Sunday morning adrenaline rush!

It is 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning. I am so psyched!!! Why? I am headed to Philadelphia this morning to run in the Broad Street Run. The BSR is the biggest 10 miler in the country. 30,000 runners will run through the start gate at 8:30 a.m. It took me 2 1/2 hours to register online, but I was determined to get in.

My stomach is all knotted up, my heart is racing & all kinds of nonsense is going through my head.

“Did I train hard enough? Am I dressed right for the weather? Please don’t let me have to poop when I get there!” The portable toilets are disgusting.. I did bring tissues with me this time. Last time, rolls of toilet paper were being passed around in the potty line. Yup! No shame in my game. My girlfriend and I eagerly and gratefully took a handful from the roll before handling out business.

My goal this year is to run an 8 minute mile range pace. A few weeks back, I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) at a 9.22 min/mile pace. Recovery from a foot injury last year has gone well. Even though I didn’t push hard, my time was good (for me), so if I run harder, I can do it.

My only concern is that I am running on only 4 hours sleep! Lol! The adrenaline rush should help.

So since I am writing this update from my iPhone on the Atlantic City Expressway, I am making this short. Also, I need to keep an eye on hubby’s speed limit… He is blowing down this roadway to get me there.

Ttyl!

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Coupon update

Over the past few weeks, couponing has been much fun and since my last post, I’ve learned of more ways to save.  I officially started couponing about three months ago and never would have guessed that I could have a freezer full of Luigi’s Italian Water Ice for FREE!

My new favorite couponing website is livingrichwithcoupons.comThe site is amazing!  At least I think so.  Why?  Because the site has answered many questions as well as provide realistic and useful tips on how to begin couponing. There’s a great video on how to organize your coupons and more.   Along the way, I’ve visited many sites only to find that the links to the coupons do not work. 

Last week Shoprite had a great deal, where shoppers earned $5.00 on their next shopping order after purchasing toilet paper and a recycling bag.  Today I cashed in on some of my $5.00 coupons.

  • ·         2 boxes of Barilla Pasta
  • ·         2 – 9 oz. boxes of Cheez-IT’s
  • ·         2 – 11.5 ox packages of Keebler Fudge Stripes cookies
  • ·         1 package of Oral B Dental Floss
  • ·         1 box (10 count) box of Aunt Jemima Waffles
  • ·         2 half gallons of Silk Vanilla Soymilk
  • ·         1 – 16 oz. Shoprite Organic Baby Carrots

Total OOP (out of pocket) – $3.24!!!  Yup!  Not bad Hugh?  I’m learning!

                    

While I am very much a novice at this, I’m very pleased with my savings and look forward to future savings.  A few months ago, hubby was laughing at my prize of two bags of free potato chips, but all that has changed.  He’s taken notice of my savings and has joined my coupon bandwagon.  Hee! Hee!  I get the last laugh on this one. 

I’m still figuring out which day newspapers carry, SmartSource, Red Plum, and Proctor & Gamble circulars, but I don’t stress over it.  I’m just having fun and do what I can with the time that I have and save as much as  possible.  To date, I haven’t officially tracked my savings, but I know for a fact that in three months’ time, I’ve reduced my grocery bill by a couple hundred dollars.

Currently I use a filing system in a plastic tub,  but have decided to move to the binder system.  I like the binder because my coupons will be with me at all times; I’ll be able to catch more savings this way. This month my son started  football, once school starts, my time will be extremely limited; I’m planning my strategy now.

I read and listen to Suzie Orman; therefore, I decided to bank my real savings from each shopping trip.  I’m putting the money away to save for whatever I decide.  The point is to not blow my savings on something frivolous, like a tube of my favorite lipstick!  Lol!  I’m for real! I’ve come a long way from my early 20’s of juvenile spending. 

The economy, sky rocketing unemployment rates, having a young child, and thoughts of retirement has shifted me into a higher gear of saving.  Last week’s news of the S & P downgrading the United States’ credit rating and two consecutive days of a plummeting  stock market  is enough to make everyone stop and evaluate their financial status.  OMG!!  As I’m writing this, ABC News is airing a piece on couponing… stacking….sales…etc….    Oh, that reminds me, livingrichwithcoupons  also has a great vocabulary glossary.  Coupon lingo can make your head spin. 

As I said before, couponing is new to me.  I’m having fun and want to learn as much as possible.  I’ll continue to share what I learn. Furthermore I could use more tips, tricks and advice and would love to hear from you.   

Think Forward!

>My confession

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For the past month, I’ve been terribly unproductive at blogging and my writing in general.  I figured out why!

These darn coupons!  How on earth could that be?  The first time I saw the show Extreme Couponing I thought “great, those women are getting some great deals, but the average mom doesn’t have time for that!”  I am also ashamed to say that I thought…they have no life.

Well, Tanya’s eating her words because couponing has snuck up on me like a thief in the night.  Robbing me of my precious writing time, but saving me huge amounts of money.

When did I realize that I was having issues?  I clearly remember… standing in line at Pathmark cashing in on the triple coupon promotion. Yes! Triple! A $1.00 coupon worth $3.00! Amazing right!!!

As the cashier rang up my items and began scanning my coupons, I realized that my hands were trembling!   Lol!! Palms were sweaty and all.  I thought, “girl, you’ve got issues!”  I got so excited that day, because the cashier gave me $0.05 back (he wasn’t suppose to do that), that I left my bank card at the cash register.

While, I’m still a novice at this couponing adventure, I am saving money and having fun. Here are a few pictures of some my favorite buys.

(Acme) Total bill  – $6.16
The Ore.Ida fries were free (Pathmark promo) & the creamers were either free or under $0.50.  The freezer is full!
Can you tell, Tabasco is my favorite hot sauce?  I got 9- 2 oz. bottles for FREE!



4 Luigi’s Italian Water Ice & 2 – 20 oz. Lipton Green Tea – Total Bill – $0.21

  

My son loves PJ sandwiches – These were from a ACME promo. 

My mom always ask, “why do people tell their business?” My answer regarding this post is,  I’m sharing my coupon adventures with others to help save money.  I know of many working class people who are unemployed or underemployed and struggle to make ends meet.  If this information can help others, than the post is well worth the time.

By the way, once I get this couponing down pat, I refuse to over stock on items that I don’t or won’t ever use.  Instead I will donate to those who are in need such as the NJ Food Bank , the Covenant House, Atlantic County Women’s Center, the Atlantic City Rescue Mission , or another non profit agency in need.

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

>Saving money with coupons

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Last year I blogged about saving money through the use of coupons.  A co-worker shared with a couple of us in the office how she’d saved hundreds of dollars on grocery, household, and other every day items, simply by using coupons and reading various forums. 
I took a second look when she told me that she found even better buys at smaller stores than purchasing them in bulk at the larger warehouse stores.  I was surprised. Now I have clipped coupons before, I just haven’t gotten those kind of results.  My key chain is even full with discount price plus and advantage club type cards that I faithfully use every time I shop. But I’ve never saved that much money.  She even gets tons of free stuff like kleenex tissues, contact lens solutions, air freshener, paper plates, and other  items.  She’s darn good!  
Consider this to be an update as to how I’m doing with this coupon phenomenon. 
Like any new habit, I started out with good intensions and a lot of enthusiasm.  Clip, clip, print, print, away I went.  From the couponmom.com website to CVS, Acme, ShopRite, Target, Walmart, and Rite Aid, I was clipping, printing, and making my lists.
Suddenly I realized that this couponing business was an extremely time consuming full time gig!  Slowly but surely, the coupon circulars began piling up in their “designated” place…  never to be seen again… that is until I became re-inspired by the show Extreme Couponing.  If you haven’t seen the show, please check it out!  These folks are out of control BUT are saving INSANE amounts of  money!  I’m talking about buying over $1,000 in groceries and paying less than $50 bucks!  Yup!  That’s right.   Insanity!
By the way, you can find printable coupons for most of your favorite stores like Old Navy, Target, or wherever else you like to shop. 
I went back to my pile of coupon circulars to sort and clip only to find that most of the coupons that I saved had expired.  Oh well. 
Although I do find the show to be incredibly inspiring, realistically, I just don’t have that kind of time.  I realize that my failure to find the right balance, was because I didn’t establish a system that could work for me. 
I am undoubtedly one of the most system oriented persons around.  Mostly everything that I do has a system.  From stacking and rotating my abundance of bath towels and sheets, to vacuuming the house, to packing for vacations, I have a system. So I need to figure out a system that will fit into my routine.  
I am a serious seasonal allergy sufferer.  Given the fact that, from Spring to late September, I run outside at least  50+ miles a week, I have to take a pill every day. Eventually I will seek out herbal alternatives, but for now it’s Claritin. What inspired me to get back into the coupon game was a recent $24.00 savings on my allergy meds. 
Thanks to my teacher, Mrs. S., I’m becoming a better student. 
At CVS, I made two separate purchases of a Claritin Non-Drowsy, 24 hour Relief (40 tablets). 
Regular price:                  $22.99
Sale price:                        $19.99
CVS Claritin coupon        -$4.00
Manufacter’s coupon:      -$5.00
 
Final Price for each:         $10.99
Total savings per box:      $12.00
I should have used another CVS $3.00 off coupon to further reduce the price to $7.99, but instead used the $3.00 to get a free 24 case of 8 oz. water bottles that was on sale for $2.88.  I could have also used the $3.00 off coupon towards three boxes of tissues at 88 cents each, or…. Okay.  I know. You get it.
So I almost have my supply for the season and I still have several manufacturer coupons to spare.  I’m hoping to catch another good deal in the upcoming week.
Now the question is, how do I stay motivated this time?   Well.  I’m working on a system that will work for me. 
I will keep you posted.  Meanwhile.  Happy Shopping!

>Strategic Shopping

>     It’s been a while since my last post.  All I can say is that, after my last day of school, I shifted into vacation mode.   Actually, the first two weeks of my vacation, I was quite productive and finished several projects at home.  You know- the stuff that’s hard to get to during the regular work schedule; cleaning/reorganizing the kids room, filing, etc…   After week two, I kicked back into vacation mode and that’s where I’ve been ever since.  

     As a kid, I learned very little about money management. My dad was a penny pincher and my mom was the exact opposite.   My dad put tape on his car when it began to rust, while my mom ordered new carpet because of an (alleged) stain.  Since my dad spent most of his time at work, I learned my wonderful shopping strategies from my mom.  Once I grew up, moved out, and recovered from numerous financial disasters, I began to seek out and learn better money management strategies.
 
     Today I could not resist writing about my coupon adventures and I have Carol, the “coupon queen” to thank.”  I’ve never spent a great deal of time clipping coupons, but always looked for the best buy on my weekly shopping list.  Don’t get me wrong, I could always use the extra discount, but it always seemed like an awful lot work that just wasn’t worth saving a few pennies (or so I thought).  

     About three months ago, I was surprised to learn how much money I could save from giving a little attention to clipping coupons.  It started with me printing coupons for others- then I got interested when colleagues were talking about free stuff that they got from local grocery stores and pharmacy type stores.  I found that “clipping coupons” has moved to a new level.  While you can still “clip,” the Internet is very ingenious and definitely minimizes the time spent searching and cutting.

     One of the sites that I recently found is http://www.couponmom.com  This site is so cool!!  Through this site, I find that I’m able to decrease the time spent trying to figure out who has the best buys for specific products.  This site talks about “strategic shopping” and has two quick how to video’s.   The concept may not be new to you, but it is to me.  I’m sharing the site because there may be others like me, who was in the dark about this “coupon thing.”  Most of us have seen the maniac, extreme coupon mom who leisurely stroll through the supermarket with all the time in the world, but now I know why.

     After spending a little time on the site, I found great bargains at Shoprite, CVS, Acme, Pathmark, and Rite Aid.  Yep!  CVS and Rite Aid and they both accept manufacturer’s coupons!  I had no idea.  You can’t begin to imagine the bargains and free stuff that’s sitting on the shelves waiting for you to take home.  Take for example, Motrin-   tomorrow I’m headed over to Rite Aid to get a bottle of Motrin for free.  I would have definitely missed this item without visiting the site.  I’m excited that I’ve gotten boxes of brand name cereals for less than 50 cents!!  Imagine that!   Perhaps I’m becoming a tad bit compulsive- I thought so after going through the self check out line and strategically deciding on how I could snatch some unwanted “free coupon items” out of the trash can that the cashier tossed.  Lmbo!!  I’m not kidding!  I really had to check myself, because I finally saw value in those silly coupons that print out along with the receipts.

     So, if you’re looking to save a few dollars on grocery and house hold items, you should check out couponmom.com.   At the same time, if you know of other shopping tips, I’d love to hear about them.