Queen Bee

October 29, 2009

Talkin’ About Fall Get-Togethers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Queen Bee @ 4:01 pm


While I was dating my husband I attended my first Thanksgiving Dinner with his family. I found it odd that there were no kids in sight (except my husband’s sister who was about 6 or 7). Since then, the only year I missed was when I was getting close to my due date and the doctor did not want me driving 6+ hours each way. That year we had just moved to a new city and a coworker of my husbands invited us to their home. We were very appreciative and felt welcomed, but it just did not feel like Thanksgiving. We have been married 7 years, so I think this will be my 8th time attending at his Grandmother’s. Wow, has it been that long already?

Each year the family gathers out in the back yard under the giant apple tree for group photos. This usually turns into the Christmas picture my mother-in-law sends out with her cards. This is the earliest group picture I could find, probably not my first year since attending, but maybe my second.

Thanksgiving 2002

And this is last year’s picture. This is scanned in from being printed on regular paper, so the quality isn’t the greatest, but you get the idea. The oldest boys are married, have one child and one on the way. My sister-in-law and I had our first babies 10 days apart, and then our second babies 2 weeks apart.

Image (100)

This year we will have 4 toddlers/babies at Thanksgiving. My husband and his brother are the oldest of the cousins and the only ones married so far. It will be interesting to watch as other cousins get married and start families of their own. The house is set up with seats for all 25 to 30 of us at long tables in the dining room and family room. Great Grandmother will soon need to set up a kiddie table.

This post is part of Talkin’ About It Thursday at MyCup2Yours. Find links to more posts on Fall get-togethers there.


October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday – A Boy And His Dog

Filed under: Wordless Wednesday — Queen Bee @ 1:00 am

October 27, 2009

Southwest 72 Hour Sale

Filed under: Uncategorized — Queen Bee @ 6:44 am

If you are planning to travel between December 2 and 16, 2009 or January 5 and February 10th, 2010 you might want to check out Southwest. They are offering one-way rates of $25/$50/$75/$100 as part of their 4th Quarter Sale. The sale ends October 29th at 11:58 pacific standard time.

If you are flexible on your travel dates you can put in the normal information they request – departure/arrival city and date and submit. Then you can click on ‘Try Our Low Fare Calculator” and you will get a monthly calendar with the lowest price available for each day.

I already checked and my mother can fly down and visit in February for $71.20 round trip after taxes. That will cost less than the two tanks of gas it would cost her to drive and see me.

October 26, 2009

What To Do With Coupons

Filed under: Uncategorized — Queen Bee @ 11:12 am

When I first started couponing I bought this to use as my coupon holder:

Small Coupon Organizer

It was the cheapest thing I could find and it worked well for what I used it for. I would go through the Sunday coupons, cut out the coupons I thought I might use, file them in general categories and toss the rest of the coupons.

Fast forward a few years and I am now the proud owner of this coupon binder (yes, purple is my favorite color and I would paint my laundry room purple if I had more time, but that is another story):

Coupon Binder

Big? Yes. Bulky? Yes. Does it work? Yes! Once I was serious about couponing and wanting to do it ‘right’ I knew I would have to invest in a system that would work for me. My weekly process is a bit more complicated, but it keeps me organized and I can usually find what I am looking for.

I gather all my copies of Sunday paper coupons and combine them.

I go page by page and put identical coupons together so that when I am done I can flip through one coupon insert and have all the like coupons together. If you don’t do this step, then when you are looking for multiple copies of the same coupon you will have to flip through each insert for the particular date and find the coupon several times. You will get annoyed with this process and wish they were all together. During this process of consolidating I throw out obvious coupons I will not use. I don’t have a cat, so all cat coupons I toss. And I don’t want to order tomato plants or fuzzy slippers, so those pages I throw away too. I set aside the coupons that I know I will use, or have a high likelihood of being used. I also set aside Target coupons.

Coupons Consolidated

Once consolidated, I write the date on the front of the insert with a big sharpie.

Coupon Insert Date

The date of the insert is printed on the spine:

Coupon Insert Spine

The circulars get put into an accordion folder with the oldest circular first and newest in the back. I will be talking about coupon matchups later and how to find them. Once you have your coupons organized it is easy to find the coupon you are looking for. A matchup will take an item that is on sale at a store and tell you where you can find a coupon for it to make the price even more attractive. You will be told the circular name (Red Plum, Smart Source, etc.) and the print date. You can easily grab the correct insert, flip through to find the coupon. If you have multiple copies, they will all be together and you will only have to flip through once.

coupon folder

The coupons that I have set aside get cut out and put into my coupon binder. For the Target coupons I keep my eye out for a manufacture coupon to combine it with. If I find a manufacture coupon I will file it in the Target tab with the Target coupon, and then wait for the item to go on sale (of course).

I found this video on how to set up a coupon binder. I don’t have a price book (yet). I just might need to do my own video. Hmmm.

I use the front accordion portion to hold weekly ads, rebate forms and coupons that are too large to fit into the slots. The inside cover of the binder stores a pair of scissors and a few pens. You might want to keep a small calculator here because sometimes adding up your purchases along the way is crucial to being able to use all your coupons.

Binder Accordion

Binder Inside Cover

The first 5 tabs are named after the stores I frequent most often. I file store specific coupons and catalina coupons here. When I work on a shopping list for a particular store, I put the coupons I might use here too. The rest of my categories are:

  • Snacks
  • Canned/Boxed Food
  • Freezer
  • Breakfast
  • Dairy
  • Baking
  • Grains
  • Meats
  • Household
  • Baby
  • Paper
  • Toiletries
  • Cleaning Products
  • Toothpaste/Razors
  • Medicine
  • Laundry

I use baseball card collection pages to put my coupons in. A lot of the coupons have to be folded, but this way I can usually see the coupon product, amount off and expiration date (sometimes this will be on the back if folded, so a quick flip of the page and I can see it). I could not find these sheets at any local stores, so I bought them off amazon . At first I thought a box of 100 would be way too many, but I have over half in my binder now and am happy I have so many. I recommend getting page dividers that have a pocket in them. These are great for coupons that don’t fit into the baseball card slot. I also use the pocket on the CVS tab for ECBs, coupons print at the price scanner machine and $5 off coupons I print from the internet.

Coupons I print of the internet either gets put into their general category or the store I think I will be using it at. Most of the time I print a coupon it is because it is part of a current matchup.

When heading out to do my shopping the ideal situation would be to take the whole binder with you. That way if you happen to see an item on clearance you can see if you have a coupon for it. Most of my shopping is done with my two little kids though. Since they take up a lot of cart space I can’t manage both them and the big binder so I opt to either take out the baseball card sheet(s) in the specific store tab or if it is a small trip, just take the few coupons I need and put them with my grocery shopping list in my diaper bag/purse. I saw this coupon holder on another blog (sorry, I can’t remember which one) a while back and think it would be a great solution for someone like me who needs more space on the cart.

So if you happen to see me in the store with my coupon binder and no kids you know that I am doing some serious shopping. If I wave hi to you and keep moving you will understand, right?

 Coming up next: How to Find/Use Matchups

October 23, 2009

Free Lunch Friday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Queen Bee @ 1:00 am

Don’t forget to enter to win 7 free Lean Cuisines.

You can enter today and then one last time next Friday. There will be a grand prize winner who receives a whole year of them.

October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday – Determined Little Girl

Filed under: Uncategorized — Queen Bee @ 4:42 pm

Push UPs




Pull Up



October 20, 2009

Where Do Coupons Come From? – Part 3

Filed under: Couponing Basics,Saving Money — Queen Bee @ 6:10 am

Loyalty Card

I used to think these were pretty self explanatory… they are used to get the ‘sale’ items for the week and/or month. There is a new feature to these cards. You can load coupons on them online or with your cell phone. You can stack a manufacture clipped coupon with a loaded manufacture coupon for the same item. If you happen to have a store coupon for that item as well, then you can actually have three coupons for the same item.

I load coupons onto my Ralph’s card and my Von’s card. Both stores take P&GeSAVER (Bounty, Tide, Cascade, etc.) coupons, Cellfire coupons and Shortcut$.com coupons. Cellfire coupons are supposed to be able to be loaded using your cell phone as well as the internet. I have not tried the cell phone feature yet though. Keep in mind that there is some lag time between the time you add the coupons to your card and when you can use them. It will be obvious on your receipt if they were applied to your bill.

ralphs rewards

Catalina Coupons

The coupons that print out at the register are called Catalina coupons. The name comes from the company that makes the coupon printing machine. These coupons can be for money off the purchase of a specific item or a dollar amount off your total grocery bill. They are only redeemable at the store you received them from. These are store coupons and can be combined with manufacture coupons.


These are the coupons in those little machines with the blinking light that are located on the grocery shelf that the item is sitting on. For items that I regularly buy I grab one coupon to use when the item goes on sale. A recent example is liquid coffee creamer. Ralph’s has had blinkie coupons for it for the past few weeks. These are manufacture coupons so you don’t have to use them at Ralph’s. I have used one of these at Target and one at Albertsons.


When I am browsing through magazines I pay attention to the coupons. If there is one I think I might use I will cut it out right away. If I don’t do it right away I won’t remember where it was and/or I will forget all about it. There is a magazine called All You that is only sold at Walmart. It features dozens of coupons every month. There is even an index of the coupons, amounts and page numbers in the beginning of each magazine.

allyou cover

October 18, 2009

CVS Trip

Filed under: CVS — Queen Bee @ 4:26 pm

I had a coupon expiring today, so I ditched my 10 guests and headed for CVS. Don’t worry, I made sure they were all well fed before I left. Here is what I got:

CVS 10/18/09

Glade Sense & Spray: 2/$10 – $8.00 in coupons

Glade Fragrance Diffuser: $6.99 – $3.00 in coupons

Revlon blush: $6.99 – $1.00 in coupon

Revlon eye shadow: $9.99 – $1.00 in coupon

Plus used a $5 of $25 coupon

Total:  $33.98 – $18.00 in coupons = $15.97

Received 13.99 in ECB back

Net: $1.98 plus $2.53 tax = $4.51 total cost

And to top things off, when I scanned my CVS card at the price checker I received a $5 off $15 coupon!

Did you venture out to CVS this week? How did you do?

October 17, 2009

Introduction To CVS

Filed under: Couponing Basics,CVS,Saving Money — Queen Bee @ 9:44 am

A very fun store to shop at for me is CVS. Most weeks there are a few items that you get all or most of the money you paid for a product back in the form of an ECB (Extra Care Buck). ECBs can then be used on your next purchase. You can even use them to buy things that will result in more ECBs. I know, it all sounds very confusing. The net effect of this process is that the items are ‘free’, you just pay for the tax.

Money Saving Mom has a great CVS 101 post. If you are brand new to CVS I suggest your read her post.

Sunday is day 1 of their weekly sales. To get you started on your CVS journey, this will be a fun week to begin with. Here is the free after ECB deal that we should see (10/18/09 – 10/24/09):

Glade Candles/Diffusers $6.99 (limit 1)
Use the $3/1 from 10/4 Smart Source
Get $6.99 in ECBs
Final Price: $3 moneymaker!

Your total out of pocket will be $3.99 plus tax and you will walk away with an ECB for $6.99 to use on your next trip.

If this is your first trip you will need to apply for Extra Care Account. They should have applications up by the registers. You need to fill out your name and address and the cashier will hand you your card. Your extra care bucks will be attached to this card, so to use the ECBs you will need to have that card with you.

After making your first purchase you will be able to have fun with the price scanner. Each time you go to CVS you can scan your CVS card at the price check scanner and coupons will print out. I save these until they expire because they sometimes do come in hand. Sometimes you will get a $5 of $20 purchase. These are always fun to get and use. They help to lower your out-of-pocket expense.

Southern California is sometimes different from the rest of the country, so check the ad before you go. You will find the ad either in your Sunday paper, or at CVS.com

For a complete matchup visit Charlene at My Frugal Adventures.

October 16, 2009

Laundry Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Queen Bee @ 12:05 pm

Well Thursday has come and gone, but I still wanted to chime in on the subject.

With a 2-year old and a 7-month old at home, here is what laundry day looks like for me:

Sam Doing Laundry


I do loads of laundry whenever I can manage to push the high chair down there. I like to have the toddler close by so I know that he is not getting into something else he shouldn’t be. Life is a little hectic right now, so I don’t have a perfect laundry plan in place. My biggest piece of advice to you is to spread it out and not try to do it all on one day or you will end up with this:

Folded Laundry

Now who can I get to put it away for me?

This post is part of Talkin’ About It Thursday at MyCup2Yours. Find links to more posts on laundry there.

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