Saturday, July 31, 2010

Free Money??

Search & Win

Well you have heard me talk about Swagbucks before, now I get to brag about how it saved the day!

We are always broke, its just a fact of life.  I don't work, I don't bring in any income, I am frugal and I do my best to save money and conserve what we have.  I don't get to do a lot with my kids that require me to pay for them because I just can't afford it.  It stinks.   This week, we got invited to 2 different beaches with friends.  I could go to the little state park beach Hopeville, its pond water that was recently closed by the DEP due to excessive bacteria in the water, OR I could go to the RI state beach, Misquamicut for some awesome waves and fun in the sun.  That was a tough choice.  HOpeville is free and less than 2 miles from my house.  Misquamicut I knew I'd have to pay for parking, and its about 30 miles from my house.  What to do?? 

Then I remembered.... Swagbucks!  What? you say, Swagbucks???   How did that save the day??  Well I'll tell ya!  Instead of taking the $5 Amazon Gift cards lately, I've been spending the higher amount on Paypal cash, 700 swagbucks gets you $5 of cold hard cash at a time.  I had earned $25!  SO I took my Paypal Debit card to the local ATM machine and took out $20 in cash.  I went to Misquamicut and had the best day we have had all summer!!   It cost $12 to park my car, we stayed ALL day.  Then I spent the last $8 for gas to get home.    It was FREE MONEY!  I didn't do anything to get it, other than sign people up for swagbucks, do my searches, and get codes.     All in the  comfort of my own home, on my own couch.    So you say  you can't get something for nothing anymore? I say you can! I did!  I had a 'FREE' day at the beach with my kids!  We had the best day!

SO I tell you, Join Swagbucks, Get Cash!!  I promise you won't regret it, its not a waste of time or a scam program. It really works! 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our Ds Game arrived

I had posted a couple weeks ago about how my kids won a Nintendo DS game from Kellogg's.  It was quite impressive!  You can refer to this link to read about it.   They selected Zelda and we were told it would arrive in 4-6 weeks.  It arrived in 3 weeks!!    We never win anything, that was quite the windfall for us.  


Enjoy the rest of your day!

Frugal Freebie Back to School Roundup!

Happy Tuesday Morning! 

One of the things about frugality, I always say "if its Free, its for me!"  There are some really fun freebies to have and they are important to staying frugal.  Here is a list of some great freebies for this week.

Free 'Kitchen Basics' Cookbook
I think people will really enjoy this one.  Lots of instructions on what to do with some basic kitchen items that are commonly stockpiled.  Enjoy!

How about some FREE Bic Pens from Target? 
Bic Pens are on sale for .99 this week, print this coupon for $1 off and your pens are FREE

Don't forget about the FREE backpack this week from Staples. Go to Staples this week and purchase  any backpack and get a rebate for the FULL amount of the backpack.  I'm tempted to go get one just for this deal!  Never hurts to have an extra, and it can be donated if need be. 

Free Child Safety Kit
Get this kit to help keep your kids safe.
Which strangers to ask for help when no trusted adults are available.

How to recognize dangerous situations.
How to respond to those dangerous situations correctly.

Thats it for now.

Have a GREAT day!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

FREE Backpacks at Staples

Don't miss out on this deal this week! 

Staples  has backpacks on sale this week.  After you fill out the rebate form and send it in, they will give the cost of the backpack BACK to you in the form of a Staples Gift Card.  That's basically FREE.  Hurry up and get this deal!!  THIS week only!  You can order online, by phone, or in store, but hurry!! 

Look back at the last week

I can't believe its been almost a whole week since my last post! I guess I just haven't had much to say. LOL 

Monday starts a new week and I'm hoping a BETTER week.  Not that last week was horrible, just hectic, lots going on with several dentist appoints and kid activities.  My kids went to VBS every night (Vacation Bible school) at the local Congregational church and they loved it.  The theme was Galactic Blast, and each night was a new activity dealing with space.  My youngest was thrilled with this, he got out of the house, and I got 2 hours by myself every night for a whole week!  That was the best, I opened my laptop to Facebook, opened up a Barcadi Mojito, and just chilled by myself for 2 straight hours.  Okay, a few nights I actually got productive and went out for the walk I desperately needed, and one night my girls had girl scouts, but the other nights were JUST for me. :)

They ended the week with a cute little program, all the kids put on a little performance of singing.  They had little moves to go with each song.  My middle daughter is a born performer, she loves every part of it and I think she will eventually be  in the entertainment field.  The teachers all remarked to me how she was one of the best singers they had, because she really got into everything and was happy to do as asked.  That's my baby girl!  My oldest is not so much in the spotlight, she is like me where she would rather just stand back and let everyone else shine.  She is kinda shy and really not into the idea of everyone watching her.  So she barely moved her mouth and totally looked like she was not enjoying herself AT all.  Ugh. My little guy was great, he just enjoyed everything and was so funny to watch when his group went up.  His best little buddy was also in his group, I'm sure they drove the teachers crazy trying to keep the 2 of them calm.   Oh to be 6 again and find joy in everything and get so excited to see your buddy and hang out, even if its only Bible camp.  

At the end of the program, they asked the kids if they would like, to come on Sunday and perform their songs for the church.  Of course my middle daughter was thrilled and begged me to take her to church  so she could do it, we were happy to do it for her. It was nice to see her get excited about something having to do with religion.  I was surprised to get there and there was almost no one in that church.  Its one of our oldest buildings in town,  but almost no members.  I wasn't quite sure what to make of that.  We are Catholic and usually attend the Catholic church,  so we weren't sure what to expect as far as the service went.  It was a small church, but the nice thing about that was that everyone knew each other, and they were able to speak to each other by name.   At the beginning, there was someone asking "Does anyone have any announcements?" , then later on, they asked "Does anyone have any prayer requests?"   Everyone in the church either had a prayer request or a Thanksgiving.   One of the Thanksgivings was that their Bible Camp was successful, at one evening they had 28 kids. 

I'm back on the wagon for a great week, hoping to lose some more weight, and keep on being frugal.  Shoprite is having a great sale this week, I can't wait to get my coupons together and plan out my attack. I've already seen a few freebies.  For a full list, check out 4Hats and Frugal, or Hot coupon   and see where you can save. And be sure to congratulate  her on her brand new baby girl!  She's a beauty!

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Frugal family Fun: Memberships!

One of the things I suggest for a fun family time is memberships to such places as museums, zoos,  clubs etc. 

You will pay more in the beginning, but in the end, you are SAVING money.  If you purchase a zoo membership, it will usually pay for itself within 2 visits, and then you can visit any time you want.  If you live close enough to a place the kids will love and enjoy, use it to your advantage to keeping them entertained this summer.  

Yesterday, I took my kids to the Roger Williams Park Zoo, we went in a large group of moms and kids, looking to do something fun for the day.  We all had memberships, except for 1 mom, and because I had purchased the 'family plus' membership, I am allowed to take guests in on my card,  I was able to get her in for free.  Her baby is less than a year old so he was free anyway.    Our kids have a great time, there is a brand new baby giraffe at the zoo, he is only 2 weeks old and adorable!!  For something so 'big', compared to the rest of the giraffes, he was tiny! (Pictured above)  He was laying on the ground with his mom,  and we enjoyed watching him for a few minutes.    Going with a large group of young kids is always a bit hard because they run from exhibit to exhibit, but  when the rest of the group went home, we  stayed behind and went through the zoo again by ourselves to see more stuff. 

I will admit I wasn't prepared as I should have been snack wise.  I only have a small hard igloo cooler that I packed waters, juice boxes and yogurts in.  I had to leave it in the car because I didn't feel like carrying it around all day.  All the rest of the moms had brought these great soft sided coolers , like this one:

This was so much more convenient for what we were doing for the day, and they were able to sling it over their shoulders. I NEED to get one of these!  I did not have enough snacks for my kids for the time we spent there.

By the end of the day, my son was having a meltdown, so I knew it was time to leave.  That's the sign of a good day, when one of them has a tantrum about leaving. LOL   But we had a full day, we were up early, we stayed for 5 hours, it was HOT, it was time to go.   But we will do it again soon!

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Celebrating Sunday

I love Sundays.

Today is 'my' day off.  My oldest daughter spent the night at her friend's house, and my other 2 went off with Daddy today to go swimming.  I'm sitting here in my air conditioned house, drinking my coffee, enjoying the peace and quiet, and just relaxing.   I spent so much time being Mom, this was a hard week for me, and I found myself wishing for school to start, then feeling guilty because I should be enjoying my time with my kids.  All year long we rush rush rush, and spend no time together, summer is supposed to be our time to reconnect, and I spend most of it yelling at them to stop fighting and to pick up after themselves.

SO here I sit, I'm not going to clean up after anyone, I'm not cooking, I'm not breaking up fights, I watching the Teen Mom marathon on MTV, without lame comments from my husband.   I'm not spending money, I'm not eating, (except for my Yoplait delights Caramel yogurt and coffee).   I got my paper, but havn't gone through my coupons yet.     I'm hoping to get a bit of time this day to make up my shopping list and go out early this week.   This is so much easier to do without everyone clamoring for my attention. 

Enjoy your Sunday and have a great day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quotes for Friday

Just some things to ponder for this wonderful Friday, the weekend is upon us!!

A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.  Robert Frost
Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that. Norman Vincent Peale

He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses much more; He who loses faith, loses all. Elenore Roosevelt
If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability. Henry Ford


Shoprite Freebie this week!

I guess I'm late with this! LOL!

If you shop Shoprite, like I do, you can get Bailey's Coffee Cream for FREE this week after coupon.  Go HERE and print coupon for $1 off.  Cream is on sale for .99 so its a freebie!!   And a nice treat for your coffee. :) Enjoy!!

Thanks to the heads up at 4Hats and Frugal!  I enjoy her weekly posts about the best shoprite deals.  I can usually find some myself, but she can help me find the pritables that go with some of the deals I didn't see.  Love that!!

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Swaptree - trade books, CDs, DVDs, and video games for free

Swaptree - trade books, CDs, DVDs, and video games for free

Check this out! Sign up for FREE, and Trade things with others for FREE. All you do is pay shipping. You can clean out your basement and trade stuff you don't need or want and get something you DO need or want. This will work great for books, and video games, check it out!

Have you ever been really broke?

This is an old post over at, but its just as relevant today as ever.

Have you ever been flat out broke?

It really makes you stop and think to a time when you were really truly broke.  When was that time for you?  For me, I have to stop and think.  I'd like to say its now,  but I think broke can be a whole bunch of different ways. When we were first married,  we were broke,  neither of us understood frugality, or the importance of saving, so we didn't.  We found out quickly that there was no way we were gonna survive that way. 

About 1 year and a half into our marriage, my husband lost his job,   and we were living off credit cards, among other things. I worked, but it certainly wasn't enough to pay our rent.  Looking back now and knowing what I know now, I wish I had done things so much differently.  I remember thinking it just couldn't get any worse, how could it?  Eventually, my husband found a job, and our first daughter was born.  I took a better paying job and we bought our house.  Things were looking so bright.

Fast Forward to today.  I can't work due to the fact that I have 3 children that need me at home right now.  My husband works hard and long hours, putting up with so much, and we do pay the bills each month, but there are usually some things that we have to sacrifice paying to get by for the month. This month its the dentist bill.  Next month I'm praying the oil bill will be all set.   Its a never ending cycle, and I sit and stress, wondering, can this get any worse?  I feel like I get creative with the bill paying,  I clip coupons, I do free stuff with my kids, but how much more can I do??  Frugal fatigue at its heart, especially  when you feel like there is no return on the investment of all the hours I spend being a frugal person.

But I know in the long run, we aren't broke.  We still have our house, we still have food in our pantry and fridge, and we still have each other.  I have to remind myself of this sometimes, even during my darkest days.  Is anyone really truly broke??  When it comes to money, maybe.  But with everything, we have to evaluate and put it all in perspective and understand why we are broke, and how to fix the broke.  

So have you ever been flat out broke?  How do YOU fix it?

MORE Amazon Christmas deals!

Continue to check Amazon all this month for Christmas deals your kiddos might be interested in! Here are a few more:

And remember that if you spend $25, your Amazon order ships for free.  Keep checking back with me for updates to these deals!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Whats for supper tonight: Homemade Pizza

The kids were wanting pizza tonight and my original intention was too cook it on the grill tonight, but not possible with all the storms moving through the area.  Its one of those weeks where money is tight, payday isn't till Friday so I went looking for a recipe for the dough.   I found one and its not half bad. 

The next time you make pizza, try this recipe for Garlic and Herb No yeast dough.  One tip: Make sure you follow the directions and measure the dry ingredients to the specification or it just won't come out.  It will be too sticky and you won't be able to roll it out.   

Another tip for this dough,  you can make small little tiny 4 inch rounds, bake them off then save them for 'Home made Lunchables'.   Throw them in your kids' lunch boxes with a little container of sauce, and some shredded cheese and you have a treat that will be a hit.   Walmart has some terrific Ziplock  sectioned containers that are perfect for this.

Have a great night!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kohl's 30% off Code!!

Thanks to AMY for the heads up!

This just in, hot hot hot!!!

Shop at Kohls, with your Kohl's Charge card, online only, with the code:

July 14th through July 21 2010 with Kohl's charge

This can not be used in store unless you have a physical paper coupon. 
Huge Savings can be had with this code!  Shop the clearance section and get some great deals for BTS or next winter! 

Taco Skillet Meal

Here is my 'too hot to cook', 'I'm not turning on the oven', frugal meal for today.
I took a recipe that I enjoy and have used in the past and tweaked it to become a 'skillet' meal. I have an electric skillet that I use several times a week, especially in the summer in an effort to avoid turning on my oven and heating up the house. I love my skillet! LOL

Here is the original recipe in case you would like to try it as is.

Taco Bake (Serves 6)
1lb ground beef
1 half green pepper, diced
1half onion, diced
1packet taco seasoning (any kind)
1 14oz package of Mac and Cheese (any kind)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup salsa (any kind)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef with the diced onion and pepper.  When browned, season with taco seasoning  as directed on package. In another pan, make mac and cheese as directed.  Add the sour cream to the mac and cheese. Grease a casserole dish, and layer the mac and meat mixture, alternating layers. Top with  salsa and cheese and bake at 325 until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Here is my variation to not use the oven:

In a skillet, brown ground beef with onions and pepper, season with taco seasoning. In another pan,  made mac and cheese as directed, but instead of milk, just add the sour cream.  Pour into skillet with meat mixture.  Pour  salsa on top, then sprinkle cheese on top.  Cover then turn off heat and let cheese melt for about 5 or 6 minutes. 

And whats the perfect veggie to serve with this?  Why Mexican corn, of course!  Heat up some frozen corn, but to that add some diced green and red peppers, some butter and season with salt and pepper. 


Have a Great Night!!

Good Monday Morning!

Mondays are usually crazy and this one is no exception.  There is so much to do and the day just started.  Not a big fan of Mondays!

Among other things, I'm in the middle of laundry that hasn't been done since Friday,  oldest dd has a dentist appt this am,  I promised them a trip to the library today to turn in their reading logs for prizes, AND  I need to pick up a few groceries.  Who said these were the lazy days of summer?? 

I plan on spending this week decluttering, and hoping to get some good deals out of here via Craig's list. We have a  Dora kitchen
 a Dora Castle,     Geo Trax ,  a play kitchen, clothes, and a bunch of other things that need to get out ,of my basement. My husband actually got a whole corner of the basement cleaned out this week, and challenged me to try and do the same.   I would just toss it all in a yard sale, but I did that last year and it just didn't work out the way I wanted it too.   So I'm going to list it all individually and hope for the best.

So tell me, do you get deals on Craig's list?  What sort of things do you like to buy, and look for?  Do you sell on Craig's list?  How does that go? 

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Amazon Shopping: Christmas in July!

Right now Amazon is running their 'up to' 50% off sale on toys, so NOW is a great time to start stocking up on those Christmas presents! There are some great deals to be had  right at this minute, you can get some things that your kids might have been wanting for next to nothing.  With Amazon, you get free shipping after you spend $25.  With this sale, you can get 4 to 5 items in your cart before you reach the $25.  And remember, if you have been doing Swagbucks,  and you have earned a $25 Gift Card, these items are FREE.  Just remember  when you are browsing and adding stuff to your cart, they must be shipped by Amazon and say they are 'elegible for Free shipping.'

So here are some ideas to get you started. 

Bakugan Special Attack Turbine Helios Color Varies  Price: 3.13

I'll be back later to update this list.  Have a Great Day!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Firework Shows: Frugal fun for your family!

Remember growing up and looking forward to the great fireworks shows all summer long?     Here in  Connecticut,
we have a fantastic show that always falls in the second weekend in July, in New London.  They call it Sail fest and its a weekend long festival featuring music, crafts, artists,  and food.  Its always a great time.   The end of the Saturday night always culminates with a large fireworks display sponsored by Foxwoods, but  created by the Grucci Brothers. 

In this economy, more and more communities are doing away with their annual fireworks display.  Its is just too costly for towns and cities to continue these traditions for the people and many have cancelled.  In Norwich, the annual July 4th fireworks were moved to Dodd Stadium and you had to have a ticket to get in.  People showed up early in the morning to make sure they got their tickets, even though they were free,  but it was a first come, first serve basis.    Many weren't willing to live without seeing the fireworks, even if you had to make a plan to get there.

If you live  in Connecticut, or are planning on visiting, make sure you go to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville every Wednesday for a  Free Fireworks display. They also feature a car show, a Farmer's Market,  Native American Dancing, a DJ, and a live band.  They also serve free popcorn and water.   This is not to be missed and has become a summertime tradition in our fair state.

Families enjoy Fireworks.  The  best way to view them is to arrive early.  Bring a picnic supper.   You don't need to be close, you can sit where ever you want and its always the best seat in the house.  Bring your blanket,  and games for the kids to pass some time while they wait.   I have found that Free Fireworks displays are some of the best frugal family fun time our family has had.   Now remember the fun you had as a kid, and  make those memories for you own kids.  All for free.  Sometimes the best memories don't have a price.

Have a Great day!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stocking up!

We just covered how to get coupons and use them, but now we want to know how to use them effectively. If you are continually getting items for free, or nearly free, consider stockpiling them. It may cost you a bit more in the beginning to build up your stockpile, but once you get going and have a decent stock, you'll see your grocery bills go WAY down.

I have had people ask me, since I use alot of coupons, do I buy alot of items I don't need? The answer to that question is NO, I buy stuff I will USE, not stuff I need or don't need. There is a difference. View these 2 scenarios:

Scenario 1: You are hosting a party and realize, you have no ketchup. You think quickly, 'I'll just run to Walmart and grab a bottle, its only $1.' So you spend time you don't have, gas you really can't afford to waste, and battle that crowd on a Saturday. You grab the ketchup, then say, 'hmmmm, while I'm here, I better grab some mustard and relish too...', but the time you leave, you have spent $40.

Scenario 2: You are hosting a party and realize, you have no ketchup. No worries! You have 2 more bottles in your pantry you got for .50 a piece matching the last coupon with a sale. Phew!  And mustard and relish also.   No need to leave the house, continue getting ready for your party.

Which to you makes more sense?
I have found stockpiling groceries has been an absolute lifesaver for me.  Last year the bank made an error with our checking account and we had no access to money for about 5 weeks.  The LONGEST 5 weeks of my life.  However, I had created such a stock pile in my basement that it was able to hold us over that long.  I had lunch meats, cheese, breads  and roasts in my freezer.  I had cereals, oatmeal and snacks stocked up for the kids.  I had side dishes, and veggies stocked up  for meals.  And I had enough salad dressings and condiments stocked up, we are STILL trying to go through them.    I admit that since I went through that period, I have had a hard time getting back to that point, but it got us through a very difficult point in time so I was so glad I had it.  The only thing I couldn't get  was fresh  produce and that was difficult, and we had family that would help keep us in milk and anything else we might need.    But we made it and it was my shopping to fill my stock pile that got us through.  

We joke alot around here, "If the bomb falls, go to Melissa's house!"  You are all welcome to my house if the bomb falls. ;)

Have a great day!!

Thoughts for Friday

Here are a few quotes for today ;)

They who are of the opinion that Money will do everything, may very well be suspected to do everything for Money.
              ~George Savile, Complete Works, 1912

It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.
                         ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt

It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy.
                          ~George Horace Lorimer

Have a Great day!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Homemade Frugal Tomato Soup

I was looking for a recipe for tomato soup, and couldn't find one I liked with ingredients I had on hand. SO I took a recipe I found and modified it to what I did have and its GOOD!!

1Tsp Olive Oil
1 Med onion chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 small can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce ( I used BBQ sauce)
1Tbsp Sugar
1Tbsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste.

In a large sauce pan, saute oil, onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Add carrots and saute again for another 5 minutes or until veggies are soft.
Add tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce to med to simmer for 20 minutes. Add Salt and pepper to taste.

You can mix with an immersion blender or blend in a blender to puree, I left is as is. Add a quarter cup of cream, and top with shredded cheddar cheese.

I prepared this with common ingredients, and for less than $2. I'll serve with Grilled Cheese for a nice frugal dinner for this hot evening. Enjoy!!

Have a great night!!

Join Swagbucks, get CASH!

I'll admit, I've been hearing about Swagbucks now for quite some time and I just thought, no way can this be legit. Once I heard of a fairly skeptic friend join up and doing well, I thought I'd give it a shot. I am amazed at how easy this is to do, and there are NO strings attached! Its simple! I joined up in May, and since them I've earned $5 in cash, and $45 in Amazon Gift Cards. Now if *I* can do this and earn, then you can too! Click this link to get started.

Search & Win
Now let me tell you more about how this works. All you have to do is go to the Swagbucks home page once or twice a day and do a search. Do your regular searches, or just make up a crazy one like, "Whats for dinner"?? You will be rewarded with Swagbucks, which are 'digital dollars' that you can use to 'buy' prizes. Swagbucks accumulate quickly, if you do several searches a day, or find codes. SwagCodes are like a virtual Treasure Hunt. Go to the SwagStore and you will see what prizes you can earn. There are gift cards, video game stuff, kids toys, whatever you need. Most people opt for the Amazon Gift cards, since its one of the easiest and cheapest ways to shop on the net. But I elected once to take the $5 in paypal cash, and it was deposited in my paypal acct in about a week. Love it! I plan on saving up my Amazon cards to use them for my Christmas shopping. I do a lot of shopping on Amazon, I buy stuff for my kids for next to nothing prices, then spend my $25 to get the free shipping. Right now, I'm almost up to 2 FREE Amazon orders! How can you beat that?
Now, should you take MY word for this? No, you don't have to, but you can check out the site for yourself, or you can read the swagbucks facebook page to see how people are using their swagbucks and enjoying it. If you aren't doing Swagbucks right now, you are missing out!! I promise you, you will not regret this, sign up now and start earning Swagbucks!
Have a GREAT day!

Free chips and salsa from Chilis

Make sure you sign up at Chili's to get a coupon for a FREE chip and salsa with the purchase of an entree. You will only get that coupon once, but you can get other great deals if you are on their email list.

Do it now!

Have a great day!

Instant Bargains

One of the best things that ever happened to me was when Kim Danger wrote a book called Instant Bargains, 600 ways to shrink your Grocery Budget. I love how she includes ways to use your coupons and how to match coupons to your store savings, but also other ways to strengthen your stock pile, and even make popular items from scratch. There is also a quote from yours truly included, one of my best tips for catching the best deal. LOL If you don't own this book, you should consider putting it in your library, some of the information is invaluable. Who said you can't teach new tricks?? I always thought I was a good coupon clipper, but then I read Kim's book and learned NEW tricks. Pretty nifty!!

Do you read books that teach you how to catch a deal? What was the best book you read?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Coupons 101

In my opinion, the best and easiest way to be frugal is to be a coupon clipper. In this day and economy, not clipping coupons is wasted money. Its the easiest way to get products for FREE, or ALMOST FREE. I know some people will complain that coupons are a waste of time, or they never remember to bring them, but for me, that's a waste of time. I do such a good job saving that most of my mommy circle of friends would like for me to give a basic step by step tutorial of my best money saving grocery shopping tips. Consider this your first lesson. :)

I will be the first to admit that clipping coupons might be tedious, and might take up more time than you want to spend, but nothing free ever came easy. Is it worth it? YES. The basis of a frugal lifestyle comes from coupon clipping, there is no way around that. What I do when I get my coupons in on Sunday, I clip almost all of them. There are some so ridiculous that I know I will never use, like joint pain relief, or weight gain supplement, I let those go, but I clip all the others. You never know when an item will go on sale, whether its 'your brand' or not, clip it. Remember that if you get items for free, or you have a chance to pick items you'll never use for free, you can always donate to the local food pantry. Toiletries can be donated to the local woman's shelter, they always welcome items.

I organize my coupons in a 'coupon binder'. I went to Walmart and bought a binder for around $3. Then at the front of the store, you'll see one register where all the baseball card stuff is, I picked up some of the clear baseball card holders. Basically, all my coupons go into the clear slots of the baseball card holders. This is the best way to see all your coupons, so you know which ones you have, but you also can see the expiration date. I have no real organization to my binder, but I do try to keep like items together.

Now, you have coupons, they are fairly organized, what you want to do is check your circulars. My favorite store is Shoprite, I've gotten the best deals in that store. Lets say, Wacky Mac is on sale for .99 this week. You look through your coupon binder and find you have a .50 off 1 coupon for wacky mac that is not expired yet. Bring it to your store, MOST grocery stores around here will double it. SO your .50 coupon, now becomes $1. If your Wacky Mac is only .99 and you have a doubled coupon, your Wacky Mac is now FREE! If you have 3 Wacky Mac coupons, get 3 bags of Wacky Mac. Why not, they are FREE after all! You just saved $3 off your grocery bill. It all adds up. Its that simple.

There are some ground rules, remember that using a coupon does NOT always make the best deal. If you have a coupon for a brand name, but the generic or Store brand is STILL cheaper after the coupon is applied, then its not a deal. And if you are wasting money on stuff you will never ever use just because you had the coupon for it, then that's not a deal either. Not every store doubles. If a coupon says 'Do Not Double', the cashier is not supposed to double it. Sometimes they do, depends on your cashier.

Here is a great video to help give you some more inspiration.

So tell me, do you use coupons?? Do you get alot of stuff for free? If you don't, are you going to start? Did this 'tutorial' help you at all?

Have a Great day!

Free Nintendo DS games from Kelloggs

Usually, I don't bother with 'contests' sponsored by the cereals and yogurt companies, rarely do people win. To me its just a gimmick to buy their product, and it always works. LOL

Last week, Shoprite had all their Kellogg's cereals marked down to 1.99. I used my $1/2 coupons and bought 4 boxes of cereal for 1.49 each. I refuse to pay more than 1.50 for a box of cereal. The promotion they were running was that if you purchased 3 boxes of Kellogg's cereal, you got a FREE gallon of Milk, any kind. That was my main motivation for buying! SO I got a box of Apple Jacks, 2 boxes of Raisin Bran, and 1 box of Frosted Flakes. My oldest daughter opened up the box of Apple Jacks and said, "Mom, there is a sticker inside this box, it says 'You won!'? I still didn't take it seriously, assuming it was still something ridiculous, or cheap. Then my husband pointed out to her, 'sure, you probably won points for a DSi, which you don't have'. We all laughed and assumed it was just a gimmick.

On a whim, he decided to check it out. He went to the website that was listed on the box to claim the prize. We were all surprised to realize, they actually won a GAME for their Nintendo DS! They chose Zelda, and it is to be delivered in 4 to 6 weeks.

How is that for being Frugal!! I got a FREE gallon of milk AND a free DS game, for my $6 cereal purchase.
Have you entered any contests or won anything like this?

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Time to put on the swim suit, ugh

After my last trip to the Dr, it was decided that I should try to lose about 40lb total, more if I can. He wants me to try and lose 20 lbs by Nov 1. It ambitious to say the least. I made a deal with myself, I would try to lose 5lbs every month to try and keep my goal attainable. I should probably add that I'm only 5ft high, so 170lbs on my frame is not healthy. For the month of June, I did it! I lost 5 lbs! I went from 170lbs to 165.

Losing weight in the summer is probably the hardest thing I have done. I can't really afford a gym membership so I try to exercise on my own. I have been trying to get a 1 hour walk in once a day, while watching my calories. Over the last week though, I have turned into a slug again. I can literally feel the weight attaching itself back onto my body. I need to lose the weight I've regained, but I also need to lose the 5lbs for July. It seems so daunting. And today's weather is supposed to be 102 in New England, SO not walking weather. Time to check Freecycle and see if anyone has a treadmill to give away!

I'm to the point where I don't even want to put on my swimsuit. Everyone in my family thinks I'm ridiculous and I probably am, but I can't bear to look at myself in a swim suit right now. I'm a top heavy person, always have been. I have wide hips from birthing 3 children. I'm short. I tried a suit on last week and I looked like a cartoon character! I was just mortified, and I was only looking at myself in a mirror, in the privacy of my own home. Today though, we are going to the beach. Oh Lord help me!

Monday, July 5, 2010

I can do that, even better!

When my girls were little, I remember seeing all those beautiful boutique style outfits and then cringing when I saw the price tag. I just couldn't believe what people were getting for these outfits on ebay and other places. But I wanted my girls to look 'matchy matchy' and cute. What to do?? Such a dilemma.

I did the next best thing.

I dusted off the sewing machine and got to work! I went to Walmart and picked out some cute patterns, this was the days when Walmart still sold fabrics and patterns. I could get cute fabrics for around $1 a yard. I modified the patterns to what I wanted and made my girls the cutest outfits! Ruffly shirts with cute pants that had ruffled cuffs. I made dresses, shorts, and in all thier favorite characters.I made pillowcase dresses with ruffly ribbon. They loved it!

I went even further. I learned how to make furry flip flops, those were a huge hit! They wore them everywhere. I learned how to make my own bows, headbands, hair clips, you name it, I did it! No need to pay retail for any of it, I did it all myself, and it was so much cheaper. Everywhere I went, I got compliments on their clothes, and how they always looked like little girls and not miniature teenagers. I loved it.

I got to a point where I was even whipping up some cute items and selling them on ebay and on the message boards. I was even making money doing this! This was quite the racket. But as always, all good things must come to an end. My girls decided they didn't like to be 'cute' anymore and it wasn't cool to wear my stuff. They would fight me to even put a simple clip in their hair, it got to a point where I had to pick my battles and this one wasn't worth it anymore. Walmart closed up their fabric departments, so I decided I was done with the sewing. Its been a while since I even started up the sewing machine even to do a simple hem.

I still do make bows, I make them occasionally for my daughter's cheer leading squad. At least they still appreciate me! LOL

I think you can get my point. There is always a way to do something better and cheaper. You don't always have to rely on retail to get what you want. It might not be clothes for your little princess, or hair bows, but there is always something you can do to cut costs. And sometimes it works more to your benefit that you could ever realize.

Have a great night!


My name is Melissa, I live in Connecticut, and I have 3 great kids. My husband seems to think I'd be great at this blogging thing so I though I'd give it a try. Though I'm not really sure what I'll be blogging about, or if I'll even have anything to say, so bear with me as I figure this all out!

I'm a frugal mom, at this point I'm addicted to coupons. I get so excited to get my paper every Sunday morning and get clippin'. I've gotten so many free things thanks to coupons, and I enjoy every second of the rush I get when I see my 'saved' total at the bottom on my receipt. The bigger the better! My best receipt so far as been where I paid $47, but my saved total was around $102. I scanned it into my computer so I would always have it! My mother took it to work with her to show all the ladies she works with, because some do not believe that I can shop like that to feed 5 people, pay so little, and save so much. But I can! And I do. Last week my bill read a payment of $45, with a savings of around $76. Yes it can be done. And yes you can do it too! Its not hard, just takes a little bit of organization and determination.

I have to give credit where credit is due, and name my all time favorite money saving site, which is I remember finding that site quite by accident 4 years ago. My husband was in an car accident that put him out of work for about 3 months. I didn't know what we were going to do, at one point the workman's comp was taking about 6 weeks to get to us, and we were living on my $150 paychecks. I could barely buy groceries, never mind pay the mortgage. I was looking for any fix and I joined some program called 'Stayin' home and Loving it', it turned out to be a referral type program and they 'recommended' I spam my link on message boards. One of the sites they suggested was I typed in the link, and when I got there, I just couldn't bring myself to do it! I started reading, and here were all these moms, just like me, just trying to make ends meet week after week. I decided I would be better off joining them, and learning how to live with less money, rather than spam them and run, and not learn anything. Four years later, I still visit daily, and I have since become a moderator on the site. Kim Danger is an inspiration to all of us, her idea to create a site that combines sales with coupons and living frugally has literally saved so many of us learning to live on less. Mommysavers mission statement: Helping Moms live well on less. And it has worked for us. Yes I have met Kim in person, and she is just the sweetest, most down to earth person I have met, and has become a great friend. And yes, I dropped 'Staying home and loving it' very soon after. I couldn't afford to buy groceries, I couldn't pay to be in their program.

I have named this blog 'Savings and Loss', the Savings part is due to my frugality and coupon clipping, but the Loss part is hopefully for my weight loss. When I was 21 years old, my father died due to a stroke caused by hypertension. My mother was diagnosed with hypertension shortly thereafter, and last year the Dr found an aneurysm as well as a leaky valve in her heart. She underwent a major valve replacement surgery. I also stopped working full time about a year and a half ago and it seems that all I've done is balloon in my weight. My Dr is concerned about the amount of weight I have gained, and my blood pressure was a bit on the high side at my last appointment. At this point he does not want to put me on bp meds, BUT he has challenged me to try and get some of this weight off. He thinks that is probably the cure and I agree, I'd love to try and lose some weight anyhow. So whoever is in the weight loss journey as well, please join me and help keep me going!

Have a great day!