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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Torani Flavored Syrups

As a member of SheSpeaks I was given the opportunity to try some Torani flavored Syrups. I'd tried Torani before but never relized how many differnt flavors there are! Torani has 122 flavors now, you can see them on their website They even have some sugar free varieties. I like that I can use the syrups to flavor so many different things, not just coffee. Their great in tea or even just a glass of milk. I recently tried the pumpkin pie flavor and I'm in love with it. When i opened the bottle it smelled so good and in my coffee it's excellent! If you'd like to try it here's a code for 10% off your online purchase SheSpeaksbutton enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vicks Nature Fusion

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Friday, May 13, 2011


There are several reasons people choose to stockpile, but the one I'd like to focus on is taking advantage of the best price.

Sales, and coupons, have cycles. In the summer months when more people are out camping, grilling and picnicking items needed for these activities will be on sale. You'll also find coupons to pair with those sales.

Great! This means you can get all your BBQ sauce, ketchup and mustard super cheap in the summer months! But what happens when you start craving BBQ chicken in December? Do you go out and pay full price for BBQ sauce? Not if you have a stockpile.

Stockpiling requires some planning and thinking ahead. I'll give you some suggestions.

Learn the sales cycles

You can type sales cycles into Google and get all kinds of info but I'll give you basic list.

January will have sales for diet foods, yogurt and 100 calorie packs because people make New Year Resolutions to loose weight, chips, dips, cheese, and soda for those super bowl parties, chili soup and cold meds cause it's deary and cold, and household cleaning products.
February features sales for Chinese New Year - Asian foods, heart health month - low cholesterol, Valentine's Day - chocolate, steaks, 'romantic food', and since it's national canned food month, expect sales on those too.
March is frozen foods month so expect lots of good deals on frozen items. You'll also start to see spring cleaning products. Around St. Patrick's Day expect to see corned beef, and potatoes on sale.
Whichever month Easter falls in, March or April, you'll find deals on Ham, eggs, food coloring, holiday baking, and holiday foods like stuffing mix, rolls, and veggies.
offers sales of organic foods around Earth Day and batteries around Daylight Savings Time
May has sales for Cinco de Mayo - taco kits, chips and salsa, Mother's day, - baking supplies, premade cakes and cookies, and the beginning of summer grilling season. BBQ sauce, mustard, ketchup, but also salad dressing, hot dogs, buns, ground beef, brats, and ribs. Also look for paper plates and plastic cutlery.
June continues he summer sales but it's also Dairy Month so look for good deals on cheese, yogurt and ice cream.
In July we still have those summer sales and now the back to school sales start. Look for deals on breakfast cereals and pop tarts as well as items for the lunch box.
August also has back to school foods on sale. School supplies and disinfectant wipes and tissues are on sale now too.
September is National Diabetes Awareness Month so look for low carb foods. Look also for canned tomatoes and pasta sauce deals.
October begins baking season. Look for great buys on candy, carmel, melting chocolate, cookie mix, popcorn, dried fruit, and pumpkins and apples.
November continues the baking sales but is the start of the holiday dinner foods sales. Look for deals on turkey and ham, side items, potatoes, gravy, butter, and rolls. It's also Peanut Month so look for great buys on peanut butter.
In December baking season climaxes, holiday foods, and party foods - deli trays, cheeses, crackers, go on sale.

Decide how much your family needs of the items you want to stockpile

My family doesn't eat a lot of cold breakfast cereal. If I stock up and buy 30 boxes we probably won't use it before it goes bad. Even if I only pay 10 cents a box, it's not a good deal if it spoils.

Set a price point

Decide what the best price is and what you'd be willing to pay as a stock up price. if BBQ sauce is on sale for $1.10 and I have a $0.50/1 coupons that will double I only pay $0.10 a bottle and I stock up. Mayo is on sale for $2.99. I have a $0.40/1 coupon that will double so my final price would be $2.09. That's not a comfortable stock up price for me. I'll wait for a better deal. If you already have a stockpile of items you use a lot it's easy to pass up an OK deal and wait for a great one.

Decide what you have room to store

Sure 15 free boxes of cereal is great, until you have to store them in the trunk of your car because there is no more room in the hose. Set aside a climate controlled area to store your stock. Also be conscious of freezer space. A lot of items can be stored in the freezer to increase their shelf life but if you have so much bread in the freezer you can't fit them items your family uses every day that's a problem.

Rotate your stock

This is extremely important! Spoiled food doesn't save you any money. So when you bring home 4 cans of kidney beans to add to your stock place them behind the beans already there. Always use older items first. First in, first out.

An organized stockpile is a happy stockpile

When you're organized it's easy to follow the first in, first out rule. You can see what you have plenty of and what you might think about restocking soon, You'll also notice if bugs or rodents find your stock, especially helpful if you're storing in the garage.

Be careful trying new things

If you find a great deal on a product you've never tried before consider just buying one, taking it home and trying it out before you commit to a large purchase. If you don't like it you'll be glad your didn't buy 15 jars of it.

A stockpile is a work in progress

No one starts out with a huge stock. Pick up 4 bottles of ketchup here, 2 bottles of juice there, a box of lasagna noodles and 5 cans of diced tomatoes another day. Slow and steady wins the race.

Use it!

A stockpile is meant to be used. You need to use items from it as you go along to keep things from spoiling and to make room for future great deals. If you're just gathering items to gather that's more of a hoarding behavior.

I hope this post encourages you to start your own stockpile of the items and in the sizes that work best for you and your family.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Decoding Bar Codes

I was going to write a post on the anatomy of a coupon (I will soon) but I've become distracted by TLC's Extreme Couponing. In case you've been living under a rock with those dudes in the Geico commercial you can read my post here.

In one of the first episodes of the show one of the "stars" seems to use coupons intended fro one item for another related item, I'm not going to go into the 5 Ws and H. If you want the story it's all over the Internet tubes, blogs, and even You Tube.

What I wanted to write about was the correct usage of coupons in general. You can go back and read my coupon etiquette post if you'd like but what I wanted to address here is the way one would figure out what items are covered my each coupon. There are 3 ways I'll mention.

First, most simple and what the majority of inexperienced couponers use is the "Look at the Pretty Picture Method". That's when a person looks at the item pictured on the coupon, jumps to a conclusion about it's possible usage, and buys only the item pictured even if the coupon's text doesn't limit you to a certain size or type. Manufacturers count on people using this method and so put pictures of the largest or newest of their products on the coupon.

Unfortunately many cashiers also use this method. If you're familiar with the second method of coupon deciphering you can use it to explain your coupon and get your intended deal.

The second method is called "Read the Frickin' Coupon" AKA RTFM (ah gaming terms, how I miss them). This method requires you o read not just the SAVE $2.00 but also the smaller text. Check for size restrictions, or lack thereof, and quantities needed to purchase.

An example of the merits of this method: You have a coupon which reads "$2.00 off your meat purchase when you buy Product X" You also have a coupon good for $1.00 off your purchase of Product X. If product X is pictured on both coupons a cashier might hesitate to allow you to use both and you'll need to sue method two to explain that one coupon goes toward Product X one coupon goes toward your meat purchase.

Side Note: It is always preferred that you calmly but firmly explain using method two rather than smacking the cashier. I know it's hard sometimes but try.

Now method Three. This method involves decoding the UPC and it's the controversial one. The UPC and the numbers underneath is tell what the coupons is for, how much to take off and how many should be purchased. The problem begins when people learn to decode the numbers and use this knowledge for evil as that Extreme Couponer is accused of having done.

I debated explaining this here and have decided that since the info is freely available if you know where to look I would go ahead with it. Hopefully you'll read the truth and make an intelligent decision about what you will and will not do. Sorta like Sex Ed. Teach the kid at home in a safe environment where you can share your values, or let them be misinformed out on the street. So here we go . . .

There are 12 numbers under the bar code of a coupon. The first number the Coupon NSC tells the scanner if it should double the coupon. 5 = double 9 = Do not double.

The next five numbers are the Company identifier. Each item of that brand will have the same code and this number matches on the coupon and the bar code of item itself.

The next three numbers are the value code, this code tells the register about size and type restrictions. A zero in this group of numbers is a wild card. If you ave a coupon that say "Save $1.00 on any of our products" you'll see three zeros in this group of numbers.

This is also the section of the code that can allow it to be used incorrectly. Some coupons intended for use of one product will sometimes work for another product in the same product family. People discover that a coupon intended for $2.00 off a more expensive product can be used for a cheaper product making it free or very cheap.

Just because it may work that way doesn't make it right. Some will tell you it's coupon fraud and illegal. I'm going to tell you that I think it's wrong, you shouldn't do it and many stores are updating their scanners not to fall for it anyway.

But one of the reasons I'm explaining this is checking this number can warn you that the coupon will beep at the register and allow you to be prepared to use Method Two with the cashier. If the number is 992, 001, or 000 then you can be pretty sure the coupon will beep and the cashier will have to input information into the register.

The next two numbers are the value code. This code tells the register how many you should have bought and how much to take off the total. Every combination from Buy 3 get $1.00 off to $0.50 off 1 to Buy one get one free is represented by a two digit code. If you'd like to see the chart listed what each code represents check here.

The last digit is a check sum and doesn't really matter much to humans. A secondary set of number sometimes follows, these included info for the stores and clearinghouses and don't really affect consumers. Occasionally this second set of numbers includes a 4 digit date code (MMYY) that gives the expiration date.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The most talked about subject among couponers right now,

Extreme Couponing is a new series on TLC that follows along with some crazy ass extreme couponers on their shopping trips. It started as an hour long "documentary" in late 2010 and got such a response (mostly outrage from the couponers, shock and awe from the normal folks) that TLC decided to make it into a series.

For me, it's like watching a train wreck. I want to look away but I just can't. A lot of the couponers I've spoken with lately are concerned that showing someone using 37 coupons for the same product in the same trip will cause manufacturers to stop issuing coupons. Personally, I'm inclined to believe that the manufacturers are not that stupid. They know we're using coupons and they know we're trying to get the best deal out there. They also know we're buying their product (and hopefully encouraging our friends to as well) and that's all they really care about.

Another of the perceived problems with the show is the apparent ease of couponing. Each episode features someone getting an amazing haul for a minuscule fee. While I know it's possible, have done it a few times myself, I also know that such trips are few and far between and when they do come along there is a lot of work involved in taking advantage of them.

Extreme Couponing glosses over this bit. Sure they mention at the beginning of the episode that it took Suzy 8 hours to prepare for the trip but what people remember is her dancing out of the store with $800 in groceries for only $8.00.

These people then come to us expecting to be able to do the same thing and they're not pleased to find out that it takes some work. As I've said before - If it was easy everyone would do it.

Some of these people are willing to learn and put forth the effort and I'm more than happy to help them in any way. But some are determined to find loop holes and look for the easy way out which is the subject of my next post.

See ya there.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Bzz on Glade Plugins Scented Oil

I was given a sample of Glade Plugins Scented Oil to try and I wanted to share my opinion with ya'll.

In case you don't know, I live with four cats and a stinky dog. That's not counting the smells my people family create, stinky shoes, cooking smells, cigars. I'm always a little skeptical of air fresheners because they never seem to last or make any noticeable long term difference.

I decided to give the Glade Plugins a chance, next time I was in the store I picked up an oil warmer. When I came home I snapped the oils into the warmer and turned it on high. It has three settings. I was pleasantly surprised when it filled the room with scent, and even more pleasantly surprised 45 minutes later when i got a burst of a new scent.

The Glade Plugins Scented Oil Warmer alternates scents every 45 minutes and will provide fragrance for 60 days if you have it on the low setting (which I do now).

The Lasting Impression Oil warmer starter kit comes in two scent choices, Hawaiian Breeze and Vanilla Passion Fruit or the one I'm using, Clean Linen and Sunny Days.

I've been using it for 2 weeks now, I still catch whiffs of the scents and my house smells wonderful when I walk through the front door!

If you'd like a coupon for $3.00 off one Glade Plugins Scented Oil Lasting Impressions oil warmer starter kit or coupons for scented oil refills, let me know. (Limited amount to go around). Click the pic above to print one.

I love Spring!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Bzz on Scrubbing BubblesToliet Cleaner Gel

I was given a Sample of Scrubbing Bubbles Toliet Cleaning Gel and asked to try it out.

Fist I have to say I've always loved those little scrubbing bubbles guys! They are too cute!

We have a real problem with lime scale buildup on our toilets. It looks disgusting but unless you scrub every day it comes back. I don't like to clean, I don't scrub every day. As the Scrubbing Bubbles would say "EWWWWWWWWW"

When I received the toilet cleaning gel sample I immediately cleaned both our toilets and stamped a gel disc in the bowl. It fits right up under the rim so you can't see it. Every time you flush a little of the wonderful blue glob dissolves releasing a fresh scent and cleaning the toilet.

Each disc, that's the preferred name for the wonderful blue glob, lasts up to a week, depending on how often the toilet is used and flushed. It's super easy to stamp on with the included dispenser (which has 6 discs) and comes in three scents, Fresh Clean, Fresh Mountain Morning, and Citrus.

If you like your toilet to be cleaned every time someone flushes, go get yourself a Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel Kit and flush away.

If you'd like a coupon I have some available, limited quantities.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Philadelphia Cooking Creme

Kraft has a new product, it's called Philadelphia Cooking Creme. If you like to cook with cream cheese, I highly recommend it!

It's a little thinner than the bricks of cream cheese so there's no bothering with softening it. It just spoons right out of the container into your food. Right now that are four flavors, Original, Santa Fe, Savory Garlic, and Italian Cheese and Herb.

If you want to give it a try you can visit Kraft First Taste and sign up. You'll either get the option to request a coupon via snail mail for a free container or the option to print a $1.50/1 off coupon. (if you have a Harris Teeter nearby that's having super doubles, and you use the $1.50 off coupon, it would be free.) also has a $1.50/1 coupon available right now that you are allowed to print twice per computer.

If you like to cook with cream cheese or even if you're just looking for something interesting to smear on your bagel I hope you check it out!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Harris Teeter Super Doubles

I took John to Harris Teeter with me last night for super doubles (coupons up to $1.98 double). He's been shopping with me when I used coupons before but never to an event like HT, he doesn't like crowds.

I went on Friday night because my store tends to restock then for Saturday shoppers and I hoped something that were out of stock Thursday would be back on the shelves. Philadelphia's new cooking creme, for example (it was, I bought four :P).

When we got to the register with my cart load of stuff he said "How much do you think you're going to spend?" I told him it would probably be about $4.00 with tax, but then I remembered I had a couple of extra cooking cremes and that would bump it up a little. I told him it would be around $6.00. He scoffed.

My turn at the register came and he watched the total go up and up. When everything was scanned it was $76.00 and John gave me a little 'told ya so smirk' then I handed over my VIC card and coupons and we watched as the total went down down down.

I ended up paying a little over seven dollars. A bit more than I planned but still awesome for a cart load of things we needed.

As we walked to the car John was shaking his head, he couldn't believe we'd saved that much. I reminded him that he'd seen previous HT grocery hauls and I'd told him the small amounts I spent on them and wondered why he was so shocked now. I guess you just have to see somethings in person to believe them :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Well, I never. . .

When I first joined Hot Coupon World almost 4 years ago I was a couponing newbie and in reading all those posts there where somethings I said I'd never do. Some, I thought were just plain crazy, some I thought I wouldn't ever be capable of but I find myself doing several of these things now. I thought I'd share.

1. I'll never use a coupon binder.

I thought I'd never have access to enough coupons to need such a thing, never thought I'd be so organized or that I'd be brave enough to take it into the store with me! But now? I couldn't function without the blasted thing! It not only goes to the store with me, but pretty much everywhere else too! I never know when I'm going to stumbled onto an unexpected deal or want to share a coupon with a friend.
The binder is stuffed to the point of not closing properly and honestly I need to expand. As soon as I find a deal on pages I'll divide my current binder into two. One food and one non food. Actually I need to get a better handle on my tradeable coupons too, so I'd really like to have three binders!

2. I'll never have target prices.

In those early days of forum lurking I saw people post that they only bought X item if it was less that $X.xx. "That's crazy!" I thought. I'll never be at a place where I'm saying something is too expensive to buy right now!
*raises hand*
I'm guilty. I know it's on sale and there is a coupon for it, but it will be frozen foods month in a couple of weeks, the sale will be better and the coupon will still be good and who pays more than $X.xx for frozen veg anyway?!

3. I'll never be brave enough to stand up to the cashier if he/she challenges one of my coupons!

When I expect my bill to be $7.00 and it totals $25.00 you better believe I'm going to be finding out why. There is no reason to be rude but I will be firm. For example, recently I piggybacked two coupons:

coupon one - $2.00 off produce when you buy product X
coupon two - $0.75 off Product X

Even though there is a picture of product X on coupon one, coupon one is actually for $$ off produce, not product X so there is no reason both shouldn't be valid. But coupon two beeped, the cashier glanced at it, saw the picture and refused to accept it. I politely explained how the coupon was worded, she took a closer look and ending up accepting it. Coupons beep for no good reason sometimes and you have to know what your coupons are for and be prepared to stand up for yourself and explain the deal.

4. I'll never take more than one blinkie, booklet, or tearpad.

Taking more than one (or taking one at all if I wasn't going to use it that trip) felt like stealing at first. I got over that pretty fast. I don't take them all and I don't take more than I think I'll use or trade but I do take more than one these days.
PS I'm also taking those catalinas people walk off and leave at the self checkout line.

5. I'll never trade coupons, it's too complicated!

And I'll never have enough coupons to trade anyway. Yeah, not even gonna write a paragraph about that one. It's not as complicated as it looks.

6. I'll never have the guts to contact a company and ask for coupons. What if they turn me down?

This one got blown outta the water pretty fast too. In the last month and a half I've contacted over 300 companies/brands. The majority have sent coupons and some of those have been for free products. So what if they say no? I'm not going to be embarrassed. I'll never meet these people in person. It doesn't hurt to ask.

7. I'll never go to more than one grocery store in one day (or make more than one trip during the sale) to do my shopping.

Yeah, that ones gone too. I don't mind going to several places or going to a store several times as long as the deal outweighs the price of gas or I happen to be driving by anyway.

8. It doesn't matter how many coupons the store takes per trip. I'll never reach that number anyway.

Um, yeah, sure I won't. That would be why I have to go back several times during the sale :P

I guess I've learned to never say never. But I'm never going to be able to keep all those drug store rolling deals straight!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Piggybacking and Stacking coupons

If you really want to get the most bang for your buck you'll want to learn about these two techniques.

Stacking is using a manufacturer's coupon and a store coupon at the same time. The majority of stores will allow you to do this but double check your stores coupon policy to make sure.

Of course you're going to need to know the difference between manufacturer's coupons and store coupons.

The insert coupons in the Sunday paper are almost all manufacturer's coupons. When you contact a company and they mail coupons they'll be manufacturer's coupons. Often the booklets, blinkies and tear pads in stores are manufacturer's coupons but sometime they're store coupons so be sure to double check. Most coupons are manufacturer's coupons. Manufacturer's coupons will always say "Manufacturer's Coupon" or "mfr coupon" usually it's near the top by the expiration date but it an be anywhere on the coupon.

Store coupons can come in the mail from the store, be printed from their website, or picked up in the store. They sometimes show up in the Sunday paper inserts too. A store coupon will say "Store Coupon" or it may name the store "Target Coupon" for example. A lot of the time these will also have the store's logo printed on the coupon, but don't assume it's a store coupon just because there is a logo. Sometimes manufacturer's will limit the use of their coupons to certain stores so read the fine print.

So if you have a manufacturer's coupon for 50 cents off toothpaste and a store coupon for 50 cents off the same toothpaste you can use both and save $1.00.

Piggybacking is another way to use more than one coupon and it's my favorite way to coupon. Piggybacking requires some strategy and strategy is my favorite couponing tool!

Let's say you have a coupon for John's BBQ sauce and you have a coupon that says "$1.00 off your meat purchase when you buy John's BBQ sauce" you can use both and save on the John's BBQ sauce and the meat.

Sometimes these coupons confuse the register/cashier and be sure you're buying the required items and be prepared to explain the deal if the cashier has a question about it.