Welcome FUSION readers!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

FREE 8x10 Collage from Walgreens

Today and tomorrow you can get an 8x10 collage for FREE at Walgreens. Go here and use code FBCOLL. Be sure to select in-store pick up to avoid shipping charges.

My mom loves these so I'll design one for her. The best part is that I can select HER store in Birmingham. All she has to do is swing by and pick it up. Cool, huh?



Kroger Shopping Updates

I just got home from Kroger and wanted to update you on some deals I found. I spent $26.23, saved $31.66, and earned $7.00. That's a savings of 67%!

Old El Paso Seasoning, MONEY MAKER!
At my store the packets were priced at $0.99 (rather than $1.09). You get a $3.00 Catalina when you purchase 6. Combine this with the $0.60 Shortcuts or Kroger E-coupon + printables (zip 90210) to get better-than-free taco seasoning.

Pizza Yeast, FREE
The Fleischmann's yeast strips are $1.50. There is a $0.55 coupon in 9/19 SS. Plus, you get a $0.50 Catalina for each one you purchase. Since that $0.50 Catalina will double the next time you use it, it's basically like getting a $1 Catalina. I did 4 in one order and a Catalina printed out for each of them. Nice!

Good Earth Dinner Kit, $1.50
These are on sale for $3.50. I used a $1.00 coupon from 8/15 SS or 9/12 GM. I paired that with a $1.00 Kroger E-coupon.

Naturally Preferred Milk, $2.50
This is an organic milk and $2.50 is a great price for a half gallon.

Did you find any good deals at Kroger this week? Share your finds in the comments.


End of the month PRINT reminder

The last day of the month is here. That means that printable coupon sites will update their list of available coupons. One of three things can happen.

1. A coupon will reset. In this case, if you reached your print limit (2) in the previous month, you are now eligible to print that coupon again.
2. A coupon will disappear. This is a bummer if it was a coupon you really liked.
3. A new coupon will show up. Hopefully this will make up for #2.

Be sure to print any coupons you like now before Friday. Remember, most coupons can be printed 2 times!

Some of my favorites printable sites are:


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Theory on Coupon Values

I've done a lot of talking about coupons recently in my Frugal 101 series. There are many places to find them but I have a personal theory about coupon values. My theory is this... "the harder they are to find, the higher the value will be."

For example, the coupons you find in the store in the little blinkie machines are generally low value coupons. They will be something similar to $0.55 WYB 1 (will not double) or $1.00 WYB 4 (basically $0.25 off each item). Those coupons are easy to find. For goodness sake, they are right next to the item and have a big flashing light on them. You can't miss it, right?

The opposite extreme is coupons that you have to work for. These are online printables not usually found at the popular printing sites or coupons that come via home mailers. These coupons are difficult to track down or you must make a request in order to receive them.

In my opinion, coupon values are based on how easy or difficult they are to find.

Below is my ranking on coupon values from highest to lowest.

  1. Home mailers/requested coupons
  2. Brinks printables
  3. Manufactuer website printables
  4. Printables from popular sites like Coupons.com
  5. Newspaper coupons (varies by region)
  6. Peelies/Product Packaging
  7. Blinkies/Tearpads
Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule. Besides, a coupon is a coupon and they all help us to save money in some way. As we continue in this series, I will show you how to get the most out of ANY coupon.

Do you find this theory to be true as well? Feel free to confirm or shoot down my assumption. It is just a theory after all and theories need to be proven.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Movie Tickets for $5!

Here's another great deal and this one is valid nationwide. Get 4 movie tickets for only $20 through Living Social. These tickets can also be redeemed for IMAX movies!!
  1. If you are new to Living Social, sign up here. You'll get a $5 credit for becoming a new member.
  2. Current members can go here to purchase this deal. Search for Nashville.
  3. Tickets need to be claimed at WeeklyCinema.com within 90 days.
  4. Redeem your tickets at Fandango.com within at more than 15,000 theaters nationwide.
*This deal is valid nationwide so you do not need to be a Nashville resident to purchase. The fine print also specifies that you do NOT have to purchase a monthly membership to Weekly Cinema.*

Thanks Stephanie!


Frugal 101: Store vs. Manufacturer Coupons

There are many places to find coupons but did you know that there are different "types" of coupons? Today we are going to discuss the difference between store coupons and manufacturer's coupons.
  • Store coupons - These can only be used a specific retailer. They are typically found in the store, via the store's website, e-mail newsletter or home mailers.
  • Manufacturer's coupons - These can be used at any retailer. These can be found in the newspaper, online, electronically, or in the store.
Often times these coupons look very similar but it is important to know the difference. Here are two quick ways to tell them apart
  1. Look at the top of the coupon. This is usually the easiest way to tell. Tere is usually a small outlined box on the left of the coupon, which will state STORE COUPON or MANUFACTURER'S COUPON.
  2. Check the barcode. Manufacturer's coupons will start with a 5 or a 9. Store coupons typically start with a 1 or 0, but this can vary depending on which store it is for. There are some stores who don't even put a barcode on their store coupons. For example, Publix coupons contain a PLU# (product lookup number) that the cashier will enter manually.
Below is an example of two coupons for the same brand but they are different types.

{STORE coupon}
{See the difference?}

Knowing the difference is so important because many retailers will allow you to "stack" them. Basically, they allow you to use 1 store coupon AND 1 manufacturer coupon per item. This certainly makes a deal even better by making your cost even lower.

In my area, I am allowed to "stack" coupons at Kroger, Publix, Target, Walgreens & CVS. You can check with customer service at the stores you shop to see if they allow stacking or check to see if they have their coupon policy online.

If you are just joining us, go here to catch up on previous Frugal 101 topics. Don't miss future installments: Subscribe via RSS or get Email updates.


Free Week of Yoga + Monthly Deal

Did you know that September is National Yoga Month? In honor of this event, studios around the country are offering a FREE week of Yoga. Go here to get your Yoga Month Card. You have until October 31st to use it. (Valid for new students only)

**Nashville readers please see below**
Hot Yoga House in Rivergate is on the list of participating studios and that's where I am planning to use my free week. My friend Hannah invited me to a Hot Yoga class last month and I loved it! I am definitely a beginner but I was not overwhelmed at all. Honestly, I hate exercising but this felt REALLY good and it was a GREAT workout. I've wanted to go back but money is really tight around here. Imagine my delight when I see that today's Groupon is for an unlimited month at Hot Yoga House for only $30!

Anyone else want to join me in this new adventure? I think it will be fun!

Get this Groupon for yourself. If you are new to Groupon, sign up here.



Monday, September 27, 2010

MONEY MAKER on Taco Seasoning at Kroger

The Old El Paso coupon is back!! Better hurry because it went fast last time. You can use this coupon at Kroger to score better-than-free seasoning packets.

Buy 6 Old El Paso Seasoning Packets, $1.09 each
Use 6 Old El Paso $0.50 printables (will double)
Use Kroger E-Coupon $0.60 WYB 2 Old El Paso Products
Total: -$0.06 (you will need a filler product to absorb this overage)

PLUS, you will also get a $3.00 Catalina good on your next order! The Catalina deal expires on 10/3.

If you don't have access to 6 coupons, that's okay! The Catalina still makes this a great deal! You can also get a $1.00 Catalina WYB 3 Old El Paso Products.

*Note: Try zip code 90210 if it doesn't come up in your area.



Frugal 101: Blinkies, Tearpads, Booklets & more!

We've already talked about newspaper coupons, printable coupons & E-coupons. Today we are going to talk about coupons that can actually be found at the store.
  • Blinkies - These coupons are found sporadically along the aisles. They are in a little box which is attached to the shelf. Some of the boxes even have a little flashing red light, which is where the term "blinkie" comes from.
  • Tearpads - A tearpad is typically found on a cardboard display of products although I have seen these on the aisles as well.
  • Booklets - Booklets are multiple pages of coupons and can also sometimes be found at cardboard displays. I find the majority of booklets at Publix.
  • Peelies - This is a coupon found directly on the product. If you peel a coupon off of a product, you need to purchase that product in that shopping trip.
  • Hangtags - These are also found directly on the product. Typically the products are in a bottle form.
  • Product Packaging - These coupons you don't usually find until you get home with the product. They can be found inside the packaging where you will need to cut it out or sometimes they have their own little booklet of coupons.
These coupons will change frequently, so if you see it in the store you might want to grab it then. Just like printable coupons or E-coupons, it may not be there the next time you come back. These coupons will also vary from store to store. Just because you found peelies or blinkies at one Publix doesn't mean that they will be at another Publix location.

In-store coupons are certainly a special treat when you find them! That coupon may not make for a great deal today, but I would encourage you to hold on to it. You never know when that item will go on sale and you can pair it up with your coupon.

Coming up, we are going to discuss the differences between store coupons & manufacturer's coupons and I'll tell you my theory on coupon values.

If you are just joining us, go here to catch up on previous Frugal 101 topics. Don't miss future installments: Subscribe via RSS or get Email updates.



Get Cheap Toilet Paper, Paper Towels & more!

The Atlanta Groupon for today is a $20 gift certificate to soap.com for only $10. That's saving 50% right there! The code also gets you FREE 1-2 day shipping. If you are a first time customer, you can also use code SOAPSPLASH to save an additional 15%.

Soap.com has WAY more than just soap. They sell...
  • paper products
  • cleaning products
  • bath & body
  • hair and skin care
  • makeup
  • medicine & vitamins
  • and more!
Here's how to take advantage of this deal.
  1. Are you new to Groupon? Sign up here.
  2. Current Groupon members can sign in here and search for Atlanta.
  3. Purchase your Groupon. It is valid from 9/30/10 - 12/28/10.
  4. Don't forget to shop through Ebates to get up to 5.5% cash back. (New members, get $5 to start!)
  5. Shop soap.com and use code SOAPSPLASH. Make sure you have at least $20 in your cart after the code.
  6. Use your Groupon at checkout!
Because soap.com is an online company, it does not matter if you don't live in Atlanta. This will work nationwide.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

More *HOT* Kraft Coupons for Publix

Kraft has been keeping my printer very busy this week. Not that I'm complaining because I love their brands. More new Publix coupons were released today. Get these printables now from Cooking With Kraft becuase they always go quick.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Publix: Penny Item + Field Updates

Today's Penny Item is Publix 2L Soda. In order to get this item for just a penny, you will need to have a $10 purchase (before coupons). Some stores also require the actual Penny Item coupon, which can be found in the local Wednesday paper.

Here are some updates from my trip this morning at the Oakwood Commons (Hermitage, TN) location. I got $80 in groceries for less than $20. These are just a few of the deals that I found.

Apple & Eve Fruitables, 46 oz bottles, $1.00
These are on sale for $2.00. My store had $1.00 hangtags on them. If your store doesn't have the hangtags, you can use the $0.75 Fruitables printable coupon (FF) to get them for $1.25.

Baby Carrots, $0.85
These are BOGO this week.

Yakisoba, MONEY MAKER!
The Yakisoba meals are on sale for $0.60. The $0.50 coupon from 8/29 SS will double. This item now becomes better than FREE! The Q Hunter is all sold out of these but I found some on Ebay.

Canned Pumpkin
I forgot to check the price on this but I was excited to see it back in stores. Last year there was a shortage and none to be found.

Green Giant Steamers, $0.20
I have been waiting for these to go BOGO. This $0.50 Green Giant printable (bottom right - Thanks Emily!) will double and you score cheap veggies. There is also a $0.50 WYB 2 printable, which makes them just $0.70 each. I use these in casseroles all the time.

Oreos & Milk
There is a new $1.00 Oreo's printable on Facebook. My store had them marked $2.99 with peelies for a FREE half gallon of milk WYB 2 packages. You can use this on ANY brand of milk (up to $2.50). I got 2 packages of cookies + a half gallon of milk for $3.98. I used the FREE milk coupon + 2 Oreos coupons.

Competitor's Coupons
If you have the Entertainment book be sure to check for competitor coupons. In mine I found $5 of $50 purchase coupons from GFS, Piggly Wiggly and HG Hill. Be sure to present this coupon first once you have reached the $50 requirement.

Did you come across any good unadvertised deals? Share them in the comments below.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Frugal 101: E-coupons

As we continue along in our Frugal 101 series, we are going to discuss the newest type of coupon. Coupons have evolved from paper coupons found in your Sunday newspaper to coupons that you can print yourself. Now, they have electronic coupons. In the frugal world, we call them E-coupons for short.

What are E-coupons and how do they work?

Electronic coupons are loaded directly on to your store's loyalty card (i.e. Kroger Plus card). There is no "clipping" required. Instead, you access your savings by "clicking" the mouse. At the store, you simply hand the cashier your card. Your E-coupons will automatically deduct when you purchase the specific product(s).

Where do I find E-coupons?

Some of the popular sites are Cellfire, Shortcuts, Kroger & Upromise. E-coupons are FREE and there is no charge to sign up. Simply visit the websites listed above and follow the step-by-step instructions to activate your account. You will need the number from your store's loyalty card to register.

Do all stores accept E-coupons?

Unfortunately not. E-coupons can typically only be used at stores who have a "loyalty card" because the E-coupons need an "account" to attach to.

Is there a maximum number of coupons I can "click?"

Generally, you can load up to 50 E-coupons on your loyalty card at any given time. Coupons cannot be removed once they are loaded. You would either need to redeem it or let it expire.

When is the best time to load E-coupons to my card?

E-coupons are updated frequently just like printable coupons. Therefore, if you see an E-coupon you like, you should load it right away. E-coupons also have expiration dates just like regular coupons. Get into a good habit of checking for new E-coupons when you are working on your shopping list. Make sure that loyalty card is loaded up before you head out to the store.

Can I use E-coupons with other coupons?

You can "stack" an E-coupon with a manufactuer's coupon for the same item. However, only 1 E-coupon can be redeemed per item purchased. For example, you cannot stack a Cellfire E-coupon with a Shortcuts E-coupon. In the same way, E-coupons for the same item must be used in separate transactions. As an example, you can not use 2 Cellfire coupons for 2 identical items in the same transaction.

If my store doubles coupons, does that mean they will also double my E-coupons?

Unfortunately not. E-coupons will not double.

How are Upromise E-coupons different?

Upromise also offers E-coupons but they work a little differently than the companies mentioned above. Coupons redeemed via Upromise go directly into a college savings account that you set up. You can read more about Upromise and their program here. I am using Upromise to help me pay back my student loans and then I will begin using it to save for Skylar's college fund.

Help! My E-coupons didn't show up on my receipt. What should I do?

If your E-coupons do not come off at checkout, please verify that you bought the correct item/size/quantity/variety and that your E-coupon has not expired. If everything is correct, simply contact the company via their website "Contact Us" form. They may require some information from your receipt and your shopper's card number to help you obtain your refund.

Go here to sign up for these E-coupon sites and then bookmark them for easy access next time: Cellfire, Shortcuts, Kroger & Upromise.

If you are just joining us, go here to catch up on previous Frugal 101 topics. Don't miss future installments: Subscribe via RSS or get Email updates.


*HOT* $10 in Kraft Printables

Whoo Hoo! I love Kraft printables and these are HOT, HOT, HOT!
Go here to print these savings.
  • $1/1 ANY Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs Product
  • $1/1 ANY Boca Product
  • $1/1 ANY Kraft 2% Milk Cheese Product
  • $1/1 ANY Breakstone’s 2% or Fat Free Cottage Cheese Product
  • $1/1 ANY Kraft Light or Fat Free Salad Dressing
  • $1/1 ANY Maxwell House Product
  • $1/1 ANY Planters Product
  • $1/1 ANY Oscar Mayer Deli Shaved Product
  • $1/1 ANY Crystal Light Product
  • $1/1 ANY Sugar Free Jell-O Ready-to-Eat Product
Note: I had to sign in and then come back and click the link again in order to get to the right set of coupons.

Thanks iGoBoGo and Wild For Wags!


New Cellfire Coupons Today - 9/21

Cellfire has released a new batch of E-coupons today. Be sure to load your shopper's card before you head to the store.

If you are new to E-coupons, check back later today for my Frugal 101 post which explains what E-coupons are and how they work. In the meantime, you can catch up on previous Frugal 101 topics.
  • $0.50/2 Betty Crocker Boxed Potatoes
  • $0.50 off Betty Crocker Cake Mix AND Frosting
  • $0.40/1 Betty Crocker Cookie Mix
  • $0.50/1 Betty Crocker or Fiber One Box Muffin Mix
  • $0.75/1 Select Cheerios Cereals
  • $0.50/1 Chex Mix or Chex 100 Calorie Snack
  • $0.55/1 Cocoa Puffs Cereal
  • $0.50/1 Fiber One Chewy Bars or 90 Calorie Chewy Bars
  • $0.50/1 Gardettos Snack Mix
  • $0.50/2 Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers
  • $0.40/1 Green Giant Frozen Bagged Vegetables
  • $0.60/3 Green Giant Frozen Boxed Vegetables
  • $0.75/1 Kix, Berry Berry Kix or Honey Kix Cereal
  • $0.50/1 Nature Valley Granola Bars
  • $0.50/1 Nature Valley Granola Thins
  • $0.50/2 Pillsbury Crescent Dinner Rolls
  • $1/1 Pillsbury Sweet Moments Refrigerated Dessert
  • $0.40/2 Pillsbury Italian Meal Bread
  • $1/2 Pillsbury Savorings Product
  • $0.30/2 Pillsbury Refrigerated Grands! Biscuits
  • $0.50/2 Progresso Soup
  • $1/1 Yoplait Fiber One Yogurt Multipack
  • $0.75/2 Yoplait Go-Gurt, Trix Multipack or Splitz Yogurt
  • $0.40/6 Yoplait Yogurt Cups
Get your Cellfire E-coupons here.

Thanks Deal Seeking Mom!


Monday, September 20, 2010

$10 off $10 purchase at JCPenney + FREE Shipping

Take $10 off a $10 purchase right now at JCPenney with code LIZ4YOU. They also have FREE shipping on ALL shoes.

For example, by combining these two offers you can get these shoes for only $10.91 after tax. These were on sale for $19.99, so any shoe in that price range would work out the same.
Don't forget to shop through Ebates to get 3% back!



FREE Kodak Printer from Office Max

Need a printer? Get one FREE from Office Max.

Right now, you can get the Kodak ESP 520 All-In-One printer FREE after Max Perks rewards!! The printer is $129.99 with FREE shipping. You will get 100% of that back in your Max Perks account.

It's free to sign up for Max Perks. They offer an option for Businesses and Teachers.

Be sure to shop through Ebates to also get 3% back on this purchase and turn it into a MONEY MAKER!

Thanks Southern Savers!


Frugal 101: Coupon Fraud

As a followup to my post on printable coupons, I want to talk to you about coupon fraud. Most coupon fraud tends to occur with printable coupons and I want to give you some tips to avoid it.

Tip #1: Don't copy coupons.

This is where I see the most abuse come into play. As previously mentioned, each coupon is limited to 2 prints per computer. When you print an Internet coupon, it includes a unique barcode or pin #. For example, at Coupons.com the barcode is found in the top right corner. With SmartSource coupons, it is found in the lower left corner. If you are reproducing this on a copy machine then you will not have a unique # in these areas. This puts the store at risk for not receiving reimbursement.

Tip #2: Get coupons from reputable sources.

I tend to stick to my top 10 websites for printing. As for other coupons, unless it is found on a manufacturer's website or comes directly from them (i.e. Email, Facebook, Twitter), I tend to steer clear of them. Occasionally, you may come across a coupon that is found in a .pdf format. This is a printing situation that gets a little tricky because there is no print limit with a PDF. My general rule of thumb is to print a PDF as often as I would be able to print other coupons (2 per computer). Many times, PDFs turn out to be fraudulent anyway. If you ever have a question about whether a coupon is fraudulent or not, you can check The Coupon Information Corporation website.

Tip # 3: Don't use expired coupons.

Manufacturers put those dates on there for a reason. Unfortunately, the register cannot tell if a coupon is expired or not because it is not attached to the barcode. That responsibility falls to the consumer. Passing off expired coupons is just another way in which you put the store at risk for not being reimbursed. Now, there are some stores who will accept expired coupons. Accepting expired coupons is another marketing tactic like "double coupons" to entice you to come to their store. They choose to absorb that cost. However, I don't know of any in my area that will accept them. You should never assume that a store accepts expired Qs. Always ask first.

I feel certain that I have probably let an expired coupon slip by me at one point or another without my knowledge, but I do make a point to try and check each coupon before I hand it over to the cashier and I encourage you get into this habit as well.

Tip #4: Know the consequences.

The CIC that I mentioned earlier takes coupon fraud VERY seriously. Actually, they haven't lost a case in over 20 years. Penalties have been as strong as 17 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Of course, those are the extremes. It is more common to see a 3-5 year prison sentence and up to $200,000 in fines, which is still pretty significant.

Coupon fraud not only puts YOU at risk but also puts ALL couponers at risk of either the store refusing to take certain coupons in the future or by coupons having even stricter guidelines and usage policies. This is the part that concerns me the most.

Tip #5: Cease and assist!

If you have knowingly used coupons fraudulently, stop NOW! I understand that many folks simply don't know the rules and are just trying to take advantage of a good deal. Sometimes ignorance is bliss in the truest sense of the word. Well, now you know and I expect you to follow the rules. Don't be the bad apple that spoils the whole bunch! If you have friends who are using coupons incorrectly, confront them. At the very least, direct them to this post. :)

My personal tip: Conviction of the heart.

This is a verse that I use to remind me to be an honest couponer. I think the Bible says it best. Don't you?

Luke 16:10-11: Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?

If you are just joining us for this series, you can catch up on previous topics. Don't miss future installments of Frugal 101. Subscribe via RSS or get Email updates.