My dilemma(s) about blogging my good deals…

Hi everyone. Remember me? I used to post good deals.

I still get good deals. I just have a hard time finding the time to post about them. Plus, I’ve found out that the deals I get at the grocery stores in Hagerstown, MD are really different than those elsewhere because the Maryland coupon policies are different (read: often much more friendly) than the stores in PA. I drive 20 minutes to get groceries now…almost all the time.

Here’s an example of today’s grocery trip and how “personalized” it is…or, how me posting it doesn’t help the average Josephine Shmoe.

Today’s trip to Martin’s

  • 1 YoBaby Stonyfield Farms Yogurt – $2.39 shelf price
  • 2 Giant Shredded Cheeses, on sale $2 each
  • Turkey Hill Light Ice Cream, on sale $2.50 each
  • 5 jars of Smuckers grape jelly, on sale for $1.99 each, buy 5 and get $5 off instantly
  • 1 lb. bag of Giant brand baby carrots
  • 2 Chobani Yogurt
  • 5 boxes of Smucker’s Snack ‘n Waffles, on sale for $2.50 each, buy 5 and get $5 off instantly
  • 1 half gallon of skim milk, $1.70 shelf price
  • 1 Better ‘n Eggs egg substitute, on sale for $3.99
  • 1 Pompeian Extra Light Olive Oil, on sale for $3.49
  • 3 Beech Nut 100% juices, on sale for $2.19 each
  • 1 KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce, on sale for $2.50

I paid $16.14 for this trip and got 200 gas points. And now I have some jelly to donate, because holy cow, that’s a lot of jelly.

So now you ask…why don’t I bother posting? I’ve been wondering the same thing. On my trip home from the store, I came up with some of the reasons (other than finding the time) that I hesitate to post deals like this:

  • DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STATES: The Giant/Martin’s stores in MD double four like coupons. The stores in PA only double the first coupon and only take up to 4 like coupons in one transaction. So, I used four $.75/1 Smuckers coupons from (zip 90210), which all doubled. So the jelly (after the $5 instant savings) cost me $4.95 and I had $6 off in coupons. So I made $1.05 buying the jelly. If I did this in the PA store 5 minutes from my house, the jelly would have cost me $1.20. In this instance, driving to MD saved me $2.25 just on this item, I could purchase all my items in one transaction, and the store is larger and has better stock for sales.
  • STORE-ISSUED COUPONS ARE NOT CONSISTENT ACROSS GEOGRAPHIC REGIONS. My mom lives in a town that just built a new Giant and she is getting great coupons in the mail. The most recent coupon book came with 3 coupons for each of the next four weeks. This week’s coupons were: 1 Free Turkey Hill Ice Cream wyb $15 worth of product, 1 Free bag of carrots wyb $15 worth of product, and a $5 off $30 coupon. We did not get these coupons, but since my mom doesn’t shop at Giant she gives me those coupons. Win!
  • STORE ISSUED COUPONS ARE NOT CONSISTENT PERIOD. I take advantage of the Giant/Martin’s eCoupons that you can “get” on their website. You create an account and enter your Bonuscard #, and then you can “add” eCoupons to your card. Right now there is a $.75/2 chobani yogurt coupon in my account…but not in everyone’s account. I paired that $.75/2 store coupon with the Chobani $10/10 sale and used two $.30/1 coupons from the Chobani website (which doubled). So I paid $.05 for two Greek yogurts. If you didn’t get that coupon in your account, the deal isn’t nearly as good.
  • DID YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE DEALS I DID? I happened to have picked up 5 of the Giant Summer Savings coupon books at the store in early June (I think), which is where I was able to get 5 of the $1/1 coupons for the Snack ‘n Waffles. So the 5 boxes of waffles after instant savings and coupons cost me $2.50. However, I doubt you happened to also pick up 5 of these, so your deal without the coupons would have been $7.50…not great. And, for what it’s worth, I had one of these waffles for breakfast and they are not that good tasting or good for you. Deal fail.

So…that’s life here. Spending about $20 a week on groceries unless it’s a stock-up week on fruits, veggies, or meat…in which case it’s usually more like $40. Although the garden sure has kept our veggie purchases to a minimum this year. We made stuffed peppers, lettuce wraps, bread, and kielbasa for 8 people on Friday night and it cost us less than $10. Go me.


Donation etiquette?

When things are free or almost free, I buy them with the intent to donate them if our family does not use the product (or if we won’t use it before it expires). Let me explain a few things I did this past week and you tell me if you think this is proper donation etiquette:

There is a cereal deal going on at Weis Markets this week. The local food give-a-way is especially appreciative of cereal, so I tend to buy it when it is a good deal. Now, there are two promos going on that allow me to buy this cereal for free or cheap.

Promo #1: A Kellogg’s Cereal Rebate on certain brands of cereal, which includes the 2 boxes of Raisin Bran I bought.

Promo #2: The Kellogg’s “Passport to Adventure” promo in which you can enter codes from specially marked boxes of cereals to receive $5 gas cards. I bought four boxes of Frosted Flakes which got me 4 points, the equivalent of a $5 gas card.

So…donation etiquette opinions about:

  • In order to take advantage of Promo #1, I need to collect the UPCs. So I tore them off of the bottom of the cereal box and left the rest of the box in tact.
  • In order to take advantage of Promo #2, I had to open the boxes to get the code on the inside of the box. The bag is still sealed. My spouse suggested writing the name of the cereal on the bag rather than leaving the boxes open or trying to glue them shut again, so that’s what I did.
  • The Mylicon drops I wrote about here included coupons in the box for the product. Our baby is past the Mylicon drops stage so I planned to donate them. I opened the wrapping, took out the coupons and used them to buy the product (with the permission of the cashier). The drops and dropper in the box are still sealed. Ok to donate?


jcp Cash

Good news! Today in the mail I received a flier from JC Penney that included $10 of jcp cash good on any purchase $10 and above. Keep your eye out for this flier – it’s $10 free. I usually go buy a piece or two of kids’ clothing on clearance. If you are local, received this flier, and won’t use it, please donate it to me! 🙂

Upcoming opportunity

In My Utmost for His Highest, Eugene Peterson writes,

“If you are always keeping blessings to yourself and never learning to pour out anything ‘to the Lord,’ other people will never have their vision of God expanded through you.”

I love thinking about the fact that as I give, other people’s vision of God expands.

I recently learned that the Way Station on Main Street in Waynesboro hosts bi-weekly food give-a-ways. A woman from my church is involved with the give-a-ways and I was excited to find a local outlet for my growing surplus. For the last few months, I have been giving my surplus of personal items to my mom (who lives about 2 hours away) because her church does a once-a-year give away of toiletry items and I have not had much luck attempting to donate these items to places within my own town. The Way Station give-a-way is hoping to expand to toiletry items and other personal necessities, so I plan to do a major purge!

I’m thankful for a chance for my couponing to make a difference in my own town. The next food give-a-way is scheduled for March 25th. I write about this opportunity just in case you are local and are looking for a way to give back.

I have some shelves to clear, how about you?

I will make sure to take some images of the donation process. I can’t wait!


Potentially cheap diapers at KMart

KMart is doubling manufacturer coupons up to $2 this week and running a special promotion: Get a $10 coupon wyb $35 of Procter & Gamble brands.

Here is a scenario I worked out in my head today:

Buy 2 Pampers big pack baby dry diapers @ $18.99 = $37.98
Use 2 $2 off Pampers from PG 2/27 = -$4
KMart should double the $2 off coupons = -$4
Subtotal = $29.98
Get $10 OYNO
Total oop = $19.98.

Based on the box count, the price per diaper is:

Size 1 – 9 cents
Size 2 – 10 cents
Size 3 – 10 cents
Size 4 – 12 cents
Size 5 – 14 cents

The only thing that I’m not completely sure of is whether KMart’s doubling policy is up to $2 (meaning any coupon 1.99 or lower) or if they also double $2. Last I heard they doubled the $2 coupon.

Also – in order for the doubling coupons to take effect, you have to buy $25 in grocery or drugstore purchases, but I believe the diapers should count as a drugstore purchase.


$125 for about an hour of work?

Ever get those offers for FREE money to open a new checking account?  They are legit and are worth it, in my opinion.  (I have to admit I did this at Leslie’s mom’s bank a few years back to get $100… please don’t be mad at me!  :))

I just got $125 for opening a new account.  It did take a few clicks of my computer and I have to meet the requirements, but when I can earn $125 for less than an hour’s worth of work, I’ll take it!  The time included the online application and filling out forms at my husband’s employer for a partial direct deposit of his paycheck.  This was a personal offer to me to open an online checking account with our credit card company, so it’s not an offer I can share.

However… I did want you to know that these offers are available and you might consider them!  Here are a few things to remember:

  • Read ALL the fine print.
  • Know the requirements (usually a direct deposit or a certain number of “credit” purchases a month).
  • Know the minimum deposit and any fees (you don’t want any!).
  • Know the cancellation policy.  For the account I just opened, I have to keep it open for 6 months.
  • Know that this “income” is considered interest when reporting to the IRS. (usually… again, check the fine print)
  • Know if you can open for multiple people.  A few years ago, I was able to open 2 accounts — one for my husband (with his permission) and one for me, resulting in $202!  I think there might be a few that you can open for children, too.
  • Did I mention read ALL the fine print???

Have you had success with bank offers or credit card offers?  I’m grateful for our “rewards” on our credit card that we use and pay in full each month.  Share your stories! 

Berwick Offray Ribbon Outlet Coupon

A few weeks ago I wrote about Frugal Christmas wrapping and told you about the Berwick Offray Ribbon Outlet. Today I got the 15% off your purchase coupon and notification of their January special. Here is a PDF of the email that you can print and take with you if you decide that January is your time to stock up on ribbon for next year.

Stuff a bag for $2.50!

Berwick Ribbon Outlet Coupon