Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More tips on saving on the grocery budget...

I wrote my last entry so quickly that I forgot to include some other thoughts...Here are some more tips on how I was able to slash my grocery budget nearly in half!

--Try to stock up on freezer and pantry staples when they are on sale and you can combine the sale with coupons. i.e. Green Giant frozen veggies are only $1.00 this week at Acme and there is a Catalina deal, get $5 on your next order when you spend $15 and there are tons of coupons either online or from the paper.

--Always check the weekly circulars and look for coupon match-ups.

--When I say I shop at Rite Aid, I mean I shop there when I can get stuff for free or even make money on various items. Check my other posts to learn about shopping at Rite Aid. I have learned there are many toiletries you can get for free through their SCR program.

--Try cloth diapering...I use G-diapers with Bum Genius inserts. Good results!

--Look for great diaper deals at Rite Aid or Walgreens when you have coupons too.

--I have also tried doing some make-ahead-freezer meals.

Ok, that's enough for now...back to my boys.....Happy Saving and of course Merry Christmas! What a wonderful time of year to meditate on our Savior's birth!


$200 Grocery Budget for Family of 5!

Well, I have been meaning to post this for a few days now, but only getting to it today. Remember back in March I had the March Challenge to see if could keep my monthly grocery budget at around $400? Here were the results of that. Well, I have been reading so many frugal blogs over the past few months and thought it was time for a new challenge. I guess there are a lot of families out there who try to keep there grocery budget to $30/week. Well, I thought I would try for $200/month for the month of November. I had gotten away from really tracking how much I spent on groceries, so this challenge help me track all my purchases, coupon like crazy, eat out a whole lot less (haven't eaten out but 2 times since number 3 came along), and be more creative with food we had on hand. So for the month of November I actually only spent $220!!!! I was so pleased. And we still ate pretty well and have a fairly stocked-up freezer and pantry. The only that was really missing by the end of the month was the perishables. I actually tracked the purchases from Nov. 10-Dec. 10. This week I did go to Costco and Acme to stock up again and already spent about $200, but I'm hoping to not spend more that $50 until early January. We'll see how I do. I was quite please with November's results given I had a birthday party for my son, celebrated two Thanksgivings, and a few other hospitality events. Some of ways I have been able to cut our grocery budget nearly in half since last spring would be due to cloth diapering 2 children about 80% of the time, coupons, shopping at Rite Aid, and checking frugal blogs like Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom....they do a lot of the homework for you. How do you save on your grocery budget? Any tips? What do you spend each month? How do you incorporate bulk purchases into your budget?

Great Stocking Stuffer idea for toddlers!

UPDATE (12/16): Well, just checked Walmart and the DVD is $13. Sorry. Just checked the blog I got the info. from and everyone else is saying its $13 too. If I see it on sale any where else I'll let you know.

I just read on the Deal Seeking Mom blog about a new $3 off coupon for the new Curious George movie- A Very Monkey Christmas. We just watched this movie last week as a family on PBS and it is super cute. This week the movie is on sale at Walmart for just 5 bucks. So with the coupon you can get it for $2! Yeah! I just printed it from Red Plum here. This will make for a great stocking stuffer for my boys. I'm going to go out tonight to snag it before they are sold out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Great Deal on Dunkin' Donuts Coffee

I absolutely LOVE coffee. I would even go so far to call myself a bit of a coffee snob. One of my favorites is good ol' Dunkin Donuts regular coffee. For nearly 3 years at Costco, I had been buying it for $16.99 for the 2 1/5 pound bag. In an effort to cut back on our grocery bill as of late, I started drinking Eight O'Clock coffee...quite surprised how yummy it is too. Actually, the Columbian is rated #1 on Consumer Reports. Well, today I needed an afternoon pick-me-up while I was out with the kids, so I stopped by D and D for a splurge cup of joe. To my surprise, they are running a sale all month long...buy 4 1 pound bags of any flavor of coffee for $19.99! That's $5 a bag...one pound bags that is. You can't touch that kind of price at the grocery stores or even Walmart. Those places only sell 12 ounce bags and the best price I usually see is $5.99. And this price is a little better than the price of Eight O'Clock too. So I was quite excited! I bought 4 bags for now and will probably hit up the sale again. By the way, these make great gifts for the coffee lovers out there on your list or for grab bags.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Free Calendar, Clutch Photo Book, or Photo Cards

Today only! Another free photo gift deal is out there. Oh, by the way, I got my 100 free photoe cards that I told you all about and they are awesome!!! I still can't get over that deal! How many photo deals have you scored over the past few weeks. This is my fourth one. Starting now, December 1st (yes, I stayed up to do it at midnight!), go to the American Greetings website and click on the Photoworks icon. I think it was in the middle right-hand side of the page. You'll be asked to pick your gift and enter your email address. Hurry, they are only giving away 20,000. I just made an 11 x 8 calendar and it was also shipped for free. ($25 value) Yippy! Its going to be a Christmas gift for DVB since I still have him on my list. Hope you get in on this deal. Thank you Common Sense with Money!


Black Friday/Cyber Monday

I love to shop during Thanksgiving weekend. I love the chaos, adrenaline rush, and of course great deals in the middle of the night (while the kiddos and hubby are sleeping). I didn't camp out this year, like I did last and I'm glad because it was cold, windy, and rainy. It has been my tradition since I was a young girl shopping with my mom to go out on Black Friday to get great deals. I used to work Black Friday at the Gap for a season while in high school and college. I now love to go out since I can't make it out much with 3 little ones and DVB usually always takes the day after Thanksgiving off. He is glad to watch the kids for me. (I was thankful my newborn took a bottle for the first time while I was gone). I prefer going with a shopping buddy and for the past few years its been my sister-in-law Lindsay and this year it was Chanda. We first went out Thursday night to Michael's for about an hour to get 30% off our entire purchase, but I was disappointed as they no longer carry toys. No more Thomas the Tank Engine trains there. I did find some cute kiddie art sets though and some other things and got good deals. I slept from 2-3 am since I was up late researching the best deals online and in the circular. With water, coffee, snacks, layers of clothes, coupons, and circulars, Chanda and I first hit Kohl's for when the opened at 4 am. We got some great toy deals (50% off) there including a Leap Frog Tag system for only $29.99 and it went towards Kohls cash. Then we stopped by Walmart at 5:15, just to turn around and walk back out the door. What we wanted there was not worth waiting in the HUGE lines. I actually went back there late Saturday night and got what I wanted at the same Black Friday sale price. I used 3 of those handy dandy Hasbro and Playskool coupons that are floating around online to get 2 games and a toy for more than 50% off retail price! Food for thought- I read somewhere you should never pay more than 50% of the retail for a toy. Back to Friday...we then headed up to the mall. Some of the highlights: $207 worth of items at Bath and Body Works for $46.50, 25% off entire purchase at the Children's Place (bummed they didn't let me use the 20% off coupon in addition like they did last year) and socks were on sale 5 for $5 so they ended up being 75 cents each...I wish I would have gotten more, that's a better price than clearance; and my gift to myself, my Pottery Barn desk!!!! Pottery Barn, never, ever has good deals, except on Black Friday and the weekend following. The deal was get a $20 gift card for every $100 you spend. And we had a New Mover's coupon from our move this summer for 10% off any purchase. We had been holding onto for nearly 5 months now and I am so glad we did. It was due to expire on Nov. 29th and we were able to use it with the Black Friday deal to save extra money on our favorite desk. I am so excited about it! And now we have $120 PB gift card to use after Christmas. I was so thrilled they let us use both deals. Chanda and I avoided Toys R Us on Friday too because the lines were so, so long...people were lined up outside to get in at 10 pm on Saturday night. We started at 4 am and got back by 10 am...and I was pleased with the deals. Last year was a bit better, but that's ok. I only had so much time before I had to get back for the little one.

And now today's Cyber Monday deal. I got 6 great Leap Frog items from leapfrog.com on super sale (way, way, better prices than the same items at Kohls) and I signed up to be a Learning Path member and saved an additional 20% plus free shipping. The retail of the items would have been: $96.85

I got them for $41.60 shipped!!!! The order included 2 Tag books for my sons new Tag Reader system.

I got nearly all my shopping done over the past few days. The kids are all done and so are the nieces and nephews on both sides of the family. All that's left on my list is hubby and mother-in-law.

FYI: If you are in the market for Hasbro games, perhaps look at the prices at Toys R Us as they are on sale again this week and there is a Hasbro/Toys R Us specific rebate available for a lot of those games. I got some two weeks ago when they were on sale and giving away gift cards and I am eligible for $13 in rebates. The final price on some of them was $1.99.

What were some of your best deals if you ventured out for Black Friday????

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Free Photo Cards

So, I have read several blogs about this fantastic deal, and it may sound too good to be true, but it is absolutely no joke. This is just in time for Christmas! You can actually score 100 FREE PHOTO CARDS with free shipping too. The website is SeeHere from FujiFilm. Its actually a really great site. You can completely customize your cards. After looking over the different blogs and people's comments I went ahead and made mine. You have to do two separate orders to make the codes work. The first code is "newbaby" and the second is "freebies4mom11-09." Please note, you have to type in the codes, rather than cut and paste them. Also, the website is getting sooo much traffic that it is very slow. Everybody is jumping on this deal. I tried many times yesterday to do my second order, and couldn't get the site to work. This morning it worked like a charm. So, I got 50 super cute Christmas cards in my first order and then my second order included a variety (yes, you cam make different types-as long as the total is 50). So, I made 30 more Christmas cards, 12 holiday thank-you photo cards, and 8 birthday thank-you cards for my son to give out from his 4th birthday. Enter the code at the check-out and the discount will be reflected. I also appreciated that they didn't gather any credit card information since it was a free offer. $49 worth of great cards for free and free shipping. The first order I placed two nights ago, and I got my email that it shipped already. So, act fast, the freebies 4 mom code expires November 30 and it is now only good for the 4x8 size. Not sure when the other code expires. Have fun making some great cards! Also, don't get discouraged if the website is slow, expect that. Wake up early to make them for the site to work the best. Thanks, Money Saving Mom, Freebies 4 Mom, and Thrifty Living.

Oh, and you can get 100 free prints for signing up with SeeHere. I haven't made those prints yet. I understand they have to be in a separate order.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Walgreen's Money-Maker Deal

So, which store do you prefer...Rite Aid or Walgreen's? I am still a big fan of Rite Aid, mainly because they have so many total purchase coupons out there and they can be used AFTER all other coupons to maximize the deal. I had a not so successful trip (well, it wasn't too bad-but not has sweet as I would have liked) earlier in the week to Walgreen's, so I was just about ready to stick with Rite Aid only...until I found out about this deal.

Walgreen's had Glade aerosol sprays on sale for $.99 this week with in-ad coupon. Plus, there was another coupon in the November savings book for $1.00/2. And I used two manufactures coupons, one from Right at Home-an SC Johnson website (I recommend you sign up so you can get great coupons in your email) and one from the paper that was BOGO free. I purchased 6 sprays (all the coupons worked beautifully) and they ended up costing me only $.44! Yes, you read that right...44 cents! I don't even use Glade room sprays, but I will have fun giving them away to friends and family. And now the best part of the deal....I can now submit these purchases for the SC Johnson rebate that you can read about here. (Thanks again BA for the tip!) Because I purchased 6 qualifying items I will be eligible to get $10 back ($5 back for every 3 items you purchase-need to be separate transactions...thank you Walgreen's manager for printing me a second receipt for the deal). I will have made $9.66 on this purchase! Money for our upcoming Disney trip!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

$.47/ pound Turkeys at Giant

This is the week to pick up your turkeys. I already got one and will be getting the big one in the next day or too. This is a great price for a frozen turkey. Save even more with this coupon.

Acme-Best shopping trip yet!


Last night, I headed to Acme, with my circular, coupons, and calculator to take advantage of the great Catalina deal ($15 off next shopping trip with $30 purchase of select items). Thanks to the internet and blogs, you can literally find some many coupons and people who do the homework for you as far as coupon match ups. These two sites are helpful to me, Thrifty Living and Deal Seeking Mom. And of course, you can find tons of coupons on the internet from various sites like Coupons.com. Check out this post for match-ups. And I actually found there were two more match-ups as well. I found a $.75/1 from the Wish-bone website for dressing (printed two) and there was a $.75/1 for Breyers ice-cream a few weeks back in the Sunday paper coupons. (I had two of those as well). So after 4 transactions (I did the Catalina deal twice so I could use the $15 - 2 of them- for the rest of my purchases), I got all that you see above. There was a cereal deal too, if you buy three Kellogg's cereal-Mini Wheats were on sale and I had coupons-you got a free gallon of milk. Apples were on sale too.....6 pounds for $4!

I got $132.84 worth of groceries and only paid $22.50 out of pocket....a savings of 84%!!

I was very pleased with this trip as I was able to stock up on some items like chicken broth, cereal, flour, dressings, cake mix, and some other items are pantry was needing. I don't usually buy stuff like boxed potatoes, but they were virtually free and with lots of hospitality happening I thought it might be nice to have these on hand. We don't eat white potatoes here much at all, but other people like that stuff, so I purchased them. I can't make super gourmet meals all the time with 3 little ones at home, so sometime boxed stuff is nice to have on hand. :)

And, best news, everything worked out perfectly! I didn't have my kids with me, which made it go much smoother, since my cart was filled...thanks DVB for watching the boys! No trips to customer service this time. Yeah!

Acme is great because they double all coupons up to $.99. Even the ones from online. I literally had some many coupons for this trip to make it such a sweet deal. It definitely takes time and energy to pull this off, but its worth it if you can save quite a bit of money for your family.

Pumpkins!


I had several pumpkins left over from our Harvest Party that we hosted on Oct. 31st. Thanks to Money Saving Mom (highly recommend this blog), I got a great idea on how to use these cute little orange things...make my own pumpkin puree!!! I was so excited about this idea, as I love everything pumpkin, cookies, breads, cakes, etc. And to buy canned pumpkin can get expensive. So last week, with the help of two of my little ones, we set out to make our own pumpkin puree.

First, we cut them in half, and removed all the seeds (saved them for roasting and for planting next year).




Then we placed each half upside down in a little bit of water. I covered each baking dish with aluminum foil or a lid or dish towel (for microwave). I either baked them in the oven at 350 for over an hour, or put them in the microwave for 30-40 minutes.


When fully cooked, the skins literally slid right off!



Next I scooped out the pumpkin.


We put the pumpkin in the blender with a little bit of water and blended for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.


Final results: 18 cups of pumpkin puree!!! After it cooled, I put two cups in each Ziploc bag and put them in my freezer.


That same day, I used some of the puree and made these delicious Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins! Now, can I go the whole winter without buying canned pumpkin? I hope so!




Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My best Rite Aid trip yet!

I didn't get a good picture of this deal, so I thought I would just try my best to explain how I got it. Everything I bought either was either on sale, had a manufacturer's coupon, a SCR, Ad Perk coupon (Video Values), and/or a combo of some or all. I also used this coupon and this coupon (a new coupon from Coupons.com). Yes, I was surprisingly able to use both. I initially had over $35-40 worth of merchandise (maybe more), so I could get $5/25 and then used the $4/20. Hint-print multiple copies of the $5/25 and use all the way through December. So here goes:
Here's what I got. Check out the circular to see what deals you can score.


Hershey’s, Mars or Nestle Fun Size or Snack Size Candy $2.44 ea
buy 3 get 1 free Hershey's, Reese's, or Kit Kat (10/18 SS)

***I bought 3 and got one bag free. ($1.83 each)

Vaseline Intensive Care Sheer Infusion Body Lotion
$4.99 sale
-$4 Single Check Rebate (SCR)
-$1.50 printable
Final Cost: $.50 moneymaker after coupon and rebate

Kotex Security Tampons $2.99 each sale
-$2 SCR
-$1.00 printable (sign up on Kotex website)
Final Cost: FREE!

GE Soft White Longlife Light Bulbs 2 pack 2/$2 sale
-$2.00 SCR on 2
Final Cost: FREE!

Pull-Ups Jumbo pack $9.99 sale
-$3 SCR
-$2 printable (requires registration, can print one per month)
-$2 Pull-Up coupon from Video Values credits
Final Cost: $2.99 (a steal!)

David Babaii for WildAid Shampoo and Conditioner BOGO $9.99 sale (never used it before, but I thought I would try it b/c it is all natural and cruelty free)
-$2 SCR (not advertised)
-$5 September Video Value coupon
-$2 September Video Value coupon
Final Cost: $.99 for 2 high-end products!

Other Misc. Purchases:
Gallon Skim milk $2.69
2 more bags of candy, sale $2.44 each
-2 $.50 peelies I found on each bag (paid $1.94 each)

Ok, so now to explain the rest of the deal. Everything above, with sales, and coupons came to $21.35. I then used my $20 Fall Gift of Savings Gift Certificate, so only paid $1.35 out of my pocket. And, I am eligible for $13 SCR's!!!

Bottom Line:

Product Retail Value: $79.56 (before sales, coupons, etc.)

Final Cost: $11.65 PROFIT back in my pocket to be used to give more for the Lord!

Yippy!!!! (I hope you all followed this. I was trying to make it as clear as possible in case you wanted to try to do it).




Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Giant coupon

Here's a great coupon to save on produce at Giant this week! Its for $2 off a $5 produce purchase. Gala apples are super cheap this week too...88 cents/pound! Find the coupon here. It expires on 10/24.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rite Aid Shopping Trip



Retail Value: Over $50 (there's one item missing because I'm using it already...this really cool lip gloss-chapstick)

Actually Paid: $3

So, how did I pull this deal off? Well, last week, Rite Aid had quite a few items that had Single Check Rebates (SCR) that made the items free (once you submit the receipts online and get your check back). Several items were on sale and I had coupons for them, i.e. the candy, hair dye (the truth is out I color my hair...hehehe), Tide, and the razor and blades. A combo of sales, SCR, and coupons too! The best part is I had two coupons for Rite Aid this one and one from the Video Values that I wrote about before. I wasn't sure I would be able to use both, but I did score another $10 off the total by using both. It never hurts to try. I got some good stuff and once I get my check back from Rite Aid it will have been only $3 out of my pocket. Don't forget to look at this weeks SCR offers. They have some more items that will be free. Do you have any good Rite Aid deal scenarios to share?

Great Acme Deals!


Retail Value: $70.57 (probably even higher-but not all the sale items had their regular prices listed, i.e. apples on sale for 88 cents....usually like $1.69/pound)

Actually Paid: $15.80

As you can see there are quite a few groceries in that picture above. Including 7 boxes of cereal! This is a great week to hit some super deals at the Acme. If you spend $25 in General Mills products you get a $10 certificate to be used on your next order. Which if you plan it out right, ring up your stuff in two different orders, so you don't forget to use your $10. I was able to get a couple other things that I needed that were on sale and I had additional coupons for. Also, almost every single item in the GM deal has a coupon from the Sunday paper and Coupons.com...or both! I was able to double up a lot of the coupons. I had a coupon for everything I bought that was a General Mills product. The Acme actually owes me $2 more because they had another Catalina deal where you buy four Pillsbury items and get $2 back, but for some reason it didn't print out for me.

I must admit it wasn't the smoothest shopping trip, even though I did my homework, had a list, coupons organized, and a ball park figure out what everything should cost. It was a busy Saturday afternoon. Note to self-don't go shopping when you are trying to get the best bang for your buck during one of the busiest shopping times. They were out of a certain size of cereal, but thankfully the manager gave me three boxes of another size at the sale price plus a rain check for another visit to get the sale price again. I had accidently picked up two items that weren't on sale because they were the wrong size, so I had to leave the register with my screaming son, and two more customers behind me waiting, and get the right size items. The $10 certificate didn't print out so I had to go to customer service to take care of that. And I was overcharged for the bag of veggies, but thankfully the girl at the customer service desk gave them to me for free! So even though there were some bumps in the road, the customer service was good, and I was a very happy customer because I made out very, very well!

Check your circular and look over your coupons and you'll be amazed how you can save this week. Remember the $25 you have to spend is before coupons....once my coupons were calculated it was only like $14 out of my pocket, but I was still eligible for the $10 back!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Babies R Us/Toys R Us deal--Free Cookware

So there are only two days left to score this deal that I learned about from an email by being a Babies R Us/Toys R Us Rewards Member. More info about it here. Buy $30 or more of participating P&G products, and you’ll receive a $10 gift card. Plus you can submit this mail-in rebate to receive a FREE Good Cooks Hope kitchenware set valued at $40!

A friend of mine went with me today so we both could take advantage of this really cool deal.

At Toys R Us today I got the Charmin big pack for 17.99 and an 8 pack of C Duracell batteries for 12.99 ($1/1 from 9/27) and got the $10 GC and now I will submit for the pans.

Funny story-I first went to Babies R Us to do the deal. I had all my P and G coupons in hand and ready to rock and roll (Bounty, Tide products and Duracell) and even a coupon from the Always Freebie. The cashier looked a little intimidated that I did my homework to get the best deal. Well, I was trying to buy Tide to Go and for whatever reason it wasn’t working in the computer to make the deal happen (spend $30 get the $10 GC). I had two managers and two cashiers trying to override the system and help me out. It seems like you have to buy the “big packs” or large bottles of detergent to make it happen-though I don’t see that in the fine print anywhere. The employees felt bad about the whole situation not working out for me as I thought it should that they gave me a free pack of Bounty paper towels (value $17.99), and then I bought 3 Tide To Go’s, and the free Always pads for only a little over $5. But I didn’t get what I came for..the free GC and to be eligible to get the free pans, that’s why I headed to TRU.

So, after both trips, I got paper towels, toilet paper, pads, batteries, Tide to Go (3) for about $35 out of my pocket (product retail value of about $63), got my free $10 BRU/TRU gift card, was eligible for the free cookware offer, and even got one of my sons his birthday gifts because their was a special sale today and I had the GC and a coupon from the TRU birthday club…only spent another $11.97 out of my pocket for his gift that has a value of over $34.

A good day….

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Children's Place

You have got to check out the Children's Place.com. You can get summer shorts and tops for 99 cents! Stock up and get some Christmas shopping done. I got 10 items, some for CJVB and then the rest will be gifts for others for just over 20 bucks! Yeah!!! You can try this code to save 15%... HA99. Don't forget, join Ebates, click on The Children's Place and you'll get 3% back on your purchase. Its that simple!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A GREAT DEAL AND A GREAT CAUSE

So, I was reading on this blog called Deal Seeking Mom and found out about this. Its a deal where you can get a bunch of online discount codes and/or gift certificates, and services that are valued at $799 and the proceeds are donated to the American Cancer Society. You can get it for $29.99 or $17.99 if you use one of my codes. If my code doesn't work, you may still be able to use the code that the Deal Seeking Mom has listed. You get a great deal and you are supporting a great cause! Remember this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here are my codes to score an the 40% off discount:

1st: GAA24AC5945FH826
2nd: 72634AC5945FH926
3rd: 782D4AC5945FHA26


Here's what you get in The Big Bundle: (The ones that I am excited about are in red.)

Papa John’s: $10 Gift Card (first 2500 bundles only!)
Restaurant.com: $25 Gift Certificate
Skype: 1 Month Unlimited* US & Canada Subscription
Trend Micro: AntiVirus plus AntiSpyware 2010
PopCap Games: Bejeweled 2
Shoebuy: $10 Gift Certificate
TripIt: 6 Months of TripIt Pro
Zagat: 3 Month Subscription to ZAGAT.com
Corel: Photo Album 7
CyberLink: MediaShow 5
1-800-Flowers.com: $20 Savings Pass
Snapfish: 16×20 Poster
Evernote: $25 off Evernote Premium
WinZip: Winzip 12.1 Standard
Threadless Tees: $5 Coupon
Hotels.com: $50 Off a 3 Night Stay
Collectorz: Movie Collector – Standard Edition
Nordstrom: $20 Rebate with a $100 Purchase
RoboForm Pro
Mozy: 50% Off One Year of MozyHome Unlimited
Playfirst: Diner Dash
ImTOO/Xilisoft: 3GP Video Converter
Foxit: PDF Creator
Dropbox: 3 Months of Dropbox Pro (50GB)
Picnik: 6 Months of Picnik Premium
23andMe: $50 Off the Full Edition
Lanc├┤me: Free Shipping on ANY Order Plus Four Deluxe Samples
SmugMug: $25 Off a SmugMug Account
CircuitCity.com: $10 off $100 purchase
Gap: $20 off $100 purchase at Gap.com
PETCO.com: $25 Coupon off $100 Purchase
GoDaddy: 1 Domain


Be aware though that some of these discount codes expire soon. I am excited because I scored the Papa John's $10 gift certificate (only 2500 of those) that I hope I can combine it with the Eagles Pizza Deal next week.

By the way, I'm not sure if anyone even reads this blog. If you stop by, can you say hi real quick so I know this is worth doing? My family blog is still having technical difficulties, so I am having fun keeping up with this one recently. I have been loving searching some great deals lately. Happy shopping and saving!!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ebates

Ok, so I encourage all of you to join this especially since Christmas is right around the corner and lots of us do our shopping online. Why not get paid to shop this year?!?! Its called Ebates and you get cash back for online purchases at your favorite stores. Gap, Target, Shutterfly, Diapers.com, Walmart, The Children's Place, and 1000's more. Since joining back in the spring, I have already earned $18 back. You get a check in the mail every 3 months or so. Its for real and totally legitimate. Join today! Here's a link to it:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rite Aid/Online Coupons

Another plug for Rite Aid. You can go to their website and watch super short videos (30-60 seconds), and then you earn credits and coupons for the various items that you watched the videos about. Then when you earn 20 credits you earn a fabulous coupon for Rite Aid...$5 off a $20 purchase. I did this last week and it only took about 20-30 minutes to earn the 20 credits. Its called Rite Aid Video Values.

Also, did you know how many coupons you can find online through sources like Smart Source and Coupons.com? Also, just searching some of your favorite items leads you to coupons too. Just last week, I was looking for a coupon for my hubby's favorite deodorant (Right Guard Extreme) and I found a $1.00 off coupon on the website along with some coupons on the Yoplait site and Johnson and Johnson. Try to find your own and let us know.....

Free online coupons is especially great for those of you who don't get a Sunday paper.

Rite Aid

Thanks to the blog Babycheapskate.com and my friend BA, I am loving getting "paid to shop" at Rite Aid. Often you can get items for free, or super cheap, with their Single Check Rebates (you can sign up online and put in your receipts codes there-no need to mail them in). Just last week I earned over $12 in SCR and they also have this other deal going on called the Fall Gift of Savings. You can earn 5, 10, or 20 back depending on how much you spend until mid-October. I have already earned $20! And to top it off, they take the total, before discounts or coupons! Make sure to check the ad that comes in the mail each Friday and they check your Sunday coupons to get the best deals. Its a fun game to see how much you can save, what you can get for free, and when you can get money back in your pocket. Thanks BA...here's a link to another coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase. Enjoy! Thanks again BA!!!!

Papa John's Pizza Deal

Just wanted to let you all know about a great deal on pizza (if you're too tired to make one homemade-hehe). Until January 2010, Papa Johns is having a great deal on the Mondays after an Eagles game. You can get a large cheese pizza for $9.99 and then one free topping for every touchdown and then double the toppings if the Eagles win. So tonight, we are getting a pizza with 8 toppings for $9.99 since the Eagles got 4 touchdowns and won yesterday!!!! I couldn't pass it up! Its my reward for getting through my first day alone with all three boys.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Coupons and Circulars




Well, I want to tell you all about another fantastic trip to Acme! After reviewing the weekly circular and the Sunday coupons I headed to the Acme to get some great deals. Kellogg's cereals and products were on sale the week I went. The big sale was the 5 boxes of Poptarts for $5. I think the cereal was like 4 boxes for $6 too...I can't remember exactly because I already sent in my original receipt for my Kellogg's $10 rebate. Anyway, I purchased 10 Kellogg's items, the 5 boxes of Poptarts and then some yummy cereal (5 boxes) and a bag of delicious red seedless grapes (88 cents a pound!) all for only $11.58 because of the sale prices and my 4 manufacturers coupons. And then with the Kellogg's sponsored $10 rebate that makes the grand total $1.58! I wish I could tell you the actual retail price...I'll estimate it to be about $40 given the usual prices of Poptarts, cereals, and grapes. I paid about 4% of the regular cost! Again, I highly recommend cross referencing Sunday coupons with the weekly circular! Happy shopping and saving! Oh, by the way, I don't recommend buying lots of Poptarts and surgary cereals, but this was a deal I couldn't pass up and I thought the boys (and me and DVB) would enjoy a little change.





Sunday, August 2, 2009

Great deals on kids clothes!

I have not been shopping for my boys in such a long time-but thanks to an email in my inbox on Friday I ventured to the mall. I got a 2 day coupon for The Children's Place to save an extra 25% on all purchases (in store and online). Well, I always like to buy my kids clothes a year ahead of time because I save so much buying clearance. I didn't know if it would happen this year since we have been soo, so busy with all that is going on in our lives. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a good deal-so off we went to the mall....in a serious rain storm! All the summer stuff was about 40-50% marked down already and with the additional coupon the savings really added up. I really only needed to get summer things for Ethan for next year, Nathan has plenty and so will the new baby. Since I already had a merchandise credit for the store (for about $25), I ended up getting 3 pairs of shorts and 4 shirts and they owed me $1.50! The original price on all those items would have been $87.50. Wow! Super deal. Once I got home, I wanted to check the online inventory. They actually had a lot more to offer. So I decided to get a few more things. I got 3 more pairs of shorts, 2 t-shirts, and a pair of swim trunks for $27.45 ($10 of which was for shipping). So to review, I spent about $25 out of my own pocket!!! 13 items, that's like $2.00 an item. I think Ethan is now set for summer clothes. I'm sure he has stuff that will fit him from this year's collection too-I find that to be true every year. And these items will be great hammy-downs for our other two boys when the time comes.

Cloth Diapers!

Well, I am really getting in over my head, but I'm actually really excited about it! I have thought long and hard and researched quite a bit, and I have officially decided to try cloth diapers with our new baby who is on his way. Cloth diapers are not like they used to be. They have come such a long way and they are so cute! The diapers I decided to go with are called "Gdiapers." I found out about a great deal from one of my favorite websites Babycheapskate.com and I snagged them. They are actually environmentally friendly diapers (I'll let you read about them online), but they now offer a cloth alternative, which really got me interested. And they are super cute! The usual price for the "gpants" are about $18 each and I ended up getting a 6 pack (retails for $70) for only $40. So that's about $6.67 per gpant. Great savings! I bought size small and medium to get me started. My mom was kind enough to buy me the size large, so I may even try them with Nathan. I just got mine in the mail yesterday. We'll most likely use disposables initially and probably while traveling, but my hope is to do cloth the majority of the time. I'm excited to save a ton of money on diapers and help the environment too. Did you know that disposable diapers take 500 years to decompose! Yikes!

I know a few friends who have gone cloth and have been very pleased. I know there will be a bit of a learning curve and I may get frustrated and grossed out at times-but I think it will be worth it. Wish me luck! Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated. Hey and pass the word along. Maybe its a good option for you too! Babies R Us supposedly sell these gDiapers too, so I may try to snag a few good deals there too. I'll let you know how it goes once we get started.

Friday, June 26, 2009

3 boxes of cereal for $1!!!

Yes, you read that right! What an incredible deal! I am still rejoicing in it! Last week, I was looking over the weekly Acme circular and sorting through my coupons for the best deals. Well, I saw they were selling some select Kellogg's cereals for 3 for $6 with the super card. I then found 3 separate $1.00 off coupons for the same cereals. Sweet! I went to the store last Wednesday and discovered some of the cereals were out of stock and I was told to come back on Thursday. I got a few other groceries while I was there and at the end of the transaction I got a $2 off coupon for a future order.....so, on Thursday evening, I told DVB I wanted to go and get this cereal deal. I mentioned I would be getting a pretty incredible deal. I got to the store, coupons in hand, quickly grab my three boxes of usually very expensive cereal, and headed to the register. I told the cashier "I am so excited to be getting 3 boxes for $1." He didn't know what I was talking about. He looked at me like I was crazy. This wasn't the Dollar Store. He rang up the boxes and I proceeded to hand him my four coupons. (recap....3 $1 off coupons and the Acme $2 off coupon) Yep, a total savings of $12.71 with the sale they were having. Very satisfying. I even got compliments from the couple behind me that then happened to visit our church the following Sunday. On Sunday they said to me, "hey, you're the girl who got the 3 boxes of cereal for $1, right?" I smiled with delight! Take home message...it really works to look over the circular and the Sunday paper coupons!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The March Challenge Results

So the results are in, on my challenge to do a much better job with our grocery expenses.  During the month of March, I ended up spending $419.  Not too bad.  My goal was $400, but I am very pleased with the results.  And, if I wouldn't have had to buy Pull-Ups on Sunday and had another $10 purchase that wasn't expected, I would have hit my target.  It was tough, especially this last week.  DVB was quite shocked to see how bare our pantry and refrigerator got by the end, but we did fine.  We'll see how this month goes as I spent $350 today at Costco to replenish the supplies!!!  $400 a month may be difficult to keep up, but I am hopeful that we will be making some improvements to the overall bottom line.  All and all, this was a good challenge for me and helped me really figure out where our money is going and where we can cut back.  This was my first time that I actually kept track of every purchase for an entire month and by doing that I knew how much I had left every couple of days.  Question for you moms....do you figure in diapers and wipes in your monthly grocery budgets or do they fall into their own category???

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Homemade Pizza

Here's a great recipe from my Cooking Light cookbook of a whole wheat pizza crust that is delicious!  I found it online too.  We have made three pizzas from scratch already....yeah...saving money!  It freezes very well too (if you accidently double the dough like we did).  I am going to try to figure out the cost per pizza and get back to you....I would guess about $2-3!!!  The crust is a little thick, so we recommend baking the crust for 8-10 minutes before adding the toppings.  We prefer a thinner crust.  We have to work on our pizza dough rolling out and tossing skills! Enjoy! We haven't ordered out any pizza this month!  Yeah!


Things to buy in bulk...

Just thought I do a quick post of some things I buy in bulk...maybe this will give you all some new ideas...please share your random bulk purchases too!

1.  shredded cheese (it freezes very well-you can put it is separate ziploc bags)
2.  bread (also freezes very well)
3.  the obvious toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, paper plates and cups, detergent, ziploc bags, shaving cream, diapers, wipes, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, hand soap, dish washer detergent, dish soap, clorox wipes, cleaners, even Spray 'N Wash-you use a lot of that when you have kids
4.  oatmeal
5.  ketchup and BBQ sauce
6.  just bought bulk bread crumbs for the first time
7.  all my meat (unless of course its on super sale at the grocery store)
8.  turkey bacon (so much cheaper and freezes very well)
9.  sugar and brown sugar
10.  D and D coffee (I'm not ready to be frugal with my coffee...hehehe)
11.  Peanut Butter and Jelly
12.  salad, carrots, and broccoli
13.  frozen veggies
14.  whole wheat pasta
15.  cereal bars
16.  walnuts
17.  batteries (and DVB tells me that Kirkland batteries are rated #1 in Consumer Reports)
18.  yogurt (sometimes)
19.  frozen berries/blueberries
20.  fresh strawberries 
21.  sweet potatoes when they are in season (one time I got 10 lbs. for $2.99!!!!!!!!!!!)

Ok, so almost everything I buy comes from Costco if I can help it.   But my four most surprising things:
1.  Honey (if you use it a lot, its so much cheaper...I never realized how expensive it was until I started using it a lot)
2.  Pure vanilla extract  (same reason as above)
3.  Hershey's Chocolate Syrup (DVB's idea)
4.  whipped cream!!!!!  Land of Lakes is by far the best whipped cream....

And things I wish I could buy in bulk...that would save me my trips to Walmart or another grocery store
1.   whole wheat flour
2.  Good Seasons dressing
3.  Yoplait kids yogurt
4.  bananas that weren't so green
  

Monday, March 9, 2009

$400 March Challenge

So I have never been that great at keeping an accurate track of our grocery expenses.  Its always been, "well, I think we spend about this much..."  I thought its time I really look at how much is going out of our pockets toward groceries, including food, diapers, toiletries, paper products, cleaning supplies etc.   Last week, before looking at how much we had been spending each month, I told DVB that I wanted to see if I could do it all for $400.  I mentioned this amount to one of my friends and she thought that $400 would be tough.   Especially when shopping at Costco because some months you run out of all those big things that you don't buy that often (i.e. diapers, paper towels, toilet paper, soap, detergent, etc.) and it throws the monthly budget off.  I'm still trying to figure out how to account for those types of months.  Anyway,  I decided to tally up what we spent in February....I was shocked to find out we spent about $619 (I did get a lot of big things)!!!!  WOW....that's a lot!  I bet $550 would be a little more accurate since we did have a purchase of $70 for DVB's razors and our fancy toothbrush heads that we won't have to buy again for another 4-6 months....anyway...now the challenge is really on.  I am so determined to see if I can keep our grocery bill to about $400. One of my other goals is to continue to cook relatively healthy and fun meals too, since we have been on our health kick for so long now.  And I love to cook, so I want to keep up with a variety of meals.  So far, so good.  I have already spent $300 but I have mostly everything covered for the month except additional milk, coffee cream, yogurt, and fruits and veggies, that I have to buy every 1-2 weeks.  We'll see how it goes.  Just last week I found a great recipe for homemade wheat pizza that was delicious (2 more balls of dough in the freezer).  We have a weakness for ordering out pizza in this house (granted I always have a coupon), but now that I know how to make dough, and its not as intimidating as I thought, we will not order out this month as a way to save some extra cash.  I also had found a great deal on some yummy frozen pizzas at Costco a few weeks ago that ended up costing only about $2.5o/pizza!  So there's no excuse to order out.  Last week, I also found another light recipe that was very economical.  We started getting a weekly paper and just last week I used over $10 worth of coupons at Walmart...that pays for our monthly cost of the newspaper subscription.  

I'm excited and up for the challenge.  Its helping me to be more organized, and to plan better as far as meals are concerned.  Oh, here's another frugal tip:

12.  We eat Quaker old fashioned oatmeal almost every day of our lives!  All four of us do and, no, our kids don't need sugar on it.  We do sometimes put fruit or Craisins, but both our little ones will eat it plain.  I actually transitioned NDVB to real oatmeal right after baby oatmeal. Does baby oatmeal have sugar? No.   They don't know what they are missing until they have it...so don't give it.  Oh, and you can make it in the microwave. Another benefit....you have oatmeal on hand for delicious homemade energy bars and yummy healthy chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies.   Here's the cost per serving: (and if you're feeding it to children, you probably get more servings per box because your giving them less).
A box at Costco costs:  $6.49 with about 102 servings/box
Serving price:  $0.06  (Wow!!!)

I must say I think that is a pretty great deal for a breakfast budget-24 cents/day for four people!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tidbits...

Here are some basics that I/we have done for awhile now as a way to save money and be more frugal, thrifty, cheap...whatever you want to call it...
1. We don't have any fancy cable package...just the bare minimum service ($13/month) because an antenna never worked and we wanted some sort of TV reception.
2.  The very basic phone service for our home-line and then we use our cell phone for long distance.
3.  I buy 90-95% of my children's clothes on sale, mostly clearance, and thankfully, I have always been able to buy their clothes a season (or two or three) ahead of time.  Just a few weeks ago, I was able to pick up fall and winter clothes for next year at the Children's Place at some rock bottom prices.   I do prefer quality, name brand clothes and have always managed to get great deals. 
4.  I also hit up garage sales and Goodwill for clothing, toys, baby items, etc.  Twice, I went to garage sales and found name brand little boys clothes for only $1 an item and they were in great condition.  (One of my friends had told me about them-thank you FP!)
5.  I shop at Costco at least 2 times a month for the majority of our grocery shopping.  Buying in bulk really does pay off.  My goal lately is to really compare Costco to Walmart and I found 3-4 particular items that were cheaper at Costco.  We also have an executive membership which ends up paying for itself since you get 2% back on all your purchases and over the past two  years we spent more than enough there to cover the $100 fee each year.   I also make sure to use the Costco coupons.
6. We have a FSA (Flexible Spending Account) to take care of all our medical expenses like prescriptions, co-pays, medicines, contacts, glasses, diaper cream, etc.  This is tax-free money from my husband's income that is put into a special account.
7. I try to join all the "frequent shopper" and/or "birthday clubs" that are free and end up saving a lot when it comes to buying gifts and groceries, i.e. at Borders, the Children's Place, of course the grocery stores. Just last year, I ended up getting at least $50 back from the Children's Place for purchases I made over the course of the year.  Its not the credit card, but some other "place member" card, that keeps track of your purchases, then rewards you when you spend so much.  I then could use that money to buy the clothes for next year and for some gifts.
8.  I do go Christmas shopping on Black Friday and there were incredible deals at The Children's Place  (with some of their additional coupons-they honored all three that I had!), AC Moore, and Toys R Us.  Its worth getting up or not going to sleep!
9. Coupons.....coupons....coupons....my parents trained me very well to always look for coupons for everything...a haircut, an oil change, groceries, for department stores, food, toys, diapers, restaurants (an Entertainment book is a must--I was shocked I didn't get one this year for Christmas), and for any sort of entertainment like theater, zoos, museums, etc.  
10.  Scan the weekly circulars for good deals on meat, soda, and fruit.  I'm excited to tell you all about my pot-roast story soon!
11.  Thanks to a dear friend sharing this with me, we are now saving on our paper towel budget. Rather than always using paper towels to wipe off my kids after meals, I purchased 8 wash cloths for about $3 at Walmart and use those instead.  I've noticed my rolls of paper towels are lasting a lot longer.  

Ok, I'm tried...that's all for now.  Be back again soon!

New Blog

In addition to our family blog, I wanted to start a second blog focusing more on my small attempts to live a more frugal life with our family.  In this crazy, and somewhat scary economical times we are living in, I think a lot of people are making changes to their lifestyles.  I have come across so many blogs on the subject of being frugal.  I'm not trying to compete with any of "those" blogs, but thought it would be fun to have a little local network of friends and family trying to help each other along the way.  I have always considered myself somewhat thrifty, frugal, cheap, etc., but am beginning to realize I still have a lot to learn.  As I continue in my adventure to learn how to be more wise with the blessings and gifts that God has given us, I thought it would be neat to have a blog to document all of that and also to share what I already try to do to help manage our finances in a responsible way.  We'll see how it goes and how I can manage to keep up with it. Won't you join me and share what you have learned about the frugal life?