Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beat the Picture Time Blues!

I can't be the only parent whose stomache cringes with fear at
taking the kids to the mall for pictures. 

I also can't be the only one that is sick of  the same old forced poses and props.

Doesn't this look a whole lot better then a 'mall' shot? 
(Copyright Wendy Campo Photography 2009)

AND  she has a February Special:

1-2 Children $25.00
2-3 Children $35.00
4+ Children $40.00

Limited Time Offer Expires 2/28/09

Wendy also has a referal program going on right now,
so please tell her that Diane from DianeScraps and Saves sent you

Check out Wendy's Blog at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

3 PA and 1 NJ ACME stores will be closing

KYW is reporting that ACME will be closing the following stores:
West Chester
Newton, NJ

Unfortunately I am not incredibly surprised about the Collegeville store, it has always been a rather odd setup, teamed with the area it is in and a new Wegmans opening down the street, I don't think it stood much of a chance.

Reports did advise that employees will be given the opportunity to transition to other stores. Personally, I would LOVE to see some of their customer service (ok at least 1) transfer to Royesford.

I am not sure what the overall plan is for emptying the inventory in these stores, but it will definitely be something to watch.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Two Newspapers - Two Sets of Coupons? WHY?!??!

I've been telling everyone, if you are going to even try couponing as a way to save money in 2009, you NEED at least 2 sets of coupons this week.

Why 2 sets?  Why would I buy more then one paper?

The answer - there are 5 sets of coupon inserts this week, there are a TON of coupons for everything from Green Giant Steamer Veggies to Dishwasher Detergent.  If you ever want to see just what coupons are included each week (before the paper comes out) check out Taylortown Preview  the values of actual coupons, and the exact coupons do vary from paper to paper and in different areas, but you can get a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Ok, now I've got my papers, and my coupons, where do I  start?

Clip the coupons!   And organize them into what makes sense for you, like types of coupons together like soup, cereal, veggies, etc.   And then put them in an envelope or a zip lock bag AND put them in your purse /wallet.  (These clipped coupons do you no good if they are laying at home while you are at the grocery store.)

Ok, next get out your ACME ad, take a look at the back page.  It reads spend $30 on the great offers  and get $15 in coupons for your next order (OYNO).   But here is the thing with ACME  when it is a OYNO deal (not an instant savings deal) is that the register bases the $30 purchase amount on the shelf price - not the sale price (this however doesn't apply to pharmacy, health and beauty items  such as Prilosec, Nyquil, Always, those items will be based on the sale price).

"Diane, YOU ARE CRAZY - I Am Confused!"

It's OK - Take a deep breath, I went to the store today with the intention of doing the simplest order I could with just the coupons from this week and one internet printed coupon.  

So go to COUPONS.COM  and print out one coupon for Bisquick, mine printed for $1, some are printing for $.75, but it is still a good deal either way.

Now go to ACME. This is what you are shopping for:

3 boxes Honey Nut Cheerios  Regular Price $3.49, Sale Price $2,   Coupon $1 on 3
1 box Bisquick  Regular Price $4.29, Sale Price $2.50, Printed Coupon $1 (or $.75)
4 boxes Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks   Regular Price $2.50, Sale Price $2, 2 Coupons $.50 on 2 (which will double)
2 boxes Fiber One Cereal Bars  Regular Price $3.50, Sale Price $2, 2  Coupons $.50 on 1 (which will double)

The regular price total of this order :  $31.76

Price you pay after sales and coupons $14.50  (or $14.75)  and the catalina machine (awesome coupon machine at the register) will print out 3 $5 coupons totaling $15.00 - you are AHEAD! and walking out the door with groceries.

Apply those 3 $5 coupons to your next order (we call this 'rolling')   For my next order I did 2 bottles of Tide (I LOVE Tide in my HE washing machine)

Order looks like this:
2 bottles Tide,  Regular Price $15.49,  Sale Price $10.99, less 2 $1 coupons (previous weeks inserts), less the $15 coupons from my first order, out of pocket $5.28, AND I got another $15 worth of coupons!

Don't be afraid to take paper and a pencil, and even a small calculator to the store with you.

I want to hear how you do!

Ready for more possibilities?  Want to know how to apply this type of deal to a store near you?  Check out Couponers Wanted!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome 2009!

Ready or not, it's here - 2009!

I am going to start right off and admit that I am not going to be one of the bloggers posting that I am going to be going to setting a goal of an awe  inspiring food budget for the year.  I truly admire those that can, but for us it just doesn't work, my shopping not only include my family of 4, but it includes extended family, 3-4 weekend events where I feed approximately another 45 people of the weekend, and I donate to several causes.

If you want to see what some of the awe inspiring budgeters are doing check out:

Jane4Girls  $800 Annual Budget (single mom of 3 girls!)

Retire with Coupons   $1800 Annual Budget (family of 5)

Adventures in Couponing $2000 Annual Budget (family of 5)

However, I am going to do my best to:
Keep my blog updated and honest! I'm not perfect, my deals aren't always the best, and i've certainly had deals not go as I thought they would, or missed a better deal  just down the street.  But what I hope to offer is for others to learn from my mistakes and from what I do right.

I always want to make better choices and try and plan better with my purchases.  I had some great deals in 2008, but there were a few that I overstocked on, and some that I really understocked on.  

And probably the hardest for me, is to try and get my coupons under control!  I have switched to the binder system, which in a lot of ways I like alot better, but I still need to do some modifications to make it work for me.

Other goals:
Purchase / obtain an upright freezer - I have passed on way to many deals because my freezer was already bursting at the seams (even though I upgraded to a larger fridge/freezer in 2008).

Better evaluate and plan my revenue gaining activites (AKA Work).  My employment background is insurance, but I have been out of the  9-5 (ok 8-6) office life for about 4 years now, and I have no intention of looking back.  But the insurance auditing I was doing has dried up, I am pursuing other possibilites with insurance auditing, but am keeping my options open.   I have also found that well planned merchandising routes can be very beneficial, and still allow me the flexibility I need with the kids.   I also recently started with a company that I work from home making customer service review and training phone calls.  I LOVE not being on the road so much (and it extends the life of my 1999 car!).  I just need to work on my speed at handling those calls to make my time spent more profitable.