Reader Spotlight – Resolution To Save

Reader Spotlight - Resolution To Save

Ok…I had planned to put this spotlight up in January but like usual…I got busy and forgot. I was going down the list in my spotlight folder (which is getting thin btw…hint, hint!) and found Karen’s story next in line.

While I am a little late as far as being a New Year’s resolution idea…I still think her message is valid no matter the time of year.

Take it away, Karen –

In January, Michelle asked what our new resolutions for couponing would be. Initially, I thought I had reached a plateau. I was menu planning, sticking to my list; I had ferreted out every possible source of coupons. In short, I was pleased with my savings.

However, it occurred to me an area of savings related to grocery shopping which did not include food: the gas card. Although we have been underemployed for several years, my husband and I are in a unique situation where we earn most of our income from at home work. Also we plan just one shopping trip per week and run any needed errands at that time. I decided to take advantage of the gas card deal each time it was offered to further increase our savings on gasoline. Because of that decision, I have only had to purchase gas out of pocket less than ten times in 2014. It has made a huge difference in the amount of money we’ve been able to save for home repairs this year. Not so much the actual money saved on gas but the psychological effect it had led us to put back more money.

I often see comments suggesting there are not enough deals to reach the fifty dollar minimum. Each week I shop Publix and Kroger (mainly dairy, bread, and peanut butter), and I’m limited to $45 to spend at both places. Here’s my strategy: Collect and set aside free Q’s. Old Orchard has games which I play to earn points for free juice. I also get coupons for free Powerade from My Coke Rewards, and of course lately, I’ve ordered three coupons for the 12 pack cokes. Also I get free or high value coupons from playing instant win games. During the last gas card promotion, I had over $5 in free products. Also, if there are Kellogg’s products on sale I will usually redeem points for the high value qs. I check meat and produce prices. Sometimes I’ll have Kroger store coupons for $ off meat and produce purchases. I check the coop fliers and hold off those purchases in case the gas card deal shows up during the sale cycle. Rainchecks are also used at this time if I have any. I don’t limit my purchases to just food but look for good prices on cleaning products and health and beauty items. I’ll stack manufactures coupons with store coupons for matches which are good prices, even without a sale. In the past, I’ve bought Listerine, rubbing alcohol, shampoo, and q-tips. I’m even willing to spend a few cents more if that means I have one less store to shop. Finally I’ll check staples like tomato sauce, paste, dried beans, and rice. I’ll fill out my purchases with store brand products if needed. As long as I’m within budget, and I know I’ll use an item, I don’t fret if it’s not the best deal.

Low gasoline prices have been an added bonus. I just filled my car, and I still have a balance on one card, plus another card saved. I’m expecting the deal to come up again right after the holidays. This worked so well for us this year that I’ll be doing it again for 2015.

You have a plan and are sticking to it. A great plan sets you up for success – great job!

I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got into couponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @ gmail.com.This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Sharing The Savings

shareToday’s Reader Spotlight is from Cindi, who taught her friend Tammy how to coupon! Gotta love helping a buddy get that couponing bug. 

Take it away, Cindi!

My name is Cindi and I live in north Alabama. I have been couponing for probably 30 years and I have seen many changes with the use of coupons. Today, it is a wonderland of opportunity to save money using coupons. I have also taught a coupon class and done private teaching with friends. here is a report on one of my “students”… I have a friend, Tammy, that I have been teaching the basics of using coupons to. She has become so excited about saving money I get so tickled at her when she looks at her receipt and sees her savings. We get together every Sunday morning, bright and early, to clip and organize our coupons and binders. Speaking of binders, I made Tammy a small binder several weeks ago, using a 1 inch 3-ring notebook. She has now graduated to a 3 inch trapper style binder! When I told Tammy how to get the biggest bang for her buck at Publix using store, manufacturer and competitors coupons, and combining them with BOGO specials she was absolutely stunned. Tammy is always thanking me for teaching her how to save money using coupons and common sense.
I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got into couponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @ gmail.com.This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Multiplying The Impact

donations

Today’s Reader Spotlight is from Robbin, who has an amazing story on how she has used couponing to give back. The timing is a bit off for this one but I know you guys will appreciate the message! Keep up the great work. 

Take it away, Robin!

Thank you for your site.  The closest Publix is forty minutes away from me.  I suspect that I wouldn’t bother even going there (and would miss out on great deals) without iheartpublix.com to help me thoroughly plan out my visits. 
I want to say a special thank you for the part iheartpublix.com played in my family’s holiday giving this year.  Yesterday my kids and I dropped off a carload of groceries to a struggling local family.  The mother had been the sole breadwinner for many months.  With two teens and two young grandkids to feed, she had gone through all of her resources.  There was good news on the horizon, in the form of a new job for her husband.  However, she said that she had no food to last until his paychecks started coming and that the local food banks were running too low to help out much.
We were able to give $300+ worth of groceries, spending less than $100.  So many charities request cash donations this time of year, but our budget is what it is.  Multiplying the impact of our charitable dollars via careful shopping and coupons felt wonderful.

Giving back is what it is all about. Thank you for sharing!

I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

 Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got into couponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @ gmail.com.This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Big Changes While Spending Less!

 

changesToday’s Reader Spotlight is from Mel, who has an amazing story on how she responded to her family’s financial hardship. Thank you so much for your kind words –remember it’s all the work that you guys actually do that really makes the difference. Keep up the great work. 

Take it away, Mel!

October 1st 2013 my husband lost his job. Like many others it put us in a rough financial situation and forced some changes in our household. Until that point, I was spending $150-$200 a week at Walmart (trust me, I know) thinking I was getting the best deal. I had friends who couponed but it was never anything I was interested in.

Knowing that my family’s well-being was at stake I decided to become interested and that’s when I stumbled upon my favorite site, I heart Publix! I was hooked! You made it so easy to understand and execute on! I started small so I wouldn’t get too overwhelmed and immediately started saving! I added in Kroger to my routine and was thrilled how I would come home with more but was spending less than I ever had! In the beginning of the year I started using cash back apps and doing mail in rebates.

Here I am, over a year later and I have come further than I thought ever possible. I never have to go to Walmart, I shop only at Publix, Target and Kroger now. I have a wonderful coupon binder and several apps that keep my lists and pricing organized and easy to pull my deals together. I also get to donate freebies and money makers to local shelters and charities!

My husband is working again, making about the same amount he was prior to losing his job after a bumpy year, and we’ve learned some very valuable personal and financial lessons. The most amazing part of this whole experience happened this morning. Christmas is looming and the season of free flowing money and high credit card bills is upon us, but not for me! Thanks to you and your sites my kids large Christmas gifts are already paid for, roughly $350 worth! How? Coupons, cash back apps and rebates have allowed me to save enough over this past year to walk in and buy them with no impact on my bank account! (after price matching of course)

It’s likely we’ll never meet, though I am from Atlanta, but you and your dedication have been instrumental in keeping my family from suffering what likely could have been a terrible situation. Thank you for everything you’ve done and everything you do, it means more to us faceless internet groupies out here than we could ever tell you!

By the way…I love you guys too! I love having a huge group of friends that I get to “talk” to every single day!! Thanks so much for sharing, Mel!

Ok guys…I am still very low on stories —I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

 Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got into couponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @ gmail.com.This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – A Sharpie Is Your Stockpile’s Best Friend

sharpie
Today’s Reader Spotlight is from Marie, who has a great tip to help us keep our stockpiles fresh. I never thought to do this with my pasta sauce and such…I am totally going to follow Marie’s lead!

Take it away, Marie!

I have a family of eight so I buy A LOT of food. Unfortunately, at one point, keeping up with expiration dates on food was getting away from me. Getting groceries put up with kids running around or having to run off to car pool kept me from always putting up newer groceries in the back of shelves or …you know. Hoping I grabbed the oldest cans of tomatoes to make dinner was basically a guessing game.

I solved this with the amazing Sharpie :). I keep one over the fridge and one in the pantry. When putting up groceries, I write the expiration date on boxes and cans so I know what has to get used first even if they get mixed around on shelves.

When I freeze an item, I write what it is and date frozen or cooked. I try to date items I freeze if they are tossed in the freezer in original packaging…like butter or sliced cheeses…but honestly I haven’t gotten that organized yet.

When I open a jar (pasta sauce or preserves for example), I write the date opened on the item. Prevents the “here smell this” catastrophe :)

When a canned food drive comes around… It’s simple to ensure I’m sending in currently dated food.

We work too hard to buy food inexpensively to have to toss it.  Honestly, dating food with my little Sharpie takes less time than scrounging around later hunting for dates …and with my middle aged eyes I can see the Sharpie much easier than those tiny little computer generated expiration dates that are on boxes and cans (yes I have a little magnifying glass in there too ;)

Thanks so much for sharing, Marie!

Ok guys…I am still very low on stories —I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

 Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got intocouponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @ gmail.com.This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Keeping A Grandmother’s Love Alive

grandmaToday’s Reader Spotlight is from Andrea, who has a sweet story to share. Andrea is able to keep her grandmother’s memory alive as she coupons.

Take it away, Andrea!

My name is Andrea and couponing has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was raised by a single mom with a lot of support from her parents. I spent most summers and school breaks with my maternal grandparents and I (mostly) felt lucky to have three “parents.”

My grandfather grew up during the Great Depression and my grandmother, while younger, grew up as one of twelve children in a rural farming community. Both of my grandparents were pros at being frugal and I can remember helping Grandma clip coupons or check out the weekly sales while I was still in elementary school.

As I grew up and got out on my own, I couponed here and there but continued to eat mostly “whatever is on sale.” Fast forwarding to my early thirties and settling in to being a wife, suddenly I was back to couponing with a passion! I get two papers, had a stack of the “Enjoy the City” books for the Winn-Dixie coupons (until they expired last December), and have built up a list of online sources for coupons on our favorite items.

This past year, those skills have been a life saver. We are supporting ourselves on my husband’s income alone while I job hunt and work on professional certifications and I know we would not have been able to stay out of debt without keeping our grocery food budget around $150-200 a month. Thank goodness my grandmother was also an amazing cook as well and taught me her secrets!

While I am profoundly grateful for the savings from couponing, it has a much more personal meaning for me. Sadly, my grandmother passed away the year before my wedding. She never had the chance to see me walk down the aisle, but more importantly, she isn’t here now to help me settle into life as a wife and partner to someone, a role she was always trying to prepare me for.

It’s a little sappy, but couponing/shopping the sales isn’t a just smart budget move or a needed financial tool for my family. It’s a way to keep my grandmother, her love and her wisdom here with me every day. I think about her while clipping coupons and sometimes I can almost hear her voice, giving me advice on meal ideas based on the sales.

Thanks so much for sharing, Andrea!

Ok guys…I am still very low on stories —I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

 Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got intocouponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @ gmail.com.This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – A Small Box That Turned Into A Cabinet

lipstick
Today’s Reader Spotlight is from Amber, who has a lovely message to share from this past holiday season. Though the holidays are over, her story has a great message…you can do a lot with very little and every little gesture can help!

Take it away, Amber!

Since my husband and I have been together for 13 years we have helped “sponsor” a family at Christmas. In the last 4 years we haven’t been able to do more than a toy or two due to health issues and financial restraints. Two out of the last four holiday seasons my husband has required surgeries that took him out of work for at least 3 months at a time. Last year around October is when my couponing truly kicked in and I started stocking our house, because using the coupons kept things going.

Last year was the worst and I realized that it wasn’t going to get better overnight and we probably wouldn’t be able to “sponsor” this year either. Instead, I started a donation box for the local women and children’s shelter in January. My goal was to have a small box of makeup to donate for the women. Because sometimes you just need a little bit of lipstick and mascara to brighten your entire day!

Well as the months have gone by my box turned into a tub, a tub into a cabinet, and now I have over $500 worth of makeup, toiletries, shampoos, bodywashes. All of the things to make you feel like a beautiful girl, when you are down (not that they are necessary, but hey, we all know they help! LOL). And most of the items were free or less than a $1 after my coupons!

I have also couponed for toys and took my son to pick out toys for the kids, because teaching him the importance of helping someone is one of the best things we can do for him as parents. I enjoy couponing and it has made a difference for our family and I’m hoping it will make a difference for the families that we help at the shelter!

Thanks so much for sharing, Amber!

Ok guys…I am still very low on stories —I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

 Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got intocouponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @ gmail.com.This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – A Husband And Wife Couponing Team

teamToday’s Reader Spotlight is about Mike and Tamara, a husband and wife couponing team. I just love that they coupon together!

Take it away, Mike!

My wife and I have been couponing together for about 14 years now and thought I’d share our daily experiences, tips, and successes.

We comb through the Sunday paper and coupons we get in the mail and my wife clips everything and puts it in a file folder by month. We go through it each week and pull out what we want/need to purchase and compare it to the Publix flyer. We then make a shopping list based on each aisle, and sort our coupons accordingly.

We can then just cruise down each aisle and have our coupons ready to make sure we get everything we wanted. Sometimes the store item is a better deal even with the coupon so we’ll leave the coupon behind for someone else to use.

We were saving around $20-30 when we started and we kept challenging ourselves to save more and more. Our last trip a few weeks ago we had $92 in coupons!! Understand that we are not like those extreme couponers on TV either – these were things we needed/wanted and would use and not store away.

I hear people saying that couponing is a waste of time and or they are too busy to clip coupons – I tell those people that coupons are free money and explain some of our savings to them!

Thanks so much for sharing, Mike!

Ok guys…I am still very low on stories —I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

 Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got intocouponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @ gmail.com.This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Couponing For Charity

charity
Today’s Reader Spotlight is from Cathy, who is a new couponer who has found that she can make a HUGE impact in her community through couponing!

Take it away, Cathy!

I began couponing earlier this year after taking a class at our local community center. I left the class not really knowing how to coupon, but interested enough to start learning more on my own. I kept an eye on websites like I Heart Publix and joined Facebook coupon groups. Before long I had it down and was walking out of Publix with some huge savings!

We are very fortunate that my husband’s job allows me to stay home to care for our preschooler and kindergartner. While we certainly enjoy seeing our grocery bill drop, it’s couponing for charity that has really become my passion.

Since beginning to coupon back in April I would estimate that I’ve given over $900 worth of items to two local charities, both of which work with foster kids and kids who are aging out of the foster care system. I would also estimate that I’ve spent less than $150 out of my own pocket for all of it, most of which I spent early on before I fully understood sales cycles and knowing just how many items can be free if you aren’t in a hurry for a sale! I’m attaching a photo of items that I’m dropping off this weekend, my fourth batch of items to this particular group.

Giving to those kids and young adults has become more fulfilling than I ever imagined it could be. They are so thankful for each item that I bring by, and I am so thankful that couponing has allowed me to provide so much for those in need.

Additionally, I have started teaching local moms how to coupon, offering free classes and cheering them on as they begin to see savings of their own. I encourage each of them to use their coupons to build up a donation shelf of their own. Hopefully over time my impact on the community will grow, and it would all be thanks to coupons!

Thanks so much for sharing, Cathy!

Ok guys…I am still very low on stories —I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

 Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got intocouponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @ gmail.com.This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Stretching That Budget Farther At Publix!


stretch a dollarToday’s Reader Spotlight is from Diva, who has a story we can all relate to. When she was inspired to try couponing, it made a big impact on her life!

Take it away, Diva!

I am 25 years old and I’ve always been frugal. I’ve had a savings account since I was 9 years old. As a grew up, saving money wasn’t a chore to me. I made do with what little I had while saving for what I want. I started living on my own when I was 18 years old, moving from state to state. At first, when I lived in North Carolina, I would shop at the local Target, using very few store coupons. I didn’t know about manufacturer coupon stacking and Cartwheel wasn’t around yet. I worked full time and I was proud of what I could accomplish with very little effort back then.

Soon I moved to South Carolina where I met the love of my life. We became engaged and moved in together. I was in charge of the food budget. At first, all we did was shop at Walmart and Dollar General, taking advantage of the “low prices.” Publix was always too expensive, but I spent my entertainment money in the deli department. (Anyone else think they make the best subs?) I had no idea there was a much better way to save, though, and my dream of shopping at Publix could become a reality.

In the beginning of 2013, we found out we were going to have a baby. We worked as much as we could and saved as much as possible. We weren’t in debt and only bought anything if we had the cash on hand. One day, I was watching Netflix and saw the show “Extreme Couponers.” I know this show inspired many people, and I was one of them. I realized couponing was a real way to save money and I took the opportunity to research websites. I found various sites including IHeartPublix.com.

My fiance didn’t have a high-paying job and I was laid off from mine. The only way I could be a stay at home mom was through couponing. These websites have been a life-saver for me. I didn’t have to spend a lot of time looking through all the ads and I can easily put together deals based on what we are having for dinner every day. I never wanted to become an extreme couponer, I just wanted to buy what my family needed.

I remember my first shopping trip to Publix with coupons. I was so nervous, but the cashier was so nice and she encouraged me to keep at it especially when I saved over 50% off my bill (this is still my goal today). Now I go there every week (along with CVS for toiletries) and each time it’s an adventure. How much will I save this week? I feel like I’m on the show myself, with everyone looking on during my transaction. :)

Although, I am no longer with my fiancé, couponing allows me to feed my daughter for cheap. After over a year and a half, I’ve learned that saving money is easy, and I could never go back to paying full price on anything again..

Ok guys…I am still very low on stories —I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

 Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got intocouponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @ gmail.com.This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)