Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Have a happy and safe New Year! Come back tomorrow for my financial goals for 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Buying Coupons on E-Bay

Sometimes there are coupons that are so good that you want as many of them as you can get. An example would be the Valley Fresh Steamers $1.00 off coupons. Many stores had the Valley Fresh Steamers on sale for $1.00 or less where using a coupon would make them FREE.

I tried my hand at purchasing coupons on E-bay. So far, I am happy with my experience. I purchased two sets of 100 random coupons for about a dollar each. These netted me a few good coupons, but most of them I just passed along in my coupon train. Then I decided to look for the Valley Fresh coupons and was pleasantly surprised to find many people selling them. I ended up getting 40 coupons from two different sellers at two different times for a total of about $8.00. This was a great price because Albertson's recently had them on sale for $.75 - giving me a $.25 overage per package and coupon I used. Check out my trips to Albertson's in this post.

The other great thing about buying coupons on E-bay is that you can use Ebates and get a percentage of cash back for your purchase. Read more about Ebates here.

How about you? Have you found any great coupons on E-bay lately?

Monday, December 29, 2008

FREE Stuff!!

I was super excited this weekend because I finally got my $10.00 in Pillsbury coupons in the mail that I blogged about here. What a great booklet! First of all it was full of recipes, which I love and some great coupons. Here is what I got:

$1.00 off 1 Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
$1.00 off 3 Pillsbury Pie Crust, Cookie Dough, Golden Layers Biscuits, or Frozen dinner rolls
$1.00 off 1 Pillsbury thin pizza crust or Pillsbury Crescent recipe creations
$1.00 off 1 Green Giant 19-24 oz frozen bagged vegetables
$1.00 off 3 Green Giant boxed vegetables
$1.00 off 2 boxes of Pop Secret
$1.00 off 2 Cheerios
$1.00 off any multi grain Cheerios
$1.00 off Pillsbury Savorings
$1.00 off Pillsbury Big Deluxe Classics cookie dough, Grands cinnamon rolls, or Flaky twists

Whew! These coupons are great! I am looking forward to using the $1.00 off crescent rolls, sometimes goes go as low as $.99. The expiration date on all of these coupons are 5/31/09. You can still get them! Sign up for your own coupon book here.

Other great freebies...

--Get a FREE sample of Bausch & Lomb moistened lens tissue here. This would be great to keep in your purse or your car to clean your sunglasses!

--Love recipes like I do? Get a FREE recipe booklet from Earthbound Farm Organic here.

--If you aren't signed as a member of LUVs diapers, sign up to receive some FREE Luvs coupons here.

--Want more diaper savings? Join the Huggies Baby Network here for FREE samples, diaper coupons, and a potty training DVD! Cool!

--Get your FREE subscription to Remedy Life magazine by clicking here.

--Close to retirement or planning for retirement? Get a FREE copy of Retirement for Dummies here.

--I love popcorn! Do you? Get your FREE sample of Paradise Island microwave popcorn here.

--Magazines are so fun! I love them - FREE magazines are even better. Get a FREE subscription to Traditional Home magazine here.

There seem to be a lot of FREEbies going around right now. Do you ever wonder where I find out about these FREEbies? There are many FREEbie sites on the web that share FREEbies, although a lot of them come with strings attached. All of the FREEbies that I share I have personally signed up for, so I know they are legit. I just recently found a great FREEbie site called Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder. So far, it seems like a great site for FREEbies, in fact, some of the FREEbies that I shared today can be found there. Check it out - and enjoy this week's FREEbies!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 29-January 3 plans are tough to stick to during the holidays! I hardly cooked at all last week (a good thing :)), so didn't make much of my menu plan. But again, that is okay! It's great to have a plan, but better to be flexible with that plan!

Monday - Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole, green beans

Tuesday - Hamburger Helper Cheesy Italian Shells, garlic toast, corn

Wednesday - We are going out for Sushi with family. I'm nervous.

Thursday - Tuna Noodle Casserole, jello salad

Friday - Polish sausage, fried potatoes, corn muffins

Saturday - Slow Cooker Hearty Beef and Bean Chili, leftover corn muffins

Sunday - Leftovers

I'll try to stick with the plan this week, we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Shopping trips...

I have been shopping, but not posting about it for the past week because it has been crazy. We have so much family in town and things going on that I haven't had the time (or energy) to take pictures and blog about it. I'll start again after the new year. I promise! Thank you for your patience.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy it with someone you love! (don't worry, I'm enjoying it with my family - I love future dating my posts!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

FREE Calendars!

The new year is upon us and some of you may be wondering if you should buy a calendar.

The answer is NO!

Every year many places offer calendars for FREE. After all, what better way to advertise than on something that is hung up in the consumer's house for a year! Here are a few of them (quantities are limited, so act fast if you want one of these):

  1. Your bank or credit union - just ask the next time you go in to make a deposit.

  2. Your insurance agent.

  3. Ocean Spray is offering a FREE 2009 recipe calendar which also includes $5.00 in coupons (this is valid in Canada only!). Check it out here.

  4. Get a FREE calendar from Time Warner cable here (you must be a current customer and enter your account number).

  5. Xerox wants to give you a FREE calendar, check it out here. You must fill out the form and check "Please send me print samples and the new 2009 calendar."

  6. Get a FREE 2009 Kids Hemophilia calendar here. This calendar is filled with kid's artwork.

  7. Register with Oriental Trading and receive a FREE calendar. Check it out here.

Do you know any other great places where you can get a FREE calendar? Please share!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Vacation...

We have a lot of family stuff planned over the next couple of weeks AND my husband has the next two weeks off from work! I fear that because of all of these things my blogging is going to suffer. I do have a few upcoming posts planned, but I think they will be few a far between the next few weeks. I'm looking forward to the new year for new goals, new savings, and new posts!

Thanks for reading! See you soon!

FREE stuff - for mommies and babies!

It seems like a lot of my friends are pregnant or having babies. I think it is an epidemic! I wanted to share all of the baby FREEbies and programs all in one post for those of you who would use them. Enjoy!
Enfamil Family Beginnings - this is an amazing FREE service. When you sign up you receive a FREE diaper bag, tons of FREE samples, and FREE magazines. I signed up for this when I was pregnant with both of my kids. I got at least 4 cans of formula from them - 2 when the kids were born, then 2 more when they turned 9 months. You won't regret signing up for this! Sign up here.

Family Planning - they offer FREEbies for babies too. I have not personally signed up for this, but I have heard good things. Sign up for FamilyPlanning here.

Huggies Baby Network - Sign up and receive FREE samples (diapers, wipes, lotions, shampoo, etc.), a FREE potty training DVD, and coupons. You can't lose. I love having the sample packs in the diaperbag because they don't take up a lot of space. Sign up for the Huggies Baby Network here.
Baby to bee - This is another site that offers FREEbies for the baby. You have to be pregnant to sign up for this, and I didn't find out about it until after my babies were born. I've heard good things about them too. Sign up here.

Bright Beginnings - this is another formula company offering some great FREEbies, sign up here.

Gerber - sign up for Gerber/Nestle Newsletter and receive FREE coupons and samples. Sign up here.

Do you know of any other great baby FREEbies? Please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 22-28

So let's just say that last week's menu plan wasn't utilized like I hoped. At all. It was a crazy week and we ended up eating out way more than I care to admit. Ugh! It is difficult to plan during the holiday season, so this week and next week are just going to be EXTREMELY tentative menu plans and I will get back in to the swing of things after New Years. is the plan for this week:

Monday - Apricot Chicken, boxed potatoes, peas (I didn't make these last week)

Tuesday - Hamburger Helper Cheesy Italian Shells, broccoli, garlic toast

Wednesday - Christmas Eve at the in-laws - I think we are having soup and rolls before going out Christmas Caroling...fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.

Thursday - MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! Christmas Dinner at the in-laws, not sure what we are having or what my responsibility is yet.

Friday - Smoked Sausage in BBQ sauce, green beans, twice baked potatoes

Saturday - Ham, cheese, and broccoli bisquick pie

Sunday - Chili, corn muffins

There you have it. I just don't know what this week is going to bring, so I am planning on having to change this up at least once.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My $5.00 Bag of Pecans

I wanted to post about this because I hemmed and hawed about spending $5.00 for a bag of pecans. I wanted to make some Pecan Tassies, and the bigger 16 ounce $5.00 bag was the best per ounce. It actually ended up being a good purchase.

I made my Pecan Tassies for Thanksgiving and my company Christmas party. I also use them to make some TO DIE FOR brownies, and I still have a ton of pecans left left. The moral of the story $5.00 bag of pecans went a long way and is still going.

Here are some great recipes (I have tried) that you can make using pecans:

Brownie Caramel Pecan Bars

Mom's Butter Toffee


Friday, December 19, 2008

Frugal Friday - Inexpensive/Free Christmas Gifts

I love Christmas! I love the season where people are little bit more kind, a little bit more generous, and a little bit more loving. Christmas also (unfortunately) has become very commercialized and many people go into debt trying to get the best gifts for their kids and family and friends.

I don't see the point in that. First of all, I can only remember a few Christmas gifts I have received, yet I have fond memories of feelings shared and gifts given from the heart.

I'd like to suggest a few inexpensive or FREE gifts that you can share:

  1. Gifts of Service - In my family we draw names for gifts so that each family buys gifts for one other family with a small price limit. This has worked great for us, but I do like to give a small token to the family members that I didn't draw. Last year, I gave each family member a coupon for a special service. I offered my newlywed sister a home cooked dinner, a night of babysitting for my siblings with children, etc. I would prefer a night of FREE babysitting to another pair of slippers anytime!

  2. Simple Gift Baskets - Use a Betty Crocker cookie pouch that you got for next to nothing. Add a wooden spoon (I've seen these at the $1.00 store 4 in a package), a tub of frosting (that also cost you next to nothing), some sprinkles, and cookie cutters. Simple, cute, and inexpensive. Look at your stockpile to see what you have - make a pasta gift basket with some Spaghetti Sauce and Pasta, use a colander ($1.00 store) as the basket. Make a gift basket of toiletries for your single brother in college. Be creative!

  3. Baked Goods - Everyone loves goodies, give all your friends a plate of assorted goodies.

  4. Hand me downs - sort of...give your children treasures from your past. When I was little (I can't remember how old) I received a teddy bear for Christmas that belonged to my mother when she was a little girl. Of all of the Christmas gifts I have received, that is one I always remember. This could work for kids too, they could give a favorite toy or other item to their sibling for Christmas.

These are just a few ideas that cost little to nothing, but would be enjoyed by the receiver. You will also probably enjoy giving them!

How about you? What are some simple/inexpensive things that you do to share Christmas with family and friends?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Free 8x10 at Walgreen's

Now through Saturday 12/20, you can get a FREE 8x10 at Just use coupon code FREEGIFT at checkout. The best part? There is no purchase necessary! Click here to get yours!

Mid America Horse Rescue...

My pal Nancy over at Raging Bear Ranch is hoping to spread the word about a contest that will help raise some money for resuced horses. Whether or not you are an animal lover, this is a great cause. Your vote could help Mid America Horse Rescue win $10,000 to help care for resuced horses. There is no cost to you - read more about it here.

Albertson's Gas Rewards Program

Albertson's has done it again! I have been a huge fan of their deals lately and now I can get cheap gas from them too!

Here is how their new rewards program works: For every $50.00 you spend at Albertson's using your Preferred Card you get $.05 off per gallon of gas you purchase at an Albertson's Fuel Stop using your preferred card. There is a scanner at the gas pump where you scan your card.

When I first heard about this deal, I thought it was cool, but it would take me forever to spend $50.00 out of pocket at Albertson's. Then I found out a small, but awesome detail. The amount that they count toward the $50.00 is the amount that you spend is BEFORE coupons! AMAZING!

In no time I had racked up $150.00 in purchases before coupons so I had $.15 off per gallon coming to me. We went this weekend to check it out - luckily, there is an Albertson's Fuel Stop pretty close to our house. Using our preferred card, we enjoyed gas at $1.39 per gallon! It only took $20.00 to fill our nearly empty tank - a figure we haven't seen in a long, long, long, long time. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Weekly Shopping Trip

This week was a pretty dang good week! I had a budget of $62.72 (because I had $12.72 leftover from last weeks budget). Unfortunately, I was $2.28 over budget :(, but there were some annoying things that happened that could have remedied that. Ugh...I'll explain later. I also purchased 20 of the $1.00 off 1 Valley Fresh Steamer coupons on E-bay. I spent $3.99 which I subtracted from my grocery budget and I was excited because I got them yesterday, in time to get some overages from Albertson's (see below).

I went out Monday evening and Tuesday evening, and I am glad to be finished so early in the week. Here is what I ended up with. My first trip was to Walgreen's. I read about a sweet deal on Olay Regenerist products here and decided to take advantage. Here is what I ended up with:

2 Olay Regenerist Face Cleansers - $14.98

2 Listerine Kids Mouthwash - $9.00

2 Oral B Zooth Toothbrushes - $4.00 (stocking stuffers!)

Total before coupons: $29.66

Coupons I used:

$1.00 off 2 Oral B toothbrushes

$1.00 off 1 Listerine Smart Rinse

$.50 off 1 Listerine

$5.00 off 2 Olay Regenerist

Net OOP: $2.53 (I had $19.63 remaining on my Walgreen's gift card) I will get a $15.00 gift card for the Olay deal + I got a $2.00 Register Reward for the toothbrushes + I got a $4.50 Register Reward for the Listerine. It was a great trip. I wanted to use the RR's for some more items, but this Walgreen's didn't have everything I wanted so I went to another and had some issues. But trip to Fred Meyer. I made a few stupid mistakes here too - I was so annoyed with myself! Here is what I ended up with there:

6 Navel Oranges - $2.15

2 gallons Skim Milk - $5.00

1 gallon FM whole milk - $3.25 (this was my first mistake, I grabbed the wrong one, the Mountain Dairy was on sale for $2.50!)

1 gallon Mountain Dairy whole milk - $2.50

3 FM butter - $5.00 (with in ad coupon)

3 FM sour cream - $2.97

1 PS mint chip ice cream - $2.50

1 can Santiam corn - $.67 (this was my second mistake, FM vegetables and broth were on sale for $.33, so I got one of these by mistake!)

3 cans FM broth - $1.00 (with in ad coupon)

5 cans FM veggies - $1.67 (with in ad coupon)

Total: $28.32 ( I didn't use any manufacturer's coupons)

Then it was to a second Walgreen's where things didn't go according to plan. This was my own stupidity, but the cashier was frustrating too. Here is what happened. I planned on using my $6.50 in RR's from my last Walgreen's purchase to get some of the fruit and olives that were on sale. I planned on getting 3 cans of olives, but they only had 2. Well, my $6.50 in RR's would have paid for most of what I wanted with a few cents left over. I wasn't thinking and I went to pay with only the 2 cans of olives. The cashier scanned my $2.00 RR and then tried to scan my $4.50 it kept beeping. My total was $4.73, but the cashier said that it wouldn't let me use it because you can only use one per purchase - I told her I had done it before many times and she kept saying that it wasn't going to work. I just decided to pay the $4.73 and when I got my receipt I realized that my total before tax was $4.35. We all know that you can't use a RR for more than the purchase price - so that is why it didn't work. UGH and double UGH! The stuff I got was still a great deal - and I still have my $4.50 RR, but I really should have thought that one through a little bit better. Anyway, here is what I ended up with there.

2 cans Madame mandarin oranges - $1.00 (with in ad coupon)

2 cans Geisha mushrooms - $1.00 (with in ad coupon)

2 cans Lindsay olives - $1.98 (with in ad coupon)

3 cans of Geisha Fruit - $2.37

Total before coupons - $6.73

Used $2.00 RR

Net OOP: $4.73

Next I headed to Walmart. I hate Walmart, but I needed diapers (which I can get the cheapest there if I don't get them on a good sale). I don't include diapers in my grocery budget, so you won't seem them here. Here is what I ended up with:

3 GV sugar free drink mixes - $5.28

2 GV green chilies - $1.56

1 3# bag frozen BS chicken breast - $5.00

1 bag green onions - $1.12

2 tomatoes - $1.08

1 bag frozen hash browns - $1.88

Net OOP: $16.87

I thought I was done for the week, I had $6.28 left in my budget, but I got my Valley Fresh coupons in the mail, so I decided to hit Albertson's because the sale ended yesterday. I first hit one Albertson's and cleared them out of Valley Fresh Steamers, then I went to another one down the road. Here is what I ended up with:

12 bags Valley Fresh Steamers - $15.00 (on sale 4 for $5)

3 BC frosting - $5.00

4 BC cookie mixes - $6.66

2 BC boxed potatoes - $3.34

Total before coupons - $30.00

Albertson's deal this week was buy $10.00 in certain items, get $4.00 off instantly, so they took off $12.00 bringing my total down to $18.00.

Coupons I used:

12 VF steamer $1.00 off 1 coupons

1 $1.00 off 2 BC potatoes

3 $.50 off BC frosting

3 $.40 off BC cookie mix (I had 4 but one was expired!)

Net OOP: $3.39!!!!!!!!

On my next trip I got:

4 Valley Fresh Steamers - $5.00

3 Bisquick - $7.50

1 BC Muffin Mix - $2.50

3 BC boxed potatoes - $5.00

Total before coupons - $20.00

Albertson's took of $8.00 for the promotion leaving a balance of $12.00.

Coupons I used:

4 $1.00 off 1 VF Steamers coupons

3 $.60 off 1 Bisquick coupons

1 $1.00 off 2 BC potatoes

1 $.35 off 1 BC potatoes

1 .40 off 1 BC muffin mix

Net OOP: $5.17

All of this put me just slightly over budget by $2.28 for the week (which I will subtract from next week), but can you believe all the stuff I got!? I would have been under, except for the Walgreen's incident. But still, 6 months ago I never would have believed I could stretch my dollars so far! How'd you do this week?

Would you like to see some other great shopping trips? Check out the Centsible Sawyer's Drugstore Divas and Money Saving Mom's Super Savings Saturday!

Works for me Wednesday - Folding Towels (correctly!)

I am normally a pretty easy going, laid back kind of gal. That is...except when it comes to my towels. They must be folded a certain way. The right way. Here is what works for me:

Start by folding the towel in half.

Then fold it in half again the long way.

Then fold into thirds.

Put it in the closet where is looks perfect!

I like folding towels this way because it makes them more compact and they fit great in my closet. It also just looks good - and I feel good when my towels are folded correctly.

It works for me!

Check out Rocks in my Dryer for other great Works for me Wednesday links!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Couponing the right way

I have spoken with many people who believe that couponing is a scam and that when they used coupons they never saved money, store brands are always cheaper...bla, bla, bla.

When I was shopping this week, I came upon a situation that made me think those people. I needed some vegetable oil. I had a coupon for $1.00 off any Crisco product. That was a pretty good coupon.

I looked a the shelf tag for 32 oz. Crisco it was $3.99, so it would be $2.99 with my coupon. Hmmm...that still seemed kind of high.

Right next to it on the shelf was the store brand that was on sale for $1.99. Hmmm...again.
Needless to say, I bought the store brand.

I think that there may have been some people who didn't even look at the store brand and would have just purchased the Crisco brand just because they had a coupon for it. That is the wrong way to use coupons. Of course you can't save money that way.

The reality is that in order to save money couponing, you have to spend some time to find the items that are on sale and match them up with the coupons that you have/can get. Luckily for all of us, there are some rockin' bloggers out there that do a lot of the work for us.

Check these out for great match-ups (these are the ones I use regularly):

Be Centsable - This is the home of The Grocery Gathering. The writers of this blog have come up with this awesome concept. Stores all over the country are assigned to different bloggers to find deals/coupon match ups. Check it out to find a store in your area along with the appropriate links.

Money Saving Mom - I think she is amazing and a wealth of knowledge and information. She shares Walgreen's, CVS, and Walmart deals each week and tidbits of other great deals as they become available.

Mommy Snacks - she shares Walgreen's, CVS, Meijer, and Kroger each week.

If you are really interested in some great ways to save money on your grocery shopping, I highly recommend Money Saving Mom's E-book, Supermarket Savings 101. For $8.97 you get that e-book and several others including topics like home management, recipes, craft ideas, gardening, etc. I purchased these when I first started couponing and I have never regretted it! Click here to find out more.

Good luck and please e-mail me with any questions!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Choosing a new winner...

Unfortunatley, Jen (#93) did not contact me within 48 hours, so I had to choose a new winner. Sorry, Jen!

I used to choose another winner and it was...


Beeb (who is also Super Coupon Girl!) Here is what she had to say:

I wrote about it on my contest blog:

Thank you!!

You know the drill, I'll be contacting you by e-mail. Please respond with your address! Congrats!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin