Freebie Alert: Free copy of Suze Orman's book Women & Money

If you saw the recent rerun or original airing of Suze Orman on the Oprah Winfrey show, then you know that she was offering a free download of her book, Women and Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny. I am personally indifferent on Suze Orman's delivery style but she has some decent strategies for debt management. For a limited time, the book can still be downloaded here.

Yippie! My savings this week- 6/28/08

It's been a crazy week, but I still managed to snag a few great deals at Walgreens and Harris Teeter which is STILL running a triple coupon sale. Here's what I got & how I got it:

I got a pretty amazing deal at Walgreens this week although it doesn't look like much. If you want to replicate this deal exactly you'll have to do so today since this deal is good only June 27-28. Each month Walgreens publishes a monthly saver catalog (also accessible online). It has coupons (Internet Value Coupons or IVC) good for that month. On the 27 & 28th of June there is an overlap where both June & July's coupons (linked here in PDF format) are usable. Luckily, there are a few items that after manufacturer's coupons make a pretty sweet deal.

I got:

  • 2 Lamisil creams- $15.99 each-$5 July IVC (doubles automatically b/c I got two)- $3 June IVC (triples automatically b/c I got three)- buy-one-get-one free (BOGO) manufacturer's coupons (4/13 SS)= 0.01 overage for both.
  • 2 packages of Theragran- M Multivitamins on sale for $4.99 & buy-one-get-one free. $4.99 each- $4.99 (automatically deducted for the B1G1 sale)= $4.99 for both

  • 3 bottles of Maalox (35 ct. chewables)- $3.99 each- $2 July IVC (triples automatically b/c I got three)- $2 June IVC (triples automatically b/c I got three)- $2 manufacturer's coupons (6/1 SS)= 2.01 overage for each bottle!

  • 5 bags of planters trail mix- $2.69 each- Walgreens in store coupon (found in the sales flyer) making these bags 0.99 cents each. $2.69-$1.70 instant savings= 0.99 cents per bag
My receipt showed that I saved $77.48 & my total... drum roll please ...................... $3.40!

But, that's not even the best part. I also got a $1.50 off catalina that printed at the end of my receipt good for anything in the store on my next purchase for buying the Planter's nuts AND I will file for the June rebate program that gives a full $4.99 back for one package of Theragran-M multivitamins. That really means that after coupons and rebates, Walgreens paid me $3.09 to take these items out of the store!

Harris Teeter:
I had some time to run into Harris Teeter quick. I adore the higher-ups of the Wilson, NC store that decided triple coupons should continue on. I scored:

  • 3 bottles of Motts apple juice- $2.69, used $.75/1 coupon= 0.44 each
  • 2 Heluva good dips- on sale 2/$3, used $.50/1 coupon= free!
  • 3 gum toothbrushes- on sale 4/$3, used $.75/1 coupon= $1.50 overage on each- WOW!
  • 1 pack of dial soap- on sale for $1.89, used $.60/1 coupon= 0.09 each
  • 1 bottle spray & wash max stain fighter- $2.99, used $.75/1 coupon= 0.74
  • 1 Home Run Inn pizza (my hubby's favorite kind)- on sale BOGO for $3.62

I started off with a balance of $31.63 and paid $1.53! Oh happy day!

You can read all about how to work a good double/ triple coupon sale here. Happy shopping!

Freebie Alert: Free Women's Day Magazine Subscription- Hurry!

These promos go really fast so hurry and sign up if you would like a free subscription to Women's Day magazine. I have personally signed up for offers like these including this particular company & have never paid for my magazine subscriptions! There aren't any strings attached & no credit card necessary to apply.
Mercury magazines typically targets businesses. If I remember correctly, you fill out only your contact info & job description to get your free magazine subscription. The magazines I have received in the past have lasted a year & it looks like this one will also. Click here for your subscription.

Grocery Savings: How to Work a Double & Triple Coupon Sale

If you ever see this sign on the road, you should pull over immediately!

In fact, you might consider just running into the store to take advantage of tremendous savings. Just this last week, I snagged a few bags full of groceries for only $2.70. You can read about it here. These sales are a serious way to save BIG at the grocery store.

Working a double or triple coupon sale & really getting a great deal takes a little planning on your part. It is an art! Despite what you might think, there is a little more to working a double/ triple coupon sale than just clipping coupons. While there are a number of strategies, I will share the way I personally maximize store promotions and double/ triple coupon sales to save the most money.

First, let me say that each store has different coupon specials and policies, so you should first ask your local grocery store what they offer. In eastern NC, we have two stores that I know of (Kroger & Harris Teeter) that double coupons everyday up to $0.99. In this case, a $0.75 off coupon doubles to $1.50, for example, while a $1 off coupon or higher is deducted at face value only. Every few months these stores will also run triple coupon sales & that's when the goin' gets good! So here's how I work up a good sale:

  1. First, things first. Get organized. I remember the first time I tried a triple coupon sale. I entered the store with a bunch of coupons stuffed in my pocket. To my amazement, there were coupon- goers with binders full of coupons. I realized then that I was way out of my league! Needless to say, I have learned.... I now sift through all of the old coupon circulars for those coupons that are 0.99 cents and under. I file these clipped coupons into groups and keep them separate from the normal, everyday coupons I use for groceries and such. This way I don't spend a bunch of time in the store searching for coupons saying "oh, yes... I know I have a coupon for that somewhere..." I'm sure you're smiling if that has ever been you. This means that I carry two coupon files into the store- one for the items I know are on sale & under 0.99 cents and my everyday coupon files (this is just in case).

  2. Next, search the store's sales flyer/ policies. So, the real secret of double/ triple coupon sales is combining a sale that the store is already running with triple coupons. Working a real good double/ triple coupon sale means getting most of your purchases free or almost free. You mean it's not good enough that a store runs a great deal? Nope! As an example, a box of $4 cereal with a 0.75 off coupon that doubles is not a great deal if I can get it cheaper without the coupon any old day at another store. However, if that same $4 cereal is buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) (and this items rings up at half price for the BOGO sale), then I would look for a $0.75 coupon. In a double coupon sale my cereal would be $0.50 & in a triple sale, I would make $0.25. Here's how it would work:

My $4 cereal rings up $2 on sale. Then, $2- 0.75 coupon- 0.75 doubled automatically= $0.50 cereal! Pretty awesome.

You would repeat this for other items on sale. Obviously, you score big time if your store gives overage. In the above example, if it were a triple coupon sale instead of a double one it would be more like this:

$2- 0.75 coupon- 1.50 tripled automatically= free cereal+ 0.25 cents overage. Even more awesome! Some stores will apply this 0.25 cents to other items in your order & others will not give overage. You need to ask. Luckily, my store offers overage. So, here's my stocked pantry of cleaning products. Each of these items were free & the kitchen cleaners gave 0.75 overage each. Hello! Needless to say, I'll have really clean toilets...

I digress...When you search the store's flyer, you identify which items are on sale. This can be a general sale, buy-one-get-one-free, etc. Combine this with the coupons you have that are under $0.99 & you're on your way to savings. I bring my second folder that has coupons over $1 because on occasion you still find a great deal. This was the example on my last grocery trip. The new deli sub sandwiches were BOGO. They rang up half price at $1.74. I had a $1 off coupon making them 0.74 each. Not bad for sandwiches that we originally $3.47.

It's also important to know the stores policy on coupon usage. For example, my store has a whole host of policies- up to 20 coupons per day per person, only three of the same coupon at a time, Internet printables limited, etc. This is a big deal when you're planning things out so be in the know.

3. Get in early. It never fails... others find out about good deals too. And you better bet the "pros" know how to work a coupon sale too. I find the best time to get to the grocery store for a good sale is early in the morning when the shelves are stocked. Off to work? No worries, you can also get full store shelves either the first day of the sale or about four days after the sale has begun when the stores are resupplied.

4. Don't be choosy. Hmm, this is a hard one to explain. I once heard someone say that we do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do. The same sort of philosophy applies to these sales. Sometimes you buy what you have to in order to buy what you want. What do I mean? Earlier, I showed you the example of Lysol kitchen cleaners. Now, I'm not one to be choosy about what I use to scrub the toilet but it really was a non-issue since Lysol, not any other product, was on sale & I had 0.75 off coupons. By using my coupons during a triple coupon sale, the store actually paid me $0.75 to carry each bottle out of the store. Now, in order to snag this great deal, I had to buy this particular product. I then used the 0.75 and applied it toward other grocery items that I wanted. You see? I get what I have to in order to get what I want.

As a general rule, I never buy items that we really will not use or give away, not even if it's free or a moneymaker. I don't buy pet food, for example, because we don't have a pet or know anyone who does. It would simply go to waste. I do buy items the items that are the best deal and that changes quite frequently. We are not choosy about what we use in the house. Sure, I have a favorite this or that. So, I often use the savings I get to apply toward the things I really want. So, could you stand to be a bit more flexible? If so, this can totally work for you!

Well, that's the best strategies I have found so far. Like you, I am a diva in constant training. I wish you many happy double/ triple coupon shopping trips. Was this article helpful or do you have something to add? Post a comment. For now, off to find more great deals....

Deal Alert: Walgreens $5 off $20 purchase Friday, June 27th only

Wanted to let you all know that there is a $5 of $20 purchase (after all other coupons are used). Walgreens also has a free-after rebate program. You could apply the $5 off coupon to items that you will get for "free" after rebate and technically make $5 for your trouble. You can print the Walgreens coupon good for Friday, June 27th only here.

Get your free credit report

Have you checked your free credit report lately?

A few years ago, Congress passed legislation that allows us one free copy of our credit report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion & Experian.

There are a host of companies that advertise this service, but many ask you to pay for credit monitoring services before you gain access to your credit report. I have found the best (and truly free) source to be You won't get your credit score, but you will get a completely free copy of what's on your financial records after verifying your identity. Instead of downloading all three reports at the same time, I personally download a copy once every four months (each time from a different agency). This way, I can monitor anything that doesn't look right.

Consider heading over to the site for the start of your financial check-up.

Deal Alert: Free size 3 diapers + paid survey

Many companies participate in programs that offer you free merchandise if you fill out a survey afterward. If you have a youngin' (that's what they say here in NC) in size 3 diapers, you can get some for free now.

Arquest is looking for parents of babies in size 3 diapers to try out some samples and fill out a survey afterward.For your time, they will send you a $10 thank you! Hello! Free diapers and getting paid for free stuff!

  • For BOYS, call (888) 342-7372 ext. 634.
  • For size 3 GIRLS, call (888) 342-7372 ext. 646

Thanks Jennifer for alerting us to this great deal!

Budgeting 101- Part 1

Budgeting 101- Part 1
Why Budget & Setting Your Dreams

I'm going to begin a series on the #1 most requested session in our financial counseling appointments- budgeting. Creating a realistic and well designed budget is the key to financial empowerment.

I must confess that I have not always seen budgets as "empowering." When my husband and I were first married, we were polar opposites. I kept a balanced checkbook register but spent whatever I wanted until the money ran out. He, on the other hand, advocated for a family budget. I kicked and screamed.... and then some more when he suggested we should adopt a family spending plan. I didn't want to use a budget when there was money in the bank. And why since I'd never had a problem before! But, my attitude has since drastically changed... yes honey if you are reading this I was wrong. There, I said it!

Experts say that money issues are the #1 cause of divorce in America. With over 50% of all marriages now ending in divorce, I guess we still have a lot to learn about financial management. I found freedom in creating a family spending plan since I found it brought my marriage an entire family on the same page. Here's a few ideas of why I think you should consider a family spending plan also:

  1. Budgets are a way to reflect your dreams and deepest desires. What do you dream about? Do you desire to own your own home? Pay off your existing home? Pay off debt? Put your children through college? Travel the world? Retire? The personal goals we have cost something, whether physically or financially! When we put our money toward our personal goals, we make progress and that feels awesome.
  2. Budgets help to keep us from making boneheaded decisions. Boneheaded is the term my grandmother used to use when us kids did something really stupid or if we were being particularly stubborn. Having a budget helps us to plan intelligently instead of making impulse buys and buying "great deals that just couldn't be passed up". Having a plan doesn't mean you can't have nice things. It simply suggests that you think about things first, before you buy.
  3. Budgets can reveal imbalances in our lives. Think about it.. how much do you spend on eating out? A smoking addiction? Or even the soft drink machine at work? I heard a pastor say once that you could look at the last five entries of your check register (nowadays it would be more like the last five credit card swipes) to see where your priorities are. Hmm... do you spend more on cable than savings or your nails than groceries. A budget gives a snapshot that doesn't lie about what's going on with our wallets.
  4. Budgets can provide a source of restraint. Okay, so if I'm honest I think one of the reasons that I did not want a budget was because I liked to shop- a lot! It was fun, a way to unwind, spend time with the girls, yeah, yeah, yeah. My favorite was even shopping for great deals, it's just that I would find a great deal and go a little crazy. I still remember the look of horror on my husband's face when I explained to him that all of the women in my family got up at 5 am the day after Christmas for 50-75% holiday items. He was even more shocked when I returned with nearly 20 shopping bags and $300 worth of purchases in Christmas designs. Needless to say, my favorite holiday pasttime is now a part of the family spending plan in the month of December!

The reality was that I never had to exercise restraint in my shopping. My excuse was that I was saving a bundle. But, the problem was that I had no target amount to spend & drove my poor hubby crazy.


There are a million more reasons why my family uses a budget. Over the next few weeks we'll be discussing how you should go about creating one for yourself that fits both your dreams and your personal family situation. Each of the parts will also include a list of homework tasks. Be sure to complete them all in order and in the entirety.

Your First Assignment

Here's your first bit of homework. Create a dream list by jotting down your top 10 aspirations of things not in your life that you are actively considering. If your married ask you spouse to join you also. You might have lofty goals and that's okay. Let's begin your list of 10 dreams of things that you are actually considering. This might include retiring early, sending your kids to college, private school, starting a new business, taking an international trip next year, etc. These things will be incorporated in the budget that you will soon create so be creative but selective.

Next time we meet on this topic, we'll be talking about what you actually spend now. This is best done at the beginning of the month so you have the rest of the month to consider 10 dreams. Dream on!

Budgeting 101- Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Money Saving Opportunity: Live Auctions

Ever been to one of these?

Don't be nervous about those fast-talking events you think only take place in the movies. With a little practice, you'll even figure out exactly what's taking place. Wouldn't you know that I'm a bit of a live auction junkie? Live auctions have been a serious sort of family entertainment around our home. It's always something exciting to do & a great source of pretty amazing deals. In fact, we have purchased many items at live auctions such as televisions, clothing, tools, dishware, furniture, a few of our vehicles and even houses!

The key to auction-going is being patient for a great deal. As a warning (similar to those of you who frequent yard sales), you tend to want to buy what you don't need just because you find a great price but resist I say resist. Here are a few tips for the first-timer:

  1. Determine what kind of items you are interested in. There are storage auctions, surplus auctions, government auctions, private auctions, etc.

  • Storage auctions are often held at storage facilities after a tenant fails to pay. Some auctioneers sell an entire storage unit, while others sell items one at a time. Often the auctioneer opens the storage door and the bidding begins. You are not allowed to open any boxes or rummage through the items so it's a bit of a treasure hunt. After you bid, you typically have a day or two to empty the unit out. Be sure to bring your own lock since the items are yours right after you win.

  • Surplus auctions are typically held by government agencies like city offices and universities. When technology, government vehicles, or other items are being upgraded, the old stuff is auctioned off to the public.

  • Private auctions are the most common. Private auctioneers may be hired to sell a personal estate, bulk items from department stores, etc.

2. Check the details of the auction

  • A reserve price means that there is a minimum $ amount that the items must bring in while an absolute auction means the items will be sold no matter what the price.

  • A buyers premium (typically 10% or higher) is often added to the purchase price. This covers the costs associated with the execution of the auction like advertising and staffing. For example, if you purchase something for $10 and there is a buyer's premium of 10%, you will pay $11 for the item. Keep this is mind, especially for larger purchases.

3. Research the auctions near you.

You can find local auctions in the classified section of your newspaper (often in the weekend editions). Many local auctions are also advertised on Type in your zip code to see what's nearby, but check back frequently since this changes often.

4. Be adventurous & find a great deal!

Don't be alarmed if you go to an auction and don't like it. As with everything else, every auction is unique and some are much better than others. Some auctioneers have a great personality, others are dry; some auctions seem to run smoothly, others poorly organized; some have many attendees, some fewer. Be adventurous and flexible & you'll be sure to snag a great deal.

If you've had great success at live auctions or have a comment after you try one, we'd love to hear about it...

Here's what I'm stirring up- Deals for 6/22/08- 6/28/08

Here are the deals I am stirring up this week in NC:

Harris Teeter

My Harris Teeter (Wilson, NC only) is running triple coupons through Tuesday of this week. Rumor has it that we might see triples next week also or very soon... oh, the anticipation. At any rate, I'm planning on scooping up some:

  • Surf detergent- on sale for $2.97- .50/1 coupons= 1.47 (6/8 RP)

  • Natures own bagels- BOGO @ $1.70- .55/1 coupon= .05 (5/11 SS)

  • Lysol wipes- on sale for 2/$4- .75/1 coupons= free + .25 overage (not sure what insert this is from)

  • Lysol bathroom cleaner- on sale for 2/$4- .50/1 coupons= .50 (5/4 SS)

  • Lysol kitchen cleaner- on sale BOGO for $1.50- .50/1 coupons= free (5/4 SS)


The deals at CVS look decent this week. There are some good deals on batteries, toothpaste, snacks, and haircare:

  • Colgate toothpaste- on sale for $2.99-$2 bucks- $1.50/1 coupons= free plus overage (5/11 SS)

  • Aussie shampoo, conditioner, stylers- on sale for $2.99-$2 bucks- $1.50/1 coupons= free plus overage (not sure where I got this from)

  • Duracell batteries- buy $20, get $10 bucks- .50-2.00/1 coupons= price varies depending on coupons/ battery selection (5/18 SS)

  • SoyJoy bars- on sale for $4/$4-$4 bucks- B1G1/ B2B1 coupons= free plus overage (5/11 SS, 4/6 SS, January All You Magazine)

You can find a full list of the weekly deals, including some monthly savings at Money Saving Mom.

My Incredible Grocery Store Savings! 6/21/08

I swore I would never be one of those people, the ones that post pictures of their weekly savings online. Well, man have I ever had an epiphany. There is just something that rises in you when you save so much money that you want to tell it to the world. Sometimes you just have to see something to believe it! So...... I got all this:

for only $2.70- yes, that's right $2.70!!!
I got:
2 Dole fruit parfaits - on sale for $2, used $.75/1 coupon= .25 overage for each
2 packages Hebrew National franks - on sale BOGO, used $.75/1 coupon= .49 each
2 Gatorades- on sale for $1, used $.50/1 coupon= .50 overage for each
3 bags Teaxas Toast crutons- $1.50, used $.50/1 coupon= free
1 sour cream - on sale for 3/$5, used $.50/1 coupon= .17
3 Lysol cleaners - on sale BOGO, used $.75/1 coupon= .75 overage for each
3 Mrs Dash seasonings- on sale $2.59, used $.75/1 coupon= .34
1 whole wheat spaghetti noodles- $1.50, used $.55/1 coupon= free
1 Deli Creations- on sale BOGO, used $1/1 coupon= .74
1 Gill Mates seasoning- on sale $.99, used $.25/1 coupon= .24
And all this was only one day's worth of shopping. My Harris Teeter store is running a triple coupon special all week long. Someone pinch me, on second thought, don't. It's too good to be true!

Deal Alert: Harris Teeter Triple Coupon Sale- Now!

If you live in Eastern NC, you might want to check out the triple coupon week happening now at Harris Teeter in Wilson, NC. Reportedly, this sale will be going on through Tuesday, June 24th. We’ll be talking more about how you can save money at the grocery store in future posts.

Intro: Off We Go!

I’m just absolutely thrilled to get this blog started. For the last few weeks I have greatly anticipated meeting here with you. I am an avid deal seeker, money-maker, and self proclaimed financial diva. I am both a new mom and a graduate student. In my spare time (yeah right! Did you catch the part about me being a new mom?) my husband & I have a successful real estate investment business and do financial counseling. So what makes me a financial diva? I LOVE using money to the best of my abilities and not to toot my own horn or anything but I’m getting pretty good at it. During our time together we’ll talk all things money: saving, investing, making money and how to pass on what you discover to future generations. It’s a sort of women’s network of savvy financial principles. Won’t you join me on becoming a financial diva?