Reader Spotlight – It Started With A Bottle Of Dish Liquid!

sunlight-publix
Today's Reader Spotlight comes to us from Rachel. She tells us how a little bottle of dish liquid started her down the road to savings. Funny how an everyday object can make such a big impact in our lives!

Take it away Rachel!

It all started with Sunlight dish detergent August 4, 2013. Yes, the yellow and blue detergent that was 50% off when the dear people at Sun decided to bless us with a $1 off coupon. Well, my story goes like this- in a nutshell:

I dropped by Publix to grab my fill of BOGO only items when I saw a lady with 20 sunlight detergents in her buggy. I contemplated asking her about the sale on the item, but my shyness got the best of me and I walked away. Well, fate would have it that we both had forgotten milk and we ended up face to face trying to decipher the “goodness” in lactaid, almond, coconut, and soy milk. We made eye contact and that’s when my better judgment decided to ask about the detergents. She explained the deal and how Publix would pay me back 31 cents for each. Not only did she explain, that little coupon angel gave me 5 coupons! I was hooked instantly after checkout.

I had never couponed and I was having a major independence selfie-parade over my new-found financial freedom. I rushed home and began scouring the web and ran across deals, dos and don’ts. It wasn’t long before the rain cloud shadowed my parade and I realized my sweet couponing angel was a deceiver because she gave my photocopies! I was embarrassed to go back in the store and be viewed as a thief but when I returned, no one noticed me.

I am still thankful that my couponing angel started me on this journey by simply sharing with me. She didn’t have to give me 1 copy because she planned on using all of them, so I’m thankful. I’m glad I learned about coupon fraud the first day and found this site a few days later. I realize that this is one huge nutshell.

I REALLY NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT In!!

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 – The Joy Of A Freebie!

oh-yeah-its-freeThis week's Reader Spotlight comes to us from Tiffany. She shares the joy of finding a great freebie as a new couponer. You guys all have to remember the fun of your first freebie! Heck, I still get excited when I plop a freebie in my cart.

Take it away, Tiffany!

Couponing is AMAZING! No really…just when I have cool websites like iheartpublix.com to help with coupon matchups. Needless to say, this website makes my life so much easier.

I began couponing only three weeks ago, and like many readers, I’m addicted. I had no idea what stockpiling was about (except for watching extreme couponing as I drool) and stacking coupons. Now I’m asking family members to save me their inserts, I’m printing coupons, and saving money along the way. I think I’m really lucky to live five minutes away from a Publix that accepts competitor coupons (Kroger & Target) and doubles coupons up to fifty cents. This makes it hard for me to coupon at other retail stores because I’m saving more by shopping at Publix.

Okay, lets get down to why I really needed to change how I was shopping. Yes, partly because I needed to find ways to cut back on spending due to moving to a new town, changing jobs, raising a toddler and twin babies. But in reality, I was nervous about running out of something if there was a storm and not being able to provide for my family. My children have helped change the way I shopped because I wanted them to have a stockpile of food if some natural disaster happened and we were stranded for a couple of days. Funny, because I just moved from Hurricane land and growing up with those storms, you would have thought that I would be used to stockpiling and emergency preparedness. Nope. It took me moving up north and being nervous about black ice and snowstorms.

Finally, the moment I was addicted- This recently happened when I shopped for the Johnson and Johnson small gauze deal (found exclusively on iheartpublix.com) and I got them for FREE! WHAT?!? I actually had a grin on my face walking out of Publix thinking, “yea, I just got this for free!!!” I know I’m a little silly but that’s when I was hooked. Now I have quite the little boo boo kit for my kiddos.

It’s been a lot of fun learning the ropes and occasionally holding up the line as the cashiers have to manually enter in the coupon code. But it’s always fun to look at the end of the receipt and see how much money I just saved! So here’s to iheartpublix.com for helping my family build a stockpile and save money!

I REALLY NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT In!!

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 – HELP…My Folder Is Empty!

 

UnknownI meant to put up a post requesting stories earlier in the week. But...like usual I got busy and the week flew by! I sat down last night to schedule out the story for today and looked in my folder and it was completely empty!

So I am putting out a call...ok maybe it's a plea for you guys to send over your stories!

This series has been going strong since 2010 and it's one of my favorite features here on the site. You don't have to write anything fancy...just tell us your story. If you don't think you are a "good writer" just put something to paper. I am happy to proof it and edit as needed. We just want to hear your story!!

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 (remove the spaces).

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 – Why Pay Full Price?

piggy bank
Today's reader spotlight comes to us from Salli. She shares how couponing and saving money has allowed her and her husband to enjoy retirement. She reminds us that saving money doesn't stop at the grocery store. Look for ways to save everywhere you shop and you'll have fun and help others in the process!

Take it away, Salli...

With all the awareness regarding coupons, it never ceases to amaze me how many people I see in the supermarket shopping without them.  Whenever I have extra coupons that I won’t be able to use, I offer them to someone who looks like they could use them.  Would you believe that I have been refused?  Even if money is not an issue, why would someone pay full price for anything if they could get it free?

My husband and I are retired and are comfortably living the same as when we were working.  That is in large part because of coupons.  And I’m not just talking about groceries.  Never have your car serviced without checking online for a coupon.  We bought new seat covers for the car with a $25 off coupon and always use a coupon for oil changes.  Even with clearance prices, many retailers offer extra savings with coupons.  Every restaurant and fast food place at one time or another has specials and coupons available.

Stockpiling is great for groceries and toiletries, but also for clothing.  Sales on underwear, t-shirts, socks, shoes – purchase on sale with coupons and put away for future use.  Publix sells items other than groceries.  I’ve gotten free pens, pencils, light bulbs, baby bottles and knee-highs there by matching coupons with their sales.  I never wait until October or November to start Christmas shopping.  Winter clothing goes on sale during spring and summer and makes perfect gifts in December.  Some online department stores offer rewards programs and free shipping or local pick-up.  This past year I got several pairs of shoes, a couple of blouses, a bunch of kitchen gadgets, even a large stock pot – all free!

I could go on and on, but I must give credit where credit is due.  It started with iheartpublix which led me to other sites and other wonderful people like you Michelle who work so hard to make our lives easier.  I’ve signed up with several sites, and every morning and evening I check my emails for the day’s bargains.  I especially love that you post Publix upcoming sales with match-ups on Monday morning and the Happy Report on Wednesday.  Since our new circular goes into effect on Thursday, it gives me several days to work on my list and gather all my coupons.

Not only is it fun, but we're able to share with our family and to donate to charity.  It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, just the desire to save money.

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 – Creating Your Own Price List!

Grocery Price List
Today's reader spotlight comes to us from Michelle over at Hallo-the-House. She shares how easy it is to create your own price list. I am a big advocate of making your own price list. As I have mentioned before...price lists are very personal as we all have different needs. A must have for me may be a luxury for someone else and thus the price points will vary dramatically.

Take it away, Michelle

I believe that one of the most important ways to save money on groceries is to use a price list, and I find that using Microsoft Excel makes it easy. Over the years, I’ve made adjustments on how and what I track, but I now have it down to an easy to use system that works well for me.

The best way to start is by entering in all the items on your receipt after each shopping trip. After just a few months you will build your list to include most of the items your family regularly buys. And once you have those items entered, it takes very little time to update the list after each trip to the store.

My spreadsheet includes the following items:

Item/Brand/Type (Tomatoes/Hunts/Pureed)
Size (number of units - 29)
Unit (oz)
Regular Price ($2.19)
Regular Price per Unit (Excel formula - $0.076)
Sale Type (BOGO)
Sale Price ($1.10)
Sale Price per Unit (Excel formula - $0.038)
Manufacturer Coupon ($0.50/4)
Manufacturer Coupon Amount per Item ($0.125)
Store Coupon ($1/4)
Store Coupon Amount per Item ($0.250)
Price after Coupons (Excel formula - $0.73)
Price per Unit after Coupons (Excel formula - $0.025)
Store (Publix)
Date Purchased (2/19/15)
Quantity Purchased (4)
Notes: Last BOGO (1/15/15)

This may seem intimidating, but it really takes me just a few minutes to enter the receipt information after each trip, and where I’ve noted the Excel formula does the math for me.

Having a price list of all of the items that we buy helps me to know the best price for each item. I can easily compare unit prices to see if a different size or brand is a good bargain. I can also keep track of the frequency of BOGO sales for items that we frequently use. For example, my husband likes the Publix brand Seltzer Water. Because of my price list tracking, I know that it goes BOGO about every 8 weeks and how many I should stock up on. This means that I always pay half price for seltzer … and many other items.

Shopping ListCreating a Shopping List

The second way that I use my price list is to create a shopping list based on the current sales and what we need for each week. Using the I Heart Publix weekly coupon match-up list, I highlight the items on my price list that I want to buy. To the left of each item, I enter in the Sale, Quantity and Cost for the items I plan to purchase that week. An Excel formula at the bottom of the sheet shows me the total for the items to be purchased which helps me budget, and is especially helpful on the Gas Card deal weeks when I want to spend $100 in order to purchase two gas cards.

Once I’ve highlighted the items I want to buy, I copy and past those rows into my weekly shopping list (on a separate Excel sheet) and also list the coupons that I have for that shopping trip. I leave a space to write in the actual price on the printed list as I shop since this may vary slightly from what I planned. Since my price and shopping lists are set up in the same order as the aisles in my favorite Publix it makes it super easy to quickly do my shopping and stick to only what’s on the list. I can also easily compare my receipt against the shopping list (which I do before I leave the Publix parking lot) to make sure that everything rang up correctly.

Knowing the best price for the things you buy and having a shopping plan for each week can greatly reduce your grocery costs. Just a little effort up front to set up a list and about a half hour of planning and tracking each week can really pay off in both money and time!

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 – Saving For Snacks!

UnknownToday's spotlight comes to us from Lacey. She shares how learning to coupon has become a fun addition that has blossomed into a way to help others. 

I always was the type to just grab whatever I needed off the shelf at a grocery store and buy it. I didn't really compare prices or even when I did it wasn't a major issue. This has caused me to spend up to $300 every week on groceries! Mind you, it's not like I had the money and I knew I had to change and budget ASAP, especially with 2 kids.

I always rolled my eyes at my mom who would use coupons, but with money being tight, I needed to try it.

Well, let's say, I have become addicted! Thanks to iheartpublix, I have saved over $400 a month getting triple of the items I was getting before! I have my own stockpile with shampoos, deodorants,  coffees, pasta, laundry detergents, etc to last me a year. I also get tons of FREE stuff daily! Who doesn't like free items? I also love not worrying about "am I going to have enough money for my kid's school snacks?"  They have enough juice and snack to last them a few months, and I always make sure I stockpile up on juice when there is a good sale. I now try to help people to coupon because we all know how rough it is with money these days. It makes me feel good to show someone else how to get things for super cheap/free!   I love looking for a good deal and it also helps me take my mind off of things!  Thanks iheartpublix!

Keep up the great work Lacey!

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 – Generations Of Publix Fans

i-heart-publixToday’s Reader Spotlight is from Linda, who shares her story of how the love of Publix was passed down to her from her grandmother. I

Take it away, Linda!

#MyPublixStory. In October 1968, my father died suddenly of heart attack, leaving My Mother, two younger brothers and me at home. My Mom decided to move us to South Florida where my Grandmother was already retired in Lauderdale by the Sea.

My Mom and brothers went to Florida from Philadelphia by train. I drove down by car on a wonderful three day ride with my Grandmother and my Aunt. During that drive I began my love for my beautiful new home State, and have such fond memories of spending the night in St Augustine and my first drive South along A1A. But what made the most long lasting impression was that my Grandmother told me, "Patricia, (that's what she called me - my middle name) you will love the grocery store where I shop - it was the Publix store in Sea Ranch Lakes- such a beautiful store and the young men bag your groceries and take them to your car and don't accept tips." And I did love Publix grocery shopping with her, where her first stop would be to the cookie aisle where she would open a bag of Pecan Sandies which we would snack on while we shopped. I think of this to this day and Publix is still my favorite place to shop. My Publix is in Brookside Square in Coral Springs and also by Heathrow in Lake Mary.

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 – Adding To The Family

kidsToday's spotlight comes to us from Lindsey. Lindsay shares how couponing and saving money helped her afford to add to her family...literally! I love hearing from folks who have been with me for a while. It's hard to believe so many of you guys have been hanging out with me for years now...I appreciate you guys so much! You all mean the world to me too...thanks for taking the time to visit me!

First of all, I want to say thank you for iheartpublix and iheartkroger! I have been following iheartpublix for many years now and it has truly changed my life.

Back in 2009 my family moved to the Atlanta area due to my husband's job. He worked crazy hours and was hardly ever home. I was a stay at home mom to my 3 year old son and desperately wanted more children. It caused tension between my husband and I because he truly believed we couldn't afford to have another child. Soon after moving a friend of ours told me about iheartpublix. I had randomly used coupons in the past but never knew the proper way to shop and coupon. Within a week I was addicted. It was amazing to see how much combining coupons with the sales could save. It wasn't long before I was also shopping at Kroger and drug stores. Couponing was truly a lifesaver for me in many ways. With my husband working constantly it gave me and my son an activity to work on everyday. My little one had fun matching the like coupons, learning how to use scissors, and going on treasure hunts in the stores to find the items we were buying with coupons. It kept us busy and took away some of the loneliness.

Within a few months we had cut our spending from about $700 a month to about $300. And our spending just kept going down. We also had a really good stock pile started. After a year I was able to donate items and share with friends and family. The greatest part was that I had found a way to show my husband we could afford another baby. Actually 2!

I had my long awaited princess in August of 2012 and another beautiful princess in February 2014.

Using coupons has made my dream of having a house full of children come true. We have a stock pile of everything we need and use on a daily basis and we save a ton of money every month.

^^^None of that would have happened had I not discovered iheartpublix. Thank you so very much for all the time and effort you put into iheartpublix, iheartkroger, and iheartsavingmoney!!!! It has completely changed my life and I could never thank you enough.

Thanks so much Lindsey! I appreciate you sticking with me for all these years...it really means a lot!

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 – Teacher Appreciation That Won’t Break The Bank

teacher-appreciation
Today’s Reader Spotlight is from Donna, who shares a great way to put those coupons skills to work for those end of the year teacher gifts. I love this idea. It's fun and a fun change of pace that any teacher would love!

Take it away, Robin!

I know the end of the school year is approaching and I wanted to share a cute idea for a teacher gift.

Each grade representative at our school collects a generous donation from each family to provide the teachers with a sizable cash gift at the end of the year.

But I always like to give my children's teachers a personal gift from our family. Usually it is a basket filled with I tems I have collected over the school year using coupons.

This year I decided to try something a little different. Each candy gram cost about $8, using coupons, sales and free Bath and Body Works travel size items.

I punch holes at the top of each page and tie them together with curly ribbons!

I'm sure the chocolate really helps after a long school year!!

Such a fun treat that I am sure any teacher can put to use 😉

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 – Tips On A Smooth Checkout

Unknown-1This week's story is from Monica. She shares some tips and ways to make the shopping trip a bit easier for you and your cashier. Hopefully some of these tips come in handy for some of you!

Take it away Monica!

My name is Monica and I live in Glen, Mississippi - a tiny dot on the map in the northeast corner of the state.  I shop at Publix in Florence, Alabama, which is about an hour away, but it's definitely worth the drive.

Yesterday I went to Publix and saved 70% - the cash register had run out of tape and didn't print the bottom of my receipt and I didn't realize it until I was already in the car but  I spent $108 plus tax and saved just over $250.  As par for the course, I used 100+ coupons.

 I was talking to the cashier and asked her if she hated couponers and she said, "Not when they're like you!"  I asked her what she meant and she said when couponers are organized it makes her job so much easier.

 I wanted to share what I do to try to make the lives of the cashiers easier and make my trips less stressful:

1.        If I'm getting any item free because of a coupon (such as the flat bread this week) then that's the last things I let them scan and I give them those coupons first - so they don't have to hunt for a price.  I do the same thing for any items with a rain check.

 2.        After I give them the free coupons then I hand them the store coupons, then competitor and the manufacturer coupons last.  My particular store doesn't accept any competitor coupons now, but when they did that was always the second group.

 3.        I only shop early in the mornings when the store is not crowded because I generally buy a lot of products and use many, many coupons.  A long line and grumpy customers is not what I want to leave the cashier with.

 4.       I refuse to argue over a coupon.  If, for some reason, the cashier rejects one or two I usually let it go.  I may put the particular item back but for the most part I just take a deep breath and smile and say, “Ok.”

 5.       I used to take a binder full of coupons with me and I would spend half my time flipping through the binder but I no longer do that.  I still have my binder but it’s not what I use to shop at Publix.  Currently I use the list of what’s on sale from I Heart Publix and the day before my trip I clip whatever coupons for products I am going to buy.  I paperclip the like coupons together and organize them in a small box in the same order as the store.  I only buy items if they’re on sale and if I have a coupon so my coupon box becomes my shopping list.  When I put an item in the cart I transfer those coupons to one of three envelopes – that are labeled either Publix, competitor or manufacturer.

 6.       As I am transferring the coupons to their envelopes I check the dates and also to be sure I am buying the right items in the correct quantities.

I honestly don’t remember the last time I had a coupon rejected at Publix and I use well over 100 on each trip.  The transactions also do not take as long as one would think because I do try to be organized when I go.  Anyway, hope this helps and have fun!  Couponing is the most fun I’ve ever had saving money!

Thanks so much for sharing Monica!

----------------> OK...I only have like 2 more stories in my folder so if you haven't yet shared, please consider taking a moment to jot down your story. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just share your thoughts.  If you have a story to share PLEASE send it in!!

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.)