August 16th, 2012 by RichmondBargains

Curious about the final results from the $10 School Supply Challenge?

Altogether, 10 people participated and collected a total of $933.17 worth of school supplies for the Henrico Education Foundation! The total amount of money spent for that haul was $93.79 – a 90% savings rate!

The top shopper was Ann, who purchased $178.97 worth with her $10 budget. Her six-year-old daughter Natalie participated as well, and the other frugal ladies who contributed were Jennifer, Kim, Stephanie, Julie, Noelle, Eleanor, and Tiffany.

Many thanks to Kroger,, and for providing prizes for this year’s participants!

For my part, I spent $9.86 and collected $122.19 worth of supplies.

(My son wanted to be in the picture since he helped)

It’s funny, during last year’s challenge I didn’t set foot in Staples, and this year, the majority of my haul comes from there. Altogether I made 4 Staples runs, plus one trip each to Target, Office Max, and Kroger. To get past the $5 minimum required for some of Staples cheap prices, I took advantage of the free-after-rebate items – I have submitted 5 Easy rebates for $23.98 back. I also used a couple of manufacturer’s coupons for Bic and RoseArt items.

So where is all this bounty headed?

Working with the Henrico Education Foundation, we’ve divided it into high school supplies destined for Henrico High School and elementary supplies for students at Donahoe Elementary.

Hopefully, this inspires you about the potential of bargain shopping, particularly as a means of blessing others even if you don’t have a lot of cash to spare!

Posted in Contests & Giveaways Tagged with: , ,

August 14th, 2012 by RichmondBargains

Today – August 14 – is the final day to spend your $10 Frugal School Supply Challenge budget!

Final totals must be submitted using **this form** by tomorrow (Aug 15) at 12 p.m. EDT, and you must have collected $40 worth of supplies, to be eligible to win one of the great prizes from Kroger,, and

Here was the post with all the challenge details

I can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow at the finale event at Tuckahoe Library, and find out who shopped the savviest! We will be meeting in the big meeting room near the entrance to the right starting around 4pm. At 4:30 p.m., the prize drawing will be held from eligible entries received (You do not need to be present to win).

I’ll hang around the library until 5:30 p.m. if you want to drop off supplies on your way home from work. You can even drive to the door and give me a call (email me at richmondbargains at for my number) and I’ll come get them from you. If you aren’t able to make the event tomorrow, please email me and we’ll work out a time to meet up.

Then all of fruit of your frugal shopping will be headed to Henrico High School and Donahoe Elementary School to help kids through the Henrico Education Foundation!

I finished shopping yesterday and will be glad to get all these supplies out of my house – they are overflowing the kitchen cabinet I am storing them in

Posted in Contests & Giveaways Tagged with: ,

August 6th, 2012 by RichmondBargains

Hope everyone found some deals for Tax-Free Weekend! We are entering the home stretch of the $10 school supply challenge, so use those pennies! 🙂

If you wrap up your shopping this week (you have until 12pm on August 15) go here to submit your totals.

    Office Depot:

    $.01 school glue, limit 3
    $.25 filler paper 150-pk, limit 3
    $.25 tug 2-hole manual pencil sharpener, limit 3
    $.25 Office Depot brand book covers, limit 3
    $1 Correction tape 2-pk

    Office Max:

    5 free composition books with minimum $5 purchase
    $.05 12″ ring binder ruler, limit 3
    $.25 Schoolio 1″ or 1.5″ poly 3-ring binder, limit 3
    $1 Paper Mate profile retractable ballpoint pens, 4-pack, limit 2
    $1 Sharpie Accent highlighter 5-pack, limit 1 with in-ad coupon
    $1 Quartet EnduraGlide dry-erase markers, 4-pack, limit 2 with in-ad coupo
    $2 Just Basics yellow #2 pencils 72-pack, limit 2 with in-ad coupon
    OfficeMax Multipurpose paper (500-sheet ream) 6.99, get $6.98 in MaxPerks Rewards (limit 2)


    Post-It Multiuse Labels $2.99, Free after EasyRebate, limit 1
    $.01 Staples Filler Paper (120 sheets), limit 5 with $5 minimum purchase
    $.25 Pentel Polymer White Block Erasers 3-pack, limit 2
    $.25 Staples Mini Composition Books, limit 2
    $.25 Bic Velocity 2-pack pens, limit 2. Use “$1 off 2” Bic coupon from the 7/29 SmartSource insert
    $.50 Bic Wite Out Correction Fluid 2-pack, limit 2
    $.50 Papermate Sharpwriter Mechanical Pencils 5-pack, limit 2
    $1 Bic Great Erase Dry Erase Markers 5-pack, limit 2, Use “$1 off 2” Bic coupon from the 7/29 SmartSource insert
    $1 Sharpie Permanent Markers 5-pack, limit 2
    $1 Staples 3 Hole Binder Punch


    $.49 Scotch Magic Tape 250′ – Use $.25 coupon from Sunday’s paper
    $.49 Fabric book cover
    Free 24-RoseArt crayons with purchase of RoseArt markers or colored pencils – Use “$1 off 3” Roseart coupon from 7/29 SmartSource insert
    $1 Five-Star 1-subject notebook – Use “$1 off 2” coupon from Sunday’s paper


    $.19 wooden ruler, limit 3 with in-ad coupon
    $.29 15-pack cap erasers, limit 3 with in ad coupon
    $.39 Scotch tape 12.5 yards or 100-pk Acco paper clips. Limit 4 with in-ad coupon
    $.49 Bic Cristal Bold Pens, limit 3 with in-ad-coupon. Use “$1 off 2” Bic products coupon from the 7/29 SmartSource to get 2 for free

Posted in Retail Store Discounts/Sales Tagged with: ,

July 29th, 2012 by RichmondBargains

(This is a post by If you are seeing this message on another website, please visit for the original scoop on saving money in Richmond!)

backpacks office max

We’re entering our third week of the school supply challenge! (More info here) There’s still plenty of time to join the project.

There are more bargains at Staples this week, but the big deal is at Office Max on backpacks – You can buy any backpack/messenger bag this week, and receive all but $.01 of the purchase price back in the form of MaxPerks rewards (limit 2). Backpacks range in price from $11.99 to $139.99

MaxPerks is Office Max’s loyalty program. You would receive the rebate to your Office Max account in September and have 90 days to spend it. If you know you’ll use that reward for other things you need at Office Max, then this would be a *great* high-value bargain to snag – backpacks are always something highly needed, and hard to get on our $10 budgets. But don’t spend the money on a backpack if the MaxPerks rewards you’ll get back aren’t useful to you!

Also, make sure to snag manufacturer’s coupons in today’s paper for $1 off any 3 RoseArt products and $1 off any two BIC products

Office Depot
Office Depot brand folders $.01, limit 10 (reg. $.29)
Office Depot brand marble composition books $.25, limit 3
Personal Care hand sanitizer $.25, limit 3
Office Depot Brand ballpoint pens 10-pk $.25, limit 3
Office Depot brand scissors $1, reg. $4.49

Office Max
4-pack glue sticks $.50, limit 3
Free paint, erasers, and glue (2 of each) with minimum $5 purchase
Backpacks/messenger bags $.01 after MaxPerks Bonus Rewards ($11.99-$139.99), limit 2

Staples standard paper clips 100pk $.01 with $5 minimum purchase, limit 2
2-pocket folder $.01 with $5 minimum purchase, limit 2
Home Select pocket tissues $.01 with $5 minimum purchase, limit 2
BIC mechanical pencils 0.7 mm $.25, limit 4 – Use $1 off 2 coupon from Sunday’s paper!
Prang chalk $.25, limit 4
Staples composition book or 1-subject $.50, limit 4
RoseArt 24-ct crayons 2 for $1. Use “$1 off 3” coupon from Sunday’s paper

Toys R Us
24-ct Crayola crayons “4 for $1”

100-pack index cards or pencil case $.39 with coupon, limit 4
Kids scissors $.49 with in-ad coupon, limit 2
Mini-highlighter $.15 with in-ad coupon, limit 6

Posted in Retail Store Discounts/Sales Tagged with: ,

July 23rd, 2012 by RichmondBargains

(This is a post by If you are seeing this message on another website, please visit for the original scoop on saving money in Richmond!)

As promised, here are some of the top school supplies deals at retailers this week! If you’ve found others (and are willing to share 😉 ), please tip us off!

Staples definitely has the most potential – if you could find everything in stock and do all the rebates, I calculate you’d get over $47 worth for $4.04 spent.

    zebra pencils
    Zebra #2 0.7mm mechanical pencils: Free after $4 easy rebate
    Pentel R.S.V.P. Ballpoint Pens (black): Free after $4 easy rebate
    8.5″ x 11″ Multipurpose Paper (500 sheets): $1 after $5.99 easy rebate
    12-ct pink cap erasers $.01 with $5 minimum purchase, limit 2, reg $1.29
    Ruled 3×5 index cards $.01 with $5 minimum purchase, limit 2, reg $1
    Staples Stickies® ½” tape flags, bright colors 125/pack $.25, limit 4, reg $3.29
    Sharpie® Accent® tank highlighters yellow $.50, limit 4, reg. $4

    Paper Mate Write Bros Pens (10-ct) $.34
    Oxford Twin Pocket Portfolio $.15

    Office Depot
    Office Depot Brand acrylic ruler $.10, limit 3, reg $.99
    Office Depot brand 6″ protractor $.10, limit 3, reg $.99
    Wilson Jones 1″ poly binder $.50, limit 3, reg $1.99
    BIC Wite-Out correction tape $.50, limit 3, reg $3.59

    $.19 Wexford highlighters (limit 6, with in-ad coupon)
    $.29 Wexford or Penway erasers (limit 3, with in-ad coupon)

    2-ct. pink erasers $.20
    1-hole pencil sharpener $.20
    Vinyl pencil pouch or pencil box $.49
    100-ct ruled index cards $.49
    2-ct kids scissors $1
    96-ct construction paper $1
    Update: Papermate pens $1 – use $1 Target coupon to get them free!

Previous school supply challenge posts: Launch, Week 1

Posted in Retail Store Discounts/Sales Tagged with: ,

July 20th, 2012 by RichmondBargains

We’re nearing the end of the first shopping week – how is it going?

I had grand plans of posting some of the top deals for the week, but that didn’t happen. I will try for next week’s deals next Monday.

The big news is that we officially have a non-profit partner: the Henrico Education Foundation! It supports programs, scholarships, and more for Henrico County Public Schools. HEF already has a “School Supply Challenge” through which it encourages businesses and community groups to collect supplies for challenged schools. The supplies that we purchase for our challenge will go to help Henrico High School and several East End elementary schools.

While anything goes as far as what you can purchase for the challenge (anything school-related of course) and it will all get used somewhere, the Henrico Education Foundation does have a list of supplies it requests, which might be worth keeping in mind while you’re trying to decide what deals to buy – you an view it here.

Rob sent me the following tip earlier this week:

My wife just found a great deal on highlighters and expo dry erase markers at Office Max. Inside the store is a $5 OFF coupon on three items.

We found (3) packages of Sharpie’s for $5…making them completely free.

Coupon is limit one per person per transaction. Look for it at the Sharpie’s display.

A quick rule clarification that was asked: Many of Staples deals are only valid with a $5 minimum purchase. The policy in place last year that we’ll use again is that to take advantage of those deals, the $5 purchase must be for the challenge (not you buying items for yourself, even though you might need them). But since rebates don’t count toward your total, if you can find Easy Rebate items to meet the $5 minimum, those won’t go against your budget. (If you’ve done something different this week, that’s fine, just know for future!)

There’s still oodles of time to join in! I haven’t made much progress beyond getting a raincheck for crayons at Kroger.

I did swing by Walmart yesterday and scope out the school supply section, which was just being assembled. Walmart isn’t great for this challenge, because it already has low prices and doesn’t offer deep discounts off of those. But if you are in the market for supplies for personal use, it had Elmer’s glue sticks for $.10 each, generic glue sticks “3 for $.25,” generic colored pencils or washable markers for $.50 each, and 1-subject notebooks for $.17.

For more information about the Challenge, check out last week’s post!

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

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

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

    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, 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: , ,

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: , ,