10 Things

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Just 10 Things


By Corrie Jennings-Hembree

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10 Things "In Season" Right Now

Posted on May 23, 2013 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (0)


1. Condiments: Mustard, Mayo, Ketchup, Pickle Relish, Salad Dressings, Marinades and BBQ Sauce
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2. Charcoal, Grilling Tools, Grills.
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3. Paper Plates, Plastic Forks, Spoons & Knives.
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4. Tanning Oils, Sunscreens, Sunless Self Tanners, After Sun Care, Moisterizing Lotions.
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5. Allergy Medications & Anti-Itch Creams.
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6. Bug Sprays & Mosquito Repellents
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7. Drinks: Soda, Sports Drinks, Teas, Punch
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8. Hot Dogs, Brats, Hamburger & other Grilling Meats
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9. Ice Cream & Ice Cream Novelties
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10. Bandages and First Aid Supplies

Just 10 Great Deals for my Ebay Customers!

Posted on May 21, 2013 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)


1) Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spreads: If you received the $0.50/1 Philadelphia Jalapeno Cheese Spread or ANY cream cheese spread. These are $1.98 at Kroger. If you shop at a Kroger that still allows doubling (Lucky Devils!!), Your Total OOP is $0.98 for 52% savings! Without doubling, your Total OOP is $1.48 for $27% savings. Since the coupon says "ANY spread" I opt for the strawberry cream cheese. This stuff is good on toast, bagels, waffles, crackers...
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2) Hawaiian Punch Aloha Morning: If you received the $1/1 Hawaiian Punch Aloha Morning, you can get these for $1.92 at both Kroger and Wal-Mart in the Houston area. Use this coupon and your Total OOP: is just $0.92 for a big ole gallon of Hawaiian Punch! That's at a 58% savings!
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3) Delimex Tacquitos: Use the $1/1 coupon to pick these up at Kroger where they are on sale for $4.99 a box. Your OOP is $3.99. These taquitos can run upwards of $6.99 depending on where you shop. It's not the biggest percentage of savings but it's about as cheap as you can get for Delimex Tacquitos. Look for low sales prices at independent or smaller grocers that you would never probably shop at and then price match at Wal-Mart. I have gotten them at one small store for $2.99 a couple of years ago. But finding those type of regional sales takes time to look up sales pages in your area.
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4)  Eggos: If you received the $0.75/2 Eggos coupon, look for closeout prices on some flavors at Kroger. I found closeout prices for the Granola Chocolate Chip Eggos. (I didnt even know they made that flavor.) Normally, I can get Kroger store brand frozen waffles for $1.68 (minus my sr discount of $0.17 for an OOP of $1.51 per box so I rarely buy Eggos unless I can get them below $1.51 a box. The Granola Chocolate Chip Eggos are selling for $1.25 a box on closeout and with the $0/75/2 coupon this makes the total OOP: $1.75. That's merely $0.88 per box!!! Stock up your freezer on these. You dont taste the granola. But hey, I like frozen waffles, with butter, or cream cheese, or peanut butter, or jelly or syrup or powdered sugar or blueberries or... I like waffles!
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5) Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Pasta: Use your $1/2 coupon to pick up the Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Spaghetti on sale at Wal-Mart for $1 each. This makes them just $0.50 each wyb 2 with this coupon for a 50% savings. I love when Pasta is "In Season!"
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6) Country Time Lemonade: Lemonade drinks are also in season now. Use your $1/2 coupon to pick up the Country Time Lemonade on sale just about everywhere for $1 each. This makes them just $0.50 each wyb 2 with this coupon for a 50% savings. This are 10 for $10 at my Kroger store as I type!
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7) Hormel Compleats: Use your $1/1 coupon at Wal-Mart where the Hormel Compleats sell for $2.18 each. This brings the price down to just $1.18 each. Watch for these on manager special at Kroger. I found them priced for just $1.49 last week at my Kroger in the Houston area. With my coupon, I paid just $0.49 each!
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8) Spam Dinners: Wal-Mart in the Houston area is currently selling the Spam microwaveable dinners for $2.18 each. Use your $1/1 coupon to bring the price down to just $1.18 each. Not quite 50% savings but close.
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9) Spam Singles: These are selling for $1.19 at Kroger in the Houston area. Use your $1/2 coupon to drop the price by $0.50 per pkg to just $0.69 each wyb 2.
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10) Pringles: Watch the sales on these as some time during the life of your coupons these will drop to a $1 a can at Kroger as well as a host of other stores. Use your $1/4 coupon when the sales price drops to get these for just $0.75 per can wyb 4.

How CoverGirl and Polygrip Paid for my Groceries!

Posted on May 10, 2013 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)


1. Finding a high value coupon that will allow a free item is a great find for any couponer. Finding a high value coupon that nets you not only a free item but overage as well is even better!
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2. An overage occurs when the value of the coupon is more than the price on the shelf for an item. While most stores will not give you money back, they will allow you to deduct the amount of overage from the cost of the rest of the items in your basket.
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3. During the week or so, I have been able to stock up on much needed items in my kitchen, thanks to finding some very good high value coupons that allowed me overage.
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4. I was able to get a number of protein (meat) items thanks to a $2.50/1 Polygrip coupon. Polygrip sells for $1.74 at my local HEB Pantry Foods Store. This coupon allowed me $0.76 overage on every Polygrip I purchased. (A similar overage was available at Wal-Mart but my Wal-Mart was out of Poligrip!)
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5. Since HEB does not limit "like" coupons, I didn't have to worry about coupon limits but just if the store had enough product to accommodate me. At the first HEB I visited, I purchased 16 pkgs of Poligrip, giving me $12.16 of overage.  At a second HEB, I purchased another 12 pkgs, giving me an additional $9.12 in overage. Because HEB has really low meat prices, I tend to use any overage I can get here on meat. With my overage at both stores, I was able to get 3 pkgs of skinless boneless chicken breasts, 2 pkgs of center cut thick pork chops with 4 in each pkg, 2 pkgs of bbq ready thigh/leg combos with enough meat for two meals in each pkg, and a package of General Tso frozen chicken. This amounts to 12 or more meals at my household that basically free. I think I paid a total of less than $0.05 at each store for all the meat and the polygrip which my dad will use!
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6. Meanwhile at Kroger which does limit coupons to 4 "like" coupons, I have been able to stock up on some great sale items thanks to combining a high value make-up coupon with a special promotion and other coupons. However, I have had to make multiple trips and multiple transactions to pull off this feat.
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7. CoverGirl eye shadow sells for $2.24 at my Kroger store. Currently Kroger has a special P&G promoion whereas you buy any 4 participating items and get an additional $4 off your bill at the register. CoverGirl is a P&G company but rarely do they advertise in the Kroger sales papers that they are a part of this promotion. After a while of couponing, you start to watch promotions like these so you can find these great deals. If I buy 4 CoverGirl eye shadow's the price goes down to $1.24 each. Add in a coupon for $2/1 that was in the P&G insert this month and now I have an overage of $0.76 per eye shadow or a total overage of $3.04 for each 4 that I buy.
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8. I have been able to stock up on Totino's frozen pizza by combining my overage from the CoverGirl into Catalina promotion that has been running for Totino's whereas you buy 4 pizzas and get a $2 Catalina coupon back at the register. Totino's Pizza is currently $1.25 each right now. So I bought 4 which brought my OOP to $5. However, I got a coupon back for $2 off my next purchase. So the next time I go, the P&G promotion is also running so I buy 4 more Totino's plus 4 CoverGirl eye shadow and a small bottle of Frank's Red Hot Sauce on sale for $0.50 each. I use a printable $0.30/1 coupon on the Frank's (found at the French's Mustard site) to make it just $0.20 for the bottle. I use 4 $2/1 CG coupons to gain my $3.04 overage. I use the $2 Catalina coupon I receive previously. My OOP is now $0.14 and I brought home 4 small pizzas, 4 eye shadows and a bottle of hot sauce plus I received yet another Catalina coupon for $2 off my next purchase. With a deal that good, I had to do it again! Another $0.14 OOP and another 4 pizzas, 4 eye shadows and a bottle of hot sauce!
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9. Since Kroger has a number of items on 10 for $10 right now, I have been able to combine this overage from the CG eye shadow to get a number of items for free especially when I use other coupons to lower their prices down by 50%. With Bumble Bee Tuna just $1 (and peelies for $0.55/2), Ronzoni Pasta for $1 ea plus coupons for $1/2 making them just $0.50 each, Brauny Paper Towels for $1 each and coupons for $1/2 making them $0.50 each, I have been able to stock up on a number of items from paper towels and toilet paper to tuna and pasta all while using my overage of $3.04 each time I buy 4 CG eye shadows. I just try to keep my transaction after the eye shadow as close to that $3.04 as possible. Sometimes I buy some spices in the bulk section for just pennies to make sure I am not under the overage. I have also done combinations to get free instant mashed potatoes and various candy bars since many of them are on sale where you buy 2 and get 1 free and there have been $0.60/3 coupons for these same candy bars.
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10.  I also have been able to use my senior discount as well. Last night I was able to get 2 free half gallons of milk: chocolate and white! My Kroger gives seniors who sign up their cards for the sr discount 10% off its storebrand products. Since Kroger owns its own dairies, it offers storebrand milk. The Chocolate Milk cost me $1.99 but the 1% White was on manager's clearance for $1.19. My sr discount on the chocolate was $0.20 off the price making it now $1.79 and my discount on the white was $0.12, making the price now $1.02. Since this was still below my $3.04 overage, I purchased a pkg of storebrand lunchmeat for $0.58. My sr discount made the lunchmeat $0.52. My final OOP with the 4 eye shadow's was just $0.29! I also figured that I could get four 2L bottles of storebrand soda with 4 CG eyeshadows and have a zero balance for 100% savings!
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By using my overage on the eyeshadow, I have been able to bring home over 25 bottles of storebrand soda, 14 pkgs of tuna, 6 pkgs of instant mashed potatoes, 12 candy bars, 8 four roll pkgs of toilet paper, 2 bottles of hot sauce, 6 rolls of paper towels, 2 half gallons of milk, 1 pkg of grated cheese, a pkg of Fresh Take coating mix, 6 pkgs of pasta, 1 pkg kitchen trash bags, 2 bottles of garlic salt, 1 bottle of parmesan cheese, 3 gallons of Hawaiian Punch and about 20 pkgs of 2 oz lunchmeat. And the promotion continues for another week! I am blessed I live extremely close to Kroger so I can make multiple trips and transactions. Add this to the meat I was able to get at HEB and it's been an extremely successful week. My total OOP for all my deals so far has been less than $5.


You may be wondering what on earth I am going to do with all this eye shadows. Some of it, I will indeed use but not like the pic above I assure you. Much of it will be used in baskets for Christmas. We have a bunch of teenaged girls in our family so they LOVE make up. The rest will be donated to the local food pantry which will share it with people in my community who cannot afford to buy make up.

Just 10 Things About Me - The Foodie Collection

Posted on May 9, 2013 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)


1. I am a bit of a closet foodie. I like all those chef competition shows from Top Chef to Chopped to Worst Cooks in America.
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2. I can't help to giggle watching the original Iron Chef shows from Japan. The bad dub job into English reminds of watching those old Godzilla movies on tv when I was a kid. They even use the sound effects like you'd hear on the power rangers!
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3. I wouldn't want to judge any of those shows however especially Iron Chef. The one where someone made squid ice cream which was this horrid gray color really made me squeamish.
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4. I wish more recipes were featured on the shows when the big star celebrity chefs have to use such items as canned green beans, frosted flakes and a jar of peanut butter. I actually have on hand canned green beans, frosted flakes and peanut butter! I don't have and have never been able to afford proscuito.
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5. My celebrity chef crush would have to be Michael Symon. The dude is like a rock star when it comes to celebrity chefs. I love his laugh and we both share a common bond... a certain fondness for...


BACON!

Symon even has a tattoo that says, "Got Pork?" What's not to love?
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6. My cooking style more resembles Paula Deen. Homestyle cooking all the way! Mmmmmmm, real butter! I wish I cooked more like Elizabeth Faukner. Talk about a serious threat in the kitchen. She can do it all! How she missed being an Iron Chef, I just don't understand!
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7. I can't understand why the contestants on Hell's Kitchen never know how to cook risotto, beef wellington or scallops. Have they not watched this show before they applied? Every season chefs on that show must be able to cook those items and yet, there are always a handful that can never make those dishes!
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8. The next time I am in Los Angeles, I want to go to The Foundry and get Chef Greenspan's Grilled Cheese Sandwich, if I can afford it. It is supposedly the best grilled cheese sandwich ever and it's on raisin bread!
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9. At Christmas time, I love to bake for my family, friends and neighbors. I turn into some sort of weird, whacked out hippie chic version of Betty Crocker just after Thanksgiving. I make so many goodies that by January 1, I don't want to see any more fudge until November!
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10. One of my favorite ingrediants is Sriracha Sauce! (Also known by many as "Rooster Sauce.") My son and I discovered this spicy Asian sauce while trying to figure out the recipe for Applebees' Dynamite Shrimp Sauce! The secret ingrediant was Sriracha Sauce!

10 Good Deals for my Ebay Coupon Customers

Posted on April 27, 2013 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

If you have recently received coupons from my clipping services on ebay, then you may have received one or more of the following coupons which makes for the following good deals:
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1. Cheap Cup of Noodles: $1/4 Nissan Big Cup Noodles - If you have the $1/4 Nissan Big Cup Noodles coupons, look for sales at regional stores that offer these three for a $1. The trick on this deal is to buy 12 and use three $1/4 coupons. This will bring your cost down to about $0.08 each! Basically your total OOP will be just under a buck for all 12 Big Cup Noodles. If you get real lucky, Wal-Mart occassionally places these on roll back for $0.25 each which, with this coupon, would make all four cups totally FREE!
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2. Cheap Lunchmeat: $1/5 Buddig 2 oz Lunchmeat - If you have the $1/5 Bundig 2 oz Lunchmeat coupon, go to Wal-Mart! These are running $0.58 each in the Houston area but have been known to go down as low as $0.48 on rollback. These means you can take these home for between $0.28-$0.38 each wyb 5. These freeze really well!
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3. Free Frosting Flavor Packets: Free Duncan Hines Flavor Creations - If you received the Free Duncan Hines Flavor Creations, you don't have to buy the plain Duncan Hines frosting ($2.50 each) to use these. Instead, get the free packet at any store and add it to plain homemade frosting. In fact, you can make a simple frosting glaze with just powdered sugar but you can find many more plain frosting ideas online. Then just add the Flavor Creation packet to it.  Or you can also use the store brand plain vanilla frosting and add the Flavor Creation packet. The Kroger store brand is $1.50-$1.79.
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4. Free or Cheap Pantiliners: $0.50/1 Carefree Pantiliners -  If you received the $0.50/1 Carefree Pantiliners, take this to a store with doubling and look for a small package of these that will run about $1. Wal-Mart carries the small packages here for $0.97 so even if you don't have doubling, you can get a small package for just $0.47 each. If your store has doubling, look to get Carefree pantiliners for free.
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5. Cheap Rice Mix: $0.50/2 Zatarain's Rice Mixes - Look for these to go on sale for a buck each when store's like Kroger have 10 for $10 sales. If you have doubling that will make this coupon worth $1/2, it will be like getting a free box of rice mix or $0.50 each wyb 2.
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6. Cheap Aloha Punch: $1/1 Hawaiian Punch Aloha Morning - Kroger in the Houston area is selling the Hawaiian Punch Aloha Morning Drink in the 1 gallon jugs for $1.89. This coupon will make that just $0.89 for a gallon of namebrand punch drink! Three different flavors to choose from!
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7. Cheap Hashbrowns: $0.50/1 Hungry Jack Hashbrowns - These sell for around $1.25 at Wal-Mart in the Houston area and are currently on sale at Kroger here for $1.50 each (usually $1.69). These dehydrated hash browns have a long shelf life and are great for stockpiles and preppers! If you have doubling, you could get these for as low as $0.50 each. Or watch for them to go on Manager's Special at Kroger for between $0.59-0.79 each before the coupon for some REALLY cheap hashbrowns! Just add water! Even without doubling here, I have been able to get these for as low as $0.09 per box which is great considering these make about one pound of hashbrowns. These come in plain and cheesy. Look for them on the top shelf where other boxed potatoes are sold.
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8. Cheap Lemonade: $1/2 Country Time Lemonade Mix - Watch for cannisters of Country Time Lemonade to go on sale for $1 each during warmer weather months. With this coupon, you can rack up 50% savings by getting two cannisters for a total OOP of just $1 ($0.50 each wyb 2).
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9. Cheap Burritos & Chimichangas: $1/1 El Monterey Products ($2.99 or more) - El Monterey has gotten wise and has now placed a minimum purchase value on their coupons. However, just because the free burritos have gone away doesn't mean you can get some cheap frozen ones in the 8 Burrito multipacks. These sell for $2.99 just about everywhere including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Randall's (Safeway affiliate) and HEB here in the Houston area. This coupon will make them just $1.99 for about 33% savings. On frozen foods, 33% savings is about as good as it gets without a mega sale or some sort of Catalina deal.
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10. Cheap Canned Pasta: $0.50/4 Chef Boyardee Canned Pasta - Chef Boyardee canned and microwave pasta never seem to go on sale. They just stay around $0.86 per can here in the Houston area but may be $1 at stores with doubling. However, if you have the $0.50/4 Chef Boyardee coupon and your store doubles then you can basically get a free can. Based on the $0.86 price, your total OOP will be $2.44 wyb 4 and use this coupon. This makes them about $0.61 per can. Keep in mind, Chef Boyardee coupons are rare and often only released regionally or for a particular store so these coupons may be the only break you will find for this product.

10 Things to Know About the P&G Monthly Insert

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)


1. Proctor & Gamble (PG) releases an insert practically every month in Sunday newspapers nationwide either before the first or on the first of each month.
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2. The number of coupons varies from month to month but when the insert is light then PG will release more coupons within SS and RP inserts later in the month.
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3. PG household products include Tide, Bounce, Downey, Gain, ERA, Charmin, Bounty, Duracell, Puffs, Swiffer, Cascade, Dawn & Febreeze.
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4. PG personal product brands include Gillette, Venus, CoverGirl, Old Spice, Secret, Always, Secret, Pampers, Luvs, Oral B, Crest, Olay, Herbal Essences and more.
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5. PG health items include brands such as Prilosec & Vicks
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6. PG pet items include Iams dog and cat foods and treats.
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7. PG coupons released in its monthly insert are good for one month only. PG Coupons released in other inserts are often good for a longer period of time but usually always expire on the last day of a given month.
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8. Watch for PG inserts released on the last weekend before the first of the month. Often if one month has a BOGO type coupon, the next month may have a dollar or cents off coupon for that product. If the calender allows, you could use both coupons together if the new insert for the coming month is released before the current month is finished. The dollar or cents off coupon is used to save on the first item and the BOGO coupon to get a second item free. Most stores allow this but some checkers do see this as double dipping, so to speak. However, it is perfectly legal since the dollar or cents off coupon only goes to the first item and the BOGO to the second. I do, however, usually give the dollar or cents off coupon to the cashier first.
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9. PG does not allow more than 4 like coupons per transaction! This is stated in the fine print on each coupon!
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10. Watch for high value CoverGirl coupons. If you can combine CoverGirl coupons with a mega sale where products are discounted by a $1, you could end up with some cheap and/or free items like eye shadow and blush! (Look for deals like this especially in the fall)

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Another favorite of mine has been the $1/1 Febreeze coupons which can be paired with mega sales to allow deep discounts on Febreeze products.

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I also have been stocking up on free Bounce Dryer Sheets thanks to the PG $3/3 Laundry Care coupons the last couple of months. Target has been releasing a similar $3/3 stackable store coupon around mid month that I can pair with the PG $3/3 coupon. Target sells Bounce in the Houston area for $1.97 for the 34 sheet box. You will get $0.03 overage per box that can go toward the rest of your items or a candy bar. I have been able to walk out with 12 boxes of Bounce for free plus $0.36 overage off of a clearance priced candy bar ($0.67) with a total OOP of $0.31 by using 4 PG coupons stacked with 4 Target store coupons.

10 Ways to Save on Fruits & Veggies

Posted on April 19, 2013 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (0)

1. Buy in season! It's always cheaper to buy in season so find out what items are in season for your area here
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2. Can & Freeze items for later use. Take advantage of lower prices by stocking up and freeze and/or can items for later use. There are many recipes that use frozen bananas, strawberries, blueberries and more! Try your hand at canning. Making pickles is fairly easy. Ball canning supplies even offers coupons for jars, pectin and other canning products usually during summer months.
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3. Weigh It Out! Have you noticed that in many supermarkets, it's becoming harder to find a scale? Most of us will still take the time to weight items that are $X per pound. However, when it comes to those bags of potatoes, citris and apples, we just plop a bag in our cart since they are all priced the same. However, this is the very time we should weigh our produce.

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The weight amount on the bag is how much the bag is supposed to weigh by the time you, the consumer, buy it. In order for it to be that weight after it travels from Point A to Point B at your store, the producer often puts extra items in the bag to make up for any loss in bag weight from dehydration, settling, transit, et al. So in order to get the heaviest bag with the least amount of dehydration during transit, weigh the bag and then you can get the most for your money.

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This is also true of lettuce that is sold for a standardized price per head. Lettuce is mostly water so get the heavier head for your money since you are not paying by the pound. Consider apples that sell X for $1. Weigh it out and get the biggest and heaviest ones!
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4. Seek out coupons! Believe it or not, there are some produce coupons out there but these are rare gems to have indeed! Your best coupons & deals for produce are probably going to be regional for the most part. Your very own supermarket may be the best place to find these.

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Kroger offers coupons to it's long time loyality card customers for peeled mini carrots, potatoes and bagged salads. Sometimes at Kroger's you can find good manager's specials as well on bagged salads that are nearing the sale by date. Watch for those red clearance bans on ripe bananas, perfect for immediate use not to mention banana bread or freezing! Combine your coupon with the manager special to get salad as cheap as the dirt it came from! HEB has been known to have it's yellow tag coupons occassionaly in the produce section.

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Dole & Fresh Express offer occassional coupons for bagged salads in paper and printable form usually around this time of year. You can also get coupons for Driscoll's berries (Yum, Strawberries!) by becoming a member of their customer panel. You fill out a survey using the bar code on the bottom of your purchase of berries and then they send you a link to a printable coupon for their berries. Rinse, Repeat and do it each time you buy their strawberries, blueberries, rasberries, blackberries and even snozzberries I would imagine!
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5. Buy Local! Skip the transportation costs by buying local and supporting local farmers. Look for good deals on local peppers instead of paying for the transportation fees from somewhere like Chile. Look for area farmer's markets. You might even be able to negotiate a price! There is a place not far from me that is a pick-your-own orchard that is great for families. You can spend the day out there picking strawberries (from raised rows so you don't kill your back) and all sorts of other fruit and pay by the pound of what you pick. I used to take my son out there when he was little. Thank heavens they didn't weigh him before and after. I know he ate way more than he picked! We would make a day of it and picnic out there. It was great. Perhaps your area has some sort of place like that!
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6. Grow your own! You can go with seeds or starter plants for everything from tomatoes to mint. Many grocery stores have these right now. Even if space is tight in your backyard or you don't even have a backyard, you can always do a small container or herb garden. Usually at least once during the spring, Walgreens even has a store coupon in their weekly ad for potting soil. If you go to a home improvement type store like Home Depot or Lowe's, make sure to check their website and ads beforehand for any promotions that could save you money on your purchases. Watch for Miracle Grow coupons as well. If your green thumb isn't so green consider joining a community garden. Gardening with others is a great way to learn as you go!
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7. Barter with local gardeners! You can also barter with others who grow their own fruits & veggies. Trade canning or pickling services. Share that free salad dressing you used your coupons to get! The possibilities are as endless as your talents!
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8. Forage for wild produce. Some of the those spring mix bagged salads look like they were taken from a country field!. A lot of wild plants are perfectly edible. Dandelions have been showing up in fancy salads for years. Now before you go out picking whatever you find on the side of the road, (I'd stay away from the mushrooms personally), you really need to know what you are picking because there are indeed poisonous plants out there. I found this incredible book project called Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi and Wendy Hollender. Now I had seen and heard of people doing this before but I really hadn't ventured too far into learning more about it until now. This book not only identifies wild edible plants with instructive botanical illustrations but shows you how to harvest and cook them into delicious food. At least it looks good to me and I am not a big veggie fan. (I'm a big time carnivore!) This is so much more than merely pouring some salad dressing on some wild lettuce looking stuff. Check out a preview:

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9. Shop for produce at the dollar store! I was shocked to learn that some dollar stores actually carry produce. A friend of our family shops the dollar stores all the time and one that he goes to a lot carries a bunch of fresh produce. He brought me a large container bigger than a shoebox of organic triple washed spinach that he got for just $0.99! That same sized container of organic spinach costs around $6 at Kroger!
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10. Stockpile canned & frozen goods during cooler weather. You can also get coupons for items like Dole jar and canned fruit, Libby's jar and canned vegetables to name a few. Use your coupons to stockpile when the prices are lowest to make the most out of your budget. The $1/4 Libby's canned vegetable coupons is one of my family's favorites. With finicky veggie eaters and a love for green bean casserole and trailor trash corn dip, can anyone ever have too many cans of green beans and corn on hand? I usually watch the prices at Dollar General and Foodtown once a coupon comes out. Usually I can price match it at Wal-Mart down to as low as $0.45 per can before coupon and then taking them out of the store for as low as $0.20 per can. (There are 12 cans per case by the way!) Much cheaper than paying $0.80-$1 per can! Del Monte and Green Giant have also released coupons in the past year so look for more as competition for your dollar heats up.

10 Tips to Help You Get to Know Your Favorite Store & Save More Money

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (2)


1. Get a copy of your store's coupon policy and carry it with you when you shop. Not all coupon policies are the same. Some store do not allow internet printable coupons. Some store do not allow any coupon with a value that is more than 75% of the product's price. Hence, no free items! Some stores allow overage to go toward the price of other items in your basket. Some stores such as Wal-Mart will give cash back if your coupon has a higher value than the product price whereas other stores may mark your coupon down to be under the price of the item. Find out if your store allows two coupons on BOGO items. Some stores only allow one coupon to be used on the item you are paying for but not on the item you are getting for free. Some stores will allow only one coupon but the coupon can be one of those $1/2 coupons. Find out if your store limits "like" coupons. This is a biggie. You do not want to have to put back 50 boxes of pasta because your store only allows 4 or 5 "like" coupons. Find out if digital coupons work on manager specials or clearance items. At Kroger, you cannot use a digital coupon or e-coupon on these items but you can use a paper coupon!
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2. Find out if your store requires you to buy all 10 or all 5 items on 10 for $10 and 5 for $5 sales. This can make a big difference especially with limits of "like" coupons. Many stores allow you to just buy 1 or 2 of an item and still get the $1 price. However, some stores will bump up the price big time if you try to buy just 1 of an item. Walgreens often has 2 for $X sales but you must buy 2 or else the price for a single item rises significantly. Kroger on the other hand allows its loyalty card customers to just buy 1 and still get the price break.
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3. If your store has a loyalty card, use it!! Take advantage of all your store has to offer through its loyalty programs. More and more stores are tracking it's customer's purchases through loyalty cards. At first when I heard this I started thinking oh Big Brother is here to stay. However, Kroger often sends out coupons to it's loyal customers often based on their shopping habits. Their mailings are often based on how much you spend with them over a specific period of time. Some stores even offer birthday clubs for those with young children & babies in which they give discounts on everything from diapers to birthday cakes. Other stores have great fuel discount programs in which you can get cheaper gas just by shopping at their store. Ask if they have senior discounts if you are 55 or older. Kroger stores differ by region but my Kroger allows for 10% off store brand products. This is simply loaded onto my loyalty card and comes off automatically at the register. Also ask for military discounts if they apply. It never hurts to ask!
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4. Get to know the history of your store! Find out if your store is a new store or newly remodeled one. You may wonder why this is important. I found out that because my store was remodeled to add a new organic section, bulk foods/spices section, sushi bar etc, the store lost a lot of its room in the back. In fact, other than milk, soft drinks & beer, my favorite store has absolutely no room to store items. So when an item go on Manager Special, it is often not because it is expired or about to expire, it is because the store simply has no room for the extra stock. Knowing this has become great for my savings. Now I know that if my store has a big milk and cereal/cereal bar promotion with a special display and doesn't sell as much as they expected, those cereal bars have no room to go back on the shelf and will instead end up on the clearance shelf with up to a 75% markdown after the sale is over!
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5. Use a list! While you might find a really good deal on the clearance rack that you can combine with coupons at the last minute, if you use a list, you are less likely to buy items you haven't planned for at top prices.
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6. Don't fall for the tricks and charms of your store! Grocery corporations hire psychologists and consultants to find ways to keep you in the store longer so you will buy more. This is why the milk is in the very back! Free samples are great but did you know that 80% of people who try a sample will buy the product whether they need it or not. I love free samples but now that I know this a ploy to get me to spend more money, I will simply take the coupon and hold onto it when the price is lower if I really want the product. Also eat before your shop. There is a reason the bakery is cooking up fresh cookies and items with cinnamon in it. This stirs your appetite and you will want to buy more especially when you are already hungry when you go into a store. Don't buy items from the end cap displays. End cap displays are located at the end of each aisle. Often there is a cheaper alternative within the aisle such as a smaller cheaper sized product where you can use your coupon and get a better price per unit deal. Look beyond eye level. Your most expensive products will be at eye level with the next cheapest item to its immediate right. So look to the left and look high and low for better deals. And don't forget to compare the store brand. Just because you have a coupon doesn't mean you can find just as good of a product from the store brand line of products and it may even be cheaper without the coupon.
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7. Don't be shy to ask for a rain check! If a product that you want is no longer on the shelf, get a rain check!
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8. Get to know the checkers! If you shop at a store every week, you'll get to know which cashiers are coupon friendly. Share your tips with them. I even give some of my favorite checkers extra coupons so they can get deals themselves. This has paid off for me big time because now the checkers like me and are more likely to manually key in a coupon if it doesn't scan. Plus they don't act like I am robbing the store, are more likely to let me do multiple transactions and actually root for me to save money! I now have some employees come to see what I am buying and ask me advice on deals that their own store! It's a great feeling!
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9. Ask questions! I found out from the guys stocking the milk that they mark down the milk and other dairy items every Tuesday and Thursday at my store starting around 11am. I know that meat is marked down daily but the lunchmeat section gets marked down last. And more meat is marked down on Sunday mornings after 9am than the rest of the week. I know that often the deli will mark down their fried chicken and sides as it gets closer to store closing in the evening. So on those night when I am rushing around late, instead of going by KFC, I drive to my favorite Kroger and get chicken & sides for a portion of the price!
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10. Locate where the clearance or manager special items are hidden. Often these are in back corners where the normal shopper would probably never look. Bakery clearance items are often between the produce at the milk at my Kroger. However, at my Wal-Mart, they are even farther away in the frozen foods and dairy items in the far back of the store. My Kroger has it's meat specials in a specific corner and the non-perishables clearance items are sorta back behind the prescription counter on the extreme left side of the store. Wal-Mart clearance items in my area are also all the way in the back between the baby items and frozen foods. HEB has their clearance items in the back left corner near the milk with other items on back end caps on the left near the trash bags and cleaning items. If you find something on clearance and you know you have a coupon at home, ask customer service to hold it for you until you can come back. Now if it's something that needs to be refrigerated, you need to get back fast but if you live close, you should be able to go retrieve your coupon and get an even better deal on that clearance item. The ladies and gentlemen at my Kroger's customer service are real gems. I try not to take advantage of this very often but sometimes I need to! They are always happy to oblige. I am blessed to live really close by!

10 Tips for Understanding Sales Seasons, Sales Cycles and Life of Product Cycles

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)


1. Sales Seasons are the time of year various products hit their lowest prices. Just like Strawberries come "in season" starting in April and into the remaining spring months, much manufactured food items also have sales seasons. Usually this is driven by predicted weather along with various calender events and holidays.
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2. Much of the thing with figuring out if a product has a specific sales season is common sense. You just have to put your mind to it.  For instance, your family loves hot dogs. Most people eat hot dogs for outdoor bbqs and picnics in warm weather months so you can figure that hot dogs will be on sale during those times. Picnics and bbqs often celebrate holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. So look for deeper discounts before those holidays. Look for them to go on manager special or clearance after the holiday. This happens if a store buys stocks too many of the item in anticipation of increased sales. Need office supplies, try stocking up during mid/late August and the first part of September when Back to School promotions are underway. Does your stockpile need more soups? Soups are cheaper in cold weather months. Stock up on Ritz Crackers around January 1st when people are preparing for New Year's Eve parties. Recognize what is going on within the calender and you can stock up on many products when the price is lowest.
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3. Some of my family's favorites that I often only buy once or twice a year but I buy a lot when the price is lowest: Lil Smokies (Dec), All Laundry Soap (May/June), Hot Dogs (Labor Day Weekend), Tuna (Summer), BBQ Sauce (Spring/Summer), Canned Tomato products (Winter), Canned Green Beans (Fall), Christmas Baking Supplies (Jan), Ritz Crackers (Dec/Jan), Campbell's Nacho Cheese Soup (Feb/March), Minute Maid Frozen Lemonade (Late Spring/Summer), Gourmet Cheeses (Jan). The only times I buy these items more than this is if I find a deal that blows my "Buy It Now" price (see below) out of the water or if I didn't stock enough to get through until the next sales season for the product.
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4. Watch for Seasonal Items to go on clearance, overstock or manager specials immediately after the holiday or season ends. This is true of Ready to Bake Cookies, Sunscreens, Air Freshners, Candy, Paper Towels & Napkins, Gourmet Cheese & BBQ Sauce, to name a few.
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5. Not all products have sales cycles. Some more commonly used products run on 6-8 week sales cycle. This means the price of a product will hit a high price and a low price sometime during the 6-8 week time period. Some products may have longer sales cycles up to 3 months.
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6. Some of the products that have low prices at regular intervals on a 6-8 week sales cycle include Hamburger Helper, Regular/Sour Cream Pringles, Sour Cream, Shampoo, Deodorant, Toothpaste, Body Wash, Iced Coffee Drinks, Baby Products.
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7. You can learn to chart these sales cycles for the foods & products you and your family like and buy regularly by simply taking a calender with you to your favorite grocery or drugs store. Write down the name of the product and the price on the day you visit. After a while, you will see a pattern emerge of when the price is at it's lowest.
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8. Establish a "Buy It Now" price instead of paying top dollar. Because I have charted items my family uses regularly, I know that I will never pay $1.50 for a box of Hamburger Helper! My "Buy It Now" price is $0.75 per box. I buy 3 at a time which is enough to get me to the next low ball price on the sales cycle for that product. So how did I get to that particular price. I charted the sales on Hamburger Helper at my store each week, keeping track of the price. After a while, I noticed that every six weeks, Kroger would have this one sale for $1 each. General Mills always puts out $0.75/3 coupons for this product. During the life of those coupons, the Hamburger Helper would go on sale for $1. So I buy 3 boxes at $1 each and use my coupon for $0.75/3 bringing my price down to $0.75 per box. I never buy it at a higher price now because I know when the sale is going to happen.
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9. Wal-Mart really doesn't have traditional sales cycles. Hamburger Helper is always $1.50 a box it seems. They do have occassional rollbacks but with the Wal-Mart storebrand helper for sale for $1 a box, it is unlikely for Wal-Mart to lower the price on a national brand to cost less than their own storebrand. However, you can price match the national brand to a lower price elsewhere and use your coupon to make it cheaper than the storebrand!
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10. The other time a product will go on sale has to do with the life cycle of the product itself from the introduction of the product to the closeout of a product. If the manufacturer introduces a new product, look for high value coupons to entice you to buy the product and combine with special promotions or introductory sales to get the lowest price possible. A manufacturer may offer coupons that go well with a closeout special which often doesn't mean the product is never going to be made again. Often this just means new packaging or new flavors or other product improvements are on the horizon so the store needs to get rid of all the older stock. Look for high value coupons and promotions when a product is re-introduced!


 

Just 10 Things Coming "In Season" as the Weather Starts to Warm!

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)


I know a lot of y'all are still stuck in snowdrifts and blizzard weather and even the Houston area was revisited by winter yesterday. It went from 81 degrees & muggy at noon to 57 degrees and drizzling at 2pm. However, spring has sprung for retailers. So here are Just 10 Things Coming "In Season" as the Weather Starts to Warm!
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1. Fruits & Veggies - To find out what's in season in your neck of the woods go here. Find a good deal on fruit, try freezing it so you can enjoy those low prices later in the year. I saw a wonderful gelato recipe using frozen sliced bananas. I have a great stuffed french toast recipe that uses frozen strawberries. If you have a garden, consider canning some of your produce. Canning supplies are usually on sale in August and Ball Jars offers coupons in the summer months. Some stores such as Kroger will offer money saving coupons on some produce for their loyal customers. I have received coupons for bagged salads, tomatoes, peeled mini carrots and potatoes. Also look for coupons where if you buy a manufactured product you get money off your produce. Driscoll's Berries has a customer panel you can join. Keep the bar codes from their berries, do a survey on them and then get a money saving coupon for your next purchase! Watch for coupons from Fresh Express and Dole bagged salads. Also watch for deals involving Avocados from Mexico! By the way, if you are a Wal-Mart shopper, don't forget to price match produce to good deals you find in other sales papers!
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2. Sunscreens & Tanning Lotions - Coupons are already being released by some companies. Also in season will be self tanners, bronzers and after sun products!
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3. Bug Spray - Watch for coupons from Off for both personal sprays and area relief such as citranella candles and foggers. Watch for coupons for Raid bug killers and foggers as well.
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4. Bandages - Watch for coupons from Nextel & BandAid brand adhensive bandages. Watch for markdowns at Wal-Mart and clearances at other stores to make the most out of upcoming coupons.
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5. Sports Drinks & Flavored Waters - As more people get outside and get active, you'll see more sports drinks and flavored waters advertised. Look for printable coupons to go with those Buy X bottles and Get X Free deals. Watch for tear pad coupons on sports drinks and flavored waters at convenience stores and then use them at your favorite grocery store!
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6. Mayonaisse & BBQ Sauce - Look for coupons to be released regularly from Kraft, Hellmann's and Duke as well as various BBQ Sauce manufacturers during spring and summer months when people hit the great outdoors for cook outs and picnics. You should be still finding great deals on other condiments like salad dressing, ketchup and mustard. Grilling salt coupons are also being released. Marinade coupons will also make the rounds as well this time of year.
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7. Ice Cream & Fruity Ice Products - One of my favorite coupons gets released in the Spring and Summer for Minute Maid frozen novelties. Use these for the frozen lemonades. These go on 10 for $10 sales at Kroger several times during the season. If you live in the south and specifically Texas, then you are probably a big fan of Blue Bell Ice Cream. Look for this to go on sale at smaller regional stores and Mom & Pops, then price match it to Wal-Mart. Make sure you sign up at the Blue Bell website where they have $1/1 coupons available to print. You can print 2 coupons per computer every month or so.
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8. Tuna - If Starkist continues its marketing strategy from past years, look for special printables through the Starkist Facebook Page each Friday during spring and summer months. Also look for printable coupons for Chicken of the Sea through the Recyclebank site. Watch for great deals on canned tuna at your local drug stores!
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9. Hot Dogs - Expect to see great deals and coupons for hot dogs right before each of the big holidays of summer including Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Look for great coupons from Ball Park, Oscar Mayer and Bar S as well as other brands. Personally, I stock up on hot dogs during summer months and then I don't have to buy more when the prices are higher in the cold weather months.
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10. Allergy Medications - Watch for high value coupons on allergy medications such as Zyrtec and Clariton but watch the expiration dates. Some of these coupons have very short lives.


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