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, September 23, 2009

Another bonus for using

Still at the beach and I mentioned earlier that I bought gift certificates for 2 local restaurants here in Destin. One was the infamous Gravel Road restaurant that has been featured in Southern Living for their grouper sandwich. The other was a place called Bluz and we tried it tonight.

We normally have one night that we take a break from seafood and do something different. Bluz was excellent and we really enjoyed our meal. Everyone ate every last bite of what we ordered and the girls ate like linebackers.

The bonus I mentioned? I would have never noticed this restaurant or even thought about trying it if it wasn't for I love the feature that you can view the menu before you buy and we had a large, wonderful Bluz Special pizza and a hot antipasto platter for 2 for a grand total of $23.00 including a 20% tip! The platter had good sized appetizer portions of calamari, homemade ravioli, cheese dipping sauce, marinara sauce, spinach-artichoke-crap Florentine Dip, Bruschetta, chicken tenders and their bread. We all ate like kings and it was so good. The Bluz Special Pizza was pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, onion and fresh basil. Awesome!!

Bluz looked like a fun place also- karaoke was tonight and they clearly have an after dinner appeal. One of the things I love about is their target clients are good, authentic restaurants that aren't chains (most of the time or if they are- good chains) that offer great food.

And- if you haven't climbed on board with or wonder if restaurants would give you an attitude or you're embarrassed to use one- don't be! We had just sat down, gave her our printout and 3 minutes later- 2 women came in with their printout in hand! The chef came out and talked with us. We had just told our waitress how much we enjoyed the food and how we would have never gone there without the gift certificate. He said he has had more business at night and lunch since he started using the program and how happy he had been with it. found us a great restaurant that will become part of our vacation traditions when we come to Destin.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Proof in the Pudding: How I did today

Here's my two shops today down at the beach and how well we did. Definitely on vacation mode and there's no reason to save money but my motto is "Why waste money at the grocery store or Walmart that is meant to be spent at the Premium Outlets??"

Breakdown- What came with me?
1. Publix lists were generated for both Atlanta and Florida on Wednesday night. Did Atlanta first so I could cross check the items I was interested in that I could bring with me since Georgia Publix doubles coupons up to .50 in Georgia and Florida doesn't double at all! (GASP!) Figured out what was on the Florida list not on Georgia and made sure I printed those items and got the coupons.
2. Thanks to our germ fest lovely fun filled strep week- I had 2 $25 Publix gift cards from our antibiotics. One was used to complete the Atlanta list on Friday and the other took care of our trip down here.
3. I also did the Winn Dixie list and found a great promotion. Buy 4 Kellogg Cereals- get a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs for free with their Customer Card. Had coupons to cover all 4 cereals. Went to Customer Service and asked if there was a courtesy card at each register. A courtesy card will let you take advantage of the savings of the card but not get a card for a place you are visiting and not bog down that store's customer loyalty base with "fake customers."
4. Had great coupons for buy 2 Coca Cola 2 liters, get one free. Mike found them on a tearpad in our Publix. Another reason to always have those "Shopper's Eyes" on whenever in a store.
Found another 2 liter coupon blinkie when using the Buy 2 Get 1 coupon. I'll explain that later but it worked and we rocked it on 6 liters of Coke products.
5. Armed with a $4 off $20 CVS coupon so I went to Publix Customer Service and found out that while they don't double in Florida- they did take this coupon.

Publix Trip: In Destin.
Atlanta rocked us 40 items, saved $45 and had almost $3 left on the $25 GC.
Note: This is not an all coupon trip like usual- this is what we need for the beach.
Smart Blend Wesson Oil $2.00
Kraft Horseradish $1.89
Yes I forgot this even though I blogged about it and we use it to spice up cocktail sauce
Pancake Mix $1.39
This is for a killer frying mix with sparkling water for shrimp- very light like Low Country meets Tempura
HotPockets- Madi wanted out of the blue $2.60
Large Classic Salad Mix $2.09
(2) Sargento Large Shredded Cheese $4.00 total
(2) Santtitas Tortilla Chips $4.00 total
Bisquick Cheese Biscuit Mix (girls love) $1.09
Bullfrog Sunscreen Spray for Mike's fishing trip $9.29
Publix Hot Dog buns $1.23
(3) Zephyrhills 3 Liter Waters $3.00 total
(6) Coca Cola 2 Liters $8.00 total before coupons (Next to nothing after)
(6) Publix Sodas $2.60 or so

After $11 in coupons (no doubling) the total came to $34.89. Between the 2 GCs from our StrepFest- out grand total was $8.20 OOP.

Winn Dixie
Bag of 10lb Ice
Bag of assorted cream cookies for girls to snack on this week
(8) Arm & Hammer Complete Care toothpaste full size
My fav and love the Peroxide and Baking Soda and final price was .35 each! Yes, I even stockpile at the beach!
(4) 12 oz or more boxes of Kellogg's Cereal. Going home for school what we don't use here.
Free Gallon of Milk from above purchase
Free dozen eggs from above purchase
(2) Armour Sizzle and Serve sausages for our fab breakfasts planned
Muscadines (2lbs)
Squash (2lbs)
Limes (2lbs)
Strawberries (2lbs)
(2) Crystal Lights 3 count
Roma Tomatoes (2lbs)

After coupons and promotions: $25.94 and I saved $53.42.
Had I just walked in a drug store alone and bought the Arm & Hammer toothpaste- I'd spend over that total.

So final for my staples for the week with splurges and SOME "wants" added to the vacay week- I spent $25 at home beforehand and $35 here. And that's including the toothpaste and cereal coming home that will last for a long time.

We can eat off the fishing trips, the seafood markets, stay out of Walmart and the stores for at least 3/4 of the week. If the weather cooperates- this time in Destin is awesome- calm beaches, fair temperatures and the family spent the late afternoon finding some of the most amazing shells that I haven't seen in Destin in 20 years. I didn't put a bathing suit on- just planned to watch the girls and I was soaked getting the shells Madi found with her net. We'll go out to eat where it's great and definitely spoil the family... I promise it is so much more fun when you spoil the masses on truly special things and not just that "needed" luxury that vacation means eating out. Vacation to me means hanging out, keeping things simple, eating well, loving life and appreciating a beach that has been such a part of Mike and I.

Destin beaches hold such a special connection for Mike and I. The decisions we have made together can be linked to sitting on these beaches and watching this gorgeous shore. Our lives ahead are going to hold even more special times here for our family this year and onward. Too many decisions from PGA Cards to Marriage to Fortune 5 companies to Family to Moving have been discussed here sitting in this white sand and we want our family to continue this tradition that has been working for the Mike and Traci Rogers Family in the last 18 years. All I know is when I take that "free" (any Destin person will laugh) bridge across the bay on 331- I breathe easier, I smile more and I feel like I am home.

We rocked it- we have a fun week planned, little money spent on petty stuff and it's going to be a great week! If you want help planning your vacay- let me know!!

Living Smart 101: Savay on Vacay!

Be sure to scroll down to my other post. It talks more about the pre-planning side of vacation and this is more about what we do to save once we get down to the beach. The next post will show exactly how we saved today when we arrived.

Headed to the beach today for Fall Break and it's funny how with a little planning, you can still save big on your groceries while away from your stores and your home. So many people think that the beach ritual includes checking into your condo or house, unload the car then head to the grocery store to see how many carts you can fill in record time. I watched family after family head up to the cashier, loaded to the hilt and I could just cringe. And then the biggest thought hit me- they are going to throw 1/2 if not more of that food out at the end of this week!!

It is vacation and you should have fun and we have plenty of fun things planned and don't think being in the "Luckiest Fishing Village in the World" that we won't be eating like kings. I just spent a little time, prepared a game plan and didn't break the bank on the staples and splurges we will need this week to survive and enjoy. I brought some with me, found ways to save on others and brought just enough for the week.

1. I pulled Coupon Mom's lists for the 2 stores in this area before I left, created my list and cut the coupons. Knew how the policies varied in Florida and had my coupons ready and organized.
2. I started paying attention to the lists from Coupon Mom the last 6-7 weeks looking at items not only for lowest price, items needed to add to my stockpile but also items that would be needed at the beach or we would enjoy at the beach. I got printer paper box and just kept adding until 2 full boxes came down with us, Side items, pickles, salad dressing, extra roll of paper towels, bottle of cleaner etc. Just enough to get us through the week and not have to purchase once we got here. Knowing we will be cooking a lot of seafood so a nice wild rice, some mac & cheese for the kids are items I already had so why buy more?
3. In reference to #2: "No crazy ideas like let's take 6 things of mac & cheese." I brought 2 which is reasonable and if we go through 2 boxes and we are out- that's fine. If they are begging for M&C at the end of the week- we'll head to the store and get another box. The goal of bringing food with you is to not take food home with you or the bare minimum. I don't condone throwing anything away unless it's unsafe to travel but minimal is better in this department.
4. Take 5 minutes the night before you leave and go through the frig. Clear a space and put condiments, pickles, dressings, creamers etc you would need at the beach in a group. Get up the next morning and throw in a cooler. If you have a 3/4 bottle of ketchup- why not bring it with you, use it instead of buying a new one a few hours later? This is also a good way to purge the frig and you often use condiments like horseradish more at the beach than at home. (we do)
5. Keep your shopping "eyes" open even at stores you aren't used to shopping at that aren't in your local area. Shopping at the Winn Dixie today- I found the manager specials and I didn't even realize I was looking. Saw a rack in the back by the backroom for produce and hit a gold mine. 2 dozens limes, 2lbs of squash, 2lbs of roma local tomatoes, 1lb of muscadines and 2 lbs of strawberries for just under $7.00.
6. We did get 2 gift certificates when they were 90% off. One is for Gravel Road which has been featured by Southern Living Magazine numerous times.
7. This area was very rainy last week so I pulled all of my resources and found activities to do before we left home if we aren't having fun in the sun. I had free bowling coupons from a Tony's Pizza deal and found a local alley that will accept them, I had free movie tickets from Pop Tarts so I did the same thing, and I researched the local malls and shops to find Family Nights and Activities during our stay. I have found a jam packed week of things to do at night including free Princess face painting, the Purina Dog Jumping Championships and free ice cream at Stone Cold Creamery on 9/24 for a $1.00 donation.
8. Final last tip- we checked the occupancy of our condo the week prior to ours. No one had rented it so Mike called yesterday to see if we could check in a couple of hours early- that would be around 2pm in our minds. Nope- try 10:30 am! That's a whole extra day in our eyes. We got up this morning and we were in the condo by noon CST. Had we added an extra day, it would have been $77 plus taxes and charges.

It may seem like a little work but when you are excited about a week at the beach, want to get there with a plan, not spend a fortune on staples and the basics, don't waste your time wandering the grocery store everyday... it's worth it in the end. I'll break it down in my next post and show how it really works!

Sorry for the quiet- time is just flying by!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Germs Invaded! What I like at Publix this week!

Dealing with strep but have to admit that I am impressed we've made since 8/3 and now dealing with our first DR visit and out of school. It actually worked out- 10 days of antibiotics for the girls will put us right on the day before we leave for Fall Break...hopefully will keep us well until then. It's going to be a long sick season once the weather turns cold if this is any indication.

I thought Publix looked great this week- here's what I put on my list from

All Small and Mighty 3X Laundry Detergent or All 2X Ultra Concentrate- BOGO
Sale Price: $2.50 Coupon: 8/2RP Final Price $1.50 or 70% off
Skintimate Shave Gel
Sale Price: $1.67 Coupon: 8/2S1 Final Price: $.67 or 71% off
Edge Shave Gel
Sale Price: $1.67 Coupon: 8/2S1 Final Price: .92 or 60% off
Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese (8 oz tub)
Sale Price: $1.00 Coupon: 8/9RP Must buy 2 Final Price: .50 or 66% off
Newmans Own Pasta Sauce- BOGO
Sale Price: $1.35 Coupon: 8/23RP Final Price: .35 or 87% off
Quaker Instant Oatmeal BOGO
Sale Price: $1.95 Coupon: 8/30RP Must buy 2 Final Price: $1.33 or 66% off
Green Giant Frozen Veggies
Sale Price: $1.00 Coupon: 9/13S1 Must buy 2 Final Price: .50 or 66% off

If I bought everything- I'd spend $8.09 and save 68%.