Monday, December 31, 2012

My Target Haul- 70% off Christmas Clearance

Obsessed? A little, maybe. Or I can just blame it on the full moon.

Last night at 9pm, I ran into Target as an employee met me at the door. I told her I would be fast, just a couple of minutes. But she said no. They were closed at 9pm Sundays. I asked her if the Christmas clearance was 70% off and she said yes. On the way home, I almost cried. Sad, so sad. 

It wasn't until this evening that I made it back there. Yes, it was pretty much picked over. Not pictured was the last remaining $1.80 multipack wrapping paper, Pez packs for $0.59 for next year, Dollar Spot items for $0.30 (yo-yo, glow sticks and calendar). Only $2.24 for DD coffee, $1.49 spy gear and knee high socks, $2.94 for Batman figure, $0.30 canular tube of Skittles and $02.29 bath poof.

It turned out for the best. The kids brought their own Christmas money and got items they wanted like Batman figures and fancy ear muffs and glittery hair clips. Plenty of bath items and Elf nail polish left for as little as $0.59 which I resisted buying. Good thing too because my total came out to $29.30, just shy of the $30 budget.

When it hits 70% for the candy in a couple of days, I will go back to get some for Easter baskets. By then, the toys should also be 50% (only 30% off tonight).

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year! Been buying a little bit here and there of some kid-friendly party food. We celebrated early this evening as the kids are both a little under the weather. We blew on party horns, shared resolutions and toasted each other. The children put coins out on window sills, on the stairs and by all the doors. This is a Filipino tradition to invite wealth into the new year. (Told with the caveat about superstitions, of course.)

We also had noodles for long  life (an Asian tradition) and black-eyed peas for early supper. And whoopee pies for dessert, because, well, they just seemed appropriate!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dollar Tree Christmas Clearance 50% Off!

Our area not only has gigantic Dollar Trees, we also have mini-versions called $1 Spot or something akin to that. They had plenty of napkins, placemats, gift bags, oven mitts and regular Christmas d├ęcor for $0.50 as of December 26. So, it might be 75% off in a couple of days.

Since we moved here with hardly anything, I have been using folded dishtowels for potholders, much to my family's dismay and fear for my safety. I was glad to happen upon these red mitts for $1 a pair. The downside is they are both right-handed mitts, with plain red cloth on the back side. Maybe all the left-handed ones sold out. They fit both hands, it's just the right hand will be unadorned.

That's my vanity revealing itself.

Love Dollar Tree and Target's Dollar Spot? You might like this Pinterest page:

Almost FREE Lotions at CVS!

Aveeno lotions $0.50 each!
My baby girl had eczema the day she was born. We've tried lots of creams and lotions and Aveeno brands work the best for her... well, Arbonne lotions work the best but I don't have coupons for those.

CVS has many types of Aveeno creams and lotions up to 12 oz on sale for $4.99, including their Positively Ageless line (regularly priced at $9.99). Plus buy 2 and get $6 ECBs. PLUS the limit is more than 1... some say it's 12! As you can see I bought 4 and there were plenty on the shelf. With the $3/2 Aveeno coupon, they were only $0.50 cents each.

 These would be great teacher gifts for Valentine's Day too!

I got the 411  for this deal from reading the comments at Hip2Save.

Target- 50% off Barbie Furniture Set

Right before Christmas, I found this Barbie Furniture set (combined in a long box) for $29.99 from $59.99 and picked it up after much deliberation. Later I found a similar set on Amazon for almost $100 if the pieces are bought separately. I didn't feel so bad after that. (Now, they have this same set for $54.)

Many other toys are also now going on clearance. And in a week or so, clearance will reach the long awaited 70% off mark. It's hard to resist going everyday waiting for it to happen but it might be January 6-10 based on info from last year.

While it's easy and just plain fun to get carried away with all the excitement of these clearance sales, it's important to go in with a budget. I always reserve some Christmas money from the grandparents for these sales.

Target Christmas Clearance 50-70% off!

Target clearance reported now at 50% off bagged candy, 70% off toys, Dollar Spot, and other goodies. Like $0.75 for Andes chocolates and Terry's chocolate orange for $1 or so, if you can find them! Goldfish is $0.50 and with the regular flavors. The chips Milano cookies should be $0.75 each. I picked up mine a few days ago at 50% off because the shelves were getting bare very quickly and I wanted to make sure to get some snacks for New Year's Eve.

If you still have that $3 off Threshold or Home Placemats, you might get some for free. These were not with the Christmas items but would be with the other regular placemats. I was able to get two for free when the coupon first came out. We used them as wall hangings. These placemats are thick and very pretty.
Lastly, if you are a fan of Totally Target, you'll notice she sometimes gives away cute gift cards like these. I thought you would pay for the cute toy plus put money on the giftcard. But these are completely FREE! I've been keeping my eye out for these and found 3 so far. They are reloadable so I put money in it first and use it to pay for my regular transactions. That way, they will be sitting in the closet empty, waiting to be reloaded and given as gifts for little people next year..

Pizza Coupons and Food Lion Sale= $1 Digorno!

I was so surprised to learn about a Food Lion coupon for $5 off any $5 purchase in my email. Thanks, Tiffany from Young and Frugal LVA for the heads up. Coupon good through Tuesday.

Digorno is on sale for $5 each. They have a great selection including half cheese and half pepperoni. One of us at home thinks pepperoni is too spicy so this was perfect last family movie night. With the coupon Buy 2 Get 1 Free and a $2 Food Lion catalina for 3 pizzas, plus the $5 emailed coupon, I paid only $1 for each pizza!

Cheez-it is BOGO and I had $1.50 coupons from Kelloggs Family Rewards, so only $0.50 each. These non-cheddar flavors are awesome, especially the Pepper Jack. Don't forget to input the Kellogg's codes inside the Cheez-it boxes at Kelloggs Family Rewards. That's where I got the $1.50 coupons.

I also bought small Toblerone bars from the register for $.59 each using a $1 off 2 coupon from the newspaper.

CVS: Save 50% on Toys and Chocolates at !

Target is my fave place for Christmas clearance BUT it's frustrating to find most items I waited for 50% clearance gone on Dec 26th!

So I was so happy to see CVS had plenty of toys, including Discovery Kids cameras, on clearance. The Lego-type minifigures was $3 with a vehicle, 3 minifigures and 3 tools. The girl's jewelry music box with dancing ballerina was only $5. They also had $2.50 harmonicas, mini-dolls, kitchen gadgets, emergency car kits, bath robe sets! Lots of stuff 50% off.

As for the candy, Hershey's Kisses were $1.99 already. With the $2.50 off 2 CVS Q and $1.10 off 2 manufacturer's Qs, they come out $0.20 each! I went ahead and separated the colors into baggies, red for Valentine's, green for St. Patricks, the rest for decorating cookies or just to eat now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Super Cheap Dice Games at Target

I just came back from Target with 2 Yahtzee games pricecut at $5.99. I still had 2 $2 manufacturer coupons. And I used a $2 Target store coupon. Plus, Hasbro has mail-in-rebate for lots of their board games. Buying just 2 games qualifies for a $5 rebate. That comes out to $0.50 a game!

$11.98 =2 yahtzee
-$4 manuf q (no longer available)
-$2 target q
-$5 Hasbro MIR
$0.98 for 2 games

I've had the manufacturer's coupon for a while because my Kroger had them BOGO. But I kept forgetting to check everytime I went to the store. Then, yesterday, I did check and of course they were back to regular price.
How glad was I to see them on sale at Target! Our kids love playing Skip Bo. So, I'm hoping they will also like Yahtzee. There were otherboard games on sale. Check Kerry's post at TotallyTarget for the latest on toy price cuts.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Save Money on Meat with $5 Mail-In-Rebate

Save $5 for any beef or pot roast purchase from any grocery store (or butcher shop). Find the rebate form on Food Lion's website. I saw it on the first page, bottom right corner with a Blue Moon beer bottle logo. The coupon is really a mail-in-rebate that prints a whole full page.

The best part NO beer purchase needed at all! And the rebate is good for 9 states: FL, GA, KY, MD, NC, SC, TN, VA and WV.

Here is the fine print:
This rebate is valid 12/1/12-1/31/13 for residents of FL, GA, KY, MD, NC, SC, TN, VA and WV who are legal drinking age.  Must be 21 or older to participate. No beer purchase required. Maximum of ONE (1) $5.00 rebate will be awarded per address/household. Expires : 1/31/2013

Want to send a nice $5 surprise to a friend? The rebate is one per household. But if you buy more beef or pot roast between now and January 31, use a friend's address and get the rebate check sent to them! This is perfect for elderly neighbors and others who wouldn't necessarily coupon.

Thanks to Tiffany for posting this and to A Super Savvy Saver for the fine print details. The lovely photo is from Kroger's ad this week, $3.49 a pound. Sometimes I buy it and have them grind or cut it for stew meat.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Discovering this town through the eyes of our children has been a great adventure. This weekend, we were able to take part in a few Christmas festivities.

We saw colonial Christmas dancing and sampled baked goods made from recipes of the period and took a couple of house tours. The children visited with Santa too, without having to wait in line.
We visited the Capitol and saw Virginia's copy of the Declaration of Independence. It only drizzled a little and somehow the camera captured the raindrops.
Horses named Adam and Eve took us on a carriage ride. They were such lovely horses.
Free children's Christmas crafts: puzzle-piece reindeer, Christmas mouse from Kisses chocolates, silver bells from paper cups and more. Now I don't have to come up with any Christmas crafts at home!

We also saw a boat parade where all the boats were decorated with Christmas lights. The viewing was up on a nice hill. They had a bonfire for roasting hotdogs and also served veggie burgers, cider and cocoa.

And all these events were free to the public. What a nice way to enjoy the holiday spirit!

Save on Christmas Presents for Neighbors

Since we are new to the area, we don't really know our neighbors very well. Except that they are the nicest and quietest ladies ever! This morning, we packaged some FREE Glade candles bought at Target with cheap chocolates from CVS bought last week. We've also given these presents to teachers and Sunday School leaders.
Cost breakdown for these gifts:
$.12 Christmas bag at Walgreens
$.17 for a whole bag of Hershey's chocolates from CVS
$1.25 overage for 5 Glade products from Target
Free curling ribbon from our neighbor

Only 17 cents a bag of yummy chocolates!

I found these deals from Totally Target and Hip2Save. A few coupons and easy deals and we actually got paid to give these presents away!

Super Cheap Deal on Christmas Cards at CVS!

CVS has another Hallmark card deal:

Buy 3 Hallmark cards $1.99+ = $3 Ecb (limit 1)

I've done this deal a couple times and it also works for $0.99 cards like giftcard holders or Christmas cards. So buy 3 for $2.98 get $3 ECBs. For even more savings, there is also a $3 off 3 cards CVS coupon. They are good for any type of card, like birthday or thank you cards.

BUY 3 cards, $2.98
Use $3 off 3 CVS coupon (they will price adjust to $2.98)
=FREE + $3 ECBs

A while ago, there was also a coupon for $2 off 3 cards, but's it's gone now. If you happen to have it, that's a $5 moneymaker! Which is perfect for me because I also need to pick up eggs and milk at CVS. It would be nice to also get these for free!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Santa's Secret Message

Last week, we went to a tree lighting celebration. They served yummy cookies and cocoa while the elementary kids sang carols. We waited for Santa, the honored guest, to arrive and light the tree.
Afterwards, all the children got up close and personal with Santa. I'm glad we saved those red hats for the move. Now the three of them match.

On December 6, we celebrated St. Nicholas Day learning about the history of Santa. The children watched the old classic Santa Claus is Coming to Town. They wrote letters to Santa before bed and put their shoes outside their bedroom door with their letters. That evening he came to pick-up the letters, drop some candies in their shoes and leave a secret message too.
Santa is very thoughtful!

Holiday Travel? Book Hotels with Priceline

In the last year we have done some major traveling. Our family stayed in Florida for 6 years going no more than 50 miles away at a time, except twice to visit relatives in Virginia. Then last October we moved from Florida to Virginia. A week later, flew to California then drove cross-country from there to Virginia in the dead of winter.
First time seeing snow was in Arizona of all places.
We've had our fair share of hotel stays in just a short time period. What helped our long cross-country trip with children in tow was only driving during the day. Then staying at a nice hotel for a good night's rest. It took us 6 days to go coast-to-coast, including a visit with friends in Oklahoma.

The thing with Priceline is once the hotel is booked, it can't be cancelled. Instead of booking in advance, we booked a hotel at whatever city we decided to stop for the night. We would look for a Mc Donald's to use their free Wi-Fi and book a hotel on the spot. Most hotels with ratings 3 stars and above offer rooms that look like the room pictured and cost us only $50-$65 a night. So I always start the bid at $45 and often don't have to go much higher to win a bid. These are $150 a night or more regularly.

What a lovely room waited for us in Phoenix!
The hotel gets the information instantly and we can check in without having to show a printout of the Priceline transaction. The hotels were very clean and modern. Some even had heated indoor swimming pools. What a treat for winter!
Our first night in VA at 4 diamond hotel for $70/night 

It was well worth the extra $50 a night for us to stop and rest. Hotel stay was part of the vacation. We went swimming, watched cable and took long baths. For food, we packed fruits and snacks. Subway was our go-to cheap fast food. Sometimes we also used certificates to eat at the hotel bistro. I used the business center computer to buy and print the gift certificate. 
Almost there! On I-95 heading for Virginia.

Wherever the road leads you this holiday season, if stopping for the night is a must, I hope you can rest easy and find great accommodations.

Apple Picking and Homemade Apple Pie

This October we went to Charlottesville to pick apples. A couple days before he was born, we went apple picking in the Blue Ridge near Middleburg. When we brought him home from the hospital, a few of those apples were waiting for us to enjoy. So it was a nice treat for him to pick apples on his birthday.

Even though there were lots of varieties ready for picking, we only picked Fuji apples. It's easy to get carried away picking that before long, the bags are filled and too heavy to carry. It's a different experience from blueberry picking that way!

Carter Mountain Orchard is such a lovely place. We will come back in the summer to pick their peaches for sure. Everywhere you turn is a breathtaking view of the mountains. The drive is gravely and a little steep but nothing to worry about. They also make the most awesome apple cider donuts served hot. Krispy Kreme better watch out!

As for prices, only $1.20 a pound for U-pick and $1.50 a pound for already picked. Plus we ate as much as we could while we picked. Those apples were free.

It was shamefully to see the base of the trees littered with apples that were picked but not bought.When possible, if we picked bruised apples, we just kept them to use for apple pie or fruit compote to serve on pancakes and French toast. Fuji apples stay a little firm even baked in pies. They don't get mushy like in store bought versions.

Picking apples our first fall back in Virginia was a memorable experience.

Once-A-Month Turkey Dinners

One of my favorite homeschooling moms buys 13 turkeys every Thanksgiving. One for the holiday and 12 for the freezer. She cooks one every month to feed her family inexpensive lean meat. At $.39 per pound that is not a bad investment. Plus, if the power goes out, stick several frozen turkeys in the fridge and it will keep the other foods safely cold for a few days. (Hurricane preparedness hasn't left me long after we've left Florida.)

Remember my almost free turkey? I finally cooked a turkey that is crispy and golden brown. Instead of using a turkey-self-basting bag, I used my roasting pot with the lid on. (This is because I was too cheap to buy the bags full price. But it worked!) Before the last 30 minutes, I took out as much of the liquid and cooked without the lid on to get it crispy. I cooked it with stuffing in the bird too. It was so good and simple to make.

I have heard that cooking the smallest turkey you can find is the safest bet to ensure a moist bird. Let me add another trick to that: soaking overnight in brine guarantees moistness. I just dump as much salt as I think would make the water salty and add about a tablespoon of white vinegar. Next time, I'll measure the salt.

Don't have time to soak it? If it's not for Thanksgiving, cook the bird breast side down without a roasting rack. It might not look pretty but it will taste great.

We ended up getting 3 turkeys about 12 pounds and $5 each. Plus, with the fuel perks deal the store had, we saved us $.60 off gas!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Frugal Fridays: Ci-Ci's Style BBQ Pizza

For 2 years now, Friday is Family Movie Night at our house. We've watched over a hundred movies together, some new releases from Redbox, some old favorites on VHS tapes, lots of free library DVD's.

Pizza is the mainstay plus cake for dessert. We usually have homemade pizza or Little Caesar's pepperoni. But it's been a couple months since we've had any. A while ago, Kroger had Tony's Pizza for $.25 with their $5 off 5 mega sale.
I spent around $25 for all of this, donated lots too!

Since my daughter likes cheese pizza, I bought a bunch of these for pizza night. Then I was able to get Digorno pizza for $.50 after coupons at CVS.  These deals have come and gone, but it's now December and we just ate our last frozen pizza tonight.

Have you tasted Tony's Pizza? Let's just say it's no Digorno. Since we were out of those, I added bbq sauce to shredded turkey and threw in some mozzarella cubes then added these to the kiddie cheese pizza. Voila! now it's edible. BBQ pizza was my favorite at Ci-Ci's back in my college days. But I always forget to make it for pizza night. It's so easy and a nice kid friendly pizza for those who say, "Pepperoni just too spicy for me, Mommy. "

How about you? Share your frugal family bonding traditions. Link-up to Frugal Fridays for more.

Target Shopping Trip: $46 for $114, including $50 phone card!

I feel pretty good after watching some Charlie Brown cartoons so I tallied my receipts from Target. I had two coupons for $10GC wyb $50 so did two transactions. I bought Glade and Dr. Scholl's items in my first transaction since they produced two $5 gift cards. Then I used these and the $10 gift card for the 2nd transaction.

Here are the details of my shopping trip, with Qs I used.

6 Keebler cookies (-$1.50x6)
4 Poptarts (-$1.50x4)
2 Cheez-its (-$1.50x2)
2 Vrooms cereal (-$1.50x2)
5 Glade items (-$5)
2 Dr. Scholl's inserts (-$2 peelies)
2 Right Guard items (-$6)
4 Market Pantry frozen veggies (-$1)
2 Intl Delight creamers (-$2.60)
1 dozen eggs
2 $25 prepaid phone cards

Subtotal: $114
Got 2 $10 GCs and 2 $5 GCs
Paid $56 after discounts and $10 GC for later

BUT the way I look at it, since we always buy the phone cards full price, the groceries are FREE plus $4 overage! Target really paid me to take all this food home.

Incidentally, Kroger is having 4x Fuel Points for gift card purchases. I bought a $50 Target GC, giving me $.20 off gas. That's a $3.60 discount for our car. And I used this gift card tonight at Target. Even more savings!

Thanks to Totally Target for deal scenarios and clearance updates!

Some of the "free" groceries Target paid me to take home

Target: Buy $50 Get $10 Gift Card

UPDATE: I saved more money than I thought! I just love that. Read above.

I went to Target tonight to use the recent coupon for $10 Target Gift Card when you purchase $50. We have a prepaid cellphone so I bought two $25 phone cards. I also used $1.50 off Kelloggs coupons from Kellogg's Family Rewards. All in all, I spent $60 for 2 phone cards and a bunch of groceries. The phone cards are $50 by themselves, so only $10 for $70 of groceries. I hope you got the coupon and use it by tomorrow! It expires December 8. Totally Target had a nice scenario and lots of gift card deal scenarios that I used for this shopping trip.

Pictured above: Poptarts & some Keebler cookies are $1.99, so only $.50 with the $1.50 Q. The Vrooms cereal rang up $1, so overage of $.50
Maybe later I'll post my shopping list!

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