Category Archives: Savvy Shopping

All Aboard the Savings Train!

All Aboard the Savings Train Christa Clips Save-at-Home-Mom

Christa Clips: Save-at-Home-Mom started out on a savings train this week by spending $18 on specially marked boxes of Mini Wheats and has already redeemed $14 worth of coupons and will save on her groceries for months to come!

This past week I found an amazing deal in a grocery store, the good old fashioned way; no apps, printed coupons, or digital flyers. I’d been out late (rare!) and stopped into a 24 hour Sobey’s on the way home. There really wasn’t anything in the flyer that stood out as big savings, but I always enjoy visiting out-of-town stores for new products, tear pad coupons, and specially marked packaging. The latter turned out to be a gold mine of savings!

The deal:

Mini Wheats were on sale for $2.99 at Sobey’s (their flyer changes over on Thursdays). On it’s own this isn’t a crazy deal – they often go on sale for this price or even lower. I quickly put 6 boxes into my cart, though, because of ….

I'll have to stack these cereal boxes on their sides not that they're missing part of the back panel after clipping the coupons. A small sacrifice to make for the overall savings on our grocery bill.

I’ll have to stack these cereal boxes on their sides not that they’re missing part of the back panel after clipping the coupons. A small sacrifice to make for the overall savings on our grocery bill.

The coupons on the back:

  • $2 OFF Mini Wheats (430-510g box)
  • $1 OFF any fresh berries
  • $1 OFF any almond or soy beverage, any brand, any size
  • $1 OFF any almonds

All of the coupons are good through April 15, 2014 and there are no restrictions about using more than 1 coupon in a transaction (as long as you have one product per coupon). We buy at least 1 carton of strawberries per week and I’m almost positive that we’ll score some FREE Almond Breeze with these $1 OFF coupons combined with a cash back rebate through Checkout51 or SnapSaves. I’m hoping to combine the $1 OFF almond coupons with the $3 OFF when you spend $10 at the Bulk Barn coupons that we get in the weekly flyer – I’ll keep you posted if it works!

All aboard the Savings Train:

I clipped the coupons from the boxes and walked over to our local Walmart the next day. Lo and behold, they had the specially marked boxes as well, but regular priced at $4. No worries! Walmart price-matches any competitor’s flyer. I redeemed 6x$2 Mini Wheats and 2x$1 strawberries coupons and recouped $14 from my original $18 purchase!

 

if you only pay full price for the first product in your savings train, you can save even more money

Add coupons to price-matched sale prices for 2 layers of savings.

Add coupons to price-matched sale prices for 2 layers of savings.

By redeeming my coupons on more specially marked boxes, I now have another 6 sets of coupons! With any luck, by the time we’re ready to buy more Mini Wheats in the spring, I’ll be able to redeem them for a fresh batch of specially marked boxes with a new offer! These savings trains can go on for many months and help make a dent in our grocery bill – part of my Save-at-Home-Mom savings strategy. We see specially marked package coupons in almost every department at the grocery store and if you have the time to buy the products one at a time and only pay full price for the first product in your savings train, you can save even more money. 

 

A few things to keep in mind when purchasing specially marked packages:

There ARE fresh fruit coupons from time to time! My savings mantra is "bit by bit, it all adds up!"

There ARE fresh fruit coupons from time to time! My savings mantra is “bit by bit, it all adds up!”

  • check the expiry date of the coupons being offered: it’s almost always printed somewhere on the exterior of the box
  • check the expiry date of the product: no sense stocking up if you can’t get use or donate the items before they expire
  • take note whenever you see specially marked packages in a store that price-matches and then check all store flyers
  • check the coupon restrictions for “one per transaction” – that might be a game changer if you need to limit yourself to one redemption per visit

This week’s discovery while window shopping at Sobey’s reminded me that no matter how slick our savings system becomes with the flyer apps, online coupons, and cash back rebates, there’s still a place in the world for those who like to stroll the aisles and keep a good pair of scissors in their purse!

Wordless Wednesday: 7₵ Snack!

Save-at-Home-Mom Christa Clips conducted serious snack research today to help you find these 7₵ snacks. You are welcome.

Save-at-Home-Mom Christa Clips conducted serious snack research today to help you find these 7₵ snacks.                     You are welcome.

Why yes, yes I will be sending Hallowe’en treats in school lunchboxes for the next few months. 

These Mini Chewy Bars were in the 50% Hallowe’en clearance today at Walmart:

  • $3.48 for 49 works out to 7₵ each
  • they are exactly half the size of a regular Chewy bar (see research disclaimer below)
  • that’s like buying a regular box for $.84 … unheard of!

I ditched the cardboard boxes and hung our specimens in an easy-access sack for the shorter members of my research team!

*disclaimer: 1.5 chewy bars were … um … injured in the writing of this blog post. I take my role of primary researcher very seriously.

Budget Hack: Grocery Store Gifts!

Find out how Christa Clips saved 64% on these candles and turns them into hostess gifts to be proud of.

Find out how Christa Clips saved 64% on these candles and turns them into hostess gifts to be proud of.

I love scented candles and like to keep some on hand for when an inexpensive “giftie” is in order. The ones at home decor stores are always so inviting with their pretty packaging and price tags which show how much we would have paid full price in a designer shop. One of my favourite budget hacks is finding a grocery store alternative to gift giving and today I came home with 6 of these Air Wick scented candles to use as upcoming hostess gifts. The sale price is in effect until Thursday, October 23, 2013 at the Loblaws family of stores if you’re interested in scooping some up, as well!

  • Regular price $9.99
  • Sale price $6.99
  • I paid just $3.66 each after coupons
Stretching the savings on these coupons which require a minimum threshold take a little bit of calculating and an understanding of coupon lingo.  Both are easy peasy!

Stretching the savings on these coupons which require a minimum threshold take a little bit of calculating and an understanding of coupon lingo. Both are easy peasy!

Not a couponer? No problem! These tear pad coupons were right there on the display: no coupon binder or advance planning required. The key to this budget hack was making the most of the coupon. Those who are familiar with coupon fine print do have an edge up when figuring out how many coupons can be used together, so if you’re confused about what “one per purchase” or “cannot be combined with other offers” means, check out the guide that I wrote for Canadian Coupons Coupon Fine Print 101: Understanding the Restrictions.

The coupon I found and redeemed is for $5 OFF when you spend $10 or more on Air Wick products. Stretching my savings to the max took a simple calculation to find the “sweet spot” – it turns out that purchasing these candles in multiples of 3 makes them the cheapest and maximizes the coupon value. Here’s an example of what I mean by finding the “sweet spot”:

Buy 1 candle on sale for $6.99, not eligible to use the coupon because total is less than $10
Buying 2 candles works out to $4.49 each ($6.99×2=$13.98 less 1x$5 coupon = $8.98 total)
Buying 3 candles works out to $3.66 each ($6.99×3=$20.97 less 2x$5 coupons = $10.97 total)
Buying 4 candles works out to $4.49 each ($6.99×4=$27.96 less 2x$5 coupons = $17.96 total)
Buying 5 candles works out to $3.99 each ($6.99×5=$34.95 less 3x$5 coupons = $19.95 total)
Buying 6 candles works out to $3.66 each ($6.99×6=$41.94 less 4x$5 coupons = $21.94 total) and so the pattern continues

The price is right, but I would NEVER give a gift from a grocery store!

Some of you may be thinking that you’d never dream of giving a gift that clearly came from a grocery store, no matter HOW much you paid for it. For me, the whole point of a budget hack is getting high quality products for a fraction of the cost by pitching in just a little bit of time + effort. Here’s how I turn these $3.66 candles into hostess gifts to be proud of …

With just a few quick steps, you can turn a grocery store candle into a charming and budget friendly hostess gift.

With just a few quick steps, you can turn a grocery store candle into a charming and budget friendly hostess gift.

Start by getting rid of any incriminating evidence! Remove packaging, stickers, logos, etc. and don’t leave any goop! Goo Gone is my weapon of choice. For candles, in particular, watch out for brands with labels which are etched or painted onto the glass – they are sometimes impossible to remove!

Shine anything that is glass or plastic. A quick wipe with Windex or vinegar makes a world of difference and bumps the gift up from grocery cart to designer shelf quality immediately.

Wrap with flare! A little cellophane, tulle or tissue paper et voila! Dollarama also sells lovely little mesh bags, funky Chinese take-out containers, and every manner of scarves which make creative wrapping as well. If you’re near a Michaels store, be sure to stop in for similar gift wrapping items and use your 40% or 50% OFF coupons (print or mobile). I NEVER pass a Michaels without popping in for one item; you can usually only use one coupon per visit.

Add a card. A handwritten note demonstrates that your “giftie” was thoughtfully chosen and reinforces your gratefulness for whatever it is you’re thanking someone for. Again, Dollarama and Michaels have very inexpensive options. I particularly like these small ones that were in the $.50 bargain bin at Michaels. There are 8 in each pack!

Trim the wick to 1/4" to keep the rim free from soot. GooGone is great for removing stickers & labels.

Trim the wick to 1/4″ to keep the rim free from soot. GooGone is great for removing stickers & labels.

Keeping a small supply of “gifties” on hand means I’m never caught without something to give to the hostess, and more importantly from a budget point of view, I’m never caught slipping into a boutique or home decor store and paying full price when I’m in a pinch!

Throw in your 2 Cents below! What are your favourite budget hacks when it comes to gift giving? (It’s ok – we won’t tell your friends & family what they’re getting for their next gift!)