Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas on a Shoe String (Without Looking Like It!)

I admit it. We were cheap this year. However, we gave more gifts this year, than last.

How is that possible?? I'm glad you asked!

First off I played the CVS game faithfully. I stored everything I got and then made my son's teachers baskets with Glade products, pens, pencils, book covers, etc. The rest of the items I put aside for our annual Survivor Style auction that we hold on Christmas Eve! This fun auction allows all the family and friends who show up at our house on Christmas Eve the chance to leave with a load of extras! So, we tone down our giving because the auction items we feel (and I'm know our family does too) count as additional gifts!! If they bid right, they can leave with items totaling more than 20-30 dollars easily!

Next, I checked all of my point oriented sites that I am member of. Survey sites like ZoomPanel, sites like My Points, and even our credit card points program and I look to see what kind of gifts I can grab. With ZoomPanel, I knocked out a CD on my sister's wish list. With My Points, I knocked out a Home Depot and a Subway gift card. Three gifts in total for FREE!

Moving on, I checked my gift card balance. There are plenty of ways to earn gift cards. So many in fact, that I've dedicated a whole post to it!! It includes sites like that Swagbucks and Opinion Outpost to name just two. With just over $60.00 already loaded in my account (which I earned in less than 2 months), I knocked out three more people. Thomas Train tracks for my nephew, a CD of traditional hymns for my mother, and three books and a CD on my sister's wish list. I even managed to sneak in a book for myself! All items qualified for Free Super Saver Shipping and Ta Da! All free with a whopping balance of $0.57 left to add to in my account!

Finally, I utilized coupons and sale ads. You might remember my Target deal and how I got Hungry Hippos travel games for free and Pictureka for $0.24. Two more gifts for friend's children down and 1 gift for my son's pre-school gift exchange down - for $0.24! I also kept receiving $10.00 off $10.00 Kohl's coupons and I utilized those to fill my son's stocking for FREE with Thomas items, window markers, trio blocks, and Imaginext toys, among other things.

One side of our family decided not to do gifts this year, which was a huge help, so beyond a little cash for a teenage nephew, we were Christmas spending free. That same family came to the auction and left with a bunch of goodies!

Except for a few other fill ins, mostly from a dollar store (baskets and candy), we were able to manage our Chirstmas on a Shoestring, that looked like anything but!!

Facebook Freebie - CoolJuice Coupon by Mail (64 oz. FREE)

Like CoolJuice on Facebook and then send an email to with your address to receive a Coupon by mail for a Free 64 oz. Carton of CoolJuice! There are four yummy flavors to choose from: Mango Groove, Fruit Punch, Tropical Blue and Tropical Rhythms!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Grab a Coast Soap Coupon - Free at Kroger

Print a coupon for $1.00 off 1 Coast Body Wash or Bar Product and take it to your nearest Kroger.

Right now Kroger has the Coast 2 pack of soap for $1.00
(Prices do vary by region)

More Free Excedrin

You can grab two more coupons for Free Excedrin here. Just look under health care. I was able to get the Execedrin PM and Excedrin Extra Strength. These coupons will be mailed to you in about 2-3 weeks.

Facebook Freebie - Shout Color Catcher

Facebook is now offering a Free Sample of Shout Color Catcher. You need to "Like" Shout first and then click on the Offers tab. You can also print a coupon while you are there. Expect your sample in about 6 weeks.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Five Sites to Earn Amazon E-Gift Cards

You can buy just about anything on! I used to think it was only for books and music and boy was I wrong!!

I love that they offer Free Super Saver Shipping on tons of items, provided you choose that method at checkout and spend over $25.00! Not only do I love free items, but I love free shipping!!

You may have noticed I said free items in the last sentence. I did, because I earn lots of e-gift cards for through many survey and point sites I frequent. I earn the cards, load them to my account and when I'm ready I shop!

Here are my top favorite five sites to earn money:

1. Swagbucks. If you aren't using Swagbucks, you really should sign up today! It's the simplest way to earn Amazon e-gift cards out there!! For those that aren’t familiar with Swagbucks, it’s a search engine much like Google. It’s even powered by Google and Ask! Just start searching to win! You can redeem 450 Swagbucks for a $5.00 e-gift card. I generally earn between 20 and 50 bucks a day! You can also check out my previous post on how to make the most of Swagbucks every day.

2. Opinion Outpost. This is a survey site and each survey you complete earns you points. Each point is worth ten cents. So if you get an offer for a survey worth 20 points, and you qualify and complete the survey, you receive $2.00. Most surveys take me about 15 minutes to complete and are worth (on the average) 20 points. I earned over $80.00 this year alone! You can redeem your points Amazon e-gift cards (and other things as well). You can cash out when you have 50 points or $5.00. I find with Opinion Outpost that I earn points very quickly!

3. Zoombucks. I'm relatively new to Zoombucks, but I like it so far. It's similar to Swagbucks, but it seems like I win a bit more often. Each time you search, you have the opportunity to win Zoombucks. You can also complete surveys, offers, etc. for Zoombucks. Each Zoombuck is worth 1 cent. I like having a monetary amount to pin on the buck. Once you have 2,000 points you can redeem for a $20.00 e-gift card. After your first redemption you can redeem once you have reached 1,000 points. I haven't actually redeemed anything yet, but it appears simple enough.

4. My View. This is a survey site that I'm also relatively new too, but I'm loving it!! I've already redeemed for $30.00 in Amazon money! You can log in each day to see if there are any available surveys. Each survey has a point value ranging from 200 to 2,000 or more. Even if you don't qualify for the entire survey you are still rewarded with 125 points for trying. Sometimes I rack up 1,000 points a day not qualifying for surveys in under a few minutes! 21,000 points earns you a $15.00 Amazon e-gift card! I got two of them in less than 6 weeks!! If you are interested in joining, email me using the Contact Me link on the right sidebar and I can send you an invitation to join!

5. Lightspeed Panel. This is another survey site that I really like. While most of the time I use my points here for Paypal cash, you can also earn Amazon e-gift cards. 1,100 points earns a $10.00 gift card. Most surveys are worth 75-150 points. I qualify for about 2/3 of their surveys and enjoy them. If your interested in siging up, you can go directly to the site to do so.

By utilizing one or more of these sites, you can earn lots of e-gift cards to load into your account. I use this money to buy gifts and to treat myself.

Have fun earning and spending your rewards!!

CVS - Week of 12/26 - 1/1 and My $1.05 Deal

There are some good deals at CVS this week. Here are some of my favorite.

Tone body wash $3.88, Earn $3 ECBs (limit 1)
Use $1/1 Tone Body Wash Internet Printable
Free after ECBs

Pantene Pro V 2/$6.97, Earn $2 ECB (limit 1)
Use $3/2 Pantene Product 12/26/2010 P&G Insert or
Use B1G1 Pantene Shampoo WYB Pantene 11/28/2010 P&G Insert
Pay $1.49 for two after ECBs

Olay bodywash $6.97, Earn $2 ECBs (limit 1)
Use $2/1 Olay Soap, Body Wash or Lotion 12/26/2010 P&G Insert AND
Use Free Olay Hand & Body Lotion wyb Body Wash, exp. 12-31 (P&G 11/28/10)
Pay $2.97 after ECBs, but you get the FREE Hand & Body Lotion too!

Here's my deal for $1.05 OOP!!

I did the Tone body wash deal as listed above, the Pantene deal using the Free item coupn, plus the CVS scanner had spit out a $1.00 off 1 coupon that I used, added in the Dawn dish soap, on sale for $0.94, used a $0.50 off coupon from today's P&G, added in two trial size Tylenol packs for $2.00, used $2.00 off any Tylenol product from the CVS scanner, and tacked in the candy cane and 2 Reese's to bring subtotal to $6.00, used $6.00 ECBs and earned back $5.00, only paying $1.05 OOP in tax!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Facebook Freebie - Request a $0.99 Off 1 Ruffles Chips ($0.99 Bag)

Like Ruffles on Facebook and request a $0.99 Coupon off of a $0.99 Bag of Ruffles! I like free chips!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Free Sample Purina One Dog or Cat Food

Wal-Mart is offering a Free Sample of Purina One Dog or Cat Food. I've mentioned this sample before, but I was able to request it again!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Paid Survey Site - ZoomPanel

I wanted to tell you about another great paid survey site! This site doesn't pay in moentary form, but you earn points and can redeem for merchandise. They have tons of books and CDs available as well as the typical reward oriented merchandise (alarm clocks, phones, etc.)

It's called ZoomPanel and it's simple to sign up for. They send you survey invites by email. I qualify for a good portion of their surveys and even if you don't, you get 5 points. Most surveys are worth 75 points. I find that with this survey site, if you don't qualify, they let you know almost immediately, so you don't waste time, getting halfway through a survey just to be told you don't qualify.

Some of my other favorite paid survey sites I have previously mentioned are CashCrate and Opinion Outpost (which I just received two checks from for $8.00 and $6.00!!!

Don't be shy about signing up for ZoomPanel. It's free and if you have the time, you really can make some money or in this case, books, CDs or other merchadise!! I've already received a brand new phone (just in time because our cordless phone died) and a CD for a Christmas gift for a family member this year!!

New Link for Free Bottle of Excedrin Extra Strength

Sign up for a Free Bottle of Excedrin Extra Srength (up to $5.99) Coupon by Mail! This is different from the one I posted a week ago. Grab this before it's gone!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Free Yplait Yogurt Coupon - Hurry!

Grab a Coupon by Mail for a Free Cup of Yoplait Yogurt! I'm sure this won't last.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Paid Survey Site - Inbox Dollars

I received my first check from Inbox Dollars for $27.08 this past week. I meant to take a photo, but I deposited it too fast!

Inbox Dollars is very simple! Once you join, you automatically get a $5.00 sign on bonus! You can't cash out until you have made $30.00 (and they do take out a $3.00 processing fee, which they gave right back to me as a bonus for cashing out), but I made the payout fairly quickly. You can make it quickly to, depending how involved you want to be.

You can simply open emails that they send to you and sometimes you have to confirm the emails, you can do surveys, you can do tasks, you can even print and redeem coupons for money!

I find sites like Inbox Dollars very easy and not very time consuming which I like. I can open several emails in the matter of a minute and earn!

Sign up today for the $5.00 bonus to get you started working towards the $30.00 payout!! I love receiving these checks in the mail!

Free Sample Curel Sensative Skin Remedy Lotion

Get a Free Sample of Curel Sensative Skin Remedy Lotion. Allow 8-10 weeks for delivery.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Free Sample of Purina One Dog Food

Sam's Club (you do not have to be a member) is offering a Free Sample of Purina One SmartBlend Formula Dog Food.

Quick - Facebook Freebie - First 25,000 Bag of Dog or Cat Food from Purina

If you "Like" Purina One on Facebook and are one of the first 25,000 (12,500 for dogs and 12,500 for cats) you'll get a Free Bag of their new line Purina One beyOnd Dog or Cat Food sent to your door. (No PO Boxes on this one).

Thanks Young and Frugal in Virginia!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My $1.73 Target Deal!! You Can Do This One Too!

Check out a couple of great Target deals this week!

You can score these deals too!

2 Hungary Hippo Travel Games $4.99 Each
Used 2 $5.00 off 1 Coupon found here (coupon no. 1)
Both FREE!

2 Pictureka Card Games $5.24 Each
Used 2 $5.00 off 1 Coupon found here (coupon no. 3)
Both for $0.48!

1 Seventh Generation Multi Purpose Spray $2.49
Stacked with $1.00 off Target Coupon (under baby care)

1 Suave Shampoo $0.74
My son needs a gift for his preschool party that's a limit of $5.00. How great will the Hungary Hippos Travel Game be as it was $4.99, but I got it FREE!!

Free Sample John Frieda Shampoo (Certain States)

Get a Free Sample of John Frieda Sheer Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner from Kroger. This is only valid in the following states: AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NC, OH, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WV

Free Sample of Garnier Fructis Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Get a Free Sample of Garnier Fructis Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Free Sample of Seattle's Best Coffee

Wal-Mart is currently offering a Free Sample of Seattle's Best Coffee! Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Two Free Bottles of Excedrin - Hurry!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Free Clorox Wipe Sample Pack

Sign up for the Clean Team Newsletter and receive a Free Sample of Clorox Wipes! Enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

20% off Purchase Coupon - CVS - HURRY!

Hurry on over and "Like" CVS on Facebook, or if you already Like them, like I do, click on the Holiday Pass tab and after you enter your Extracare Card Number and your email address, a 20% off your next purchase coupon will be emailed to you!! This is limited so grab yours now!! (My coupon is good through 12/5/10)!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Free Sample Vaseline Intensive Rescue Lotion

WalMart is offering a Free Sample of Vaseline Intensive Rescue Lotion. You should receive your sample in about 4 weeks.

Free Sample Starbucks Coffee

You can also print a $1.50 off coupon from the website here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

CVS - Free Toothbrush or Bioluxe Shampoo or Conditioner

Enter your Extracare Card Number and your email address to receive a coupon by email for either a Free CVS Brand Toothbrush or a Free Travel Sized Bioluxe Shampoo or Conditioner! This works great as add ons to other purchases to either get you to a spending limit to use a coupon for money off a certain amount purchase or just to add to a sale you are already getting!

Free Samples of Purina One Smartblend Dog and Cat Food

Target is offering 2 great new samples. Grab you Free Samples of Purina One Smartblend Dog AND Cat Food before they run out!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Free Box of Garnier HerbaShine Hair Color

Hurry! I'm sure this won't last. Sign up to receive a coupon for a Free Box of Garnier HerbaShine Hair color! I'll try it!

Mega Swagbucks Friday!!

Don’t forget today is Mega Swagbucks Friday!! Search and earn your way to great prizes! I’ve earned 31 $5.00 prizes so far! On Mega Fridays you can win more often and in higher denominations so search away!!

You can read my post about making the most of Swagbucks. If you haven’t signed up, sign up today and get 30 Swagbucks to start!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Paid Survey Site - My Points

This site is a bit different from the Survey Sites I've mentioned before. You do get survey offers, but you also get "points" which translate into gift cards, just for opening emails. It's very legitimate, so I wanted to post on it.

For over a year now I have been a member of My Points. I was looking for ways to earn a little extra money, without leaving the home and taking away time from my family. I just happened on My Points one day and signed up.

The membership is free and all you have to do is allow them to send you offers through your email. Most emails are what I call a "click through". You simply open the email and click on the offer. Right now to just click on the offer you earn 5 points. If you sign up or purchase from the site you get additional points dependent upon the offer. Some offers are just free registrations and those are easy to fill out for points. Another opportunity to earn points is through surveys. Even if you don't qualify you receive 10 points and if you do, usually 50 to 60 points are awarded.

So far I've earned and redeemed more than 16,700 points!! It takes very little time each day to open an email, click, close the window and earn points! Of course it takes a while to earn enough points to redeem them doing it this way.

As for redeeming points, you get gift cards! I redeemed my very first 1,400 points for a $10.00 gift card to Bass Pro Shops as a gift from my son to my husband for Christmas. The second 1,400 went for a gift card to the Olive Garden to make my birthday dinner outing more affordable.

Now I regularly redeem Home Depot cards to aid in the process of finishing a family room in our basement. There are many other gift cards to choose from like CVS and Wal-Mart! We all know how far a gift card to CVS can go!!

If your interested in joining, leave me a comment or send me an email with your email address and I'll send you my referral link. It'll give me a chance to earn some more points and you can get started working towards the gift card of your choice! With most sites like these, I would recommend using a separate email address for sign up since you will receive many emails.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Free Sample of Aleve

Sam's Club is offering a Free Sample of Aleve. You do not have to be a member!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two Free Issues of Family Circle

ValuMags is offering Two Free Issues of Family Circle Magazine starting with the 11/20 issue. I receive several magazines (all FREE) from ValuMags and I have never received a bill. Enjoy!
(There is also an offer for 1 Free Issue of Bridal Guide still available.)

CVS Deals Plus My Deal (Week of 11/14)

There are a few good deals to be had at CVS this week, especially if you have a few ECBs to spend!

Here are the best deals:

Blistex Lip Care - $1.59
Get $1.50 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $0.25 MQ from 11/14 SS
Free after ECBs and MQ

Freestyle Freedom Lite Monitor - $14.99
Get $5.00 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $10.00/1 MQ from 9/12 SS
Free after ECBs and MQ

Oral-B Vitality Floss Action Toothbrush or Replacement Heads
(IF you can find these)
Get $13 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $10.00/1 MQ from 11/14 RP
Free after ECBs and MQ

Aussie or Herbal Essence Shampoo, Conditioner or Styler at $2.99
Get $2.00 ECBs (Limit 1)
$0.50/1 MQ from 11/14 RP
$1.00/2 MQ from 10/10 P&G
OR $2.00 off any Clairol Product MQ from 10/31 P&G
Free and up after ECBs and MQ

Select Oral Care Products, Get $5.00 ECBs wyb $10.00 (Limit 2)

  • Aquafresh Iso-Active or Sensodyne - $4.99
    $1/1 Aquafresh iso-active Whitening Toothpaste printable
    $0.75/1 Sensodyne Product printable
    $1/1 Aquafresh Iso-Active Foaming Gel MQ from 10/31 RP
    $0.75/1 Sensodyne Product MQ from 9/26 RP

  • Polident or Poligrip - $4.79
    $1/2 Polident or Poligrip Product MQ from 10/31 RP

  • Aquafresh Advanced Whitening or Extreme Clean Toothpaste (5.6-6 oz.) - $3
    $1/1 Aquafresh Extreme Clean Toothpaste printable
    $0.50/1 Aquafresh Premium Toothpaste MQ from 10/31 RP

  • Biotene Toothpaste or Mouthwash, Sensodyne Iso-Active (4.3 oz.) - $6.50
    $1/1 Sensodyne Iso-Active printable
    $0.75/1 Sensodyne Product printable

And here is my deal:

1 Aquafresh Advanced Whitening $3.00

1 Aquafresh Extreme Clean $3.00

1 Aquafresh ISO-Active $4.99

2 Mentos $0.99 each

1 Revlon Double Lash Mascara $9.69

1 Revlon Nail Polish $5.49

2 Maxwell House Coffee - $1.99 each

I used the following coupons:

$1/1 Aquafresh iso-active Whitening Toothpaste printable

2 - $1/1 Aquafresh Extreme Clean Toothpaste printable (You can print twice)

2 - $1.00 off Mentos (making them both FREE!)

$5.00 off Revlon Mascara from CVS coupon center

$3.00 off Revlon cosmetics from CVS scanner

(Nailpolish was 50% off since all Revlon is B1G1 50% off)

$1.00 off 2 Maxwell House coffee printable (making them $1.49 each!)

I used a $5.00 off $25.00 purchase CVS coupon and $8.00 in ECBs.

Total was $3.26 and I got $5.00 ECBs back!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Too Good to Pass Up - Free $20.00 Credit to Gilt Groupe - Free Items

I signed up for Gilt Groupe and received a $20.00 credit which I then used to purchase an audio book for my son! The book was priced at $12.00 and with $7.95 shipping, it was totally FREE!! Gilt Groupe is a website with daily discounted items. You can find almost anything there!

My $20.00 credit took a day to show up in my account, but i signed up yesterday and sure enough, the credit was there this morning when I checked under "My Account." Hurry and grab your! (Thanks Cha-Ching on a Shoestring)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My CVS Deal - $1.65 OOP - Lots of Cleaning Supplies!

I had a pretyt good trip to CVS today! In addition to the deals I posted earlier this week happening at CVS, here is another good deal:
Spend $15.00 in Select Lysol and Finish Products, Get $5.00 ECBs.
I purchased the following:
2 Lysol Neutra Airs - 2/$5.00
Used $1.50 off 1 MQ and
1 Lysol Disinfecting Spray - $4.00
1 Finish Gelpacs
1 Finish Rinse Aid
Added in the following items for FREE:
2 Renuzit Adjustable Cones - $0.99 each
Used 2 $1.00 off 1 printables (Facebook offer - only about 2,000 coupons left, so hurry!)
1 Trial Size Pert Plus
Used $1.00 off 1 MQ
Since I had $9.00 in ECBs, I used them, making my total $1.65 for everything pictures, plus I got back the $5.00 ECBs. Since I desparately needed the Finish gelpacs for my dishwasher and would have had to buy them anyway, I think I made a good deal!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

CVS Deals (Week 11/7-11/13)

CVS finally has some good deals this week! I haven't been shopping for a few weeks and finally got back into the swing of things! Here are some of the best deals:

FreeStyle Freedom Lite Blood Glucose System – $14.99
Use $10/1 MQ (SS 9/12)
Get $5 ECBs

Gain Dish Soap – $0.99
Use $1/1 Gain Dish Soap MQ (PG 10/10)

Noxema Products – $4.49
Get $3 ECBs (Limit 1)
Some reports of products having $1.00 off or $2.00 off peelie coupons
$1.49 each, taking into account the ECBs earned

Xtra Detergent – $1.49
Use $1/2 Xtra Detergent MQ (SS 10/17 ) or
$1.00 off 1 (found in Dollar General as a Smartsource Blinkie Coupon)
$0.99 each or $0.49 each!

Glade - Earn $3.00 ECBs when you buy $10.00 of
Select Glade Products at 2 for $5.00

Glade Sense & Spray Refill
$1/2 Glade Sense & Spray Refill printable coupon

Glade Plugins Gel Refills 3pk
$1/2 Glade PlugIns Scented Gel printable coupon

Glade Essential Oils Candles (4oz.)
Glade Scented Oil Candle Refill (3ct. or Holder)

Renuzit Adjustable Cones $0.99
$1.00 off printable coupon (Facebook)

Free Renuzit Adjustable Cones

Facebook is offering a coupon for $1.00 off 1 Renuzit Adjustable Cone. This week Rite Aid and CVS have the cones on sale for $0.88 and $0.99 cents respectively, making them FREE! You can print this coupon twice after you "Like" Renuzit on Facebook and fill in your email adress (just hit back and refresh for the second print). Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Free Sample Purina One Dog or Cat Food

Wal-Mart is currently offering a Free Sample of Purina One Dog or Cat Food. You can expect your sample in 4 to 6 weeks.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Sample - Tom's of Maine Wicked Fresh Toothpaste

WalMart is currently offering a Free Sample of Tom's of Maine Wicked Fresh Toothpaste. You can expect your sample to arrive in 4-6 weeks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Facebook Freebie - Folgers Sample

Get a Free Sample of Folgers Coffee when you Like the Folgers Facebook Page! This is available to the first 100,000! (Thanks Young and Frugal in Virginia!)

50 Free Snapfish Photos from My Coke Rewards

Hurry and grab a code for 50 Free Prints from Snapfish! This is through My Coke Rewards and it costs 0 points!! Once you redeem you'll be offered a digital code, then just login to Snapfish and apply it! (Thanks Freebies 4 Mom!)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Free Sample of Tom's of Maine Wicked Fresh Toothpaste

Grab a Free Sample of Tom's of Main Wicked Fresh Toothpaste. You do have to answer a few questions, but it doesn't take long!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Free Sample of Dove Ultimate Go Fresh Deodorant

Costco is offering a Free Sample of Dove Ultimate Go Fresh Deodorant. You do not have to be a member to take this sample.

Shopping for Veterinary Services - Is It Worth It?

I never thought I would ever find myself shopping for veterinary services. However, I found myself in that position just yesterday. Before you read on…

We have 3 dogs and 2 cats. Yes, it's a houseful, but each and every one of them are like family members. All were rescued in some way, shape or form. They are all mutts of different breeds. One cat we rescued right outside the local shelter as someone was taking him in, the second cat we rescued as a stray in my in-laws workshop, two dogs were SPCA mutts, and the third, well not only was he an SPCA mutt, but he was beaten by his prior owner and left chained to a post. He was terrified and could barely move and had almost no hair when I brought him home. Suffice to say, that while I don't think he'll ever be a completely normal dog, he has made HUGE strides in becoming a socialized dog.

I digress.

Ruby, our 8 year old brindle beagle, spaniel, who knows what else, sweet dog, had an accident on our floor last Thursday night. I dutifully cleaned it up and noticed it was tinged with blood. Friday morning we went to the vet and I was told it was bladder stones and that she needed surgery. They gave me a quote for $1,000.00 and sent me on my way with an antibiotic and a note to call to set up surgery.

Since adopting our son from Russia in 2008, it's no real secret that our budget has been tight. That's part of the reason I started this blog! So, when my husband saw the quote, he pretty much said there was no way we could justify that $1,000.00 for a dog. Me, on the other hand, said absolutely yes, because if I had bladder stones, I wouldn’t want to be put down!

So my mother contacted a sweet family member who is a trained veterinarian and she explained that there are two kinds of stones, one dissolvable and one that is not, and that the vet should be able to tell from either a urine sample or an x-ray.

I called a different vet, explained the situation and they said that yes they should be able to tell by one or the other and gave me a quote for surgery. I called 4 vets in total and received the same consensus. So I started asking for prices. Here are the results:

Initial Exam varied from $40.70 to $53.00
Urinalysis varied from $38.00 to $73.00
X-Rays varied from $50.00 to $238.00 (!)
Surgery varied from $550.00 to $1,000.00 (!)

In the end, we chose the vet by location and here are there fees:

Exam - $43.00
Urinalysis - $38.00 (but did not charge me, because I had already paid $40.00 plus at our current vet 3 days prior)
X-rays - $50.00
Surgery - $625.00

While they aren't the cheapest for surgery, the initial fees were and I felt comfortable taking Ruby there to just determine that we weren't doing surgery for no reason. After the exam, a urinalysis and a simple x-ray it was determined that Ruby did have DISSOLVABLE stones and did NOT need surgery!!! We will attempt to dissolve them a special diet and it should work. There is a slight possibility that in 3-4 months, if the stones don't fully dissolve that she could need surgery, but knowing this gives us the time to budget for that money and if we don't need it, then we'll just have that much more in our savings account at the time. While we do have to purchase a special food for her, it is only costing roughly $60.00 a month. Add to that the fact that we could be saving her from the recovery of a major surgery!!

I really had no idea that the prices among vets differed so greatly. And while I'm sad to leave our current vet, who we've been with for more than 10 years, it was the right move. And just to clarify, I did call our vet Monday morning after speaking with the other 4 vets and asked them to lower their surgery price and at the very least consider an x-ray (which I would have gladly paid for). They were insistent on the surgery and refused to budge in both the quote area and the x-ray area. I'm disappointed they wanted to do surgery on a dog who didn't need it and thankful I made those calls!

What areas are you finding yourself negotiating or shopping for prices these days?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Facebook Freebie - Food Should Taste Good Crackers

On Facebook if you "Like" the Food Should Taste Good page, they will send a coupon via mail for a Free Bag of Food Should Taste Good Crackers! This is good the to first 100,000 who sign up. It look slike they are over the 50,000 mark, so grab yours now!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pillsbury A Million Morning Smiles Instant Win - I Won a Third Time!!

Woo Hoo - I just won ANOTHER 4 FREE boxes of Toaster Strudels in the Pillsbury A Million Morning Smiles Instant Win Sweepstakes! There are tons of winners each day and you can win 3 times! I've won my limit so that means 12 free boxes of toaster strudels for me!! You win 4 free boxes of Toaster Strudels each time - can we say YUM!!!! I hope you are playing too! Looks like we'll be eating tons of Toaster Strudels!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Free Sample of Garnier Ultra-Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Moisturizer

WalMart is offering a Free Sample of Garnier Ultra-Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Moisturizer. Whew - try to say that 5 times real fast!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Thoughts on Rite Aid & Posting Deals

We have a Rite Aid close by and while initially I chose to shop and roll the deals only at CVS in an effort to not make myself coupon crazy, I'm finding that making the deals doesn't take nearly as long as it used to and that I could probably sneak some Rite Aid transactions in during the week also.

However, I have several grievances with Rite Aid.

First off, they rarely seem to have the products in stock that are on sale. Maybe it's because I'm not there at the crack of dawn waiting for the doors to open, but I don't think that's the case.

Second, I'm not big on the Single Check Rebate Program (SCR). I don't like putting out money and then going online and entering the receipts and then waiting for a check in the mail. While I realize some take there money from the month and purchase a gift card to do the next month's shopping with and then start over, this was very unappealing to me. I want to spend the least amount out of pocket as possible.

Third, our Rite Aid cashier's aren't overly friendly and the first time I tried to do a two transaction deal, you would have thought I shot her.

Fourth, they don't abide by their coupon policy. They refused to accept a coupon for a product that was priced less than the coupon amount. I even told them and asked them to adjust the coupon down. It wasn't like I was trying to sneak it by them. They refused even though their coupon policy says they will take it. The manager wouldn't even come out to speak with me.

Fifth, the new program +UP Rewards, I really like, but when something doesn't print you have to call the Rite Aid line and then wait weeks for the coupon to arrive by snail mail. At my particular Rite Aid I was accused of already purchasing my limit of the item from another store and trying to gain more +UP rewards. Not only would I NEVER do this, but I had not shopped at a Rite Aid in over a month!

The outcome of all of this is that I find myself a bit nervous going in to shop there. I'm an honest couponer and sometimes I don't even stack or use multiple coupons, I try to find other deals, if I feel like it could somehow be construed as unfair even if I'm abiding by the coupon policy.

I did do a transaction last week and everything went smoothly, so I'll be trying a few more. I'll try to start posting the best of the Rite Aid deals each week pertaining to the +UP Rewards program since I don't shop the SCRs.

I realize that this may only be happening in my particular Rite Aid store, and I would love to know what your experiences with Rite Aid are like.

Paid Survey Site - SurveySpot

I wanted to tell you about another great paid survey site! I mentioned CashCrate a couple of weeks ago and even showed you a picture of the $20.75 check I had received. Then last week I mentioned Opinion Outpost and I just received a check from them for $8.30!

This week I'd like to introduce you to SurveySpot. There is no referral program to this site, so you just have to go and sign up on your own. This is quickly becoming my most favorite survey site. I've made $30.00 already this month!

When you sign up, be sure to use an email that you have linked to a Paypal account. In this case, they pay you by Paypal so you must have a Paypal account. There appear to be other options, like a webshop, but that portion of the site is down and I have been unable to look into it.

SurveySpot will send you email invites to their surveys, but I tend to delete them and just go directly to the site when I have time to do a few surveys. Each survey is assigned a point value, generally 50 points, or $0.50. Some have no point values, so be sure to check when you do a survey. I usually skip the ones that have no point value to them, unless it says they are a 5 minute or less survey.

With SurveySpot I've also received lots of in home trial offers including offers for soups, dryer sheets, vegetables, hand soap, and body wash, just to name a few. They send me the item in the mail, I use it according to the instructions, then complete a survey about it. Not only do I get to try the product, but I get points for reviewing them, anywhere from 50 to 150 points! These are full size products they send and we liked all of them so far!!

Once you complete a survey the points go immediately into your account. I really like this becuase I don't have to try to keep track of what I've completed.

Finally, receiving payment is super easy and the quickest out there, I think. Once you have a minimum of 1,000 points or $10.00, you just claim your reward, login to Paypal and within seconds the payment is in your account. No waiting.

Don't be shy about signing up. It's free and if you have the time, you really can make some money!!

P&G Sample Pack - Crest Samples and Lots of Coupons!

P&G is offering up more samples and coupons. Even though you can only order once per quarter, I was able to order this sample pack. It's full of coupons, plus a Free Sample of Crest White Advanced Vivid Toothpaste and Crest Whitestrips! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Free Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Gross Junior Edition Official Slime

This one is fun for the kids! Get a Free Jar of Slime from Chronicle Books. If your child is under 13, you will receive an email to confirm your permission. Also, the website states that the slime is non-toxic to children and pets.

CVS - Print a Coupon for Free Hand Sanitizer Pen

CVS is offering a Free Hand Sanitizer Pen when you fill out the form which includes your email address and your Extra Care Card number. This is good through October 20, 2010 and you have to grab your pen by October 22, 2010. What a great Freebie!

Yet Another Free Sample of Wisk

Grab another Free Sample of Wisk Laundry Detergent, this time from Target. Target is really on the ball with samples now!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pillsbury A MIllion Morning Smiles Sweeps - I WON AGAIN!

Woo Hoo - I just won ANOTHER 4 FREE boxes of Toaster Strudels in the Pillsbury A Million Morning Smiles Instant Win Sweepstakes! There are tons of winners each day and you can win 3 times! I'm going to keep playing becuase each time you win, you win 4 free boxes of Toaster Strudels - can we say YUM!!!! That's twice and I can win once more. I hope you are playing too!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Free 50 Sheets of Origami Paper

Quick grab a Sample of 50 Free Sheet sof Origami Paper! You can expect to receive your sample in 4-6 weeks. I can't wait to receive these! (Thanks Deal Seeking Mom)

Free Sample of Vaseline Intensive Rescue Lotion

Get a Free Sample of Vaseline Intensive Rescue Lotion. You should receive your sample in about 2 weeks.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Garnier Moisture Rescue Sample!

Target is now offering a Free Sample of Garnier Moisture Rescue! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

CVS - Week of 10/10 (Plus My Deal - $1.96 OOP!)

There are some great deals at CVS this week. Don't forget to scan your CVS card at the Coupon Center. I received a $0.99 off 1 Brach's candy corn and they are priced at $0.99 making it FREE! Also you may get a $5.00 off Halloween decor coupon and there is tons of stuff priced $5.00 and under! Even better - I scanned a $5.00 off $15.00 purchase coupon! Woo Hoo! It made two transactions possible for me today!

Don't forget you can always read my original post with how to CVS with me HERE.

Remember the ECBs work “just like cash” so don't be afraid to use them!!

Here are the week's best deals and then a summary of mine!

Colgate Total Advanced – $2.99
Use $.75 off 1 or $1.00 off 1 Colgate Total coupon
Get $2.99 ECBs (Limit 2)
Final Price = FREE

Dawn Dish Soap – $.97
Use $1/1 Dawn coupon (Home Made Simple)
Final Price = FREE

Method Laundry Detergent – $8.99
Get $5.00 ECBs
Final Price = $3.99

Select Pepsi Products 3/$11.00
Get $3.00 ECBS
Final Price = 3/$8.00

Dial or Tone Bar Soap (2-3pk) – $1.99
Use $1/2 Dial Multi-Pack coupon (RP 10/10)
Get $1 ECBs (Limit 1)
Final Price = $1.98 for 2 ($0.99 each)
So here's my deal for $1.96 OOP only!!!

Deal One:

Biore Cleanser $6.00
John Frieda Shampoo $6.00
Dawn Hand Renewel$0.99
Colgate $2.99

$5.00 off $15.00
$2.00 off John Freida (today's paper)
$2.00 off Biore (today's paper)
$1.00 off Colgate (today's paper)
$1.00 off Dawn Hand Renewl (Home Made Simple)
$5.00 ECBs already had

Total $0.53 OOP!! Gained $3.00 and $2.99 ECBs back

Deal Two:

3 Sodas $11.00
Methos Laundry Detergent $8.99
Candy Corn $0.99

$4.00 off $20.00
$0.99 off candy corn
$9.00 ECBs, plus the $5.99 ECBs gained in deal one

Total $1.43 OOP!! Gained $8.00 ECBs back!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Another Free Sample of Wisk

Wal-Mart is offering the Free Sample of Wisk again! Click on the white hexagons until you find the one for the free sample. It let me request it a second time, so it should for you too! You can expect your sample in 4 - 6 weeks!

Way Cool - Free Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Poster

Sign up to get 1 Free Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Poster!! Choose from 32 posters. (Look to the bottom right corner for the button). I had a hard time choosing but ultimately picked the Rocker C because I think my son will love it! I'm thinking another stocking stuffer - and yes I can stuff that in a stocking - I always think it's fun to see things sticking out of a stocking!!
(Thanks Freebies 4 Mom)

Free Box of Barilla Pasta

Sign up with VocalPoint (free) if you haven't already to receive a coupon by mail for Free Box of Barilla Pasta. This won't last long!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Right @ Home Touch-Up & Go Gift Pack

Sign up for Right @ Home's Touch-Up & Go Gift Pack. The first 10,000 to sign up will receive a canister of Scrubbing Bubbles Antibacterial Bathroom Wipes, a pouch of Pledge Lemon Clean Wipes, a pouch of Pledge Multi Surface Wipes and a canister of Windex Original Glass Wipes.

You can not have received a gift pack in the last 180 days, but if you can't remember, sign up anyway and they will sort it out. Gift packs will be mailed by December 15, 2010.

Free Sample of Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel

Wal-Mart is offering a Free Sample of Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel. This looks neat to try! You can expect your sample to arrive in 4-6 weeks.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kroger Deals - Week of 10/3 (My Trip - $19.97!)

Kroger is having their Mega Event and I find this is the best time to shop! I got the below for only $19.72 (My original total was $42.00 plus).

Here are some of the deals I did:

Philadelphia Cream Cheesee (5-8 oz.), $0.99
$5/5 Kraft Cheese Products printable
FREE wyb 5 after coupon

Kraft Salad Dressing (16 oz.), $1.49
$0.55/1 Kraft Dressing, exp. 10-24-10 (SS 08/29/10)
$0.94 each after coupon

Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts (8 ct.), $1.39
$1/3 Kellogg’s Pop Tarts, exp. 10-24-10 (SS 08/29/10)
but I used a $1.00 off 1 I had from a previous package of Pop Tarts
$1.06 each wyb 3 after coupon, or in my case - $0.39!!

Kraft Singles (24 ct.), $2.49
$5/5 Kraft Cheese Products printable
As low as $1.49 each wyb 5 after coupon

Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Lunchmeat (7-9 oz.), $2.49
$1/2 Oscar Mayer Lunch Meat printable
$1/2 Oscar Mayer Lunch Meat, exp. 11-7-10 (SS 09/26/10)
$1.99 each wyb 2 after coupon

$1.78 Capri Sun Drinks, 10 pk
$1/2 Capri Sun Disney Family Fun Sep 2010 (exp 10/31/2010)
$1.28 each

Many more deals to be had, but I thought these were the best! (The Totino's pizzas were not included in the deal, but we love them and I needed them for our "Tuesday night pizza and corn on the cob at the coffee table night"!)

Facebook Freebie - Sample of ScotchBlue Painter's Tape

Get a Free Sample of ScotchBlue Painter's Tape on Facebook. Just "Like" the page and fill out the form. I've received lots of sample from Facebook! (Thanks Freebies 4 Mom)

Free Sample of Tide Original with Acti-Lift Laundry Detergent

Target is offering a Free Sample of Tide Original with Acti-Lift Laundry Detergent. Your sample should arrive in 4-6 weeks.

Free Sample of Glad Odor Shield Trash Bags with Febreeze Freshness

Target is offering a Free Sample of Glad Odor Shield Trash Bags with Febreeze Freshness. Your sample should arrive in 4- 6 weeks.