Thursday, April 30, 2009

target and shaws trip

Had a fun shopping day today -

First we went to Target. Coupons.com has a $2.00 Dry Idea coupon and our Target has Dry Idea deodorant priced at $2.00 - so it ended up free (prices might be different at other Target stores, but it's worth checking out!). We also got a mailer yesterday from Home Made Simple - it had lots of 50 cent and dollar off cleaning supply coupons, plus a coupon for a free Cascade Crystal Clear Rinse Agent (regular price $3.14) - so we got one of those while we were at Target too.

Then we headed to Shaws - a couple weeks ago, they were having a sale on Wesson canola and vegetable oil, 2 for $5.00. If you bought 4 bottles, you paid $10, and two $5.00 Register Reward coupons printed. You could then use those two $5 coupons to buy 4 more bottles of oil... and around again in a circle, as 2 more coupons printed. Anyway, we picked up enough cooking oil to last us quite some time (since it was in essence free - as every time we bought 4 bottles, another $10 in coupons printed out - we figured we might as well, since we do use it!). We still had the last two $5 coupons left (from buying the final 4 bottles of oil) - so today we used the coupons to buy some ravioli and a box of Julies Organic ice cream sandwiches (yum!).

Also, a note - the rinse agent isn't something we'll probably use. But, like my grandmother did, we keep a box in the kitchen that holds things we get free and don't need, so we can pass them along to friends and family who will use them. We can't stand to skip an awesome deal (and free is fun!) - so even though we might not have a good use for an item, we usually know someone who'll enjoy it! Plus, a few times a year, we also bring extra toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc. that we've picked up (most of it free or almost free) to Crossroads homeless shelter in Portsmouth, NH or to the seasonal shelter in Rochester. Personal care items are always appreciated at the shelters - and we're happy to share some of what we find in our shopping adventures!

So, today's penny-saving update -

Total spent at Target for 1 Cascade Rinse Agent and 1 deodorant - $0
Pennies saved: 514

Total spent (after coupons) at Shaws for 1 box organic ice cream sandwiches, 2 boxes organic ravioli - $4.37
Pennies saved: 1000

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

wise coupons, other offers, and a thank you

Came across a few interesting offers online the last couple days and thought we'd pass the info along. But first, a big thank you to NH.com, who chose us as their Blog of the Week this week. We're excited and honored, and we look forward to sharing our penny-saving ideas and adventures with NH.com readers!

Now for the offers -

Wise Foods is now offering coupons through their website. A snack once in a while is a nice thing - a snack at a good after-coupon price is even better!

Emergen-C is offering free samples through their website. You can sign up to send a sample to yourself, or to a friend.

Last, Walmart has a section of their website that's dedicated to free samples, trial offers, and such. Last we checked, they had samples of dog treats, different shampoos, and Huggies diapers. Their sample selection changes often, and is worth checking every once in a while to see what's new.

Happy snacking, and happy sampling!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

freecycle garden finds

We've written before about the wonders of Freecycle. It's a great group that lets you pass things you no longer need along to other folks (instead of just throwing them away). The other fun part of Freecycle is that you can occasionally pick up a "treasure" from someone else - something they no longer want that you can put to good use. All at no cost, of course!

This morning, we were excited to receive 2 rolls of green plastic fencing, a trellis, and a plant stand from a Freecycler who is no longer gardening. Since we have woodland creatures who seem to make it their goal to find harvest-ready vegetables in our gardens before we can get to them, we'll definitely be putting the fencing to good use! The trellis and the plant stand weren't essentials, but they're fun to have as we work on prettying up the yard. Great finds - and no expense except the gas to go from our house to the other Freecycler's house. Fun!

Monday, April 27, 2009

things are starting to grow!

No shopping today - so no penny-saving at the store to write about. Thought we'd go with a garden update in honor of the beautiful sunshine outside!

We're trying to grow a good sized garden this year, as a way of being "green" and saving money at the same time. Just in case our garden doesn't give us enough fresh veggies (around our neighborhood, we need to race the deer, chipmunks, and other critters to our harvest... plus we're still pretty new to gardening, and so we're not sure what will grow well here in our yard) we're also members of a local CSA. A CSA is a fun way to support local farming, get more connected with your food and where it come from, AND get fresh vegetables every week for several months over the growing season (the CSA we're part of runs from June through October). This will be our third CSA year, and we love going to the farm every week in the summer to pick up our veggies (and sometimes fresh cut flowers too!). Can't wait for June, when our pick-ups start!

Anyway, since it's been really warm in New Hampshire the last few days, the plants we have started from seed have really begun to grow. Just today, chives, basil, swiss chard, and lettuce seedlings have all sprouted up inside next to our greenhouse-grown tomato plants and the cucumbers and broccoli that have been up for a couple weeks already. And we noticed peas and lettuce seedlings peeking out of the soil outside in the garden beds too. Life is good!! We started seeds both inside and outside this year, as last year we went with outside only, and heavy June rains wiped us out. We're hoping this year for more "typical" weather - and more success growing some of our own food!

We spent $24 on seeds this year so far, and $12 on our tomato plants. Used pots left over from previous years to grow what's started inside, and haven't had to buy any compost as our worms make it for us (more about that coming soon in another posting). So we're hoping our $36 will go a long way toward a great, tasty, penny-saving harvest!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

May Day Giveaway

It's time for the May Day Giveaway Carnival, sponsored by New England Bloggers.

We decided to join the fun, because a giveaway and a blog about saving money just seemed to go hand in hand! We're giving away a set of three new children's books - should be lots of fun to read with a young child. Here they are pictured below:


To enter for a chance to win, just leave a comment in response to this post between now and May 1 (one entry per person, please) - make sure to include your email address (if it's not in your profile). If you prefer, you can write your email address out (along the lines of xyz at 123 dot com). Our giveaway is open to anyone age 18 or over in the US. We'll use random.org to choose one winner and will notify via email on May 2, at which point we'll request the winner's shipping address.

Check out the other New England Bloggers and their giveaways too (there are 13 blogs participating). Good luck, and happy reading!

Participating Blogs
Art from the Heart - Catherine in ME
Basia-Spirit Space - Barbara in MA
The Book Kitten - Kitten in CT
Fabric 'N Fiber Fanatic - Sara in NH
Life, as it is... - Tara in MA
Living the Local Life - Virginia in NH
Loving Mom 2 Boys - Liz in RI
My Secret Garden - Sue in MA
Penny's Art Room - Penny in ME
Raise Your Hand If... - Carol in MA
Seriously, No Seriously – Michelle
Thoughts from an Evil Overlord - Elizabeth in MA

sunday sales

Looks like there's some great deals out there this week!

Today, we went to Rite Aid and Walgreens. At Riteaid we got a SaltAire nasal wash kit (regular price $9.99) which is on sale for $6.99 and then free after a $6.99 rebate through Rite Aid's Single Check Rebate program. We also got a bottle of Skintimate shaving cream (regular price $3.99) which is on sale for $2.99, and has a $2.24 rebate. Last, we picked up a bottle of Electrasol dishwasher detergent (regular price $6.19), which is on sale for $4.49 and has a $2.00 rebate. We had coupons for $1.00 off the shaving cream and $2.50 off the Electrasol, so that helped too when it came to making the Rite Aid trip full of savings!

Over at Walgreens, we picked up a bottle of Nivea body wash which is on sale for $4.99 (regular price $6.99). We had a $1.00 coupon which we used when we bought it, and at checkout, we got back a $5.00 Register Rewards coupon to use on our next Walgreens purchase. We also got a steam vaporizer to use during next year's cold season, regular price $19.99, on clearance for $7.49. Seems like Walgreens has lots of winter items on clearance right now - they had blankets, humidifiers, portable electric heaters, and all sorts of good things like that up to 75 percent off.

Later this week, we'll be headed to Market Basket, as they have the energy efficient Sylvania light bulbs on sale for several dollars off regular price (the price varies depending which kind you buy - we'll have more details after we stop by). We still have a couple regular floodlight bulbs in our basement, and we'll be taking the opportunity to buy energy efficient replacements this week at a huge discount. Market Basket also has Scoopaway cat litter, 28lbs for $7.99 - that's a better price than we've been getting at Target when they've had their sales lately. So we'll grab a couple Scoopaways while we're grocery shopping this week too. We like to stock up on pet supplies when we find good prices, as the sales on those seem to be different each time!

So, here comes today's penny-saving roundup - did you get any great deals this weekend? Let us know about them!

Total spent at Rite Aid: $10.97
Rebate on its way: $11.23
Total after-rebate cost for 1 shaving cream, 1 bottle of Electrasol, and 1 nasal wash kit: Zero dollars (actually we made 24 cents - can't complain about that!)
Pennies saved (based on if we'd paid regular price for everything): 2017

Total spent at Walgreens for 1 humidifier and 1 body wash: $12.48
Pennies saved: 1450
Coupon for later use: $5.00

Saturday, April 25, 2009

yard sale saturday

It was a summery day in New Hampshire today, and we had fun going around to a handful of yard sales. You can tell it's springtime though and not summer yet - the blackflies are out in full force and everyone who's outside is swatting away at them!

This morning in our travels, we picked up a like-new wire dog crate to use for our puppy when we take her with us in the car. We've seen the kind we got for about $60 in the stores - this one came to us courtesy of a yard sale for $4.00! Then at another house, we picked up a plant care book for a dollar ($26.00 MSRP) that looks like it's never been read. Since we're planning on adding to our gardens quite a bit this year, it'll be a good resource to have!

This afternoon, we went to a couple more yard sales, but didn't have any luck finding anything good. That's the things with yard sales - sometimes you get great bargains on things you need or things you like - and sometimes you strike out!

We have a few things that we do to help us make the most of our Saturday morning bargain-hunting trips - most of which are courtesy of my tag-sale loving grandparents' wisdom. We keep a running list of things we're looking for in the car on an index card (my grandfather loved index cards!), so that when we come across a yard sale, we can refresh our memory before we start shopping. On the card we also note measurements of furniture items we might want (like bookshelves) so we don't end up buying something that won't fit in the space we have. We keep a small tape measure in the car, and an old blanket to put items on in case we buy something that needs some cleaning up when we get it home, or a planter for outside that still has some dirt in it, etc. We also always bring small bills (lots of "ones") and quarters with us in a little change purse that fits in a pocket. Having exact change makes the shopping even simpler!

When it comes to bargaining, we've learned that "offer half of the asking price, and then be willing to go up a little" seems to work well for us. Most everyone who sets up a yard sale builds some "wiggle room" into their prices (we do ourselves, when we have our annual neighborhood yard sale!) - and though at first we found bartering a little awkward, once we saw for ourselves that most everyone does it and no one gets offended, it's become part of the fun.

So, we had a fun day - and we saved some money too!

Total spent for 1 dog crate and 1 plant book - $5.00
Pennies saved: 8,000

feeling vegetablish

We're feeling vegetablish around here (our son's word for when you're ready to eat something healthy and green) - and the good news about that is the Portsmouth Farmer's Market opens for the season just one week from today! The Market is lots of fun - and it's a great place to get local veggies and fruit, plus seedlings and plants if you want to grow flowers and veggies and other such things of your own. While you're there, you can also pick up eggs, meat, and other tasty treats from local farms. We love going to the farmers markets in the summer - supporting our local farmers and getting really great food at really good prices - what could be better!?

Today's bargain-shopping adventure is all about yard sales - we went to a couple this morning and already picked up some treasures. Headed out to a few more this afternoon - and will post our "finds" later today! What about you - any yard sale fun today?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

free samples are fun!

There are lots of places on the web to get free samples - one of our favorites is Start Sampling. Sign up is free (of course!) and once you answer a few simple profile questions, the site offers you a variety of samples to choose from each day. Some days there isn't anything that happens to interest us - but over the years, we've received year-long magazine subscriptions, single issues of magazines, and many, many shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and deoderants. It's a fun way to try out new products at no cost - and when we're going on vacation, the travel size items they often send out are great to bring along! The site also lets you provide feedback on the items you try - and it has coupons, recipes, and other interesting items. If you check it out, let us know what you think!

may day giveaway, and market basket trip

A blog about saving money seems to be a good place for a giveaway, and so we're joining other New England Bloggers for the May Day Giveaway Carnival. There's sure to be lots of great prizes. Here on Penny-Wise People, we're giving away a set of three brand new children's books. Click here for more details and to enter to win the books!

We stopped by Market Basket this morning after dropping our son off at school - they have Annie's Naturals on sale this week. We think Annie's is great (our son especially enjoys the macaroni and cheese), and they use lots of organic ingredients which is awesome. The mac and cheese is on sale for $1.00/box (save $1.00 off regular price when you buy three), and the dressing is 2/$5.00 (save $1.98 on 2). As usual with Market Basket, you can buy as many or as few of the sale items as you wish, and still get the sale price. Love that!

Total spent at Market Basket today for 6 boxes of mac and cheese and 1 bottle of salad dressing: $8.50
Pennies saved: 549

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

earth day just got even happier

In my previous post, I mentioned that we bought 2 cherry tomato plants at the UNH greenhouse open house the end of March. These are some of the green tomatoes that have been growing bigger and bigger each week since then.


And yes, indeed, everyone - if you look closely you can see that THIS is a red tomato. We just noticed it peeking out this afternoon, right in the middle of plant #1. In our dining room - in New Hampshire - in April - a red tomato! Makes us smile!



As for today's penny-saving update - Walgreens had a coupon for a free reusable totebag (today only, regular price 99 cents each). We stopped and got a bag on our way by this evening. While we were there, we also picked up an Edge shaving cream. It cost $2.99, but at checkout a Register Reward coupon printed out for $3.00 off our next Walgreens purchase, making the shaving cream in essence free. But I won't count that toward our pennies saved this trip, since really those $3.00 (or 300 pennies, if you prefer) will come off of our next Walgreens visit. Register Rewards coupons can be a fun way to save money, especially at stores where you shop pretty often and know you will put the Reward to good use. We usually go for them at Shaws and Walgreens, though there are other stores in the area that offer them as well.

Total spent at Walgreens today for 1 totebag and 1 shaving cream: $2.99
Pennies saved: 99
Coupon for later use: $3.00

happy earth day!

We're celebrating Earth Day by planting more vegetable seeds today. We've got lettuce and swiss chard seeds outside already (though they haven't sprouted yet - hopefully this week!), and we have cucumbers, broccoli, and chives started inside. We also have two cherry tomato plants inside that we got from the University of New Hampshire greenhouses back the last week of March. They came with (green) tomatoes already on them, and they've got lots of flowers. Some of the tomatoes are already starting to turn yellow. We bought two plants last year, and by May, were harvesting cherry tomatoes in our dining room. It was great!! They offer the tomato plants every year in conjunction with their Spring open house - if you live near UNH, it's definitely worth checking out!

As for Earth Day offers - Reynolds Wrap has a rebate for a free roll of recycled aluminum foil in honor of Earth Day. Click here to go to their site and print your rebate coupon!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

do you freecycle?

We joined Freecycle almost two years ago. It's a fabulous network of folks who are dedicated to passing things they're no longer using on to others in their community, instead of throwing those perfectly good things away in the trash. Freecycle's slogan is "changing the world one gift at a time." We've given away old (but still working) computer monitors, clothes and toys that our six year old no longer needs, knickknacks that we no longer have space for, and other such treasures. We've also picked up a few things along the way from other kind, recycle-minded people in our town and the surrounding area. One of our favorite "freecycle finds" was a big pile of brand new siding that a contractor had leftover from a house project he was working on, which just happened to be the same fiber cement siding we were also re-siding our house with at the time. He gave us the leftovers, which turned out to be enough to re-side almost a whole wall at our house. We saved the cost of about a wall worth of material - and he saved the hassle of trying to get the factory to take it back, and the cost of disposing of it had he been unsuccessful. Everybody wins with Freecycle - the giver, and the gifted. If you're not a member already (membership, of course, is free) you should check it out! We'd love to know what you think - anyone have a Freecycle success story to share?

petco moving sale

Turns out Petco in Newington, NH is moving from their current location to a new store across the street. They're having a moving sale, with prices up to 70 percent off store-wide. We needed dog food, so we stopped by. The dog food we usually buy was 20 percent off. And when we were checking out, we noticed 3 bins of "free - please take one or two" tshirts. So here's how our trip ended up. We purchased one bag of dog food (regular price $11.49), and got two free dog tshirts (regular price $4.99 each).

Total spent at Petco for 1 bag of dog food and 2 tshirts : $9.19
Pennies saved: 1228

today's shopping trip

We love hunting down bargains, but we don't shop every day, by any means. We do live about 5 minutes from a small shopping center that has a Market Basket grocery store, and a Rite Aid pharmacy. We pass by on the way to and from our son's school - so we definitely stop in a couple times a week, especially when there's good deals to be had! For other shopping trips, we try to combine multiple errands with one car ride - we might stop by Walgreens and Shaws when we're on the way to visit my sister, or take the back way home from school that takes us by Hannafords. We live in a rural area, so combining trips whenever possible has been the best way we've been able to save money on gas (and reduce the impact our driving about has on the world), since there's no public transportation in our area and we can't get too far walking or biking.

So today we went to Rite Aid. They had light bulbs for $2.00/4 pack. We bought 2 packs, and each pack had a coupon sticker on the front for 40 cents off. Rite Aid's Single Check Rebate Program has a GE light bulb rebate this month of $2.00. Rite Aid's rebate program has saved us tons of money over the last couple years - it's awesome! I'll write more about rebates and store savings cards in an upcoming post.

Total spent at Rite Aid: $3.20
Rebate on its way: $2.00
Total after-rebate cost for 8 light bulbs: $1.20
Pennies saved: 280

Today we also went to Walgreens. They had Post Trail Mix cereal 2/$5.00. We printed out two coupons, each for $2.00 off/box, from Post's website.

Total spent at Walgreens for 2 boxes of cereal: $1.00
Pennies saved: 400

Monday, April 20, 2009

in the beginning (because you've got to start somewhere!)

Both my husband and I come from frugal families. When I first met my husband's parents - my future in-laws - one of the first things his father showed me was a pantry closet, stocked full (literally top to bottom) of olive oil and Dial bar soap that he had bought in MASS quantity. Because it was on sale - and he couldn't pass up a great sale on something he used so much of.

My own grandparents were also never ones to pass up a good deal. My father's parents would get multiple copies of the Sunday paper to make sure they had a bunch of coupons and all the grocery ads. They retired early, and spent many years chasing grocery store sales and sharing their finds with everyone who visited their home. On the weekends, they never missed the chance to go to all the yard sales they could find, and even now that they're gone, I still have many of the "treasures" they collected here decorating my own home.

My mother's parents took a different route - my grandfather loved the town dump. He couldn't believe all the perfectly good and usable things people would throw away, and he spent his weekends collecting other folks' castaways from the dump, repairing them or sprucing them up if needed, and passing them along to his grandchildren, neighbors, kids at the school where he worked part time, or anyone else in need of a bicycle, bookshelf, desk lamp, or other fabulous find. Whenever one of the grandchildren needed something - like when we were going off to college - someone in the family would always say "have you been to Grandpa's basement yet?" - and more often than not, if we went over to the house, we could get what we needed.

I think of my grandparents alot, in this age of growing eco-consciousness and diminishing conpicuous consumption. My grandparents (and probably yours too) didn't over-consume - and they made due with things that were "used" - bought things when they were on sale - used coupons - and did all they could to live as debt-free as possible. My husband and I do our best to live that way too - and we look forward to sharing our money-saving and green-living adventures with you, and to hearing about your adventures too! Together, we can save a lot of pennies!