A slightly boring week in the life of a fairly average couponer: Emilie’s Edition

by Emilie on October 24, 2011

This is actually a guest post from Emilie on how she saved this week.  I thought it might give you some insight in to how another boring couponer saves.  Emilie says “Please excuse the lame pictures, I used my phone”. Here are a few of the things she was up to this week:

Strategizing where to buy

We are in the middle of a remodel project and this weekend was dedicated totally to painting.  Because this is a new room and it has fresh drywall, I knew we were going to need a lot of paint. I was 30 points short of hitting the 500 points you need at Fred Meyer to get a reward for the quarter.  You can read more about the Fred Meyer Rewards program here.

I realized if I bought paint at Fred Meyer instead of at Lowe’s or Ace where I usually go, I would be able to use the triple rewards points coupon available last week and rack up some points.  So, by buying the 11 gallons of paint we applied this weekend (yes, 11, don’t you feel bad for me?) we racked up a ton of points and I estimate that I’m going to get 20+ dollars in rewards by buying my paint there.

If you aren’t signed up for Fred Meyer emails, make sure you are! You must have an account and check to receive emails as a preference.  You can sign up here.  They send those double and triple points coupons a few times a year and they make the difference in getting or not getting the reward for many of us couponers.  I don’t spent anywhere near $500 a quarter at Fred Meyer so this is the only way I would get them. We also were able to take advantage of the sales going on last week for the Fred Meyer Anniversary sale and I actually got better paint for a cheaper price than I would have elsewhere.  I also saved a ton on gas as it took me six trips to Fred Meyer to get more paint (I know, bad planning) and it is closer to my house than the other spots.

Taking coupons back after I forget them

I love the Fred Meyer clearance bins but because I use a no-clip version of couponing, I always get irritated when I don’t have a coupon on me when I see something that is marked down.  I found Pampers big boxes for $8.99 (regularly $17.99) which is a great price. I knew I had $3 off Pampers coupons at home.  I also knew it wasn’t worth it to make a trip all the way back with my coupon and they might be gone if I did come back.  So, I bought them anyway at $8.99 and then when I came back to Fred Meyer a couple days later for something else, I took it to customer service and they gave me $3 in cash! I’m not sure if all stores have this policy but I’ve done it at Fred Meyer several times when I’ve forgotten a coupon.

Note from Melody: They did this for me at my store last week too!  They credited my coupons and faxed in my Triple Rewards coupon that I forgot to use.  LOVE Fred Meyer.

Making homemade versions of things I thought you could only get at the store

I don’t know why it took three kids for me to figure this out but at a party this week, somebody mentioned she makes her own baby rice cereal in the blender.  What? I had no idea rice cereal was just pulverized raw rice.  So, I pulled out the organic brown rice I stock up on at Costco (it’s a sweet deal, I just can’t remember what it is right now!) and pulverized it in my Blendtec.  Someday I’ll do a post just on my Blendtec and try to convince you how one of the most expensive things in my house saves me money. I literally dropped the rice in my blender, pushed pulse and then it was done.  It took two seconds. Check out this post from Weelicious on how to do it.

We love chicken apple sausages but I rarely find a good deal on them.  My friend Stephanie (who loves apple sausage even more than me) sent me this recipe to try to recreate them.  We had split the Zaycon Foods chicken deal  last week so we had plenty of chicken breasts.  I added a ton of spices (rosemary, parsley and shallots) on Stephanie’s recommendation and added a bit more applesauce and everybody gobbled them up.  Honestly, I think they would be better with thighs than breasts but they were good.

Redeemed voucher at strategic time

I’ve been holding on to an Abe’s Market voucher from Eversave for a few months.  I’ve seen them do free shipping promos before so I was holding on to it in case one came up.  So, when I got an email from them saying they were doing free shipping just for the weekend, I jumped on it.  I got a ton of steel cut oats, nuts and some Annie’s Mac & Cheese shipped to me for 1/2 price!

Cleaned the pantry

My pantry was a mess.  I wish I would have thought to take a before picture.  The after picture probably doesn’t really impress you that much but let me assure you it is dramatically better than what it looked like before! I organized each shelf by category, the one you see here was breakfast/baby food.

So, how did this save me money? I had no idea what I had in there to be honest and was so overwhelmed looking in the shelves I didn’t dig when I was menu planning.  By cleaning out my pantry I was able to plan our entire week’s menu just with what was in the cupboard.  Because we get our milk and produce delivered weekly, an organized pantry means I could probably go weeks without grocery shopping!

I would LOVE to hear how you saved your family money this week.  What methods do you find are the most efficient and effective?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Faith October 25, 2011 at 7:49 am

I cleaned out my pantry this week too–it helps me to do this regularly so I don’t forget about what I have and what needs to be used up. Do you think you could use a food processor to make the rice cereal? I don’t have a blendtec, just a crappy cheap blender, but I do have a nicer food processor.

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Melody October 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I made this same recipe about 6 months ago (apparently I forgot to share it with Emilie, or I did share and she forgot), but I just used my cheapo blender from Target and it worked fine. A little grainier than Em’s Blendtec I’m sure, but my son didn’t seem to notice.

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Katiek October 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Em, if you don’t have the coupon for the triple rewards points from email, where do you get that? is it in ad at all?

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Emilie October 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I’m fairly certain the only way they come is by being on the email list and getting an email. They are all tied to your Fred Meyer card (or so they say) and they can only be used by the person whose FM card is associated. It was for last week though and expired 10/22. Make sure you are signed up for their emails so you don’t miss the next one!

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bryn January 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I would LOVE a post about the blendtec if you ever do decide to write one- We got one for Christmas and I am still not sure what to do with it past smoothies and milkshakes! I remembered reading about the rice cereal so searched and pulled this one up, but I am excited to start tying other things!

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