Mondays With Mavis…

Can you believe summer is almost over?  I’m already thinking ahead to next years garden and what I’d like  to grow.  Ahhh, if only I had room to grow flour and sugar and butter. 😉 But then again I don’t think I would want to have to milk a cow twice a day.  So hopefully, with fall approaching I will be able to find some good deals on the staple products like flour, sugar and butter… Because I am almost out. Yikes!

Here is what I purchased this week:

On the last day of Albertsons double coupon days I purchased 6 Gatorades for free but had to pay $1.00 in tax (I doubled $1/1 hang tag coupons), 20 packages of Mission whole grain tortillas FREE (I doubled $1/1 product coupons that were taped to the packages),  11 Velveeta Cheesy Skillets FREE (I doubled $1/1 coupons) and paid a whopping $1.53 oop for 11 packages of ground beef (approx 2/3lb per package) using the $1 off any meat purchase catalina coupons (which I doubled) from the Velveeta Cheesy Skillets.

Folgers Coffee FREE (Thank you Swagbucks!)

Fred Meyer $10.87! The only coupon I used was a $2 off Tropicana Orange Juice coupon I received via email from Tropicana.

10lbs of Onions $3.49

A family friend  gave us 2 FREE cabbages. I call him Farmer Ted.  He doesn’t actually work on a farm, but his family has leased their land to local farmers for over 50 years.  After the farmers have sold their harvest… Farmer Ted gets to keep what is left over. When our children were smaller Farmer Ted would bring them giant pumpkins from the farm.  These days he typically brings us a case or two of corn each year (I have my fingers crossed for this year) and in exchange for the corn (he won’t take money) I send him home with a years supply of homemade jam.  It’s a fun trade I look forward to each year.

Another freebie I look forward to each year are the wild blackberries that grow down the hill from our house.  In any given season I am able to pick enough berries to freeze and enjoy until the following years harvest.

Free backyard garden produce.  We had a bunch of beans as well but my son and daughter ate them all… RAW!  I couldn’t believe it.

And a few more blackberries to finish off the week.

Total Spent This Week: $16.89

Total Spent Year To Date: $1,028.22

There are 116 days left in 2011.  I have exactly $171.78 + a $100 Albertsons Gift Card left to spend if I plan on reaching my goal of only spending $1,200 oop for all our food, toiletries and dinners out in 2011.  That breaks down to about $2.34 a day.  🙂  I think I can do it! 🙂


 Burpee Gardening Coupons


  • Annett

    Its amazing. I love reading Mondays with Mavis.

    I do have a question though. With the Albertsons coupon limits, how do you go about doubling so many? The doublers are soooo hard to get now. Do you do multiple trips in & out? Maybe your Albertsons is different? I am limited to 3 doublers per transaction, and only can do up to 3 transactions in a row.
    – so enough for 9 items.

    Do you go get the 9 items, pay leave and put them in the car and go back in??
    Do you buy multiple papers for the doublers or are you lucky enough to have friends/neightbors give them to you?


    • Mavis

      I typically shop early in the morning or late at night so my store allows me to do as many transactions as I would like as long as no other customers are waiting in line. Every store is different. But yea, I can only use 3 doubles per transaction just like everyone else.

  • Melissa

    Go Mavis! I think you can do it and I am super excited to see the outcome. If you can do it, maybe I can too. 🙂

  • ben t


    I have really enjoyed following you on this. It has been great.

    I am curious. How are you getting your doubler coupons? Are you buying them in the paper like the rest of us? If you are buying extra papers above your normal subscriptions, are you working that into your expense tracking?

    For example, my wife an I have a budget for groceries as well. We get 4 Sunday papers delivered, but if there are doubler coupons I usually go buy 8 more papers to get us a total of 12 sets of doublers. I am accounting for the cost of the extra 8 papers in my grocery budget, but was wondering if you are doing the same or have you found a way to get more coupons without the expense of the extra papers?

      • ben t

        Do you really get your doublers out of the recycle bin? I find them there all the time, but by the time folks recycle them, they are expired. In order for you to use them in time, when somebody gets a Sunday paper, that means they would have to get them to the recycle bin by Tuesday so you could retrieve them that day and use them. I rarely find anything in the recycle bin I scavenge from until about a week after they come out in the paper.

        • Lucy

          I’ve often wondered about the doublers, too. Many of the “Mondays with Mavis” show doublers scenarios done just the day before. That would mean that the doublers would have to be in the recycling bins on Sunday – and found – the same day the paper comes out. That definitely doesn’t happen where I live.

          Mavis, I know that you advocate pre-ordering when you are going to be buying large quantities so that shelves don’t get cleared. How do you know how many doublers you’re going to find in the bins so that you know how many to order? I often have enough of the necessary coupons for a “hot” item but don’t have the doublers to do the deal repeatedly because they aren’t recycled in time. This didn’t use to be a problem when I could get more doublers at the Customer Service desk but now that they don’t give them out anymore I am finding I can’t do deals like you profile due to lack of doublers.

          I would love to learn how you find your doublers so that I could try and imitate! Thanks for any advice.

          *I’m also wondering what you do when a “hot” deal requires a coupon from that Sunday’s insert. How do you find enough of the coupons on the same day the paper comes out to do so many transactions? And, again, how do you know how many items to pre-order when you don’t have the coupons yet?

          Thanks so much!

          • Donaca

            I’m wondering about the same thing “Lucy” says in her comment,

            ” I often have enough of the necessary coupons for a “hot” item but don’t have the doublers to do the deal repeatedly because they aren’t recycled in time.”

          • Lucy

            Still hoping for a response about the doublers if Mavis or anyone at fabulessly frugal has a chance… Thanks!

            • Hi Lori,
              The Seattle Times newspaper has an early edition Sunday paper that comes out on Saturday morning. There are no Red Plum Inserts in them… but they do have doublers. I’d love to be able to tell people where/when/how I am able to come across recycled Sunday papers… but you have to understand that if I did… I’d be giving away the best kept secret ever. So I hope you and other readers understand that. These lips are sealed. 😉

              But here are a few things to consider.

              #1 Some Coffee Houses sell early edition newspapers. A lot of people will buy a paper, read it and leave it behind. Maybe you could talk to a manager and ask if you could bring in a newspaper bin and let them know you will come buy and collect the papers once or twice a week.

              #2 Hotels. Are there any hotels in your area that will let you have their extra papers?

              #3 Neighbors/Friends/Family. Most of my neighbors are not coupon shoppers. There are a few that put their coupons/ads under their doormat for me to collect on Sunday mornings. And every once in a while I will leave some sort of freebie on their porch as a thank you. Maybe it’s free eggs, garden produce or salad dressing… just a little something to say thanks.

              l think basically if you want free/recycled papers… you have to think outside of the box and be willing to make the extra effort to get them.

              I hope this was helpful. Again I hope you understand why I cannot reveal exactly how I get them. 🙂

  • jeanine

    Hi Mavis-

    we are so blessed to live in such an awesome state. washington has the best produce in the summer!! we have had a mellow summer but how can you complain when we have four seasons- not many states get that. I’ve lived in north carolina and i am originally from Alaska, washington is the best state hands down!! the wild berries alone would keep me in this state!

  • Lori

    How do you freeze your corn? Do you blanch it?

    I bought a dozen ears today. Will probably have 8 or so to freeze.

    • Annett

      Hi – I saw your question and have an answer for you…..

      If you’re going to eat it within the next 1-2 weeks I wouldn’t blanch it – you won’t notice the difference.

      If you’re going to need longer time..yes, blanch it. It will keep the flavor better.
      Husk the corn & put in boiling water 7-10 minutes depending on size of ears of corn, then put immediately in ice water.
      Remove kernels from cobb, bag it, tag it and freeze it.
      If you want to vacuum seal it – freeze the corn overnight so it gets hard, then vaccuum freeze it (that way you won’t crush the corn)

      Have fun!

  • Patti

    Go Mavis! You can do it! I know you can!

    This has been a fun series to follow.

    Thank you.

  • Melanie

    I do my best with our food budget – your post makes me soooooo jealous! My local store will only double ONE of the same coupon up to .99 and the few times per year that they offer dollar doublers, it’s only 4 doublers allowed with an additional $15 purchase!

  • sue

    anyone in the south Meridian/Kuna area interested in garlic seed to plant now for harvest next Aug, let me know. Does not take much space to grow.

  • lena

    How are you getting coffee and other food items from swagbucks? I usually just get amazon gift cards….am i missing something?

  • Dawn

    I would love to see what someone can do here in California where there are no doubles.

  • Becky

    Hi Mavis–I was wondering if you might give me some pointers on how you get great deals on meat? Thanks! I love reading your Mondays!

    • #1 Several of my neighbors are hunters. 🙂

      #2 When Albertsons, Safeway and other stores run gift card promotions… for instance buy $100 in gift cards and get a $20 off coupon I typically “buy” my meat with the coupon.

      #3 Last week I was able to score a bunch of free meat (see the above post) because I knew that if I bought Velveeta Cheesy Skillets I would be able to double a $1 coupon and pick up $2 in meat. This week you can buy 10 boxes of Hamburger Helper and score a $2 off meat coupon. The deals will vary but the end result is the same.

      🙂 I hope that helps.

      P.S. If I had to guess… I would say the gift card promo’s will be running again around Thanksgiving/Christmas time.

  • Anna

    Mavis, you might already have seen this, but there is a little coupon insert in the October issue of Better Homes & Gardens with coupons for all kinds of cleaning products, Glade, Ziploc and juice products, and even $1/2 C&H Sugar products 2 lbs or larger. If you know of a place to get recycled magazines you could grab a few of those coupon inserts to stock up on sugar! They’re good through 11/30/11.

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