Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hot deal - $5 Kohls coupon

If you sign for sales alerts at, you'll receive a $5 coupon off your next in-store purchase (offer valid on minimum purchase of $5). The coupon will take a couple of days to get delivered to your e-mail, but once you have it, go ahead and treat yourself! Kohls has plenty of stuff in store for under $5 - candles, moisturizers, bath salts...

How to Eat Out for Less

I love it when discounts are discounted! At you can pay $10 to purchase a $25 gift certificate for participating restaurants in your area. Well, right now you can access the site via for a coupon code, because they have a deal where you can purchase a $25 gift certificate for only $6!

Now you have no excuse for skipping out on date night! These make great gifts too.

Thanks Coupon Mom. Talk about a cheap date!

Read Mail From Your Credit Card Company Carefully

Every day, we’re bombarded with mail and most of us sort it over a trashcan, extracting items of interest and discarding the rest. Periodically, among the stack is a notice from your credit card company announcing changes in the agreement. If you have more than one card, you may become nonchalant, assuming they are increasing their late fee and you simply file it away with the statement.

I urge you to read these notices carefully!

Here’s why…A few months ago, I had diligently researched credit card rates online and signed up with a popular bank that was touted the best deal by consumer sites, offering a rate of 9.99%, an award program and no annual fees.

Recently, in an attempt to lower my bills, I grabbed my statement to double-check my rate. Lo and behold, the rate on the statement had jumped to 26.99%! After picking myself up from the floor, I wondered how on earth the rate had jumped so high. Had I accidentally paid late? Had I gone over the limit? I immediately contacted customer service and was informed that I had not paid late, but it was simply a “universal rate adjustment”, meaning that the rate had been adjusted for all customers, and that I had been notified 8 weeks ago of the adjustment by mail. I grabbed the folder where I stash all the statements and other correspondence, and there it was. I’ve attached a copy below, with personal information blacked out for security purposes.

It is absolutely unbelievable to me that these companies can get away with this. The letter makes no reference to the ridiculous rate hike, but rather conveniently distracts the consumer by not only placing an ad for DHL Express Shipping in the middle, but by enclosing a DHL flyer. The cardholder agreement fills the entire back of the letter in tiny size 6 font, and ¾ of the way down the page, in the middle of a paragraph, it outlines the new rate. I had to read the agreement three times to find it.

They thanked me for being a valued customer and offered to lower my rate to 19.99% just because I called. I offered to take my business elsewhere and never use this card again.

(click on the image to enlarge)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How to Save Big on Groceries at Kroger

Reading a local Kroger circular to find out what’s on sale is for amateurs. Want to use coupons like a real Affluent Pauper to save even more on your groceries?

Today I purchased the following items for a total of only $7.37:

2 Olay Bodywashes
3 packs Ballpark Franks
1 pack Sarah Lee Hot Dog Buns
1 Aussie Shampoo
1 Aussie Conditioner
2 Aussie styling gels
2 Oral B Toothbrushes
2 boxes of Barilla Pasta.

Regular retail on these items would have been $45.00. I paid $7.37. That is a savings of 86%. Take just a few minutes to go through the following steps, and you too are on your way to saving big:

  1. Buy a bundle of 2 newspapers every Sunday for the coupons.

  2. Go to and sign up for the P&G eSaver program. Once you’re in the eSaver site, you can log in monthly and pre-load e-coupons to your Kroger card. The eSaver program offers significant discounts. For example, this week, Olay Bodywash is on sale for 2/$7 (usually $3.99). You think “hmmm… $3.50 each – good price, and if I use my $1 off 2 coupon that I got in the newspaper, the lotion will only be $3”. Well, before you head out to the store, sign up for the eSaver program and load the “buy one get one free” Olay e-coupon to your Kroger card and pay only $1.25 for the item (the first product will scan at $3.50, the second item scans as free and then once you’ve applied your $1 coupon, you’ve ended up with two bodywashes for $2.50). You can use pre-loaded e-coupons in conjunction with coupons that you have clipped from your newspaper. Is registering on the site worth a few minutes of your time? I think so! The eSaver site has many other coupons.

  3. On the Kroger site, also sign up for Uniliver’s “Making Life Better with eCoupons” which will load your card with, you guessed it, coupons for Unilever products.

  4. Go to and register your Kroger card. More e-coupons you can pre-load on to your Kroger card.

  5. Use the 2008 Entertainment Book coupons to get additional savings. Buy any 2008 Entertainment Book today for only $9.99. Plus, discounted shipping! I have one book at home and one in each car so I can have plenty of coupons on hand for each shopping trip.

      $5 off any purchase of $50 or more
      from now until Oct 31
      10% off any purchase of $30 or more in May
      10% off any purchase of $40 or more in June
      15% off any purchase of $50 or more in July
      $5 off any purchase of $60 or more in August
      $5 off any purchase of $75 or more in September
      $5 off any purchase of $25 or more in October

  6. Kroger has a promo thru July 31st on gift cards. Purchase a $300, $600 or $1200 grocery card and they will add 10% to your card. So if your budget permits, you can use your pre-paid gift card to purchase both groceries and gas. According to Kroger, the free 10% that Kroger gives you can only be spent on groceries (e.g. if you purchase a $300 gift card, Kroger will load it with $330. You can pump $300 worth of gas, but the other $30 must be spent on groceries).

Things to keep in mind…

For pre-loaded e-coupons, you can usually use only use one coupon for each item per month, they do not double and it takes at least an hour for the coupons to become active on your Kroger card.

When you’re using the self-checkout, pre-loaded coupons won’t show up until you press the “pay” button. If they don’t appear after you’ve hit the “pay” button, let the associate know. On my first trip, I had items in my cart for which I had pre-loaded coupons, but when I went to check out, it didn’t give me the discounts. Unfortunately, most sales associates aren’t familiar with the e-coupon programs (even though they’re on their website). It turns out that the Kroger site had technical difficulties the day I signed up. So I left the items behind and had to go back the next day when my card was working.

How to keep track of the loaded coupons? I keep track of what pre-loaded coupons I have by loading all the coupons, printing a shopping list from the site, labeling it “Kroger pre-loaded coupons” and keeping it in my coupon file. If I purchase an item off the list, I cross it off, so I know that I no longer have a pre-loaded coupon for it.

That’s how you can save big with coupons at Kroger!

Monday, May 5, 2008

FREE Dairy Products and Coupons

Yes, you can get your organic milk at a discount!

Check out the following sites for organic and non-organic dairy product coupons:
Click on “coupons” for misc. coupons for yogurt, milk, smoothies, ice cream
Coupon for free yogurt
$1 off coupons
$1 off coupons (milk, cheese, butter)
Coupon for free kids yogurt
$1 off Yo Plus yogurt
Click on “print coupons” for various coupons
Coupon for free silk soymilk

Friday, May 2, 2008

Why I love CVS

If you have a CVS drug store near you and you don’t have a free CVS card in your wallet, you are doing yourself a great disservice. You can get LOTS of free stuff at this store.This morning I went to CVS and purchased the above items. Regular retail is $42.73. I paid $16.78 by taking advantage of sales and using 6 coupons from my local paper totaling $25 ($1 for each of the dental products and $20 off the One Touch). No, I don’t have diabetes, it will go to charity. Upon paying $16.78, I got $20.74 back in coupons for my next purchase (yes, you read that right – I got coupons back for more than I paid).

The key is to take advantage of the CVS “Extra Bucks” program (or for those in the know, “ECB”). What this means is that when you purchase a product eligible for Extra Bucks, upon paying for the item and showing your CVS card, an instant coupon will print out for dollars off your next purchase. Additionally, you get other quarterly cash back incentives. When I go to CVS, I only purchase items that are eligible for Extra Bucks.

With my new coupons in hand, I reached in to my cart and pulled out some more items as you can see below:

My total was $22.99 (retail: $26.25). For these items, I paid using my $20.74 of extra care bucks and gave the cashier and additional $2.25 in cash. Upon receiving my receipt, I got coupons for $21.76 towards my next shopping trip.

Yes, today I paid a total of $19.03 and have $21.76 to use towards my next shopping trip. It literally pays to shop at CVS!

Below are the ECBs I took advantage of today:

- Aquafresh toothpaste: Pay $2.99 (or if you have a $1 off coupon, $1.99) – get a $2.99 coupon back
- Colgate 360 toothbrush: Pay $3.99 ($2.99 with a $1 coupon) – get a $3.99 coupon
- CVS non-drowsy allergy relief: Pay $3.99 – get a $3.99 coupon
- Adidas Action 3 deodorant: Pay $3.79 – get a $3.79 coupon
- Bic Soleil Razor or cartridges: Pay $4.99 (or $3.99 with a $2 coupon) – get a $3 coupon

You may wonder how a store can stay in business with so many people using coupons and rebates. But that’s the thing – the general population doesn’t take the time to take advantage of coupons and rebates, so these deals are reserved for the smart shoppers who choose to take advantage of them.

Your local CVS store has both a weekly and a monthly flyer that outlines their ECB and other sale items (the flyer is also in the newspaper, so you can make a shopping list before you go). If you really want to maximize your savings, buy your local newspaper each week for the coupons, pick up the monthly flyer in the store and use a report such as The Grocery Game or Coupon Mom which will match up what coupons are available for each product.

Happy bargain-hunting!

Note: When you get your CVS Extra Bucks coupons, they have an expiration date and you must use them by the expiration date. You also also must present your CVS card to the cashier when using the coupons (this prevents coupon fraud).

Thursday, May 1, 2008

How Brand Loyal Are You?

Do you swear by Bounty paper towels? Do you think that Swiffer is the only brand that will get your floor clean?

Well I did.

I truly believed that Aquafresh Extreme Clean was the only toothpaste that gave me that long-lasting, minty, fresh feeling. I bought Tide, and my brand loyalty was based not out of preference for the product, but simply out of habit. And yes, that Bounty “Quilted Picker Upper” jingle is still stuck in my head and for years I had thought that it was the only brand that could be rinsed and re-used.

I didn’t realize how brand loyal I was until I became a more conscientious shopper. I started to notice what was on sale and what coupons I could use to get amazing bargains on products. This opened my eyes to the possibility that other products might be able to do the same job, if not better. Switching brands to take advantage of a discount has caused me to do something I would not have taken the time to do otherwise.

What brands do you use on a regular basis? Do you use them because they truly are the best? Do you use them because perhaps five years ago you established that the product was cheaper than other products on the market and you haven’t taken the time to go back and compare prices?

As you can see by my other postings, I get a lot of items for free on a regular basis. It pays to be open-minded to other brands. So check to see what’s on sale this week at your store and use your coupons accordingly to sample new products.

Would you try a new brand of paper towels if you could pick up a roll for 25c rather than $1.50? Would you try a different brand of toothpaste if it was free? My guess is, you’ll be amazed at how fresh your breath feels when the toothpaste is free!