shit, i forgot the coupons.

14 01 2011

for xmas, i gifted myself with a subscription to the sunday paper. it’s minimally cheaper than buying it at the store, and conveniently delivered to my front door before 7 am. thus, i can stay in my sweatpants and be lazy and not brave the cold cold walk down to the sketchy sketchy 7-11. or so i had hoped! first sunday, NO PAPER. i figured maybe it just took them a minute to get the party started. last sunday, NO PAPER AGAIN (later resolved with an agitated call to the circulation department- i hope)!  thanks to a 7 hour a chorus line rehearsal on sunday, i didn’t have the time or energy to go get one on my own. i hit the grocery store on tuesday, but sadly, there were none left. a couponless week! what’s a girl to do!?

when i first started my coupon clipping adventures over a year ago, a moment like this would have sent me into a panic spiral. to think of all the deals that i would miss, the freebies loaded into the carts of strangers that wouldn’t be available to me without those magic slips of paper… i don’t remember if i ever cried over such a situation, but i also don’t remember not crying. when i first started out, i would get a crazy high off my deal mongering and would hit multiple drugstores multiple times per week- often spending hours in the aisles trying to cobble the perfect deal (poor boyfriend left to languish in the car).

but then, i kind of got over it.

i don’t have any idea how extreme couponers keep the ball rolling… it’s so much pre-planning and work! after a while, my coupon energy ramped down and my desire to have every single deal faded away (my stockpiles grew too large… i ended up with items i couldn’t use or donate…i was fucking tired…). if i missed a newspaper, so what? if i forgot to bring my coupons to the grocery store, meh!

i still go through peaks and valleys of coupon focus/mania, but in terms of the emotional highs and lows that i used to hit, i have figured out a few things along the way that are guaranteed to always talk me off the ledge: Read the rest of this entry »





kix ass.

4 08 2010

as of late, this bog has diverged away from the hardcore couponing that once was the center of my universe. which is not to say that i’m not still clipping, organizing, and deal hunting to some degree, but i was also starting to get the pre-symptoms of the dreaded coupon burnout. expiring extrabucks… neglected deals… cereal stash dwindling… but whenever i’m too busy or lazy to do my own research, or too filled with malaise to write about any deals i might happen to stumble into,  i can always count on  the coupon moms of the world to be there not being fuck ups and getting shit done. i like moms need to know (regular deals + she likes classic rock and is kind of a wino), of course my beloved coupon goddess (high heeled shoe addict who makes stockpiling sexy), and our very own local powerhouse, the money saving maine-iac.

basically, if there’s a grocery or drug store deal in the 207 area code, she’s got it first and probably better than i do.  case and point, yesterday afternoon i hit the shaw’s to do my grocery shopping for the week. for some reason our mailman stopped delivering the shaw’s fliers on thursdays, so i’m now forced to look online if i want to pre-plan my shopping (which i’m usually too lazy to do, and i most definitely was distracted this week with new puppy goodness), or pick mine up at the grocery store. this week it turned out to be DOLLAR DOUBLER WEEK (basically it will double coupons with $1 value, so there’s lots of opportunities for FREE STUFF!), and as usual, i was monumentally unprepared with coupon inserts from the last 2 weeks unclipped on my  coffee table. damn. but back to the kix. initially, i’d skipped over the cereal aisle completely in my haste to finish my very last minute shopping for the week (shamefully, i didn’t even make a list, and as a result will be eating string cheese and pirate booty for dinner this week). but lucky for me, i gave the flier one last flip through before i headed for the checkout, and there it was- kix @ 3 for $6. a steal anyway, but i fortuitously had a fistful (6 exactly actually) of $.75/1 coupons from coupons.com (not sure if they’re still available) which doubled to be $1.50/1! $.50 kix. awesome! even awesomer– apparently when you buy 3 boxes of select big G cereals, you get a FREE GALLON OF MILK. so not only did i get 6 boxes of cereal for $3, i also got coupons for 2 free gallons of milk. and if that isn’t a good deal, i don’t know what is.

so i run home to go report my important kix related findings to my readers, thinking that i have scored some sort of immaculate secret deal or something… come to find out that money saving maine-iac reported the whole situation on THURSDAY (and was way more thorough and awesome about it). so my point is that if you’re looking for the perfect source of great maine-centric grocery deals, really awesome giveaways (i need to get the hook up- i don’t know how she gets all that awesome stuff to give away), and  the location of every really great coupon in the state… money saving maine-iac is your woman. blog crush? absolutely. i am both totally jealous of her great site, and totally grateful that she has so much amazing info (because lets face it, i am way lazy and inconsistent), and you should be too. (now go shower her with the love that she deserves).





i spy- sneaky cheese.

20 07 2010

just a quick post (since i haven’t posted anything remotely coupon related in like 100 years) about some secret $/1 sargento cheese coupons i found at shaw’s in south portland yesterday. they’re not really secret exactly, in the sense that they’re hidden. actually, they’re right there in one of those little blinky coupon dispensers attached to the dairy case, just waiting to be plucked (ONE per customer- OH PLEASE). anyway, what’s secret about them is that they purport to be for the low sodium variety cheese only (which is bullshit because sodium is part of what makes cheese the sole reason that i will never be a vegan), but what i learned by trying to be sneaky is they’ll work for any variety of sargento cheese. ok, not exactly earth shattering news, but cheese can be super expensive and $1/1 is a rare and special thing.  i’ve seen sargento go on sale for as low as $1.50/ea., and cheese (when sealed) usually has at least a couple of months on it. coincidentally, i also saw a bunch of big boxes of frosted flakes marked down to $1.50 each in the “scratch & dent” area, because they still have olympic themed packaging (though they don’t expire until 2011).  i guess what i’m saying here is: LOAD UP (while the loading is good).





weekend picktrhough- hotel bar boozin edition.

12 06 2010

i should really make an effort to round up the weekend pickthrough a little earlier in the day. namely, before i’ve had half a pizza (an incredible specimen in mushroom & cauliflower from otto on congress street), three bowls of party mix, and a couple of very stiff cocktails at the top of the east (apparently the go-to bar in portland if you think you’re on the jersey shore). basically, if this weekend pickthrough feels like it’s half in the bag, it’s because it is.

a traveling toy store of amazing artness. here, in portland. right now.

screw disney! all the cool kids are spending their summer vacations haunting abandoned theme parks.

it’s not an unbelievable discount if it comes with a side of bedbugs. BEWARE the budget hotel of horrors.

just when you thought that food couldn’t get any more hilarious/disgusting… in strolls the mcgangbang.

the onion’s most hilarious joke ever.

unlike the pogs of my youth, at least sillybandz will still have a function once the insane trend wave finally crashes on the beach.

the most beautiful dry erase animation ever about what motivates us. (very surprising)

dear grandma, stockpiling would make more sense if you were feeding more than just you and grandpa. plus, this expired salad dressing is gross.

if you don’t want me to make fun of you, you might want to stop leaving me these passive aggressive notes.

apparently my friends sam & BJ aren’t looking out for me as much as i thought. (i thought we were friends!)

just to open a little friendly discussion… is it just me, or does grimace look like a giant scrotum?





groceries and the single girl.

28 05 2010

when i was 21 and got my first real apartment, i remember distinctly spending exactly $7 on my very first real grown up groceries. as i recall, the grocery list read a little bit like this:  a loaf of cheap bread, a package of off brand bologna, 1/4 lb of american cheese, a box of margarine, and the balance in ramen and lipton instant noodles. i ate a lot of starch that first year, and enough salt to… um… do something that would require a whole pantload of salt. needless to say, i gained about 15 pounds and was an all around big bloaty (and worefully malnourished) sack. charming!

i suppose the majority of the blame for these  poor dietary choices can be squarely placed  on my parents for being the health conscious hippies that they were. not quite vegetarian, but certainly lacking in the “meat & potatoes” department, i was raised on a steady diet of fruits & veggies, whole grains, and low fat high quality protein (even tofu!). as a result of this, i now require regular vegetables in order to live, and have a strong dislike for soda and anything that is overly sweet. but flashing back to 1999, i was ready to lead a rebellion against this fascist vegetable regime, and went on a processed food binge that would last about a year (and would terminate with enrollment in weight watchers and sincere apologies to my parents for deviating so far from their wise and healthy teachings).

but even once i woke up from my MSG soaked nightmare diet, i was still heavily constrained by the boundaries of both my budget (namely, my $22,000 a year temp job with no benefits), and my singlehood. let’s face it, save for a sad  nod toward the lean cuisine area of the freezer section, the eating universe barely acknowledges the “dining alone” contingent. even if your mom does give you a really tragic “cooking for one” cookbook for christmas, it still wants you to go to the grocery store and purchase all sorts of ingredients, conveniently bundled for families of 5. so what’s a broke single girl (or boy) to do?

1. stockpile: however minimal the cabinet space in your teeny overpriced studio apartment, save some serious real estate for things like pasta, rice, and canned goods. this shit is great for meal components, can usually be obtained for free or super cheap with coupons, and comes in wicked handy when you have to choose between paying your electric bill and going to the grocery store. pro tip- they make tupperware for FUCKING EVERYTHING, including dry-goods storage. once you break open the factory seal, keep your stockpile from getting stale or funny tasting by entombing it in something with a lid that seals (don’t forget to burp!).

2. bulk up & hit the deli: not only do things tend to be cheaper in bulk (no pesky packaging to crap up the works), but you can also get as little or as much as you want. yeah, it’s totally street legal to buy 6 walnuts or ask for a single slice of cheese. pro tip- you can even beg for assorted deli cheese ends for super duper cheap.

3. become one with the freezer: frozen bread changed my life. it meant i could buy whole bags of hamburger buns, artisan bagels, and family sized loaves of sandwich bread… just toss it in a freezer bag before it gets stale, and eat it piece at a time for a good month or so before it gets all weird (longer if you’re not too discriminating about bread taste). also a good trick- if it’s about to go bad, try tossing it in the freezer. this works particularly great with almost questionable fruit & ready to expire yogurt for future smoothie consumption. pro tip- freeze the 3/4 of leftover pasta sauce in the jar in individual portions (small tupperware and ice cube trays work best) instead of letting it grow mold friends in the back of your fridge.

4. multitask: produce is a killer for singles, because it tends to rot away into brown liquid in the crisper drawer before it can all be used. careful meal planning is tantamount here. want to buy a whole head of lettuce? schedule tacos, burgers, & some sort of fancy salad all for the same week to use it up. pro tip- if you just want lettuce once a week, skip the produce section entirely and grab a few leaves at the salad bar (whole foods is particularly good for this).

5. cook ahead: it’s a complete fallacy that freezer cooking is only good for wholesome midwestern families of 8. if there’s a perishable ingredient that you’ve been craving or there’s an amazing deal that you can’t  pass up, make yourself a couple of batches of whatever and freeze the overage. that way you can have single size frozen meals that don’t come in a patronizing little red box. pro tip- cupcakes and unbaked cookie dough balls freeze really well. have yourself some home baked dessert on a one at a time basis (also extremely helpful for diet control).