Thursday, September 8, 2011


My Filing System still is "prettified" as I have yet to put the duct tape (hot pink) on the boxes , as I just haven't had the time to get the tops trimmed and it done NEATLY like I want it to be I don't have an updated photo to show you but I have had several requests for CATEGORIES that I use.

As I have stated many times, my categories may or may not work for you. Some people like to put in order of the store layout that they shop most frequently, others may alphabetize their categories, I don't do either........ I put what "makes sense to me" which is what I have gotten used to over the years......

So here goes nothing,  here are my categories as you have requested:

1st Box .......... on the left 
FRONT:  coupons that I think I need to check against products to see if sale prices/unadvertised prices are worth my buying,  this is in FRONT and not under a "tab" that categorizes

FREE:   free coupons that I need to use so they don't expire

FROZEN FOODS:   category I usually don't have many coupons for

2nd box Left
DAIRY.............subdivided by 2 snack bags,  regular dairy and then another for items that really are not dairy but in the dairy case (ie: biscuits)

3rd box left
Canned Goods

4th box left
Baking Items
Wine Tags:  this category is now almost obsolete due to those that have abused this luxury, it used to be such a wonderful ............not so much

front of box : uncategorized:  miscellaneous things like coupons from scanned ECB card that I have not used yet and short exp. date items


2nd Box:
Paper / Plastic

3rd Box
Health / Beauty  (subdivided by 3 bags:  soaps and body care / make up / shaving needs)
Oral Health Care

4th Box
Household:  (batteries, office supplies etc)

My side box  contains : paper clips, pens, business cards and I put my phone there while shopping
The very front of box has rec'ts and /or ECB /Register Rewards or Catalinas that may "spit out"
The Top lid contains Scissors, extra dividers, coupon wallet that holds VIP cards and /or gift cards
and very top of lid is where I put uncut coupons and / or store folders in which I pull coupons/ads etc and file so I can easily pull out a "shopping guide" of what I want to purchase with the relevant coupons.

I hope this helps you guys!  

Monday, August 22, 2011



photo credit:  tommi brandt
The photo you see is the OLD system I created about 18 -20 years ago?  I don't know exactly when but this coupon box was created from a CASSETTE TAPE BOX.   I had been couponing about 10 years when I developed this system to be a "cheaper and more efficient version" of the one I had before this one!

I gutted the bottom out of it and used cards, envelope boxes,  envelopes and snack bags to file all of my coupons.   IT WAS THE BEST SYSTEM I EVER USED!   When I was introducing my GF, TOMMI to the coupon world (we think 16 years ago she started?)    I don't know if you can see everything , but I ditched my box from wear and tear years ago,  TOMMI HAS NOT THIS IS THE BOX SHE IS STILL USING !  (photo taken today)

Since that time that I ditched my beloved coupon box and rebate box too for that matter.......... along with all of the FILES AND FILES of cut UPCS that used to be the "bread and butter" of couponing and rebating,  I have tried, reviewed,  and tested many methods.  The binder system , many boxes, wallets and last but not least the system that my new friend and fellow couponer ANN uses..........   this was the absolute best way I could find and I posted about it HERE 
and more recentlyin the article  FILES AND PILES UNCOVERED

Photo from the OLD DAYS!  @ Vicki P my BFF and KINDRED SPIRIT and I collecting the forms and coupons!

NOW....................... TO UNCOVER MY NEW FILING SYSTEM !   I just finished putting it together THIS AM and it is cleaned out and ready to be ROAD TESTED!   :)   I have been brainstorming what I wanted for a very long time and this is the closest I can come to the OLD BOX  (see first photo) that lasted for so long!  I am sure it will need to be TWEAKED to get it JUST RIGHT........ but for now ........... I LOVE IT! 
I don't think the photo does it justice but for now this will have to do as I am multitasking like crazy!


ANJIES NEW SYSTEM! :) not a stereo silly........ a COUPON ORGANIZER

I bought an attache case at STAPLES  item # 555695  priced $35.99 ,  I actually bought mine in store and used the 15% off savings pass that I got in the mail.  BE SURE to have your reward # on your online account if you order on line, thats how I got this free savings pass, being an online customer with a reward #.  Staples does have coupons to use online too, if you are not ordering right now , sign up for their emails and if they have a sale or coupon you will know and you can apply it to your order then.  I am sure other stores have similar ones and you may find a better deal.  I like this one as it is ROOMY without being too big and has locking hinges on the side to keep the "lid up" while shopping.

measuring the boxes ..........empty envie boxes worked great
I had to make sure not to interfere with the hinges on the sides and not too tall to block the top from closing, I still may need to tweak this ,   Faith said I should "hot glue" them to the bottom,  I'm not so sure about that .

4 reg. sized envie boxes and one #10 envelop box they are 99cent each at Target

I am using a pampered chef free coupon wallet I got to hold my "cards" and have it tucked away in a pocket
I got these nifty avery small files with tabs as a free sample via snail mail this week
 The AVERY envelopes with tabs were just what i needed to put in coupons that I am going to match with sale flyers .    They are thin and opaque, PERFECT!
manilla folders .........for sale flyers
I labeled some manilla folders with the store names that I shop most often and paired them with the Avery envelopes.  I put these in the expandable pocket in the top of my box.

I made organizer dividers to reflect what I deem the necessary categories, how I shop, everyone may be different!
Some people would file alphabetically, others by store aisle,  I file according the categories I "grew up with" the ones that I know from years gone by........ Everyones will probably be different , you do what works for you!   I paperclipped all of the boxes together so they do not slide around, they are all connected.  there is empty space on the right side of the box so that I can put my keys in the box while shopping.

SNACK BAGS , those little short bags with the purple and pink birds on them are what I am using because I could not find the clear ones at a price I liked, these are clear on the backside, so I put the coupons in to the clear side.  I found these bags for 25cents each at target on end cap clearance.    As you can see I have scissors, pens, paper clips, business cards  etc all in the box.  there is a spot for my cell phone which I can just slip in the case top while shopping.  It doesn't fit well enough to carry it in all the time.  I still want to take a better photo, cover the envelope boxes (maybe with some of that cool new duct tape?) and tweak it to make it "perfect."  Only time will make that happen and USE............. which I plan to get plenty of!

I hope this system works as well as the last is a photo of the last system that my GF tommi is still using as of this post from 16 years ago!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011



  I buy sale/bogo/coupon laundry detergent and I get laundry detergent samples frequently and YES I use them when I can get a super deal but I can't do this ALL of the time ........... I love to save money and OH BOY  is this ever one of my #1 TOP TIPS that i frequently share and make it a point to share when I teach a seminar or a class on saving money........... its not always about clipping...........

This is another older article that I dug out to help the newbies and refresh the minds of the "pro" SAVINGS SPECIALISTS

 Laundry Savings

I am all about FRUGAL and saving money on things. One of the biggest savings that I have in my household (besides groceries) is Laundry Detergent. I hate the hiked up laundry product prices and have been disgruntled about the "cease in making the small box" that I used to get for pennies after coupon usage (doubled) in the grocery store. I live for laundry product free samples and would otherwise buy the $2.99 laundry detergent at food lion, if I didn't MYO (make your own) laundry soap. This saves me an incredible about of money and my clothes smell good for pennies.

MYO............ Powdered Laundry Detergent
1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap (I use 1/2 a bar for each batch and make 2 batches at a time)
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup 20 mule team borax
Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light loads, use 2 tablespoon. For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons.
ANJIE NOTE: THIS RECIPE SAVES YOUR TONS OF MONEY! if you cannot find the ingredients locally you can purchase them

MYO DRYER SHEETS : use a matchless sock and liquid fabric softener. Put a quarter size dab on the sock of the liquid softener. Rub the sock together until the sock is not wet but rather damp and throw in the dryer with a load of clothes. CHEAP softener is AOK, I love using free product samples to do this!

HA HA HA this was written in 2008 and the following paragraph makes me laugh because everything old is new again! .............

Now one of the draw backs of MYO laundry detergent is that the colors and whites are not as deeply colored or bright white if you do not use BLEACH of some sort. So then we start talking about the added expense of doing laundry one more time. I like for my clothes to last a long time. I am not a slave to fashion and tend to buy more of "what i like" than what is "in style." This drives my daughters crazy, and they threaten me with "what not to wear" from time to time! :) I tend to wear 70's style , gypsy-ish long dresses A LOT! :)

USING  stain fighters and color booster is a savings in the long run........... your clothes last longer and look "newer" too! The cost of a bottle for 33 loads is about $2- $4 without coupon at your DG or FD or Dollar store....... I have found that I can stretch a 33 load bottle into 40 loads further reducing the cost to cents per load. This is a small price to pay for the RESULTS in SAVING YOUR CLOTHING from the TRASH BIN due to stains and/or dulling color, dingy whites. Not only is it effective in treating stains it is also easy to use. It doesn't add but a couple of seconds to the time it takes to do your laundry and works most of the time! :)

SAVVY GREEN SHOPPING : Is that an oxymoron? Not Always!

Photo Credit:
People always say "eating healthy" and "being environmentally conscious" is expensive and for the most part they are right.  There are exceptions to this rule and I attempt to buy & eat healthy when I can and within my "budget" of $200 a month or less for all consumable products in the household.   Most of the time I am "under that" and even have gone an entire month spending only $20 out of pocket but have also gone the other way and spent the entire $200 or more on a party or cookout.  I am always looking for ways to LIVE LAVISHLY FOR LESS and I try to educate others on how to do the same.   If you are a long time follower you hear my voice in your head saying certain phrases and the one above in red , should be one of them!
Many blogs and  SAVINGS SPECIALISTS (freelancers are otherwise known as) tout about all of the SAVINGS they have but they don't talk about their BOTTOM LINE .............. stick with me and I will show you the way! 

I DONT LIKE TO COMPROMISE LIVING or my LIFESTYLE  ............. TO SAVE A DOLLAR  and neither should you......that is like being on a BUDGET which like a LIFE DIET  & everyone knows that doesn't work.............

I made several orders with the $100 I won on this site.............
this is one of them.............
I actually paid ZERO for the $25 credit.......... (you can earn credit too, sign up,  enter the contests and refer your friends!)

GO HERE if you are already a member

this particular deal is expired but you will get the idea from this
I am using online sites for price comparison and there may be better deals at the dollar stores but ......... this is the easiest way for me to make my point........

I normally pay for Trash Bags for the kitchen,  I try to find GOOD DEALS on them but they are expensive (especially the bio/green ones which I prefer) I have over 100 bags in this order which if you are looking at walmart/glad bags they are $16 for 100 before coupons...........I got OVER 100 and bio/green in this order

Next I ordered the "to go" coffee cups with lids (environmentally friendly / not styrofoam for those that subscribe to that theory)
Comparably Walmart carries 50ct for $9.97 WITHOUT lids + s&h and are not bio/green   -  we do use the reusable travel cups too, but have problems frequently with "leaking, breaking, losing" them too so we would much prefer these

these 2 items above equal the amount I spent....... about $25 out of pocket.......... SHIPPED (save the gas money) and EARNED points on my CREDIT CARD for rewards later too.......  These are items that we normally use, pay for out of pocket and need to replace often at our house........

PLUS I got 200 jello shooter / disposable condiment cups 2oz each with lids for Summer Cookout and Lunch packing (bio/green) they are $10 for 100 of them here without lids (+ shipping)
like getting it for FREE when you consider the price comparisons, you can also look at this purchase in reverse....... we will need the souffle cups and would have to pay for them full price later 
so it would be like getting the coffee cups and trash bags free
comprende? capishe?

the trick to this is #1  use a reward site when you can (this one is not listed on the reward sites so n/a)  #2 use a reward card to purchase (earn reward points) or Paypal (get free paypal money to pay)  #3 compare prices and make sure to include your TIME & GAS in the equation  #4  get "free" items if you can, ship it for free when possible and  kick your "normal" up a notch by purchasing better quality at the same cost  #5  buy products you purchase ANYWAY or NEED for gift , not buy to get a "deal"  buy the deals to meet a need and live lavishly with the rest and most importantly #6  NEVA NEVA NEVA pay full price for anything!

Your order no. 698-16565 has been received.
Order Summary:

EP-PC200 2 Eco-Products 2oz Corn Souffle Cup 100pk   $6.88 $13.76
EP-PCLID 2 Eco-Products Lid for 2, 3 & 4oz Souffle Cup 100pk   $5.68 $11.36
EP-BHC10-WA 1 10oz World Art Eco Hot Cup 50pk   $9.98 $9.98
706173-020301 5 13gl Ecosafe Tall Kitchen Bags 15ct   $2.98 $14.90
Deal Pulp $25 OFF 1 Deal Pulp $25 OFF (Y2RJGKMCNQNWV)   ($25.00) ($25.00)
Tax 0.00
Total $25.00

Old Article Resurfaces! GET OFF YOUR LIFE DIET!


I wrote this article in MAY of 2004 , long before Oprah "came up" with comparing Budgets to Diets (brilliant concept! tee hee) I wrote this article to introduce myself to a social network called BACKWASH. I only wrote a couple of articles and then stopped as the community was not really a "good fit" for me and the "process" of publishing articles was much more difficult than I was used to! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO without further ado......


Hi there, I am a resident friend in the frugal backwash arena that will be sending you the "Live Lavishly for Less" column. I thought I would take a minute and introduce you to "anjie’s world" before we get "officially" started.

"Anjie’s world" includes learning to enter contests that you can actually win, doing rebates, shopping online frugally, turning small change into dollars, getting free things, and getting off that LIFE DIET. Everyone can use this information, single moms, married dads, students reading from library computers to those in corporate offices using their laptops over lunch. Shop Macys, Nordstroms, Hechts (you can afford it, I promise) when you know how to shop "off season, with a coupon and free shipping" You may not be able to satisfy the common "gotta have it and gotta have it now" attitude that many kids are adopting today, but you will be able to have it, just be patient and you too will live lavishly for less.

I have always been interested in winning contests and won my first one when I was 8 years old. I inquired about "saving money" frequently from my limited resources, and always looked for ways to get things I was told we couldn’t afford. I sold greeting cards door to door at 10 years old, I formed a "ME" group with a few other preteens at 12, the ME stood for "money earners" we even had white tee shirts that we ironed the red letters M & E on the front. We babysat and we cleaned apartments. We lived in Goverment subsidized apartments at the time and no one had any money for luxuries but that didn’t mean we didn’t want them! I asked my mother once about a system that I heard about that you saved the labels from grocery items and could cash them in, she told me that was a ’scam’ and didn’t save you money. I was also told that there wasn’t any money but the finances were "none of my business" this was very frustrating for me and I didn’t understand how much things cost or the concept of a credit card at all. I didn’t understand how we could not afford for me to have the toys or records or clothes that I wanted but we could buy a new car. This concept just wasn’t clear, as children should be seen and not heard at that time.

My parents idea of "making it" was the KIDS doing without to pay bills. This sounded and felt to me like a "diet" you had to do without the things you want in order to achieve a goal. I never did like dieting, never saw one that you could actually stick to and frankly don’t want to live my life on a diet either. My little ways of making extra money and earning prizes paid off for me in ways that one could never imagine. Winning tickets to go to the movies and to go skating was very exciting for me at that time, and I proudly told my mother that there were ways that you could get the things you want without doing without if you really wanted them. She didn’t buy into that theory and never investigated this route because it was somewhat of a secret, people just didn’t share that kind of information.

I was totally unprepared for what life would deal me at an early age. At twenty years old I was a single parent, with no support system, no knowledge base on how to make it, no college under my belt and no real concept of "finances" "banking" "credit" etc. I had to teach myself, learn from others bits and pieces and put it all together like a puzzle and fit the knowledge into my life so that I could raise my daughter and provide her with a life that I never had. I wanted her to have everything that I could give her (within reason), food on the table, educational materials, toys, pretty clothes and to experience the world, of course, but I couldn’t afford it, so began my quest to "beat the system"

This may have been the catalyst for my dive into the world of frugality, but today I will tell you that even if I won the Lottery I would still be frugal and take advantage of the things America has to offer. There is no reason why there should be any Americans that don’t have enough to eat and there is no reason to be on a LIFE DIET. There are ways to enjoy your life, have the things you want and need, save money, invest small amounts of money that apply to all of us that will not compromise your enjoyment of life.

As you can probably tell I am very passionate about what I believe in and have learned through by life experiences. I am also a strong believer in RAOK (random acts of kindness), pennies from heaven, and KARMA the Law of Return that means, quite simply, that what you do affects what happens to you. If you do good, good is going to happen to you. You will see that there are ways to help others too in ways that you never thought possible, you will have excess in life instead of not enough, so there will be plenty to share!

That daughter is 24 years old 28 and I have another one now that is 16 20. I have two step daughters ages 22 & 12 that live with us and now have 3 grand-children. I have a college degree in Social Work and I have worked my entire life to perfect the science of being a "savings specialist." I have goals to create a proactive program (unheard of in government offices for the most part) to teach people what I do before they are in debt up to their eyebrows and / or have lived on a life DIET and begin to binge. I believe in the philosophy that you can help someone by giving them a fish if they are hungry but if you give them the fish and then teach them how to fish then you have changed their life. This applies to Everyone, not just the impoverished. Is there something that you really want to have or do that you tell yourself that you cannot afford or shouldn’t spend the money on? Well guess what? I am here to tell you that you can have anything you put your mind to and you will neva neva neva pay full price for anything if you apply some of my strategies to what you are already doing.

Well I hope that this introduction has helped you to get to know me a bit before we start our journey here. I look forward to making some friends, teaching you what I know and most of all to hear about your success in getting off your diets!

Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Coupon Schedule...................well from March on!

6 — Smart Source & Red Plum
13 — Smart Source & Red Plum
20 — Smart Source & Red Plum
27 — Smart Source & Red Plum & Procter and Gamble
3 — (2) Smart Source
10 — Smart Source & Red Plum
17 — (2) Smart Source & Red Plum
24 — Procter and Gamble
1 — Smart Source & Red Plum
8 — Smart Source
15 — Smart Source & Red Plum
22 — Smart Source & Red Plum
29 — Procter and Gamble
5 — Smart Source & Red Plum
12 — Smart Source & Red Plum
19 — Smart Source & Red Plum
26 — Smart Source & Red Plum & Procter and Gamble
3 — No Inserts (Independence Day)
10 — Smart Source & Red Plum
17 — Smart Source
24 — Smart Source & Red Plum
31 — Smart Source & Red Plum & Procter and Gamble

7 — Smart Source & (2) Red Plum
14 — Smart Source & Red Plum
21 — Smart Source
28 — Smart Source & Red Plum & Procter and Gamble
4 — No Inserts (Labor Day)
11 — Smart Source & Red Plum
18 — Smart Source & Red Plum
25 — Smart Source & Red Plum & Procter and Gamble
2 — (2) Smart Source & Red Plum
9 — Smart Source & Red Plum
16 — Smart Source & Red Plum & Procter and Gamble
23 — Smart Source & Red Plum
30 — Smart Source & Red Plum & Procter and Gamble
6 — Smart Source & Red Plum
13 — Smart Source & (2) Red Plum
20 — Smart Source
27 — Procter and Gamble
4 — Smart Source & Red Plum
11 — Smart Source & Red Plum
18 — No Inserts
25 — Procter and Gamble


Photo Credit:
One of the biggest shopping tips that I can give you is DO NOT (I repeat) DO NOT spend more money than you need to...........this defeats the purpose of couponing.   Another thing that is a "throw off" is how some blogs show you "how much money I saved" meaning how many coupons and discounts they rec'vd, NOT the amount they spent.  THAT IS WHAT COUNTS, the BOTTOM LINE.................HOW MUCH MONEY WAS SPENT , HOW MUCH MONEY CAME "OUT OF POCKET" as I originally coined it!

If you are buying items that you don't use and you don't gift or donate then all of those coupon savings are a waste.  In Addition some people actually end up spending MORE money than they used to because they not only are buying EXACTLY WHAT THEY USED TO but they are also purchasing couponed items IN ADDITION.   If you do the math, the only way this saves you is if all of your "extra items" are absolutely FREE.  It is very disenchanting and confusing when you are not savvy in the coupon world and you attempt to "do like the pros" and copycat buy what they buy.................just because they are "saving money" and your bank account shows that you are "spending more."  YES THIS IS A COMMON NEWBIE MISTAKE and often discourages you from continuing your process because this really saving money?

A great example of what I do that really works.AND SAVES YOU MONEY..................I have been pantry shopping since December, when I made my last huge grocery shopping trip because I was having my people over.  Even though it was "bring a dish" I still spent $250 on supplies, food and drinks.   This is over my "monthly" budget for an entire month.  In addition ,  we emptied our chest freezer when we built our carport and donated 8 bags of grocery items to the Food Bank since December.   Soooooooooooooo I normally spend $30- $50 a week and have been spending much less on misc. items to "fill in the gaps" which actually frees up $30-$50 a week (depending on what I Have to buy) for other things.   THIS IS SAVING MONEY when you save in one area and use that money to pay off other things (credit card balances, bills, birthday gifts or even stashing it in the bank) BECAUSE I have had other things to pay I wasn't able to "stash" this money but yes I was "robbing Peter (my grocery money) to pay Paul (other things). 

I am not making my weekly pilgramages out to the DRUG STORES to pick up the "free and almost free items" either. Saving money on gasoline and also the item cost (if any)  I am depleting some of my resources as I truly am bursting out of the seams of my closets and storage places.   I am not willing to use even more space, I have shared with non-couponing friends and have made up a few baskets as gifts as well.  This is in addition to making a large bag of donations and oh yea gifting a person I freecycled from.  I love what I do but I have enough...........more than enough when I run down on supplies then I will replenish.............  A few times I have participated in the community yardsale and sold many of these items at a fraction of the cost of what they could be bought for (without the couponing skills) and done very well.   I haven't done that in a while and my supplies runneth over! NOT that I would love the FREE BUTTERFINGERS From Rite Aid but until I "need" to drive that way it is not cost effective to go get them or time effective either.

Creative Cooking Skills come to play when you "pantry shop" and meals take a bit longer, this is TRUE but they are so worth it.   I am making lasagna tonight, I had to buy the Ricotta as a "fill in" item but everything else was here ............ and I am making the sauce from Tomatoes I bought with paypal money from MUR GLEN that I had on my other blog.   Yes it will take a bit longer and it cost about $2 out of pocket (ricotta) but will be eaten and the left overs will be frozen for Butch's lunches.  If I were "buying" groceries instead of pantry shopping we would be having garlic bread and salad with this but because I am creative cooking
we will have biscuits or tortillias with parm . cheese on them and fruit salad (from cans).

This week our Grocery list has on it:   Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Hormone free Milk, carrots and deli turkey for Faith's lunches.  Oh yea and we may need some Paper Towels.   Now, when Butch goes to the store he may pick up something else he sees/wants but that is because he has no will power LOL not because we NEED anything! :)   The total for what we need should cost around $10 - $12 which is at least a $20 savings.   If I were to write a blog and say that
"I saved $20 this week at the grocery store"   and you saw another blog that said "I saved $180 at the grocery store" you would assume the 2nd scenario was the best scenario wouldn't you?   ITS NOT!  unless the person that saved the $180 also  spent $12  after the savings.  THEN that would be a comparison of apples to apples.

Ask yourself  "what do I normally spend at the STORES  (all of them ,  divide them up to "GAS"  "clothing" "food" "health & beauty" etc)  "
you are NOT SAVING MONEY its that simple.............I don't care what your receipt says , what matters is what your BANK ACCOUNT SAYS!   :)

You want to do little things that MAKE MONEY (maken baken) to apply to the items you want to SAVE MONEY ON !   

NEVER FAILS:  fabulous freebies and items that you WIN on the computer without leaving your seat
are NEVER FAIL items, you cannot lose!  you got them free doing something you like to do and didn't spend any more time (if you follow along with me I save the time finding the REAL items for you) and the money / gas .  You get items for FREE and you can use, donate, gift or sell them for a profit.

NEVER FAILS:  surveys, search to win, paypal interest, referral dollars pennies on the dollar, mystery shops etc ............. MAKING MONEY you wouldn't otherwise have AGAIN saving the time (I do this for you) and I don't WASTE YOUR TIME by posting things that will get you no return or just because I will get paid to share.

REMEMBER ..................if your BANK ACCOUNT or your CREDIT CARDS say you are spending too much money it doesn't matter what discounts you got...................and thats the BOTTOM LINE!