Monthly Archives: July 2012

Coupon results 7/24/12


Coupon results 7/24/12

CVS & Walgreens 7/24/12

I’m not an expert on this couponing thing. I’ve read the books, I peruse the blogs, I drool over photos of expert couponers’ stockpiles and wish I could do the same thing. I do try, though, to save money where ever I can. Well, this last week, by some celestial alignment of paycheck, organization, planning, and kid-free moments, I managed to hit CVS and Walgreens and saved more than 90% on some pricey products that I usually just buy at the Dollar Tree.

Here’s how I did it.

CVS has a special bonus program where different products each week will earn you ExtraBucks (EBs). Walgreens has a similar program, where products will earn you RegisterRewards (RRs). When planning my shopping trips, I look through the weekly ads to see what products have EBs or RRs attached to them AND that I have coupons for. (Oh yeah, you have to get the Sunday paper to get coupons. I subscribe to the Sunday paper and my aunt and cousin save their coupon inserts for me, so I get 3 copies of the inserts). However, this planning and matching up coupons with EBs and RRs can take a LONG time, so I let other people do the hard work and check out couponing websites for the best match-ups.

There’s a million coupon sites out there, but hands-down, my favorite is KrazyCouponLady.com because their site is super easy to use and has a fabulous search feature that lets me see exactly what I want. Also, when you click on CVS or Walgreens (or RiteAid, too, but we don’t have RiteAid in Arizona), the Krazy Ladies write up shopping plans for getting the most bang for $5. You can do this a few different ways. One strategy is to “roll” your transactions: buy a few items that will earn you rewards, then, take your rewards from that transaction and go purchase more items, paying for the second transaction with your rewards from the first transaction. That’s fun, but time consuming.

This week, I had all the kids with me on Friday, and didn’t want to spent 30 minutes at both stores rolling transactions, so I purchased all the items that had rewards AND that I had coupons for. Friday was pretty pricey:

CVS – $26.33 in product – $11.36 in coupons + $1.71 tax = paid $16.68 (40% savings) and received 6.75 ExtraBucks

Walgreens – $20.76 in product – $6.09 in coupons + $1.60 tax = paid $16.27 (27% savings) and received 10 RegisterRewards

On Sunday, the ads reset at the stores, so a whole new set of deals came out. I’d already spent our grocery budget, but because I had the EBs and RRs from Friday, I was able to use them to purchase the NEW deals for this week last night while Anthony watched the kids at home. I bought all the items shown in the photo at the top, and basically just had to pay the tax on everything. I learned last night that I’ll never be able to use coupons, EBs, or RRs to cover tax, which is kinda silly, I think. I had to scan my debit card to cover the tax last night (note to self: raid kids piggy bank for spare change next time).

Tuesday’s result:

CVS – after coupons and EBs: paid $2.62 (85% savings) and received 5 EBs

Walgreens – after coupons and RRs: paid $1.19 (94% savings) and received 4 RRs 

Yes, it takes some coordinating, planning, and QUIET (seriously, whenever I try to coupon WITH my 4 kids, I never save as much), but it is worth it to get NICE products (I’m so excited to shave with the Venus razor!).

So what do you think? Have you thought about couponing or actually started couponing? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? What’s the best deal you’ve scored?

My Autism Interview


(This is taken from a website I’ve just joined, myautismteam.com. I processed so much while answering these questions, that I had to post it here.)

Q: Tell us your autism story.

A:

While completing my degree, then-three-year-old Jonathan and one-year-old Hannah went to the university preschool. That was when we first heard that Jonathan might be autistic. His teacher had a specialist evaluate him (IN the room with 30 other kids running around). Needless to say, he didn’t do well on that test, and the specialist (who was quite insensitive to us) said he was likely autistic. We got a second opinion at a smaller preschool, where they evaluated him in a quiet room with just the teachers. He did much better then, and was labeled developmentally delayed with some social and speech issues (mainly lack of eye-contact and echolailia – repeating/parroting words/sounds, and non-conversational language).

We immediately enrolled in an early intervention program that we attended twice a week with him. He made great strides and by the time he was 5, was bright, energetic, and loved learning. He has an amazing ability to hear something once and be able to remember it. We moved to a new state and I homeschooled him. It was a fun year, teaching him how to read, exploring his favorite subjects (marine biology, history, space), and spending lots of time with him. I did have a hard time with his handwriting…no matter how much we worked on it, it seemed like every day I would have to re-teach him how to write letters. I suspected then that he might be dyslexic, because he was constantly flipping letters.

For kindergarten/pre-first, we enrolled him in a Montessori school. He loves school and his teachers, but his teachers again noticed things that were “off” about Jonathan. He was brilliant, but had no patience. He made lots of friends, but didn’t know how to talk with them. He talked AT everyone, had a hard time sitting still and listening, and had an incredibly short fuse. He was easily frustrated and would get angry very quickly. We noticed a lot of the behavioral stuff at home. He would go from being in a great mood to throwing toys across the room and growling. He would be sitting, playing quietly to suddenly yelling and screaming at apparently nothing. We discussed these concerns with his teacher in his first evaluation (Fall 2011), and she asked our permission to have him tested. We finally had a meeting in April of 2012 with the school’s special education resource person, a child psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, his teacher, and the principal. They were WONDERFUL! Each had done a detailed evaluation of Jonathan and they all seemed to really GET our boy. Through their in-depth testing and discussing all the results, we agreed with their diagnosis that Jonathan has Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism.

We are now in the process of researching therapies, diets, medications, etc. to help Jonathan succeed as he goes into first grade. I also strongly suspect that our two-year-old son, Joshua, is also on the autism spectrum, perhaps even to a greater extent than Jonathan.

Q: Most days I find myself…

A:Waking up to make coffee and lunch for my husband, trying to have a few minutes of quiet time reading or Facebooking before the kids get up for their breakfast. I work from home as an editor, so once the breakfast chaos is over, I bounce back and forth between settling the kids with snacks or activities and getting work done. I try not to let the TV babysit, but it’s especially hard during the summer when it’s too hot for the kids to play outside!

Q:When did you know your child was on the Spectrum?

A:This year, when Jonathan was 6. We didn’t agree with the initial evaluation when he was three, but that was mostly because the way it was presented to us was harsh and totally out of the blue…basically the specialist said that we must not have been paying any attention to our son because he was clearly autistic. We just couldn’t accept that, since he seemed totally fine to us. However, the second evaluation (at age 6) was much more thorough, we were included in every test and the results were very clearly explained to us before the diagnosis was determined.

Q:What therapies (if any) work best for your child?

A:Jonathan definitely has sensory processing issues (sound, mainly), so we try to give him a varied “sensory diet.” He especially responds to deep pressure. When he starts freaking out and getting overwhelmed, we will lay him down on the couch, cover him with the couch cushions (except his face, of course), and lay over him. It sounds crazy, but the “couch sandwich” settles him down SO quickly (it also works with our 2-year-old). We have also noticed that he does much better with a protein-packed breakfast. Days that start with cheesy eggs and sausage go MUCH better than milk-and-cereal days.

Q: What do you wish you knew then, that you know now?

A:Autism is NOT a big, scary word like cancer. You don’t die from it. It’s just a different word that helps describe my child.
Jonathan has blue eyes.
Jonathan has curly hair.
Jonathan is tall.
Jonathan is autistic.

Also, I wish I was more confident in myself as a parent instead of instantly blaming myself. Jonathan’s autism isn’t my fault. It isn’t because of something I did or didn’t do.

Q: What are your biggest challenges or difficulties?

A:We are still working on Jonathan’s intense mood-swings. We are looking into finding a therapist or child psychologist to help him and us come up with better strategies for keeping him from going off so often. In school, he has several goals with respect to handwriting, sitting still, finishing tasks, etc. We are also trying to make our life more predictable, since surprises or changes in schedule are really tough for ALL the kids in our family.

Q: What would you share with parents new to autism?

A:When we walked out of the meeting where Jonathan was officially labeled as autistic, I remember this odd sense of newness, heaviness, strangeness. It wasn’t until we walked into Jonathan’s classroom and he ran up to my husband and me and hugged us that I had a mini-revelation: he’s the same boy. We didn’t get a new kid in our lives, we got a new word. It’s a word with a lot of weight, sure, but our son hadn’t changed one single bit. We had. And we continue to. It’s OK to grieve a little bit, to feel a little bad. We gave ourselves the weekend to mull over the newness of autism in our lives. After that, it was back to normal. Our focus now is how we can help Jonathan.

The autism label has helped us understand some of Jonathan’s behaviors. Things that we used to think were discipline issues (chewing on his shirts, making annoying repetitious sounds/movements), we have realized are clues that he needs sensory stimulation and it’s time for him to go spin, jump, lay down for the couch sandwich, or eat. Autism has given us a different lens to view our son through. It’s not a scary thing, it’s just new. But the great thing is, there are SO many other people who have pioneered the way. Parents new to autism NOW don’t have to go blazing trails, we just have to start looking around and asking for directions.

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