July 13th, 2012 by RichmondBargains

Calling all bargain shoppers!

It’s time again to answer the question “How many school supplies can you buy with a $10 budget?”

school supplies
(My haul from last year’s challenge)

If you’ve been reading this blog for less than a year, here’s the background:

The event began in 2010 when I challenged a few fellow frugal bloggers to a friendly competition to see who could stretch a small budget the furthest. I love shopping school supply deals, but needed a good excuse and great cause 🙂 The four of us spent $40 to accumulate $500 worth of supplies to donate to the Fulton Hill Neighborhood Resource Center. Here’s the recap post.

Last year, with help from Kroger and the Hodges Partnership, and orchestrated by Eleanor at Saving Our Way, we opened the challenge up to anyone who was interested and 16 shoppers collected over $3,000 worth of supplies to donate to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond. You can read my recap post here.

My individual total was $104.87, which palls in comparison to the winner, Erin McGarvey, who stretched $10 to get $567.74 worth!(!) That is a 98.2% savings, folks.

This Sunday, the Challenge starts again – join us!

Why should you participate?

A. It’s a great cause. Well, it will be for a great cause – kids! 🙂 I’m still finalizing exactly which of many worthwhile Richmond organizations will receive this year’s supplies, and I will update that information as soon as I can. Update – we’ll be working with the Henrico Education Foundation – more info here.

B. It’s fun. If you’ve never tried, you’ll be surprised how many school supplies $10 buys when you are shopping the back-to-school deals!

C. You might win a prize. Those who accept the challenge this year will be eligible to win some cool prizes from generous sponsors:

    (2) $50 Kroger gift cards, courtesy of Kroger
    (2) KidsDineFree cards, courtesy of KidsDineFree.net

    (1) $20 Ledo Pizza gift card + $20 Regal Cinemas gift card, courtesy of ILikeToSave.com

    Anyone who participates (see terms below) has a chance to win!

Hopefully I’ve talked you into it, so here’s what you need to know:

    The Challenge runs 7/15/12 (this Sunday) to Tuesday, August 14. Purchases must be made in that time frame.

    You can spend a maximum of $10, excluding tax. Rebates do not count to your total.

    Save all your receipts, and keep records of your spending and saving (including where and when you made purchases, what the retail value was, what discounts you used, and how much you spent) There is a spreadsheet available on Google Docs if you could use help with the calculations. Go here.

    Your final total – how much you spent, and the total retail value of items – must be submitted by Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 at noon EDT. SUBMIT TOTALS USING THIS FORM.

    On Wednesday, August 15th, we will gather at Tuckahoe Library (1901 Starling Drive, Henrico, VA 23229) at 4pm to collect everyone’s collections, recognize the top frugal shoppers, and to select prize winners. If you can’t make it at that time, I’ll be happy to make other arrangements with you to pick up your stuff.

To be eligible to win one of the prizes, you must collect at least $40 retail value worth of supplies with your $10 budget (75% savings). This is so easy to do I am almost insulting your frugal intelligences by making it the minimum. (If it sounds daunting, I’d be happy to give you some ideas of where to start!) The point of the challenge is to challenge yourself! You must also provide your receipts and documentation if you are selected a winner, but you don’t have to be present on August 15th to win.

More fine print: No more than one prize per person. Participants will be assigned a number based on when their totals were received (first = 1), and from the total number of eligible participants, Random.org will be used to select the winning numbers. Donation must be received before prize is distributed.

Questions? Shoot! You can also hang out on the RVA Coupon Pros Facebook page to ask questions, share tips or photos, etc.

Posted in Retail Store Discounts/Sales Tagged with: , ,

January 28th, 2012 by RichmondBargains


We wrapped up the latest frugal challenge this week, collecting toiletries to donate to Freedom House on a $10 budget.

All in all, there were five of us participating – Me, Ann, Tiffany, Eleanor, and Zoe – and we collected a total of $260.01 worth spending $44.61!

My total was $52.63. This round’s winner was Ann; she took advantage of Martin’s fuelperks, among other strategies, to pick up $82.94 while spending less than $7! Tiffany came in second with $66.35.

As the sales played out this year, we picked up lots of cheap Old Spice body wash and deodorant ($.49 each with coupons during Kroger’s P&G sale) but almost no toothpaste. The small Suave deodorants and Carefree liners were less than ten cents each at Kroger after doubled $.50 coupons.

Posted in Gas & Groceries Tagged with: , ,

January 7th, 2012 by RichmondBargains

Remember November’s Frugal Food Drive Challenge? Well [finally] here are the results:

frugal food drive

$173.53 in food items for a total of $37.97 out of pocket!

My portion was $45.49 and I spent $9.38. Eleanor won with $46.63 for $8.81, Tiffany $36.85 and $44.56 from Ann.

All of our collected items went to the Central Virginia Food Bank.

Rising food prices? While I certainly didn’t do everything I could, we all agreed the store sales were not nearly as good as last year.


We’ve got another challenge starting tomorrow 1/8, and as usual, you’re invited to join in! We’ll be collecting toiletries and personal care products on a $10 budget. This challenge will run through January 24. We’re still figuring out the charity we’ll be supporting.

If you’re interested in participating, email me at richmondbargains at gmail dot com so I can keep you in the loop.

Posted in Coupons Tagged with: , ,

November 5th, 2011 by RichmondBargains

rtd class

Gentle readers:

You are cordially invited to join Eleanor, Tiffany, and me for a holiday savings workshop on November 16 from 6:30-8:30pm, sponsored by Kooponz/Richmond Times-Dispatch.

It’s really going to be a coupon extravaganza covering a number of topics: Black Friday and holiday shopping, basic grocery couponing and sales, and saving on other areas like entertainment and eating out. At the end, there will also be a coupon swap, and we’ll be collecting recently expired coupons to send to military families. Attendees will receive a Kooponz coupon book, copy of Sunday Times-Dispatch, and be eligible for giveaways.

Should be fun, don’t miss it! Registration is limited to 200 (Wait, 200 people? Eeep!) and there is an ad promoting it in the Times-Dispatch today, so spots may not last long. You can register online here


    Richmond Times-Dispatch Production Center
    460 Times-Dispatch Blvd, Mechanicsville

Posted in Coupons Tagged with: , ,

October 28th, 2011 by RichmondBargains

food drive 10

‘Tis the season for canned good sales at the grocery store, so it’s the perfect time of year to stock your pantry AND the Food Bank!

As with the school supply challenge in August, some other local bloggers and I are organizing a frugal food drive challenge during the month of November: How much non-perishable food can you collect with only a $10 budget? Everyone is invited to compete; all the results will be donated to the Central Virginia Food Bank.

The challenge kicks off this Sunday, October 30 and runs through Tuesday November 29. You’ll find all the details, rules, and spreadsheet needed to track your purchases listed on the RVA Coupon Pros Facebook page.

Here is what we collected in the challenge last year – $377.78 worth of groceries for $48.16!

Put your coupon prowess to the test and join us in helping a great cause!

Posted in Gas & Groceries Tagged with: , ,

August 26th, 2011 by RichmondBargains

Yesterday the participants in the RVA Coupon Pros School Supply Challenge gathered at Kroger to see how much we had bought with our $10 budgets, and to donate the results to the Boys & Girls Club.

This year, I set my goal to collect $100 worth on supplies with my $10. I kept it simple – no rebates, and actually only used one manufacturer’s coupon. So if you think getting great deals is complicated and involves lots of coupons, this shows it doesn’t have to be! In total I made 7 trips, shopping at Office Max, Office Depot, and Kroger.

school supplies

Here’s the breakdown of what I got with my $9.99:

    23 2-pocket folders
    11 packs of pens
    10 1-subject notebooks
    8 plastic rulers
    5 book covers
    5 packages of index cards
    5 packs of filler paper
    4 packs of crayons
    4 packs of pencils
    4 wood rulers
    3 pencil pouches
    3 compasses
    3 protractors
    3 poly binders
    2 composition books
    2 scissors

Total retail value = $104.87

I bet you’d like to know who won – The top three were Erin McGarvey ($567.74), Anjie Henley who collected ($449.25) and Sarah Metzgar ($302.78). Talk about some super couponers! Althogether, sixteen folks participated and collected $3,046.63 worth!

Want to read more? Check out yesterday’s “More Bang for Your Buck” segment on NBC12!

And here are individual reports from Kim, Ann, Anjie, Debbie, and Eleanor. Did i miss anyone?

Kroger donated $1000 as well!

Posted in Contests & Giveaways Tagged with: , ,

July 30th, 2011 by RichmondBargains

school supplies

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember the Frugal Blogger Challenges I’ve posted about, in which some other bloggers and myself tried to collect as many school supplies, food items, and toiletry items to donate to charity with just a $10 budget each time.

Exciting news: The school supply challenge is back, and this year we’re asking YOU to participate too! Are you up for the challenge?

Local deal bloggers are partnering with Kroger this month to encourage readers to collect as many supplies as possible with only $10 out-of-pocket cost. The donations will benefit a great local cause: The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Richmond.

And to sweeten the deal (as if the thrill of bargain shopping and reward of being able to help others weren’t enough) Kroger is offering prizes to the top shoppers! –
1st Place: $200 Kroger Gift Card
2nd Place: $100 Kroger Gift Card
3rd Place: $50 Kroger Gift Card

Kroger will also match donations up to $1000.

The challenge starts TODAY, so get shopping! You can find all the details and rules on RVA Coupon Pros Facebook page.

Last year, the four of us collected over $500 worth! As the winner (by a very narrow margin), my advice is to hit the sales hard early and use as much of your budget as possible so you aren’t scrambling to spend it in the end. The discounts are often better well before school starts. For more of my thoughts, check out my post about last year’s results.

Here are some of the bloggers helping with this year’s challenge (from a kick-off lunch at Kroger yesterday):

kroger bloggers
Tiffany (Young and Frugal in Virginia), Me, Angie (My Four Monkeys), Eleanor (Saving Our Way), Anjie (The Frugal Freelancer), Carl York (Kroger Mid-Atlantic), Ann (Ann’s Crazy World)
Not pictured: Kim (Day By Day Savings), Stephanie (Coupon Clippin Mommy)

This was a great experience last year, and I hope some readers will join me in helping the Boys & Girls Club this year! (And win!)

Posted in Contests & Giveaways Tagged with: , ,

March 14th, 2011 by Alison

The Richmond frugal bloggers were at it again last month, this time collecting toiletries on a $10 budget to donate to Safe Harbor. In this round, my competition was Angie, Eleanor, Kim, Stephanie, and Tiffany.

My contribution was total $90.33 shelf cost for $10.14. I totally forgot to take a photo of just my items, but here is the group’s collection (minus Stephanie’s, who couldn’t make it):


Kim won (again!) breaking the $100 mark with $106.52 worth of items for $10.32 spent! Altogether, we collected $468.81 worth and spent $59.13.

90% of my stuff came from Kroger and CVS, with a few Target freebies. I never even made it to Walgreen’s or Rite Aid. I expected this challenge to be easier than it turned out to be – just not lots of super sales in February (no free razors, for instance). We collected oodles of Dove deodorant though, when Kroger had it for $2 combined with the $2 coupon, and plenty of free toothpaste, of course (Most of us can’t remember the last time we paid for toothpaste!)

Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged with: ,

December 3rd, 2010 by Alison

The deal bloggers of Richmond strike again, this time collecting donations for the Food Bank on $10 budgets. In this round, there were five of us storming the stores: Eleanor at Saving Our Way, Tiffany at Young and Frugal in Virginia, Stephanie at Coupon Clippin Mommy, Kim at Day by Day Savings, and myself.

I’ll tell you straight off, I did not bring my A-game to this challenge. Maybe a solid B. I’m not really sure what happened, but I didn’t budget my time and money properly. So when I went to tally up my totals at the end of the challenge period, I discovered I had only spent $5.22.


So this week I rushed out and spent the rest of my budget. Before this week, my total value was $62.60. Ultimately, I collected $85.17 worth of food – 49 items – with my $10. Not bad, but I fell a little short of my goal of $100 value. Here is what I got:
my food

The superstar winner of this challenge round was the new competitor, Kim from Day by Day Savings. She clocked in with $115.75 worth of groceries.

And altogether, the five of us collected $377.78 worth of food with $48.16 in spending. We all agreed the food drive was more challenging than the school supply one in August and September, plus November was just a busier time for everyone.

But we got a TON of food (I’m surprised Stephanie’s table didn’t collapse!) Here’s what $377.78 in groceries looks like:



Oodles of soup (50+ cans!), boxed potatoes, cereal, and condensed milk. The bulk of items came from Kroger sales, with a little Target, MARTIN’S, and CVS thrown in.

Posted in Contests & Giveaways, Gas & Groceries Tagged with: , ,

August 12th, 2010 by Alison

school supply challenge

How many school supplies can $10 buy? Some Richmond money-saving bloggers, myself included, are in the process of finding out!

For the past four weeks, we’ve been scouring the back-to-school deals around town. Armed with only a $10 budget (including tax), our challenge was to shop the sales to collect as many supplies as possible. We’ll be working with RichmondMom.com/HandsOn Greater Richmond’s “Back-to-School Splash” to donate the fruit of our labor to the Fulton Hill Neighborhood Resource Center.

In addition to Richmond Bargains, the other competitors are

Eleanor from Saving Our Way
Tiffany from Young and Frugal in Virginia
Stephanie from Coupon Clippin Mommy

I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve stretched my $10, but Eleanor has been talking smack about the rest of us needing to be afraid 😉

We’ll be gathering next Thursday night to find out whose deal-hunting reigns supreme, so check back Friday the 20th for the results and photos!

Consider taking advantage of all the great deals going on this month to pick up a few supplies to donate to a number of causes collecting them in Richmond – In addition to the Back to School Splash, Crossover Ministries needs your help, or get a free mini-sundae from Arby’s when you donate supplies to Stuff the Bus this Saturday or the next.

Posted in Contests & Giveaways, Miscellaneous Tagged with: ,