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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's been a while since I have posted here

But, not to worry, I have good reason. I haven't needed to go shopping! Our stockpile has sustained us very nicely! In fact, I was able to have hubby go to our stockpile and help restock my mother in law's refrigerator of some condiments she was out of. She's out of town, and I have been doing a few things around the house for her, when I noticed what she was out of that I had at home, he replenished it for her and it didn't hurt us either! I am excited to really see the small stockpile we have going is really helping!

I'll have a new post for you next week, but I just needed to let you know that when you are trying to save, it is a great feeling to give to others! Be ethical and bless others! I truly believe in this, "in order to be blessed, you have to bless others" so with that said, please remember to bless others!

God Bless Each and Every One Of You!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Points

One of my new found favorite ways to save money and earn money at the same time is really easy. As many of us know, it is very convenient to shop online. I do a lot of my clothing shopping for my daughters in this manner as it is MUCH cheaper for me to shop online and pay a little for shipping than it is to travel 30 minutes or more to find the stores that I want to shop at. As I posted the other day, I was able to achieve 13 shirts and 12 pairs of shorts for my girls for 101. That is an amazing deal considering that the clothes all come from Old Navy. Now, how do I get that it is cheaper for me to do that? I'll break it down for you:

The closest Old navy to me is 23.3 miles which converts to 38 minutes. In gas mileage that converts to roughly 1.5 gallons each way. So that's about 9 dollars in gas to go for one trip. And that store may not even have what I need when I get there right...

So, I simply went onto my click through website : MyPoints and searched for Old Navy. I clicked to shop at that store. Then I went about shopping just as normal as I would if I had of gone to the Old Navy website in the first place. With My Points, they award 4 points for every dollar I spend at Old Navy, so that one purchase was worth 404 points!!! This is great because I am saving up for a couple of things. Here's what the points will end up doing for me:

7500 points awards me a $50.00 gift card
3700 points awards me a $25.00 rainforest cafe gift card... and the list goes on and on...

So as of the present time I have 694 points, and I haven't even begun christmas shopping... When I do I am expecting to rack up tons of points just for doing what I would do all the time anyway... Keeping in mind that I still have fall wardrobe, winter wardrobe, christmas shopping, as well as anniversary and birthdays to buy for, it will not take me long to get that amazon as well as the rainforest cafe cards too. the rainforest cafe card will be a gift for christmas for my sister in law and her family since they live in orlando and the amazon gift card will be one of the gifts I am giving to my oldest daughter since she has done so well here lately, we are getting her a huge christmas present and that money will come in handy to go with it!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

School supplies shopping

ok, so here's my list of what i needed broken down by each child since they go to 2 different schools:

Maddie's Kindergarten Supplies list:

6 glue sticks
2 packages #2 Pencils
2 boxes of crayons (24 count)
1 pack colored pencils
1 pair FISKARS
2 primary composition notebooks
4 double pocket 3 prong folders
1 standard size backpack
2 boxes tissues
1 box baby wipes
1 water bottle
1 box ziploc bags
1 hand sanitizer
1 ream computer paper

Kenzie's 3rd Grade Supplies List

1 backpack
6 three prong two pocket folders
5 one subject notebooks
1 one inch 3 ring binder
1 package of dividers
4 packages loose leaf wide rule paper
3 packages #2 pencils
1 pair scissors
6 glue sticks
1 package colored pencils
1 pencil box
3 boxes of pencil cap erasers
1 package EXPO dry erase markers
2 boxes tissues
1 tub baby wipes
1 box crayons (24 count)

with that said, I went to walmart and walgreens. here's the break down:

Maddie's backpack: $5.00
1 pack erasers: .59
4 Roseart Gluestick 3 pack: .49 ea
5 packs Penway pencils: .19 ea

total out of pocket: 9.10 (keep in mind there was a backpack in there!)

4 filler paper @ .75 ea
2 color pencils @1.97 ea
2 Fiskars @ 1.47
1 binder .92
10 folders @ .15 ea
2 composition books @ .40 ea
5 notebooks @ .20
expo markers 3.47
2 erasers (40 ct) @ .97 ea
2 pencil boxes @ .97 ea

total out of pocket: 22.96

now, here's what i have left to buy:

kenzie backpack
4 boxes tissues
package of dividers
2 babywipes
2 boxes crayons (walmart was sold out but when they are back stocked up i will be paying .25 ea)
water bottle
ziploc bags
hand sanitizer
copier paper.

I think I did well!!!

Old Navy

So, we all know how stressful back to school time can be for our families... I just scored big time for my 2 daughters!!! I got 12! yes I said 12 outfits (shorts and tops) for my daughters to start the school year with. That's 6 for each of them. And I only paid 100 for all of them including shipping!!! I love me some Old Navy and when I can score some really good deals on their clothing I do. With us living in Florida, they will wear shorts for several months after school starts so it is perfect for us! I will do the fall shopping around october when those clothes go on sale!!!

I don't know about you, but the savings for this sale breaks down like this:

Total Regular Price: 198.50 (before taxes)
Total Out of Pocket: 108 (including tax)
Shipping: FREE because I spent over 50.

total savings: 111.39 (including the shipping fee and i worked in the taxes for my state as well)

So, I saved about 50% on brand name clothes for my girls to start Kindergarten and 3rd grade this year!!! Love my sales today :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

quick trip to publix

here's what i scored at publix the other day:

4 yoplait smoothie. bogo. plus 2 1.00 coupons. So I got the 4 for 4.38. They are regular priced at 3.19 each!!! So I paid: 1.09 each!!!!

Coffee mate non dairy creamer 1.67 with no coupons.

2 smart balance spreadbs bogo (2.89 for 2) minus 1.00 coupon. I got the two for 1.89 or .94 ea

one eggo french toast stick and one muffin top bogo 2.49. so i paid .75 ea

2 splenda essentials 80 count bogo (3.91 for 2) minus two two dollar coupons. So, I had a 9 cent overage and got my splenda for FREE!!!

2 rainers cherries bogo (5.99 for 2)

2 bags ruffles chips bogo (4.29 for 2)

2 Hersheys syrups bogo (3.49 for 2) minus 1 dollar coupon, so i paid 1.24 each

2 boxes ritz crackers bogo (2.99 for 2)

2 del monte diced tomatoes bogo (1.35 for 2)

4 chef boyardee pastas bogo (1.49 for 2)

So, my transaction looks like this:

Before sales my total was: 75.67
I had special prices of : 37.24
and coupons: 7.00

total out of pocket was: 31.43

not a bad price, but i will get it down even more :) just takes time :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Building a stockpile

I can't stress enough how important a stockpile is. Our family has gone through times of famine and we didn't have enough food for all of us so my hubby and I wouldn't have proper food to provide for our children. This is not good, but it's the truth. Once we began building our stockpile, this changed. While we are continually building it, we are doing great with it.

Start slow. I suggest you find 10 recipes that your family loves and that you cook on a regular basis and write a list of each ingredient that you need for those recipes. As the items go on sale rock bottom, that's when you will stock up on that item. For example, we use a lot of tomato sauce, diced tomato, and rice in our family, so every time either of those items are on sale, I will grab them. I currently have just a few cans of tomatoes because we use them so often, but I have a good stock of rice right now. It just makes sense to me.

Buy for the future. None of us know what the future will bring. Be prepared in case of an emergency. Here in Florida we face the possiblity of Hurricanes every year, so that is my example. We are building our stock to be prepared should a hurricane arise. This will make our lives much more managable in an event that one should hit our area.

Know how much you use. Keep track of what you use and come up with an average so you will know how much you need to keep in the stockpile.

DONATE. this can't be said enough. you are being blessed with the information on how to get started, so please take the time to bless others. there are many food banks in need and your over abundance would be a perfect way to bless others!

Shop Smart

10 for $10-- Just because something is on sale for 10/10 does not mean you have to buy 10 to get that price. Buy just what you need.

Rock bottom prices-- buy your items when they are at a rock bottom price and buy enough to get through the cycle (typically 12-18 weeks worth).

One per purcase-- sometimes you will only be able to have one deal per purchase. When this happens, I will split it up into several orders to get what I need.

Leave the kids at home-- this way you won't be suckered into buying things not on your list! Same goes for the hubby!

Make a price book-- I have not done this, but will be starting one soon. Why do you need one? The answer is simply, so you can know if you are getting the best possible price.

Limits-- sometimes there are a limit of what you can buy. Do us all a favor and abide by those limits. The sales are for everyone, so have the courtesy to share the sale.

Shop Early-- I don't do this. I have found that if I wait til Monday I can get more bargains. My ad begins on Thursday, and I have the boost of the Sunday Newspaper by waiting til Monday. It just makes more sense for me and if by chance they are out of what I need, I can always get that raincheck.

Watch the cashier-- to make sure you are getting all of your discounts

Check your receipt before you leave the store to make sure it is correct and that all of your savings are accounted for.

Planning a trip to the store

Next I would like to fill you in on how to plan your shopping trip.

First, I will grab the weekly ad from the paper or junk mail from my mailbox. I then scan through it and see what is on sale. Right now I am really focusing on the BOGO's. I will jot down what is on sale BOGO and then go to my coupon stash. I then match up the best coupon deal with each product. To do this, I always have my calculator handy so that I can get the lowest possible price.

I will then make a list and paperclip my coupons to that list. When I go to the store, I know what I am going to get and I know what I am spending. I tend to spend about 100 a week for our family, but this is because I am still building our stockpile.

Now, if you should get to the store and they are out of an item, ask the manager for a raincheck for the number of that item you were planning on buying. They are more than happy to do this for you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do you know your store's Couponing Policy?

If you answer that question with a big YES then I applaud you!!! If not, I would suggest that you get in touch with the store manager and have a sit down with them to learn what your policy is. There are so many grocery stores out there now that none of them will have the EXACT same policy. Here is some useful information that might help you out:

Keychain/Wallet Cards-- these are referred to as loyalty cards. Does your store offer one for getting the sale prices? If so, get one and use it every time you go to the store. If not, you will get the sale price no matter what. For example, the three stores I shop at are Sweetbay, Winn Dixie and Publix. Of the three, Publix does not require the card. There is a card for Winn Dixie and I believe that Sweetbay is bringing one back. I do most of my shopping at Publix because I can get the better price there due to all of the BOGO's they offer.

Double/Triple Coupons- this is illegal in the state of Florida so I will not cover this however if you are interested in this, please let me know and I will try to get some answers for you.

Stacking your coupons-- what is this? Well, it isn't as hard as you might imagine. Let me show you what I mean. See the scenario below:

This week, Crystal Light is on sale at Publix BOGO. The price for two is $2.99. My Publix does accept Target store coupons. (not all Publix's will accept Target coupons) I have a $1 off 4 Target coupon and 4 MC's for $1/1. I buy 4 packs of the bogo Crystal Light and use all 5 of my coupons making my final price for the 4 packs of Crystal Light 98 cents. This breaks them down to being only 25 cents!!! This is a rock bottom price!!!

So in other words you can put one store coupon with one manufacturer coupon to achieve the lowest possible price. This works best for you if you top this on top of a buy one get one sale and use 2 store coupons and 2 manufacturer coupon.

Online Coupons are great! I have recently been able to start using these. These I use for when I don't have a coupon in my stash for a product I need. It is another way to go ahead and lower your bill even more. Where can I find them? I normally use or but there are tons of sites. Find one you like and there you have it.

Competitor Coupons-- not all stores will accept coupons from a competitor, however this is something you can ask your store manager. I am fortunate that my Publix accepts Target as well as other grocery chains in the area.

Expired Coupons-- I currently don't have the info needed to send these to military families, however you can send them to a military family as they are honored for 6 months after expiration for military families. If you happen to come accross that address, please share it with me so I can update this.

Catalina's-- these are the receipt like coupons that are printed at check out at some grocery stores. Some of these are Manufacturer Coupons and others are Store Coupons. Use these before they expire!


Blinkie: these are found in your grocery store hanging on a shelf with a few coupons in them
BOGO: Buy One Get One Free
Cat: Catalina Coupon See above
ECB: Extra Care Buckx (at CVS)
IP: Internet Printable
MC: Manufacturer Coupon
MIR: Mail in Rebate
OOP: Out of Pocket
OYNO: On your next order
P & G: proctor and gamble coupon insert
PEELIE: coupon found on item in store. Peels off.
Q: coupon
SC: store coupon
RP: red plum coupon insert
RR: register rewards (walgreens)
SS: smart source coupon insert
TEARPAD: these are pads of coupons found in the store.

How do I organize my stash?

First, I want to say this:

There is contreversy about how many newspapers to buy each week. There are so many families using coupons, that I don't go by the buy 12 papers a week. I have 4 people in my family, therefore, I buy 4 papers not the 9 that has been suggested. The reason I feel this necessary to tell you is because if you choose to clip every coupon every sunday, this can get quite time consuming. It has been suggested that you buy 2 papers per person in your family plus one. I am not in this to become a hoarder, therefore I find that 4 papers per week for our family is more than enough.

Now, on to the organizing, I feel that you will find what works for you based on your likes/dislikes and your family needs, but see the following suggestions for ideas and feel free to tweak them as needed.

Using the Envelope System: here I would suggest you clip each coupon and either sort by expiration month or by category. I did use this at one time but found it ineffecient for me. I have since abandoned this style as I don't have the time for doing this way.

Filing by Insert: This is the style I am switching over to. I have a spare 2 drawer file cabinet, therefore, I am using hanging file folders that are labled with the name of the insert ie: SS 8/2011 would mean Smart Source from August 2011. Then I can go directly to the file that I need and clip only the coupons I need for that trip. It will make my Sunday's less stress and more family time. You can also use expanding file folders or file boxes for this.

Coupon Binder: I am using this style now, but have already gone through 2 binders in the last 6 months. I don't like that I have to lug a huge binder around with me just to have all of my coupons with me. For those of you who want to try this style, I am going to give you the breakdown of mine. I have a 4 inch binder. I have bought baseball card holders and then used cardstock to make the dividers. I tried using it by month but it was nearly impossible for me to function using that style, so I changed to category. In the front of my binder is Grocery Items and the back is Non-Grocery Items.

Side Dishes
Frozen Foods
Salty/Snacks-- this is all snacks and chips, crackers, popcorn, nuts, etc
Fish/Fish Fry
Peanut Butter/Jelly/Preserves
Pasta/Pasta Sauce
Ethnic Foods

Non-Grocery Items:
Hair Care
Face Care
Dental Care
Feminine Hygeine
Pet Care
Paper Products
Vitamins-- these are everythign that is a vitamin/nutrient supplement
Soap/Body Wash
First Aid
Air Freshner/Candles
Dish Care

I hope this will inspire you to get your stash organized :)

What is Couponing and where can I find Coupons?

With the economy going bad a few years ago, the term couponing became a very familiar term. Couponing is simply using the advantage of a paper that says "save xx cents on xx product" as a way to lower your grocery bill.

Coupons can be found for a number of items, most often though they are used for groceries.

Where can coupons be found?

~Newspaper-- on sunday's check your paper for coupons but keep in mind that the week of a holiday there will be no coupon inserts in the sunday paper.

~Friends and Relatives whom don't use their coupons from the sunday paper is a great way to build your coupon stash

~Online-- there are a number of sites that you can print your coupons from. I most often use but you can google and find a number of sites.

~By using a Coupon Clipping Service-- I do not take advantage of these, however you can pay a fee for the coupons to be pre clipped and sent to you.

~In Store-- in the store you will find blinkies, peelies, tearpads, and store coupons. Please see the post on terminology to find out more about each of these types of coupons.

In an effort to keep these entries short and sweet, I will end this now and my next entry will be a nice one for most of you. It will help with organization of your coupons.

Have a great day!!!

Cent Savers

What is Cent Savers?

Cent Savers is simply me and my family and our mission to save our money. We have decided to start this blog to share the info we find on couponing and what works for us so that it might help some of you to save your money as well.

What are my goals?

To create a database of sorts to help those who don't know as much as I know about coupons.

Will I ever have grocery store sales on this blog?

The simple answer is eventually. I want to start this blog as a way to build up the information you need for being effective in saving your family some money so it will take some time for me to build up to having stores included on my blog. Also, you will want to know that I will only be covering the stores that are local to me. If you are looking for stores local to you, I will assist you in finding what you are looking for but I cannot cover the whole United States.

In closing, please feel free to e mail me questions. I'll be adding an e mail address specifically for this blog and will post that in one of the sidebars.