with me at frugalapolis at gmail dot com and I'll email you the codes. Then if you go HERE and enter 5 email addresses of your "friends" they will send you a code for free shipping, and send your friends a code for a free 7x9 soft cover photobook.

Publix Sneak Peek May 20-26

Ruffles Potato Chips, Assorted Varieties, 9-10 oz bag, Excluding Baked! Light & Natural, $3.99

Nathans Beef Franks, Original, Bigger Than The Bun, Dinner, Natural Casing or With Real Cheddar Cheese, 12 or 16 oz Package, $4.99

Oscar Meyer Beef Bologna, Regular, Light or Thick Cut, 16 oz Package, $3.99

Grape Tomatoes, 1 pt Package, $2.99

Fresh Express Salad Blend, Assorted Varieties, 4.5 - 12 oz bag, Surprisingly Low Price

Seattle's Best Coffee, Assorted Varieties 12 oz bag, Excludes Seattle's Best Organix Coffee, $6.99

Ken's Steak House Dressing, or Lite Accents, Assorted Varieties, 7 or 16 oz bottle, Excludes 8 oz Salad Dressing, $3.29

Sweet Baby Rib's Barbecue Sauce, Assorted Varieties, 18 oz Bottle, $2.35

Chatham Village Croƻtons, Assorted Varieties, 5 oz Bag, $1.49

A.I. Steak Sauce, Assorted Varieties, 10 oz Bottle, $4.24

Pure Wesson Oil, 100% Natural, Vegetable or Canola or Corn or Best Blend, 48 oz Bottle, $3.79

Idahoan Mashed Potatoes, Assorted Varieties, 4 or 4.1 oz Pouch, $1.25

Knorr Sides, Assorted Varieties, 12 to 13.25 oz package, $1.49

Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Pasta, Assorted Varieties, 12 or 13.25 oz package, $1.79

Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie Mix, Assorted Varieties, 19.8 to 22.5 oz box or Dessert Bar Mix, 19.5 oz box, $2.69

Kellogg's Cereal, Assorted Varieties, Frosted Flakes, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops or Fruit Loops, 17 to 17.5 oz box or Frosted Mini Wheats, 21.5 to 24 oz box, $3.99

Mott's 100% Apple Juice, or Mott's for Tots, Plus Kids Health, Plus Light, or 100% Juice Medleys, Assorted Varieties From Concentrate, 46 or 64 oz bottle, $2.99

Crystal Light Drink Mix, Or Iced Tea or Green Tea Mix, Assorted Varieties, 10 or 12 qt Cannister, $3.99

Ocean Spray Juice Cocktail, or Cranergy, Juice Drinks, or 100% Juice Blends, Assorted Varieties, 4 or 6 pack. 10 or 12 oz bottle, $3.99

Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn, Assorted Varieties, 4.8 to 13 oz box, $2.75

Keeblet Town House Crackers, Assorted Varieties, 7.7 to 16 oz box, $3.99

Keebler Sandies Shortbread Cookies, Assorted Varieties, 9.5 to 16 oz bag, $3.95

Emerald Honey Roasted Peanuts, or Dry Roasted, Regular or Lightly Salted With Sea Salt, 16 oz Jar, $3.19

General Mills Chex Mix Snack Mix, Traditional or Cheddar, 15 oz bag, $3.39

Kit Kat Snack Size Treats, or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Peter Paul Almond Joy, or Hershey's Milk Chocolate or Cookies n Creme, Jumbo bag, 17.1 to 20.1 bag, $5.99

Nabisco Chips Ahoy! Cookies, Assorted Varieties, 9.5 to 15.25 oz package, $3.25

Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers Vegetables, Assorted Varieties, 12 oz bag, $2.39

Dove Ice Cream, Assorted Varieties, 15.1 oz box, $3.29

Jose Ole Taquitos, or Tacos, Assorted Varieties, 20 or 22.5 oz Box, $4.99

Klondike or Slim A Bear Ice Cream Treats, Assorted Varieties, 16 to 27 oz Box, $3.59

Kozy Shack Pudding, Rice, Original, European Style or Cinnamon Raisin, or Tapioca or Chocolate, 22 oz tub, $2.99

Right Guard Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant, Total Defense, Assorted Varieties, 2 to 4 oz package (.55 Instant Coupon on Select Packaging) $3.99

Purina One Adult Dog Food, Lamb & Rice or Chicken & Rice Formula, 4 lb Bag, $6.99

Wisk 2X Ultra Laundry Detergent, Assorted Varieties, 2X Concentrated, 100 oz bottle, $9.99

Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, Assorted Varieties, 56 or 80 count canister, $5.49

Spray 'n Wash Laundry Stain Remover, With Resolve Power, Regular or Max, 12 or 22oz Bottle, $2.99

Dixie Plates or Bowls, Assorted Varieties, 20-48 Count Package, $2.99

Hefty OneZip Bags, Storage or Freezer, Quart or Gallon Size, 13 to 22 Count Package or Fresh Extend Fruit & Veggie, 12 Count Package, $2.29
Post credit, thanks to Slickdeals