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  • What I Learned This Weekend: Patience Pays Off (With a Little Luck)

    We have a Brita faucet filter that’s at least five years old, so I decided last month that it’s time for a new one. (We have very hard water, and there’s quite a bit of discoloration where the water comes out.) I printed off my coupons – one was a Target coupon for $10 off with the purchase of a Brita system and multipack of filters, and a manufacturer’s coupon for $4 off any Brita system (neither coupon is available now).

    When I went to Target last month, the filters were on sale, but the systems weren’t. The Target coupon didn’t expire until 7/31, so I decided to wait. I checked the ad each week, and the shelf when I visited the store. But it wasn’t until the past Saturday that I spotted a good deal on its last day – if it was in the ad, I’d totally missed it.

    The cheapest faucet mount system was on sale for $14.84 (normally $16.49). And the multipack of filters was on sale for $25 with a $5 gift card offer. So with my coupons, I paid $25.84 plus tax. And I got back a $5 gift card to spend next time, so it was like paying $20.84. Considering the multipack of filters is usually around $29, I felt like I’d hit the lottery.

    What I realized afterward is that I’ve changed in the two years since I started playing The Drugstore Game. By nature, I’m not the most patient person, but I’ve learned that if I can wait, a good deal will come along. It makes me uncomfortable to see only a cup of mayo left in the jar and not have an unopened jar in the cupboard waiting, but I’ve learned to wait because maybe it’ll go on sale the next week – and it usually does.

    The corollary to this lesson is that it isn’t necessary to hit every sale at every store, because the deals will repeat themselves :)

    Morning Coffee: New Cellfire Coupons

    There are new coupons at – they’re the usual coupons for Nature Valley, General Mills, etc. Load them onto your store rewards card before they become unavailable. Links via Escalate Media Affiliate Network

    Get a printable coupon for 75 cents/1 Goldfish Grahams. Because it’s a new product, I would expect to find good sales on this product that make it close to free. Link via Brandcaster.

    Today’s Ebates Daily Double store is Victoria’s Secret, which is giving 4% cash back (instead of the usual 2%). It looks like the Semi-Annual sale is going on right now, when you can usually find some steep discounts. To learn more about Ebates, read my original review. If you sign up through my referral link, we’ll both get a bonus when you make your first purchase within 30 days!

    Starting 7/1, Staples is reducing the amount they pay for recycled ink cartridges to $2 each. So if you have cartridges to recycle, do it before the end of the month. And don’t forget that this week, when you spend $49 or more on HP ink, you’ll get double the rewards for recycling your used cartridges.

    Speaking of Staples, get a printable coupon for 15% off your purchase (excluding computers, expires 6/19). Here’s my plan: Buy one two-pack of HP ink in the ad (which is what my printer takes) at $57.99. Use the 15% off coupon and pay $49.29 + tax. I’ll get 20% of my purchase price back in Staples Rewards, which, assuming they go off the discounted price, will be $9.86. I’m also going to take 4 used cartridges to be recycled at $6 each, giving me another $24 in Staples Rewards. I’m hoping that since I’m doing this before the end of the quarter, which would be 6/30, that I’ll get my Rewards certificate in time to use it in the back-to-school sales.

    Moneywise Moms has a cute little project for personalized flip flops.

    Coupon Geek explains how you can get a free sample of Dove Shampoo via Dish Network.

    Get a printable coupon for $1/5 Del Monte Fruit Cup Naturals.

    Get a free sample of Bull’s Eye Barbeque Sauce, and a printable coupon for $1 off the product. (Note: the site for the sample loads better in IE than FF.)

    $5 Dinners has some suggestions on keeping expenses in check while controlling celiac disease and diabetes.

    Banner via Escalate Media Affiliate Network

    Morning Coffee: Four Days to Christmas

    I’ve been so busy that I simply haven’t been able to register how far into the month we are, but goodness, Christmas is at the end of the week! I wonder if my sense of the month will be better when Alex starts kindergarten and my life is once again ruled by the academic calendar . . .

    Amazon has the Avent ISIS Manual Breast Pumpon sale for $26.25, which is a super low price. When I was pregnant with Alex, this was the manual pump with the highest recommendation from the Baby Bargains book.I actually bought one for about $40, but never used it because my supply problems* forced me to immediately buy a Medela Pump in Style Advanced.Disclosure: I’m an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

    The Toy Lightning Dealscontinue at Amazon today – there’s Buzz Lightyear starting right now, Bakugan at 10 a.m. PST, Polly Pocket at 11 a.m., and Star Wars at noon. The last deal is at 5 p.m.

    Amazon also has a new bunch of $5 magazine subscriptions,including Sunset, Southern Living and Health. There are also new $10 subscriptionsfor Entertainment Weekly and In Style. Offers expire 12/27.

    A Thrifty Mom explains how you can get a free ESPN poster with your child’s picture.

    Mommy Snacks has details on how to get a $5 off $25 Old Navy purchase coupon.

    Common Sense with Money
    has details on how to get a coupon for free Aveda products.

    *Previously: More on breastfeeding

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer’s full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

    Stockpiles mean not having to worry during times of stress

    During the hospital crisis, the last thing on my mind was shopping. I’ll admit right off the bat that we ate a ton of take-out for about a week. But, it could have been a lot worse. Right from the start, we didn’t have to buy any snacks. Snack-type foods are pretty easy to find super cheap or even free when you combine sales and coupons. So we had a lot of cookies, crackers, Pop Tarts, and such around the house that we could take to the hospital and have on hand.

    We are thoroughly stocked on nonperishables like paper goods and toiletries. So if I don’t want to go shopping for a few weeks, that’s okay. We’re not going to run out of toilet paper or toothbrushes or shampoo. I did drag myself to CVS this week for the Huggies deal because I just opened the last package of Pullups (we seem to have raced through the packages I picked up last month at Rite Aid). But otherwise, I could easily not go shopping and not run out of anything important for at least three months, and maybe much longer.

    And that’s the beauty of stockpiling when things are cheap or free with coupons and sales: You don’t need to stress when times are tough.

    Costco vs Trader Joe’s vs Ralphs

    We’ve been having connectivity issues this week, so I’ll be back sometime this weekend with regular posts (I hope!).

    In the meantime, I’ve been revisiting the issue of how prices at warehouse stores compare to other stores. (Mercedes of Common Sense with Money wrote a great post showing how buying in bulk is not cheaper last summer.) The specific stores I’ve been thinking about are Costco, Trader Joe’s and Ralphs.

    I shop at Trader Joe’s and Ralphs weekly. And even after reading Mercedes’s post, I’ve maintained my Costco membership, after calculating that the membership is worth it for the savings on gas and birthday cakes alone. That’s right, I said birthday cakes. A half sheet cake at Costco is $16.99 – $2 more than a year ago, by the way. A half sheet cake at Ralphs is about $30, depending on the design. And gas is an average of 10 to 20 cents per gallon cheaper, which works out to a savings of $1 to $2 per week.

    I go to Costco very infrequently, but I went recently and confirmed that sale prices at Ralphs and Pavilions are better than Costco’s every day prices. And Trader Joe’s low every day price is often better than Costco’s, but not for everything. Bananas are cheaper at Costco by about 10 cents per pound, organic ground beef is cheaper by 66 cents per pound, and organic low fat milk is cheaper by 6 cents per half gallon. It’s not much of a difference on a weekly basis, but I can freeze the meat and the milk is ultra pasteurized, so the expiration date is pretty far off. So I might make a run to Costco every two to three months to stock up on those items.