Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Deal of the Week!

Some good deals out there this week! Here are my two favorites:


Free grapes! Grapes are on sale $1/lb and on the Target website you can print out a coupon for $1 off a lb. of grapes. Target Coupons I was also able to score 5 of the travel size Tides using the $1 off Tide coupon in the Sunday (9/28) P&G insert - the coupon said "off any size," so it worked fine. I love getting these for free as they are perfect for us to take on our vacations. If you are lucky and your Target stocks the single size Horizon milk (mine didn't) you should be able to use the $1 off coupon on the Target site and get it for free or nearly free.


Pert Plus is on sale $3.49/ bottle with $2.50/ bottle off in the EasySaver catalog. Plus a few weeks ago there were $1.50/1 coupons in the paper. So, I bought 2 (didn't want to clear the shelves) and after tax made a profit of $.53. I also purchase 3 Children's Tylonel (bubble gum flavor) at $4.99/ each. In the EasySaver catalog is a $1.50 off coupon, plus I used a $3/3 coupon from an ad from a few weeks ago. Final price was around $8 and out came two Register Rewards - one for $2 and one for $5. I did these deals together so my 53 cent profit would help offset the OOP cost of the Tylonel and my final bill was $7.99 with $7 back in RR.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

We went to the apple orchard yesterday - what fun! So, there will be plenty of apple dishes this week:

Monday - Pork kabobs w/pineapple (didn't get to this last week)
Tuesday - Dinner w/Grandparents
Wednesday - Biaggi's (mini family vacation)
Thursday - Macaroni Grill Kit Dinner (received free from Psst), so we'll try it!
Friday - Dinner at SIL's
Saturday - Ham casserole
Sunday - Homemade Calzones

Dessert - apple cobbler, mini caramel apples
Snacks - apple bread, apples

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Frugal Fridays!

Okay, well I'm a day late, but I do have a great frugal tip:


We have several great family oriented places nearby (zoo, living history museum, children's museum) that we really enjoy taking the kids to. All of them have year round activities as well as many special events. To save money, we buy an annual membership to all three!

Example: Last weekend the living history museum was having a "country fair." Admission for the four of us would have been $26. We hadn't purchased a membership to this place yet as we hadn't had to pay for the kids until this year. A year long membership is $60. And this place is ten minutes from our house! So, we purchased the membership, enjoyed the day (even got a free chocolate covered marshmallow treat for buying our pass) and didn't spend a dime more than the membership (I had packed our lunch ahead of time).

Next month they have a special Halloween event, so we'll be hitting that one for sure - another $26 saved. Then come November we would have to start paying for our son, so the one trip price will rise to $33. By our third trip we'll be well over the $60 we paid in savings.

With three memberships we can easily visit each place once or twice a month and as long as I pack our lunches we won't spend anything except the gas to get there!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spending out of guilt

I've been thinking a bit this week about some of the reasons we spend money. Spending out of guilt was really pointed out to me as one I've done in the past . . .

For context, I'm away from home for a few days on a business trip. Do I feel guilty about being away from my family? Heck yeah! After lunch yesterday, my co-workers and I stopped by the gift shop on the way back to our meeting room because there were big signs posted 50% off. Both of them picked up t-shirts and other small items for their kids. I started to do the same. Then I thought about it - my kids don't need anything, and in fact, I'm trying to simplify our life not clutter it up with more stuff. So, I put the items back. Instead I picked up my phone and called them - I know they would rather talk to me than get stuff that I'm buying just because I feel guilty about being gone.

As I thought about it, I realize I often "justify" a purchase out of what is really guilt. My daughter and I are having a "girls" day and she asks for something - do I talk about why she doesn't need it or suggest she put it on her "Christmas list?" Sometimes. But sometimes I just buy it because "I don't get to spend time with her as often as I'd like to."

I'm not saying you should never buy your kids treats or toys, just think about why you are purchasing them - I'm certainly going to try to do so!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Deal of the Week!

I didn't run across anything spectacular this week, so I thought I'd share a fun freebie I enjoyed this week!

Herbal Essence Mani Pedi Offer

What fun this was! Earlier in the year I purchased two specially marked bottles of Herbal Essence (for about $4 after coupons). I entered the codes online and last week received a certificate for a free manicure or pedicure. (One caveat, it did take about six weeks to receive the certificate.) When I went to the online site there wasn't a salon listed near me, but there was a 1-800#. So, I called and within a few days had a pedicure scheduled at a posh day spa! I went Monday and enjoyed a fun little luxury for free! They even prepaid the tip.

Each household can do 2 of these offers this year, so I'm on the lookout for another good deal on Herbal Essence - another pedicure during the busy holiday season would be a terrific way to slow down and relax for a bit!

and the winner is . . .

Jaycie from Coupon Geek was the winner of my first giveaway. Thanks to everyone else for entering - I wish I could send something to everyone, but I'll do more giveaways in the future, so keep entering - your odds are good!

I really enjoy Jaycie's blog - she has terrific deals and I especially like her $2 outings with her little guy on Thursdays - check it out!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

What an easy week - I'm going to be out of town for a few nights, but my pantry is so well stocked I was able to spend a measly $12.32 at Kroger!

Monday - Olive chicken w/couscous
Tuesday - Leftover chicken pasta soup/ sandwiches
Wednesday - out to eat on Grandma!
Thursday -
Friday - Mystery shop (whole family!)
Saturday - grilled bacon cheeseburger calzones
Sunday - Pork and Pineapple kabobs

I made a loaf of applesauce bread for breakfasts, along with cereal, pancakes, and eggs

Lunches will consist of sandwiches, soups, and leftovers.

Don't forget to send me an email or post a comment in my giveaway - it ends tomorrow!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Frugal Friday - eating out!

We don't eat out often, but when we do, unless it's our local sushi joint, we always use a coupon. A great resource I've mentioned before is Restaurant.com You can purchase a $25 coupon for $10 at many different restaurants around the country. There are some stipulations (like gratuity included, specific total bill amount, etc.), so make sure and read the fine print before you purchase. The site also often has deals for 60% or more off - like right now if you use the code: FESTIVE you can get 60% off your order, so for only $4 you can purchase a $25 coupon.

We often use these when traveling. On a trip to Vegas this summer we picked up two for $8 total (a 60% off sale) and had two nice dinners for $20 and $14 (including the cost of the certificate).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


My first giveaway - how exciting!!!! I was inspired by MoneySavingMom to do a giveaway. But what to giveaway . . . I decided to start with a Greeting Card Cakes - they are so fun and cute, perfect for anyone really. Here is a picture of the one that one lucky reader will receive:

I'll also throw in a slew of coupons from my stash. So, to enter, just go to this link:

and post in the comments which cake you like the best. Next Tuesday at 3:00 EST I'll put all the names in a hat and draw one lucky winner!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Deal of the week!

Not quite as many "freebies" as in past weeks, but here are my two favorite deals:

1. CVS - although it's not free, this one is for a great price for something I need: Purex is on sale for $2.99 a bottle. Buy two and use the $1.00 off 2 coupon from Sunday's paper. You'll get $2 back in ECB. You can do this 5 times, so I'll buy four and spend $6 (after ECB) - I use the HE which is hard to find for a good price, so I'll take $1.49 a bottle!

2. JCPenney - yesterday in the mail I got a coupon for a free bare minerals sample and brush from the Sephora shop in our new JCPenney - I had a mystery shop at that mall, so I stopped in and picked up the sample - it's a decent size and something I have been wanting to try!

Please post a comment if you know of any other great deals I shouldn't miss! Thanks!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Free Museum day!

Sorry for the lack of posts - I had a spinal tap last Wednesday and then developed the dreaded headache - that really knocked me out of commission through the weekend! So, I didn't really accomplish most of my goals for last week. However, that's okay, it's a new week - I feel much better, so I'm jumping back in!

For now, here's a deal too good to pass up:

Free Museum Day

Take a look and find a museum nearby that participates - I know we'll be hitting one of our local ones we don't have a membership to!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Favorite Weekly Deals!

I couldn't come up with a cute link to Tuesday for this, but I didn't think anyone really cared - if it's a good deal, then post it! I've decided to post these on Tuesday - that will give everyone plenty of time to go out and replicate the deal themselves! So, for this week, there are a couple REALLY good deals out there:

Walgreen's: I did two transactions at Walgreen's and was able to stock up on Shout - which we go through like water around here . . .

1st transaction: 3 Robitussin Cough Syrup at $3.99 each - I used 3 - $3 coupons, so my total was $3.12. Out printed a $10 on your next purchase Catalina coupon.

2nd transaction: 7 bottles of Shout at $2.49 each - here I used 7 - 75cent coupons from a recent paper insert and the $10 Catalina from the last deal. My total was $2.79. As a bonus, another $10 Catalina printed out, so I think I'll use that for part of the monthly Walgreen's rebates.

Total spent: $5.91 for 7 bottles of Shout and 3 cough syrups

Target: My favorite cereal for 25 cents a box!!! Here's how I did it.

I purchased 4 boxes of Kashi Go Lean Crunch at 4/ $11. I used $5.00 in coupons that I had received from Vocal Point. You might also be able to score some from the Kashi website (I haven't checked it lately, so no guarantees). Then, I used my $5 Target Gift card from last week's deal on PopTarts. So, $1 OOP.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I missed last week - not real sure what happened - but aside from a quick trip to Target for the Pop-Tarts and some milk I did manage to skip the grocery!

Monday - Taco Salad with all the fixings
Tuesday - Mystery Shop (date night)
Wednesday - BBQ sandwiches, mac & cheese, homemade pickles
Thursday - Pepperonata Penne with Sausage
Friday - Black Bean Burritos
Saturday - Leftover buffet
Sunday - Spinach Tortellini and red sauce

Breakfasts - oatmeal, lemon poppyseed muffins, cereal, pancakes
Lunches - leftovers, sandwiches, gazpacho

No need to buy much at the grocery this week - I'm out of some staples and we need some fresh fruit, but that's about it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Week 1 September recap & Favorite Deal

Well, week 1 went well - our Master Bedroom and Bath are clean and organized. The one area I am only halfway done with is the linen closet - I'm up to the third shelf and I think I can finish the rest by the end of the weekend! Next week is the family room, dining room and closets (linen, hall and laundry). A bit less cleaning and a bit more organizing in store.

I also thought I'd start highlighting my favorite deal of the week. I think I'll do it on Fridays so there is still time for anyone reading to go and complete it also.

This week I had several really good ones, but I think my favorite was all the free lipstick at CVS. The Covergirl Outlast lipstick is on sale B1G1 free and I had four of the B1G1 free coupons from Sunday's P&G Saver. So, eight free lipsticks! Obviously I don't need eight lipsticks, so I picked up a variety of colors: two to keep, two to add to the garage sale pile (at $1 each that will cover tax) and four to add to the woman's shelter pile.

There is one other deal I'll mention because there is still time to run out and do it today! Target has poptarts on sale at 4 for $9. We try not to eat too many poptarts around here, but I don't mind a few in the pantry for last minute snacks or if we don't have time for a proper breakfast. I used two of the $1/2 Kellogg's coupon that came a few weeks ago (I'm sorry I don't remember the insert). Then print 4 of the 50 cents off poptarts coupons on the Target coupon generator (courtesy of afullcup.com) Target coupons So, we are at $5 after coupons. Well, when you buy 4 poptarts you get a $5 gift card - so your poptarts are free! To make the deal even sweeter - look for the boxes with tokens for books. This deal gave me four tokens - it's one book per household so I was able to get two books - one for my household and one for my mom's - perfect for a Christmas gift for the kids - they'll each get a new book! Even if you don't have the Kellogg's coupon, you could get four boxes of poptarts, two books and a $5 gift card for $3!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Frugal Fridays - library

I know most of us use the library for our kids, but I always had trouble getting books for myself - my kids just don't like waiting around while I browse for "mommy books." In the past I'd always been lucky to get to pick up a few new releases (since they are near the videos!).

I also have a nice list of books I want to read. I keep it current by adding to it whenever I hear of something new and cross out the ones I've read. Our library allows us to search the catalog from home, but not put books on hold. However, I discovered a quick phone call to the research desk with a request for a few books from my list will enable them to put the books I'd like to read on hold. They call me when they are in, I can run in and they are bound by the check out desk with my name on them! Quick and easy and keeps me in new reading material for no cost!

Get more Frugal Friday ideas at Biblicalwomanhood

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Travel Thursdays - Disney!!!!

We go to Disney every year - but we do it very inexpensively. I'll outline our last trip (although not in as much detail as the ski trip) below:

Tickets: Since we go every year, I purchased ten day passes with no expiration, park hopper and the water park extras. Two adult tickets and one child was about $1000 - I used Mousesavers to find the best deal. Yes, this was expensive, but I bought those tickets three years ago and we've made three trips to Disney since - we still have four or five days left - when we go to Orlando we only actually visit the parks two or three days. With the water park addition, tickets are about $30 a day - versus the $70 one day front gate price!!! Three days: $270

Transportation: We stayed two weeks, so we drove - gas cost us about $272 (for our minivan).

Lodging: We used our timeshares - a mere 28K points scored us a nice two bedroom at the Sheraton Vistana (excellent location). Then we spent four nights at Vero Beach with our Disney points - Sun - Wed, so low point nights and we decided on an ocean front inn room - so not much bigger than a hotel room, but a great view! The rest of week two was spent visiting friends. Total cost: $553

Food: While in Orlando, we only ate out four times - we used the Entertainment book (purchased end of the year with an ebates refund for $12) for two of those - total cost was $90. One of those finds was a WONDERFUL new place for us - we are already looking forward to going there again next year! We went to the grocery when we arrived (and brought some food) $65. This enabled us to take our own snacks and water into the parks. In addition, we got to the parks early, left at lunch time and went back after dinner. Saved money and good rest for the kids. We did eat out more at the beach as we didn't have a full kitchen. But, we found some great local spots by asking around. We also enjoyed a few early bird discounts while there - good for us since our kids need to eat around 5:00 anyways, so $160. Total food: $315

Entertainment: Three days at the parks, many days at the pool and beach, a little window shopping, a few stops at playgrounds and some visiting with friends kept us very busy. We also took advantage of the kids programs at the timeshares. All of them were free except for one cooking class my daughter took. Since I already included park tickets above, this total was $7

Laundry: I only packed seven days worth of clothing for each of us, and both timeshares had free laundry, so this time the cost was 0 (I packed my own detergent - those free samples are perfect).

Extras: We let each kid pick something special to buy and encouraged them to wait until the end of the week to decide. My daughter picked a Minnie Mouse from WalMart for $6 and my son was so little we just picked up a water ball for him to play with at the pool. As the kids get older we'll probably set a price limit for this category. We also got my son his first haircut on Mainstreet - $15 including Mickey Ears!!! Finally, at Goofy's Candy shop we made our own pretzels - they are three for $3.50 so a real bargain and fun for all of us. Total cost: $28.50

So, a two week trip to Disney and the beach: $1445.50

Yes, this was expensive, but much better than those commercials - 5 nights/ 4 days for $1500 . . . I'm pretty pleased and since we go every year, we get better at making it more affordable each year!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Found my chair!!!!

I am so excited. Yesterday I took my daughter to gymnastics and on the way we did a mystery shop for lunch - a fun little mom and daughter time (as I promised myself to do once a month back in July). We had a bit of time between the two activities so we ran over to the Kittle's Outlet. I have been looking for a chair for my office for about six months now. I had found a great one, but it was quite a bit more than I wanted to spend.

We walked through the outlet store, sitting on various chairs to try them out, when all of a sudden I saw it - a nice BIG chair and half! It was perfect - and including scotchguard and tax, a full $300 less than the one I had previously found. I paid for it, we loaded it into the minivan and took it upstairs - it looks great!!!

I'm so glad I didn't purchase the one I had originally found - by waiting for a few months and looking around I was able to save a significant amount of money. Now, aside from a bit more decluttering, my office is done!!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September Already!

Wow! How can summer be over? My DD starts preschool tomorrow - she was at this place last year, but they have made some changes, so I'm not sure how I'll like the new program - I guess we'll wait and see.

I'm also busy getting my financial house in order - I'd like to find a way to stop working my full time job, and making sure we are financially sound will go a long way towards convincing hubby!

Finally, my September goal is to get my actual house in order - I'd like to get everything deep cleaned and organized so as the busy holidays approach I'll simply be in maintenance mode. My plan for the month is to take on a few rooms at a time:

Wk 1: Master bedroom, bath, laundry room
Wk 2: Family room, dining room, closets
Wk 3: office, basement
Wk 4: Kitchen, kid's rooms

So, tonight I am off to tackle the master bath room!