Mondays With Mavis

July 25, 2011 46 Comments | Disclosure

My husband was out of town last week so I decided to take advantage and sleep late, play in the garden, and organize a few things around the house.  As you can guess I didn’t do a whole lot of couponing. :)  It appears I’ve pretty much taken a break from extreme couponing as of late… But don’t worry, it won’t last. :)  I’m down to 5 bottles of shampoo, a few tubes of toothpaste and  I think it’s been about 3 months since I’ve walked into a Rite Aid store.  So on Saturday night I logged into my Rite Aid account and watched all the July Video Values to get caught up. I just finished watching the August ones this morning and so I should be ready to go the next time a great deal comes along.

Taking a month or two off from couponing (especially in the summer) is easy to do when you have a stockpile to fall back on.  It’s nice to have a little cushion  for those time when you’d rather stay home and make do with what you have in the cupboard rather than hop in the car to pick up dinner.

There were a few deals however that I did manage to pick up.  Like 2 containers of Real Fruit Pectin for $2.33. I paid $1.19 each after the $1/1  6/12 SS coupon and less a .05 bag credit at Fred Meyer). :)

On the last day of double coupons at Albertsons last week I picked up 2 Kettle chips & 1 Mac and Cheese and paid $1.00 oop after coupons. (I used double coupons plus a $1 catalina coupon PLUS I got back a $1 catalina).

I also Paid $ .98 (I used double coupons and a $1.00 catalina PLUS I got back a $1.00 catalina).








I also snagged the Emerald Harmony Banana Chips and Trail Mix from My order was FREE thanks to a Amazon card I earned from my SWAGBUCKS. :)









I also spent a lot of time baking last week.








Staying in has it’s advantages. :)

I also picked/collected FREE produce and eggs from the backyard.

And redeemed a few free doughnuts thanks to the Albertsons Sizzlin’ summer sweepstakes.  I paid .62 cents for the fruit (I used a $1.00 catalina).

Free doughnuts and paper towels (Albertsons Summer Sizzlin’ Sweepstakes)

More free produce from the backyard. :)

I don’t know about you… But I always glance over at the shopping carts before I head into the grocery store… Especially at Albertsons. You never know what you’re going to find.

Yesterday when I went in I found a $2 catalina and a coupon for a FREE bag of carrots in one cart!  Hot Diggity!  In another I found a coupon for 1 dozen FREE eggs and a FREE pizza with any $10 purchase.  It kinda felt like Christmas.  I was only planning on buying a few things… but once I got a hold of the FREE coupons I quickly decided I’d go ahead and spend $10 (after coupons) so I could pick up the free pizza,carrots and eggs.

But before I started shopping, I headed over to the customer service desk and redeemed my latest Albertsons Summer Sizzlin’ prize. A $2 CASH PRIZE.  (If you’re trying to win the $2 prize… the hardest ticket to find is C184 (the left side of the ice cream container).

Anyway… after my $2 cat, $2 prize money and free coupons… I paid $10.37 for everything above.  I really wanted to buy more peaches (to freeze) and I still might go back and buy more… But I’m kinda hoping I get a call from Zaycon.  When I went to sign up for a 36lb box of peaches, they were already sold out in my area… so I’m on the waiting list.  They’re offering peaches for $ .79 cents a pound… which is a bargain in my opinion.  But we LOVE peaches… we NEED peaches… especially to freeze for winter smoothies… So I might just cave in and go back and buy more for $ .99 a lb at Albertsons tomorrow.  We’ll see.

All in all… not bad for a pretty lazy week of couponing. :)

How about YOU?  Did you buy anything exciting last week?

Total Spent This Week $ 15.30

Total Spent Year To Date $731.76


  1. Mavis- not sure where you live but where I live you can by boxes of peaches for like $12. If you go to the orchards you can even ask for over ripes (which aren’t really, it just means they won’t ship well because they are to ripe) that are excellent for eating fresh, canning, freezing and baking. Over ripes are usually 50% off of regular prices!

  2. Krista Porter says:

    Mavis, you say you get free from the giveaway. Do you win these from getting tickets? I’ve getten several tickets and never win free doughnutes. Thanks!

  3. InSeattle says:

    Last Monday I went to different Alby’s to try and score with my doublers and the store had a self check out and the person before me left their catalinas. $2 and $1 off next shopping trip!

    I have gotten the free donuts coupon only once. Last time I got 2 coupons for 2 free game tickets! But usually its 25c off some Albertsons product.

    • People ALWAYS seem to leave their catalina coupons at the self check out! :) I usually find a few each time I go through self check out too. :)

      • I alwaYs check selfcheck at my safeway :-) one time the guy checking out ahead of me left 5 cats just sitting there so the cashier, whO is in love my my 10mon old, gave them to me!

  4. myssssss says:

    How big is your family????????? 5 bottles of shampoo, your cabinet looked like you really really stockpile each week..You seem to have enough haba and food for a good long while, and it seems to the naked eye you do shop more often than you say in your blog…??????? most people who work everyday could not do that? do you ever volunteer and help people out really??? really????? hmmmmmm…

    • Hi Mysssss,
      You’re back :) As I have stated before… there are 4 people in our family and yes I do volunteer. We host quite a few pasta feeds throughout the year and so I stock up on free pasta whenever I can. I photograph everything I bring home from the grocery store and what you see in the picture above was accumulated over many months of couponing.

  5. If you don’t make it back to Albies, Safeway has White or Yellow peaches on sale Friday 7/29 – Monday 8/1 for .99 lb.

  6. Mavis, take a break from the extreme couponing for as long as you like, leaves a little on the shelves for those who might really need it. from the weekly bragging pics of all you’ve gotten for free or at the very least paid pennies for everyone can see what a savy shopper you are to take advantage of the freebies, rock bottom deals and get the very max you possibly can, yes you are the best couponer ever, we get it. you get way more than the average extreme couponer so I think you’ve got plenty to live on for a while girl!

    • Hi Jamie,
      I’m sorry you feel my pictures are “bragging” as they are not meant to be. As a self imposed challenge I am trying to feed my family on $100 dollars a month this year. The pictures I take are meant to show people how I use coupons strategically to reduce my total oop and how I’m able to spend so little each week because I DO STOCK UP when prices are low. I do not/have not/will never clear a shelf. I think it’s rude. If there is an item I would like several of I simply place an order with my grocery manager. The pictures you see are items I accumulated over several months of strategic couponing.

    • RUDE!

      • Not you Mavis! I was blown away by the comment Jaime had made! If not for you gals we would not be alerted to all the many wonderful deals as they are just too many to keep up on! I hope you don’t often encounter comments like this! I look forward to Mondays so I can see how you did!

    • She’s spent $700-ish over 7 months… I seriously doubt Mavis is the one clearing the shelves.

      Honestly Jamie, with all due respect, it’s comments like these that make these ladies seriously reconsider doing what they do – showing the rest of us how to save money. If you don’t like reading about it, why are you here?

      Mavis, for every one Jamie, there are 50 Dena’s who appreciate the guidance. Please keep it up.

      • $700 is what I used to spend in ONE month (and that was a good month!). It’s pretty awesome. What some people need to remember is that before Mavis started thsi goal, she had a healthy stockpile. She is in maintenance mode. And we all have to do “supplemental” shopping. So if you’re a new couponer, don’t beat yourself up if you are spending more than Mavis is per week… you’ve got to build it first! Slow and steady wins the race. Thanks for your kind words everyone. We love positive energy on the blog! 😀

  7. Marissa says:


    I’m sorry you get such judgemental comments. I enjoy reading about how you do what you do, and your garden. I am not sure what being a white girl has to do with couponing, but it’s inappropriate and uncalled for. Please keep up the great work, and for every negative comment please know there are hundreds more positive, those people just don’t usually comment, like me.

  8. Cheryl H says:

    Mavis, thank you for sharing all your shopping strategies and great finds with us!! How wonderful it is to go to my stockpile and pack a quick picnic dinner to take to the lake or prepare meals for funerals or friends who are ill. My older children frequently come “shopping” and I’m so grateful I have it to share!! Couponing has saved me so much money and has given me peace of mind knowing that I have nearly a years supply of most things to feed my family and others if necessary. We are planning a week long camping trip and I am amazed that I have probably 90% of what I need already purchased and stocked away. You keep those tips, pictures, and everything else coming. You are an inspiration to me and I appreciate you so much!!

  9. Margie W. says:

    Mavis….you do not need to justify anything. You have been blessed with being a good steward of what the good Lord has given you. In extreme economic times that we live in, I for one am becoming more wiser by reading your posts and seeing how you are saving. Hats off to you Mavis for sharing your wisdom and knowledge and teaching us how to do the same and help out in providing for our families. I believe there are more readers that appreciate your posts than some who are ignorant of couponing…they should read more and learn more before posting. Please do not be discouraged and realize that your wisdom in couponing far exceeds those with negative feed backs. Oh & btw…to Marissa, there is no such comment regarding the “white girl”…she wrote “while girl”….let’s not add more foolishness to posts. 😀

    • Marissa says:

      Oh my gosh, I am such a moron! Jamie if your reading this, I am so SORRY I misread your comment. I thought it was a strange thing to say, and now I know why……because you didn’t! Ugh, I’m embarressed and mad at myself for not slowing down to read and then respond properly. Lesson learned. Again Jamie, I am so sorry.

      Margie…thanks for pointing out my HUGE error.

  10. Chelsea a. says:

    Mavis, I don’t understand how some people can be so rude towards others. I mean if they really don’t want to read your post , they can easily avoid it. There is something magical located on the computer screen that allows you to scroll down the page. 😛

    Btw I LOVE reading your weekly posts. Its inspiring how frugal someone can be with their purchases. =}

  11. I love when you show examples of real life expenses, like when you said that you had to spend $1 on your sons cold drink while attending a function. That happens to all of us, we’re out and about and we have to buy a drink or grab a bite to eat rather than run home and eat from our stockpile. I think it’s hard for some to see how someone can live off $100 a month for all food purchases because most of us simply can’t do this, I know that many are trying and in todays day and age who wouldn’t love to only spend $100 a month? But for the average American family of 4 this would be very, very hard. I for one am as frugal as they get but my lowest month ever has been at least $150-$200. Life comes up, I have to buy the family burgers when kids are starving and we are too far from home to get something from the stockpile, all family members are sick of stockpile food for meals, one of us goes out to eat lunch with friends, kids school lunch costs, birthday dinners, have to eat something on trips, etc . I think these sorts of things are all pretty normal to families but don’t appear very often on your accounting round up, maybe you have a better stockpike and maybe you are just more disciplined than me! It’s probably hard for most people to go to a store and just buy only the free or super cheap items, they simply don’t have the time to go from store to store to just get the free items and not pick up other needed items (milk, eggs, bread). You are blessed with the time to go to store to store to get only the deals and nothing else, and also there are other factors that others probably can’t see behind the scenes of how you are able to pull this off, maybe you have such a stockpile that you don’t have to buy milk and meats hardly ever (that I’ve seen in your posts anyway) or perhaps your family is vegetarian and you simply don’t have that expense that most families do. I wish I could only spend what you do, but I have different circumstances. It sounds as if your husband travels a lot so therfore it sounds like many of his meals are compted and he is given a per diem, like how last week you said you got like $40 worth of breads and other goodies because he was given this amount to either use or lose for his trip. I think it would be less frustrating to others maybe if you could explain some of your circumstances (you have chickens and get free eggs, you garden so produce is free for you, many of husbands meals are comped through his job, etc.) so that people don’t just jump to a conclusion that you only report some of your expenses (showing picture of and accounting for the freebies only) and are portraying something that is for most impossible to do. I know you can’t please everyone but I know that I really appreciate honesty and also someone who keeps it real. People want someone they can relate too and be shown something that they can actually do. Most people also don’t have unlimited coupons that you are getting from the dumpsters so that is probably frustrating to those that are trying to make it as well. Sorry so long, just my two cents, keep up the great work Mavis!

    • Sharon, I think that we all have to disregard things on blog posts that don’t apply to us, and take away things that we learned from or be inspired by.

      I kinda wondered about the per diem money spent on bread too. Seems like it should be included in the YTD running total, but how Mavis accounts for it is my business only to the extent that she posts about it on a blog. I can understand how she considered it “free money” but it was intended to cover expenses of a business trip, and it might have been taxable income. I travel for work occasionally, and there are always expenses, even if they are indirect. Like dry cleaning, for example. The money to pay for that comes out of either the per diem or the family checkbook; either way it all comes out of one pot. I would have put the bread money in the “grocery” tally, but others may account for it differently.

  12. Thanks Mavis for all of your posting in so many areas. From reading your posts, I am making my “to plant” list for next year’s garden, my “to travel” lists so I know what to watch for on the various sites, my ” how to find a deal” tips, making “real meals” from coupon shopping and obviously “to shop” lists each week.
    Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and experience with all of us. You are such a blessing to us now (shopping this week) as well as for the future (making plans for next season)!

    • Koren, I’m already thinking about next years garden,my next vacation, and what I’ll be making next week with ingredients from my stockpile too. :) And I think that’s the key… to always be thinking ahead.

  13. This is a sincere question and not a criticism …

    I am very envious of your fresh homegrown produce. Your photos make me salivate just looking at them.

    You say that the eggs and produce from your garden are free. But how do you account for the expenses related to your garden and livestock? Seeds, fertilizer, water? Maybe in Seattle you don’t need to water like we do here in Idaho where it is very arid, or maybe you just compost and don’t fertilize? Do you collect the seeds and keep them for next years garden so you don’t have to buy seed? Again, I’m not being facetious — I’m genuinely curious how it factors into your $100/month accounting.

    Eggs from your own chickens are super healhy and in the big picture certainly less expensive than buying organic eggs from the store, but what about the expenses of raising chickens, such as feed ? I’m lucky to be able to buy organic eggs from a friend of mine who raises her own chickens. She doesn’t try to profit from selling them, but she does have to charge a little just to cover her expenses.

    We had a conversation quite some time ago about how she values the eggs, averaging the cost of the layers, feed, and overhead over the laying-life of a chicken at one egg per day. I don’t recall the dollar amount exactly, but it was something like $.05-$.08/egg, give or take. She also somehow factored in the value of the bird when it’s laying life is over and it becomes chicken soup.

    Anyway …

    And as for the photo of your cupboard, I only wish mine were so tidy and organized.

    • Susan,
      I used a little leftover seed from last year and a bunch of new seed I was able to pick up this year from working seeds into my Rite Aid deals. I also picked up a large packet of beans at Albertsons a few weeks ago. So the veggie seeds cost me pennies. As far as fertilizer goes I get it from the chickens. I also compost quite a bit too. And in the fall I collect leaves and work them into my garden beds. And as far as water goes… I think I’ve watered like 4 or 5 times this summer. Living in Seattle does have it’s perks. :)

      Chickens/Eggs.. We bought chickens for our daughter a few years ago as pets (my husband said no to a dog or a cat). Although we do buy a bag of feed $20(?) every couple of months they tend to free range and also eat a lot of our garden/kitchen waste. I’m guessing having chickens for a pet is a lot less expensive than having a dog or a cat. I’m sure most people don’t factor in cat food/kitty litter/vet bills into their grocery budget. And I don’t count chicken feed either. The eggs they lay are just a bonus. And although we generally have more eggs than we can use… I just give them away to the neighbors for free. Also, since our chickens are pets… we have no plans on eating them. :)

      • Thanks for the explanation Mavis. That does make sense. I grew up on a farm and never thought of chickens as pets. Steers or pigs either, although I do remember once as a kid when I grew attached to a steer. I even named him. My dad, knowing that steer was destined to become our family’s beef supply, warned me over and over not to give him a name and get friendly with him. And sure enough, I was crushed when he went bye bye. Sigh.

        You’re right about pet food, at least in my case. I don’t include the expense of dog food in my grocery budget. But I do have a separate budget for Leo (our doggie) that includes food, grooming, supplies, etc.

  14. Those of us trying to learn to feed our families in tight economies appreciate your posts of ETHICAL couponing…thank you! And thank you for taking criticism in stride. Any tips for those of us who want to buy healthier foods (meats & produce) & have to get it from the grocery stores? Thanks!

    • I know it’s been said a lot of times before… but I think stocking up while something is in season is key. It seems like everything has it’s season. Chicken and pork seem like they are always at their lowest in the summer as well as fruit and veggies. For example I’m freezing sliced peaches because they are on sale this week and we will use them in the winter for smoothies.

      When turkeys are on sale during November for like $5 or less I try and pick up a few for the freezer. I think the main thing is to just do what you can. Anytime you are saving money… and you are going to use the product… you’re doing great. :)

  15. I wanted to comment on the comment about the 5 bottles of shampoo …

    It’s funny how your perception changes. There are only two people in my household, myself and my child. I work outside the home and she’s at school or camp most days, so we do not use much toilet paper. Before I started couponing, I never bought more than two 4-packs of toilet paper at a time — one for each bathroom. Each week I’d check the supply, and if there were only one or two rolls left, I’d put a 4-pack on my weekly shopping list.

    One of my first big couponing successes was for toilet paper. That was a year and a half ago when I was able to get 4 (or maybe it was 5, I can’t remember) big12-roll packs on one of those awesome drug store deals where a combination of sale price, coupons, and catalina made for dirt cheap toilet paper. It lasted us for months amd months. My friends teased me mercilessly for buying so much toilet paper, and even my young daughter told a neighbor that “mom’s gone crazy!”

    Since then, I’ve only bought toilet one time, again, on one of those great drug store deals that roll around every now and then. I’m not clearing shelves, honest, but in order to get the deal you have to buy several big packs.

    Fast forward to now … I’ve broken into my last 12-roll pack of toilet paper, and we have maybe 4 or 5 rolls left. Yikes! Never mind that I never used to keep more than two 4-packs in my house, nowadays if I’m down to my last 12-pack, I’m “almost out!” My supply will last until the Cottonelle sale coming up soon, as long as we are conservative and don’t use two rolls of toilet paper to mop up water from the shower that somehow got all over the bathroom floor (yes, the kiddo has been known to do that). But I’m really feeling like I’m dangerously low on toilet paper.

    So anyway, I got a chuckle out of the comment that you are down to 5 bottles of shampoo. I can totally relate. Sure, 5 bottles will easily last a family of 4 to another great sale, but hey, if you’re used to having a big stockpile ….

  16. hi Mavis —
    I was on facebook this morning and basically panicked when I realized i had missed your “Mondays with Mavis” post this week. I had to come over to your website and find it right away. It is a post I always look forward to each week! I love seeing what you’ve done for the week and often shake my head in awe. I always think “I want to be like Mavis”!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Hi Mavis,
    I love reading your posts since I started couponing couple weeks ago.
    I just have a quick question regarding your fresh produce; we just moved into our first house, and I’ve been wondering about what to do with the backyard.
    Do you have any suggestion on how to grow zucchinis, berries, etc? So far, we’ve only got tomatoes, because I heard they are easy to maintain.

    • Meg,
      What state do you live in? Is there already a garden space? And if so how much?

      • Hi Mavis,
        Sorry for the late respond
        We also live in WA. Our house has about 8*10 ft of space that gets 6-7 hr of sunlight!

  18. This is for those that critisize those who “Stockpile food”

    I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    We are counseled to be self sufficient and to be Prepared

    A few things we are asked to do:

    1. Have a YEAR supply of Food and other necessities
    2. Have 72 hour kits
    3. NO Debt
    4. Have a savings
    5. Be Prepared – (this is for everything – no only food storage but life planning – death planning- living trusts, burial, funeral, etc….)

    So you see Mavis’s stockpile is modest when you compare to those of us who either have or are working towards a YEAR supply of food and supplies.

    For more information you can go to

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