Extreme Couponing with Cake

Why pay full price for groceries when you can get them at a discount?

Starting in January, I started a grocery savings spreadsheet. I really have come to enjoy couponing. I used to do it occasionally, but now it is a habit. While I am nothing like those women on TV, I do my best on each trip to save some money and I now plan the things I buy based on if I have a coupon for them or not. It is now rare that I buy something full price: only if I really need it, if it is a splurge, or if I am at Trader Joe’s, since they do not offer coupons (but have great everyday prices).

So far this year, I have saved $144 and spent $472 (30%!!!). That is $144 more dollars in my savings account today. $472 is a lot on groceries for a single gal, but I bring my breakfast and lunch almost every day to work, and eat dinner at home most nights. I had a terrible takeout habit on Friday nights; now I try and plan my meals around eating IN on Friday nights, but have a special treat instead of eating out. This Friday, I plan to make one of my favorite meals: pigs in a blanket and macaroni and cheese. And yes, I am still trying to lose weight. You can still eat the foods you love!!! Just in moderation, and I have found that tracking is key.

Here are some of the coupon websites that I frequent:
Coupon Divas
Proctor and Gamble Everyday Solutions
Target Coupons

And here are some of my coupon strategies:

I print all of my coupons online and do not subscribe to any newspapers or get inserts. I might start picking up a paper occasionally to get the benefits of those coupons as well.

I subscribe to the Coupon Divas newsletter and will keep on top of favorite brands Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for freebees and coupons.

I have a Target Red Card, and do a lot of my grocery shopping at SuperTarget (based on the coupons available at Target.com). With the Red Card, you get a 5% discount every single time you shop at Target along with some other benefits. I used my Red Card to get my iPad and got 5% off! Also, you can use one Target coupon and one manufacturers coupon per item.

My favorite store for deals is Harris Teeter. And I know this is a regional store – in Charlotte we have Food Lion, BiLo, and Harris Teeter (no major national grocery chains, that I have found). I consider Harris Teeter to be an ‘upscale’ grocery store with an amazing produce section, but when they put things on sale, they surely put things on sale. They also put coupons online that you can ‘clip’ to your customer rewards card. This is so easy and convenient! This week, Harris Teeter is doubling all manufacturers coupons (not e-coupons) up to $1.98!

Today’s shopping trip was for peanut butter Cheerios (AMAZING, by the way.) and reduced fat crescent rolls. I also happened to stumble upon a few items on sale that I needed to stock up on anyway – but I didn’t have a coupon. I had two coupons for the cheerios, which doubled, along with an e-vic coupon towards the rolls (it rang up as if I had two coupons for the two crescent rolls even though I ‘clipped’ it only once to my card). Harris Teeter allows you to use e-coupons as well as the manufactures coupons. I did not know this until today! I was amazed when I saved even more on the crescent rolls. I won’t bore you with the rest of my shopping trip details, but I spent $16.17 and saved $8.18 (over a 50% savings!!!). I got 2 crescent rolls, 2 boxes of Cheerios, 1 4-pack of Velveeta single serving cups, 2 boxes of Kraft Veggie Mac and Cheese, and some grapes that were on sale. I think I did pretty good for the items that I bought! I promise I don’t usually eat this much processed food… I just like to have it on hand for my ‘comfort food’ evenings like I have been having this week thanks to my never ending headache.

Dinner tonight: a Velveeta cup (thanks, Betsy for introducing me!) and a big bowl of PB Cheerios and almond milk. Yum! The food tastes even better knowing how much I saved… I can’t believe I never couponed before!

Confessions of a shopaholic

So it has been requested of me to write a new blog post by my estimated 4 fans out there. If you haven’t liked Katie’s Pirate Booty yet, get your act in gear and just do it!!!

Just warning you guys… nothing very exciting has happened to me since the last blog post, except I ran 1.5 miles (in a row) on Saturday and 2.0 miles (in a row) yesterday. For those of you who don’t know me… I probably look super ridiculous jogging. For those of you who do know me, laugh now – I ran.

I was the child huffing and puffing and praying that I made it around the track 4 times when we had to run the mile in school. Remember that? When you would get a popsicle stick each time you completed a lap? Or maybe that was just my elementary school because they thought: #1 we were too dumb to count or #2 we were smart enough to cheat (I so would have). Pretty sure I had never run an actual mile in my entire life until recently. My walkjogging has become a nice hobby of mine – I always used to say “I wish I could run because I could get places so much faster.” I always was jealous of people who could run. Now I can! It’s amazing! I still have a lot of work to go, but one of these days I would like to run a 5K. New life goal.

I still feel like I look ridiculous jogging. Most of the time I wear yoga pants – so what, I only have one pair of running shorts. Also, I have that monstrous 1984 ipod to drag around. Ipod shuffle should hopefully ship soon, and I am going to buy some new running shorts/tanks/maybe shoes this weekend.

In other news, I have gotten to do a little shopping in the past few days (both in the mall and online). I had almost every credit card I own out on my desk this morning in an attempt to order this from Citibank Extra Cash rewards. All I wanted was this pretty purse. Everyone seems to have one of these satchel thingys, and based on my complete obsession with Michael Kors, I found this one to be perfectly suitable.

I have like $600 of “extra cash” to use. Said extra cash is a pain in the a$$ – you can’t use it for much of anything for “free”, you have to pay a significant portion of almost everything you buy, and everything you have to pay for, you must pay with your Citibank card. Now I don’t use this card anymore and don’t care to use it ever again for good reason. They changed my billing address without telling me (I am guessing they got my new address from USPS) and I tried for a good two days to order the purse, my card being declined each time. Prior to ordering the purse, I had to call customer service like 4 times. I finally got a hold of people there that spoke limited English and was able to find out my billng address was wrong and that’s why the card was being declined. They have “high security” and it has to be typed in exactly correct. So I pulled old billing statements to get exactly what my billing address was according to USPS postal standards. Eh. Declined again. Running around in circles on the phone with more people, I then discovered my billing address was now in NC. Purchase successful. This was exhausting and all happened post-coffee (thank God for that), pre-breakfast (PB&J english muffin nom nom).

I also ordered 4 years of Rachael Ray magazine thanks to this coupon from Coupon Divas. Do I like Rach that much? Not really, but she has good recipes and they are easily adaptable to be healthy. Also, each year was $4.49 and I have a magazine addiction. One day I will list the ones I subscribe to. This could take the remainder of the blog post, and I have more important things to talk about.

Like my new perfume. So I splurged? So sue me.

I need a “signature scent.” I have never stuck with one perfume long enough to have one. I also don’t wear it every day. Well people, things have changed.. whenever you smell Versace Bright Crystal, you will think of me! I had a Visa gift card from my apartment complex as my move-in gift… and I spent it on a gift for myself. I had been toying around with the idea of getting this perfume and just decided to go for it – the big bottle too! I found a few other scents I like (BCBG Max Azaria’s new perfume for one)… but I will get the rollerball version of that and save myself a few pennies. For air travel purposes, I need to get a sample of my Bright Crystal. Oh, the things I worry about… I don’t have expensive taste in clothes; however I have been blessed (cursed?) with expensive taste in handbags and accessories. Designer only please. Future suitors, all family members and friends, and other miscellaneous gift givers, take note. There is no faster way to my heart than a designer handbag (or sushi, or Subway breakfast for that matter… there, 3 tiers of gift giving ideas).

Speaking of travel – I am taking Amtrak home this weekend. We shall see how this goes – the last time I took Amtrak, I was with a friend and it was a long haul trip (Cary to Baltimore). This is a bit shorter but still could be interesting. The ticket was about the same as gas prices, and the beauty of mass transit is that I can do other things (read for school, read for fun.. nap… eat… drink… the list goes on). Perhaps I will have some good stories for Katie’s Pirate Booty. Until next time…