Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Saving Some Green at Restaurants

I know it is much less expensive to eat at home, and I am a frugal person, but we love eating out as a family or as a couple. This can be a huge budget buster, but it doesn't have to be. How can you save money while still enjoying eating out at restaurants?

  1. Split a meal with your spouse - awww! Seriously, though, the portions at most restaurants are so huge and can EASILY feed two people!

  2. Drink water - soft drinks at many restaurants can be up to $3.00! I can get a two liter at Albertson's for $.70 this week - there is no way I can bring myself to pay $3.00 for a diet coke (no matter how much I love it!)

  3. Use restaurant coupons - am I the only one who gets these in the mail about once per week? Many times you can get buy one get one free meals, free kids meals, a % off your bill, etc.

  4. Entertainment book - if you go out to dinner often enough - this is soooooo worth it. The book is filled with buy one get one free dinners at all different types of restaurant - not to mention grocery store coupons, entertainment coupons, travel coupons, the list goes on. Get yours here.

  5. Find out about weekly/regular specials in your area - If you live in the Boise area, The Dutch Goose on State Street offers buy one get one free burgers on Tuesdays for lunch and dinner. Look for deals where kids can eat free - check out this website to find a restaurant in your area.

  6. Get lunch instead of dinner - at many restaurants, lunch is less expensive than dinner. Applebee's has a great lunch special, Pick N' Pair lunch combos for as low as $5.99. This is a great meal!

Okay, this goes without saying, but NEVER, EVER be cheap about the tip. These waiters and waitresses work hard (usually) and get paid practically nothing per hour (usually), so reward their good service by leaving a great tip. You saved so much on dinner - it's worth it!

How about you? Any more great ideas for saving at restaurants?


Giveaway!

It's time for another giveaway! Woo hoo! This time I am giving away a Burt's Bees Classic Charm Gift Set. This set contains four small tins of the following:
  1. Beeswax Lip Balm
  2. Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
  3. Hand Salve
  4. ResQ Ointment

This is a such a cute little set, I had to get one for myself too!

I will be using random.org to choose a winner on Friday, October 3rd at 3:00 p.m.

To enter:

Please leave a comment on this post with your favorite frugal beauty/skin care/hair care/nail care tip. This can be anything - I just want to hear your ideas!

You can recieve one additional entry if you blog about my giveaway on your blog - just leave an additional comment with a link to your blog.

Please be sure to leave your e-mail address if I cannot contact you through a blog.

I can't wait to see who wins!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Free Stuff!!

Here are some great new freebies for this week:

Sign up for the Fiber One Newsletter and recieve FREE samples of Honey Clusters Cereal and a Fiber One Oats and Chocolate Bar. Sign up here.

Get your FREE sample of Creme of Nature shampoo here.

Sign up here for Dr. Dave's FREE Best Health Newsletter.

Get 2 FREE GBs of picture storage from my Picturetown here.

Sign up for the FREE Home Depot Garden Club here. I recently signed up for this and got some awesome coupons in the mail from Home Depot!

Get your FREE sample of Pledge Multi Surface Wipes here. These are so handy, I love them!

Get your FREE sample of Schick Razor here.

Your money is safe at your credit union

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few weeks you know that there are some crazy things going on in our economy. The stock market, failing banks, and this $700 billion bail out…it can be a lot to worry about. You may be asking yourself, where can I keep my money safe? The answer, in your credit union!

Working in the accounting department of a credit union has taught me a lot about how financial institutions are regulated and how the share insurance works. The great news is that all credit unions are highly regulated by NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) and take measures to assist credit unions that need it. Because of these regulations, the regular auditing of the credit unions compliance to these regulations, and the assistance available, there is little chance for failure. Credit unions that are insured by NCUA must also report the financial information to NCUA on a quarterly basis. (I prepared this report for my credit union when I worked full time – let me tell you they want to know EVERYTHING!) This is a good thing! This information is also made available to the public through NCUA’s website here. Enter the name of your credit union and you can view their financial information. The bottom line, NCUA is able to read the signs of possible failure LONG before it becomes an issue and work directly with the credit unions to steer them in the right direction if necessary. Your credit union is safe!

Your money is safe in a credit union. Not only that, you will earn better interest rates on that money that you would at any bank! This is just another reason why credit unions are the best!

Have you found a credit union yet? Check out my other posts about credit unions here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Souper Saturday!

This is a yummy recipe that I got from the Top Secret Restaurant Recipes cookbook. It is a replica of the Potato Cheese Soup from Ruby Tuesday.

This makes about 3 bowls of soup, so I usually double it.

Potato Cheese Soup

2 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons finely minced celery (about 1/2 stalk)
1 tablespoon finely minced onion
1 tablespoon grated carrot
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup + 1 tablespoon cheddar cheese

Peel the potatoes and chop them into bite sized pieces (about 4 cups). Make sure the celery and onion are minced into very small pieces and should be about the size of a grain of rice. The carrot should be grated into very small pieces, not shredded.

Combine the vegetables with the chicken stock, salt, and vinegar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring the stock to a boil then turn down the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Whisk together flour and milk in a separate bowl.

Remove the saucepan of vegetables from the heat and add the flour and milk mixture. Put the pan back on the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5-8 minutes or until the soup is thickened.

Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese to the soup and simmer until melted. The potatoes should be very tender and falling apart, if not continue cooking until the soup is as thick as you like it.

I never do this, but the recipe suggests adding Monterrey jack cheese, cooked crumbled bacon, and green onion, so if you want to feel free!

Check out my other Souper Saturday recipes here.

Check out some other great recipes on The Grocery Cart Challenge's Recipe Swap.

Enjoy!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Walgreen's - I love you!

I got some great deals at Walgreen's today using the $5.00 if you spend $20.00. I love it when I find some great clearance deals! Here is what I got:

-2 boxes of Ritz toasted chip $.87 each! (clearance)

-1 Scrubbing Bubbles Action Scrubber $5.49 - there was a FREE after rebate form in a recent insert so this will be FREE!

-5 Lifesavers Gummi Savers $.22 each! (clearance)

-5 Charleston Chews (a personal favorite) $.22 each! (clearance)

-6 King Size Butterfinger Crisp bars $.37 each! (clearance)

(all that candy will be great stocking stuffers, or I can give out at Halloween, we don't have very many trick-or-treaters :))

-1 Loreal Creme Cleanser $6.99 - this is a FREE after rebate item from the October Easysaver - so FREE!

-1 Clean and Clear Deep Action Creme Cleanser $5.49 (minus) $1.00 mfg coupon (equals) $4.49 (not a screamin' deal, but pre-frugal days this was my cleanser of choice but with the $5.00 off, I think it is okay :))

-1 pair of sunglasses for $.99! (clearance)

Total spend today $20.33 (on my Walgreen's gift card, so nothing from the budget - yay!)

Rebates I will receive - $12.48

Overall price $7.85 for all this stuff - WOO HOO!

Do you want to see more great drugstore deals? Check out the Centsible Sawyer's Drugstore Divas!

Check it out!

This week, our family story is featured on BeCentsable's (an awesome blog) Centsable Savings Stories and Struggles weekly feature. Check it out here!

Frugal Decorating

I have never spent a lot of money on decorating – ever. I am not the type of person that “needs” designer whatever. I do, however, like my home to look nice and to be a comfortable place. Here are some inexpensive ideas of things that I have done around my house:


This is my hallway. I decorated it with all black picture frames. They all came from Walmart except the long one in the middle. That came from Target. Altogether I spent $25.00 on these frames and pennies on the prints to put in them.


There is nothing like a fresh coat of paint to change the look and feel of a room. We paid $19.99 per gallon for this paint job (it took about 1.5 gallons). (Isn't my daughter a cutie?)




This is another view of my daughter's room. The lace curtains came with the house (FREE). The garland around the window I got for $.50 at a yard sale. I purchased the nesting tables on clearance at Shopko for $9.99 and the picture frame was a gift. The flowers were given to me by a friend who was redecorating and wanted to get rid of them. Last but not least, this wreath is on display in my living room. It was a Christmas wreath that was on clearance at Home Depot. I got it for $2.50. It isn't super Christmasy, so I keep it up all year!

I am sharing what I have done, not because I think you should do the exact same things I do, but to show that you can decorate for less.

  • Look for items that you can re-purpose, like my wreath.
  • Shop yard sales
  • Use what you have (the curtains in my daughter's room wouldn't have been my first choice - but you can't beat free!)
  • Shop clearance sales
  • Accept free items from friends and family and look for ways to incorporate them
  • Be creative and have fun!

I won!!!!!!!

I am so excited because I just found out that I won this! Thanks Lisa - I can't wait to get it!

Check out Lisa's great blog with great ideas, recipes, shopping scenarios, great deals, etc., etc., etc.!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

$5 off $20 at Walgreen's

Just when I am trying desperately to take a break from Walgreen's, they have to go and do this again!

This coupon is good for $5.00 off if you spend $20.00 and is only good for 9/26 and 9/27. The $20.00 MUST be after coupons, but not after rebates AND the new Easy Saver Rebates for October are starting, so now might be a good time to make some money by getting the FREE after rebate items. Mommy Snacks has the scoop about the October Easy Saver here.
This may also be a good time to stock up on candy for Halloween or look for some clearance items to use as Christmas presents. Either way, you can get some great deals using this coupon.

Get your coupon here.

Albertson's was good to me again!

Albertson's has had some great deals lately! I love it! This week I stocked up on:

-10 Duncan Hines Cake Mixes $10.00 (minus) $3.00 - Albertson's deal if you spend $10.00 (equals) $7.00

-4 Betty Crocker Boxed Potatoes $4.00 (minus) 2 - $1.00 off 2 mfg coupons (I got these from my coupon train, so I don't know where they came from) (equals) $2.00 or $.50 each!

-9 Boxes of Helpers $9.00 (minus) 3 - $.75 off 3 coupons from recent inserts (equals) $6.75 or $.75 each!

-1 bunch of bananas - $.59 per pound, not a great deal, but we wanted some bananas - $1.83

Total OOP - $18.89 - Woo hoo!

Check out the Thrifty Soaper's post for other great deals at Albertson's this week.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Decreasing your mortgage payment...sort of!

Before I made my move to working part time, I was looking for all sorts of ways to cut expenses. One of the ideas I came up with has saved us about $90.00 per month on our mortgage in a round about way. Here is what I did:

  • Our monthly mortgage payment is $1,159.

  • I took our monthly mortgage payment and multiplied it by 12 (the number of times we have to make the payment each year) or $13,908.

  • My husband gets paid every other week, so there are two months during the year that we receives three paychecks instead of two for a total of 26 paychecks per year.

  • I took the total yearly payments and divided them by 26 or $535.00.

  • Each time my husband gets paid, we have set up with our credit union to transfer $535.00 to our savings account automatically.

  • We pay our mortgage payment each month out of this savings account.

  • Therefore on a normal month we transfer only $1070.00 to savings for our mortgage payment - or an $89.00 savings each month.

Important notes:

  • In order to start this plan, you must start on a three paycheck month. The excess funds will remain in your savings account to pay for your subsequent mortgage payments.
  • This is also a separate savings account from our other savings so that it is not intermixed with other funds so we don't get confused and we don't spend it.
  • Obviously this isn't the way to get my mortgage paid off faster, but this is helping us at this season of our lives.

So that's what works for me - check out Rocks in my Dryer for other great Works for Me scenarios!

Dressing up a boxed dinner


As a busy mom, I am always looking for ways to make a quick meal for my family, without going out to eat (and busting our budget). I have had great luck lately and have stocked up on "helpers" for $.75 to $1.00 each. This is a great quick, inexpensive meal for the family, but I like to dress them up for a more home made taste. (Frugal side note: Don't ever use all of the meat that they call for, it seems to overpower the "helper" - except tuna. I only use about 1 1/2 cups of cooked crumbled ground beef in Hamburger Helper and about 1 1/2 cups of cooked cubed chicken for Chicken Helper. I buy ground beef and chicken in bulk and cook it all and freeze in meal size portions).

Here are some suggestions:

  1. I love to add frozen peas after it has been brought to a boil, and before I reduce heat and cover. This is especially good with Tuna Helper Cheesy Pasta.
  2. After your "helper" is done add something on top - bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, grated cheese, french fried onions, fresh diced tomatoes, etc.
  3. Did you know you that there are also directions for cooking your "helper" in the oven. This adds a different twist and makes it into more of a casserole. Before cooking add chopped onions, chopped celery, frozen peas (thawed), frozen broccoli (thawed).
  4. There is a chicken helper meal that is a Cheesy Enchilada with Rice (I can't remember the exact name). I love to make this and then serve it in tortillas. It makes a great burrito - you could even add black beans, refried beans and/or sour cream.

You know what your family likes, so think outside the box (no pun intended) and dress up your boxed dinners!



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Free Stuff!!


Oh how I love FREE stuff! I got my Kashi cookie (get yours here) in the mail today and my FREE pack of Strite gum (get yours here - you have to click "settle" and go through their little court case) in the mail yesterday! Woo hoo!

A few more great freebies...
Get a FREE coffee cup here from Digilake.


Have you gotten your FREE 14-day supply of Nature Made vitamins yet? Get yours here.
Enjoy!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!

I grew up hearing this phrase over and over again. I always thought it was a quote from Brigham Young, but when I googled it – it was not clear who said it. It really doesn’t matter - the philosophy is so good.

Although I try, I do not necessarily live by this credo in all aspects of my life, however, these are a few that I am most proud of:

My Car: I drive a 1986 Volkswagen Jetta. That’s right, it is 22 years old. I was 8 when this thing left the factory (yes, do the math, I am turning 30 this year, ugh!) I love the thing. Not because it doesn’t have AC, not because it squeaks when I am backing up, and not because it shakes after I first start it until it warms up a little (although these features have become endearing). I love this car because it is paid for! We have owned it for about 2 years, we bought it from one of my coworkers for $1,000 and have only had to put $200.00 into it since we have owned it (the blinkers and windshield wipers quit working – kid of a necessity). Our goal is to keep it going until we have our third child (someday) and must upgrade to a minivan.

Food: So, I don’t have a perpetual soup container like Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette, but I do strive to use up what I have. If I have extra/leftovers of something I like to see how creative I can be by using it. If I have some soggy vegetables in the fridge, I might throw them in a quiche, soup, or casserole. Leftover mashed potatoes are turned into “Mashed Potato Hot Dogs” (side note: this is something that came from my husband’s side of the family – although I wasn’t a big fan at first they have sort of grown on me. You split a hot dog down the middle, scoop some mashed potatoes on top, cover with some grated or sliced cheese and broil at 400 degrees until the cheese melts).

Shoes: I have a pair of Nike sneakers that I love. I love them so much that I have glued the soles of them back together at least 3 times. They are so comfortable, they still work, and they really don’t look all that bad.

My Broom: I bought a broom at the dollar store when I was single and living in apartment. We just surpassed out 8 year anniversary and the broom is still going strong. My secret – duct tape!

How about you – any great “Use it up!” stories?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sale Cycles

Did you know that certain items go on sale at different times of the year, every year?

One of the blogs I regularly read is Mommy Snacks. Andrea is a wealth of information on great deals, menu planning, money making, etc. I found this great link from Hot Coupon World through one of her posts. It talks about sale cycles.

I have found this list to be true to form. This is very helpful when deciding the appropriate time to use your coupons. Remember - it is ALWAYS best to pair a coupon with an item that is already on sale to get best possible deal. I recommend that you print this list and keep it handy with your coupons. You will be able to utilize your coupons at the best possible times and know when it is the right time to stock up!

Souper Saturday!

This is the second recipe in a series I am calling Souper Saturday! This recipe is so yummy and comes from on of my FAVORITE cookbooks -

The Essential Mormon Cookbook by Julie Badger Jensen. Get yours here.

Broccoli Cheese Chowder
2 bunches (about 1 pound) fresh broccoli
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
4 c. milk
1 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. grated cheddar cheese

Cook broccoli just until tender. Do not overcook. Drain and cut into small pieces, set aside. Saute chopped onion in the 1/4 cup butter until tender, set aside. In a large saucepan or soup pot, prepare a white sauce: melt the 1/2 cup butter over medium heat, then stir in flour until well blended. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and salt. Stir constantly until mixture reaches a boil. Cook 1/2 minutes, until thickened. Add broccoli and onion. Stir in cheese. Cook briefly over medium heat. Avoid bringing to a boil. Serve immediately or keep warm over low heat. Makes 6-8 servings.

We love this soup, it is so delicious and comforting. Serve with bread sticks, rolls, or toast. It is very filling and would make a great vegetarian meal!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wasting Food is a Sin!!!!

Seriously, my Dad used to say that to us as kids. At the time we all thought he was crazy/odd/off his rocker, and we are finally able to tease him about it now without him getting offended. I think when he coined the phrase it was more motivated by the expense of wasted food rather than his fear of our eternal damnation. We were a family with six kids – and every dollar counted.

Now that I have my own family, I see a lot of wasted food (a.k.a. wasted money), and I know how my Dad felt. Every day I am sweeping at least a bowl full of Kix cereal off of the floor below the high chair and throwing it in the garbage. Ugh!

I’ve written about the Tightwad Gazette before. It is a great resource for money saving tips and ideas from very simple to extremely extreme. I highly recommend it. One of my criticisms of the book, however, is that she is so matter of fact about what she does and/or allows and it doesn’t seem like the theory would hold up in the real world (my world!). One of the articles in the Tightwad Gazette talks about how she simply doesn’t allow her children to waste food (she has six kids). They must eat everything on their plate etc., etc., etc. I don’t know how she could possibly have done that with a 3 year old or a baby girl who insists on feeding herself. I just don’t see that as a possibility.

So, how can you avoid wasting food (a.k.a. money) without policing everything your kids eat (or don't eat)?

-Give your child a small about of food to begin with. It is much easier to give them more than throw away excess. A good rule of thumb is to give them ½ of what you think they will eat. At least in my experience, ½ is what they usually eat.

-Set rules – my son will ask for a pb&j then see me eating leftover casserole and drop his pb&j on the floor and ask for casserole. This is extremely frustrating. He throws a fit, but he must eat what he originally chose. If I don’t give in, he usually calms down.

-Realize that you will waste some food. Strive to improve, but realize that not everyone can meet the standards of Amy from the Tightwad Gazette; she is a tried and true black belt tightwad with years of experience!

How about you, what are some of your great tips to avoid wasting food?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What are you going to do with all that soup???

Yes, I bought a lot of soup at Albertson's yesterday. This will probably be my supply for a whole year for Cream of Mushroom, Tomato, and Cream of Chicken. If you went crazy like I did, or if you have a lot of soup that you don't know what to do with it, here are some ideas:


Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream (you can use light sour cream)
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1-2 cups cubed cooked chicken
4 cups cooked rice
1 sleeve crushed Ritz crackers


Combine all ingredients (except Ritz crackers) in an 8x8 casserole dish. Sprinkle with Ritz crackers drizzle with 1/2 stick melted butter if desired. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.


Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package of stuffing; prepared according to package directions
1 can green beans; drained
1-2 cups cubed cooked chicken



Combine soup, green beans, and chicken in an 8x8 casserole dish. Scoop/spread the stuffing on top. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.


Haystack Casserole
5-6 medium potatoes; sliced
1-2 carrots; sliced
1 onion; diced
1/2 lb ground beef; cooked, crumbled, and drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup water


Layer the following in your crock pot. 1/3 potatoes, 1/3 carrots, 1/3 onion, 1/3 beef repeat layers. Combine soups and water, pour over everything in the crock pot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high 4-5 hours. This has a similar taste to beef stew and is delicious.


These are a few of our favorites, but the possibilities are endless. Check out the Campbell's website for thousands of recipe ideas!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My loot from Albertson's this week

Okay, so I really did go to Albertson's - I just got back and what a haul! I am so excited. I just have to figure out where I am going to put it. This is what I ended up with:
-8 GoldFish crackers - $1.00 each
-3 Jars of Pace Specialty Salsa - $2.00 each
-2 Campbell's V8 Butternut Squash Soup - $2.00 each
-6 Campbell's Tomato Soup - $.50 each
-6 Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup - $.50 each
-4 Campbell's Select Harvest Microwavable Soup Bowl - $1.00 each
-14 Campbell's Select Harvest Canned Soup - $1.00 each
-34 cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup - $.50 each
-28 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup - $.50 each

Coupons I had:
-5 $.40 off 3 Campbell's
-2 $1.00 off Campbell's V8 soup
-1 $1.00 off Pace Specialty Salsa
-2 $.75 off Pace Specialty Salsa
-2 $.75 off 2 Select Harvest Microwaveable bowls
-7 $.50 off 2 Select Harvest Soups
-I had 2 more $.50 off coupons on my receipt - but I can't remember what they were for, sorry
-I also had a $5.00 off if you spend $50 at Albertson's
Whew! My total out of pocket was $59.05
Don't worry, I also left plenty for the next guy...so go get some right away before they are all gone!

As usual, to get these deals at Albertson's you must use your Preferred Card.

And...Albertson's started printing a coupon on your receipt where if you take a phone survey, they will give you a code to put on the receipt and on your next visit you get a FREE loaf of french bread - YUM - and that will go great with some soup!

I am lovin' Albertson's this week!

Remember how I love soup? This week is soup HEAVEN at Albertson's - they are having some great soup specials starting today through next Wednesday. Trust me...I will be stockpiling this stuff!

*There are recent coupons for the ones with the *asterisks*

20 for $10.00 ($.50 each)
Spaghettio's
Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup*
Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup*
Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup*
Campbell's Tomato Soup*
Swanson Broths

10 for $10.00 ($1.00 each)
Campbell's Select Harvest Soup*
Campbell's microwavable Select Harvest Soup and Classic Soup*
Spaghettio's w/ Meat
Other Campbell's classic soups not listed above*

4 for $5.00 ($1.25 each)
Campbell's Chunky Soups and Chunky Soup Bowls*

2 for $4.00 ($2.00 each)
Campbell's V8 soup*
Pace Salsa*
Pace Specialty Salsa*
V8 Splash Juice Drink

So let's just say when I saw this sale I got really excited - in fact - I think I am going to go to Albertson's RIGHT NOW!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Getting a good deal????

I had an interesting conversation with my sister-in-law this week regarding coupons. She said her husband's philosophy is that using coupons makes you buy things that you wouldn't normally buy. She also went on to describe some people that she knew who "got a great deal" on Hot Pockets and purchased so many that they were eating them every day for every meal and getting sick of them (gross!). That doesn't sound like a great deal to me!

I think that many people who coupon do it for the right reason...to save money. I think there are those out there who are purchasing stuff they don't normally use in order to get that "great" deal. I have done this a lot of times in the heat of the moment - like the PUR water pitcher I got at Walgreen's last week. Yes, it was $7.49, which was a decent deal - but we have been drinking tap water FOREVER and it tastes fine! Ugh! That is $7.49 that I should be using somewhere in my grocery budget!

Also, I am an advocate of building a stockpile - but not a stockpile of things that you will never eat/use. For example, I have about 25 boxes of Hamburger/Tuna/Chicken helper that I got for about $.75 per box. This might make some families sick! My family loves this and I make it at least once per week. I will use this so this is a good deal. The yogurt that I stockpiled a few weeks ago (I bought 40!) that I just threw away because they were out of date - that was not a good deal, poor planning on my part - even though my husband has has one in his lunch almost every day!

My point in this whole rant is that when you are getting great deals and building your stockpile - buy what you will use and figure out a way to rotate it - don't eat Hot Pockets every day so that you can make room in your freezer. Buy smart, so you are not throwing your money in the toilet!

Free Stuff!!

Why is FREE stuff so awesome? Oh, yeah, because it is FREE! I just got this stuff in the mail today that I signed up for a few weeks ago.

You can still get it here.

Some other great freebies that are available right now...

Get your sample of Jergen's Naturals Daily Moisturizers here.

Get your sample of Gain with Baking Soda here.
Have you signed up for your FREE 14-day sample of Nature Made Vitamins yet? Get them here. (When you click on the link, you have to click on one of the tabs at the top for the type of sample you want, then you fill out the address section.)

Enjoy!

E-Bates

Do you enjoy shopping online? Or even just do it occasionally? There is an awesome site called E-Bates that actually pays you back for shopping online! There are thousands of stores that participate such as Target.com, Overstock.com, Barnes&Noble.com, Dell, Office Depot, Old Navy just to name a few.

Once you are signed up for E-bates, all you do is:
  1. Log into E-bates
  2. Choose a store and you will be routed to the site for that store
  3. Shop
  4. Earn cash back

Best of all, there is no obligation on your part. You can use it as little or as much as you want and you must have at least $5.01 to cash out. This is simple because you actually get a $5.00 bonus just for signing up - so you will recieve cash back on your first purchase. The money accumulates in your E-bates account and every three months they will either cut you a check, or transfer the funds into your Paypal account. If you don't have at least $5.01 built up in the account, it will accumulate until you do!

Another great part of this program is that if you refer someone to sign up, you get $5.00 once they make their first purchase! It is a win-win!

So...sign up for E-bates here, just in time to do all of your Christmas shopping!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Souper Saturday!

I love soup. The good thing about soup is that it is (or can be) a very frugal meal. Fall is my favorite time of year - and one of the biggest reasons for this is that it is soup eatin' season again!
In honor of fall - and winter for that matter - I will be having Souper Saturday each Saturday through March and will be sharing some favorite soup recipes. I probably don't have enough recipes to last through March - so please feel free to share and I will be happy to post it on my blog and give you credit!

So, here is the first installment. One of my FAVORITE soups is Taco Soup - and it is so easy.

Taco Soup
1/2 pound ground beef; browned and drained (you could also use ground turkey)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans; drained and rinsed (about 14 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (about 14 oz)
1 package taco seasoning (depending on how strong you want the flavor, sometimes I just use 1/2 packet)
1 can of corn; drained (this is optional, but a great addition, especially if you are trying to stretch it to feed a lot of people)

Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan on medium heat. If soup seems too thick, add up to 1 cup of water. Cook until heated through. If desired serve with grated cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and/or sour cream. Serves about 6.

How about you? Do you have any great soup recipes you want to share? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at savingsomegreen (at) gmail (dot) com!

Entertainment Book 2009

Do you LOVE going out to eat but hate paying the outrageous prices? If so, you need to get an Entertainment Book for 2009! These books are amazing, and pay for themselves very quickly. For $25.00-$45.00 (depending on where you live) you get a book tailored to your area with tons of buy one get one free coupons for dinners out, coupons for local attractions, movies, shopping etc. Simply click this link, enter your zip code, and get a peek of what coupons are available for your area. If you see coupons you will use - get one!

These also make great Christmas gifts for the hard to shop for person. They are also perfect if you are planning a vacation. You can purchase a book for the area you are traveling and save on attractions, dinners, etc for that area during your stay.

We usually purchase an Entertainment Book every year - and are always so glad we did!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Starting your savings plan...

All of us are frugal for different reasons and in different seasons in our lives. Here are some possibilities:
  1. The thrill of the hunt
  2. Necessity
  3. Trying to get out of debt
  4. Saving for something (home, vacation, etc.)

Or it could be a combination of all of them or some of them. No matter what the reason, I think it is very important (and extremely satisfying) to set aside an amount of money - no matter how small - for yourself each month. This can be in a short term savings account (standard savings, money market) or a longer term savings (401k, IRA). It really doesn't matter as long as you are contributing something - and doing in on a regular basis (so that you form a habit, and eventually you don't miss the money). We have a plan set up with our credit union where funds are transferred automatically to savings when we get paid. It has been amazing how little we miss the money and how much it has grown over the few years we have done this. For example, we put $5.00 per pay period in an account for each of our kids - Owen (our 3 year old) currently has $438.77 in his savings!

If you feel like you can't set anything aside, start small. There is nothing wrong with saving $5.00 per month. As you become a PRO saver/couponer you will find that you have more money to save because you have lowered your budget in other areas and you will find that you can increase that amount.

Savings is important, someday you may look back at this frugal time in your life and wonder what you have to show for it. If you have had a savings plan...you won't be wondering!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

$10 off $40.00 at Walgreen's

Here we go again... Walgreen's has another $10.00 off if you spend $40 coupon. The trouble with these coupons is that you must reach $40.00 after coupons. If you haven't purchased your free after rebate items this would be a great time because there are a lot of them - and high value ones at that. Unfortunately, I have already purchased all my free items, so this may be good for more register reward items like I got earlier this week. This may also be good for diapers or the plethora of clearance items I have been finding at several different Walgreen's stores. Yes, I will be going to Walgreen's tomorrow, with all the great deals this week, I'll figure something out!

If you would like to see what you can do with $40.00 at Walgreen's...get your own coupon here.
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