Monday, August 31, 2009

It's a lot of stuff - and how to get it.

Here's all the stuff we got for $72.32. Total retail is $233.25. If I lived in the States, we would have paid less as I would have easier access to more coupons and doublers, but this is pretty good, too. :)

If you're thinking of starting to coupon shop in the States, here are a few of my favourite sites to get coupons from:

Here, here, here, here, here, and Target ones here, and here.
Click backspace after printing to get a 2nd coupon at the first 5 sites. :)

The secret to coupon shopping is not just to get coupons - it's to match up coupons and instore sales to get your items for the least amount possible. Sometimes it means getting the smallest size of item, my favourite one being the individual cereal cups. They usually retail for under a dollar, and you can use a $1 off coupon - to get it free. Mr.Smith brings these to work for breakfast everyday. As they say, cheap is good and Free is Better!

I find it impossible to figure out shopping deals without flyers, so being in Canada, it's hard to get US flyers for US stores. A great resource are coupon blogs that talk about sales and the best coupons to use to get the best deal. My favourites are:

There's probably a few more that I've forgotten or not listed. I check these quickly at least once a day. It doesn't need to take hours to clip coupons - and totally worth it.

Coming up this week: Scared to start coupon shopping? Nervous about the cashier's reaction at checkout? Then this post is for you - apost on coupon policies for some US and Canadian stores, and how to shop confidently having these on hand!

Coupon shopping in the USA - August edition.

The Smith family made a day trip out of a coupon shop day this weekend, and we headed out with lists in hand, and coupons ready to go. We hit Rite-Aid, Safeway, Target, Walmart and Walgreens this time around.
First up was Rite Aid.

I bought:
- 1 tube Colgate

- 1 box Tylenol

- 4 Trident gum packs

- 1 Hotwheels boys' hat

- 2 energy shot drinks

(The last 2 were Mr. Smith's purchases).

I paid $13.32 and will receive back $4 in Single Check Rebates (SCR) from Rite-Aid, making this purchase $9.32. If we hadn't added the hat and drink (impulse buys) it would have been $2.84. Watch out for impulse buys!

What are SCRs? Well, they are rebates provided by Rite Aid - when you purchase an eligible item, you get $ back. The good news is that you can use coupons along with the rebates, sometimes getting the items for free, or making money off it (Money Maker) - so you are getting paid to take the items home! To learn more, go here. I am waiting for last month's SCR cheque - I will be getting about $10 back. Woohoo! Not bad for 1 trip per month!

Total out of pocket: $13.32

SCR's: $4

Total saved: $10.70

Next was Safeway:

Safeway is having a great deal on cereal - buy 5 participating items and get $5 off immediately. Good news - coupons can be used along with this offer! So I mixed and matched and worked out which coupon to use with which cereal - came came away with this haul:

- 10 cereal boxes (Kelloggs and Kashi brands)

- 2 boxes Kashi snack crackers

- 4 Wishbone dressings

- 5 Nature Nut Crunch / clusters

- 2 Ball Park franks packages

After coupons and specials, I paid $19.55, and saved $57.78!!!! According to Safeway's receipt, it was a 75% savings. Yay!

The cereal cost me $0.50 - $1 per box. I will not have to buy any more cereal for a few months, plus will have a few extras to giveaway (upcoming post).

The Wishbone dressing was on sale for .99 and I had coupons for .75 off each, so they ended up being .24cents each. I stocked up on Russian dressing as I can't find Russian dressing in my local grocery stores anymore! (I use it to make Russian chicken... yum).

I would have gotten more cereal except they were sold out of a lot of the Kashi ones I wanted - a scenario I worked out would have netted me 5 boxes of cereal for $1.25 - that's total, not each!

Total out of pocket: $19.55

Total saved: $57.78

After lunch, we headed to Target:

Here's the Target list:

- 7 boxes Johnson's Buddies Soap

- 2 containers Johnson's Body Wash

- 12 individual cups Cheerios/HoneyNut cheerios

- 2 packs Kids Boost drinks

- 4 10-ct packs Bics pens

- 1 pack Sharpies highlighters

- 2 travel sized Wet Wipes

- 1 Aveeno lotion

- 2 trial sized All Laundry detergent

- 2 Kelloggs Cinnabons

- 2 Pepperidge Farms Goldfish packs

- 1 Axe bodywash

- 2 Dove deodorant

- 2 Gerber baby bottles

- 2 Betty Crocker fruit snacks

- 2 Transformers toy vehicles (not pictured)

- Renuzit lens cleaner
- 2 "5" gum packs

I had a Jedi of a cashier - she rocked, putting through my coupons and exclaiming,"this is the way to shop!" She couldn't believe how much I was saving and didn't give me any of the scowls or sighs that some cashiers are wont to do. Again, total was higher because Mr.Smith found some gum that I didn't have coupons for (but were a good price) and an Axe wash that I only had a $1 coupon for.

Total spent: $25.80

Total saved: $78.50!
Next up was Walgreens, where I messed up by forgetting to bring in the proper Tylenol coupons so only ended up getting 3 toothbrushes.

Did you catch the deal here? The toothbrushes are $1.59 regular price. I bought 3, and had 3 $1 off coupons making them $0.59 each. Walgreens then had an instore coupon for .40 off each making them .19 each. I paid $0.87 including tax for all 3.

Total out of pocket: $0.87

Total savings: $4.20
And lastly, Walmart.

I went with trepidation, having heard/read about Nazi cashiers at Walmart, but holding with the day's good run with cashiers, I had an amazing one. She even thanked me for being so organized with my coupons! I had to do 2 transactions as I messed up with the hotdogs, but it was an easy fix.

The Walmart list:
- milk
- 2 packages Pillsbury Grand Biscuits

- 4 Bar-S hotdogs

- 8 SOBE drinks

- 2 Dentek floss packages
- 1 Welch's grape jelly

- 1 girls' nylons
I had a $1 off the Pillsbury one so I thought I'd try it, as with the Welch's grape jelly, as I had a .75 coupon off that. I had a $1 off 2 Bar S products, and they were $1 each, so each hotdog package was $0.50 each! I used my BOGO coupons for Sobe, which were already on sale for $1 each, so each drink was $.50 each. Lastly, I had 2 $1 off Dentek products, making the floss $0.12 each! Milk was $2.18 - I usually buy mine for $3.50 or more here!

Total spent: $12.78.

Total savings: $9.75
Here are the final numbers:
Total trip out of pocket: $72.32

Total savings: $160.93!
Total savings towards debt this post: $80.46

Total savings towards debt so far: $147.69

Bonus: The customs officer waved us through at the border.

The day we tried to coupon shop.

Last Thursday, my sister, Little Miss Smith and I attempted to go coupon shopping in the States. I say "attempted" because just after we crossed the border and picked up my mail at a mailbox service, my 3 year old van's front axel gave up the ghost. As in, it broke and spewed ball bearings and grease all over the place. Loud, grinding, whirring noises scared the daylights out of us and lots of hysterical laughter ensued. As is the norm with my sister and I, hilarity and hysteria go hand in hand when we are together.

On top of that, my cellphone battery died. So my sister's cellphone saved the day. She barely uses the phone so the first time Mr. Smith called us back (after we had called him for help), we were both grooving to the music, when 5 seconds later she finally realized it was her phone ringing! More hysterical laughter. Hee hee.

Anyway, long story short, the towtruck came across the line to get me and the van back to a dealership in Canada, and Mr. Smith came to pick my sis and Little Miss Smith up.

My sis had taken the day off to observe my coupon shopping, and what did she get? A few hours in a car, lots of laughing, some Subway (mmmm roasted chicken sub), some ice cream, and some time in a dealership and rental car agency.

I'm thankful she was there with me though, as she kept me sane (and less panicked), and bought me ice cream. :)

We had extended warranty on the van so the only out of pocket expenses were the extra insurance on the rental car ($11), gas, and Mr. Smith's loss of wages (as he was working overtime).

Moral of story: Coupon shopping is meant to save you money, but be prepared, life throws you curveballs sometimes! And also, it's good to have a sister who buys you icecream. And a husband who will come pick you up, in a different country and all.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

We went to the Midnight Madness sale at Zellers yesterday, and used our "Try Me Free" coupons for new Glade Candles. They were $3.99 each but the item did not scan through, so the cashier just manually put it through and didn't charge us tax - so these were truly FREE! By the way, way to go, Ms. Cashier - you were awesome.

Go here to get your coupon - and get your free candles!

Total savings this post: $7.98
Total savings towards debt this post: $7.98
Total savings towards debt so far: $67.23

Socks stash.

Here are the photos from our Please Mum $5 coupon shop. We had 6 $5 coupons and you can only use 1 $5 coupon per transaction. We ended up with 14 pairs of socks and a pink hoodie for Little Miss Smith (not pictured). Some of the socks are for her and for Little Mr.Smith, but we did buy a few matching ones for my twin niece and nephew. These socks make me giggle!

The math for this buy will make your head spin. Let's just say there was Buy One, Get One half off's, and all $5 coupons were used.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Clothes from Happy Meals.

Little Miss Smith and I got away to the mall today and came home with 14 pairs of socks (some pairs were just over $1!!) and a hoodie, all from Please Mum, using Please Mum Bucks that we got from McDonald's. We did pay an out of pocket amount of about $35 (which included tax), which was something I hadn't meant to spend, but she was in need of another hoodie and in desperate need of socks, so I guess that balances it out. Some of the socks were for my niece and nephew and for Little Mr. Smith as well. Photos and coupon usage info coming tomorrow/Friday.

For a limited time only, you can get a $5 Please Mum buck with a Happy Meal purchase at participating McDs. I saw a sign at my local branch, but did not receive it when I purchased the meals for the kids (who were THRILLED to get the HM since we stopped getting them a while ago). I asked if the Bucks were still available, and the cashier handed them to me. I've heard some branches are only giving away 1 Please Mum Buck per transaction, but I got 1 for every Happy Meal we got. (Plus I got an extra one thrown in as a bonus the next time we went back with some friends). In total we got 6 $5 coupons, or $30!

Tomorrow I am taking the day off work to go and play/coupon shop in the States with my sister and Little Miss Smith. I've got all my coupons and lists prepared. Hopefully I won't steer too far off the list and only buy what I've planned on buying. I am stopping in at the scrapbook store Treasury of Memories in Bellingham, though... that could be difficult to restrain myself there. Oh, if only scrapbook stores gave out coupons regularly, lol.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting free clothes at McDonalds!

It's been a (good) long day, so I'm off to bed, but I'll be back tomorrow to share how I got free clothes from McDonald's this week!

SCJohnson coupons - and free candle!

Ohhh, this is a good printables set:

Try a Glad Scented Oil Candle Tin FREE
Save $2.00 on ANY glade product
Save $2.00 on ANY windex multi-surface product
B1G1 Pledge aerosol
Save $3.00 on ANY raid product
Save $2.00 on any 2 ziplocs
Save $5.00 on Scrubbing bubbles shower cleaner starter kit

Thanks, SmartCanucks, for the link!

Go here to get your coupons!

Free photos at Costco

You can get 8 5x7's free at by using code CWFEA817 at checkout. Also, when you open a new photo account, you can apparently get 25 free 4x6's. I'm going to get Mr.Smith to open an account to test this. Yay for free photo finishing!

PS Costco is also having a .10cent sale on 4x6 going on now. Perfect timing to get all the summer photos printed up and scrapbooked!

Monday, August 24, 2009

This was a successful Zellers shopping trip - done in 2 transactions. One was with a lovely cashier who had no troubles taking internet printed coupons, and another transaction was with a cashier who acted as though the coupon amounts were being deducted off her paycheque and who was quite obnoxious about it.

I had a few more Scrubbing Bubbles coupons so I got 6 more for free. Total savings: 6 packs x $3 = $18.

There was a display of Glade candles with a "Try it on Us" coupon tray, so we bought 2 - one for home and one for business. It cost us $10 per candle, but with the rebate coupon, Glade will refund us the money, making the candles free! Total savings: 2 candles x $10 = $20.

The Hannah Montana movie came out last week, and Walmart had it on for $18.49 (or so) for the first few days. I brought the flyer in to Zellers and they price matched it. Also, if you go to the Disney site and sign up for their newsletter you can get a $5 coupon off, which made the movie $13.49 each. Little Miss Smith was so happy to get her own copy of the movie (the other was a birthday gift for a friend). Total savings: 2 movies x $5 = $10.
Total savings this post: $48.
Total savings towards debt: $24.
Total savings towards debt so far: $50.

First coupon shops.

Last week, Scrubbing Bubbles were 2 for $6 at Zellers, and I had $3 off coupons, so I stocked up. I ended up with 6 sets, so ended up giving a few away. Total savings: 6 sets x $3 = $18.

You can also get a $2 off a Ziploc Evolve pack at They are $2.27 at the Walmart and Superstore near me, and $2.49 at Zellers, and $2.99 at London Drugs. For a few days it was $1.97 at the Superstore which meant you could get it for free. I managed to get one pack with some trouble (a post coming up on Superstore coupon policy soon) but got another pack at Zellers, which I gave to my mother. Total savings: 2 packs x $2 = $4.

I had a few $5 of Motrin coupons as well so I stocked up at Zellers. Each Motrin pack was $4.27 and the cashiers (I did it in 3 transactions) took the $5 coupons, so I ended up being PAID $0.73 per pack, to buy them! Total savings: 6 packs x $5 = $30. NOTE: I've since been told Zellers will not take a coupon with a higher value than the item being purchased.

Total coupon savings this post: $52.
Total savings towards debt: $26.

Extreme coupon'ing.

Over the last couple months I've started to coupon shop like never before. I've always used a coupon here and there, but had never had a systematic, organized and effective approach to it - before now. Now I am slightly obsessed with getting the best deal, learning the secrets and the tricks of the trade, so to speak. I know I'm just scratching the surface now, but I'm interested in seeing my household and grocery budgets get slashed. I'm interested to find out how to fill my cupboards without breaking the bank. I want to know how I can shop so I can bless others.

I call myself an extreme coupon shopper for a few reasons. First, I seem to be the only one in my circle who actively coupon shops (and talks about it). So I might seem extreme to my circle of friends in my shopping methods. I also cross the border from Canada to the USA about once a month to coupon shop. That's pretty extreme, wouldn't you say, going shopping in a different country to save a few dollars? And lastly, I'm extreme because I really am about saving money. You see, I'm challenging myself that for every dollar I save by using coupons, I will put 50% towards any outstanding debt (mortgage, cards, etc). Once debt is relieved, that money will go towards a savings account. This way, I am saving money AND paying off debt while getting more for less - now that's extreme!

This blog is a way for me to keep track, and also a way to share my journey. Thanks for joining me here. :)