The Science Nerd

Frugal Living

Welcome to a new feature here at She Pinched my Penny called “Deal of the Day”.  Every day I will highlight a great deal that you should take advantage of.  Deals will range from clothes to electronics, baby items to pet gear.  Every day will be something different, so make sure you keep coming back to take advantage of these super deals.

Today’s bargain is on socks – New Balance Socks to be exact.  Joe’s New Balance Outlet has a 3 pack of Performance socks on sale for $5.49, which is half off the regular price of $10.99.  These socks are also eligible for the Buy 3 pair get the fourth free deal.  This means that you will get 12 pair of socks for $16.47.  This deal is only good today, so don’t wait!

If you decide to order more than $50, you can use the coupon code JNBOTIER to receive an additional $5 off your $50 order.  (This coupon expires today also.)

If you are in the market for socks, New Balance is a great brand.  Everyone at my house loves their New Balance socks.

Keep an eye out for future deals. A new one will be posted every day.

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Happy Black Friday!

November 26, 2010

I hope everyone had a great Black Friday, full of great deals and small crowds.  We usually don’t do a whole lot of after Thanksgiving shopping, but we try to at least find a few good deals.  This year was no exception.  We spent a few hours yesterday scouring the ads, not seeing much that we were interested in, but there were a few things that we wanted to try and get.

One place we wanted to go was Kohl’s.  We were interested in an immersion blender and some travel coffee mugs that were half off.  After finding our purchases, we decided to divide and conquer.  I was changed with waiting in line, which was fine with me.  As I waited, I pulled out my new toy – my HTC Desire phone.  A few days ago I downloaded a coupon app, so I immediately went there to see if there were any coupons available for purchases at Kohl’s.  Right away I found a 15% off my entire purchase.  Great!  It’s not much, but it’s savings I wasn’t expecting.

A few minutes later, the woman in line in front of me handed me a coupon for $10 off  my purchase.  As we were talking I mentioned that I was going to use her generous gift instead of my internet coupon because it worked out to more savings for me.  She got a glint in her eye and assured me that I would be able to use both coupons.

She was right!  At checkout, I saved $17 because of the Black Friday deals, $10 from the coupon, $3.50 from my internet coupon, (the cashier was able to just use his scanner on the screen of my phone) plus there was a $10 mail in rebate for the immersion blender.  So, my total spent out of pocket will be about $10 and I will have saved about $40.

I was thrilled to find the coupon on my phone.  And it was so easy.  The app is called “The Coupon App” and besides coupons, it also will give the lowest gas prices in the area.

I sometimes feel like it’s difficult to wade through all the sales and coupons to make sure I’m getting a good deal.  I do know that it gets easier and my confidence grows with every transaction.  I do hope I don’t lose my excitement when I do find a great deal.

Feel free to share your Black Friday deals in the comments!

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How Far Would You Go?

November 2, 2010

Deal or No Deal?

While at breakfast this morning, I indulged even further and got a copy of today’s paper.  It was worth the $0.50 to be able to sit and read while enjoying some coffee and waiting for my eggs, country ham and grits.

But I digress.  The point of my ramblings is that I read an article about college student, among others, that frequent the dumpsters of grocery stores in the middle of the night and come away with meat, pastries, bread and other foods that have been deemed “unsellable” by the store.

The girl that was interviewed said that the food she was able to recover was good quality, that the only thing wrong with it was that it was past the arbitrary sell by date.  She said that she had never gotten sick off any food picked out of the grocery dumpsters.

My question for you is, how far would you go to get a great deal?  Would you hop in a dumpster to get a high quality cut of meat that is a day past the sell by date?  Or is that crossing a line?  What about lying and telling a company that you didn’t like their product just to get a rebate?  (I know people that do it.)

Where is the line for you?

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It’s Sunday  morning and I had to make a quick run to Harris Teeter because we only had one egg.  Sunday morning breakfast is a tradition at our house – eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy and in the summer a fresh tomato.  So, it wouldn’t do to only have one egg.  I knew eggs were on sale at Harris Teeter – a dozen was only $0.97 with my e-Vic card.

I grabbed a few other coupons since I knew it was Super Double Coupon week and headed out.  After about 45 minutes of shopping here is what I left the store with

12 pack of Lemon Propel $5.49 ($8.99) on sale for $6.99  used $1.50 off catalina coupon (I though it was going to double, but missed the fine print way off to one side that said “Do Not Double”  It didn’t matter because this is something we drink a lot of, so I was happy for the coupon.)

4 boxes of Shredded Wheat Honey Nut cereal $1.00 each ($3.95) on sale 2/$4.00 used (2) $1.00/2 coupon (doubled to $2.00 each)

Blue Bunny Ice Cream $0.95 ($5.89) on sale BOGO used $1.00 off coupon

HT medium olives $1.19

Danimals Yogurt FREE ($2.79) on sale for $1.99 used $1.00 off coupon

Coffee Mate Creamer $3.00 ($4.19) on sale for $3.00

Plain M&M’s FREE ($0.89) used Free coupon I received in the mail

8 O’Clock Coffee $3.49 ($6.49) used $1.50 coupon

Sugar $2.49

Sobe Lifewater FREE ($1.69) used free coupon I got in the mail

Playtex Gentle Glide Tampons $2.19 ($5.19) used $1.50 off coupon

and finally……

eggs $0.97 (1.59)

Total Bill before coupons – $57.19

Total Paid – $24.71

Savings – $32.48 (57%)

Cumulative Savings – $141.09

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Great Harris Teeter Savings

September 8, 2010

I had probably my best shopping trip with coupons since I’ve started this journey.  Harris Teeter had some great BOGO sales that I was able to add some coupons too for even better savings.

Here is the rundown on what I was able to get today:

2 Grands Biscuits $0.70 each (BOGO sale used $0.30 off when you buy two [doubled to $0.60])

2 Shamrock Chocolate Milk  $0.25 each (on sale for $1.25 used $0.50 coupon [doubled to $1.00])

1 Better Than Eggs $0.99 (used $0.50 coupon [doubled to $1.00])

3 Kraft Cheese/2 Breakstone Sour Cream $0.80 each (cheese was on sale for $2 each and sour cream was 2/$3 used $5 off of 5 Kraft products)

2 Cheese Itz $1.69 each (BOGO sale used $0.50/2 coupon [doubled to $1.00])

1 Heluva Good Dip $1.79

1 HT Flour Tortilla $1.00 (BOGO sale got one for half off)

1 Kruncher Chips $1.49 (on sale for $2.99 used $0.75 coupon [doubled to $1.50])

1 Blue Dog Treats $0.50 (on sale for $3, BOGO used $1.00 coupon)

2 Froot Loops $0.97 each (BOGO, used $1.5/2 coupon)

2 Eight O’Clock Coffee $1.88 each (BOGO, used $2/2 coupon)

1 decaf Eight O’Clock Coffee $4.99 (used $1.50 coupon)

1 Hellmans Mayo $0.99 (BOGO, used $0.75 coupon [doubled to $1.50])

Total before Coupons –  $73.25

Total paid – $28.20

Total Savings – $45.05  (62%)

Cumulative Savings –  108.61

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Now or Later?

August 30, 2010

As I progress along the “coupon trail” I run into some questions that I just don’t think there is a good answer for.  The one I am struggling with now is a question of timing.  I have a Buy One Get One (BOGO) coupon for Head & Shoulders, which is a shampoo that I use, making it an even better deal.  So, my question is, when do I use the coupon?  Right now, Head & Shoulders is on sale at the grocery store for $4.99 (regularly $5.49).  The small bottles are on sale at WalMart for $3.79.  I haven’t priced it at any other stores, so I really don’t know where the best price is.  My fear is, if I use it too soon, will I miss a great sale?  Or, if I try to wait, do I risk paying the highest price, or worse, letting the coupon expire and getting nothing.

I think, in this instance, my best deal is to go get it from WalMart and hope that in the next few weeks before it expires that nothing better comes along.

I guess, like other things in life, it’s a gamble.  My deciding factor for using it now instead of waiting was that it is something that I will use no matter what.  So any savings I get are appreciated.  If it were an item that I probably wouldn’t use, or would just donate to the Food Bank or Women’s Shelter than I would wait and see if a better deal presented itself.

Does anyone else have good advice for this situation?

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Although I have been working on saving money at the grocery store by clipping coupons and buying things that are on sale, it’s not the only way we have been reducing our budget.  The other thing we have done, which started out almost accidentally was to cut out our trash service.

I decided that I wanted to start a compost pile.  It’s a green way to deal with fruit and vegetable trash and you end up with nutrient rich soil that you can use on the garden. So, I began composting any fruit or vegetable peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds and tea bags that used to go straight in the trash can.  I don’t compost meat scraps because that would attract critters and we have enough problems with raccoons and possums because of the cats that I certainly don’t want to encourage them any more.  Around the same time, we began a concerted effort to recycle aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles and any paper or cardboard.  Because these things weren’t going in the trash either, we found that we didn’t have to put our trash can at the curb every week.  In fact, it turned out to be every third week.  Not feeling that it was cost effective to pay almost $50 a month to have one trash can full of trash hauled away, we did away with our trash service and purchase three heavy duty trash can’s from the hardware store.

Now, we put all our trash in those cans, and when they are full we put them in the back of the truck and make a trip to the dump.  Sure it takes about 2 hours for the entire process, but our costs have been reduced to $5 for the load of trash and about $5 in gas.  And we don’t go every month, probably every other month.  What would have cost us $100 has been reduced to $10 and 2 hours of time.  For me, it is well worth the effort.

If you are looking for ways to decrease your budget, this might be something you want to try.   I know it won’t work for everyone, some people don’t want to have to deal with their trash, and that is OK.  But, if you take a hard look at your expenses, I’m sure you can find something that you can cut and not feel that you are depriving yourself.  Sometimes you just have to be creative.

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Spending Shift

July 16, 2010

I have been enjoying watching the deals pile up in my new coupon quest.  It’s fun to go to the store and pick up things that you know will be free.  The issue that I am seeing now is that I am able to get all these free things, but they aren’t things we will ever use.  And I’m happy to get them for free and donate them to the food bank, that isn’t a problem at all.  What I’m trying to do now is shift my spending and coupon thinking to include things I normally purchase.  Or shift my purchasing to the things I have coupons for.  Because it doesn’t really help the bottom line if I don’t see a reduction in my spending.  I feel good about donating things and am glad I have the know how to find those deals to help others, but an important part of this is reducing our food bills.

I did restock the kitchen yesterday and by using coupons and purchasing things on sale was able to cut just under $30 off the final bill, which is a 26% reduction.  And I’m happy with that, but my ultimate goal is to cut our food spending in half while eating a healthy balanced diet.  So, I need to make some shifts.  No longer can I just see what is available for free, neglecting whether it is something worthy of purchase.  Although I will continue to do this, it will not be my only focus.  I will have to look at the items that will cost some money, but with some good savings.

The goal now needs to be more of planning a menu around what we have and what is on sale and stockpiling things that we routinely use when they go on sale.  I would like to be able to get 4-5 Sunday coupon inserts each week in order to begin my stockpiling.   I know it won’t happen overnight, but with some thinking and planning I should be decreasing our food bills considerably.

I, of course, will keep track of my progress here.  Stay tuned.

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WalMart Deals

July 15, 2010

Yesterday was a heavy grocery day for me and I was able to get some good deals at Harris Teeter, but my best deals came from WalMart.  I only needed two items, but was able to get some things for free that I will donate to the Wilmington Food Bank.

Baby Corn – $1.27

Coffee Filters – $1.12

(3) 12 pack Schick Disposable razors – $1.97 each

Used (3) $2.00 off coupon –  FREE plus $0.03 overage

(2) Benadryl Itch relief Sticks – $2.28 each

Used (1) $5.00 of two Benadryl items – FREE plus $0.44 overage

Total Before Coupons – $13.86

Amount Paid – $2.86 (including tax)

Savings – $11.00

Cumulative Savings – $63.56

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Unexpectedly Free

July 9, 2010

I needed to pick up some cocktail sauce on my way home today since I forgot it at the store yesterday.  When I got to Harris Teeter I was able to find more $0.50 coupons for Vitamin Water.  When I got to the checkout, I noticed a $0.55 coupon on the cocktail sauce which was already BOGO.  Because I only got the one it was half off and I got to add the coupon.  It was an unexpected almost free trip to the store.

9 Vitamin Water – $1 each

Used (9) $0.50 coupon – $9.00

Cocktail Sauce – $2.45

Half price – $1.22

Used $0.55 coupon found on bottle – $1.10

Total Before Coupons – $11.80

Amount Paid – $0.48 (including tax)

Savings – $11.32

Cumulative Savings – $52.56

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