Friday, September 30, 2011

4 Inserts in Sundays Paper!!

Even if you don't buy papers for the coupons on a regular basis, this is a week you don't want to miss. According to Sunday Coupon Preview we can expect up to 4 separate inserts this Sunday. Redplum, Smartsource. P&G, and a special rare insert from Pepsi.  Inserts vary by region, so hopefully we get all four!

Free Public Poetry Reading in October by US Poet Laureate!

Several upcoming cultural events not to be missed, Pulitzer prize winning poet, W.S. Merwin, who was named the 17th Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress in 2010, is coming to Kent for several events, one of which is a free reading by the poet. At 2 pm on October 10th, there will be a dedication of an exhibit at the Kent State Library featuring prints from Merwin's long career. Later that evening, at 7:30 pm, there will be the public poetry reading in the Kent State Ballroom. They day before the reading, the director of the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State, David Hassler, will be leading a discussion on a selection of Merwin's works at 7:30pm at the Kent Free Library.

According to his Wikipedia page, W.S Merwin is credited with over 30 books of poetry, prose, and translation. He's won numerous awards for his writings and his career spans over six decades. At the age of 84, it is said he is as prolific as he ever has been. The University of Illinois has a selection of his poetry online, a section entitled "Modern American Poetry." The Poetry Foundation maintains a detailed biography as well as a bibliography of his works. This event should be a valuable experience for anyone in our community!

A special thanks to Kent Patch for making me aware of this event!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A New Season of TLC's Extreme this the end for us?

All the blogs and message boards are abuzz with chatter about the upcoming season of TLC's Extreme Couponing. There are critics and devoted followers digging trenches as if they are preparing for a gruesome battle, one side crying out the unrealistic nature of the show, the other praising the cleverness and skills of the people featured on the show. For my part, I stand somewhere in the middle.

Not paying full price for items and looking for deals was something born of necessity for me. I come from a big family that had very stark times financially when I was growing up. Even as a teenager I was drawn towards yard sales, clearance sections, and discount stores, wishing to get more out of my hard earned money, stretching every penny I could. As an adult, that innate thrift was further refined by my love of history and having friends like Sarah who were similarly minded when it came to spending money. For years Sarah and I have trekked through flea markets, thrift stores, and auctions, picking up things our families needed and occasionally making some extra cash for our troubles. Sarah has a whole blog on her auction life, Sarah the Picker. It was only a matter of time before we sparked on the idea of couponing.

Couponing was not a new concept to me. Several times throughout my college and early marriage years, I started to coupon. I would buy a paper, cut out coupons, sometimes I even made it to the store with them. It was rather time consuming for a student who also worked full time and so it was quickly abandoned before the savings started to show. That's not to say I wouldn't still use peelies, store coupons, and store discounts were they readily available.

This is the point where I shamefacedly admit that I did not start couponing in earnest until I saw the show on TLC, ok not really, I'm not ashamed. I find those who treat new couponers with disdain to be somewhat amusing. I have read posts where people exclaim how they have been couponing for 10, 20, 30 years as if that makes them somehow more valuable or more "real" than those who started last week or last month. They accuse new couponers of ruining couponing, of causing store policies to be changed, of clearing shelves. However, from what I have observed, both from the show and from real life encounters, greed doesn't seem to have any bearing on how long you have been doing something.

Sarah and I sat through a small marathon of the shows one night, laughing at the absurdity of some of the people featured, exclaiming how silly it was to buy a whole cart full of barbecue sauce just to stack in your garage.  We understood that the show was not meant to feature the average couponer, it was extreme couponing and in true reality show style, they went there. They showed the Snookies of the coupon world. Women who were simply organized hoarders, people whose compulsiveness lead them to buy items they didn't need simply because they were free or paid pennies for them, seemingly delusional families who didn't think it odd to take up an entire room of their house for toilet paper.

Yet, underneath the absurdity of the extreme, there are valuable lessons in the show for someone interested in couponing. They showed a variety of organizational systems for coupons. They showed the multitude of ways that one might acquire coupons, they showed various stores and how they handle coupons in their stores. Coupon policies were mentioned, and even some coupon etiquette--one of the women who bought a cart full of cat food mentioned that she calls ahead when she has big orders that might clear the shelves. There were other couponers who shopped for charity or donated their excess to charities. In times such as we have, saving money is a necessity for most families and even more are coming to need those donations that charities are receiving.

For all the negativity associated with the show, a new season or repeated episodes of the old season are not a catastrophe. TLC is not looking to film the death knell of couponing as we know it. They are looking to entertain and slightly inform, just as they do with the rest of their shows. Yes, there are selfish couponers and TLC features some of those, and there will be more of them in the general population. There will be those who do not bother to read policies nor care if they clear the shelves that day. Stores will change their policies in accordance to what is trending, whether that be people suddenly rushing in for some newly released game or lugging in their binder full of coupons. There are going to be those who try couponing and quickly give up,  because they do not have the time, because they aren't saving 95% on every purchase, or maybe it's simply not fun for them. That's fine, this is my hobby, I enjoy saving money and playing the coupon game with the various stores. I like knowing that should zombies invade tomorrow, I will have enough deodorant to last me until at least next year. A new season on a cable station is not going to dictate what is enjoyable for me.

Free Ice Cream anyone?

Even though there isn't a Cold Stone Creamery in Kent, this event is for a very worthy cause. I know some of us travel daily into areas that have a Cold Stone, so this is worth checking out. Besides, who can say no to free ice cream?

"And we’re hosting the World’s Largest Ice Cream Social to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation on Tuesday, September 27th between 5 and 8 p.m. where customers will get a free taste of our Sprinkled with Wishes™ Creation™ - Sweet Cream Ice Cream, Brownie, Rainbow Sprinkles and Fudge! " 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Amazing new coupon binder at even more amazing price!

I have a perfectly functional coupon binder, it's only flaw is that it's sometimes bulky to transport. I was in envy of Sarah's pretty 4 inch Case-it binder with a spine handle and shoulder strap but was not prepared to pay the normal retail price for the binder which is currently $25 on Amazon. Earlier in the season, I spied a variety of Case-it three inch binders at Wal-Mart in their back to school section, they were eye catching, more than big enough for my coupons and featured the spine strap and shoulder strap that I so envied, however they were $20 and I didn't feel I could justify the expense when the binder I had was perfectly adequate. 

Today, I went into Walmart for a couple of grocery items but was attracted to the clearance sections because I simply can not pass up a deal. I spotted a couple of those binders in the clearance school supply section. I picked it up to price scan while I grabbed up a few other dirt cheap items, notebooks for 20 cents, two packs of glue sticks for 40 cents. I was fully prepared to be disappointed at the price scanner but the number popped up like a bright and shiny star, "$7." If I had been anywhere besides Walmart, I might have been embarrassed by squealing out loud in delight. I didn't need it but at 65% off of the previous price, I splurged. What good is it to focus on saving money if you can't buy something fun for yourself every once in a while?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Two Free Museum tickets for this Saturday!

Smithsonian Magazine is sponsoring a nationwide Museum Day, this Saturday September 24, 2011, in the spirit of the Smithsonian Museums who offer free admission every day.There are quite a few museums and living history places in  Ohio that are participating in Museum day, the complete list can be found here.There are quite a few museums in the Cleveland area participating, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (which opens Friday 9-23-2011 with their final installation at that location!) and the Western Reserve Historical society. Over Canton's way, both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Canton Museum of Art are celebrating museum day! And if you want to travel a bit, there are even more choices a short drive away, both Zoar Village State Memorial and Historic Schoenbrunn Village are on the list for this Saturday. If a cross state hop on a Saturday appeals, the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History over the border in Pittsburgh are also participating.

To get your tickets, you must sign up on the Smithsonian Magazine's museum day site, here. This offer is valid for this Saturday only.

From the website:
  • Only an official Museum Day ticket is eligible for free entry. Official tickets can be found here on the Museum Day website soon, stay tuned.
  • One ticket per household, for two people.
  • A ticket will gain entry to only one of the participating museums, excluding parking and special events and exhibits.
  • If museum reaches capacity, museum has right to limit the number of guests until space becomes available.

Any place you choose to visit will be both a bargain and a learning experience for you and your family! Having worked in a museum myself, I can tell you that these types of events are great out reach for the institutions, bringing awareness to the items they preserve and their unique ways of educating us about our culture. I haven't yet decided where I want to spend my free tickets this weekend, but I do hope everyone takes advantage of this event!

Monday, September 19, 2011

B&T Discount Grocery--worth a gander.

One of our goals with this blog is to find local bargains within the small businesses of our community. It's easy to find deals in the huge chains and easy to overlook the small places you drive by every day. A short journey down 59 towards Ravenna will take you to B&T Discount Grocery. Located at 3011 State Route 59, just into the Ravenna mailing area, the store would be easy to miss if not for the giant B&T sign and the scrolling AAA Homes sign just past it. A left into the parking lot and there you are. 

Now, I have to be honest, my first impression of the store was not a pleasant impression. I walked in with my toddler son and found a cart. We were audibly assaulted immediately by rather loud talk radio that seemed to be an angry type of station. Normally I can't tolerate shopping in places that choose to play this type of broadcast, but I was determined to check out the store. Two employees, who I assume were also the owners, were chatting with a customer. Some kind of verbal altercation occurred in which the female employee started swearing, rather loudly, at the other employee. I don't particularly shelter my child from such language but such unprofessional behavior is still shocking, even in a small business. I shook my head and went about my business, after all, there might have been great deals in store for me!

When I first entered the store, I noted the beverage cooler near the door was stocked with various alcoholic beverages as well as individual cans of non alcoholic beverages. The store also carries tobacco products and Ohio lottery games. I checked a ticket that I'd forgotten about when I came in, alas it was a loser but it allowed for some friendly banter with the male employee of the store. His pleasant attitude really helped me to get over the rough feelings of the other employee's actions when I entered the store. He also found us later in the trip to let us know that he was marking down some items that might spark our interest.

The first aisle I encountered was stocked with all manner of chip and snack foods, with brands both familiar and unfamiliar. They were arranged in a tiered stack of bins and the prices, while not amazing, were very decent.  That row was lined on the other side with coolers, I checked a few of the expiration dates on the dairy products and juices, both out of curiosity and because one of the Simply brand juices looked off color. The juices had expired in July, while the dairy products seemed to be right in date. As the store is a salvage grocery, it's not for those who are squeamish about expiration dates. A lot of products are still good well past their expiration dates, including milk and eggs. I'm not sure about juice that expired in July, however. 

To my delight, the first aisle ended in a selection of locally grown produce. The produce was very cheaply priced, much lower than you will find at a normal grocery store. The selection was small, but it was a Monday morning and I imagine that the delivery times on local produce varies. Across from the produce was a small freezer section with vacuum packed steaks and ground beef, sausages and other items. I noted that the frozen corn dogs that I purchased last week at Walmart were half the price at B&T. 

There is quite a selection of non perishables, as can be expected for any discount or salvage grocer. Some of the cans and boxes are scratch and dent, which means savings for you if you aren't hung up on the aesthetics. They had vast quantities of both Campbell's Chicken Noodle and Tomato soups, the Chicken Noodle was 75 cents a can and the Tomato was 65 cents a can. From what I could tell most of those cans were in pristine condition. Sprinkled in with the more familiar brand names were occasional foreign and specialty branded items. I looked at something labeled "Natural Sea Salt," and I will have to take their word on it because the rest of the packaging was in an Asiatic script. I like finding little items like that for bargain prices because my family can try new and diverse things. There was also quite a selection of beverages both familiar and unfamiliar. Dry cereals took up most of one wall, again a lot of these are near or past expiration but that really shouldn't affect the taste much since the packages are sealed. 

In addition to their selection of grocery items, they also carry necessities such as diapers, Depends, and health and beauty items. The diaper selection seemed to have everything from generic, off brand, diapers to Seventh Generation diapers. The prices on the diapers were not bad at all and comparable to some of the deeper discount sale prices you can find at chain stores. Although I did not go through the health and beauty items one by one (it would have brought my two year old to the end of his patience) we did spot check a few items. They had seemingly good prices on shampoos, body washes, and bubble baths.

All in all, the store seems to be a good stop for those who do not coupon, the prices are low enough to make it worth the trip, especially for things like snacks, canned goods, and food for bagged lunches. The store does not accept manufacturer's coupons, but they do accept Visa, Mastercard, and EBT. Bags are 5 cents each but you are encouraged by signage in the store to bring your own reusable bags along. As the inventory in a business of this nature revolves and changes rather quickly, regular trips will probably net you your best deals.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Americas Got Talent @ The Kent Stage Friday Oct 7th

Friday Oct. 7th The Kent Stage is featuring 3 acts from Americas Got Talent including James McGraw..
Daniel Joseph Baker
And our very own Kent local Charles Peachock
I caught word on this show via Peachocks FaceBook page and info on pricing and times is located on The Kent Stage site.

Discount Drug Mart Deals for the Week!

A new Discount Drug Mart ad came out this week. Is is valid today, 9/14/2011 through 9/20/2011. Here's a few highlights of this week's deals, including available coupons!

M&M's Milk Chocolate Candies, 9.9oz-14oz. 2 for $5

$1/2 Mars M&M's or Dove Chocolate Bags 8/28/2011 RP Insert (exp 10/31/2011) 
$1.50/2 M&M's Candies Products All You, Sept 2011 (exp 10/31/2011)
Final Price: As low as $1.75 a bag when you buy two!

Mentos Gum, Assorted Flavors, 15 Pieces. BOGO 2 for $1.49
$1/3 Mentos Gum 9/11/2011 SS Insert (exp 10/20/2011) 

Coca Cola, Diet Coke, or Sprite, 20 pack 12 oz cans. 2 for $11
Final Price: $5 each.

Scott Towels Naturals, 6 pack, 2 for $11
$1/1 Scott Paper Towels All You, Aug 2011 (exp 10/31/2011) 
Final Price: $5 per pack.

Nature's Bounty Vitamins and Supplements, BOGO.
$1.60/2 Nature's Bounty Vitamins or Supplements
$1/1 Nature's Bounty Vitamin 

Flex-a-min Vitamins and Dietary Supplements, BOGO
$4/1 Flex-a-min Product 8/7/2011 RP Insert (exp 9/20/2011) 

Eckrich Old World Kielbasa and Smoked Sausage, $2.99
$0.55/1 Eckrich Smoked Sausage Product 8/28/2011 SS Insert (exp 9/30/2011) 
FP: $2.44 each.

Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes and Macaroni and Cheese, $2.78 each.
$0.40/1 Bob Evans Refrigerated Side Dish 8/21/2011 SS Insert (exp 10/16/2011) 
$1/2 Bob Evans Refrigerated Side Dish 8/21/2011 SS Insert (exp 10/16/2011) 
Final Price: As low as $1.34 each!

Shearer's Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, 8.5-9oz 2 for $4.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sunday Coupon Preview

You should have four in your papers this week! You'll be looking for two SmartSource, one RedPlum, and one General Mills. There look to be a lot of good coupons in this batch. Sunday Coupon Preview has the full list for you. Remember to check for the coupons before you pay!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kent International Festival September 17th 1pm-10pm

I don't know much about this event, but my kids came home from school today with a flyer for the Kent International Festival to be held downtown on Sept. 17th from 1pm-10pm. It looks like it might be a fun event with merchants, dancers, demonstrations, crafts, and even a sky lantern release!

Discount Drug Mart deals

Today starts a new ad at Discount Drug Mart. It runs from 9/7/2011-9/13/2011. The official version for our area can be found here, just in case your print version arrives late! Some of the feature sales this week that pair with coupons:

Softsoap Liquid Soap, Assorted types 7.5 oz. 5 for $5!
$.75 off one Softsoap Kids Liquid Handsoap (You must register to print. Print 2!)
Final Price: As cheap as 25 cents!

Oxiclean Powder 1.5 lb $2.99

$3/2 OxiClean Products 7/24/2011 SS Insert (exp 9/30/2011) 
Final Price: $2.98 for two or $1.49 each!
Covergirl Lip Products, Buy one get 2nd for 50% off
$2.50/2 CoverGirl Products 8/28/2011 P&G Insert (exp 9/30/2011)
$1/1 CoverGirl Products 8/28/2011 P&G Insert (exp 9/30/2011)
Final Price: Varies

Digiorno 12 inch Pizzas 2 for $10
$1/1 DiGiorno Large Pizza 9/11/2011 RP Insert (exp 10/31/2011) 
Final Price: $4 each!
Bayer Advanced, Extra Strength 500mg 20 count or Regular Strength 325 mg 24 count $2.99
$2/1 Bayer Advanced Aspirin Product 6/12/2011 SS Insert (exp 9/30/2011)
$1/1 Bayer Aspirin Products 9/11/2011 RP Insert (exp 12/31/2011)
$2/1 Bayer Advanced Aspirin Product Women's Day, Sept 2011 (exp 12/31/2011)
Final Price: As low as $.99!

Sani-Hands 50 ct. $2.99
$0.50/1 Sani-Hands Wipes 7/17/2011 SS Insert (exp 10/31/2011) 
Final Price: As low as $1.99!
New-Skin Liquid Bandage $3.99
Final Price: $2.99!

Sustenex, 30 capsules, 30 chews or 60 gummies, $9.99
Final Price: $4.99!

Special thanks to Money Saving Mom for having such a user friendly coupon database!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

$5 Off $25 at Save-A-Lot

Save-a-lot is having a Facebook promotion where you can print a $5 off coupon to use on any shopping trip of $25 or more. I go to Save-A-Lot a few times a week so I know I'll make good use of it!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September is National Coupon Month!

It seems that every month is something month these days, but according to the Promotional Marketing Association Educational Foundation, September is National Coupon Month. To help celebrate, I thought a little coupon history would be appropriate. It all started with Coca-Cola, perhaps we will have some good Coke coupons this month in honor of the money saving trend the company started.

UPDATE: Look what I found! A good Coca-Cola coupon! Don't forget that you can print it twice!

History of Coupons
1887: Coupons are born! John Pemberton, a pharmacist from Atlanta, creates the recipe for the syrup used to make Coca-Cola and distributes free drink cards to people on the street encouraging them to try the new drink at a specific pharmacy.
1891: Asa Candler, the druggist who bought the formula for Coca-Cola for $2,300, arranges with pharmacies to direct mail account-specific coupons to customers for a free glass at the soda fountain.
1894: Coca-Cola converts their free coupon to the format most typical today — good anywhere the product is sold. Retailers send the redeemed coupons to Atlanta with proof-of-purchase of the syrup for reimbursement.
1895: Next stop, the local grocer! C.W. Post distributes the first cents-off coupon worth 1 penny toward his new health cereal, Grape Nuts.
1930s: Coupons are a staple in American households because of the Depression. Everyone needs to save money wherever possible and clipping coupons clips weekly grocery bills.
1940s: Supermarkets sprout across the country and continue the coupon tradition that had begun in neighborhood groceries.
1957: The Nielsen Coupon Clearing House becomes the first clearing house devoted to coupon redemption. Coupons have created a new industry.
1965: One-half of Americans are now coupon users.
1975: Coupon popularity continues to grow. Over 35 billion coupons are distributed and 65% of American households clip!
1998: America celebrates the first National Coupon Month. Children create art designs of their favorite coupons in the First Coupon Month Contest.
1999: Online coupons begin to gain momentum.
2000: Parents learn how to involve children in saving with coupons for National Coupon Month.
2008: 89% of consumers use coupons while shopping at supermarkets as a way to economize during a period of rising prices.
2009: A total of 311 billion coupons were distributed — the largest single-year distribution quantity ever recorded. Shoppers saved nearly $3.5 billion with coupons.
2010: Consumer packaged goods coupon distribution and redemption (as of first half) continue to build on record-breaking growth trends of 2009. Consumer purchase behavior points to a permanent shift toward value and saving as the United States recovers from the worst recession since the Great Depression.  
2011: First-half 2011 coupon redemption volume reached 1.75 billion, a moderate 2.9% increase compared to the first half of last year. In total, consumers saved $2 billion in the first six months of 2011. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

No Coupons in the papers tomorrow!

They do not put coupons in the papers on holiday weekends. Just thought I would give you a reminder! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

TimeBank Harvest Potluck and Social

 The Kent Community Time Bank seems like an amazing idea for any member of our community. I have been intending to get involved with the organization. It seems like a good way to get to know members of your community and benefit without spending money! Looking over their websites, there are members with a wide variety of skills, volunteering earns you time dollars that you can then spend on the services of another member. Need a pie baked? A sitter? A massage? They seem to have it all. They apparently lack a plumber. More information to follow as I get to know more about the organization but you can explore for yourself at their Facebook site or main website.

From the facebook event page!

Friday, September 2 · 6:30pm - 9:00pm


Created By

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Timebanking is a concept that takes a while to grow on you! Those who come to the potlucks are growing the fastest! It's true!

Join members for a wonderful harvest potluck and learn more about our wonderful timebank family and all that it has to offer.

KCTB welcomes special guest, Travis, from Empower Portage. Travis is really excited to tell you how timebanking will weave it's way through their life changing program and how you can take part to earn time dollars!!

In addition, as requested, I (Abby) will be at the shelter early to tell any interested member about my experiences at the National Conference. This informal meeting will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30! I am excited to share with you timebanking at a National Level!

As always, we need help with the potluck in terms of setting up, taking down and bringing some beverages. Please consider taking a task this month...earn a few more time dollars and make the system go round!

Email Tina for a job for September's potluck:

Excited to welcome September in with all of you!