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Preview: The Goods

The Goods

It's never too late to make a stylish impression. The Goods delivers the scoop on the latest frocks, new products, shopping and style events.

Published: 2013-01-28T12:27:49-06:00


This week's sales


Just one week until the Super Bowl, and retailers have their game faces on. Most ads this weekend focus on TVs and an array of snacks perfect for the armchair quarterback.

If a flat screen is on your list, you’ll get the biggest top-brand bang for your buck at Walmart. The LG 55-inch LED HDTV with 1080p resolution and 120Hz refresh rate is $798, close to $200 off the most comparable price for the unit on For about half that price, Target is offering a 46-inch Apex LED HDTV, at $379.

For party prep, Target has a 6-foot folding banquet table on sale for $32. The beginning of the year and again in spring, for Easter, is when you’ll find sales on these tables that are great for times when you have extra company and need space either for dining or serving. And they hold up well for camping, too. Need something for deep frying some snacky goodness? Walmart has a one-time buy this week on Presto’s GranPappy fryer, $19.94. That’s at least $10 less than the lowest online price I found.

Pizzas are a game-day favorite, and if you want to cook them yourself instead of having them delivered, DiGiorno is on sale at most stores this week. Walmart, Target and Dollar General all have them for $4.50 apiece, but at Target, you get a free 2-liter soda when you buy two. Walgreen’s has them at two for $10. Go to for a buy two, get one free coupon to sweeten the deal. There is an insert coupon for the same amount in some papers today, but not this market. Go to eBay and search “DiGiorno coupon” if you want to order some from a clipper. also has this coupon but in limited quantities. It’s a good stock-up price (and I’m sure your freezer is getting empty from doing a pantry/freezer challenge, am I right?). The coupon plus sale plus bonus at Target means you’ll get three large DiGiorno pizzas and two 2 liters of soda for $9.

Thinking tacos, maybe some spaghetti? Target has a gift-card deal that includes Old El Paso, Pace, Ragu and Barilla products. Buy 10, get a $5 gift card, so effectively a 50 cent discount per item. The El Paso shells and canned refried beans are on sale for $1.19 each, plus there’s a coupon for 60 cents off three Old El Paso items in Sunday’’s SmartSource.

With the coupon and gift card, it’s like paying 49 cents per can or box of 10 shells. Again, stock up! These keep well. The Ragu pizza sauce is also on sale for $1.19, and you’ll find a 20-cent off coupon for Ragu in Sunday’s paper (available at newsstands and many retail outlets). So you’ll be paying about 49 cents a jar for that as well after all discounts.

Holiday clearance


We made it through Christmas, the biggest buying season of the year! If you had your eye on holiday decorations or other themed goods, you’ve probably already hit the clearance racks. If not, keep checking: Some stores will likely go from half-off to 70 percent or 75 percent off sometime this week on decorations, paper goods, candy and even some holiday-embellished clothing (Target went to 70 percent off Sunday on everything but candy, which is now 50 percent off).

Some of the Christmas snack items that you will find on clearance, such as nuts, crackers and candy, will be great for New Year’s party trays on Monday. They’ll also make good snacks for the kid when school starts up again.

If Santa didn’t bring exactly what you wanted, you are probably spending some time in the return lines. If you don’t have a gift receipt, be sure to check the store’s Web site for their return policy.

Some will take the return with an ID, giving store credit; some with only do an exchange on the day you return it. Checking out the policy and printing it to take with you can save you some waiting and frustration in the store.

Get a pile of gift cards under the tree or in your stocking? This is a great time to use it. Most retailers brought in a lot of stock in hopes they’d sell out for Christmas. If they didn’t, you’ll find markdowns stacking up in the next month or so as stores look toward their post-holiday reset of their shelves.

It’s a great time to buy some slippers, crazy socks, stocking stuffers and even bigger-ticket items to tuck away for 2013 birthdays and even next Christmas if it’s a timeless item that won’t go out of trend.

This week’s inserts include a Procter & Gamble coupon book with a coupon for $5 off a Scrabble, Catch Phrase of Taboo game. Check the toy aisles, as many board games get marked down after Christmas, and such games are great to keep around for unexpected birthday needs or to donate to Blue Santa or something similar next season.

For some folks, the eating frenzy is waning and thoughts are turning to kicking off 2013 on a healthier note.

Most inserts will tout specials deals on fitness equipment and more healthful snacks and meals in the coming weeks, but Walgreen’s has a couple of items this week that are geared toward better health and also are free after Register Rewards.

Brain Strong Prenatal Multivitamins and DHA Supplements are $10, with a $10 Register Reward printing (one per transaction). Fit Smart Simply Slim Weight Loss Supplements are also on sale for $10 with a $10 Register Reward back, one per transaction.

It's almost Christmas. Plan for the sales


This is the time of December when my thoughts turn not to the holiday just days away, but to one of my favorite shopping days: Dec. 26.

Of course, it’s a great time to grab lights, trees, ornaments and all other manner of holiday décor for next year if you need it. But there are many items you can use throughout the year that will be marked down as well.

Table linens can be pricey, but you can find many lovely patterns in gold, green, red or white that don’t scream “Christmas!” but are still classified as holiday merchandise. The day after the holiday, such items are generally marked 50 percent off.

Same goes for plates, cups and other table ware. Last year, I waited out the discounts and ended up getting some very cute Mickey Mouse bowls that were just red, no Christmas embellishments at all, for 90 percent off at Target. These worked great at my youngest child’s birthday party this year.

Some toys will also be marked down, either as part of a general overstock clearance or because they are lumped in with holiday gear. Much of these are considered “stocking stuffers,” like small bath kits with characters on them, some Hot Wheels cars, little Lego packs and the like. I grab these and use for goody bags at kid parties throughout the year and even save some for next year’s stockings.

Candy is, of course, marked down. Target marks their holiday candy down 30 percent to start, moving to 50 percent off after about a week.

And you can find much more than candy. I check the regular food aisles for crackers, coffees, cake mix and anything else I can think of that might have a holiday theme. All it costs is a trip to the scanner to see if you can score a big discount on snacks you can eat any time, or use to fill a lunch box. Check your coupon stash as well. You might have something that pairs with the discount, such as the Pillsbury cookie dough coupons in the Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 SmartSource inserts.

Paper goods go pretty quickly on clearance, so check that aisle after you’ve gotten your fill of wrapping paper, etc. I stock up on paper plates and plastic utensils. I’ve been known to use Christmas-themed gift bags as lunch bags through spring break. My kids are used to it! Finally, don’t forget holiday clothing and gift sets, such as hats, wallets and even toiletries. Some stores mark these half-off as well. Cute pjs for the kids, sparkly T-shirts for mom, slippers for dad. And cheap.

Enjoy your time with family this Christmas, then enjoy the post-holiday bounty that awaits at the stores!

Help with the holiday rush


Just a few days until Christmas, and many folks are feeling the stress of everything they have left on their to-do lists. I started my shopping months in advance and I’m still feeling the pressure to get everything done in time!

Staples did a national survey recently of holiday headaches, and travel and traffic delays and waiting in line to buy gifts topped the list. Other things people don’t like about the holiday season? Finding that items they want are out of stuck, waiting in line to ship gifts and spending time with family they’d rather not see.

I think we can all relate to many of these! I love to shop but this time of year, I find my enthusiasm waning when I can’t find what I want or can’t find a place to park. I remind myself what is most important and take a deep breath. Then I drink more coffee!

The best thing I did this year was order the bulk of my gifts online. That hasn’t eliminated the headaches (one retailer lost the one package I actually needed before Christmas), but it has kept me from scurrying about as much as I have in years past.

To help ease the burden of holiday shopping, I’m going to give away a $50 gift card to Staples for the comment I like best that gives a tip for easing the shopping stress during Christmas. Staples has free shipping and has joined the crowd of retailers offering a “reserve online, pick up in store” system to help you get the gifts you want. Deadline for this giveaway is noon Friday, Dec. 21, so let me know what you are doing to make it all happen!

Deals of the week


With visions of Xbox and Nintendo in their heads, the kids in your life have probably already mentally taken up every square inch of space in the house!

There’s still time to do a clean sweep, out with the old, so they can enjoy the new. We did this last week at my house, and we even found a few never-opened gifts that will be making their way to Blue Santa.

Remember that most toy drives take new, unopened, unwrapped toys for any age, and this is the last week for many of these efforts. What a great way to get your home ready for the holidays and help out those less fortunate!

If you are ready for the adding-new-things part, sales are kicking into overdrive this week, kind of a bridge between the early Black Friday shopping and the last-minute scramble. Walgreen’s has their $6.99 toys buy one, get one free this week, perfect for donations. In fact, many stores have boxes set up near the front for you to just buy and drop. They’ll do the work for you!

Another good Walgreen’s buy: Get a free $10 Walgreen’s gift card when you buy $50 in iTunes gift cards. That’s as good as a 20 percent discount, and the multipacks are great to break up as stocking stuffers or gifts for co-workers and teachers.

On the essentials side of shopping, the drugstore has its brand of diapers buy one, get one free this week. That works out to $4.50 per pack, a great price on diapers that we actually favor over the national brands in our house.

In Sunday’s inserts you’ll find a pack of SmartSource coupons, including one for $2 off select board games. Target has these games on sale for $14 this week, making them $12 each with coupon. These are great gifts for families and also for the donation box. If you know a child dreaming of a bike under the tree, the Bullseye also has a great price on kids 20-inch Magna bikes, $54 each. If you plan to travel by car with kids in tow, get a Philips 7-inch portable DVD player with two hours of playback on the included battery for $49, down from the regular price of $79.99. These are a must-have for going over the river and through the woods this season.

For young readers, Target has a gift card offer that might make gifter and giftee happy. Buy any two books from a selection of preteen titles and get a free $5 gift card. This includes the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Big Nate&” series, plus selected titles from James Patterson’s kids books.

Check my blog at for more deals throughout the week.

Shopping this week


Did your Black Friday finds wrap up your holiday shopping? No? Well there are plenty of deals to be had on everything from toys to electronics for your loved ones.

Toys R Us has all its video games, game accessories and guides on sale for buy one, get one half-off. A wide selection makes this a good deal for those with gamers on their list.

The retailer also is offering free product when you buy a certain amount of one category, like get a free Thomas the Tank Engine crossing when you buy $100 of Thomas toys. The ad also includes a couple of coupons redeemable on special items.

Walmart is touting the availability of new times such as “next year’s” Barbie collections and the latest Legos, including the Hobbit sets. Gamers will like the rollback price of $39.96 on Lego Lord of the Rings for Xbox and bonus editions of titles such as Madden 13, FIFA Soccer 13 and more for just $49.96. If someone on your list is dreaming of a basic laptop, Walmart has a one-time offer on an Acer model with 2 GB memory, a 11.6-inch screen and a 320 GB hard drive for $198. I am also looking at the Sylvania 7-inch portable DVD player for $38. Great for those holiday car trips!

If you are ready to get your stocking stuffers, Walgreen’s is a great spot for little fillers. This week, you can get Revlon nail polish for $4.99 with their Balance Rewards card, plus you’ll get $3 Register Rewards (one per transaction).

This makes it just $1.99 a bottle, perfect for a young lady in your life. You’ll also find candy cane pens at six for $1 and holiday-themed activity pads, puzzles and books at three for $1 with in-ad coupons.

Another good buy at Walgreen’s this week is Schick disposable razors, on sale for buy one, get another half-off. Combine with the $2 off coupon in today’s inserts for an even better buy. Definitely stock-up pricing.

Target has a few items worth a look as well. If you are thinking about getting a TV for the office or for a playroom, they have a Westinghouse 24-inch flat screen for $129.99 this week (online only). And it even comes in pink, too, if that’s a must!

For the men on your list, how about a Braun 350 special pack that includes a free Cruzer trimmer? Target has it for $99.99, plus you’ll get a $15 Target gift card. Add the $15 coupon from the Nov. 25 inserts and you are looking at about $70 for an electric razor and trimmer.

And the winner is ...


Nancy Demmer of Buda has won our contest for a $100 gift card from Ace Hardware! Nancy says she’ll use the card to turn her home’s bathroom from camo-style to something more fitting for her household full of girls. Congrats, Nancy, and thanks to all who participated.

Keep reading Saving Real Money for more bargains and giveaways.

Kohl's Black Friday deals live online now


In another retailer effort to break the Black Friday mold, Kohl’s has unleashed its deals online now through Friday at 3 p.m. You can get the same deals in-store starting Thursday at midnight. Everyone gets $14 Kohl’s Cash for each $50 spent. Use the code BLACKFRI or THANKFUL for 15 percent off.

I am wondering if I’ll even need to leave the house this shopping season. Are you planning to hit the stores or keep it digital?

Change your decor and win!


As we all make plans to gather for the holidays, some of us are looking longingly through home magazines or at paint colors, wishing for an update for the season.

Ace Hardware hears you. They are having a Merry Paint Makeover contest through Monday, giving away several prizes nationwide to folks who submit a “wish” story and photo of a room they’d like to change.

Go to their Facebook page at Ace Hardware and “like” the Merry Makeover to get started. One grand prize winner will get $10,000 in merchandise, materials and design services and three runners-up with each get an e-design consult and a $500 Ace gift card. You can brighten your home and the season all at the same time. The contest excludes kitchens, bathrooms, master bedrooms and children’s bedrooms.

What’s your holiday re-do desire? Comment here and I’ll pick my favorite makeover plan for a $100 Ace gift card! And who couldn’t use that?

Good buys this week


Before we dive into the frenzy of Christmas shopping, at least a couple of retailers are acknowledging that there is another holiday between Halloween and Ho-Ho-Ho.

World Market (see insert) offers a 25 percent off coupon for all furniture this week, just in time to get your house ready for Thanksgiving guests. You can also get 20 percent off tablecloths and open-stock dinnerware and flatware.

Walmart has a pullout insert this week all about the turkey feast. Stock up on Swanson chicken broth for 60 cents a can. Use the Nov. 4 coupon for 40 cents off five and you will pay just 52 cents each. This time of year is the best for stocking up on all sorts of canned goods. Boxed stuffing is another good buy in coming weeks. Walmart has Betty Crocker’s Homestyle Stuffing on rollback to 98 cents. Stock up now during the holidays and you won’t have to pay full price later when you need something.

H-E-B Plus has combo deals on turkey and spiral ham right now, so check today’s insert for more information.

Most stores are barreling down on Christmas, with everything from board games to barbecue pits to make those on your list happy. Walmart has rolled back the price on select Lego sets, always a big hit with boys and girls from ages 5 to 15. For little girls, the store has reduced the price of Disney Princess twin dolls with accessories from $21.88 all the way to $10. Ulta is kicking off holiday shopping season with a set of coupons in this week’s insert. Shop today and Monday and use the coupon for $5 off a purchase of $10 or more. Shop the rest of the week and use the coupon for $3.50 off $10 or more. Both pair nicely with their big Buy 2, Get 2 Free sale on cosmetics, brushes and Ulta-branded products. And you can mix and match!

Chi flat irons are also on sale, regularly priced at $149.95 and at $99.95 this week. You will also get a free bag when you buy one of these irons. If you spend $30 or more on fragrances, you can take home free, four-piece beverage serving set.

Walgreen’s has good stock-up prices on pantry staples this week, with Swanson chicken broth at 59 cents a can with in-ad coupon. You can pair this with the manufacturer’s coupon listed earlier to make it even cheaper. If pumpkin pie is in your plan, pick up some Carnation evaporated milk for 99 cents a can plus get 750 Balance Rewards points when you buy four. Libby’s pureed pumpkin is $1.39 per can when you use the store coupon, and you can get another 750 points on your store card when you buy four of those. Grab a few extra cans for baking next spring as the shelf life is long on this.

Saying thanks to veterans


Sunday is Veterans Day, and to thank those who are serving or who have served our nation, many businesses are offering free items to those with a military ID. Here are a few (check your location to be sure they are participating).

Sunday, Nov. 11: Applebee’s - free entree for veterans. Chili’s - free meal from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hooter’s - 10 free boneless wings with drink purchase Krispy Kreme - free doughnut Little Caesar’s - free Crazy Bread at participating locations Olive Garden - free entree for veterans Red Lobster - free appetizer for veterans and active duty personnel

Monday, Nov. 12: Denny’s - free all-you-can-eat- pancakes for veterans Golden Corral - free dinner buffet and drink from 4 to 9 p.m. Sizzler - free lunch until 4 p.m. Texas Roadhouse - free lunch from veterans menu TGIFriday’s - buy one, get one free meal for veterans

Sunday and Monday: California Pizza Kitchen - free pizza for veterans Outback Steakhouse - free Bloomin’ Onion and Coca-Cola

Enjoy, veterans! And thank you from all of us.

Black Friday begins


Love to shop the day after Thanksgiving? Then start your preparations now.

Several stores’ Black Friday ads have been “leaked” on various deals sites online, but retailers this week have begun to release the official deals.

Walmart has posted its Black Friday deals on, with an application that allows you to move your desired buys to a list that then aligns them with the times they will go on sale. The merchandising giant is again staggering deal times starting on Thanksgiving Day. Among the hottest buys is a decently loaded Compaq Presario laptop for $279 (in store only) starting at 8 p.m. turkey day.

For the top electronics items at Walmart, they offer an in-stock guarantee for one hour: 10 to 11 p.m. Thanksgiving night. Those deals are for an iPad 2 for $299 plus a $75 Walmart gift card, an LG Blu-ray player for $38 and an Emerson 32” LCD TV for $138. Guaranteed to be a madhouse.

Event 1 starts at 8 p.m. and features deals on gaming items. I like the “Skylanders Giant” starter pack for $38.96, which is almost half-off a hot new title. There is also an Xbox regular “Skylanders” bundle for $148. You can find an assortment of DVDs for $1.96, a Brother sewing machine for $49.97 and kids pajama sets for $4.50, for starters.

For “Event 2,” which starts at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving, I like the Orion 24-inch LCD TV, which at $78 would be perfect for a teen’s room. Not a top brand, but a decent price. I also like the Phillips Wi-Fi, Blu-ray Home Theater Sound System at $128. This time slot will also have a lower-end Compaq laptop for $179, in-store only. No stock guarantees, though.

Event 3 is the traditional Black Friday bargain-hunting frenzy, starting at 5 a.m. that day. There are deals on TVs, sewing machines, speakers and a lot of clothing. The Emerson 50-inch LCD at $298 is a great deal, but nothing else at this time slot really screams “deal” to me. Though I might need to pick up a Christmas inflatable for $15.

What will you be shopping for on Black Friday? Any tips for newbie shoppers?

MamaCents makes holiday shopping affordable


Woodlawn Baptist Church, 4600 Manchaca Road in South Austin, is hosting a MamaCents winter and holiday consignment event on Thursday and Friday. Admission is $2, and you will find children’s clothing, toys and more. Shop from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. At 2 p.m. Saturday, the event will open again until 4 p.m. for a 50 percent off sale. There will also be special sales hours for volunteers and those who bring items to sell. If you’d like to drop off items to sell, you may do so from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the church. See for more information and helpful tips on how to make the most of your bargain shopping experience. I’d love to hear from anyone who has gone to one of the previous MamaCents events? Any tips?

Free haircuts and half-price pizza


JC Penney offered free haircuts for kids during the back-to-school madness, and the chain is offering free cuts again on Sundays by appointment. Call JCP salon nearest you and get on the list! This starts in November, so just in time for holiday photos.

Hungry? Oct. 17 only, order Papa John’s online and get half-off your regularly priced menu items. This is my kind of cooking! Use code EXPO50.

More places accepting coupons


When I hear of another store that accepts manufacturers’ coupons, I feel like someone just gave me a pocket full of cash!

Dollar Tree recently started accepting coupons, though their computer system hasn’t caught up and it takes a bit of time.

And now I find out that Ulta, where all things beauty live, takes coupons as well! So I tackled the insert found in Sunday’s paper and found a couple of deals worth checking out.

First, Revlon cosmetics are on sale for buy one, get another half-off. Pair with the current coupon for $5 off any Revlon foundation, concealer, primer of blush and you will get some very inexpensive makeup. This coupon wasn’t in our inserts, but check eBay.

John Freida hair care is also buy one, get one half-off, and you’ll find several coupons for the products in today’s inserts. There’s also a $1 off Curel lotion coupon, and it is also in the B1G1 sale.

Combine any of these deals with the coupon on the front of the Ulta insert for 20 percent off any item to save even more.

Toys R Us is gearing up for the holiday season with a load of buy one, get one half-off deals of its own. Fisher-Price, InnoTab software, Crayola arts and crafts products, Mega Bloks, Thomas Take-n-Play and Play-Doh are included (see insert).

Also, the chain is promoting its holiday layaway program so you can get your shopping done and relax as the holidays approach.

I like the store’s deal on a Samsung Galaxy tablet. Buy a 7-inch model for $249.99 or a 10-inch one for $399.99 and you’ll get a T-Model 4G Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot and a $30 air time card for free. It’s a more than $150 value. Tablets are hot with preteens and teens, so if it’s in your budget this year, be sure to look into this deal. Ready to start holiday baking (I guess Halloween is the beginning of the season now)? Walgreen’s has Betty Crocker cake, cookie and brownie mixes on sale two for $3 plus you can earn 500 points on the purchase of two if you have a Balance Rewards card. Also, check the insert inside for a coupon that will save you 75 cents on two of these items. Stock up now! Everyone needs the help of baking mix with all that comes at us during the fall. After all that sugary goodness, you’ll want a good deal on dental care. And Walgreen’s has selected Colgate toothpastes for $3.99, plus get a $3 Register Reward back. That makes it just 99 cents a tube, 24 cents if you have the coupon from Sept. 30. It’s a steal and worth stocking up, especially since it includes sensitive varieties.

Gearing up for holidays, cold season


School is old news now, and Halloween is on the horizon. So, naturally, this means it’s time to think about holiday shopping!

According to Wal-Mart, some of the hottest toys this year will be Furby, LeapFrog’s LeapPad 2, Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blaster, Beyblade Destroyer Dome Play Set, Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Star Melody B. Sharp Interactive Doll and the Monster High High School playset. The discount chain has started its layaway program for the holiday season, hoping folks will pick up the must-haves now.

Similarly, Toys R Us is offering a hot toy guarantee, which means you can pick a toy off the retailers’ list, pay 20 percent now and be assured of getting it for the holidays. No more Tickle Me Elmo situations.

Check the SmartSource insert from Sunday for coupons on other toys that might make it onto your holiday list. Even if you aren’t ready to buy yet, it’s a great time to create a list of folks you’ll be buying for and attach a budget for each person. If you have ideas for what you want to buy, put them on the list and keep an eye out for the best prices. You don’t have to wait for Black Friday to find deals on things your loved ones will enjoy! Plus, you’ll spend less if you make a plan now.

If you’d prefer to take your holidays one at a time, you’ll find some good deals popping up on candy at most major retailers. I find $2.50 per bag to be a fair price for name-brand chocolate delights, and $2 a bag is a deal for name-brand, nonchocolate varieties.

Wal-Mart comes close to these price points without coupons, with bags of snack-size Snickers, Reese’s and more at $2.68 and Starburst and Skittles at $2.28. The Sept. 9 SmartSource had a $1 /2 coupon for Hershey’s candy, and the inserts last week had one for $1 /3. The Sept. 16 Redplum insert had various coupons for Mars candies that could sweeten the deal for trick-or-treater supplies.

If you are needing to scare up new decorations for your fall festivities, check out Walgreen’s this week. You’ll find Halloween décor for buy one at $9.99, get another half-off. And you can stock up on non-candy items for parties or if you like to offer something besides candy to your All Hallows Eve visitors. They have Halloween-themed activity pads or books at three for $1 and pencils or gift sacks at eight for $1, all with in-ad coupons.

This is also a good time to stock up on pumpkin and spice-flavored items, as well as air fresheners that are limited to one season. I’ve seen everything from PopTarts to coffee creamer to Eggos. And these products will probably go on clearance in November, making them an even better deal.

Hot deal today: Stock up on children’s cough and cold medicine at H-E-B. You can use a $2 off yellow coupon (it’s a store coupon) with a $3 off manufacturer coupon from Sunday’s insert to get a bottle of kids Robitussin for just 64 cents!

Grab the paper, save at Kohl's


Heads up: On the front of today’s Statesman is a sticky note ad for Kohl’s that will save you $10 off any purchase of $30 or more. If you subscribe, thank you! If not, you can pick one up all over the area. It’s worth it to get a couple today just for this coupon alone.

You CAN combine it with the store’s percent-off coupons, making for even better bargains. I usually break my transactions into two or three parts, with each hitting the $30 mark, to maximize the savings.

With summer clothing still hanging around the clearance racks and holiday merchandise rolling in, it’s a fabulous time to stock up on some basics like tanks and tees and start looking for gifts for loved ones.

The coupon is good Wednesday through Oct. 6.


Good buys this week


When you are looking to cut expenses, one of the best spots is on your grocery bill. Using coupons, coupled with good sales prices, can be worth a substantial chunk of change.

At Randall’s this week, you can stock up on some pantry staples and also help a local school. When you buy five items that participate in the Labels for Education program, you will earn a printed code worth 500 bonus points. Log on to and register to add those points to your school’s “bank,” and they can use the accumulated amount to buy items for their classrooms.

There are many participating items (see above web site for list), but the ones on sale through Tuesday at Randall’s include Spaghettios or Campbell’s condensed soups at $1 each, Goldfish crackers for $1.50 a bag with in-ad coupon, Prego pasta sauce for $1.49 with in-ad coupon and Dannon Danimals Smoothie or Crunchers Yogurt for $1.69, again with in-ad coupon.

The grocery chain also has beef back ribs for $1.49 a pound and pork country style ribs for $1.99 a pound, which is a decent price for both. And if you buy certain sizes of Pillsbury frozen breakfast items, Green Giant vegetables, Yoplait frozen smoothies and more, you’ll get one free for each two you buy.

In the beauty aisle, I recommend the $2.99 price on Herbal Essences hair care. In the SmartSource insert on Sunday is a coupon for buy one shampoo and get a conditioner or styler free (you can still get a paper at our office). Combine the sale and the coupon and you’ll get two bottles for $2.99. Not bad.

Walgreen’s is rolling out its Balance Rewards program, which will eventually take the place of most of its Register Rewards plan. Instead of getting a coupon at checkout for money off your next order when you buy certain items, those with the new rewards card can rack up points when they buy certain items, including prescriptions, and use those points to pay for most items in the store when the point totals hit a certain threshold.

Starting this week, the advertised sales prices in Walgreen’s insert are good only with the use of the card, so you’ll have to sign up if you want the deals.

This week, you can get Blistex Moisture Melt Lip Care for $2 with a $2 Register Reward back, making it essentially free. Also, Pantene hair care is buy one, get one 50 percent off. Pair with buy shampoo, get conditioner or styler free coupon in Sunday’s inserts and you can get two products for less than $3. That’s a great stock-up price! Also good is the Herbal Essences deal. Buy a shampoo and conditioner at 2/$6, use the coupon from Sunday’s paper to subtract $3 and get a $2 reward. Effectively, you get both for $1!

New coupons at Whole Foods


The newest batch of savings has been posted at Print ‘em now and save on everything from kids’ yogurt to vitamins to fresh baked pie and more.

Who says you can’t save a little no matter where you shop?

Austin Nordstrom adds Topshop, Topman


Austin’s Nordstrom store is one of 14 across the nation now carrying items from trendy British retailers Topshop and Topman.

A mix of men’s and women’s accessories, clothing and shoes popped up today on shelves at the chain’s Barton Creek Square location, 2901 S. Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). Nordstrom promises new additions each week.

Topshop’s makeup line will be available in stores — and online — by year’s end.

To celebrate, Nordstrom is planning a daylong party on Thursday. A road tour, which will include a stop in Austin, runs Sept. 28 through 30.

The arrival of Topshop and Topman comes just weeks before Swedish retailer H&M is set to open at the Domain in North Austin. It, too, is known for its trendy looks.

What to buy this week


We can almost bear to be outdoors these days, and folks are flocking to football stadiums and the hunting fields around the state.

For those with plans involving camoflage, Academy is offering deals on everything from shirts to gun safes, game cameras to crossbows. The cameras, in particular, are a sure shot, with discounts of up to 53 percent off on some models.

It’s also time for youth sports to kick into gear for fall, and Academy always has some of the best prices and selection for soccer and football gear. Their Brava brand soccer package is perfect for a beginning player and includes shin guards, a ball and cleats for just under $20. Spectating more your speed? Randalls fetes the celebration around football with deals through Tuesday on appetizers, chips, wine and more. You’ll find a bevy of buffet-worthy items from Tyson frozen chicken selections to Oscar Mayer hot dogs for buy one, get one free. This promotion matches nicely with a Kraft deal that gives you up to $10 off your next order when you buy selected items, Oscar Mayer hot dogs included. Buy a few packs for the grill and more for the freezer and have $10 to spend on other groceries later.

If you plan on having snack duty for kids’ events anytime soon, you can get Betty Crocker Fruit snacks for just 99 cents a box when you buy four boxes or more. If you’ve saved your coupons from Aug. 5, there is one for 75 cents off two boxes, making it an even sweeter deal. You can also find similar coupons regularly on

Other good bets for this week’s shopping: Walgreen’s gives you $2 in Register Rewards when you buy two Suave products, including the $1 shampoos and conditioners. Free hair products! Infusium leave-in conditioner is a decent buy this week as well, with sale price of $4.99, paired with $1 off coupon in Sunday’s inserts and a $3 Register Reward.

Need java to kick-start your day? Walgreen’s has Starbucks House Blend on sale for $8 a bag. Buy two, pair with coupon from Sunday’s paper for $1.50 off one and get a Register Reward for $3. That makes the final cost $5.75 per bag.

You can pick up Sunday’s Statesman at our office, 305. S. Congress Ave., if you missed it yesterday.

And keep checking Target for further markdowns on school supplies. Most stores have moved that merchandise to the back corner, making way for Halloween items. Some good deals can be had on lunch boxes, backpacks, paper, pencils and more. Save some for later this school year or pick up a few cool items for a stocking stuff this holiday season.

Get half-price pizza today


Don’t want to cook? Need something fast before the football game? Order online at today and use promo code SPORTS50 on the order page to get any regular priced item for half-off. Good for pizza, breadsticks, chicken wings and more. Must be ordered online, for delivery or pick up. Enjoy!

Today at Target


I took a quick cruise through the aisles of the Bullseye today since I had to pick up a prescription anyway. And what did I find? School supplies have moved to clearance! Backpacks, notebooks, folders and more are now 30 percent off, with some items already at 50 percent off (a few styles of backpacks included). Your store will have its own selection, of course, but I picked up a pile of single-subject notebooks for 11 cents each (i know the kids will need them again next year) and some filler paper for 57 cents a pack.

I also saw canning supplies on the clearance endcaps, 30 percent off at my store. I got a dozen Ball quart-sized jars for $7.77, minus a $1 coupon I found in my stash. Not bad! I don’t can, but I do use these jars for holiday gift mixes, drinking glasses and for storage in the pantry.

A note on deciphering Target clearance: An item will be marked down no more than three times. So if it’s say, a TV, that starts at 15 percent off, it will go to 30 percent, then 50 percent at most. A lot of times, TVs actually start at 5 percent off and don’t go below 30 percent off. Just depends. A lot of items (clothing, food, housewares) go 30-50-70. If you see something you just have to have, either keep checking or snap it up at the price you feel comfortable with.

The store actually has a markdown schedule. Remember, some stores will vary this some because of staffing, etc. But in general: Monday: children’s clothing, stationery Tuesday: Women’s and men’s clothing, domestics Wednesday: Men’s clothing (if not done Tuesday), toys, health and beauty Thursday: Toys (if not done Wednesday), lingerie, shoes, housewares Friday: Cosmetics

Now, the store nearest my house always does toys on Thursdays, so I know that if I’m looking for something that’s been marked down to go lower, that’s the day i’ll check again. Many times, if an item is marked down, it won’t go to the next level (say, from 15 to 30 percent off) for two cycles (marked down every two weeks). Yes, it’s a lot of work but the pay off is huge. I buy an absolutely huge percentage of my household goods, clothing and toys on clearance at Target and by knowing when to check and keeping my eyes open, I can save even more.

What deals have you seen today?

Save at the pump


Good news, drivers: H-E-B’s gas discount is back.

From now through the end of the year, save 12 cents per gallon at H-E-B pumps when you purchase gas with a reloadable H-E-B card.

With prices continuing to rise, this is a quick and easy way to shave a few bucks off your monthly bill.