Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday Savings - 04/19/14

Coupon Basics - Organization

So, you've got lots of what?!

Different people organize their coupons in different ways.

Some couponers just buy a typical A-Z coupon organizer and call it done. A bit messy, but usable.

Others couponers opt not to spend time cutting all those coupons (remember, you may not use every coupon you find if the deals aren't worth it or if the item is not in your list of items used*).

The Insert Method requires storing your weekly newspaper inserts by the date that they were released. While this saves time cutting coupons you won't use, it requires that you spend more time preparing for each weekly shopping trip (finding sales, pulling and cutting the coupons). Also, this doesn't prepare you to get those surprise deals on items for which you don't have coupons ready (unless you want to cut away in the store aisles) and it doesn't account for those random coupons you find, so you need a back up system to organize those too.

I currently use the Binder Method, which means I cut and gather all my coupons and organize them in a binder (I use plastic currency holders and dividers to separate them).  I organize by categories (Baking, Frozen, Paper and Plastic, etc.), but some people use the store aisles or manufacturer names.  Though it takes time to cut and file all those coupons, I can always carry my binder in the car and if I stop at a store, I am always prepared!


FOUR boxes of Tampax 18ct, for $4.96

On sale for $3.99 each
Stacked with two coupons ($3 off two boxes)
And, received a $5 gift card for next purchase


$1.24 a box, total $4.96

When you start couponing, it is worth doing the math to figure out what is truly a deal or not. Figure out the per item or per ounce price of that super-size version you usually buy and the same for the sale and compare. Don't just assume! Eventually, it will become second knowledge. Above: 18 Tampax times 4 boxes ($0.07 a piece, typically these are $0.12 or more each!)

*My one note on this is don't be too judgmental, sometimes its worth saving everything! Recently, I tossed a Clearasil coupon. "I'll never need this!"  Turns out Clearasil also makes a really nice, fruity facial scrub I would have loved and it was FREE a few weeks ago with the right coupons! I missed out, stupid me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 04/15/14

A great lyric is like a great book...

A Question of Lust
Depeche Mode, Artists
Martin Gore, Writer

Like a baby in your arms
Be gentle with me
I'd never willingly
Do you harm

Are all you ever seem to get from me
But just like a child
You make me smile
When you care for me
And you know...

It's a question of lust
It's a question of trust
It's a question of not letting
What we've built up
Crumble to dust
It is all of these things and more
That keep us together

Is still important for us though (we realise)
It's easy to make
The stupid mistake
Of letting go (do you know what I mean)

My weakness
You know each and every one (it frightens me)
But I need to drink
More than you seem to think
Before I'm anyone's
And you know...

It's a question of lust
It's a question of trust
It's a question of not letting
What we've built up
Crumble to dust
It is all of these things and more
That keep us together

Kiss me goodbye
When I'm on my own
But you know that I'd
Rather be home

It's a question of lust
It's a question of trust
It's a question of not letting
What we've built up
Crumble to dust
It is all of these things and more
That keep us together.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sunday Salon - 04/13/14

If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.


If I was a different person, I would have gotten this post up before midnight... But alas, I am who I am. So here ya go...

The past couple of weekends have included not one, but two funerals/memorial services, but I've done pretty ok with actual reading and other posts so I'll give myself a little slack.  Work is typically busy for the spring semester. No additional news on the job front, we are still just hanging on, waiting. 

On a good note, the kitty seems to be feeling better. We have taken away all dry food, which seems to expand in her stomach, and have taken to giving her little portions, often. Every day she feels better is a gift! Now, we begin the summer hairball battle. With the weather hitting 70° both days this weekend (which makes me very happy), we need to be very diligent about brushing!

And Purely Vocals is excited to go into the studio this summer and record our first CD. Audience members ask all the time if we have one and we are finally taking the hint. It will be a long process, and we won't likely have a product until the fall, but we are all excited to get started.


I'm finally getting some reading done. I've gotten through a coouple of Netgalleys and have completed a handful of reviews. I'm currently reading Breakfast Served Anytime, a Netgalley, which I am enjoying so far. I've also managed to get a few posts scheduled, which always makes me feel more in control. I did however opt to skip the A-Z Challege this year, juat to busy to be successul. There's always next year!

How about you?

Saturday Savings - 04/12/14

Coupon Basics - Gathering

As noted, there are various kinds of coupons available. To maximize your savings, you will want to gather coupons from as many sources as possible.

Manufacturers' Coupons...

The most obvious place to find manufacturers' coupons is the newspaper inserts. As noted, you can also find these at stores (blinkies, tear pads, and peelies...usually found on the shelves with the items), on the Internet (,, and, among others), and in packaging of purchased products.

You can also find them in magazines (AllYou usually provides several good coupons monthly) and in those little inserts or newsletters that your health insurance company sends sometimes. Also, many companies will give you coupons if you like them on Facebook or if you visit their website. Sometimes you have to sign up as a member, but its usually worth it and you can just create a couponing email address too.

Basically, manufacturers' coupons are everywhere. You just have to keep you eyes out!

Store Coupons and eCoupons... 

Stores coupons can be found in various places. A great place to start is store websites. Target, for example, offers not only printable store coupons but also a system called Cartwheel which offers eCoupons (and yes, you can use both on the same product).  

Each store tends to have its own system.  Some stores offer monthly booklets with coupons (Walgreens), some have a coupons dispenser in stores (CVS), some give you the option of watching videos online (RiteAid), and a variety of other options. Walgreens also offers a reward point system which tracks points for specific sales which equate to dollars off your next sales, Reward Points. This program is in addition to the Catalina bonus reward coupons that you get at check out! is another eCoupon option which links sales to your store car, but rather than immediate savings you get a credit toward an account which you can "cash out" later.  There are also a variety of online coupon sites that pay into a similar account only after you purchase and download your receipt: Checkout 51 and Ibotta are just a couple.

Again, they are everywhere just keep you eyes out!

Note that Walgreens will not let you EARN reward points and SPEND reward points in the same sale! They say it is a legal issue... But making this error can throw off a deal, so be careful.


FOUR tubes of shampoo/conditioner, for $0.75

On sale 2 for $6
Minus $2 "reward points" each sale, making them $2 each
Stacked with two $1 coupons and two $1.50, one for each item


$0.75 per bottle or $3.00 total

Compare: these four 10oz bottles to the cost of a 40oz economy bottle ($10+), a much better deal!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

No Saints Around Here - Toth

Title: No Saints Around Here
Author: Susan Allen Toth
Published: 2014, University of Minnesota Press
Genre: Memoir
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley, free of cost, in exchange for an honest review.

Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Stories about struggle with illness/care giving

What Its About: Susan Toth and her husband James were taken by surprise when he received a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. Never had the term "until death do us part" felt quite the same for these aging second-marriagers with older children. Over the following years, Toth determines that she will care for James at home until his death, or until it becomes just impossible to do otherwise.

Countless books on "care giving" left Toth empty, with no real understanding of the realities she was about to face. She made connections and friendships with other women who had found themselves in similar terminal care giving situations and took strength from their experiences, their support and their humor.

Despite others commenting often about her efforts, Toth repeats the mantra that she never considered herself a saint . Her frustration and exhaustion got the better of her often. The constant interruptions from any goal or second of rest took its toll. More than once she wished the whole horrible situation would just end, despite the unavoidable outcome. But she takes comfort in the fact that she loved her husband dearly, had no doubt that he knew that, and did the best she could at any and every given moment of his care, interestingly part of her marriage vows.

This memoir follows Toth's experience over the final year or so of her husband's life, addressing real subjects such as exhaustion and frustration, small luxuries and caring for herself, watching her husband's final decline, loss of freedom, and even bodily functions. She does so with honesty and humor.

Bottom Line: A good read, but definitely heartbreaking. Many will enjoy this well-written read, but other's may not quite be able to handle the reality of it. Handle with care.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 04/08/14

A great lyric is like a great book...

Cat's in the Cradle
Harry Chapin, Artist & Writer

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say "I'm gonna be like you, Dad
You know I'm gonna be like you"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home, Dad
I don't know when, but we'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let's play
can you teach me to throw", I said "Not today
I got a lot to do", he said, "That's ok
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home, Dad
I don't know when, but we'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
"Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while"
He shook his head and said with a smile
"What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home son
I don't know when, but we'll get together then, Dad
You know we'll have a good time then

I've long since retired, my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job's a hassle and kids have the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, Dad
It's been sure nice talking to you"

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you comin' home son
I don't know when, but we'll get together then, Dad
We're gonna have a good time then.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Mondays - 04/7/14

This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Still Reading: 
No Saints Around Here: A Caregiver's Days (Susan Allan Toth)
Moby Dick (Herman Melville)

Just Finished

On Deck
More Netgalleys...

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Saturday Savings - 04/05/14

Coupon Basics - Types  

There are several kinds of coupons available and most stores allow you to "stack" those on one another, creating the best discount possible on each item.

For example, most stores have weekly or monthly sales which are offered to get buyers in the doors. Some require store loyalty cards, some do not.

Manufacturers' Coupons...

Manufacturers offer coupons on specific products to garner interest (i.e. sales). Typically, manufacture's coupons are thought of as what you find in the newspaper, but they can also come as blinkies, peelies or tear pads.  These are found in the stores, usually next to the item, on pads on the shelving, on the item itself and peeled off for instant savings, or in little hanging boxes by the shelves which often have a blinking red light to catch buyers' attention.  Some manufacturers also put coupons in the box with purchased products (like lunch bags and such).

You can also print manufacturer coupons off the internet.  Another online option is eCoupons. eCoupons can sometimes be linked to your store loyalty cards or scanned on a smart phone at the time of purchase.

Store Coupons...
Stores themselves often offer coupons on specific items. Again, these boost sales on specific items and are meant to spark interest and get a buyer in the doors. Stores also offer catalinas, which are the coupons that the store clerk hands you back with your receipt (which most people ignore and toss). Catalinas can be  manufacturer or store coupons, or sometimes are just a store reward bonus coupons, so double check!

Store reward bonus coupons are called Extra Value Bucks (ECB) at CVS and  Register Rewards (RR) at Walgreens. They are additional coupons for a specific dollar amount that you get for purchasing specific deals - kind of like getting a $5 dollar bill back and applying it to your next order -  which you apply to your whole sale at the end.

Remember coupons are stackable (at most stores)You can only use one manufacturer's coupon per item, ever.  But you can usually stack a manufacturer's coupon with a store coupon, which can be stacked on top of a regular weekly sale price, and for icing on the cake...use a RR or ECB to finish off the sale!



FOUR 6-bar packs of Irish Spring soap, for $4 (in two sales...)

On sale 2 for $7
Stacked with $1 off two coupon

Stacked with $4 "store reward bonus coupon"
 (x 2 times)


$2 or $1.00 per box (or less than $0.25 per bar)

That's a good deal!


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors (Throwback Thursdays Review)

I am a fan of memoirs and biographical non-fiction. Within that genre I am fairly flexible about what types of stories I enjoy. Stories about illness, families, work, pets and animals, I read it all. One of my favorites is adventure and survival stories.  

Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read and Scott P. Werther is a classic in this area. Time has not changed the impact of their story, most well known for the desperate survival tactic utilized by survivors. But this story is about so much more: desperation, fear, love and loss.

In October of 1972, an Uruguayan rugby team was on its way to a game in Chile. Unfortunately, their plane had trouble and crashed in Argentina in the snowy Andes Mountains. The forty-five or so survivors gathered together to wait for rescue, but after weeks many more had died and hope was gone.

Survivors huddled in what was left of the fuselage of the plane, with no food or supplies. A small group of boys set out to find help when the original search was called off. Eventually, the survivors found themselves in the most direst of positions and were forced to cannibalize the bodies of those who had died in the hopes of lasting long enough for rescue to arrive.

This book was an extremely well written story of tragedy and human endurance. The accounting of those harrowing and horrific days is also a tribute to those who were lost. An excellent read for anyone interested in survival stories, but definitely not for the faint of heart.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.