Monday, February 21, 2011

FREE sample of Matrix Biolage Créme Masque

Click here to get a FREE sample of Matrix Biolage hydrathérapie Aqua Immersion Créme Masque, while supplies last!

Thanks, Hip2Save!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How I Shop: I Have Coupons, Now What? Part 1 Mindset

It has taken me about 6 months to start really understanding how to best utilize all of these coupons that I have been collecting!

Mindset has been the biggest struggle for me. I have been known to been know to bring home bargains that I didn't really need. Now with couponing, I am getting better because I have raised my standards on what I REALLY think is a good deal.

Here's what I mean: I used to go to a discount store (like Big Lots or Grocery Outlet) and think, "wow, that's a great deal!" However, those stores DON'T take coupons! Since I started my coupon adventure, I have learned that there were more deals (better deals) in the stores that I go to on a regular basis that DO take coupons and put items in my pantry for pennies on the dollar!

Twitter has been a great resource for my learning curve. I began following popular couponing "pros" like @thekrazycouponlady and right there in my twitter feed, were coupon match ups, and suggested shopping scenarios to help me maximize my savings! It really made my life so much easier!

Once I started finding the deals that they were posting about, I had to find the time to get to all of these stores to obtain the deals. Once I made this more of a challenge to myself to see how much money I could save, it became more of a field trip than a shopping trip. I have come to LOVE going to the various stores (some that I had not stepped foot in a LONG time because I THOUGHT they were too expensive).

There is a sort of "high" that you get when you are leaving the store with FREE or really cheap items (especially if they are items I use on a regular basis!).

I have learned some lessons along the way:

* Don't shop in a hurry! I always pay more!
* Don't buy just because you have a coupon! I've done that and I end up spending money on items I don't need which defies the purpose of me couponing!
* Work the sales! Once I got to a point where I wasn't always running out the door to "pick something up" (because I have a good base/Mini-stockpile). Now, I look at what I need, and look at the sale and try to buy more (for less!)
* Don't forget, you can stack coupons! It took me awhile to realize that I could use a store-specific coupon AND a manufacturer coupon to get an even better deal! Places like Target offer online store coupons that I print out and stack with the coupons I have clipped already! It's a great way to save even more!
* De keep an eye out for Clearance items and "Roll Back" (at Walmart) items! This is where I get some of my best deals because the item is not only on sale, but a rock bottom (hopefully) prices, and couple them with my coupons! I especially love this for items I wouldn't normally buy for myself at full price (Makeup, clothing, items I want to try).

Changing my mindset was definitely more than "half the battle" in becoming fully committed to being more frugal and fattening up my wallet!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

BOGO Sonic Burger Coupon!

Thanks, CouponDad for heads up on this one!

Sonic Drive Thru is offering a BOGO Sonic Burger Coupon good through February 28,2011. Good a participating locations.

Get your coupon here!

How I Shop: Stocking Up at Safeway!

I have been fielding a lot of questions from friends, family and readers about finding the best deals, couponing tips and just exactly "how do you do it?"

So, Im going to start a series of blog posts on "How I Shop". I have philosophies that work for me, so feel free to take what you like from it and apply it to your next shopping trip!

Safeway, is a place that I had avoided for a long, long time, as I was on a serious budget and my (mis)perception was that Safeway was one of the more expensive places to shop.

That was BEFORE I discovered the art of couponing AND the added services that Safeway has added to their club card system!

First, I highly recommend that you go online to and register your rewards card (or get one if you don't already have one). When you register your Rewards Card online, you have access to the "Just for U" benefits.

Once registered, you can save time (and money) by:
* adding manufacturers coupons exclusive to Safeway (just click and save)
* add club card reward offers (and Safeway coupons offered in their weekly ads)
* add PERSONALIZED deals Just For U!

Once all of your deals are added, you can print your list (which I highly recommend) or you can make it hard on yourself (like I do with no printer at home) and write a list of products in a notebook that I want to take advantage of.

I then attempt to do some coupon matching of clipped coupons I have at home prior to going shopping.

Once I'm organized, I move up and down the isles and check things off my list! All discounts are taken at the register).

Safeway is famous of their BOGO (buy one get one) offers. I LOVE THESE! You can use Manufacturers Coupons to reduce your price even more!

I especially love their BOGO Meat Sales! I have noticed them twice in the last 6 months. I have been able to save on more expensive cuts of meat and max packs (larger quantities) and been able to stock up my freezer! I budget an extra $100 for this trip, because that means I get $200 in meat (and yes, it actually does make a difference on the per lb price!). This saves me in the long run, because I don't have to budget weekly to buy meat.

Safeway is also known for their SUPER sales on and around holidays. Just recently I was able to get Nabisco snack crackers (Triscuits, Wheat Thins, and Cheeze-Its) for less thatn $1/ box! I took advantage of their sales, my personalized / club card deals, and my clipped coupons!

I stock up on deals where I know the sale price is (at minimum) 50% or more off of the retail price. Because stores are known for upping their prices before applying the sale price, so it just "appears" that it's a good deal. I have been getting REALLY good at eye-balling what things go for at all the other stores that I shop at, so I know comparatively, whether or not it's a good deal.

Hope fully this gives you a little insight into how I tackle (what I consider to be) one of the more complicated stores and how to maximize your savings!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Down and Dirty on Dishwasher Detergent! Don't Ditch Your Dishwasher Until You Read This!

So my hubby asked me recently "have you noticed our dishes don't seem to be getting as clean these days?" Not having to do much more than load the dishwasher (my lovely Mother In Law usually puts them away) I said "not really". And then he showed me a glass. YUCK! He said he had recently read that dish washing companies were changing their formulas because of a recent ban on the use of a particular additive that actually cleans the dishes!

Today, on a fun outing with the family, a close family friend said, "I ALMOST bought a new dishwasher this week." I said "Almost?" She said, "Yes, I was noticing that my dishes weren't getting clean and I thought something was wrong with my dishwasher. And then, I learned that they have removed the phosphates out of our dish washing detergent."

A light bulb went off in my head-- If SHE was considered replacing a PERFECTLY good dishwasher, for no good reason- all because of a change by the detergent companies, then HOW MANY OTHER people are thinking the same thing? Hence, the blog post!

It turns out that in July of last year, many states adopted a phosphate ban in dishwasher soaps! Phosphate, unbeknown to me, is the main cleaning agent in our trusty old detergent, and is apparently unhealthy for our environment (apparently it promotes algae growth).

Not all states have banned it (in fact my own state, California has not yet joined the ban). But the manufacturers of these products decided not to create just a "phosphate free" formula but decided to reformulate their products for all 50 states!

So, there you go! Don't go out and replace your dishwasher! It's not their fault! You can read the complete article here

Here are some tips for improving your "Clean Factor" despite the formula change in your detergent:

* Add a cap full or two of white vinegar to your load! That helps keep your glassware sqeeky clean!
* Use a Dishwasher Cleaner every 6 months
* Use a Water Softener
* Try adding some citric acid to your loads

Tell us your favorite "dish washing" tips! Just don't ditch your dishwasher!

Valentine's Day Freebies and Deals

Here are some great deals if you are celebrating Valentine's day on a budget!

Send a Valentine and a coupon for a free Pancake Puppies Sundae with any entree purchase at Denny’s ($2.00 value). Both you and your Valentine recipient will get the coupon that expires on March 21.

Get a free cookie with any purchase at Subway on Monday, February 14 at participating Subway restaurants. Be sure to PRINT your coupon here!

Here’s a coupon to Buy One Entree, Get One Entree Free at IHOP valid on Monday, February 14.

Regardless of where you go, celebrate with the ones you love!

Finish Powerball Quantum Automatic Dishwasher Detergent $.75 at Target

Today I wish I had extra coupons while I was at Target! Finish Powerball Quantum Automatic Dishwasher Detergent (10 count) were on sale for 2/$5. Normally, I wouldn't jump at this deal, however, I had two HIGH value coupons for this product! I had one for $1/1 and one $2.50/1 so COMBINED with the sale, I got them for $.75 each! LOVE IT!!

Walmart Finds 2/11/2011

I've been working on getting better and better at finding deals at my local stores. Yesterday's trip was to Walmart, where I had a coupon for EVERYTHING I bought!

I had some great finds! My husband loves the new Kraft Sandwich Shop Flavored Mayo. Walmart had them for $1.50 (regular price) and I used my .75 coupons/1 and got all 3 flavors for .75 each!

In the rice and pasta isle, I found more great deals! Healthy Harvest and Smart Taste pastas from Ronzoni were $1.08 on Rollback! I had $1 off coupons for the Smart Taste = .08 yes, that is EIGHT cents for each box! I had $1/2 so I got the others for $.58 a box- not too bad!

I then found Uncle Ben's Whole Grain Fast and Natural Rice with a Peelie! The price was $2.18. The Peelie was $.75/1 box and then I had a coupon for an additional $1.00= $.43!

In total with all of my coupons, I save $28.01! Enough for hubby and I to go out and enjoy an early Valentine's Day Dinner!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

20 Thoughtful Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Here are some great ideas from my client, Realtor Clif Hagstadt with Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, CA!

20 Thoughtful Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Give the gift of time- make a special effort to spend extra time with the person you love.

Make something- Organize your wife’s recipes into a folder or binder. Take a photo your wife or husband will love and matte it and put it in a frame for them to hang on the wall.

Take over your spouse’s chores for a day-or longer- Give your spouse a “day off” from the cooking, cleaning, or other regular chores. Or better yet, do them for a week. I would love it if my wife took out the trash for a week!

Give them free time- If you have children, offer to watch the kids for a whole day, letting them do whatever they want.

Go out to dinner early early- look for early bird specials, many restaurants offer them regularly, and even more do on Valentine’s day.

Go on out to dinner on another day- Although you may find some good dining deals on V-day, you could end up spending more on Valentine’s Day due to the huge crowds at some places, as it may limit your choices to somewhere more expensive. Consider going on another day.

Go out for a Valentine’s Day lunch- Lunch is almost always cheaper, so you can probably afford to go somewhere even nicer than you would have taken him or her for dinner for the same amount of money.

Go for a walk- Take your husband or wife for a romantic walk somewhere, and bring a bottle of wine.

Plan a picnic- Instead of going out to eat, pack a picnic lunch with some goodies and head out in the afternoon, skipping the dinner out all together.

Go out for drinks and appetizers- to cut back on the full course dinner expense.

Eat in- Another way to skip going out to dinner is to cook a gourmet meal at home.

Give coupons- Not grocery store coupons, of course! Give coupons for a massage, back rub, or other romantic ideas .

Breakfast in bed- Make your valentine a full course breakfast at home and serve it to them in bed.

Make your own card- Spend some time making a nice card, with a personal note written in it.

Pick your own flowers- Don’t take them from somewhere you shouldn’t, but if you have some in your yards, or a friendly neighbor’s yard, pick your own flowers.

Bake something- Bake your partner their favorite dessert or treat.

Write a poem- Write the love of your life a poem, describing how much the mean to you and why you love them.

Make a video, CD, or DVD compilation- My wife is always reminding me to download photos off the camera. Take those photos and put them on a CD or DVD, or take home videos and make a compilation. Or load their MP3 player with some of their favorite songs they don’t have on it yet.

Put together a gift basket- Put together a basket with your wife’s favorite soaps and lotions, or one full of golf accessories for your husband- or other items related to their interests or hobbies.

Take a day trip- Gas is fairly cheap, and if you have a romantic destination within driving distance of your house, such as a beach, the mountains, etc., you can make a day of it.

Courtesy of