Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Springing into Spring!

The weather has been beautiful here in San Antonio. It's breezy, cool, sunny, and pleasant. The tulips  that we planted in late winter are just starting to peek through, while some of the other flowers are starting to bloom!

We are hopeful for our strawberry plants, and sunflowers too! This is the first time that we have ever planted anything, so we have high expectations!

Sunday, our "SA Sew Addicted" meetup group got together for a fun and fabulous project that really turned out nicely. Using a tutorial from Sew4Home, we created our own versions of this adorable clutch, each with a unique touch of personality all it's own!  Many of the "Sew Addicted" members are new/beginners to sewing, so while some of us didn't get to finish the clutch, those who were determined and focused got a lot closer to "finished" than the rest of us did!  And let me add that I was NOT one of the focused ones. Incidentally, I had to start/finish mine the next morning all alone! :( Hahaha ;) But I had such a great time with these ladies, it is always a blast.

Talisa & Lisa's clutches

Talisa & Lisa were the closest to "finished" out of all of us! They only had to attach the lining & the bow! We so love how the clutches turned out!

 My clutch

Then there's my clutch, which thanks to my dilly-dallying, and socializing, I didn't get done till the next day!  LOL But I'm excited at how it turned out! Although I avoid sewing by hand as much as possible, I always do a project as the instructions explain it the first time around. I like to see if I learn something new, or learn an easier or different way to do things. So now that I've tried it "their" way,  next time I will definitely do some things differently. But it was still super easy to do, and some of the members of "SA Sew Addicted" now know how to attach a zipper, and how to attach/use fusible interfacing, and batting! Yay!!

And in the spirit of spring, flowers, and crafting, we've joined the Ribbon Carousel blog for their "Spring is in the air" challenge, where ONE lucky participant will win a ribbon carousel of their very own!  It's very easy to enter, and definitely worth the prize! So make sure to head on over to the ribbon carousel blog for the deets! ;)

Good luck! And remember to have fun with it! 

Thanks for visiting,
Valerie, hiding out! ;)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Couponing at Target

I know I'm new to the world of couponing... and I probably shouldn't be making such extravagant statements, but I feel like it's definitely, "Target Week" for good deals this week!

The goods

Here's the dilly:

2 licensed boy tee's (clearance - $.90 ea)
2 packs of lollipops (clearance - $.10 ea)
2 boxes of candy (bats eyes innocently) (clearance $1.04 ea)
2-38oz Heinz Ketchup (2.68ea)
1-3 lb bag clementines (3.99ea)
1 Nivea men's wash (price cut - $2.69ea) (should've been 2 but I misplaced a "Q"
1 Big ASS colgate total w/ "free" travel size (clearance $2.44)
2 Nivea lip care twin-packs (2.24 ea)
2 Coffeemate creamers (price cut $1.79ea)
4 renuzits ($.97ea)
5 boxes General mills cereal (mixed variety) (2.50 ea)

Grand total before coupons: $78.46
Price paid OOP: $28.82

I also received at $5 Target Giftcard for the cereals purchase.

I used the Target gift card to pay for the Winx play set, (for an upcoming birthday-girl!) which was already on clearance for $8.98 down from $40! So for the Winx I paid: $3.98 OOP +tax!!

Adding the Winx to my Grand total makes it: $118.46
My total OOP was about: $33 +/-. Needless to say, I'm pretty damned pleased with my purchases!

The sad part is that I then had to purchase Milk, bread, bath sponges (2x 2/$1), and a bag of chips (hungry baby $1). The total for that came out to $10.97 (+tax)!! It seems like a little bit, but when you consider that it's nearly HALF of what I spent on everything else, it hurt! lol

Being a shop-a-holic goes very well with couponing. I'm enjoying this a little too much, I think! ;D

And in case you didn't know, target has their own set of printable coupons that you CAN STACK with manufacturers coupons!! Check them out here: Target Coupons.

Also, you can use coupons on clearance items for ridiculously great deals. Try it. It feels good. ;)

See you next time!
Valerie @ Dharla's Hideout.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Couponing at Walgreens

I firmly believe that one day, couponing at Walgreens will be as "x-tremely" awesome as couponing at CVS has been to me.  Unfortunately, today was NOT that day.  The real reason behind it was that I was very confused as to how the points and register rewards worked.  I had been avoiding Walgreens because I was so anxious about it all...(yeah, I get like that!) I did finally figure it all out, more as like a "lesson," than an extreme couponing adventure! And the "lesson" was only after I shelled out more money out of pocket than I had originally intended.

So here's how it works: Some items earn balance reward points, and/or register rewards.  The balance reward points add up, and can be used as $$ amounts. For example, 5000 balance reward points equal out $5; good deal! BUT, and here's the kicker, if you use your reward points to pay for a purchase, that purchase will not earn any balance reward points, even if there were any items eligible to earn balance reward points.  

Now, "register rewards" work differently. Because register rewards are dollar amount coupons given by a manufacturer, they don't have the penalties that balance reward points do. They can be used with any purchases. So in the end, shopping at Walgreens takes careful planning, research, and many, many transactions!  

What I've learned from other couponers is that you should use register rewards and cash to pay for any items that will earn "balance reward points." That means you must separate your transactions in such a way for  you to earn balance rewards to then use the balance rewards to pay for the next transaction where no items are eligible for balance rewards, but which will earn register rewards, and so on.  So basically it is a back & forth of balancing out and separating your purchases and making it all work.  I have a headache just trying to remember it all!

I do see a huge benefit to this in the future. But since it was my first time, and I was really trying to just figure it all out, today's purchase was not so "rewarding" for me. Since I hadn't separated my transactions, I wasn't able to use rewards points to pay for anything. I did receive almost 10,000 rewards points that I can use towards my next purchase, though! Here's hoping to spend under $10 the next time! ;)

My transaction was for the items shown in the photo above, all paid with cash, coupons, and registar rewards:

10 "Tuf"-brand paper products - 10/$5
Glade Decorative - (earn balance rewards w/ card) $3.79
Glade Mist starter kit - (earn balance rewards w/ card) (3.79)
Glade oil refill - (earn balance rewards w/ card) (5.99)
Schick hydro Razor - (9.99 unadvertised price w/ card +balance reward points)
Chloraseptic Spray - (1.99)
Listerine 3.99
Nivea Men aft shave (6.99)
Nivea lotion (5.49 - b1g1 1/2 off sale: $2.74)
Nivea Men shave gel - (3.99)
Progresso Soup - (4/$5)

Grand total is approx.: $56 +tax
My OOP expense was: about $24 +tax (because I used the $6 register rewards that I had earned, to help pay for it)
So I saved $26 with coupons & "specials," and I earned 9500 balance rewards and $6 in register rewards. I would have liked to have spent less than half of my OOP, and have earned some balance rewards for my next trip. I hope to have a better trip next time, now that I know how to prepare for a Walgreens "extreme couponing" trip.

I'd love to know how YOU save money at Walgreens! 

Thanks for visiting,
Valerie ;)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

CVS "Extreme" Couponing Trip

So I've been couponing for approximately 2 weeks now, and I've finally figured out CVS, Target, Walmart, and Dollar Tree with minimal damage! Meaning, that I spent very little money, have figured out which stores have the best selection, and realized that it really is "first come first serve," because they sure do run out of the deal items very quickly!

Although I've been continuously visiting these stores for the past two weeks, and picking up things here and there, this is my first, real "xtreme" couponing trip to CVS, and I'm super thrilled with the results!

They had so many "unadvertised" specials, that I could barely keep track. Once they scan my rewards card, the special price is what comes up on the receipt.

Here's the break down with the original pricing:

1 - Colgate MaxFresh - $3.99 ($3 w/ ec card)
2 - Nature Made Multi vitamin complete "mini's" - $15.49 (BOGO free w/ ec Card)
2 - Dove Men +Care body Wash - 2/$11 (2/$8 w/ ec card)
1 - Dove Men +Care deodorant - $3.50 (I think $3.50 is the ec card price. Can't remember full price)

Grand Total: $34 +tax (approx)
I paid: $1.61.

That is not a typo. Total out of pocket expense after special "unadvertised" pricing (when you use your rewards card) + Coupons was one dollar and sixty one cents!
Is that amazing or what?!?  And I also left the store with $5 ECB to use on my next purchase.

I was able to gather the coupons that I needed by using the "Krazy Coupon Lady's" guidelines under the link for CVS. I love that site!  She clearly explains which coupons to use, at what store, how to stack, etc.  It has been extremely helpful.  I also prepared all of my lists and coupons in advance so I wouldn't be searching for them at the store. 

This has been my best experience yet.  What made it really awesome was that my total OOP expense would have been $1.10, except I had to go to two different CVS's because one of them did not have the vitamins. So when I went to pay for the vitamins & toothpaste, they OWED ME $.51 cents!!! How cool is that?!?!  Except that since I had no other purchases they just rounded it off to zero. 

I'm definitely looking forward to doing that again.  Especially since I need to stock up on baby wipes, anti-bacterial wipes, toilet paper, laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dish detergent.

Are you a couponer? I'd love to see/hear all about your deals and steals! Please share!

Thanks for visiting, 
Valerie, hiding out! ;)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Heart-shaped pot holders

It's the month of LOOOOVE!!! And how I LOVE, love! You know what I love just as much as love??? The color purple! All shades of it. I've been embracing my purpleness lately and have been creating a LOT of purple! And I love it. ;) 

I also love signing up for newsletters.  One of the newsletters that I signed up for sent me an ADORABLE project for heart-shaped pot holders. I Love hearts. And I love NOT getting burnt when I take hot things out of the oven... right?

You know what else I love??? Meetup groups. I love getting together with friends to do whatever it is I signed up to do, whether it's going to the park, sewing, walking, book-club, wine club, etc. 

So this month, I combined some of my loves: Love, talking, purple, newsletter, sewing, meetup group. And combining all those wonderful things, we got our sewing group together, "SA Sew Addicted," and created pot-holders: Heart-shaped! of course. ;)

Look at how adorable these things are!! Guess which one is mine??? Did you say, "the PURPLE one?!" That's right! You know me so well...lol And the super cute red & pink one is my friend Nichole's. They all really turned out so freaking cute! 

The original pattern came from the Purl Bee.  It is so very easy to follow, and takes less than an hour to make. Well...it should take less than an hour to make if you are actually making them and not chatting, running around, and having machine troubles, (eh Nichole?) ;P

If you happen to make some of these cuties, please share!! I would love to see all the fabric combinations. 

And if you haven't already done so, make sure to visit the Ribbon Carousel blog and submit your "Love-inspired" creation for a chance to win a Ribbon Carousel of your very own!!!

Thanks for visiting,
Valerie, Hiding out! ;D

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Target + Coupons + Endorse app = Ridiculously GREAT deal on Huggies!

My second couponing adventure was SUPERB! As I'm printing & clipping & cutting & searching the web for coupons, I come upon TWO coupons for $3 OFF Huggies something-dry. Not my usual type of Huggies, but good enough! So I head to Target. Why? Because Target is having a buy 2 select diapers and receive a $10 Target gift card. Awesome!

My mess...don't judge me!

My purchase is two Huggies something-dry boxes size 6, 54-count, (for my 2-year old). Each box is $19.49.

$19.49 x 2 = $38.98

- $3 off Huggies coupon x2 = $38.98 - $6 = $32.98

Endorse app has, "receive 50% cash back on ANY diapers purchase" so: $32.98 - 50% = $16.49 (spent on diapers so far), but wait...there's more!

So far, I'm paying only $8.25 for each box of 54-count Huggies diapers! BUT, if you add in the $10 target gift card that I received for buying them:

Bonus: $10 Target GC for buying 2 of these packs of diapers: $16.49 - $10 = $6.49 for BOTH boxes combined!!!! So in the end, I'd have paid only $3.25 per box of 54-count diapers!!!! Mind. Blown.

I'm very pleased with this deal. And as it turns out, so is my hubby! And...

...look who else is happy!

I also have a great CVS shopping experience to share...eventually! You might know by now that I'm  a bit slow with the updates. ;)

Happy Superbowl Sunday!!

Thanks for visiting, 
Valerie, hiding out! ;)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

COO-poning or Q-poning?

Alright, I'm from the east coast...so I say coupon as "COO-pon." But here in TX, everyone I've met pronounces it as "Q-pon."  So which is the right way to say it? Do you COO-pon or do you Q-pon?! I NEED to know!!

Today was my very FIRST adventure in couponing. (alright, how did you just pronounce that?!?)  I've been using "The Krazy Coupon Lady" for my lists and store info, I obtained the early Sunday paper on Saturday, and then got a copy of the Sunday paper on Sunday. I've also printed a bajillion coupons from online sources.

It took me THREE days to get my binder all neat and OCD how I like it. I actually wound up printing the Krazy lady's coupon binder template. I love how organized it is. So far, for organizing my coupons, it's been very easy to follow. I figured I'd start slow and easy, so I opted for Dollar Tree; everything's $1, so I have no prices to figure out! Easy, peasy, right!? =D

WRONG! =( 

I printed out my shopping list for the Dollar Tree, using the Krazy lady's website because it indicates exactly which coupons to use, what they are worth, and what the final cost will be.  Also, just before I headed out the door, I separated the coupons that I was planning to use at the Dollar Tree, and printed out the Dollar Tree's coupon policy. 

That's the kicker... once I read the policy I realized that they only accept TWO home-printed coupons per day! What?!?! Ugh. Only about 80% of my coupons were printed at home. Ah well, screw it; I'm gonna go for it anyway and see how it goes. 

The first Dollar Tree that I hit up was under-stocked. Very disappointed that I couldn't find anything that I wanted. I did finally get the pepperoni, because my son was hungry! ;)

I couldn't stop there, so I decided to try one more Dollar Tree.  This one's stock was much better. They also had better brands and more items available than the previous one. But still I only wound up with about three items from my list.

My very first couponing adventure was more like an "experience." In the end, I purchased about 9-$1 items for $4.50. So I saved approximately 50% after tax. They did not have many of the products that I was searching for, and it's a hassle to only be able to use two printed coupons per day. Luckily the lady allowed me to do two separate transactions, "this one time."; )

P.S. I paid FULL price (gasp!) for the hand sanitizer because we were all out and desperate! I mean, I have two very adorable germ-magnets, ya know! 

Verdict: Disappointing
Thoughts: I will definitely try again. My adventures in COO-poning have only just begun! I'm determined to go KRAAAAZY couponing at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and the Commissary! :D

I'd LOVE to hear all about YOUR adventures in couponing, your humble beginnings, or your great beginners luck! 

Thanks for visiting,

Valerie @ Dharla's Hideout :)