My hubby and I have been married now almost nineteen years. It’s amazing to realize that I have known him almost half of my lifetime. In order to keep our marriage strong, we make it our goal to have a date night at least every two weeks, and at the very least once a month. Now, when the kids were little, we spent many a date nights eating cheap takeout and watching a rented movie because a sitter for four kids would literally take any date money we had to begin with. Now that the kids are a bit older, we can actually go on a date outside the house, but we still pinch our pennies when we do. That’s why I do love the places that bless you with a free meal for your birthday!
A free meal for my birthday or his means that two dates a year are guaranteed to cost us less, and maybe even allow us to spend the savings on a real movie. Recently we joined the email club for one of my hubby’s favorite spots, Red Robin. The month of his birthday arrived and he was awarded a free burger as their gift to him. That’s a date night savings of around $11.00. You didn’t have to use the coupon ON his birthday either, but instead he had the whole month to get the opportunity to go get his birthday burger. That let us decide when we would have our date night without having to actually go on his big day. Needless to say, it was super yummy, and we did indeed splurge our savings to watch a movie in a real theatre after all!
With a family of six, four of them being teenagers, we tend to go through plenty of paper towels and toilet paper so it’s always on the top of my list when I shop for sales. My day was made this week when I hit our local grocery store and they had single rolls of Bounty paper towels on sale for two for a dollar. I had stocked up on a few coupons for Bounty that literally were due to expire that very day. The week prior my fellow couponing buddy had dropped off a huge stack of unused coupons that she had already gone through. In that lovely stack were several coupons for Bounty. Who knew I was going to get so lucky!
Now, one thing you need to know is that Bounty isn’t usually a paper towel that I purchase, unless of course it is on sale. They are my favorite indeed, but their purchase price isn’t. This particular day was during double coupon week and I had a “Save 25 cents on one”. This translated to save 50 cents on one when doubled. I had seven coupons for these lovely paper towels. When it was all said and done, I had scored fourteen rolls of my beloved Bounty paper towels for a mere $3.50. Needless to say this of course alerted the manager, who had nothing he could say because they had no policy in place about how many of the same kind of coupons you could use in one transaction. I am sure he thought about that as I exited the store with my “bounty”!
As the holidays approach, the deals begin to come out of the woodwork to persuade buyers to hit the stores and fill up their bags. A favorite hot spot for my daughter and I is our beloved Bath & Body Works. Personally, the two of us love their variety of body sprays, candles, hand soaps, and plug-ins, and we look forward to great sales events to stock up. Because we are what you might call “frequent flyers” we are blessed to receive multiple coupons in the mail and through email. This year, as we began our holiday shopping, we dug out every coupon we had to creatively find the best deals possible at our favorite store.
As we hit our local Bath & Body Works the deal was to purchase three of their signature products and then you would get three free. This was fabulous news to us, so we whipped out our coupons to see what deals we could make. Our biggest coupon was to save $10 off of a $30 purchase. Our goal became to find three signature products that added up as closely to the $30 as possible, and we did it! We located three body washes that were $11 each, which came to a total of $33. We then went and got three more of the washes free to get with our coupon. We walked out with a total of six body washes for less than $25! We then put the lotions in sets of two, and for less than $8.50 per set we had three Christmas gifts! Just can’t beat that kind of a deal!
Now that our kids are teenagers, going out to dinner can seriously cost us an arm and a leg. In order to be able to afford this luxury once in a while, we have had to come up with some pretty creative ways to save. A favorite spot for our family on a Sunday afternoon after church is our local Steak & Shake. The meals are decent, the $4.00 meal prices can’t be beat, and we often find coupons in the Sunday paper or in the mail flyers that are delivered to the house. What we realized is that if we combine some coupons, we cannot only afford to eat there, but it’s often cheaper than if we were to buy food to make lunch at home.
Our teenagers are old enough now that several of them have checking accounts of their own. Because of this, we utilize them in our evil plot to save money in eating out at Steak & Shake. There are six of us in our family, making buy-one-get-one coupons a hot commodity. We divide ourselves into three separate checks when we order, each using a buy-one-get-one coupon. This allows us to order for six, but ideally only pay for three. If we all vote to drink water, we can get out the door with a tab of less than $15.00 to $20.00. There’s just not much you can make your family of six at home these days for less than $15.00 that isn’t a hotdog or a grilled cheese sandwich.
In an economy facing some difficult times, our family gives kudos to businesses like Steak & Shake that still pack out the coupons so that we can enjoy a little family lunch date together. In this case, a little creative couponing can not only go a long way, but it can feed our family and keep us on our budget all at the same time.
Although the Christmas season is indeed my favorite time of the year, buying gifts for four teenagers can be very costly. Typically my husband and I set aside what we call a “line item” in our budget where we save up anticipating the cost of the holiday, but this year, our beloved “line items” was wiped clean with a purchase of a new engine and a completely new air conditioning system for our minivan. So, we decided that this year we would be as diligent as possible with the limited funds we did have to get the kids a few things for under the tree. This is why I was totally stoked about my recent trip to my favorite store, Kohl’s!
Gotta love some crazy Black Friday deals at Kohl’s! A few days before the big sale I was sent a special coupon for Kohl’s charge card holders that gave me 15% off, and with it was an impressive $10.00 gift card! I also received a $5.00 gift card from them the following day, and given another $5.00 gift card from my mom, as she wasn’t going to use it. My son had eyeballed a particularly expensive jacket a few days prior to the big sale day, and I headed back to snap it up.
As I entered the store, a woman approached me with a 30% off coupon that was expired, however, she told me that if I asked the manager, he would accept it. I was so excited! I popped into the store, spotted the last coat in his size, and headed to the register. The coat was originally priced $68.00 and was now on sale for $40.00. With the gift cards and the coupon that they did let me use, I scored the coat for less than $15.00! Now, that’s the kind of Christmas gift I can afford!
When our family relocated it was time to not only find a new home, but also a new pharmacy home as well. My son has serious asthma and my husband has Congestive Heart Failure, so a dependable pharmacy is on the top of my “to-do” list whenever we have to relocate. My brother worked at CVS at the time of our move and highly recommended shopping there due to their extracare rewards program. Over time, little by little I have received extrabucks from CVS that can be used as cash in their store for about anything outside of the pharmacy drugs themselves and a few other minor things.
Until recently, my largest extrabuck has been $5.00, so I decided to hang on to it until I came across just the right sale to use it. In the meantime, I was awarded a 50-cent extrabuck and then came a whopping $10.00 extrabuck! This totally made my day and I began perusing the ads to see what I could get the best deal on. It wasn’t long before I spotted a crazy pair of “as-seen-on-TV” puppy slippers on sale at CVS as well as a certain package of soap that we love at our house. So, I stopped in to see what kind of damage I could do with my extrabucks.
Sure enough, I was allowed to use all three extrabucks together on one purchase. I bought the soap for $5, a tube of toothpaste for $3, and the silly slippers for $20 and walked out spending less than $14 out of my pocket. That was less than the slippers to begin with. As if I wasn’t already a fan of my beloved CVS before, they are now stuck with me forever, and ever!