Category Archives: Time Managment

A little CVS on a Wednesday night



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 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?

Electronic Distraction

I co-sleep with my MacBook.  You think I’m kidding? I dream in status updates and podcasts.

In so many ways, my laptop is a total blessing. I got it before my senior year of college, and I was able to be a good mom and a good student because of it.  It fit perfectly in my diaper bag, so I could take the kids to the park and work on a paper while they played. I rode the bus to school and could keep up with my writing during the hour-long trip. I was able to record my professors while taking notes that would synch up with the recording to catch any tidbit I missed.

When I was confined to bed rest during my last pregnancy, I was able to keep family and friends instantly updated via Twitter and Facebook on my latest prayer requests, praise reports, and cries to come take my kids out of the house!  When my husband woke up in the middle of the night with a killer headache, my computer was literally right next to my bed for me to look up his symptoms and diagnose meningitis before we called the ER (and yes, that is a blessing, because I’m usually a “go back to bed” kind of nurse).

Since we’ve moved out to the desert, my laptop has been my lifeline to friends and family: a way to stay connected with the people I love and who care about my family and I.  It is also where I go to write, and contains pages of my musings, imaginings, and creativity. I use my iCal to alert me of my weekly chores, so it cheerfully pops up at 9am Saturday morning to remind me that it’s time to scrub the shower.

However, my computer is also the biggest waster of my time.  First thing in the morning, I pop open my computer and see who’s sent me email, who’s baby slept through the night, what drama I may have missed while my eyes were closed.  TweetDeck notifies me when anyone posts to Twitter or Facebook, and I find myself clicking, commenting and connecting with people for whom I really do care, but honestly don’t have the time.  My husband makes fun of my daily, sometimes hourly, status updates. A few minutes here and there turns into a few hours by the end of the day.

I may have sat down intending to “just check” something, but invariably, I spend more time in front of the screen than is good for my family. I have children to teach, a home to run, finances to manage and, oh yeah, a husband to adore.  So while I love the blessings and convenience my laptop gives me, I know that I am totally out of balance with the amount of time I spend “connecting” with my friends.

In 1 Timothy 5:13-14, Paul writes to Timothy concerning young women:

“…they learn to be idle, going about to people’s houses; and not only idle, but also full of words and curiosity, speaking things not becoming.  Therefore, I will that younger women be married, and bring forth children, and be housewives, to give no occasion to the adversary for reproach”.

I’ve got the second half of this passage down: I got married at 20, I have 3 kids, I’m learning how to be an effective housewife, and I’m sure I don’t give Satan a chance to pick on me.  But the first half? Well, I need to work on that.  Although I’m not physically going over to my girlfriends homes a lot, I do spend a lot of time checking in on their lives, chatting with them on their latest news or blog or video post. It isn’t that I am “speaking of things not becoming”, but I’m not using my time wisely.  If I’m going to do a great job being a wife, mother and housekeeper, I’m going to have to cut back on my Facebook time. That’s all there is to it!

I’m not sure how that’s going to work out exactly in my life.  I was talking to Mary on the phone the other day and she says that she gives her self pretty strict time limits for social networking, like when homeschooling is finished for the day or when the kids are in bed.  I know of some YA authors who “go dark” on the weekends: no Twitter/Email/Facebook on the computer, just writing.

How are YOU doing at balancing computer time between idle fun and practical application? Have you set limits for yourself?

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