Open Mic 6/28/12

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Open Mic is a post every Thursday that is a mini-version of a discussion board. You can leave a comment with whatever coupon, money-saving or debt reduction tips or questions you have and other readers chime in and answer.

When you leave a comment on this post, you’ll be able to choose whether you’d like to be emailed follow-up comments or not. Getting comments via email is a great way to stay connected without having to visit the site a bazillion times (although I don’t mind if you come a bazillion times).

As always, I look forward to hearing the voice of the Pocket Your Dollars community. Read through the Open Mic archives here.

Your turn: Leave a comment with your money-saving, coupon or debt reduction question, thought or suggestion.

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About Carrie Rocha

I am passionate about helping people live within their means so they can get out and stay out of debt. I live in Minneapolis, MN with my husband and two little girls.

Comments

  1. Tonya Alling says:

    Some of the coupons I've ordered from a clipping service recently have "Reproduction, alteration, transfer or sale of this coupon or its contents is prohibited and is a criminal offense." Since the "sellers" clearly post "you are paying for my time to gather, clip and mail the coupons" and the coupons are free, is this a legal workaround or will they begin shutting down clipping services and/or ebay listings?

    • All coupons say they cannot be transferred, sold or reproduced and if they are they are void.

      The whole topic of "clipping services" is a very slippery slope in the world of couponing. Most chose to ignore what the coupons clearly say and "trust" the seller is correct in that you are paying for the clipping SERVICE, not the coupons themselves. In other aspects of the law, you cannot plead ignorance and say that you "didn't know" or were told something else, it just won't work. If someone gets in your car with a cup of soda from mc donald's, you get pulled over and the officer discovers there is alcohol in that cup, you are still responsible for having an open container of alcohol even though you did not know it was in there. This is obviously a VERY extreme example and relates NOTHING to coupons. But the fact of the matter is both situations involve breaking the law. In the case of coupons it's a matter of fraud. You can't plead ignorance when you break the law, that's the point.

      That being said, why are there soooo many clipping services out there and if it was so illegal why would they not be shut down? The simple answer is that unless the stores who accept coupons that are obtained coupons against the terms of the contract prosecute those who use them, no one has the authority to do anything about it. I can purchase all the coupons I want from someone, but until I go and use them (or try and use them), that's when I am committing a crime. And of course the stores are not going to have any way of determining if the coupons were obtained in a way not consistent with the policies of the coupon.

      The truth is, if there were no coupons involved, you would NOT be paying for the "service" to clip, sort and mail the coupons. And if that truly was the case, why are different coupons priced differently?

      No one has ever been put in jail for buying from a clipping service, and I am guessing there have been no legal repercussions from using a clipping service. The problem comes in store when someone has 200 of one coupon. And even then, the store just has to simply not accept the coupon and the problem is solved.

      Unfortunately the only thing clipping services are doing is lowering coupon values and shortening expiration dates — not good for anyone in the long run.

      • Melissa W. says:

        Thank you for this very polite reply! I happen to agree with you on this one, and choose not to use a clipping service.

  2. Where is the best place to order duplicate checks from? It takes my family a very long time to get through a box so we are not needing a big quantity. thanks

  3. Does anyone have a clearance meat section in the meat dept at cub anymore?

    • I have never seen that at a Cub (or any store) before.

    • Cub will have butcher items marked with a neon green TPR sticker indicating they are on clearance. They are butcher products that are about a day away from their packaged expiration date.

  4. I keep a crate of coupon inserts organized by date. How far back should I keep them before they should hit the recycling bin?

  5. I have a couple previous Open Mic dates written down where Disney World was discussed but I have a main question to ask. I have heard character dining is worth the expense. We are going in October over MEA (for 5 nights–thanks mom!!). Is it best to start the day with the dining or end the day? I worry about ending the day with dining because we may all be exhausted by the reservation but some breakfast options will have us getting to the park after it opens (as they suggest reserving your spot 180 days before you travel many time slots are already booked). And of course I will take any other info regarding DW that you want to provide :)

    • Melissa W. says:

      Character dining is totally worth it. We have alway enjoyed doing breakfast, as a way to get the kids excited about the day in the park. If you choose to do dinner, maybe make it an early day at the park, and head in and let the kids nap. That way you can all be alert for dinner, and maybe even still get out to the park for awhile afterwards for the fireworks. I know that your kids will love the experience!

    • We went to Disney and stayed onsite with the meal program. We did do some character dining experiences, and the kids do enjoy the experience. My family has food allergies so breakfast was never a consideration for us, we always did lunch or dinner options, and just had a snack option for our breakfast. I would say it really depends if your family is a breakfast type family. We would just eat a piece of fruit in the morning, and had a box of cereal available in our room that we packed from home. The lunch and dinner options offer lots of food so you can eat an earlier lunch and easily be fine until later in the day for dinner.

      Your kids ages may also play a role in when you want to eat and if you think you will be able to do full days at the park each day. I must say later in the day reservations sometimes are off a little bit of schedule, but really never more than 20-30 minutes. Often, you can still get reservations onsite when you check it at your resort too if staying onsite. There was a few reservations we changed because we decided we wanted to spend more time at Magic Kingdom versus Animal Kingdom. All the restaurants we ate at accomodated our food allergies wonderfully and I just wish all restaurants understood food allergies as well as they do. We had a great experience, hope you have the same with your choices. Good luck.

  6. Christine says:

    My hubby and I bought a patio set last summer and the table has started to bend and the paint is already comming off. We purchased a nice set from Menards. We are trying to look into getting in replaced under warranty since it is less than a year old. Anyone have an idea of how to contact Menards regarding this issue? They own the company that made the patio set. It is one of their Backyard Creations glass tables. We tried looking for a website site for Backyard Creations. Anyone have any issues like this? TIA

    • I'd call the store manager at the location where you bought. I had a problem with a countertop I got from Menards earlier this year and the store manager helped me navigate to the vendor's customer service to get a resolution.

  7. Does anyone know of a good (but fairly inexpensive) wedding photographer that would be willing to go to Saint Cloud? My cousin is getting married next summer and the photographer I had at my wedding uped her prices $1400!!! TIA!

    • Elizabeth says:

      We were pretty happy with using one from thepros.com; it was right around $900.

      • Darcie Braaten Photography…She's from Litchfield which isn't far from St. Cloud. She does a fabulous job is professional and is a great person. I went to high school with her and just recently had her do family pictures. (612) 210-9467 or 320-593-1032 darciebraaten@hotmail.com

    • My husband and I got married 6 years ago in St Cloud and used ZSharp Photography from Maple Grove. We decided to purchase all of our photos on CD with a copyright release so we could print what we wanted and the package we bought did come with a wedding album also. We were extremely happy with him and thought his prices were middle of the road. Here is the information:

      Greg Zillgitt

      Voice: 612-414-1113

      E-mail: photos@zsharpphotography.com

  8. I have noticed that coupon.com switched the format on coupons. Although it is much faster to get through all of them now I can't seem to find a way to go quickly to the last page since after you print a coupon and want to go back and print a second one of it they move the coupon to the back page….even if I select the category it is suppose to be in it won't put it in there, it still moves it to the back page and as far as I have been able to figure out I have to click through all the pages to get it. Any ideas? Maybe I am missing something in how to navigate it.

    Also I noticed this morning that they added a new Ball Park $1.00 off two coupon and a 50 cents off two Soft Soap coupon….both these are staples for me so I quickly printed mine.

    • Melissa W. says:

      I've noticed the same thing, and would love to hear if anyone has any tips. I guess they just want to make sure you are flipping through all of the pages so that you see all the advertisments.

      • I also find the format somewhat laboring. I liked the old format where you could just click on pages.

  9. I'm inspired by DIY crafty websites to start remodeling our home furniture/accessories-wise. Where do people have the best luck in finding pieces to touch up (spray paint, reupholster, etc.)? Goodwill, Salvation Army, estate sales? Any tips for shopping or DIY-ing? I'm on a budget and new to this. Thanks!

    • It truly is hit or miss. I keep an eye out at garage sales and Goodwill (and other thrift stores). I've actually bought pieces that people have "refurbished" and then did them all over again myself – haha! Usually prices aren't too bad on those kinds of things as well.

      Overall, I'd say check all over and check often!

  10. Where can one rent a chainsaw? And where is the best place to rent one? We don't know anyone that has a chainsaw. Due to lack of yard maintenance, we've got several " baby trees" growing in the yard. We need to take care of them before they take over the yard.

    • Ace Hardware stores, Home Depot and Lowe's all have equipment rental. We just rented some things from Home Depot and were able to choose half day or full day rental options.

    • Depending on your location, Highway 55 Rental (out in Hamel MN), has a ton of tools. We rented a wood chipper from them and plan to rent a sod cutter here in the fall.

  11. Allison says:

    Now that the Supreme Court upheld Health Reform. Does anyone have tips on getting affordable health coverage? I am 27 and healthy, but my employer does not offer health coverage. I am looking for individual coverage. No family, no spouse and no children.

    • Michelle from Maple says:

      We have known Don Hoffer for years. He is very trustworthy and honest. You can even get a ballpark estimate with his online calculator before calling. He would be a great resource for you. Good Luck and take it from someone who learned the hard way…don't go without health insurance.

    • Michelle from Maple says:

      Sorry, here is the link:
      http://donhofferinsurance.com/

    • Allison – I wrote a blog post about how my family searched for and found our own health insurance at a blog where I am a contributing writer. Here's a link to my post: http://itsawahmthing.com/finances/how-to-compare-

    • If your income is less than $2328 monthly (gross) and you live in Minnesota, look into MinnesotaCare.

      • If you are interested in more information about Minnesota Care, or what other health care programs might be available to you, i'd suggest calling Portico Healthnet. They are a local non-profit that helps uninsured Minnesotans apply for or locate insurance options.

        Their number is 651-603-5100.

    • My husband and son have a personal policy through Health Partners. There are many types of policies you can choose from (i.e. high deductible, low deductible, etc). If you are healthly, you could consider a high deductble plan to lower your monthly premium. Most high deductible plans will still cover preventative care at 100% without meeting your deductible but be sure to research the coverage prior to purchasing. You can do everything online without having to meet with an agent or talk to a person, if that is of interest to you. Or if you have questions about the plans offered, you can call and talk to someone on the phone. Good luck and do your research to find what is suitable for you.

  12. Carol M says:

    I am planning on going to the MN State Fair this year, is there any coupons for admission that come out?

    • Christine says:

      Cub foods sells discount tickets that you can use any day of the fair. They are $9 as opposed to $12. This is where I always get my tickets. I believe they are available the beginning of August. Be sure to buy the coupon book as well. There are a ton of steals and deals in there. I usually share my book with a friend. You can also check their website http://www.mnstatefair.org. They do discount days, such as senior day and military appreciation day that offer discounted tickets as well.

  13. kris t. says:

    Carrie – I saw the little blurb about you and your husband in a magazine..I think it was Ladies' Home Journal?

    Congrats! :)

  14. I know I should be posting this on the Rainbow list, but there are so many posts I thought I'd post it here. If you are playing the Monopoly game now or in the past, has anyone ever won anything? I recently moved to Forest Lake and the Rainbow is only a few blocks from my home so I'm there all the time. Also on the fuel perks, do they figure your fuel perks on the amount BEFORE coupons?

    • I've never won anything. Once in a blue moon, I might get a lucky coupon for a free product. As for the fuel perks reward, I'm guessing it's after??

  15. I have a question about Facebook coupons. I got on Facebook so I could get some of the great coupons and free sample offers.

    I see that some of the companies making these offers require and app that gets my personal information including picture, name, user id and list of friends etc. Are these apps safe? I am worried about privacy and certainly don't think they need all of that to give me a free sample. I have not used them so far and wonder what others in couponing land are doing.

    Sheila

    • Unless it's a really great coupon that I know I'll use and can't pass up, I don't allow apps on Facebook for those sorts of things. Most of the companies just require you to "like" their page to get the coupon. I "like" the page, print the coupon, and "unlike" it afterwards.

  16. On my most recent recete from Rainbow Foods, it states "dollar amount towards next feul perk is $15.21." Does this mean I'll save a total of $15.21 the next time I fill my car with 20 gallons of gas? Does the dollar amount towards my gas ever expire? Thank you.

    • That just means you have to spend an additional $15.21 at Rainbow to receive another fuel perk when you gas up.

    • It means you have $15.21 towards your next $.05 increment of savings, meaning if you spend another $34. 79, you'll have 5cents more off per gallon.

      • On my rainbow Foods receipt, where does it indicate how much I have earned with regards to how much off per gallon of gas I've earned? Thank you.

  17. I am so pumped! For the first time ever I get a chance this weekend to shop at an Aldi~ Can any of you seasoned shoppers at Aldi give me some quick pointers…the do's and don'ts of shopping there. And the must buys too; as it seems I have read on here that Aldi has the lowest prices on certain items but since I never shop there I don't remember what those items are. I would love to stock up on those cheap items everyone is always talking about. I am going to look over the latest list on here too but it is always nice to have a regular shoppers inside scoop on the store too.

    TIA

    • Take a quarter for the coin release in the locked shopping carts, remember to take your own bags, and they take only cash or debit card payment, no checks or credit cards. The checkouts are usually very quick. Hopefully you can choose a time to go when it's not busy so you can take the time to check everything out. My store is not all that big, so it doesn't take long once you know where everything is. It can be hit or miss for availability, especially meat specials, and the produce can be hit or miss. I try avoiding going late in the day, especially on weekends.

      I mainly buy produce there (whatever I need and also whatever looks best, if it isn't first rate I pass) eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese and some dry and canned goods. It depends on what I need and what's on sale elsewhere and if I have time/energy to do a coupon shop. Some items I've tried my family likes and others not so it takes a bit of trial and error to find out what you like. I like their hummus and love the animal crackers as an occasional treat!

      I wish they carried more items like brown rice and other whole grains, tofu, more ethnic foods and more meat and dairy alternatives- they do sell almond and soy milk, but that is usually cheaper on sale elsewhere with a Q.

      I can usually get in and out quickly, and like that I stay relatively calm and satisfied with my shopping experience (unlike doing a big coupon shop on DDD days, lol). Good luck!

      • ella~

        Thanks for the tips….so you mentioned somethings your family likes and some they don't…do you care to tell me which items are tried and true? I know to watch out for the produce I remember that part….but like you mentioned liking the animal crackers….any other things that are a family favorite? Also so is all the brands in there some sort of a generic brand or do they carry name brands in there too?

        • I also buy canned beans, refried beans, corn and tortilla chips, salsa, dry cereal occasionally, oatmeal (1.99) and other baking ingredients like sugar, flour, chocolate chips. I haven't tried the instant mac and cheese but others here have said they like it. I've liked the bagged spinach too. I have bought their ground turkey when it's on sale, but have not tried their other meats. Their ready made ready to cook pizzas look good and are reasonably priced but I haven't tried them. I am a mustard lover and I like their brand choices. I tried the square crackers with seeds and didn't care for those. I have not bought anything frozen except fruit, and thought the frozen blueberries were unpleasantly seedy. I tend to buy basics and cook mostly from scratch, so am not interested so much in the mixes or quick fix items, and I shop at Aldi more as an adjunct to my other shopping, rather than fulfilling my entire shopping needs there.

          I bought a nice Phalenopsis orchid last week for $10, and it will serve as a nice decoration for weeks or longer.

          I believe that Aldi uses it's own brand names and sourcing, and they are based out of Germany I think (?), and choices are limited. I have not seen US based name brands there. I sometimes find interesting ingredients to try- like spaetzle noodles, fine chocolates, cookies, and other specialty items. Those seem to be offered especially around major holidays like Easter and Christmas. As far as non-food items, I have to remind myself I am there to SAVE money on groceries, not SPEND it on non edibles!

      • I like most sof Aldi's products. I esp. like their canned "tropical fruit". It's a fruit cocktail type but much better than the old fruit cocktail of my younger days. I like their canned tomatoes, cereal, most of their meat, dairy. Lots to like there!

    • kris t. says:

      What Ella said, plus:

      If you see an item that you're interested in (I'm talking non-food) and it's a really great deal but you're on the fence, buy it!! Usually once those items are gone, they're gone. I've had regrets. :)

      Also expect prices to vary a bit from Carrie's price list. Usually prices are a dime or two more expensive. Occasionally lower though.

      Bring your own shopping bags and bring more bags then you think you will need.

  18. Has anyone ever used Mainstreet Furniture and Consignment to sell anything? When my parents moved out of their house many years ago, we used a consignment store in St Paul that was terrible. I'm looking for another place to try now that I want to sell a few things, including a large mirrored buffet.

  19. On my most recent receipt from Rainbow Foods, it states that "dollar amount towards your next fuel perk is $15.21." Does that mean I Will save $15.21 the next time I fill my car with 20 gallons of gas? Do these fuel perks ever expire? Thank you. Sorr if this posted in listed twice.

  20. I've also purchased frozen juice concentrate from Aldi and it's good–orange juice, etc. I used to work in the evenings across the street from 1 and I'd usually run over quick on break to get some chocolate for a snack for myself and co-workers. We love their chocolate. They have the best choices right inside the door on the right–it's German chocolate and very good. They have packages of chocolate that look like oversized candy bars but are little squares-milk, dark or with hazelnuts I think.

  21. See notes above. Yes, fuel perks expire and the receipt should tell what amount expires and when.

  22. Melissa W. says:

    My family really likes all of Aldi's dairy products, sour cream, cottage cheese, sliced cheese etc. Their pasta, pancake mix, cereal, and other dry goods are great. I agree that the animal crackers are wonderful and my kids love them as a treat. We just tried the take and bake pizzas and were pleasantly suprised by how tasty they were. Reminded us quite a bit of Papa Murphy's.

  23. I have seen that at Cub. Target also puts coupons on meat that expires soon.

  24. We did book today–a Cinderella dinner at a resort on a day we plan to hang at the hotel or visit Sea World. We are hoping to keep this all a secret until the day we leave–wake her up on a school day and surprise!!!!

    • Sounds like fun! There's a Youtube video where they give the daughter an early birthday present in the morning: a Disney backpack filled with snacks, a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, a Disney book, etc. They ask her if they should go somewhere with all that stuff, and if so, where. She responds "DIsneyland!" The mom replies, "Okay. Let's go." The little girl pretty much spazzes out and starts crying :) Just an idea of a way to surprise her.

      • That would be fun, too–thanks for the idea. I do plan to buy a princess dress and some other souvenirs before we leave (to cut down on costs)–we could give a few that morning along with keep her busy on the plane things.

    • JoAnna – That is SO cool! What a fun memory that will be for her. :)

  25. I have won $5 cash, a few $1 cash and a few free products – Nothing to retire with

  26. I won a $100 rainbow gift card shortly after the game started, and it was all from the Forest lake store. I still have about $40 left on the gift card and I've probably done about 10 transactions… :)

    • I think I won a grand total of $3 last time. That works out to be about five cents an hour for the time it takes to go through all those little stubs.

      I think the fuel perks is figured before manufacturers coupons are deducted. In other words, for that purpose coupons are treated like money.

  27. Bottom of the receipt gives your total cents off. They expire every couple of months….also indicated on the bottom of your receipt

  28. My friend got married last year and used this company. They are reasonable and they best part is they have two photographers that attend each function so u get shots that a single photographer would miss. Oh, and they live in or near St. Cloud.

  29. Melissa says:

    My cousin is a great photographer who lives in St. Cloud. Check out her website and contact her for some price info. http://www.jenthompsonphoto.com/ Good luck and congrats!

  30. Melissa says:

    Was just at Aldi's today. Some of our tried and trues are,

    Pita Chips

    Hummus

    Frozen popcorn shrimp

    Saltine Crackers

    Peanut Butter Crackers

    Flour Tortillas

    Cans of Mandarin oranges

    Tortilla chips

    They also have a guarantee if you don't like it, they will refund you, so I say go for it.

  31. Their produce is hit or miss, Example: one week the strawberries will be amazing, next week horrible :(. They also sometimes run out of a certain vegetable or fruit The prices for produce though can't be beat.

  32. I want / need root touch up. The colorsilk deal at Rainbow looks like a great deal, but at Bloomington Rainbow there is no root erase. Does anyone in south metro know if their Rainbow carries it? Thanks!

  33. Allison — Like you, I found myself in need of individual insurance almost 30 years ago and I signed up with Health Partners. The first several years, I just did preventative care. Then came some surgeries and other health issues. I am so glad to have chosen this group. I have been seeing the same GP for about 15 years and have had extraordinary care from various specialists. And I have been able to stay with the same doctors through individual coverage, Minnesota Care and now Medicare. And it's not just the doctors but all the health professionals that they employ. They really do look out for the patient. The only thing I have ever had to complain about is the really lousy food at Regions, but that's another thing for another day!

  34. Aldi does carry some name brands but not many. I see Pringles there a lot but they are not a deal. We like some of the produce but have seen mold on some as well. Best to go when they get their shipments (you can call to see when)

    We also like their Animal Crackers, Restaurant Style Tortillas (great), corn chips (taste very close to Fritos). My Aldi gets their milk from Deans and it is very good. Eggs are also a good bet and are bigger than my grocery store eggs.

    We didn't like their chocolates, bagels, or potato chips (greasy odd taste).

    Enjoy your trip.

    Sheila

  35. I love their Hummus! It's really creamy and not too garlicy plus it's about $2 cheaper than Cub! The Pita chips go great with it, just wish they actually sold Pita bread!

    • A few other Aldi favorites: their "fit&active" microwave popcorn, graham crackers, cereal (holy cow does this save us money when I can't Q) canned tomato products, tortillas (they're finally carrying a burrito size!), crystal light like drinks in the sticks (more fit&active brand), butter, pancake syrup, instant oatmeal, their greek yogurt isn't bad, sour cream and cottage cheese, block and shredded cheese if you don't have Qs, onions and potatoes (almost always a safe bet), bread, beef hot dogs and turkey dogs, frozen apple juice, and my kids love the little frozen breakfast sausages – they are always 99cents at Aldi.

  36. free products. I opened 4 freebies in a row last time I got tickets. A free pizza, free Kraft dressing, free bottle of coke and free Kemps dip or sour cream. Also won free Reeses pb cup and Vienna Sausages (yuck). Hoping to win the house next–haha

    Sheila

  37. Amy – I recently ordered some from Walmart and they were pretty reasonably priced.

  38. Cris – Our wedding photographer was *awesome* and I recommend him every chance I can get. He traveled to Mankato and Eau Claire for weddings so St. Cloud wouldn't be much of a problem for him, I'm sure: http://www.rehproductions.com/

    • Wow, thanks for all the responses! I knew I could count on the PYDers to have great recommendations! I sent them on to my cousin so hopefully she can pick one that works for her. :)

  39. Shannon B. says:

    I have tried Aldis french toast sticks, waffles, coffee, sliced cheese, pancake syrup, chili beans, kidney beans, beef-vegetable soup (excellent), tortilla chips, french fries and turkey burgers and found them all to be an excellent value. I have two autistic children who are very picky any it is good enough for their palate. The prices of these items are consistently lower than my other stores. Sometimes I could find them cheaper with coupons at other stores, but the savings at other stores is not significant enough to warrant the stress that can come with couponing.

    I did not like the spaghettio's that we tried too much sauce and not enough noodles. I tried frozen chicken drumsticks from their cooler and didn't care for them, I think they came from old hens. Some of their meat left something to be desired in my mind.

  40. Cub in Mtka (101 & 7) has one.

  41. Great Pop Deal Alert!!

    Was at Cub in Minnetonka (101 & 7) yesterday and their Coke products were $3.88 for a case (24pk), must buy 2. No coupon needed. Then I looked over at the 12pks of Coke products and they were $4.99. Hum…$3.88 for 24 cans or $4.99 for 12 cans. Take your pick I guess. Sale in good through 6/30. That would be about 16 cents a can.

  42. We recently bought, for the first time, their Fit & Active chicken noodle soup (my kids had the flu). It was really good. Not too salty and is better than Healthy Choice or any of the name brand soups I've tried in recent years.

  43. Personally, I hate apps and will rarely allow one just to get a coupon (yes, gasp, it's true). I also have my personal info – in the security settings – locked down tight because the default options allow your info to be passed along when one of your friends' allows certain apps (scary, huh?). If I do allow an app for some reason, then I get the coupon and go right back in and delete the app so it can't track me over time.

  44. Thanks much. I'm new to FB and didn't realize I could delete apps right away. I still think I will pass on those types of coupons for now.

  45. Anybody finding coupons in the south metro in the Saturday Startrib the last couple weeks. I've checked several stores but the Saturday paper doesn't have any.

    • Greg — I've had the same problem in St.Paul and I shop from Roseville to Eagan. It's probably been a couple of months since I've been able to find any coupon in the Saturday Strib.

  46. Brookly Park Cub does sometimes. They had chicken breasts 99 cents a pound today.

  47. JoAnna, we're also going to DW over MEA! That is sooooo exciting that you'll be surprising your daughter with the trip. I'm not so strong, we've been talking about it for months already! :D

    • I agree, Renee–it is so exciting!! You should checkout the Disney store online right now. They have 25% off clearance prices. I bought a few souvenirs to take with us to help save on money when there (though I know we will still purchase some there too). I have had suggestions to check ebay for souvenirs, too (we still want to find a princess dress for our daughter to wear to the character dinner we booked). Where are you staying?

  48. I also do not use clipping services for my own personal reasons that have nothing to do with the legality of it. I do have an opinion, however. It is a lie that they are charging merely for the work they are doing. It doesn't take any more time, money or resources for them to clip the higher value coupons than the lower value and yet the cost per coupon is based on the coupons value. Hmm. Just because the clipping services are still in business does not necessarily mean that they are operating legally. It just means that no one has been willing or able to shut them down yet. I think it is just a matter of time. Does anyone remember Limewire? They were in operation for quite some time before they were court ordered to shut down.

  49. I found a very simple way to keep track of when to throw them out. Each week I go through each insert and find the last expiration date. Then I write the date of the Sunday that I received the insert on the front of it with a sharpie. Under that I write the date that the last coupon expires. At the end of each month I throw out all of the inserts whose last coupon expired 30 days ago or more (since Cub takes them 1 month expired).

  50. The3 fuel perks are figured before coupons.

  51. Most of Aldi's products are great. I do want to caution you about the fresh produce. I have had bad experiences with certain items. I inspect my produce very thoroughly before committing to buying. Both of the only 2 watermelons that I bought there were beautiful on the outside, but completely rotted on the inside. I used to often get home to find a very rotted potato in the middle of the bag. I now hold the bag up to my nose and sniff it out before committing. Their grapes always come in 2 lb. containers. The only time I bought them I found a fat live spider in the container. EEEWWW! I only buy them in the bags that I can thoroughly inspect before purchasing. I still buy produce there because most of it is fine, I just find I have to insect it more thoroughly than other stores. You can't beat their produce prices – usually.

  52. I noticed no coupons in the paper this weekend did I miss them? On the Sunday coupon preview website it said ther were P/G coupons?

    • I had a P&G in my home delivered Star Trib but did not find one in the early Sunday I bought on Saturday.

      • I had the same problem Jenny, I went to the gas station and bought my usual four Sunday papers, not Saturday, and not one P&G insert in any of them. I noticed that there was supposed to be an insert on the Sunday coupon preview too, I am stumped! Anyone know how to obtain these coupons?

        • It depends on how the advertisers buy their inserts. With it being before a holiday, the Sunday papers were pretty light. I know the home delivered papers were to have the P&G, but that doesn't mean the advertisers had to also "buy into" the Saturday or single copy (retail) papers.

          Beats me!

  53. You are such a fun mom, JoAnna!!!

  54. Thanks Annie–how sweet of you! My hubby is just as excited and all of our family and friends have been sworn to secrecy, Hope we can pull this off!!

  55. Does anyone know where to get a free TV guide? I have seen them in the paper, but the 2 papers I checked on Sunday didn't have one.

  56. Carol M says:

    Does anyone know how long you can use unopened ketchup past the expiration date??

    • I haven't had that issue with ketchup yet, but I have used salad dressing 6 months past it's expiration unopened and then let it sit in my frig opened for a couple of months and then used it again and it was fine. Since ketchup isn't dairy based, you could probably use it past that time frame. Those "non-perishables" are packed full of preservatives thus the label "non-perishable".

  57. Check out couponingtodisney.com for some great tips for saving at Disney. It's great. Have a wonderful time!

  58. I usually print my coupons.com coupons through swagbucks.com. It still uses the old format.

  59. Rebekah says:

    Anyone know how to redeem the fuel perks without the card? Or, is it possible to get a replacement card? Somehow lost my keys a while ago that had the little key fob card.

  60. for some reason, I am unable to get to the next page of newer comments. But I wanted to reply to Rebekah who lost her fuel perks card. Just go tot he service desk at the store and they will issue you a new card. The accumulated perks are supposed to transfer to that new card.

  61. NN – That's a great idea! :)

  62. Rebekah – You can get a replacement card at Rainbow's customer service desk (or Copps/Pick 'n Save). I believe they'll transfer your earnings to the card at that time or give you a number to call to transfer your earnings yourself.

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