worth the trip- full cosmetic takedown.

5 10 2010

so i’d never even heard of ulta before i drove by the mall a few days ago and saw that one had sprung up in the gaping void left by vinny ts (ok, maybe gaping void is a little dramatic- did ANYBODY go to that restaurant?). now generally, i would not entirely give a shit about a giant box store peddling makeup (sorry sephora, i’m just a low maintenance kind of girl), but they seduced me in with a $5 off $10 coupon in my sunday paper. i also did a little research and found out that in addition to their own lines and the high end lines they carry, they also carry all the drugstore brands, AND they take manufacturers coupons. SCORE! their flier showed a host of buy one get one 50% off deals on the drugstore brands, and i rounded up my very best coupons and headed over to see what i could do:

2 neutrogena blushes at $5.99 each with the BOGO50% sale, a $3/1 coupon (from all you) and a $2/1 coupon from this weekend’s paper= $3.99

2 NYC color nail polishes for $1.99 each with BOGO50% sale and a BOGO coupon from all you (seriously, if you don’t get all you, you’re doing yourself a profound coupon disservice)= $.99

2 cover girl eye shadows at $3.29 each with the BOGO50% sale, and 2 $1/1 coupons from the P&G brandsaver= $2.94

total= $7.92 minus the $5/$10 coupon from the paper= $2.92! i got all of the above makeup for less than $3! AND for joining their rewards club (totally free and painless to join), they gave me a sack of free goodies including a full size nail polish and eye shadow, scented body cream, and some fancy hair serum.  oh, and a 20% off coupon for next time. SUPER SCORE. also, the staff was super friendly and extremely patient with my crazy coupon ladyness. i’m hoarding this makeup for a secret project (details soon), so especially if they keep the coupon love flowing, i will definitely be going back again.

shaw’s- ok, i have never been a big fan of the “can-tastic savings” event, and this week was not particularly different. the only thing i deemed worth grabbing was the $.88 progresso soup. i had a $.50/2 coupon (doubled of course) from a coupon book i got in the mail, and considering they’re usually around $2 a piece, i thought that $.38 each was a good deal.

target sadly, all the clearanced all natural fruit roll ups & herbal essences 2 packs were already gone (who are you target shelf cleaner? reveal yourself!), but they did have a good deal on hunts diced tomatoes at $.82 a can (screw you can-tastic savings) and i had a $1/3 coupon. $.48 a can seems pretty good, especially because chili season is upon us. they also had the deluxe velveeta mac & cheese (i’m obsessed with mexi-mac) for $1.52, which is pretty much as low as i’ve seen it anywhere (including walmart). there was a good $1/2 coupon in the paper last week (i think!), so $1 a box for me at least, seemed like a score. although again, nothing amazing.

rite aid- the free crest toothpaste and nivea lip care are definitely on the top of my list, but that schick coupon they’re all talking about on the deal websites doesn’t exist up here (kind of like the revlon coupons that never show up in the maine papers). also, i’m gonna pass on the incontinence pads. otherwise, meh. decent deal on frosted flakes ($1.60 per box when you buy 5), and cottonelle 12 packs are only $3.99 after +UP (the only coupons i could find were $.50/2), which is a pretty good price for toilet paper (especially if you’ve ever paid $1 or more for a “desperation roll” at a gas station).

cvs- roughly as much excitement going on at the cvs, but there is a good $.99 revlon nailpolish deal (after ECBs- limit 6!), which would be free if you had any revlon coupons floating around. i didn’t, but i got it anyway because i didn’t want to waste the $4/$20 that the emailed me this weekend. however, the big deal to look out for is lurking in the magic coupon machine. $5 off all halloween decorations and costumes with NO MINIMUM PURCHASE! i bought a pair of striped tights and some purple hairspray for  $.99.  the big bummer was really getting the coupon (it’s a “one day only”) in a store that had kind of a minimal halloween section.

big lots- there is a 4/$10 movie deal goin on at the big lots right now on all regularly $3 movies. i couldn’t find 4 that i liked (my local store didn’t have deep blue sea as advertised- FAIL!), but i did find a copy of rocket science, which is a great movie starring portland’s very own oscar nominee, anna kendrick.  anyway, even though i didn’t buy 4 movies, it still came up as $2.50. they’ve got some decent horror, and the usual sub “straight to DVD” quality (heartbeeps anyone?), but if you like to dig through big bins of crap- there are occasionally some gems in there.





rite aid, this is screwed +UP.

10 06 2010

there have been a lot of changes happening at ye olde rite aid over the last few months. just when i was getting comfy with the intricacies of the single check rebate program *BAM* the rite aid wellness+ card shows up on the scene. i actually had some sort of weird proto version a long time ago, but it never actually did anything. at least this new version appears to have value in the form of product discounts not available to the plebeian public . but it’s all lies! in reality, they’ve taken the discounts that they used to give us freely (with love) and made them contingent upon us carrying around our little plastic card (so spiteful, and after all this time…). i think they’re feeling a little guilty about it though, because they’re throwing these new +UP rewards at us like a fistful of crumpled twenties at a spent hooker. but i’m a ho for coupons, so i figured…

but wait. i thought that they would work like extrabucks. dollar off coupons toward anything at rite aid except stamps, gift cards, cigarettes & booze- right?! um, no. or at least i don’t think so, but it’s unclear. very very unclear. picture it, yesterday afternoon… i go to rite aid to grab some discount tampax and see what this whole +UP business is all about. well, there was a bit of a fracas when some drunk dude when apeshit when they refused to sell him more booze without identification. so with all waving of arms and screaming of “douchebag!”, i didn’t actually end up looking at my receipt until i got home. what the fuck is this shit? $1 off a $10 seasonal purchase of $10 or more? so, in order to get my whopping $1 reward, i have to buy $10 worth of seasonal crap? and for that matter, what exactly constitutes seasonal? rubber swimmies?

the answer was equal parts cryptic and infuriating: “certain limitations apply, see store associate for details”. does that mean that i am now at the mercy of the sales associate to determine what constitutes seasonal? what if our definitions don’t agree? what if it escalates to shoving? what if i’m the next customer to get hauled into the parking lot screaming “douchebag!”?

all i’m saying is that this +UP situation is really putting a strain on our relationship, and you’ve done absolutely nothing to explain yourself. all this craziness, and NOT A SINGLE WORD ABOUT IT ON THE WEBSITE. who starts a program like this and doesn’t set up some basic parameters beforehand? it smacks of incompetence rite aid. incompetence!





weekend drugstore dash.

15 05 2010

i’m a chronic overscheduler. between the job and the blog and friends and other related and non-related nonsense, i don’t have a ton of free time for things like couponing. which is kind of ridiculous and stupid, because i write a blog about couponing, which probably means i’m not doing a very good job. but anyway, i finally managed to steal a pocket of time this week to filter the expired crap out of my coupon folder and see what i had going on that i might not want to waste (like i usually do- see copious incidences of me being a coupon asshole below). shit, is my rite aid allergy rewards check already expiring on the 15th? i feel like the last one they sent me stayed fresh for way longer. too bad there’s not really anything amazing worth blowing $20 on this week at rite aid, and of course i’m hitting the stores on SATURDAY after everything good has probably already been cleaned off the shelves… but i didn’t buy $75 worth of allergy medication just to throw my rebate away. and well, a girl has to make do:

28 count prilosec that i require for life (and also because i’m an asshole who missed the 42 count sale last week), $18.99 with $3/1 coupon from the most recent P&G insert, and $4 SCR= $11.99.

2 boxes of kotex U tampons (you know, the hipster tampons with the crazy colors and wacky commercials) for $7/2 with 2 $1/1 coupons (they’re everywhere these days, especially if you got any of the rampant free samples), and $3/SCR= $1 each. according to the lady behind the counter, stacking is no longer an option at rite aid. you get as many coupons as you have items. to prove said theory- 3rd rite aid video values coupon was rejected. boo-urns 😦

speaking of video values, i rarely actually pay attention to the commercials you have to watch, but was totally intrigued by the tresemme dry shampoo. as a girl who often oversleeps on work days and ends up poorly camouflaging her dirty hair in pony tails, this seems like a pretty interesting option. even if it can just take the edge off the dirt, it will still be an improvement. review forthcoming. tresemme products on sale for $3.29/1, and i used my $2/1 rite aid video values coupon= $1.29.

i needed a few more filler items to make sure i got my $20 worth, so i grabbed a nivea bodywash for $5.39 (again, i missed it when it was free last week- fuck me), and used that $4/1 coupon that everyone was so excited about= $1.39. i also grabbed a box of puffs plus for $.99, and used a $1/1 coupon that i got from vocalpoint (i also have 3 $.50/1 coupons i’m hoarding until they got on sale at shaw’s and i can get more freebies).

i’m too tired/lazy to do the math, but somehow i got $.80 back in change after the $20 gift certificate, and $5/$25 that i got for activating my wellness card. btw, you should totally get one of those. and don’t forget, i’ll also be getting $7 back in single check rebates. AND there was a sweet $1/1 NYC cosmetics tearpad that i pillaged. i did leave a few behind though, so if you’re in the sketchy east end rite aid area (follow the trail of empty high gravity beer cans), go and grab them!

as it turned out, cvs was having some incredible deals this week, and since i never go there anymore, they’re presently trying to win me back with $/$$ coupons. this week i got $3/$15, which is good- because it’s a no pressure kind of amount.

crest pro-health toothpaste for $3.50 with $3.50 back in extrabucks! i had one coupon for $1/1, but the limit was 2, so i went for it anyway= $1 moneymaker.

again with the hipster feminine hygiene! this time $4.99 for a box of neon pantiliners- with $4.99 back in extrabucks and a $1/1 coupon= $1 moneymaker.

right guard something or other with the number 5 on it was on sale for $2.69 each with $2 in extrabucks. the limit was 2, and i also had a $3/2 coupon from coupons.com, and ended up yet another $1.62 richer.

probably my most impressive find (since is wasn’t mentioned on the majority of the coupon blogs) was a use for my stash of $2/1 pantene coupons from vocalpoint. on sale for $6.97/2 (random!) with $3 back in extrabucks, i again made $.03 on the deal.

with the $3/$15 and $9.50 in extrabucks, i paid $5.75 oop, and got a whopping $19 back in ecbs, hot damn!

with the exception of 15 very unfortunate minutes spent dressing room wrestling with a cheap lauren conrad for kohls zipper that made me bleed in not one but 2 places (and almost required that i call for help to get me free from its clutches), these are the kind of days that help me remember why i started this crazy blog in the first place. paying retail (or paying at all) is for suckers. i made money buying things today and there isn’t a side eye in the world that could make me stop.





corrections/retractions/apologies

21 03 2010

one of my very favorite frugal blogs (and local no less), the portland penny pincher, has a little thing she calls frugal fuck-ups. ok, actually she demurely calls them frugal f-ups, but we know what she’s talking about. basically, it’s any attempt at saving money gone horribly wrong. a while ago, i informed her that the next time i had a really serious couponing cock-up, i would be giving her a little shout out. well, today is the day.

so several days ago, i had a big ole boner about the $.96 zyrtec deal. i had it all plotted out. i would go to the 2 peninsula rite aids (both sketchy as hell) on alternating days, completing my mission, and spreading things out enough so that the rite aid cashiers don’t think i’m making crystal meth or something.

day 1. grabbed the wrong zyrtec coupon (the $2 instead of the $4 for the liquid gels), and i actually needed the pills that night so i had to go through with it. $18.99 minus $3/$15 and $2/1 zyrtec coupon. $13.99 OOP.

*got sick in here somewhere and didn’t make it to rite aid again until thursday*

day 2. had all the coupons this time, just in case. good thing. terrifying west end rite aid didn’t have any of the 25 count liquid gels. gave myself a quarter sized blister walking a mile across town to get there, and refused to leave empty handed. $18.99 minus $3/$15 and $2/1 zyrtec coupon. $13.99 OOP.

day 3. back to my neighborhood rite aid with the drunks (well, the familiar drunks). finally, they have the 25 count liquid gels, and i have the right coupons. sort of. as it turn out, the $2/1 from the rite aid video values site is for the 40 count only. damn. also, i’m hungry so i buy a too expensive granola bar (fullbar) $2.39, and a bottled water $.99. $3.38 for the snack plus $18.99 for the pills, and minus $4/1 zyrtec coupon and a $5/20 from the rite aid video values site. $13.39 OOP.

day 4. it’s saturday, and somehow find my way to the gorham rite aid, hoping to find more liquid gels. bunk. it is cleaner and with less people buying malt liquor, but they only have the 40 and 70 count liquid gels left. i dig out a $2/1 zyrtec coupon that i got from somewhere, knowing that the $18.99 price will be gone tomorrow. oh, and somewhere there’s some cadbury mini eggs in there. fuck. $18.99 minus $3/$15 and $2/1 zyrtec coupon, plus $.88 for the candy. $14.87 OOP.

total: $56.24 minus $25 J&J SCR, and $20 zyrtec allergy rewards= $11.24.

um… not exactly $.96.

still better than the $50 a month i was paying when it was a prescription…. but i really need to pay more attention next time! check minus, room for improvement.





sick day.

16 03 2010

i’ve been bragging a lot about how i never get sick. last time i did, i barfed for two days. this time, i have become the world’s most foremost producer of mucous. i am grotesque. i spent the better half of the day at work sitting at my desk trying to will my brain case not to explode and cover my whole office with goo. the latter half, i spent face down on my couch whacked out on dayquil. why is this relevant you ask?  well, i speak today on the subject of good timing.

yesterday after work, before the snot avalanche began, i took a trip to rite aid in search of toilet paper. how dare i run out in the first place, but especially during a week where nothing that great is happening in the paper products category.  but poor planning and making do are what i’m good for, so here’s what i came up with:

2 12-packs of cottonelle on sale for $5.99 each.
6 boxes puffs plus (with lotion- for my mangled nose) @ $.79 each.
1 box kashi heart to heart cereal @ $4.99.

total: $21.71

minus:

$5/$20 rite aid video values coupon.
2 $1/1 cottonelle video values coupons (one from last month and one from this month).
$1.50 in random cottonelle newspaper coupons that i had in the stash.
$1/6 puffs plus coupon (again from the newspaper stash).
1 free box of kashi heart to heart cereal or crackers coupon from vocalpoint (i fucking love those guys, and they don’t even pay me to do it).

= $6.22.

no, it’s not free. but in a pinch, 24 rolls of decent toilet paper, a box of fancy pants cereal, and 6 boxes of tissues for $6 is still pretty damn decent.  but back to the good timing. the universe may be punishing me for bragging about my iron immune system (seeming more like aluminum lately), but at least it had mercy enough to get me to buy 6 boxes of tissues in advance. might i add, 3 of which are already open and half gone (upstairs, downstairs, and work).





the glory of medical inconveniences.

15 03 2010

as i have mentioned before, i have been blessed with a cornucopia of excessively irritating, but non life-threatening conditions. allergies, athsma, acid reflux… and that ‘s only the As. i am insured, which is a g-d miracle, but in the last 3 years, 2 of my daily medications have gone OTC (that’s over the counter for those of you who don’t live at the drugstore). in some ways, this is good. i don’t have to fuck around with prescriptions running out or doctor visits. and in many cases, OTC medication is cheaper than its prescription counterpart. unfortunately, in some cases it is not, and there’s no insurance policy that can help defray the cost. for many years, i payed $50 a month @ full retail for my priosec (acid reflux) and zyrtec (heinous allergies). good luck finding $600 a year hiding in the couch cushions to pay for it all…

that is until rite aid and i took a roll in the hay. and this week, we’re rolling hard. 4 days, 100 pills of zyrtec (the liquid gels are the better deal), $.96.

it’s a very simple operation really, (especially if your rite aid happens to be across the street):

day one. buy one 25 count bottle of zyrtec liquid gels. using the $3/$15 coupon here. the $2/1 rite aid video values coupon here (sadly, you only get one). and the $4/1 coupon here.

day two. buy one 25 count bottle of zyrtec liquid gels. using the $3/$15 coupon here. and the $4/1 coupon here.

day three. buy one 25 count bottle of zyrtec liquid gels. using the $3/$15 coupon here. and the $4/1 coupon here.

day four. buy one 25 count bottle of zyrtec liquid gels. um… i think you get the picture…

next, go here and enter your receipts.

then, wait patiently for 6-8 weeks until you receive your single check rebate in the amount of $25 (thanks J&J), and your allergy rewards certificate in the amount of $20.

finally, enjoy 3+ months of allergy-freeness for practically no money.

for the non-believers, i present you the math:

4 bottles 25 count zyrtec liquid gels @ $18.99= $75.96
minus $16 in $4/1 coupons
minus $2 in video values coupons
minus $12 in $3/$15 coupons

= $45.96

wrap it up in a $25 single check rebate for purchasing $50 in johnson & johnson products & a $20 allergy rewards check for buying $75 worth of antihistamines…

bottom line: $.96

suck it allergies.





picking up the slack.

14 02 2010

i’ve had kind of a lame couple of weeks on the deal seeking front. i wonder if the checkers at my hoboville rite aid miss me, or even notice that i’m gone? last time i was in there (@ 5 pm about 2 weeks ago), i was the only person in line not buying malt liquor. i’m sure that must count for something in their eyes.

anyway, friday night i realized that the “grab the gold” rebate that i had be so enthusiastic about was ending on saturday, and somehow i had only managed to log in enough p&g products to get a $5 gift card. oops.  a combination of crap deals and not enough time had lead me astray into the paths of laziness. i had lost another $5 ECBs (they expired quietly in the back of my coupon folder several days earlier), and i decided that i wouldn’t let my chronic sloth claim my gift card too.  i had $55.51 to go, a $5/$25  from redplum.com, and $30 worth of gift of savings and zyrtec rewards gift certificates. i stayed up until 3 a.m. (with a little help from the big bass-y party being thrown by my next door neighbors @ the “douche palace”) formulating my plan.

despite my careful planning and complete lack of sleep, i somehow didn’t manage to get my ass to the rite aid until 7:30 p.m.- half an hour before closing. not surprising, they didn’t have half of what i wanted. i do this stupid thing sometimes where instead of walking away, i try to make it work even when i shouldn’t. i got the wrong toothpaste- $2 mistake. i bought one more package of carefree maxi pads than i needed- $1 mistake. random impulse buy bonne bell guava lip balm that i definitely didn’t need even though i had a coupon- $1.25 mistake. $18.62 out of pocket, with hopefully $14 back in SCR and a $35 gift card. passable, but it could have been better. there’s also that outside chance than one or more of the products i bought for the rebate (prilosec, gilette shaving cream, herbal essences) doesn’t actually qualify and i’m screwed from my gift card by a few pennies. (why does it take the SCR website two days to update?!!)

it would probably serve me right.