Savings with Style!

Start Saving with Style with Southern Coupon Belle! I'm now COUPONING IN CoMo!
What happens when a Coupon Expert in one region of the USA moves to another area of the country? I have started over learning new stores, coupon policies and building a reasonable stock pile and savings routine from scratch since October 1, 2011. I was an expert in Atlanta and the South but now happily reside in Columbia, Missouri!

I've searched other blogs and sites but I can't find someone else in my shoes so hopefully reading how I started over can help you! Whether you are a seasoned couponer in a new area OR a beginner- I know I can help walk you through what to do and help you start saving big! Starting over has made me realize how newbies to coupons feel and made me walk a grocery store aisle or two in a beginner's shoes again! Email me at and let me know how I can help! Thanks for reading and taking this journey with me!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Living Smart 101: Saving On Vacation

I was asked to share how I save money when we go to the beach. I've shared my tips and hints for Disney so I thought I'd share how I save when we go to the beach. A lot of us are about to have Fall Break in September and if you are from Atlanta or the surrounding areas- the majority of us make a mass exodus to the Gulf Coast.

1. Shop around and check out different companies. Pit them against one another. Mike did this and played 2 different companies against one another. We are repeat renters with both and we found out who wanted to retain our business. Mike told the person he was working with how much he wanted to spend, the amenities he wanted, location, size etc. Both companies offered a repeat business discount that wasn't featured on their websites. They each offered to take 20% off the weekly rate.
2. Talking to a real person than just relying on the websites. The person Mike was working with was able to tell him all about the condo we ended up renting. It's one of her favorites (these are smaller companies in Destin so she just wasn't blowing smoke), how clean it was, newly renovated etc. We got a lot more information about different units which made our choice easier to decide on.
3. Check out companies that offer amenities like free golf, free fishing, movie rentals etc. The two companies we like to use have a full amenities package that comes with your rental. Mike gets a free round of golf including cart fee for every day we are there!! And 2 courses he can choose from are in Sandestin. Rates on these 2 courses are pushing $100 a round. We get a free dolphin cruise, fishing excursion and dvd rentals every day. When you take in account what it would cost to do these things on our own- the value of our rental is even better than just a place to stay on the beach.
4. Start making lists now for things you need at the beach. I have a goal that I stay out of Walmart then we are in Destin. I have an excel spreadsheet for the beach that lists all the stuff we need so I can check everything off when I'm packing. And I start modifying the list about a month out from our trip. When I think of something, I put it on the list. And I put even the most obvious on the spreadsheet. We've actually had to buy Mike a bathing suit one year when we got there!!
5. Start watching deals for food and supplies you can take with you. For example, I picked up several things of salsa when it was a steal for the beach. Same thing on breakfast and lunch items. Taking it with you when you can find great deals will keep you out of the grocery store also while down there and cut your food costs while there.
6. Once Labor Day hits, watch the clearance aisles at the grocery stores and drug stores for rock bottom prices plus coupons on items like swim pants, sunscreen, beach toys etc. Keep coupons on you for items like these so when you run across a deal then you can grab it and save!!
7. Watch for coupons for eating out and check out to see what's available for the area you are headed to. I make a travel binder with our reservations, directions to the office and unit and include a pocket for coupons. I got a Buy 1 Get 1 coupon for Outback so I'll throw it in there. We eat a lot of seafood so a lunch or dinner to change things up a little might be nice. We don't do chains in Destin but with a coupon- we might make an exception.
8. Speaking of seafood- we do try to take our sides down like pasta, rice etc. so we are primarily just buying produce, milk and seafood while down there.

Planning ahead not only saves money but allows you to stay out of the stores and making your week at the beach even more stress free and relaxing!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Publix Preschool Club

Click here to sign up! You get several cool things like a game (my children love it. Mac plays it all the time now and Madi did when she was three), newsletter, birthday cards, freebies and coupons.

And if you are expecting- search the Publix site for the Baby Club. Several great freebies and coupons!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What can $7.42 buy you at Kroger with NO COUPONS???

HORROR!! We went to Kroger and GASP!! didn't have any coupon??? I didn't see anything on the lists this week that interests me but we were right there and we needed bread for Madi's lunches this week.

For $7.42 and no coupons... we got:
Dozen Eggs
Jumbo 16 pack of hot dog buns
Loaf of sandwich bread
5lb bag of Russet Potatoes
Cheese Slices 16 count
2 Summer Toys for our beach trip on clearance

Great deals to round out our stockpile, help keep our week simple and our stress levels down. How? Just for taking a quick minute and walking the store to see what's on sale and what's on Manager's Special. All staples, needed items and tremendous savings!

Living Smart 101: No Waste in my house!

I've mentioned how crazy the gardens have become this time of year as they wind down and produce way more than we can consume before the produce goes to waste. We've taken things a step further and been canning. We've canned over 60 quarts of pickles, created several relishes and been working on some hot pepper sauces, gumbo bases, banana pepper rings, pickled peppers and jalapenos, hot refrigerator pickles (those have been the hit of the summer) and salsa just to name a few of our many products! I think I could probably start a SCB line! LOL

Luckily, Mike's grandmother has retired from the canning business :) and gave us all of her jars. Mike's mom gave us several as well. We made a goal- NO WASTE! We didn't want to look back during the Winter months and remember all the produce we had right now and instead enjoy the fruits of our labor all year round. With times the way they are right now- utilizing every resource available is crucial. We used coupons to get our spices, supplies etc. ...we even found a coupon for the lids for the cans. We had a few cans pop their lids and we wasted those but had so many cucumbers that we just sanitized the jars and tried again. We used traditional, no fail recipes and our family and friends have loved our results.

Again, we've taken this mindset to a new level. For example, we had 3/4 of a gallon of milk that is expiring tomorrow. Milk was fine but no way it could be drunk today. Was I going to let it go to waste? HECK NO! I had a bag of potatoes that needed to be used, a killer week coming up with Curriculum Night Tuesday night right after Scouts so I made Baked Potato Soup! It's ready to be heated up when we rush home from Daisy Scouts and have just a few minutes before the babysitter gets here and we need to be at school. Had milk left- so I made 2 boxes of mac and cheese for the girls to eat throughout the week. It will work for Mac's lunch (get it? Mac for Mac? LOL) and again, it's all ready, easy week with meals already planned and prepared for the most part!

There are other areas too to think about. I needed half a red onion the other night. I chopped the whole thing and froze the remainder for future use. Tomatoes are going faster than we can eat them so we made Garlic, Basil and Tomato Soup this weekend.

Just think outside the box and make it your goal to see how much you can utilize what you have and eliminate as much waste as possible. Before you know it... it will be second nature!

Coupon for Free Yoplait Yo Plus Yogurt!

If you do the Publix deal this week on the Yo Plus, making it just a quarter for a 4 pack- I've got a way to make it even sweeter!!

Save your receipt, get a UPC off a package and print the form from Fill it out, circle your purchase on your original receipt and get a coupon for a free 4 pack in the mail.

And if you don't have Publix- get the coupon, buy some yogurt and know you are getting a 2nd 4 pack for free down the road.

A1 Steak Sauce .09 cents at Target!

Smaller bottles of A1 are $2.09 at Target (not on sale) and in the 8/16 SmartSource, there is a coupon for $2.00 off 1 bottle which would make A1 just 9 cents each!! Perfectly legal, not size limit coupon from this insert!

We got 4 the other night. Cashier really studied the coupon but found nothing to say it wasn't valid.

GREAT DEAL!! Remember- your stores may vary by region but if you are going there for something else- grab your coupons and check it out!

Living Smart 101: A little time saves A LOT of Money Part I

Old habits die hard and new habits can save money!

I've started a new habit that is saving us money on our electric bill. I've mentioned in an earlier post about unplugging things we don't use often and I did see a difference on the bill. I've taken it a step further and now the whole family is in on it.

We do the monthly averages on our electric bill which means they average our bill throughout the year and we pay the same each month owing anything over that average in May. Usually, because of running the AC, we are over the averages by a good bit this time of the year. For July- we were just $40 over average for the month and if you are here in Atlanta... you know how hot it is.

Here's the habits we are doing and it is working!
1. When we leave the house, everyone turns off all TVs, ceiling fans and we bump the thermostats up to 81-82 degrees. It's hot when we get home but once the fans start running again and we bump the air down- it's very quick for the house to cool down. We don't bump it down to 78 to put the AC in overdrive but we gradually bump it down until we are comfortable.
My new mindset is why cool the air in the house when no one is here! I've really not noticed it being uncomfortable at all and back to normal very quickly.
2. I'm trying very hard to keep the AC at 80 degrees. The fans keep the air moving and it's usually not until the afternoon that it gets uncomfortable if it's really hot outside. It works for us and I realize not everyone can do it but our downstairs stays very cool despite how hot it gets outside. I also make sure I bump the air up into the 80s when I go to bed or upstairs for the night for the same reason. And throughout the day- if we are upstairs, turn up downstairs and vice versa.
3. Turning ceiling fans off in rooms we don't frequent. I realized one day that I didn't really pay attention to rooms that had fans on 24/7 and no one is using these rooms!
4. We had a floor fan in the garage and since we had it- why not use it? We'll use it upstairs on really scorching days to just generate more air flow in the late afternoon.

These new habits are working, my family is doing them without being asked and we're seeing results on the bill!

Living Smart 101: A little time saves A LOT of Money Part II

Here's my second story about how just taking a little time and effort can help you save even more money! Can't guarantee it will work every time but if you have a few minutes, it's worth the effort. I find it pays off somehow, some way in the end. I'll explain once I tell you what happened today.

Madi had a birthday party in Canton. I had my Publix trips to finish so the 3 of us went to the shopping center that Publix is located in. There is also a Ross (like TJ Maxx if you don't have Ross) and Belk Department Store (popular in the South).

The Belk at North Pointe Mall is closing and everything is marked down with an additional 80% off final price. Mike's parents scored some great deals but this mall is a good distance from Canton so I was trying to decide when I should go check it out. Definitely couldn't do the trip right then and leave Madi in Canton in case something happened. We checked out Ross- didn't see that great of deals so we checked out Belk. They aren't closing but their clearance was HUGE with an additional 40% off. I found several great deals but it hit me- 40% before Labor Day? They had a lot of inventory to move so what was my rush? I did find a really nice pair of khaki shorts and I got those. Normally, $40 for $9.00.

Speeding things up- on the way home- we were passing our local Goodwill. It's very nice- I know that opinion can vary by location but we like ours. So we stop and not only did I get a pair of Macy's brand khaki shorts but a NY&Co. pair of black pants. BOTH NEW WITH 1 with TAGS!! Shorts were $1.95 and pants were $4.89.

My point is- I took a little bit of time, thought outside of the box and I maximized my savings. I still like the shorts I got at Belk- Mike goes right by the location closing so he knows what I'm looking for and hoping he can find the 80% savings. Yes, I have a wonderful husband but I know he wants to go look for him too!

Taking a little time, not impulse shopping and being patient will always pay off in the end!!

Rockin it at Publix this week!!

Three trips today and yes, I only bought the best deals- I'm still really stockpiled.

Here's what I liked today:

Trip 1:
(2) Double AJC papers for 4 sets of coupons $5.00
(1) Huggies Swim Pants-
On clearance for $4.40 plus a coupon from 8/16S for $1.50 additional Final Price: $2.90
(6) Luzianne Tea Bags 24 count BOGO
Sale Price: $1.15 Coupon: 6/21S .60/1 Final Price: .55 or 76% off
Penny Item was a roll of Publix Paper Towels

Total: $11.71 and I saved $17.66

Trip 2:
(1) Huggies Swim Pants-
On clearance for $4.40 plus a coupon from 8/16S for $1.50 additional Final Price: $2.90
(4) Yoplait Yo-Plus 4 packs BOGO
Sale Price: $1.25 Coupon: 8/9GM $1.00/1 Final Price: .25 or 90% off
(8) Barilla Pasta- Assorted
Sale Price: .79 Coupon: 8/23S $1.00/1 Final Price: FREE plus overage .21 each
(4) Chinet Beverage Napkins
Sale Price: $1.19 Coupon: 6/28S $1.00/1 Final Price: .19 or 87% off
(2) Starbucks Ice Cream BOGO
Sale Price: $1.80 Coupon: 6/21S $2.00/1 Final Price: FREE with .20 overage
Penny Item was a roll of Publix Paper Towels

Total: $3.49 and I saved $40.60.

Trip 3:
(8) Yoplait Fiber One Yogurt 4 packs BOGO
Sale Price: $1.25 Coupon: 8/9GM or 7/12S $1.00/1 Final Price: .25 or 90% off
(4) Purina Chef Michael's Canine Creations
Sale Price: .89 Coupon: 8/23RP for up to $1.00 free can Final Price: FREE or 100% off
Penny Itemwas a roll of Publix Paper Towels

Total: $2.22 and I saved over $23.00.

Grand Total Spent: $17.42
Grand Total Saved: $81.26
Total Items: 42
Total % Saved: 79%

And remember that $10.80 was in papers for coupons and 2 packages of swim pants for our beach trip!

Note: It's a lot of yogurt but we all eat a lot and it's good until the end of September. Always check the expiration dates when you buy a lot of an item. It's not a deal if you can't use it all before it goes bad.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm BACK!!!

Forgive me but rookie school mom had no idea that the summer is really only a slightly longer break than what feels like a Spring Break or Fall Break. One minute we were out of school- the next... getting ready for our school year!

Readers who aren't in Atlanta- I live slight NW of the Metro Atlanta area in Cherokee County. We have a school calendar that is technically considered "year round." Meaning- we are in our 3rd week of school! I have friends all over the country that think we are crazy!! However, we get a week off almost every 6 weeks which is essential not only to the students but my teacher friends tell me that these breaks restore not only their energy but their sanity.

I'm back on the blog 110%, will be finding the deals once again, keep adding to the Coupon 101 for the essential skills to get you started and letting you know what I find for great deals all over.
Just got pulled in too many directions and something had to fall behind. So please check back everyday!!

Thanks for your support, please email me with questions and if you have emailed and not heard from me- there was an issue with my email account that has finally been restored. I wasn't ignoring you! LOL