Print Your Coupons Here!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Walmart

I was visiting my parents last weekend and we made a Walmart run. I bought 3 packages of pantyliners, 1 bottle of toilet cleaner, 1 jar of Pace salsa, and a package of Huggies. My subtotal was $20 (I don't think I've ever had it come out to $20 EVEN before!).


I had a coupon for free toilet cleaner from BzzAgent (for my parents), used 3 coupons for the pantyliners and paid .32 total for the three of them, used a $5 coupon on the Huggies (that my dad had printed off for me!), and had a $4 coupon from the Pace sweeps, which gave some overage because the salsa was only $2.84. After coupons, my total OOP was $5.24!

I will submit the receipt to Caregivers Marketplace to get a .75 rebate on the diapers, as well. Don't you just LOVE couponing?!?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Redbox Monday

Here is the code for tonight's free movie! Just enter 89ZQJ3.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sweeps--You Can Win!

I have to let you guys in on a "not-so-secret". There are sweepstakes that YOU can win! Heather at Freebies 4 Mom has the most winnable sweeps listed on her sweeps page. I've bookmarked her sweeps page and take about 5 minutes a day (most days) to enter a few sweeps. I don't enter all of them, because some require a few more hoops to jump through, but several only take a minute to enter each day, and you CAN win! I usually choose about five to play at any given time.

By playing a few sweeps a day, I have won some things! It's so fun! I've won many small bags of chips from Subway, some free salsa from Pace, coupons for free products from Kraft, a $20 gift card from Coke, and a $50 gift card from Nabisco! (I've been using this to lower my OOP at CVS) No, I don't win something from all the sweeps, but I've won enough that it feels worth 5 minutes of my time.

Most of these sweeps require some sort of code from a product, but Sweeties Sweeps looks into the official rules for us and finds us free codes to use to enter (totally legit, since the sweeps say "no purchase necessary"). Heather gets this info from Sweeties Sweeps and then posts them in a list format that makes it easier to click and enter. You might think since you are using "free codes" that you wouldn't be likely to win, but I obviously have, and so have lots of others!

I do suggest setting up a separate email account to use for your sweep entries, so you don't fill your email with spam or "thanks for entering" emails. You will need access to this account, though, since your winning info is frequently sent there. I set up a free account at mail.com, or you could also use gmail or yahoo or others.

If you start playing the sweeps and win something, please come back and leave a comment! I'd LOVE to hear what you win!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cash--Week 4

Here's my weekly cash only update. It's almost the end of the month!

Walgreens: $7.48
CVS: $0 OOP (used a gift card)

Groceries: $37.95
Aldi: $9.43
Walmart: $5.24 (more on that deal later!)

At the grocery store I used 2 printable coupons, 1 from the newspaper, 2 from the store, and 3 from All You. Glad to see that I'm saving some money from that subscription! My best deals were four free taco seasonings, some almost free juice boxes, and some cheap veggie chips and V8 soup. I also stocked up on sliced cheese, so we won't have to buy that for awhile! I was able to keep my total lower this week, which I was happy about (though I'll admit I would have spent more at Target and Walgreens if I'd been able to get what I wanted to. . .)

Week 4 Total: $60.10
Week 3 Total: $84.51
Week 2 Total: $76.65
Week 1 Total: $45.74

Total Spent: $267.00

There are a couple more days left in the month, and I usually do my Wags and CVS shopping on Tuesday if there are deals I am interested in, so those would have to come out of this month's grocery money. Thankfully, my grocery day is Wednesday, which will be the beginning of a new month! My goal was to keep things under $275 for the month, so if I'm careful, I should be able to do that. And knowing that I have only $8 left to spend should help keep me in check! :-)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mommy Brain or Mommy A.D.D.?

Ted and I were talking last week about my day. I was relating to him the things I had tried to get done and the interruptions that prevented me from finishing most of them. Some days I feel like nothing gets done throughout the day because I hop from one thing to another, forgetting what I was doing in the first place. As I'm doing one thing, I see something else that needs attention, then one of the girls calls me over, then on my way back to the first thing, I spot something else. Can you relate?

I said to him, "Seriously, sometimes I think I have A.D.D. or something!"

He said back, "Yeah, sometimes I think you do, too."

I admit I was a little taken aback because I wasn't expecting him to agree with me so quickly! We laughed about it together and the next night Ted spotted this article in his google reader:

"The BBC is reporting that a new study suggests that our mental abilities start to dwindle at 27 after peaking at 22, and 27 could be seen as the 'start of old age.' The seven-year study, by Professor Timothy Salthouse of the University of Virginia, looked at 2,000 healthy people aged 18-60, and used a number of mental agility tests already used to spot signs of dementia. 'The first age at which there was any marked decline was at 27 in tests of brain speed, reasoning and visual puzzle-solving ability. Things like memory stayed intact until the age of 37, on average, while abilities based on accumulated knowledge, such as performance on tests of vocabulary or general information, increased until the age of 60.'"

My question for this professor would be if he saw a difference between moms with children and women without children. I think that would be an interesting study, don't you?

Then I saw this clever post at Simply Simonsons about mommy brain, based on the book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie". It sums it up just perfectly, so you have to go and read it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Locusts

We learned about tapping maple trees for sap to make syrup, but we don't have any maple trees that we can tap, which prompted the following conversation.


T: Hey H, do you think we could get any sap out of our locust tree?

H (laughing): No!

T: Well if we tap it, do you think we'd get locusts out of it?

H: If we got any locusts out of it, then I would probably want John the Baptist to come over here!

T (laughing): Why?

H: Because then John the Baptist could eat them all up with honey!

J (laughing): H, you're awesome!

H: Well, if John the Baptist wasn't here, then there would be locusts everywhere!

Can't argue with that logic!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Redbox Free Code

Here is Wednesday's code for a free rental at Redbox: MMM325.
Enjoy your free movie!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CVS and Walgreens




I went to both CVS and Walgreens tonight. I used up my RRs at Walgreens from the diaper deal and rolled some ECBs at CVS.

At Walgreens I bought 2 dozen eggs, 2 bottles of vitamins for the kids, some Softsoap, an assortment of cold, allergy, and pain medications, and 2 toothpastes. Total before coupons and RRs was $51.78. I used 2 RRs, 4 store coupons, 1 coupon from All You, 1 from the Colgate promotion, and 2 from the newspaper.
Walgreens Total OOP after RRs: $7.48
Submit for $3.99 rebate+10% bonus=$4.38 total rebate


At CVS I bought 3 shampoos, 1 toothpaste, and 3 12-packs of Mtn Dew (keeping this stocked is one easy way I can "do my husband good"!). Total before coupons and ECBs was $30.21. I used a raincheck, 4 coupons from the newspaper, 3 from the mail (Pepsi/Frito-Lay Promotion), I was refunded $1.69 from last week, and I used $12.99 in ECBs. The toothpaste and shampoo were free after ECBs, and after coupons and ECBs I got the Mtn Dew for $1 per 12-pack!
CVS Total after coupons and EBCs: $3.02
(used gift card, so $0 from my grocery $!)
Still have $7.98 ECBs from last week
Received $14.49 in new ECBs

I have a lot of ECBs left, but I'm not worried because the week of 4/5 CVS has a similar deal on diapers that Walgreens had: buy $25, get $10 in ECBs. So I'll be able to use ECBs and coupons to pay for more diapers, and still end up with new ECBs! We always need more diapers in our house. I've been buying diapers for 6 years straight without a break, and often for more than one child at a time. I am happy to report, however, that M has been consistently dry at naptime for a couple of weeks now, and has been dry at night for 7 nights in a row! Yeah M! We are SO proud of you (and our wallets are happy, too)!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm So Big!

Look what Baby F learned how to do today!
She's so proud of herself, can you tell?

video

Free Movie Monday

Redbox Free Movie Monday is here!
The free rental code for today only is HG7W56.
Enjoy your free movie!

Do you have any questions about renting at Redbox?
Have you been enjoying some free movies?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

More Like Dogs

I'm sure some of you are "cat people" and some of you are "dog people". I come from "dog people" and I married Ted who comes from "cat people", but right now we're just "kid people" (meaning we're busy enough raising kids and don't feel we need a pet just yet!)

I heard a "Lighten Up" snippet on the radio by Ken Davis awhile ago talking about cats and dogs. I'm going to butcher it in the retelling since I'm not a comedian, but I thought he had a good point, so bear with me while I try anyway!

The attitude of a cat is thus: You feed me, you pet me, you put a roof over my head. I must be god!

The attitude of a dog is the opposite: You feed me, you pet me, you put a roof over my head. YOU must be god!

Dogs are faithful. They have a loving attitude of worship and service. They want to spend time with their owners. Cats are independent. They come to you when they need something or when they feel like it. Do you see where I'm going with this?

In relation to our creator, many people are like cats. They may not recognize that it is God who has fed them, cared for them, and put a roof over their head. They have an attitude of independence, though they may call out to God in times of need.

Let me challenge you to be more like a dog in your Christian walk. Realize that all you have is from God. He made you, He loves you, and He provides for you. Our attitude should be one of worship and service and faithfulness, and we should WANT to spend time with Him.

Please no hate mail from the cat owners out there! I have nothing against cats. I know they are lovable creatures. Realize that if you act like a cat towards God, He still loves you, too. Are you more like a cat or a dog in your attitude towards God?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cash Spending--Week 3

Buying with only cash and seeing how much is in the envelope to last the rest of the month does make me stop and think before I run out and grab something. I still ended up spending more this week, though. . . because I hit 4 grocery stores. I bought a few things on my fact finding trip at a "new-to-me" grocery store, went to Aldi to stock up on some staple items, spent less than usual at my grocery store, but then hit another store on Friday for a good deal on pasta and chicken. Lesson: Shopping at 4 grocery stores in one week isn't good for my wallet. Though some might say $80 isn't bad, it's more than I'm used to spending. If I can cut back next week, hopefully I'll still be okay for the month.

CVS: $1.04 (I should be refunded $1.69 next week when I go back)
Walgreens: $1.53
Target: $4.14 (more applesauce!)
My fact-finding grocery trip: $7.63
Aldi: $20.41
Groceries: $49.76 (at 2 more stores)

Week 3 Total: $84.51
Week 1 Total: $45.74
Week 2 Total: $76.65

Total Spent: $206.90

At Walgreens I used an RR from the diaper deal, at CVS I used ECBs, and at Target I used Target printables. At the grocery store I used 10 printables, 1 from All You, 1 from a mailer, 4 from the store's ad, 1 coupon that I won in playing the Kraft sweeps, and the $3.50 off Milk catalina from the cereal deal. At a different grocery store I used 10 in-store coupons.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Double Coupon Day

I LOVE Double Coupon Day! Here are my highlights, after sales and coupons:

Orange juice: $0.98
Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Bread: $0.98
Cookie Mix: $0.50
2 boxes Organic Cereal: $0.50 each
Ground Hamburger: $1.89 lb (I had to restock the freezer, so I bought 9 lbs.)
12-pk. Mtn Dew: FREE (after sale and a $2 coupon from the Kraft sweeps)
2 packs Toaster Strudels: Better than FREE
6 boxes of Cereal AND a Gallon of Milk: $0.66 TOTAL!

Total Spent: $33.59

H had been asking for Toaster Strudels for weeks (I got some for free a few months ago with coupons), but I'd told her they were a special treat only, and that we couldn't get more until I got another good coupon for them. Yesterday afternoon just before I left for shopping, I saw a $1 coupon on Money Saving Mom and printed it off quickly, planning to use it next week. But when I got to the store, they were on sale for $1.79, so I GOT PAID .21 per box that I bought! She also alerted me to a $1 coupon for Honey Nut Cheerios which I was able to use for the cereal deal!

Remember, this store doubles 5 coupons per $25 order, so if you split your groceries into 2 orders, you can double 10 coupons. I don't go in twice, I just keep my groceries separate in my cart and put them on the belt with a bar in between. I also keep my coupons separate by clipping 2 paper clips to the front of my bag (which holds my coupon binder, reusable shopping bags, a calculator, pen, scissors, etc). It only takes a few extra minutes to do it this way, and you could save an extra $5 a week (by doubling 5 $1 coupons, taking $10 off instead of only $5). It might not seem like much, but that's over $250 a year!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fact Finding Mission

When it comes to shopping, people usually have pretty strong opinions about their grocery store of choice. Many people love Aldi, and I've been giving it more of a chance lately, stopping maybe once a month to pick up a few things, but it is somewhat of a hassle since they don't have everything. I only go to Walmart every few months to use certain coupons. Yes, some of their prices are lower, but I don't think they're unbeatable. I don't have a warehouse membership, but they don't usually accept coupons anyway, so I doubt I would shop there. Besides, the idea of paying money up front in order to reap possible savings doesn't appeal to me.

It's no secret I'm a big advocate of double coupon days at my local grocery store. There's another grocery store in town that is HUGE. I have several friends who shop there and swear by their lower prices and gigantic selection. It's across town for me (20 minutes away as opposed to being 5 minutes from *my* grocery store), so it's not very convenient. To be honest, hearing friends describe how big it is also puts me off. I like my smaller grocery store. I know where everything is and can be in and out in under an hour.

A lot of people have been asking my advice on where to find the best prices, though, so in order to give an educated decision, I left the kids with Ted for a few hours and went to the HUGE grocery store on a "fact finding mission". Armed with a notebook and pen, I wrote down the prices of most of the items I usually purchase. After I got home, I compared those prices with old receipts from my shopping. Some prices were lower, some were not.

I get some free or almost free groceries each week on double coupon day. But do the prices for the other groceries eat up my savings in coupons? That depends on how you shop. I tend to stick pretty closely to the sales items and try to stockpile when things are at a low price. This is how I am able to keep my grocery bill lower. That's another reason I like my store--because they have a weekly ad. The other store does run sales, but there isn't an ad, so I wouldn't be able to plan my purchases each week.

To try to be fair in evaluating the prices of the two stores, I made a list of 28 different items that I regularly buy (milk, eggs, cereal, pasta, yogurt, grapes, carrots, etc.) and went on a mock shopping trip for about 2 weeks worth of groceries. I wrote down the prices for those items at my store and the other store. If there was a coupon for the item, I applied it (doubled at my store, single at the other store). If my store had a sale price, but it was for a perishable item (like milk or produce), I applied it only half the time, since I wouldn't be able to stockpile that item. It wasn't an exhaustive list, but I hoped it would give me a fair representation. This would be for almost 2 weeks worth of groceries, except for perishables, which I only bought for one week.

The result? Drumroll please. . . . ! On my mock shopping trip, shopping at my grocery store on double coupon day saved me over $15 over the other store ($101.74 to $117.76). It certainly made me feel better! Though to be honest, I wouldn't want to change my store anyway, because combining the price of gas to go across town and the extra travel time to get there wouldn't be worth it. (Well, maybe it would've if the price difference was substantial--then I might have to think about it!)

A person who only shops once a month or who doesn't have time for coupons may be able to save more at another store, I don't know. And I haven't done this same comparison at Walmart, so I can't be sure the same would be true. I suspect I might still save over Walmart's prices, and part of that is because of cereal and yogurt, which my family eats a lot of, but I pay little to none for at my grocery store after sales and doubled coupons.

The bottom line is this: Shop where you feel comfortable shopping and remember there are opportunities to save wherever you go. Your grocery bill might be higher because you have kids with allergies who need special food or you have teenagers who eat you out of house and home! But I encourage you to take a look at your grocery bill and see where you are able to shave a little off. Then look into how you might do that (maybe by starting to clip coupons!). And if you aren't able to save on your grocery bill, look for other areas you could be saving (like on items at Walgreens or CVS or staple items at Aldi).

In this economy especially, people are looking for ways to tighten up their budget, so my goal is to help, not make people feel guilty. If there are other ways I can do that or questions you have, please let me know. :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Free Redbox Rental

Tonight's free rental code is GTL456. Enjoy your free movie!

Never tried Redbox? Go here to search for a kiosk near you or to see what movies are available. Go here for a step-by-step Redbox tutorial by Deal Seeking Mom.

CVS Trip

I went to CVS to roll some ECBs from my last trip a couple of weeks ago.

Colgate (free after ECBs)
Palmolive (free after coupon)
2 Nutra-Trim Gum (free after ECBs)
Irish Spring Body Wash (better than free after coupon and ECBs)

I was able to use 2 $1 coupons that I received in the mail from the Colgate promotion (for the Palmolive and the Irish Spring).

Used $16.00 ECBs from my last trip
Paid $1.04 OOP
Still have $4.99 ECBs from my last trip
Received $15.98 in new ECBs

I used grocery cash to pay my OOP (should have used the gift card, but I forgot!), but when I got home I realized that she had rung up something wrong, so next week when I go back I will get a refund of $1.69, which can go back into my grocery money!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cereal Opportunity

Our local grocery store has their special on cereal again! Buy 6 General Mills cereals at regular price, get $10 off your order and a coupon for $3.50 off milk! The best time to take advantage of this is double coupon Wednesday. Print some cereal coupons from my blue coupon bar above (if you haven't already) and also here, here and here, here, here, and here, here and here! (Sorry that was a lot of links, but there are lots of possible coupons out there!) I also have several $1/1 coupons from an Eat Better America mailer and some .75/1 coupons from the February All You issue, so you could check your coupon stash.

Buy 6 boxes of cereal (average $3.50 each) = $21 get $10 off = $11
Use 6 coupons (first 5 will be doubled) = $11 off (or less, depending on your coupons)
Get a catalina coupon for $3.50 off your next purchase of milk (will take off the whole $3.50, so put other items with the order)
= Almost free, Free, or Better than free cereal and milk!

*Note that you'll have to buy more items in order to get your coupons to double. The total before coupons has to be $25, and I'm pretty sure that has to be AFTER the $10 comes off.

I always save my Big G cereal coupons for this deal, which comes around every 2-3 months or so. This is how I build my cereal stockpile and never pay more than $1 for a box of cereal!

Don't eat cereal for breakfast? Consider using it for snacks (make "trail mixes"), cereal bars, or donate it to a shelter or church nursery. I guarantee any church nursery will welcome boxes of Cheerios!

*A printable coupon trick I learned: If you are trying to print a coupon in Firefox and one of the above links isn't working (for example it leads to a screen that says "Please Wait" and nothing happens), look in the address between the = signs where it says "=wi&o=". If you're using Firefox, replace the "i" with "g" so it looks like this: "=wg&o=" and then refresh the page and print. I don't know why it works, but it does every time!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Redbox Free Movie Monday

You can get a free rental at any Redbox with the code 2GR4N8, Monday, March 16th only. You just need a credit or debit card to swipe, but it will not be charged if you return the movie by 9pm on Tuesday. I'm planning to get my free movie tonight, are you? :-)

Free Organix Shampoo

Look for this Organix shampoo in the organic aisle at the grocery store. There are TRY ME FREE hangtags on all the shampoo and conditioner bottles. Send in the hangtag and receipt within 30 days for a rebate up to $6.99. They have lots of yummy "flavors", like Coconut Milk, Pomegranate Green Tea, Cucumber Yogurt, Passionfruit Guava, Grapefruit Mango Butter, and more! Limit one per household. And if you aren't interested in trying some new shampoo, consider donating it to your local shelter.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cash Only--Week 2

I was thankful that my Walgreens gift card was recharged in time to use it for the diaper deal, so I didn't have to dip into my grocery money for that. I did go to Target and spent $20.66. Groceries this week were $55.99. I know I went over, especially at Target, but I rationalized that I hadn't spent much last week. I guess we'll see how the rest of the month goes! We're almost halfway there!

Week 1 Total: $45.74 (groceries and Walgreens)
Week 2 Total: $76.65 (groceries and Target)
Total Spent: $122.39

At the grocery store I used 7 printable coupons, 2 coupons from the newspaper, 1 peelie I found on a product at the store, and 1 store coupon. I also submitted for a $6.99 rebate. At Target I used Target printable coupons, 1 newspaper coupon, 2 coupons I got in the mail, and 2 printable Mott's coupons.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Crockpot Pulled Pork

I've never liked pork. I've always been more of a chicken breast sorta gal. But when I found pork for $1/lb. a few weeks ago, half the price I pay for chicken breasts and cheaper than ground beef, too, I decided to give it a try. (Gulp.)

In my very first crockpot post last fall, I asked for some tried and true crockpot recipes. Jennie left this one for Easy Pulled Pork:

* 3lb pork butt
* 1 cup brewed coffee (leftover from the morning pot... whatever) - (if you don't ever have coffee in your house, then use a cup of rootbeer)

* 16oz can beef broth

* BBQ sauce


Season the pork with some salt and pepper. Place in the crock pot with the coffee and broth. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. The biggest effort involved in this meal is pulling the pork apart after it's finished cooking. After doing so, mix with your favorite BBQ sauce and serve on hamburger buns.


It was SO good! I don't like coffee, so I used the root beer. I didn't know how much to season it with the salt and pepper, so I might have overdone it there just a bit (but it was still good!). It honestly was VERY easy. By the end of the day, it was very tender and practically fell apart, so there wasn't even that much effort involved in shredding it. I actually thought it tasted good plain, so I only mixed BBQ sauce into half of it. The whole family liked it both plain AND with the BBQ sauce. My kids don't eat buns, so we just ate it with forks and mashed potatoes on the side. Thanks, Jennie, for making pork a meat my family will eat!

Do you have an easy crockpot recipe? I'd love to try it if you're willing to share!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Huggies Deal

If you haven't been able to get to Walgreens yet this week to take advantage of the diaper deal, I'd suggest calling ahead to your store to make sure they have some diapers and/or wipes. I called around to five stores and did finally get some yesterday (we picked up Ted for lunch and I spotted a Walgreens truck unloading at the nearby Walgreens, so after we ate I ran over and picked up some diapers while Ted waited in the car with the kids! Good thing I had my coupons with me!).

I know some of you are out of the diaper stage, but Jennie had a good suggestion. This is such a good deal, if you'd be willing to buy some to donate to a local shelter, I know they would appreciate it. Linda suggested buying some for a friend who is pregnant or has a little one. I'm sure they would be blessed! Good ideas, ladies! I hope you are all able to take advantage of this SUPER deal!

If you haven't printed out the coupons yet, go to my blue coupon bar and do so quickly, before they are gone! (I'm surprised they aren't gone already!) If you don't plan on using them, pass them along to another mom who will (Thanks Lisa!), or you can hang onto them until April 4th, when CVS will be having the same type of deal, buy $25 of Huggies, get $10 ECBs.

Goldfish and Applesauce at Target

Guess what we're having for snack at my house?

There's a great deal on Goldfish crackers and Mott's Applesauce at Target. Go to A Full Cup and print off the $1 off Goldfish and $1 off Mott's Applesauce coupons (you can print 5 per page with the Target coupon generator). At my store the Goldfish are $1.79, making them .79 each after coupons. The Mott's 6-pack is $1.69, making them .69 after coupons. I bought a bunch to use for playdate snacks and to donate to our church nursery. Churches would welcome donations of Goldfish, because they are always a favorite snack! My kids were especially excited to find that Goldfish now come in chocolate, cinnamon, and honey flavors, in addition to lots of other kinds! I like that some are now made with whole grains.

*The Goldfish coupon expires this Saturday, so run out and grab some this week!
*The Renuzit pictured was also free after combining a $1 Target coupon and a $1 coupon from the 2/22 paper.
*The Mott's coupons are good until the 28th, so you've got some time on those yet! And make the deal even better by printing two of these .55/1 Mott's printables! Thanks Tara!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Redbox Wednesday

Wednesdays in March you can get a free Redbox rental with a promo code! The code for today is JBG123. Never rented with Redbox? Go here to find one near you and check out which movies are in stock. At your local Redbox, touch the box that says, "Rent with a Promo Code" and then enter the code. Then you will be able to choose your movie, add it to your cart and check out. Swipe your credit or debit card and enter your email address and your movie will dispense! It's that easy! They will email you a rental receipt and also a confirmation when you return the movie. As long as you return it by 9pm the next day, your card will not be charged. Enjoy your free movie!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Great Mail Day!

It was a fun day to open up my mailbox! I received a sample of Selsun Blue (with $1 coupon), Cream of Wheat (with $1 coupon), Huggies wipes, and the Colgate Travel Bag I ordered back in January after saving my UPCs. It contained a toothbrush, toothpaste, 2 deodorants, body wash, and $8.50 in coupons!

I love free samples! They are perfect for traveling, including in shoeboxes, making a guest basket, donating, or even using yourself! My favorite sources for freebies are Freegrabber and Freebies 4 Mom.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Redbox FREE Monday

Get a free rental at Redbox with the code F3T9L6, Monday, March 9th only.

Renting at Redbox is easy, and there is a free rental code every Monday. PLUS, in March, there are free rental codes on Wednesdays as well! They have new releases and have now started stocking some older movies (like Steel Magnolias--one of my favorites!) as well. You can search online for the movies at your local Redbox and you can reserve them online as well, but I've heard you can't use the free rental code in that case. It's still only $1, though, so not a bad deal!

Last Wednesday I took the free rental code to my local Walgreens to get High School Musical 3. A lady asked if she could watch how the process worked since she had never done it before, so I told her about the free rental codes. After I was finished, another couple went up to the Redbox so I asked them if they knew about the free rental code. They didn't, so I handed over the code. They thanked me and I said with a smile, "hey, if I can help someone save one dollar, great!"

I get my weekly codes from Tara at Deal Seeking Mom. If you are interested in me posting them each week, please leave a comment. If there's interest, I don't mind posting them every Monday (and Wednesday in March). If I can help someone save a dollar, I'll do it! :-)

Guest Basket

One of the things I like about staying in hotels is the complimentary shampoos and lotions. (How many of you are with me?) Back in the day (before cost saving measures started taking hold), hotels used to offer quite an assortment of goodies, usually in a basket in the bathroom. I know they weren't really free since we had paid for the hotel room, but it still made me feel like I was getting a little extra something. Or maybe I have a thing for cute, small bottles! :-)

I've made up a basket that sits in our guest room to try to capture that feeling, and to help out any guests that stay with us, just in case they forgot something (I know I've been there!). I started with a cute basket, put in a couple of washcloths and then filled it with any goodies I could think of: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorants, lotions, hair gel, razors, shave gel, shower gel, soap, bandaids of different sizes, feminine products, a comb, a sleeping mask, and ear plugs. This is a perfect way to use some of the free samples I receive in the mail.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cash Experiment, Reporting In

I did go to Walgreens yesterday. I was hoping my gift card would be recharged from my rebate purchases last month so that I wouldn't have to spend any OOP (out of pocket), but it wasn't. Hopefully it will be recharged soon so I can use it for the diaper deal this week!

So because I am trying to use only cash for my grocery purchases this month, I dipped into my grocery money to pay for my Wags run. I got two bottles of lotion, a bottle of conditioner and some spray gel, 4 tubes of toothpaste for the toothpaste project, some prunes, apricots, dried cranberries, and yogurt covered raisins. I spent $5.44 OOP. How did I do that? Coupons, of course! I used 5 coupons from the newspaper and 3 printables, and I received $7.50 in RRs from the lotion and toothpaste that I used in a separate transaction to pay for the dried fruits.

I decided to include my Walgreens and CVS purchases in my grocery budget so that I make sure my deal-hunting at these stores doesn't spiral out of control. It makes me stop and decide which deals are worth it for me to go after. There are always SO many "deals" every week that I could drive myself crazy and end up spending MORE to save more, instead of spending LESS and getting more. There's a difference!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Print More Huggies Coupons!

The save $3 and save $5 Huggies coupons were reset! So even if you printed off these coupons last week, you should be able to print off 2 more of each coupon! Click through to my blog and you can print them from my blue coupon bar. Remember to print off 2 of each coupon! These are slightly different from the coupons that were up last week. Last week's coupons were for any natural fit or gentle care product. They changed the wording on the new coupons to say any diaper product. So the coupons from last week can be used on wipes or other products, but these can only be used on diapers. Still GREAT coupons! :-)

A great place to use these coupons will be Walgreens next week. Starting March 8th, they have the buy $25 of certain Kimberly-Clark products, get $10 in RRs. Huggies Gentle Care diapers (those are the supreme kind) are listed as one of the products and are $10 each. If you were able to print off 2 copies of the $5 coupon last week and 2 more copies just now, you could do the following:

Buy 3 packages Huggies Gentle Care, $30
Use 3 $5/1 coupons, spend $15 OOP
Get $10 RRs back to spend later
That's $5 (after RRs) for 3 packs of diapers!! CRAZY!!

BUT, it gets even better! Because these are Huggies, save your receipt and submit it to Caregivers Marketplace for .75 back per pack (you need to have 5 packs before you submit for a rebate, so save your receipts this year). You'd get another $2.25 back on those 3 packs, effectively spending $2.75 for 3 packs of supreme Huggies! WOW! It just doesn't get any better than that! :-) Hurry and print off your coupons!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cash: An Experiment

I decided to try an experiment this month: using cash to pay for my groceries instead of a credit card. For years, I've heard the argument that people who use credit cards spend more than people who use cash. We pay off our credit card bill each month, though, so I hadn't paid much attention.

I like couponing and we already try to live pretty frugally and within our means, so I already keep our grocery bill pretty low. But if I am more intentional and use cash to pay for my purchases instead of just swiping the credit card (which is admittedly much easier!), would I pay even less?

A couple of years ago we went to "the envelope system" with our eating out money, and we've found that we spend a lot less and are more careful about how we spend it, now that we see how much physical cash is left in the envelope.

So this month I will use only cash to pay for all my grocery purchases. I will keep track of my spending and we'll see how it goes! I also want to keep track of how many and the types of coupons I use, especially at the grocery store (just because I'm curious!)

This week at the grocery store I spent $40.30 over two transactions. I used seven printable coupons and three peelies I found on products at the store to get them for free after doubling! I also went to CVS, but I didn't spend any money OOP because I used gift cards. There I used six printable coupons, three that came in the mail, one that I won online in a sweeps (and then got in the mail), and one from the newspaper; 11 total. I might still try to hit Walgreens this week, but we'll see.

What do you do for gorcery purchases? Do you use cash or credit? I know Money Saving Mom uses cash, and she stays really true to her budget each week, like within a dollar or two, so I thought I would try it! We'll see how it works out, and if I end up saving even more!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wise Words for Moms

I like to use God's words more than my own as much as possible when I discipline. This way my children know that my authority is not my own, it is from God. I have a great resource hanging right on my refrigerator that I'd like to share with you. It's called Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman.

I like it because it has listed several situations, like complaining, defiance, disobedience, fear, arguing, tattling, whining, and others. After each behavior is listed a couple of heart probing questions, a reproof (or "put off") verse, and an encouragement (or "put on") verse, as well as some additional verses that pertain to the situation.

For example, for complaining, one of the questions is "Rather than complaining, what can you be thankful for in this situation?" Then it gives the verse "Do everything without complaining or arguing." (Philippians 2:14--everyone in my house has this verse memorized!) The "put on" verse is about thankfulness: "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

One thing I like about this chart is it reminds us that we need to be doing more than just telling our kids what they are doing wrong, we need to be filling them up with what they should be doing instead. I have it handy on the fridge. I don't refer to it all the time, but it's nice to know it's there when I need a refresher!

Ginger Plowman has the chart for sale on her website for $3.99. It is listed at $4 on Amazon, or you could get it used.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

CVS

I had a good week at CVS. I hadn't been in a few weeks, so I had some ECBs expiring that I had to use up. Here's what I got:

Dr. Pepper - FREE after coupon printed online
2 Cascade - $2.99 each, used 2 $1/1 cpns
Planters Peanuts - FREE with a coupon I won playing the Kraft sweeps in January
ACT mouthwash - .99, got .99ECBs
Aquafresh toothpaste - $1.49, used $1.25 cpn printed online
Fusion Razor - $7.99, used $4 cpn, got $4 ECBs (free after ECBs)
EAS chocolate bar - FREE with a coupon I got in the mail
6 Zone Perfect Bars - These ended up being .70 total after cpns printed online
2 NasoGel - $7.99 each, used 2 $2/1 cpns printed online, got $16 ECBs with a raincheck (better than free after ECBs!)

PLUS, I scanned my card at the magic coupon machine and it gave me a $5/$20 purchase that I was able to use to sweeten the deal!

Subtotal: $48.60
Used $30.51 in coupons
OOP: $18.09 (before I used my ECBs and gift cards to pay)
ECBs earned: $20.99!!

I didn't actually spend any money OOP because of the gift cards. I had earned a $5 CVS gift card by doing surveys online and I won an American Express gift card by playing the Nabisco sweeps in December. But that's another post. . . !

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Off the Paci (or fingers)

How do you wean your child off the pacifier, or off of sucking their thumb or fingers?

I can tell you what has worked for us for our past three children, and what we are currently doing with F, who is 9 months old. Once we decide they are old enough and don't need to depend on the pacifier (or sucking their thumb/fingers) as much, we start to make it into a game. When they put the pacifier or their fingers in their mouth at a time they don't really need it, we pull it out and say with a smile, "you don't need that right now!" Here's what I mean:
video

(Sorry about my annoying baby voice!)

We usually begin the process of weaning them off of the pacifier (or their fingers) before they turn one year old. We've found that the earlier we start the process, the easier it goes. This doesn't mean that they need to be off the pacifier completely, but that they aren't using it all day and aren't dependent on it. We start the process as above, and then start limiting the pacifier to in the crib, in the carseat, and in the diaper bag (to be used by church nursery workers or in emergencies!).

Some say it's harder to break the habit of sucking on thumbs or fingers since you can't take them away. It's true that you can't take them away completely, but we had a finger-sucker and we used the above process every time we saw her fingers in her mouth. "You don't need those, no you don't! You're fine right now!" and then redirect them or distract them with a toy or something else to put in their mouth (like Cheerios). Again, the younger they are when you start this process, the easier it will go!

I am not against pacifiers in any way, in fact I was glad when F finally started taking one, but I also don't want my kids to be dependent on it for too long. Babies can benefit from sucking on something when they are younger, but I've found that the need for non-nutritive sucking seems to decrease around 9 months of age. Children need to learn how to soothe themselves eventually, and you want their mouth and teeth to develop normally, too. It also helps them to develop clearer speech when they aren't talking through a pacifier or around their fingers.

If you'd like to share a tip or have a parenting question you'd like me to try to answer (not that I'm an expert!), please leave a comment! I'll do my best to help, or maybe others can help, too!

Monday, March 2, 2009

GREAT Huggies Coupons!

QUICK! Check out the my blue coupon bar on the top of my blog! (You'll have to click through to my blog if you are subscribed through a reader or email.) There are two new HOT coupons for Huggies:

  • Save $5 on one Huggies Gentle Care product
  • Save $3 on one Huggies Natural Fit product
Print out these two HIGH Value Huggies coupons quickly, before they are gone! You should be able to print each one off twice. I've never seen such high value Huggies coupons before. Remember to save your receipts and submit them to Caregivers Marketplace for a .75 refund per jumbo pack. Yay for saving on diapers!

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