Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How I Coupon

Most printable coupons can be printed twice per computer. Unless they are in pdf format, then you can print them as many times as you want. If you have more than one computer in the house you can use the other computer to print more. I use our computer and then hook my Aunts laptop up to our printer so I can always get four printable coupons.

For some reason our local Target only accepts color printed coupons. All the coupoing websites I have read have noted that their local Targets accept the black and whites... but ours is lame. I even printed out a copy of Targets coupon policy that the Corporate office emailed me... but they still only accept color. All the other stores in town accept the black and whites.

Sometimes printable coupons have a hard time scanning at registers, and depending on the register clerk -- you might not be allowed to use that coupon. "It has to be able to scan", they will say. I have found that younger male cashiers are more lenient, and will just manually type in the bar code (I cashier profile... it is bad I know!) Walmart is the worst for being rude to people that use coupons... even if I just use one coupon! What most cashiers don't know is that the coupon manufacture pays the store face value for the coupon plus an additional 8cents. And it isn't like I am getting 60 mustard bottles for free like that lady on the extreme couponing show... I just want $3 off a box of Huggies! ANYWAYS...

*I use Krazy Couponing Lady's blog to learn about good deals. She was mentioned on the Extreme Couponing show on TLC.


She matches store ads to coupons that have been in the Sunday paper circulars, or in recent magazines, or that are available to print online. She will link the website where a coupon will be available to print and such.

*Red Plum is a Sunday Paper coupon circular, they will put many of the coupons that are in the paper, online so you can print them also.


*Smart Source is another Sunday Paper coupon circular that puts their coupons online to print. It is helpful to try inputting different zip codes to see if different coupons show up. I find that if I use a Redding zip code, the coupons listed are limited. But if I use a Arizona or LA zip code, I get more coupons available.


*Not all circulars have printables online, like the P&G doesn't do online printable... THEY DO, however, put out seasonal packages, you can sign up to receive it. It will have some samples and some coupons. Every few months the package changes and you can re-sign up for different coupons. They send them to you in the mail. A few months ago I was able to sign up for a coupon booklet that had coupons for every month of the year... like over $400 worth of coupons for products like Pampers, Luvs, Herbal Essences, Iams...


*I use swagbucks printable coupons. It is the SAME coupons as coupons.com, but you get 10 swagbucks per coupon used at a register. Just use 45 of their coupons and you can purchase a $5.00 Amazon.com gift card. You can read all about Swagbucks and Amazon gift cards here... and check it weekly for new coupons. It has various coupons... some are cool, and some are pointless. The coupons listed are good for about a month, but disappear within a week or so. This is another place to use various zip codes to find more coupons.

*Target is my favorite store! The coupons are at the bottom of Target.com, you can only print them twice... unless you have access to another computer. Not all the coupons on Target.com are store coupons. Some they have listed are manufacturers coupons... there is no way to tell if they are a mani coupon or store coupon till they have printed. It is annoying! AND, because or local Target is smaller than more cities, we don't have all the coupon products in our store. Target allows "stacking" meaning you can use a Target coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon per item.

I can purchase four Degree deodorants and use four Target coupons and four Manufacturers coupons.

I could have a Target coupon that says "buy one Dove deodorant get $1.00 off dove bar soap ", and I could stack it with a Dove deodorant manufacturers coupon AND a Dove bar soap manufactures coupon.

If is awesome to scan the perimeter of Target... the end caps always have the clearance... and when staking the coupons it makes for free items! That is how I got the free Gerber formula last night! I signed up on the Gerber website a few weeks ago and they sent me some Gerber checks... I staked it with the Gerber Target coupon that just came out in the "new mom" bags that Target has available at the service desk. If you had a Target baby registry you can get one! They have samples and coupons in it! The best was the coupon for a free 6pack of “ready to go” Enfamil!

Targets cash registers are really bad about giving you face value for your coupon. I have no idea why... and it is a wide spread complaint on many coupon blogs. You really have to watch and make sure the register gives you the right amount off. The clerks don't always watch, especially if they have a long line. I always tell the people behind me if I have a stack of coupons. AND I have found it is easier not to bring Eli with me... it makes it awful! If I have a stack of coupons I usually bring someone else with me and break it up. Especially if I have printed coupons from two different computers... I don't want the clerks to think I am a product hoarder...

*Most products have coupons on manufacturers website. You just have to Google for it. And for some reason the website will want your mailing address and for you to create a password just to print out their coupon. It is so lame! But worth it! Like last night Googled "Green Works dish soap coupon" and was brought to their company website. I had to register just to print out their coupon. I was able to print out two, and then I created an account for Daniel, used my Aunts computer and was able to print out two more. I used those four manufacturers’ coupons and staked it with the Target coupons, and was able to purchase four dish soaps that were on sale for $2.59 each… for under $2.00 total!

*If you have access to a Sunday paper, clip EVERY coupon… even if it isn’t a product you normally use, or you think “Well $1.00 off will still make the product more than I can afford”. You can never know what sales will come up in the next month… and you never know what kind of coupons Target.com will put up. For instance, Daniel doesn’t normally use Dove’s Men’s body and face wash, but I had a coupon for it… and Target.com had a coupon for it. The body wash was on clearance for $1.98 last night at Target… I stacked the mani coupon ($1 off) with the store coupon ($1 off) and was paid 2 cents to purchase the body wash. Well, Daniel is going to use Dove’s Men’s body and face wash till those two bottles are gone. You can always ask your co-workers, neighbors or other family members to save the Sunday inserts for you as well.

I don’t really do a lot of couponing at Walgreen’s or Rite Aide or CVS, the rewards cash is too confusing and I am too busy to keep track of it all… but if you are interested, I know that many people do coupon there and the Krazy Coupon Lady has information about it. I will coupon at Walgreen’s if an item is a steal of a deal… not because I get a rewards cash with the purchase, it has to be a good deal before the rewards cash… which isn’t usually the case, so Walgreen’s doesn’t get much of my time.

Couponing can seem daunting at first. Target is an EASY store to learn how to do it at. It is a great way to save money… and I find it fun!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Another Pregnancy Loss Confession

I have learned this last weekend that attending a baby shower, post pregnancy loss, doesn’t have to hurt.

One might think that just because my last pregnancy loss was almost a year ago now… and I am currently seven months pregnant, that it seems like I am beating a dead horse… Why do I keep returning to this?

Fact- It doesn’t always hurt, but the memories of that pain are still so fresh. It has been years sense our first pregnancy loss and I remember the pain so vividly--- it makes my soul ache.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel during the baby shower. I didn’t know if I was going to feel jealous, hurt, scared… annoyed…. The night before the shower I was having massive anxiety. Feeling nauseous and sick… crying uncontrollably. I felt selfish! The circumstances regarding the baby and mother did make me feel jealous. I kept thinking “Why should this teenager get to have a beautiful baby when there are so many married adult women left without a baby in their arms?” … Evil thoughts… Then I remembered- “Jesus was born to a teenage –unwed mother.” God gave Mary, who was a young teenager… His son!

The circumstances regarding how each child comes to be… no matter what kind of parent or life a child is born to/into, the child is still a blessing. God has plans for each baby that are amazing! I am excited to see how God uses this small person!

The shower was held at a Church, and the Pastors wife gave a small devotional after the games. The focus of the devotional was Hannah from the Bible. Hannah was a woman of God who struggled with infertility. Odd devotional for a baby shower given to a teen mom.

I am well familiar with the story of Hannah… as well as Elizabeth, Rachel, Sarah and the other Barren Biblical women. What struck me most about this devotional were the verses

12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."
15 "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief."
(1 Samuel 1:10-16)

My favorite part "I have been praying here out my great anguish and grief"... I LOVE LOVE LOVE how she went to God with her sorrow. "Great anguish and grief". This woman, who lived thousands of years ago knew the same pain I do. Just another reason why I believe without a shadow of a doubt that the Bible is the word of God. No way those words were made up by a man.

Hannah’s honesty with her feelings led to a connection with her Priest. Who, in turn led Samuel (Hannah’s son) to be the great man of God he was.

Validating a woman’s grief during infertility and/or after miscarriage won’t take away her pain, but it will make her feel less crazy and far more understood. Through connection comes awareness. Through awareness comes a stronger voice. Through a stronger voice come the masses saying: Infertility is far more common that people think. Fact is, 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Miscarriage is a very real loss and needs to be treated as such. This is a person who didn’t even get a chance to dream… breath… live. Women who have experienced infertility at any time in our life or have miscarried need your help, support, understanding and validation of our pain.

A huge blessing with living in the era of the World Wide Web--- Infertility and miscarriage websites! Without such, I would feel very alone. I have met beautiful souls via the Web. Both Daniel and I have connected to other parents who have been were we are at. Sanity comes with connection. I have learned that it is perfectly acceptable to cry, kick and scream. That crying out my soul does make me feel better. I have learned that sometimes God does not answer our prayers with what what we want, but he DOES give us our hearts desire… we just sometimes don’t quiet understand what our hearts desires are or in getting our hearts desire we are to learn patience.

Connecting to these women has made me more aware of my own health conditions. It has brought me to learn ways to keep myself healthy and even about new treatments for my conditions. Belonging to a group of people who experience the same emotions, pills, treatments, desires, daily struggles, selfishness and doctor visits as you do leads to a closeness that is rather odd because you never really meet these people. But having that anonymity online makes you feel safe. Like you can spill your guts… reveal embarrassing details about your life without the consequences of feeling horrible. This anonymity brings a new honesty to yourself… and what is more surprising is that you learn that even your darkest thoughts are shared. There is a darkness that comes with infertility and miscarriage. Belonging to a group of women who struggle with these feelings keeps you from giving in to this darkness. You realize that these women were placed online by God… to learn from each other and support each other.

The down-side to belonging to an online support system is online stalking or harassment. Yes, even in a group of grieving women you will find people who take it upon themselves to bring you even more down. Also, every online site has trolls. People who will try to provoke you… or post false medical information. Just be smart about whom you respond to and the things you say. Also, every online site has spammers. Don't click on any link that looks "fishy", if someone post anything about making thousands of dollars by doing nothing, don't click... remember, if it sounds too good to be true... it is just that... not true! Something else to consider is that ANYONE can read your conversations. Even people who are in your everyday life… The thing is, because they have never encountered the thoughts, feelings and struggles you have, they might feel like the rest of your family/friends need to be aware of the things you say. It isn’t any different than someone recording you in an AA meeting and playing it for your family/friends to see. If this does happen, realize that sometimes the drama isn’t worth it continuing with online support. They might try to put a wedge between you and your family. The few people I have mentioned above are selfish and the only thing you can do is pray for them... even the spammers. It is sad that there are people out there like that. They are immature and need to grow up… or maybe they are lonely and need attention... I image the trolls are the most lonely. I think we need a "National befriend a troll day". Being online would be a better experience for everyone if there was just one less lonely troll in the world.

Just be cautious about who you connect with… but connect with someone. The road of infertility can be very long and exhausting in every way possible. Life after miscarriage can bring years of new struggles. The emotions that come after your baby goes to heaven make you feel crazy… there is no other way to put it. I still feel very jealous of pregnant friends. It is a demon I am aware of and fight daily… and it has been years. Every person has their own darkness to defeat. I trust God to help me make right choices and to heal my heart… having the support of women who know exactly how I feel makes me feel less crazy. I encourage anyone who is dealing with infertility or life post pregnancy loss to find an online support system.