Stock Piles

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To stock or not to stock? What a laborious task which could take months or years to accomplish.

A couple of days ago during a small gathering in our home, someone asked me the following question; “So, how big is your stock pile”? It took me a few seconds to process the question … I wanted to give the best yet most honest answer. “First of all, I think it sounds like a dirty pick up line. Secondly, don’t assume all couponers create a “stock pile” no offense to those who do.” The answer shocked him, “You mean to tell me your garage is not full of crap, I mean stuff”. He laughed, I didn’t. We had a long conversation regarding this topic which led me to question my relatives and friends before blogging about it.

Apparently, some believe all couponers are extreme therefore we “must” all have “stocks and stocks” or “piles and piles” of mustard, toilet paper, mouthwash, laundry detergent etc… Here are some of the top thoughts or questions I gathered from some of them:

  • “Why wipe out a store’s shelf?”
  • “Why buy 15 bottles of anything?”
  • “Do you have shelves in your kid’s rooms?”
  • “How packed is your garage”

These questions lead me to wonder… Does a person who collects shoes, cards, video games, coins, stamps, instruments etc… be asked the same questions? Would you assume everyone and anyone who collects or stores certain item/s has infinite shelves of these items in their home? For an example; Would a video game collector be asked if his garage is full of crap too? Or a card collector be asked if his kids rooms are filled with shelves?

While there are different levels of couponing, there are also unique levels of re-stocking, collecting, reserving or storing. The most important factor would be how you ask the question and why you are asking the question. What about a little less sarcasm and more comprehension?

Everyone is different in their needs, mine are to pay less on my grocery purchases. I don’t need to buy three years worth of items when another sale cycle will hit every three to six months. Yes, my pantry might look a little different from others but not by much. A few more cans of pasta, canned vegetables, soups, condiments and snacks can be seen.  My hair products will be more a few than others not crazy amounts but enough to share one or two. I still leave room in my home for we are still a young family and hopefully soon another pet might be needed in the household.

Who knows… I still have my eye on a piglet.

Teeny Freebie #171

Hi All.

I am very excited to present this month’s Teeny Freebie! I am giving away “You Having A Baby” book to anyone who is expecting, knows someone who is or just had a baby.

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The rules are very easy, please read below:

  1. Visit me on twitter at @ModestCouponer
  2. Reply with one comment only
  3. One entry per person (U.S.A. only)

You have until 9:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) today to submit your entry. After that, two (2) winners will be selected and will be posted via twitter.

 

*** The book is written by Mehmet C. Oz, MD (aka Dr. Oz) and Michael F. Roizen, MD. It contains a BONUS pull-out 40 Week Planning Calendar! The book is full of advice on food choices and physical activity for every stage of the pregnancy. Also, there are some illustrations that are very informative and cute.

Hibiscus Love

My hibiscus bush is coming into full bloom and so is my excitement. These flowers are dear to my heart since they remind me of my childhood. My grandmother had a beautiful tall bush in the backyard and during blooming season it was the most gorgeous thing you could ever imagine.

Hibiscus is a bushy annual plant. Parts of the flower are used to make a popular sweet and tart drink in Mexico called “Agua de Jamaica”. It produces the most deepest burgundy red fragrant drink you can think of.

In other countries as well as Mexico; various parts of the plant are used to make spices, sauces or flavoring.  Other uses would be to add color to a drink, food or craft project. A very popular use for the Hibiscus flower is in tea or to make medicine. I love it in tea, it creates an amazing work or art in a glass that is both satisfying to see, smell and drink. The aroma is somewhat potent but subtle, strangely, it relaxes you.

Researchers state Hibiscus may also be used for colds, inflammation, stomach irritation, laxative and an aid for treating loss of appetite.

All of this may be achieved with this beautiful pinkish, red flower.  Sometimes the best things in life are right in front of our eyes… or either the front or back yard. Now that you know a bit more about this amazing flower, would you value it more?

 

**This summer I will include the recipe to make “Agua de Jamaica” which compliments any summer BBQ.

A Family Meal Under $8.65

Let me explain a bit how much I love family dinners. We are a small family yet we strive to sit together for dinner every night. To unite us after a long day of work or school. There are times when we are not able to do so and it’s usually when one of the kids has a game or practice.

My husband and I have been committed to evolve our food preparation and cooking. Sometimes it works and at others it does not. The main idea is that we TRY.

Our family likes gardening. Currently, we have some leafy greens; spinach and butter lettuce. A couple of potato plants, four tomato plants, two bell pepper plants. Three of our six broccoli plants are thriving, the other three not so much. The sugar peas did not make it this year but we are hopeful for our newly planted cucumbers.

Today, the plan for dinner is Pizza and salad with homemade ranch. For dessert we will be having spiced mango. I am paring this meal with some sun tea – we love sun tea.

I will be cooking two of the four DiGiorno (family sized) pizzas I bought last month for $2.50 each at Rite Aid. The salad will include fresh spinach, butter lettuce, green frills, broccoli florets and tomatoes – all from our garden! My husband makes homemade ranch with our daughter; they make it perfect every time.  This week I was able to purchase mango’s at Raley’s for $.77 each so, I bought six of them.  We spice up our mango with Tajin (a Mexican company that produces several varieties of condiments). We buy the “Salsa en Polvo” a seasoning powder which contains peppers, salt and dehydrated lime juice.  We add this seasoning on everything from fruit to vegetables! The main reason our kids love Tajin is, it gives it a hint of spiciness without the burning.

The total for this meal which will serve my family of four is under $8.65. An average of $2.16 per meal. Usually, we have left over pizza, so the kids have it as a snack the next day. Definitely worth the effort both in couponing and gardening! Hope your dinner is as enjoyable as ours!

**We purchased the greens at $1.25 each plant – we have had over 6 meals out of them. The homemade ranch lasts us about two weeks and averages $0.44 cents per bottle.

Moneymaker at Target!

Happy Monday all! Don’t know how you like to start the week but I like to start it off by making some money! Unfortunately that does not happen all the time but today I was able to score an awesome deal at Target. So, I decided to take a quick shopping run during my lunch break. After all, Target is just 5 minutes away from my office and I have a full hour to browse some unadvertised deals to incorporate in my shopping list for later in the week.

On this trip, the following items were purchased:

  1. 4 Bush’s Best Beans 16 oz cans ($.99 each) =$3.96
  2. 1 Whole Earth Sweetener 40 packets =$3.19
  3. and 1 Zico Coconut Water 16.9 oz bottle =$1.79

Grand total was $8.94 before tax. The following coupons were used for the transaction:

  1. 2 Manufacture coupons for the Bush’s beans at $1.00 off of 2
  2. 1 Manufacturer coupon used for the Whole Earth sweetener at $1.50
  3. 1 Manufacture coupon was used for the Zico coconut water at $1.00
  4. 30% off Whole Earth Target Cartwheel app $0.96
  5. 20% off the Zico coconut water  Target Cartwheel app $0.36

Total out-of-pocket paid was $3.12. Remember, it does not include tax. After leaving the store I quickly submitted the following rebates (or else I forget):

  1. $1.50 on the Whole Earth Sweetener – Ibotta
  2. $0.25 on Any item receipt – Ibotta
  3. $4.00 on 4 Bush’s Beans ($1.00 each) – Checkout51

I made $2.63! How cool, exciting, tedious and fun! The most rewarding for me is realizing these items will be used, very soon. In my future; I see Turkey Chili on our menu… As for the sweetener; it will be staying at work to be used with my coffee. I love coffee!

This was an awesome trip. My husband is going to love hearing me explain in detail step-by-step about my transaction (wink, wink). *Will keep you posted on his thoughts about this. Anyway, that was my start of the week. How was yours?

***P.S. or F.Y.I

Aside from the numbers shown above, I also used my Target Card which saves me 5% at checkout (-$0.15). Another 5 cents were deducted from my transaction for using a reusable bag. The 20 cents savings almost covered my taxes of 24 cents.

A Brief Friendly Chat

When I first started couponing; I made a numerous amounts of mistakes. Heck, still do but I am alright with that.  There were times when I felt uncomfortable to this new “gig” similar to when you start a new job or activity with absolutely no training or direction. Other times thinking who would I go for help or assistance. Who will be my “wing man or wing women” on shopping trips. Then realization sunk in; if I can’t do it alone then I won’t be able to do it at all! That was my push; must do it alone!

In the beginning, I did not purchase the Sunday paper. My shopping trips consisted of minimal items purchased at Safeway and Raley’s (close to home). These two stores offer digital coupons accessible through computers, tables or smart phones. These coupons may be “clipped” to your loyalty cards and are automatically calculated at the time of checkout… when you use your card! This was a super tool making it more comfortable without the need of cutting. It was an easy task for me to accomplish comparing prices at both stores while determining which one of the two had the best deals. It was low-key, very simple to follow. The #1 reason: not overwhelming! This allowed me to become familiar with the stores, coupon restrictions, store policies and location of products through-out the stores.

There are times when oversights are made; errors and miscalculations are still a part of my shopping. For instance, when coupons were left in my car leaving me to pay full price for all items, or when I handed my coupons to the cashier only to find out some had expired. Or the time when… you get my point. The feeling of embarrassment and ignorance were felt quite a few times. Oh, still remember as if it was yesterday… wait… It was yesterday when shopping at Target; forgot to show my Cartwheel app. Darn! These blunders help me understand I am not perfect but I am totally satisfied with it, gradually, mistakes are less being made.

My realization after almost a year of couponing shows one rarely will comment or talk about the flaws that come with it.  For example; a transaction gone wrong, empty shelves, forgetting coupons, being yelled “you’re taking long with your coupons, lady!” Yes, that happened! Yes, I felt stupid, mad, insulted, mortified and uncomfortable. I applaud those that “all” of their transactions are perfect but I am here to tell you that no matter how well prepared, things will come up. We live in a world where not every cashier smiles and high fives you on your savings. Not everyone is waiting patiently behind the line for you to complete your transaction. Or when your kids keep playing that loud annoying sound on their new toy or game you just purchased (making you wonder why you bought something making you so vexatious).

This gave me another decision to communicate the good, the bad, ugly and sad. A form and way to express my thoughts, troubles and tribulations. Some might see it as a form of rant. I would call it a brief friendly chat!

A Superfluous Purchase

Good Morning all! I went shopping to CVS last week and found a couple of awesome deals. This store had a current promotion on… you guessed it, shampoo! Anyhow, still a great deal but don’t mention it to the hubby. His last comment was “DO NOT buy anymore shampoo, we are GOOD!” Oh, the struggles of married life!

Let’s get back on track. Here is what my purchase looks like: Bought 2 Schwarzkopf Gliss Repair Shampoos and 2 Stylers, all at $5.99 each (normally $6.99 in my local store). This was my only transaction planned but saw the Poise Impressa kit at 75% off from $5.99, so, bought this item too. At checkout; I used two manufacturer coupons for a Buy One Get One Free Gliss Product. Although, I had a coupon for the Poise product in my car… I was too lazy to go get it (so far)! Regardless, this deal would be a “Moneymaker” after pairing it with my Ibotta rebate.

My total out-of-pocket for this transaction was $13.47. It does not include tax (we pay taxes on almost everything here in the lovely state of CALIFORNIA). Due to the purchase of Gliss products, I received $7.00 in Extrabucks from CVS. Secondly, I submitted for a $2.00 Ibotta rebate on the Poise Impressa. Honestly, the rebate was the only reason why this item was purchased at $1.49.  “My” breakdown looks like this:

  •  $13.47    Total paid out-of-pocket
  • -$7.00      Extrabucks received
  • -$2.00      Ibotta Rebate
  • -$5.99      Mail in Rebate for 1 free product
  • Total: -$1.52

Crazy coupon lingo for this transaction is “Moneymaker”. Basically it means I made $1.52 for purchasing these two products! Yes, I made money out of this transaction, crazy right! Yay for coupons!

Well, let’s look at it in a different, more realistic view. I carefully analyze this strategy in a way yet feel the need to clarify this is just my point of view and do not mean to insult anyone out there with a different opinion. Let’s see here:

  1. Paid for hair products I DO NOT need
  2. Paid for an item I WILL NOT use (Poise Impressa)
  3. Extrabucks are for a FUTURE purchase
  4. Ibotta rebates can only be cashed out only after reaching $20.00
  5. Mail in rebates take approximately 4-6 weeks to arrive

Clearly you see where my frustration comes in…  Seems irrelevant to me. I am not calling this purchase a “Moneymaker” yet, I might do so when my mail in rebate arrives… four weeks from now. Gladly, I often give excess to my family but most of all, I donate. A lot! So, at times, it’s worth it for me, the time spent clipping, matching, researching and shopping makes it possible for me to donate more than what I could in the past.

More importantly; was this a necessary purchase for me? No, of course not. It does highlight where it could get oneself to observing it as a “moneymaker” aspect. Realistically, I could see this trip as a waste of time and money; that is where I need to balance myself and determine reasonably why this purchase would actually matter and more so if it’s worthwhile.