Saturday, May 18, 2013

Kohls Has the Best Coupons

I keep my eye out for good coupons and some of the best I have seen are the $10 off coupons from Kohls.  Usually stores will make you spend a certain amount to save a certain amount like save $5 on a purchase of $25 or more, but not Kohls.  They give you $10 off and you only have to spend $10!  That means if you can find something for $10, you basically get it for free.  It has to be over $10 so you will end up spending a dollar or 2, but still, getting $10 of merchandise for $2 is a great deal.

I have gotten 2 of these Kohls coupon cards in the mail over the past 2 weeks.  Usually I don't like being on mailing lists because you get so much useless junk mail, but Kohls is a good list to be on.  With the 1st card, I got a water bottle with a filter, $10 value for about a dollar.  With the 2nd card I got 2 packs of vacuum bags, $12 value for $2.

I'm surprised Kohls offers these coupons.  I can't see how they would be making money if people are using them like this.  Maybe they figure people will spend more once they are in the store, and maybe people will, but frugal types like myself will use it to get the best deal and spend the least amount needed to use the coupon. 

Have you found any other great coupons for other stores?  Share them in the comments below. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Bobble Water Bottle Review

For many years I have been drinking bottled water.  I'm not sure when it started, but one day I decided tap water was not good enough.  Don't get me wrong, the water in my area is generally considered to be pretty good and plenty safe to drink.  I guess the fact that bottled water is pretty cheap when bought in bulk, it comes in convenient bottles, and it always tastes good are a few of the reasons I have been drinking bottled water.

Recently I got tired of lugging those bottles home from the store every few weeks so I looked into some alternatives.  I found that there are some reusable bottles that come with a built in filter.  I thought this might be a good option to try out.  After doing some research I found that the reviews were just so-so.  Some said it made the water better, others said it didn't really do much.  I was still interested to at least try out this option.

I had a $10 gift card to Kohls so I went in looking for one of these bottles with a filter.  They had the Bobble water bottle on sale for about $10.  Perfect, so I got it.

The bottle is clear and has a filter/cap combination along with another plastic cap to put on the top.  The filter comes in several colors.  I went with black.  According to the back there are 3 sizes: 13oz, 18.5oz, and 34oz.  I looked all over but it is not clear as to which size I got.  It does not clearly say it on the package or the bottle, but I think I got the 18.5oz.  I found this absence of information to be very odd considering this is an important thing to know.

So I got it home and tried it out.  I cleaned it first with some soap and water.  They say not to wash it in the dishwasher.  Then as recommended, I filled it up and squeezed the water out to clean the filter the first time.  The bottle is squeezable but it does take some effort to get the water out.

I decided to do a side by side test with plain tap water and water filtered from the Bobble.  With 2 glasses side by side, first I did a visual inspection.  Both appeared to have particles floating around in the water.  This could be little bubbles of air, or minerals of some kind, I don't know.  The filtered glass had slightly fewer particles visible.

Then for the taste test.  The tap water tasted pretty good.  It was drinkable, but mentally, drinking from the tap makes me think it is not as good as bottled spring water.  Next I tasted the filtered Bobble water.  It tasted very similar.  If anything, I would describe it as more "empty".  The tap seemed to have a bit more of a taste, not necessarily a bad taste, while the filtered water was a bit more bland.  Still very similar.   

As for the size and shape of the bottle, it is a bit large to carry around.  I like bottled waters from the store because their shape is great for carrying around or putting in a lunch.  This Bobble is a little too big for that.  The outside of the bottle is slick so it could be difficult to grip if it is wet.  The bottom of the bottle is contoured which gives less surface area on the bottom which may make it more likely to tip over if knocked.

Right now I plan on using the Bobble for water at home, but not on the go.  I will still use the bottled water from the store for that.  Hopefully this bottle will help cut down on costs and use of bottled water from the store.  I will report back with an update after using this water bottle for a while.

Update: 5-18-13
So I have been using the Bobble for about 2 weeks and so far I have been happy with it.  I don't know that it is making the water all that better, but it is certainly drinkable and has helped me cut down on the amount of bottled water I have been drinking from home.  I still wouldn't use it on the go because the size is too bulky, but for home use it is a good alternative.

Update: 7-13-13
2 months of using this bottle, and it is still going good.  I have gotten a lot more comfortable drinking from it.  The water tastes good and I have saved money by not having to buy the bottled water.

Update: 2-23-14
It's been about 9 months since I have been using the same filter so I decided to get a replacement. According to the package, you should actually replace it every 2 months.  First I tried going back Kohl's but apparently they do not have them in stock any more.  I had a gift credit to JCPenny so I went to check if they had them.  They did have some in stock but only in lavender color.  Not my first choice in colors, but whatever, I had the credits so I went ahead and got them. It was about $10 for 2 filters.

Upon installing the new filter, I actually kind of liked the new color.  However after using this new filter for a few weeks, I have 2 issues with it.  1. The seal does not seem to be as good.  It leaks out unless you screw it on very tightly which is very annoying when it drips on you.  2. This new filter seems to be making a hissing noise after each drink as it pulls in the air to regain it's original size.  The previous filter did not do this, at least not this much.  Other than that the new filter has been ok.

Update 11-13-15
It's hard to believe I have had this bottle for 2 and half years now. It still seems like it is new. You just have to replace the filters every once in a while, but other than that, they are easy to use and maintain. 

Update 6-9-17  
It has been 4 years and I still use the Bobble water bottle. I did notice the clear part of the bottle has started to discolor a bit towards the bottom half. Given the fact that I have been using it every day for 4 years, I'm not surprised it is showing a little wear. I may get a replacement with a new bottle.

Also, just recently I installed a faucet mounted water filter from Pur for extra filtration. You can read the review of the Pur water filter here