Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Is organic really organic?

I recently went on a organic kick and wanted to see if there's a change in my health after consuming mostly organic foods and drinks. I bought and made organic everything, organic meats, eggs, dairy and produce; and boy was it expensive and boy was it a learning experience.

The whole idea of organic is for the consumer to be able to buy food that is as close to what nature intended the food to be as possible. That meant for me no GMOs, no pesticides, no antibiotics, no additives, etc. The USDA defines organic as food that is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.  Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.  Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.

What the USDA does to ensure farms are following their standard is train third party inspectors to test the validity of the methods of organic companies, "Certification is handled by state, non-profit and private agencies that have been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) --Wikipedia". There are no set rules of how many visits per year are required and to what depth the investigations must be, but only when farms which sell less then $5,000 organic product a year must submit to a records audit. To me this seems lopsided in the favor of large companies that produce massive amounts of profit per year leaving a ton of red tape for the little guy while giving big business a free pass. Again, the family farms are stomped on.

From this information it is hard to tell how much, if at all, our organic labeled foods are being regulated, by who they are being regulated (inspectors can be hired by companies making their allegiances clear) and how often they are regulated. Since the USDA does such a poor job on inspecting standard food why should we trust the USDA organic seal at all?

Most if not all of the organic labeled animal products and much of the organic labeled produce come from factory farms and are produced by big agriculture companies. The Cornucopia Institute has conducted investigations and researched the legitimacy of organic labeling on many large brand names that are sold in groceries across the U.S.. They compiled the information into score cards, listed below.

Egg Score Card

Dairy Score Card

Cereal Scorecard

As noted on the score cards store brand organics like HEB's Market Fresh or Kroger's Organic Private Selection score very low because they will not answer questions regarding where and how food is grown or raised. Is this really a lot to ask? At least offer some information to gain the confidence of your consumers.

So what have I learned from this whole experience? First off I learned the USDA does not directly regulate organic labeled foods and most likely some "inspector" paid by the producing company is hired in the interest of the company. Secondly, local grocery stores are also all for the profits, and could care less about telling their consumers basic information about their store brand foods. I also learned the best place to get the safest food is your own back yard, small local farms are the next best, that way you can make certain where your food comes from and how it is produced. Lastly, I want to note there were positive changes in my health after consuming organic labeled foods, yet I can not point them directly to eating organic as I adopted other healthy changes like omitting soft drinks and omitting additives to my diet. I personally do think some organic labeled foods are really what they say they are, but I also believe that it is near impossible to tell who is labeling truthfully and how often.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kelloggs Creals 99¢ at Randalls

Randalls has Crunchy Nut cereal for $1.99 wyb 8 boxes, and there is a printable coupon for $4/4 boxes of Kellogg's cereals. Use two $4/4 coupons and get 99¢ cereal.

$10 gas card mail in rebate with Kelloggs

Get a $10 gas card mailed to you when you send 10 UPCs of participating cereals and filled out form.

A Good Week at Hodges Food Basket

Specials good for March 21- April 3rd
Hodges is having a 5 for $5 sale, here's the list of items that qualify:
Pillsbury cake mixes
Del Monte Ketchup
16 oz Ajax Dish Liquid
15 oz Chef Boyardee Ravioli
14.5 oz Del Mont Tomatoes (stewed, diced, whole)
Little Dutch Maid Vanilla Waffers
6oz Butterball Turkey Bacon
12 oz Hormel Little Sizzlers
3-4 oz Oscar Mayer Lunchables
21 oz Hunts BBQ sauce
12 oz Skinner Spaghetti
26 oz Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce
9 oz Glade room spray
32 oz Parade Window Cleaner

Produce deals include:
Red Bel peppers 2/$1
Jalapenos 69¢/lb
yellow onion 49¢/lb
Cantaloupes 99¢/ea
Green leaf, red leaf, or romaine lettuce 69¢/ea

Saturday, March 17, 2012

CVS 3/18- 3/24

These deals are meant for comp at Walmart you can still use them on a smaller scale at CVS

The Deals

Kettle Potato Chips or Kettle Tias 8.8.5 oz $2.49
$1 Kettle chips (3/18 RP exp. 5/12)
buy $30 get $10 CVS Cash

Kellogg's Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes, AppleJacks, Froot Loops, Cocoa or Rice Krisipies cereal 8.7-15 oz $1.77
$1/2 Kelloggs IP (from kelloggs.com raisin bran and rice crispies only)
Kellogg's Rebate: HERE

Schick Hydro 5 cartridges 4pk., Hydro 5 or Hydro 5 Power Select razor 1ct. $9.19 Get $4 ECB
$4/1 Schick Hydro Power Select (SS 02/26/12)
Spend $12 Get $4 ECB wyb any of the Suave products listed (excludes clearance items) Limit 1
Suave Naturals 22.5 oz or Kids' 12 oz 2/$3
Suave Invisible solid 1.4 oz $1
Suave B2G1 free Naturals, Men or Kids products (4/15) ETS RP 3/18
Suave Save $.75/1 deodorant product (4/15) ETS

With 12 inserts, 6 Kellogs IP and ad to comp:

12 bags of Kettle chips for $7.88 or approx 66¢/bag
10 Kelloggs cereal $12.70 & $10 Gas card after MIR (theoretically 27¢/ ea. after rebate)
10 Schick Hydro Razors $11.90 or $1.19 ea
12 Suave Deodorants $1.08 MM & FREE product
24 Suave Kids body wash $13.2 or 55¢ a.

Total: $44.60 (b4 tax not including gas card)
Total before coupons and ecb: $187.48
76% savings on all items and 81% savings after MIR

The Math

Kettle Potato Chips or Kettle Tias 8.8.5 oz $2.49
$1 Kettle chips (3/18 RP exp. 5/12)
buy $30 get $10 CVS Cash (98% rule applies)
12 chips @ $2.49= $29.88 -$10 cvs cash so comp at 12 chips @ $19.88 ($1.656 ea* the extra digit can be rounded but the price will vary by a few cents)
12 chips comped at $19.88 - $12 MQ= $7.88 for 12 bags/ approx 66¢ bag

Kellogg's Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes, AppleJacks, Froot Loops, Cocoa or Rice Krisipies cereal 8.7-15 oz $1.77
$1/2 Kelloggs IP (from kelloggs.com raisin bran and rice crispies only)
Comp at $1.77 box @ $17.70 per 10 - $5 IP = $12.70 per 10 & $10 gas card MIR

Schick Hydro 5 cartridges 4pk., Hydro 5 or Hydro 5 Power Select razor 1ct. $9.19 Get $4 ECB
$4/1 Schick Hydro Power Select (SS 02/26/12)
Comp razors for $5.19 - $4 MQ = $1.19 x 10= $11.90

Spend $12 Get $4 ECB wyb any of the Suave products listed (excludes clearance items) Limit 1
Suave Naturals 22.5 oz or Kids' 12 oz 2/$3
Suave Invisible solid 1.4 oz $1
Suave B2G1 free Naturals, Men or Kids products (4/15) ETS RP 3/18
Suave Save $.75/1 deodorant product (4/15) ETS

Comp deodorants at 66¢ ea [12 for $8] ($12 for 12 - 4 ecb = $8 for 12= 66¢ ea rounded up) - $9 MQ (12x 75¢/1)= free & $1.08 MM

Comp body wash at 83¢ ea [24 for $20] ($36 for 24 - 16 ecb= $20 [$4 per every $12 thr are 4 sets of $12 so 4x4= $16] $20 - B2G1 coupon ($6.64*) = $13.36 [*24/3= 8 items free and 16 paid for; 83¢x 8= $6.64]= 55¢ ea

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hodges Produce Deals (Unadvertised)

I went to Hodges Food Basket to pick up a few items that were on sale in the ad, and I found some nice unadvertised produce sales I wanted to share with everyone. Zucchini and yellow squash 69¢/lb and iceberg lettuce for 99¢.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hodges food basket 29¢ canned veggies and more!!!



29¢ Parade Corn and Green beans!
14oz Dawn dish liquid 99¢
Downy Fabric softener $2.49
Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce 99¢
and that's just the beginning...
PLUS they double and triple coupons!
This week Hodges is the place to shop!

POM Wonderful Juice $1/1 coupon

Print this POM Wonderful Juice $1/1 coupon quickly, before it disappears!  This is a rare coupon so print it fast!  Remember, you can print each coupon twice.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sale Seasons & Cycles

   Sale Seasons & Cycles

 There are several different types of sales cycles that can be charted to figure out when the price of a product is at its lowest. By knowing what sales may be coming, you can save certain coupons for those sales and get even lower prices. First you need to know there are seasonal sales cycles, repetitive sales cycles, product life sales cycles.
Seasonal Sales
  Just like how fruits and veggies are less expensive when they are “in season,” other grocery items also have seasons in which the cost is lower. Stock up during the right season and you won’t have to buy during the off season’s higher pricing cycle.
Winter Months: Look for sales on canned goods especially soups & tuna as well as frozen foods. Larger cuts of meat such as roasts may be in sale. Cheese will also be on sale as will various Mac N Cheese products. Laundry Soap is at it's lowest prices as it coordinated with White Sales.
January: Look for sales on diet foods, low calorie items and exercise items.
Mid February – Look for cheap valentines candy AFTER Feb 14. Plus you can find great candles on clearance after the St. Valentines Day.
Before Easter: Look for sales on ham and turkey as well as holiday candy and toys! Dry Pasta also goes on sale.
Springtime: Spring Cleanings means sales on cleaning products! Time to stock up!
April – Strawberries are in season in Texas! Also look for sales on paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels.
Pre-Memorial Day: Look for sales on bug/mosquito repellant, grilling salts and charcoal. Hamburgers, Hot Dogs and Brats will go on sale. Condiment prices for items such as BBQ sauces, marinates, mustard and ketchup are lower. Lemonade and powdered drink mixes like Crystal Lite and Kool Aid also go on sale. Also cheaper: pool items, sunscreen, squirt guns, bubbles and sidewalk chalk.  The price of ice cream skyrockets during the first part of summer so this is your last chance at cheap ice cream for a while!
Pre-Hurricane Sales – If you live in the gulf coast, look for savings on items like water, batteries, tuna and spam before hurricane season officially begins June 1. Once shown on radar in the gulf, the prices will start to rise faster than Channel 11’s predictions in Houston!
End of May/First Part of June – Sports Drinks go on sale so get your coupons ready for items like Gatorade, Vitamin Water, SoBe and Propel Fitness Water. Even all the soft drinks at McDonalds are now just a buck for the rest of the summer.
August/Pre-Labor Day – Office Supplies/School Supplies!! Take advantage of back to school with getting your office pens, pads, papers at really cheap prices! If you have an office supply savings card, you can really rack up some good deals, sometimes mere pennies, depending on the store. Check out the 3M site for coupon savings on products like tape, post its, scissors and more. Start looking for summer clearance items as fall items start to hit the shelves.
October – Halloween candy sales. Soup and Pasta Sauces start to go on sale.
November – Holiday Sales begin. Black Friday sales on the day after Thanksgiving. Toys/Electronics are big sellers. Baking Goods (Corn Starch, Karo Syrup, Chocolate Chips, Quick Bread Mixes, Sugar)  on sale. You can pick up some really cheap canned vegetables in November. Stock up on them during this time period. Turkey/Ham deals abound at the grocery store. Try buying nuts and holiday spices including cinnamon through the self service bulk/natural food section for even more savings.
Repetitive Sales Cycles
  While some items do go through seasonal sales cycles, most items go through much more repetitive sales cycles at certain stores. Getting to know your local stores sales cycles is one way to get ahead of the curve and stock up on amounts that will get your family through to the next sales cycle.
  Extreme couponers are often known by their outrageously large stockpiles while serious couponers do stockpile but we know we don’t have to have EVERY single item on the shelf like it’s the end of the world. This is because we know we can get more within the next three months. Depending on the item, its sales cycle could even be as few as six weeks.
  By being a loyal shopper at Walgreens, I know that every three months, Lindsay Olives are going to be on sale with a store coupon; green and black, limit 3. I dig olives! So every three months, I buy 2 jars of green and a can of black or two cans of black and a jar of green. I can eat as many olives as I want all year round and then have plenty for holiday dinners and relish plates during the holidays!
  If I find any Lindsay Olive coupons, you can bet I’ll save it to stack with the store coupon for even greater savings during that sales cycle.
 I also know that every three months the Walgreens brand of paper plates, Kleenex tissues and Puffs tissues will be on sale with a store coupon from the Sunday circular. I can stack manufacturer’s coupons with the store coupon for the tissues to add to my savings. I buy the limit of three and that lasts my family until the next quarter.
  I also shop regularly at one grocery store so I know that about every six weeks, the store will have some sort of mega sale that will last for two weeks. This is when I stock up on items. The rest of the time I buy only what I can get extremely cheap or free since I have now built up a pretty good stockpile and do not need anything.
  Proctor & Gamble releases an entire insert of coupons for just their products every 6-8 weeks and retail stores want to vie for your money by getting you in their store to use those coupons. Every P&G insert so far this year has included a $4 coupon for Gillette Fusion Shavers… the fancy one with the batteries. My dad loves these. The replacement blades can run around $14 a pop!
  I know that Walgreens will have a really sweet deal on these razors sometime during the coupon’s life (before its expiration date) where they will offer these razors on sale for just $9.99 with a register reward of $5 to use on my next purchase. So every sales cycle, I take my $4 off coupon to my local Wags and buy the razor (and a new battery even comes with it) for $5.99 out of pocket. I also walk away with a $5 register reward that I can use on a future visit.
  I cannot use it to buy another razor by the way the Wags register rewards work but I can use it to pay for my Lindsay Olives and/or my paper plates! Basically, I just bought a Gillette Fusion razor with battery for 99 cents! And I know this is a sale cycle that will happen every few weeks. My dad is going to have so many razors for Christmas! He won’t need to buy those expensive replacement blades next year!
 Find out which fruits and vegetables are in season in your area by clicking here.

Life of a Product Sales Cycle
Often when there is a new product out, high dollar coupons are released to entice you to buy the product. Do not run right out and get that product. Watch the sales papers and the products will go on a sale when the product is in enough markets. Then use that high dollar coupon.
If the product is going through some sort of improvement or repackaging, look for the product to go on clearance or close out. This allows the retailer to get rid of stock cheaply to make way for the new improved version of the product. Get to know your local store’s close out tags so you can easily recognize these unadvertised sales. Take advantage of close out prices by using coupons when items to increase your savings.
When the new improved product is unveiled again, expect more good coupons and at least one good sale on the products soon after.
Rinse, Repeat!
Here’s a few examples…
Scott Paper Products recently unveiled a line of natural earth conscious paper products including paper towels and toilet paper. Coupons for $2 off and $1.50 off started hitting online. A couple of weeks later, so did the sales. I ended up getting a slew of paper towels for less than 50 cents a roll.
At the same time, one of the napkin companies decided they wants to change the print on their napkins so the current stock was close out priced at just 87 cents a package. These were double stack packages! I had some 25 cents off coupons which at that time were tripled to 75 cents off. So each package of napkins costs me just 12 cents! I bought six and my mom bought a couple. I don’t think we spent a buck between us on that deal!
Crayola has some great coloring products out there that follow the theme of well known children’s movies. You can color Disney princesses or one of the many stars of those wonderful Pixar movies. When a new movie comes out to a big fanfare then the older one will go on closeout or into a clearance bin.
For example, as I am writing this there is a new Cars movie getting ready to come out. There are going to be a multitude of product tie in out there for this movie. The last really big Pixar movie was Toy Story 3. As my grocery store prepared to receive stock of the new Cars merchandise, all the Crayola Wonder items for Toy Story 3 and the Disney Princesses went into a clearance bin. The items that were formerly marked at $9.99 were now marked $1.49 and $2.49. Around Easter, Crayola has released some coupons for these products. I ended up with one of each for a little over a buck when you include tax!
Clearance bins are often located in a back corner of a store or out of the way place at most store. If you have a coupon binder, this is a great place to browse and see if you have a coupon to match on any good deals you see. If you wait, you may not see that item again at that clearance price.
There are usually a clearance area for meats as well that have been put on Manager's Special. These are meats that have been reduced for quick sale. Because the products are nearing their sale expiration date, these meats must be eaten soon or frozen soon.
Dairy products on Manager's Special can also be found usually in the case with the rest of the dairy products. Look for brightly colored mark down tags on the product. Milk, Butter and some yogurts can be frozen easily. However, I haven't had the same luck with sour cream and sour cream based dips.
Usually after every holiday, I can find Manager's Specials on ready to bake cookies in reference to the recent holiday. These cookies can be frozen for up to six months. My son doesn't care if they have red chocolate chips from Valentines Day or have a bunny on them from Easter. Save your coupons for ready to bake cookies and you can pick these up for next to nothing!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Grocery Deals 75% off or more (week 1/18- 1/24)


$1 Lunchables


Colgate Toothpaste 6.4 oz. 99¢
w/ coupon Colgate 75¢/1( SS1/1 ) 29¢

Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks 4.5 - 8 oz. 99¢
w/ coupon Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks 50¢/2 (GM1/8  or print) 49¢


Kens Salad Dressing 9 oz $1
w/ coupon $1 off Kens Salad Dressing (SS1/8) FREE


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Where to get grocery coupons

This topic is not something you can cover with just one sentence. In fact, if you are trying to get the best coupons available for you it could be a part time job because there are so many sources; couponing becomes a hunting game. Indeed a game that can pay off considerably. In this article I will explain all the offline and online resources available and cover the different types of grocery coupons available today.

Offline Sources

Newspapers: The three major companies that produce coupons in the Sunday paper are Smartsource, Red plum, P & G. Sometimes there are extra coupon inserts, but even the extra ones come from these three companies.

Mail/phone: A few times a year your favorite manufacturers will mail you coupons if you inquire. All it will take is just an e-mail or phone call and you will have coupons number to your mailbox. These coupons are generally better than those in the local paper, and are highly sought after. And sometimes they will even send samples to you with the coupons.

At the store

On package coupons: These coupons are either attached to the package like stickers or are printed on the inside of the empty carton. These are coupons that you can use during the purchase of the product or at a later time after you have opened the package. Hangtags fall into this category as well, these are coupons that hang around the bottle or attached by string to the product.

Blinkies and tear pads: These coupons are usually on display near the product and can be used at any time. Take as many as you need in good conscience.

Store ads: Store ads are generally located at the entrances of the store, and many store ads contain store specific coupons that you can use at that particular store and sometimes in conjunction with manufacturers’ coupons.

Catalinas: These special coupons will print out at checkout with your receipt. They are generally store coupons although they can be manufacturer coupons, and they are used just like regular coupons. Some Catalina coupons will be dollars or cents off a product like a normal coupon, and others will be dollars off a total order. For example, a store may have a special that when I buy $100 worth of groceries I get five dollars off my next visit.

Online sources

I must emphasize the importance of using safe resources for printing coupons online. There are many websites out there that attract coupon hunters by boasting of the database of hundreds of coupons. Only to lead you to download unwanted malware or adware and send you to their referral link on coupons.com or worse never deliver. These sources I'm about to list are not only trusted but verified and safe, they will not download any unwanted software or steal your information in any way.


Also it's good to visit any of the manufacturers’ sites of the products that you regularly buy, as they can have coupons that you can print there as well. Some popular ones are Kellogg's and BettyCrocker.

Virtual coupons

If you live alone or don't have many people in your household virtual coupons may be the way to go for you. What you do is go to your local grocery store’s website, or the website listed below, and set up a free account and browse the many coupons available to load to your store card. This only works if your store has a discount card like Kroger's.

Be aware that if you are using paper coupons along with your virtual coupons, the coupons may interfere with each other in certain situations (like when doubling, coupon limitations).

Also, there are coupons online that turn your cell phone into a coupon by displaying an image of the barcode on your cell phone. Some manufacturers’ sites may have this option available.