Apr 192015

Did you know between all of our stores in Bloomington-Normal, we have multiple sales cycles?  Schnucks, Cub Foods, and Jewel runs Wednesday-Tuesday, Kroger runs Thursday-Wednesday, and Meijer, Walgreens and CVS all run Sunday-Saturday.   This means your best days to shop will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday because no matter where you shop, you’re hitting the stores during their current sales cycle!

I always suggest shopping during non-peak hours, so don’t do major shopping right after traditional work hours because it will be extremely busy.  Saturday, as well as Sunday after church, also tends to be a bit busier than during the week, but if you have your transactions planned, you’ll be in and out faster than most people who are browsing the aisles.

As crazy as it sounds, there is coupon etiquette!  If you have a lot of coupons, it’s always nice to let the person behind you know.  If they choose to stay and wait, that’s fine, but you won’t feel rushed (especially if you’re using a u-scan), and they know they may choose another lane if they are in a hurry!

Please never, ever clear the shelf.  If you are planning on making multiple purchases, and you want the entire shelf of product, please ask the grocery manager to place a special order for you. Most are happy to do it, and it allows individuals who aren’t wanting many items to still get in on the deal without the frustration of no stock.  The only exception to this request is if there are only a few on the shelf, and of course, you are entitled to take what you’d like.  But, if you want 30 of something, and there are 31 on the shelf, please do make the request to special order.

Be courteous to your cashier.  I can guarantee you will all run into the one person who is having a horrible day, and they will make it seem as if it’s your fault because you have coupons.  I’ve been there.  Often.  But, stay calm, and remember how much you’re saving! If you are organized when you reach the check-out, your transaction will be much smoother than someone who is digging around looking for coupons!  And, the nicer you are, and the more organized your system is, the more your cashier will love you for making it easier on them.  I promise!

Apr 122015

Using coupons is a great way to save money, but using coupons on sale products that also offer a manufacturer or store promotion is the ultimate budget crusher!

Previously, one of our local stores offered a variety of cereal for just $1.49 a box without any coupons!  This is an amazing deal for cereal that is normally over $3 each!  But, there was also a manufacturer promotion on selected Post cereal!  This great deal was found on the front page of the sales ad in our Sunday Pantagraph!  I’ve said it before, but having the actual ads to view is priceless!

If you bought four boxes of cocoa pebbles, your cost would be approximately $6.  But, for each four boxes purchased, you’d also receive a $3 catalina, which may be used like cash on your next order!  By combining the sale price with the manufacturer offer, your net cost becomes only 75¢ a box!!

When cereal is this low, it’s stock up time.  How much cereal does your household use in six to eight weeks?  That’s your magic number!  If your family eats two boxes of cereal a week, it makes sense to purchase 12 boxes at this price!  If you don’t, you’ll run out before the next sale, and have to buy at the current retail price set by the store!  And, for under $1, you can buy another box to donate to a family who needs a little help up!

Another great deal found previously was on Duncan Hines brownies!  They were on sale for $1.09, and in a Smart Source coupon insert in our local paper, there was a coupon for 50¢!  With the coupon doubled in value, the brownies became only 9¢ a box!

And, finally, a superb deal on body wash!  Nivea body wash was on sale for $4.88 a bottle.  With a store promotion offering $5 back when you spend $15, it became more interesting!  There was also a $1 coupon off each bottle in our local paper to utilize!  To reach $15, you’d need to purchase four bottles bringing your cost to $19.52.  I used four $1 coupons, and earned back $5!  Now my cost is only $10.52 for four bottles, or just $2.63 each!  With just a little planning, you’re saving nearly 50%!

By combining your coupons with sales, finding manufacturer and store promotions, and buying to give, you’ll soon love shopping!

Apr 052015

I’m often asked a lot of questions, and many are centered on multiple purchases, stockpiling and why there is a true need to buy in that manner versus buying individual items only when you need them.

Let’s talk toothpaste.  My family tends to go through more than others because my kids think it’s fun to squirt it in the sink!  So, when there’s a great deal, I always stock up!

Crest was on sale for $1.50 each.  There were 50¢ coupons available, and a 50¢ instant discount was given by the store when I bought each item.  Now, it’s 50¢ each instead of the regular $3 price tag.  If I buy six for $3, I’m spending what it would normally cost for one, but I’ll have five additional to use as we run low rather than having to run out at last minute buying something at full price.

With our mission of Using Coupons: Encouraging Hope, I am consistently looking for amazing deals I may share with families or organizations in need.  Recently, selected post cereals were on sale for $1.50 each, and I had $1/2 coupons to use.  Immediately, the cost is down to $1 a box, but there was also a manufacturer promotion as well!  In the end, for every six boxes (and a small bag of chips!) I bought, my total cost out of pocket was less than 10¢ each!!  I bought three cases, which is 36 boxes, and donated them all to Clare House.

Mentos Sugarless Gum was on sale for $1, and with 55¢ coupons from our Pantagraph, the gum was free.  (Schnucks doubles the value of each coupon up to 50¢, and anything from 51¢-99¢ becomes $1.) What do you do with 125 packs of gum?  I paid 69¢ in tax for it, so most was donated to my kiddos’ school for carnival prizes, and to teachers to give as prizes.

Using coupons has immense value, but sharing that value in the form of donations to those who need it is absolutely priceless.

Mar 302015

The Best Photo Book For Mother’s Day Gifts

There’s no better way to celebrate the important women in your life this Mother’s Day than with a beautiful photo book full of memories!

We’re all guilty of taking hundreds of pictures throughout the year but never printing them out to remind us of the magic moments spent with our loved ones.

Enter Montage, the best photo book choice for quickly and beautifully printing out your pictures in keepsake form. Montage photo books come in three sizes starting at $29, and they do all of the work for you. They automatically place your photos in the best layout, factoring in chronology, important moments, and picture quality, and then allow you to make adjustments where desired. The entire creation process takes less than 15 minutes, making it the best photo book for those of us who are crunched on time. The books come standard with an eco-friendly leather cover and premium lay-flat pages, guaranteeing you get a keepsake product that will last for years to come.

This is a mother’s day gift that is sure to keep on giving! Click here to create your perfect keepsake, and grab the free shipping offer!


Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”