Thursday, June 16, 2011

How to Shop... Anywhere

Image from

I'm still going to continue my "How to shop at..." series, but this post was inspired by a group of girls who came through my checkout line a couple nights ago. I think it was their first time shopping on their own. With a buggy full of stuff and her eye on the total at the bottom of the display screen, one of the girls explained, "My budget is $50." What happened, you ask?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

How to Shop... at Publix

Hi guys. Long time no blog. Sorry about that... I kind of fell off the blogging trail for a little while there, but I feel like I'm ready to get back in full force, with some new ideas and inspiration. For now though I'm going to continue the "How to Shop at..." series by talking about a favorite grocery store for college students: Publix.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Trimming the Fat

Sorry I haven't been updating y'all! I have been working a lot this week and have a busy schedule until Saturday. Anyway, I wanted to talk to you guys about "trimming the fat" and shaving a couple dollars off your budget here and there to help your savings grow. 

Image from A Moment Please

Last year, Jake gave me a 1 month Netflix free trial, and it was all downhill from there. I love Netflix so much. (We're currently marathoning Lost and Parks & Rec.) After my free trial ended, I signed up for the 1 DVD out at a time program, which costs around $10.69 a month. The problem was, I would get a DVD and then hold onto it for like 5 months. (Literally. I have only ever gotten about 3 DVDs from Netflix and I had two of them for around 4-5 months each.) So recently I decided to downgrade my Netflix account from the $10.69 1 DVD at a time membership to the $7.99 Instant Only membership, which works just fine for me. Moral of this example: tailor your budget to fit your needs and what you're actually doing. There's no need to pay $3 extra for a service you aren't using, so cut it out. 

My other example is something I haven't actually done yet but will do next month. I currently get a $9/month generic prescription from Kroger, but they have a 3 month version of this prescription for $24, which means my per-month cost would be $8/month. That would save me $1/month or $12/year. Doesn't sound like much, but combine it with my Netflix savings of $32.40/year and I will be saving $44.40/year just from making these two simple switches. Combine this with other savings, like eating out one fewer meal per week or walking instead of driving, and you can see your savings start to grow. Moral of the second story: buy "in bulk" when you (and your wallet) can, since many businesses offer discounts like this one. 

Lastly, how do I turn this into actual savings? It's so easy to say "I'm now saving $5 a month!" and then turn around and spend that $5 at Subway. Luckily, it's even easier to actually put that $5 a month away. All you have to do is set up a transfer of funds at your bank; you can easily set up a transfer of $5 (or however much) per month from checking to savings to reflect the saving you are actually doing. And once it's in savings, don't touch it! 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Update on My Goal for Fall

Y'all might remember about two weeks ago I decided I didn't want to pay anything out of pocket for textbooks for the fall. Since then, I have a few updates about this goal that I wanted to share...

Image from Vox Populi

  • Selling my textbooks: this was awful. I made a total of $15 (only one of my five textbooks got sold). I gave this money to Jake for some personal reasons. I'm going to wait until fall to try to sell some of these books on Facebook.
  • I won a contest, though! Kristin at Couponing to Disney was holding a contest on her blog where she was giving out $5 Amazon gift cards to her readers... I entered and I won! So there's that, at least. 
  • I found out about Bing Rewards! I already mentioned Swagbucks, a site where you can earn and redeem "digital dollars" by searching the Internet, but I just found out about Bing Rewards! You earn credits by searching through Microsoft Bing; you earn 250 credits just by signing up for the program. They have tons of awesome rewards, and a $5 Amazon gift card is just 541 credits! I signed up 10 minutes ago and I already have 267 credits. I'm so excited about finding this program! 
  • I also found out about Checkpoints! Checkpoints is a FREE app available for iPhone and Android. Basically, you "check in" when you go places like the grocery store and you can scan items with your phone, earning you points, including points for an Amazon gift card. Best of all, enter the code "swagbucks" when registering to get 20 Swagbucks as well as 300 points on Checkpoints, which is already enough for $1 on Amazon (this information comes from Couponing to Disney). 
I will keep y'all updated on any new programs I find out about!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Budgeting for the Beach

This time last week Jake and I were at the beach (Hilton Head, SC) and I would be lying if I said I prefer being in Athens. Anyway, knowing that a lot of people go on vacation during the summer, I thought I would describe how we saved up for the beach and didn't go too horribly astray from our budget...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Get a free sample of Garnier Fructis!

Image from Deal Seeking Mom

Hey guys, make sure you go to the Garnier website to get a free sample of their anti-dandruff shampoo! 

By the way, if y'all were wondering where I've been... I was at the beach last week from Tuesday to Saturday and I arrived home to my apartment to discover my roommate (who had moved out) had taken the router with her (it was hers, so it's not like she stole it or anything lol) so I haven't had internet at my apartment. I'm getting a new router tomorrow so I will be posting regularly again soon! My first post back will be about how Jake and I budgeted for a beach trip, so if you're going on vacation soon, be on the lookout for it!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

How to Shop... at Earth Fare

I thought I would start a new series of posts about how to shop at various places around Athens. I was going to start with Publix and Kroger, but then I figured why not choose something more challenging?

Image from Southern Savers

A lot of people believe that it's very difficult to eat healthy food on a budget. It's true that many organic products are more expensive than their conventional counterparts, but even here, you can use coupons and sales to your advantage. Earth Fare is a grocery store in the Southeast which specializes in organic and healthy food, and for that reason, many people (including me, a while ago) think that it is super expensive and impossible to shop at without using up your entire budget. Prices at Earth Fare can be overwhelming at times, but I have some tips and tricks I have learned from shopping there that makes your grocery list much more affordable.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Goal for Fall: Not Spending Money on Textbooks

Image from The Daily UW

As any college student knows, buying textbooks sucks, plain and simple. It sucks if you're a liberal arts student (like me) and all you have to buy is novels that are never more than $15 each, but it REALLY sucks if you're a science or math student (like my boyfriend) and your textbooks cost about as much as an MRI... each.

Okay. Maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but really, we've all had at least one class where we had a textbook that cost at least $80, and then you have to buy the online e-learning package or pay lab fees or whatever.

So, with that in mind, I've created kind of a lofty goal for myself: not to spend any money out of pocket for books this fall.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What I Got in the Mail...

I got two things in the mail today!

This is a free sample from U by Kotex. It came with a pad and two tampons and a coupon for $1.00 off any U by Kotex product. 

This is a coupon from Suave Professionals for a free bottle of dry shampoo or a hair product by Suave Professionals!

If you're interested in getting either of these yourself, here's what to do:
  • U by Kotex sample
  • Suave Professionals: I got this coupon by signing up on their Facebook page during a promotion. The promotion has ended, but check out the link because they always have giveaways and there may be another promotion coming up. 

Laura's Guide to Couponing: Matchups

Image from Shop Local

Now that you have your coupons and have them organized, what exactly should you do with them? The answer: grab the circular (weekly ad) for your store and start on your matchups!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Get a free drink and save some gas money!

Hi everyone, I came across this deal tonight on a forum I belong to, and I wanted to share it with everyone. It's a coupon for a free drink at a Murphy's gas station (there is one on Lexington Road in Athens) as well as up to $2.00 off a $10.00 gas purchase!

Image from Hunt for Freebies

First, go to the Murphy USA Facebook page. Next, "like" them and complete the app (click "enter") to get a coupon for a free drink. They will be giving out a coupon for a certain amount of money (up to $2.00) off a $10.00 gas purchase; the more people that like them, the higher value the coupon will be! 

The Murphy's in Athens has some of the lower gas prices on the East Side anyway, and getting some extra money off is awesome! Be sure to take advantage of this offer!

Selling Your Textbooks

Sorry I'm not really updating as frequently right now; finals week is officially underway and I am so stressed. But I thought I would take a minute to share a couple of options that you have for selling textbooks and how to get the most money out of selling.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Laura's Guide to Couponing: Organizing Your Coupons

Now that you (hopefully) have a stack of coupons, what should you do with them? There are many, many different ways to organize coupons, including using a shoebox, buying a coupon organizer, and using a binder. The trick is to find the organization method that works for you. I used to have a coupon organizer that I bought from OfficeMax for around $5, but it became way too disorganized for me, so last week I bought some baseball card holders and dividers and stuck them in a 1" binder I had left over from my bio lab class last year.

This is the front of my binder. Nothing too fancy, obviously... 

This is the inside of my binder. The dividers are labeled "Produce/Meat/Dairy", "Grocery", "Frozen", "HBA" (Health & Beauty Aids), "Household", "Restaurants/Services/Retail", and "Store-Specific" (this one is for those coupons that say things like "$5 off your next order", which I call OYNOs). 

There are tons of different ways to organize your coupons, but it really is all about finding the way that works for you. Obviously, a binder for a family of six is going to look really different from a shoebox for a college student living alone, so don't feel like you have to aspire to any lofty goals when storing and organizing coupons. Let me know if you need any advice about organization ideas! 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Laura's Guide to Couponing: Getting Your Coupons

Image from Snag a Bargain

Next week will be the first week that I will be getting new coupon inserts since starting this blog (since there were no inserts on Easter). I'm super excited about this and I'm planning on posting my shopping list so you can see what I am doing and how much money I'm spending.

Tomorrow is Sunday, which means the Sunday paper is coming out. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS PAPER. It's going to have a LOT of coupons in it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Long Time No Update...

Sorry y'all! I've been so busy with end-of-the-semester stuff and getting ready for finals. Anyway, yesterday was my birthday! I turned twenty and I went shopping and out to eat with my boyfriend (who got me the most beautiful necklace and made me a wonderful cake). I won't list everything I got for you because it would take forever, but I wanted to let you know about a couple of deals I found:

I got four salad plates (two of each of the above) at Target last night for 88 cents each on clearance. I already have about six ceramic ones but I thought plastic would be nice for summer, and I like to use salad plates as lunch plates to eat smaller portions. Plus you really can't beat 88 cents per plate! The dinner plates were 98 cents each. 

I got each of these for $1.99 each on sale. They're just plastic (4 small bowls and 4 tumblers), but after my roommate leaves in a couple of weeks I'm not going to have any cups other than mugs, so I needed to get some! 

Each of these panels was $6.00, and I'm going to hang them in my bathroom somewhere... as soon as Jake isn't busy working or studying (so probably about three weeks from now lol). 

Now to find out how I got all of that stuff for above for just one penny (not including sales tax), you're going to have to read after the jump...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Savings Tip: Get Free Samples

Obviously, I am a huge fan of getting free samples. While the size of the product may be small, once you've accumulated a couple of them, you'll find that it's pretty nice when you run out of shampoo and you have another one sitting there (even if it's tiny). Plus, you usually get a coupon when you sign up for a sample, and these can come in really handy--I'm getting Dove Men+Care for my boyfriend this week for free because of a coupon that came with a sample!

The best website I've found for free stuff is called Freeflys. You have to go through a kind of annoying signup process (just decline all the offers), but it's a good database of free samples. I check it a couple of times a week, and they're constantly updating it. If you've never been and you want to start sampling, Freeflys is probably the best place to start!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I made my very first deposit into my "grad school fund" today... it was only $5.00 (my paycheck this week was pretty meager and about half of it went to a ticket to see Animal Collective in July) but that's still $5.00 more than was in there yesterday!

As of right now, my fund (all $5.00 of it) is sitting in an envelope marked "Grad School", but I think once I have around $50 I will consider talking to my bank about savings options. 

Total Grad School Fund: $5.00

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What I Got in the Mail...

I got another free sample in the mail today... this time it was a sample of Playtex Sport tampons.

The sample came with three tampons (two regular and one super) and a coupon for $1.00 off any Playtex Sport 18 ct+. If you're interested in getting this sample, go to the Playtex website.

Deal Alert: Men's Deodorant for 24 cents!

Hey guys, make sure you go to CVS this week (4/24-4/30) to get Dove Men + Care deodorant. It's going to be on sale for 99 cents but with a 75 cent off coupon from the Dove website you will get it for 24 cents! (I'm getting mine--for my boyfriend--for free with a $1.00 off coupon that came with the free sample I requested!)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Stuff You Need Under $1... at Kroger

The Kroger weekly ad is almost over (it ends tomorrow; their sales run Sunday-Saturday) but I thought I would let you know about a few things you probably need that are under $1.00 right now at Kroger:
  • Laundry detergent: Xtra detergent is on sale for $1.98 this week, and you can get a $1.00 off coupon from the Xtra website to make the final cost 98 cents
  • Milk (Coconut Milk, that is): So Delicious Coconut Milk is on sale for $1.99 this week, and you can get it for 99 cents with a $1.00 off coupon from
  • Condoms: if you need 'em, go get 'em; I saw one box of Trojan condoms on the clearance rack at the Alps Road Kroger for $2.34; with a coupon from the Trojan website you can get them for 34 cents.
  • Shampoo: Suave shampoo is on sale this week for 88 cents, as is...
  • Deodorant: Suave deodorant is also on sale this week for 88 cents.
  • Frozen vegetables: Green Giant boxed vegetables are on sale for $1.00 this week, but you will get them FREE with a 50 cent coupon from the Green Giant website that doubles to $1.00. 

Free Coffee!

In honor of Earth Day, if you bring your own reusable mug to Starbucks today ONLY, you will get FREE COFFEE!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Free Yogurt!

Want a free cup of Yoplait original yogurt? I requested mine in the mail (it comes in the form of a free coupon) a few weeks ago and it got here pretty shortly afterward! Just go to the Yoplait website to request yours!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What I Got in the Mail...

I just got a package in the mail from P&G full of good girl stuff.

The package (which was really cute by the way!) included this sample-sized Secret deodorant (which will come in handy in packing light for our beach trip in a couple weeks) as well as a bunch of "feminine hygiene products" (3 tampons, 2 pads, and 2 pantiliners). It also came with some great coupons for Tampax and Always. 

If you're interested in requesting this sample yourself, sign up at Keep in mind that this is marketed toward younger teenage girls, so it comes with a nice little "introduction" packet to all of these products. 

On Campus Deal Alert: (Almost) Free Six Flags Ticket

Earth Week (April 18-22) is an awesome time to get deals on eco-friendly products, and UGA's satellite food services are hosting their own "eco-friendly" promotion. This week only, if you buy four bottles of Dasani at Dawg Snacks (Tate Center) or 'Tween the Pages (Main Library) you will get a free ticket to Six Flags!

This is in honor of Dasani introducing their "plant bottle", a 100% recyclable bottle made from up to 30% plant material. While I am generally all in favor of reusable water bottles rather than plastic bottles, I think this is a step in the right direction, and you can't beat a Six Flags ticket that amounts to around $7.00, especially considering that one Six Flags general admission ticket usually costs $49.99

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dorm/Apartment Deal Alert: Brita System Under $25

Having lived in both a dorm and an apartment, I can honestly say that a staple of both is a water filtration pitcher.  In the dorms, the water quality wasn't an issue, but it was nice to have some really cold filtered water stored in the refrigerator as opposed to having the lukewarm tap water every time. In my current apartment, however, the water quality is a whole other issue; the tap water from our kitchen sink is murky way too often for my liking.

Unfortunately, when it comes time for new dorm/apartment shopping, purchasing these systems can be a pain in the butt when it comes to cost. (I was lucky enough to get mine for next year for only $10, on clearance at Kroger.) Luckily, Target has a great deal this week in its weekly ad!

When you buy a Brita Grand Pitcher ($31.49) or a 6-pack of Brita filters (also $31.49), you'll receive a $5 Target gift card. That's like getting it for $26.49. But it gets even better, because has a coupon for $4 off any Brita pitcher system! That makes this purchase $22.49. And if you use a reusable bag, Target will knock off 5 cents (I know, I know), making the total cost before tax $22.45.

ETA: Walgreen's also has a sale this week for Brita pitchers, albeit a smaller size pitcher. Theirs are on sale for $14.00; combined with the coupon listed above, the price gets knocked down to $10.00

What I Got in the Mail...

Yesterday I got two new samples in the mail, plus a coupon book from P&G.

This is a sample deodorant and body wash from Dove Men + Care. Obviously this is for my boyfriend and not for me, but I'm excited about it because it will help when it comes to packing light for our beach trip in a couple weeks. The sample box also came with a couple of coupons for Dove Men + Care. 

A couple sample packets of Miracle Whip. I actually hate mayonnaise, so this, again, was for my boyfriend, not for me. 

P&G coupon book! It has pretty much all the same coupons as last time (lots of spring cleaning type stuff) but I think the ones from the old book are about to expire so I'm glad this one came when it did. 

If you're interested in getting either of the samples or the coupon book yourself:
  • Dove Men + Care: this was a sample on the Walmart website that has since expired, but you can now get a free sample of Gold Bond body wash on the free samples page instead.
  • Miracle Whip
  • P&G Coupon Book: sign up here to get the quarterly coupon book, PLUS receive a quarterly box of samples (I got Pantene shampoo + conditioner, Head & Shoulders shampoo + conditioner, and Tampax last quarter) 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Savings Tip: Keep Your Receipts

Aside from having a great physical record of what you're spending (which comes in handy for everything from keep track of expenses to getting a full refund on a return), saving your receipts can help you score discounts and free stuff!

Take a look at the bottom of your receipt next time you check out anywhere. Often there are invitations to complete surveys which can result in anything from a discount on your next purchase (Old Navy does this) to a free item (like the receipt below) or an entry into a sweepstakes (TJ Maxx does this).

Filling out these surveys takes about 5 minutes but the rewards can add up pretty quickly! So make sure you don't throw away your receipts; take a look first before you toss them out (if you're not saving them).

Also, make sure you take a look around in the store when you're shopping or checking out; you can find some great promotions listed on signs or stacked in the form of tear-off pads at the register. The promotion featured below is from Subway (on Alps Road for those in Athens); when you buy a meal this week they will give you an Easter egg with a coupon inside! Mine is for a free English muffin.

On the left is the coupon I received at Subway for purchasing a meal, and on the right is a receipt completed after taking a survey for Subway; next time I eat there I can get a free cookie with my purchase. (Don't try to copy the coupon code; it only works at the location I made that purchase at.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What I Got in the Mail...

My motto, generally speaking, is "free stuff is the best stuff." I got two free things in the mail today that I thought I'd share.

1) A weight loss kit from the Atkins Diet. I don't think I will be following the Atkins Diet anytime soon, but this kit came with some recipes which look pretty good, plus three free Atkins protein bars.

2) This set of gift cards/coupons from Victoria's Secret. I'm most excited about the one at the top, for a free set of underwear! My birthday is in two weeks, so I can guarantee you I'll be stopping by VS during my birthday shopping trip. 

3) This isn't something I got in the mail, but I got it the other day completely free (not even having to pay tax!). It's a bottle of antibacterial hand soap from CVS, available for free through a coupon on their website. 

Sorry for the quality of these pictures; I took them all on my phone. Maybe one of the other things I should be saving up for is a decent camera...

If you're interested in receiving any of these free items yourself, here are the links: 


Welcome to Coupons at College! My name is Laura and I am a 20  year old undergrad student at the University of Georgia. I'm looking to start grad school in the next two years (hopefully at Georgia), so I need to start saving--now. This blog will be a place for me to share my deal-finding, free-stuff-getting, couponing, and saving tips. You can follow all of them or none of them (and just read along for the ride). I hope you enjoy this blog and please comment if you have any questions!