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Monday, March 15, 2010

So many little time!3+63.

I had an amazing day of shopping Monday...and my feet held out! The new shoes and inserts are the bomb!First stop, Walgreens, where I got 3 bottles of Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen for our vacation. I had coupons, so I paid $17.80 OOP for a shelf cost of $38.80 and got $8 RR back. Bottom line: $3.27 each.

Next stop, another Walgreens! I'm getting to know the morning cashiers and that makes them very helpful! I got the rest of the stuff in the picture for $3.36 OOP and got $4 RR back. :-)

My next adventure was getting a mammogram: squiiiishhh. I was in RB near Carmel Mtn. Rd., so I hit some stores on the way home to save gas. First I went to CVS where I got 8 deodorants for a total OOP of $1.75 and got 8 ECBs back! I shared some with my bestie and put the rest away for later use and/or donations. Truthfully, I only use aluminum-free deo, so I won't use any of these myself.

I noticed a Ralphs and a Rite-Aid next to each other, so made another stop. See why I keep all my lists and coupons in envelopes in a small accordion file in the car? All i wanted at Ralph's was some sale produce. I ran in, got a cucumber, 2 zucchinis and 2 small packages of blueberries. I had coupons for free Marcal TP, but they didn't carry the single rolls required. I spent $6.07.
Rite-Aid was next. I usually don't get much there, but this month the sales have been pretty good. Doug likes chips in his lunches (I pack him a lunch most days) and large bags of Lays were 2/$5 (reg. $3.99). I didn't have a coupon, but we were out of chips. I thought it was a pretty good price. I also got hair color, Puffs, Goldfish and mascara. I actually tried this particular mascara, Maybelline Full & Soft last month on a cheap SCR deal at Rite-Aid and really liked it. Maybelline is on sale BOGO1/2 off and I had a coupon for $1. I didn't get it as cheap as I would like (I paid $5 each) but it's still a lot less than my usual Mary Kay mascara and I think I like it better. In all I saved 54% for an OOP of $21.55...a big bill for me for Rite-Aid, but my hair and eyelashes will look good and Doug got his chips. ;-)

My last stop on the way home was Target. I had a short list. I bought 4 24-oz boxes of Frosted Mini Wheats for $10. I had 2 $1.5/2 coupons and Target gave me a $5 GC back. Bottom line: .50/box. I also used 5 printable Johnson's $1.1 coupons and got 5 bars of Buddies Soap (.97 ea) for FREE! They are going to Alternatives today with some diaper coupons I've been clipping for them. Finally, I bought a dozen eggs for $1.

Later in the day, while Treklet was at a Science program, I went to Vons. I was able to buy $123.11 worth of groceries for $47.97 and I got a catalina for $3.50. That's 61% savings on groceries plus $3.50 back.

But wait! There's more....the cashier that I have befriended at Wags let me in on a little secret: those Register Rewards you get there are manufacturer's coupons, and good anywhere! I tried it at Vons! I was able to use $6 in RR for groceries!! Now I won't have to get stuff I really don't need yet at Wags just to avoid a RR expiring. :-) That made me happy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lessons from Rite-Aid

I went to Rite-Aid this morning with a plan to buy 8 16 oz jars of Planter's Peanuts. I couldn't find them! The shelf was empty.

I had a Plan B. There is another John Frieda SCR deal this month: buy one shampoo or conditioner and one styling product and receive the price of the shampoo/conditioner back as a rebate. I had a $3 coupon for shampoo/conditioner and a $2 coupon for a styling product. I also had a a $1 off RA register coupon for any hair care item and a $1 Frizz-Ease video values coupon. I got one Root Awakenings conditioner ($5) and one Frizz-Ease hairspray (6.99). I paid $5 plus tax and I'll get a $5 SCR. Bottom line: FREE

I told the cashier I was frustrated with the sale items being out of stock AGAIN. She called the manager over, and a few good things happened:

1) He pointed out an end cap where some more peanuts could be found. There were only 10 jars left, but I only needed 8. They are on sale for $1.99 ea. Now I could use my 4-$1/2 coupons and my $3/$15 RA coupon. I will also get a $3 SCR on them. Bottom line: .74/16 oz. jar

2) I told him that although I got a raincheck for the Albolene last week, the rebate period ended. He said if that ever happens, the manager can take your register receipt and raincheck and FAX it in from the store and you can still get your SCR! There happened to be just one jar on the shelf so I went for it. The regular price is $11.99, the raincheck was for $7.99 and the SCR was $ .99 seemed like a great price to try this product.

3) The manager, instead of FAXing the rebate in for me, just discounted the Albolene altogether and I got it for FREE and won't have to wait for a rebate!

4) The manager also taught me that their sales start on FRIDAYs. So by the time I get the insert in Sunday's paper, there is little if any product left. He said there are a few regular groups that come in and clean them out every week. Hmmm...wonder who they are?! Especially when many of the SCRs are limited to one per card. So the biggest lesson I learned today was to check Rite-Aid's circular online on Friday mornings!

So in all, I learned a few helpful tips from the manager of the Rite-Aid on Washington and Escondido Blvd. (darn I wish I could remember his name!). Kudos to him and his cashier for awesome customer service. After discounts, rebates and coupons I paid $6.07 for all this:

Oh, and by the way...the expiration date on those peanuts in August 15, 2011.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rite-Aid is Paying Me!

I went to Rite-Aid tonight to make sure I got the deal I wanted. I was frustrated last week because I went on Thursday and they were out of stock of 4 of the 5 items I wanted!

I got 3 John Frieda Root Awakening and 4 boxes of OB tampons for $4.48...and I'll receive a $5 rebate! I made .52!

I tried the new John Frieda Root Awakening for breakage-prone hair on Treklet's hair after getting a screaming deal on it at Walgreens in late January. She loves the way it smells, and I think her hair looks better, too. I've blogged before about's the only brand Katie and I like, but it's also usually the priciest.

Rite-Aid has 18 count boxes of OB for $1.99, and I had 4 $1 coupons. The John Frieda was 3 for $15 with a $5 SCR and I had 3 $3 coupons, plus 2 $1 Rite-Aid coupons. I also had a $5/$20 coupon which I got for watching ads on Rite-Aid's website. Truthfully, I just let them run on mute while I watch TV.

I'm so glad I went tonight because I got the last 2 conditioners, and the last of super and super-plus tampons. It's so irksome that they don't stock up on advertised sale items!

I'm going back tomorrow, hoping they still have Planter's peanuts in stock! I've got 4 $1/2 coupons and a $3/$15 coupon. Peanuts are on sale for $1.99, and there is a $3 SCR when you spend $15 on Planters. that means I'll pay $5.92 for 8 jars (.74 ea). Treklet loves peanuts!

I'm expecting a $3 SCR check in the mail next week from last month's purchases. I like getting instant gratification from CVS and Wags with ECBs and RRs, but I figure since I haven't missed that $3 I'll just put it in my Convention Fund envelope (for comic Con and Star Trek Vegas).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Birthday Cruise

The girls and I spent my birthday on a boat! I'm not a big fan of boats. I have a seasickness issue. But I must say I love whales just a little more than I hate boats, so I got a prescription for scopolamine and half-price tickets on Goldstar and we went!

We boarded the smallish boat,The Bright and Morning Star, at 10 a.m. The slow cruise through the harbor and past Point Loma was nice. The captain pointed out lots of local landmarks, military history and current practices. Once past the Point, we the sea became more dynamic. The swells seemed huge to me, but in reality it was a pretty calm.

On the long cruise to the Islas Los Coronados the captain talked nonstop, but it was interesting. He taught us all about the pirates that operated out of the islands in the mid-1800s, attacking the Gold Rush shipments to England and France, and the rum-runners of the 1920s. Finally we learned about the current practices.

Three Mexican families live on South Coronado Island, which is owned by the Mexican Government. They fish and dive for urchin, which is sold overseas. the government keeps most of the money and pays the fishermen a pitiful salary. We saw a small boat offshore with 2 men in it and one diver underwater. They use no air tanks, but a long air hose which the diver tokes on like a hookah.

An Australian Company runs a bluefin tuna business, leasing the sea area from Mexico. They capture young tuna and keep them in pens just offshore of South Coronado until they reach about 150 pounds. Then they kill them and send them by air to Japan where they are eaten raw. They are the most expensive fish in the world. I thought it was really weird. We also heard about how one of the pens broke and bluefin were washing ashore in San Diego in late January.

Once we got close to the islands we were treated to many harbor seals and California sea lions. There are many nesting birds, including California Brown Pelicans (12,000 nest here!) Western Gulls, Brown Boobies, Black Oystercatchers, Neotropic, Brandt's and Double-crested Cormorants, and more. We saw one northern elephant seal. Evidently the El Nino this year is delaying their migration somehow. This is one of only two elephant seal colonies within 300 miles.

I was pretty nervous at some points along the southern sides of the islands. The captain brought the boat very close to the sheer cliffs and rocky edges. The churning water was a beautiful turquoise, and we got great pictures of the wildlife, but in the back of my mind I kept wondering if a large swell could smash us against the rocks...what if the motor died?! We survived, though, obviously.

We headed around the western side of the islands and into open sea. Several small fishing boats were on a school of yellowtail, and the birds and common dolphins were also enjoying the mackerel that the tuna were chasing.

We spotted a humpback whale, which breached clean out of the water! We enjoyed it's fin-slapping antics for a while, then followed it for a bit as it frollicked in the water. We spotted migrating gray whales in the distance, but they were pretty far out, and we were already running late, so we did not approach them.

The ride back to the harbor seemed even longer, especially since Treklet had a tummy ache and was quite miserable. I don't think she was seasick...I forgot to give her her reflux medicine before we left. She napped a little bit and woke up feeling fine.

There was a TV & DVD player in the cabin and the mate put on Star Trek for us!

We saw a Navy Submarine on it's way out of the harbor heading west. We watched as it submerged. Very cool. We passed an aircraft carrier running drills with some Coast Guard and Naval Security boats.

We pulled up to the dock at 4:50, happily disembarked and tipped our crew of two. We saw everything we hoped to see, and learned quite a bit of history (and I didn't puke!) It was a good birthday.

Katie took all the pics. You can see them here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Birthday week lessons.

It's my birthday week, so I'm using some of the dining freebies to celebrate.

Yesterday my friend Irene was in town from San Antonio so I met her and her daughter, Nina for lunch at Red Robin. Here's a lesson on how to be an ass: I got a free burger, free bottomless fries, free water, and a free sundae and song. I was bragging to my hubby about not paying a cent for lunch and he said, "You left a tip, though, right?" Silence. As a former waitress I felt like a total jerk. I'm going to have to stop by next time I'm at the mall and look for that server. Irene got a bill and paid it, and left a tip, but it didn't even occur to me to tip him on the value of my delicious meal. Doh!

Today I went to see the surgeon that operated on my foot and ankle 4 months ago. I was concerned about some pain & swelling in my ankle lately. I got a lesson on some strengthening/stretching exercises to do with a theraband and we decided if at the 6 month point I am not better I'll get a new MRI. On the way home I stopped at Roadrunner for new shoes. I also decided to spring for the custom inserts that they sell after a "Shoe Dog" analysis of your feet. My orthotics are not right anymore, and the inserts are way cheaper anyway, even at around $75.

Well, I had my feet measured, analyzed by computers and videos and got my inserts. I was presented with 4 pairs of shoes to try on. It was really not hard to choose...Asics won my vote. My shoe size went up AGAIN and I'm now in an 11. Yep, between the size and the scars I officially have Frankenfeet.

My lesson for today is: Always ask for a discount. I mean, the worst that can happen is there is none, right? My bill was over $200! Yikes! I'm so frugal, but when it comes to my feet, I'm stuck. I just can't wear Payless shoes. So I asked the cashier in a jocular way to give me any discounts available, including the Senior Citizen discount. Of course she said I wasn't old enough, but I told her my hubby will be 75 next week and her response was the usual, "How old are you?!" I told her I'll be 49 on Friday and she said, "Happy Birthday," then, "I can only give you 10%." (that's the normal VIP discount I already get with their membership). I thanked her politely. Then out of the blue she said, "I gave you 20% off." Woohoo! I got $38.95 knocked off the bill, just for asking, and pointing out my birthday.

After that I had planned to go to Costco, but it was nearing lunchtime and my big belly was grumbling. I decided to shop the San Marcos Costco, instead of Carmel Mountain, which was on the way, so I could redeem my free noodle bowl certificate from Noodles and Company. What a nice surprise I got there! I gave the cashier my certificate, which basically said a free bowl of noodles. Well, that sounded sparse. I chose the Japanese Pan Noodles, which had veggies in them. I was really hungry so I added beef, which the menu said added $2. I was prepared to pay for it. I also ordered a small fountain drink. My total was $1.46. I got the added protein free, too. Woot! It was a yummy dish, a little sweet, a bit spicy, and very satisfying.

I had a big Costco bill, but I'm well stocked on high quality meat, organic milk and produce and I got new swim suits for the girls and myself for our upcoming Hawaii vacation. I packaged up the meat in freezer bags and tomorrow I will freeze most of the onions (it's a huge bag, but only .47/lb). I'll slice some and chop some and put 1/2 cup portions in baggies, then put all the baggies in a large freezer bag. It will not only save me some money, but save prep time...and I'll only cry once! (thanks for that lesson,!)