Sakariasen's Cheapskate Blog

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My Cheapskate Trip to Pathmark December 11, 2010

Pathmark is the closest supermarket for me. There are one or two other stores but they are way more of a trip and one of them doesn’t even have good deals most of the time. My last trip to Pathmark was a pretty good one. Here are the details below!

 

Spent: $56.45

Two items bought for someone else: $15.33

Actual Amount Spent: $41.42

Saved: $70.10 ($59.85 in PAC Savings; $10.25 in MFR. Coupons.)

Actual Amount Saved: $69.00

 

WHAT I GOT:

2 Boxes of Rice Crispies

1 Box of Tetley Tea Bags

2 Cans of Pam Spray

6 cans of Healthy Harvest Soups

2 Jars of Jam (One was bought for someone else)

1 14 lb Jug of Cat Litter

1 Huge Bag of Cat Food (Bought for someone else)

2 Jars of Peanut Butter

2 Packs of Stella Doro Breadsticks

5 Boxes of Royal Pudding

2 Packages of Starkist Tuna

2 Packages of Polly-O Mozzarella

2 Packages of Breyers Ice Cream

2 Packages of Oscar Meyer Bacon

1 Box of Devil Dogs

1 Box of Taco Shells

1 Package of Heart-Healthy Thomas English Muffins

1 Bottle of Naturally Delicious Salad Dressing

 

Stay cheap my friends!

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My Cheapskate Trip to Walgreens December 9, 2010

My last trip to Walgreens went something like this:
-I spent $25.97
-I received back $5.00 in Jingle Bucks
-I saved $57.41. Yes. I saved more than double of what I spent.

 

What I Bought:
-Two 56 oz jugs of Softsoap
-Two gallons of Edy’s Ice cream (So, really I spent less than $20 because this purchase was for someone else.)
-Two dozen eggs
-Two jars of peanut butter
-Three cans of salmon
-Two four pound bags of Domino sugar
-Twenty pack of Energizer batteries (AA)
-Eight pack of Energizer batteries (D)

 

How I Did This:
-The Softsoap was buy one get one free. It’s cheaper to buy big jugs of soap and refill your little soap bottles that you have at home. I wasn’t able to pick up a Walgreens coupon booklet until later so I could have saved another $0.50 but really, I won’t kick myself over that. It’s not worth it.
-The Edy’s was buy one get one free. I would never have paid the price that it was for ice cream but someone else I knew wanted it so I purchased it for them.
-The eggs were on sale for $0.99/dozen. I had a coupon for $0.55 off two dozen eggs.
-I got all of those batteries almost completely free. I had a $10.00 off coupon and a $5.00 off coupon Energizer batteries that the company sent to me directly after writing them a nice letter. This was completely awesome. I saved $15.00 on batteries!
-I had a coupon for $1.00/can of salmon.
-The jars of peanut butter were on sale—2 for $3.00
-I had two coupons for Domino Sugar. One for $3.00 off any Domino product, so I ended up getting one bag for free, and $0.40 off any bag of Domino sugar.

 

Hopefully there is something great I can buy next week from Walgreens with my Jingle Bucks. Perhaps some Christmas stocking stuffers—like candy!

 

Stay cheap my friends!

 

Six Things to Never Pay More Than a Dollar For December 6, 2010

There are some things that I absolutely refuse to pay more than $1 for and you may wonder why. I have two primary reasons: (1) they go on sale regularly and (2) they are stockpile items. What does the latter mean? This means that I can buy many of these items at one time and they will last for awhile. As you see, these two rules aren’t applicable to everything on this list but they are applicable for most things. Here are six things I never pay more than $1.00 for—with one exception. šŸ™‚

 

Eggs – I will not pay more than $1 for eggs. Eggs go on sale regularly and will last for 1-2 months after you purchase them. Today I bought Grade A Large Eggs at Walgreens that were $1 per dozen. I bought two dozen because I had a coupon for $0.55 off two dozen eggs. Now that coupon is a rare find but finding eggs for a dollar isn’t. If I was absolutely desperate for eggs, you might find me willing to spend $1.50 but I have only had to do that once in the past six months. This was the one exception I mentioned above but it is also the one thing I can’t really stockpile.

 

Pasta – Boxes of pasta regularly go on sale for $1 or less. If you are slightly more health conscious, I often find whole grain Barilla pasta on sale. If you’re not particular, you can easily find them for $0.88/box. And when you do, STOCK UP. You do not even need to cook half a box of pasta for one person and pasta will last forever. (<—Understood hyperbole inserted here.)

 

Pasta Sauce – Again, pasta sauces regularly go on sale for $0.88-$1.00. You can buy the canned stuff but I prefer the jars. I have found some sauces to be more watered down than others but overall, I find that I can get brands that I love on sale. I always stockpile my sauce alongside my pasta.

 

Canned Tuna – Tuna is on sale more often than any of the abovementioned items. Tuna is regularly on sale for $0.69-$0.99/can depending on the brand and type. Light tuna is usually cheaper than regular tuna but sometimes not by much. For a healthier option, stick to the water, even though we all know it tastes better in oil.

 

English Muffins – More than ever I have seen English Muffins on sale—a 6-pack for $1.00. Thus, I often find myself buying 12-packs for $1.99. Recently I received coupons from Thomas so I was able to get a 12-pack for $1.00. What do I do? I freeze them! You can easily defrost them when you’re ready to eat them but just keep an eye on them—if they’re in the freezer for too long, they may start to shrink. Otherwise, I don’t have a problem with freezing them.

 

Canned Vegetables – Let me make this clear: I will never buy vegetables if I cannot get TWO cans for $1.00. For the most part, I stick to corn but if your palate isn’t as particular as mine, you can probably stretch that even further. These are very quick and easy sides for so many meals and they are an absolute staple.

 

Stay cheap my friends!

 

Cheapskate Coupon Challenge: Week One Round-Up November 13, 2010

I decided to update my list of the coupons I have received as of this week. If I received something from the company, IĀ  bolded the name. If it was a coupon success, I underlined the word success for your ease visually. Hopefully I have more to add next week!

 

Aleve (Bayer)

Amy’s Kitchen

Arm & Hammer (Church & Dwight Co.)

Arrid (Church & Dwight Co.)

Aunt Jemima (Quaker Oats Company)

Aussie (Procter & Gamble)

Ball Park Franks (Sara Lee Corporation)

Birds Eye

Burt’s Bees

Bush’s Beans ā€“ Success! A nice letter along with four coupons: two save .55 on any two cans of Bush’s Best Beans and two .55 off any size/variety of Bush’s Baked Beans.

Cabot Cheese ā€“ Success! They sent me some information about their products, some recipes and two coupons for $1.00 off any two Cabot products.

Cape Cod Chips

Carmex (Carma Laboratories)

Carnation Instant Breakfast (Nestle)

Carolina Rice (Riviana Foods)

Celestial Seasonings

Cetaphil (Galderma Laboratories)

Cheez-It (Kellogg)

Clif Bar

Crisco (J.M. Smucker)

Country Crock (Unilever) ā€“ Success! A nice letter and a holiday recipe collection. Included a booklet of coupons for savings between .50-$1.00 on Bertolli Frozen Products, Breyers Ice Cream, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Helmann’s, Lipton Tea, Wish-Bone Salad Dressings, Degree Anti-Perspirant, Dove Bar/Body Wash, Ponds Towelettes, Q-Tips, Suave and Vaseline.

Dannon Yogurt (Dannon Company)

Del Monte (Pounce, Meow Mix, Del Monte Veggies)

Dial (Henkel) ā€“ Success! $0.40 off any Renuzit product except candles, $0.35 off any Dial product, $0.35 off any Soft & Dri product, $0.50 off any Liquid or Dry Purex Detergent, $0.50 off any Soft Scrub product and $0.35 off any Right Guard product. *Note: Company also stated in their letter that I could contact them for coupons every three months.

Domino Sugar (Domino Foods)

Dunkin Donuts

Eggland’s Best

Ellio’s (McCain Foods)

El Monterey (Ruiz Foods)

Energizer

Eveready

Fleichmann’s ActiveDry Yeast (ACH Foods) ā€“ Success! I had actually complained that one of my packets did not cause a reaction whereas my other ones did. (I had done the same recipe.) I got a coupon for one free 3-strip ActiveDry Yeast.

Friskies (Nestle)

Frito-Lay (*Do not recall what specifically I wrote about to them—probably Lay’s or Doritos.)

Hebrew National (ConAgra)

Heckers Flour ā€“ Fail! I did not get any coupons but I did receive a booklet of recipes for whole wheat rolls, breads, bagels, pizza, cookies, muffins and coffee cake, which I felt was a nice gesture.

Hostess (Spoke about Mini Muffins, Donettes and 100 calorie packs—IBC)

Hungry Man (Pinnacle)

Hunt’s (ConAgra)

Ivory (Procter & Gamble)

Jif (J.M. Smucker)

Johnsonville Sausage

Jolly Time (American Pop Corn Company)

Kleenex (Kimberly-Clark)

Kozy Shack

Liquid Plumr (Clorox Company)

McCain Potatoes (McCain Foods)

Mrs. Dash (Alberto-Culver) ā€“ Success! They sent me a nice letter, two sample packets and two coupons for .50 off my next purchase. They also generously included a small booklet of healthy recipes.

Old El Paso (Betty Crocker)

Olivio

Pace Salsa (CSC Brands)

Pam (ConAgra Foods)

Pantene (Procter & Gamble)

Pepsi (PepsiCo)

Polly-O (Kraft)

Quaker Oats (Quaker Oats)

Ragu (Unilever)

SCJohnson (*Do not recall all products discussed. Scrubbing Bubbles was probably one of them.) Success! Scrubbing Bubbles must have been the product I complemented because I received a coupon for a free product up to $3.50. SCJohnson also sent me a little booklet with additional coupons: two more coupons for Scrubbing Bubbles products ($3.00 & $1.50 for a Power Sprayer starter kit and Power Sprayer refill, respectively), $2.00 off any Pledge/Armstrong floor cleaner, .50 off any Windex Multi-Surface cleaning product, .50 off any Ziploc brand bags, $1.00 off any Shout Color Catcher, $3.00 off any Glade Sense & Spray starter kit, $1.00 off any Glade Relaxing Moments Collection, $1.00 off any Glade Tough Odor Solutions, $2.00 off any OFF! Clip-on kit, and $4.00 off any Raid Max Bug Barrier starter.

Shady Brook Farms (Cargill Meat Solutions)

Simple Green (Sunshine Makers) Success! I believe I actually asked them for a sample and they sent me a plastic spray bottle, a small bottle of concentrated solution and very short instructions on diluting it. They also sent me a $2.00 coupon. This was the first thing I got and they sent it first class mail. Thanks Simple Green! You are awesome!

Sorrento (Lactalis)

Snyder’s

Splenda (McNeil Nutritionals) ā€“ Success! I just want to say that this company is completely awesome! They sent me a giant stirring spoon with the Kool-Aid face on it. They sent me a TON of recipes, 3-4 booklets of them. They also sent me four $1 off coupons on any Benecol spread as well as a giant magnet for Splenda conversions and three $1 off any Splenda product.

Stacy’s Pita Chips (Frito-Lay)

Starkist

St. Ives

Stonyfield

Suave (Unilever)

Super Pretzel (J&J)

Sweet Baby Rays

Tetley Tea

Thomas’ English Muffins (Bimbo Bakeries) ā€“ Success! Two coupons for me to save $1.00 on any Thomas’ product.

Tidy Cats (Nestle)

TRESemme (Alberto-Culver)

Tropicana

Turkey Hill

Unilever (Other products I cannot recall.)

White Castle

Wonder Bread (HBI)

YoPlait

Zatarain’s

 

*I would just like to also mention Renuzit, who mailed me a coupon after I could not print one out from their site. Thank you Renuzit!

 

Cheapskate Coupon Challenge: Companies Contacted November 12, 2010

Below I have compiled the list of companies I have contacted thus far. Please keep in mind that many of these companies are owned by one overarching company. For example, P&G and ConAgra own many of the products that I contacted. Some of these I was able to recall and mention—others I was not. For ease, I put all of them in alphabetical order.

*NOTE: I will update this list if I continue to contact companies. Check the date to see when I added them.

Aleve (Bayer)

Amy’s Kitchen

Arm & Hammer (Church & Dwight Co.)

Arrid (Church & Dwight Co.)

Aunt Jemima (Quaker Oats Company)

Aussie (Procter & Gamble)

Ball Park Franks (Sara Lee Corporation)

Birds Eye

Burt’s Bees

Bush’s Beans

Cabot Cheese

Cape Cod Chips

Carmex (Carma Laboratories)

Carnation Instant Breakfast (Nestle)

Carolina Rice (Riviana Foods)

Celestial Seasonings

Cetaphil (Galderma Laboratories)

Cheez-It (Kellogg)

Clif Bar

Crisco (J.M. Smucker)

Country Crock (Unilever)

Dannon Yogurt (Dannon Company)

Del Monte (Pounce, Meow Mix, Del Monte Veggies)

Dial (Henkel)

Domino Sugar (Domino Foods)

Dunkin Donuts

Eggland’s Best

Ellio’s (McCain Foods)

El Monterey (Ruiz Foods)

Energizer

Eveready

Fleichmann’s ActiveDry Yeast (ACH Foods)

Friskies (Nestle)

Frito-Lay (*Do not recall what specifically I wrote about to them—probably Lay’s or Doritos.)

Hebrew National (ConAgra)

Heckers Flour

Hostess (Spoke about Mini Muffins, Donettes and 100 calorie packs—IBC)

Hungry Man (Pinnacle)

Hunt’s (ConAgra)

Ivory (Procter & Gamble)

Jif (J.M. Smucker)

Johnsonville Sausage

Jolly Time (American Pop Corn Company)

Kleenex (Kimberly-Clark)

Kozy Shack

Liquid Plumr (Clorox Company)

McCain Potatoes (McCain Foods)

Mrs. Dash (Alberto-Culver)

Old El Paso (Betty Crocker)

Olivio

Pace Salsa (CSC Brands)

Pam (ConAgra Foods)

Pantene (Procter & Gamble)

Pepsi (PepsiCo)

Polly-O (Kraft)

Quaker Oats (Quaker Oats)

Ragu (Unilever)

SCJohnson (*Do not recall all products discussed. Scrubbing Bubbles was probably one of them.)

Shady Brook Farms (Cargill Meat Solutions)

Simple Green (Sunshine Makers)

Sorrento (Lactalis)

Snyder’s

Splenda (McNeil Nutritionals)

Stacy’s Pita Chips (Frito-Lay)

Starkist

St. Ives

Stonyfield

Suave (Unilever)

Super Pretzel (J&J)

Sweet Baby Rays

Tetley Tea

Thomas’ English Muffins (Bimbo Bakeries)

Tidy Cats (Nestle)

TRESemme (Alberto-Culver)

Tropicana

Turkey Hill

Unilever

White Castle

Wonder Bread (HBI)

YoPlait

Zatarain’s

 

Cheapskate Coupon Challenge November 9, 2010

I decided, after perusing a forum and reading The 39 Dollar Experiment, that I would try my own “Coupon Outreach” program, as I would like to call it. Now it requires some of my own personal time that I have been able to secure thanks to being jobless and endless typing but I am doing it nonetheless. And really, if you don’t have tons of free time, you can do it maybe for ten or fifteen minutes here or there while you’re on the computer or even while you’re watching television. So what am I doing?

 

I am contacting companies and seeing if they will send me coupons and/or freebies. For the most part, I am not asking for coupons. I find myself mostly complimenting companies of products that I have or currently use. In order to maintain my sanity, I am: (1) breaking it up into periods of time (2) writing relatively short generic messages unless I really, really mean it (3) allowing my browser to auto-fill the same information over and over again. Now, if you plan on doing this as well, keep these things in mind:

 

  • If you have a legitimate complaint, make that clear. They usually require you to provide information regarding the product.
  • If you’re looking for ideas, you can check out my list and my results. I am contacting a ton of companies.
  • If you’re looking for more ideas, check around your house. Every time I saw a product that I have purchased, I wrote it down on my list in order to contact them later. Contact companies if you are particularly loyal to them—after all, you’re probably making them a lot of money.
  • If you want to ask for coupons, go for it. There are a couple of companies for which I asked for a free sample or coupons so that I could try their product. If I haven’t used their product before, I’d rather not lie about it.
  • You can call, write or send an e-mail. To me, the easiest thing is finding the “contact us” button on the website and shooting them a quick message. Like I said, I am keeping my messages more or less the same.
  • Try keeping a list of the companies you contact and who actually sends you coupons or freebies. You might as well contact them another 6-12 months down the line.

 

In the upcoming weeks, I plan on regularly updating my list. Feel free to contact companies who have sent me free stuff. If a company doesn’t send me free stuff, that is good information for you so that you don’t have to waste your time. Stay cheap my friends!

 

Why You Shouldn’t Own a Pet if You’re Struggling November 8, 2010

I absolutely love animals. I grew up in a house where we always had at least one, whether it be a dog, cat, turtle, snake, fish, hamster, frog or lizard. You get the idea. When I moved out, I promptly adopted my own cat and subsequently, another one. Of course, times were good then and now that we’re struggling, we really had to cut back on the types of litter and food that we buy for them. Here are some things to keep in mind if you plan on purchasing/adopting a pet or already have one and find yourself struggling.

 

1. DO NOT PURCHASE OR ADOPT A PET IF YOU LIVE PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK OR IF YOU FIND YOURSELF STRUGGLING FINANCIALLY. I know this is a hard concept for people to digest, especially because there are so many animal lovers in the world, but really, you are doing a disservice to yourself, your family and whatever animals you may choose to bring into your home if you are often struggling with bills. Pets cost a lot of money and you can almost think of them as a luxury item. You need to pay for their veterinary care, which is very expensive. Their food adds up and will end up costing you tons of money in the long-run. If you have animals that are strictly indoors, you might save money on veterinary bills but you will have to pay more for maintenance, such as purchasing cat litter or fixing/cleaning filtration systems in tanks. Keep in mind that some animals require permits and you are supposed to pay a fee every year for that license.

2. CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS IF YOU ARE REALLY STRUGGLING. If you already have a pet and you’re finding yourself in enormous debt or unable to make any progress financially, the pets’ expenditures could be weighing you down. When you adopt a pet, the expectation is that you are going to care for it and do what you can to keep the animal and treat it well. But sometimes things change and that isn’t always possible—perhaps you can barely afford to feed yourself, let alone the pet! If this is the case, please look around and see if anyone who is in better standing could perhaps adopt the pet from you. If worse comes to worse and you are deciding between feeding your family and feeding your pets, you really need to step back, perhaps even remove some of the emotions around the situation, and give your animal up for adoption. This, of course, is no easy decision but sometimes, it is one that must be done. I recall seeing a family on Dr. Phil who found themselves in enormous debt after the housing market crashed and they owned five animals. These five animals cost them thousands of dollars a year in food and veterinary bills. If that’s the situation, you really need to get rid of the pets!

3. WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING AND ALREADY OWN A PET. If adopting the dog away is not an option for you or if you’re really trying to cut back on your expenses, look at how much you are spending on your animals and cut back. For example, litter is frequently on sale and you can often find coupons for the litter. If you own a cat, you really need to align these things and get the best price possible. You might have to forget about getting the best possible litter that exists if you’re entertaining this idea. You may love to feed your animals certain brands of food but sometimes people spend more on food for their animals than they do for themselves! We now buy one bag of the cheapest food and one bag of whatever is on sale/whatever we have a coupon for and leave it at that. Also, we stopped buying treats for the cats for awhile until I found Temptations on sale and additionally had a coupon for it, leaving the treats costing me .25 cents. Remember, your animals don’t need treats.

 

Always keep these other things in mind:

  • Look for coupons for both food and maintenance supplies. They are always out there! Always check around in your weekly circulars to see who has the best deals on these things. Try to align sales and manufacturer coupons and stockpile when possible. We often get Catalina coupons for cat-related items.
  • Call up your local shelter and see what kind of services they might be able to provide. They may be able to provide free or discounted services for low-income or struggling families.
  • If you really want a pet but don’t want to spend a ton of money, I am essentially imploring you to adopt one. For example, adopting a cat from our local adoption event cost us only $35 and the cat was given to us fixed, cleaned, treated for any issues and with all of its shots. Additionally, we received a coupon for a free visit to any veterinary clinic listed on the pamphlet they gave us.

 

Stay cheap my friends!