Monday, June 30, 2008

Correction on Diaper Deal at Walgreens!

Okay, I made a mistake. As it turns out, Walgreens will not issue another $5 Register Reward for the diapers if you pay for your order using a $5 Register Reward from a previous diaper transaction. Bummer. Still a good deal, just not quite as good.


Even Better Deal on Diapers! Only $1.82/pack!

This week Walgreens is having a sale on their store brand diapers for $5.99each plus a special where they say that if you buy two packs they will give you $5 Register Rewards. For the uninitiated, Register Rewards print out at the end of your receipt and can be used just like money at Walgreens. In addition to that, they have Instant Value Coupon in their monthly ad booklet for $5/2. In the past, Walgreens registers take off the amount for the third item as well.

Here's a photo of the coupon from the IVC monthly ad booklet. You need to have the original booklet, I believe, compliments of irishlass on Hot Coupon World. So don't bother to print this.

So here's how you can get 9 packs of diapers for $1.54/pack + tax.

Transaction #1
Buy 3 packs Walgreens Diapers
17.97 + tax
-7.50 (Instant Value Coupons from monthly ad booklet available in stores)
10.47 + tax
Get back $5 Register Rewards

Go to the end of the line or make a different, separate purchase. The register will not issue the diaper Register Reward in two consecutive transactions.

Transaction #2
Buy 3 packs Walgreens Diapers
17.97 + tax
-7.50 (Instant Value Coupons from monthly ad booklet available in stores)
-5.00 Register Rewards from Transaction #1
5.47 + tax
Get $5 Register Rewards

Again, go to the end of the line or make a different, separate purchase.

Transaction #3
Buy 3 packs Walgreens Diapers
17.97 + tax
-7.50 (Instant Value Coupons from monthly ad booklet available in stores)
-5.00 Register Rewards from Transaction #1
5.47 + tax
Get $5 Register Rewards

Now spend those Register Rewards on something you need anyway like milk or bread or wipes.

So you will get 9 packs of diapers for $16.41 assuming you've spend your last Register Rewards on something you would have bought at full price anyway! That's only $1.82/pack!

A couple of words about the Walgreens brand diapers. They work about as well as any store brand diapers. Not as good as Pampers but pretty well, especially for the price! They are definitely better than the most cheaply made diapers. if you're worried about it, go ahead and buy a pack or three and see how they are before buying nine packs.

Keep in mind that the Walgreens brand diapers tend to run small. So buy the next size up than you normally use.

Happy shopping!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shoppers Food & Pharmacy Deals 06-26-08 through 07-02-08

SFW Deals
June 26 through July 2

Here are this week's deals at shoppers' Food & Pharmacy for The Grocery Gathering, where each Monday and thursday mornings the "gatherings" of the best deals are posted.

Shoppers Food & Pharmacy Deals

For the weeks of 06-26-08 through 07-02-08

Coupons in Circular

Get $5 off when you buy 10 participating products (must present coupon from circular):
Del Monte Ketchup 24 oz 10/$10
Kraft Cool Whip Dessert Topping 8oz $0.99
Kool-Aid Single Packs Unsweetened 8/$1.00
Kraft natural Cheese 8oz 3/$7 $1/2 06-08-08 SS
Planters mixed nuts 2/$5 $3 off Planters 9oz+ WYB (3) Kraft, Nabisco or oscar mayer products
Planters Dry Roasted Nuts 2/$5
Post Family Size Cereal 2/$6
Post Selects Cereals 2/$5
Good Seasons Dry Dressing Mix 2/$6
Kraft Cracker Barrel Cheese 2/$6
Kool Aid Sugar Free Powder Drinks 2/$5
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese 10/$10
Jell-O Pudding 3/$2
$0.50/1 Kraft Jell-O Dark Chocolate Pudding Snacks, Any 06-01-08 SS
$1/1 Kraft Jell-O Dark Chocolate Pudding Snacks, Any 06-01-08 SS

Here's one scenario you could do with the $5 off $10 deal:
Buy 10 Jell-O Puddings at $0.66ea
=6.60 (10x$0.66)
-10.00 (10 $1/1 or 10 $0.50/1 doubled manufacturer's coupons)
-5.00 ($5/$10 circular coupon)
= -8.40 overage which means not only do you get the ten boxes free you could use the $8.40 overage to pay for items that don't often have coupons!
Please undertand that I've never had an opportunity to test Shoppers for their policy on overage like this. Some stores will not allow it. Some cashiers won't allow it. But if you want to try it, have them scan items worth at least $8.40 plus tax before the Jell-O pudding. I'd love to hear from anyone who tries this. We don't eat it so won't be doing this deal.

Save $3 on a whole watermelon WYB 2 Ball Park Franks or hillshire Farm smoked sausage

Coke 12-pack cans Buy 4 for $12 get 1 FREE with circular coupon

Crystal Light Powdered Drinks 2.79
Country Time Drink Mix 2/$5
Planters Kettle Nuts 3/$4
Jell-O Gelatins 5/$2
Crystal Light Live Active Drink Mix 2.79
Crystal Light On The Go Drink Mix 2.79
Crystal Light Powdered Drinks 2/$8
Nabisco Snack Crackers 2/$6
Campbell's Pork & Beans 3/$1
Utz Large Bag Potato Chips 2/$4.50
Mt. Olive Kosher Dill Pickles 46oz 2/$4

Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese 2/$3
Hamburger and Hot Dog Rolls 2/$4.50
Richfood Mustard 10/$10
hunt's BBQ Sauce 10/$10
Richfood Mustard 10/$10
Andy Capp Potato Sticks 10/$10
Richfood Sweet Relish 10/$10
Bar S Jumbo Franks 10/$10
Ball park Meat Franks 2/$4
Ball Park Beef, Turkey & Fat Free Franks 2/$5
Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage Links 2/$5

2 1 lb containers $4.00
California Red & Black Plums 2 lbs/$3
White Seedless Grapes 1.98/lb
SC Large Peaches 2 lbs/$3
Mangoes 10/$10
Red Bell Peppers 10/$10
Yellow or Zucchini Squash 2 lbs/$3

Watch for Colgate manufacturer's coupon in the circular.

Happy shopping!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Diapers for only $3.33/pack!

Want to spend $3.33 on a pack of diapers? How about $1.00 on an 80-count pack of wipes? It’s within your reach. CVS is having a special promotion for their CVS diapers and wipes the week of July 20. You just have to do a little prep work for it first.

First, go to your nearest CVS and get yourself a CVS member card. You could do this online but it wouldn’t give you enough to get everything done. You need to have your ducks in a row by July 20. While you’re there ask when their truck comes each week and when they are finished stocking their shelves with fresh stock each week.

Second, register your card online at You should receive a welcome email from CVS that has a printable coupon worth $4 on any $20 purchase. Print it and keep it in a safe place.

Third, visit a CVS that has a coupon printer/price scanner. These are small red machines somewhere in the store that allow you to check the price of something as well as print coupons for your use. It usually spits out three coupons, one of which is a $3 off any $10 CVS Brand purchase. You will need two of these coupons. Unfortunately, it won’t spit out more than one of these coupons in a day so you will need to go on two separate days to print them twice.

So, now you’ve got your CVS card, your $4/20 welcome coupon, and your two $3/$10 CVS Brand coupons. Here’s how you use them:

The week of July 20 confirm that the diapers and wipes are indeed on sale with ECBs in your area. (Some promotions are regional only but most are nation-wide.) Plan to go to your CVS within a few hours of when their shelves are freshly stocked.

Once there, put three packs of CVS brand diapers and 1 80-count pack of CVS brand wipes into your cart. Take them to the cashier. Hand over your CVS card and the merchandise. Let her scan them and give you the total. Then hand over all three coupons. And the final price should be $10.00 plus tax. BUT you will get $5ECB which you can turn right around and use in your next transaction on diapers and/or wipes. Or you could buy bread, milk, whatever else you like.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Domestic Black Arts for Guys: Death Traps to Avoid

I, Popften, who have been married 25 years, will now impart to you single guys or newly married guys some of the helpful wisdom I have been privileged to learn the hard way. More than once. "Why would I want to know such things?" you might ask. A reasonable question.

Indeed, you may not want to know. When I was in college, living off campus, I survived quite nicely on a freezer full of … well, frozen pizzas. A fair percentage of them did get burned, but hey, my roommate and I were happy.

Except, in the interest of full disclosure, it wasn't quite that simple. You see, well, cough-cough, my then-future wife allowed me to come over to her apartment, contribute to her and her roommate's food budget, and enjoy their evening meals of well-balanced real home-cooked food, which was the real key to my physical survival.

So. Here we go with a domestic black art referred to colloquially otherwise as "cooking", "preparing a meal", "baking" and the like. Here are some death traps to avoid.

First, if you need to know how to cook something, a real helpful thing for said adventure is a "cook book". Joy of Cooking is a pretty good one. Contained within the gilded pages of the cook book are something called "recipes". Guys, now pay close attention here. Recipes are not written in runes of elven-languages of middle-earth from millennia gone by. They are actually written in English!

HOWEVER -- here is the key to a proper understanding of recipes, which, if missed or ignored, will result in kitchen-carnage of a scope and scale I shudder to think about. SO. Are you ready for the key to all cooking wisdom? The key is…. Ta-daaa! Read the recipe all the way through BEFORE you start. Yep. It’s that simple. But are not the profoundest truths of life simple ones? But wait, there’s more. After reading the recipe all the way through, you actually FOLLOW what you read step-by-step. This will maximize the probability of you ending up with something resembling edible. It took me almost twenty years to learn this to the point that I do it every time.

Why? you ask again. Well, let me just say that cooking is a highly technical process, rife with death traps for the naive or uninitiated. Sometimes you gotta do stuff like mix a bunch of dry stuff in one bowl, then deftly, athletically, and with aplomb, set that aside. Then get another bowl and, with power, authority, and a massive show of raw strength, combine a bunch of wet stuff. And finally, ruthlessly, and remorselessly, mix it. Or something. Look, I know it makes NO sense WHATSOEVER. But you need to comply with instructions like that or, trust me, you are going to get hungry, and you'll find yourself driving to Outback yet again for another one of those juicy, sizzling, ambrosia-like sirloin steaks with a loaded baked potato and Caesar salad that you know you can't afford 'til next month.

Don't say I didn’t warn you.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Free $10 Gift Card to Outback Steakhouse!

(Image by Diamond Hog at

Outback Steakhouse is having a Father's Day promotion. If you went to their restaurant on Father's Day you were to have received a promotional certificate with activation code which you can enter on their website for a $10 gift card. But they will send you a promotional certificate if you write to them. And you can write to them every day! So that's a $10 gift card every day! Now, I'm guess that these gift cards can only be redeemed one at a time. But still, $10 is $10!

Here's the scoop from their website:

1. ELIGIBILITY: Open only to residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at the start of the promotion. Void where prohibited by law. Employees, directors, officers, and agents of the Sponsor and the Promotional Participants their immediate family members (mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, daughter, son, step-son, step-brother, step-sister, half brother, half sister) and/or those living in the same household are not eligible.

2. PROMOTIONAL CERTIFICATE: Available two ways.
a) Visit a participating Outback Steakhouse on June 15, 2008 to receive a Father’s Day promotional Certificate with purchase (while supplies last).
b) By Mail. No Purchase Necessary. To request a promotional certificate send self addressed stamped envelope (VT residence may omit postage) to: Outback Steakhouse Fathers Day Certificate Request, 2202 N. West Shore Blvd. Tampa, FL 33607. Requests must be received by July 5, 2008. Limit: One (1) per envelope. One (1) request per day. Illegible, incomplete or mechanically reproduced requests are void. Not responsible for lost, late, damaged, delayed, postage due or misdirected mail/requests.

And when you're ready to enter your activation code go here.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How About Some Free Pickles or Relish?

Oh, don't those jars of homemade canned goods look like the picture of security and domesticity? Not too many of us can anymore. But we can still have that same feeling! If we stockpile when we find great (read: free or nearly free) deals. We can store them on a shelf in the basement. Then whenever we need something we just go shopping in the basement for free! It's not quite as picturesque but it works for me!

So here's how you can get some free relish. Go to the Vlasic website and register to play their silly and thankfully very brief game, "Crunch in the Fast Lane." Look at the bottom of the next page for a link for instant savings. Even if you don't win you will still get a link to a coupon for $1.00 off any Vlasic product in PDF form. Print as many as you like. There's no stated limit. And they don't expire until 12/31/08.

Now go shopping! You can find small jars of Vlasic relish at Walmart for about $1.00. They were $1.08 in Culpeper, Virginia. Dollar General has small jars of pickles for $1.00. Free pickles!


Shoppers Food & Pharmacy Deals Deals 06-18-08 through 06-25-08

Here's are this week's deals at Shoppers’ Food & Pharmacy for The Grocery Gathering, where each Monday and Thursday morning the “gatherings” of the best deals are posted.

Shoppers Food & Pharmacy Deals
For the week of 06-18-08 through 06-25-08

Bounty Basic Paper Towels 8-roll 2/$10, $0.25/1 06-01-08 P&G Doubled, Final Price = $0.56/roll

Charmin Basic Bath Tissue 12-roll 2/$10, $1/1 06-01-08 P&G Final Price = $0.33/roll

Zucchini or Yellow Squash $1/lb

Mangoes $1ea

Romaine lettuce $0.99/lb

White Seedless Grapes $0.99/lb

Not too much this week. I've been saving my peanut butter and cereal coupons in anticipation of sales that grocery stores in general usually have in August.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shoppers Food & Pharmacy Deals Deals 06-11-08 through 06-18-08

Here's are this week's deals at Shoppers’ Food & Pharmacy for The Grocery Gathering, where each Monday and Thursday morning the “gatherings” of the best deals are posted.

Shoppers Food & Pharmacy Deals
For the week of 06-11-08 through 06-18-08


Tyson Chicken Tenders 1.99/lb

Swift Angus Chuck Steak or Roast Bone-in 3 lbs+ 1.99/lb


Green Beans 0.99/lb

Romaine lettuce 0.99/lb

Mangoes $1.00ea

Wisk 2X Laundry Detergent $5.00ea, $1.50/1 05-18-08 RP, FP: $3.50ea

Hot Dog or hamburger rolls 10/$10

Watch for these Manufacturer’s Coupons in the weekly circular:

*Buy 2 Mountain Dew Voltage, Supernova or Revolution 24-pack get 1 12 pack FREE

*Buy 2 Degree Men Ultra Clear or Men Solid Absolute protection Get Schick Quattro Titanium Trimmer or Razor FREE

Happy shopping!

Rocketry as an educational hobby

Popoften here...

To my great delight, I found online the 1970 Estes Model Rocket catalog. This is the very same catalog I eagerly ordered from as a ten and eleven year old boy using my paper route money. Some of the prices appear to have risen about ten-fold between then and now.

The first rocket I bought and built was the "V2". I was very worried about losing the rocket, so I put in a very weak engine. The rocket went up about 30 feet, then back down, and the parachute deployed a few seconds after the rocket hit the ground. My brother, several neighborhood boys, and my father laughed.

The next rocket I bought and launched was the "Astron Streak". I put in the strongest engine the rocket could take, a C6-7, and launched it. The rocket soared out of sight in a split second, and, as nearly as I could tell, did not come back down. I found it about a month later, in a neighbor's yard, rain-soaked and soggy.

The next rocket I built was a "Cherokee-D". I was very excited about this rocket, since it took the most powerful engine Estes swold back then. We lauched it in a huge schoolyard in Burnsville, Minnesota that was 2.5 square miles in area. There was virtually no ground-level wind.

Nevertheless, the rocket roared up about two thousand feet, where apparently there was a fair amount of wind. The parachute deployed, and the rocket drifted strongly laterally as it descended. We chased it about a mile and a half, and it disappeared into a grove of trees. It is probably still there, some 38 years later.

In the Fall of 1971 I had started spending my money on other things, such as baseball cards. Then in January of 1972 we moved from Minnesota to Virginia, and my interests diverged further.

I was, nonetheless "bitten by the model rocketry bug" way back in that summer of 1970, and the hobby re-emerged in my life in the early mid-1990's when I got some rockets for my four older children, launching them on a soccer field in Springfield, Virginia.

Then, z-rocketman came of age (at the ripe old age of 9!), and, well, here we are! :-)

All of the children, but particularly z-rocketman, enjoys going to launches. As a result, he's had a good introduction to some physics concepts. He understands the concepts of the center of gravity, the center of pressure and the center of mass, the phases a rocket goes through, and using trigonometry to estimate how high a rocket flies, to name a few. It's so neat to see him learning such advanced topics with such enthusiasm. That's really the key to successful learning - you have to want to learn it!

As a matter of fact, he is so enthusiastic that he has his own blog in which he writes about it. Check it out!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Want some free soap?

Johnson and Johnson's Buddies soap has become our favorite soap since we can get it for free! Want some? Go here to print the coupon. If you get a message that says "We're sorry..blah, blah, blah" then hit the backspace bar until you get to the page that says in small print at the top if you're having trouble printing this coupon CLICK HERE and click it. It isn't up for very long so you'll only have about two seconds to click it. If you miss just hit backspace and try again. Once you click it it should print. Once it prints, hit the backspace button until it starts printing again. You should be able to get two coupons. That is all it will allow.

Now take your J&J coupon to Walmart or CVS and use it to buy your free soap!

Happy bathing!


Monday, June 9, 2008

Looking at the picture of the "Egg"...

Is it just me, or does the front of a 96 Ford Taurus wagon look like a smiling face with wide eyes and dimples?


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Meet "The Egg"!

Popoften here again.

I like to save money on cars. I really like to get good used cars for less than $1000.

The nice thing is, it really is not all that hard to do.

Here is another one of my cars, a 1996 Ford Taurus station wagon we call "the egg". The reason we use that name is because we couldn't figure out what color it was at first. It is very dark, but it is not black. It is similar to the color of an eggplant, so we thus call it "the Egg".

I was attracted to this car and its $800.00 price tag when I saw it pop up on craigslist last year. The car did have 150,000 miles on it, and I try to buy cars with 130,000 miles or less, but the owner supplied me with every single receipt from every single service he got done on the car, including the receipt for the purchase of the car when it was brand new. I spent more time reviewing these service receipts than I did inspecting the car, although I did inspect the car very carefully. The maintenance history documented that the car had been well cared for.

Cosmetically, it's a bit scuffed up here and there, but I don't care about that. The car checked out mechanically. As a bonus, it had a nice sound system, so I pulled the trigger and forked over the $800.00.

The car has worked out nicely. The only reconditioning I had to do was replace the plug wires, which ran me about $85.00.

It just keeps going and going.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Shoppers Food & Pharmacy Deals Deals 06-05-08 through 06-11-08

Here's are this week's deals at Shoppers’ Food & Pharmacy for The Grocery Gathering, where each Monday and Thursday morning the “gatherings” of the best deals are posted.

Shoppers Food & Pharmacy Deals
For the week of 06-05-08 through 06-11-08

Anyone for FREE mustard?

French’s Classic Yellow Mustard 14 oz 10/$10 $0.50/1 03-09-08 SS Doubled FREE

Kraft Salad Dressing 16oz 2/$4 $0.75/2 05-11-08 SS Final Price (FP: 2/$3.25 (must buy 2 to use coupon)

Del Monte Ketchup 24oz 10/$10 ($1.00ea)

Wisk Laundry Detergent 100oz 2/$10 $1.50/1 05-18-08 RP FP: $3.50ea

Angel Soft 12 Double Roll Bath Tissue 2/$10 $0.50/1 05-18-08 RP Doubled FP: $4.00ea, $0.30/roll

Sparkle 8 roll towels 2/$10 $0.50/1 05-18-08 RP Doubled, or $1/1 05-18-08 RP FP: $4.00ea, $0.50/roll

Bull’s Eye BBQ Sauce 18oz 2/$3

Kraft Super Easy Squeeze Real Mayo or Miracle Whip 16 oz 2/$5, $2.50ea

Hot Dog buns or Hamburger Rolls 10/$10

7Up, RC Cola or A&W Root Beer 12 packs 4/$10 with ad circular coupon, FP: $2.25/pack

Save $5.00 with ad circular coupon when you buy $25+ of participating Kellogg’s products:
Frosted Flakes 16.9 to 17.5oz 4/$10 ($2.25ea)
Corn Pops 14.7 to 15 oz 4/$10 ($2.25ea)
Froot Loops 15 oz 4/$10 ($2.25ea)
Apple Jacks 15 oz 4/$10 ($2.25ea)
Mini Wheats 12 to 18 oz box 2/$5 ($2.25ea)
Special K Cereal 12 to 18 oz box 2/$5 ($2.25ea)
Pop-Tarts 8-12ct box 2/$5 ($2.25ea)
06-05-08 through 06-11-08 8-12ct box 2/$5 ($2.50ea) $0.50/1 03-30-08 RP Expires 06-08-08 Doubled, FP: $1.50ea
NutriGrain Bars 8-12ct box 2/$5 ($2.50ea)
Kellogg’s Cereal in a Cup 1.5 to 2.8oz 10/$10, $1.00ea
Kellogg’s Eggo Waffles 10 ct 3/$5, $1.67ea

How about $1.00/box cereal bars?

Best Deal with this coupon:
$25.00 10 boxes Special K Bars
-10.00 10 coupons ($0.50/1 doubled)
-5.00 ad coupon
=$10.00 ($1.00/box)


Smithfield Premium Pork Picnic Shoulder 1.49/lb

Perdue Oven Stuffer or Whole chicken .99/lb

Swift angus Whole Boneless bottom Round 1.99/lb
(Sold as Whole Only but can be custom cut FREE into Bottom Round Steaks)

Sirloin Pork chops 1.69/lb 3+ lbs

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 3lb bag 1.99/lb


Red & White Seedless Grapes 2/$3

Sweet Red Cherries 2.98/lb

Romaine Lettuce .99

Mangoes 10/$10

Happy shopping!


Monday, June 2, 2008

Mr. Dresden

Hello All,

Popoften checking in.

We had an addition to the family recently - a 1987 Pontiac Bonneville. It is our most recent success in saving money on cars. Yes, you really can get a good used car for $999.00 or less.

I bought it this past March with 45,000 original miles on it. It is in great mechanical condition according to my mechanic. The interior and the exterior look great. Purchase price: $200. That is not a typo. Just two hundred dollars! Ladies, the car is a beautiful burgundy red inside and out. Guys, it has the 3.8L Chevy V-6 with the 4 speed/overdrive automatic transaxle. It gets surprisingly good 26 mpg, more if you are careful.

When I was evaluating the car for purchase the owner disclosed to me that the only problems he knew of were that the serpentine belt was slipping a bit and getting rather hot, and that the car had a slight electrical power fade which I suspected was a worn alternator. I had a look under the hood and determined that the belt problem was due to a worn a/c compressor clutch. My mechanic confirmed the bad alternator.

I saved a ton of money on the parts by purchasing both through I am a very happy customer of rockauto. I have bought parts from them several times. The a/c clutch was about $70.00, which was about $60.00 cheaper than I could get it from any other source. The rebuilt Borg Warner alternator I got on a closeout special for $55.00 also from This was about $110.00 less than I could get it from any other source. My mechanic installed both for about $100.00 labor. Total cost of repairs: $225.00 parts and labor. So, all told, I thankfully was able to acquire an excellent car for a total of $425.00 in acquisition and reconditioning costs.

I figured I was going to give the car to one of my daughters or sell it to one of my sons (I’m old fashioned, I admit it).

My 22 year old daughter commandeered it. She loves it.

She has named it “Mr. Dresden”.