Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Savings at Shopko

Our cats have to eat Iams indoor weight and hairball control formula food.  If they don't eat Iams we pay dearly in a way that is not appropriate to write about...let's just say there is a gross outcome.  Shopko in Layton had an unadvertised special on Iams cat food.  I found it on the North facing end cap in the pet food section.  How good was the sale?  Fifty percent off of the $29.98 bag! 

 Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself before purchasing a great deal.
1.  Is it really a good deal?
  • Beware of shopping frenzy (Picking something up just because other shoppers think it is a good deal.  I liken this to a shark feeding frenzy). 
  • You also need to be savey when it comes to discount tagging.  Sometimes a discount tag may be used on a product that was originally over priced.
2.  Is it something that we already use and like?
3.  How many do I already have on hand?
4.  How many do I need to meet our needs?
5.  What is the expiration date?
6.  How many will I use before the expiration date?

When I saw the cat food for such an unbelievable price I immediately went through my questions.
1.  Yes, it was a good deal.
2.  Yes, we already use it.
3.  I have two bags already in the pantry but they aren't going to expire for 6 months.
4.  I would like to have a year supply.
5.  The expiration date was"12 Oct 2011".
6.  I will be able to use two bags before they expire IF I use them before I open the bags I already have on hand.

 After seeing the expiration date I immediately knew why the Iams cat food was an unadvertised sale; it was going to expire in a few months.  Shopko wanted to at least break even rather than experience a loss due to product expiration. That was just fine with me because I determined that our cats would eat two bags by the first of November.  How many bags did I buy?  Two bags at an unbelievable price of $14.98 a bag!

Deals at Big 5 Sporting Goods

Today I needed to pick up a new pair of swimming shoes for our son and a UVA protection swimming shirt and swimming shoes for Trent. I shopped at all of my regular stores and much to my disappointment I couldn't find anything on my list. As I was driving down the street I saw Big 5 Sporting Goods and decided to stop. Among other things, I found a nice selection of swimming shoes for 50% off and swimming shirts for 30% off. 

Trent's swimming ensemble: UVA protection swimming shirt, swimming trunks (bought at JC Penneys), and swimmng shoes would have cost our clothing budget $84.98.  Fortunately, with good sales and coupons, today's price was only $31.48.  That's a  savings of $53.50!

P.S. In addition to summer clothing Big 5 had a nice selection of picnic coolers at really good prices.  I was even thinking that I might pick up a few and give them for wedding gifts. 

Bath & Body Works is having their summer clearance!

Bath & Body Works is having their on-line summer clearance.  If you would like free shipping use the following discount code: FALLSHIP.  You will receive free shipping on all orders of $25.00 or more.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick, easy and inexpensive dessert

Tonight Trent had a taste for fresh strawberry pie. This was not a problem because a few weeks ago there was an unadvertised sale on Keebler pie crusts for $0.59 each.  I purchased four crusts and put them in my pantry for later use.  I also had in my pantry four boxes of Junket Strawberry Swedish Pudding that I picked up at Walmart for $1.49 a box.  By the way, if you ever need to stock up on Junket Swedish Puddings Walmart always has the best price.  I also had a pint of whipping cream in my refrigerator that cost $1.00.
So off to the grocery store I went in search of one pound of fresh strawberries.  At Fresh Market I found strawberries on sale, two pounds for $3.99.  Not bad, but I also found an instore coupon which reduced the price to $3.00.  I only needed one pound and so I actually only spent $1.50 for the strawberries.  The total price for my husband's fresh strawberry pie was only $4.58.  Had I not used coupons and stocked up when I came across an unadvertised sale, tonight's pie would have cost my grocery budget $9.36 in ingredients!
Here's the recipe
1 ready made pie crust
1 box Junket Strawberry Swedish Pudding
1 3/4 cups cold water
1 pound strawberries, sliced
Sweetened whipping cream
Place water and pudding mix in a medium pot and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until a full boil is reached.  Stir for one minute longer.  Remove from pot and chill.  When pudding is cool add sliced strawberries.  Spoon into pie crust.  Top with sweetened whipping cream and serve.
Helpful tip-  In the interest of time and my husband's desire to have some fresh strawberry pie before bedtime, I sped up the cooling of the hot pudding by pouring the pudding in a 9 x 13 inch pan; thereby increasing the surface area and shortening the time that the pudding would normally require to cool if placed in a bowl.

How to save BIG!

How would you like to buy a pair of $70.00 men's dress slacks for $1.79 and $40.00 swimming trunks for $0.47? Believe it or not, that is what I paid for a pair of Stafford men's twill pleated dress slacks and men's swimming trunks at JC Penney today. This is not some fluke deal that I happened to stumble on. I do it all of the time.
Here's how I do it. 
#1.  I keep a running list of items that each family member needs.  I place the list on the refrigerator so that family members can add to the list at will.  For instance, a few weeks agoTrent wrote that he needed a pair of black men's dress slacks and a pair of swimming trunks.
#2. When I leave to run my weekly errands I take my list with me just in case I come across a great deal.  I also take any coupons, same as cash coupons, gift cards etc.
#3.  I take note of end of season sales and sale cycles.  For example linens go on sale late August and early September.  Because I know the linen sale cycle I patiently wait and buy my linens for the year in September and combine them with coupons for maximum savings.  In case you are wondering, I am going to post traditional sale cycles in future entries.

Today, I happened to stop by the mall and found a great deal at JC Penneys.  I had two "no exclusions" coupons.  One was for 15% and another was for 20% off.  In addition to the percentage off coupons I also had three $10.00 same as cash coupons (total of $30.00).  I combined my coupons with a wonderful sale.  My total savings was $107.74. The total price for the slacks and swimming trunks after all of my coupons, including tax, was $2.41!

Helpful things are meant to be shared!

Nearly everyday, since submitting my manuscript, I tell my family that if I had a larger page count I would have include this or that.  Some days I tell my husband, "I wish I had a vehicle to share with my readers the unadvertised specials I found this afternoon.  For example, $1.20 for a 6 oz. package of raspberries or 93% diet lean ground beef for $1.85 a pound.  Other days the things I want to share have nothing to do with shopping; sometimes it is a delicious depression era recipe that has been passed down from my Gram Swain.  Or perhaps it's a stellar household cleaning tip that my mother or Grandma Garbett passed down to me.  Whatever it is that I want to share, the point is I want to share!  I want to share with singles, I want to share with young married couples and I want to share with those that never had the opportunity to learn from their mothers and grandmothers what I did.
So here is what I am going to do to in an effort to relieve myself of this burning desire to share my domestic knowledge with others before I die, I am going to blog about deals I find when I am out and about, recipes, cleaning tips, vacation deals, household management tips and most importantly, how to be thrifty.