Friday, December 31, 2010

Kroger Savings 12-31-10

Thank goodness I remembered today was 12-31-2010. My coupon organizer was full of Cs that expired today, and when I realized I needed to scan through to see if there were any that matched up with my Kroger ad, well, it was actually last night around 11 p.m. I got to bed at 1:30 after going through a couple hundred Cs, then loading several eCoupons onto my Kroger card.

I got to Kroger this morning earlier than I usually do, and there were only about 10 people in the entire store! Yeah for me! No distractions, no crowd = fun shopping experience (if there is such a thing).

I went in with a plan to only purchase non-grocery consumables that were on sale this week. I had coupons for everything on my list, as well as two coupons for free items. Above is the photo of this trip and here's the breakdown and what I paid (after coupons):

12 double rolls Charmin Ultra Soft - $2.49
Bounty 8 roll pack - $4.49
Duracell batteries 8 pack - $2.49
Pampers 70 count - $16.99
Pampers Thick Care wipes - FREE (with purchase of Pampers)
Febreeze Air Effects - they paid me .21 cents to take this so it was better than free
Dawn - .19 cents
Bounce dryer sheets 120 count - $2.99
Always liners 100 count - $2.49
Tampax 50 count - $2.49
Olay body wash - .99 cents
Olay hand lotion - FREE (with purchase of Olay wash)
Secret - .29 cents
Crest 6 ounce with Scope - .50 cents
4 Old Spice deoderent - $3.16

I somehow paid $4.00 less on my total than I expected and the only thing I can figure out is I must have had a few eCoupons loaded that I didn't factor in.
My grand total was $35.05 plus tax!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Studio

Who needs a formal living room anyway? I'd rather have a place to sew, and that's what I got when we moved into our home five years ago. Here's where I go to dream, play and create. My little oasis.

My worktable was inspired by a friend's window treatment worktable. Hubby found a huge, solid wood table at a hardware store that was heading for the storage shed. He thought of me and my love of all tables big, and asked if they would sell it. A few days later we loaded it on the trailer and brought it home. This photo may be a little deceiving as this table is 5 feet wide by 8 feet long! It almost didn't fit in our front door. We actually had to saw quite a bit off the legs to get it in! It's over waist high, which is just the perfect height. I can reach more than half-way across, so I can use every inch of it. I ordered commercial grade, worktable padding and canvas for the top, and added an inch of black insulation board to the layers so I can pin directly into the table. Talk about a dream. It makes any project more fun. Plus there's lots and lots of storage underneath. Pardon my wrinkly yellow fabric on the sides... it was the biggest piece of yardage I had on hand that I was willing to staple around the table. It's just intended to hide the mess underneath! I'll show you that later...

Here's my new Brother Duetta sewing and embroidery machine! I've spent the last two days getting to know her, and I'm not the least bit disappointed. Amazing machine!

My crazy big collection of sewing and quilting books in on the left. Patterns, etc., are across the room....

My goal is to fit every single piece of fabric I own into this room. I have the two bookcases on the right filled to capacity, 1/2 of the two bookcases on the left filled (the top half of those bookcases is filled with notions and patterns), and I still have, lets just say, quite a few more yards downstairs. I would actually love to fit anything and everything that I own craft-wise in this room at some point. I will admit that I have too much.

Until a few weeks ago, this room contained a large train table. If you have young sons or grandsons, you likely know what this is. I finally managed to wrangle it downstairs into the extra bedroom, which my grandsons now call their "toy room". Yeah for Granny!

Here's a peek under the big table... notice there's still a little free space on the right... I try not to get too excited about this as I know it will not last for long.

My studio spills over into my dining room - - thank goodness we can eat in our kitchen. In the five years we've lived here, I've used the dining room for eating twice. It is generally the home for my serger, and my Quilt-Cut (another of my favorite things), and they really do get more use if they stay out in the open. Storing a serger just isn't any fun at all.

Now I know you're wondering if my studio stays this neat all the time. While I'd like to say "oh, sure!", you probably know that isn't true :-) If there's a mess in there, it means I am actually getting to sew!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today's Trip To CVS!

Sorry I didn't get a pic of the results of today's shopping trip to CVS, but here's a summary:

What I bought -
6 two-liters of Diet Coke
12 pack Charmin Basic
13 ounce Tone body wash
32 loads Tide
Mega large Aussie hairspray
Dawn dish washing liquid

Here's what I paid - $7.24 (and that includes tax!!)
Every item I purchased was on sale this week, and I had coupons for every item except the Diet Coke. My coupons totaled $4.25. I then used $14.00 ECBs and paid $7.24 out of pocket! Then the nice register printed out $5 worth of ECBs for my next purchase!

Nice deals this week! I noticed my receipt says the quarterly ECBs start printing January 1, so it will be interesting to see how all that works. I've only been CVSing for a couple of months now and I am still learning. I can see a huge difference in how I shop there, and my savings are always good. I encourage anyone trying to save $ on their household consumables to give it a try! I am not getting many good grocery deals at CVS, but I know there are others who do. I spend time each week with the Kroger sale flyer, and that's where I am saving big on my groceries.

Here's where I started learning about CVS shopping:

Even if you're not interested in being a die-hard CVSer, their sale on Charmin Basic is great this week (12 double rolls for $4.99 plus you get $1 ECB) and Coke products (.88 cent for a 2 liter, limit 6). You will need a CVS card to get these deals.

Happy Shopping!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Embroidery Anyone?

Well, what do you think? Sleek, sexy, super marvelous! She's my new combo sewing/embroidery machine that I hope to bring home tomorrow!

I've wanted one for a while now... and frankly, I'd gotten sick of dealing with assorted dealers... so I went to the Internet and just starting researching on my own again... reading reviews and "talking" to people who own different machines. I concluded, pretty much on my own, that the Brother Duetta 4500D was the machine for me. True, I was initially drawn to the Brother Quattro, but it was just out of my price range.

So what will my new machine be able to do? Embroidery for starters! I've never had an embroidery machine and I'm still not sure why I am drawn to the thought of embroidery, but yes, I want one. This machine will also be the ultimate in piecing quilts (which I do as often as possible) and with gazillions of decorative stitches - there's just no telling what I might create!

My sweet hubby is off work tomorrow (thank you UPS) and he's driving me to pick my new machine up. He actually made this statement earlier - - "Karen, we are not driving to Lexington only to come home without this machine!" He knows how much I really want a new machine, but he also knows my tendency to talk myself right out of purchases for self. More often than not (actually I should say pretty much 99% of the time) I will decide not to spent money on me. So we'll see...

It will be hard to sleep tonight :-)))

Monday, December 13, 2010

Saturday, Dec. 11 CVS Shopping

My shopping trips just never look as awesome in a photo as they do in person.

Here's what I got at CVS Saturday:

Tide 96 loads
Dial soap, 6 bars
Edge Shaving Gel
Turtles, 2 boxes
King size candy bars (Reese's, Heath, Kit Kat), 10 total
Renpure Organics Shampoo, 2 of these
Playtex Tampons, 2 boxes
Gain dish detergent
Venus razor

Paid out of pocket (including tax): $28.32
This is more than I usually spend in one trip at CVS, but I got $109.62 worth of stuff (keep in mind that's CVS regular prices and their regular prices are not bargains). I used rain checks on the shampoo and candy bars and got all those items free after ECBs. I had coupons for up to $1.00 off each of the other items, and I (of course) used several ECBs. After paying, the nice register printed me another $23 in ECBs for future purchases. And oh, I made these purchases in three separate transactions. That's another key to paying less out of pocket cash when you are using ECBs.

Hope (one of the managers at my CVS) is so wonderful. I just love shopping when she's working. She's patient with us crazy coupon ladies, and she always teaches me something new. The CVS employees can make your bargain shopping experience either great OR something you don't want to waste time doing. The girls at our local CVS are always top-notch and I am so glad they are here!

This week's CVS deals don't much appeal to me, so I think I'll wait to see what next week's bargains are. I am guessing the clearance deals might be good through the end of the year. I wish I had time to visit CVS a few times a week!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saving Money At Kroger & CVS - Lessons Learned!

I haven't missed one week of thrifty shopping since I started using coupons at Kroger and CVS. It seems like each week I learn something new, usually from making a mistake that reverses a little of my savings. In the last couple of weeks since I last blogged, I've saved never less than 50% off my grocery bill (often much more).

Black Friday at CVS was awesome, and I missed out on some of the great deals only because some of the items were out of stock (and still are - yep, I am learning to ask for rain checks now). CVS had many items that were FREE after Extra Care Bucks. I am learning that it's usually beneficial to buy anything FREE after ECBs as long as you can use it or donate it. And of course only if you plan to use those ECBs in the month (they expire one month after you get them).

Anyway, I am learning the hard way that you DO have to pay attention to your transactions, and to the items you are purchasing that are supposed to be either on sale, or an ECB deal. There are times at my local CVS that some merchandise is not labeled on the shelf as to which is actually on sale or an ECB deal. One example recently was a laundry detergent that was one sale in the ad, but no sign was present on the shelf to identify that it was. After studying the sale ad (I hate to keep asking the nice cashiers at our store too many questions) I was lucky enough to select the right product and got the sale price. Another example was another sale item (Mentos gum) that was advertised in the ad. I chose three varieties of the on-sale gum because I had three coupons for that gum that would have made them free. CVS was busy that day, and I was distracted at the cash register and didn't pay attention to the prices as the items were scanned. I knew my total was a few bucks more than I expected, but I paid and left the store. I noticed (when I got home) that I got the sale price on one gum, but paid full price for the other two. CVS regular prices are not usually prices I'd ever pay, so I was very disappointed.

The same thing happened to me at Kroger recently. I spend a while looking at the Kroger sale ad (I pick up a new one each week on Sunday after church) and I always go in to shop with a plan. One particular sale that Kroger has often is a "buy 10 items" and get a certain amount reduction (like $5.00 off). In order to get those sale prices (or the $5.00 off your total) you must buy 10 items (which can be mixed and matched among the sale items). If you buy less than 10 you will pay the price before discount. If you buy 11, you will get the discount for 10 items, but pay the non-discount price for the 11th item. In other words, when you see these sales, you must buy in multiples of 10.

I love the buy 10 sales. Yesterday I purchased 10 packets of Bumble Bee tuna that normally sell for $1.49 each for only .49 cents each. I got this price using only my Kroger card, no coupons. Hard to beat those kind of sales. I also got 4 boxes of Cheerios for $1.25 each (sale price plus 2 coupons), Wesson canola oil for .80 cents (sale price plus coupon), and 5 boxes of Kleenex for .60 cents each (sale price plus coupons). If you combine coupons with Kroger sale prices, you can save big. You've just got to pay attention to the sale ad, and even ask a Kroger employee to explain it to you if something is not clear. I've only encountered one unfriendly and non-helpful Kroger employee where I shop. Everyone else has been very helpful. One young lady was working the register last week when I went in for batteries that were on sale that I had coupons for. She got so excited when I got 6 packages of Duracell batteries for .25-.50 each! She thought that was so cool!

CVS shopping makes me a little nuts some weeks. I always go in there with a plan too, and never, ever has my shopping gone as planned. Seems that something is always out of stock, which will throw off your plan if you're trying to reach a certain $ amount in order to use a $4 off $20 coupon (which I get from CVS frequently). You can use those coupons as soon as your subtotal reaches the $20 amount (before other coupons, or offers, or ECBs). I try to always use those coupons as it's essentially 20% off, and I usually have plenty of coupons and ECBs to cover all or most of the balance.

When planning your shopping trip at CVS, scan the sale ad and look at all the FREE after ECBs offers (sometimes there are not any). Then look for items that are priced good (with or without ECBs). There are some rip-offs in every sale ad (sorry CVS but it's true). For instance, last week there was a deal for $2 ECBs when you buy Ban roll on deodorant. No price was listed in the sale ad - only the ECB deal. These are usually not good deals. I had a coupon for Ban for .50 cents off so I thought I'd do that deal. When I got to the store and saw that that product was priced at $5.99, even with the $2 ECB and my coupon, I would still be paying $3.49 plus tax for Ban deodorant (a brand that I don't usually even use). I do not consider this a good deal - so I passed on that one.

Rolling Extra Care Bucks is neat. I am still not proficient enough to teach someone the details of this, but I am starting to catch on. Rolling your bucks will help you pay little out of pocket cash (use your ECBs) when you purchase items that offer ECBs. You basically just roll them over and over. In order to get good at this, you need to plan to shop at CVS weekly, and never miss the good ECB deals. is a great place to learn about CVS shopping.