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Thursday
Jul162009

Frugal Summer Fun for the Family!!

Wow! Can you believe how fast the summer is flying by? July is almost gone and August is quickly approaching. With that said, I thought it would be fun to let you know of some Free and inexpensive things that you can do with your kids for the rest of the summer. Now I know that there many things that you can do, but these are some of my favorites!

-Take a picnic lunch and head to the beach or the park. If you are blessed like me to have many beaches in your area, this is so much fun! Moms and Dads enjoy it just as much as the kids! I know that I do! ;-)

-Register your kids for a building workshop at Lowe’s or Home Depot. This is such a fun and rewarding experience for your kids so that they can learn how to use tools! Boys and girls alike will enjoy this! Check out the info here: www.lowesbuildandgrow.com and www.homedepot.com

-Check the prices at your local bowling alleys and skating rinks. This is usually a fun and inexpensive summer idea that kids of any age enjoy! You can also check out your blue Valpak envelope each month for discounts to these kinds of places!

-The reading programs at your local Public library are hours of fun! Even though Drew is only 3, he loves books and I try to encourage his love of books by taking him to the library often. He loves story time as well! This is FREE and a good way for your kids to meet others their own age! It is also nice for mom and dad to connect with other parents!

-Regal Theaters is offering a Free Family Film Festival all summer long! Every Tuesday and Wednesday there are a couple of different movies that families can choose from. Check it our here: www.regmovies.com

-Check your local zoos to see if they offer any special days (price reduction). Here in our area, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo will be offering $5 admission day this Sunday, July 19th! www.lowryparkzoo.com Check your local zoo to see what specials that they might be offering.

-Baking Day~ Why not have a fun day at home with your kids? Drew is at that age where he loves to help mommy cook. He loves to help me bake brownies, cakes, or even dinner at night. Use some of those stockpiled brownie mixes that you got for FREE and have fun baking with your kids. You can add sprinkles, chocolate chips, icing and other goodies to personalize the brownies for your kids!

-Craft stores like Michaels offer craft classes for kids at very reasonable prices. On Saturday, August 15, from 10am to 1pm, Michaels will be offering a Knack Free Family Event: Back to School-Using stickers and pens kids will be able to create their own metal pen and pencil holder for the new school year! This is free, but while supplies last-get there early! Check it our here: www.michaels.com You can also find more free and inexpensive fun for your family on the Michael’s home page by signing up for the Knack program. You should see a link on the lower right hand of the home page. Sign up and you will be able to see all kinds of FREE and cheap crafts to do right in your own home!

What about you? What are your favorite and frugal summertime activities to do with your family? I would love to hear from you! ;-)

Tuesday
Jul142009

Clothing Your Family On Budget!

I don’t know about you, but the first place that I head when I go into a store at the mall or any department store is the clearance section! I am always on the hunt for bargains, and yes, even when it comes to clothing your family, you can do it inexpensively! I want to share with you some of my favorite bargain-hunting secrets when it comes to clothing both you and your family!

With the school year quickly approaching, I thought that it would be good for me to share with you some of my favorite stores and tips for finding bargains at each of them!

~the Children’s Place-this is my favorite clothing store for Drew as I can always find a bargain here. Did you know that you can use a coupon on top of the already reduced prices? For example, I recently found a pair of shorts for Drew that were on clearance for 5.99. On top of that, they were reduced an additional 30% then, I could also use my 15% off coupon! I also LOVE the Children’s Place Outlet as many times they have boys and girls items for $1.99 and you can use a coupon on top of the discount! I am also part of the Perks Place Rewards program (a point system in which you get a point for every dollar that you spend) so for every $75 I spend, I get back a $10 coupon to use at the store on anything!

~Old Navy-this is a great store to shop for every member of your household, even your furry friends! I love when they have the additional 50% sales! I have gotten so many cute things there for very little. One of my favorite finds was for my hubby-last year I found the ringer t-shirts that he loves to wear around the house on clearance for $1.99! I have also gotten many cute shirts for as little as 2.99! You do have to look, but it is worth it, to score a sweet deal!

~JcPenney- did you know that if you sign up on the JcPenney website that several times a year they will send you money saving coupons? These are awesome coupons too; many times it will be for $10 off any purchase or $10 off $25! Of course you know, I especially love the $10 off any purchase! My most recent find with my $10 coupon was a super cute dress. It was on clearance for $10 and with my coupon I got it for FREE!!!! I just love a FREE shopping trip don’t you? My friend Ann recently emailed me to tell me that she scored a $225 Jones New York pant suit on clearance for $11.98. Then, she used her $10 coupon to get it for $1.98!! Wow!! When JcPenney has their green tag clearance, ($2.97, $4.97 deals) you can use a survey coupon from your receipt on top of the already reduced prices! For example, I have found dress shirts for my hubby on clearance for $2.97, take an additional 30% off that, then I could also use my survey 15% coupon! Pretty much FREE!!

~Kohl’s- This is by far my absolute favorite department store to shop at! In fact, my hubby tells me that I have an obsession with the place! ;-) What I love is their 90% off clearance racks! I have scored some major cute things for my whole family! Also, if you have a Kohl’s charge, they will send you coupons many times throughout the year that you can combine with clearance prices. I do recommend paying the balance off right when you use it! Also, did you know that you can sign up for email alerts to Kohl’s and they will send you a $5 coupon to use on anything in the store! You can sign up right on the Kohl’s website or ask the cashier the next time you are at Kohl’s. I have gotten many things for the entire family at Kohl’s for very little!

~Consignment stores- While I am just like any other girl out there, and love to get something new from time to time, but did you know that you can score some really sweet deals at Consignment stores? I have gotten many things at Consignment stores that still have the tags attached! You can often find the name brand clothing items and accessories for a fraction of the price. There are several consignment stores that are franchises and can be found in many parts of the United States. Once Upon a Child is a wonderful place for the kids in your life! You can even take your child’s gently used clothing and trade it in for cash or other clothes! I love this idea! Plato’s Closet is for Juniors/Teens but also has the same idea as Once Upon a Child. You may also want to check locally to see if there are consignment stores in your area that do the same thing. My friend Teresa told me of a new place here in our area that takes Women’s clothing and accessories and they pay you CASH on the spot for your items. Well, today I took a few items and they paid me $34 in CASH! I splurged and took Drew to McDonalds on the way home for a happy meal! ;-)

~Yard Sales- I love the bargains that you can find at local yard sales! Once again, you can score items with tags still attached or brand name items for very little. I have scored some really cute items for my entire family at yard sales and I did not pay much for them at all! Just the other day I found a Burberry purse at a yard sale for $1!!! Now, I am sure that it is probably a knock-off, but it is super cute!! I do have a weakness for cute handbags, and my hubby will usually buy me a Coach handbag at Christmas-time, so that is my big splurge!! ;-) Of course, he gets a great deal on them!

Now that I have shared with you some of my favorite stores for bargains, let me give you a few quick tips that I have learned on my own and from other friends who love to bargain-hunt.

Buy Ahead! If you know what size you child will be wearing next season and you find a super duper good deal, go ahead and buy ahead! I can’t tell you how many good deals that I have gotten for the next season just by doing this!

Wait to buy until the item(s) go on sale or clearance. I almost NEVER pay full price for an item. I always try to wait for a good sale! You can save a lot of money this way!

Always scan your items! Many times I have been torn between whether or not to buy an item only to scan it, and find that it is even cheaper than I thought! ;-)

Check to see if your favorite store has a rewards (points) system that will actually pay you back to shop there. (Like the Children’s Place Place-Perks that I mentioned)

Just remember looking good does not need to be a major cost of your family’s budget. You can look good and still be a Sweet saver at the same time! What about you? Do you have some tips that you can pass along to me for Clothing a Family on a Budget? I would love to hear from you!

Saturday
Jul112009

Another Super Sweet Publix Trip!!

I know yesterday I had mentioned that I went to Publix and got some amazing deals. Well, once again, I wanted to share them with you all and break down what coupons I used so you can see how I got all of this loot for so little! I spent $8.58 and saved $119.08!!! You can do this too, I promise. It just takes a little bit of time and practice from your busy schedule. I know that you all are busy just like me, but it is SO worth the time that I spend to see how little we spend on groceries, household items, and HBA items!

Here is the breakdown on my Publix trip:

5 assorted Kashi Whole Grain Pizzas- $2.99 each minus 5 $3 off coupons = FREE plus overage!!

2 boxes of Kashi Whole Grain Waffles- $1.39 each minus 2 $1.50 off coupons = FREE plus overage!!

6 boxes of Mueller’s whole grain pasta-BOGO @ $1.37 minus 3 $1/2 coupons = $1.11

2 cans of Raid Ant/Roach Killer-$3.89 each minus 2 $2 manuf. coupons and 2 $2 Publix coupons from a Publix flier = FREE plus overage!!

1 box of Lorea’l Frost and Glow Hair Color-$7.99 minus $5.00 Publix coupon from the Back to School Advantage Flier (found in the turnstile) and $3.00 manufacturer coupon = FREE plus .01 overage!!

2 cartons of Smart Balance Butter- BOGO @ 2.89 (no coupons, but you will see why I got these in a minute!)

2 half gallons of Smart Balance milk-$3.00 each minus 2  FREE manufacturer coupons for FREE Smart Balance Milk when you buy one Smart Balance Butter = FREE!! Since the butter is BOGO, I met the requirements for 2 FREE milks!!

2 bottles of A-1 Marinade-BOGO @ $2.89 minus 2 $2.00 coupons = FREE plus Overage!!

2 boxes of Huggies Bath Washcloths-BOGO @$3.29 minus 1 $1.25 coupon and 1 $1.00 coupon = $1.04

1 bottle of Listerine Tooth Defense mouthwash- $3.79 minus $2.00 manufacturer coupon and 1 $2.00 off coupon from the Publix Back to School Advantage flier (found in the turnstile) = FREE with overage!!

4 boxes of assorted Klondike Ice cream bars- BOGO @ $3.95 minus 4 $1.25 off coupons = $2.90
1 ½ pounds of bananas- $1.17 (no coupons)

4 packages of Apple and Eve Organic Apple Juice Boxes- $1.59 each minus 4 $1.00 Publix coupons (found in the Summertime Savings flier in the turnstile) minus 4 .50 coupons from the Publix Greenwise magazine = .36 for 12 Organic Juice boxes!!

2 bottles of Blueberry Pomegranete water-$1.00 each minus 2 $1.00 off manufacturer coupons = $1! I splurged since the lady doing the demo was so persistent about me buying some! LOL! It was pretty tasty too! ;-)

2 packages of Rosetto Ravioli-BOGO @ $4.19 minus $1.50/2 Internet coupon= $2.69

Not pictured, but I got Drew a package of Ritz mini crackers too since he was so good at the store! .50

Minus $3 off $30 purchase or more Publix coupon! All this for $8.58!!! Pretty good haul if I do say so myself! Have you ever tried the Kashi pizzas? They are so tasty and good for you as well! We love them so I a stocking my little freezer up! ;-)

Now, I know many of you are probably wondering where is the beef, right? I do go to Sam’s Club once a month and stock up on chicken breasts and ground turkey. I also buy the big bags of Frozen broccoli and mixed veggies there as it is cheaper in the long run for our family. I usually spend $65 a month at Sams on meat and veggies. Our total grocery bill per MONTH is around $125!!! I also have a lot of food stockpiled, so we just don’t need that much on a weekly basis. It does pay to stockpile!! ;-)

I would love to hear from you and see the pics of your sweet grocery trips! I would also love to hear your great deals for the week! Happy shopping and saving money!

 

 

Friday
Jul102009

Fabulous Freebies and Food Finds!!

I hope that everyone is off to a wonderful weekend. I just wanted to pass along a few Freebies and other sweet finds to help you save some moolah!

Today, Friday July 10, is Annual Cow Appreciation Day at Chick Fil A. If you dress up like a cow you will receive a FREE Combo meal. If you wear a Cow Accessory you will receive a FREE entrée item. Sounds like a good time with the family to me!!! Check out more details here: www.chickfila.com

Here is another great family freebie for tomorrow, Saturday, July 11 (7-11)! Take the family to your local 7-11 store for FREE Slurpees of your choice! Read the sweet details here:
www.7eleven.com/NewsRoom/FreeSlurpeeDrinksLiveMusicToTheirEars/tabid/319/Default.aspx

The Rainforest Café is offering a $10/$25 coupon when you sign up on their website for the Safari Club. It is free and easy! The coupon comes right to your inbox. When you get to the Rainforest Café site, click on Ollie the Monkey and it will take you to the page where you sign up! This would be a great dining experience out the entire family would love and a sweet savings off your bill as well! Check it out here: www.rainforestcafe.com

Lastly, Arby’s is offering a FREE BBQ Bacon Cheddar RoastBurger with the purchase of any soft drink. This sweet coupon expires Monday, July 13, so go out and have an almost FREE date with your honey or take the kids out for an inexpensive meal! Check it out here: www.arbys.com/coupon/?cid=e_extras070909

Are there other Fabulous Freebies and Food finds that you would like to share? Go ahead and send me a comment! I love to hear your deals too! Have a wonderful summer weekend with you family!

 

Wednesday
Jul082009

The 411 to Walgreens

Now that you know how to use the Extra Care program at CVS, I thought it would be helpful if I explained how to use the Register Rewards system at Walgreens. While it is very different from CVS, you can still save money and get items for FREE at Walgreens as well! It takes a little more thought and practice with Walgreens, but as with CVS, you can gain many FREE or almost FREE items. It is also possible to keep your Register Rewards rolling to use for your next purchase(s). Here are a few basics that you should first understand about using and obtaining Register Rewards at Walgreens:


First, it is important to understand that there is no card and no program to sign up for!


Secondly, a RR (Register Reward) is a manufacturer’s coupon that prints at the cash register from a Catalina (coupon) machine when you have made a qualifying purchase. Check your weekly sales ad to see what items are producing RR that week. Many times if you have a manufacturer’s coupon to go along with it, you can end up with a really great deal!


RR’s are like cash and can be used on most anything at Walgreens (as with CVS, there is fine print so make sure that you read that carefully-RR’s cannot be used for prescriptions, gift cards, etc...) You should always make it your goal to spend as little money OOP (out of pocket) as possible! This is more challenging at Walgreens, but it can be done! You too can do it! ;-)


RR’s have a 2 week expiration date. This does make it a little more challenging since you have a month to use those ECB’s at CVS! Once again though if you find that you can’t roll your RR, just buy things that you know your family can use. I will usually buy laundry detergent or trash bags as we can always use those! ;-)


You may only receive one printed RR per transaction for that particular offer. This can also be a little bit challenging, so let me explain with a scenario. Let’s say that you want to take advantage of the Keebler/Cheez-It deal 2 times this week (Buy 4 for $10 and receive $5 RR). You would have to do the deal in 2 separate transactions in order to receive 2 $5 RR’s. The Catalina machine will not be able to print out 2 RR in one transaction.


You may use more than one RR when paying for items. Now, this may actually be a YMMV (your mileage may vary) situation; however, it may be done. I have successfully used up to 5 RR at one Walgreens, while the one down the street will only let me use 1 RR. Because of this, I always try to have my purchases separated in case I have to do multiple transactions. This can be a pain, but it is worth it, if you are getting FREE or nearly FREE items!


Lastly, you cannot have more coupons than items you are purchasing at Walgreens. The RR counts toward your coupon total since it is technically a coupon as well. When you have more coupons than items, you will need to add an inexpensive filler item(s) For example, if I have 4 packages of Keebler cookies from this week’s RR deal and 5 coupons, I would have to throw in another item so that the ratio of coupons to items that I am purchasing is equal. Once again, a lot of people don’t realize this and it can be a pain! Another tip that I have found helpful when searching for an inexpensive filler item, is to search the clearance section (usually found in the back of the store) I have found numerous filler items for .10 or less! Then, there is always the good ol’ .25 a pack Ramen noodle soup! I have used that one many times! ;-) Just remember, you can’t have more coupons than items you are purchasing!


Now that you know the basics of the RR system, go grab your weekly sales ad and your coupon binder and let’s get shopping for some sweet deals! I don’t see many exciting deals this week, but let me give you a couple of scenarios to help you get started.


-4 packages of Keebler Fudge Stripe cookies @ $10
Minus 2 $1/2 IP coupons from www.coupons.com $8
Minus $2 RR from a previous purchase-brings my total to $6 plus tax


I have 4 packages of cookies and I am using 3 copons, so I do not need a filler item this time! I will pay $6 and tax for my 4 packages of cookies, AND I will receive a $5 RR to use the next time I purchase something! Yes, I spent $6 OOP (my own money) but I received back $5 in RR to use for next time!


Here is one more scenario using the $5 RR that I just earned from the Keebler deal, so you can see how I keep it rolling, rolling, rolling! ;-) Once again, the deals are not very exciting this week, but I want you to see what can be done. Let’s do the Dental products deal (Buy $10 of participating dental products and receive $3 in RR). Part of the deal is for Crest toothpaste 2 for $5.


4 tubes Crest toothpaste 2 for $5 = $10
Minus 4 $1.00 manufacturer coupons $6
Minus $5 RR from the Keebler deal -brings my final to $1 plus our filler item and tax


Now, take a look at how many coupons that I have. I have 4 manufacturer coupons and 1 RR. 5 coupons and 4 items- what do I need to add when this happens? You got it! A small filler item! Let’s add a package of Ramen soup for .25-now our ratio of coupons to items is equal! In the end, we will have a total OOP expense of about $2 AND we will get back $3 RR to use for next time. We also have 4 tubes of toothpaste to use for the 4 packages of Keebler cookies that we just got! ;-) We will need it!


I hope that this will help you to better understand the RR system at Walgreens. You too can get some sweet deals if you just put some thought and practice into it. Do you have some sweet Walgreens deals that you would like to share with me? I love to hear about all of your deals, ideas, and tips!

 

Thursday
Jul022009

The 411 on CVS!!!

Back when I started couponing and bargain-hunting, I would hear other couponers mention the CVS Extra Care Program, but I had no idea what they were talking about! Now that I know all the details and money that you can save with this program, I am hooked! This year alone I have saved $1618.57!!! Along with all that money I have saved, I have accumulated lots of FREE toothpaste, body wash, deodorant, OTC medicines, bandaids, diapers/training pants, cereal, paper products, laundry detergents, and so much more! I know that this may seem too good to be true, but once you understand the basics, you too will be getting items for FREE and nearly FREE! Let me go ahead and share with you the 411 on how to use this program!

-First of all, you may be wondering what this program is all about. You should start by getting your Extra Care Card. This is a card that you will carry with you in your wallet or on your key ring. You will take it with you each time you shop at CVS. If you don’t have an Extra Care card, you can pick up one from the cashier at your local CVS. You can use the card the same day that you get it to start saving! I would recommend registering your card online as well so CVS can send you coupons in your mail and by email!

-Secondly, let me explain to you how you are rewarded. Rewards at CVS are called Extra Care Bucks. These ECB’s, (as couponers often refer to them) are just like cash and can be used on most anything at CVS. Each purchase that you make online and in store allows you to earn 2% back in Extra Care Bucks every 3 months! You will also earn $1 ECB for every 2 prescriptions that you have filled online or in store at CVS! The ECB’s will print on your store receipt along with other money-saving store coupons! The ECB’s usually have a month-long expiration date, so you should have plenty of time to use them!

-Thirdly, you should understand that there are other ways to save with your Extra Care Card as well. You can get instant savings on items featured in weekly and monthly store ads just by using your Extra Care Card! Your ECB’s will print on your receipt immediately after you have made a qualifying purchase!

-Lastly, you should realize that using your Extra Care card offers other benefits as well:
Additional special offers will print on your receipt throughout the year
Sign up for email offers and you will receive money-saving coupons sent right to you email!
You can turn your every day purchases into College Savings for your children with Upromise!
The more you shop and use your card at CVS, the more Rewards you will earn!

Now that you know the basics of the Extra Care Program, let’s go shopping for some sweet deals! You should sit down with your CVS weekly ad, your manufacturer’s coupons, and your notepad. Browse through the ad to see if there are any items that week which will earn you ECB’s with your purchase. Do you have manufacturer’s coupons to go along with the ECB items? Let me give you a few scenarios so that you can see how this is done! Just remember, when you shop at CVS to ALWAYS make it your goal to spend as little money out of your own pocket as possible!

Let me now give you a scenario that will show you how to use the Extra Care program and actually make money while doing it! This week does not look too good as far as the ECB’s go, so let me just make up a scenario that I have done in the past when it has been a good week!

1 Crest Pro Health Toothpaste (2.49-get back $2.00 in ECB with purchase)
1 Lady Speed Stick Deoderant (2.99-get back $2.99 in ECB with purchase-this is actually a FREE item after ECB’S!)
1 Garnier Shampoo (2.99-get back $2.99 in ECB with purchase-this is another FREE item after ECB’s!)


Now, check to see if you have manufacturer’s coupons to pair with the items that you are buying. We have $1.00/1 coupon for the toothpaste, .75/1 coupon for the deodorant, and $1.00/1 coupon for the shampoo. Our total before coupons would be: $8.47—after our coupons have been applied, we would pay out of our pocket $4.72, but you are getting back $7.98 in ECB’s !!! ($2 ECB for the toothpaste, $2.99 ECB for the Deoderant, and $2.99 for the shampoo!) Now, you have $7.98 in ECB for your next trip! You actually made money on this trip to CVS!!! To sweeten the deal even more, if you had ECB’s from a previous purchase, you could have used those as well for even lower OOP. (Out of Pocket) Remember, that is the goal! To have as little money coming from out of your own pocket as possible.

Now, lastly let me explain to you about “rolling” ECB’s. For those of you die-hard couponers out there, you probably already know what I mean by this, but let me explain. Rolling simply means taking an ECB and buying something else with it that will give you ECB’s back. For example, let’s say that we take that $7.98 ECB from our above mentioned trip to CVS and buy Revlon lip color that is on sale the next week for $9.99 with $9.99 in ECB back (FREE after ECB) plus we have $1 manufacturer’s coupon to go along with our $7.98 ECB. Yep, you guessed it, we would only have to pay around $1 OOP, you would have a nice lip color, and we would get back a $9.99 ECB for your next CVS trip! Make it your goal to keep rolling those ECB’s as much as you possibly can! I will tell you that there will be times when you will just have to spend the ECB’s. They could be expiring, or there is just nothing that week to “roll” them on. In times like these, I stock up on thinks like Laundry detergent or paper products.

I know that this has been a lot of information, but I really wanted to explain in depth the Extra Care program as I have had numerous people ask me about it lately. If I missed something or you still don’t understand the program, please contact me and I will be glad to help you out! Next up will be the 411 on the Register Rewards program at Walgreens! Stay tuned!!

Saturday
Jun272009

Easy Stockpile Recipes Part II !

I thought that it would be fun to list a few more of my favorite stockpile recipes! These are some of our family’s favorites! I hope that you will enjoy them too!

Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is actually from my mother, but it is the easiest and tastiest chicken pot-pie that I have had anywhere! You may also substitute cooked turkey cutlets for the chicken. This is a great recipe to use up that leftover Turkey around the holidays!

1 box Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (the kind that you roll out)
2 cans of Veg-All (even the store brand mixed canned veggies works great-whatever you have in your pantry is just fine!)
1 can of Cream of Chicken
2-3 cooked chicken breasts shredded (other chicken pieces work great as well, but I prefer the white meat!)
Salt/Pepper to taste

~Mix all ingredients together. In a pie pan, unroll one of the pie crusts. Place chicken/veggie mixture on top. Unroll the remaining pie crust on top. Flute the edges of the crust just as you would on a regular pie. Place a couple of vents in the center of the pie. Place the chicken pot pie in a 350` degree until crust is nice and golden brown. Normal cooking time is 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven-let cool-Enjoy!!! Your family is sure to come back for seconds!

Mexican Chicken

This recipe is taken from my favorite Slow Cooker cookbook- Super Fast Slow Cooking. This wonderful cookbook can be found at www.gooseberrypatch.com As I have mentioned previously, I absolutely love my slow-cooker and try to utilize it as much as possible! This recipe is so easy! Drop the ingredients in your slow cooker and you will be on your way to a Mexican Fiesta!

15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 15-1/4oz. cans corn, drained
1 cup picante sauce, divided
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
12 8-inch flour tortillas

For Garnish: Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, other Mexican toppings if desired.

Mix together beans, corn and ½ cup of the picante sauce in a slow cooker. Place chicken breasts on top; pour remaining picante sauce over chicken. Cover and cook on high setting for 2 ½ hours, or until chicken is tender. Shred chicken and return to slow cooker. Sprinkle with cheese; cover and cook until melted. Serve with tortillas and garnish with sour cream and your other favorite Mexican toppings if desired. Enjoy!! Serves 6.


Easy Sausage & Egg Casserole

I wanted to make sure that I added a breakfast recipe to the list, so here it is! This recipe comes from one of my favorite online recipe sites- www.allrecipes.com

1 pound bulk sausage (I have used fully cooked sausage patties before and just crumble them up; works just fine too!)
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground mustard
6 slices of white or wheat bread cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, brown sausage, drain, and set aside. In a large bowl beat eggs; add milk, salt, and mustard. Stir in bread cubes, cheese and sausage. Pour into a greased 11x7x2 inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. Bake uncovered, at 350` for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Enjoy! We love to have breakfast for dinner some nights!

I hope that you will enjoy these recipes! I know that there are hundreds of other recipes out there, but these are easy, quick and delicious! Also, most of the things in these recipes should already be in your pantry if you are a stock-piler like me! Keep your comments coming to me please! I would love to hear more of your favorite recipes!

 

Wednesday
Jun242009

How to Make FREE Money and Gift Cards!!!

How many of you are always looking for a way to make FREE money? Well, you would not need to ask me twice because I am always on the lookout! Did you know that just by doing surveys and searching on the web, that you can get FREE money and gift cards? I found out about this awhile back and now have gotten countless checks, gift cards, and other FREEBIES! Now, I know if you are like me, you must be thinking, “That is just too good to be true!” It’s not though, and I have some awesome websites for you to try out! I will go ahead and list for you my favorite sites and then explain how they work! ;-)

Swagbucks- www.swagbucks.com Swagbucks is one of the easiest ways to get FREE gift cards that I know of! They have a wide variety of ways to earn points; however, the easiest way is to use their search-engine. If you were planning on searching for something online, why not make money while doing it? Signing up is easy and you will watch your points grow quickly! I will be cashing in soon for a FREE $20 Target gift card!

MyPoints- www.mypoints.com MyPoints is definitely another one of my favorite ways to earn FREE gift cards. Once you sign up and fill out your profile, you will receive emails from various companies on a daily basis. All you have to do is click on the email and you will earn points to trade in for gift cards. I can’t begin to tell you how many Kohl’s and Starbucks gift cards I have cashed in on from my MyPoints! And it was a FREE shopping trip for me!

Vocalpoint- www.vocalpoint.com VocalPoint is more of a survey and freebie site than anything else; however, if you sign up, they send some awesome high value coupons in the mail on a regular basis. Most recently, I received coupons from them for FREE boxes of Kashi waffles! They often send items for you to sample as well which is nice! I definitely love this site as well!

BuzzBack Market Research- www.buzzback.com BuzzBack is great because when you do online surveys for them, they PAY you!!! I have received many checks in the mail from them! They also can deposit money into your PayPal account for doing surveys which is really nice! When you sign up, you fill out a profile section-they will send you surveys based on your profile! Sometimes you will qualify, sometimes you may not! It is still a fun and easy way to make FREE money!

Modern Mom- www.modernmom.com Modern Mom is a great site for all of you mommies out there! They always have great tips and advice on their site, and they will often send out great coupons for you to try items. This week I received coupons from the try out Charmin Toilet paper! Join and have fun!

She Speaks- www.shespeaks.com She Speaks is another great site! I love this one because they will send you a product in the mail and let you try it out then give a review on the product. I know many of you are familiar with the Bliss Spas in NYC –they have their own product line; well, last week I received a full-sized Bliss Daily Moisturizer (this retails for almost $30 a tube!) in the mail from them to try out. I will use the product and then give my review. What a great way to be able to try products!

BzzAgent- www.bzzagent.com I have a feeling that many of you may be familiar with this particular site, but if not, let me fill you in! They are so awesome! They will send you product and coupon for free products to try. You will give the coupons that you receive from them to friends, co-workers, relatives, etc.... so that they can try the product as well. You then Bzzz the product—tell what you like or dislike about the product(s), have your friends tell you what they think about the products(s), and then email a general report to back to BzzAgent. This is also one of my favorites! I have gotten to try Glade candles, Mahatma Rice, Affrin products, Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Cleaner, the list goes on and on. Sign up for this one and you will not be disappointed! The more campaigns you sign up for, the higher your status goes and you will get even more invites to try more items! Just remember to submit several reports for the items that they send you! It is just that easy!

These are just a few of my favorite ways to earn money, gift cards and freebies! I know that there are other programs out there, so why not fill me in! I am always looking for a SWEET way to get something for FREE!

 

Friday
Jun192009

My Super SWEET Publix Trip!

 

Well, today I had such an amazing trip to Publix that I wanted to go ahead and share all the details and pictures with you! I spent $19.79 and saved $107.76! This time I thought that it would be helpful to you newbies out there if I posted the coupons/breakdown that I used on my shopping trip. Here it is! ;-)

2 Mahatma Jasmine Rice -$2.99 each (2 FREE coupons from BzzAgent)

2 Nabisco Honey Maid Graham crackers -$3.99 each (these were BOGO and I had 2-$1.00 printable coupons from www.cookingwithkraft.com

3 DelMonte Fruit Chillers- $2.53 each (these were B2G1 and I had 2 $1.00 printable coupons from www.redplum.com )

2 Perdue Chicken Nugget Boxes- $4.39 each (these were BOGO and I had 2 $1.00 coupons found inside packages of Perdue Shortcuts from a previous purchase)

1 box of Kashi Waffles- $2.79 (FREE coupon from Vocalpoint-go here to sign up and become a member! They send out awesome coupons! www.vocalpoint.com)

1 package Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs- $3.99 (FREE coupon from Oscar Mayer Hot dog giveaway earlier in the month)

1 box Jello Sugar Free Pudding packets -$1.50 (FREE coupon sent to me from General Mills)

1 dozen large eggs $1.39 (no coupon, but we needed them!)

2 pints of Starbucks Ice Cream -$3.79 (BOGO and I had 2 $1.50 printable coupons) (this stuff is deadly, beware! (FYI- There are supposed to be coupons coming out in this Sunday’s newspaper inserts for $2.00/1 coupons-that would be .21 overage!)

2 boxes Morningstar Chicken nuggets- $3.79 (BOGO and I had a Target CRT for $2/2-I finally found a Publix that will honor Super Target Grocery coupons, so I was happy!)

2 lb. Publix ground beef -$3.24 (used 2 coupons for -Save $1.25 on ground beef WYB Kraft Deluxe Mac n Cheese. I had 2 boxes of Mac N Cheese, so I was able to use 2 of the Ground Beef coupons! These coupons were found in a Kraft booklet at Publix)

2 bags Jennie O Turkey Sausage patties -$2.99 (BOGO and the bags had .55 peelies on them!)

2 boxes Kelloggs Frosted Mini Wheats- $4.19 (BOGO and I had a BOGO coupon from Vocalpoint- maximum value allowed was $3.10-ALMOST FREE!)

3 packages of Ramen Noodles .20 each (filler items and no coupons-Filler items are inexpensive items that you use when you think you will have more coupons than items. At some stores I find that this is not an issue; however, at Publix you cannot have more coupons than items-I always count how many coupons I have, then how many items are in the cart to make sure!)

8 packages Fisher Snack mix -$1.79 each (BOGO and I had 8 $1.00 coupons from Sunday insert coupons.) (.21 overage per every 2 bags!)

2 packages of Bic Soleil razors- $5.49 each (BOGO and I had 2 $2.00 coupons from Sunday insert coupons.)

2 boxes Kraft Deluxe Mac n Cheese -$1.49 each (used 1-$1.50/2 printable coupon)

2 packages Juicy Juice juice-boxes- $2.99 each (BOGO no coupons, but we needed juice!)

2 boxes Kraft Easy Mac- $3.39 each (BOGO and I had a home mailer coupon for a FREE box! Once again, 2 boxes for FREE)

2 ½ lb. bananas .69 lb (no coupon, but we needed them)

4 packages Yoplait Yo Plus Yogurt- $2.50 each (BOGO and I had 4 $1.00 printable coupons from www.coupons.com and www.redplum.com)

I also had a $5/$50 grocery competitor coupon that Publix accepted on top of all my other coupons listed. So, after all BOGO promotions and coupons I paid a whopping $19.79 for all of this and saved $107.76! I hope that my breaking down the details and coupons for you will help you understand how I saved so much! You can do this too-I promise! Contact me with any questions and don’t forget to share with me your sweet savings-I always love to hear from you!

Thursday
Jun182009

Fabulous Freebies and Food Finds!

I just wanted to pass along a few sweet Friday Freebies for tomorrow, June 19! Enjoy them everyone! ;-)

Print your coupon here for a FREE Light Smoothie at Orange Julius!
www.orangejulius.com/downloads/freeCoupon.pdf

Tropical Smoothie Café will be offering a FREE Jetty Punch Smoothie to the first 500 people that walk through their doors wearing Flip-Flops! Check it out here: www.tropicalsmoothiecafe.com

If you are like me, summer-time can not only be a busy time of the year, but there are some days that I just don’t feel like cooking because it is so hot outside! Here are some great printable restaurant coupons for you and your family to eat out on a budget this summer! Enjoy!

TGIF Restaurants offers a Buy One Get One FREE Entrée until June 22 with this printable coupon: www.fridays.com/promos/JuneBogoCoupon.aspx Use this one this weekend as it expires Monday! This is a great coupon! We used it on vacation last week for an inexpensive meal out!

BJ’s restaurant is offering a $5/$25 purchase coupon here: www.bjsrestaurants.com/promotions/?gclid=CJT-ptzPj5sCFQ3xDAod5y-mog

Go out and have some fun with your family this weekend by enjoying these great deals! Are there any other freebies or food finds that I should know of? Please let me know! ;-)

Tuesday
Jun162009

My Fun-Filled Family Vacation!

 

I don’t know about you, but summer vacations are always one of the highlights of my year! This year’s vacation was no exception! As I mentioned previously, we decided to drive to this year’s destination (TN & GA) instead of flying, so I was not quite sure how my 3 ½ year old would handle an 11 hour road trip! Well, I must say, he did AWESOME! I think he did even better than both my husband and I together!

 

Originally, we had made plans to drive for several hours the first day and then stop at a hotel along the way. Well, forget the hotel, we drove straight through! Amid the hours of playing with his Leapster, watching DVD’s, coloring, and reading books, my son, Drew, was so funny, he kept saying, “Are we at Dee Dee’s house yet?” We kept telling him, “Almost!” By the time that we arrived at my sister’s house, he was ecstatic!! Oh, he did somehow manage a quick power nap in the midst of all that as well! ;-)

 

My sister and her husband live at a camping ministry in TN, so Drew had a lot of fun looking at the horses, and seeing the wild turkeys and deer in the yard every day! I must admit, I enjoyed it as well. One day we went into Nashville to visit some friends and then we took in the Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills outlet mall. The hotel is gorgeous with all the water falls and greenery throughout! If you have never been there, it is a sight to behold! While walking around the hotel and exploring the river-walk, my husband treated me to a new Godiva frozen caramel drink. It was so good and I did share it with him-well, just a little!

 

The next leg of our vacation was about 5 hours away from TN in Stone Mountain, GA. We stayed at a wonderful Marriott Resort called the Evergreen Resort. It was so beautiful tucked away in Stone Mountain. Our room overlooked the lake and we thoroughly enjoyed the swimming pool, took in the sights at Stone Mountain, rode the train, and just relaxed! It was definitely a fun and memorable vacation! Drew is still talking about it!

 

Tell me about your plans for summer vacation this year! I would love to hear where you are headed with your family! Don’t forget to take money-saving restaurant coupons with you! Check your hotel concierge to see if there are any deals that you can take advantage of as well! Happy vacationing everyone and have a sweet time!

Thursday
Jun042009

Get your FREE doughnut!

Tomorrow, June 5, is National Doughnut Day! Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts will be offering a FREE Doughnut of your choice! I will definitely be heading to Dunkin for my Toasted Coconut Donut. What about you? What is your favorite doughnut flavor? Go out and support National Doughnut Day!!

Wednesday
Jun032009

Vacationing on a Budget

Well, I don’t know about you, but I always look forward to family vacation every year! This year is no exception as we are planning our first road trip with our son Drew! Drew is almost 3 ½ and we have always flown with him when we have gone on vacation; so, we decided to drive to our destination this year! Not only will we save by not having to purchase plane tickets, but this will also be a fun time for us a family! This will be a 12 hour road trip, so I know that there are sure to be a lot of potty breaks along the way! This year for vacation, we decided to go and visit my sister and her husband in the beautiful Tennessee mountains! They live and work at a camping ministry called the Bill Rice Ranch where there is much to see and do! Since they are so close to Nashville, we plan on taking some day trips there as well-maybe to visit Opryland and some other TN attractions! I know that many of you will be traveling for vacation this year as well, so I thought that I would share with you some of our sweet budget saving tips when going on vacation. Of course, some of these tips may need to be modified if you are flying to your destination, but I think that they will still prove to be helpful to you: These first 2 tips are easy ones, but ones that are important when you want to maximize your vacation costs! Remember, TIME IS MONEY! Take the time to P-L-A-N A-H-E-A-D!

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Tuesday
Jun022009

Easy Stockpile Recipes

If you are like me, I am sure that there are times you just don’t feel like cooking an elaborate meal. It is so nice to have an abundance of stockpile items on hand, for those busy days when you don’t have time to think about what to make for dinner! I thought that it would be fun to share with you a couple of my family’s favorite stockpile meals-Stockpile Shepherd’s Pie and Crock Pot Garlicky Bacon Chicken. All of these meals are super easy and you can add a salad or veggie along-side for a quick meal in a matter of minutes!

Stockpile Shepherd’s Pie

1 lb. of ground turkey (ground beef can be substituted as well)
1 can of corn (other canned veggies may be added or substituted-this is my family’s favorite!)
1 packet of brown gravy with onions mix
2 packets of cooked Idahoan (Fully loaded) instant potatoes
1 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese

Brown the ground turkey until fully cooked then add in the gravy packet mix. Add in the corn to the ground turkey and gravy mixture. Place this mixture in an 8x8 or 9x13 baking dish. Place the cooked instant potato mixture on top then sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is ooey and gooey! This dish tastes like that down-home meatloaf that mom used to make! Serve with a salad or other veggies for a delish and easy meal from your stockpile! Enjoy! :-)

Crock Pot Garlicky Bacon Chicken

This particular recipe comes from my favorite Crock Pot cookbook that my mother-in-law gave me. Super Fast Slow Cooking is from Gooseberry Patch  and has tons of wonderful recipes that can actually be made from a well-built stockpile, but this is one of our family favorites!

8 slices of bacon
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 10 ¾ oz. cans cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup
1 cup sour cream
½ cup all purpose flour

Wrap one slice of bacon around each chicken breast and place in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together soups, sour cream and flour. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low setting for 6-8 hours.
This is so yummy served with baked potatoes and a salad! Enjoy!

What about your sweet stockpile meals? Do you have any that I should try? Please let me know! I love to cook and try new recipes for my family!

Thursday
May282009

My Amazing Publix Shopping Trip!

Last week was an unusually crazy busy week for me! I had been sick with a terrible cold almost all week and, on top of that, I was trying to clean out the house for a garage sale with a friend. Needless to say, I did not make it to Publix until Sunday afternoon! I usually go on Thursday morning when the new sale for the week starts, but I just could not make it then! I normally hate to shop on Sunday, but I had a competitor coupon for $5 off a $50 purchase that expired on Sunday and I knew that with all of my other coupons, I should be able to make out good for the week. Boy, was I surprised when I saw the total after all of my coupons had been deducted! Here is my savings- I had $66.89 in Manufacturer’s coupons, $10.98 in store coupons, $60.78 in Advertised Special Savings, and $2.96 in Advantage Buy savings for a total savings of $141.61!!!!!! After all of that savings, I only spent $23.49!!! Well, as I was leaving to head out to my car, I noticed that I had several more coupons I forgot to hand the cashier. I had $6 more in coupons! I went to the customer service desk and she gave me back $6 in cash and took my coupons! So, I really only spent $17.49 for all those items! I was so excited that I had to share it with you all! The neat thing about this too was I had a $25 gift card to Publix for a new prescription that I had just filled. So, really all these things were FREE!!!!

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Tuesday
May262009

SOS for Coupon Organization

Now that you are aware of some of the basics of couponing, I thought that it would help if I gave you some of my personal coupon organization tips. Now, I know that there are literally hundreds of ways that you could go about organizing your coupons, but I will share with you some of my favorite tips! I was just at the grocery store the other day with my 3” coupon binder talking to the cashier about couponing. She told me, “I always mean to use those coupons that I get in the newspaper on Sunday, but they always expire!” Does that sound like you as well? You need a good coupon organizer to help you with this! It is also nice to have good coupon organization so that you can always have your coupons with you when you go to the grocery store, drug store, Target, Wal-Mart, etc… I can’t tell you how many times that I wish I would have had my coupons with me when I just went into a store to grab something quick. It never fails I always see something on clearance that I know I have a coupon for and could then get the item for FREE or nearly FREE!

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Thursday
May212009

My Adventures in New York City!

I am sure that you all have to remember how excited that I was about my upcoming NYC trip with my hubby! Well, we had the best time in the world! It was nice because our 3 year old son was able to stay with Grandma while we had a nice romantic and relaxing time away!

I just thought that it would be fun to share with you all some of my adventures while in NYC. I could go on and on about everything, but I will give you a few of the things that we were able to do.

When we arrived at our hotel, we were amazed to see the view from our room! There she was-- the beautiful Statue of Liberty! It was amazing to wake up and see that every morning! We stayed right in the heart of the Financial District of NYC, which was also near the World Trade Center wreckage. It was mind-boggling to look and see this area! There was a very heart-warming memorial that people had set up with flowers to remember those that had lost their lives in this terrible tragedy. It really made me stop and think what it must have been like to be right there on that terrible day!

Friday, my hubby was off to a business meeting so I decided to take on the city by myself! Thankfully our hotel was right near lots of shopping and other fun stuff! Those of you who know NYC are probably familiar with Century 21--an awesome department store! It was like 6 or more stories high and I must have spent at least 2 or 3 hours in there. Of course, I lost track of time! I did not have a child or husband to worry about tagging along with me, so I was in my element! Aahhhh! ;o) My husband called me late afternoon to tell me that he would be leaving his meeting soon, so we hopped onto the Subway and went to check out Times Square and Rockefeller Center. It was so much fun! We even got to check out the Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting at the famous Magnolia Bakery! The line was not out the door that particular day, and boy am I am I glad we got to try those cupcakes! I highly recommend them! ;o)

Saturday was a gloomy and humid day, but we did not let that dampen our spirits! We left the hotel and took a ferry out to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  

All I can say is Wow! It was above anything I had ever imagined! At Ellis Island, we were able to find the names of my husband’s great grandparents on the wall that shows immigrants names. This was amazing! We had heard the inspiring story from my husband’s grandmother of how her mother (she was only 14 at the time) came over here to the US from Syria with her 2 children on a big ship. Sickness almost not let them make it here to the US, but thank goodness they eventually did make it! This was definitely a highlight of our trip and something we will never forget!

We wanted to take in a Broadway play while we were in NYC, but time just would not allow it. We did, however, manage to also take in Madison Avenue, The 11 story Macy’s department store, FAO Schwartz Toy Company, Trump Tower, and some other great sites. Did I mention that we must have walked at least 5-6 miles a day? We were so tired at the end of the day, but it was so worth it! We are already talking about going back, and doing the things that we missed this time around!

Monday
May182009

Stockpiling 101 (part 2)

Now that you know a little bit about the basics of stockpiling, I thought that I would share with you some tips on what items that I like to stockpile, how much I typically will spend on those items, and what to do with all the extra freebies that you may have sitting around your house! There are a lot of items that one could stockpile, but I think that I should just let you know about the basics that are nice to have on hand! Let’s talk about food stockpiling first, then we will go on to your HBA (Health and Beauty Aids) stockpile. I like to keep the following items in my food stockpile in case I need to throw together a quick dinner or make a casserole for a friend in need! I will post some of my quick, easy, affordable and delicious stockpile casseroles!

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Wednesday
May132009

Stockpiling 101 (Part 1)

If you are like me and love to save money, then stockpiling is definitely something that you need to consider! By stockpiling items, you won’t have to go to the store as often, and it is so nice to have items right on hand if you can’t make it to the store that day! I know of many people that go to the store a couple of times a week for groceries. This is so much more expensive than having a stockpile on hand! You tend to spend more, because you will see items at the store that look good that particular day. If you do this a couple of times a week, your grocery bill can go through the roof! Why not have a nice stockpile of items on hand and shop from your own pantry?

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Wednesday
May062009

What Things Do You Get For Free?

I was standing in the checkout line behind a lady at Super Target the other day and could not help but notice all the toiletries and groceries that she was buying. I specifically was watching to see if she had any coupons or not, and when I noticed that she did not, and the cashier gave her the total which was well over $100 I about passed out! :o) Now, I know that you may think I am crazy, but I could have gotten the same cart of items that she had for at least 50-75% off! It just makes me cringe every time I am in line behind someone and this happens! I just want to stop and say to them, “Wait, I have a coupon for that!” or, “Stop, you could be getting that for FREE!” I thought it would be fun to list a few things that I almost always can get for FREE and never pay for. This could be at CVS, Walgreens, Target, or even the regular grocery store. In my case, here in FL, I love to shop at my neighborhood Publix for the best grocery deals and steals! Also, keep in mind that if you use coupons to their maximum potential (such as stacking them with a store coupon) you can buy the brand name products for FREE or for just pennies on the dollar! I have heard a lot of people say that they just buy the store brand to save money-why do that when you can get the brand named products for Free or almost Free? Many times, I just have to pay the tax on the item!

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