Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Free Personalized Card from Hallmark

Click here create and send your own personalized card from Hallmark. Just enter the code TRIAL in the checkout process, and it will be totally free to you! You can even opt to have Hallmark mail the card directly to the recipient, and the code will cover the postage cost as well! 

These cards are adorable! Enjoy this great freebie- I know I did!

Hat tip to It's Hip 2 Save.

Post Cereals for $.27 at Albertson's

Right now many Albertson's stores around the country are running a huge Post cereals promotion. Several varieties of cereal are priced at $2.07 each, but for every 2 you purchase, they automatically take off $1. PLUS, when you buy five boxes in one transaction, a catalina for $5 off your next purchase prints out... and this deal "rolls," meaning you can do multiple transactions, paying for each with the $5 catalina, and then a new one will still print! This works out to a REALLY sweet deal on cereal. Here's what to do:

Transaction #1:

Buy 5 boxes of Post cereal (select varieties) $2.07 x 5 = $10.35
Use (2) $1/2 manufacturer's coupons from 3/29 insert   - $2.00
Register automatically subtracts $2.00 ($1 for every 2 boxes)   -$2.00
Total out of pocket for first five boxes (before tax) = $6.35 
Then get back a $5 off your next order catalina coupon

Transaction #2:

Buy 5 boxes of Post cereal (select varieties) $2.07 x 5 = $10.35
Use (2) $1/2 manufacturer's coupons from 3/29 insert - $2.00
Register automatically subtracts $2.00 ($1 for every 2 boxes) -$2.00
Pay with $5 off your next order catalina coupon -$5
Total out of pocket for 2nd set of five boxes: $1.35 ($.27 per box!)
And another $5 off your next order will still print!

Repeat this transaction over and over as long as you have coupons, and you will still end up with a $5 catalina at the end of all your transactions! Even if you don't have any coupons,  the final price per box still comes out to only $.67!

I just did this deal last night at my local Albertson's, and it worked like a charm. Here are the varieties of cereal available on the promotion at my store:

Honey Bunches of Oats (Honey, Almond, and Chocolate varieties)
Post Selects (Blueberry Morning, Cranberry Almond Crunch, Great Grains, Banana)
Shredded Wheat (Frosted and Honey Nut)
Raisin Bran

Free 7-day pass to Bally Total Fitness!


Click the box above to get a free 7-day guest pass to try out your local Bally Total Fitness club!

Almost Free Kraft Dressing at Walmart!

Check your local Walmart! Many stores have their Kraft salad dressings priced at about $1.75 (or even a little less!). Use the $1.50/1 coupon from Sunday's (3/29/09) insert to get salad dressing for $.25/ bottle or less.

Hat tip to I am Frugal.

Walgreens Canceling EasySaver Rebate Program

Well, friends, it looks like some changes are coming to the Drugstore Game at Walgreens.

Walgreens' corporate office has officially announced that they are canceling their monthly EasySaver Rebate program. The rebate program as we know it will only be available through April. Although there are rumors that Walgreens will be offering new programs or expansion of current programs (like Register Rewards), there's no official word on whether this is true.

This should be interesting! As soon as I hear anything new, I'll be sure to post about it. And I'm hopeful we will be able to adapt to the new system and still find some good deals! 

For a bit more information about the coming changes, check out this post by Deal Seeking Mom.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Free Gerber Baby Food

Take a couple of minutes to create a pledge here, and you will then be able to print a $3 off any Gerber baby food or Gerber Graduates food coupon and/or a $5 off Nestle Good Start formula coupon! 

Walgreens Deals: March 29- April 4

This Week's Best Deals:

Equal Sweetener: 2 for $5

Use $2.50/1 coupon from 1/4 inserts
Final cost: Free after coupon

Reynolds Foil: $0.89 with in-ad coupon
Use $1/1 from 2/8 insert (more recent coupons exclude the 20 sq. ft. size)
Final Cost: Free after coupons

Printer Cartridge Refill: $7.50

Submit for $7.50 April Easysaver rebate #28
Final Cost: Free after rebate

Wal-Itin Allergy Relief 30-ct.--on sale for $6.99
Submit for $6.99 April Easysaver rebate #10
Final Cost: Free after rebate

SoyJoy Bars: 2 for $1
Use B1G1 coupon from 2/22 SmartSource insert
Final Cost: $0.25 each after coupon

No Nonsense Pantyhose: B1G1 Free/ 2 for $2.49
Use $1/1 coupon from 3/29 inserts
Final Cost: $0.25 each after coupons

Vitamin Water: 3 for $3 with in-ad coupon
Buy 6 and use the $1/2 Vitamin Water coupon from the April EasySaver booklet (should take off $3 total)
Use $.50/1 man. coupon from home mailer
Final Cost: $2.50 for 6 or $3.00 for 6 without home mailer coupon!

Halls cough drops: $1.39 with in-ad coupon
Use $0.75 coupon here
Final Cost: $0.64 after coupons

Bayer tablets (24-36-ct.): on sale for $1.99
Use $1/1 coupon from the 3/22 SmartSource
Final Cost: $0.99 each after coupon

Schick Xtreme 3 Disposable razors (4 ct.): $7.49
Use the $2/1 coupon in the April EasySaver booklet
Also use the $3/1 coupon from the 3/8 SmartSource
Final cost: $2.49 after coupons

Current Register Rewards Deals:

Buy 1 Edge Infused Energy Shaving Gel at $3.59, Get $3.59 Register Rewards
Free after Register Rewards 

Buy 1 Skintimate Cream Shave at $2.99, Get $2.99 Register Rewards
Free after Register Rewards 

Buy 1 100% Natural or True Shimmer Chapstick at $1.99, Get $1.99 Register Rewards
Free after Register Rewards

Buy 2 Quaker Life or Captain Crunch Cereals (2 for $5 this week), Get $2 Register Rewards
Use 2 $1/1 Life Maple and Brown Sugar coupons here (if your Walgreens carries this variety)
or Use $1/2 printable here
or Use $.50/1 Captain Crunch Cereal man. coupon (Note: Expires 3/31/09)
Final Cost: $0.50 to $1.00 per box after coupons and Register Rewards

Buy 4 Diet Pepsi 12-packs (on sale 4 for $12), Get $3 Register Rewards
Final Cost: $2.25/ 12-pack after Register Rewards

April Free After Rebate Deals

Buy 1 One-A-Day Multi-Vitamin Drink Mix 2 ct.: $1.49
Get $1.49 April EasySaver Rebate (offer #1)
Free after rebate

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Makeup
Get $10 back from ESR #6 when you buy $10 (limit 1)
Use $1/1 Physicians Formula Cosmetic Product from 2/22 and 3/22 SS insert
Free After Rebate

Need some help getting started at Walgreens? Check out our Walgreens Boot Camp segment here.

I'm Back!

Happy Monday morning, Frugal Muse readers! Some of you may know that I was out of town all last week on a crazy and fun trip to California with my family. More than 2,000 car miles, 5 sets of mouse ears and approximately 243,000 goldfish snacks later, we are back home!

I'm looking forward to getting lots of new content and deal posts up for all of you! Be looking for this week's Walgreens deals later today.

Thanks to Jen for her great guest posts while I was away!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Frugal versus Cheap

Since our Boot Camp segment on Couponing Ethics, I have been mulling over lots of other ideas about how to be a frugal shopper/ Drugstore Gamer/ couponer without compromising personal integrity or honest.

This post from Jennifer at Sisterly Savings gave me some more "food for thought." There are countless situations where we could all save money in unethical ways, and Jennifer helps us to think through some of those scenarios to make sure we choose the best course of action when faced with such a situation. Remember, saving your family a buck is not the ultimate good. Saving money does not justify acting in ways that are dishonest, unethical or deceptive. 

As a side note, I have been so thankful for my husband's discernment in this area. My husband is a generous man; and the more he is given, the more he is compelled to give. He has been such an example to me. There have been dozens of times that he has reminded me that integrity and love should be at the top of my priority list, not my bottom line or how much I spend. I think this attitude of generosity and love is at the heart of the difference between being frugal and being cheap. 

How does this look in practicality? Sometimes it means dropping a dispute over what you've been charged if it's not possible to resolve it in a loving way. Sometimes it means leaving a larger tip at a restaurant, if you believe that your server earned more than the 15% math on your check shows you should pay. Particularly if you are like me and are a Christian, these choices to shop and live with integrity should be non-negotiable.

I hope you'll take a minute to check out Jennifer's post. It's a good reminder that we want to be frugal, not cheap, and certainly not cheats.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Samples and Freebies: How To Use Them To Your Advantage

Don't you just love getting good stuff in your mailbox?  I do. And since I've been couponing and following frugal blogs over the last year, I've had more good stuff in my mailbox than ever before. Can you say FREE SAMPLES?

Getting free product samples only takes a few seconds of your time– usually just as long as it takes to fill in a few blanks on an online form. And then, at absolutely no cost to you, you get great stuff delivered straight to your door. It's a great deal, and it can help your family save money, too. Here are a few ideas about the easiest ways to take advantage of all that free sampling has to offer:

• Know where to look. Frugal blogs all over the web post about free samples every day. I'll post as many good ones as I can here on The Frugal Muse, and you're bound to see many more on any other blogs you're following as well. Here are a couple links where you are always certain to find great samples:
Walmart Samples (A GREAT source for samples!)

• Set up a dedicated e-mail address. Set up a free e-mail account that you only use for signing up for samples and coupons online. In about one minute, you can set up a new e-mail address through gmail or another free e-mail hosting site. This will dramatically cut down on the amount of spam you receive in your primary personal e-mail account. If you only sign up for samples, coupons, and deals online through this dedicated e-mail address (and never give out your phone number, which is something I recommend), then you won't ever have to worry about spamming or telemarketing. You get all the good stuff, without the headaches.

• Be Smart. 99% of the time, free sample deals are totally legitimate and are simply good marketing by reputable companies who want you to try a new product. However, there are times when you'll be better off skipping a free deal in order to save some spamming headaches from telemarketers later on. Although I try not to ever let this happen, I may even accidentally post a deal that leads to this type of spamming. For some great tips about how to be a smart sampler, check out this great post from Freebies4Mom.

• Use the Samples. Sounds obvious, right? But the truth is that small product samples are easy to overlook during your day-to-day household product consumption. Right now in my closet I have about 10 sample size bottles of laundry detergent. Each sample will wash two loads of laundry... so that's 20 free loads of laundry that I can do with these samples! But if I toss those samples in the closet and never use them, they are doing my family no good. So use what you get to stretch your family's household budget a little further each month!

• Enjoy the Added Bonus. Want to know one of the best parts about requesting free samples? They almost always come with high-value coupons! There have been several times when I requested a free sample which came with a coupon, and because of that coupon, I was able to get a full-size product free when combined with a store sale or promotion. It's a win-win! Free stuff which leads to more free stuff.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Guest Post: Is Thriftiness Worth the Trouble? Part 2

By Jen Colburn

So now that you’ve decided to jump in and try some new money-saving techniques, let’s get rid of any lingering negative attitudes toward thrift that may keep us from maximizing our potential savings. Here are the top 3 obstacles I hear that stand in the way of us changing bad spending habits.

1) It’s too much trouble/work/stress.
As a stay-at-home wife and mother, a big part of my job is to stretch the money that God provides us through my husband’s job. The more money I save on expenses, the less stress my husband feels to provide for his family. It is more work to shop this way, but it is totally worth it for my family. We all have different circumstances and those shape the level of importance placed on frugality, but we can all benefit from being more mindful of our spending habits.

2) I don’t want to do without.
Key to maximizing your savings is giving up most of your brand loyalties. I still prefer my Tide and Downy and my husband insists on his Jif (and he’s worth it!) but, for everything else, we’re pretty flexible to get the best deal. The trade-off is that we get so much more for our grocery money than ever before. We have stockpiles to last for months of name-brand pharmacy and toiletry items as well as non-perishable food. We have so much more fun stuff that I never would have paid for before shopping this way, like lunchbox treats for the kids, air fresheners and candles, and healthy convenience foods.

3) I don’t want to feel cheap.
We’re in a recession, people! Seriously, the recession has helped me to be bolder in my pursuit to save money. I used to feel sheepish when handing over my wad of coupons to the cashier, but now I feel proud when I get a “Wow!” in response to my total. I remind myself that people are people and, who knows, maybe I can be a good example of stewardship to a person who is trying to make ends meet by working an extra job at the drugstore. I still get grumpy sighs when my order gets messed up and needs fixing, but I sincerely thank them for their trouble and remind myself that my obligation is not to avoid troubling the cashier, but to do the best I can with our family’s money. We’re careful to pass on positive connotations of thrift to our kids, speaking of “smart choices”, as opposed to not being able to afford things.

We all make choices about how to spend our money. We should always do our best and have a positive attitude about our decisions. That way, we will pass down good spending habits and attitudes toward money to our children and maybe their generation will be able to avoid tough economic times caused by poor spending habits. And instilling good habits in our children is always worth the trouble.

Jen is a wife and mother of four young children in Nashville, TN. Thank you, Jen, for taking the time to share with us at The Frugal Muse!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Free One-Year Subscription to Woman's Day

Click here to get a free one year subscription to Woman's Day! I've already taken advantage of this deal in the past, and this is one of the fun magazines that come to my mailbox each month- for free!

Hat tip to I am Frugal.

Guest Post: Is Thriftiness Worth the Trouble?

By Jen Colburn

“Well that was barely worth it,” is the phrase my husband and I mutter at the end of most outings with the kids. Our Kodak moment-filled adventure turns sour when the kids inevitably get hungry/tired/poopy, and we’re forced to make a quick exit. Of course these “fun” activities with the kids are worth it, or else we wouldn’t keep doing them. But when they are grown, we hope they have fond memories of their family outings and no recollection of their frantic mother screaming at them to: 1) get off the ledge; 2) watch where you’re walking; 3) don’t hit the nice lady with your tree branch “walking stick.” All while hearing mom growl, “Well, that was barely worth it.”

I think it’s good to ask ourselves if what we’re doing with our time is truly worthy. One silver lining to the cloud of recession is that we scrutinize our expenses more than when the future seemed more certain. Women’s magazines and even Oprah have been promoting thriftiness more (as a Christian woman, note my obligatory disclaimer that I never watch her, but just tuned in for her show on saving money). But living in America, a lack of information is not our problem. Likely any healthy habit, the key to success is belief that the change will impact our lives. I know that Gwyneth Paltrow works out 2 hours/day, six days/week to keep her post-baby body in shape, but until I believe that I can tone my post-baby belly so that I don’t look 4 months pregnant after a big meal, I’m not going to keep up my stomach crunches.

The first step to getting on the thrift bandwagon is determining your monthly grocery expense. If you don’t know, then keep all your grocery receipts for one month. Next, settle on a reasonable target for your family. According to the US Dept. of Agriculture, the average “thrifty” family of four spends over $540 on food per month. Doing a quick survey of bloggers out there who play the “drugstore game” and shop the grocery store sales with coupons, the average cost of food PLUS diapers, cleaning, paper products, etc. is $200-400. They are no smarter than the rest; the difference is that they have decided that it is worth the extra time it takes to be more intentional about saving money. If you have a specific target in view, as opposed to just trying to spend less, you’ll be more driven and therefore more successful. What would you do with an extra $200 a month? Pay down debt faster, save for vacation, contribute to charities you’ve always said you would when you had more money? Spending more than we need to on household expenses is never the better option. Would the extra money be worth the time spent planning your shopping trips and clipping coupons?

Yes? (Surely, your answer is yes!) Then an excellent place to start is by checking out The Frugal Muse’s Coupon Boot Camp series. It will teach you step-by-step how to play the “drugstore game” and how to use coupons in conjunction with grocery store sales to stock up on necessary items at rock-bottom prices.

Jen is a wife and mother of four young children in Nashville, TN. Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of Jen's series: Is Thriftiness Worth the Trouble?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Kmart Super Double Coupons Event!

This week, some KMarts around the country are hosting a Super Double Coupons event from March 22-28. If your local KMart is doubling, you can double the value of any manufacturer coupons up to $2... and that makes for A LOT of potential freebies at KMart! 

Click here to see if your local KMart is participating! If you see the Super Doubles ad on the bottom of your weekly circular, you're in luck!

Great Freebie: HP USB Laser Mouse

Here's a really great freebie to start you guys out with a happy Monday morning! 

Now through April 30, you can get the HP USB Laser Mouse free after mail-in-rebate (free shipping, too!). Plus it looks to me like you can purchase up to FIVE of these, um, mice (or would it be mouses when referring to tech gear?) and get a full rebate to get all five free. Awesome!

Click here to see the product and purchase. And click here to get the rebate form and details.

Hat tip to iMommies.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Free $10 coupon book from Eat Better America

Click here to sign up for these coupons!

Super Savings Round-Up

Here's what I scored at Target this week:

(4) Mott's 6-pk applesauces $1.62
(3) bags Hershey's Extra Dark Raspberry Chocolate $  .98
 (clearanced down from $3.99)
(2) bags Cheetos   $1.25
(1) package Reese's Fast Break mini candy bars  $  .62
(clearanced down from $1.44)
(1) box Barilla pasta  $  .81
(clearanced down from $1.62)
Total before coupons, clearance and tax:  $25.31

Coupons used:
(4) $1/1 Target coupon for Mott's 
(2) $1/1 Target coupon for Cheetos
(4) $.55/1 Man. coupon for Mott's

Total out of pocket including tax: $5.67!

I was pretty pleased with this trip, considering that we are going to be on the road for Spring Break this week, and this Target trip was able to provide some snacks for our 16-hour car trip. I've found that if we don't have sweets in the car when Lucas is driving over night, we end up paying a LOT for junk at gas stations. Yes, it's still junk... but at least it's cheap junk! :-) And the natural applesauce is a convenient, healthy snack for the kids on the road.

How'd you guys do? Any great finds or shopping trips this week?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Win a Trip to Colorado!

Click Here
In order to promote tourism to colorado, www.colorado.com is giving away THREE vacations to Colorado! All you have to do is click the box above and fill out a small form to enter for your chance to win! Wouldn't that be fun if someone from The Frugal Muse won this?!

Just a couple months ago, I entered a contest online and won $500 in free flights from CheapOAir.com! Someone has to win all of these contests.... maybe it will be one of us heading to Colorado!

A Little Frugal Muse Preview!

Hello, friends! The weekend is upon us, but never fear... we have a schedule chocked full of great content for Frugal Muse readers next week! Here's just a little sampling of what you'll see on The Frugal Muse in thev next week:

• Super Savings Round-up.
• Sampling Sense: How to get the most out of free samples.
• Is Thriftiness Worth the Trouble? (Two-part guest post by Jen Colburn!)
• Frugal Vs. Cheap. What's the difference?

Plus more! I'll be posting deals throughout the weekend and the week, too! I just wanted to give you all a little taste of what's to come!

Happy Weekend!

Mega Swagbucks Day!

Don't forget! Today is Mega Swagbucks day at Swagbucks, which means you can earn mega bills like 5, 10, 20, or even 100 Swagbucks on a single search! If you get one of the 100 bills, that means you could earn $10 in Amazon gift cards on a single search!

Happy searching! 

P.S. Haven't heard of Swagbucks yet? Click here to learn more.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Free Sample of Prilosec for Heartburn

Prilosec OTC

Click above to request your free sample of Prilosec OTC. It looks to me like they are only giving samples to people who report that they have frequent problems with heartburn- so if that's you, be sure to take advantage of this one! The next time you're battling heartburn, you'll be glad to have this free little freebie on hand!

Speaking of having products on hand... are you enjoying finding all these little freebies in your mailbox? If you've requested samples but they haven't started arriving yet, they will soon! Sampling free products is a great way to build up your stockpile for free!

Free Diabetic Supplies

Sign up with Quality Health and get free supplies and offers for diabetic needs. If you or someone you know has diabetes, check out the offer here to see if these could be some good freebies for you!

Target Deals: March 14-21

Pledge Multi-Surface Spray: $3.44
Use $2/1 man. coupon here
and use $1/1 Target coupon here
Final cost: $.44

Cheetos Snacks: $1.25
(located by the registers)
Use $1/1 Target coupon here
Final cost: $.25

GE Energy-Saving Light Bulbs: $1.00
Use $1/1 printable coupon here
or use $.50/1 coupon from April All You Magazine:
Final price: Free or $.50*
*I couldn't find at of these GE bulbs priced at $1 at my Target.
  If any of you have luck, let us know!

Gillette 8.4 oz. body wash: $2 each
(these may be located on an end cap)
Use $2/1 coupon from the 3/1 P&G insert
Final cost: Free!*
*One reader reports that this was not priced @ $2 at her local Target,    
   so YMMV–Your Mileage May Vary– on this deal.)

Mott's Applesauce 6-pk: $1.62-$1.77 each
Final price: $.07- $.22 for a 6-pk

Arm&Hammer Baking Soda $.54
(look for this in the cleaning section)
Final cost: $.04 each

Johnson's Buddy soap: $.99
Final cost: Free!

Pepperidge Farms Goldfish: $1.79
And look for $1/2 peelie coupon on the flavor blasted Goldfish
Final cost: $.29-$.79 each

Renuzit Super Odor Neutralizer: $1.67-$1.92
and use the $1/1 coupon from the 2/22 SS
Final cost: Free plus possible overage of $.33!

Activia DanActive Yogurt (4-pk): $2
Use $1/1 coupon from 1/11 or 3/1 SS
Final cost: $1

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Free Redbox Movie Today

Here's your code for a free redbox rental today: GTL456

This code is good today (Wednesday) only. Enjoy!

Get it Before it's Gone!

Pampers Coupon

Today is your last chance to print this Pamper's coupon. Looks like the link will be invalid sometime tomorrow. So print yours (by clicking the box above) now while it's available!

Free Krispy Kreme

 Looking for a little something sweet to add to your day? Sign up here for a coupon for a free Krispy Kreme Donut. Yum!

Boot Camp: Wrapping It Up

Image courtesy of Lumaxart

You are now an official graduate of Coupon Boot Camp at The Frugal Muse! Pat yourself on the back; you have ingested a lot of information over the past week! Just look at the list of Boot Camp articles in the left-hand side bar of the blog: we've come a long way together in just over a week! 

Based on the many e-mails, facebook messages and comments I've received during the course of our Boot Camp, it sounds like many of you are well on your way to pro-couponing and saving your families lots of money. Way to go!

But before we say farewell to our Boot Camp series at The Frugal Muse, there are a few parting tips that I wanted to pass along to you. These are general thoughts about frugal shopping and couponing that didn't fit nicely into any of our other segments, but which I thought were still important to mention.

•If you have kids, shop without them. The Drugstore Game takes mental energy and concentration. Those are not two commodities that really go hand-in-hand with hauling your young kids in and out of a store. You will often be calculating out of pocket expenses, figuring out order transactions, and other brain-intensive work. I have found that it is nearly impossible to do this if my kids are with me. I make mistakes every time, because I am distracted by taking care of their needs. 

So at our house, I do my drugstore trips at night after the kids are asleep when Lucas is home from work. If I weren't able to do this, I would hire a sitter for one or two hours a week while I hit my drugstores. If I lived near any of their grandparents, you'd better believe I'd call in a grandma for reinforcements! Even if I had to pay a sitter, I know that the money I saved/made at The Drugstore Game using my full mental concentration would more than make up for it. 

• Be organized and plan your shopping trips. Every time I go shopping, I make a list of everything I am planning to buy. I list the name of the item, how many I need to buy, and exactly which coupons I need to use for those items. If it is a special deal where I need to do multiple transactions, I plan out my ideal transaction order at home before I go. This saves me so much time and hassle in the stores! You will need to be flexible, though, and realize that your ideal plans for transactions and purchases won't always work out. If a store is out of stock on a particular item, you may have to rework your transactions and deal scenarios in the store (hence the importance of shopping without kids). 

I alway carry my calculator, my coupon box, my shopping/transaction list, and a pen with me. I use all of these items on a regular basis while I'm in the store. This type of organization helps prevent you from making a mistake in your transactions. You'll be kicking yourself in the parking lot if your realize that you only used the manufacturer's coupon instead of combining it with the store coupon. Yes, you can return the item and get your money back, but you cannot get your manufacturer's coupon back to do the deal the way you had planned.

• Pay attention as your items are ringing up. Cash registers often ring items up at the wrong price. I don't know why this is, but it seems to be a fact of life. This is particularly true if an item has just gone on sale or has just been marked down with a clearance price– often times the cash register has not yet been programmed with the new price, even if the price is marked on the product.  

If you've done your homework and your planning, you should know exactly what price each item should ring up at, and about what your total cost will be at the end of any transaction. If the numbers don't add up to what you were expecting, take a minute to find out why. I cannot tell you how many times my Walgreens order does not ring up exactly the way it should. I recommend that you pay very close attention to the register as the cashier rings up your order. (Hence the suggestion about shopping without your kids. Noticing a trend?)

• Be Kind. It's easy to get frustrated with cashiers who can't or won't ring up your order in the way they should for whatever reason. It stinks when the register doesn't charge you the correct price. You've worked hard to figure out the best deals and to do it in an ethical way, but store employees will not always see it that way. Sometimes they will make you feel like a burden for using so many coupons. People behind you in line might get huffy that your transaction is taking so long. But if you know that you have done nothing wrong, you can be confident in that and still treat everyone around you with kindness and grace. I believe it is extremely important to keep this priority at the forefront of our minds as we walk through every scenario of life, including frugal shopping.

• Share the Love. Here's a parting thought– one that I've alluded to several times over the past week, but one I want to reiterate. God has really blessed my family through couponing. We have closets full of blessings. A pantry overflowing with blessings. Grocery sack after grocery sack of blessings. I think it really pleases God when we look at all that He has given us, are truly grateful, and then express that genuine gratitude through a desire to give to others.

The next time you score a really fantastic deal– you know, the kind that keeps you smiling all the way home and the whole time you're unloading the trunk– give some away. Let your gratitude overflow into generosity.  Leave a sack of groceries on the doorstep of a family in need at your church. Give a generous gift of several packs of diapers and wipes in addition to whatever else you were planning to give at the next baby shower you attend. Take a box of personal hygiene items to your local rescue mission or shelter. This is really our response to the Gospel playing itself out in our day-to-day lives: gratitude overflowing into giving.

I have a very real sense that The Frugal Muse is an endeavor upon which God is smiling. I know for a fact that this blog is helping some families in direct answer to their specific prayers. That is incredibly fulfilling to me! I am so glad that He is allowing me to be a part of something that is helping so many people– and I want that impact to continue as a ripple effect as each of us takes the blessing that God gives us through couponing and use that to not only help provide for our own families, but to also give generously to others.

Congratulations, Boot Camp Graduates! Now get out there and save more to give more! 

P.S. In case you were wondering, I decided to postpone the Frequently Asked Questions segment until next week and not include it in Boot Camp after all. So if you have questions you'd like to see included in that post, leave a comment or email me at cherissa (at) roebuckmedia (dot) com.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Free Sample of Warm Delights!

Warm Delights

Haven't requested your free sample of Betty Crocker Warm Delights? Just click the box above to get your free sample!

All You Magazine

Some of you have been asking about All You Magazine. This is a monthly magazine sold on the magazine racks at Walmart. It always stirs quite a buzz around the frugal blogs, because let me tell you– this magazine is always chocked FULL of high-value coupons. 

If you are serious about couponing over the next year, you might want to think about subscribing to this magazine. Besides being a fun magazine to read, I'd be willing to bet that this subscription will pay for itself a couple times over in the coupons you'll be able to use.

Right now, Amazon is offering a special promotion where they will give you a $5 gift certificate to use on a future Amazon purchase when you order a one-year subscription to All You from Amazon for $19.97. This is a good deal on this magazine, especially if you are like me and have Swagbucks Amazon cards that you can use toward this!

I just redeemed some of my Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards, and I'm planning on using them to purchase this subscription. I've bought All You sporatically off the magazine racks at Walmart over the past few months, and they've been so helpful to me that I'm ready to go ahead and subscribe. At at this price- I'll save quite a bit over the cover price of the magazine, and get a fun magazine in my mailbox full of great coupons.

Thanks for asking about this, Chris! I know other people were wondering about All You as well!

Northwest Arkansas: $50 P.F. Chang's gift certificates for $25!

Okay, I am WAY jealous about this deal for all of you Northwest Arkansas folks! P.F. Chang's is one of my all-time favorite places to eat!

Starting tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 8 a.m., you can go to the KNWA Super Savings page and order two $25 gift certificates for only $25. That means half price dining at P.F. Chang's!

Details about this offer:
• Only 50 of these offers will be available, and I'm guessing they will go quickly!
• Gift cards good at P.F. Chang's China Bistro at Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers, Ark.
• You may use one certificate per visit
• No cash back for any unused portion of the gift certificate
• Certificates cannot be used toward tip, taxes, or alcohol.

Hat tip to NWA Deals.

Happy St. Patricks Day From The Frugal Muse!

Happy St. Patricks Day!

While we're here celebrating the Day 'O Green, just thought I'd go ahead and take care of a couple of blog "housekeeping" items:

• Contacting me: Many of you have contacted me over the past couple weeks via Facebook, e-mail, and blog comments with your coupon questions deals tips and other great info. Keep these comments coming- I love it!

I will do my best to reply to any questions that you have. If you leave your question in the comments section of a blog post, I will reply in that same blog posts' comment section, so check back to find your answer. This way, other readers can benefit from  your questions and answers as well!

If you prefer, feel free to e-mail me: cherissa (at) roebuckmedia (dot) com. If you send me a question via e-mail, I will reply via e-mail.

Happy Green Day!

Free Coffee at McDonalds! Today Only!

According to DelectibleMommies, you can get a free small McCafe latte, mocha or cappuccino until 2 p.m. today only at McDonald's! You may want to contact your local McDonald's to make sure they are participating. If they are, enjoy your free coffee!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Walmart Overage on Glucerna!

Looking for a few extra bucks to put toward your Walmart purchases this week? This week I hit Walmart with a $5/1 Glucerna coupon I printed here, (*Update: Stacy was kind enough to let us know that this link is still working, and pointed out that this is a "one per household" coupon. Thanks, Stacy!) and I discovered a great deal, including some overage! If you have not already used your $10/2 coupon you printed here on the Walgreens RR deal this week, you can also use that on this deal at Walmart. I personally preferred to use these at Walmart to help with some other groceries and produce I needed this week.

Here's the deal:

At my Walmart, Glucerna cereal is priced at $3.84
After the $5/1 coupon, I got the cereal free AND earned $1.16 overage!
Then, I submitted for a $1 rebate on each box from Caregiver's Marketplace.
Final cost: FREE cereal, plus $2.16 money-maker!

If you have the $10/2 coupons, your scenario will look like this:

Purchase 2 Glucerna cereal for $7.68 total
Use $10/2 man. coupon
Submit for $2 of rebates from Caregiver's Marketplace
Final cost: 2 FREE boxes of cereal, plus $4.32 money-maker 

Helpful hints on this deal:

• As with all overages, make sure to add other items to your Walmart transaction to cover the $1.16 overage per box. 

• At most Walmarts, you'll find these Glucerna cereals in the health food section of the pharmacy, not in the grocery section with the other cereals.

Today's Free Redbox Code

Today only, use the following code to get your free one-night rental from any redbox: 2GR4N8

And remember: if you have more than one debit or credit cards, you can use this code with each card to get multiple movies free today. Enjoy!

Boot Camp: Couponing Ethics

You might be chuckling to yourself about the title/topic of today's Boot Camp segment. I mean, honestly– what ethical issues could possibly arise in couponing? You just clip the piece of paper and hand it to the cashier, right? Looks like a pretty amoral activity at first glance, no?

The truth is, even couponing has its share of ethical decisions– and if you've been couponing for any length of time, you know what I'm talking about. For those of you who are new to the couponing arena, I think it will be worth your time to read through and think through some of the ethical issues that arise when using coupons. I believe it's really important for us each to make some decisions about how to coupon with personal integrity and honesty.

The most controversial area of couponing ethics deals with manufacturer's coupons. There are basically two schools of thought on the ethics of manufacturer's coupons:

1) If a store will accept any manufacturer's coupon, it is perfectly fine to use it (even if the item purchased is not the item listed on the coupon). The responsibility for correct coupon usage rests solely upon the store employees.

2) No coupon should be used except for purchasing the specific product(s) that the manufacturer intended.

I believe that in order to be 100% confident that we are using coupons in an ethical and honest way, we should strive to follow the second school of thought, and (to the best of our ability) use every coupon in the specific way it was intended by the manufacturer. In order to do this, we need to understand the language that we find printed on coupons. Here are some terms and phrases that are important to know, along with my understanding of what each phrase means when printed on a manufacturer's coupon:

• Good only on product(s) indicated or listed. This condition is implied on any and all coupons, even if it does not say these specific words. You may only use a coupon to buy the specific product listed on the coupon. If the coupon lists a category or range of products, you may purchase anything that falls under those categories. If the coupon specifically excludes a specific product, you may not use the coupon on the excluded products.

• One Per Purchase. You may only use one coupon per item that you purchase. Pretty basic.

• One Per Transaction. You may only use one of that coupon per cash register transaction.

• One Per Household. You may only use that particular coupon one time. Period.

• One Per Customer. You may use that coupon one time for each member of your family.

• Void if sold, exchanged, transferred or reproduced. Means it is not ethical to buy, photocopy or otherwise obtain coupons in a way that would fall under these categories.

This last phrase is a controversial one. There are thousands of people buying and selling coupons online, and they believe they are doing this in a way that does not violate the "void if sold..." condition of coupons.

Coupon clipping services as well as Ebay auctions enable couponers to find the exact coupons they need in large quantities and then order only those coupons and have them shipped to their homes. The clippers and auctioneers say that you are paying for their time to clip, sort and mail the coupons. In other words, they believe you are paying for a service, not a product (i.e. the coupon), thus this last condition on coupons is not violated.

I understand that this is a gray area. But for me personally, I think it crosses the line of what is ethical. It's a hard sell to prove to me how you're not buying coupons when you give someone money, and they give you coupons in return. I have even noticed that some coupons have now added "void if auctioned" to the conditions printed on their coupons, and this is further confirmation to me that purchasing coupons from a coupon clipping service or an online auction is really not following the manufacturer's intended use of the coupon.

The idea of following the manufacturer's intent for a coupon brings us to the next important point to consider about couponing ethically:

Following the manufacturer's intent for any given coupon is your responsibility, not the responsibility of the store or store employees where you are shopping. Many, many coupons will scan through just fine, even if you have not purchased the specific item listed on that coupon. For example, let's say you have a coupon for $.55/1 off a certain brand of string cheese, and the coupon specifies that it is for multi-packs 10 oz or larger. If you purchase a single string cheese for $.25, the coupon will still scan and give you $.55 credit– but you have not followed the stated intent of the coupon. Some cashiers will even try to convince you that it's fine to use a coupon for an unlisted or unintended product as long as the coupon scans. They may tell you that it's fine, because the store will get reimbursed.

I had this exact scenario happen to me four days ago at Walgreens. I had a three $5/1 Huggies coupons, but when I got to the store, they only had two packages of diapers and one package of wipes available. I told the cashier that I would pass on them, because my coupons were only for diapers. She tried to convince me to just use the coupons anyway because "they scan just fine and we will get reimbursed anyway. So it's no big deal." I just told her I'd rather not.

Here's the bottom line, When dealing with a manufacturer's coupon, only the manufacturer has the right to make a judgement call about coupon usage, not a store employee. Even if the store employee tells you it's okay, you need to make your own decision about whether you are using the coupon correctly. If you have questions about whether a certain coupon can be used on a certain product, take a few minutes and call the manufacturer. They have the authority to tell you which coupon/product combinations you can use. If they give you the go-ahead, you're good to go.

I believe the scenario changes a little bit when you are using a store coupon instead of a manufacturer's coupon. If a manufacturer's coupon says "limit one per transaction," I think that you should absolutely only use one coupon per transaction. If a store coupon says "limit one per transaction," I think it's okay to ask the store employee whether you can use more than one per transaction. If he/ she says it's okay, you're perfectly welcome to do so. The same would apply if the store coupon says, "limit 3" at a particular price. If the store employee allows you to purchase more than 3, then I believe it is ethically okay.

The difference between these scenarios and the scenario where the store employee is giving you "permission" to incorrectly use a manufacturer's coupon is authority. The store employee has the authority to act and judge on behalf of the store. The store employee does not have the authority to act and judge on behalf of the manufacturer.

Is this enough to get your mind working through some potential ethical decisions you'll have to make while couponing? I hope so. A couple of final thoughts:

You may get accused of acting unethically or dishonestly, even if you are not. It has certainly happened to me. I have been told that I am committing "fraud" by store employees because I was using so many coupons and getting stuff free! Of course I hated that the employees thought that, but I had confidence knowing that I work very hard to coupon in a way that is honest and ethical. I knew that I was only using legitimate coupons on legitimate items, and that knowledge was worth a lot to me in those moments when I was accused. Many store employees will not understand the complexity (and after a week of Boot Camp, does anyone disagree that there's some complexity to this whole system!?!) of your deals and transactions. All they see is that you are paying next to nothing and leaving their store with sacks full of products, and that's alarming to them! So they accuse you of doing something wrong. (They often seem to forget that when you hand them a stack of manufacturer's coupons, their store will receive cash back from the manufacturer for the face value of every coupon.) If you are confident that you have couponed in a 100% ethical way, you have nothing to worry about! I like that peace of mind. (And by the way, no deal is worth getting into an angry dispute with a store employee. In this case, it might be better to walk away from a deal, even if you are not doing anything wrong.)

And finally, I just wanted to say that I hope The Frugal Muse will be a community where were can swap ideas and share deals that all fall under this umbrella of ethical couponing. I really appreciated it last week when Amy pointed out to us that the wording had changed on the second run of the Huggie's printable coupons. I want you to know that, to the best of my ability, I will only post deals and coupon match-ups that meet the standard of couponing ethics we have discussed in today's Boot Camp segment. If I ever overlook something and end up posting a deal that does not meet these standards, I sure hope you'll let me know, just like Amy did!

Okay, I'd love to open this up for some discussion. Leave a comment and let us know what you think about couponing ethics. Have you encountered any ethical dilemmas in couponing? Are there other specific topics dealing with couponing ethics that you'd like to hear more about on The Frugal Muse?

A parting thought as we conclude this segment on Couponing Ethics:

The bottom line (as in your final cost) is not truly the bottom line. Yes, we all love a great deal and the chance to get stuff we need free or cheap. But getting a good deal is not nearly as important as integrity and honesty. Most of the time, getting a good deal and maintaining our personal integrity are not mutually exclusive. But when we encounter a situation where we must choose, let's choose integrity and honesty! That's the real bottom line.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Home Depot Workshop/ Coupon Deal

Home Depot

For all of you handy folks out there, this might be a good deal for you to check out! Sign up for a FREE in-store class at The Home Depot and receive a $10 coupon (looks like there's a good one coming soon about how to tile your own floors!). Click the image above to sign up!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New to The Frugal Muse?

Are you new to The Frugal Muse? Welcome! To get started, check out our series of Coupon Boot Camp articles in the left sidebar of our page. We hope you'll feel free to come on in and stay awhile in our corner of the blogosphere!

Walgreens Deals March 15-21

Here are some of the best deals I see at Walgreens this week. If you want to see even more deals for the week, check out the extensive post of sales here at It's Hip 2 Save. There are a lot of possibilities here for using those RRs you might have earned last week on the Huggies deal!

Reese's Whipps .49 (w/ in-ad coupon)
Use the $1/2 coupon from the 1/4SS
Final cost 2 for FREE!

Revlon Emery Boards (10 ct) $1.59
Use Walgreens $1 EasySaver coupon
Plus use $1 coupon from the 2/8RP
Final cost FREE plus small money-maker

Glade Sense & Spray or Lasting Impressions $9.99
Buy 2 for a total of $19.98
Use Walgreens $4 coupon (-$8)
Plus use one BOGO coupon from here or here
and one $3 or $4 coupon from the 2/8SS 
Final cost: FREE plus a possible $2 money-maker!

Sambucol Cold & Flu Relief (30 tablets) $12.99*
Use Walgreens $10 EasySaver coupon
Plus use the $4 coupon
(If you still have a few left)
Final cost as low as FREE plus a $1 money-maker!
*Some readers are reporting that this product is priced 
at only $10.99 at their stores, making it a $3 money-maker!

Colgate Total Toothpaste 4 oz. $3.49
Use Walgreens $2.50 EasySaver coupon
Plus use $1.50 coupon from All You or the $1 coupon from the 2/22SS or from here
Final cost as low as FREE, plus a .50 money-maker!

Walgreens Brand Diapers 2/$9
Use the $2 pharmacy coupon 
(Found in red "$50 in Savings" pamphlet in pharmacy)
Final cost $2.50 per pack!

Register Rewards Deals:

Buy three selected Listerine or Reach Products at $3 each, Get $6 Register Rewards
Use $3/3 coupon from 3/15 inserts
Free after coupons and Register Rewards*

(*Don't have many coupons accumulated yet? You can find these coupons for the Listerine/Reach deal in the free Diabetes & You Magazine found in your pharmacy section!)

Buy selected Dove Products (on sale 25% off): Get $2 Register Rewards when you buy 4, Get $6 Register Rewards when you buy 6, Get $10 Register Rewards when you buy 8

Some possible scenarios for the Dove deal:

Dove individual Beauty Bars (not travel size) sale priced at $1.04
Purchase 8, Pay $8.32
Get back a $10RR
Final cost FREE, plus a $1.68 money-maker

Select Dove Anti-Perspirant Deodorant sale priced at $2.47
Purchase 8, Pay $19.76
Use 8 $1 coupons from the 3/15RP or 4 $1.50/2 coupons from the 1/18RP
Pay $11.76 (if you use 8 $1 coupons)
Get back a $10RR
Final cost $1.76, just .22 per deodorant

Dove Body Mist (3 oz) $3.59
Purchase 8, Pay $28.72
Use 8 $1.25 coupons from the 3/15RP
Pay $18.72
Get back a $10RR
Final cost $8.72, just $1.09 each!

**Mix and Match any of the above Dove products to make your own ideal scenario!

New to Walgreens? Check out our Coupon Boot Camp article here to learn how to get the best deals at Walgreens!

Super Savings Round-Up

This turned out to be my best week in a while! Here are the deals I snagged this week at Walmart and Walgreens. Oh, and I have to give props to my awesome brother Russell, who mailed me a big envelope FULL of coupon inserts this week. His coupons helped me score a lot of these great freebies. THANK YOU, RUSS!

Walmart (4 transactions) • Total spent out of pocket: $4.06 (including tax!)
Rebates coming from Caregiver's Marketplace: $3
Total cost: $1.06 including tax!

Walgreens (transaction 1) • Total Spent out of pocket: $ 9.37 (including tax)
(also used $5.50 in RR from last week to pay)
Rebates coming back from Caregiver's Marketplace: $2.25
RRs received at end of transaction: $10
Total cost: $2.60 including tax!

Walgreens (transactions 2, 3, 4) • Total spent: $20.44 (on gift card including tax)
(also used $10 RR from WAGS transaction #1 to pay)
Rebates coming back from Caregiver's Marketplace: $4
Rebates coming back from Memory supplement (Easy Saver FAR): $22
RRs earned during these transactions: $15
Total cost of these transactions: PROFIT of $10.56!

How'd you guys do? Any super sweet deals to report? 

Also, I'm curious: would any of you out there find it helpful for me to break out the transaction (like I did last week) to show what I paid for each item and which coupons I used? I know I have found this breakdown of other people's transactions helpful in the past, and I would be happy to take the time to do that if it will help you. If you would like me to break down the transactions in more detail, just leave a comment and let me know!

Save $1.50 On Pampers

Pampers Coupon

WOW! We've had a lot of posts about good diaper deals this week. Here's another printable coupon to help you out. I know some of you out there can only use Pampers with your little ones! If that's you, be sure to click above to print out a coupon for $1.50 off Pampers! 

HOT Glucerna money-maker at Walgreens!

WOW- looking for a great way to start your week at Walgreens? Check out this HOT deal on Glucerna cereal at Walgreens.... which can make you up to $9 PROFIT. Yeah, you heard me right. $9 money-maker!

This deal takes several steps, but I think you'll be glad you took five minutes to sign up and get these coupons when you make your $9 on the deal and get four boxes of free cereal! 

Here's what you do (Follow these instructions exactly, or you will not be able to get the coupons you need):

• Go here and click on Join Now in the upper right hand corner
• Enter your personal details-Make sure to type CATALINA in the promo code box
• Where it says "Are you ready to set up your Customized Meal & Exercise Plan?" be sure to choose "Yes, I'll Set It Up Now"
• Click "Create Account"
• Enter details on this page and click on "Calculate Body Mass"
• Make sure to select "lose Weight" for the option and click "NEXT"
• Fill in the required details and click on 'FINISH"
• Click on "Return to your personalized home page."
• You should now see the $10 Glucerna coupon link.
• Click on the image and you can choose to print the coupon or have it emailed to you.
• Remember to press your browser back button to print a total of two coupons.

Now you have 2 $10/2 Glucerna product coupons. Walgreens has the Glucerna cereal priced at about $4.99/ box. Plus, from now through March 31, they have the following RR promotion going:

Buy 2 Glucerna cereals, get $2.50 RR
Buy 3 Glucerna cereals, get $4.50 RR
Buy 4 Glucerna cereals, get $7.00 RR!

As if that weren't great enough, Caregiver's Marketplace also gives you a $1 rebate for every box you buy!

Here's how the whole deal shakes out:

Transaction #1:

Buy 2 boxes Glucerna Cereal at Walgreens = about $10.00
Use 1 $10/2 Glucerna manufacturer coupons = -$10.00
Final Cost: Free!
Plus, receive $2.50 in Register Rewards

Then repeat the exact same transaction. (The reason for this is that the coupon specifically states Limit One Coupon Per Transaction. Yes, you could buy all four boxes in one transaction and make a little more on RRs... but we really need to separate it into two transactions to follow the intention of the coupon.)

Transaction #2:
Buy 2 boxes Glucerna Cereal at Walgreens = about $10.00
Use 1 $10/2 Glucerna manufacturer coupons = -$10.00
Final Cost: Free!
Plus, receive $2.50 in Register Rewards

Then, submit for Caregiver's Marketplace (Add these to your Huggies purchases from last week to get the required 5 items you need to submit for this rebate. Look at the Caregiver's Marketplace site to see the details.)
Receive back $4.00 cash.

= $9 money-maker, plus four free boxes of cereal!

*UPDATE* Thanks to Stacy and Heather for letting us know how this deal worked out at Walgreens today. I tried this today as well, and had the same problem with the coupon beeping because the total of two cereals (the maximum cereals allowed per transaction, based on the text of the coupon) came to a total cost of $9.98 and the value of the coupon was $10. My cashier keyed in a special price for each box: $5.00/box, and everything rang through fine. Amazing what trouble two little pennies can be for the cash registers! So if you are only purchasing the cereal and nothing else, either buy a small and cheap filler item, or ask your cashier to adjust the price of the cereals up one penny so that the register doesn't have issues!

Let us know if you are able to snag this deal! This is one of the better money-makers I've seen at Walgreens in a while, so get out there and take advantage of this one!!

Big hat tip to my new blogging buddy Heather at NWA Deals!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Boot Camp will return Monday!

It's been a big week here at The Frugal Muse! I must say, you guys are doing AWESOME! Lots of you have e-mailed, facedbooked or commented to let me know about your great deals this week, and I have to say, I am impressed. You all have jumped right into this whole coupon craze and are already snagging some great deals!

What do you say we take a breather for a couple of days? We've all ingested a lot of information in Coupon Boot Camp this week. Let's all take the weekend off, and I'll be back starting on Monday to finish up with our final three Boot Camp segments:

• Couponing Ethics– I'm really looking forward to this segment. It will be chocked full of lots of great information for you to think through as you get into hard-core couponing!

• FAQs– Frugal Muse readers have already been contacting me with tons of great questions this week. Chances are, other readers are wondering the same things. So I'm compiling a list of FAQ to help you all clear up some of the more confusing aspects of The Drugstore Game and frugal shopping.

• Wrapping It Up– Our final segment will include several really important parting thoughts and tips as you officially graduate from Boot Camp at The Frugal Muse.

It's been a total blast at The Frugal Muse this week– I am super excited to let you know that we have already had well over 1,000 hits during our first full week live! These hits are coming from all over the country– coast to coast, north to south. There are a lot of people out there in the blogosphere checking in to The Frugal Muse and saving some major dough. That makes me smile.

Next week is going to be even better! I've got lots of new content and even more deals heading your way, so get ready! If you're not addicted yet.... you might be soon. :-)

Free Trial Pair of Acuvue Oasys Contacts

Click the image above to get a certificate for a free trial pair of Acuvue contacts. I just ran out of contacts and was looking for a way to get some trial pairs- I think this is it!

I think I remember hearing that different states have different laws about contact lenses: in some places you cannot get a prescription filled without an eye exam. I'm going to take this certificate into my local Walmart eye exam clinic and see if they will give me the trial pair without a new exam... but even if the exam is required, that's okay with me. I have put off getting my eyes checked too long anyway. Lucas has been reminding me to make an appointment for a while. :-)

Hope this will help some of you out there as well!

Huggies Wipes: FREE plus $2.50 Overage!!

I've found what I think is the best use yet for those $5/1 Huggies coupons for people like me who didn't really need to stock up on the Walgreens diaper deal.

If your coupon says $5/1 "any Gentle Care product," you can use your coupon toward these tubs of Huggies Gentle Care Sensitive wipes. Here's the best part: these tubs are priced at under $2.50 each at most Walmarts and Targets, so use your $5/1 coupon to get some free wipes PLUS $2.50 in overage! What a great way to practice what you learned about saving at Walmart in today's Boot Camp segment!

I bought two of these tubs for $2.36 each at Target this week, and used the overage toward some things I really needed for Maggie: some hair clips, Gerber Oatmeal and sippie cups. I saved more than $5 on my other purchases, and got two free tubs of wipes. Awesome!

Walgreens: NEXT week's diaper deal

Next week (beginning Sunday) Walgreens will be running a special on their Walgreens brand diapers: $4.50 per jumbo pack. Combine this sale price with the $2/1 Walgreens diaper coupon (found in the pharmacy section, a large red pamphlet that says $50 in Savings on the cover), and you've got a jumbo pack of diapers for $2.50! Or, if you did the Huggies deal this week and you are still looking to stock up on diapers, do this:

Buy 4 jumbo packs Walgreens diapers: $18
Use $2/1 Walgreens diaper coupon: $-8
Use $10 RR you earned from the Huggies deal: $-10
Final cost: Free after you use your Huggies RR!

I have personally been using the Walgreens brand diapers for the past 8 months, and they work great for us. I would suggest that you make sure to purchase the "Premium" Walgreen's diapers, in the green package. My kids leaked through the regular Walgreens diapers, but we love the "Premiums."

Free Frozen Entree from Kashi

Kashi has posted coupons for a free frozen entree (up to $4.99 value!) on their website. Go here to get your coupon!

I ordered my coupon a couple weeks, ago, and it got to my house fast. Nice little treat to find in your mailbox, huh?

Hat tip to Stacy!

Boot Camp: How to Save at Walmart

I've had some readers ask about how to save at Walmart, so by popular request, I've added a special Boot Camp segment just for all of you Walmart shoppers out there!

Most national chain grocery stores (three good examples are Kroger, Safeway and Albertsons) have weekly sales that include lead-loss promotions to get you in the door. The rest of their everyday prices are quite expensive, but their sales and promotions can be great- especially for a couponer. Walmart is a different story. Their everyday prices are great, but they don't run huge sales and promotions, which can make it hard to stockpile free or cheap grocery items.

I know we have quite a few Frugal Muse readers who live in areas where Walmart Supercenters are the primary source for grocery shopping. So since Walmart does not offer huge weekly sales, what's the best way to consistently save on groceries when shopping there? Here are my top tips:

• Price Match. Did you know that Walmart will match any advertised price from competitors? That means that if you bring in a flyer from Aldi with a specific product at a great price, your cashier at Walmart will change the price of the item you purchase to match the Aldi price. 

You might be wondering, So why not just go to Aldi? Well, a couple of reasons: 1) If Aldi is 30 minutes away from you, and Walmart is 5, price matching at Walmart saves you gas expense and time. And 2) You can take in several ads from different competitors, and get all the best sale prices from every store at one place: Walmart.  

One more note on price matching at Walmart: You can combine manufacturer's coupons and price matching. So if you bring in an ad that shows Darigold butter for $1.50, and you have a coupon for $.50/1, the cashier will change the price to $1.50 and then scan your coupon, making your final cost $1. Sweet.

• Utilize Coupon Overages. Here's the plus side to Walmart's everyday low prices instead of weekly sales: Walmart's prices are so low, that many coupons will give you an overage (because the actual cost of the item is less than the face value of the coupon!). While Walmart is not obligated to give you overages on your coupons– and some cashiers are friendlier about this than others– many, many cashiers will just punch your coupon through at face value, even if the actual item didn't cost that much. This is totally ethical and honest as long as the item listed on the coupon is the actual item you are buying, because Walmart will be reimbursed for the full amount of the coupon from the manufacturer. 

The bottom line is that when you receive an overage on a coupon, that overage can be applied to help you save on anything else you need to buy in Walmart! This is particularly helpful for cutting costs on things like fresh produce, which really never go on sale or have coupons available.

Here's my favorite example: Last year, 3m released a coupon for $3/2 Post-it flags products. One of the flags products, the page markers, only cost $1.24 at Walmart! That means that for every two packages of page markers I bought (total cost: $2.48), I made $.52 toward the rest of my Walmart purchase. The coupon was a PDF available to print online, so every time I went to Walmart over the course of about 6 months, I would print a stack of these coupons, and buy as many as the store had in stock. There were many, many times that I earned $5-$10 in overages just on these Post-its, and that overage went toward my other groceries. Awesome! (By the way, this particular coupon expired at the end of 2008. [sigh]  It was great while it lasted!) Anybody in need of Post-Its? I'm still trying to give them away!

So when coupon overage deals come along at Walmart, perk up and take advantage of them to help buy the items that you need! As a quick hint, if you do have an coupon that gives an overage, always make sure that you have enough items in your cart to cover that overage. Any cashier is going to frown on a situation where the register thinks it owes you money back. So keep it simple and make sure you have enough items to cover any potential overage.

• Look for Rollbacks and Clearance Finds. Walmart may not have huge weekly sales, but their prices do occasionally drop for brief periods of time. In Walmart lingo: The Rollback. These rollbacks can be your open door to a good deal when combined with a coupon.

Also, it might be worth your time to stroll through the clearance aisles and clearance racks when you're at Walmart. A Walmart clearance combined with a coupon can easily produce a freebie. Recently, some Walmarts had nice Gerber 2-piece pajama sets clearanced for $1 in the baby section, and there was a $1/1 Gerber clothing item available to print online. Free pajamas! The best way to keep up with these deals is to frequent the Walmart Forums at places like A Full Cup.  If Walmart is your primary option for shopping, it will serve you well to check in on those forums often.

• Stock Up on Freebies.  No explanation needed, but I'll just say this:  There are always a lot of freebies available with coupon match-ups at Walmart. Stockpile these freebies, and use them to cut your family's costs on items you need: goodies for kids' lunchboxes, personal hygiene items, pet food, etc. When you save on these freebies instead of having to pay for them out of your budget, you can use your budget to buy fresh produce, meat and other items that may not ever go on sale at Walmart.

Now are you ready for the FUN part? Head on over here to Deal Seeking Mom to check out the HUMONGOUS list of items you can get free and cheap at Walmart with coupon match-ups.

I was going to list off some of the best deals here at The Frugal Muse (which I will do in the future), but I decided that you needed to see for yourself the full list of available deals. I think you'll find that there's a lot on that list that your family could use... which means major savings to your grocery/household budget.

Okay, time for all you Walmart shoppers to chime in: What strategies have you used for frugal shopping at Walmart?