Monday, August 31, 2009

MORE Fabulous Victoria's Secret Freebies!!!

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTT???  The freebies from Vic's Secret just keep getting better!  Here are two of the latest:


Saturday, August 29, 2009

50% off at Michael's!

If you go here and sign up for Michael's e-newsletters, you'll receive a printable 50% off coupon via email in just a few hours!  YAY!

Sweet Deal: SAFEWAY!

Okay, you lucky Northwesterners: Safeway is running a promo eerily similar to Kroger's MegaDeal event, only this one's "Buy 5 participating items, get $5.00 back"!!  Check out Krazy Coupon Lady's awesome coupon matchups to plan your shopping trip.  There are definitely some potentially FREE items to be had, so don't miss this one!  Head to Safeway's website (click on the logo in my sidebar) to view the weekly ad.

P.S. Fancy some free bacon while you're shopping at Safeway? 

Smithfield Bacon: $3.00
Use $3.00/1 printable coupon (sign up at the top of the screen; you'll be able to print the coupon twice)
Final Price: FREE

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sweet Deal: Kroger! (plus coupon matchups!!)

Since Kroger's MegaDeal event (buy 10 participating items, get $5 back) continues through Wednesday, Sep. 2, I thought I'd write a post specifically detailing how I got that awesome deal last week--and showing you how YOU can get one too!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Each item's first listed price takes into account the fact that you will have bought 10 participating items, and that you've received $5 back.  So DON'T take another $0.50 off when figuring out your math; I've already factored the promotional savings in.
IMPORTANT NOTE #2: To get the listed ecoupons, check out AND
IMPORTANT NOTE #3: Most of these coupons can be found on (and most of the links lead there); however, if you want extra coupons, head to to see if any are available!

Honey Nut Cheerios: $1.49
Use $0.55/1 printable coupon
Use $0.55/1 ecoupon
Final Price: $0.39

Pillsbury Toaster Strudels: $1.49
Use $0.55/2 printable coupon
Use $0.55/2 ecoupon
Final Price: $0.94 WYB2 [When You Buy Two]

Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits: $0.99
Use $1.00/2 printable coupon
Use $1.00/2 ecoupon
Final Price: FREE WYB2

Hamburger (or Tuna) Helper: $0.89
Use $0.75/3 printable coupon
Use $0.75/3 ecoupon
Final Price: $0.36 WYB3

Betty Crocker Brownie Mix: $1.49
Use $0.75/2 printable coupon
Use $0.75/2 ecoupon
Final Price: $0.75 WYB2

Betty Crocker Cookie Mix: $1.49
Use $0.40/1 printable coupon (remember, this will double to $0.80/1 at Kroger!)
Use $0.40/1 ecoupon
Final Price: $0.29

Nature Valley Granola Bars: $1.99
Use $0.40/1 printable coupon (remember, this will double to $0.80/1 at Kroger!)
Use $0.40/1 ecoupon
Final Price: $0.79

Betty Crocker "Warm Delights": ???
Use $0.50/1 printable coupon (remember, this will double to $1.00/1 at Kroger!)
Use $0.50/1 ecoupon
Final Price: FREE

Cascadian Farms Organic Cereal or Granola: $2.49
Use $1.00/1 printable coupon
Final Price: $1.49

Chex Mix Bars: ???
Use $0.60/1 printable coupon
Use $0.60/1 ecoupon
Final Price: ???

Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters: $1.99 (BH note: These are SO GOOOOD)
Use $1.00/1 printable coupon
Use $1.00/1 ecoupon
Final Price: FREE

Old El Paso Refried Beans, Taco Shells, or Tortillas: $0.99
Use $0.60/2 printable coupon Unfortunately, this coupon has disappeared.  :(  But $0.69 WYB2 is nothing to sneeze at!
Use $0.60/2 ecoupon
Final Price: $0.39 $0.69 WYB2

SoBe Lifewater: $0.49
Use B1G1 printable coupon
Final Price: $0.25 WYB2 or FREE (depending on how the cashier scans the coupon)
Here's a possible deal scenario:

THREE Hamburger Helpers: $1.08
Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters: FREE
TWO Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits: FREE
Honey Nut Cheerios: $0.39
Betty Crocker Cookie Mix: $0.29
TWO Sobe Lifewaters: $0.49 or FREE

Total: 10 participating items for $2.25
Okay.  Those are just some of my favorite matchups involving some of the participating items.  To check out Kroger's weekly ad, go here and click on "weekly ads" at the top of the page.  However, be warned: this week's ad does NOT list all of the participating items in the MegaDeal event; once you get to the store, keep an eye out for the distinctive yellow tags marking all eligible items.  The items I've listed here are still eligible, to the best of my knowledge; however, as always, do your own research and don't blindly trust my calculations (I am a singer, after all...I can only count to 4, and sometimes 6)!

Have fun!

Where to Find Coupons: Restaurant Websites!

So here's the fourth installment in my "Where to Find Coupons" series, and it deals with one of my favorite things: FOOOOOD.
Did you know that by signing up online for your favorite restaurants' loyalty/membership/VIP programs, you can get free meals right and left??  Well??  Did you? 
...You didn't?
Okay, here's what to do:

  1. Go to a restaurant's website.
  2. Look around to see if they have some sort of membership club or loyalty program or something.
  3. If they do, sign up for it. (NOTE: This would be a good time to use that nifty extra email address you created when you began your journey to become a coupon goddess (or god.  Sorry guys.)  Don't know what I'm talking about?  Check out this post.)
  4. Check your email.
  5. Print out your coupon(s).
  6. Go eat free food.
Seriously.  It's just that easy.
I've only signed up with a few restaurants so far, but I've already gotten some AWESOME deals (free Coldstone on your birthday, anyone?).  If you want to try this yourself (and really, why wouldn't you?) start with the places below--I've linked directly to the sign-up page for each club/newsletter/whatever--and then Google YOUR restaurant's website to see if they have a similar program! 

Coldstone Creamery
Cheeseburger In Paradise
Old Country Buffet
Olive Garden
Red Lobster
Red Robin
Starbuck's (see this post)

And here are a few fast food joints (because, you know, I'm a college student):
Burgerville (Enjoy, Northwesterners... *sob*)

Daily Checks

I have a folder in my internet "Favorites" list named "Daily Checks".  In it, I stick websites/blogs worthy of being checked every day, due to their general awesomeness.  The blog at the TOP of that list is The Freebie Blogger.  These fabulous people post dozens of current freebie offers every day.  You owe it to yourself to give this blog a quick scan every morning or evening.  Thanks to TFB, I've received makeup freebies, candy freebies, paper/stationery freebies, food freebies, clothing freebies, etc.  Too much fun!!  You should totally check it out.

Bath & Body Works Lip Gloss Freebie!

I looooove this coupon:

Free lip item with any purchase at Bath & Body Works (exp. 8/30/09)

It expires this Sunday, though, so hurry!!
(Remember to look for nail files/tiny lotions/etc. to use as your required purchase with offers like this!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sweet Deal: Target!

Just got back from Target, and I got--among a few other things--some free "Crazy Cores" Skittles!! (Find 'em in the checkout lanes)

Original Price: $0.52
Used Target's $1/1 "Crazy Cores" Skittles coupon (exp. 9/5/09)
Final Price: FREE

I'm going to print more coupons and go back this weekend to get a few more bags. FREE CANDY YAYYYY! Admittedly, they look a little...flourescent...but it will be fun to break them out for the occasional movie night over the next few months.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Victoria's Secret Freebies! (UPDATE)

Victoria's Secret has had some great freebie offers lately!

Here are three of the most recent:
Free lace-trim thong with any Victoria's Secret Pink purchase (exp. 9/2/09).
Free Pink Body Lotion (1oz); no purchase required (exp. 9/7/09).
UPDATE: Free Pink Beauty Travel Kit (worth $25) with any Victoria's Secret Pink purchase (exp. 9/24/09). Log in/register to print your coupon. 2nd UPDATE: I used this coupon today, and the kit is so cute! It comes with travel-size bottles of body spray, body lotion and body wash and an adorable little lip butter thingy, all in a cute pink mesh zippered bag. Hard to believe someone would actually pay $25 for it, though. Yikes. Anyway, it would make a great gift.

At my store there are usually some GREAT clearance deals, so make sure to check those out before buying a full-priced item to go with your free undies. You could also use a couple travel-size Pink lotions or something as your purchases (and then receive another one with the other coupon!).

Arby's Freebie on Wednesday!

Tomorrow (Wednesday, August 26), head into any Arby's and receive a free Roast Beef & Cheddar sandwich with the purchase of any soft drink. Sweet! ...especially if you ask them to leave off the "cheddar". *shudder*

Starbucks Freebie!

Here's a fun freebie:

If you have a Starbucks gift card or Rewards Card, go here to create an account/sign in/register your card, and you'll receive a free drink of your choice on your birthday! Fun! Easy! Delicious!

(If you don't have a Starbucks gift card, you can get one from Swagbucks for 135sb. Unfamiliar with Swagbucks? Read all about it in an upcoming post, OR check out the widget in my sidebar.)

Thanks, MoneySavingMom!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Where to Find Coupons: Contact the Manufacturer!

This next strategy was the third step I took on my journey to couponing, and it's probably the one that freaked me out the most (in a good way).

I decided (innocently enough) to contact the manufacturer of one of my favorite products to let them know how much I enjoyed the product. So I went to the product's website--for this example, we'll say the product is Skintimate shaving cream--and found the contact form. I filled out my contact info and then wrote a quick little message about why I specifically liked their product. It took like two seconds. Lo and behold: five days later, I received a very nice letter in the mail, thanking me for my comments, and included in that letter was a coupon for a FREE Skintimate product. Any Skintimate product. Any size. !!! So I started writing to a few more of my favorite products' manufacturers.

Now, keep in mind that I've only been writing to manufacturers for about two weeks, and during that time, I've spent probably 10 minutes total contacting these people. Here are the coupons I've received so far:

FREE Skintimate product
FREE Hostess/Wonder/HomePride product
FREE Bagel Bites (don't judge me)
FREE Clorox Disinfecting Wipes (the big tub)
Two FREE Chiquita Fruit Bites
Two $0.50 coupons for Edy's (that's "Dreyer's" to you Northwestern folks) Fruit Bars
Two $1.00 coupons for any Campbell's/Pace/V8/Prego/Pepperidge Farm product
Two $0.50 coupons for Bagel Bites

Not bad for two weeks, right? (Why haven't I ever done this before??) Keep in mind that some manufacturers actually do want to hear your praise, suggestions for improvement, displeasure, etc., so this is valuable feedback for them. I don't gush when I write to them; I just honestly state what I like or would improve about each product, and thank them for their work. It seriously takes almost no time at all, and it nets me some free and/or very cheap items! Sweet! Try contacting your favorite product's manufacturer today, and see what happens!

Where to Find Coupons: The Sunday Paper

Have you ever flipped through those colorful coupon inserts found in your Sunday newspaper, and then tossed them in the recycling because "All that stuff is way too expensive to begin with, so those coupons won't save me any money"? Me too. But now that I've discovered the secret to couponing success (matching up coupons with awesome sales/promos and then stockpiling the items in question so you won't have to buy them at a higher price)(wow, that's a long secret), I've realized that the Sunday paper is INVALUABLE. If you don't already receive the Sunday paper, try You can save quite a bit by subscribing through that site as opposed to the newspaper's own office.

Most hard-core couponers purchase about four to six papers every Sunday. Yes. Four to six. Every Sunday. That way, when something goes on an awesome sale, they can stock up even more than usual, because they have more coupons to use. This makes sense, but I'm taking baby steps into this world of couponing, and am not quite at the "four-to-six papers" level yet. Plus, I live in a tiny apartment that has almost no storage space, so I couldn't do major stockpiling even if I wanted to. I can only stockpile two or three items ahead. :-(

So here's what I do. Every week, I check out this awesome site: Scroll down the page a bit, and you'll see a "Preview Pages" column. Click on the upper-most date. ...See? This awesome person previews every coupon insert that will be in the paper on that date! This way I'm able to decide--based on how often I use certain products, how often they go on sale, and what the actual value of each coupon is--whether or not it's worth it for me to buy the paper that Sunday. (I can't do a weekly subscription because the local paper won't deliver to my address. *pout*)
Adding the Sunday paper's coupon inserts to my couponing arsenal was my second step (after learning about internet printables) on the journey to couponing. It's been VERY valuable so far.

Where to Find Coupons: The KCL Coupon Database

Oh boy. I just found this database of printable internet coupons today, and it is the BEST. DATABASE. EVER. It's organized alphabetically, so if you're looking for a coupon for a particular product, you can scroll directly to it. How handy! (Check out Krazy Coupon Lady's main blog too, while you're at it.)


Welcome to the wonderful, convenient world of e-coupons (Ecoupons? E-coupons? ecoupons?)! Well, it won't be so wonderful for you if your store doesn't offer this service, but if it DOES, you should definitely take advantage of it and start saving even more money when you shop!

Here's how they work: You can go online to various e-coupon sites, enter your store "club card" number, and then load digital coupons onto it. The coupons are automatically applied next time you go shopping, have your card swiped, and buy the items in question. It's just too easy. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • e-coupons will expire, just like paper coupons. It's up to you to keep track of the expiration dates. (Some of the e-coupon sites will offer a printable "shopping list", showing all the coupons currently loaded onto your card. Very handy.)
  • e-coupons will not double, even if your store doubles paper coupons.
  • e-coupons are automatically deleted from your card when they expire or when you use them, whichever comes first. (They can't be used more than once.)
  • e-coupons CAN be stacked with paper manufacturer coupons, but there is lots of controversy surrounding this. Think about it: it's not okay to stack two paper manufacturers' coupons. An e-coupon is another type of manufacturer's coupon. So is it illegal to stack e-coupons and paper coupons? This is obviously a sticky issue, especially as it involves questions of fraud, ethics, responsible couponing, etc. This is definitely something that you need to research for yourself, and then decide accordingly. Here's my feeling: these e-coupons have been presented by the manufacturers themselves to encourage consumers to buy their products. Neither the manufacturers' policies nor the providers' policies state NOT to stack their e-coupons with their paper coupons. If the manufacturers/providers decide to ban stacking (via their website, email, or some sort of "block" put on the cards), I will of course stop combining e-coupons and paper coupons immediately, but until then, I personally have no problem stacking them. (Plus, what happens if you load an e-coupon onto your card, but then find a better paper coupon later? You can't remove the e-coupon from your card, so are you supposed to NOT use the paper coupon? I think it's the e-coupon providers' job to fix this issue.) But don't misunderstand me; I think that couponing responsibly is VERY important. Trying to "rip someone off" or "get around the rules" is NOT what this is all about. It's about following all the rules laid out by manufacturers and stores, spending time finding awesome sale matchups, using our brains to work out all the math, and then saving money. So make sure that YOU feel comfortable with your couponing practices, and then continue happily saving money and getting great deals, no matter what you decide. *BH steps delicately off her soapbox*
Want to get started with e-coupons? First, grab all of your store cards. Start by heading to one of your store's websites (here are Safeway and Kroger, to start).* The Kroger site is a GREAT money-saving tool: every week, the weekly ad is posted, and there are links to printable coupons AND all of the major e-coupon sites; PLUS they've started offering their own e-coupons. Nifty.  I also use Shortcuts and Cellfire (although I don't use Cellfire's coupon-to-cell phone option). Then, start adding e-coupons to your card! Now all you have to do is keep track of the coupons, and, when you buy a participating product, check your receipt to make sure it was used on your transaction. If it did NOT come off, and if you have your list of e-coupons printed out, try heading over to Customer Service first. If that doesn't work, contact the e-coupon provider via their website.
Sweet, right? Let me know if you have any questions about e-coupons. I'll add to this post as I learn more and as questions/issues arise.
*Note: Because I no longer live in the Northwest (*tear*), I'm going to use Kroger as an example whenever I discuss e-coupons. But Safeway and other participating stores should be pretty similar. Printable Coupons

Another great printable coupon site is This site keeps track of your number of prints, and will "close" a coupon to you after two or three, so be aware of that. (Check out the RedPlum post below for more strategies to maximize your savings while using printable coupon sites.)

Some of my favorite current coupons on

$0.50/6 Yoplait yogurts (This may seem not-so-great, but if your store doubles coupons, and if you pair it with a sale, and if you eat yogurt all the time, it's pretty good! ALSO: I want the world to know that if you freeze Yoplait "Whips" yogurt, IT TASTES LIKE ICE CREAM. This is not a lie. Try it with the Chocolate Mousse flavor. Trust me on this one.)

$1.00/2 Pillsbury Grands Biscuits (any size/variety) (I love this coupon. Here's why: if you pair it with the same e-coupon AND Kroger's MegaEvent sale, each tube is FREEEEE! Even without the event and e-coupon, use this on two of those cute little 4- or 5-biscuit tubes [note that the coupon says "any size"] at Walmart and get them for almost free.)

$0.40/1 box Nature Valley Granola Bars (Good if your store doubles AND if paired with the same e-coupon.)

$1/1 One-A-Day VitaCraves product (12ct+) (I am so stupidly excited about those VitaCraves gummy vitamins. I mean, all your essential vitamins and minerals in a FRUIT SNACK?!?!? Sign me up! ...aaaand for the adults among us: this coupon is also good on any other One-A-Day product.)

$1/1 box Special K Blueberry Cereal (When paired with a great Walmart sale, this made for a $0.25 box of delicious cereal.)

There are TONS more coupons on this site, so you should really go check 'em out.

RedPlum Printable Coupons

I'd like to introduce you to the wonderful world of printable internet coupons. is one of the best places to find great printable coupons. (It also publishes one of the leading...ahem...junk mailers, and does newspaper inserts too.) To maximize your savings, remember:

  • Enter your zipcode at the top. Sometimes special offers and coupons will show up for specific zipcodes, so it's worth checking to see if yours is one of them!
  • Some coupons have a counter; when they've been printed a certain number of times, they disappear. So print coupons as soon as you find them to avoid missing out.
  • To save on ink, make sure your printer's on the "Fast" or "Light" setting BEFORE you click "print"; these coupons print automatically.

Here are some of my favorite currently-available coupons (and check out the bottom of this post if some of my notation weirds you out):

$2/1 Rimmel mascara (I heard these are on sale for $2.09 at Walgreen's this week!! Thanks, MoneySavingMom!)

$0.50/1 box Lean Pockets (Check to see if your store doubles coupons. At my Kroger, they'd double this coupon to $1.00, and since these are on sale for $2.00 right now, I could get a box for $1.00! Not bad!)

$1/1 Rimmel product (This would make a little nail polish or something either close to free, or free!)

$1/1 Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion (200ml+) (This might pair well with a good sale, but note that since the size is specified, we can't use this coupon to get a free travel-size lotion. Boo.)

$1/3 DelMonte Fruit Naturals Cups (8oz) (These are super-cheap at Walmart right now, which is great, because the pink grapefruit type is like heaven in a plastic cup.)

$1.50/2 Kellogg's Frosted MiniWheats, All-Bran, and/or Raisin Bran (11.4oz+) (This would be great paired with a similar Target coupon, since Target allows stacking of store coupons and manufacturer coupons. So keep an eye on those store flyers!)

There! Have fun!

(Note: "$1/3" = $1.00 off 3. "200ml+" = 200 ml or larger.)

Random Freebies

Free samples are awesome. It's fun to get a little treat in the mail, and it's fun to try weird foods/items you'd never actually buy, and often the samples will be accompanied by high-value (high dollar amount) coupons! So whenever I have a few minutes, I sign up for a couple of these.

NOTE: Before you start applying for free samples, it would be a good idea to create a "junk" email account via yahoo or hotmail. Use that email when signing up for samples/offers/whatever. That way, in case some of these offers create lots of email spam, your primary inbox will remain pristine and lovely.

Here are just a few of the free sample offers I've seen floating around lately:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sweet Deals at Target

There are some sweet deals going on right now at Target!

BH Tip: Target allows "stacking" of manufacturer's coupons and store coupons. This means that if you have a manufacturer's coupon for, say, Dove deodorant, you can use it WITH a Target coupon for Dove deodorant. Use this strategy to maximize your savings, as I did here:

Target has Dove Ultimate Visibly Smooth Deodorant for $3.29 this week.
Use $2 off 1 Dove Deodorant printable coupon
Use $1 off 1 Dove Deodorant Target printable coupon (scroll down to the "Expiring 9/12/09" section, enter "1" in the box next to "Dove Deodorant", scroll down to the bottom, and click "Get Coupons". Then print it!)
Final price: $0.29

BH Tip: Always check to see if a coupon specifies the size of the product in question; for example, the Target Dove printable clearly states that the coupon is not to be used for travel-size deodorants. But the coupon below clearly does NOT include a size requirement, which is why we're able to get such a sweet deal:

Target has General Mills Single-Serve Cereal Cups for $1.00 this week.
Use $1 off 1 General Mills Cereal Target printable coupon (scroll down to the "Expiring 9/12/09" section, enter your requested number of coupons next to "General Mills Cereal", scroll down to the bottom, and click "Get Coupons". I printed five.)
Final price: FREE

See? Isn't this crazy-fun?

Bath & Body Works Freebies

Here are two fun coupons for Bath & Body Works freebies! They're especially great if you're thinking ahead to Christmas presents.

Get a FREE Signature Collection Body Care or Home Fragrance item with any $10 purchase. Expires 8/27/09.

Get a FREE Signature Collection travel size item with any purchase. Expires 9/9/09. ...I used this coupon, and the "travel size items" are actually pretty big! Lots to choose from, too. I lucked out because I found a HUGE bottle of shea lotion on clearance for $3, so that was my purchase. I walked out with $20+ worth of merchandise for $3. Wheeeee!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


General Note: I'm still working on the formatting, so that's why some things on the blog might look wonky.

Inaugural "Sweet Deal" Post

I scored a sweet deal yesterday!

Where: Kroger

How: Kroger MegaDeal event
(buy 10 participating items, get $5 back)
PLUS ecoupons
PLUS paper coupons
· 6 Hamburger/Tuna helpers—Joel's lifeline when I'm not home for dinner
· 1 Wanchai Ferry Skillet Dinner for Two—this one’s great because it includes protein (chicken) AND it's delicious AND it doesn’t have any MSG (“MSG’D!!!!”)
· 1 Wanchai Ferry Dinner Kit
· 2 bx Nature Valley granola bars—I think these were free
· 2 bags Nature Valley Nut Clusters
· 1 bx Cascadian Farms Organic Granola—YUM
· 5 cans Progresso soup
· 4 Sobe Lifewaters—all free
· 1 pkg Old El Paso tortillas
· 1 pkg Old El Paso taco shells
· 1 pkg Old El Paso taco seasoning—this was free with a peelie coupon on the taco shells
· 3 bx Fruit by the Foot/Fruit Roll-ups—almost free--Joel's favorite
· 2 bags Quakes—YUM
· 6 pkg Pillsbury rolls (biscuits, crescents, sweet rolls)
· 1 carton Tropicana OJ
· 2 bags Green Giant Steamers
· 1 bx Chex bars
· 1 Betty Crocker "Warm Delights" Molten Chocolate Cakey Thingy—whatever. It was free and it looked yummy. Plus the name is hilarious.
Original total: $105.71
Final total: $25.20
Savings: $80.51 (76%)

Here's what's sweet about this deal:
· Although most of this stuff is ridiculously snacky/carby, the fact is that we like snacks every once in a while. :-D Now our pantry's stocked with MONTHS' worth of this stuff, eliminating expensive "emergency" grocery runs (and by "emergency" grocery runs, I mean me begging Joel at 10pm to go get me a snack).
· As much as I try to deny it, the vending machine at school ALWAYS lures me in on the odd extra-long, extra-exhausting Thursday at around 4:00pm. But I’ll be able to resist that evil temptation (and save 75 cents) by whipping out a [free] granola bar previously stashed in my bag. Sweet!
· With all the money we saved on this transaction (and others like it), we're able to buy organic and locally-grown produce/meat/dairy much more often than we used to. (Go here for a nifty "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides".)
So there you have it. The Inaugural "Sweet Deal" Post.

Couponing/Freebie-Getting, BH-Style

Here are Bloomington Housewife's main couponing strategies. Aaaaand now I'm going to stop referring to myself in the third person. I've included helpful information about how to set yourself up/organize yourself for couponing, where to find coupons, and how to use coupons to your advantage. Please keep in mind that I am still fairly new to this whole thing, so my strategies are constantly evolving, and I'm learning more all the time.
Here we go!

What You Need:

  • Scissors or a paper slicer (incidentally, you can find scissors for free at CVS all the time)
  • Color printer (sometimes stores are more likely to take internet coupons if they're printed in color. It shouldn't make a difference, but sometimes it does, if the cashier is picky and/or dumb. The cost of printing in color on the fastest or lightest setting is tiny compared to the money I've saved with my couponing and freebie-getting, so I think it's a worthwhile expenditure)
  • An envelope/box/coupon organizer, and paper clips/bulldog clips/etc. (to keep your coupons organized)

Where to Find Coupons:

  • Internet (blogs, store websites, product websites, etc.)
  • Sunday paper
  • Store booklets
  • Magazines
  • With free samples
  • Product packaging (e.g. cereal boxes)
  • Sent from manufacturer as a result of your commenting on a particular product (by doing this, I've received coupons for FREE Bagel Bites, Skintimate Shaving Cream, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Chiquita Fruit Bites, and more)


  • Coupons alone will save you some money if you use them for things you'd normally buy anyway. However, you can save LOTS AND LOTS of money by matching up coupons with sales and other promotions (e.g. rebates, store promos), especially if you're willing to consider brands/items you wouldn't normally buy.
  • Print out/clip any and all coupons you find (unless they're for something you REALLY would never buy... I don't clip diaper coupons... ;-).
  • Know when to hold on to a coupon and when to use it. Here are three different examples of this... Example 1: Betty Crocker brownie mix is something we sometimes buy, since it's usually the cheapest mix and Joel loves brownies. So I printed out a few coupons online when I came across them. Since they weren't going to expire for a month, I hung on to them to see if a good sale or promo match-up would come along. If nothing had shown up the day or two before the coupons expired, I would have gone ahead and bought the mix, using the coupons I'd found. Example 2: Dark Chocolate Chex Mix in a bag is something I'd NEVER buy, because it's so expensive. But by matching up an awesome store promo with an awesome coupon, I was able to snag a bag for around $0.25, which is way less than a candy bar, and it's about six times more snack! :-D Example 3: I had a coupon for those cute mini Haagen-Dazs ice cream cups. I kept a look-out for a great sale matchup, but as the coupon's expiration date approached, nothing presented itself. So I let the coupon expire without using it, since I couldn't justify buying one of those tiny cups for $0.75. Never use a coupon on an item "just because" you have a coupon. You won't save money that way. **NOTE: something I've thought about since letting that coupon expire: if it's a day or two before one of your coupons is set to expire, why not leave it on a store shelf next to the product in question? Maybe someone else will find it and be able to use it! COOL!
  • Freebie-getting: You can find free food/household items/personal care items ALL THE TIME, if you know where to look. Example: Kashi cereal cups are something I'd never buy, because they're outrageously expensive. But I found out online that Target was selling them for $1 each, and I happened to have five coupons for $1 off any Kashi product. So I waltzed in and came out with five free cereal cups. I'll post great freebies on this blog as I find them.
  • Stockpile wisely. In our tiny apartment, we don't have much room. So even if I could get, say, 100 boxes of crackers for free, I wouldn't take 100 boxes of crackers, because I have nowhere to put them. On the other hand, I could take some of them and donate them to a charity. I don't know if they'd have anywhere to put them either, though. That's kind of a lot of crackers. Maybe I could have picked a more realistic example. Anyway, if I'm able to find toothpaste for free and/or deodorant for $0.29 (both of which I have!), I go ahead and buy a couple of each, knowing that I won't be able to find that price again for quite a while, and not wanting to have to go out later and spend $5 on something I could have gotten for free. This is the whole "Spend now to save later" mentality. It is NOT the same thing as "The more you buy, the more you save!!". Don't get sucked into that. Just think ahead, carefully consider your needs, space, and the quality of the deal you're getting, and then act accordingly.

I will add to this post as I have time, and as different issues arise. In particular I'll add information about e-coupons, which are handy-dandy little digital coupons you can load onto your shopper's card (e.g. Safeway Club Card). I'll also touch on how to organize your coupons. And I'll list my very favorite couponing, freebie-getting, deal-announcing sites! woohoo!

Why I Love Couponing

1. Routinely saving 50-80% off grocery shopping transactions is absolutely exhilirating. Seeing our monthly food spending cut in half is thrilling. Walking out of the store with 15 items purchased for $0.25 total is SUCH A TRIP. Seriously. Try it. It's so much fun.

2. By matching up sales and coupons, expensive/name brand/"fancy" items become incredibly cheap, allowing us to try fun stuff and, in some cases, raise our standard of living by purchasing better-quality products. This applies to grocery store and drug store purchases, but also to purchases from "nice" clothing stores and places like The Body Shop, Victoria's Secret, and more. This way Joel and I get to have some fun, "fancy" things every once in a while without blowing our budget or encroaching on our savings.

3. It is SO FUN to get out my little scrapbooking slicey thing and cut out coupons, and then organize them and update my coupon database. It's a Type A's dream.

4. By saving so much money on household items/personal care items/food, we can afford to purchase more organic/local produce, meat and dairy products. This is awesome. And we can afford to go on fun adventures together. This is also awesome.

About Me

In addition to being a rather eccentric 25-year-old housewife in Bloomington, I am also an avid reader of early 20th-century British/Scottish/Australian novels, a slightly obsessive list-writer/color-coordinator, a shy but enthusiastic accompanist, a graduate assistant in a music admissions office, and a current grad student finishing up my M.M. in opera performance. I like hiking, drawing, baking, shopping (for anything), guinea pigs, horses, traveling the world/going on adventures with my husband, making stuff, wrapping presents, being outside, going to movies, learning about stuff, reading (constantly) and talking with my family and best friends. I love singing, and can't imagine life without it, but it's only a part of my life. The best and biggest part is being married to my best friend (who is, among other things, a brilliant mathematician, violinist, pianist, teacher, composer, arranger, generous dish-washer, trash taker-outer, incredibly hard worker, and genius). We've been married for over seven years, and it just gets better every day.  We've had an indescribably wonderful time growing up together, going on adventures, learning more about this crazy world and everything in it, and working on being better people.
The name for this blog came from some well-meaning and extremely loving singer friends who were teasing me about my new-found couponing obsession, and suggested I start a blog about saving money called "Bloomington Housewife." Great idea, guys! :-D

In couponing, I've discovered a way to merge two distinct parts of myself: the part which is entertained for hours by sketching things with my husband or reading a book or looking at clouds and who would never in a million years purchase a $10 lip gloss; and the part of me which sheepishly admits to totally wanting to get that fancy $10 lip gloss, but then not buying it out of respect for our budget and savings. Now I've discovered ways to get that lip gloss for FREE, to buy higher-quality, well-fitting, pretty clothes for drastically reduced prices, and to find lots of fun presents for family and friends! And I'm not a homeschooling mom in a denim jumper who has 20 kids...although I do love the homeschooling moms wearing denim jumpers who have 20 kids...I am just a chick who wants to live well while saving money. You can do this too! Yay!

Bloomington Housewife

So, I started this blog mainly in order to have a record--for myself--of my foray into the wide, wonderful world of couponing/money-saving. A few months ago, I discovered, after overcoming my original dismissive attitude toward coupons, that I could slash over 50% off of our monthly grocery bill AND get free stuff right and left AND improve our standard of living, all by adopting a few simple strategies.

My other reason for starting this blog is that I want to share my great finds with interested parties and rescue my extremely patient and loving mother from having to listen to me ramble for hours about the latest deals I've gotten. ;)

I also want to say to whoever will listen that couponing is not just for stay-at-home moms with 10 kids, and it's not just for saving money on cereal (although there are some sweet cereal deals around right now). I mean, what gal wouldn't love to get a bunch of free stuff from Victoria's Secret/Bath & Body Works/Target/etc.? Who doesn't want to go on a super-nice date for, like, free? Who doesn't want to go on awesome adventures using some of the money they've saved through couponing? Who WOULDN'T love to save money for their future???? *pant* *pant* *pant* see my point. ANYONE can use coupons to their advantage.

I will use this blog to highlight any great deals/coupons/freebies I may come across, as well as recap some of my most successful shopping trips. Also, I reserve the right to ramble aimlessly about anything from Rossini to draft horses (seriously, have you ever seen a draft horse pulling competition? It's kind of awesome.)

Go here to read more about me (and find out why I named this blog "Bloomington Housewife").

Go here to read about why I love couponing.

Go here to check out my couponing strategies.