Cereal mayhem

February 22, 2012

So last year there was a Kellogg’s cereal rebate – $10 wyb 10 select Kellogg’s cereals. You could send in up to 5 rebates. It ended at the end of the year, and I had bought enough for a 3rd rebate but missed the cutoff mail in date. Bummer! A few weeks later, I threw the UPCs in my recycle.

A few days later, I saw a posting on a blog about a NEW rebate. It was basically the exact same one, just a different expiration date and some of the cereal choices were different. Luckily, I hadn’t yet taken the recycle out and was able to fish out that envelope with the UPCs and send it in at the beginning of February. Yay! Some of that cereal had been specifically bought for that rebate and I would have wasted money.  This new rebate expires 3/31/12 and so far I had sent in for only 1 of the 5. Good Kellogg’s coupons are scarce to come by so I was just biding my time for the right sale and promo and coupon combination to come along. I don’t need ANY cereal, so any I would buy would be for donation to coworkers so I wanted to make sure that if I did any more rebates, it would be make it so that the cereal was free (or a moneymaker).

This weekend there were 2 great printables that came out and I managed to snag: A $5/5 ANY Kellogg’s cereals and a $4/4 of select size and varieties of Kellogg’s (select varieties are those in the rebate yay!). Now to match with a great sale.

At Fred Meyer this week selected Kellogg’s cereals are 50% off! This includes Raisin Bran, one of the rebate varieties. Sadly, the size of Raisin Bran does not match the $4/4 coupon so I will be holding onto those. I’m hopeful for an even better sale to use those on! Many of the boxes of Raisin Bran were marked as having $5 in coupons inside of them. One of the coupons inside is $1 off ANY eggs wyb ANY 2 Kellogg’s cereals. Here’s what I did:
(10) Raisin Bran 25.5oz – $1.99ea (all have the coupons inside!)
(4) Dozen store brand eggs – (2) $1.19, (2) $1.49 (they only had 2 of the cheaper medium eggs and I didn’t feel like splitting the transaction and coming back another day)
used (2) $5/5 Kellogg’s printables
used (2) $1 off eggs wyb 3 Kellogg’s (yes I popped 2 of the boxes open – opened at the bottom, they were not inside the cereal bag itself)
used (2) $1 off eggs wyb 2 Kellogg’s (these came in boxes of Fiber Plus in a similar packet –  Great Days – several months ago and I’ve been holding them for the next good Kellogg’s sale – exp 3/31)
Paid: $11.26
I will submit for the Kellogg’s rebate here: $10 Kellogg’s Gas Rewards Card rebate – only the Raisin Bran is currently eligible from the FM sale this week
After rebate I will have paid $1.26 for 10 boxes of cereal and 4 dozen eggs. Awesome!!! (Now I have nearly 8 dozen eggs in the fridge – eek! I’m finishing up the 4 dozen that I bought at Fred Meyer for super cheap using overage from Snapware a month or so ago. And I REALLY wish I hadn’t bought 2 dozen at FM about 3 weeks ago for $1.33/doz. That’s a fairly lousy price and i don’t know what I was thinking.  These 4 are 0.32/ea!!! Thankfully eggs stay good for a lonnngg time and I will have to make a point of eating them more. HB eggs for snacks and in salads!)

I also stopped in again at the local Petrosa’s grocery
Spent $3.80
(4) Bananas – 0.27
Huge bunch of broccoli crowns – $0.91
(2) Zucchini – $1.63
80z package mushrooms – 0.99

I love this store!!


So Rite Aid does a lot of promos. In January they did a “resolutions rewards” where when you spent $100 in participating products, you earned a $20 UPR. There are dozens of products on the list. I didn’t really try for it and only made about $50. I probably could have gotten it without any or much out of pocket (OOP) cost if I had tried from the beginning, but it wasn’t worth it by the time I was really aware of it at the end of the month.

Surprise surpise, they did it again in February! A new list of products but the same deal….spend $100, get a $2o UPR. This time around, I looked through the deals with an eye towards getting this UPR. But I didn’t want to break my previous rule about only buying items that are entirely free, a moneymaker, or something I will actually use and need that is still not much OOP.

We’re 3 weeks into the 4 week promo and I already have earned $93 towards my $100! See the rundown:

Here’s my tally so far. Prices are after tax, and after all UPR & SCR earned.

Week 1:
(2) Stayfree – 0.43MM
(1) Abreva – 8.76
OOP: 8.83 (I didn’t have any previous ups to apply)
Leftover: (2) $2 UPR, (1) $2 SCR
Total to winter reward: $20

Week 2:
(4) Thermacare + (1) Optic White – $13.33 MM (after Pfizer rebate)
(4) Snickers eggs – $1MM
(2) Haribo gummy raspberries – $1.16
(1) Pot-of-gold – $0.99 (The winter reward says Valentine’s candy are excluded but judging by my total, this must have been included in the winter reward!)
OOP: $15.97 (used $4 UPR from week one)
Leftover: (2) $4 UPR, (1) 1.75 UPR, (1) $10 UPR, (1) $2 UPR, submit $10 UPR for Pfizer
Total to winter reward: $54

Week 3:
(4) Colgate toothpaste + (5) Colgate toothbrushes – $4.04 MM
OOP: $12.21 (used $2, $10, and $1.75 UPR from week two. I need to call customer service about getting my 2 $4 UPR from the thermacare)
Leftover: (4) $3.50 UPR, (4) $1.50 UPR, (1) $10 UPR.
Total to winter reward: $80

Total OOP so far: $37.01
Total actual cost after UPR/rebates: $7.89 moneymaker!

Initially the $3.50 UPR x 4 from the toothpaste didn’t print on my receipt, so had them returned and bought them over again. Weirdly, it  counted them twice for the winter rewards total. I figured when you returned something with your card, it would subtract it from the total, but not so far. It might do so the next time I’m at the store though, sometimes it takes a bit to process. I’m not going to work too hard to correct it, as I have had issues every single week with UPR not printing. I have to call customer service about 3 different weeks of shopping to have UPR credited to me that are missing. So far, I am NOT impressed by the new load2card feature where the UPR are supposedly loaded automatically….there’s been nothing but errors so far.

I need to call about:
1.29 Johnson & Johnson promo – missing $5 UPR wyb $25
2.12 Thermacare – missing (2) $4 UPR wyb 2
2.19 Colgate – missing (3) $3.50 UPR from toothpaste, (2) $1.50 UPR from toothbrushes, and (1) $10 UPR wyb $25
So annoying!

The good news? I only have $7 (or possibly $20) left to spend to get my $20 UPR for the winter rewards!! Which means that I will definitely EARN at LEAST $8 from this promo. (that’s with spending the money to reach $100 without using a single coupon or getting a single UPR from those items) It is extremely possible that I will reach the $100 mark by buying freebies or moneymakers next week and will therefore EARN $28+ for this month, just from items on this promo!! Can you say free clearance holiday candy??

I LOVE RITE AID! (just not their computer tracking)

Discovering new stores

February 21, 2012

I have a few stores that I shop at weekly, more that I shop at once or twice a month, and a few that I shop at on occasion depending on the sales.

Weekly: Albertson’s, Rite Aid (almost ALWAYS these two)
Weekly-Biweekly: Safeway, Top Foods
Once or Twice Monthly: Fred Meyer, QFC
Occasionally: Walgreen’s, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods

Now I have another store to add to the occasional or once/twice monthly group: Petrosa’s. Petrosas’s is a little family neighborhood grocery store that is 2 blocks from my house. I have stopped in a couple of times for produce when they have some amazing deal listed on their marquee. This week they had cauliflower for $1.29 each! I love when cauliflower is sold by the head instead of by the pound because it is almost always cheaper. Usually the best price I find in the store per lb is $0.80, often not better than $0.99/lb which comes out to each head being around $2.50. So nearly half off the best price! I definitely wanted to stop in. It’s always good to surf the edges of stores for clearance and unmarked sales on produce, dairy, and meats. Here’s what I found:


Only $5.78!

This was an amazing shop to me…such amazing prices. I will definitely be going back to check in here!
(3) cauliflower – 1.29ea
(1) 8oz crimini mushrooms – $0.99 on clearance
(1) Zoi greek honey yogurt – $0.69 on clearance
(4) bananas – $0.19/lb on clearance (only 0.23 for all 4!)
I have already eaten 3 of the bananas, the yogurt, used 1/2 the mushrooms in zucchini lasagna, and roasted a 1/2 head of cauliflower. Yay for cheap produce!!


How to best spend $0.66

February 17, 2012

Couponing has been going very very well lately. I suck at taking the pictures and suck even worse at posting them here. So here is a VERY quick glance at my shopping from last week. I stopped at 3 stores: twice to Albertson’s, once to Fred Meyer and Rite Aid. Here’s what I got:



4 Tidy Cats litter
3 yogurt w/ granola
2 Trop50 lemonade
2 albertson’s lemonade
3 parmesan cheese
3 Secret deodorant
18 pouches Starkist tuna
2 wedges Brie
2 carrots
1# sirloin steak
It was a doubler week, I used 36 coupons and 36 doublers to purchases these items. I have + $5 in leftover catalina coupons which can be used on anything as “cash”. Can also be doubled so this is really like $10. So REALLY, it’s like spending $7.55 on all this after doubling the catalinas.
Fred Meyer
No picture, I spent $6.50 and got:
2# of strawberries
~1.5# organic pears
~2# asparagus
Rite Aid

MADE $13.39!

4 Thermacare heat patches
1 Optic White toothpaste
1 Pot of Gold box of chocolate
1 Brainstrong kid’s vitamins
2 Haribo gummy raspberries
4 Snickers eggs candy
After a couple of different rebates, I will have MADE $13.39 on this purchase!! I love Rite Aid. 😀
Altogether for the week, these purchases equal out to a total spent of $0.66! And this doesn’t even count the 14 pounds of tofu I got for FREE at Whole Foods……..so awesome.
I could wax poetic about couponing and the last few weeks and whatnot but I have a bowl of homemade turkey chili and a new episode of Vampire Diaries waiting for me before bed. Hopefully I’m back soon with more amazing deals!

The Year of Me

February 17, 2012

Well as the winter continues both my mood and couponing has picked back up again. I also started back on the South Beach diet in early January and joined a gym. I’m trying to make a more concerted effort to socialize. This is my year to go a little easier in the work-so-much department and maybe finally get a bit of a life! (I’ll let you know how THAT works out 😉

Let’s do a little rewind to January and take a look at my “resolutions” for 2011 and my new (very not formalized in any way except for what I do right now here) resolutions for 2012:


1. Stick to SB diet, Phase 2 for at least 3 months, then if ok, Phase 3 indefinitely – well I think I stuck to P2 pretty well for about 2 months. Then some slip-sliding and cheating before I just gave up SB as a formal eating plan. I did better in general through the rest of the year with eating a bit more veggies (not enough) and more whole grains (but a lot of white rice/pasta again) but portion control got a little excessive. And candy. Always candy. One of my biggest issues is snacking on weekends and not planning out meals, just winging it.
2. Outside of SB, new drinking rules: no drinking between work shifts during workweek, only drinking when in a good mood, no more than 2 glasses of wine or one mixed drink when home alone, ok to drink more if with friends – yeah….this went well for awhile. Then I started going out for breakfast with one of my coworkers on her Friday (after my 2nd of 3 shifts) and would usually have 1-2 mimosas. And I found more and more reasons to have drinks at home. Now my tolerance level is ramped up to an entire bottle of wine or 4-5 mixed drinks in an evening. NOT GOOD. In general what I have found works best is to just not buy bottles of wine or hard liquor at all. If  I really want a drink, I buy 1-2 mini bottles so that I cannot overindulge at home.
3. Exercise! Stick with it! SB exercises EOD-q3days, yoga 2x weekly, walking/intervals EOD-q3days, ice-skating 2-4x monthly, dancing 1-2x monthly. – uhhhh. yeah. I never really started doing any of this. Occasional SB strethes. I did find a squar dance group at the end of the year and went a couple of times.
4. Get Pets At Home up and running. While income is majorly variable depending on level of busyness/employee numbers, aim for my income to be minimum $500/mo ($700-$3400 gross income depending on if I’m taking the jobs vs. employees)(35hr/mo-170hr/mo) – PAH is doing ok. It is very variable and I decided in November that I did not want to work on growing it at this point in time. It is providing me a very acceptable level of supplemental income with a very manageable and minimal time outlay on my part. Basically, in a good position for my financial needs and time commitment desires for just myself. Moving forward is going to require a much larger management time and effort towards promotion and finding/managing employee(s). I am in general tired of working so hard (I’ve been working 50+ hours/week for 2+ years now in addition to my VECCS application process) and just need a break before progressing with PAH. Making this decision was a HUGE mental stressor relieved and I definitely think it was the right decision.s
5. Get accepted to take VECCS exam (March), study daily SOMETHING, take test at VECCS (Sept), pass and get VTS (ECC) in November! – I did it! I passed! I am now a LVT, VTS (ECC) Woot woot!!
6. Date! – ohhh hahahaa! There was this one guy. He was a huge letdown as nothing remotely romantic happened on our “dates” Oh well. I was pretty busy most of the summer pretending to study for my boards so I didn’t put myself out there at ALL.

So what is on the agenda for 2012? Let’s see!

1. Continue with south beach again. Maintain on phase 2 for 2-3 months, then ease to a phase 3 and really commit to making this a permanent lifestyle change. I’ve found several new recipes which are phase one friendly, giving me a much wider recipe base to work with so its been even easier this time around. I think committing to this lifestyle may be a bit of a continual cyclical thing for me in some ways.

2. Exercise! Seriously. My back/hip pain last year just got to a really annoying level. My cardio, core and hand strength and flexibility is at an all-time low. I’m entirely sick of it. I finally bit the bullet and joined a gym. I obviously need that level of mental coercion and financial commitment. I also signed up with a trainer for accountability though we’ll see how that part works out. Plan: Go to the gym at least 3 times/wk (aim for 4 eventually). Do yoga 1-2 times/wk. Go square dancing 2-4 times/month. When it’s warm, walk the dog on my days off. Go ice skating 1-2 times/month.

3. Drinking. Continue with the resolutions from last year: no drinking between work shifts during workweek, only drinking when in a good mood, no more than 2 glasses of wine or mixed drinks when home alone, ok to drink more if with friends.

4. Socialize! Date a bit, hang out with friends, make efforts to go out with coworkers and develop new friendships.


Ok, not going to go too crazy this year. I want to just be a physically and mentally more healthy person. 2012 is the year of ME!