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Archive for August, 2006

Misunderstanding

August 30th, 2006 at 04:38 pm

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 .

With a heavy heart: Tips are gone

August 23rd, 2006 at 06:10 pm

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!

Deal of the Week: walgreens and Planters Trail Mix

August 23rd, 2006 at 12:36 pm

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!

What do you want to see?

August 23rd, 2006 at 12:27 pm

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!

Tip of the Day: Coupon Organization part #1

August 23rd, 2006 at 12:25 pm

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!

Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins

August 22nd, 2006 at 03:16 pm

This was requested last week, and I'm just getting to it..SORRY!!! But, its good, so here goes!

Ingredients:

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

Topping:
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
2 T. butter, melted
2 T. packed brown sugar

Directions:
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!!!!!!!

Tip of the Day: Your stores coupon policy

August 21st, 2006 at 02:20 pm

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!!!

8 mile

August 21st, 2006 at 02:03 pm

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!

Our weekend

August 19th, 2006 at 10:07 am

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.

A paid survey!

August 18th, 2006 at 07:36 pm

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!

Visits from my parents!

August 18th, 2006 at 12:15 pm

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!!!

Info of the day: Free websites to get the coupon deals!

August 18th, 2006 at 12:13 pm

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.

www.hotcouponworld.com

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.

www.families.com

Same as above, layout is quite similar, forum based.

www.refundcents.com

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!!!!!

Tip #1-Flylady

August 17th, 2006 at 06:50 pm

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?

www.flylady.net

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!

Reading my blog!

August 17th, 2006 at 06:46 pm

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!!!!!!

Couponing in August

August 17th, 2006 at 06:41 pm

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!!!