Thursday, June 30, 2011


Wanted to wish everyone a Happy Independence Day weekend!  Friday is the start of the holiday weekend, although I have to work Friday and Saturday.  Looks to be a busy weekend for us at work, but I'm looking forward to shopping the 4th of July sales on Sunday and Monday. 

We've had a great few days with the stock market, July is coming in with a bang (pun intended), but I don't look for it to last.  So I'll be looking to get some deals on stock purchases in the month of July.  My first stock purchase for my IRA account will be Kraft Foods (KFT).  You already know the name and most likely, like myself, use a lot of their products.  Their dividend payout is a little over 3%, so they should make a great long term addition to my retirement account.  At the very least I've got 8 1/2 years before I can start taking distributions from the account, so I'm looking to add only stocks I feel comfortable holding for that length of time.  Kraft is definitely one of those stocks. 

Hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday weekend!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Sunday I made my weekly Walgreens trip and scored my largest savings to date.  I purchase $178 worth of merchandise for $56 in cash.  By taking advantage of advertised sales, manufacturers coupons and register rewards I was able to save around 70% overall.  I got several items entirely free with coupons and register rewards including 4 Dove Men Care body wash, 2 Sun laundry detergent (75 loads), 2 Dove Men Care deodorant, 2 Reach toothbrushes and 2 Colgate Total toothpaste.  Since I've already accumulated about a years worth of deodorant, body wash and bar soap and about 6 months worth of laundry detergent, I was able to give some of the surplus to family members to save them a little money as well. 

While it didn't have anything to do with coupons, I also got the best deal ever on a 27" LCD TV.  I've wanted one for a long time, but wanted to wait until the prices went down.  Since my televisions both work great, I didn't see any need to replace them right away, so I've held off buying.  As it turned out, the guy who rides to work with me bought a larger LCD and gave me his old one free of charge.  You just can't beat free!  I've decided to put my oldest television in the next yard sale and use the cash to purchase more items for my stockroom. 

Friday, June 24, 2011


It's been a slow investment week for me, although I did put in an order to purchase shares of Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) for my IRA account.  Their price is down from the 52 week high of $37.68, their current price being $34.55.  With the economy and the stock market slowing I thought now would be a good time to pick up shares.  They have a current dividend payout of $1.52 which represents a 4.40% payout on their current price per share.  While they stand to lose some in sales due to expiring patents I believe the earnings per share will still be good going forward, with their strong Research and Development Department and share repurchases.  

I've owned shares of Merck before in my taxable account and made a tidy profit, both from dividends and capital gains.  This time around I'm taking a buy and hold approach, so I'll be investing for the long term.   

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I've written favorably about the legalization of marijuana before.  The war on drugs is a lost cause and the sooner we realize it, and stop wasting taxpayers money, the better.  Yes it should be restricted, much like tobacco and alcohol.  It would create badly needed jobs here at home and put a stop to some of the violence the drug trade is causing in neighboring countries such as Mexico.  If you take the money out of the illegal drug trade by making it legal, the black market ceases to exist. 

As for cocaine, which some are also advocating legalizing, I think it should only be legalized as a strictly controlled substance.  Even then I believe it should only be used for medicinal purposes.  What that might be, I have no idea, but I'm sure the R & D departments of some of the major pharmaceutical companies would welcome the chance to find out.  At any rate, decriminalisation of currently illegal drugs would undoubtedly be a boon to tax revenues and jobs, and we could definitely use more of both.  Although I think all tax revenues from legalization of marijuana and cocaine should be strictly set aside to pay off the national debt.  Otherwise I believe tax and spend politicians would piddle away any revenues on pork barrel projects and special interest groups.  While we would still benefit from a decrease in drug related crime and violence, why not put the money to good use by reducing the national debt.

I can't very well justify talking about legalizing drugs without some mention of tobacco.  Currently I think the tobacco industry is the target of a modern day witch hunt, being blamed for untold deaths and diseases.  Don't get me wrong, I quit smoking for health reasons in November of last year and I don't think anybody with any sense would argue that smoking is not bad for your health.  However, it gets to be a little ridiculous when people can't even smoke outside (banning smoking in public parks etc.).  I mean come on!!!!  Do you really think someones cigarette smoke is any more detrimental to your health in a city like New York, where you're breathing in exhaust fumes from hundreds of thousands of automobiles every time you go outdoors?  And what about the people who get on their high horses about smoking?  Have they given up driving their cars so people won't have to breathe their exhaust fumes?  Have they lost weight and gotten into shape so they're not causing a burden to taxpayers for weight related illnesses like cancer and heart disease, which they're so quick to point out are caused by cigarette smoking?  I've never heard of cigarette smoking causing diabetes, but obesity has created an alarming upswing in diabetics in the U.S..  Are we going to carry on about tobacco use until we've created another black market to support the drug cartels?  Wake up people, we have a lot worse problems than cigarettes. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I checked out the grocery store ads today and it looks like Schnucks had the best overall sales.  I made a list of sale items I needed, matched up my coupons and headed to the store.  This time I filled the cart, getting $76 worth of groceries for $46!  My overall savings this trip was a little over 40%.  I also got a coupon for $5 off my next purchase for purchasing $15 worth of Kraft products.  I plan to use the $5 in conjunction with more manufacturers coupons to stop by tomorrow and pick up six packs of Oscar Meyer and Ball Park franks, which will make the hot dogs almost free!!! 

I'll finish up my weekly grocery shopping by picking up the rest of the items I need at Moser's and Gerbes.  Moser's has a good 10 for $10 sale going and Gerbes has a great deal on Lays Potato Chips and a buy one get one free deal on steaks.  I plan to get produce, salad dressing, bologna, frozen vegetables and croutons at Mosers for around $10.  At Gerbes I'll buy steaks and potato chips and I'll stock up on hand soap and deodorant (5 for $5 sale) while they're on sale.

I installed shelving in a large closet off my living room for non-perishable items and I'm beginning to get a good stockpile of items.  As for groceries, after tomorrows' shopping, I shouldn't need much for a couple of weeks at least.  My freezer and refrigerator as well as all my cabinet space is pretty filled up.  I've spent so little money in the past month and I can't remember having so many groceries in my house.  I LOVE COUPONS!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


The stock market finally ended it's weeks long losing streak by closing higher on Friday.  Was not a very busy week for my investment accounts.  I collected dividends from Calamos (CHY) and Realty Income Corp. (O) and added more shares to my stake in Great Plains Energy (GXP).  Otherwise it's been a pretty slow week for me. 

I'm sticking with my plan of reinvesting all dividends automatically until the current correction in the market has run its' course.  When it begins to look like we're on an upward swing, I'll reset my account to have dividends paid in cash.  In the mean time I'll be adding to all my holdings while the prices are low. 


Got up early this morning, got my coupons clipped from the paper and made my weekly trip to Walgreens.  This trip I purchased several personal care items for my stockpile, soft drinks, pasta and miscellaneous items, which would normally have cost me $27.06.  With coupons, register rewards and advertised pricing I saved a total of $16.57 or a little over 61% off my total bill!

Not quite sure, but I think 61% might be the highest percentage off on any of my shopping trips so far.  Like I've said before, I may never get to 100%+ savings like some of the people on TLC, but if I can consistently save 30-75% off, I'll be extremely satisfied.  By far, the biggest savings for me is how little I eat out anymore.  I went from eating out 8 or more times per week to practically 0.  The food I fix at home is so much better than what I got at the restaurants.  It's healthier, tastier and a whole lot less expensive.

For more printable coupons, I have added links to Coupon Mom and Coupon Cabin on the MBCI link exchange section.  Happy Savings!!! 

Friday, June 17, 2011


If you're like me and you use a lot of Proctor & Gamble products, you'll want to check the Sunday, July 3rd paper for the Proctor & Gamble coupon booklet.  It promises to have "coupon savings over $83."  Don't know about you but I could sure use an extra $83 in coupon cash!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!!  Be sure and check back on Sunday to find out what kind of great deals I get at Walgreens...

Thursday, June 16, 2011


A coworker, who doesn't have a car, asked me to take them shopping today so they could stock up on food and household supplies.  Since taxis are so expensive, they offered to pay me $50 to take them shopping.  I had made up my shopping list yesterday when the grocery store ads came out, so I agreed to take them and did my own shopping at the same time.

I matched up my coupons with sale items and picked up a few extras that I didn't have coupons for, but were on sale.  Our first stop was Walmart, where I took advantage of all my buy one get one free coupons to add to my stockpile of body wash and deodorant.  Since everything I bought was buy one get one free I got $22 worth of products for $11.  Next up was a stop at Super D's for 4 bottles of Trend laundry detergent, which was on sale 2 for $3 and I added those to my detergent stockpile.  From there we stopped a block over at Schnuck's where I purchased enough tortilla stuffing mix and tortillas for 4 meals.  With coupons and sale pricing I paid $5.12 total.  The final stop was Gerbes Supermarket where I stocked up on frozen vegetables, ketchup, yogurt, pierogies, fried chicken, stir fry vegetables, candy bars and Parkay margarine.  With my frequent shoppers card, manufacturers coupons and doubling I got everything for $20.  So I spent just under $50 and got a total of $85 in groceries and personal care items.  Since I shopped with my coworker and they paid me $50 for taking them shopping, I spent $0 of my own money.  While it might seem like I ran all over town to save money, I drive a Honda Civic, so I doubt I used even a gallon of gas since all the stores were close together and I don't live far from my coworkers house. 

The whole point of all this is, when you begin to look for ways to save money, opportunities present themselves that you would never have thought possible.  The way I look at it, for a couple hours of doing something I like to do, shopping for bargains, I made $85. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Opinion:  I've been seeing a great deal in the news lately about possible GOP nominees for the 2012 Presidential election.  Historically it's been very difficult to defeat an incumbent President during presidential elections.  If the Republicans hope to have any chance of defeating Obama in 2012, they're going to have to come up with nominees with broad appeal to the American public.  

For president I'd say Texas Governor Rick Perry is a good bet.  Personally I've never met anyone from the state of Texas that I didn't like, so I may be a bit biased here.  Still, from a political standpoint, I think he'd stand the best chance of beating Obama in 2012.

As for vice president, 4 possibilities come to mind.  First and foremost, I'd pick Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.  Perry and Jindal have both proven themselves as leaders of their respective states, experience that is sure to come in handy when dealing with national issues at the presidential level.

As for the other 3 possible nominees, I'd have to go with Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio and Sarah Palin, in that order of preference.  Mitt Romney as a seasoned politician with a great deal of experience and a wholesome family oriented appeal.  Marco Rubio for his appeal to the Hispanic community and Sarah Palin for her appeal to women voters and tea party activists.  

I know there are a lot of people who would disagree with my picks, but like I said, it's my opinion.  We'll just have to wait and see who gets nominated and who actually wins the election.  Personally I'd like to see Perry and Jindal in 2012.  


Just printed off some great money saving coupons from's coupon section.  I got coupons for Milky Way candy bars, Ball Park Franks, Yoplait Yogurt and more!  Right now they have a $5 sign up bonus going with Sendearnings, so if you're interested in picking up some great coupons and making a little extra cash, now would be a great time to take advantage of their free sign up! 

I'm especially happy with the coupons I got today, since Milky Way is my favorite candy bar and I love yogurt.  It's nice to get a good deal on them though, so I'm looking forward to my next trip to the store.


With news from China showing inflation not as bad as expected and the economy slowing, Asian and European stocks rose overnight.  I look for U.S. stocks to follow suit today.  Although stocks will most likely rise some today, I wouldn't expect this to point towards any kind of return of a bull market.  I fully expect the markets to continue to lag throughout the summer, with small increases here and there depending on economic news from around the world.  

As far as a sustainable recovery, I don't really see that happening until jobs recover.  While there may be a bit of a recovery in the fall, as long as the jobs picture remains bleak, the stock market isn't likely to make any sustainable advances.  Government intervention has proven ineffective at creating jobs, so it will most likely be up to the private sector.  The big corporations will eventually have to see it as an advantage to create more jobs, boosting the economy, by putting some of the massive stockpiles of cash they have right now to work.  If a company can no longer invest extra cash profitably, they traditionally returned the cash to shareholders in the form of dividends or share buy backs.  However, as much as I like dividends, I'd rather see some of the money put to work creating jobs.  More jobs mean more consumers with expendable cash, leading to increased business and profits.  An increase in business profits from a growing economy is the only real way to sustain a long term recovery of the stock market and the absolute best way to reduce massive government debt by resultant increased tax revenues.

Is this likely to happen?  Eventually, I think it might, but for now I think companies will continue to stockpile cash as a protection from poor liquidity in the credit markets.  When money is not available in the form of loans, the companies who have a large cash reserve will fair better than those who depend on loans for day to day business expenses.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Sunday, June 12, 2011:  Made my Sunday morning trip to Walgreens, which is rapidly becoming a ritual with me.  As long as I keep finding great deals, I'll keep going.  On today's trip I saved over 50% off my bill with sale items, store and manufacturer coupons and register rewards. 

I spent $29.12 out of pocket in two transactions.  I got a total in savings of $29.23 with $3.00 in register rewards to use towards future purchases.  On this trip I picked up snack items, soft drinks and coffee, body wash and bath soap, paper towels and facial tissue, lip balm, toothpaste and toothbrushes, bandages and antibiotic cream.  I bought multiples of each item, so I'm stocked up for quite a while.  Looking forward to next week's advertised specials from Walgreens!

One thing I've noticed since I've started couponing:  Even though I thought I'd never build up huge stockpiles of products, I have stocked up enough groceries, household and personal care items that I could go quite some time before having to buy anything else.  Which could come in very handy should some unexpected expenses, (like car repairs or trips to the doctor), pop up.  Even if that doesn't happen, having these items on hand allows me more time to build my coupon collection and look for big money saving deals.  I'm now beginning to see how the people on TLC's "Etreme Couponing" manage to get so much for so little.  But even if I never get to that point, I'm pretty happy about saving 25% to 50% on a regular basis.  It allows me to live a much better life while spending a lot less money. 

Friday, June 10, 2011


Been busy at work this week, not really sure why.  With school out and being past the first of the month, the restaurant business usually slows down, but not this time around.  Got in some extra hours, but the heat has really been getting to me. 

Added to my positions in PFF, AEA and CNP in my taxable portfolio and AFL in my IRA account.  Also made a cash deposit to my IRA to purchase shares of B&G Foods.  Earned some extra cash on, will be getting another check from them soon.  I'll be adding that to my regular investment account.  Stocks have had a turbulent week to say the least, but it's helped me pick up shares at a lower price, so I'm not entirely disappointed with that.  I'm looking for a few good months of lower prices to help build up my holdings.  Want to be in a good position when the market eventually starts to rebound, in the mean time I'll be happy to collect the dividends along the way.

Still learning as much as I can about "extreme couponing".  It fits in so well with my whole savings and investment plan and has already allowed me to increase monthly cash deposits to my accounts.  As I get better at saving on purchases, I'm planning to redirect all the savings towards income producing investments.

Read an interesting article on today about OPEC.  Ex CIA director, James Woolsey said, in order to be really secure the U.S. has to "break oil's monopoly over transportation and to break OPEC's monopoly over oil."  He makes the point that we are currently funding both sides of the war on terror by fueling the coffers of the very terrorists who seek to destroy the United States.  I've always thought the way to put a stop to terrorism is to take away the money, in other words find a replacement for imported oil.  Without the billions we spend on oil, funds for terrorism would soon dry up.  It can be done, we as a nation just have to make up our minds to do it.   

Thursday, June 9, 2011


In one of my latest searches on couponing, I came across a great website to learn how to maximise your savings with coupons.  It's called The Krazy Coupon Lady and you can visit her website by clicking on the title of this post or by following the link on my link exchange.  I'm personally hooked on shopping at Walgreens and she has a fantastic video showing you how to get the best deals when shopping their sales.  If you're interested in saving money by couponing, this is one site you definitely don't want to miss!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Didn't do as well on my shopping today as I did Sunday.  Still got a total of 10% off my bill at Walmart and saved a total of 30% off my bill at the grocery store.  The amount I saved on my grocery purchases was enough to pay for a package of boneless ribs and a package of butterfly pork chops.  Also had coupons for more Nestle Crunch bars for around 50% off and picked up some Wishbone salad dressing which was on sale, 2 for $3, with the $1.50 coupon on 2 I got one bottle free!

Overall I'm satisfied with my shopping trip.  I stayed within my budget and managed to save a significant amount on my purchases.  Probably won't be doing any grocery shopping for a while, since I've built up quite a stockpile at home and need to use some of it up to make room for more.  In the mean time, I'll be looking for great deals on household or personal care items and building my stockpile of coupons.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


There seems to be a building panic and uncertainty in the stock market media of late and why not, there are a lot of things going on in the world to bring the market down.  However, when have we not had a lot of problems in the world?  Jeff Goldblum's character in one of the Jurassic Park movies says, "Nature always finds a way."  In economics, business always finds a way to make money.  As investors, it's up to us to find the right investments at the right price that are going to make money.  In the current investment climate there is no room for panic, it's time for cool collective analysis.  It's time to take advantage of the great opportunity that's about to present itself in the next few months.

For those who keep there cool and are courageous enough to weather the downward trend in the market, it is time to pick up some quality dividend stocks at bargain prices.  I've been writing a lot lately about how much I've saved on everyday purchases with coupons and sales, now the stock market is about to go on sale and I'll be buying.  What I'll be buying is yet to be determined, but I fully intend to purchase as many shares of stock as my budget will allow while prices are down.  In keeping with this train of thought, I've reset both my investment accounts to reinvest all dividends for the foreseeable future.  Not only will I benefit from lower prices, but I'll save on commissions since reinvested dividends are commission free. 

Monday, June 6, 2011


The coupons from Sunday's paper and some of the new printable coupons from Sendearnings have netted me some fantastic deals today!  I used 2 manufacturers coupons from the paper and a register rewards coupon to pick up laundry soap and fabric softener for 60% off!  Also picked up an extra in store coupon booklet and got 33% off on Chex Mix and Bugles, making one bag free!  I found these sale items at Walgreens, where I also purchase AA batteries on sale and got a $1 register rewards coupon good on my next purchase.  Overall I saved a little over 50% on my Walgreens purchases!!!  Got some Nestle's Crunch candy bars almost free with double coupons at Gerbes.  Will be anxiously awaiting the grocery store sale ads on Wednesday to plan my latest shopping trip with my new stockpile of coupons.  I've got a grocery budget for the next 2 weeks of just $40, so I'll really have to stretch the dollars, but I've done well in the past few weeks and have quite a stock built up so I'm thinking it won't really be all that hard to stay within budget.  It would be great if I could do the two weeks on $20.  We'll see how it goes. 

One handy tip I've learned about couponing:  I use most of my $1 or over coupons at Walmart, since the local grocery stores do not double coupons over $1.  The coupons for less than a dollar I save to use at the grocery stores, where I'll get twice as much off my purchase through double coupons, which often makes it less expensive than purchasing the item at discount stores and just getting the face value of the coupon.  It doesn't always work out that way, so I before I use some coupons, I'll do a little price checking to see where I'll get the better deal. 

Friday, June 3, 2011


I've written a lot lately about my use of coupons as a money saving tool but I haven't talked much about where I get my coupons.  You can do a search and find several sources on the internet for free printable coupons, however, the one I use most often and the one I think has the best deal is by far the coupon section on (see link at top of page).  Sendearnings is a shoppers rewards program that I've been involved with for quite some time now, but it wasn't until recently that I took advantage of their printable coupons.  Boy was I missing out!  For each coupon you print and redeem, they pay an additional 10 cents to your Sendearnings account.  Now 10 cents may not sound like much but when you start using coupons for purchases the way I have (I try to have a coupon for EVERYTHING I buy) then it can really add up quick.  So you save money by using the coupons, then you get paid an additional 10 cents for every coupon you redeem, what could be better than that?  It does take about 3 months for the coupons to go through all the processing so you get the credit to your account, but once the payments start, you'll have a steady stream of small credits to your account as a bonus for saving with the coupons you use.

I've found I save the most when I build up a stockpile of coupons and match them up with the sale items in the weekly store fliers from our local newspaper.  I look for items on sale that I normally purchase or would like to try, match up coupons with advertised sale items and make my shopping lists.  When I find a great deal on laundry soap, body wash, shampoo or cleaning supplies, I stock up on those items while I can get the best deal.  It may sound complicated, but it really isn't.  I usually clip the coupons I like from the coupon insert in Sundays paper, check the coupon section on Sendearnings and review the coupons I have on hand, then I go through the store ads and make out my shopping lists.  I clip the coupons to the lists for each store and I'm ready to shop.  I do all this in about an hour on Sunday mornings while I'm drinking my coffee and when I've got my lists ready I make one trip and hit all the stores to pick up the deals.  It's pretty exciting to see how much more you can get with the same amount you normally spend and sometimes with a whole lot less!  I'm definitely hooked on couponing!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Took advantage of Schnuck's 10 for $10 sale this week to stock up on some groceries!  I purchased a total of 32 items including hot dogs, lunch meat, frozen entrees, chimichangas, steak burritos, cole slaw, Healthy Choice soups, pasta sides, Crunch and Munch, salad mixes and salad dressings.  The grand total before discounts and coupons came to $59.39!  After store discounts on sale items, manufacturers coupons and store doubling on coupons, my final total was $33.81 for a total savings of $22.58!!!  That works out to around a 38% savings on my overall purchases.  Could have saved even more, but I didn't pay close enough attention on checkout and was overcharge by $1.90 and didn't get credit for one of my $1 coupons.  Still not too bad for a couple hours work....


The top 5 dividend leaders of the Dow Jones:

1.  AT&T (T)  5.45%

2.  Verizon (VZ)  5.28%

3.  Merck (MRK)  4.14%

4.  Pfizer (PFE)  3.73%

5.  Intel (INTC)  3.73%

Of the five, Intel announced a raise in dividends this year.  A good dividend payout, although not reason enough to invest on in a stock, may decreased volatility in an uncertain market.  Something to keep in mind in the next few months.  I currently own shares of AT&T (taxable and IRA accounts) and Intel (taxable account) as part of my long term investment plan.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Here it is the first day of June, collected dividends from Conagra (CAG), Intel (INTC) and AFLAC (AFL).  Reinvested the dividend from AFLAC to purchase more shares, taking the dividends from Conagra and Intel to go toward purchasing shares in B & G Foods (BGS).  B&G had a dividend yield of 4.45% on their recent price of $19.11 and they turned more than 20 cents of each dollar in sales into profit, compared to 13 to 14 cents for Kraft and Nestle.  So I'm thinking they will be a good addition to my portfolio.  B&G is in the packaged food business, with such brands as Ortega taco shells and Polaner fruit spreads.  While it's a much smaller player than either Kraft or Nestle, they seem to have a knack for turning a profit.  I'll be adding B&G as a long term holding to my regular taxable portfolio.

The stock market took a dive today with the Dow ending 279.65 points lower or a drop of 2.22% based on fear of slowing recovery in world economies.  Pretty much what I was talking about in yesterday's post, although this summer's slowdown may be even more severe than usual.  With tremendous adversity comes tremendous opportunity for those who can stomach the risk.  I'll definitely be in the buying mode throughout the summer, should prices continue to decline.