Apparantly last week we had a big ole misunderstanding. Myself and the other parties involved have straightened it out amongst ourselves, and all is well. Soooo....
After SO much support, the tips will come back, I will be implementing some of the ideas I received, and also always willing to address any questions, etc.
I want to thank everyone so much for their support and everything. Helped my slightly bruised ego .
Archive for August, 2006
Apparantly last week we had a big ole misunderstanding. Myself and the other parties involved have straightened it out amongst ourselves, and all is well. Soooo....
After reading a few comments, and a thread on the boards, let alone a few emails I received. I'm going to go with the minority.
I won't be writing the tips anymore. My goal when I started doing that was not to annoy or irritate anyone. But was to round out things not only for myself, but for those learning about couponing, and that spot has been covered very well by flash and gsg. Although the detail I went into was appreciated by most of you, I do not want to annoy others as well!
So I've been thinking on this all evening, and have decided that I will take the tips portion out of my blog, and will go back to only blogging about my general stuff. If anyone ever has any questions about stuff, please feel free to email me!
My kids LOVE trail mix. And I love that because its HEALTHY!!! Well, this week Walgreens is making my kids VERY happy.
In their sale flyer this week is a coupon for Planters Trail Mix for .99, a decent deal within itself, but wait it gets better!
When you buy 3, a coupon for $2 off your next shopping order prints out. Most cashiers will just scan it off that purchase, so you get 3 packages for .97!!!
Now wait, it gets better! How could that be you say??? Well, in the paper last weekend was a $10 rebate form from Nabisco. One of the qualifying items is, you guessed it Sherlock, Planters Trail Mix. Works like this, go to Walgreens, do 4 orders of 3 Trail Mix each, your total out of pocket payment will be $3.88. Send in those receipts and the UPC symbols, and get a $10 check back. Final Profit = $6.12 and you also have 12 bags of trail mix.
Happy Hunting everyone!
As I try to tailor my blog to fit within the niche Flash has created with teaching others about couponing, etc. I wonder what topics YOU guys would like to see. I will do research if needed, tirelessly (or well, at least until midnight) seeking out the answers.
Seriously though, what have YOUR questions always been, what would you like to learn about couponing and refunding?
The suggestion box is open!
Spurred on by another blogger, I decided today's tip should be about coupon organization. After typing this up I realized that this is only one of a few aspects that should be covered, so I'll do the next part tomorrow.
I've always been a bit of a perfectionisty, and my coupon organizing is no place to slouch. A few months ago I realized MY strategy was costing me deals, I wouldn't be able to find a certain coupon I knew I had until I got home, and thus didn't get that item free or for pennies.
I have never been of the "category" organizer school, my brain doesn't generally work that way. I've always been an alphabetical organizer, whichever actual method of transportation my coupons had (from envelopes, to a box, and now to a binder). Well, when I realized how many deals I was missing, I started a complete overhaul of my binders. I now have them organized into rough categories, and by store aisle (all stores are roughly the same), and then alphabetized within those categories.
I guess first off I should give some background..no matter what, if an item is free, I will pick it up. It will either go into my own personal stockpile, get passed on to either my parents, my sister or my neighbor, donated to a worthy cause on my next run, or sold in my yard sale for 1/4 to 1/2 of retail price. So I always cut and file ALL coupons, I rarely trade due to time constraints mostly, but am still hoping to get a train going!!!!!
Now, on to my own favorite method of coupon organization, THE BINDER. I have 2 binders actually because I have so many coupons. The first is a 3" ring binder by Case It, it zips shut (a MUST!!!) and has an accordion style organizer on one side in which I put my store rain checks, store specific coupons, etc. I would really like to get a bit more organized on this one and put my lists in each of these with the coupons I KNOW I will need. This binder contains all my non food coupons (amazingly enough larger than the actual food coupons..huh). Within the binder I use baseball card protector sheets, and file one coupon type to each slot. Each page has 9 slots. Some don't like these pages, because you do have to cut your coupons close, and sometimes fold them. There are LOTS of different varieties of "item holder" pages at any office supply store, everything from floppy disks to CD's and more, use what is comfortable for YOU, and makes it easy for you to keep your coupons organized and handy.
My second binder is a plain jane zippered binder, with 1 1/2 inch rings. I use this one for food coupons with the same pages inside.
This is just a start to organizing things, and I certainly hope I've explained the binder method to you clear enough. As usual, any questions, give me a hollar!
This was requested last week, and I'm just getting to it..SORRY!!! But, its good, so here goes!
1 C. all-purpose flour
3/4 C. quick cooking oats
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 C. milk
1/2 C. peanut butter
1/2 C. mashed ripe banana
1 egg, beaten
2 T. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
2 T. butter, melted
2 T. packed brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners.
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. In smaller bowl whisk together milk, peanut butter, banana, egg, oil and vanilla. Add mixture to dry ingredients, mixing until just moistened. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
In a small bowl, stir together topping ingredients. Sprinkle evenly over muffins.
Bake for 18 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.
Thanks to allrecipes.com for this one!
PS....throw some strawberry jam on them and YUMMMYYYYYY!!!!!!!
The first thing you need to do when learning to shop to save is learn your local grocery stores coupon policies.
1) If an item rings up incorrectly, what do they do? At one local store (Kroger), if something rings up wrong you get it FREE!! Doesn't matter if it's diapers or a gallon of milk, if it's priced wrong, it's free. Some places do nothing, and there are policies everywhere in the middle.
2) Do they double or triple coupons, and what are their limits? Meijer in my area doubles coupons up to a .99 face value every day, with a limit of 2 of the same coupons. Example: Act 2 popcorn was recently on sale for $1 a box. I had .50 coupons, which they doubled to $1, so after a few trips, I amassed about 15 boxes of popcorn for free!
3) What are their sale cycles? Some places run their ads Sunday to Saturday, some Wednesday to Tuesday. Plan your shopping accordingly.
Hope this helps you!!!
I can now say that I have been on the street that Eminimem grew up on. I've seen the trailer park, etc. Eminiem is one of very few rap artists I like, but is one of my favorite artists overall. So that was rather cool.
The downside? We took a QUITE unexpected trip to Detroit this weekend, an 8 hour drive!!! My fiancees family lives up there, and his father had a truck he was trying to get rid of. We agreed to buy it from him for $1,500 (not bad for a '96 extended cab, etc etc), but not until after the wedding.
Well, he called Saturday night and said, go ahead and come get it, we'll work out payments later. OK! We initially planned to go next weekend, but remembered my mom is having surgery this week so I really don't want to go out of town. So we headed up Saturday night, and came home yesterday. His father also told us to knock $750 off the price he originally quoted us!!!! YA!!!!!!!!!!
I got to meet the family up there, and that was really nice. All in all a good, but tiring, weekend. Sorry I missed a few days tips, but I didn't have computer access, or the energy, to blog. ButI'm back and rarin to save!
Well, the visit with my parents last night got cancelled due to moms medical issues (she has lupus, and all the problems that come with that, and is having a partial mastectomy next week), so I took the kids to them.
This morning DF and I went yardsaling for a little while, and spent $8 on ebay stock. He's at work now, then this evening we're going on a date night!!!
We havent been able to do this since we moved, due to not having a sitter for YDS, but our new neighbors daughter volunteered. She's 16 and pregnant, so not only will it be good experience for her, but she needs the money as well (let me add, she's great with the kids, and I know she'll be fine with the baby).
We're going to dinner, probably at our favorite local discovery restaurant, and using free movie tickets. If I'm lucky, afterwards we'll go play some pool. Ya!
Tomorrow will be spent at home, getting little projects done. I need to track down the people we bought the house from and see about the repairs.
I've signed up with MULTIPLE pay to survey sites in the last few months, and have been earning points, etc etc. Well, Greenfield Online has become notorious for doing mostly "one entry to win 10 million dollars types of things, but I read on someones blog that those surveys sometimes lead to ones that actually pay money. So I started filling them out instead of just deleting them like I had been lol.
Well, today in my box I got a survey to do with my son that paid $7! WOOHOO! So once received, that will go in my challenge as well!
My parents are coming over for a sleepover tonight! We moved almost 3 months ago an hour south of where I'm from, so visits with my parents have been pretty limited.
My mom has alot of medical stuff going on right now, so I thought to help keep her mind off things, she could come stay the night. Well, dad wants to come to!
So, we're going to clip coupons, watch movies, and just hang out. The boys are SUPER excited, I am too, I miss my mom!!!
Motivated by Uncommon Cents' blog entry for today regarding the grocery game, I decided today's tip will be to list some of my favorite, and most useful coupon sites.
Lists are laid out by store, with any hot deals listed by a user who sees it. You can discuss deals, ask questions, etc. The forum is extremely helpful for anyone pro or newbie to find the deals and make the most out of their money in many arenas.
Same as above, layout is quite similar, forum based.
Now, this IS a subscription access site, BUT it is not limited to coupon deals. Members discuss sweepstakes, online shopping deals, clearance found at various stores, super double coupons, etc. etc. The magazine that sisters the site is awesome, filled with readers stories, ads to get more coupons or forms from other traders, listings of rebate forms, etc. If anyone wants more information on this one before subscribing, please let me know!!! And if you decide to subscribe, let them know I sent you because I do earn referral credits.
So my tip is..spread your frugal wings! There are lots of great places out there to help you learn to coupon for FREE!!!!!
Ok, so I probably won't remember to number them all, but oh well lol.
What does Flylady have to do with saving money you ask?
Flylady proposes that housework done imperfectly still blesses your family. I agree. I'm not a diehard flylady worshiper, BUT I do drill generally throughout the day, either by myself or with a few online friends.
What is this drilling you speak of??? Well, it's where we go accomplish something for 15 minutes, come back and brag for 10 minutes or so, and go again. Much like this site, it's all about support and motivation to keep up the good work.
Now, my point may be clearing. Disorganization generally leads to wasting money in some form or another, be it time looking for your favorite widget, or money by replacing said widget that you didnt see under the couch cushion until the next day when you get back from the store.
My house is NOT organized yet, we just moved in 2 months ago, but it's shaping up. And I don't think I've replaced anything I still have yet.
Tip of the day is...organize your home for your peace of mind, peace of time, and peace of wallet!
What? People actually read it???
LOL! I just noticed the statistics on the side, and it shows over 5 thousand visits to my blog. FIVE THOUSAND!!!!!!!
Well, not only am I honored anyone is interested enough in my boredom to come around, BUT, it tells me I need to start including more content than the size of my kids poop this morning. Ok, I've never done that, and I promise not too lol.
I've been asked recently to teach a coupon class to a local woman whose husband is being caught in the layoffs at Ford and they have 3 children she homeschools, and a 6 month old baby. Also, she has a friend with 3 children who is in the middle of divorce who wants to learn couponing, etc. and asked if I would be so kind as to help her learn too. I am so honored. I have been her friend, I was a single mom of 3 for 4 years, much of it as a full time student.
So I'm going to TRY and post as many tips and tricks here as I can in the hopes that others can learn and help their families. If even one tip is used by one person then that will make this worthwhile for me. I am quite frugal by nature, I've always had to be, but I am also quite spacey by nature, so I tend to forget to write here. I go in spurts, 3 posts in one day then nothing for a week.
Well fellow blogsters and lurkers..fear no more! Mika is here!!! I promise at least one post a day, whether it be a tip, a rant, a question, a trick, a hot deal, or just some general ramblings.
Oh and anytime anyone wants any information or has questions, just email me!!!!!!
Well today I worked on updating my savings tracking spreadsheet I keep for our monthly grocery expenses, rebates, etc. I was proud to see that halfway through the month we have only spent $253 on groceries, have saved over $1K in coupons alone (not sale prices), and I still have a $10 rebate, and 8 movie tickets on the way. Not too shabby, and I'm hoping that the total will be below $300 for the entire month, and next month under $200.
Now, couponing in August is always fun (not that I don't enjoy it any other time lol), because of the back to school sales!
Target has coupons out now which have brought me free goldfish, oreos, string cheese and cereal. All things wonderful for lunches (cereal used more as a desert since it's lucky charms lol).
Kroger generally does triples around here every other month or so, and apparantly Meijer follows the same pattern, we're new to this area so I'm still learning.
Rite Aid has been having coupons in their flyer every week for one or two free school supply type items, which has netted me free envelopes, garage sale price stickers, art kits for my kids, and a few others. Last weekend they put out an entire coupon book with some high value coupons for things like coffee (I'm going to get as much of that as I can for my parents). I am lucky in the fact Meijer will take those coupons, which will net me free LARGE cans of coffee, free cookies (lunches again), and peanuts/cashews/etc.
It's a busy month, but a happy one, everything is just rattling along and I'm trying not to kill myself deal hunting!!!
Well, I had my $20 challenge started, and I had almost $100 in the account, then we went and put my wedding dress on layaway. Bye Bye $100. BUT that is why we're saving money, to pay for the wedding first and foremost.
So the other night, my neighbors came over to shop my cupboards, and bought $16.50 worth of groceries, so that's restarting my $20 challenge.
New $20 challenge balance: $16.50
Well, we decided until the wedding (October 7th) to cut out grocery spending to less than $20 a week. Now, to some that may seem crazy, but if you saw my cupboards, you'd understand why that is very doable.
My only concern is meat, we're running low at the moment, but I'm stretching as much as I can.
We have literally over 100 boxes of pasta, 15 jars of regular sauce, makings for other sauces, any rice or side you could want, tomatoes coming into the garden, milk in the freezer (although not enough to last the whole time), cheese, eggs, etc etc. Canned goods, pie, hygiene items, hot dogs, pizza rolls...
One of these day's I'll post pictures of my cabinets!
So anyway, our deal is that unless it's FREE completely, an absolute need (milk, bread, etc), or less than a quarter (and quantities in reason lol) it doesn't get purchased. I'll keep ya'll updated on how I do!
Well, the last two weeks have had awesome sales + coupons around here. First Kroger triples, then Meijer triples (still going on), and Kroger is having some good sales too. let alone the awesome Rite Aid coupons I need to use at Meijer, the $130 ECB I have to spend at CVS, and the 2 foot stack of coupons I have sittin gon my coffee table needing clipped.
It's GREAT, as we're on a no=spending grocery spree until after the wedding (will explain in another post), so I can still shop but not pay anything lol.
The problem is..I am SO unmotivated. saving money is my JOB now that I'm a stay at home mom, so I feel very guilty letting any deals pass me by because I'm tired, etc. And I really really enjoy couopning, its not just my job, its my hobby and I love it. Plus the DBF started 2nd shift this week so we're adjusting to that schedule change as well.
I guess tomorrow is a new day and I just need to suck it up, it's weeks like this I wish for when the sales are dry. I need to enjoy it while it lasts!
We wnt shopping today, to David's Bridal. I didn't want a traditional wedding gown, I just don't feel that is appropriate, so I went straight to the bridesmaids dresses, etc. I had looked around penneys and a few other places last week and found NOTHING that wasn't "summer flirty", which was just a bit too casual to wear to get married in lol. So anyway...I found my dress!!! It's Beautiful!! Just the right amount of class, but still informal enough to be able to wear again.
Now granted, I'm not nearly as thin as the girl in the picture, but I slipped it on, 2 sizes smaller than I expected to get (WOOHOOO), and it fits like a glove. Absolutely perfect!!!
Until you look down....I'm only 4'11, so I have to get it hemmed, and they want $30 to do the alteration there, so I am going to look around and see what I can find.
Also, based on a few things I read elsewhere, I decided what to do about the wedding cake. I am going to get the smallest "wedding cake" I can find, for my DBF and I, and our parents, etc. Then I will bake a sheet cake (with cake mix and frosting I got for free after coupons of course!), so that should cut the cost down on those considerably!
Now if I could just get the darn invites done....
I'm going to be adventerous yet again tonight. There are some things I realized I need to use.
I consistently get taco seasoning free after coupons, and we don't eat tacos very often, so it tends to stack up. Granted it has a long shelf life, but I hate even getting things free that don't get used. So tonight I'm going to use a packet of that.
I'm going to take a pound or so of already browned hamburger out of the freezer, mix up some taco seasoning with it, throw in a can of corn (also in the pantry for awhile), put it all in a baking dish and top it with cornbread mix I bought a few weeks ago. We'll see how it turns out!
Kroger near my parents has been having triple coupons this weekend. So our weekend of NOT going to see my parents quickly turned into going to see my parents so they could watch the kids so we could go to Krogers lol.
All told, we did great, had a few MAJOR issues at checkout, but all in all we did pretty good. Over $500 worth of groceries for just under $80. That still puts us under grocery budget for the week (I budget $100 for our family of 5 for everything...diapers, meat, cleaning, everything). I took the additional $20 and put it aside, just had a feeling.
Opened up the paper this morning, and..could it be..YES...MEIJER is having triple coupons ALL WEEK. I am going to be SO tired lol. Good news is DBF starts second shift this week so he'll be around to go and help me! I have TONS of coupons to clip, and more on the way, so I need to get my rear in gear but gosh Im tired today!
Shopping triples always takes alot out of me, takes 2-3 hours plus checkout and it's lots of mental exercise. very well worth it, but still tiring. After this week I won't want to see coupons for awhile!!!!!
Here's the recipe I made today, these are VERY good, moist and yummy! My kids Adore them!
Banana Chip Muffins
1 3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 C, sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1/2 C. milk
1/3 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. mashed banana
1/2 C. unsweetened applesauce (I use whatever I have on hand, which is regular and they turn out good)
1 C. miniature semisweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the egg, milk, oil, banana and applesauce; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
I have doubled this recipe with no problems whatsoever, when doubled it makes almost 6 dozen muffins.
So it's been almost a month since I became a SAHM again, and I'm loving it! I have time to work on our wedding stuff (although Im not nearly close enough to done on that one! lol), coupons, and selling on ebay. Let alone being able to have time to fix good stuff for my kids to for their lunches, be home with them after school, and potty training the 2 year old. But that's no fun really lol.
Today I've been a baking fool. I had 2 bunches of bananas I got for free with coupons that we 're starting to go, so instead of throw them out like the old me would have (because I wouldn't have time to do anything with them), I mashed them all up and made double batches of banana chocolate chip mini muffins that my kids love (they are VERY good and rather healthy, if anyone wants the recipe), and a double batch of oatmeal/peanut butter/banana muffins. That was a new recipe and is actually quite good. I love being able to take time to COOK! I've always loved to cook, in a past life I wanted to be a chef, alas that hasn't happened.
That being said....everyone needs a break sometimes, so I took a few sirloins out of the freezer (bought on sale for 2.99 a lb) for DBF to grill out tonight, I'm going to make mashed potatoes (bought 5 lb bags for 1.25./each on sale), and we have some green beans I cooked up the other night (free after coupons and FRESH! simmered with onions-bought for $1 for a large bag of prechopped and frozen ones). A very good dinner, cheap and I don't have to do much!! WOOHOOO!!!!
I have had an ongoing saga with Walmart connect for THREE YEARS now. Back in March of 2003, I called to cancel the dialup service I had with them, was told it was cancelled. No big deal right? Well, you'd think.
In April, I was charged the $9.94 charge. I was confused, I called and they said my account in fact had NOT been cancelled, but they would cancel it for me at that point, and refund the money.
Same thing every month for THREE YEARS now! So you figure:
9.94 x 12 = $119.28
119.28 x 3 = $357.84
That's almost $400 that Walmart has charged me for a service I haven't used since March of '03, and have been trying to cancel since then. I repeatedly ask to speak to a manager, and am told the situation has been resolved. NOTHING. Charges and charges and charges month after month.
After speaking with someone tonight who said that in fact, he could not even PULL UP my account because I don't have the account number.
**Sidenote: Now what the hell kind of jack ass system can't pull up an account by a person's name, etc. (Excuse my french).
Anyways, I will be calling an attorney in the morning, and seeing what my options are on this one. As well as writing out a letter to the president of Walmart and any media that will grab it.
Anyone have any suggestions for me on how to handle this? I'm sick of them stealing my money!!!!
I'm gonna try for it today! I haven't left the house yet, have been cleaning, and working on various projects here (and yes I still hate vellum lol). My middle son has his kindergarten orientation tonight (school starts tomorrow), and I can't decide whether I should do something special with him tonight or not. Part of me wants to, a little special dinner or something just he and I, like I did with my oldest son, but part of me doesn't want to spend the money (how bad is that?). I'll talk to my fiancee about it tonight, and maybe we'll go to McDonald's or something cheap. I did transfer $1.36 over to savings today, just a miscellaneous transfer because I could.
Since becoming a SAHM, my fiancee and I decided I need to throw some things at Ebay again like I used to. I do enjoy it, but it's rather time intensive. My first few auctions have done quite well, in fact have sold for more than I spent on coupons last week lol. That's always a good thing. I used to sell childrens clothing, but now I'm just doing whatever I have! Example, right now I have up some china (from my first marriage), some kids clothes, and I'm listing some gorgeous fabric today. All in all, the pennies add up, and fattening my bank account is always a good thing!
Overall my goal is to be able to help pay for wedding stuff, and then throw some towards the challenge as well.
OK, so Im really not trying to have all my posts seem negative, but today my chore is to get our wedding invitations done and ready to send out. My printter evidently thinks vellum is the devil and is having a hard time printing it. So its a very slow process. I just have to keep telling myself its better this way lol.
That's my new thought...I have not yet had a no spend day, either bills going out, or groceries, or $250 on tires for my DBF's car, or or or. So it sucks. I need to get settled down and enter in all my receipts so I can throw the coupon savings money at the challenge, but URGH, makes me mad. Tomorrow should be a no spend at least! Today is my "freebie cheapie" run at the grocery store, where I really shouldn't spend much of anything, but every cent counts!
I think night before last caught up with me sleep wise. I'm unmotivated today, not getting alot done. Only hit 2 of the 8 rooms in my house so far. Tonight will be super busy...have to take the older munchkins up to my moms (an hour away) so she can watch them while I have the yardsale this weekend. On the way back we're going to stop and check out a truck we saw on cheapcycle. I'm not THRILLED about spending the $400 or so for it, but it's a purchase we've been counting on coming up, I just hate to see our meager savings drained already. But, purchasing a truck now will net further savings and earnings down the road.
We will be able to get the lawn care business going full swing, we've been holding it off due to lack of ability to transport the equipment.
We will be able to bring the freezer from my parents house down here which will enable me to stock up better on sales, etc.
We will be able to get things from freecycle that we cant at the moment due to no way to transport them..we had to pass on a dining room table and chairs (which we dont have a table at the moment) because of this.
We can hold off on replacing my DBF's tires on his car since he'll drive the truck to and from work, etc. So we can wait for a good sale or just for our savings to build up.
More pros than cons, but still..just frustrating.
Those are the stores we hit last night. Target still hasn't restocked any of the free goodies with their coupons, but I did get a bunch of trial sizes free after coupon. We're having our yard sale this weekend so that will be good to have!
Walgreens: Got 11 bottles of Palmolive dish detergent, a canister of Ajax, 3 12 packs of Mountain Dew for DBF, and 3 drinks for the kids (they'd been in the hot car for awhile and were thirsty as heck!)...all that for $16.09 and will get back a $10 gift card via rebate.
Kroger was a hit...20 boxes of pizza rolls (DBF takes those for lunch sometimes) for .20 each, 2 boxes of free mrs. Smith's pizza slices, 14 packages of hunts single serve pudding (4 in each package) for .65 each (another lunch thing), they had sirloin steak for 2.99 a lb so we got 6 steaks (thats a GREAT price around here), and I just realized we had a ham sliced and forgot to pick it up!!! CRAP!!! Well, I guess we didnt pay for it, so oh well, I just feel bad!
Also, on the way home saw a 12 pack of toilet paper laying in the middle of the road so stopped and picked that up. Someone dropped it I'm sure, but no one else was stopping. so that was free TP.
Save a lot has Cottonelle on sale this week for $1, and I have $1 coupons so that will be more free TP. Gotta love it!!
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