Monday, July 18, 2011

More FREE Bluckbuster Express Codes

The following codes allow you to get any $1 movie for FREE. They expire July 22.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

FREE Blockbuster Express Codes

The following codes allow you to get any $1 movie for FREE. They expire July 15.


Friday, July 8, 2011

A Few Nice Coupons...

Here are a few nice coupons that have been available in the last few days. They are available at I found all of these except the last one using zip code 84711.

$1/2 Gerber Yogurt Melts
$.55 Gerber Graduate meals and past pic-ups
$1/2 Gerber Puffs
$1 Gerber Graduates entrees
$1/2 Libby's Fruit (These have been FREE with this coupon and store coupons at Rite Aid)
$1/4 Libby's canned fruit
$1 Coppertone Sunscreen
$1.50 Starbucks Infusions 12 oz bag
$5/5 Kellogg's cereals (extremely rare! but it might be out of prints)
$.50 Fresh Express Salad Mixes (try zip 77079)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why It Works: Coupons, Sales Cycles, and Stockpiles

Before I started using coupons I tried to shop the ads. Being a good steward was important to me and I tried to buy only what we needed and avoided overindulging. I would buy sale items with a week or two in mind. While we hadn't started a strict grocery budget, I didn't want to buy too much and have a large grocery bill so I would buy a small number of sale items. I was saving money but running out of necessities and later paying retail. Until I figured out how to stockpile, I was at the mercy of the sales cycles.

Most items in the grocery store are on a sales cycle that causes prices to fluctuate from regular retail to rock bottom (a.k.a. "Buy Now" prices). This cycle may last 6 to 8 weeks. Using my old method of trying to buy a few weeks of sales items, I was hitting good prices some weeks and high prices the next. In order to ensure that a shopper only pays the rock bottom prices, they need to maintain a 6 to 8 week stockpile of shelf stable or freezer friendly necessities. Once I began shopping with the cycles in mind, I began buying enough of certain items to last 8 weeks when they hit my Buy Now prices.

Here is a coffee example. Starbucks was on sale for $4.99 (a fantastic pre-coupon price) AND I had $1.50 coupons to combine with the sale. I could buy a single bag of Starbucks for $3.49! But, if I didn't buy enough to last until the next great deal, I might have to buy the next bag at $6 to $11 (the normal price fluctuation). Instead, I bought four for $14. I spent more on coffee than I usually do, but I won't have to buy coffee for several months (giving me plenty of time to wait for a good deal).

One of the biggest hiccups to new couponers is that you may actually spend MORE in the first month or two of couponing. The reason for the bigger bill is that it will take you some time to acquire coupons and you will be buying more items to build your stockpile. But within two months, you will have a stockpile and your grocery bill will drop significantly.

Before I go on, I can picture some of you cringing at the thought of a stockpile. A stockpile is not hoarding, it is not selfishly clearing the shelves, and it certainly isn't wasting food by overbuying. It is simply providing your family with the products they need at the best price possible. Believe it or not, I can only remember tossing one expired product from my food stockpile in the last year. Because I am aware, I am not as likely to let food go bad. When I get fantastic prices that I can't pass up, I give excess to friends and charities. As a side note, my stockpile was an amazing blessing when I was pregnant with Ellie. Since even the sight of coupons made me sick, I did very little grocery planning in my first trimester. We had enough stockpiled to last during that queasy period with only occasional trips to the store for fresh foods.

Add in coupons! As I explain here, you don't have to use a single coupon to save on groceries. But coupons added to rock bottom prices make for huge savings, even to the point of being paid to take those items home with you! Using the stockpile method, your family may be able to buy 6 cereals for $9 ($1.50 a box at rock bottom prices). Simply add in 6 $.75 coupons and you'll get the same 6 boxes for $4.50. That's around 85% savings! While you aren't going to save 85% on every item you buy, keep it up and you will see hundreds of dollars of savings each month.

Planning a Grocery Trip

Come with me while I plan my grocery trip! Since the current ads are rather unimpressive my shopping trips will be smaller than usual. This is how I planned tomorrow's trip to Bel Air:

  1. The first step to planning a trip is checking the ad. I looked through the grocery ads that came in the mail (they are also available on most grocery websites). I circled some items that looked like good deals and began a list.
2. I checked the grocery coupon match-ups at The Frugal Find and selected items to create my list. I printed two of the KC Masterpiece coupons from the link provided. Then I printed my list.

3. Once you have been couponing for a little while, you will begin to recognize products for which there were recent coupons. To help me remember where that coupon is or to find a coupon to print I check sale items on my list against a coupon database.

4. I fine tune my list, keeping the best deals and saving the so-so deals for another week. For example, Ronzoni pasta is $1 and I knew there were $1 coupons available that could make pasta FREE. Unfortunately the coupons were for the vegetable variety, which were not part of the $1 sale. So, I crossed Ronzoni off my list and will wait for the vegetable variety to go on sale for $1 (as they were at Save Mart a few months ago). Then, I combine both lists (my list and the list from The Frugal Find) to create my final list.

Final List
5. I cut out the coupons and place them inside my list (original Frugal Find list folded in half).

6. I head to the store to get:

1 Pound Strawberries FREE
1 Package Breakfast Sausage FREE (retail $4.29)
2 Bottles KC Masterpiece FREE plus $2.22 overage to pay for pork ribs
2 Packages Chips Ahoy for $.69 each
1 Bag Food Should Taste Good snacks for $1 (sweet potato chips, yum!)
1 Box Quaker Squares cereal for $1
and some nice deals on fruit and chicken

A few notes:
  • This was a slow week so my list is relatively short. Because I buy extra when the sales are good, I don't have to buy much when the sales are scarce.
  • Where's the milk? I buy my milk at Rite Aid since it costs less than all our local grocery stores after using the $.55 dairy coupon.
  • Where's the veggies? I just bought 4 pounds of frozen veggies and two salads for $4 last week so we'll use those veggies until the next sale.
  • You told me to stockpile! Unfortunately, this week is a poor example of stockpiling. The store coupons were limit 1 or 2. Ordinarily, I would have purchased several bags of Food Should Taste Good since they were at my Buy Now price ($1), but the coupon says limit one per customer. I only had one Quaker Squares coupon since it came on a free sample limiting my purchase to one. The only item that I stockpiled was barbecue sauce (as two bottles will last our family until the next sales cycle, 6 to 8 weeks from now).
  • This took me about 15 minutes. Better weeks may take a little more time.
  • Since I shop with my girls, I like to make sure I am completely prepared and not fumbling for coupons or lists. A little time at home (perhaps during naps or after bedtime) saves time and sanity in the store.
  • Here's an example of stacking store coupons with manufacturer coupons:
Notice the $1 coupon says manufacturer's coupon at the top and the numerical code at the bottom begins with a 5. The Raley's coupon begins with 0. I read the coupons to make sure that the sizes match up. I also noticed that the Raley's coupon says limit 2 so I can use a second manufacturer's coupon to get 2 packages for $.69 each.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Where to Find Coupons!

Once you start looking, you will be amazed at how many coupons are readily available. Here are some of the places you will find coupons:

At the grocery store:

  • On a display

  • By the pharmacy (check the front desk and surrounding displays for pamphlets, booklets, and tearpads)

  • At the Customer Service Desk (Check for tearpads, booklets, and pamphlets)
  • The Catalina Machine (This machine prints out great coupons including FREE item coupons, store cash, and high value coupons)

At the drugstore:

At gas stations convenience stores (711 and AM PM, for example:

  • Check for tearpads and displays

At your doctor or dentist's office:

  • Check for coupons on display or ask your doctor/dentist specifically. For example, my dentist gave me this pamphlet and has given me samples containing coupons.

Inside or on packages:

  • Check the packaging! I've found coupons in razor packaging, cereal boxes, oatmeal boxes, toothpaste packages, cleaning wipe containers, starter kits, granola bars, diaper and wipe packages, and many more. Sometimes the presence of coupons is announced on the package. Other times, coupons are a welcome surprise.

In the mail:

  • You may already be getting them, but there are other great coupons to request. I'll highlight ways to get high value coupons and free items in the mail in a future post.
On the internet:

  • You can request coupons to be sent to your home, such as the Organize in Style booklet pictured above.
  • Print them! The most common and largest coupon site is, there are many more mentioned in this post.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Free Coupon Sites

One of the easiest ways to gain coupons is to print them on your computer.

Here are several websites that provide free internet printable coupons (IPs):

The following are just two of many manufacturer's websites that provide coupons. They may require signing up for an account: (Kellogg's brand items)

Many Stores provide both store and manufacturer's coupons. Here are a few: (scroll to the bottom of the page to find the coupons link)

You can often find high value coupons on Facebook fan pages.

Internet Printable (IP) Tips:
  • Print Two: Most printable coupons allow two prints. If it is a Bricks coupon, which looks like the image below, you can usually print a second coupon by hitting the back button on your browser three times. You will be redirected back to the print set-up page where you can hit the print button a second time. At and similar sites you can simply return to the home page after printing to re-select coupons to print.

  • Print Now: Print the coupons you think you will use while they are available. Many coupons are only available for a short period of time or for a limited number of prints.
  • Create a Coupon E-mail Account: I highly suggest that you create an e-mail account that you don't mind getting spammed. Many of the high value coupons require an e-mail (your price of admission) to print. Protect your account and information with an unused e-mail address. It's free and easy to sign up for a gmail account.
  • NEVER copy coupons: It is illegal and easily traceable (each coupon has an individual signature that can be traced back to your computer). Increase prints by using multiple computers, asking friends to print, or visiting the library.
  • Sundays, the 1st, and Month End are Golden: tends to reset at the beginning of the month. That means that you should print any coupons that you will use before the end of the month. On the first of the month, you will want to return and print any coupons that are valuable to you. RedPlum, SmartSource, and Target usually restock on Sundays.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sac Bee Sunday Subscription as Low as $.30 a Paper!

Why pay $2 a newspaper when you can get it delivered to your home for as little as $.30 a paper!?

Check out the deal that The Frugal Find has arranged with Sac Bee.

  • 1 Sunday paper = $19.99/52 weeks ($.38 per paper)
  • 2 Sunday papers = $39.98/52 weeks ($.38 per paper)
  • 3 Sunday papers = $59.97/52 weeks + $10 gift card ($.32 per paper with gift card)
  • 4 Sunday papers = $79.96/52 weeks + $15 gift card ($.31 per paper with gift card)
  • 5 Sunday papers = $99.95/52 weeks + $20 gift card ($.30 per paper with gift card)

If you are testing the couponing waters and don't want to commit to a subscription yet, check with friends and neighbors to see if they use their coupon inserts. I often get 2 extra sets of papers a week from my parents and Jon's parents. If you can't find any free papers, Dollar Tree sells the Sunday Sac Bee for $1. This subscription rate is a fantastic deal, and with a little time, this investment that will pay big dividends. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

FREE Children's Sunglasses at Rite Aid

This week (June 26 - July 2) at Rite Aid all sunglasses are Buy One Get One 50% off AND receive a $5 +Up when you buy 2. Children's Style Science and Foster Grant sunglasses are included. So buy...

1 Style Science $7.99
1 Foster Grant $3.49
- $5 Style Science Sunglasses coupon found here
- $5 Foster Grant Sunglasses coupon found here (adjusted to $3.49 per Rite Aid coupon policy)
= $2.99
Get $5 +Up for a $2.01 Money Maker!

Sweeten the deal by adding a $4.99 Got2Be product - $2 MQ from All You magazine and a $3 Rite Aid survey. You will pay $2.98 and get a $5 +Up and $4.99 back from Single Check Rebates. That's a $7.02 Money Maker!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Coupon Lingo: A glossary of commonly used terms and acronyms in the coupon world

BOGO: Acronym for Buy One Get One free coupons or sales.
Blinkie: A type of coupon found in blinking machines in grocery and drug stores
Catalina (CAT): A coupon or promotion sponsored by Catalina Marketing that prints out at check out in most grocery stores, Target, and some drug stores.
Extreme Couponing: Using coupons and sales to purchase an extremely large number of products at rock bottom prices.
Hangtag: A type of coupon found on an item in store, often hanging from the product (such as on the neck of a bottle).
IP: Acronym for internet printable coupons.
IVC: Instant Value Coupon. These coupons are often called peelies since they are stuck to items to be peeled off at check out.
MIR: Mail in rebate
MQ: Manufacturer's coupon. These can usually be stacked with store coupons.
ONYO or OYNO: Acronym for On Your Next Order. OYNO is the logical spelling, but many couponers use the term ONYO as it has a better ring to it when pronounced. ONYOs refer to grocery coupons that print out from the Catalina machine that can be used to purchase most any item at that store.
Peelie: A coupon stuck to a product in the store that can be peeled off to use at checkout. Also called an instant value coupon (IVC)
PG: Proctor & Gamble. A company that sells a wide variety of products that puts out a monthly insert in the Sunday newspaper.
Purchase: A frequently used term on coupons indicating an item. For example, a coupon may read, "Limit one coupon per purchase." Each item is a purchase in a transaction so the buyer may match one coupon to each item purchased.
FB: Acronym for Facebook, a great place to find coupons.
RA: Short for Rite Aid.
RP: Red Plum. A coupon insert found in most Sunday Newspapers
Sales Cycle: The cycle of prices on a given item that fluctuates from retail price to rock bottom (buy now) prices. This cycle varies by product but usually produces rock bottom prices every 6 to 8 weeks.
SS: Smart Source. A coupon insert found in most Sunday newspapers
SQ: Store coupon. These can usually be stacked with manufacturer's coupons.
Stacking: The process of using multiple coupons, sales, and promotions
Stockpiling: The process of buying enough products at their rock bottom (buy now) prices to last your family until the item hits rock bottom again on the following Sales Cycle. A stockpile usually is enough to last 6 to 8 weeks. Contrast this term with hoarding, which I believe is selfishly cleaning out the store to have an unrealistic supply of certain items (years worth).
Tearpad (TP): A type of coupon found on shelves and displays in stores and gas stations as a pad from which the coupon can be torn.
Transaction: A total purchase of one or more items usually concluding in payment and followed by a receipt. Some coupons read, "Limit one coupon per transaction." The buyer may only use this type of coupon once per order, or transaction.
WYB: Short for When You Buy. Many promotions require the purchaser to buy a minimum number of items to get the promotional price. For example, Save Mart has boxes of General Mills cereal for $1.49 a box when you buy (WYB) four. If you only buy 3, you will have to pay a higher price.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Get Organized!

While there are many ways to organize your coupons, here are two of the most common methods for serious couponers.

The Binder:

This method consists of coupons cut, sorted, and placed in trading card displays in a three ring notebook.

  • It is the most organized method and can be arranged to fit your preference
  • The user never misses a coupon match up as the coupons are always available during shopping excursions
  • It can be used for all types of coupons (inserts, printables, blinkies, hangtags, peelies, etc.).
  • It is probably the most compact method of storing coupons
  • The user will not need to use a coupon database as regularly as a non-binder couponer
  • It is the most time consuming as each coupon must be cut and sorted, even if it is never used
  • It can be bulky and awkward during shopping and can make runs more time consuming unless coupons are already removed for the current trip
  • It requires an initial investment in the notebook and cards
  • It will require maintenance as coupons will expire and need to be removed on a regular basis
Whole Insert:

Newspaper inserts are stored in hanging files or magazine holders by date.

  • This method saves time as a coupon is only accessed and cut when it is needed
  • It is easy to find coupons when using a coupon database
  • It is free or very inexpensive to start and maintain
  • You only need to dispose of (or recycle) expired coupons when every coupon in the insert has expired so it is quick and easy to upkeep as long as the couponer took the time to label the furthest expiration date (see below)
  • This method takes up space
  • It would be impractical to take all the inserts to the store so shopping must be planned in advance and newly discovered savings or clearance coupon match-ups may be missed
  • A system for organizing printed coupons, blinkies, hangtags, tearpads, and other coupons must be developed in addition to this method
  • It will require regular access to a coupon database since coupons are not easy to find by searching through weeks of inserts.
I use the whole insert method and recommend the following tips for making this method most efficient:

  • Write the insert date on the front of each insert (the date is available on the ribbing, but it is tiny and will require eye strain).
  • Each Sunday, flip through the insert and find the last expiring coupon in the insert. Write that date on the front of the insert as well (so you will know when to throw or recycle that insert).
  • Consider writing any great coupons on the front of the insert or immediately pulling out any coupons that you know you will use (I pull out free item coupons and Real California Dairy coupons and put them in my wallet in case I am out and need to buy milk or need a free item to use as a filler).
Since I use the Whole Insert method, I keep all my printed coupons in a folder and loose coupons in a tub (arranged by type).

Best of Both Worlds?

I'm seriously considering beginning a coupon folder for high value and frequently used coupons. I would probably cut the coupons that I am highly likely to use and leave the vast majority stored whole insert. I'll let you know if I take the plunge into a modified binder method. :)

Coupon Tips:
  • Start slow. Either begin with the whole insert method or begin with a simple coupon folder. As you build up your collection you can invest in a better method.
  • Keep the best coupons with you. I carry high value, free item, and frequently used coupons with me. For example, I always have dairy coupons with me.
  • Divide by stores: Since I use the whole insert method, I keep a clear plastic gallon sized bag with each store's coupons. For example, I have Rite Aid, Safeway, and Target bags that contain their respective store coupons. When I plan my shopping trip, I place all of the coupons I anticipate using in the appropriate store bag with my list facing externally. Many who use the binder method also have separate sections for run and/or stores.
  • Don't throw them away: Unless you are absolutely convinced that you would never buy it even if it made you plenty of money, don't throw it away before it expires! A single coupon has made me as much as $10 on an item that I would have never thought to buy. It is often the strange pharmacy items that make you money.

Do you have any tips or a good method to share?

How to Save Without Using a Single Coupon!

Can you save money in less than 10 minutes a week without printing or cutting a single coupon? YES! While I'm definitely a fan of coupons, many friends and family are concerned that they do not have the time or interest necessary for collecting and using coupons. If that is you, read on!

Most items in the grocery store are on a sales cycle that causes prices to fluctuate from regular retail (a.k.a. "price gouging") to rock bottom (a.k.a. "BUY NOW"). This cycle may last 6 to 8 weeks. A Cheerios example:
June 1-14: $4.49 (retail)
June 15-21: $2.49 (sale)
June 22-28: $4.49 (retail)
June 29-July 5: $2.99 (sale)
July 6-12: $4.49 (retail)
July 13-19: $1.49 (rock bottom sale) Run, don't walk, to the store and buy Cheerios!
July 20... Retail again and cycle repeats
While this is a fictitious example, most products follow a similar cycle.

Here's where you come in. Become familiar with what you spend on items that your family needs or wants. Check the weekly ads at your favorite store and buy enough of the items that hit rock bottom prices to last 6 to 8 weeks.

A Tale of Two Moms

Learning Lana's family consumes 1 box of Cheerios every week. She buys one box every time she shops. According to our fictitious cycle she would pay aproximately $29 dollars for 8 boxes of Cheerios over an 8 week period.

Savvy Sarah's family also consumes a box a week. She waits until Cheerios hits rock bottom then buys 8 boxes at $1.49. She pays aproximately $12 for 8 weeks worth of Cheerios.

Moral: Knowing the best prices on your family's favorite items and waiting until they hit rock bottom to buy results in big savings.

If you only have 10 minutes a week and no desire to mess with coupons, go through your store's circular and list all the items that your family needs that are at rock bottom (buy now) prices. Buy enough of those items to last the cycle (6 to 8 weeks). On perishable items that won't freeze, try to buy only the items that are on sale and plan your meals around those items.

This method may take a cycle to see savings. The first month or two of stockpiling may cost a little bit more as you purchase larger quantities of groceries, but savings will become very apparent as you don't have to rush to the store to buy more Cheerios at the mercy of that week's price. ;)

Quick Tips:
  • Get to know the rock bottom (buy now) prices of the items your family needs. You can either chart the items or keep a couple months worth of ads to track cycles.
  • Review the ad and buy the items that your family needs that are on sale. If any item is at rock bottom price, buy at least 6 weeks worth.

You Can Do It!

Have you ever looked at your budget and wondered how you could squeeze out another dollar to pay a bill, save for the future, or give to those in need? Perhaps your family has seen the price of food, gas, and housing rise while income stagnates of even decreases. Cancer brought about huge changes in our lives. In addition to the heartache of fighting this difficult disease, we had to face the reality of increased expenses and decreased income. Prioritizing our time and energy meant that I quit tutoring and Jon was unable to continue window cleaning as a side job. Thankfully we had insurance, but we suddenly had increased medical, travel, and grocery expenses. With our financial situation looking bleak, I remembered my sister's encouragement to try couponing. From the moment I matched my first coupon to a sale, I knew the blessing of her advice would bring hope to our stretched budget.

My goal is to teach you how to:
Save big on your grocery bill (our grocery bill has been cut in half, even as our family has grown)
Find, organize, and use coupons
Get paid to shop!

With the tips and strategies I share, I'm confident that you will save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year!