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Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Big Red" Commercials

Do you remember the Big Red gum commercials from the 80s? Ted didn't immediately remember, but I was able to sing the whole thing to jog his memory. Those jingle-writers were clever! Just for fun, click here to watch the 80s version of the Big Red commercial, and don't miss the kid from A Christmas Story--he's the one with the tuba! Does it bring back any memories?

Last week I was watching a show on Hulu and during the commercial heard the familiar jingle with different words--for Verizon! It was for their "Big Red" 3G network, in their battle with "Big Blue", which is apparently AT&T. Click here to watch the new Verizon commercial, which has several throwbacks to the original commercial.

Silly, but the memories made me smile and I wanted to share! :-)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sears KidVantage Club

I just had to blog about this because I have talked to 5 moms in the past week who didn't know about it! I don't normally shop at Sears, especially for kids clothes, but I've started to recently! Last year a friend told me about their KidVantage program, and I finally decided to try it out!

Here are the basics:

  • The program is FREE and you sign up in-store at the register. Give them your name, phone number and address and you're ready to go!
  • If your child wears out the clothes or shoes you buy before they outgrow them, return the item with the receipt to the store and they will replace it with a like item for FREE!
  • The program tracks your purchases and when you have spent $100 in kids clothing or shoes, you will get a 15% off coupon for your next purchase.
I recently tried this out myself. Last April I bought some khakis and jeans for H and G on clearance. I spent $7.99 per pair, which is more than if you buy them at Goodwill or a second-hand store, but I wanted to try out the program. I figured if they didn't wear out, great, they would just get passed down to the next girl in line! :-) They both wore their new pants for the rest of spring, only occasionally through the summer, and then pretty regularly through the fall and winter. At the beginning of February, H came to me with a hole in her khakis. Time to try out the program!

I took them to the store with the receipt (no tags), and they immediately asked if I was doing a KidVantage exchange. They told me to go back and try to find the same pants. Since I had bought them on clearance last spring, I figured there wasn't a chance, and I was right. So I found another pair of khakis in the same size and brought them up. I explained that these were the only khakis in the same size I could find (and I was worried, since they were $12.99 and I had only paid $7.99). She said, "okay!" and rang them up for me and I got them for FREE! Nice, because these had an adjustable waist while the originals hadn't--though they were plain instead of having gold embroidery, which H had liked.

Not two weeks later, G got a hole in her jeans. (It couldn't have happened the same week, could it?) Back to Sears I went. I couldn't find the same jeans, but I found some that were very similar on the clearance rack on sale for $7.49. No problem! While I was there, I bought some jeans in size 4, 5, and 6, one for each girl, for $4.99 each!

I haven't tried the program for shoes, yet, because honestly, I have forgotten to look. Usually when I am at the mall I have all 4 girls with me and time is limited!

One tip--I didn't think I would remember which pants were from Sears (though surprisingly, I did), so when I got home, I took a picture of the items with the tags still on laid out on the floor. I printed out the picture and kept it with my receipt in the KidVantage flyer they had given me.

Have you used the Sears KidVantage program before? Do your kids notoriously wear holes in the knees of their pants? How about shoes? I've heard that Shopko has a similar policy, but am not familiar with it--anyone want to weigh in?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Coupons for Cuties!

Yes, you're a cutie too, but I'm talking about the Cuties Clementines! ;-) (Tee, hee!) Do you and your kids love these as much as my kids do? Both sets of grandparents brought cuties when they visited over Christmas and the girls just gobbled them up! They'll be so excited to hear that I now have a coupon for them. Print a coupon for $1 off a 5-lb. box of Cuties or $0.55 off a 3-lb. bag of Cuties here. Coupons for healthy products, even fresh fruit, do exist and I love it when they come around! Remember, you can print it twice. Print it quickly before they hit their print limit and are gone!

Free Michaels Art/Science Project Saturday

I had to post this because it made me think of my husband! :-) Michaels has a free science fair make-it take-it event tomorrow, February 27 from 10am-1pm. Make a 3D Molecule project like this one with Crayola Model Magic clay! Cool, huh? Thanks Linda!

Bonus Swag Code for New Members!

Did you get in on any bonus codes yesterday or win any swagbucks? I did! I won 30 by doing searches (10x3), and I think I got 64 in bonus swag codes. Apparently there were 121 in bonus swag codes around, but I'm not on twitter or facebook and I don't have the toolbar installed, but that's okay! To get 94 swagbucks in one day was fun! That's the equivalent of 9.4 in the old system (everything got multiplied by 10), which is more than I've ever gotten in one day.

BUT WAIT! The party's not over quite yet! I got a special code for new sign-ups! If you haven't tried Swagbucks before, sign up here and then enter code MOMFORHIM to get 60 Swagbucks instead of 30 to start you out!! You'll be well on your way to earning some FREE gift cards just for searching! (I redeem mine for $5 Amazon and $5 Paypal.)

Monthly Tally and 6 Month Checkup

Yesterday I posted about my weekly shopping trip. Now it is time for the monthly tally! I try to keep the grocery spending for our family of 6 to around $220 a month, or about $55 a week. How have I been doing with that?

For February, I averaged $41.27 a week, with an average savings of 74% per week and a total shopping bill of $165.06. It was a good month, but just so you can see this isn't a fluke, here are the weekly averages for the past five months:

My average spending for the month of January was $52.32 per week with an average savings of 71.5% or $116 a week.

My average spending for December was $47.93 per week.

My average spending in November was $69.65 per week with the overall total being $278.61 (OUCH!). I hosted 15 people for Thanksgiving and 14 people for Christmas, so I stocked up A LOT in November!

For October I averaged $47 a week and for September I averaged $53 a week.

So for the past 6 months, I've averaged $215.28 per month or $53.82 a week on groceries for our family of 6, which is right at my goal! When you stockpile and shop the sales, your weekly totals will likely fluctuate, but it is possible to stay within a monthly budget. :-)

Do you set a monthly or weekly budget? Have you started tracking your weekly and monthly spending? Are you seeing a pattern of savings yet?
I'd love to hear if you've been able to shave some money off your weekly or monthly grocery bill, so please leave a comment! Knowing that YOU are saving money helps me continue doing this!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Swagbucks Birthday!

Today is Swagbucks birthday, and if you login, you will notice some big changes! First of all, the number of swagbucks you have in your account just jumped big-time! Each swagbuck is now worth 10! And now instead of winning 1 or 2 swagbucks for searching, you'll win 10 or 20 or anything in between (I just won a 10). To celebrate their birthday, they will be offering free swagcodes all day, so stay tuned! I think they are offering more swagbucks today as well, as I have won a 10 three different times doing searches for a total of 30 so far today--so keep searching! Also, go to the swagbucks blog where there is a swag hunt in effect until tonight! Follow the clues to find the code and enter it for 20 swagbucks! Be patient--the site is loading slowly today due to all the increased traffic!

I just ordered some new piano books for H and G from Amazon yesterday and got them all for FREE because I used gift cards I had earned from Swagbucks! If you haven't signed up yet, or maybe you have but haven't started searching on a regular basis, I encourage you to get started winning today! If you sign up here today, you will earn 30 free swagbucks! Those swagbucks will add up fast and you'll be well on your way to some free stuff!

Search & Win

Weekly Groceries--Saved 77%

This week I only went to one store for double coupon day. I spent $33.20 over 5 transactions and saved $112.70 or 77%. I got the inside scoop that next week will be another super-doubles event, where they will double 10 coupons per $25 order, so start pulling together your coupons! The employee I talked to said so far the super-doubles events have been 4 weeks apart, so we'll see if this trend continues! I'm a little bummed it's at the beginning of the month instead of the end of the month, because I have a lot of coupons that expire at the end of the month. However, the coupons reset at the beginning of the month, so hopefully we'll get some new ones. These items were free or better than free: Crest x2 (it was on clearance and I doubled coupons), Excedrin (with the free coupon here), Albacore tuna pouches x2, Land O' Lakes butter x2, General Mills cereal x6, milk x2 (because I had enough overage to get another gallon), eggs x1, and Arnold Sandwich Thins x4 (I'm hosting another House Party!).

These items were $1 or less: YoPlus x5 (my coupons were expiring and we were out of yogurt so I spent $0.59 per 4-pack), flavored applesauce x8 (we mix these with plain unsweetened applesauce just like we mix our cereals), Minute Rice, Arnold bread, bananas, potatoes, Pop Secret x3 (raincheck), powdered sugar x2, Crackerfuls x2, Chinet plates x2, string cheese x10 (raincheck), and eggs x1.

Other items: Johnsonville brats, milk x2, and turkey pepperoni.

My other shopping trips for February are listed here, here, and here. This month my overall total was: $51.58 + $39.15 + $41.13 + 33.20 = $165.06. This is an average of $41.27 a week, a low month for me! My average savings was 74% per week.

Stay tuned, because tomorrow I will be posting a monthly grocery tally for the past six months!

Did you snag any great deals this week, either on cereal or other items? Are you proud of your savings? Leave a comment and let me know! I'd LOVE to hear!

Free 8x10 Photo In-Store at Walgreens

UPDATE: Now you can order online, too! Use coupon code FREEPHOTO at checkout and choose in-store pickup to get this freebie! Thanks mva.gehrke!

Print this coupon and take it into Walgreens today for a free 8x10. Don't order this one online, you must take your memory card into Walgreens to order this freebie in-store.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Free YoPlus Coupon with Email SignUp

If you haven't already subscribed to the Betty Crocker email newsletter, head over here. After signing up, they will mail you a coupon for a FREE YoPlus yogurt 4-pack!
Thanks Chelle!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Roundy's Coupon Matches

Roundy's stores (Copps, Pick 'n Save, and Rainbow) double 5 coupons up to $1 per $25 order every Wednesday (and Rainbow is doubling on Saturdays, too!). There are several deals this week, so here are some printable coupon matches to help you make your list. Check your coupon stash to see if you can find more matches. For printing tips, click here. By far, the best deal of the week is the General Mills cereal, eggs, and milk, which you can get for free if you have the right coupons!
General Mills cereal buy 6 boxes, get $10 off plus a coupon for free gallon of milk and one dozen eggs ($5.50 value)
$0.55/1 Chocolate Cheerios
$0.75/1 Wheaties Fuel
$0.75/1 Fiber One Cereals

$1/1 Select General Mills Cereals here
$1/2 Cheerios here
More here
Hopefully you printed off the $1/1 Cheerios and $1/1 Honey Nut Cheerios coupons I told you about here and here, because they are gone now!
**Here's how it shakes out: Buy 6 boxes at approximately $3.50 each, making your total $21. Buy $5 more of stuff on your list (w/o coupons) to bring your total above $25 so your coupons will double. The $10 will come off as a cereal coupon (it did last time), and you will double 5 coupons (make sure to hand the higher values first so they double) and use one coupon not doubled, which will bring your total down about $11 more. You will pay for the $5 in other items, (getting the cereal for free) AND get catalinas for free milk and eggs OYNO, which usually will take off more than the amount, making them better than free!
$2.25/ea: Kelloggs cereal
$1/3 or $1.50/2 printable coupons
About $1.50 each--above my target price for cereal, but if you have to have Kellogg's. . .
$3.50/ea: Kashi Heart to Heart cereal
$1.50/1 Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal here
$2 each
Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks or Shapes, buy 4, save $4
$0.50/2 Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups OR Fruit Roll-Ups

$0.50/2 Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups OR Fruit Roll-Ups
$2.00/ea: Del Monte Fruit Chillers
$1/3 here
$4/3 ADC
$2.79/ea: Nabisco Crackerfuls
$1/1 Ritz Crackerfuls Sandwich here
$0.79 each ADC
$1.79/ea: Sara Lee bread
$0.55/1 here
$0.69 ADC
$3.49/ea: Litehouse Dressing
$1.00/2 Litehouse Products
$2.49 each ADC
$0.50/ea: Dannon 6 oz yogurt
$1.00/6 DANNON Light Fit 6 oz. cups
$0.75/6DANNON Light & Fit 6 oz. cups
$1/6 ADC
$2.00/ea: Pillsbury Cookie Dough or Ready to Bake Cookies
$1.00/2 Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough
$1.00/2 Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough
$0.75/2 Pillsbury Refrigerated Holiday Cookies
(look for clearance Valentine cookies)
$1 each ADC
$1.00/ea: Land O Lakes Margarine, Spreadable Butter or Fresh Buttery Taste Spread
$0.55/1 LAND O LAKES Fresh Buttery Taste Spread
$0.50/1 LAND O LAKES Butter With Olive Oil

Free or Better than Free ADC!
Gorton’s breaded or grilled fish fillets 30% off ($2.65)
$1/1 any Gorton’s product here
$0.65 ADC
Sea cuisine crusted tilapia, cod or salmon $5.99
$1/1 Sea Cuisine here
$3.99 ADC
$5.50/ea: Angel soft 9-24 roll
$0.50/1 Angel Soft Toilet Paper printable
$4.50 ADC
$2.50/ea: Chinet plates, cups or bowls
$1/1 Chinet Product here
$0.50 ADC
$3.00/ea: Pup-Peroni or Milk Bone Dog Biscuits
$1.00/1 Milk Bone Essentials PLUS+ Biscuits or Chewy Treats
$2.00/1 Milk Bone Essentials PLUS+ Long Lasting Chew item
$2.00/3 Pup-Peroni dog snacks
4.8 oz or larger
$1 each
What's on my list? Free General Mills cereal, free eggs, free milk, free Land O' Lakes butter, cheap Sara Lee bread, and cheap Chinet plates. What's on your list?

Kroger Coupon Matches

Kroger doubles coupons up to $0.50 every day. These prices are based on the SE region ad, which may differ slightly by region. Find your nearest Kroger (or affiliate) here. Here are some current printable coupons available to match up with this week's sales. Check your coupon stash to see if you can find any more matches! Happy shopping!

Kellogg's cereal, Keebler crackers and cookies 4/$10, PLUS get a FREE gallon of milk

$1.50/2 cereal here
$1/3 cereal here
$1/2 Keebler Townhouse Flipsides here

Softsoap $0.88
$0.35/1 here
$0.18 ADC!

Healthy Choice Meals $1.88
$1/2 here
$1.38 each

Curly’s BBQ Tubs $3.99
$1/1 here
$2.99 each

Land O'Frost deli meat 3/$10
$2/1 here
$1.33 each

Bertolli Skillet Meal $5.99
$1/1 Bertolli Frozen Meal printable
$4.99 each

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dr. Seuss Story Time at Target

Celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday with some family fun! All Target stores will host a free Dr. Seuss story time on Saturday, February 27th from 9-11am. Enjoy this fun, family-friendly event with snacks, games, and giveaways!

:: Special reading of Oh, The Places You'll Go!
:: Free Dr. Seuss-inspired games and activities
:: Exclusive Dr. Seuss giveaways

Go here for more details.

If you'd like to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday some more at home, here are some fun ideas!

Mailbox Monday

Lots of new freebies to request this week!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Free Short Stack at IHOP

Celebrate National Pancake Day at IHOP on Tuesday, February 23! Stop in anytime between 7am-10pm and get one free short stack of buttermilk pancakes per person (a short stack is three pancakes). You can make an optional donation to support the Children’s Miracle Network as they are trying to meet their $5 million goal. There are more details here. We've gone to this the past 2 years and the girls love it!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Gig is Up!

H lost her fourth tooth last night. Now she has lost four teeth on the bottom, but still none on the top! (Funny how different kids lose their teeth in a different order.) We carefully wrapped up the tooth and she placed it under her pillow last night. However, she and G now know it is all a ruse. . .

A couple of days ago, G came up to me and started asking questions about the tooth fairy. She isn't really real, is she? Before answering the question, I probed further to see what was causing the doubts. She and H had been talking about it and thought it was just pretend. She said she knew that Mommy and Daddy came into their room after they were asleep every night to check on them, so she figured we just swapped out the tooth for a dollar then. She kept asking, and her reasoning was sound, so I asked her if she wanted me to tell her the truth. She did. So I whispered in her ear that she was right, but that she couldn't tell anyone else.

Not ten seconds later, H ran up and asked basically the same question. She figured that since fairies weren't real, then the tooth fairy couldn't be real, either. Sound reasoning. Again, I asked if she wanted the truth, and she said yes. I whispered the same thing to her that I did to G. They looked at each other and giggled. I said that some people still believe in the tooth fairy just like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, so they shouldn't be spreading this around because it might ruin someone's fun.

I knew they would figure it out sometime, but I didn't think G would know BEFORE she lost any teeth. They are smart cookies, thought, so I shouldn't be surprised!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Free Auntie Anne's Pretzel Saturday!

It's Free Pretzel Day tomorrow! Get a free original or cinnamon sugar pretzel at Auntie Anne's on February 20th from 10am-3pm. Limit one per person, no purchase necessary! Click here for details. Find an Auntie Anne’s store near you.

Thanks Karen!

Search and Win!

Don't forget to hop onto Swagbucks for a few minutes today and do some searches! If you win big, let me know! :-) Remember, 1 swagbuck is worth $0.11 if you redeem them for a $5 Amazon gift card for only 45 swagbucks. Sign up here to get started with 3 free into your account! Then do some searches, and don't forget about the special offer--skip through several offers until you find the free swagcode at the end. Then enter it on your homepage for a free swagbuck! Have a great Friday!

Search & Win

Thursday, February 18, 2010

HURRY! Free Burt's Bees Toothpaste

Quick! Head over to get a free sample of Burt's Bees Natural Toothpaste, a travel size tube (0.5 oz.) of Multicare with Flouride. This freebie has been available twice before and I kept missing out, so if you are interested, jump on it fast before it's gone again!

New Catalina Deal

Since I bought a Jell-O Mousse yesterday, I got notification about a Jell-O catalina promotion going from 2/12 to 3/7.

Buy any refrigerated Jell-O Snack product and save up to $3 OYNO:
Buy 2, get $1
Buy 3, get $2
Buy4, get $3

Includes any refrigerated Jell-O Mousse, Pudding, or Gelatin snacks. I don't normally buy these items because I rarely find coupons for them, but maybe if they go on sale? We'll have to keep our eyes peeled, and let me know if you find a good scenario at Kroger or Roundy's for this promotion.

Weekly Shopping--They Paid Me AGAIN!

I'm sure this isn't going to be a regular occurrence, but I got paid at the grocery store AGAIN this week! (It happened for the first time 2 weeks ago.) Again, I told the cashier I would use the catalina next week, but she said it was no problem to use it now. The lady behind me was impressed, and the cashier said, "yeah, and she does this every week." I said, "but I don't get paid every week!" After she handed me $3.35 from the register, a $2 OYNO catalina printed out (for the Pillsbury Grands). She said, "this expires in 2 weeks, but I know that won't be a problem for you since I'll see you next week!" You know it! :-)

In the interest of time, the girls helped me unpack my groceries, so everything is all in one picture. I went to three stores (it still only took me 1 1/2 hours, which is how long I normally spend shopping, especially if I am doing multiple transactions). Among all 3 stores, I spent a total of $33.87. My average savings at the two grocery stores was 81%. I got mostly produce and milk at Aldi, did two transactions at my regular store (which is where I got paid on my 2nd transaction), and got some coupon loss leaders at a local grocery store (since my store stopped accepting their coupons--oh well--it was a good run!).I had some coupons that were mailed to me from ConAgra, so I did the ConAgra catalina deal (buy $15, get $5 OYNO). After doubled coupons and catalina, I paid $0.26 TOTAL for Hunts tomato Sauce x5, Hunts diced tomatoes x4, Ro*Tel tomatoes x3, Van Camps baked beans x4, Egg Beaters (free ADC), and Fleischmans butter x2 (free ADC). That's like 1.5 cents per item!

These items were free: Pace salsa x2 (better than free--won the coupons from playing the sweeps--it was on sale for $3 and each coupon took off the full $4), Jell-O Mousse (free coupon from my SIL), Pillsbury Grands (better than free after coupons and catalina), Beech Nut baby food x3 (better than free--the cashier asked if my youngest was still on baby food at 19 months, but I told her that we always add veggie puree to our pancakes and since I had a coupon, I bought it--usually I make my own puree). Also, most of the ConAgra products I mentioned above were free.

These items were $1 or less: Broccoli, Carrots, Quaker oatmeal x2, Garlic bread loaves x3, Creamette pasta, Pop Secret popcorn x2, tortillas x4, chili beans, tortilla chips, eggs, 1/2 gallon chocolate milk, tuna x3, whole wheat english muffins, brown mustard, sausages.

The lady behind me said I must spend A LOT of time doing this. I probably spend more time than the average "Jane", since I peruse the ads, print coupons, and make a list, but really it isn't much time at all when you consider how much I save every week. If my "part-time job" of couponing takes me 2-1/2 hours a week and pays an average of $45 an hour, I consider it to be a good use of my time! :-)

Edited Friday to add: I stopped at one more grocery store to pick up their loss leaders because I decided to make a batch of my homemade yogurt and they had a gallon of milk for $0.99. So I spent $7.26 on eggs, milk, 32 oz plain yogurt (for a starter), Kraft mac n cheese x3, and butter, making my overall total for the week $41.13.

Has couponing proven to be a good use of your time?
Did you snag any good deals this week?
I like to hear from you, so please leave a comment!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nurse Mom

Similasan and JuiceBoxJungle sponsored me to write this post, and they asked me to talk about the things I've missed because of kid illnesses, and to mention their contest.
It's great being a mom when life is all smiles and laughter, but what about when they are sick? Someone has to play nurse, and usually stay-at-home moms are it. I love being a stay-at-home mom, but there have been numerous times I've been bummed out about having to stay home with sick kids, like when I've had to miss Women's Bible Study, MOPS, our couple's small group, playdates, or church due to someone's illness. You know you need to keep your kids home, but it's hard to give up some adult time away or time for spiritual growth to stay home and wipe noses or clean up throw-up. Ted has taken his turn missing out on things, too, (like small group or church--or even work if I am the one who is sick!) so I'm not shouldering the "nurse" role alone. It's nice to be able to catch the sermon online during the week if we missed it, but the biggest way to handle the disappointment is just realizing that this is our primary job, a job we've been blessed with by the Lord, and when we are caring for a sick child (or spouse!), we are showing God's love to them.

It's always great when a child is healthy again and is back to running in circles! Then you just hope your next child doesn't get it. :-) Similasan and Shutterfly are running a contest for a $500 gift card. All you have to do to enter is go here and upload pictures of your adorable, smiling children (not when they are sick)! You can enter as many photos as you like between now and March 28. You can also print a coupon for $1 off a Similasan product.

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