(Mostly) Free Glasses

Rochelle's new glasses!

Barely one week ago I saw a deal floating around for free glasses from Coastal Contacts. A lot of the coupon blogs I read were calling it “hot” and all that, but I basically dismissed it. My friend Ivy saw the deal too and went for it. She told me about it right after she ordered and it suddenly seemed like the best idea ever (THANKS IVY!). So I did a little digging, got my prescription, etc., found a pair I liked and went for it! I did some upgrading on the lenses, and walked away with new glasses that cost me $40 (including shipping).

All week long I worried that they would show up and look terrible on me, wouldn’t fit, or that I entered my prescription wrong.

A couple of days ago they sent me a message. I was nervous that they were canceling my order, but instead they just wrote to tell me that they were upgrading my shipping, on the house. Beautiful!

So tonight I got my new glasses on my doorstep. I ripped into the package and put them on to check them out. Everything about them is perfect. Prescription, size, weight, style. Just unbelievable.

I highly recommend that you check out Coastal Contacts and “Like” them on Facebook. Apparently this deal comes around every now again, and if you know someone in need, let them know when you see the deal. Good eyesight is invaluable.

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Nutella & Banana French Toast

This weekend, Marissa and I were able to spend some awesome sister time together and our goal was to have really good yummy food. One of the things that she wanted to have was Nutella and Banana French Toast. She saw a picture of it somewhere couldn’t get it out of her mind.

The taste of warm bananas reminds us both of our childhoods when our parents would seek out Bananas Foster. This delicious flambéed dessert originates from Brennan’s restaurant in New Orleans, which out parents have frequented many times over the years. You can now find it at other fine dining establishments, and if you see it on the menu, get it. It is divine.

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To make Nutella and Banana French Toast, we decided that it would work best as a sandwhich, and we were right. If you want, you can add syrup to it as well and eat it with a fork and knife, which is what one of our taste testers did.

Nutella & Banana French Toast

Makes 4 servings

4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla
8 thick slices of 2-day-old bread, better if slightly stale. Try Challah, which is excellent for French Toast.
1 small jar of Nutella
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
Butter

1. In a large shallow bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla.
2. On dry bread, spread a layer of Nutella on each slice.
3. On four of the slices, place aroud six sliced bananas on top of the Nutella, and then top with the second slice of bread that only has Nutella.
4. Take the entire sandwich and dip into the egg mixture, allowing the bread to soak up the mixture on each side.
5. Melt some butter over a large skillet on medium high heat. Add as many sandwiches will fit at a time. Fry until brown on both sides, flipping the sandwich when necessary, about two to three minutes on each side.

And that’s it! Chances are you will only need to eat one of these, they are incredibly filling and delicious.

Reasonable Coupon Clipping

Did you catch TLC’s show “Extreme Couponing“? I did and I was kind of blown away and frightened at the same time. I had mixed feelings to say the least. Part of me felt stupid for not looking for coupons on products that I buy regularly, and not stocking up when I see a good deal. I suppose, a part of me has dismissed that way of shopping because I don’t like the clutter. I’ve always lived in relatively small spaces before and so traditionally I would argue that I didn’t have the room. That’s not exactly the case today. While my townhouse is a bit small, there’s lots of space that I don’t utilize well.

In a nutshell, what these people do is wait for a really good sale and then if possible stack coupons to end up getting their products at an extremely low price. Then they stock up on those products.

Extreme anything is not good, for obvious reasons, but what about reasonable coupon clipping? I decided to give it a try this past week and see how it went.

The first thing I noticed is that it takes a long time and a little bit of getting used to. On Saturday, most of my day was devoted to finding/printing coupons of products I use and comparing it to weekly ads and then planning a list. This was rather hard to wrangle, but I succeeded and I ended up saving $85 on $253, for a grand total of $168. I came home with lots of things that I eat and use and nothing that would be wasted. Most experienced couponers would scoff at the price, but I consider it a success!

The next day I got two Sunday newspapers and went through looking at weekly ads and clipping coupons. This took a rather long time and made a pretty big mess. So much of it is planning and looking at weekly ads and fishing for in-store coupons as well. I now have a pretty good game plan for three more trips this week (Safeway, Target, and Walgreens). After this trip, I should be pretty well stocked. For example, I’ll be coming home with six sticks of Secret deodorant for roughly $10. That should last me at least six more months, probably 10. There are plenty of extreme couponers that never pay for deodorant, but I’m not that extreme and I’m brand and kind loyal. I’m also going to be getting six packs of Reach floss for free (there’s a $1 off Reach floss and they are now on sale at Target and Walmart for .97). Also, because of a promotion at Safeway (not even coupons), I’m going to get five Lunchable fun packs (which I love to eat, because I’m like a child) for $.50 each.

I love a reasonable bargain.

So overall, I’m kind of liking this. I can see how it can get out of hand, but thankfully I don’t have enough time for that. I do believe, however, that it’s probably pretty ridiculous to pay full price for something that you use all the time when there are so many deals.

So are you interested in starting a little coupon clipping? Here’s what I found to get you started.

1. Check out these websites to get an idea of the deals. Most of the time, they do the work for you.

2. See if your grocery store has in-store coupons.

  • Safeway is awesome. They let you add coupons to your Safeway loyalty card. It’s all automatic and you don’t have to print anything out. Love this! It’s very easy to do.
  • Target offers a lot of coupons that you can print out. The great thing about their coupons is that you can stack the in-store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon. For example, I have a Target in-store coupon for $1 off GE lighbulbs and a $1 off manufacturer coupon. That’s $2 off.

3. Look at the weekly ads for the stores you shop at.

  • This may seem like a no-brainer, but I don’t do it terribly often. I was always a “let’s hope something like what I want is marked down” kind of gal. Looking at the weekly ads can jump start a plan and a good list. Combine that ad with coupons found on Coupons.com, SmartSource, or in-store coupons and you’re going to save quite a bit.
  • You can see all the weekly ads online at the merchant’s website. Don’t worry about finding it in the mail or picking it up in the store. Just look for the Weekly Ad button on the website.
  • Compare across stores. I probably have the biggest issue with this fact. Going to multiple stores sounds hard and unnecessary, and in most cases I’d much rather pay the difference for the convenience of only going to one store. However, since I’ve made such a careful plan and list, each trip should be short and to the point and worth what I walk away with. I’m going to try this out and see what happens. My suggestion is to focus on two stores and compare prices. That seems reasonable.
  • Check out the websites I listed above (like KCL), they take all the information out of the weekly ads at Target, Safeway, and Walgreens and list which coupons you can use on the deal. That makes it super easy!

4. You can do almost everything online.

  • If you’re just looking to get started, know that you can do almost everything online. You can look at the weekly ads online at your grocer’s website or at coupon websites like KCL. You can print coupons from online places. You probably don’t need to go out of your way to get a Sunday paper. I found that at least three quarters of the coupons I have, I was able to print from online places like Coupons.comSmartSource, or in-store sites. You may want to pick up a Sunday newspaper on particular days for the Proctor & Gamble insert. Those aren’t weekly, and you can learn on P&G’s website when it will be in your newspaper. For example, the next one is scheduled for 1/16. If you use a lot of P&G products, and chances are that you do, that might be a good week to pick it up.

Here’s how to get free floss!

  • Target and Walmart have Reach floss on sale for $0.97 cents.
  • Use $1 off Reach floss found on Coupons.com
  • Since the coupon is worth more than the price, they will have to adjust it, which is in their coupon policy and they will do.
Day 8 - Not Incredibly Extreme Couponing

I featured my coupons in my Project 365.