Saturday, October 25, 2008

Walgreens October Summary

According to my calculations, I have paid Walgreens a whopping $58.29 this month. All but $1.76 was on my gift card and Register Rewards. Walgreens should be adding $39.02 to my gift card next month.

Must have been all the cheap cheese and coffee creamer. I'll try to do better next month. :-)

Walgreens Debriefing 10.25.08

Well, it did not turn out quite like I was hoping. I went to three Walgreenses, and none had the Pert Plus. So, since Paul was protesting every time I buckled him in the car seat, after getting him out, locking the car, going into the store, making a bee line for the shampoo aisle, sighing, heading back out of the store, unlocking the car, and strapping him in TWICE, I relented and just got other stuff. Besides, I didn't know where any more Walgreenses were beyond that one. Additionally, the Benefiber deal either was over my head, or it wasn't a great deal after all. The $7.99 stick packs (that I had a $5 coupon for) didn't qualify for the Register Rewards. Beyond that, I couldn't make head or tail of what was part of the deal and the what the coupons would cover, and after $7.99 each, it ceased to be a money-maker, so I skipped that too, which put me totally off kilter when it came to getting $20 worth of stuff. This is what I came up with on the spot:

2 pistachios $5
4 M&M bags $10
Rimmel foundation $7.49
And, okay. I wasn't going to buy this. I'll never use it. I mean I'll never use it. Ever. Not only will I not use it, my husband will not ever let me use it. Not only will I not use this product that I would not be allowed to use but wouldn't use anyway, I don't know a (pardon the redundancy) single solitary individual among all my acquaintance who would ever use this. But they pushed me to it. They did not have in stock what I was going to buy. I had to do it to get up to $20 and still make money. So I rolled my eyes and bought the:
6-Hour Energy Burst shot thingie $3.99 (If you want it, leave a comment, and we'll talk.)

I presented them with the following coupons:
4 $1/2 M&Ms (2 MQs and 2 ESQs)
$1 Rimmel
$5/$20 e-mail coupon

So I paid $16.87.

This month I'll get back $12.63. Next month, I can expect $5.50.

That's $18.13. So I wound up making a bit today, $1.26 to be exact. And just maybe I'll meet someone without a lot of energy who will be thrilled to have the 6-hour deal.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Walgreens Battle Plan B 10.24.08

The last Battle Plan should still work. I'm just not doing it. I did get a coupon, and I didn't realize that it's Double Dipping Days already. I guess I should pay better attention. So here's what I really plan to do:

Pert Plus 3.49
3 Benefiber 23.97
Rimmel 7.49
2 Pistachios 5.00 (because, I think I've mentioned, I love these)
4 bags peanut butter M&M's 10.00 (see above)
Total $52.95 w/ tax

Total Qs ($30.50)
$2 Pert MQ
3 $2 Benefiber MQ
$1 Rimmel MQ
2 $1/2 M&M MQ
$2.50 Pert ESQ
3 $5 Benefiber ESQ
2 $1/2 M&M ESQ
After Coupons: $22.45
$5/$20 WQ
Total if all goes as planned: $17.45

$8 RR
$8.23 October ESR
$5.50 November ESR

Final Total: $4.28 profit.


[To find out how it all turned out, see the debriefing here.]

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Walgreens Battle Plan 10.22.08

Okay, I took a week off last week because there wasn't anything that warranted a trip. I couldn't come up with enough to justify using the $5/$25 coupon I was e-mailed. But I'm planning to go this week, and it's shaping up to be exciting. I'll wait until the weekend in case they send out another $/$$ coupon. I may still have a hard time coming up with a post-coupon total of $20 or whatever, but we'll see what the e-mail box holds and go from there. But even without one, my plan is simple and oh so satisfying. (By the way, my mother-in-law is into Benefiber. I don't think she's tried the flavored variety, but what better time to try something new, right?)

$3.49 Pert Plus
$23.97 (3) Benefiber
$7.49 Rimmel

Minus. . .
$2 Pert MQ
$2 Benefiber MQ
$1 Rimmel MQ
$2.50 Pert ESQ
3 $5 Benfiber ESQ
Equals $10.55 (w/ tax)

Then they give me $8, then I send off for another $8.23 or so for a grand total of . . .

$5.68 profit.

Tah dah!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Isaiah 24

This chapter starts what is known as the "little Apocalypse" in the Bible. The following chapters unveil some of God's plan for the entire world. It is little in comparison to the larger Apocalypse of the book of Revelation which ends the Bible. "Apocalypse," I learned last night, means "unveiling."

Chapter 24 describes destruction. "The LORD will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants." There will be a great leveling of the distinctions among people that we find so hard to ignore now. As the rich and poor, influential and insignificant, captain and crewman alike sank beneath the waters of the Atlantic the night the Titanic went down--so the entire population of earth will experience the same fate when God deals with His earth as He has every right to do. The chapter uses words like "mourns," "withers," "languish," "suffer," "scorch," and "desolation."

they have transgressed the laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.
What? What laws? What statutes? What commandments?

Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). This is a law.

A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). A binding statute. Any variation is a violation.

The covenant? Pastor noted that the most likely is this one:
God's side: I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth (Genesis 9:11).
Man's side: Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man (Genesis 9:6).
God has and will keep His side of the covenant. Man has utterly failed to keep his.

Guilty on all counts.

The coming devastation is just. The God Who executes the judgment is glorified in His justice. Glorified! Given honor and praise. And worship. Reverent, intense, genuine worship. It is written.
They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west.
Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD;
in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,
of glory to the Righteous One.
Let me plead with you. Be among those who give praise. "Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!" (Psalm 2:12).

[Unless otherwise noted, all references are from Isaiah 24, English Standard Version.]

Friday, October 17, 2008


I have lots of sisters. Two of them go to college in my town. I love having them here. They love having me here. They, I have no doubt, also love the fact that they can pick up free. . .whatever they need from my hall closet. Though sometimes they betray their amusement at the whole scheme. Apparently it's a sister thing.

I recently found out about my friend's blog, Saving in Greenville. Since she doesn't give her name on the blog, I'll make one up for her. How about . . . Cordelia. Cordelia is a perfectly elegant name. Anyway, my sister Laura is friends with Cordelia's sister Mary Beth, and Laura was telling us about her conversation with Mary Beth the other day:

L: My sister has gotten into shopping at--
MB: Drug stores, right? Mine too!
L: She has like this stash of shampoo and--
MB: Yeah, and tons of toiletries. Cordelia had this huge supply, and then last year, she decided to have a yard sale, and you know what she did? She SOLD it all! I was like, "Why did you do that! That was my stash of toiletries!"
L: Yeah, my sister started this blog.

Maybe they could start a support group. "Sisters of Drugstore Junkies United" or something. Oh well. She really appreciates it deep down, I'm sure. ;-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ezekiel 16

I read a story yesterday—a story sad, wonderful, and all too true.

There was a man walking in a field alone when he heard a pitiful sound. It was the sound of newborn baby. The man stopped and stared. This child, a girl, had been born moments ago it appeared. But no one was around. The child had been delivered and cast, unwanted, into a vacant field to die in her blood. The man decided to give the child life. He took the girl away from the field and saw to it that she was able to live.

Many years later, the man encountered this girl, now a woman, again. She had grown up, but her appearance remained undesirable. She lived in poverty with no hope of advancement in life. But the man had other plans for this woman. Though she had nothing to commend herself, he took her as his wife and clothed her in the finest of apparel and gave her many jewels and ornaments of love. Silver and gold, rubies and diamonds adorned the once neglected and bloody body. You see, this man was the king. He had unlimited resources at his disposal for honoring his beloved. And she was honored above all other women in the kingdom. Clothed in the finery of royalty, she possessed a beauty unrivaled by any. She began to notice the admiring looks of many others besides her king.

How wonderful to be sought after! She began at first to try to attract the attention of passing men. When she met with success in this venture, she was spurred on to greater and greater improprieties, until, at last, she was not content to live in the palace with her husband and king. She preferred the company of the worthless and vile. She drank in their adoration and bawdy professions of infatuation. She disregarded the king’s attempts to draw her back to her home.

Messengers were dispatched from the palace. “My lady, our gracious and kind king requests that you reject the lovers whom you are now pursuing. Return to your husband and he will receive you again.”

But the messengers returned to the king bewildered. “My lord, she will not come. She loves her liaisons too much to return to your care. My lord. I shrink from describing to you her debauched condition. She plays the harlot with anyone who will have her. Nothing is too low for her to engage in. My lord, it is not as though she has need of provisions and thereby must sell herself. You have promised to provide all she needs and more. And she takes no money. No, my king. She—my lord, how shall I tell you? She takes nothing from them but rather bribes her lovers to come to her. It is your silver and your gold she gives away in this fashion. Your majesty, will, I suppose, reject her from being queen. She will, no doubt be destroyed as many others who have not done as much.”

The covenant stood. The king had made her a promise. Go again. Warn her of the end of her ways!

“My lady?”
“What do you want?”
“My lady, you are transgressing against your king. Shall he not destroy you?”
“The king has said nothing.”
“Nothing, my lady? He sends again and again to urge you to return, to warn you of your impending destruction! Has he not cut off many others whose wickedness did not exceed your own?”
And with a toss of her head and short laugh, the queen dismissed the warning, “I am the chosen of the king. He could not destroy me. He will not. I will go on just as I am. If he wishes me to stop, he must stop me.”

Time passed. Messengers spoke again and again to the queen. They returned every time with heavy hearts to report still more atrocities.
“My lord? The queen—I cannot continue.” His voice broke into sobs.
Another spoke up, “She bore you a son, your majesty. The child was rightfully yours.”
“Yes, was!” began a third, more vehemently than the other two. “The wicked woman you loved and honored so has slain your child. With her own hands she has sacrificed him to her gods.”
“At the urging of her lovers,” was the heartbroken conclusion.

The messengers knew the end of the queen. Her ways would lead her to a pit out of which she could never climb until she reached the very lowest point. The king had no choice but to allow the lovers, who all along had wanted nothing but her riches, to ravage her until she was bereft of every joy she had ever known. Every joy but one. The love of her husband, her king, remained unchanged through all her treachery. And some day, the king knew, after her unfaithfulness had been completed, she would return. And to the awe of the messengers and the servants, he would forgive her. He would restore her to more prominence than she had before. And all the world would worship and adore a King so loving, so faithful to His promises.

The King is Yahweh. He chose for Himself a nation. The nation behaved like the queen. And Yahweh will restore her; He will make her beautiful and splendid once again. But in that day, she will not turn to others. She will have a new heart and an unfailing loyalty to her Beloved.

And here the story cannot, nor can any one story, contain the whole of the truth of the situation. Because the King is infinite. And His plan extends beyond an unfaithful ethic group. He deserves to be worshiped by all peoples of every language. He has determined to bring poor, vile sinners of every kind into His great banquet hall. And the story of the queen is held up to those people groups as a gleaming example of the richness of the faithfulness of the covenant of a God who will forgive the worst of treacheries and will pardon all iniquity and sin for any who come to take shelter in His abundant righteousness.

A Bandit

My mom has an expression to describe my experience Tuesday. Ever heard it said that someone "made out like a bandit"? While, in this day of politically correct hypersensitivity, I should probably shrink from using such a phrase in print lest I either a) offend someone who has a bandit in his/her immediate circle of relations, b) can trace her/his lineage back far enough to conger up a bandit of a most notorious kind, c) would him/her-self shrink from using the term "bandit" in a derogatory manner lest we influence school children to discriminate against bandits in their future hiring practices, I use it out of the strong persuasion that it is the only phrase that does justice to the accomplishments of two days ago.

Now that I have offended the sensibilities of both bandits' rights activists and run-on sentence-eschewing English teachers alike, allow me to explain to the rest of my audience the conquests I was so happy to make.

Rite Aid: Tons of free stuff is available for the taking at Rite Aid. They even had a shelf devoted to free merchandise right in the front of the store. Please see this post at Money Saving Mom to see if there is anything that strikes your fancy. I picked up:
ChapStick (for which I happen to receive a free after mail-in-rebate form in my last edition of the Sunday paper, 10/12/08)
SoftLips lip balm (I love this stuff)
Comtrex cold medicine
Sucrets throat lozenges

I paid $12.68, and they'll add $11.96 to my monthly check. (Then, of course, there's the $1.99 rebate to wait for as well. Even with the postage stamp, there's a slight return on investment in addition to the products.)

CVS: 3 coupons and some ECB deals landed me:
CoverGirl foundation, which I didn't need, but it made possible the free. . .
CoverGirl powder, which I did need
Colgate toothpaste, because, believe it or not, our surplus is almost depleted.
for a grand total of $6.99 in ECBs and $.47 in actual money with $5 in ECBs generated. I calculate the cost of the products at $2.46. I really did need the powder.

Publix: I saved the best for last. I got three things.
2 bags of New England coffee
1 box containing 2 Barber Foods chicken cordon bleus (is that how you make that dish plural?)
All the above items were by-one-get-one-free. I used 2 $1.50/1 coupons for the coffee and a $1/1 for the chicken. Now, I never would have bought any of that stuff without coupons and sales, though I might have wished to. Still it's fun to detail the "savings" since I have this blog as an outlet for that, so here they are:
Regular price would have been $16.57
I paid $3.79.
Is that a 77% "savings"? I think I calculated that correctly. I think I left math teachers out of those whose sence of propriety I injured. Can one of you help me out if I erred?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Prayer for Others

I love the idea of praying in the Bible's words. Yesterday I read a prayer I don't think I had prayed before. Wouldn't you love to know that someone is praying this for you?
That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light (Colossians 1:9-12).
It goes on, contrasting the Light just mentioned with the domain of darkness in which I used to dwell. It gives all the credit to God and His dear Son. It extols the greatness and wonder of a Savior so magnificent that I am entirely unable to comprehend the depth of wonder and the height of ecstasy that the apostle experienced in conveying the Spirit's words about the incomparable Christ. I must read it again. And yet again. And still I despair of ever truly coming to an understanding that does justice to the truth. And so I am reminded of my need for prayer.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Christian Response to Trouble

Wednesday night at prayer meeting, Pastor Minnick encouraged us about the future. There seems to be much ahead to fear. If things do continue to spiral down economically, we could face lean times such as many in this country are totally unfamiliar with. His tone was not pessimistic. His hope does not lie in the "spirit of the great people of this great country" or the "fundamentals of the economy." He is able to do as the Bible does and look the worst in the face. So what if "the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines"? What happens if "the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food"? How will I take it if "the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls"?

That's poverty, you know. That's a depression like we've never seen in this land. But we've seen footage of it in other lands. And, if you're like me, you watched the news and saw the starving children and huddled refugees and war-torn families crowding around a truck for hours waiting for one bag of sustenence and thought, "How do people go through that?" Perhaps you took it a step further and thought, "I could never handle that." But people do. And they handle it in different ways.

But God's people can respond in a way that is completely unexpected. Really, they can. Look the worst in the face. Don't dwell on doom and gloom, but seriously for a few moments contemplate your absolute worst fears and dread about the financial situation. Then call to mind the promises of God. Was He serious when He said, "Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things"? Can we actually expect "all these things will be added to you" to hold up in this century? If you arrive at a Bible answer to that kind of question, you will, with the ancient prophet, "exult in the LORD" and "rejoice in the God of [your] salvation."

(Bible quotations taken from Habakkuk 3:17-18 and Matthew 6:32-33.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Walgreens Debriefing 10.09.08

Here's how it all turned out:

I did get the cheap cheese. I did not get the coffee creamer because the coupon website said enough was enough. See, I already got 2 creamers Monday. Anyway, I found another scented oil candle coupon, so I got 2 of those. My Crest manufacturer coupon didn't fly, so I tossed out the Crest toothpaste. And the Visine rang up for $4.49 instead of $3.99, but $.50 Visine is nothing to complain about.

So I ended up forking over $9 in Register Rewards and $3.48 on my gift card. (That's $12.48. I'm sure you knew that already.)

But Walgreens has already given me the first installment of my return in the form of a $3 Register Reward and $7.15 is on the way. (I'm over here really trying to figure out what went wrong on my math on the last post. I think I multiplied by 1.5 instead of 1.1 to get the bonus amount. Sorry about that.)

So I acquired the above products for $2.33, and Glade has promised me another $5.99 if I'll send the right paperwork. I'll certainly take it.

Walgreens Battle Plan 10.09.08

This one goes out to my mom in CA. Hi Mama!

I realized that posting on Saturday doesn't give her a whole lot of time to run into town and take advantage of my Walgreens tips . . . not that she seems to really need my help anymore. (Side note: My mother-in-law just called to ask, "Which store was it that had the automatic shower cleaner I wanted to get?" See, I left her the $5 coupon from her insert after telling her how cool mine is and how cheap it would be at Walgreens after her rebate. [Contented sigh.])

Okay, here's what I want to do:

$1.99 Glade jar candle
$5.99 Wisp Flameless candle
$3.99 Glade Scented Oil candle
$3.99 Fresh Brush Max Kit
$1.99 Crest toothpaste
$3.99 Visine
$3.00 2 CoffeeMate creamers
$3.00 2 Deerfield Farm cheese packs
$29.26 after tax on the non-food items

MINUS the following coupons:
$1 Glade jar candle
$5 Wisp Candle
$2 Scented Oil candle
$3 Max Fresh Kit
$2 Visine (that I found out about here)
$1 Crest toothpaste
(2) $1 CoffeeMate creamer
$2 Visine Walgreens ad coupon
$1 Crest Easy Saver coupon

I'll pay them that (including $9 in Register Rewards). Then they'll hand me $3 in Walgreens cash. Then later I'll ask them for more money. Which they'll give me. To the tune of:
$1 for the jar candle
$2 for the scented oil candle
$1.50 for the Max Fresh Kit
10% of all that.

Which equals: $9.85

Hang on. I've got one more source of income here. I then will mail off for a full rebate on the purchase price of the Wisp Flameless Candle, which incidentally is $5.99. Bringing my total refund (in a number of weeks, I realize) to $14.84.

Which means that, even factoring in the price of the postage stamp, I make $4.17 this week. And besides, I challenge you to find cheese that cheap anywhere else.

(You may be wondering what I'm going to do with all this air freshener. I hate air freshener. But it's candles. Every hostess likes candles. I'm going to wrap them up and save them for those times when it would be nice to have a little something to give for a housewarming or something to stick into a bridal shower gift. You know. That kind of thing. I don't plan to buy cans of air freshener or even "plug-ins" even if they're free. Since, as I said, I can't stand the stuff.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Psalm 37

This Psalm is a study in contrasts. The righteous is instructed on the end of his ways compared with the wicked man's. I have read this Psalm many times and drawn encouragement from the many admonitions to rest in the Lord and not fret because of the prosperity of the wicked. The Lord's promise to make things right in the end is comforting as it assures the believer that God is aware and in control of every event in the entire global scheme of things.

Sunday evening, however, another nuance of the Psalm taught me. Pastor Vincent was preaching, and he pointed out that, though the text may hastily be read as a triumphant gloating over the demise of evil in the face of God's intervention, the words really convey a much more sober tone. The psalmist uses expressions like "You will look carefully for his place and he will not be there," and "I have seen a wicked, violent man spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought for him, but he could not be found."

While God's control over the present and the assurance of the revelation of His ultimate triumph in the end should bring delight and satisfaction to the hearts of true believers, there should be in every child of God a desire to see, not the destruction of sinners, but their deliverance.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Coupons are appearing in my dreams. I've seen lots and lots of them in the last few days. My family went and stayed with my husband's parents for the weekend. My mother-in-law doesn't clip coupons, but she very kindly saves her Sunday inserts for me. So, I had a big stack of inserts to cut out. I still haven't entered them all into Coupon Central.

To add to the excitement, I'm changing my whole system. I'll still use Coupon Central, but for finding filed coupons, I'm moving from this:

to this:

I like my binder. My husband thinks it's ugly, but he likes the "money" stored inside, so he puts up with it . . . as long as he doesn't actually have to carry it through a store. I learned the binder system primarily through Sarah at Fiddledeedee, my Publix deals resource.

Now back to organizing!

Friday, October 3, 2008

My All-Time Favorite Thing about Publix

Again, I really like Publix. I went there last night, and I bought (according to the regular prices of things) $31.98 worth of groceries for $10.96. That's a savings of 65.73% for those of you who are interested. My coupons alone amounted to $6.35. It was fun.

But my all-time favorite feature of Publix is one we took advantage of just last week, actually. Free prescriptions. My baby had an ear infection and was prescribed amoxicillin. Daddy just went in to the Publix pharmacy and walked out with the medicine and a little measuring dropper thing, and the receipt read a big fat $0.00. It's a blessing, really.

I just talked with a friend of mine who shops at Publix and everything, but she didn't know about the program. It would have saved them some recently too. So I thought I'd pass the news along to the rest of the Publix Super Savers. The details are here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Nifty Report

The next button on the Coupon Central main menu is "Coupons Expiring This Week." This report is useful for those really good coupons I definitely want to use, but I'm waiting for a good sale. If no sales have come up, but I want to use the coupon before it expires, this menu helps me out if I check it. It's set up to spit out all coupons in the database whose expiration date is anytime, between "today" and a week from then. I actually haven't used it much, but it does come in handy at times.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


How can Mrs. Sarah Boardman, settled indefinitely in a "little bamboo hut, . . . so frail that it could be cut open, as Mrs. Boardman says, with a pair of scissors," in the middle of a jungle full of hissing snakes, howling wild animals, and bandits robbing them of their valuables--how can she say this?
"We are in excellent health, and as happy as is it possible for two human beings to be upon earth. It is our earnest desire to live, labor, and die among this people."
The simple answer is that she did not derrive her soul satisfaction from her situation, but from her Savior. Her appeal to her sister, I am sure she would repeat to all of us.
"Oh if you are a child of God, how great is your happiness; you can think of death without fear. The troubles and griefs of life do not distress you as they do the poor worldling, who looks only to the enjoyments of this life for comfort. If a Christian, you have sweet foretastes of that joy which is unspeakable and inconceivable by mortals. Though a sinner still, you feel that your sins are pardoned, and that through the merits of a crucified Saviour you will at last be accepted of God. I would fondly hope, my dear sister, that this is your happy case. But if not, oh who can tell your dreadful danger? . . . Oh, my sister, reflect. . . . If you have not yet turned to the Saviour, delay no longer."
I urge you, my sisters, reflect.

(Quotations taken from The Three Mrs. Judsons, Arabella Stuart, Particular Baptist Press, 2001, pp. 145, 155-156, emphasis mine.)