Reader Spotlight – Holiday Giving With Coupons

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Today’s Reader Spotlight is from Robbin, who has a special holiday-themed Reader Spotlight for us this week. Check out how she made her holiday giving budget stretch with coupons!

I want to say a special thank you for the part I Heart Publix 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 is 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!

Thanks for sharing, Robbin!

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 – An A+ Couponing Student

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Today’s Reader Spotlight is from Christina, who taught herself to coupon as a way to keep busy when she was done with school. I think you will agree that she has been an A+ couponing student!

I am 28 years old. I started couponing because I needed a hobby, and I LOVE to save money. I’ve watched Extreme Couponing since it first came out and about 4 years ago I took a stab at couponing for myself. It went horribly! The first weekend that I bought papers was a weekend that there weren’t any coupons, I didn’t know any better so I thought that you just had to get your coupons elsewhere. Needless to say, I told my husband “it can’t be done, I don’t know how other people are doing it, I give up!”

Fast forward to about 2 years ago. I had just finished grad school. I’m an odd one, I love school! I love notebooks and pens, I love taking notes, I love having homework to do and I love deadlines. Having been in school for so long, I really felt lost in my free time.

One Saturday I was watching a marathon of Extreme Couponing and I decided to try again. It seemed like the perfect thing to fill my new-found free time. This time I went to the show’s website and started reading the comments that viewers were posting. That is how I found I Heart Publix and 3 other couponing sites that I now use weekly.

It was just me and my husband (boyfriend at the time) so I started out small. I would buy 2 papers and use the clipping method where you only clip what you need and leave the rest paper unclipped, and every Sunday I would go through the circulars to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything. It took a LONG time but I loved it!

After a few months I noticed that there was nothing in the circulars that I didn’t already know about, thanks to sites like I Heart Publix, so I have since stopped looking at them alltogether. I graduated to buying 4 papers (I now have a 5 month old adorable baby boy) and I have a coworker who gives me his coupons each week and I give him a bag full of things I’ve gotten for free.

I also went to the binder method, and then on to the coupon box method. I don’t like to miss a moment of my baby being awake, so I coupon before he wakes up in the morning. I have gotten really good at combing through the coupon sites fast! He loves coming to the store with me, so that definitely makes it easier. I got one of those wallet size accordion folders to bring into the store which is a life saver (I’ll totally admit that I am embarrassed to be seen with my coupon box, which I leave in the car just in case there is something on super sale).

Everyone knows that couponing saves a ton of money, but my major win was with diapers! While I was pregnant I found an estimator online for how many diapers an average baby goes through in a year. I spent my whole pregnancy stocking up, one of my guest closets is packed full of diapers. I have heard stories of parents having to run out for diapers in the middle of the night, I refused to be one of those people. I paid between $2-3 for every pack of diapers I have, and I know normal retail is at least $7-$10.

When I started couponing, it wasn’t to save money, but I’m sure that it contributed to my being able to buy my first house at 24. 2 years later, couponing has allowed my husband to be a stay at home dad, and we can still take vacations and do fun stuff on the weekends :)

Thanks for sharing, Christina!

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 – More Than Just Couponing To Me

Franks Red Hot SauceToday’s Reader Spotlight is from Karen Z, who taught herself to coupon as a way to cut expenses and keep her busy when she left her job to be a stay-at-home mom.

I was an overworked drug and alcohol counselor for HIV/AIDS infected addicts. The very thing that made me good at my job was killing me – my compassion. I worked 60+ hours a week and took around the clock phone calls. I had a monster size stomach ulcer. My daughters were growing up without me before my very eyes. Earlier on, I had to work due to financial struggles, but things were getting just a bit better for us financially. I wondered…coud I could afford to stay home?

I decided to take a leap of faith and quit my job. I was better rested, yet I was a bit uninspired having gone from 60 to zero in a no time flat. One day I watched the show “Extreme Couponing” and I decided to try couponing, but I vowed never to buy 100 bottles of hot sauce as no one in the house uses hot sauce.

I bought a binder and got clipping! As most of you know, it is addictive but much healthier than the addictions I had seen in my job. I have cut our food budget by 40% and I will never pay more than a $1 for health and beauty aids. I believe we actually have more now than we did before. I am fulfilled that I am helping my family and keeping busy in a positive way.

My oldest has since gone to college and moved to her own (WELL STOCKED!) apartment and my youngest has a few more years at home. Meanwhile, the girls’ Lacrosse team loves my stockpile. I HEART PUBLIX is my #1 blog! Thank you!

(And, I must admit, I have bought about 10 bottles of hot sauce!)

Thanks for sharing, Karen!

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 Couponing History Lesson


history bookToday’s Reader Spotlight is from Salli, who started couponing long before the Extreme Couponing craze. Take it away, Salli!

At 66 years old, I remember back in the day when we’d be so excited to find a coupon in a magazine or a tear pad at the supermarket. There was no internet with printable coupons, no Sunday inserts and certainly no phone apps since there were no cell phones. The most we could do was create a shopping list from the weekly ad at our neighborhood grocery store and celebrate the occasional cents off coupon.

As the coupon industry grew, so did our menus as coupons provided the incentive to try new products. And then every so often, we had double coupon day. That was before I moved from New York to Florida, where for some reason we have never been able to double coupons. And shopping at Publix was only for the well-to-do. My, how times have changed!

My husband and I are both retired, so there is a definite budget with little wiggle room. We also have two granddaughters with seven children between them, so I’m always on the lookout for bargains and freebies to share. With your help, I shop almost exclusively at Publix and every couple of weeks, we load at least two cartons full of stuff into the car to bring to the girls. Pasta, margarine, cereal, shampoo, laundry detergent – you name it and at some point we’ve paid little or nothing for them.

Our weekly grocery bill has gone from over $100 to less than $50, including the products we give away. We eat well (I love to cook) and have sacrificed nothing in our pursuit of saving money. Even without double coupons or store cards, we save a minimum of $25 a week with coupons, usually more. Figuring in the cost of ink for my printer (I get free paper from Staples) we are saving well over $1,000 a year. Amazing!

I’m sure others can and do save more. But as I said, we’ve sacrificed nothing and eat exactly what we’ve always eaten – we just pay less for it. The freezer and pantry are always full, as are the shelves in the garage. It’s such a sense of security knowing we won’t run out of anything or have to run to the store at the last minute and pay – dare I say – full price for anything.

And couponing is not just for the young. Everyone at any age can benefit. If you don’t have a family to share with, there are churches and food pantries in every community that can use donations. This “history lesson” is longer than I expected. But I hope others will feel inspired to sign up and receive daily emails from you. Whether you save $5 a week or $50, it’s definitely worth it!

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 – I Will Never Pay Full Price Again!

babyToday’s Reader Spotlight is from Danielle, who started couponing as a way to save money and extend her maternity leave. Take it away, Danielle!

My husband and I had a beautiful baby girl in April and I really wanted to spend my entire twelve weeks of maternity leave with her, but I was only able to get six weeks of paid leave from work. I started couponing as a way to save money, so that I could stay home those additional six weeks. In the past, I used coupons here and there, nothing consistent though; I knew however, that if I put effort into it, I could save our family a lot of money.

I have been a loyal Publix customers for years and wanted to continue shopping there, so I used Google to help find a coupon match-up website for Publix sales and found this website. After finding this site, I started to plan my meals based on what was on sale and also began to stock up on items that we use often.

My first few trips weren’t exceptional, I forgot coupons and even got a few of the wrong products, but I kept trying and got it down pretty quickly. I usually save about 60% each trip, sometimes more!

Even though I have been back to work for several months now, I still use coupons and cannot believe that I ever paid full price for items! After returning to work, I told my co-workers how much I save and have even gotten a few of them interested in couponing, too.

My family also gets excited when I show them what items I bought and tell them how much I saved. I am proud of how much money I save my family and will never pay full price 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.)

Reader Spotlight – The Donation Tub

tornadoThis week’s Reader Spotlight comes to us from Marie. Like so many, Marie was affected by the 2011 tornadoes…but her couponing stockpile really helped her get through it and now she takes her personal experience into account when stocking her donation tub! Take it away, Marie!

We live in Alabama not far away from “tornado alley” where tornadoes are a given each spring…as a matter of fact one bounced around our neighborhood during the rash of tornadoes in 2011. Despite losing power and having trees blocking roads…the gas stove remained on and since I had my Publix stockpile I was able to feed my family while we climbed out of the house and began clean up.

Our area makes it a point to collect items when other nearby communities are affected by storms each year. I “coupon” for free and inexpensive items that I know will be needed by families, first responders and volunteers and store in a Sterlite tub so when called upon, we are ready to donate immediately.

Not only do families who lose homes need toiletries…I now personally know they need notebooks and pens to keep up with information given and make lists for insurance (I can “buy” these things for free during back to school sales), as well as feminine hygiene and adult products such as Poise etc…, batteries (always a great deal at Publix) and items to entertain small children while parents are dealing with…well, everything.

Following a storm… tables are set out for volunteers and they need single serve snacks and the like (granola bars and protein bars…etc…how many times a year are those free??) :) If a school has been damaged…those kids will need all new school supplies (another freebie or cheapie to snag at Publix).

Having our tub handy not only helps us be able to donate during a tragedy without breaking our personal budget, but enables us to do so quickly!

Thanks 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 – All This And Free Cookies, Too

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This week’s Reader Spotlight comes to us from Dena, who Take it away, Dena!

When my kids were little I tried couponing. It was horrible. There were’t many websites you could print coupons from, and the ones in the paper were usually a joke. I did better just getting store brand items and trying to shop as cheaply as I could.

Now, 4 kids later and me being a stay at home mom, the grocery bill was just too much. We could easily spend three hundred dollars and it seemed like we would get just enough to get by each time. I was sick and bored one night and saw that Netflix had Extreme Couponing on it. So I watched every single episode.

It just seemed so simple. I have plenty of time and that’s the main thing it seemed I needed. Now, we have shelves stocked with everything we could possibly need that we paid pennies for (if anything at all!)

I can donate as much as I want and not break the bank. I can give stuff to family members and help them out. And more importantly, we have money to do things with our kids that we couldn’t have before. We can take them on trips or just to the zoo because we aren’t worried if we’ll have enough food or money to last until the next paycheck.

I Heart Publix has been a lifesaver for me in my couponing journey. You make it so simple and I know it is greatly appreciated by myself and many others. Thank you for helping make me a couponer and I know my family thanks you, too (they love free cookies!).

Thanks for sharing, Dena! 

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 30 Year Career In Couponing

heart mouseThis week’s Reader Spotlight comes to us from Sloane, who started couponing LONG before the Extreme Couponing craze. Take it away, Sloane!

I have been couponing off and on for almost thirty years!

It began when I wanted to stay at home with my three wonderful daughters. When they were old enough to understand couponing, they would tell each other “mom won’t buy you that cereal until it is on sale!”  When I had my second daughter and had to let my husband and the oldest go to the store they came home with one bag of groceries for about sixty dollars and I almost cried!

It is not always easy to stick to a budget – it is ok to give yourself a break – a splurge is a necessity, and life does not always allow you to stay focused. When I found this site over three years ago it changed how I coupon for the better, and I cannot thank Michelle enough. With two daughters in college it makes all the difference – we are at that stage where we help with what we can, but they still have student loans because we cannot borrow for our retirement !

Almost every time I go to Publix someone asks me how to coupon and I refer them to this site. Thanks again to Michelle who makes our lives easier !

Thanks for sharing, Sloane! 

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 – The Road To Savings

road to savings
This week’s Reader Spotlight comes to us from Brittany at The Rogue Mom, whose upbeat and positive story is a great one! I think you guys will agree :)

When my husband and I first got married, I used to make a list of the meals we wanted to eat, make my grocery list, and go to the store to purchase those items.  I was spending about $160/week for 2 people!  We were both just out of college up to our ears in student loans with a new house payment on top of that.  But both being very blessed to have great jobs, we didn’t think twice about it.
I started shopping the Publix BOGO sales after I had my first child.  I started getting a Sunday paper and clipping coupons for only the products my family used.  Maternity leave was expensive and I wanted to try to offset the loss in our savings as much as I could.  I started stockpiling enough food until the next sale of a particular item.
It wasn’t until I received the first daycare bill for child #2 and realized that I was dedicating a mortgage payment a month to childcare that I really started looking for ways to save more.  When Pinterest came out, I discovered the I Heart Publix website and started combining coupons and sales. Soon after I discovered the Publix shopping list, where I could quickly and easily make my grocery list, organized aisle by aisle, to save me time (even more necessary than the coupons for this working mom!)  I started making my meal plan after I made my grocery list, basing all of our meals on what was on sale and in season.
Now I have an accordion file with coupon inserts and a small one for printed coupons, not to mention Ibotta, Shopmium and Upromise.  Last week, I bought $248 worth of food for my family for $136.  I bought food for 7 days of meals, 4 freezer meals, and added 45 items to my pantry stock (including laundry detergent and batteries!)  Here’s the kicker – I had 31 coupons and was in and out of the store in 35 minutes.  Publix really is very coupon friendly!  And I’m just getting started!

Thanks for sharing, Brittany! 

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 – Canstruction And Couponing

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This week’s Reader Spotlight comes to us from Coupon Dude, who has a story that I just love! I have seen these fabulous structures in stores and never knew how much work went into them!

You guys can check out the Canstruction.org site to see how to get involved or even look to see where the upcoming events are. There are several coming up in the various Publix states.

If you want to watch the construction of Coupon Dude’s awesome project – check out the video HERE.

Many of us have become amazing couponers thanks to the skills we have learned from I Heart Publix.  Although we start by providing for our immediate families, many share the fruits of our efforts with our extended families, our co-workers, local shelters and food pantries.  But there is another way to put our unique skills to use….

Each year, members of the design and construction industry (architects, engineers and contractors) participate in Canstruction.  In a series of very clever local competitions designed to bring attention to hunger and the work of food banks, Canstruction events are held throughout the year in cities around the world.  Teams from the design and construction industry apply their talents to construct sculptures from non-perishable food items.  Entries are judged in several categories, and emphasis is placed on utilizing food items with a high nutritional value, especially proteins.  After the competitions, the sculptures are “deCanstructed” and the food is donated to local food banks.

Not only does each team have to be creative in the design and construction of the sculptures, they also must procure the food items utilized.  This can mean raising anywhere from $2,000-$10,000, no small task.  But we all know that coupons can reduce the cost of food.

In 2013, I was honored to participate on a team in the Atlanta Canstruction event, and I saw an opportunity to apply the skills I have learned from I Heart Publix.  I got our team to save MQs from the newspaper, and to beg, borrow and steal even more MQs.  We ordered our food from my local Publix and those MQs reduced the food expense by hundreds of dollars, allowing us to purchase even more food that would be donated.  Our entry, titled “Hunger…hiding in Plane sight” received both the Juror’s Choice (best in show) and People’s Choice awards.

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As you can see, we have some very creative people on our team and there were a LOT of hours put in the design. Every can type used has to be precisely measured to make the whole come out correctly. If we got off by 1/16″ with each can, the plane would have stretched by about 2″ and fallen over…so precision is super important. As you can see from the images, the computer model is pretty darn close to what the final sculpture turned out like.

FYI, the lower portion of the plane was Starkist tuna cans, the upper portion of the plane was Publix canned chicken, the windows were canned fishcakes, the tail was Vienna sausage (chicken and beef for the two colors), the engines were guava paste cans, the “cloud” was bags of Publix marshmallows, and the “sky” background wall was Progresso soup cans. All of the cans in the back wall were identical, just rotating the cans to expose differing parts of the labels created the “clouds.”

The manager at my local Publix (Ansley Mall store in Atlanta) helped tremendously coordinating the ordering and delivering of the food. That is a much bigger task than you think – the food you see fully filled several SUVs and pickup trucks. Several of the teams ordered their food from Kroger – their orders were messed up and not delivered in time to allow a practice build before the event. Which goes to show why we all love Publix! :)

Wherever you live, there is probably a Canstruction event held nearby.  A quick internet search should point you in the right direction.  We might not all be able to donate financially, but we CAN donate our couponing skills.  Find your local Canstruction event and start saving those coupons!!

Thanks for sharing, Coupon Dude!

Ok guys…I am still very low on stories —I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have written and not seen your story– please contact me as my inbox could have eaten it. 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.)