Welcome, Appreciation, and Dedication

Getting Started

Keys to couponing success...

Online Shopping

Tips for shopping online!

Spring Cleaning

How to get cash for things you already have in your closet!

Eating out for less

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Coupons: Where to Get Them

There are several ways to get coupons.

I usually get 1-2 newspapers a week and no I do not have a subscription because I can get them for free with rewards! For instance, tomorrow I will be getting 3 papers because I have CVS ECB's along with a coupon to put to use - also, tomorrow is the beginning of a new month and there will be 3 coupon inserts which means lots of savings.

My Deal:
Buy 3 - Richmond Times Dispatch ($2 each)
Total = $6
Use 25% off coupon***
Use $4 ECB (earned from previous post)
Pay only $0.50 for all 3 papers

(***Note: Be sure to register your email address with CVS to receive coupons for % off and $ off)

If you are just starting out and don't have any rewards to use, you still don't have to pay the $2 full price, Walgreens typically has them on sale for only $1.25 each :)No longer available at this price :(

In addition to the newspaper insert coupons, you can also find lots of printable coupons. The websites I frequent the most are:

Also, both CVS and Target offer both store coupons and manufacture coupons directly from their websites. The great thing about this is what is called "stacking" - For instance, if you have a Target coupon for a particular item and a manufacture coupon for the same item, you can use BOTH coupons for that one item for double the savings! You will see, this is one of the biggest reasons that CVS and Target are my favorite places to coupon - I have found that they are the most coupon friendly - whereas I have had difficulties with places like Walmart but don't let that discourage you from shopping there - each store is different but again please be sure to have a copy of each stores coupon policy in case you run into a difficult cashier who doesn't know the policy themselves. For example, on one shopping trip at Walmart, a cashier told me I could only use ONE internet coupon for my entire purchase, which is indeed not the case. So please be sure you are in the know about coupon policies before you head off to the store.

Again, you can receive great high value coupons from manufacture websites directly and by liking or following their Facebook and Twitter pages when they advertise a coupon is available.

You can also purchase large quantities of coupons from places like Ebay - I must mention that it is illegal to sell coupons themselves so what you will find are small costs for lots of coupons where the payment is for the person's time to find, clip, and mail you the coupons. You can also buy whole inserts from other sites and clipping services with a simple search for them on Google.

In some cases, coupons are also rewarded after your purchase in the form of a catalina - which we previously discussed. Which are usually triggered from just the history of items you frequently purchase thru the store's reward system.

Also, when shopping you'll want to look out for "peelies" - these are coupons that are directly attached, like a sticker, to the products in the store - sometimes you may even find Try Me Free peelies or tags which offer a rebate when you purchase that particular item. Simply follow the instructions and receive a check reimbursement from the manufacture.

A lot of times, manufactures will also include coupons for your next purchase inside the packing of the products that you purchase, so be sure to look at the package and any inserts before discarding them as they may be of value to you.

Last but not least, there are coupon swaps! One of my favorite bloggers, Tiffany, over at Young and Frugal in Virginia hosts local coupon swaps where you can bring in coupons that you have but don't plan on using and swap them with others that you would like in your coupon stockpile. Be sure to also bring your expired coupons, as military families can use them even after they have expired :) Please visit her blog for more information and other great savings.

Happy Couponing!

Couponing: My Shopping Trip

CVS 3/31/12

Today is the last day of this week's sales, so I decided to go ahead and take advantage of the Ragu and Skippy sale even though I have plenty of Ragu in my stockpile but I could use some peanut butter to go with all that jelly I got from Target a couple of weeks back.

First, you'll want to go to here: Unilever Coupons to print $7 in Unilever coupons which includes coupons for Skippy, Mayo, Ragu, Dove products, and more – Be sure you print each set of coupons twice

Note: With printable coupons you are only allowed to print each coupon twice before they cut you off but if you have access to multiple computers then you can get two from each computer and that's how people obtain so many coupons. You'll need three Ragu coupons for this deal so you will need a second computer 

My Deal:
Buy 3 – Ragu Pasta Sauces (3/$5)
Buy 2 – Skippy Peanut Butters (2/$5)
Total = $10
Use 3 - $0.50/1 Ragu coupons
Use 2 - $0.75/1 Skippy coupons
Pay $7 + Tax and receive $3 ECB*
Which is like paying $4 for all 5 items or $.80 each

Note: ECB = ExtraCare Bucks – these are rewarded to CVS customers who use their rewards card and buy qualifying purchases. ECBs can be used towards ANYTHING that you want once you have received them and are as good as cash

Sidenote: There is still time to get this deal if you have a 24 hr CVS around as these sales end tonight

 I received a total of $4 ECB back on this transcation - $3 for the advertised deal and another $1 for using my CVS green bag tag - which rewards you $1 ECB for every 4 times you use it :)

Photo credit: www.iheartcvs.com

You can purchase one of these from the counter for only $0.99 and it pays for itself in no time and just keeps giving! So make sure that if you are just beginning that you purchase at least one of these. I will show you in my next post how I plan to put these $4 ECB to use...stay tuned.

Couponing: Where I Got Started

New Year's Resolution

Save Money!!!

Today I realized that I have never followed thru on a New Years' Resolution until this year :( This year I vowed to save more money and I most certainly have! I've been so happy with the results that it makes up for all my previously failed resolutions :) 

My very first coupon mission....
 (Sidenote: I also resolved to lose a few pounds and let's just say I'm still working on that lol)

"Everything pictured here only cost me $15!!!!! (Yes! Only fifteen bucks! Total MSRP = $133) Starting the new year right, saving money and hopefully losing a few lbs. :)" 1/6/12

At my one month mark of couponing I gathered together all of my receipts to see how I did and I was beyond proud of myself...take a look at what I wrote...

"Just realized that today marks one month exactly that I've been "couponing" so I decided to tally up my savings and see how I did - it's hard to believe but I've purchased nearly $1000 in merchandise and saved about 82% by only spending $180 out of pocket (which includes three pairs of shoes which cost $180 regular retail by themselves!! :)) Once I can pull off a major grocery haul I can officially be crowned a "Coupon Queen" - Martin's get ready! :)" - 2/4/12

To date, I still have not tackled Martin's but then again I may not need to - Kroger has shown me just as much if not more in savings :)

I wanted to share with you some of my coupon adventures in hopes of inspiring you - you will be amazed at what you can do too...Enjoy!

In today's CVS shopping adventures, total spent = $24.06!!! Savings of $122
I pulled off big savings at Target, spent a mere $10.85 for everthing pictured, regular cost would have been a little over $62!
I just bought 10 boxes of cereal (and a bag of jelly beans :)) and paid only $2.90 + there is a $10 mail in rebate so I basically will make $7.10!!
Oh how I love couponing at CVS, after the sales, my coupons, and earned extra care bucks, my total comes out to $6.42! Regular retail would have been $116.18
Free beauty finds today with my coupons, I paid only $0.31 cents for all of these products :)
More weekend freebies, products valued at over $110, my cost after coupons, less than $2 bucks! Plus I just came home to a box full of P&G samples with a personalized booklet of more coupons :)
Today's Coupon Mission: What will $20 bucks get me? The results....
I had to take over the freezer at work for my stockpile of Smart Ones meals
My dentist is gonna love me, my pits will always be baby powder fresh, and I'll never have to ask to borrow a pen again lol all for just $2.18

Scored more great deals at CVS today - total cost out of pocket = about 10 bucks! AND I have $12 in CVS bucks to use!
Had a great couponing trip on my lunch break, I've been looking for a deal on the Crest strips which normally cost upwards of $50...I scored everything here for under $18!
Today's shopping trip cost me a whopping $0.10 cents for everything pictured plus I earned another 9 bucks in store credit :) Happy Super Bowl Sunday!
I was able to score 50% off on these items (Food Lion Closeout)
I scored all these items (valued at $85.65) for only $15.28!!!
Picked up a few couponers freebies today just so I could get out the house, spent $0.73 cents down from $17.95 :)
This week's FREEBIES! I'm getting sooooo good (we also got a bag of chips but those didn't last long enough to make it to the picture lol)
Spent a total of $13.74 for nearly $140 worth of products
Today I MADE $8.30 for buying this stuff (stiletto tape dispenser not included) - 2 cereals, 5 shave creams, 2 Slim Fast shake packs, 2 toothpastes and 1 pair of tweezers
Spent 53 cents on these items
More free and nearly free goodies, spent $4.42 for all these items, soooo excited because I found a Beyonce Red Loreal Infallible lip stick on clearance which is nearly $10 by itself :)
Total spent, after sales, coupons, and with tax included was $29.05
I have lots of toy coupons and just scored all of this for just $30, regular price = $115
Wow, I just got this Disney Princess Musical vanity set, originally priced at $89.99, for just $14.99!!
Unreal savings I just spent $8.04 for $349.57 of products at regular retail

Couponing: Getting Started

In order to be successful and minimize frustrations that may go along with the art of couponing, you must first be properly prepared.

Here are a list of items that you will need to get started:

A computer with internet connection – if you are reading this then you are on your way :)
A pair of scissors
A 3 ring binder of your choosing
A set of baseball card holders
A coupon wallet
A printer WITH INK! :)
A pack of printer paper
A composition notebook
A pen
A hole puncher
A tote bag
A binder zipper pouch

Take a look at my items - I never leave the house without my coupon bag :) and as you can see, I coupon fabulously in style! I just love my sparkly comp. book ($2 Food Lion close out) and designer binder ($3 clearance at OfficeMax), and check out my stiletto tape dispenser ($5 after 50% off coupon from OfficeMax) and black on black zebra print coupon wallet and pink tote bag (both $1 each  from Target) :)

Also, a lot of great coupons are given away by manufactures by simply “liking” their Facebook page or following them on Twitter. Signing up for these sites are both free and easy.

Tip: If you are extremely concerned with privacy – create dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages under an alias to use just for your couponing needs.

Most importantly, you will need to obtain rewards card for stores like CVS, Food Lion, RiteAid, Kroger, and Martin's – these are also free – just visit the customer service desk to sign up and be sure to use your card every single time you make a purchase and watch the savings and rewards rack up. Also, if you qualify, be sure to get a Target debit card linked to your checking account and use this card every time you make a purchase at Target to immediately save 5% at the register and the money comes directly from your checking account – how easy! Thanks Mom for this tip :) Please note that Walgreens has done away with the rewards card system and you need nothing but to make a purchase to automatically receive advertised rewards at the register. Their rewards print out in the form of a Catalina after your purchase.

What is a Catalina you may ask...well, I'm sure you have seen them but just didn't know the name for them because I sure didn't until I started couponing. Any who, these are the little machines at each stores registers that print rewards coupons after your purchase. See below examples from Walgreens, Target and Food Lion:

Also, you will want to go ahead and print a copy of each stores coupon policy to put in your binder for reference as each store's policies are different. These can be found at each companies' respective websites.

Here is a look of the contents inside my binder:
1) Binder Zipper Pouch - this is where I keep my clipped coupons that I have not yet sorted into the baseball card holders AKA me being lazy :)
2) Current weekly store Ads - I hole punch each of these and keep them in the front of my binder for easy reference
3) Table of Contents page - this sheet has helped me oraginze each coupon into categories to find them easily - I found a complete printable binder set here: http://www.passionforsavings.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Coupon-Binder-Category-Sheets.pdf Thanks to www.passionforsavings.com
4) Baseball card holders containing coupons as designated by the table of contents
5) Copies of each stores' coupon policies
6) Rebate information - I keep copies of every rebate I send off and have not yet had any problems with receiving my rebate checks as promised :)

Glowgirl Fibers

Spring Cleaning: How to Get Cash for Things in Your Closet

It's that time of year again...Spring! 

For a lot of us that means it's time for a good, thorough spring cleaning session - but don't just toss out those things you don't need or use anymore! There are a few ways you can get cash for these items easily. Here's how:

Consignment Shops:
My rule of thumb is if I haven't worn something during any of the four seasons of the year then I don't need it! Go thru your closet and see what all you could stand to get rid of that may just be taking up space. Places like Plato's Closet will gladly pay you cash for your gently used young men and women's clothing items, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and even items like DVDs. An associate will inspect your items, determine if they are sell-able, and make you an offer - which you may accept or decline - you might be surprised at how much you can get for some items but use your discretion as some items may be of more value to you then what they may offer and you may decide to keep it or sell it on your own - which I'll get into in a moment.

As a parent, another shop I just love is Once Upon a Child - they share the same concept as Plato's Closet except they are specifically for children, hence the name, which we know grow like weeds and outgrow or tire of old toys. Once Upon A Child will pay you for your gentle used children's items, including: clothing, shoes, toys, strollers, cribs, books, infant care items, etc.

Also, I like shops like Movie Stop where you can sell your used DVDs for trade-in credit where you  can find other used DVDs that interest you for a fraction of the cost of buying them new.

For more information, visit their websites:
Plato's Closet -  http://www.platosclosetrichmondva.com/
Once Upon A Child - http://www.onceuponachild.com/
Movie Stop - http://www.moviestop.com/

Craigslist is another great way to get cash for big ticket items that you want to get rid of - I have sold many items on Craigslist, including a washer and dryer, furniture, bassinets, strollers, toys, electronics, and games. It is free and easy to create posts and I have had nothing but good experiences. Some people are leery of sites like this but with all things in life, just use good judgement and common sense and you shouldn't have a problem - rule of thumb - always include in your post that you accept cash only - that way you can steer clear of being the recipient of any fraudulent checks - again, use common sense and be sure to include pictures of your item(s) for a better response.

Help Others In Need:
Please also remember to donate your unsold items to places like Goodwill or the Vietnam Veterans of America who pick up bagged donations right from your doorstep - lookout for mailers which will list the date they will pick up in your neighborhood and includes a convenient bag to fill. It couldn't be any simpler to donate instead of just throwing things away. Also keep an eye out for the donation drop boxes at a lot of places like Walmart and Food Lion - typically found at the back of their parking lots. Remember, any good deed, goes a long way :)

Welcome, Appreciation, and Dedication

Welcome to Fun, Fab, & Frugal!

I was inspired to create a blog to share my coupon adventures, as I like to call them, and inspire and help others learn to coupon too. Couponing has changed my whole lifestyle and I am grateful to those who I have learned from in the same way I hope to teach others. Many thanks to my favorite sites as follows:


The ladies who run these sites are truly amazing and I could never say thank you enough for the time and effort they put in everyday!

I dedicate this blog to my daughter, Jordyn Mechelle, the love of my life and the person who changed my whole world in ways I could never have imagined. I am truly thankful to have learned the skill of couponing, which has allowed me to do much more for her and I on a single mother's budget. She even likes to clip coupons with me, who could ask for more :)

This blog will be a little different from some of my favorites and have a more personal touch, I hope you enjoy and thank you for visting Fun, Fab, and Frugal - Where you can have fun couponing and learn to live fabulously frugal :)

Stay tuned for upcoming deals that you can score too and be ready to take notes!