84 Packages of Jett Puffed Marshmallows for $0.00

I found a nice surprise of 42 $1.00 off 2 Jett Puffed marshmallow coupons in my mailbox from one of the blog readers. This made marshmallows free at Safeway. Through today, Kraft Jett Puffed marshmallows are $1.49 each with a $1.00 instant rebate per package if you buy 5 or more making them $0.49 each. Add in the coupon and they were free, so while I was doing my errands I stopped by several Safeway stores and bought 84 packages:

Jett Puffed marshmallows

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50 Free Boxes of Ronzoni Garden Delight Pasta

I took advantage of the $1.00 off 1 Ronzoni Garden Delight pasta coupon that I had gathered a few weeks ago and used it to purchase 20 boxes at a local Nob Hill grocery store which were on sale for $0.99 making them free. I also had coupons for 7 free Pepperidge farms cookies, 1 free Philadelphia cream cheese and 1 free cheese coupons that were expiring, so I purchased those as well:

garden delight plus

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How Target Screwed Me on 200+ Boxes of Swiss Miss

I have been debating for the last month whether I should write this or not. I haven’t done much with Target and the Swiss Miss deal where I could get the boxes for free was my first time really shopping there.

I came across a Target that had just gotten in a large shipment of the Swiss Miss boxes to fill up an entire end aisle. A quick count showed they had about 200 boxes. I had coupons for about 300 boxes, but not wanting to clear them out, I asked to talk to the section manager. I explained about penny experiment and that I wanted to buy 300 boxes of the Swiss Miss, but didn’t want to deplete their current stock. I asked if they would be willing to make a special order for me of 300 boxes.

They readily agreed and promised to have them in before the sale price went up. I asked if it was OK for me to buy some of the 200 they had in stock, but they said they would prefer I not since they were doing the special order. I said no problem.

The day before the sale was set to end, I received a phone call saying that it was a hectic time of the year and they had not placed my order and they were planning to get the Swiss Miss in a couple of weeks. To make a long story short, I ended up not getting any of the Swiss Miss even though they had promised — I was upset to say the least since I had told the food bank that I would be getting it for them and they had planned to make it part of their Christmas boxes for those in need.

Although greatly disappointed, I still think I did the right thing. If I hadn’t explained, I could have purchased 200 boxes for the food bank, but that would have left nothing for others who wanted to take advantage of the deal. It’s just sad that doing the right thing ended up meaning that the food bank lost 200 boxes of Swiss Miss.

I was able to get 40 boxes from other Target stores before the sale ended at a cost of $0.00 after coupon, but unfortunately that was all I could obtain:

swiss miss

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31 Boxes of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate for $0.00

I originally purchased 10 boxes of Swiss Miss hot chocolate for the $1 Thanksgiving Dinner for six challenge:

swiss miss hot chocolate

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A Final 480 Pillsbury Grands Biscuits Purchased For $0.00

About a week ago, I made a purchase of 480 Pillsbury Grands Biscuits. I started off buying 360 (30 cases) that I had ordered from a nearby Lucky grocery store and delivered them to the Milpitas Food pantry:

jeffrey strain Grands biscuit purchase

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138 More Free Pillsbury Grands Biscuits Bought and Donated

I stopped by the two local food banks in my area when I realised that I could get Pillsbury Grands biscuits for free this week and asked the women that run them how many they would like. Tri-Valley Haven Food Pantry has limited refrigerator space and asked if I could bring 100 to her. Milpitas Food Pantry has more refrigerator space and said they could use up to 900. While I would love to be able to get than many for them, I am limited by time (I do have my full time job), the stock in the grocery stores and the number of coupons I have. My goal is to purchase and deliver 100 to Tri-Valley Haven Food Pantry and 300 – 400 to Milpitas food pantry this. If I can buy a total of 400 – 500 this week, then I will be happy even though the food banks could use more.

I already delivered 120 Grands biscuits to the Milpitas Food Pantry and I managed to get another 138 biscuit packages which I took to the Milpitas food bank again:

pillsbury biscuits

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120 Free Pillsbury Grands Biscuits (Lucky Supermarket)

If you have a Lucky supermarket near you, this week (until Tuesday November 9) you can get free Pillsbury Grands biscuits. I ended up buying 120 today worth $238.80 getting them all for free:

120 Pillsbury Grands Biscuits being delivered to a food bank

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Del Monte Smoothies, Ricola Throat Drops and Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks

November has arrived and I have a number of purchases that I need to add that I made at the end of last month. The first batch was made on Oct 23 where I purchased 64 Del Monte fruit smoothies worth $191.36 for free.

Del Monte fruit smoothies

Safeway fruit smoothie receipt

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Nature’s Path Organic Rocks!

It is amazing what happens when you just commit to doing something. It is a lesson that I am learning time and again since starting Penny Experiment on the spur of the moment and without a lot of thought on how I would do it. When you commit to doing something, you stop thinking about how you might do it and start trying anything and everything to actually accomplish it. Being an introvert, this has been a double challenge for me forcing me to get out and do more things that I would normally do on my own. This is a good thing.

One of the goals I recently set for the next year was to find a way to get 250 eco friendly shopping bags for a local food bank that wants to ween the people that come and get food off of plastic bags and be more environmentally friendly. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to accomplish this and it was one of the goals I have had the most anxiety thinking about since I had no real plan on how I would be able to accomplish it. I took a huge step in the right direction this weekend while attending BlogHer Food 2010.

One of the vendors at the event was Nature’s Path Organic Foods. Anyone that followed my eating well on $1 a day for 100 day challenge knows that when it comes to peanut butter, I have a soft spot that will make me do things that I wouldn’t normally consider doing to get hold of it. As casually I possibly could (unfortunately, it was pretty damn obvious considering I was one of only a handful of men at the event), I stopped by their booth time and again to “sample” their Peanut Choco chewy granola bars (we won’t even go into how addicted I am to these now). In addition to all the food samples they were giving away, they also were handing out eco friendly shopping bags to attendees.

As the end of the conference approached, I got up the courage to explain about Penny Experiment and that one of my goals this year is to provide 250 eco friendly bags for a local food bank (since I now felt that we had become friends due to my many visits to their vendor table). Before I even finished explaining, Nature’s Path handed me 100 of their eco friendly bags without a hint of hesitation (and huge smiles on their faces wishing me luck with Penny Experiment)

Nature's Path Organic Food eco bags

The staff of BlogHer also rock (as a side note, if you are a female blogger — or male for that matter — this organization will provide you with so much help and support that I can’t recommend joining them enough). When I explained to them about my need for the eco bags, they happily donated all the unclaimed bags for the conference attendees as well. In the end, I was able to gather 121 eco friendly bags for Milpitas food bank which means I have already come close to half the goal I set.

eco friendly bags

I can’t thank both these organizations enough for their willingness to help. I still have 129 eco bags to find to reach my goal and although I have a few ideas, I would love to hear any ideas from readers on how they would go about securing more free eco bags.

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Five Penny Experiment Goals For The Next Year

In the past 10 months Penny Experiment has been able to donate over $18,000 worth of food to local food banks which is far more than I thought would be possible when I first started (I had an original goal of $5,000 for the first year). While it may seem a bit early to be making goals for another year since this first one is not yet over, my hand was somewhat forced when my sister claimed that I never complete my goals. These are the goals that I would like to complete for Penny Experiment in the next year as I continue to move toward the ultimate goal of donating $1 million worth of food to local food banks.

1. Personally donate $25,000 worth of food to food banks: I managed to donate $14,500 worth of food to local food banks the last 10 months which also included several months where I was still learning how to super coupon — a time I wasn’t all that great at it. From the experience this past year, I believe that adding another $25,000 is a doable goal on my part.

2. Having others donate $10,000 worth of food to their local food banks: Others that have contributed to Penny Experiment by donating food to their local food banks worth close to $4,000. I am hoping to get a lot more people involved by teaching them the skills I used to eat well on $1 a day for 100 days so that they can both save money on their own grocery bills plus donate the excess free food and products they get to their local food banks. Combining my donation goal with this goal should mean that Penny Experiment passes the $50,000 in donated food next year!

3. Have a Penny Experiment Art show: One of the main reasons that I was able to donate as much food as I did these past 10 months is because of the generosity of many artists in making Penny Postcard art. I want to get a gallery showing of these art pieces and begin to sell them to raise even more money to buy food for Penny Experiment. I am also excited to show off the wonderful work that the artists created. As I write this, there appears to be five numbers that are still available from artists that for one reason or another were unable to complete their pieces, so if you know an artist that might like to participate, please email me at [email protected] to get more information and a number.

4. Create other forms of income from that original penny which will allow me to buy even more food for food banks: Currently I have been able to purchase all the food at about 97% off of its retail value and have been careful to only buy the very best of the best deals since I currently have limited funds with which to purchase the food. If I can come up with some more creative ideas to raise money, I hope to be able to purchase food deals that are as low as 80% off of retail value which should make it possible for me to buy much much more and a greater variety of foods for local food banks.

5. Donate 250 environmentally friendly bags to my local food bank : One of the complaints I have had is that when I make my purchases, I get a lot of plastic bags and don’t use reusable bags. I have been doing so for a reason. The food banks that give away the food to are always in need of the plastic bags for when they give away the food, so they have asked me to bring the food to them in this way. I mentioned this issue to the director of the Milpitas Food Bank and she has agreed to try and implement a green bag policy for those who get food from the food bank this coming year. She will give the food to those that come by in a environmentally friendly bag which they must bring back the next time if they want to get more food. If the details can be worked out, she will have a blueprint to share with all food banks across the country on how to implement this more environmentally friendly program.

I think this is a wonderful idea and shows how even simple comments on this blog may have a potentially huge impact on how food banks distribute food to those in need. She estimates that to make this work, she is going to need about 2000 of these bags and my goal is to obtain 250 for her.

These are my main five goals. If there are others that you think I should consider (or have questions about the current ones), please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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