Thursday, March 17, 2011

Staples for the week of 3/17/2011

This list will be updated through the next few days, but it's a start for those of you who want to save some money over the weekend's shopping. It's a list of many types of staple items you need your pantry and the best prices in the Chicagoland/NWI for those items that we were able to find!

Chicagoland/NWI Staple Foods Matchups


Wonder Bread – 88 cents

Kraft Singles – 2/$3 with In Ad Coupon – Limit 2

02-13 SS – 55 cents off one pkg. – 95 cents for one pkg

02-13 SS - $1 off 2 pkg - $2 for 2 pkg

Final Price – As low as 95 cents a package


Apples of all varieties – 88 cents a pound

Rosebud Farm Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – 1.79 a pound

BetterOats Oatmeal – 5/$5

BOGO Coupon -

Final Price – As low as 50 cents a box

Strack and Van Til

Bimbo Bread/Arnold Bread – 88 cents

Centrella Milk - $1.99 – Limit 2

Dutch Farms Cheese Singles – 88 cents

Top Round Roast - 1.99 a pound

Centrella Hot Dog/Hamburger Buns – 88 cents

Better Oats Oatmeal – 88 cents

BOGO Coupon -

Final Price – As low as 44 cents a box

Borden Shredded Cheese – 88 cents a bag

Good luck and don't forget your coupons!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Freebies Of The Week Posts: How They Work Here

Our freebie posts follow a "green, yellow, red" system. Regardless of your skill level, rest assured that we will hold your hand and give you explicit instructions every step of the way. Take a look and decide what level you are most comfortable with!

Your green, or beginner, freebies will involve very minimal work, such as clipping or printing one coupon and heading to the store. Mere seconds of your time and VERY simple to follow and understand. Voila, free item(s)! These deals will always involve either a coupon from the Sunday paper coupon inserts or an easily accessed "print at home off the internet" coupon.

Your yellow, or intermediate, freebies will involve a little more work but are still fairly easy to follow. Some examples:
*You may need to cut out both a manufacturer's and store coupon for the same item
*You may need to spend money to get a printed coupon at the register (such as with Walgreen's Register Rewards program or CVS's Extra Care Bucks), to be used at a future time, rendering the item essentially 'free'
*You may need coupons from specialized sources to get these freebies, such as in-home mailings that some folks may have received or All You magazine (a great source for coupons each month!)
*you may need to bring in ads from competitor stores for a price match in order to get the item for free with coupons
These deals will, for the most part, still be fairly easy but will involve slightly more work and a little more understanding of the couponing world on your part.

Your red, or expert, freebies will involve more time and a stronger understanding of the couponing world. These are the deals that will involve things like:
*multiple transactions to get a great deal
*'rolling' of coupons / rewards (if you don't know what 'rolling' means, don't worry! we will explain exactly what you have to do when these deals pop up)
*rebates that you have to mail away for
*clearance deals that may only be available at select stores
*smartphone coupons
and more.

Even though we will make this as easy as possible, you can't take advantage of many of these great deals unless you are getting and saving your Sunday coupon fliers!! Keep them somewhere safe in date order; we will tell you exactly what and when to clip when it's time. 

Also, please note that we are located in the south suburbs of Chicago and that prices may vary from region to region, even at national stores. Be sure to double-check your sales ads and/or the price tags in the store(s) to be sure they match the deal before you head to the register! We do this to help people get great deals. We do not work for any of these stores or any companies affiliated with the coupons / products mentioned, and as such we have no motivation other than doing our best to help you save like we've been doing. Please use common sense while shopping, please remember we're human like you and thus not perfect, and PLEASE share your experiences (good and bad) with us and our readers! Together we can help each other prosper!

Lastly, as always, when you can - pay it forward. Please donate your extra freebies to your favorite local food pantry, shelter, or charity! Times are hard for everyone, and if you can help out by spending just a few minutes of your time, why not? :)

We wish great blessings and prosperity to you all!

Free Stuff Starting Sunday March 06, 2011

Our freebie posts follow a "green, yellow, red" system. Read about how it works or ask us questions about it here.

Haven't subscribed to your Sunday paper yet? YOU NEED TO GET THOSE INSERTS AND SAVE THEM FOR THIS TO WORK! Here's a current subscription deal for the Chicago Tribune:
Code X542: .50/week Sunday Delivery or $1/week W, TH, F, Sun delivery. Call 800-311-8500 or visit

All sales begin Sunday March 6, 2011 and end Saturday March 12, 2011 unless otherwise noted.


Stores included in this week's post include CVS, Meijer's, Staples, Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreen's.

Included in this week's freebies are beauty products, children's medicine, cleaning supplies, clothing, cosmetics, diabetic equipment, grocery items, laundry items, medicine, office equipment, pet food, and seafood.


view/print instructions for following the green deals here.


Dove Men Deodorant


Up&Up Ibuprofen - free or close to it


Gain Fabric Softener Sheets
-20ct. Gain fabric should be free OR even provide overage (read: MONEYMAKER, as Wal-Mart's new coupon policy states you will get cash back if the coupon value exceeds the cost of the item!)

Goodlife Recipe for Cats small cat food trays - should be a MONEYMAKER


view/print instructions for following the yellow deals here.
view/print instructions for following both the yellow and green deals here.


Revlon nail polish - pay $2.99 (possibly less), get $3 coupon back; MONEYMAKER


Pentel RSVP Ballpoint Pens 5 pack - pay $2, submit for $2 rebate online

Staples Gold Paper Clips 200/pack - pay $2, submit for $2 rebate online

#10 Pull & Seal Security Envelopes 100 - pay $5, submit for $5 rebate online

HP Everyday 8.5 x 11 Photo Paper 50 pack - pay $8.99, submit for $8.99 rebate online


Quaker Easy Express oatmeal cups - depending on price, should be FREE; need Feb 2011 All You

Nature Valley Granola Bars (4-ct.) $1 - need store and manufacturer's coupons

Excedrin (20 ct.), $3.59 - need store and manufacturer's coupons

Nivea Lip Balm, $1 - with price match from Rite Aid store flier and coupon


2 PediCare Infant Fever Reducer Drops: - need printed coupon plus in-ad coupon

3-packs of Cream of Wheat should be on unadvertised sale for $1 - only need one coupon, but sale price/availability may vary


view/print instructions for following the red deals here.
view/print instructions for following the red, yellow and green deals here.


Starkist Chunk Tuna pouches - need to buy 6, use coupons from insert, use coupons from Meijer Mealbox, and get a money back catalina - should be a MONEYMAKER


Aveeno Single Bars - need to buy 3, use Target web coupon, use coupon inserts, and get a gift card back - should be a MONEYMAKER

Aveeno 2.5 oz Lotions - need to buy 3, use Target web coupon, use coupon inserts, and get a gift card back - should be a MONEYMAKER

75oz liquid Tide, C9 running apparel (women's cotton running shorts), and Tide stain release - need to buy these 3 items, Target web coupons, coupons from 2011 P&G Everyday Savings book (or weekly coupon insert, but it's a lesser value), coupon inserts, possible hangtag coupons, and get a gift card back - you'll end up paying $5.99 for the Tide and getting the shorts and Stain Release FREE

possible clearance jeans for FREE - need smartphone mobile coupon

Rimmel mascara FREE - need smartphone mobile coupon and coupon insert coupon

Kashi GoLean Honey Almond Flax - need Kashi coupon from Vocalpoint


Gain Dish Detergent - need coupon from P&G $110 Everyday Savings coupon mailer


Accu-Chek Aviva Blood Glucose Monitor - need insert coupon and mail-in rebate; $10 MONEYMAKER after rebate

Febreze Luminaries on clearance - need P&G "Home Made Simple" coupon mailer (home-mailed book)
if you do this, use the "Buy Febreze Starter Kit, Get Refill Free" coupon from coupon insert for FREE refill too!

Don't forget to save additional money by following a few easy steps:

*sign up for their loyalty program if they have one (most stores do, and they're almost always FREE)
*always scan your loyalty card at checkout to save money / earn rewards!

*always scan your Extra Care card at the 'magic coupon machine' to get additional coupons
*bring reusable bags for your purchases; make sure you have a Green Bag Tag on them and scan it. Every four scans nets you a $1 off Extra Care Buck.

*bring reusable bags for your purchases and make sure the cashier scans each one in. You get .05 off your total for each reusable bag you bring and use
*if you have a Target credit card, use it to receive another 5% off

**SPECIAL NOTE FOR MEIJER'S SHOPPERS: Meijer's stores run their sales at different times. For example, the sales listed here apply to our store in Indiana but do NOT apply to Illinois stores this week. For some reason our store is a week ahead of you. These items should be on sale for you next week though, so make a note if you're interested!**

Pay It Forward: please donate your extra freebies to your favorite local food pantry, shelter, or charity! Times are hard for everyone, and if you can help out by spending just a few minutes of your time, why not? :) We wish great blessings and prosperity to you all!

thanks to the following great blogs for sharing some of these deals:

Common Sense With Money
Coupon Gal
Deal Seeking Mom
Jill Cataldo
Meijer Madness
My Chicago Mommy
The Prudent Patron
Totally Target

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Store List And Schedule

One of the first things we should lay out for our readers is which stores we are going to focus on each week so you'll know if our methods will be helpful to you or not!

Leslie and I are both living in Lansing, IL, a suburb south of Chicago. I think most of the stores we're going to focus on are national, but some are regional, and of course even on the national ones, prices will differ from location to location. Heck, we have three/four Targets within reasonable driving distance of our homes and the prices on products vary at each of those locations! So as with any deal on the internet, your mileage may vary. Overall though, these are the stores you're going to find us focusing on most frequently for deal-making purposes:

Target (typical sales week is Sun - Sat)
Walgreens (typical sales week is Sun - Sat)
CVS (typical sales week is Sun - Sat)

Jewel-Osco (typical sales week is Thurs - Wed)

Stores we may focus on from time to time, or as we get more demand for them:

Strack and Van Til (typical sales week is Thurs - Wed)
Ultra Foods (typical sales week is Thurs - Wed)
K-Mart (typical sales week is Sun - Sat)
Meijer's (typical sales week is Sun - Sat)
plus any assorted stores we happen to spot a deal at, of course!

Although we don't tend to make 'deals' at these stories because we've found that you generally get a better deal at the above stores, we will also occasionally compare prices (such as on staple items) to these stores:

Wal-Mart (typical sales week is Sun - Sat)
Sam's Club (generally doesn't run sales; bulk warehouse)
Aldi (typical sales week is Wed - Tues)

Plus it's always nice to know if you're beating the "we like to tell you you'll get great deals here!" stores. ;)

This post may be edited if we make changes to our lists of stores we focus on. If a store you love isn't on the list, please let us know! We will do our best to focus on deals at the stores our readers frequent!

So it is likely you'll see the most posts from us on Thursdays and Sundays, since those are the days the bulk of the stores start their sales! We'll try to keep an eye out for the best deals twice a week and post as quickly as possible so you have the maximum amount of time to snag the goodies!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Me Vanna'ing in our garage.

There will be many pictures in this post. Just a heads' up!

As previously mentioned, the awesome annual freezer coupon event at Jewel is happening tomorrow. I've been waiting for this ever since I started couponing some months back and was really excited that they decided to do it again. (The link above explains the deal itself if you missed it earlier.)

When I was calling my local Jewel-Osco's to find out what time they'll be selling the freezers tomorrow (and already dreading getting up at the crack of dawn to get one; I am NOT a morning person), I discovered that the Jewel in South Holland IL is already selling their freezers AT the sale price AND giving out the coupon books today! (I have heard that some of the Jewels will sell the freezers early but won't give the sale price and/or won't give the coupon books out until tomorrow.) It sounded too good to be true but I headed out anyway, figuring at the very least I could take a look at the freezers and make sure they'd fit in our car if the information proved false.

SCORE! They are indeed selling the freezers today; we just went to customer service and they called two people to come up and get the freezer and load it into our car. They have the coupon books locked up at the customer service center so we just paid there and picked up our booklet (pictures below so you can see what was included).

We paid $164.39 in total. It rang up at $159.99 for the freezer, .01 for the coupon booklet, $14.40 in tax. I had a "$10 off your next order" manufacturer's coupon from an earlier Jewel / ConAgra deal that I was able to use on the freezer.
The freezer in box fit just fine in our station wagon, and it is now happily resting in our garage. I AM SO EXCITED!

... now I just need to figure out where it is going to live. LOL.

Here are my crappy camera-phone pics of what was included in the coupon booklet. I took them in the car while my husband ran into Target for a couple things, lol. If you are interested in a list of what is included in the coupon books, a couponer / Jewel employee has posted it here. Note from the pictures that some of the coupons are STORE coupons (meaning you can ONLY use them at Jewel), but many are MANUFACTURERS' coupons (meaning you can use them at any store that will accept manufacturers' coupons; they say 'redeem at Jewel-Osco' but that's not the ONLY place you can redeem them!).

Get the Chicago Tribune for .50 A Week

Are you in the Chicago area? Here's a great price on the Trib - available here on Groupon, so you have to do it TODAY if you're interested.

You'll get the paper four times a week, which means that not only will you get the Sunday coupon inserts (and if you have read our intro post, you'll know that we highly recommend you get at least one copy of your Sunday coupons, if not two!), you'll also get the Wednesday paper, which includes some of the sales fliers for the week.

.50 per week is a pretty good price, so grab this one today if you need a subscription!


Ever since I started couponing last year, I've heard tales of the fabled JEWEL FREEZER DEAL DAY SALE. Get an upright freezer for 'free'! Or, more accurately, buy an upright freezer for $160 and get $160 worth of free food to put inside it. Either way you look at it, it's an awesome deal, and guess what? It's here! This is the day! (Can you tell I'm excited? LOL)

Jill Cataldo's Super Couponing (a GREAT free class you can take if you are in Chicagoland, and I HIGHLY recommend it if you have the time; Jill is fantastic) has all the details in her blog post here. Here are the highlights if you're interested in pursuing this deal:

*The freezer deal starts TOMORROW, Sunday February 27th, 2011
*Freezers are on sale for $159 and shoppers will receive a coupon booklet for $160 worth of frozen food with the purchase of the freezer (MUST HAVE PREFERRED CARD)
*It is a 5.3 cubic foot Igloo brand freezer

*Each Jewel store only gets a certain number, and when they're gone, they're GONE (I hear they tend to disappear within a couple hours at most stores)
*Stores start selling them at different times. CALL YOUR STORE FOR DETAILS. Our Munster, IN Jewel starts selling them when the store opens tomorrow at 6AM. Our South Holland, IL store is already selling them TODAY, Saturday, at the sale price with the coupon book!! It pays to make a few phone calls!

This is already a GREAT deal if you're in the market for an upright freezer, because you're essentially getting it for free. BUT you can make the deal even BETTER! Better than free? YES YOU CAN! Here's how:

1)Do you happen to have a Jewel coupon in hand for $X off your next purchase? (Sometimes these print out as catalinas, which are the little coupon machines at the register.) YOU CAN USE ONE ON THE FREEZER PURCHASE.
2) Do you happen to have a manufacturer's coupon from ANY store (it will say "manufacturer's coupon" somewhere on it) for $X off your next purchase? YOU CAN USE ONE ON THE FREEZER PURCHASE! You can even use it along WITH a store coupon if you have both! (Jewel will accept one store coupon and one manufacturer's coupon per item). If you ever get Register Rewards coupons at Walgreens, for example, THOSE ARE MANUFACTURER'S COUPONS. Jewel WILL accept them.

How do you make the deal even better if you're brand new to this and don't have ANY coupons in hand yet? Here's what you do:

Buy your freezer but DO NOT go crazy using the coupons from your coupon booklet for all that free food today. GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT. This is especially true in the couponing world! Save those coupons in a special place and watch our blog. The coupons you will receive when you purchase your freezer do not expire until the end of May. Over the course of the next several months, many of those products will go on a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE sale. That's the time to use the coupon! Go to the store, buy your two items, use the coupon, get BOTH free. One is free because of the sale, the other is free because of the coupon.

Now you are getting a freezer for $159 and potentially getting $320 worth of FREE food with it!

We will tell you every time we see one of these fantastic sales happening so if you get the freezer tomorrow (or today, if you're lucky enough to have a store that's already selling them), you'll know exactly when to use your coupons!

Be sure to check out Jill Cataldo's post above for more details; she's done this for several years now and has even more details in her post. One of her readers, a Jewel employee, even posted a list of all the coupons you'll get this year in the comments on her post.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Are You Too Busy To Coupon?

Are you fascinated by news stories featuring Extreme Couponing? Do you read newspaper articles with headlines like "Suburban Mom Saves $500 On Groceries Each Month Using Coupons!" and think things like 'I wish *I* could do that too, but I don't have the time! That must be ALL she does is clip coupons and shop!' Maybe you've even spent some time trying to get on board with the Extreme Couponing trend, gotten frustrated by the insider lingo and complicated deals and time-consuming learning process, and given up.

Image From:

"I have a full time job outside the home; I don't have time to coupon."

"I'd rather spend time with my family than spend hours trying to figure out how to save a few bucks."

"I don't think it's worth it to spend extra hours and extra gas driving to a bunch of stores to cut a couple dollars off my grocery bill."

"It can't really be possible to save THAT MUCH money using coupons!"

"I'll just shop at Aldi or Wal-Mart; their prices are better anyway."

If you're here, chances are you've said or thought these things. I'll let you in on a little secret: WE USED TO FEEL THE EXACT SAME WAY. So what changed for us?

At the end of 2009, Leslie was stricken with a mysterious, debilitating and as-yet STILL undiagnosed illness. She has been unable to work since then and her family of three has been struggling to get by on one modest income, all while dealing with repeated hospital trips and mounting medical bills.

In September of 2009, Kristi's job was eliminated. Finding another job that would do more than just cover the costs of daycare for her two children in these economic times seemed an impossible task, and staying home to care for her family has always been a dream of hers. Unfortunately that dream is often hard to manage on one modest income these days, and with two kids, five pets, and the usual credit card bills and car/house payments, her family struggles to get by as well.

Leslie is unable to go back to work, and Kristi desperately wants to be able to stay home and take care of her family while pursuing her dreams of become a published author (and of maybe having another baby one day!). They would also like to get out of debt and occasionally be able to do fun things with their families. Both were fascinated by the above-mentioned news stories that pop up every now and again, and in the summer of 2010 were finally ready to try and tackle the world of Extreme Couponing. It took several months (and MANY hours of reading, researching, practicing, clipping, and even taking classes) of dipping in and out of the pool, trying to learn the rules and tricks, before they finally felt like they had a good handle on the world of couponing. Along the way they ran into MANY people who were fascinated by their journey but didn't feel they could do the 'couponing thing' themselves.

There are a lot of great coupon blogs out there, but not many of them truly cater to beginning couponers, or to busy folks who would like to save a few bucks but truly don't have a lot of time. Our goal is to be THE blog for the busy mom (or dad!) who would love to score some great cheap and free deals but simply can't devote the time to figuring out the deals or learning the lingo and tricks. We will do our best to make every post as easy as possible, with full instructions, giving you step-by-step instructions and even shopping lists so that you can just print and go!

We only need three things from you, and they're easy, trust me:

1) Follow our blog and read our posts! You won't get the deals if you don't read us!

2) Subscribe to the TWO COPIES of your local big-city Sunday paper and begin saving the coupon circulars from them. You can subscribe to more if you'd like, and/or you can beg your family and friends for THEIR copies of the coupon inserts. The more you have, the more deals you'll be able to take advantage of! If you want to make it as easy as possible though, we strongly recommend getting two copies delivered to your house. Get a box or filing cabinet and just start saving the coupon circulars in date order. Don't clip anything out, just save them. We'll tell you what to do with them later. You can't save money if you don't have the coupons!!

3) Please provide us feedback as we build up this blog! Tell us what works for you and what doesn't. Tell us if our instructions aren't clear enough. Tell us what other features you'd like to see from us. We have a lot of ideas already and we will slowly be building it, but getting feedback from you is invaluable to us.

That's it! Three simple things, and only one of them costs you a TEENSY bit of money. Follow us, start collecting weekly coupon inserts, and give us feedback. In return, we'll teach you everything you need to know to score some great deals with very little time investment.

You may never have the time to be the "Mom Who Saved $500 A Month Couponing!", but I promise you that you will easily see things like:

*free toothpaste
*free deodorant
*$0.04 a box Stove Top stuffing
*free beauty products
*free hot chocolate
*free candy
and so much more!

Our goals are to make your life a little easier and your wallet a little heavier. Thank you for joining us. May we all have a prosperous 2011 (and beyond)!

Kristi is a 30-something mother of two children, ages 6 and 4. She and her husband live in the south Chicago suburbs along with the children, two dogs, and three cats. Her family loves to travel and believes in living a life rich with experiences. As a result, they have way too much credit card debt. Her goals in being a "super shopper" are to pay off all their debt and begin living a financially prosperous life that still allows them to do many of the things they enjoy. She writes about her life at the blog Million Dream Mom.

Leslie is a 30-something mother of one child, age 4. She and her husband and daughter live in the south Chicago suburbs. Aside from wishing her doctors would figure out just what the heck is wrong with her so they could start fixing her problem instead of treating her symptoms, her goals include saving enough money to not only pay the bills but also to take her family on a very special trip to Disney World (because if you keep putting things off for "some day", "some day" may never come). She writes about her life and her savings adventures at the blog One Year To Disney.

OJ and Rob are the hard-working husbands to Kristi and Leslie, respectively. They both work full-time jobs to help their families as well as running a business providing tech support services on the side. If you are in the Chicago area and in need of technical help in ANY area, please visit Tech Husband for assistance.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Too Busy To Coupon - Coming SOON!