Welcome!

Welcome to Economic Endeavors!
This blog is dedicated to bringing you the hottest deals, coupons, money savers, and money makers available, both on and off the net!
Thank you for visiting, and please stop by often to see what's new :)

Subscribe!

If you enjoy this blog, please use the buttons at the top of this page to subscribe to the posts or comments by RSS feed.

To have my posts sent to your email, subscribe here:
Subscribe to Economic Endeavors by Email

This week's CVS loot!

Is it Saturday already?? Here's how I did this week at CVS. Lots of Pampers (love that!).

Oh, and just so you know, I am NOT going to be eating those Hershey's bars (although I just ate one!). I have no will power, so all but two of them have already been given away to family and friends. They're my new "unplanned" filler item, because I realized that they're 2/$1, cheaper than the M&Ms I'd been buying, and you earn a free one for every 10 you buy. If I trusted myself to not eat them if I kept them here at my home, I might consider saving them to pass out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. My daughters love getting full-sized candy bars, so I'm sure I'd be very popular with the neighborhood kids afterwards. :)

I made three trips, and did a few (or more) transactions on each trip.

My scenarios can be found here.



Not a bad week at all! I spent $4.$$ oop for about $165 worth of stuff, and earned a few more ECBs.

If you haven't palyed the CVS game before, and are wondering how in the heck I got all that stuff for $4, then you need to read my tutorial here. I have written a step-by-step tutorial for you, so it couldn't be more simple to jump right in and start getting your own free stuff!

*For more CVS Superstars, go on over to the Centsible Sawyer's blog!
*And Crystal hosts more amazing shopping trips on Super Savings Saturday over at Money Saving Mom!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Compiled List of Online Printable Coupons

Thatgirldawn at Slickdeals did an awesome job of compiling a list of online coupons that are available to print, in alphabetical order. How great to have them all listed in one place!

This list will be ever changing as some coupon offers expire and new ones pop up. I bookmarked this thread for future reference, and you may want to also!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Free advance screening of "Hancock"


Entertainment Weekly is offering free advance screenings for you and a guest to see the new Will Smith movie "Hancock". This offer is good in select cities only.

Select cities:

Atlanta
Boston
Chicago
Dallas
Detroit
Los Angeles
New York
Philadelphia
San Francisco
Washington DC


Follow this link to sign up for your free Hancock passes!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Free Fifi and the Flowertots Preschool DVD


Click here to request a free Fifi and the Flowertots DVD! Each DVD contains a Fifi and The Flowertots episode and 3 music videos for preschoolers to sing along to. No purchase necessary. While supplies last.



What's Happening in Frugal Bloggy Land!

I took a little time today to read up on some familiar frugal blogs and some that I had never visited before. It's always nice to read up on what others out in the blogisphere are writing about.
Here are a few posts that I enjoyed reading today:


Cathy at Chief Family Officer is celebrating 3 years of blogging by holding some great giveaways. With the help of a few sponsors, she's giving away a Kaboost chair booster, a $50 gift card to heels.com, a gift card to CVS, and more! I am impressed and in awe at 3 years of blogging. When I think about where I'll be in three years, it's hard to imagine my newborn will be walking and talking and in her terrible threes, my two year old will be going into Kindergarten, and my 10 year old will be going into high school, yikes! Congrats to Cathy and I hope to see you blogging for many years to come!


Deborah at Pennies to Nickels posted about a site I hadn't heard of before, walkscore.com, which gives you the walk score of your home, letting you know how walkable your neighborhood is. My home got a score of 6 out of 10, which surprises me because I always tell Hubs that I wish there were more places to walk to around here. Maybe I'm just too lazy or too out of shape, because the closest places on the list to walk to are all over a mile away (Restaurant: 1.2 miles, Coffee Shop: 1.05 miles, Park: 1.48 miles). I guess I need to get out more and build up that endurance.


Jeremy at The Hole of Debt has a helpful post about getting your finances organized. I recently went through a sort of "clutter overhaul" where I went through everthing and got it all organized. Call it spring cleaning, call it getting-ready-for-baby, whatever. It was was past necessary and it felt like a weight being lifted off wen it was finally completed. Now I can focus on enjoying my home and my family without that nagging feeling of "there's something else I really need to be doing" in the back of my mind.


Maria at Living [Frugally] Well is setting new frugal challenges and goals that she'd like to accomplish and make into habits in the month of June. This was very motivating to me, and I may start implementing my own goals and challenges each month, to start tackling all those "I really should try that someday" ideas that are always bouncing around in my head.


Madison at My Dollar Plan just wrapped up the Carnival of Financial Goals by posting her choice of the top 24 submissions out of the 98 total submissions this month. Reading other bloggers' goals and financial tips is always inspirational and motivating to me, and Madison's post was a wealth of information all in one place. I just love blog carnivals!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saw this today, thought it was funny...

Oh what is a voter to do??

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Beginners Guide to CVS

I have been telling family and friends (as well as the occasional stranger who notices my strange couponing ways) about the CVS game and referring them to my blog. And then one of them pointed out to me that while my site does a great job of convincing them that CVS is definitely something to get into if you want to save money and get all of your toiletries and paper products for next to nothing, it doesn't do a good job by itself of explaining just how to go about getting those great deals.

Until now! Here it is, everything you need to know to walk into a CVS store today, pay a few dollars out of your pocket, and be all set up to purchase future transactions in the amounts of $15, $20, $30 or more for less than a dollar out of pocket. Every time.

The key to shopping at CVS is their Extra Care program. When you sign up for an Extra Care card, that card allows you to save money at the store and earn "Extra Care Bucks", or ECBs, on the purchases that generate them. Have the cashier scan your card before every purchase, and these ECBs will print on the end of your cash register receipt and can be used like cash on your next transaction at CVS.

Every month, starting on the 1st of the month, CVS puts out a monthly Extra Care booklet, which you should be able to pick up in your store, usually by the front door. This booklet details all of the items that will generate ECBs that entire month. A different sales ad also comes out each week on Sundays, and has additional ECB offers.

Each month (and sometimes weekly), there are at least a few items that are "free after ECBs". For example, a tube of Colgate Total toothpaste is on sale for $2.99, earning $2.99 in ECBs. That means when you purchase it for $2.99, at the end of your receipt will be a portion that says you earned $2.99 Extra Bucks for purchasing Colgate Total. You cut off that portion of the receipt and save it to use on your next purchase.

Now let's say you had a manufacturers coupon for $1 off of that Colgate Total. You purchase that toothpaste for $1.99, and earn $2.99 ECBs. That's now a one dollar profit.

But wait. Let's also say the limit for the Colgate Total ECB reward is 5. That means you can have $2.99 ECBs print out five times before you have reached your limit. So here's an easy scenario:

:buy 2 Colgate Total toothpastes for $2.99 each
:use 2 $1 off coupons
:pay $3.98 out of pocket (oop) +tax
:earn a $5.98 ECBs

Now you take that $5.98 ECB coupon and do this scenario:

:buy 3 Colgate Total toothpastes for $2.99 each
:use 3 $1 off coupons
:total will be $5.97 plus tax
:pay with your $5.98 ECBs (you don't get money back if your ECB is more than your total. The cashier can adjust it down)
:total will be $0 +tax
:earn $8.97 ECBs.

So there you have it. The CVS game in it's simplest form. Combining coupons with sale prices on items that earn ECBs. And then using those ECBs to purchase items that earn more ECBs (called "rolling" your ECBs), and possibly "growing" them by utilizing manufacturers coupons.

You got 5 tubes of toothpaste and were able to turn an initial investment of $3.98 into $8.97. I like to say that, essentially, CVS paid YOU to take that toothpaste home with you! :)

Occasionally, CVS issues store coupons that make your deals even better. Some will be for a dollar amount off of a specific product. The best ones are for a dollar amount off of a specific purchase amount (abbreviated as $/$$), for example: $5 off a purchase of $30 or more ($5/$30) or $4 off a purchase of $20 or more ($4/$20), or $3 off of a purchase of $15 or more ($3/$15), etc.

When these $/$$ are issued, the potential for rolling your ECBs and growing them can be endless. It also allows you to get your needed household items that may not be generating ECBs that week for nothing oop.

Here's an example scenario of that (from this week's ad, and the June ECB book):

:Buy 3 Listerine Smart Rinse for $3.49 (monthly deal, earns $3.49 ECBs, limit 4)
:Buy $4.53 worth of additional products of your choice.
:Total will be $15.00 before coupons
:Use $3/$15 CVS coupon
:use 3 $1 off Listerine coupons, available to print online (limit of two prints per computer) or from the Sunday newspaper inserts on 4/27.
:Total after coupons: $9
:Use your $8.97 ECB from previous order, and pay $0.03 oop +tax.
:Earn $10.47 ECBs!

I usually like to keep at least $20 ECBs on hand to work my deals with. Anything over that can usually be spent on extra items that you need and still leave you with enough to keep the game going.

Right now I have about $40 on each of my 2 cards. CVS allows you to have one per family member, I have one for my husband and one for myself. Having 2 cards can be confusing at first, because if I use my husband's card on an order, the ECB coupon for that order prints with his name on it and can only be used in the future on that same card. So it can be confusing to keep them separate and organized. But having two cards allows me to stock up on twice the amount of diapers when they are on sale and generating ECBs, and since we have two little girls in diapers right now, we really need all the free diapers we can get!

Now that you have the information you need to be successful, here are a few tips worth noting:

:: ECBs expire about a month after they print, so it is often necessary to "roll" them by buying items that you may not need at the time you're purchasing them. If you have $5 ECBs expiring soon, and there is a bottle of medicine on sale for $5 that generates $5 ECBs, but you don't need or use that item, purchase it anyways because you'll be able to get rid of your expiring ECB and a new one will print with 30 more days in which to spend it. You can give away your unneeded/ unwanted items to family or friends, donate them to churches, womens shelters, or other charitable organizations, or save them to sell at a garage sale.

:: ECBs only pay for your pre-tax total. You'll usually be responsible for the tax on every order. Rarely, it has happened that my total came to $0 after I gave my ECBs, but the cashier had no explanation for it and neither do I. I has happened though.

:: If purchasing two like items that earn ECBs (like two Colgate Total toothpastes for $2.99) in the same transaction, you will get one ECB for that purchase, totaling the ECB reward ($5.98). If purchasing two different items that earn ECBs (like the Listerine Smart Rinse for $3.49 and the Colgate Total for $2.99) in the same transaction, you'll get two ECB coupons on the end of your receipt, one for $3.49 and one for $2.99.

:: Some stores will allow you to use more than one $/$$ coupon per transaction, most will not. In the couponing world, however, this is widely considered "coupon fraud" unless the total of your order is above the total required amounts of the two coupons. For example, If you're using a $3/$15 coupon with a $4/$20 coupon, your order total should be $35 or more.

:: CVS will only allow one of the same CVS product-specific store coupons per order. If you're buying two packs of Huggies and a bottle of Pantene shampoo, and you have two CVS-issued store coupons for $2 off Huggies and a CVS-issued store coupon for $1 off Pantene, you will be allowed to use ONE Huggies coupon and one Pantene coupon per transaction. Even if you are buying two packages of Huggies. So it would be best in this instance to purchase the packages separately in two different transactions, allowing you to use both coupons, one on each order.

:: CVS allows you to stack a CVS-issued store coupon for a specific item with a manufacturers coupon for the same item. For example, if CVS issues a store coupon for $2 off Huggies diapers, and you have a manufacturers coupon for $2 off Huggies, you can use them both on one package of diapers to get $4 off! You can also use a $/$$ coupon with these other two coupons to further maximize your savings.

:: Have your coupons in order before checking out. The best order to hand them to the cashier is to give your $/$$ coupons first, and then your manufacturers coupons, and then your ECBs. I never hand the cashier all of my coupons at once. I hand them to her a couple at a time, so that I can watch the screen to make sure that they all scan and subtract as they should.

:: CVS issues store coupons randomly to members of their email list. To sign up for their email list, go here. A welcome email will be sent to you with a $4/$20 welcome coupon.

There you have it! If you have any questions that I didn't cover, comment below or shoot me an email, I'm happy to help you figure it all out!



$5.99 Suede Bag at OneStopPlus.com with free shipping!


Onestopshop.com has this super-cute suede purse on clearance right now for $5.99. Use code WW18187 for free shipping!

Another great gift idea!



My CVS scenarios for the week of June 1


I told myself I was going to get these posted by Sunday, but the weekend was busy, and yesterday was as well. Next week, I'll try to get them posted earlier than Tuesday!

Here's what I came up with. After doing all 6 transactions, you'll get 3 Jumbo packs of Pampers, 2 Huggies Baby soap, 2 boxes of hair color, 4 toothbrushes (as if we need more, right?), a razor, 2 bottles of dish soap, Chex Mix, 4 South Beach bars, and 3 kids mouthwash...

All to the tune of $3.07 oop! That's $90 worth of products!

***EDIT
Do one more transaction, purchasing a One Touch Ultra Mini Meter for $19.99, and CVS pharmacy cotton swabs 500ct for $3.19. Use a $20 off One Touch coupon from the 4/27 SS (will need to be adjusted down to $19.99), and use the $3/$15. You'll pay only $0.19 +tax, and get back $7 ECBs!
This eliminates the $3.07 for this week's scenarios, and gives $113 worth of products for the week, for a profit of $3.74! Woo hoo!

So on to the scenarios!

Transaction 1:

$5.99 Clairol Natural Instincts
$5.99 Clairol Natural Instincts
$3.49 Listerine Smart Rinse (earns $3.49 ECBs, monthly deal)

$15.47 before coupons

-$3/$15
-$4 Clairol Natural Instincts (from 06/01 P&G)
-$4 Clairol Natural Instincts (from 06/01 P&G)
-$1 Listerine Smart Rinse Anticavity Fluoride Rinse (from 4/27 RP)
OR -$1 Listerinse Smart Rinse 250 ml printable

$3.47 after coupons, earns $3.49 ECBs

tip: I found mail-in-rebate forms a little while back at Kroger for the Listerine Smart Rinse, but I also saw them on a big cardboard display at a CVS store last week. Look for these to send in to get $3.49 back! EXP 12/31/2008

____________________________________
Transaction 2:

$9.99 Gillette Phenom Fusion Razor (earns $4 ECBs)
$2 2 Dawn Dish Soap 11 oz. - limit 4 (earns $1 ECB)
$2 2 Dawn Dish Soap 11 oz. - limit 4 (earns $1 ECB)
$1 Chex Mix

$14.99 before coupons

-$3/$15
-$4 Fusion Razor (from 6/1 P&G)
-$0.25 on one any size Dawn (from 6/1 P&G)
-$0.25 on one any size Dawn (from 6/1 P&G)
-$1 Chex Mix printable

$6.49 after coupons, earns $6 ECBs

__________________________________

Transaction 3:

$7.99 Pampers Jumbo Pack diapers
$6.99 Oral B CrossAction Manual Toothbrush 2 pk

$14.98 before coupons

-$3/$15
-$1.50 Pampers coupon from inside diaper packages

$10.48 after coupons, earns $6.99 ECBs

______________________________________

Transaction 4:

do above transaction a second time to get more pampers towards your Pampers ECBs

____________________________________

Transaction 5:

$7.99 Pampers Jumbo pack diapers (earns $5 ECBs)
$1.79 x4 South Beach Diet bars 2.11 oz ($7.16, earns $3 ECBs)

$15.15 before coupons

-$3/$15
-$4 (4) $1 off South Beach Living high protein cereal bar or sweet nut creation bar (from 6/01 SS)
-$1.50 Pampers coupon from inside diaper packages

$6.65 after coupons, earns $8 ECBs

______________________________________________

Transaction 6:

$3.49 Listerine Smart Rinse (earns $3.49 ECBs, monthly deal)
$3.49 Listerine Smart Rinse (earns $3.49 ECBs, monthly deal)
$3.99 Huggies lotion, hair & body wash 15oz or washcloths 20 ct (earns $2 ECBs, monthly deal)
$3.99 Huggies lotion, hair & body wash 15oz or washcloths 20 ct (earns $2 ECBs, monthly deal)

$14.96 before coupons

-$3/$15
-$1.00 Huggies Bath and Body Product, any (from 5/18 SS1)
-$1.00 Huggies Bath and Body Product, any (from 5/18 SS1)
-$2 (2) $1 off Listerine Smart Rinse Anticavity Fluoride Rinse (from 4/27 RP)
OR -$1 off Listerinse Smart Rinse 250 ml printable

$7.96 after coupons, earns $11 ECBs
_____________________________

Total spent: $47.53
Total ECBs earned: $44. 46
Oop after ECBs: $3.07

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


New printable $3/$15 CVS coupon

Crystal posted about a new CVS coupon you can print from the Beacon Journal newspaper. Go to MoneySavingMom to get the scoop and get your coupon!


5 Minute Ice Cream

I recently found this recipe on AllRecipes.com, and it is seriously too good not to post about. And easy! And healthier than store-bought ice cream.

When I first read the recipe, I was skeptical, but after reading all the rave reviews, I thought I'd give it a try. MMMMMmmmmmmmm. And one reviewer said she substituted Splenda for the sugar and substituted soy milk for the heavy cream and it was just as good, so I'm going to try that next. I may try skim milk too, for a Weight-Watcher-friendly low-point treat (and a serving of dairy and fruit).

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the frozen strawberries and sugar in a food processor or blender. Process until the fruit is roughly chopped. With the processor running, slowly pour in the heavy cream until fully incorporated. Serve immediately, or freeze for up to one week.

If you try it, comment below to let me know what you think!!


Free Taco from Del Taco

Click here to sign up for Del Taco's fan club, and they'll email you a coupon for a free taco!

We don't have Del Taco in my neck of the woods. Too bad, cause I love crunchy tacos. This has me wanting to go to Taco Bell to get a Taco and a free Frutista Freeze!

New Reinventing Beauty book printable coupons

This week I was able to find the new Reinventing Beauty Book at my local CVS, and picked up four because there are such great coupons inside. (You can see what the book looks like in my post here, if you want to look for it in your store.)

Silly me, I wasn't aware that the coupons are also available to print online for free! Last time a Beauty book was available (the Queen Latifah one), the coupons were online as well, but then they just "disappeared" suddenly. So in case that might happen again, I would suggest printing the ones you want now. :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


50% off 5 piece Patio Set at Lowes online

This caught my eye because we were looking for a patio set recently and couldn't find even a used one for much less than the price Lowe's is offering for this set.

When you go to the Lowe's site, the price shows up at $299 until you put in your zip code, and then it adjusts to $149.50. You get free parcel shipping on orders $49+, or you can choose to pick it up at your local store. Use your Visa and this coupon to take an additional $10 off.

Also, I have read reports of people finding this at their local Lowe's stores for as low as $60 and $70, so it wouldn't hurt to call your store first to do a price check, you may be able to get them for a steal at one of those prices!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




Free Flat Earth Veggie Crisps at Subway


Click here to print a coupon for a 1.25oz bag of Flat Earth Baked Veggie Crisps free at Subway. No additional purchase necessary!
If your store doesn't have the Flat Earth chips available, you can substitute the coupon for a bag of another Frito-Lay brand chips.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




And the winner is......

Tonight we chose the winner of our very first giveaway! There were 39 comments from 39 entrants, so I put numbers on small slips of paper, 1-39, and put them in a bowl. My ten year old daughter was happy to choose the winning number randomly from the bowl.



And the winner is.....


Lisa, at Got No Dough! Lisa, I just sent you an email to let you know that you're the winner.

I want to thank everyone who entered, and thank you for the helpful comments. I now have some great ideas for fillers that I never would have thought of otherwise. I planning to try that Yardley Lavendar soap soon, and have already started scoping the clearance tables, something I hadn't done before. And thanks to the many comments suggesting I use those Absolutely Divine coupons, I bought way too many boxes as fillers this week, since they were on sale for $1.99.

What a fun first giveaway! I'm looking forward to hosting more in the future, so please keep coming back!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~