Men Can Coupon Too

I'm still up North being caregiver for a family member. The weather up here in MN is brutal, can't say I'd recommend it. I'm trying to be tough and have managed an hour of outdoor walking everyday for my exercise. I miss riding my bicycle and my hot tub, even though I hear the weather is warm and dry in Florida.
I've been shopping up here and I have to tell you people in Florida, we are very lucky with Publix and the generous coupon policy allowing a manufacturer coupon on the free item of a BOGO, plus the use of competitor coupons, and no minimum amount required to use coupons. I did a big shop at Rainbow here in MN and they have double coupons of up to 5 coupons if you spend at least $25, and you can stack with their store coupon and use expired coupons up to 30 days. I had a handful of coupons and it still didn't do much to help savings. We spent $118, and saved $60 (40 was store sales, 20 in coupons) for a 33% savings. With low savings like that it is going to be hard or impossible to convince my family up here to coupon.
Oh well, Publix is still great. Even DH can save money. He has done four shops with my input over Skype, and saved $342, spent $25.62 for a 93% savings this week.

 Saved $176.07, Spent $17.00 
 Saved $63.12, Spent $1.37
 Saved $53.58, Spent $6.55
Saved $49.99, spent $0.70
(There is a great deal on Duracell batteries this week using the Publix $1.50/1 coupon in the All the trimmings booklet + $3/2 MQ from 11-24RP. )

My Moneymaker Publix Trip - They Paid Me and I Saved $130!

Made $8, Saved $129 (107%)

Finally a nice Publix trip that turned out better than I expected. I thought for sure all the Beneful treats would be gone but there were 5 of each left and I have to admit I took 4 of each. I was planning on holding out for the Beneful coupon that will be in the 11/17 SS insert, but I'm glad I didn't because the Tampa inserts that came in the free Spanish newspaper this morning had a $2 off dog food coupon instead of the BOGO dog treat coupon I was expecting to get. This would have made a good moneymaker deal into a great moneymaker deal with both a MQ BOGO and a PQ BOGO coupon on top of a BOGO sale. Whew, that's a lot of sales to stack and figure.

I happened to ask at Customer Service if they had the new All the Trimmings booklets and they had hundreds of them behind the counter. They don't plan to put them out, everyone must ask and they are giving out 4 per person at this store. Another note about this trip that makes it great is this store takes MQ's up to 30 days expired. This made a deal on the McCormick spices with the new PQ in the All the Trimmings book, black pepper was even a moneymaker. It also made the Oberto Beef Jerky free with the BOGO MQ printable that expired for me in October. I always keep my coupons up to 30 days past expiration and check the coupon databases using the expired filter so I can take advantage of this.

I did split my order into two transactions to be able to use two of the $5 off $30 Winn Dixie coupons. I wish Publix would allow the use multiples in one order because splitting is a pain. But I just don't even try to calculate the separate orders now, I just cut it off at $30 and if there's overage they can pay me. Then I just use what I got paid to pay for the next transaction if I have to. Last night I got paid on both transactions so that was nice, $5 of it was just from splitting the orders and being able to use another WD coupon. For my combined shopping experience they paid me $8, and I saved $129.83 for a 107% savings rate.

Tomorrow, I'm having to travel to MN to be a caregiver for a family member for a month and I'll be trying to coordinate some semblance of couponing for DH while I'm gone. He always shops with me and should be able to do this fairly well, but he's of course nervous that he can't do it. If he does any good shops I'll post them. I also am taking this opportunity to train my family to coupon in MN. I started them a newspaper subscription and have started following Pocket Your Dollars for the matchups there. Hopefully, I can help them lower their shopping costs even though they have me as an extra mouth to feed and take care of. And of course they use a whole bunch of other products that I would not normally buy here, but I know they use regularly. Maybe I'll post a shopping trip from up there to show everyone in Florida how lucky we are with Publix and the great coupon policy they have.

My Publix Trip 11/07/13

my publix trip
This week's Publix trip was spendy, due to the case of beer DH wanted. I usually make him pay cash, but I burned through a gift card instead. I used my Fresh Express raincheck on the last day so I could use my expired Safeway coupons, plus we got all the other salad fixins. I also picked up 10 of the cookie mixes that are BOGO, I hope they are good.

Again, there was not enough product to do the Dove styler deal, so I've missed that this month. It seems like every Purple and Green flyer, there is never enough product to even get the deals. I think it might be time to call Corporate and ask them to give out rainchecks for the flyer deals with coupons when they are consistently out of stock for the entire ad period.

So this shop I spent $18.44 (on beer), and saved $64.57 (77% savings).

#BuschGardens November Passholder Freebie

This month of November, Busch Gardens Tampa is offering FREE COFFEE to season passholders available at any cafeterias, except Sultans Sweets. Just show your pass to the cashier to redeem this deal, one per day per passholder. 

Frugal Fire Building For Backyard Fires

How to build a fire for your backyard enjoyment
As I'm catching up reading my RSS feeds on Netvibes, DH is out splitting some Oak for our fire wood pile. A cold front moved through yesterday bringing temps down near sixty, which is a nice temp for a fire. Having a fire pit, chiminea or fireplace is a great, frugal way to enjoy some time with friends, or enjoy time outside when its nice. Anyone can safely have a fire in your backyard if you follow some simple procedures.

1. Location
Select a place for your fire that is safely distant from overhanging trees, at least ten feet away from your home or any other building, and away from electric, cable or telephone lines overhead.

2. Prepare Your Site
If you are building a fire in a fire pit or chiminea, be sure the bed of the container is dry. If you have wet ashes on the bottom they will heat up and steam and make any fire smokey. If you have dry ashes, leave them in the bed to help your fire stabilize and burn more clean.

3. Gather Materials
We always build our fire in layers, and in a Teepee shape. Gather newspaper, dry leaves, dry tinder and sticks, small wood logs and then larger firewood. If you plan to have a fire for four or more hours, you'll need at least a dozen pieces of firewood. If you have fires regularly, you'll want to keep a container of dry leaves, a container of dry sticks, twigs and branches, and a container of small wood splits. Your firewood should be moved out of the elements several days prior to burning so you are sure it is completely dry.

4. Build Your Fire
We always build TeePee shape fires with plenty of air space between the layers and the wood. Air is important to help the flames reach higher for more wood to burn. It's a good way to use up those extra Sunday newspapers as a bed to start your fire, and then scavenge around the yard for some dry leaves, tinder sticks and small branches for a layer that will start easily beneath your larger logs.

5. Feed Your Fire
Your fire will burn best if you leave it alone. Light the paper on the bottom from a few different areas and let it reach up to burn the next layer above it. It will be smoky at first, but within 5 minutes or when the newspaper is burned up, you should have a smoke free fire if your materials were sufficiently dry. If your fire goes out right away, get something stiff like cardboard and "fan" the fire to get the embers to relight. If that doesn't work, get some more dry tinder and just put a couple on a time. Your teepee will collapse as it burns, so you can gently add another log to perpendicular to the layer of logs currently burning. Your criss cross pattern will help the air flow through the fire and keep it burning.

6. When Your Fire Is Over
When its about an hour before you want to end your fire, start winding down on the size of the wood you are adding. We usually wind down our fires by putting on only bark scraps (from splitting wood) on the fire. Bark will be smokey, but burns quickly and gives flames and heat. If you have a nice bed of embers you can easily burn bark. You may even want to strip your firewood  before you burn it so you can save the bark for the end of the fire. If you have a reliable fire pit, you do not need to douse your finished fire with water. Just let it burn out naturally. If you have a screen cover, you should cover it at the end of the evening.

7. Safety
Don't use any combustible fluids like lighter fluid or gasoline to fuel your fire, that is extremely dangerous. Don't play with the fire by poking sticks around too much or letting children play with the fire. Be aware of where your nearest water source is, and have a bucket or container located so you could stop any wayward flames. Do not leave your fire unattended or out of your sight.


My Publix Trip - Real Life Eating

Publix Shop 103113
Publix Shop Spent $12, Saved $92
I was disappointed to find there were no Dove Stylers because of the stacking MQ + PQ deal, but I'm not surprised. I don't really expect to find any throughout the sale which ends on the 8th of November. I did bring along my expired coupons because this store accepts manufacture coupons up to 30 days expired, so I was able to get a good deal on the Muller yogurt and the Yakisoba noodles. Most of the overage from the Winn Dixie coupon went toward Tostitos which we have been wanting for a while, and this is the first sale.

I split my orders to use an extra $5 off $30 Winn Dixie, but my second order was pretty big OOP. I really have been wanting some glass bowls with lids so I thought I'd get some of the snapware using my expired coupons. I think I'm going to be disappointed that the lids don't really click on very snug though, and may return them.

Got the picture set up late since we just ran quick to the store before going out for Halloween. There were a lot a things in this trip that we use regularly and just don't have great deals so it cost a little more. Anyway, this shop was kind of expensive for us, but we've had a few promotions lately and got Publix gift cards, so we used those. In trip one, I spent $1.84, saved 37.70 (96% savings), and trip 2 spent $10.22, saved $53.99 (84.85% savings).

I'm excited to say I also received my pink P&G pancake cookware set today! I also got my own URL, so follow me there!


Happy Halloween

Have fun this Halloween, but please be safe.

I just got my personalized link for so follow me there!

My Publix Trip - Saved Over 99%

The trip to Publix this week was to get some produce for salads, and to use a couple more Publix coupons that expire today - the vitamins, corn dogs and mentos deal. The store manager was nice enough to let me use more than one Corn Dog coupon per transaction because she thinks the coupons are getting too restrictive. What a pleasant surprise. I spent $0.38 and saved $51.07, for a savings of over 99%.

Planning a Trip. Should You Drive or Fly?

Driving or Flying? That's the question we asked ourselves as we decided to visit a friend in Charlotte, North Carolina. It actually wasn't that hard of a decision for us to choose to drive our car from central Florida, for a variety of reasons. Which is the point of this article, to help you decide based on your priorities and situation, because of course it makes a difference. Here are questions to ask yourself to determine if you should drive or fly -
  1. How long would it take to drive there vs fly? Generally I like the time at the event to be twice the time it takes to commute (E > 2T). For example, if I want to go to a concert in a different city that is 90 minutes away driving (2 x 90 min = 3 hrs), and the concert will last from 7 pm to 11 pm (4 hrs) then I would consider it. But if it took longer to commute somewhere than I would be staying, I would probably not go. So, likewise with a trip across the country. Driving to NC took 9 hours x 2, so 18 hrs. We stayed from Thur evening to Sunday morning so it was over a 50 hour visit. Making the drive worth it.
  2. Do you have more than one driver, do you have pets, elderly passengers or children that may not handle a long drive well? Another consideration, but these types of passengers may not fly well either, so cost may be more of a factor. But driving allows you to stop more frequently and tend to any needs that develop.
  3. Calculate the cost of fuel vs flight costs. This is a no brainer, but the more passengers you have the cheaper it will cost to travel. If you don't have a travel worthy vehicle, you could consider renting one for the trip and calculating the cost too. Again, more passengers will probably steer you to drive.
  4. Will you need transportation at your destination? Most people do, unless you are going to a conference in one location the entire time. But then you are probably going solo and flying would be cheaper too.
  5. I don't generally consider the wear and tear on a car since they last forever even with high miles if you care for it properly. Our Camry is ten years old and just rolled over 90K on our trip. We will probably keep it another ten years and it still will have lots of life left at that point. But, if you like to trade in cars, or lease them you need to consider wear and tear for driving trips.
  6. Another consideration is the amount of possessions you will bring with you on your trip. If you are bringing some of your stockpile to save on food and beverage costs, you probably want to drive. If you can travel light with just one bag (and bring twice as much cash), you could do better to drive.

My Walmart Publix BOGO Chicken Price Match Trip

Wow. What an experience. I probably wouldn't normally recommend anyone shop at Wal-Mart to get a deal if it wasn't such a good deal. This week (10/17/13 - 10/23/13) Publix has boneless, skinless chicken breasts on BOGO for $4.69/lb. But Wal-Mart has the same boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.99/lb. And they will price match BOGO deals in Florida, so I thought I would give it a try.

We found nice big 5 lb packages that ranged in price from nine to ten dollars per pack. Wal-Mart lets  you do two deals per BOGO, so me and DH each got 4 packs of chicken. The thing to keep in mind is that they will charge you for the two most expensive packages and then you get the two cheaper ones for free. I thought they would pair the ten dollar packs BOGO, and then pair the nine dollar packs BOGO, but no they didn't.

Before we even went on this shopping odessy, I called the store and got put on hold four different calls. Finally, I talked to a manager and they said yes they would do the deal, just bring in the ad. So we went prepared for an easy deal. But no. It doesn't work that way at Wal-Mart. And don't bother to call Corporate (479-273-4000 ask for priority assistance to get customer assistance immediately) because the person on the phone will say that the manager can decide to do anything they want. So we knew we didn't have an ally in Corporate (the total opposite of Publix), so we resorted to being really nice and patient.

Our cashier was nice and competent, except the computer doesn't know how to ring up free BOGO meat, or variable price packages. So she went to get help. And more help. It took about 5 Wal-Mart supervisors and managers to void about a dozen tries before they finally did it the "old way" - whatever that way is. So thirty minutes later, with salmonella growing on our warm chicken we finally walked away with 38 lbs of chicken for $38, for a final cost of $1/lb. The same amount of chicken would have cost $89 at Publix on BOGO.

In the end, I'm glad I got my chicken. I paid half of what it would have cost me at Zaycon. But it took a lot of time and patience. Wal-Mart is going to have to work on this. I think an email to will be necessary to let then know how frustrating this experience was.

So, if you're feeling brave and want to try this deal, I recommend calling ahead and getting the managers name and approval for the deal. And be prepared to wait while they figure it out.

Good Luck